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Tech behind online & physical slots

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Anyone who’s visited a brick-and-mortar casino understands the allure of slot games. The complex labyrinth of bright and exciting machines is one of the most characteristic aspects of visiting a casino floor.

Physical Slots

Slot machines are alluring, players are enthusiastic, and there’s a variety of titles to choose from, which makes it easy to see why slots have continued to be one of the most popular casino games in the world. The game is straightforward enough, after all, and exists in one form or another since the first three-reel and five-symbol slot machine came out in 1899.

However, the mechanics behind the spinning slot reel aren’t quite as straightforward as the nature of the game. There’s the payline, which is the straight bar that crosses the reel to indicate the winning symbols, and, beneath that, a cylindrical wheel onto which the slots symbols are pasted.

The slots symbols are long sheets of slick paper attached to the slot reel. There’s a narrow strip of blank space, then a symbol, and so on. In total, there are twenty-two stopping positions that a reel can shift between at random.

A computer beneath this physical reel creates a virtual reel that is totally aligned with the physical reel that the user sees while playing in a casino. It’s a computer program that controls the virtual reel and determines where the physical reel stops—which, in short, determines the outcome.

When a player presses the button or cranks the lever, a random number is chosen by the computer that correlates to the virtual reel beneath the physical one. This is known as ‘virtual wheel mapping’ and is the most common form of slot machine found worldwide.

Online Slots

Today, slot games online have much more complex and immersive design features than their physical counterparts. For instance, sites like Unibet feature a variety of themed slot games, from gladiators to fantasy quests to Jumanji, which add a layer of depth and narrative to an otherwise straightforward game.

Users love online slots because they’re portable and easy to engage with, no matter the location. But to the average gamer, it may not be clear just how much UX (user experience), UI (user interface), and intricate random-number generation (RNG) is involved in creating these games.

For instance, the Jumanji-themed slot game mentioned above would require an entire team of designers to complete. In terms of UX and UI design, professional developers must decide where each button goes. In other words, how will the user navigate the page? This is an extremely important consideration given the classic lever or stop buttons associated with a physical slot machine.

On the other hand, a UI team is responsible for the input and software that allow the game to function. This can include coding, which is how a computer system is organized in order to complete a certain process or function. Given the totally random nature of playing slots, UI for online slots must include an RNG.

An RNG is responsible for making the outcome of the game completely random. While there are quite a few ways that random numbers can be generated in any given setting, some of the more interesting programs will transform random data from nature into a sequence of numbers.

For instance, some RNG programs generate random sequences of numbers by measuring noise from the atmosphere. Each noise is assigned a random number, which means that programs connect to natural phenomena in order to ensure the randomness of numbers. As you can see, there’s quite a difference between traditional and online slots, but both can be fun to engage with.

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