According to Statista, by 2020 the global revenue of the online gambling market will reach $59.79 billion, which is a 13% increase compared to 2017.
Ace Casino explains that such industry growth is led by:
- huge advancements in technology,
- lower transaction and operating costs than traditional gambling institutions,
- access to a much wider audience,
- more easily attract clients from around the globe, and
- the possibility to provide a richer variety of services.
These factors have triggered online casino gaming development, and as a result, gaming software companies have become more and more competitive.
With the development process being as complicated and time-consuming as it is, creating a successful online casino game is no simple task.
Moreover, a lot of difficulties pop up along the way. An expert from Playtech comments, “You always need to go through compliance and make sure that user is not underaged and lives in a country where online casino games are not forbidden”.
This post aims to help casino games software developers improve their development process. It will cover:
- All stages of online casino game development
- Tools and techniques used to achieve better results at each stage
Stages of Online Casino Gaming Development
Casino game app development goes through a series of stages. Thus, the entire lifecycle from the idea to game release includes the following:
- Brainstorming ideas
- Creating a prototype
- Release and maintenance
The first stage of creating any casino game is to come up with an idea.
To increase the likelihood of your game concept taking off, market research, analysis, and planning are required.
Based on thorough market research and analysis, identify the type of a casino game, theme, and its storyline.
An effective method of structuring your ideas is with a mind map. Create a central concept that will be a starting point in representing your topic of interest. Then, add branches, keywords, images, and comments. Such visualization will help capture the ideas and organize them properly.
At the brainstorming stage, make sure to investigate the technology trends that can help improve your future game.
For instance, pay attention to virtual reality technology, which has come to casinos during the last years. VR games provide better bonus systems and improved in-game chatting options which may help your product become popular among a wider audience.
Another trend is cryptocurrency, a payment method that players and gaming software companies can both benefit from. Players can remain anonymous, carry out transactions faster, and pay minimum commission. Companies can increase their audience, skip a licensing stage, and pay no commission for multiple conversions.
Tools for Gambling Software Market Research
For more effective market research, apply the following tools:
1. Questback is a unified market research software. It is aimed at bridging the gap between the product, gaming software, and its audience by collecting data, analyzing gamblers’ attitudes and trends, and tracking product adoption. Questback helps casino software providers define demand, collect data from online panels, social media, or loyalty programs.
You can benefit from Questback even while brainstorming. However, it’s possible to get customers’ feedback during the production stage, too.
2. Loop11 is a usability testing system that enables you to test any website or an individual page — even your competitor’s. Based on the testing, this service creates heatmaps and provides clickstream analysis.
At first, Loop11’s usability tests are used before launching the game, and then you can run them multiple times after it goes live.
3. Social Mention is a social media search engine that helps you track what people say about your social game’s topic across the web’s social media environment and measures the results in real time. It covers such networks as Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Twitter, Digg, Google, etc.
Social Mention is used during the idea stage. The results shown by the system help understand whether the topic is popular among the gaming audience.
4. FreeLunch collects worldwide financial, economic, and statistical data based on the industry and location. The platform collects gambling data from publicly available sources and gathers it in a single place. It can help determine the casino game development cost, for example.
This tool can be useful during the market analysis stage once you have come up with the game topic and identified major competitors.
5. SurveyMonkey helps you to understand consumer and market preferences through in-depth surveys. The service allows for the creation of surveys both for primary and secondary market research and provides ready-made templates. It helps gain insights on your product, conduct market segmentation, and analyze consumer behavior.
Just like Questback, SurveyMonkey is valuable during the idea stage. Additionally, it helps constantly monitor the nature of customers’ behaviour after the game release.
Creating a Prototype
After сonducting market research to support the idea, the creation of a prototype of the online social game takes place. The purpose of the online casino games development company is to build a skeletal structure, see how the game will look on paper, and design the primary version.
In his article on prototype creation, Todd Rivers, a technical artist and product designer at RDI Studio says that with a working prototype, it is easy to “feel” the game. He claims that a good prototype makes it possible to modify the look of the game quickly and “see if your first stab at the math is any good.”
Tools for Gambling Software Prototyping
The following tools will help casino software developers during the prototyping stage:
1. Framer is a prototyping tool that requires no coding knowledge. It enables you to develop and support UX flows, embed shapes, move images, incorporate text, gestures, and animation, and export the ready code.
The price for individuals is $12 per month, for teams – $79, and for companies, it is generated upon request.
2. Marvel facilitates mobile and web projects. It allows you to upload JPG, GIF, PSD images, or import them directly from Google Drive, Scratch, or Dropbox. Marvel provides editing options such as resizing, altering background colors, and it offers eight various prototype frames. There is also an option to optimize for different devices.
There is a free version of Marvel that includes 1 user and 1 project. The pro plan costs $12 per month, and for teams, $42.
3. InVision is another web-based service for collaboratively creating interactive mockups both for mobile and web projects. It allows synchronizing Sketch and Photoshop files and creating hotspots, previewing and controlling versions, commenting, adding mobile gestures and unique animation, and creating hover states.
The starter version costs $15 per month, professional – $25, and team – $99. The price for enterprises is generated upon request. There is also a free trial.
4. Proto.io is a web-based service for creating game interface prototypes for web and mobile projects. It targets game designers and UX professionals. The benefit of this tool is that it requires no coding and is available to everyone.
The freelancer plan costs $24, startup – $40, agency – $80, and the corporate plan approaches $160 monthly. There is also a free trial.
5. Unity is a complete platform for designing all sorts of casino games: mobile, social, instant, VR and AR, and others. Here at Innovecs, our designers and slot game developers use Unity Game Builder for mobile development, single/multiplayer games, intuitive UI, 2D, and 3D games, game character design, and further tech support and maintenance.
There are 3 pricing plans.The plus plan costs $25, pro – $125. The price for personal is discussed in person.
Coding is the most important stage of slot game development. During this stage, the team of casino games software developers, designers, and artists work together to produce a single well-functioning piece of gaming software. Compared to the stages described above, this one is the most time-consuming.
Tools for Online Gaming Software Coding
1. 70% of all online slots are developed on the basis of HTML5 since 97% of all active devices support this format. HTML5-based games are faster than instant ones. Moreover, vector graphics of SVG can be used for scalability without any changes in quality.
2. Angular is an open-source, JS framework for building SPAs (single page applications). The benefits for online casino game development include 2-way data binding, dependency injection, directives, and simple testing capabilities. The code is easily readable, can be reusable, and there are no difficulties in maintaining it.
3. Node JS is an open-source, server-side JS RTE (run-time environment) that works on multiple platforms. It drives asynchronous input/output data with EDA (event-driven architecture). It best suits the lottery platform, betting software, and slot game development.
5. Vue JS is another JS framework with multi-ranked functions for the creation of high-end single page applications. It is also reliable for cross-platform development. Vue JS is a good choice of poker software developers.
6. MongoDB is a database that allows for accessing data directly from the frontend code, distributing it for applications, and triggering serverless functions to respond to data changes. It is used to collect and process records from online casino table games.
The final stage before releasing the game is testing to determine whether the application is ready to be launched. A critical eye is needed to find all inconsistencies and make sure the game is complete before production.
Tools for Effective Game Testing
The testing process is quite complicated. It consists of various techniques in connection with automation tools.
Here are a few types of online casino game testing:
1. Combinatorial testing entails the creation of many test cases that increase the efficiency of test execution, reduces cost, and provides better quality.
- Test covers all possible value combinations of the parameters
- Parameters can be chosen from the game components, features, configs, character attributes, events, etc.
- Combinations for testing have to be systematically generated
2. Functionality testing helps detect game inaccuracies or bugs that can influence user experience.
- Confirmation that the game is developed in accordance with specifications.
- Assurance that the installation is seamless, the game properly operates in a minimized mode, payment gateways are well-supported, etc.
- Applies of the black-box testing technique
3. Compatibility testing inspects whether the game works correctly in connection with hardware, software, and graphics configs of the device. It is often applied to mobile games to make sure they can be launched on different devices.
- Checking whether the screen size matches all types of devices
- Ensuring the text in the interface is readable for all gamblers
- Confirming general stability and workability of the gaming software
4. Regression testing is also called re-testing. Testers recheck the unchanged components of the software to make sure that the new modifications to other parts of the game have not affected the rest of its functionality.
- Re-running tests used at the previous stages
- Comparing previous and current results of testing
- Catching bugs and errors before the game goes live
5. Load testing is used to see how the game will work under real-time loads. This method displays the response of the software when many users log on and play the game at the same time.
- Checking product sustainability
- Determining whether the existing infrastructure suffices for seamless launch
- Identifying the number of users that can be supported
6. Play testing speaks for itself. Beta users and internal testers play the developed game to see how it actually works and examine non-functioning areas.
- Assessing the game in general
- Checking whether it works in an organized manner
- Analyzing the first impressions of the users
Along with these testing types, our QA specialists use casino game development and testing studios such as JUnit, Cucumber, Selenium, Watir, WatiN, Capybara, Maven, Jenkins, and Bamboo to increase the effectiveness.
“Development process duration differs from game to game. While it takes just a few months to complete a simple yet addictive game, it might take up to 2 years and a much bigger team of people to soft-launch a huge project with various complex features,” comments Alexey Isaev, senior engineering manager at Innovecs.
Finale: Release of the Game
The game can only be released after it has undergone all the stages.
However, projects require further support and maintenance, as well as testing all fresh updates. After all, gaming software companies have to continue researching and analyzing the market to find better opportunities.