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Have Microgaming lost the plot?

Discussion in 'Online Casinos' started by KasinoKing, Mar 10, 2007.

?

Have Microgaming lost the plot?

  1. Yes. They don't know/care what players really want.

    38 vote(s)
    73.1%
  2. No. Everything about MG is just fine.

    14 vote(s)
    26.9%
    Mar 10, 2007
  1. KasinoKing

    KasinoKing WebMeister & Slotaholic.. CAG MM PABnonaccred webmeister

    Occupation:
    House-Husband and Casino Advisor
    Location:
    Bexhill on sea, England
    Right of the bat I want to point out that I am NOT knocking Microgaming casinos.
    A fully installed and correctly function MG casino is a wondrous thing to behold – a shear pleasure to play at! :thumbsup:

    My issue is with Microgaming themselves – the software development team.
    There have been numerous and increasing posts here at CM bemoaning the problems, and all but a very few remain un-addressed.

    These are my main gripes (all loosely related):

    Initial Download: When players download a casino for the first time it takes 3-4 hours for the full package to install. During this time the games are subject to slow/jerky play & long connection delays, particularly noticeable on slots when the reels can spin for up to a minute or even more!
    Imagine a new online gambler downloading a MG casino for the first ever time to try it in fun mode – what is their initial impression going to be?

    Monthly Upgrades: When they release new games each month, it seems they update all the existing games also (Re: VinylWeatherman) – but why??? Again, slow jerky play for a couple of hours. :mad:

    Size: The casinos are ridiculously vast and use up big chunks of people’s hard drives which they would probably prefer to use for something else.

    New games: It seems to be compulsory for them to release at least 4 every month. What do we have now – something like 200? So in two years time we’re going to have at least 96 more – a 50% increase! This will only add to the problems above. :eek:

    Old Games: Why don’t they ever correct the ‘silly glitches’ on the existing games e.g. What on Earth, Harvey’s and some of the other variable multiplier slots.

    Playcheck: We don't want to see just 100 spins/hand per page, we also want a totals summary like the brilliant logs Crypto's have. Right now it’s about as useful as a chocolate teapot!
    If you don’t know what that means, see this:- You must register/login in order to see the link.
    (Thank GrandMaster for that one! ;) )

    In summary:
    When are they going to take their collective heads out of their butts and realise we players don't want an automatic download of the whole blinking casino every time!
    Either give us the choice to only download the games we want (as it was a few years back), or download just one 'package' of games per computer which can be accessed & used by ALL Microgaming casinos.
    Why don’t they take a month or two off from churning out yet more new games which players are hardly crying out for, and spend it reviewing and finding ways to improve the overall software package to make it more user-friendly.

    I think they’ve completely lost the plot – do you agree? Vote now!

    KK
     
    15 people like this.
  2. Mar 10, 2007
  3. Rusty

    Rusty Banned User - repetitive flaming

    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    Is it a secret ballot?
     
  4. Mar 10, 2007
  5. Simmo!

    Simmo! Moderator Staff Member

    Occupation:
    Web Dev.
    Location:
    England
    :lolup:

    I don't think they have lost the plot, but I do agree with all the issues you mention. The days of just installing a new MG to try it out are long gone.

    But on the bright side, it does encourage loyalty :thumbsup:
     
  6. Mar 11, 2007
  7. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Lost it.

    They have lost the plot because they are losing players. Surely the reasoning behind these changes and new games is to GAIN players.

    It does not even encourage loyalty, every perfectly running MG is a joy to behold.... for about a month, and then the sh1t hits the fan again, it can take days or weeks to get back to the idyllic state of smooth running casinos, but you know the longest this will last is 4 weeks.

    This month, I have more or less lost All Slots and Royal Vegas due to a permanent bug. Even a complete clean out and reinstall from scratch has not helped, despite taking nearly 10 hours in total for the pair. Although All Slots are looking into this, it seems they are getting nowhere once they have to refer the problem onwards, presumably to MG. MG often respond that they cannot replicate the problem in their lab, so their isn't one:mad:

    I have observed glitches this month on my NEW PC, this is just plain silly, it is so far ahead of what the average player has there should be ZERO issues.
    There is an old bug in the autoplay of Thunderstruck slots, another where the first two reels stop and 3-5 just keep on spinning away, until you crash out of the game (it has nothing to do with connections, as the result has reached the client & displayed on first two reels).

    The download managers cause problems in themselves on many systems, as they attempt to manage the download as though the system was on dial-up. Many have fast broadband, and it would be simpler to directly download the casino file.

    As to speed, the full casino is 600Mbyte+, large, but not 4 hours worth! What is wrong with being able to download the entire compressed 350Mbyte casino package in a single go (admittedly, a download manager would be useful here), and install everything locally in one operation. The common package PKZIP has an option to do this, it can extract files and put them in a tree of directories beneath the main directory, which can be chosen by the player. It should not take anything near 4 hours installing this way through fast broadband.

    It is possible to alter the system environment to prevent an MG casino from "seeing" the monthly update. In such a case, the casino behaves as though it has yet to be issued, no spluttery games etc. Only the new games will not be available, everything else will work in the state it was in the month prior. Reversal of the environment change is easy, and will allow the upgrade to proceed, preferrably over 4 to 5 hours of night time.
     
  8. Mar 11, 2007
  9. Mousey

    Mousey Ueber Meister Mouse CAG

    Occupation:
    Pencil Pusher
    Location:
    Up$hitCreek
    That has always been one of the biggest conundrums for me. When DSL finally became available a few years ago, I signed up immediately. Silly me, I presumed casino downloads would then be a breeze. Everything else on the net zooms along, but the MG casino downloads still chug along, spitting and sputtering and grinding ... for hours. To download and install a couple of games should not take 2 (or more) hours on 1.5 mbp DSL. The process is agonizing.

    You mentioned something else I've wondered about -- why, for a new casino install, they can't let us download a big fat .exe file and install it ourselves -- then after installation have the casino 'upgrade' and get the newest bits downloaded and installed.

    Whether new install or monthly 'upgrade', in this day and age, (especially on a high speed connection) it should not take hours and hours!
     
  10. Mar 11, 2007
  11. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    A few groups provide a download for the full install. Unfortunately, they don't keep it up to date, and it often lags several months behind on the update cycle. Also, the full install insists on loading itself entirely into RAM to self extract, far too big a mouthful when it gets to around 300Mbyte+. Great for new systems though. The CD does the same, but is even more out of date.
    I can download a full install for an MG in 15 to 20 minutes, with a further 10 mins for the whole install process on this old system. Downloading the casino the "normal way" can take two to four hours. Far from making the task easier, it seems the process is deliberately designed to be slow. I also note that some MG casinos manage the update process far faster than others, since the process is the same at all MG casinos, why does one take under an hour, and another, 5 hours?

    Even my new system is experiencing a few problems,

    I already have a CRAY Supercomputer on order for next month:rolleyes:
     
  12. Mar 11, 2007
  13. dealer wins

    dealer wins Experienced Member

    Occupation:
    Finncial Controler
    Location:
    London the sh$thole
    You might like to pre-order one of these new processors.

    You must register/login in order to see the link.
     
  14. Mar 11, 2007
  15. amatrine

    amatrine Crazy Cat Lady webmeister

    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Arizona City, Az
    Re

    I have stopped paying MG casinos as result of this. When I load one of those casinos on here, my system slows to a crawl. I agree, get rid of the instant download. I have super fast DSL , and it will take me about 10 minuits to laod an MG , compared to two hours when I had dialup, but I dont need all those games taking up my space. I have so much on my computer, my space is limited.

    Ama
     
  16. Mar 11, 2007
  17. tim5ny

    tim5ny Quit Gambling

    Personally, I love it when new games come out, and I would like to see new ones coming every month for the next ten years, but that's just me. Now don't take this wrong, but the only ones complaining every month when new games come out are the bonus chasers who run to and fro to every casino imaginable. That's why you're running out of disc space! You have ten MG casinos loaded.. or more. I've always been of the mind that you should find one good casino per software type and be loyal to it, and it will be loyal to you! Keep bringing new slots Microgaming please, but please stop just making clones of old slots with different symbols!
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. Mar 11, 2007
  19. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Chasing

    Sadly, the casinos also "chase". Often, loyalty is punished, rather than rewarded (common business practice). If you play too long in one place, they stop giving you even the promotions intended for repeat players, BUT, uninstall them and play elsewhere for a while and suddenly they "remember you", and start offering you loyalty offers.
    Loyalty does not prevent problems updating either, one MG casino misfiring is just as bad as 10 misfiring, you can't have any fun.
    By far, the best idea that has come out of this is to do what pretty much every other desktop developer has done, store files that are common to many applications in a common folder, and install only those specific files that make the difference in the program folder. Microgaming could have a central update of all the common game files done in the same way that Windows update works, or even the many other vendors that use an automated update process, such as Apple for iTunes, Adobe for the reader, and AntiVirus and security applications.
    MG could have one folder, Program Files/common/microgaming/<files>, for all the core game files, with the folders Program Files/<casinoname>/<files> containing files that add the branding to specific casinos. MG could also have a central full install, where broadband users could install all the common game files in one hit, and then add the latest branding files, also in one hit. As well as saving space, it will prevent conflicts between different MG casinos, less chance of corruption, and far less fragmentation of the hard drive (MG casinos use huge numbers of very small files, this wastes a heck of a lot of space as many are a fraction of the size of the default minimum allocation block used by the file systems*.


    * Experiments may follow;)


    Multi core processors will help, but it depends whether the software is programmed to take advantage. When we had the CRAY for atmospheric modelling at work (the Meteorological office), programs written for "normal" machines had to be recoded into a language called "Vector Fortran" to enable advantage to be taken of all the processor cores in making parallel calculations. As pointed out in the link above about the Intel Teraflop processor, even an MG casino does not do 80 things at once. It seems to do about three things at once when updating. 1)Downloading the MupQueued files, 2)Running the checking calculations and updating as needed 3)Running the lobby interface - the bit the users get frustrated with when 1) & 2) compete for a single processor at the same time.

    Once updated, MG casinos tend to run OK because they are doing only the one thing, running the games. My Dual Core machine has far less trouble running a game while updating, indeed it can handle three simultaneously playing MG casinos, with slight wobbles evident at four. Any number can be simply open with little problems. It can simultaneously update three MG casinos, four causes problems. It is likely that the top end quad core machines will shortly become the MINIMUM requirement to have an all round fun experience at MG.

    One major gripe with MG is the fact that some of their innovations are not compatable with Windows, but they do not offer guidance. I have even seen, today, an MG casino claiming it will run on Windows 95, and a 100Mhz machine - what utter Bollox:p I have one thing to say about this, UPDATE YER FRIGGIN' WEBSITE!
     
  20. Mar 11, 2007
  21. tim5ny

    tim5ny Quit Gambling

    I agree with you totally when you write that you're forgotten after awhile when you play at one casino. Even the best ones do that! I don't think that'll ever change because it's human nature. How many girlfriends did you take for granted until they left or threatened to leave? Too many for me cuz I'm just a dog, but that's how people work..... and casinos are run by people.

    I also have to add that I've always sought for peace of mind and the security of knowing I'd be paid my winnings rather than bonuses anyways. What good is it getting a 300% match bonus that has a mile long list of restrictions and requirements with it anyways? I usually refuse bonuses anyways these days.
     
  22. Mar 11, 2007
  23. lojo

    lojo Banned User - repetitive violations of <a href="ht

    Occupation:
    Tradesman
    Location:
    USA
    VWM

    Would the individual vendors lose any autonomy with that solution? Probably not...

    That would be the beauty of the suggested solution! I suppose if there were a security update or glitch repair they could exclude a computer running version 7.6 from the servers if you didn't accept the upgrade to 7.7
     
  24. Mar 11, 2007
  25. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    There should be no loss of something MG do not give to operators in the first place. The games are the same over all MG casinos (not like RTG).

    The difference would be in the branding, such things as lobby design, sounds for some events, opening movies, and what games an individual operator has enabled in their own casino. These would still need to update each time parts of the branding changed, but the amount that needed to download would be far smaller. The first casino launched after a central game update would initiate the centralised common files to be checked and updated with any new games. This process, although probably still painful, would happen only once, and could be designed to be more efficient.
    A central solution wold also ensure that all MG casinos operated from the same version, this would prevent the problems where some MG casinos fail due to incompatability with other MG versions.

    Currently, Royal Vegas and All Slots fail on my PC, the rest work OK once updated. The difference is that both these have moved on to the next Viper build, with options for tournaments and additional lobby design options. They ALWAYS crash the OS on exit, corrupting the Windows shutdown process and the graphics display drivers. The other MG casinos do NOT do this.
     
    1 person likes this.
  26. Mar 11, 2007
  27. 3Dice

    3Dice I-Gaming Industry Representative

    Occupation:
    -
    Location:
    -
    * biased post *

    ** just so you know - I'm about as biased as possible on this subject. **

    A technically better solution is available, and its not even rocket science. The casino software could (and should) do version managmenet on each of its components. When a component is updated on the backend, the server could generate a 'patch' containing just the differences between the two versions and send that to the player. This would reduce network traffic to just a fraction of the total size, with slightly bigger updates if more things actually have changed.

    Not only does this system allow for much faster updates, regular players will get the updates in small patches as they happen, and only players that have not run the software in a long time would get bigger updates. In any scenario there's no need to send entire files to any players. (enabling even modem
    players to actually stay up to date.)

    With this issue become a real annoyance to the players, one would expect a big player like mg to have a more technically updated solution. Some competitors certainly are using this technique :D
     
    3 people like this.
  28. Mar 12, 2007
  29. Rusty

    Rusty Banned User - repetitive flaming

    Occupation:
    IT
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    With this issue become a real annoyance to the players, one would expect a big player like mg to have a more technically updated solution. Some competitors certainly are using this technique

    Exactly and this why some Players are suspicious about these updates.
    Not me though.
    I know EXACTLY why original files are being updated :rolleyes:
     
  30. Mar 12, 2007
  31. winbig

    winbig Keep winning this amount. webby PABnononaccred

    Occupation:
    Bum
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Not only should they just "patch" any changes to existing games, they should also leave unchanged games alone.

    Why should MG players have to redownload every single game just because new games are added and/or something is changed in other games?

    Even non-programmers know that this is the way things should be done.

     
  32. Mar 12, 2007
  33. purplenaomi

    purplenaomi Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Marketing Executive
    Location:
    London Baby
    It seems there are a lot of issues brought up here regarding Microgaming.

    We currently run a poker room through Microgaming and have never received any complaints about download speeds; however we plan to launch a casino soon, again through MG, and so I am slightly alarmed to read about all the problems talked about here.

    When you click to download our casino 10 of MGs common games will automatically download for you to use and any further games which you wish to use (from the 200 available with MG) will take more time to download. We are hoping this set up wont incur the same download problems which are described above.

    However the number of problems described here is alarming and so we will be contacting Microgaming to discuss this with them. I will be back on this thread as soon as I have some answers from them and hope I can help you guys.
     
    4 people like this.
  34. Mar 12, 2007
  35. KasinoKing

    KasinoKing WebMeister & Slotaholic.. CAG MM PABnonaccred webmeister

    Occupation:
    House-Husband and Casino Advisor
    Location:
    Bexhill on sea, England
    I'm 120% certain your casino will be exactly the same as any other MG - a really painful experience to play while downloading or updating.

    If there's ANYTHING you can do to make MG sit up & understand just how frustrating this is to the majority of players, we would be eternally grateful! :thumbsup:

    Good luck - you're going to need it!
     
  36. Mar 12, 2007
  37. vinylweatherman

    vinylweatherman You type well loads CAG MM

    Occupation:
    STILL At Leisure
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    MG

    You should also look at my thread "slow Microgaming". I have analysed some MG casinos in detail. I have found that the process each month really can take as long as 5 hours at worst, but less than an hour at best. The problem seems to be a delay at the casino upgrade server. What seems to happen is that EVERY game is added to a utility, the "MupQueue". As each item reaches the top of this queue, the client requests a checksum file from the server, once received, this is used to check that the local files match those on the server. If there is a mismatch, there is a full download of one of more ".cab" files. If the files are identical, no actual download takes place. However, the client will display the checked game briefly as "uninstalled", and deny access to it in the meantime. As the check is completed, the progress bar normally seen on download shows, and the game "updates", but much quicker than usual. The 5 hour delay is because the casino server and client seem to take a few minutes before presenting the next package file for checking, so much time is spent by the software just hanging around. I have noticed that where casinos complete this process quickly, it is because the server send the checksum files very quickly after the Viper client requests them, within seconds.
    The big problem is that while the software is running in this state, it is unable to process the gaming experience properly, if at all. One possible reason is that it tries to run several threads at once, and they conflict with each other, and gameplay grinds to a halt, or nearly so. Players see this as "spluttering, jerking etc" of slot reels, and often the sounds will play in a distorted fashion. As soon as the MupQueue is exhausted, the casino suddenly springs into life, and runs smoothly thereafter.
    The latest dual core processors seem to be the only ones able to handle a decent level of performance during the update cycle.

    There are also a number of bugs unrelated to this topic, but these seem never to get fixed. It looks like MG will not address issues unless enough players are affected, OR, the casinos are losing money over it, such as a player favourable malfunction.
    One such player favourable malfunction was fixed last year (EZBonus miscalculation under certain circumstances), and in this months update MG fixed an "embarrassment" that rumbled how their "double-up" feature in Video Poker REALLY worked - the players choice of card was totally irrelevant it turned out, the result is decided before the dealer even turns the dealer card over, with the game play just being some nice "eye candy" to display a predetermined result.
    One bug that goes against the player has NEVER been fixed, and that is the non-recording of a "busting out" from a bonus. Many players complain about this, and on appeal the casino have to admit the player hit zero, thus voiding prior WR as per their terms.

    Rusty seems willing to play "devils advocate", by suggesting there is a good reason for old games to be updated, however, those "glitches" had more to do with problems at the server end. There is nothing on the Viper client that can be manipulated to affect the actual outcome of a game. The worst "fraud" that can be done by manipulating the Viper client is to create a fake screenshot without the need to "photoshop" genuine images to get the desired result. Recent glitches at the client end on old games related to mis display of the result, most recently in Mega Moolah.
     
  38. Mar 19, 2007
  39. purplenaomi

    purplenaomi Dormant account

    Occupation:
    Marketing Executive
    Location:
    London Baby
    Hello all,

    MG has now been contacted regarding this problem and all discussions posted here and from your other thread 'slow Microgaming' have been passed onto them. We have expressed our strong concerns regarding this matter, especially with the imminent launch of our casino site with them. We are still waiting to here from them, but I will be chasing them and will keep you all posted!
     
    4 people like this.

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