Home Business Insights & Advice How online slots are created

How online slots are created

by Sponsored Content
15th Feb 22 10:54 am

When Charles August Fey invented the Liberty Bell slot machine in the 1890s he could barely have imagined how his creation would take off in subsequent years. It would not be insulting to say that the Liberty Bell was extremely basic. It had three reels, a handle, a few symbols and a 50 cents jackpot. Additional features? Zero. However, despite its simplistic nature, the machine undoubtedly laid the foundations for the immersive slots games that dominate the landscape today

Mechanical slots became progressively more sophisticated during the 20th century, before video technology arrived to completely change how the games were made. Exciting new bonus features and mini-games soon became all the rage, sparking a massive worldwide explosion in the popularity of slots games

The launch of the internet proved to be another pivotal moment for slots, allowing developers to become even more creative with new game releases. The top game development companies are now massive entities, supplying a vast array of exciting slots to online casino operators around the world. Unlike Fey’s era, developing slots is now a hugely labour-intensive affair, requiring input from people with a wide range of different skills

We take a closer look at the development process by assessing how the games are designed and programmed before being launched onto the market

Slots development: A collaborative effort

The concept of slots development has changed dramatically since Fey launched the Liberty Bell, with far more people now involved in the process. Fey was effectively a one-man ban responsible for the design, assembly, testing and sales of his machine from his San Francisco workshop

Fast forward to today and slots development is a collaborative effort involving game designers, graphic designers, animators, web developers and other skilled individuals. This team of people initially formulate an outline idea for a new slots game, before building a prototype version of their idea. Issues are identified and eradicated, allowing for a primary version of the game to be programmed which then proceeds to a final development stage. Game testers the subject the game to extended gameplay sessions to uncover any last-minute problems. When this is complete, the game is licensed and released

Integrating the slots theme

Slots themes would have been alien concept to Fey when he created the Liberty Bell, with the game featuring just a handful of traditional symbols. Fruits and bells were commonplace during the mechanical era of slots, but things have changed massively over the past few decades. Every modern slot now has a theme which is generally something with its roots in another genre – superheroes, television shows, movies, horror, mythology and so on. Modern lots development relies heavily on editing software

Editing tools such as Adobe Photoshop are used to in the design process, with the symbols and bonus features using imagery from the chosen theme. For example, on the Deal or Deal slot include the iconic red boxes on the reels and elements from the programme within the bonus levels. The backing track and game sounds are also sampled and incorporated with the graphics to create the finished product

Bonus features and gamification

No-one could accuse Fey of over-complicating the design process on the Liberty Bell, but things are very different in the modern era. Player psychology plays an important part in modern slots design, with developers expertly leveraging specific triggers to make their games more appealing. The term ‘gamification’ perfectly explains how this works, with modern slots now more about the gameplay element rather than the actual winning

Many players now view the journey to the jackpot as crucial as bagging a bumper jackpot, highlighting how things have changed in slots. The base game is essentially a precursor for the main element of the slot – the special features based around the theme which are the road to the big money. These elements subtly tap into every human’s competitive psychological trait – the end result is essentially the pay off after a thrilling chase

The future of slots development

As we have demonstrated, slots development has come a long way since Fey first launched the Liberty Bell in the late 19th century. The last couple of decades have seen a major acceleration, with advancements in technology firing slots games into another stratosphere

Innovations such as the Megaways mechanic by Big Time Gaming (BTG) are revolutionising how slots are made, with the games offering players thousands of ways to win. Some developers have already dabbled with making the games even more expansive, with constantly shifting game grids offering greater winning options

Game combinations such as Slingo have become increasingly popular, with developers expertly blending slots and bingo to create an exciting new game. Many industry analysts have forecast that virtual reality (VR) technology will be the next major innovation to impact the slots sector. We have already seen an example of this in action, with Evolution Gaming successfully launching a VR version of Gonzo’s Treasure Quest last year

VR technology may well become commonplace in slots over the coming years as developers and online casinos strive to push the development boundaries. Headsets such as Oculus Rift now deliver a stunning slots experience, creating the possibility that real-money VR games will soon dominate the industry.


Please play responsibly. For more information and advice visit www.begambleaware.org

Leave a Comment


Sign up to our daily news alerts

[ms-form id=1]