|Publication number||WO2002022224 A1|
|Publication date||21 Mar 2002|
|Filing date||13 Sep 2001|
|Priority date||13 Sep 2000|
|Publication number||PCT/2001/1153, PCT/AU/1/001153, PCT/AU/1/01153, PCT/AU/2001/001153, PCT/AU/2001/01153, PCT/AU1/001153, PCT/AU1/01153, PCT/AU1001153, PCT/AU101153, PCT/AU2001/001153, PCT/AU2001/01153, PCT/AU2001001153, PCT/AU200101153, WO 0222224 A1, WO 0222224A1, WO 2002/022224 A1, WO 2002022224 A1, WO 2002022224A1, WO-A1-0222224, WO-A1-2002022224, WO0222224 A1, WO0222224A1, WO2002/022224A1, WO2002022224 A1, WO2002022224A1|
|Inventors||Dean Michael Shannon|
|Applicant||Dark Blue Sea Pty Ltd|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Non-Patent Citations (3), Referenced by (22), Classifications (6), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet|
"A SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SIMULATING
OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT OF A SPORTING CONTESTANT"
FIFI H OF THF INIVFNTION
THIS INVENTION relates to a method of simulating ownership
and/or management of a sporting contestant where that contestant
may be a human or animal athlete or a mechanical device, such as a
racecar, motorbike or similar.
RACKGROUNn OF THF INVFNTIΩN
There has always been a close association between people
having an interest in sport and a parallel wish to own an animal or
machine for training and preparation for sporting contests. This is
particularly evident in the case of industries associated with
Thoroughbred racehorses, Trotters, Greyhounds, Formula One racecars
and Rally cars. In relation to human athletes, enthusiasts often wish
to emulate coaches and managers who are engaged in preparing
individuals as well as teams of athletes for sporting competitions.
To be involved other than as a spectator in these industries
usually requires significant outlays of economic resources as well as a
high time component. One or both of these requirements may exclude
the majority of the population from active participation as owners and
managers of sporting contestants.
It is known to provide virtual pets through computer technology,
the capacity of which has developed to the point that animation on screen can give a realistic impression of an animal or person. These
pets may require basic simulated attention such as feeding and
cleaning. However, they fall far short of involving an owner with real
managerial considerations which effect the performance of that virtual
pet, or the opportunity to enter that virtual pet in simulated contests.
SUMMARY OF 1NVFNTIONI
In one form, although it need not be the only or indeed the
broadest form, the invention resides in a system for managing and
competing with a virtual sporting character, said system including:
a virtual sports token having attributes controllable by a player;
a virtual contest between said virtual sporting token and at least
one other virtual sporting token;
wherein the attributes influence the performance of the virtual
sporting token in the virtual contest. Control by a player may occur
through input provided by an internet connection.
In a further aspect, the invention resides in a multi-user virtual
sporting system comprising:
two or more virtual sporting tokens, said tokens each having at
least one attribute modifiable by a respective user; and
at least one simulated contest between said tokens
wherein the at least one attribute affects the performance of a
respective sporting token.
The system may include independent variable conditions which also affect the performance of the tokens.
Suitably, the system may also include means for two or more
users to communicate.
Preferably, the system also includes means for a user to obtain
rights to at least one further sporting token.
The system may further comprise storage means for storing the
virtual tokens. The storage means may comprise at least one host
computer. The system may further comprise a user input means. The
user input means may comprise at least one keyboard in signal
connection with the host computer. The user input means may further
comprise at least one user computer in signal connection with the host
At least one multi user may be a simulated user.
The system may further include means for generating and
maintaining a virtual token. The system may include means for
modifying the virtual token. The system may in addition include
means for simulating a contest between the virtual token and at least
one other virtual token.
Suitably the virtual token may represent a horse. Alternatively,
the virtual token may represent any other animal competitor such as a
dog. Further alternatively, the virtual token may represent a human
contestant or a team of human contestants. As yet a further
alternative, the virtual token may represent a mechanical sporting
device such as a race car, a rally car, a motorcycle, an aeroplane or any other similar competitive device.
In a further aspect the invention may reside in a method of virtual sporting involvement said method including the steps of generating a virtual sporting token and providing a player with selection options for at least one managerial variable, said at least one managerial variable impacting on performance of the sporting token and conducting a simulated sporting contest between said token and at least one other virtual sporting token. The method may also include the step of creating independent variables which impact on performance of the token in the sporting contest. The method may further include the step of conducting a virtual auction for purchase of at least one virtual token. Further, the method may include the step of providing at least one player with an opportunity to gamble on the outcome of said sporting contest. A player may conduct selection options through electronic connection via the internet.
RRIFF DESCRIPTION OF THF DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a flow chart for a site layout for a horse racing site; FIG. 2 is an example of a start up page; FIG. 3 is a representation of a stable; FIG. 4 is a conceptual photograph for a finishing post;
FIG. 5 is a conceptual photograph for a winner's enclosure.
DFTAII FD DESCRIPTION OF THF DRAWINGS
Throughout the description of the invention, reference will be made to horse racing. However, it is clear to a skilled addressee that many other forms of competition may be used as the basis for the
system disclosed. In this example the sporting token will be one or
more virtual and/or animated horse(s) .
Referring to FIG. 1 there is shown a flow sheet for a site layout
of a system, which may be accessible via the internet. The site may
have a start up page 1 1 .
The first page viewed at the website will be predominately
static HTML and is required to be quick loading. Flash can be used
with minimal page elements but is not necessarily a requirement of
viewing. If the user does not have a Flash plug-in installed, a static
JPEG image file may be displayed.
The page may have links that resemble the following functions:-
• Members Login
• Free Tour or Demonstration
• Sign Up or Pick a Horse
The start up page may appear as shown in FIG. 2. A user who
has access to the start up page may be given several options.
The first option may be a free demonstration or tour.
The free tour presents the user with a number of screenshots
from the system along with audio samples from such areas as the race
and the training area. Each screenshot will be accompanied by caption
text explaining the individual aspects of the experience.
The screenshots displayed may include the follow areas: -
• The Stable • Training
• Race Day
• Trophy Presentation
• The Winners Post
Alternatively, a user who is a pre-existing member may be
entitled to log in using their user name and password 1 3.
The member's login option will present the user with a
username and password box to fill in. Through the sign-up process,
the user will become a member and will give a preferred username and
password combination to use for access to the system. Once the
sign-up process is complete, they may be presented with the members
login screen and asked to login. From this point on, the user may go
to the members login screen to access the system.
The username and password from the member's login page may
be transmitted over a secure connection, similar to that used by a
credit card collection process.
As a third alternative a user may sign up to choose a horse 14
with the ability to then proceed further into the system.
The option to sign up or pick a horse may be the sign-up
process for the user, where the user may be presented with the
selection screen where one of twenty (20) different horses can be
It is clear from FIG. 1 that a user may progress to choosing a
horse from either the start up page 1 1 , the tour site 1 2, or the log in facility 1 3.
In choosing a horse 1 4, a user may consider a number of
characteristics provided in the sporting token such as those described
below The user will be able to choose from five (5) colors of horse,
each with four (4) varying markings giving twenty (20) possible horses
to choose from. The colors from which they are able to choose include
the following: -
• Bay (brown)
• Dark Bay (brownie black)
• Chestnut (orangey brown)
• Gray (grey)
The four (4) different markings are available for the horses
• Plain (no markings)
• Stripe (explanation: "A white marking running down a
horse 's face, starting under an imaginary line
connecting the tops of the eyes "}
• Star marking (star shape usually on face or top of the
• Socks (colored lower region of foot)
The process of selecting a horse may involve the twenty (20)
horses being displayed on the screen at once and selectable, or may be scrolled through using forward and back style buttons. Various
audio cues are used where appropriate to add to the atmosphere of
the horse selection.
As each specific horse is shown, details of the horse may be
displayed. Such information may include one or more of the following:
• Distinctive markings
• Horse breed
Once a horse is selected, a user may sign up 1 5 for further
involvement with the system. The details requested from a user
signing up may include the following: Page 1
Email address (Email)
Postal address (Address)
State • Country Page 3
• Time Zone
• Credit card number, type of card and expiry date Once the horse is selected, the creation of the horse's randomly generated attributes begin. The Time Zone
The user may request that the events of feeding and training be relative to a particular time zone. If the user wishes to change the time zone, there is a changeover period of 48 hours to prevent cheating of the system. The changeover period of approximately 48 hours which allows for the owner to enter the horse. In a new race, the horse placements and entrants are finalized 24 hours before the race begins. The time zone makes if fair on different members in different time zones as well as spreading the load of the daily calculation process over 24 time slots. This method will avoid the calculations being performed at a "virtual" midnight.
A member logging on 13 or a new user signing up as a member 15 may then proceed to a welcome page 1 6. The first page viewed of the members area within the website is the members or welcome page. The members page may is to give the member access to the help system as well as providing information on how Unreal Racing works. Members Page
The Members page is to present various pieces of information.
These may include but not limited too: -
Manage your stable
How to Play
Hint of the Day
Buy a Horse
• User Specific Notifications
■ What's New?
■ How to Play
■ General Help
In the members page the user will presented with news items
and announcements to inform the user about such things but not
limited too new racetracks or training and feeding methods. The news
items are configurable from the back-end administration area to allow
for easy additions. Trainers Handbook?
The handbook may be an online, searchable book containing
realistic horse ownership issues that could possibly assist the member
in gaining more of an understanding of caring for a horse. The book
may contain hints and tips on general horse training, feeding and
The tutorial option area or how to play option advises the first
time user the basic rules and guidelines on how to play the sporting
contest. The area is to give an example of a simplified day-in-the-life of
a trainer so that the horse's health is at least maintained from an early stage.
The forum system may contain several topics relating to caring for
the virtual horses and tips from the experts.
The statistics page is integrated into the Members Area and will
display a summarised view of statistics for all of the horses in the users
stable. Such statistics will show, at a glance, all of the statistics available
in the sporting contest itself.
The Help or General Help area provides assistance to the user of
a general nature, relating to aspects of the system. The help page maybe context sensitive, based upon where the users in located within
the sports contest system.
The user who is now a member may then proceed to screen 1 7,
Manage Your Stable.
Manage your Stable
This scene depicts a 3D Render of the horse's stalls in a stable
containing a number of horses. The menu system allows the user to
access feeding, vet and training menus.
The screen gives a visual representation of each of the horses
within the members stable. The horses are displayed in the correct
colours according to the original choice of horse color and marking.
The name of the horse is also displayed on the stable door.
A sample of the collection of trophies won may be displayed
above each horse. Access to the entire trophy collection may be
available from within the stabling environment. A button giving the
option to upgrade the stable may also be visible.
There may be three (3) variations on the stable, the first model
of which is standard and free. The other stables have increasingly
more room and more benefit to the attributes of the horses. The three
(3) stables available, along with possible additional features each one
may provide, are outlined as follows: -
The stable may be represented as shown in FIG. 3. Statistics Displayed In Stable
The interface for each horse may display the following
• The placing in the last 3 races
• The last recorded weight of the horse
• The last food / vitamin supplement fed to the horse
• Recent ailments, injuries or illnesses affecting the horse
At this stage a member may choose to return to the welcome
page 1 6 to review information provided if required. At the main
screen 1 7 a range of activities relating to the selected horse are available.
A number of horses can be display at any one time; the user
may click on a specific horse to select them. When a specific horse is
clicked, the member may be presented with menu actions allowing
them to do the following functions including but not limited too; specific to that horse: - Feeding the horse
Call the Vet
Talk to the Foreman
Call the Farrier
Visit the Store
Visit Auction Yard
Train the horse
Enter into a race
Visit the Chat room
View Statistics for the Horse and Race
View Horse History
Putting the horse to pasture
Purchasing further horses
Spelling the Horse
Visit the auction yard
Global options for all the members' horses are also to be
displayed on this screen. The global options may give the member the
opportunity to perform any number of actions to user definable subset
of the horses owned. Which may include but not limited too feeding, grooming, calling the vet or calling the farrier. This gives more control
to users who own more than one horse.
The feeding screen or panel may utilise the same stable
backdrop but may focus on an individual horse as well as its' feeding
trough. There may be a menu displaying choices for particular feed
available to the user to give to the horse. The feed options may
consist of various feed mixes, hay, vitamin supplements and medicine.'
Different colors or texture-maps for the feed would indicate
different brands and mixtures. The feeds may cost varying amounts
or be free, thus being able to be changed at any time if required.
Additional feeds, with additional charges may be added at a later
An example of the different feed mixtures, are outlined below: -
An example of the different mixtures of hay are outlined below:- Hay Name E planation
Standard Grass Hay (6- 14% Protein)
Alfalfa Hay (1 2-1 5 % Protein)
Lucerne Chaff ( 1 8-20% Protein) (Improve mood, easy for horse to eat)
An example of the different vitamin supplements are outlined below :-
Supplement Name Explanation-
Vitamin B Given to help calm a nervy horse.
"Longactive" (Fatigue) Minimise fatigue, lactic acid build up and increase stamina
"Powerdyne" (Energy) Maximum energy for the active horse
"Healfast" (Injury) Assists with recovery of injury
Perfect Balance Electrolyte mix used for assisting recovery of illness
"BioHoof" (Hoof) Supplement to assist recovery from hoof injury
An example of the different medicines are outlined below
Medicine Name Treatment o
Phenylbutazone ('Bute') - Effective legal pain killer, anti-inflammatory
Adequan Used in the treatment of certain arthritic conditions
Pentosan injections Give weekly or pre race - helps joints
Course of antibiotics Helps with recovery from virus or illness
Vitamin injections Can give several times and up to race day
(Ascorbic, Folic, B1 2, B1 5, multi)
L-Carnitine Aids in fatty acid metabolism/helps with muscle cell metabolism
EHV-1 Injection Guard against EHV-1 (Equine Herpes Virus), which is similar to a cold.
Tetanus / Strangles Protect against Tetanus & Strangles. Injection Administered as a foal automatically when a horse is cut, generally a Tetanus booster is given. This should be given annually as a booster.
Vitamin - 1 7 R1 R Help with keeping nervous houses at hay. Each feed mix may contain a make-up of ingredients. Such
ingredients may include, but are not limited to the following: -
• Barley • Corn
• Lucerne Chaff
• Vitamin Supplements
Each ingredient is broken up into percentages of base
components. These base components may include, but are not limited
to the following: -
• Nutrients (various vitamin types) When the feed item is selected, an image or textual
representation of the product and ingredients is presented.
An example of such a display of ingredients for a feed item is
shown below: -
Toast Performance - This feed provides performance, show and
breeding horses with the highest energy levels - balanced energy from corn oil and carbohydrates. To further improve endurance and
performance, this formula includes high levels of vitamins to minimize the
effects of stress. In addition, PERFORM includes the highest-quality grains, as well as extra sodium and potassium to replenish electrolytes
lost during heavy exercise. It's everything an active horse needs to
maintain peak performance.
Crude Protein 1 0%
Crude Fat 3%
Crude Fibre Max. 1 5 %
Calcium Min. 0.8%
Calcium Max. 1 .1 %
Copper 50 ppm
Zinc 1 50 DDm
Selenium 0.6 ppm
Vitamin A 4.000 lU/lb
Vitamin D3 450 lU/lb
Vitamin E 60 lU/lb
Biotin 0.45 mg/lb
At this point, the user may select a mixture/brand choice and
the time (morning and/or afternoon) at which the food is to be
administered. The food trough may appear full if they choose to feed
the horse and a limited animation of the horse feeding may be
Feeding Prior to a Race ("Race Feed")
If the horse has been entered into a race, the owner is given the
option to choose a feed routine to be administered in the hours prior to the race. By doing this, the owner need not be online for the hours
prior to the race. The other reason for this is to make it reasonably clear that a different feed type (i.e. one that is higher in protein for additional energy) may be given before a race to possibly enhance performance.
The stable backdrop may be used when the vet is called from the main stable area. The vet may be pictured inspecting the horse's state of health with a first-aid bag nearby.
The inclusion of the vet checking the health of the selected horse may be used to display textual information on any problems regarding the horse's health or state of being. The session may include a vet's "verdict" using a simple textual system to give the user feedback on the horse's health after the examination. The vet's verdict may be given at the end of the examination using a caption below an image of a vet.
The text displayed may be dynamically included in the page from information provided by the database, which is to contain various treatments and/or recommendations regarding the specific ailment, or illness encountered. The menu system may allow the users to pay the vet to administer any recommended medicines to treat the horse as per diagnosis. At the races, the vet may also be able to be called to give a health check before the race.
The various health issues affecting the horse may fall into any combination of categories. These categories may include: - • Stable related injuries/ailments
• Training related injuries/ailments
• Race related injuries The vet is able to detect and cure, over time, a multitude of health issues. An example of such issues affecting health, the possible causes, how they may be diagnosed and where they can occur are listed below: -
Training and Race Related Injuries
Iniurv Description & Causes Diagnosis & Treatment
Arthritis Cause: Diet and stable care. Adequan™ : Brand name for Increase in older horses. polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, Inflammation of a joint. An used in the treatment of certain increase in the amount of arthritic conditions. synovial fluid in the joint is a result of this inflammation.
Tvinα UD Cause: Untreated Injuries Chiropractor. Very serious cases can lead to the horse can effectively end a horse's changing their running style career. and, over time, can tie the animal up.
Hoof Iniurv Two types depending on Treatment required by Farrier. Hoof Strength.
Sore Hoof Cause: Over training or Re-shoe horse and rest for a period. improperly shod hoof. If left Any number of painkillers can be untreated, the horse may used to comfort the horse (i.e. change its running style, Bute) . which could lead to bigger problems.
Cracked Hoof A vertical split of the hoof A Bar shoe can be used and wall. corrective trimming may remedy mild cracks but in severe cases, more extensive treatment is required. Treatment required by Farrier.
The vet may also be able to diagnose issues, which would normally concern a chiropractor. The issues would be diagnosed with the assistance of external chiropractic services. The chiropractic treatment may fall into the category of a form of veterinary treatment that the vet can offer. The chiropractic care may be incorporated into the veterinary area for ease of management and presentation.
With the help of external chiropractic services, the vet is
therefore able to diagnose and cure a multitude of health issues
relating to the bones. An example of such issues affecting health, the
possible causes and what the external chiropractor, via the vet, might
prescribe include, but are not limited to the following: -
Health Issue Possible Causes Diagnosis and Treatment
Sore Back Every day training or One visit per week for 4 weeks Poor shoeing depending on severity
Tying Up Over Training and lax One visit per week for 8 weeks treatment of injuries
Special Veterinary Services
In the event that a horse gets a badly fractured leg or gets to
the point of age that the member deems them no longer useful, the
vet may be able to put the horse down. Alternatively, the member can
put the horse to pasture if it isn't badly injured via the Put the horse to
pasture item available from the vet 's "retire" options.
The process of the vet putting the horse down rather than
putting the horse to pasture may be represented graphically. This
action may be charged.
In the event that the member has no horses remaining in the
stable, they may be presented with the screen to purchase further horses.
The option of talking to the foreman enables the member to automate the feeding and training regime for a pre-determined period
of time so that the member is able to go on vacation without the horse
suffering. This option may also give the member the ability to
automate healing processes if the horse is spelled for a period of time
and the member doesn't want to personally bother with the day-to-day
maintenance chores of the horse.
The stable backdrop may also be used when the foreman is
called from the stable area. The foreman may be depicted attending to
the specific horse selected at the time. The foreman screen may contain a week-by-week, calendar
style interface along with respective feeding and training panels. The
feeding and training panels may allow the member to set-up a number
of feeding and training regimes for use during the required time
periods. The member may then be able to allocate the foreman to
service the horse for any given period.
At the stable the member may elect to call in a farrier.
The stable backdrop may also be used when the farrier is called
from the individual stable. The farrier may be pictured inspecting the
horse's hooves. The session may include a farrier's "verdict" using a
simple textual system to give the user feedback on the horse's health
after an examination. The farrier's verdict may be given at the end of
the examination using a caption below a graphical representation of
An active horse may need to be shod, by the farrier, approximately every 3 weeks. If the horse is not particularly active,
shoeing may only be required every 6-8 weeks. If maintenance is not
performed after this period, the horses' health and well-being may be
The farrier may be able to detect and cure, over time, a
multitude of health issues related to the horse's hooves. An example
of such issues affecting health, the possible causes and what the
farrier may prescribe include, but are not limited to the following: -
Health Issue Possible Causes Diagnosis and Treatment
Sore Hoof Over training and poor Reshoe and rest as much shoeing as possible
Cracked Hoof Poor shoeing and over Corrective trimming and training. Can also be reshoeing can help the inherited problem.
An example of the various types of shoes that may be fitted as
well as possible services provided may include, but are not limited to
the following: -
Service/Shoe Reason for Service / Fitting
Heavy Shoe Used for training
Standard Racing Used for racing. Automatically fitted for race at Plates no charge.
Calk Shoe Used for racing. Especially when track is wet.
Bar Shoe Used to repair hoof and adds support to a cracked area
Hoof Reconstruction When hoof cannot sustain any shoes naturally, the hoof will need to be reconstructed using a fiberglass rnnl .
In addition a member may elect to visit the shop or store,
represented by screen 1 9, to purchase equipment such as saddles, mouth bits and whips.
An example of the equipment on sale with their respective
benefits may include, but is not limited to the following: -
The store may be a rendered 3D image where all equipment can
be inspected and purchased. The storeowner may also be pictured at a
kiosk. Anything said by the storeowner may be done using a simple
textual representation below an image of the storeowner. The
storeowner may be used to give advice on purchases or help in the
The scene may present the inside of a store with one area
containing mouth bits and another area containing blinkers. The user
may be able to, and may be advised as such by the storeowner to
click on the various areas to view the equipment available. Once the
user clicks on an area that contains the respective equipment, for
example the bits, a panel may appear displaying all available bits, their
uses and their respective costs. The pieces of equipment themselves may be dynamically loaded from the database allowing for additional
equipment to be added at a later date.
The equipment purchased may be used to cause an effect on
training sessions or racing events.
Once the well being of the horse is established and adequate
equipment has been obtained, a member may turn their attention to
training the horse 20.
The options available during training may be displayed on a
separate screen. This may be accessible from the individual stable
menu screen 1 8 and may depict the training area used to keep the
horse in peak running/sprinting condition. This may be depicted as a
grass running track, where the horse could be viewed running with a
scrolling background and a looping animation of the horse.
The scene may be a rendered 3D image of the horse and jockey
behind a fence performing training exercises. The trainer may be
leaning on the fence, observing the horse and rider. Full bridal gear and
jockey may be pictured on the horse with saddle to maintain the
realism of the training.
The session may include a trainers "verdict" using a simple
textual system giving feedback on the horses performance during the
training session. The trainer's verdict may be given at the end of the
training using a caption below an image of the trainer.
As part of the selection of the training methods, the member may be given an option to have the horse roll in a sand pit. Rolling in
the sand pit may provide the trainer with further information as to the
horse's balance and general state of well-being.
The member may be presented with a training screen allowing
for configuration of up any number of possible training sessions and
any number of specialized training sessions. The training sessions may
each be made up of a combination of speed and distance. The
specialized training methods selectable may include, but is not limited
to such methods as a sand roll, swim or a run on the beach. The
member has the option which sessions to implement. Selecting too
much training according to the horses individual abilities and attributes
will generally have a detrimental effect on the horses' attributes.
Optimally, the selections may include a warm up and a number
of training methods that stretch the horses' ability, without achieving
an excessive level of fatigue. In the event that excessive fatigue is
caused, proneness to injury may increase proportionally. When no
training or a light training routine is selected, the fatigue level may in
turn decrease, thus reducing the risk of injury.
An example of the training and optional, available specialized
methods, as well as an explanation of each include the following: - Optional Training (Stages 1 -3)
Optional Specialised Training (Stage 4)
Sand roll Helps to determine any health problems that the horse may have developed.
Swim Aids loosening a horse after training, and helps with injuries.
Beach Training Will add to all attributes slightly and mood.
Training Partner Run the horse with a partner to help with confidence and agility,
Don't push Instructs the jockey to lay off if the horse is struggling with the training to help avoid fatigue and injury.
Open him up for Ease the horse up to its maximum speed for the last last 20% 20% of the distance covered . (20 - 50%)
Barrier Training Remind the horse how and what to do when the barrier is opened at the start of a race.
Grooming Generally makes the horse feel better and obviously look better. The looking better, however, is not represented in the system.
The training speed of a horse is a percentage of the animal's
maximum speed and the distance travelled may be represented in any
form of measurable distance.
If the members own two or more horses, they may be able to
utilize training partnerships. The training partner may be a selectable
parameter enabling the partnered horse to be trained at the same level. One horse may be fitter than the other, but each horse is trained and affected individually. Training partnerships, however, generally add to the horses' attributes as well as the speed with which it learns. Such attributes that may be affected by participation in a training partnership may include, but is not limited to mood and temperament. Horses with differing or non-compatible temperaments may cause the benefits of partnering to be reduced or negated.
When determining the effect of a training session on a horse, a number of considerations may be taken into account. Such considerations may include, but is not limited to the speed of training, distance of
training, presence and compatibility of training partner, strength, stamina, agility, overall health, current and post training fatigue, proneness to injury, current feed type, and the size and weight of the horse.
Further details on these possible contributing attributes are given below: -
Speed of Training - The speed of training is the user selectable speed for the particular training session. The speeds available for selection are outlined in the "Optional Training" table above.
Distance - The distance of training is the distance, measured in any measurable form of distance metres for the particular training session. If the measurable form used to represent distance is meters, the distances available may range from 600m to 3200m. The actual
distance that the horse trains and the distance the member requested
the horse train may differ if the fatigue level of the horse reaches a
critical threshold. The threshold deemed critical may be dependant on
the abilities of the horse to recover from a certain level of fatigue. If
this occurs, the horse may "rear-up" and the jockey will notify the
trainer and stable owner that the horse was unable to complete the
distance at the requested speed.
Presence and Temperament of Training Partner - The presence
of another horse when training may give the horses more confidence,
thus effecting the mood attribute as well as helping the horse to learn
quicker and generally benefit better from the training session. If,
however, the partnered horses have incompatible temperaments (i.e.
two partnered horses have aggressive attitudes) the horses may not
benefit from the partnering and the jockey will inform the trainer and
stable owner of the possibility of a conflicting temperament. Such
phrases used to denote an incompatibility may include, but is not
limited to "she's shying away from the other horses" or "he was a
handful and [insert partnered horse's name] just didn't want to
Strength - The strength of the horse will contribute to the speed
that a horse is able to produce during a race. Therefore the speed that
it is trained at may determine how strong an animal is. The longer that speed is maintained may also increase the strength of a horse. The
more that a horse is pushed compared to its actual ability, the more
the proportional benefit will be, although the fatigue level may also
proportionally increase if the horse is pushed too much. If a horse is
run well within its capability, the benefit of training will generally be
minimal. The right type of feed may also contribute highly to an
increase in strength.
Stamina - The distance that the horse covers is the main
contributing factor when determining the increasing stamina. The
current stamina determines if the horse is "running within himself",
meaning that the horse is not pushing itself and therefore not
expending much energy. Generally, the harder you train a horse, the
greater the benefit. If the horse is trained beyond its abilities, the level
of fatigue may be substantially higher, thus increasing the risk of injury.
The speed and distance for which the horse is trained will
increase the growth rate of stamina. As with strength, the diet of a
horse increases stamina.
Agility - Both speed and distance, contribute to agility as well as
the presence and compatibility of a training partner. The feed also
contributes to the agility in terms of its' relation to the alertness of the
horse. Overall Health - The current overall health of the horse is taken
into account when determining the rate at which the level of fatigue
increases. It may also be used to determine the effectiveness of the
strength, stamina and agility of the horse within training, thus, a horse
with poor health may not benefit from the training as much as a horse
with better health.
Fatigue and Post Training Fatigue - Depending on the current
stamina, strength and health, this factor may be determined at the end
of a session to see how hard the horse has worked. It may also be
factored into the training session to find how effective the training
was depending on the tiredness of the horse.
Proneness to Injury - This may be used at the end of the session
to determine if an injury has occurred during the training session. This
takes into account the current health, mood and fatigue of the horse
and determines its' susceptibility to injury. The higher the fatigue level,
the higher the probability of a more serious injury occurring. It is for
this reason that it is important for the member to balance training and
rest as well as taking good care of the horse.
Current Feed Type - If the horse is being trained for a long
distance, a high fat feed will contribute more to the stamina of a horse
over such a distance, whereas if the horse is being brought back from
an injury, a high protein feed may be better for recovery. Each ingredient of a feed mix contributes different amounts to each
attribute. A horse can only eat so much, so it is up to the user to
balance a horses diet in order to get the most out of training.
Trainer Response - An example of the possible trainer
responses regarding the performance of the horse after training may
include, but is not limited to the following: -
Trainer Response Reason
"He had nothing left." Fatigue is high
"He reared up and just couldn't give Fatigue is high anymore."
"He showed something in his run." Injury
'He didn't roll well, he wasn't right. Muscle injury
"The jockey said he was hanging in / out" Temperament
"He was a bit shy" Doesn't like his partner
"He was a handful Bad Temperament
"Trained within himself" Fatigue Growth was low
"He hung in / out" Temperament.
"He shied from his training partner" Nervy horse
"Trained well" Stats gain was high
Also under the training page 20 a user may trial their horse.
The trialing of a horse may be modeled on a Race Day scene, but with
only one horse running at a time. The trialing of a horse will
demonstrate to the owner the abilities of the horse by providing a time
over a specified distance.
A member may also access the race administration screen 21 .
The Race Administration screen is primarily used for performing
race related tasks. The screen will allow the user to perform a number
of functions. Such function may include, but are not limited to the
following: - • Enter a Horse into a Race
• View Current Race
• View Race Archive / Replay
• Race Summary Enter a Horse into a Race
The process of entering a race is performed from within the stable area on a separate panel. The member is shown a list of possible races that they can enter their horse into. Once the member has entered their horse in a race, they may not be permitted to scratch (or withdraw) the horse from the race.
Once entered into a race, the members are unable to see the other entrants of the race until 24 hours before the race is being run. At this time, the entrants, barrier draw and track conditions may be listed. The information available on the entrants may include the following: -
• The name of the owner (username)
• The name of the horse
• The previous number of winnings and
• The last three (3) available times of previously run races If the member attempts to enter a race before a specified number of days since the last race, a message may be shown stating that they are not allowed, to enter the horse in a race so soon after another race. The list of races may include, but is not limited to the following
Date of race
Name of the track
Class of Race
Time of the particular Class / Length event
Length of the race
Surface of the track
Type of race
Winnings for the race
Number of members horses entered Date of Race - The date of the race may be a real-time date
such as 12 Sept representing the 1 2th of September. The racing
calendar may present at least the next 3 - 4 weeks of races, in
Name of Track - The race events and tracks themselves may be
are named via the back end administration system or randomly from
entries within the database where the track types are also listed.
Class of Race - Having classes of a race ensure that as the
number of members increase, the horses are raced against similar-able
horses. This means that one particular horse cannot continually win
races where maiden (horses that haven't won a race) horses have
entered. Once a particular class of race has been won, that horse may only able to enter that class of race a limited number of times before it
is restricted to it's current next class. The class of races in the system
are numbered. An example of such a numbering system used for the
class structure may be from 1 to 1 0.
Class 1 is a racing class where the horses have yet to win a
race. This is similar to the Maidens races. Once a class has been won,
the horses will be entered into the next available class. It is not
possible for the members to skip classes themselves although certain
horses or stables may be promoted to further classes for promotional
purposes. All horses are purchased at a specific class. The general
horses will be sold as "ready-to-race", class 1 , although horses may be
sold at higher classes to facilitate such functions as the Auction Yard
or higher class promotions.
As the horses win their classes, they advance and are allowed
to be entered into that class again but will be handicapped. Each class
may require a least one race to be won before proceeding to the next
There is also a FREE class that may be used for testing and
promotional purposes. The members that are classified under the free
class are able to race their horses against other free class horses. Free
classed races may not win any prize money but they will be shown an
estimate on possible winnings if their horse were to have entered a real class driven race. Free members are not able to advance to any further classes.
The amount of prize money per class will vary as the classes increase, although Class 1 will be considered a qualifying class and no prize money will generally be awarded.
Time of the Particular Class /Length Event - The time of each class of race on the day of the event is scheduled via the backend administration interface. The race times may be structured so that a combination of each of the ten classes and chosen race lengths are run once, each week. Due to more than 20 people entering into any particular race, the actual race that the members' horses actually run in will be a subset of the "race meeting". This will mean that each race meeting will be a specific class and length of race event, though there may be any number of simultaneous actual races occurring.
Length of Race - The lengths of the various races available each day will be a combination of the following distances: -
1000m (5 furlongs) 1200m (6 furlongs) 1400m (7 furlongs) • 1600m (1 mile / 8 furlongs)
2000m (10 furlongs) 2400m (12 furlongs) 2800m (14 furlongs) 3200m (2 miles / 1 6 furlongs) Surface of the Track - The surface of the track may be depicted as an icon next to the race listing and will include Fast Dirt, Fast Grass, Good Grass, Slow Grass and Muddy (Slow Dirt) or alternatively it may be depicted as text.
Type of Race - The types of races available for entry by the members include, but are not limited to Standard, Cup and Free.
The Standard race is the most common race, which most
members will see and is governed by the class structure outlined
Every few months (e.g. every 3 months) there will be a Cup
race where a larger than normal amount of prize money will be given
away. The Cup will be entered by collection of nominations from
members. Once the Cup is announced, each member that wishes to
enter the Cup may nominate his or her horse every week for entry. At
the end of the nomination period, the members that have the most
nominations and the highest-class level are entered into the Cup. Any
number of determining factors may be used to select the entrants for a
The Free races are only applicable to the free, promotional or
test members. The free members cannot enter any races other than
Winnings of the Race - The winnings purse of the races in each
class will be a set amount, configurable from the back-end administration system. Any winnings by the member will be deposited
in the member's "winnings purse" from which the member can draw a
cheque at any time.
Randomness of Race Entry - The randomness of the track type
determination will favour the fast grass and dirt tracks. The slow grass
tracks may be accompanied by a weather condition such as rain.
The members can enter any number of their own horses in the
one race. Only the 1 st, 2nd and 3rd place getters receive real prize
money, thus being generally cost effective to have a single person
owning multiple stables and entering a number of horses in a single
race. The barrier draw may also be randomised to such an extent with
the added element of any number of races per day that it would be
very difficult to guarantee that particular horses would enter in the
same race, although not impossible.
Barrier Draw Position - As each race is required to be finalised
48 hours before the race itself is run, members entering the race are
able to see the barrier draw approximately 24 hours in advance of the
race. This will allow the members to see which horses they are racing
against and which position they themselves will be racing in before the
race day. The barrier draw positions will have no bearing on the
outcome of the race, as the racetracks themselves will be straight, and
not oval in shape. Race Summary - The race summary screen allows the user to
display the currently entered races sorted by stable and by horse.
View Current Race - The View Current Race option may be
displayed if one of the member's horses is racing and the current time
is within the viewing time-window of the race event. As an example,
this viewable time window may be 1 5 minutes from the start of the
race time until this option is no longer available. After this time, the
race can be viewed on the View Race Archive screen.
View Race Archive - The Race Archive panel on the Race
Administration screen allows members to view previously run races.
Information presented on this page may include times, placing and any
photo finishes. The races that are presented have passed, therefore no
falling within the "current-time viewing window". The races may be
presented in a panel where an icon of racetrack is pictured on the left
with statistical detail displayed on the right adjacent to the racetrack
icon. If the member's horse was placed 1 st, 2nd or 3rd in the race, a
photo finish icon may be shown that the user is able to click on. In
clicking on the photo finish icon, a static image (or minimal animation)
may be displayed of their horse crossing the winning post. Audio cues
such as a photo being taken and visual cues such as a flash of the
camera may be used where appropriate. The statistics on the previous
races for each horse in the race are to include, but are not limited to the following: - • Places
• Horse names
• Type of track • Length of track
• Any commentary relating to the race in general Once a horse is adequately prepared in the opinion of the
member it may be entered into a race. A current race may be viewed
on screen 22.
The race itself is the absolute demonstration of a horses' true
ability at the time of racing. Once the feeding and training plans have
been completed and the member feels that the horse is ready to race,
a race is entered.
Gate Depiction - The starting gate, or barrier, is used to hold the
horses back at the start of a race. Once the barrier is lifted the horses
generally jump to a full gallop with little coaxing. Some, however,
depending on the temperament of the horse, may need to be
The starting gate scene may depict a number of horses, lined up
at the gate, edging to go. An example of how this could be depicted
would be a head-on or overhead view of the horses in which the
member can scroll along the barrier entrants to view the horses prior
to the race commencing.
The horses may be represented in a static or animated form with a fenced track and a crowd filled grandstand visible in the
background. Sounds such as the crowd cheering, horses neighing and
the gate opening may be heard to add atmosphere.
As each race is required to be finalised approximately 24 hours
before the race itself is run, members entering the race are able to see
the barrier draw a number of days in advance of the race. This will
allow the members to see which horses they are racing against and
which position they themselves will be racing in on the race day.
Virtual "Robot" Horses
If in the event that there are not enough real horses to fill the
gate, virtual "robot" horses may be used to fill up a number of spaces.
The horses are to have their form based upon the least able real
entrant in the race so that they will never be placed in the top places.
If only one real entrant is in the race, that horse is guaranteed (i.e.
horse is assured of completing the race at 1st place) of winning and any remaining top placements by "robot" horses are purely aesthetic.
It is possible, however, that due to a lack of entrants in a race, the
race itself will be scratched giving the actual entrants preferential
placing for future races. This scratching method will possibly negate
the use of virtual "robot" horses as ensuring that these virtual "robot"
horses do not place, while remaining realistic is inherently difficult. Jockeys and Silks
Each place in the starting gate may be given a specific color so
that various colors are used to denote the positions.
A horse may be given a random jockey. Each jockey may weigh
the same and have the same skill level making the jockey have no
actual bearing on the outcome of the horses performance. Each of the
jockeys may be given a silk pattern to wear to denote which jockey
they are. In a more sophisticated alternative, the jockeys may each
have separate weights and skill level and the member may be able to
choose which jockey they would like racing their horse.
Below are some silk patterns, attained from an unknown source,
giving examples of which silk patterns may be used.
The event of the race itself may be visualised as a side-on view
with 3D graphical representations of horses moving around a track.
The scene may have moving grass, fence, progress indicator and
distance markers as well as various audio cues were appropriate.
There may be differing track types and differing running
The race itself is subject to other random conditions, which may
help in the determination of the race outcome. These conditions are as
• Weather Conditions
• Surface and condition of the track
The track surfaces may include, but are not limited to the following: -
• Fast Grass
• Good Grass
• Slow Grass The weather conditions affecting the race may include, but are not limited to the following: -
• Raining Other weather conditions such as fog, wind strength and wind
direction may also be used.
Naming of Races
The race events and tracks themselves may be are named via
the back end administration system or randomly from entries within
the database where the track types are also listed.
The technicalities of the racing event are that the racing path is
segmented into a number of sections. An example of the number of
sections of a race may be 40, meaning that a 1000m race would
require a velocity measurement for each horse every 25m. The scale
and speed of the various track configurations are represented as
accurately as possible. The physical length of the track appears visibly
longer and therefore the horse will take proportionally longer to travel
a longer track.
The back-end engine predetermines via complex calculations,
the speed of the horses at each section, and thus the final
placeholders, before the actual visual representation of the race. This
would mean that the back-end calculations would be able to accurately
represent a horse sprinting out of the gate, backing off during the
middle of the race and sprinting once again in the final stage to win.
How each horse performs in a race is determined by the individual characteristics of the horse and the minimum, mean and maximum performance of all of the horses in the race.
This means that if a horse has a low stamina and stayer attribute while racing a long race, the horse may not have enough stamina for the last half, thus dropping in speed (and place) during mid race.
The racing tracks need to be loaded dynamically as per the details provided by the back-end. Any additional tracks may be added at a later date without having to change or recompile the front-end components.
The Race Viewing Time Window
The time window for viewing the race is the time in which the race is viewed as if it is happening in "real-time". The member is able to view the race, as it happens, from the time that the race actually starts to a predetermined time into the future. An example of such a predetermined time may be fifteen (1 5) minutes. If a race is schedule for 1 pm EST, the race may be able to be viewed in "real-time" from 1 pm until 1 : 15pm.
After this time-window has expired, the race is to be viewed as an action replay via the race archive screen. The only difference between the "real-time" and the action-replay presentation is that the action-replay has an "R" in the right-hand corner of screen denoting
that the race has already occurred and is being replayed.
The winning horses may be dynamically composited over the
winning post picture using the correct colours of the winning horses
utilising such a graphical representation system as Macromedia Flash.
If the members' horse is placed (for example, in the top three), the
finishing post image may be used as a memento for the members
when the trophy they are presented with in the winners enclosure is
clicked from the trophies area.
The winner's post may have various advertising banners on
either side and may be visible in each photo taken. The view of the
winners post may be centred on the winning post itself. The winners
post may be displayed as the leading horse in the race approaches the
finishing line. The over-head race view may move to the winning post
view at this point.
A conceptual view as the horses approach the winners post is
shown in FIG. 4.
For the first few placeholders only (for example the first three),
a cut screen of the winner's enclosure may be provided for additional graphical presentation. At this point, the placeholders may be presented with their specific trophies to store in their stables and
virtual trophy cabinets.
The winnings purse of the races in each class is a set amount,
configurable from the back-end administration system.
A conceptual view of a winner's enclosure is pictured in FIG. 5.
A results table for each race may display textual placement
details over a racing related background. Such a background may
consist of the course or the winning horses in a winner's enclosure.
The results table may include information regarding the race in
question:. Such information may include, but is not limited to the
• Horses name • Owners name
• Age of horse
• Time the horse took
• Distance the horse won by
Members may not necessarily be present at the actual race and
may be emailed when the race is complete. When the members come
back into the system, they are presented with the results of the
previous days races. From the time after the race itself, the results table for any
particular race may be shown to members whose horse was in the
race. Results may not be accessible by members who did not have a
horse entered in the race. Race results may be viewed from an auction
where the horse owner has authorised prospective buyers to view the results of races run.
An online chat room or forum 23 may be provided for members
to discuss performance of their horses and generally exchange
information with other members. The chat room may allow race-going
members to talk to each other before, during and/or after the race.
Certain restrictions on who can talk to each other may be put in place
such that only the members in the system would be able to talk to
each other. The racing chat room may only be open to those in a
specific race and would be initialised two hours before the actual race
starts and kept open indefinitely after the race. The reason behind this
is that due to the unpredictability of the communication technology
used, it is possible that two members situated in two separate
locations could view the race at slightly different times. Restricting
any discussion may prove to maintain the realism and "real-time"
aspect of the race.
The other use of the chat room may be as a general chat area
for members to discuss tricks and tips they've learnt regarding unreal horse ownership. The general chat area may not be restricted as to it's
time of operation.
Trophy Presentation in stable
The trophy cabinet is a key element in maintaining user
satisfaction and inspiring the stable owner to train and ultimately race
their respective horse(s) . Whenever a horse is placed 1 st, 2nd or 3rd
within a race, they are presented with an appropriately sized trophy.
The trophies act as a reminder and memento to the stable
owners for they're past victories. In displaying the trophy cabinet, the
user may be able to click on any particular trophy where they may be
presented with a static "photo finish" image of the particular race. The
trophies themselves may be rendered 3D and composited on the page
The names of the trophies themselves will also be configurable
by the back-end administration area.
View Statistics for the Horse and Races
Each horse that enters into a race may have statistics on the
times and placing of each race and it is with this screen that the
member can view such statistics. The statistics available may include,
but are not limited to the following:-
• Times and placing for all previous races • Highest amount won from race
• Total winnings of horse
• Records held
View Horse History
The horse's history allows the member to view all the actions
that were performed by the horse throughout the last number of
months. Records may be kept for a period of approximately three (3)
months. This will allow the member to analyse the feeding, training
and grooming habits of the horse verses its actual performance. This
may be presented in a logbook type form with possible additional
entries for races run, time trials, barrier trials, veterinary and farrier
Putting the horse to pasture
In the event that a horse gets to the point of age that the
member deems them no longer useful, the member is given the option
to put the horses to pasture. Alternatively, the member can put the
horse down using the veterinary services if it's badly injured or the
member doesn't want to look after the horse any further.
Purchasing further horses A member may be able to purchase further horses 24. The
member has the option as part of the stable screen to purchase
additional horses. The screen for purchasing new horses may be identical to the first screen seen by a new member as they sign-up.
The main difference is the presence of a button entitled such as "Take
me to the stables" which will serve as a cancel button if the user were
to change their mind regarding the purchase of another horse. The
"purchase horse" button may still be present.
Attributes Directly Affecting Horses
In order for the virtual horses to act in a realistic fashion,
individual attributes for each horse are required to make each and
every horse in the system unique. These attributes are initialised at a
specific value when the horse is purchased.
A number of attributes of the horse are combined algorithmically to
determine the horses overall "fitness". When a horse is first purchased
the attributes are initialised such that the overall fitness of the horse is
70% . The peak potential of a horse is where all attributes are
combined algorithmically to provide a resultant fitness level of 1 00% .
The health of a horse plays a critical part in the fitness of a horse as
each attribute may depend upon health. This means that as the health
of a horse drops, all other attributes would drop also, thus accurately
simulating real-life interaction.
When the horse is purchased, a specific attribute known as the
seed value, is randomly generated. This seed value defines the maximum potential of the horse if all other contributing factors were at
the highest possible level.
The "fitness" level is an algorithmic combination of a number of
attributes, which interact to allow realistic determination of a horses'
ability. The attributes are weighted differently and contribute to the
"fitness" level to produce the final level of ability. These attributes
include, but are not limited to strength, health, agility, stamina, mood,
temperament, hoof strength and proneness to injury
The majority of the attributes are increased and decreased
dynamically as care and maintenance of a horse is or is not performed.
The proneness to injury, however, involves a random value where as
the proneness to injury increases, the probability of an injury occurring
The attributes themselves are described briefly below.
Strength - The strength of the horse is an attribute that mainly
contributes to the speed of the horse during a race. The Strength of a
horse is made up of a combination of the food type, the quantity of
the food consumed, the overall health of the horse and the amount of
exercise and training performed. The relationship between these
products is explained further as per the interactivity model.
Health - The health is critical attribute as all other attributes are
affected proportionally to the horse's health. The health also affects the rate at which the horse recovers from injury so that if a horse is ill
or injured and the feeding habits are not changed and/or treatment is
not provided the horse would take longer to recover from the injury or
Agility - The agility of a horse determines how quickly it can
move its legs in order to run, thus playing a factor in the speed of the
horse during trialing, training and racing. Agility may also be used to
determine how quickly the horse can react or change speed in a race
given a change in race or environmental status.
Stamina - The stamina of a horse affects the distance that it is
able run before tiring. Particular distances of races may require
particular levels of stamina (as well as health and strength) to run the
race at 1 00% potential speed. If the stamina required of the horse falls
short, the horse may be reduced in speed proportionally to the
attributes that contribute to its speed.
Mood - The mood of the horse is a relatively minor factor, but a
factor none-the-less. The mood of the horse is affected by its fitness
as well as the variation of its feeding and exercising habits. The mood
can also be looked at as the boredom and interest factor of the horse.
A number of possible moods can be represented. Examples of
the moods include the following: - Mood Graphical Representation
Happy Horse looking tall and strong. Moving brightly.
Moderately Happy Head down. Looking bored.
Unhappy Head down. Swinging from side to side-
Very Unhappy / Sick Laying down. Head down.
Injury Proneness - The proneness to injury is an important factor
in ensuring that all the attributes affect one another. As the health and
strength decrease, the proneness to injury increases; thus causing the
health and strength to deteriorate further.
If training is performed above optimal level for the fitness level
of the horse, the proneness to injury also increases due to over-work.
If, for example a horse is not warmed up correctly before a
strenuous training session, the proneness to injury may be fairly high.
Interactivity Model of a Horses Attributes - This Interactivity
Model aims to allow the back-end engine to calculate accurately what
happens to, for example: -
a) The horse's health when the horse is fed different food types
b) The horse's health when the horse is injured
c) The horse's stamina when it is trained using a Long Slow
Distance (LSD) method as against a fast paced gallop and
d) The horse's mood as it becomes bored with its mundane
feeding habits and lack of social interaction. For each model proposed, there are a number of contributing attributes. These attributes, explained above, include, but are not limited to strength, agility, stamina, health, mood and proneness to injury.
Mathematical Relationship Model - The model developed is used to mimic the realistic interaction between the chosen attributes using a series of mathematical relationships between each attribute. A factor of deterioration of effectiveness is also used to calculate how particular attributes are affected over time. The deterioration rate would be used to calculate the loss of strength and health of a horse over a predetermined period. The mathematical aspects of this deterioration rate add complexity to the system but mean that the horse's attributes are affected more realistically. The mathematical involvement also makes the system easier to tweak as well as providing good performance when recalculating the value of the horses attributes daily in respect to the owners selected time zone.
Fatigue - As the level of fatigue increases, the proneness to injury increases. The following matrix provides an example of the relationship between the various illnesses and injuries and the fatigue level. Training & Racing Injuries Chance (%)
Age - As the age of the horse increases, the proneness to certain injury may increase. The following matrix provides an example of the relationship between the various illnesses and injuries, the age of the horse and the probability of such an injury occurring.
Other Injuries Chance (%) (Depending on Age)
Training & Racing Injuries Effect Table
Other Injuries Effect Table
Stabling Contribution - The stable is also a contributor (each day) to both the health and mood attributes of the horse. An example of the effects and the types of stabling that may be available are as follows: -
Size and Height - The height of a horse is an attribute that may change over time. Generally, a two (2) year old horse will be 14-15 hands high and stop growing between the ages of 3-4 to maintain a height of 1 6-17 hands.
The height of a horse will be randomly generated when purchased within a certain threshold and may grow over time proportionally to the training and feeding schedule.
Hoof Strength - The strength of the hooves of a horse in real life seem to be fairly randomly distributed, but can have a significant impact on the amount of farrier care required. The strength of the hooves would be a percentage (0-100) that may be used when determining the probability of a hoof related injury occurring.
Generally, a horse would be shod every 3-4 weeks. If the member does not shoe the horse every 3-4 weeks the performance in training and racing as well as the mood of the horse is negatively affected because of the increasing risk of injury given that the hooves
are not being maintained accordingly.
Differing Track Conditions
There are to be a number of track conditions that may have little
or no bearing on the outcome of the race but will be used to add a
certain amount of variety in the visual aspects of the game.
These track conditions will include: -
Weather and Temperature at Racetrack - The actual temperature at the
racetrack has no effect on the race itself but provides variety in the
visual representation of the race itself. The temperature and weather
at the racetrack are randomly generated so that generally the weather
may be fine and temperate. The rain will increase the probability (all-
be-it slightly) of the horse slipping on the track. The chance of rain
occurring on the race day is 1 in 30.
The weather at the track affects all horses equally.
Type of Racetrack Surface - The type of tracks have no effect
on the race itself but provide variety in the visual representation of the
race itself. An example of the types of track available and the chance
of them being chosen for a race are as follows: -
The type of track would not affect the places of the race
outcome, only the overall times.
Attrihntes Affecting Rar.p. Ontnnmf.
Given that the horses in the system have differing levels of
potential, differing training regimes, differing feeding habits and the
added probability of illness or injury, various attributes are used to
affect the race outcome to add to the realism of the races. This also
avoids equally placed (drawn) horses in the event of two or more
horses of the same potential being trained and fed in an equal fashion.
Position of Horse in Barrier - From talking with trainers, the
position of the horse in the barrier (known as the barrier draw) is
determined randomly and has a significant impact on the race outcome
given a non-straight track. The most favourable position in the barrier
is position one (1 ) because the horse is right next to the fence.
Auction of Unreal Horses - As the number of horses within the
system increase and the prize money won by the good horses increase
there will be more of a demand for an auction type system to sell a
horse to another stable owner for the highest price possible.
Initially, with few ( < 1 000) horses in the system the auction
concept may not be required but may be implemented as numbers
increase. Auctions will then be staged in which bids by other members
may be made for a horse put up for purchase. Bidding may be online.
Frr.nt-f.nd rievelr.prrtf.nt (Interface)
The purpose of the front-end interface of the system is to
provide an interactive, informative and entertaining environment for
potential members and actual members. The interface must be
informative to the point that people with little or no computing
experience can use the site effectively.
• Navigation through the site may be done via the use of buttons or links and therefore no pages are so large enough that scrolling of the browser window is required.
• Pages may be designed to a screen size of 800 x 600 x 65,535 colors as this, statistically appears to be the most common screen resolution of target users.
• The website may be compatible with the following browsers: -
o Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x
o Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x
o Netscape Navigator 4.7x
Pages are to be designed to operate at a satisfactory level on a computer system with the following specifications: - o Pentium II 266Mhz CPU
o 32Mb RAM
o S3 Virge GX, 2D Video Card
o Voodoo 1 , 3D Accelerator Card
• As this is a high-impact site it needs to be fast loading - especially the front pages.
Rank-end df.vf.lnpment (Engine)
The backend engine is based on the PHP: Hypertext Processor
(www.php.net) scripting language on a Unix based server system. A
database management system (DBMS) such as MySQL will also be used.
The structure of the system may be split into three separate
These databases and there respective responsibilities are:
Daily Calculation of Horse Attributes
The daily calculation of the horse's attributes will be performed on a daily basis according to the member's time-zone configuration. The main advantage to the members time-zone being requested is that the calculations can be spread out over a 24 hour period rather than all occurring at a "virtual" midnight. This is further explained in an earlier section; Time Zone.
A PHP script executed via a Unix CRON job every fifteen minutes will perform daily calculations. The script would select members within that time zone and recalculate the attributes for the stable members' horses. Object Model
Utilising PHP's class and object capability, the work of the back-
end engine is to be split up into various objects. Each individual object
will be able to be programmed independently thus allowing for multiple
programmers to work simultaneously on the project.
The PHP objects include, but are not limited to the following: -
Banner Event Object (Affiliate Program)
Client Sniffer Object
Credit Card Checking Object
Database Abstraction Object
Date & Time Manipulation Object
HTML Mime Mail Object • IP Restriction Object
• Meeting Object
• Payment System API Object
• Query String Object
• Race Object
• Security Module
• Stable Object
• Text Validator Object
The main PHP module itself (separate from the PHP classes above) may utilise the abovementioned objects to coordinate any and all functions the server and stable owner requires.
While the description has been limited to thoroughbred horse racing, it is clear to a skilled addressee that the invention is applicable to many different sorts of sporting entities. For example, the above description could easily be applied to trotters and pacers. Further, greyhound dogs may also be the subject of the process.
Steeplechasers and showjumping horses may also be the subject of the invention with suitable allowances made in the process. The invention is not limited to animal athletes and may be
applied to human contestants such as track and field competitors,
boxers, swimmers and virtually all individual sporting pursuits.
Likewise with appropriate adjustments to the invention, a player may
purchase and train a team such as a football, cricket or basketball
team or a team in any other selected sport.
The method and system may also be applied to mechanical
devices such as Formula One race cars, rally cars, 500cc class racing
motorcycles, power boats, aircraft and the like. The type of variables
may include fuel mix, tyres, engine timing, fuel injectors,
superchargers and/or practice rounds.
A player may make considered decisions in an attempt to hone
a competitor or vehicle to its highest performance level and thereby
maximise the chance of winning and playing in a race. The incentive
may include prize money for finishing in the first three.
Additionally, players may be given the opportunity to gamble on
the outcome of certain races. The ability to place wagers may be via
Although it is envisaged that the invention will be accessed
online, this does not exclude the possibility that a single computer system may be used to work the invention. Throughout the specification, the aim has been to describe the preferred embodiments of the invention without limiting the invention to any one embodiment or specific collection of features. Various changes and modifications may be made to the embodiments described and illustrated without departing from the present invention.
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|Cooperative Classification||A63F2300/8058, A63F2300/65, A63F2300/407, A63F13/12|
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