Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Understanding the backend platform of online slot gaming - Wikipedia of backend gaming basic terminologies

casino server backend blazesoft

Do I need a gaming backend platform for my online slot game?

Slots have always been popular for the fun and thrill they offer. With the rise of mobile and web based technologies, players now demand to take their entertainment with them wherever they go, and whenever they please. Enter the rise in popularity of online casino gaming.
As a game developer, your next idea could be riding on the thrill of casinos. Whether you’re venturing out into developing your own winning games, or you’re already well established and looking to expand into the lucrative world of online casinos; A gaming backend platform can help you save time in developing and nurturing your game. With real-time solutions like lead and player management, analytics, revenue reports, and more, you can acquire, manage and retain the most important part of any casino: your players.

What are the basic terms I need to know about gaming backend platforms for online slot gaming?

The world of online betting combines the power of luck and perceived calculated risks to create an entertaining player experience which is at the heart of developing a successful online slot experience.  To start understanding why players love the thrill of slot games lets first decode some common casino game speak to give a broader picture into the world of slot gaming:

1. Machine Size

There are many different slot machine sizes and configurations used in online casino games.  There are common sizes such as: 3x5, or 5x3 or many other configurations that we will expand upon in the Reels section. Machines of different sizes accommodate different numbers of reels and paylines, determining the number of available combinations in a game, as well as the number of matching symbols or bonus features required to wins. Simpler machines are smaller, giving generally higher probabilities to win with lower payouts; conversely larger machines can hold more paylines and image reels generally have higher payouts but lower probabilities to win.

2. Paylines vs. Winlines vs. 2 Way Pay vs. 243 Way Pay vs. All Way Pay

Paylines are predefined lines which symbols on the reels can land after a spin. When matching combinations land on a line it creates a winning combination. The number of paylines a slot has indicates the number of ways you can win in a game. The earliest classic slot games have just one payline in the middle of the reels, and spinning matching symbols across the entire line constitutes a win which are still very popular today.
Newer slot machines are more complex; these can have multiple paylines that require a bet for players to activate allowing the player to win in multiple different combinations and configurations of the reels.  It’s all in the principle of high risk, high reward. Slot players ultimately want to match as many of the highest paying symbols on the pay table.  The math models in the slot game will help determine things such as volatility, RTP, and Hit Frequency however, one key rule is that the math needs to give the player an entertaining experience.
Constructing winning paylines starts with understanding a slot machine’s pay table. This chart has all the winning combinations, rules, and paylines for the slot machine, how players can win, and the amount that constitutes a win. When a payline is a winner in a particular spin it becomes a “Winline”.  Often times these terms are used interchangeably but technically aren’t.  In most games, paylines run left to right only.
New games change the rules and allow for paylines to win from multiple directions called Way Pay.  The most popular versions of these are:
  • ·         2 Way Pay – allows machines to pay the same combinations in both directions left to right and right to left.
  • ·         243 Way Pay – pays left to right but without “paylines” meaning, as long as the combination of symbols appear on separate reels from left to right, the game will pay for the combination.
  • ·         All Way Pay – pays in all directions for a winning combination.  There are no winlines and some games even pay for winning combinations on the same reel.

2. Symbols

The pictures, numbers, or letters players see in a slot machine are what’s known as symbols. The imagery used typically match the theme of the game. Common symbols used in slot machines are fruits, bells, 7’s, and bars, among others. Players win based on how many of these symbols can be matched on a payline.  Those winlines pay the player based on their bet per line they bet on i.e. A player can be on a single line to win or 25 lines to win at varying amounts per line.  The symbols along with the math model, special features, and sound give the machine it’s “character” and playability.  If the symbols are hard to read or very similar to each other, it can create confusion for the player and have them move on to another machine they enjoy.
There are different types of symbols, each playing an important part in determining your winnings, and what combination constitutes a win in a slot machine game:
     Major Symbols - These symbols pay significantly higher than others, as they have higher value, with low probability of landing on the reels. Landing a Major Symbol allows the player to win many times their wager.
     Minor Symbols - These symbols give players more frequent wins, albeit being smaller, as they have less value. Minor symbols allow players to win frequent, but smaller amounts.
     Scatter - This refers to a symbol that can create winning combinations without being constrained by paylines. If two or more scatters land between two to five of a kind anywhere on the screen, you win the defined prize for Scatter. Scatter symbols are also used to indicate, and unlock bonus features such as Free Spins.
     Wild Symbols - These are special symbols that are used as substitutes to other symbols, resulting in a winning combination. Wild symbols also usually have bonus multipliers that create wins using the wild feature.  Wilds typically cannot replace Scatters or Bonus Game Triggers.  Some of the special types of wilds available in games are:

     Expanding wilds - wilds that can trigger to expand and spread to other areas on the wheels

     Stacked Wild - wilds that are "stacked" one on top of another on the reels giving the perception that is has a higher chance of getting multiple wild symbols on the reels.

     Sticky Wild - a wild that stays on the reels as long as certain conditions or rules are met.  It will stay in the spot that it "stuck" to the reel and give the player the possibility of having multiple spins with a growing number of wilds in play.

     Special Symbols - When one or more of these symbols appear, a bonus feature can be triggered, resulting in a free play, a bonus game, or more chances of winning. Special symbols can function similar to Scatter symbols, but this isn’t always the case. Each game’s special symbol can trigger a specific bonus feature, and may have a set of rules such as: 3 special symbols need to appear on a winline in order to enter the special bonus feature that the symbol is triggering.

3. Reels

Reels are a set of virtual or Physical “Wheels” or “Strips” setup to spin in front of the player with the games symbols on them in a set order.  The reels are much larger than is displayed to the player.  Some reels can have hundreds of symbols on them to ensure mathematical probabilities in the game.  Where the reels are marked to stop in order to match paylines are commonly referred to as “Reel Stops”.  Lining up certain combinations of symbols in three, four, five or more reels, depending on the slot machine, gives the player a winline. 
Reels can have multiple configurations such as: 1x3, 3x3, 5x3, 1x5, 4x5, 6x6, 2x3x5x3x2, etc. The reel configuration is the physical dimension of the visible reel which also determines the number of possible paylines available to the player.  The number of reels has the greatest effect on the number of possible combinations in the game meaning the more reels on the machine the lower the probability to get the largest winning combinations in the game.  Conversely, games with more reels tend to have larger prizes.

4. Features

Online slot games are built with unique features that simulate live games from real-world casinos, to either extend or create new excitement in each game independent of location.  These features are designed to keep players in the game, betting, and playing. Here are some popular features that casino goers have come to expect from any slot or casino product:
     Sign Up Bonus - Many online casinos offer a huge bonus for signing up to play with them. It’s a welcome package designed to let new players test the waters and their luck.
     Loyalty Program – Most real world and online casino’s will offer loyalty programs for their customers.  These programs allow regular players to earn points that give them different level of statuses.  Upon earning a status level players will be entitled to benefits, discounts, free goods, services, etc.
     Jackpots - These refer to the winner’s take in a game, and naturally, high jackpots encourage players to bet big in the hopes that they will, in turn, win big.
     No Download Slots - This type of online slots allow players to instantly jump right into the game without having to download and install the game’s software in their computer. It’s a quick, easy way to play, and gamers love it for the convenience.
     No Deposit Bonus - To incentivize players, many online games give out bonuses that require no deposit. Players are welcomed with bonus money to start their play as a thank you for signing up and creating an account. Each game has its own methods for bonusing the player - some offer instant sums initially, while others give players and amount to play with for limited time and allow them to keep their winnings after.
     High Roller Slots - Many games cater differently to players with large bankrolls and the willingness to try their luck with it. Much like the revered high roller slot machines online games have separate gaming rooms for modern, online high rollers.
     Player Management - Gaming platforms come with player management features that enable developers to authenticate players, and build a rapport or network with the gaming community. This allows developers to store player data, such as saving their progress, and letting players pick up where they left off the next time they’re online and looking for some fun.
     Tournaments - These allow developers to keep things fresh, interesting, and good-naturedly competitive. A developer’s platform allows players access to leaderboards and prize tables, and sends these out to online players to keep them aware of their rank and progress.
     Commerce - Many games offer players a quick advantage, simply with the purchase of a few boosters to up their chances of winning. Backend gaming platforms allow developers to craft lucrative options for every player to extend their play, while keeping track of their progress to recommend boosts they might need at every turn in order to bet more, and get more.
     Game Analytics - The flow of real-time analytics lets developers keep up with their players’ needs and progress, and allow them to respond to immediate concerns and debugging needs in order to keep the game going.

5. Jackpot vs. Progressive Jackpot

The jackpot is what the majority of players will chase.  Jackpots gives players a large win to try for that no matter how or when they play gives them “hope” that a huge win may be just a single spin away.  

A jackpot typically has an amount of winnings everyone playing the slot game is competing for that grows over time based on rules such as contribution from players or RTP shortfalls.  To participate in a jackpot players are typically required to meet a threshold on their individual bets per spin.  Alternatively, a single jackpot or “in-game” jackpot that is a fixed amount that can be won by the player on a specific spin and is not “shared” amongst all the participants who are playing the same slot game.
The most popular and largest jackpots are “Progressive Jackpots”.  Progressive jackpots have “levels” allowing players to “earn” their chance to win an ever growing jackpot amount based on thresholds.  The player threshold could be the requirement to contribute or to bet at certain amounts in order to attain the highest levels in the progression of the jackpot.  Typically, progressive jackpots are the cumulative contribution of all players in either a geographical location or through specific games and/casino’s to the progressive jackpot as a whole.   All slot players dream of one day taking home the largest of progressive jackpots which by default are always paid out eventually and therefore is a great incentive for players to return to a slot game regularly.

6. Return to Player (RTP)

Return to Player, usually referred to as RTP, is the percentage that indicates how much of the bets in a machine are returned to the players. RTP is the percentage of the entire amount players have bet in an online casino game, which the house will pay back to its players over time. A high percentage is a strong indicator that a player will win in the long run, and if it climbs over 100%, it means the player has actually beaten the house.
A typical slot machine has a RTP in the 90% to 98% range but some can be as low as 81% or 82% some as high as 99.9%.  However, this percentage is based on hundreds of thousands or millions of games.  Meaning payouts in shorter segments will vary in their payout from higher to lower.
One big misconception is that a game listed with a 96% RTP doesn’t mean any player who walks up and plays $100 of gameplay will walk away with $96 in their pocket.  It means over the course of say $1,000,000 of play the pay back to the player will be close to $960,000.   However the make-up of those prizes could be:1 player may have one $500,000 and the remaining wins were the $460,000 a lot of players will have had an RTP of 10%, 25%, 50%, etc  in order to pay that 1 player the $500,000. 
Online slots are known to have higher RTPs, a huge selling point for many players, as they compete against a global market giving players a greater chance to win. When players see high RTPs, it convinces them to bet more because higher bets have RTP percentages.  Simply because the house does not need to retain as much House Advantage in order to ensure their profitability.  RTP’s inverse is House Advantage which is the percentage advantage of the house in winning on the players bets.

7. High and Low Volatility

In the real world, the stock market fluctuates between extremely high and low values, and when this happens, it is called volatile. The same basic principle applies to online slot gaming mathematical models - there are slot games that pay out large amounts, or almost nothing, depending on a player’s luck and the odds. These games have high volatility.

Volatility drastically effects the RTP of a player during a game session which can last in the 10’s of spins into the thousands of spins.  A high volatility game will have segments with RTP in the 0% and then segments with RTP in the 200% and much more. 
Alternately, there are games that regularly pay out small wins, and when players lose, they also lose small. These games have low volatility. Determining a game’s volatility gives players the concept of “Time on Device” or how long the player will get to play.  High Rollers tend to like playing large odds and thus high volatility.  Individuals who are playing a slot game for fun and to pass the time like to play low long term play and thus low volatility. A good indicator of a game’s volatility is the amount of the highest fixed jackpot. Basically, it all comes down to the principle of high risk, high reward; or smaller rewards for smaller risk.
To capture a wider audience, and enjoy the interest of different types of players it helps to strike a balance in your game’s volatility, such as offering options with both high, low, and middle volatility. This lets you cater to all individuals who dive into ‘high risk, high reward’ situation, as well as those who opt for smaller, but more guaranteed and frequent wins and everything in between.

8. Hit Frequency

Hit Frequency determines how often a machine will have a winning combination on the reels. Hit frequency is a key element to the player’s game psychology there is only so long that a player will go with no win before they quit.  Have too many wins means the player never wins “big” and thus they lose interest in the game.   Hit frequency needs to be balanced for the type of gaming experience the game designer is trying to create.
Hit frequency is directly related to a game’s volatility. A highly volatile game has a low hit frequency as it requires larger bets to win, and may offer higher rewards, but players run the risk of losing big as well. On the opposite, less volatile games may have higher hit frequencies, but these typically offer smaller prizes for winners.  Medium volatility games can skew to either side based on the prizing and is what allows the game to have its “personality”.

9. Par Sheet

This document has all the details pertaining to a slot machine’s design, including the pay table, the components of a reel strip, and the rules of the game to determine who wins, and what makes a win.  The most popular definition of PAR is “Pay table And Reel strips”.  In short, the PAR sheet is the mathematical document that ensures the games RTP.  Mathematicians will often change and update the PAR sheet until it is perfectly balanced for the, personality, hit frequency, volatility, and RTP are achieved  for a specific game.

10. RNG (Random Number Generators)

Random Number Generators (RNG) are computer programs inside modern slot machines, or the randomization code in online slot games that determine the winning chances of a given spin. It’s a complex, sophisticated software that keeps the game fair, and the house honest as well. RNG is used to randomly select the wining paylines by identifying and sending out in a completely random order the symbols and coordinates to make up the next winning line. To this end, RNG gives online slot games an atmosphere of fair unpredictability, keeping things interesting.

Thanks for your interest in our Blazesoft Casino Backend, stay tuned for more feature posts! If you would like a free live demo of the Blazesoft backend as a service interface, we encourage you to contact us to book your demo - info@blazesoft.ca or visit our website - http://www.blazesoft.ca

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