Slot Game development: what goes on behind the scenes

Articles
29.08.2022

The game development for a slot is a large-scale creative and technical process, which involves a lot of people. There are no secondary roles here, each specialist makes their own unique contribution and it seems completely shortsighted and reckless to simply take and delete from work, for example, an artist, an animator, a composer, or a mathematician. In the modern world, competition is very high, and game providers are making every effort to create unique and exciting products that will firmly take their place both on the iGaming market and on the gaming preference list of many gamblers.

How it all started

At the dawn of the 1890s, two enterprising Americans Sittman and Pitt created the “grandfather” of modern slots. The machine worked on nickels and gave out winnings for a good poker hand that could be collected on five reels. At that time, direct payments were not even dreamed of, so the most successful gamblers received their winnings in cigars, free drinks and other treats in which the bars were rich.

Around the same time, another American named Charles Fey developed a simpler mechanism. We say “around” because different internet sources give different dates between the late 1880s and early 1890s. Fey’s machines were placed on the table and bore the proud name “Liberty Bell”. They reduced the number of reels to three, and instead of a variety of playing cards, proposed simplified symbols: diamonds, horseshoes, bells and two symbols from card games – hearts and spades. This type of slot can be called the “father” of modern slots, because it differed from the poker “grandfather” just enough to start a new milestone in the gambling business. The idea was so relished by other slot manufacturers that after some ten years or a little more, another version of the “Liberty Bell” appeared, but this time by Herbert Mills. The symbolism was at first the same as that of the original “Liberty Bell”, but then it was diversified by adding new symbols designed to stimulate Americans’ love for their homeland – wreaths and flags. And when a device for selling chewing gum was attached to newer versions of the slot, manufacturers began to use fruits in slots for advertising – lemons, cherries, etc. advertised the fruity taste of the gum.

In areas where gambling was banned, the distribution of edible prizes continued. By the way, the payment of winnings with products is still practiced in Japan when playing in pachinko parlors. The metal ball game provides the most successful gamblers with a win in the form of small clothing prizes – a bottle of perfume, a lighter, and the like. True, the happy owner of the perfume most often goes directly from the pachinko parlor to the nearest specialty store, where these perfumes (and other prizes) can be exchanged for money. But we are slightly off topic. Let’s get back to the slots.

The Bally company made a new step in the slot machines development. In the early 1960s, the first all-electromechanical slot appeared, which also automatically gave winnings to the lucky ones. The help of service personnel became unnecessary.

Full speed ahead

The slot machine industry was gaining momentum, and in the mid-1980s, slots with “logic boards” and video screens appeared. Games began to improve and become more complicated – the classic three-reel slots were replaced by five-reel slots, and it was possible to bet on several coins at once. And this is where the history of online slots begins.

Fraud in the gambling industry continued to be a major concern. Slot machine software development specialists whose task was to strike a balance between attracting an audience by improving the game engine and maintaining profits, found a solution thanks to a patent made by mathematician Inge S. Telnaes. This Norwegian inventor was pursuing the idea of ​​turning physical reels into virtual reels, and a random number generator helped them in this.

Time passed, and thanks to computer chips, slots became more and more difficult. For example, slot machines with two video screens were invented because it helped to quickly switch from the main game to the bonus one.

But the most significant contribution to the online slots’ development was made by the world-famous today Microgaming company. The online casino software released by this brand ushered in a new era, the era of remote fun and excitement.

Today, due to the lockdowns that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-increasing competition between online casinos, the iGaming industry is developing uncontrollably. According to Statista, its volume in 2021 amounted to $61.5 billion, and in the future, in 2028, it will amount to $114.4 billion.

How online slots are developed

The behind the scenes of the slot development world is truly breathtaking. It just seems that there is nothing special, well, a new slot has been developed, just think. But behind every online game is the work of a large well-coordinated team, both technical and creative.

Stage 1

It all starts with the creation of a concept. A game designer explores the market, looking for popular ideas. Then the direction in which the game will be created is thought out – it can be a horror, a historical theme, up to a classic slot with sevens. Prototypes are created, hypotheses are tested for mechanics, visualization and game features. Then a game design document is written – the main document of the game, which describes everything from the characters planned in the game, their values, etc., and down to the details of the animation. By the way, in addition to the popular theme, the concept wins a lot if the provider uses some unique proprietary feature around which the story is built.

Stage 2

The task is to develop mathematics. Mathematics is done by a real mathematician who is very well versed in probability theory, discrete structures and other necessary topics. The mathematician develops a mathematical model of the game – a math description of what symbols will appear on the reels and with what probability, and does something like “sweep” the reels according to the symbols that appear, so that when the reels stop, the slot gives out a certain RTP. The results of each rotation, however, depend on the RNG. The simplest math for a slot can take a week to develop, while the most complex one can take up to several months.

Stage 3

Depending on how interested the casino is in visual exclusivity, the components for the game layouts can be bought online or drawn from scratch by an artist. Among the layouts are: the main view screen, which the player sees first when entering the game, a screen with pay lines, layouts of winnings, free spins, a screen for paid features, a preloader (a picture when the game is loading), pay table layouts (when a player clicks on a symbol, they see how much the symbol pays), gamble layouts (if provided in the slot) and so on.

Stage 4

In addition to the exclusivity of the visual, the provider can also invest in the sound range. In this case, the composer writes sounds and music for slots from scratch, using a variety of instruments – from drums and keyboards to guitar and ukulele. Some sounds are written using computer programs.

Stage 5

The next step is to bring the math together on the backend so that the implementation of the game matches what the mathematician came up with. The provider uses several calculators that simulate the launch of games for a huge number of rounds, and checks RTP for long distances and calculates the main mathematical metrics that are needed: standard deviations, volatility, free spin rate and others. All roughness is smoothed out. After that, the game is submitted to an independent testing company in order to obtain a final opinion on the compliance of the online slot game with all standards.

Stage 6

Promotional materials, banners, icons are being prepared. Business account managers and release managers share the description of the game, metrics, features with the operator, who decides where, in what position the game will go & the marketing team organizes the promotion of the game.

Trends and the future

At the moment, there is a tendency to increase the entertainment in slots.An increasing number of players prefer games with many events, mechanics, features, and presentations. Cascade and cluster mechanics indicate that there is an active influence of the non-gambling gaming industry – for example, match-3-games, the prototype of which is the well-known Tetris. The audience interested in online gambling is getting younger and, therefore, more sophisticated and demanding. Among its interests are slots based on famous films, musicians, TV shows.

Benefits of online slots

There are different audiences for which the development of online slots matters. First of all, these are gamblers. Games are available to them from any device, from a computer to a smartphone, anywhere, wherever they are and at any time they wish. This provides a great opportunity to get the real emotions without being tied to a certain environment or a certain schedule.

Also, the development of online slots has a number of advantages for casinos and other customers. Firstly, purchasing a product from developers and providers with a good reputation brings a profit, and in addition, it gives the brand the opportunity to increase its awareness, because gamblers who play the online slot that the brand bought, will associate their successful experience with it and demonstrate their loyalty to it.

BGaming slot game development

As is clear from the above, the development process includes not only game developers and analysts, but also creative people. BGaming is a strong team comprising game designers, mathematicians, artists, animators, backend and front-end developers, musicians, QA, producers, business analysts, and many others passionately involved in creating unique content. Each stage of creating an online slot is implemented through the efforts of this team, which constantly monitors trends, the market and the preferences of its audience.

At the moment, the BGaming portfolio consists of more than 90 games with a bright, eye-catching design, unique soundtracks and, of course, innovative features. Artists create branded characters – Elvis the frog (so well known and loved by the players that the third game with its participation is on the way), Johnny Cash – a cactus cowboy, Pelican Penny. Also pay attention to the crazy archaeologist – the character of the game Dig Dig Digger.

The studio is the first developer of Provably Fair online slots in the entire iGaming industry. Thanks to the cryptographic method that underlies this feature, BGaming can provide players with a guarantee that the result of each subsequent round is protected and cannot be influenced.

Proof of the reliable and promising position of BGaming in the iGaming industry is its recognition by a number of prestigious awards, including the 5th AskGamblers Awards, where the players themselves impartially choose the winner. BGaming online slots are not only carefully developed, but implemented via seamless single API integration in the shortest possible time. Contact us!

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