The latest instalment of CasinoBeats’ collaboration with rising slot supplier Dream Spin Studios studies the team’s process behind finding inspiration for future releases to follow the first impressions set by its premier release, Buzz Thrill.

After our last article, which looked back at our first DreamSpin release, Buzz Thrill, and how we prepared for it, we’re looking towards the future and the process for our upcoming games today. The online gambling industry is a constantly evolving one, and as a new studio we feel passionate about keeping up with the latest trends whilst releasing games we are proud of.

One of the most common questions we hear is “how do you come up with new game ideas?” The truth is that it’s an ongoing process. We don’t always set out to come up with a new idea or a new game concept when we do. Many of these ideas come suddenly when you’re least expecting it, and some of our upcoming games are the culmination of a number of smaller ideas that got written down along the way.

The moment of realisation that you’re going to be releasing a never-ending supply of games is an interesting one. Securing a distribution deal and finally knowing that players are going to be enjoying your games soon is exciting, but it’s daunting too. It’s kind of like buying a house; you’re excited to get the keys, until you realise you don’t own any furniture.

Once we knew Buzz Thrill was going to be released, it was time to think about our next releases, specifically games two, three and four. The process here was slightly different to the first time around. Deciding on your first game means deciding what you want people’s first impression of you to be. For us, that meant seeing that we could take existing mechanics and put our own twist on them, offering something thrilling but more importantly unique.

However, now it was time to decide how we want to be thought of in the long-term, particularly to players. Do we want to be a studio that has a trademark mechanic? Do we want to be known for complex games, simple games or unique games? Do we want to cover a variety of themes or do we want to keep it straightforward? Do we want to tackle the most popular ideas out there? Do we want to be quirky, scary, funny? There were countless conversations to be had.

The same word kept coming back to us – ‘exciting’. We knew we wanted to make games that are exciting for players. For us that meant having a variety of features available in our releases, and offering a host of mechanics across our portfolio. For our second game, this meant moving away from increasing ways, expanding symbols or instant prizes which all featured in Buzz Thrill, so that was our first bullet point – let’s do something different.

Much like with Buzz Thrill, once we knew what we didn’t want we could call on the people who work with us in Hideous Slots and Fruity Slots to share their ideas, and we heard everything. From the hilarious to the crazy and the just plain weird, there was no stone left unturned in the quest for great game ideas.

We looked at our own audiences on YouTube too, evaluating what games are most popular right now, and therefore what mechanics are players loving – and more importantly why? This isn’t as simple as it sounds, since we’re still working a larger than average number of months in advance. We have to figure out what we think will be well received by the time the release date rolls around, not just now.

We were also able to tap into our own websites at this point in the process, looking at which of our slot reviews, articles, blog posts or even player big wins are getting the most traction long after release. Simply put, what games can players just not put out of their mind, and what do those games have in common?

When you get a better idea of this, you start to realise not just which games are popular, but why. Maybe it’s not about the huge multiplier values, but rather the progressive element that builds anticipation, and maybe it’s not about the free spins round itself, but instead the fact that it triggers more often than any other game. You start to see how these games become popular, far beyond just the features they offer.

This helped us to determine the experience that we wanted our players to have, and we started to slowly map out our next year, focusing on making games that we loved, but that we also believe players, including our own communities, will love. At all times we focused on how we thought players would feel playing the game, win or lose.

While doing this research, we thought of what would help our games to stand out. One of the most important things to consider when trying to come up with new ideas is what it offers – to players and operators. We wanted every game we create to have something that sets it apart from competitors; whether that’s the mechanics, artwork or maths. When you start a journey like this one, you can’t sell products based on your name alone, so you must have something special.

Our existing businesses – two affiliate websites, Fruity Slots and Hideous Slots with accompanying YouTube channels – can somewhat help us with this, but it’s critical now more than ever that we have a unique selling point for every game we produce.

We think it’s important that this can vary from game to game; we don’t need the wow factor of every game to be in the maths model, artwork or sounds, and we often aim for a completely different approach each time, so we’re offering a diverse catalogue that will suit a variety of players.

Once we had the game ideas and we knew what made them special, it was time to look at the artwork. In our opinion artwork is one of the most crucial stages of online slot creation. It’s the first impression players will get of your release, and the feeling of setting your eyes on a really great game is one we understand wholly.

Since starting this journey we find ourselves playing slots and looking at how the symbols spin, how the scatters animate, and how forgiving the maths model is at different points in the game. You start to see things from a very analytical viewpoint, but in spite of this you still get the initial moment of surprise when you load a new game up and see the artwork chosen. This is why we spend so much time perfecting and tweaking various aspects of our art.

If you’ve read our previous article, you’ll know that Buzz Thrill follows the journey of a colony of worker bees in outer space, and game two takes on the classic fruit theme with a new twist, so they really couldn’t be more different if they tried. Showing this individuality through artwork makes for a really fun process, and we’ve had a lot of great moments creating our version of this theme.

After deciding on the games we want to produce and having an idea of the art style we want, the process is similar to the first time around. The overall approach and strategy remains the same, which means gathering opinions from the team of people we have working for us, checking in with trends in the industry, and continuing to review feedback on existing games offered by our community.

Building game two, which is nearing completion, has been a huge task that is once again filled with learning curves, strong opinions, and a little bit of indecisiveness. The one thing we have noticed is that the process feels different this time – dare I say easier?

Any initial reactions we’ve received to our first release have been overwhelmingly positive, and that has certainly boosted our confidence. We always felt we could create great games, but knowing that other people feel the same way, especially anyone willing to distribute our game, has helped us to have more confidence in our gut instincts during game two.

This confidence only grows as we begin to look ahead to games three and four. Game four is still a concept right now, but as we bring Buzz Thrill to a close and look to the finish line on game two, we’re starting work on game three already.

Although the first year at times felt slow to us, once you get started on this journey it’s a constant process that never really stops. The thought of seeing our games in the lobby of a popular casino is still electrifying to us, and that, combined with the idea of getting to wake up every day and work on a project that you’re truly proud of, makes everything that little bit easier.