Interview with Trancemonkey

While our ever-lovely LadyJelena will be interviewing members more from the i-gaming side of things, I’ve the pleasure of doing a series of member interviews in order to get to know some of the more familiar faces here in our community a little better.

dionysus: Welcome trancemonkey and thanks for agreeing to be the first victim interviewee.

I understand you were a member here for some time but began a thread titled Ask Me Anything (About Slots) which, I think most would agree, has made you a much more recognizable CM member because of it.

Nearly 3 years running and well over 100 pages, It’s become one of the most highly participated in threads here in the forum.

Can you tell us what first prompted you to start the thread and did you ever anticipate it would gain as much momentum as it has?

trancemonkey: Hey and thanks for asking me to be your Guinea Pig! You’re right about me being a lurker for a bit… I signed up many years before I became as active as I am now. When I first signed up it was mainly just for the odd visit, research purposes (see what people were saying) but I never considering being as active as I have become.

What really got me into it more frequently, and what encouraged me to start the AMA, were a couple of things… the first was that I just wanted to share some knowledge from “the other side” (or the dark side as some would likely call it), and the other was that I’d read many, many threads containing wild guesses and inaccuracies as to what we (the industry as a whole) did and didn’t do when it came to slot games.

Yes, with any industry of this size, there are bound to be bad eggs. If there weren’t, CM wouldn’t exist and it’s imperative sites like this continue to give advice to new players and indeed any player trying to gamble in a safe environment. Where I felt I could add value was from the side of someone in the industry who shares the core values of openness and fairness in this industry. There are a lot of great reps on here already doing that so I just wanted to lend a hand from a slightly different point of view.

After seeing so many threads that asked questions but never really got any answers, it seemed pertinent to start a thread that allowed people to ask whatever questions they had and I would give as truthful an answer as I could.

As I’m sure you, and most people who have read the thread have seen, some people ask questions but simply don’t believe the answers, but at least the answers (and the debate about them) are there for people to see. That said, it’s a hell of a long read now… maybe we need a TL;DR version!

dio: Could you perhaps mention or highlight a few of the more common or persistent misconceptions people have about slots or the industry in general?

While likely a worthy equivalent to a weekend TV binge watch for new and veteran players/members, as you say, some may see the thread as TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read).

Could you find, say, 1 or 2 noteworthy examples from the AMA you’d really like to drive home?

trancemonkey:: The most common misconception is that slots are compensated, or rigged, or compenrigged – or in some way remember what you have won & lost, and change the way they play based on this. This is wholly untrue, but an understandable misconception – for example, Fruit Machines in the UK (Category D & C) do operate in this way. However, online slots do not. They cannot.

If anyone is interested in the kind of rules we have to adhere to online. and what testing happens for the games, it’s all available here:

https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/PDF/Remote-gambling-and-software-technical-standards.pdf

The second one, related to the first, is that all the games providers are somehow working together in order to rig the games – again, this makes no sense other than to the most tin-foil hatters. Games providers are in competition with each other, and the idea we all use some centralised system to illegally rig games is laughable.

If a company that operates online also operates in, say, Nevada, and were caught rigging games online, they would lose their Nevada licence (and many other jurisdictional licences) instantly, and that would be the end of that company. No company is going to risk that for something that a purely random profile does anyway – it makes no sense whatsoever.

Threads about either of these two things are deeply frustrating because often common sense and logic are thrown aside and personal bias enters the room – “I believe they are rigged because they feel rigged, so therefore they are and nothing will change my mind.”

dio: You mentioned sharing some knowledge from ‘the other side’, which I gather to mean the industry side. Can you let us know a bit about what it is you do, or have done, and how you first got into the gaming world?

trancemonkey: One day I was sat in a pub, playing Hi Jinx (it was a Barcrest fruit machine) and I thought to myself, “There must be people that make these, and I think I know enough about them. I wonder if I could get a job.” Sounds egotistical right? But i was doing coding for the, probably non-existent, Millenium bug and I hated it… so I wanted a change. I applied to loads of Fruit Machine companies, and managed to get a job at Mazooma as a simple programmer. From there I moved through a number of the fruit machine companies (JPM, Impulse, Maygay) at a time when the industry was booming, and eventually made my way in to slot games as Section 16/21 really took off – just before the gambling act 2009 changed everything.

I was a programmer and games producer back then, but I really wanted to focus on being a games producer – the guy that comes up with the idea for the game, and then works with the maths, art and developers to make what’s in his head. So I started making slot games (land-based) – i did that for about 5 years, then i went in to social casino for about 2 years or so, before moving back in to real money slot games (land-based and online this time) and then finally ending up where I am now!

I’ve been in the industry for 20 years now, and in that time I’ve made AWP’s (fruit machines – traditional and video), SWP’s (skill games / quiz games), Slots (land-based and online) and Social Slots – and through all of them I’ve learnt so much and been able to put everything iIve learnt in to the games I make, but more importantly the colleagues that I mentor and/or work with.

dio: You’ve certainly been around the block, so to speak.

Has your work enabled to do any interesting travelling, for example, conventions or just for employment? Is there anywhere on your bucket list you’ve yet to but would really like to see?

Also, where do you hail from?

trancemonkey: I have indeed been around the block, but it has all been great experience. It has given me a breadth of knowledge that, I hope, has helped me achieve what I have and will hopefully help me make better products and also help train other producers!

Currently I’m living near Birmingham, UK – so yeah, I’m a “Barmy Brummie!” I’ve been fortunate to visit mainly places, with an obvious one being Las Vegas for G2E!

I currently travel a lot to Europe and Canada, and I’ve made some great friends and colleagues around the world.

One place I got to visit I would never have been to for any other reason is China – we went to Tianjin and Beijing in China. Tianjin was somewhere that not many westerners visit, so the group of us that went were almost a tourist attraction when sat outside bars – we had many Chinese people taking sneaky photos of us, even though we could see them doing it. In the end, we were inviting them over for photos! It was all good fun!

dio :You’ve brought a lot to the table here in CM.

What would you say, if anything, you’ve in turn learned from being a part of the CM community?

trancemonkey: I’ve had my eyes opened to how many dodgy casinos there are, and how some seemingly reputable casinos can do some questionable things at times.

I’ve learnt that there are a lot of misconceptions about the industry too and that more work needs to be done to right those misconceptions, and that there is still a lot of distrust of the industry – some rightfully so and some less so.

I hope that my presence on CM has helped some people understand more about what goes on and that, hopefully, most see me as one of the good guys, even if I work for the dark side

dio: Let’s wrap up with a few quick-fire questions if you’re game

trancemonkey: Sure, let’s go

dio: Least (or most) favourite trend in gaming this year?

trancemonkey: Least – megaways. Because every man and his dog is doing them now. Great idea, but arguably over-exposed now.

Most – megaways, because as annoying as they are in terms of volume, the idea behind it was great!

I’d also have to say that the move towards higher volatility games is something I’m also torn on. I like games with potential, but DOA2 was just plainly ridiculous. It probably gifts 1% of the people playing it while ripping off the other 99%.

dio: any projections or guesses on what to look forward to, good or bad, in 2020?

trancemonkey: In land-based we are seeing a lot of “lock and respin” style games – online has started to copy this (Money Train, Hypernova, the new isoftbet megaways game). I expect to see a lot more of this style of feature coming. I also hope we see something new that takes the crown away from megaways…

dio: When the work day is done and you finally get some ‘you’ time, what do you like to do to unwind?

trancemonkey: As my username may suggest, I love my music. I used to write a lot of trance, but now I mainly write dance/house. I don’t get much chance with all the travelling I do though. I still play keyboard and drums when I get a chance!

Also, Netflix with the wife and the dog is a great way to try and switch my work brain off!

I really do need to get in to sport and/or exercise… travelling and being in bars and restaurants all the time is not great for the physique

dio: Well, I wish you well with all your endeavours, be they work or otherwise and thank you for taking the time to answer a few Qs and let us all peek behind the curtains as it were.

About Trancemonkey

trancemonkey has been a member of Casinomeister since early 2013 and is the recipient of the 2018 Member Achievement Award.

When not deep into work projects he can sometimes be found haunting the AMA here in the forum debunking slots myths and answering members’ questions.

 

 

About the Author... Total Posts Written: 8
Dionysus

Dionysus

Dionysus has been a member of CM for just over 10 years.
He’s been pretty much everything under the sun including a DJ and English teacher but is generally keeping busy attacking assorted online projects.

After majoring in languages and communications in college(s), he spent most of his youth traveling and backpacking around the world but has wound down and prefers to chill with his 5 pets at home these days.
He’s lived on 2 continents, in 3 countries and about 30 cities but is a true Canucklehead at heart.

When he’s not busy behind the scenes whipping up new contests and ideas for members, you can probably find him out back feeding the wildlife or with his nose buried in a book but he promises he’ll get to writing his own one day.

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