Watch Lucksome Offer a Unique Perspective on How to Design Memorable Slots!

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Lucksome’s Bryan Upton represents a very ambitious team ready to provide some well-deserved humour and excitement to the gaming field! Watch him take part in a dynamic and insightful discussion about his company, the industry and other surprises in this exclusive interview:

How’s the show treating you so far?

Pretty good, it’s been busy, I think we’ve hid away in our little section here, so we’ve got a private space for us and the Blueprint guys to spend more time with customers and to be more relaxed in here than out in the craziness of the show. But it’s amazing to be kind of back with the full ICE, and everyone’s here, and we’re catching up with people we might not have seen for a few years because of the Covid mainly and other things, so it’s been a brilliant show so far.

I’m glad you’re having fun. What can you tell me about your company? How can you describe it?

Lucksome started in September 2020, so we’ve been going for over just two years. We’re a small studio that distributes content through the Blueprint Gaming network. And essentially, there are now about 8 of us, with 2 others helping us develop the games in the UK, so it takes us to about 10 people roughly. So we’re small, we’re really small. And our whole thing is to build high-quality, fun, interesting, and sometimes very funny games. And build things that players kinda wanna play all the time and find interesting and a good way to spend your time.

Which was the most successful game in 2022?

It would be Saint Nicked, which is our Christmas game and did really, really well. I was loving that game, it was a lot of humour, very funny, and I think players really, really liked that, and it was a different take on Christmas, where Santa was being a bit naughty rather than nice, and I think players appreciated that. So that was probably our best-performing game for the last year, I’d say. And then we had Bon Bomb Luxpots, which also hit really, really well. I guess players still like those candy themes, and they have a sweet tooth, so those two games were really tremendous for us last year.

And which one do you think will be the most successful in 2023?

I mean we have revealed all the games that we have been working on. I can say the next game that we’ve got going, which is coming in mid-March, is a game called Treasures of the Dead. It’s always like every studio should have a “book of” game, but what we want is for that game to go into nowhere because we make only 5-6 games a year, so every game for us is a big deal. So we try to look at “book” games, and I’m a huge fan of  “Book of Ra” as a game and how can we improve on it or do something that’s exciting _ and I think we’ve respected the “book” game and then we added a new hyperlines mechanic on it, which makes it super super exciting. We wanted to see what happens if they get multipliers, when they get a win, you never know, so we’ve done that and we’re hoping that those kinds of “book” style players will really appreciate the kind of new twist on the absolute wonderful classic game, so I’m hopeful for that one.

I guess you’re having some kind of customer type, and I’m curious about what kind of customer do you want to attract.

We genuinely don’t want to build a super mass market game because there are a lot of competitors in the space, markets are maturing, and so players start to understand online slots and become a little more refined in their taste. So it’s hard to get a game that’s gonna be mass-market, and everyone loves it. But if you get that’s super. I think we set out with each game to say who is it that we’re targeting. When we’re designing, we’re designing that game for that particular player, we always say, “Who is it?” first. So, you know, if we’re doing like “Treasures of the Dead”, it’s like “Who tends to play a Book of Ra game?”.  We know that’s genuinely gonna be a kind of mid-40s male player, generally. Whereas if we’re making a soft-looking, maybe candy-themed with a softer math model, that tends to have more female population. So we always ask ourselves. But we generally try to make games for most demographics, just that, it’s not every game that we try to give everyone, just set out knowing who we’re something designing for, which is kinda pretty much any industry tries to find out who the customer is and there you go.

I wanted to ask you about the creative process behind the slot and how you come up with the themes.

You can’t restrict where a good idea comes from. If a good idea comes to you, but it comes though a very odd route, you don’t dismiss it. So we try to be as open-minded as possible, but you gotta create an environment where you get those ideas firing, and the people feel like they can come forward with ideas. So the whole team is involved, but they come from anywhere. Honestly, a lot of my ideas come just by reading a book, or washing up, or having a shower, or something like that. They just come to you then, sometimes when you’re sleeping and wake up, and sometimes we’re just all together in a room, we have a few beers, and we’re just talking about games, and then just suddenly it’s like, “wow, wouldn’t it be great if we…”. So with the Saint Nicked, for example, it’s like we really don’t wanna do a boring, super happy slot game about Christmas, but we want to do something that is actually interesting and unique, and we always love the bad Santa idea. And so it was like let’s make Santa a bit drunk, with Rudolf, and they’re not doing Christmas anymore, they’re gonna get drunk together into a bar, and they get arrested in the free games. That was a conversation: it had to be funny, how we make it funny, we did all these voice-overs, and stuff. Sometimes you have an idea, and once you start making it, you discover new bits just to make it better, and then before you know it, it suddenly just clicks, and you know that’s what it needs to be. So, I don’t know, there’s no single answer, just recognise a good idea when it comes.

I’m not a big fan of Christmas, but I totally have to try that one. Can people cheat on slots?

There is a way of cheating slots, but that’s only if the design behind the game is not really well thought out. It’s possible when the designer hasn’t really gone end to end to figure out if the math is vulnerable. And also, it has happened where there are system failures when certain information causes the system to behave inaccurately. But what I’ll say is that in general, the industry it’s been around there for a long time, whereas, you know, it was not long ago when you could say it was an infant industry. The technologies have matured, and the design practices have matured, but more importantly, QAs, quality testing, and also the certification, the regulation, which have made the industry a lot more solid. So now I would say that it’s actually quite difficult to cheat a slot in terms of maintaining an advantage in front of another player, for example, by knowing something on a random slot. There are also other ways to take advantage, through bonusing, abusing things like that, but that’s our side, what we would do, if we would be on the operator level and things like that. Yes, there are ways to cheat, if it hasn’t been well designed and people haven’t caught it out, but that’s a very small minority of games that are out there in the market these days.

It’s interesting information, to be honest. Do you prefer live slots or live games or slots?

I’m definitely a slot player. I like a bit of live, I do like, the interaction, you know, it’s interesting to play. You know, you’ve got other players kind of in the background there with you and things like that. That’s quite nice, but they’re quite slow for me and at slots, I like the speed of play. With slots, it’s quite nice to be able to able to play, and it’s also… I know when I’m playing slots I’m doing that because I’m trying to relax or do something. So for me, it’s just very much to play without having to think about anything else. And I think for me personally, with live play, there’s a bit more to think about things like that, but it depends. You know the different motivations to play different types of games. You play a video game for a different reason you play a slot game, for example, and it’s separate live.

And I guess the mood sets up.

Yeah, exactly. The motive is the biggest factor. It’s like, why am I playing this? Am I doing it to relax? Because I’m not playing Call of Duty to relax, you don’t relax playing that kind of game, it’s exciting. So, it does depend on what you’re after, you know.

I want to know your personal favourite slot.

There are loads, that’s the thing. So many, for different reasons, I like Book of Ra. I mentioned it before, it’s lovely. I think one of my favourites is also 88 Fortunes, the TFTC, originally by ShopMaster, now Light Munda. Played a lot of their games. I’d say that’s other landmark classics that I really like would be Lucky Larry’s Lobster Mania and then maybe Twin Win, IGT Ocean Magic, and IGT King of Atlantis, but I think more recently, I really am a fan of the Elk Gold games, I think that they’re really quite lovely to play. So here’s a lot I can’t… it’s just too many.

I think, at some point, I was obsessed with every game you just mentioned.

Yeah, there’s many, many talented people that make many many good games out there. That’s why such a great industry to work in, you know, they keep you on your tail, on your toes, it’s great.

If someone would play for the first time a slot, which game would you recommend? Like an easier version or something to be very catchy?

They’ll need to play something reasonably simple, but it needs to be exciting. I don’t know, I’d say like… They probably need to start with something softer, so I mean, there are obvious ones, like, we released a game, our first game ever made, Divine Links, that’s like a nice game, the graphics aren’t too hard to take in, and it’s probably one of the most successful game mechanics around, which is put your money on reels, hold and spin and, you know, the math model is nice, the game is transparent, and that’s a nice game to play. There’re your obvious ones, you know, like Starburst. And those kinds of things that, you know, everyone knows and heard of and things like that. But I do think there are better games out there, you know, to get people a bit more interested in the wider lot. There’s so much. So much slot content out there now. So, yeah, I’d say something soft, nice, and easy to understand, so Divine Links would be a good one from the outside.

Actually, the first slot I ever played was Book of Ra.

Book of Ra, yes.

Like, it’s here to me, in a way.

Exactly, yeah. Did you play it online, or was it in a land-based Casino?

On a slot machine.

Yes, very good.

What’s the biggest win you’ve seen so far?

Personally? Because on the internet you can see a lot of big wins videos.


Well, I’ve been next to someone that won a jackpot in the casino, things about 25,000 bucks. That was in the U.S., currently where I was. It was quite a big win. Of course, they had to do all kinds of processes of doing all the documentation and stuff, so it’s quite interesting. That was probably the biggest one I’ve witnessed myself, obviously. You know, Megabucks in my previous live-book, you know, they could take hundreds of millions, I think, there were big wins. So some of those wide-area network progressive games, huge, Big big wins out, lots of life-changing Jackpots.

And my last question: did the recession affect the industry? Do people play less or more?

I would say that, in general, not the recession itself, in itself is arguable. It depends on where we are. I mean, is the recession the cost of living going up, maybe? And in some countries is worse than others. So, I’d say overall, as an industry, we’re okay, it’s been really stable, but I mean, it’s market, it’s a house change, but in other markets house. And I think it’s kind of balanced itself out. I think the main worry was post-covid if the attention to more digital media, which includes us, so Netflix saw a drop in usage and things like that. But I don’t think it really affected us. So, in general, I think the industry has been quite stable so far. But in this state of affairs of the whole world, you just don’t know what’s coming next. So who knows? But it’s been reasonably good. Good industry to be in.

Usually, when a recession comes or the prices go up, I’ve heard that people played more, they tended to play more. And this was my question actually.

I don’t know if people play more, I mean, we hope that they would. I think the thing to remember is: like with any industry, you want it to be sustainable. And that means, you know, a model where players play because they can afford it. What you don’t want is a lot of users who are playing that really can’t afford it, that’s just not good for anyone at all. So, what I’m hoping for is that players are playing during the recession because they can afford it. That good, responsible game practices are being applied to them so that they are doing something they can afford. I don’t know anyone that would like the otherwise to happen. I certainly can’t have a studio running if that’s, that’s for a very short term. And I’m in it, this is my job, this is my life, but I think that.. I don’t know, it may be some players that might be doing that, but I’m hoping that’s something that’s in a very, very small minority.

Yeah, it’s not a majority.


So, responsible playing and just for fun.

Exactly. Yeah, when the fun stops, then you should stop. Like, that’s a valuable lesson. The house, you know, invariably always wins. So just do it for fun if that’s what you find fun, otherwise, don’t.

Thank you so much for your time. It is a very nice interview.

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