If you are a player, you know how important audio is for the ultimate gaming experience. It does not apply only to PC and console games but casino games such as slot machines. Audio can enhance the immersion, emotion, and gameplay of any game. Here, we will take a closer look at how audio can affect us this much, with a focus on slot machines.
For example, one of the reasons why Sweet Bonanza became popular is its “cute” sound effects for multiplier payouts.
Sound quality is, as can be expected, one of the most important factors that affect your gaming experience. This refers to the clearness, crispness, and detail levels of the audio. The quality level is determined by the audio format, bitrate, compression, and sampling rate. Your hardware has an effect on it too, of course: the better your speakers or headphones are, the better the quality will be.
In PC and console games, sound quality can help you locate enemies and hear environmental cues more accurately. In slot games, it makes a significant contribution to the overall experience. The sounds you will hear when you activate a certain symbol combination or bonus feature will make you more immersed in the game. In this context, music playing in the background while the game continues can also provide an immersive atmosphere. For example, in a study made by the University of Abertay, players who play a game with music had a higher level of arousal (increased heart rates) compared to ones who play silently.
Sound quality has been a problem for online slot games for a long time. Slot cabinets in land-based casinos have extremely impressive sound systems, but achieving the same quality in online games is quite difficult for many reasons. For example, audio in WAV or FLAC format is much higher quality but can cause the file size to become very large. In other words, it may delay the loading of the game. Online games, therefore, use audio formats such as MP3 or OGG, which are of lower quality.
However, in recent years, MP3 and OGG formats have closed the quality gap in a way that no one other than audiophiles can distinguish, and internet connection speeds have generally increased. Slots today have much better sound quality than games from 10 years ago and will only get better as 5G becomes widespread. In any case, do not forget to invest in quality equipment too. If your speakers or headphones are not good enough, the sound quality will not be good either, no matter what format is used.
Sound design is another factor when it comes to the ultimate gaming experience. This basically means how the audio is created and arranged in the game. It includes sound effects, music, ambiance, and mixing. And it is not just a technical thing: the sound design must match the style and theme of the game. In this regard:
- Good sound design can enhance the feedback of the game’s actions and interactions.
- Music can change your gaming experience by setting the tone and atmosphere. It can evoke different emotions and moods via melodies, rhythms, and harmonies. It can also become a mechanic itself: for example, the music can match the pace and progression of the game’s levels (or bonus rounds).
- Ambiance can create a sense of place and time in the game. It adds background noise (and silence) to the game’s soundscape. And just like music, this can be used to create different moods and emotions.
- Mixing determines how loud or quiet each sound is in relation to each other. It is used to create depth and dimension by positioning each sound in space.
Most players will only hear music playing in the background, but sound design consists of many elements and determines how that music affects the player. It can also show you what to expect from a slot before you even start playing it. For example, in an ancient Egypt-themed slot, you might hear heroic tunes and get a good idea of what the game has to offer (before you even click the spin button). Have you noticed that when you win a jackpot, a special sound effect is played that is much louder than the others? This is done to highlight that you have completed an achievement. The music and ambiance on a slot machine can be used to show how far you have progressed in the game and what you have won.
It’s a strange term, but it shows how audio is used in game design and how it affects us as players. This simply means connecting sounds to the action, not the image on the screen. In other words, which sounds will be played is determined by the action you take, not by what you see on the screen. This could also be a game-generated action. This technique is most commonly used in horror and fighting games, but slot machines also make use of it. For example, triggering a bonus round causes a special audio file to be played. The sound of the reels spinning starts as soon as the player clicks the “spin” button.
Kinesonic synchresis allows the player to see the immediate consequences of their actions, and for the same reason, it is much more immersive (compared to image-based audio). Every successful game uses this technique during the sound stage design. In games where positional audio is not important, such as slot machines, the effects of this technique are much more pronounced. By using the kinesonic synchresis technique correctly, it is possible to direct the players and make their experience more impressive. This can be especially useful for slot machines with mini-games as bonus rounds.