Design is an important element of any slot title and can form a key part of a developer’s plans to elevate the player experience. That’s according to Aleksey Ulanov, Art Director for BGaming.
Speaking to SlotBeats, Ulanov gave us some insight into the development of BGaming’s newest title, Mechanical Clover, before discussing his overall creative process and the excitement around steampunk designs.
SlotBeats: It’s lovely to speak to you Aleksey. Firstly, can you tell our readers a little bit about your experience within the igaming industry?
AU: Hello! It’s a pleasure to talk to you! I started my career in iGaming 15 years ago as being a lead game designer in one Belarusian iGaming company. I was involved in creating different types of games such as video table games, online slots and others. We also produced iGaming content for mobile devices.
With quite a rich experience gained in the iGaming sphere, I joined SoftSwiss in 2012, and five years later I joined the BGaming team. I then joined BGaming as an Art Director at the very beginning of the brand’s life. We went through many professional stages together to occupy a good place in the industry and I’m proud of the growth we have been showing in recent years.
SlotBeats: BGaming has become well known for its games with eye-catching graphics. The latest release, Mechanical Clover, promises to deliver an ‘outstanding’ design; What was the thought process behind this title?
AU: We aim to create games of various styles and themes to gift genuine impressions to every player. This gives our artists a great opportunity to develop their skills and try something completely new in the work process. This is very important for artists to show their creativity and personal vision.
We focus on the contribution of every team member to our common cause. Mechanical Clover is one of the examples! It’s a very interesting slot with a sophisticated design in steampunk style. Thinking of the idea for a new slot, we were inspired by Mechanical Orange, the game that was released two years ago. It was the first game in a steampunk style in our lineup and we were very impressed by this work so we even decorated our brand pavilion for the IСE London exhibition in its style.
The game is definitely worth having a new breath! So, we have made a brand’s new slot called Mechanical Clover. We put the clover as the main symbol of luck in the game but it has steampunk style now!
SlotBeats: From a design perspective, why did you decide upon a steampunk style for this title? What was your inspiration?
AU: Steampunk is truly one of a kind! This style is interesting for its great detail, it has a place for engineering. By drawing and thinking over the elements of the game, you can immediately come up with interesting mechanics for animations. This is captivating!
SlotBeats: Can you give us some insight into your creative process from start to completion? How do you decide what ‘works’?
AU: In the case of Mechanical Clover, we started with analysing the strengths and weaknesses of Mechanical Orange. The design team also made an assessment, taking into account the wishes of the developers and mathematicians. There were many ideas, some of them eventually turned into art, some were eliminated. We work very closely with game designers and look at the result from many angles and on different devices. This is the specificity of our work.
At an intermediate stage, a live prototype is assembled. At this stage, we are looking at the art of dynamics, trying to integrate animations. .
Deciding “what works and what doesn’t” is an experience, both on a personal and collective level. Game designers and artists have over 10 years of experience in creating casino games. This experience is supported by statistics, recommendations from the marketing department. And this experience accumulates with every game to take the next one to the higher level.
SlotBeats: What is it about the Steampunk style that you think will appeal to the modern slots player?
AU: The world is constantly changing, the speed of life is increasing, it requires quick decisions, focusing on the essence and on the details. This is very evident in the design. Web design and corporate identity have become very simple. This all comes into games. We see this in HCG games for cryptocurrencies.
But there are groups of users who value realism in design, for whom the details of the game give a greater sense of immersion in the game. Indeed, on the one hand, there are popular HCGs like Helio Jump in the iGaming market, and on the other hand, games like Cyberpunk 2077 are released, abounding with details.
Therefore, steampunk is one of the directions giving an opportunity to dream up and work out the details, come up with interesting mechanics. Being futuristic and at the same time retro, the steampunk style slot should attract players’ attention with its intriguing design!
SlotBeats: What do you think are going to be the most popular design styles in 2021? Are there any trends beginning to emerge?
AU: Casino games will follow general trends, its style is more inert to market changes. Experienced providers will try to maintain their current position. Their share of “experimental” games will not be big. Young studios will try to stand out and experiment and be more daring.
I think as the number of crypto casinos grows, so too will the number of games for them. There we will see fresh design trends, such as glass morphism in interfaces, soft 3D, possibly Abstract Minimalism. The Gold Design trend is picking up – it is promising for the markets of Asia Minor.
Much can also change depending on the opening of new markets. Asian games differ from European ones, both artistically and mechanics. If we consider the prospects for entering this market, then this is a serious challenge for the art department of a European company.
SlotBeats: And finally, could you give us a sneak peek of upcoming titles from BGaming? And what design will they get?
AU: We’re going to launch an exciting branded slot in association with the World Boxing Council called Ring of Riches (see image below). We aim for players to be plunged into the thrilling atmosphere of a boxing match. At the same time, we are working on a slot with a crazy archaeologist as the main character of the game. It’s a funny story of searching for gold among the golden Egypt deserts!
We have some surprises for summer as well. Elvis Frog, loved by many players, will perform in Hawaii! It will be a sunny slot filled with vacation vibes. We believe that Aloha! King Elvis will double the success of the original game!