Gaming software is constantly evolving, especially as the diversity of games shifts over time. The range of game types and mechanics constantly presents new challenges. Today, 3D worlds like VR are once again changing the standards and challenges faced by gaming software developers. The same goes for mobile developers.
Graphics, mechanics, and rewards systems are the bare bones of creating a successful game. However, the purpose of a game will inform the rest of software development. Slots, lumped in with casino games, aren’t often treated as unique video games—but in many respects, they closely mirror certain PC and console games.
The mission is to win with a certain symbol combination, but there’s great nuance woven into the game. The most popular slots combine fantastical visual displays with bonus features. Aside from the chance to win more, bonus features also provide new levels, adventures, and settings for players.
For example, the Sweet Bonanza slot game is eye-catching and dynamic, which helps attract gamers—but the title also has a ‘win in all ways’ scheme for its symbol reel. Today, most developers are looking to strike a similar balance between RTP and graphics. But there’s a lot more that goes into a successful slot.
The foundation of slots software is a programming language. Unsurprisingly, the biggest developers behind slots, including NetEnt, MicoGraming, and IGT, use standard programming languages like Java and HTML5.
Programming outlines the basic mechanics of slots for both browser and mobile devices. Using Java simplifies interactions between graphics, audio or Unity, and operating systems. Many developers will also rely on game engines, such as Unreal Engine, which help streamline the development process.
Foundational software in slots also includes an RNG. A random number generator is used to determine a random outcome and does not use any type of memory to store previous results. The RNG’s algorithm is kept separate from the game, meaning the RNG and actual game are programmed separately.
One of the most important elements of slots, as mentioned above, is visual appeal. Players are looking for dynamism that will touch on their unique interests. The most popular slots themes include fantasy, action-adventure, Wild West, and pop culture references, from the Game of Thrones to Jumanji to Jimi Hendrix.
In fact, most of these themes will draw heavy inspiration from pop culture. From a developmental standpoint, game creators must decide whether they want to recreate visuals using 3D imaging or CGI. Here, developers hash out multiple concepts before deciding on which theme, characters, and worlds to depict.
From there, designers will build out individual frames for each step of the slots’ action. Players today will expect to see unique characters in unforgettable environments. Stories should feel familiar, but also deliver on a new angle—and that’s only the start for creators.
Aside from visuals, one of the most important elements for players is narrative. On the surface, slots would seem to require one click to restart the spinning action. But through the use of bonus levels, hidden rounds, and cumulative jackpot features, programmers can create a sense of narrative.
In other words, a certain reel combination may unlock a new character. A new reel, unique to this character, is presented for higher winnings. This creates a sense of development in the slot, which helps keep players engrossed. Other elements, like pop-up messages, dialogue, and even a few extra scenes can make a world of difference.
Here, pop culture once again plays an important role in slot development, as familiar titles will come with their own unique gameplay. The same goes for ‘similar’ titles. For example, 1717 Caribbean Pirates will feel familiar to fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, while titles like Dracula’s Castle hit on a Van Helsing note.