Lots of us enjoy relaxing with an online game in the evening, but how many of us have stopped to think about how they work? There’s a great deal of behind-the-scenes magic that goes into making games so user-friendly and, whether you love nothing more than a few spins of an online slot machine, or you find sneaking up and ambushing people on a point-and-shoot more fun, some of the technology behind these games is genuinely fascinating.
If you’ve got an inquiring mind and want to know about how it all works, we’ve explained it right here for you, so let’s get into it.
Slot Machines and The Random Number Generator
There’s a lot going on in those simple slot machines, but one of the most interesting parts is the very piece of technology that makes all online slots work. The random number generator. Random number generators (RNGs) are split into two distinct categories; TRNGs, and PRNGs.
TRNGs are True random number generators. They will produce a genuinely random number based on seed data that is taken from real-life events that are as close to random as possible, for example, quantitative weather data, or figures on radioactive decay.
PRNGs are Pseudo-random number generators, which use a lengthy algorithm to generate numbers that are very, very close to random, but would eventually start to repeat after millions of goes. The algorithms involved use the time that you press the button as the seed data and put that through a series of mathematical processes. What comes out influences where the reels will stop spinning. Generally speaking, PRNGs are random enough for slot machine games and they take up a lot less energy to run. Put it this way – the random number generators used in slots are much more random than the spin of a physical reel.
So, the next time you press that spin button, think about all of the brilliant mathematicians who made that game possible.
Point and Click Games and The Touch Screen
One of the biggest technological trends of recent years has been the touch screen. We only have to look back a couple of decades for these to be almost non-existent but nowadays the vast majority of us use touch screens every single day. If you play online games on your phone then you almost certainly have a touch screen, but have you ever thought about how it works? It seems so simple to use, but the technology is incredible.
If you’re playing a point-and-click game, you’ll need to touch the screen to prompt a response from the game. When your finger makes contact with that screen, a tiny current runs from it, to an impossibly thin sheet of metal that sits behind the glass of your screen. On contact, this completes the circuit and lets the phone know not just that you’ve touched it, but exactly where you’ve touched it and with what pressure. Games where you might need to shoot at something use this pressure to allow you to hold and fire, or aim up and down.