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1. WO2009007701 - APPARATUS AND METHOD OF AVATAR CUSTOMISATION

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

J J

CLAIMS

1. An entertainment device, comprising:
skeletal modelling means to configure a three dimensional mesh representing some or all of a user avatar in response to at least a first property of one or more skeletal components of the user avatar;
skeleton modification means to modify one or more properties of one or more skeletal components of the user avatar via a user interface; and
rendering means to render the user avatar in accordance with the three dimensional mesh as configured in response to the modified user avatar skeleton.

2. An entertainment device according to claim 1, comprising:
transmission means to transmit data descriptive of the modified user avatar skeleton to one or more remote entertainment devices;
reception means to receive data descriptive of respective modified avatar skeletons corresponding to one or more respective remote entertainment devices;
and in which:
the rendering means is operable to render a plurality of respective avatars corresponding to one or more respective remote entertainment devices, the rendering of each avatar being responsive to its respective modified avatar skeleton.

3. An entertainment device according to claim 2, in which transmission to remote entertainment devices and reception from remote entertainment devices is via an on-line server.

4. An entertainment device according to any one of claims 1 to 3, in which the user interface of the skeletal modification means enables asymmetric modifications of one or more skeletal components of the user avatar.

5. An entertainment device according to claim 4, in which the skeletal components that may be asymmetrically modified relate to facial features comprising one or more of the following:
i. lateral eye position;
ii. vertical eye position;

iii. vertical ear position;
iv. nose position;
V. nose profile;
vi. upper cranial shape;
vii. upper face shape;
viii. lower face shape; and
ix. jaw line.

6. An entertainment device according any one of the preceding claims, in which the user interface of the skeletal modification means enables the selection of additional skeletal components for incorporation into the user avatar.

7. An entertainment device according to claim 6, in which the additional skeletal components comprise one or more of the following:
1. glasses;
ii. hair;
iii. hats;
iv. headphones;
V. horns;
vi. crests; and
vii. trunks.

8. An entertainment device according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising:
texture component adjustment means to adjust one or more parameters of one or more texture layers applied to the three dimensional mesh representing some or all of a user avatar.

9. An entertainment device according to claim 8, in which an adjustable parameter is texture transparency.

10. An entertainment device according to claim 8 or claim 9, in which an adjustable parameter is the degree of bump-mapping applied to a texture.

11. An entertainment device according to any one of the preceding claims, comprising: mesh deformation means operable to alter the positions of vertices of the three dimensional mesh via the user interface, in which:
the mesh deformation means is operable to alter the positions of the vertices of the three dimensional mesh in dependence upon the respective vertex positions of at least one of a plurality of predetermined three dimensional meshes each defined with respect to the three dimensional mesh representing some or all of the user avatar;
the extent to which the three dimensional mesh is altered by a predetermined three dimensional mesh is dependent upon a blend weight associated with the predetermined three dimensional mesh and adjustable via the user interface; and
the rendering means is operable to render the user avatar in accordance with the modified three dimensional mesh as modified by the mesh deformation means.

12. An entertainment device according to claim 11, in which:
each vertex of each of the plurality of predetermined three dimensional meshes is defined as a positional offset with respect to the position of the corresponding vertex of the un-deformed three dimensional mesh; and
the mesh deformation means is operable to modify the positions of the vertices of the three dimensional mesh in dependence upon a sum of the positional offsets for each vertex of the plurality of predetermined three dimensional meshes multiplied by their respective blend weights plus the vertex positions of the un-modified three dimensional mesh.

13. An entertainment device according to claim 11 or claim 12, in which each of the plurality of predetermined three dimensional meshes is associated with an ethnic type.

14. A server operable to administer a multi-player online virtual environment, the server comprising:
reception means to receive data descriptive of respective modified avatar skeletons from a plurality of remote entertainment devices; and
transmission means to transmit data descriptive of respective modified avatar skeletons to a plurality of remote entertainment devices.

15. A server according to claim 14, operable to maintain a plurality of substantially similar on-line virtual environments each comprising a distinct plurality of avatars, wherein data descriptive of each avatar's skeleton is distributed between members of its respective online virtual environment.

16. An on-line system comprising:
first and second entertainment devices;
an on-line server operable to administer a multi-player online virtual environment;
the first entertainment device comprising:
skeletal modelling means to configure a three dimensional mesh representing some or all of a user avatar in response to at least a first property of one or more skeletal components of the user avatar;
skeleton modification means to modify one or more properties of one or more skeletal components of the user avatar via a user interface;
rendering means to render the user avatar in accordance with the three dimensional mesh as configured in response to the modified user avatar skeleton; and
transmission means to transmit data descriptive of the modified user avatar skeleton to the second entertainment device, and
the second entertainment device comprising:
reception means to receive data descriptive of modified user avatar skeleton from the first entertainment device; and
rendering means operable to render the modified avatar of the first entertainment device accordance with the three dimensional mesh as configured in response to the modified avatar skeleton,
the on-line server comprising:
reception means to receive data descriptive of the modified user avatar skeleton from the first entertainment device; and
transmission means to transmit data descriptive of the modified user avatar skeleton to a the second entertainment device.

17. A method of avatar customisation for an on-line virtual environment comprising the steps of:
selecting a user avatar for use in the on-line virtual environment;
modifying one or more properties of one or more skeletal components of the user avatar via a user interface;

configuring a three dimensional mesh representing some or all of the user avatar in response to at least a first property of one or more skeletal components of the user avatar; and rendering the user avatar in accordance with the three dimensional mesh as configured in response to the modified user avatar skeleton.

18. A method of avatar customisation according to claim 17, comprising the steps of:
transmitting data descriptive of the modified user avatar skeleton to one or more remote entertainment devices;
receiving data descriptive of respective modified avatar skeletons corresponding to one or more respective remote entertainment devices; and
rendering a plurality of respective avatars corresponding to one or more respective remote entertainment devices, the rendering of each avatar being responsive to its respective modified avatar skeleton.

19. A method of avatar customisation according to claim 17 or claim 18, in which the step of modifying one or more physical properties of one or more skeletal components of the user avatar enables asymmetric modifications of one or more skeletal components of the user avatar.

20. A method of avatar customisation according to any one of claims 17 to 19, in which the step of modifying one or more physical properties of one or more skeletal components of the user avatar enables the selection of additional skeletal components for incorporation into the user avatar.

21. A method of avatar customisation according to any one of claims 17 to 20, comprising the step of adjusting one or more parameters of one or more texture layers applied a three dimensional mesh representing some or all of a user avatar.

22. A method of avatar customisation according to claim 21, in which an adjustable parameter is texture transparency.

23. A method of avatar customisation according to claim 21 or claim 22, in which an adjustable parameter is the degree of bump-mapping applied to a texture.

24. A method of avatar customisation according to any one of claims 17 to 23, comprising the steps of:
deforming the positions of vertices of the three dimensional mesh via the user interface in dependence upon the respective vertex positions of at least one of a plurality of predetermined three dimensional meshes each defined with respect to the three dimensional mesh representing some or all of the user avatar,
wherein the extent to which the three dimensional mesh is altered by a predetermined three dimensional mesh being dependent upon a blend weight associated with the predetermined three dimensional mesh and adjustable via the user interface; and
rendering the user avatar in accordance with the deformed three dimensional mesh as deformed by the step of deforming the positions of the three dimensional mesh.

25. A method of avatar customisation according to claim 24, in which:
each vertex of each of the plurality of predetermined three dimensional meshes is defined as the positional offset with respect to the position of the corresponding vertex of the un-deformed three dimensional mesh; and
the step of deforming the positions of the vertices of the three dimensional mesh deforms the positions of the vertices of the three dimensional mesh in dependence upon a sum of the positional offsets for each vertex of the plurality of predetermined three dimensional meshes multiplied by their respective blend weights plus the vertex positions of the un-deformed three dimensional mesh.

26. A method of administering a multi-player online virtual environment, comprising the steps of:
receiving data descriptive of respective modified avatar skeletons from a plurality of remote entertainment devices; and
transmitting data descriptive of respective modified avatar skeletons to a plurality of remote entertainment devices.

27. A method of administering a multi-player online virtual environment according to claim 26, comprising the step of maintaining a plurality of substantially similar on-line virtual environments each comprising a distinct plurality of avatars, wherein data descriptive of each avatar's skeleton is distributed between members of its respective on-line virtual environment.

28. A computer program for implementing the method of any preceding method claim.

29. A data carrier that carries a computer program according to claim 28.