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Fruit Machines Inside Out: Compensation


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#21 shaun2097

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:36 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

 

 

 

makes no diffrence if coins are backing or not. imagine that you have just had a run on a magic 7 and emptied it and left. the hopper would be refilled by the operator and the next punter comes along and hears the pound coin go stright to the cashbox.............doesnt mean its going to payout as you had the run before it was refilled (unless the machine was mid streak and just continues to run the streak out)

 

you could take all the coins out of the full hopper/tubes by hand and the machine would play exactly the same. as mentioned b4 coin level switches for low tokens etc may affect HOW the machine pays out, but they dont tell the machine if its ready to payout or not.

 

coin "refills" do not affect the game where as coins played in live play obviously do count.

 

so a full machine may also be a machine thats paid its guts and been refilled.......doesnt mean it will payout just because the hoppers/tubes are full.....

 

on some older fruit machines you could take the payout tubes out completly by sliding the complete unit out but it will not affect gameplay at all. (i know...it may alarm!)

 

think about it....MFME machines have no cash in them........but they play as normal.

 

as for token play, im not too sure but someone here will enlighten us both. :)

 

i know all this isnt 100% accurate but you get the gist............ ;)


Edited by shaun2097, 07 July 2017 - 08:41 PM.

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#22 shaun2097

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 08:50 PM

also, a while back some red gaming fruit machines used to put the first £3 or £4 you inserted stright to the bottom cash box even if its hopper wasnt full to give the impression that it was full.....sneeky bandits!!


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#23 fruitman69

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:20 PM

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Many machines did have token vs cash reflexes  as been discussed on here somewhere. So if you put a lot of tokens in it would lessen the cash wins and sway towards token wins etc.


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#24 fruitman69

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 09:31 PM

 

makes no diffrence if coins are backing or not. 

 

 

Back in the olden days there would have been some merit in that if its "backing" its was a potential good sign but as shaun says  these days  no not at all.

 

Since operators fill them mid week, when they go empty and on their "collection days" as well as things like note acceptors  it means nothing.

 

Back in the day before notes,  then  it could give you a little nod to a potential winner if you knew more history eg  it hadnt been filled no large wins and how long its been backing and the type of game etc, but was still risky to some degree.


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#25 TommyC

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 12:47 AM

On the token machines there is a cash and token %.
Hold the bells mate.

#26 nails

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 06:32 AM

 

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

 

 

some machines, typically some of the newer eletrocoin machines can pay out vast somes of money in a short period. for the sake of argument, if the machine it to pay a big £300 run, and their is only £250 in the hopper - it all becomes clear. Magic games can do a £600+ run



#27 edwardb

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 08:26 AM

Hi All

 

Answers to your questions:

 

ritdav: "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."

 

Almost always mistakes. Never intentional apart from one guy at Ace who decide to try and make a few quid by putting an emptier in. He got caught in a pub, fired and prosecuted. I think he got 2 years for fraud. That was on an old SP-Ace club machine.

 

Were people fired - generally no, all software has bugs and fruit machines are no exception. The famous ones, like Donkey Kong, were just oversights (nudge debugging code left in by mistake).

We had an emptier on one of our games, where changing stake should have cancelled holds, but if you were quick enough you could hammer the holds and change stake at the same time. Oops!

Simple fix.

 

When you get a report of an emptier, all hell breaks loose. I did 18+ hr days just playing the game, trying to work out what was going on based on (generally useless) info from the site. You also pore over the code and look for anything awry.

 

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

 

Good question! Believe it or not this was on JPM's standard interview question for software engineers. So we had a mixed prime congruential RNG but I suspect most people now use a mersenne-twister RNG. This was in the core libraries for games so we used that. But to answer your question; if for some obscure reason you had no RNG, then you write one, or you use inputs to generate random numbers, maybe timers of button presses, or system timers. I can't think of any library I've ever see that didn't have an RNG though. They're pretty fundamental to gambling!

 

evo1: "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"

 

Yes, token payouts were typically in the 50% to 60% region. 

 

fuzion: "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."

 

Yes indeed - those lo-techs had about 20 compensators. My first ever bit of fruit machine code (aged 17!) was doing the attract mode for Golden Oldie. Attracts were written in a sub-language to make them quicker when writing lamp sequences (all done by hand...time consuming!). If you watch the "ripple" on the button lamps, you can see that I missed out the Start button further on in the sequence. That was also in every other Mazooma lo-tech - makes me laugh when I see them in a seaside arcade even now!

 

wizard: "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."

 

Correct - the win wasn't removed from the comps, or in some cases the win was added to the bank, and then some visuals happen, before the win is removed from the comp. So, obviously if you switch the power off during those bank pay visuals, the win never got taken from the comp and hence a "free win". We never had this problem as the line of code that adds the money to the bank is always immediately after the win has been removed from the comps, and also we separated logic and visuals entirely. You'd be amazed the number of companies that didn't - and were always the ones with problems.

 

fruitman69: "Not really, anti force code normally will monitor certain variables, if forcing is detected then it would set a flag"

 

Actually, in my experience, what people termed anti-force code actually wasn't. It was anti-stats testing code! Manufacturers used to buy other manufacturers machines and play them, log every spin, and work out what the game was doing. I remember visiting Maygay in 1996 and seeing a Barcrest 10 out of 10 being stats played. So what everyone did, was monitor the last, say 200 coins to go in - if they were all £1 coins then you mangle how the game plays. Still hits % but plays differently. Obviously in a pub you'd get other coins inserted, so this would never happen.

 

wayne123: "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 ?"

 

Yes, I will be releasing the code for a game I wrote soon (when I can find the backups, probably in my attic!). It's a Hungarian AWP but still very similar to a UK game (dual lapper board, etc).

 

shaun2097: "also, a while back some red gaming fruit machines used to put the first £3 or £4 you inserted stright to the bottom cash box"

 

Correct! We spotted this whilst stats playing one in the office one day. We thought like you did - was just to suggest to the players the machine was "backing". Found no evidence of anything else.



#28 edwardb

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 08:29 AM

I should add, on emptiers, they are a pain not because of the money lost which was usually negligible, but because in those days you had to burn hundreds or thousands of EPROMs (at a few quid a pop, the BFG roms were £8 each at one point) and then drive around site to site and replace them - this didn't go down well with the pub company.

 

An update could easily cost £30k+ to correct.



#29 wayne123

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 09:44 AM

Thanks for your response, one more question - if you have a games idea / concept idea for a fruit machine how do you go about it?



#30 nails

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 12:08 PM

i strongly disagree - emptiers are there on purpose.

 

a machine will only do what you tell it to. they dont give money away unless instructed to by ways of a sequence of holds, time outs, and particular `free win` features.



#31 richy1976

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 01:12 PM

Some bwb video machines had emptiers that i would say were put in on purpose by software coders.
I actually own one emptier in tact before it was chipped out.

Edited by richy1976, 08 July 2017 - 01:14 PM.


#32 Mavroz

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 01:30 PM

Not sure about emptiers being left in the public version of the code purposely. I guess as said the test software had these enabled again for developer testing. These but hadn't been disabled when the game was made public. The only other way I see, as Edward says is if an error was in the code or mis-written.
I certainly remember the donkey Kong nudge cheat back in the day, along with the maygay power down method. Funny these are the 2 I remember Edward.

#33 Guitar

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 01:39 PM

i strongly disagree - emptiers are there on purpose.

 

a machine will only do what you tell it to. they dont give money away unless instructed to by ways of a sequence of holds, time outs, and particular `free win` features.

 

I'd say it's more 50/50. Some emptiers are deliberate, but given the complexity of the later machines software, sometimes things get missed by the programmer leaving an accidental emptier. I know of one machine where they manufacturer ended up asking someone to show them the emptier in use (after they had already made several k profit of course), and even after being shown the emptier the coder was at a loss to explain what was happening or why it worked.

 

If the emptier is really obvious or really convoluted it's probably accidental. If it's somewhere in between it's probably a programmer trying to hide it.


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#34 Guitar

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 01:48 PM


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

 

Good question! Believe it or not this was on JPM's standard interview question for software engineers. So we had a mixed prime congruential RNG but I suspect most people now use a mersenne-twister RNG. This was in the core libraries for games so we used that. But to answer your question; if for some obscure reason you had no RNG, then you write one, or you use inputs to generate random numbers, maybe timers of button presses, or system timers. I can't think of any library I've ever see that didn't have an RNG though. They're pretty fundamental to gambling!

 

So they are not truly random then, just psuedo random. I suppose it doesn't matter on a compensated game as the compensator levelling will catch it if it goes too far one way or the other.

 

I know you can use a combination of sound cards to get a truly chaotic random number, I was wondering if you had to account for errors in psuedo random number generation. For instance if you use rand() in C++, lower numbers are slightly more likely than higher numbers.


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#35 edwardb

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 03:52 PM

Emptiers, I can categorically state from my 20 years in the industry, are absolutely not done on purpose. As I have posted elsewhere, developing and testing a new game costs north of £80k. You get 2000 sales of a popular game, and you get a fault that needs fixing, then you're on the hook for another £30k or in some cases the pub company just sends the machines back and wants a credit note. 

Boom. You've burnt over £100k in dev costs, and worst case when machines get returned, you can easily see a few million quid evaporate. That's the hard truth of it.

 

I've been on the receiving end of such problems and the fall out for the business is immense - and these days, with the Gambling Commission, it is even worse (and woe betide you if your game underpays, i.e. is consistently below advertised RTP%). Then you really are in BIG trouble - investigations, hearings, fines and possibly prison. All of which are a positive, in my view, as it keeps people honest.

 

If this happens in a regulated market where every line of source code is commented and often reviewed by a government appointed lab - it gets very messy and laywers get involved. Not fun.

 

Anyway, the industry has always been self policing but we, as a general rule, would always report bugs to other manufacturers, and they to us. It's a small world and people move between companies like you won't believe. No point burning bridges.

 

@Guitar, we used a proper RNG that was certified for use in many regulated markets like Holland. The RNG was bomb proof. C++ rand() is awful and will fail the standard RNG diehard tests.


Edited by edwardb, 08 July 2017 - 03:55 PM.


#36 gemini17

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 09:06 PM

Emptiers, I can categorically state from my 20 years in the industry, are absolutely not done on purpose. As I have posted elsewhere, developing and testing a new game costs north of £80k. You get 2000 sales of a popular game, and you get a fault that needs fixing, then you're on the hook for another £30k or in some cases the pub company just sends the machines back and wants a credit note. 

Boom. You've burnt over £100k in dev costs, and worst case when machines get returned, you can easily see a few million quid evaporate. That's the hard truth of it.

 

I've been on the receiving end of such problems and the fall out for the business is immense - and these days, with the Gambling Commission, it is even worse (and woe betide you if your game underpays, i.e. is consistently below advertised RTP%). Then you really are in BIG trouble - investigations, hearings, fines and possibly prison. All of which are a positive, in my view, as it keeps people honest.

 

If this happens in a regulated market where every line of source code is commented and often reviewed by a government appointed lab - it gets very messy and laywers get involved. Not fun.

 

Anyway, the industry has always been self policing but we, as a general rule, would always report bugs to other manufacturers, and they to us. It's a small world and people move between companies like you won't believe. No point burning bridges.

 

@Guitar, we used a proper RNG that was certified for use in many regulated markets like Holland. The RNG was bomb proof. C++ rand() is awful and will fail the standard RNG diehard tests.

Very interesting topic.

This line is far from true-"Emptiers, I can categorically state from my 20 years in the industry, are absolutely not done on purpose"

I have several mates that  build slots and some that own arcades and it is common knowledge in the industry that several employees of a gaming company tampered with quite a few Barcrest slots(prior to there departure)in the late 90's/early 2000's and left on them a multitude of built in cheats/emptiers as way of sweet revenge upon there former employer.

The slots were £70 jackpot games and there were plenty around at the time. The names are not hitting the cells atm lol but they will do and I will re-post them later.

There were also many inbuilt cheats on later epoch slots like Golden Ticket and Special Brew.

I can't really recall cheats/emptiers pre the 80's-but then you had a fair chance of a game,regardless of the previous payout.

 

Jay


Very interesting topic.

This line is far from true-"Emptiers, I can categorically state from my 20 years in the industry, are absolutely not done on purpose"

I have several mates that  build slots and some that own arcades and it is common knowledge in the industry that several employees of a gaming company tampered with quite a few Barcrest slots(prior to there departure)in the late 90's/early 2000's and left on them a multitude of built in cheats/emptiers as way of sweet revenge upon there former employer.

The slots were £70 jackpot games and there were plenty around at the time. The names are not hitting the cells atm lol but they will do and I will re-post them later.

There were also many inbuilt cheats on later epoch slots like Golden Ticket and Special Brew.

I can't really recall cheats/emptiers pre the 80's-but then you had a fair chance of a game,regardless of the previous payout.

 

Jay



#37 Guitar

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 10:39 AM

@Guitar, we used a proper RNG that was certified for use in many regulated markets like Holland. The RNG was bomb proof. C++ rand() is awful and will fail the standard RNG diehard tests.

 

I know rand is awful, but I was just using it as an example of psuedo random number generation and the inherent issues. The proper Hartdware RNG's are truly chaotic, but the software RNG's are not, such as mersenne-twister.

 

 

Emptiers, I can categorically state from my 20 years in the industry, are absolutely not done on purpose.

 

Whilst they are not deliberate on the part of the manufacturer, I know several stories where programmers have indeed deliberately hidden emptiers either for their own use or to sell on. I'm not in the industry myself but I know plenty of people who are, both on the manufacturing and operating side, and some of the stories are not pretty.


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#38 edwardb

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 11:29 AM

Just to clear up on the emptiers deliberate or not; I've never come across this, and none of my colleagues have either, as quite simply, you will be prosecuted for fraud (rightly so) and you can forget getting a job, let alone in gaming, ever again.

 

As I said above, one guy from Ace did it and got 2 years at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

 

wayne123: "Thanks for your response, one more question - if you have a games idea / concept idea for a fruit machine how do you go about it?"

 

I'll pick this up on another topic; I'm writing the next one now. Will talk over how a game goes from a bit of paper (or idea in a kebab shop/shower/etc, usually) to a production machine, with some examples.



#39 fuzion

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 11:52 AM

Back in the 90's I heard the guy from Ace got prosecuted for the Band Aid scam.     

 

I imagine it was 'fairly easy' to build an emptier in and possibly happened in the olden days.  I mean machines weren't written using high level languages like we have today, I think C++ is classed as a high level language isn't it.

 

 

J  



#40 fuzion

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 12:02 PM

I created this, I really would have loved to get into creating fruit machines back in the day.   This was just messing about to be honest, I did spend a bit of time on it.  It was based of Supa Fruit by Union Games, I created a sound package for it as well.

 

 

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