How Are Slots Programmed? Let’s Reveal Together

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How Slots Are Programmed

Slot machines first appeared at land–based gaming establishments over a century ago. This entertainment type has undergone many changes ever since. Nevertheless, the basic work principle has remained identical: the spinning of the reels results in either a loss or a win. In the old days, when the game was available only in brick–and–mortar casinos, the mechanical slot machines were triggered with a lever. However, today’s slots feature a random number generator (RNG) instead. Now, programmers with different skill levels can create their own video slots and make a name in the iGaming industry.

Let us take a closer look at the essence of these highly beloved games and find out how slots are programmed.

How slots Work

Slots are essentially computer software, programmed with a clear–cut set of instructions determining the whole gaming process, from the symbols to the payouts for every winning combination. No matter the type, theme, or specifications of a slot, the programming behind all online slots ensures the casino has a privilege over the player. And yet, players don’t get deprived of a fair gaming experience.

Random Number Generator

Contemporary slots are all schemed with RNG at the core. This is a complex computer mathematical algorithm that generates a random sequence of numbers, hence the name of the mechanic. They are mapped to particular symbols on the slot’s reels. RNG is used to decide the outcome of every spin and ensure a completely random and unprejudiced gaming pastime. It’s protected by the 128–bit MD5 algorithm, which is almost impossible to hack.

Return to Player

Slots are programmed with several essential criteria, and RNG is not the only one. Besides it, there’s a set of payout percentages, otherwise referred to as RTP (return to player). And it plays a major role in determining the quality of the game. It represents the percentage of the money wagered in the slot to be paid out over the long term. For instance, a pokie with a 96% RTP will pay $96 out of every $100 wagered.

However, don’t expect the promised return percentage in a single gaming session individually, as the RTP is only an average over the long term. Individual results may vary drastically, as a single player’s gaming experience is considered short–term.

Slots Volatility

Volatility is another crucial factor in programming slots. It defines how much and how often the game pays out. This metric is classified into Low, Medium, and High categories.

  • Low Volatility slots: These slots pay small amounts but pretty often. If you have a limited budget, it will be sensible to choose particularly low-volatile slots as they ensure longer gaming sessions, with more consistent wins and less risk.
  • Medium Volatility slots: These games pay out moderately. Such slots provide an ideal balance between the size and frequency of wins; hence, they are suitable for punters who feel ready to take risks to chase bigger wins.
  • High Volatility slots: Slots with increased variance have schemed to pay off rarely yet in larger amounts. If you are a risk-taker with a big budget and prefer shorter gaming sessions, these slots ensure unmatched excitement.

Online Slot Anatomy

A virtual slot machine comprises several elements that work together. These are Reels, Paylines, the Spin Button, Symbols, and Special Features. Let us go deeper into the concept of each:

  • Reels: Reels make up the vertically spinning lines of symbols. Most often, you will come across three–reel and five–reel slots. Old–school or classic three–reel slots are low–risk games with simple rules. Meanwhile, slots with five or more reels stand out for premium graphics, superb animations, and bigger winning potential.
  • Paylines: The lines running across and determining where identical symbols must land to form winning combos are the paylines. Basic slots have around 20 pay lines, but multi–pay line slots may have over 200.
  • Spin Button: This is the control that starts the game. Modern variations have the Autospin function, which lets you determine the number of spins at a specific bet size that the game must perform automatically.

Symbols: slots are all about symbols, or rather getting them in a winning combination. They unlock the slot’s features, jackpots, and bonuses. Aside from regular symbols, slots may have High–Paying Symbols, Wilds, Scatters, and Bonus Symbols. Each of them has a specific “mission” in the game, mostly associated with triggering in–game special rounds. They are programmed to land on the reels randomly to ensure the fairness of a slot.

  • Special Features: Playing a pokie with special features increases your winning chances and boosts the overall gameplay. For instance, the Free Spins feature triggers free rounds with no risk to your own money; a Multiplier can increase your winnings by a specific amount; Cascading or Avalanche Reels can lead to numerous wins on a single spin; Bonus Games provide players with extra chances to win; and Expanding Wilds take the power of a Wild Symbol further by covering a whole reel.

Programming Behind Online Slots

Behind high–quality graphics and attractive gameplay of online slots, you can find state–of–the–art game development technologies. Most developers use Python to create slot machines. This is a programming language with a pretty comprehensible nature yet powerful algorithms. However, beginner and amateur slot developers are more inclined to use Java in slot designing. This programming language is compatible with nearly all platforms. And HTML5 is broadly used for developing mobile–responsive slots.

Nevertheless, depending on the staff of an iGaming software development company, C++, C#, and Lua can be used to create video pokies available online, too. The game’s art is mainly set up with GIMP, Pixelmator, Inkscape, or Adobe Photoshop, while the 3D modeling is based on Maya, Blender, Cinema 4D, Adobe After Effects, or Autodesk 3ds Max. Adobe XD, Figma, InVision, and Axure RP are excellent tools for a slot’s UX/UI design.

Once a new game is ready, programmers test it with Selenium, Appium, Unreal Engine Automation System, or Unity Automated Testing tools. These are the most effective testing tools for checking new software functionality and compatibility.

Wrapping Up

Slots are currently the most popular type of online casino games due to their simple mechanics and attractive graphics. The competition is rather tense as plenty of providers are actively working on new releases, and the clientele, i.e., gamblers worldwide, demand quality and unique solutions. So, when designing a new slot, programmers have to consider not only the accurate code behind it but also the relevance of the theme and the spectacularity of the graphics.

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