Understanding math in online slots
Brant Frazee, Chief Technical Officer at Design Works Gaming, explains what a math model is, how it is created and the impact it has on the player experience
Behind every thrilling online slot lies a compelling and often complicated math model that ensures the game is exciting and entertaining to play.
But what exactly is a math model, how do developers such as Design Works Gaming create math models and does this mean game studios can control the outcome of each spin?
Below, I tell you my philosophy on creating math for online slot games.
Defining math in online slots:
The math model of an online slot is essentially the blueprint for the game. It defines all the components and functionality of the slot.
This generally includes a large collection of the game’s apparatuses such as layout, paylines, reels, and any bonus features included.
How developers create math:
Math as a physical product is hard to imagine but it really is at the heart of an online slot. Developers often employ teams of mathematicians who create the overall concept of the game.
The math team often finds inspiration in a variety of ways from internal brainstorming sessions to detailed and frequent competitor insights – this is super fun as we get to play a lot of different slots.
We also like to look outside of the online casino industry for ideas. For example, in our Dragon Journey game the bonus feature was inspired by the popular Nokia phone game, Snake.
How math changes the game:
Math has a huge impact on an online slot and is the single-most important contributing factor to the success or failure of a game.
Take volatility, which is set via the game’s math model. Different players prefer different volatility levels depending on their appetite for risk and reward.
For example, some players prefer a more volatile experience where they have opportunities for larger, life-changing wins.
Of course, the trade-off is understanding they’ll may play for longer periods with smaller or no wins. Bigger risk, but bigger reward potential.
On the other hand, some people prioritise more play time and they will gravitate towards a low-volatility game.
This means they generally forgo the potential for larger wins in order to have a longer play experience, with a higher frequency of smaller wins.
This is all dependent on the math model used in the game, and through the use of a certain math model a game can appeal to one demographic or another, so of course it has a giant impact.
Math is the starting point for most slot games:
For DWG, 90% of the time our games begin with a math model. In rare instances, we will begin with a theme – for example if there is a specific holiday or popular theme we’d like to capitalise on.
Otherwise we usually identify the target audience for the game, create the math model that we believe will deliver a thrilling experience and then develop a theme around it.
For example, if our data suggests that more volatile games generally appeal to a slightly younger audience, we will choose an appropriate theme for that segment of players.
Math ensures games are random and fair:
You’d struggle to find a games producer who isn’t totally focused on providing a fair, enjoyable and safe gambling experience.
However, there are many strong safeguards in place to ensure that slots and online casinos are not rigged or fixed. For example, the RTP is stated in the game rules and is verified by an independent test house.
The test house also checks that a game plays fairly and according to the rules before it launches and conducts continual audits thereafter.
So, the player can always be very confident in the terms on which they are playing the game and that it has been rigorously tested to comply with those terms.
By playing at online casinos licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and recommended by Find My UK Casino you can be sure the brands you play at, and the games you play are fair and above board.
Find out about game math by reading the pay table:
An astute player could find out how the math works by reading the game rules via the pay table and triggering the relevant in-game features by taking several spins on the game.
However, most players will not be keen to understand the specific math in a game and prefer to enjoy the experience the math creates for them.
The majority of players are initially attracted to a game based on the theme and art but continue to play because of a compelling math model which delivers the volatility, RPT and features they are seeking.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about math and the role it plays in creating an entertaining online slot experience.