usbarbadosslim93
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3 January 2022 - 7:10pm

What would you ask a casino game designer?

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Hey all,

It looks like CL is going to have the chance to interview a couple of folks at an up-and-coming slot design studio next week. We're going to be asking them a series of questions about their company, their game development process, and more.

What questions would you be keen to ask a slot developer? Let us know in the comments below and we'll pass those questions along to the team as we speak to them.

Spin2Win

usReckless Bets
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8 January 2022 - 4:06am
#1

Can you elaborate on how progressive jackpots work? Is it more often a lottery-style draw where each spin has a tiny chance of hitting it (truly random), or does the game choose an arbitrary trigger value and whichever bet pushes it past the trigger awards it (being in the right place at the right time)?

2 barbadosslim93, Spin2Win

lvblck
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15 January 2022 - 9:35pm
#2

I think I'd like to ask where the inspiration for their games come from. Also would be interested to hear their thoughts on what's the next "it" thing will be- first there was the megaways trend, then bonus buys, what's next in their opinion?

gbSpin2Win
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17 January 2022 - 9:59am
#3

has the interview happened? where will it be published?
thx

usbarbadosslim93
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17 January 2022 - 4:22pm
#4

Interview is up now and you can read it by clicking here.

Andy from Four Leaf will be registering an account and will be addressing your questions in this thread.

auCL-Ed
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20 January 2022 - 6:16am
#5

That was a good read, well done slim. I have a ton of questions for Andy on a various topics:

With all the controversy over variable RTP values in games these days, could you describe how this is accomplished in modern games? i.e. do you adjust reel strip symbols or is there a weighting mechanism or something similar that does it through code rather than symbol positions?

What is the shelf life of a typical game these days? Assuming the game isn't a smash hit ala Starburst, I assume they earn the most of their money early in their life then tail off over time as they disappear into the catalogues of thousands of other games at casinos?

How does a casino game developer make its money? Do you guys earn a percentage of earnings on the games over time or are you paid licensing fees, or a mix of both? Do game developers incentivise casinos to feature their games in prime spots on their websites?

Bonuses are a crutch that the entire industry from operators to affiliates to players seem to be totally dependent on. Do you consider or think about bonuses when building a new game? Is potential "bonus abuse" a factor in the design of games these days? And why do the vast majority of casinos have anti-bonus abuse rules like max-bet amounts, but they aren't enforced in the games themselves? Have you considered building that capability into your games API?

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usButtBongoFiesta
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20 January 2022 - 7:47pm
#6

Are the bonus winnings already predetermined even if you have the option before it starts to pick a symbol giving you a certain amount of spins. Specifically on Bovada there are games where you get the bonus round and you have either 3 or 5 symbols to pick from. They will then award you a certain amount of spins but you never get to see what the other remaining symbols had. Are those bonus rounds already predetermined regardless of what you pick.

usbarbadosslim93
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21 January 2022 - 2:19pm
#7

Hey all, Andy is still committed to posting answers to your questions, but he recently fell ill, so it'll be a few days until he's able to get at it. Until then, keep firing away.

imAndy-FLG
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25 January 2022 - 10:39am
#8
CL-Ed wrote:

That was a good read, well done slim. I have a ton of questions for Andy on a various topics:

With all the controversy over variable RTP values in games these days, could you describe how this is accomplished in modern games? i.e. do you adjust reel strip symbols or is there a weighting mechanism or something similar that does it through code rather than symbol positions?

What is the shelf life of a typical game these days? Assuming the game isn't a smash hit ala Starburst, I assume they earn the most of their money early in their life then tail off over time as they disappear into the catalogues of thousands of other games at casinos?

How does a casino game developer make its money? Do you guys earn a percentage of earnings on the games over time or are you paid licensing fees, or a mix of both? Do game developers incentivise casinos to feature their games in prime spots on their websites?

Bonuses are a crutch that the entire industry from operators to affiliates to players seem to be totally dependent on. Do you consider or think about bonuses when building a new game? Is potential "bonus abuse" a factor in the design of games these days? And why do the vast majority of casinos have anti-bonus abuse rules like max-bet amounts, but they aren't enforced in the games themselves? Have you considered building that capability into your games API?

Hi Ed, thanks for taking the time to read the article, im glad you found it interesting.

I'll try and answer your questions best I can based on our experience and trends we have seen from the industry.

Firstly, a brief history to achieve a baseline: landbased v online RTP's have always been notably different when essentially offering the same mechanics (~82% RTP landbased v ~96% RTP online - a swing of 14%). This is mainly in part to the additional overheads in hardware, rent and tax on landbased casinos. When compared to the first online games in the mid-1990's, overheads where significantly less - aside from operational and build cost there was typically single digit offshore tax, making it commercially viable to run online casinos for both B2B/B2C businesses at this 4% margin.

However, fast forward to 2022 and the online landscape has dramatically changed, notable centred around increased development costs, hardware, taxation and product innovation.
Taken a closer look at each;

Increased Development costs:
Currently there is no global / Pan European regulatory framework and as a result the 1995 .com game that could be deployed to all markets, now requires five or six baselines to be compliant with some jurisdictions (a game in Italy v UK would be a prime example of being fundamentally different).

Hardware Costs:
There used to be a single offshore hosting site but both regulatory requirements in some markets and the players drive for faster loading times (removing latency) has resulted in the need for additional hardware instances.

Taxation;
Once a single digit %, the average tax rate in regulated markets in Europe would now be ~25% and the likes of Germany have an effective tax rate of 50%.

Product innovation;
Products like Daily jackpots essentially work where a % of the RTP is recycled back into a bigger prize offering to one lucky player during that day. Which still means for example, the overall RTP is 96% but if an operator wants to offer 100k must win jackpot, a % of the RTP will be contributed to the jackpot.

So, in summary when assessing the 1995 v 2022 landscape its simply not commercially viable to run a profitable casino business on 4% margin. That's why at Four Leaf Gaming we are relentless on how we can put the players interest first in the current climate and will always aim to do so.

Reduced RTP can be achieved a number of ways. Studios can look to reduce the likelihood of certain wins which leaves the majority of the game play unaffected, they can adjust the number and order of symbols on the reels to balance the game to pay slightly less or less often. You will usually find studios adopt a combination of several different approaches to land on the desired RTP.

With so many games hitting the market each month, the shelf life on games is getting shorter and shorter. Performance of the majority of games generally tails off and finds a level after about 4 to 6 weeks. The focus for us and other studios is how to create more engaging and exciting experiences to make players want to come back and play the same game time and time again.

There are a couple of ways studios can commercialise their games, if a studio develops a game for mass release, there is usually agreement where casino's pay a percentage of revenue generated by the game. If the casino would like a bespoke game, there can be different and bespoke commercial agreements agreed.

Gameplay with bonus funds is an interesting topic and usually comes down to technical limitations with the integrations between studio, platform and casino operator. In my experience platform integrations don't distinguish between real money and bonus money wagering so its difficult for the studios to cater for anything specific within the game.

Hopefully that helped provide some context and insight.

Cheers!
Andy

3 CL-Ed, CL - klaw, kylie333

Representative of Four Leaf Gaming

imAndy-FLG
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25 January 2022 - 10:45am
#9
ButtBongoFiesta wrote:

Are the bonus winnings already predetermined even if you have the option before it starts to pick a symbol giving you a certain amount of spins. Specifically on Bovada there are games where you get the bonus round and you have either 3 or 5 symbols to pick from. They will then award you a certain amount of spins but you never get to see what the other remaining symbols had. Are those bonus rounds already predetermined regardless of what you pick.

Its a great question and there isn't a one size fits all solution to the problem. Sometimes the prize is determined by the players choice and sometimes its randomly generated based on a predefined set of probabilities.

Representative of Four Leaf Gaming

lvblck
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29 January 2022 - 11:25pm
#10

That was a nice interview and thanks Andy for answering the questions. I was wondering, what do you think will be the next big thing in terms of game mechanics? Collection features are popular, megaways had their big trend, what do you think will be the next thing?

gbSpin2Win
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31 January 2022 - 3:45pm
#11

Would love an answer to Reckless Bets question above if possible:

'Can you elaborate on how progressive jackpots work? Is it more often a lottery-style draw where each spin has a tiny chance of hitting it (truly random), or does the game choose an arbitrary trigger value and whichever bet pushes it past the trigger awards it (being in the right place at the right time)?'

Thanks

Reckless Bets

usdarksoul
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4 February 2022 - 8:40am
#12

I just read the interview and liked the questions. Only the answers seemed general without details. Personally, I think that virtual reality casinos will become more popular.

zaRoulette-Thief
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18 April 2022 - 2:10pm
#13

A question I would love to be answered is how RNG (Random Number Generators) work. Are they literally just a random number selected via AI or like many speculate a chain of numbers so long that the number generated appears to be random.

Apart from that I guess what they charge for designing a game? That would be call to look into doing.

auCL-Ed
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19 April 2022 - 6:31am
#14

I can answer that first one as I am a programmer by trade. Computers cannot pick truly random numbers by themselves because they are deterministic systems. i.e. you have input, you do something with it, you get output. So a computer based RNG is kind of like you stated:

Quote:

a chain of numbers so long that the number generated appears to be random

There are all sorts of algorithms involving maths and cryptography designed to make sequences of numbers derived from a "seed" number appear to be random. And they are good enough to come up with numbers that are more or less indistinguishable from randomness, but the fact remains that if you knew the seed for a sequence of random numbers and the algorithm used by a RNG, you could know every number in the sequence in advance. As far as online games go, the seed changes on every spin or deal so it's not something that you could hack and work out in real time.

For scientific applications where absolute true randomness is required there is computer hardware that measures physical properties that can be use to seed the RNG. They do stuff like measure decay of atomic radiation or properties of photons.

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usBTC316
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21 April 2022 - 3:21pm
#15

Why did you completely change Fruit Frenzy? And can you just admit the answer is "the game was too easy to win on with the old technology"?

uskylie333
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23 April 2022 - 7:12am
#16

I enjoyed all of this thanks so much!

zaRoulette-Thief
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24 April 2022 - 11:29am
#17
CL-Ed wrote:

I can answer that first one as I am a programmer by trade. Computers cannot pick truly random numbers by themselves because they are deterministic systems. i.e. you have input, you do something with it, you get output. So a computer based RNG is kind of like you stated:

There are all sorts of algorithms involving maths and cryptography designed to make sequences of numbers derived from a "seed" number appear to be random. And they are good enough to come up with numbers that are more or less indistinguishable from randomness, but the fact remains that if you knew the seed for a sequence of random numbers and the algorithm used by a RNG, you could know every number in the sequence in advance. As far as online games go, the seed changes on every spin or deal so it's not something that you could hack and work out in real time.

For scientific applications where absolute true randomness is required there is computer hardware that measures physical properties that can be use to seed the RNG. They do stuff like measure decay of atomic radiation or properties of photons.

How very interesting. I thought it was like this. Thanks for the feedback much appreciated

CL-Ed

deVivene
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28 April 2022 - 12:29am
#18

I would say thank you, but we need more creativity and colors

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