BitStarz gets the low-down on what makes game provider Platipus tick!
If you’ve ever wondered how those incredible online games get made, well we’ve got a treat for you! BitStarz caught up with Vladyslav Garank, CMO of renowned online game development studio Platipus, to get the inside scoop on how they make their magic!
BitStarz: Hi Vladyslav! Thank you for doing this interview with us! We know our readers will be intrigued to hear all about Platipus. Let’s start with how the company was established back in 2014…
VG: Hi Peter! Originally, there was a social casino [an app or website where you can play games with your online friends] called Miracle Casino, which was fairly successful. They got a request to create a slot game and, having enough talented staff on hand, they decided to take the offer on. The game was a huge success, and more offers came in. This showed that there was a need for a dedicated slot development company, and Platipus was created when it branched out as a separate entity. These days, we don’t do “on-demand” games but rather push our own brand forward.
BitStarz: Are social games and casino games the same?
VG: They’re similar in appearance but social casino games and real casino games are actually very different in terms of mechanics. Developing casino games is much more challenging but also far more rewarding.
BitStarz: Where does the name Platipus come from and why is it spelled differently from the famous Australian mammal?
VG: Ah, this is a mystery behind seven seals! 😊 I will only mention that one of our owners is Australian! But in all seriousness, if we’d called the company Platypus, it would have been a nightmare for our SEO team.
BitStarz: It already sounds like a fun place to work! What’s the company culture like?
VG: Have you ever watched the TV series Friends? I’d say that’s exactly what our culture is like. It’s quite a homely atmosphere and we have a lot of people with different mindsets but who still manage to work together in harmony. Sometimes it’s a bit noisy, sometimes it’s a bit crazy, but it’s always fun! We’re very passionate about what we do, and we love making games.
BitStarz: Where do the Platipus staff come from? Is it a diverse group and do they work remotely?
VG: Our team hails from the UK, the United States, Ukraine, Spain, and Russia. Most of us work remotely, although some teams organize and rent facilities, like our legal team from the UK, but that’s by no means mandatory.
BitStarz: Right, let’s get into the meat and bones of what you guys do. Please walk us through the creative process – how are the games conceived and brought to life?
VG: We start by doing our research. The game design team gathers information on what themes are popular right now, what will be trending in the future, what our partners might be interested in, and so on. That typically takes a few weeks.
After that, our design team draws up an “alpha stage” which gives us an idea of what the game will look like, and what symbols will be used. Next, we have a brainstorming session with our mathematicians where we explore what features can be implemented. Anyone can make suggestions at this point; we’re throwing ideas against the wall to see what will stick.
After that, we hold a senior meeting to decide what the game will be and then we go into production.
BitStarz: What technical factors need to be considered when developing a game?
VG: There are an awful lot of factors that need to be accounted for such as different resolutions, browsers, and processing capacities of phones. Of course, it’s simply impossible to satisfy everyone and adapt our games for every possible device, but we still do what we can to ensure most devices are covered. Our technical team often uses information on which devices are currently most popular among our players, and in general, and use this as their guiding light.
BitStarz: Speaking of mobile games, how popular are they?
VG: About 80% of Platipus players are using mobile devices. And it makes sense as people are becoming increasingly mobile as they seek greater convenience. Not to reveal all our secrets, but our QA [Quality Assurance] team works extra hard to ensure that our games are both beautifully animated and as lightweight as possible.
BitStarz: We’d imagine that QA is vital with what you do. How involved are this team in the various stages and do they have the final say, or how does that dynamic work?
VG: Our QA team is involved in every stage of production. They have access to the alpha build and usually they’re the first ones to have an idea around what the game will be about. They don’t have an exclusive right to dictate how the final game will look, but apart from their general overview of the game, they often provide interesting suggestions for visual and mechanical elements – some of which are crazy, but some tend to be really good.
Overall, Quality Assurance is pretty much the most time-consuming process for us. They do more than just looking for visual bugs and crashes; they also check the consistency of the theme and so on. There have been cases where a game has had some artwork redesigned, or even mechanical elements replaced, due to feedback from QA.
But most notably our QA team is known for arguing with our designer and animation teams around optimization of the game’s size and graphics. It’s an endless struggle between having flashier animations and optimal game size.
BitStarz: How do you keep these arguments from spilling over into something unpleasant?
VG: Luckily the head of QA and the Chief Designer are very good friends who appreciate each other’s work. As any good friends do, they love to bicker with each other, but they understand that at the end of the day, they both work for the good of the company and their respective teams look up to them. So, they promote open discussions around how to better tackle the problems at hand.
BitStarz: Please explain how the Random Number Generator (RNG) works. Is this supplied by Platipus or an external party? And how is it verified?
VG: We’ve developed our own RNG that has been certified by iTech Labs, so we’re certain of its reliability.
BitStarz: And lastly, how do you determine or set the RTP?
VG: In short? We work this out based on how many winning outcomes there are, and what return a player will have across millions of spins. Think of a simple coin toss. Let’s say there are three outcomes: heads, tails, and the coin disappearing in mid-air. Mathematically, we’ll say the odds are 49:49:2. Now we set the payout for heads/tails. For example, 2:1, with the coin disappearing being set at 24:1. That way you have your RTP at about 98%. Sounds complicated? It is way more complicated for slot games!
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