For decades, slot machines have been one of the most popular ways to gamble small stakes on a casual basis. Whether you see a machine in a bar or sports club or pay regular visits to a local casino, the chances are you have had a few spins on a slot machine at some point in your life.
Since the early days of the internet, online gambling has been one of the most popular and fastest-growing sectors of e-commerce. Every year, hundreds if not thousands of new online slot machines are designed and developed to help online casinos keep up with the latest trends and increasing customer demand.
Whether online or in a ‘brick and mortar’ casino, a lot of time and effort goes into the design and development of the humble slot machine.
The Basics – How do Slot Machines Work?
For someone standing at a slot or looking at a virtual slot machine on a computer screen, it may seem like a basic system that can’t be that complicated; but you’re wrong.
Slot machines can be very complex, and online and video slot machines can be even more complicated than their old school ‘spin-reel’ counterparts. Internet casino slot machines require the most research and development, and not just in the code and software that underpins them.
High-end slot machines usually go through a year of development, going from ideas on a piece of paper to a fully-fledged slot machine. During this period, they will be exhaustively tested by developers and may go through a number of big changes from their initial design. There may be fifteen to twenty people involved in its development, including a senior games designer, testers, a creative team, as well as mathematicians and IT personnel.
Though each game is unique, most will operate on a gaming ‘platform’. This piece of software is similar to the operating system on your computer or smartphone and allows developers to design their slots around similar principles and algorithms and maintain consistent performance and branding across their games.
Design & Theme are Key to a Successful Slot
One of the most important aspects of any slot machine is its core theme and aesthetic design. These ideas will often be a part of the first discussions and documentation involved in slot machine development and may well be driven by customer demand or requests from a casino or gaming group.
The theme a game has will usually be closely related to the overall theme of the casino. Whether a casino exists online or in real life, many casinos have their own theme or style that any slot game will need to complement. A pirate-themed casino, for instance, will need slot machines that fit in with this aesthetic. If the theme of a slot machine involves dragons and knights in armor, it will seem out of place and inappropriate in an online or physical casino with a pirate theme.
The development team also needs to do some research to make sure their slot design is unique and doesn’t infringe on any existing game or game company’s intellectual property.
RNG – The ‘Secret Sauce’ of Slot Machines
Winning or losing on a slot machine today usually relies on an RNG or Random Number Generator. This is an algorithm that randomly chooses a sequence of numbers, and these numbers correspond to the symbols on the reels, whether it is a video screen or physical reels that spin in a brick and mortar casino. These algorithms are often closely guarded industry secrets and are a slot machine developer’s most valuable asset.
These algorithms will decide which spins win and lose, and that balance is crucial to the success of a slot machine. You can have a machine with a beautiful and tempting theme, with unique sights and sounds, but if the balance between winning and losing isn’t right the customers won’t be happy. Casino games developers invest huge sums of money in these algorithms, and the security that surrounds them. At sites such as Betting site, you can find a guide to help you choose where to play slot machines online, and how to choose which games to play, to make sure you enjoy your online gaming experience.
There is much more to slot machines than meets the eye, and underneath the bright lights and spinning reels are computer codes and algorithms that help make winners and losers. Hopefully, this deeper dive into slot machines will help you choose the right one for you.