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Fruit Machines Inside Out: Compensation


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#1 edwardb

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 01:20 PM

Hi All
 
Decided to write a some articles about how real fruit machines work. In today's lesson, how fruit machines would control themselves, i.e. how decisions are made to pay a prize (or not).
 
BFG/Mazooma called them "compensators", Barcrest "stablisers", Ace/JPM "reflexes", Global "buckets" and 101 other permutations of the name. They all mean the same thing; essentially an amount of virtual money held in memory that the game uses to decide how much money we can give back to the player.
 
As I learned this stuff at the University of Mazooma, I called them "compensators", and that's what I'll use for this post.
 
How they work:
 
A game has a number of compensators, decided by the developer and/or mathematician responsible for the game.
 
Each game, we put the target % of the game into a compensator. So if the game is set to 80% payout, and you're on £1 a game, 80p goes into the compensator, and the other 20p is forgotten about.
 
A compensator is viewed from the player's perspective, that is, if the compensator is negative (hereafter referred to as -ve and positive as +ve) then the machine owes "the player" money - it has "underpaid". If the compensator is positive, the player owes the machine money - it has "overpaid".
 
As a side note, Barcrest worked the opposite way (from the machine's point of view - +ve being underpaid, -ve as overpaid).
 
We divide the compensator into "levels". The size of each level depends on various factors, again usually determined by the developer/maths person.
 
Let's see an example:
                                      |
          0------1------2------3------4------5------6 Compensator Level
                                      |
+2500  +1000  +500     0    -500   -1000  -2500
 
So Level 3 is our midpoint - the compensator has ZERO money in it. But that doesn't mean you won't win. Quite the opposite.
 
Now we play some games, we stick £10 in and we win nothing. Now our compensator is -£8 (we took 80% of our stake, remember, the other £2 has evaporated!), we are there now in level 4 (between -£5 and £10). 
 
But how do we decide if we're going to win? Easy. We use a chance table! 
 
Let's see those same levels, but this time we're going to assign a % chance of something happening:
 
£2 nudge win chance:
                                      |
          0------1------2------3------4------5------6 Compensator Level
                                      |
            1      3      8      15     35     60     80 (% chance of winning)
 
As you can see, the chance of getting a win (or maybe of getting the feature) is adjusted depending on the level of the compensator.
 
Chance tables controlled almost every aspect of the game; the likelihood of getting nudges (losing or otherwise), the likelihood of holds, features, even to the point of choosing which music to play (the more money we have, maybe we play a more "intense" bit of music?).
 
When a win is given, assuming the player collects the win, we remove that money - £2 in this case - from the compensator (after which is still in level 4, now) and carry on. If they didn't collect the win (gambled, and lost) then we don't do anything - the machine still needs to get rid of that money at some point. When a compensator is at zero, the machine should be bang on payout %.
 
The money in a compensator has no relevence to the physical amount of money present in a machine - so if the hopper is full or empty makes zero difference to how likely you are to win (or not). So those urban legends about "the machine is backing" (i.e. coins going to cashbox) and therefore due to payout are nonsense, but we all had a good laugh about it!
 
Most AWPs, certainly ones we did, had 1 main compensator for general gameplay, and 1 for big wins. We would then divide the 80% into the two compensators, maybe 80% of 80% (are you following?) to main, and 20% to reserve. Once reserve compen had reached our target value, transfer the whole lot to main comp (which then shoots up to level 6 - super generous!) and get rid of it. Maybe set a flag to say "big win time" and force a red mode or jackpot repeater.
 
Believe it or not, often, the more simple the game (lo-tech/Bar-X) the more compensators there were. From memory, some of our lo-techs had 20+ compensators, all receiving a small % of the stake each game, and then use to pay for things happening in the game (multiple streaks, hopper-emptying wins, etc).
 
Hope that's useful to some - let me know of any questions!
 
:)
 
What would you like to know about next?
 


#2 edwardb

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 01:25 PM

Oh I should have said - most games had a bell curve, that is, the game spent the majority of its life in levels 2, 3 and 4. Rarely getting to 0/1/5/6 as these were the extremities and only happened when someone was very lucky or you had someone forcing the machine to high levels.



#3 fruitman69

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 07:26 PM

Compensated games can work so many different ways, and if you play them enough you normally get a feel for each manufacturer or coder. Its the ones that have anti force code in that can be very nasty lol.

 

However when you learn what triggers the block and how to take it off you could make a fortune on it, of course Im not talking about more recent times. 


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#4 Matty.N

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 08:38 PM

An interesting read! Always been curious how exactly %age works, nice to have an idea how one manufacturer does it.



#5 DAD

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 08:52 PM

F u c k !

 

So speaking nicely to the machine, stroking or tapping the glass for luck, banging the buttons as hard as I can or holding them down tightly, shaking it, leaving a credit in etc etc doesn't REALLY work?

 

I feel REALLY stupid now ;)

 

On a serious note, thanks for the info, quite interesting :)



#6 Mavroz

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:01 PM

Some good reading there Edward

#7 altharic

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 09:43 PM

f*****g hell thought fairplay was dead?

#8 thecodfather

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 10:14 PM

Thanks for that, interesting read.
poker

 


#9 ritdav

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 11:56 PM

That was really interesting.First question coming up.Emptiers were they mainly badly written code or were they always deliberate.Reading the above they would have to be beyond the compensators to work .What were the legendry ones and were people fired over them.If you can't talk too much about them thats fair enough.



#10 fuzion

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:11 AM

A lot of emptiers where probably connected to how the player interacted with compensators.   A lot of people I used to play with referred to compensators as pots, even a lo-tech game like Golden Game had quite a lot of separate pots to play around with.

 

Are you able to get any early game roms with original exploits?    Would love the original Golden Game software.

 

J



#11 Johnnyafc

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:18 AM

Great Read Thanks :)


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#12 Wizard

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 10:20 AM

I think a lot of the emptiers arose due to a "Free Win", my understanding of this is that a Free Win didn't update the compensators when it should have done, leaving the game in the same happy state.

Either that or the game wasn't checking the compensators properly before allowing the win in the first place.


Edited by Wizard, 07 July 2017 - 10:22 AM.

Warning: This post is mostly my own opinions and may contain irony, if you are obsessed with PAST history you may want to ignore it.


#13 fuzion

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 12:29 PM

Some mid 90's Maygays are a perfect example.  A lot of these Maygays had a £5 block in normal play and when in enhanced play mode (streak) it would be unlocked and would offer a few jackpot in quick succession.   By playing for certain wins it was possible to get past this block in normal mode and this win wasn't accounted for.

 

J



#14 ritdav

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 12:34 PM

So if you wanted to put some anti force in you could make the compensators think a win has been collected even though it hasn't or part of a win and then you would never be able to force it as the differential wouldn't get high enough.Is this correct? Have machines been programmed like this?All very interesting.



#15 fruitman69

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 01:59 PM

So if you wanted to put some anti force in you could make the compensators think a win has been collected even though it hasn't or part of a win and then you would never be able to force it as the differential wouldn't get high enough.Is this correct? Have machines been programmed like this?All very interesting.

 

Not really, anti force code normally will monitor certain variables, if forcing is detected then it would set a flag, this flag would be removed only if certain conditions were met,  1  either you take some smaller wins for it to remove the anti force flag and would resume normal play or 2 it would remove the flag automatically when a certain pre determined level is reached.  The point is that 2 is normally set so high its likely to take so long to resume normal enhanced play that the player doing the forcing has either run out of money, has resulted in being forced to take wins for fear of running out of money  or have played so many games that by the time they force it to streak mode to recover all the % due it will have eaten a big chunk of its operational %  eg  profit  ( basic principle of the more games you play the more the machine should have made = the harder it is to show a profit )


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#16 Guitar

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 03:52 PM

The money in a compensator has no relevence to the physical amount of money present in a machine - so if the hopper is full or empty makes zero difference to how likely you are to win (or not). So those urban legends about "the machine is backing" (i.e. coins going to cashbox) and therefore due to payout are nonsense, but we all had a good laugh about it!

 

Not related to the compensator per se, but on JPM machines if the token tubes were low it will not offer any token wins, so checking the tube levels is vital to knowing which wins to take. If the tokens are low then you have to take the compensator value in cash wins only otherwise you are just filling it for the next person.


An actual question for you though, where do you get the random values from on a machine with no RNG fitted?


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#17 FruitBash

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 04:26 PM

A really interesting read - quite technical, but does make perfect sense. I didn't think it would be done in quite such a complex way, but there we have it!



#18 wayne123

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 06:19 PM

Thanks for the info - love to read how the fruit machines have ripped people off - strange question but is it possible to look at an actual programme for a fruit machine ?



#19 nails

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 06:45 PM

theirs some sense there, but also guess work.

 

an emptier was left there on purpose. most probably sold on.



#20 evo1

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 07:12 PM

I can see some sense in what been said but the one bit am a bit unsure is the when the tubes are full thing and been ready to pay,not sure about anyone else but i swear down the likes of Electrocoins Magic 7/10 used to just try a pound in each one and if it fell to the bottom its ready to pay and it did depending on which cycle it was on you would get the sevens three times in a row on a good run. Also projects £500  Megabars wouldnt go near the thing if the coins wasnt dropping to the bottom again try odd pound to see if it was and then have a play put about £80 in to start winning back a big bank but it never give £500 jackpot.

 

On an offtopic question when you played with tokens did the machine play on a different cycle/% cause again never really got any return on token play

 




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