In this interview, we speak with Tomas Tezak, the Market Readiness and Logistics Lead at Neon Valley Studios, a slot game developer.
With years of experience in enterprise software, Tomas shares his passion for the dynamic and constantly changing gaming industry. He discusses the development process at Neon Valley Studios, their commitment to fairness and randomness in game design, and their partnerships and collaborations with other gaming companies. Tomas also provides insight into the upcoming release of Gallo Gold Bruno's™ Megaways™ and how player feedback plays a crucial role in game development.
Can you start by telling us more about yourself? How long have you been at Neon Valley Studios?
My name is Tomas Tezak. I am a Market Readiness and Logistics Lead at Neon Valley Studios.
I've been part of the company since we began. I do wear a couple of different hats, but mainly I work closely with the game designers and the product teams to ensure we have a proper vision, that we execute on it, and that the games we are building align with what the market is looking for. I also broker relationships with our publishers and external stakeholders in multiple capacities.
What inspired you to start developing slot games?
I think this is a fascinating industry. Very dynamic with constant change and frequent challenges. I come from an enterprise software background and when the opportunity came along to join the team and start working on a new breed of games with a group of people full of passion and talent, I did not hesitate for a second.
How do you come up with new and engaging game concepts?
This is one of the big advantages of being in Las Vegas. Everyone in the team lives and breathes casino gaming. This creates a very fertile ground for ideas.
What have been your most popular games so far?
Well, we don't believe in a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to game development. Different types of players gravitate towards different games so every title we release is successful and popular at one level or another. That said, we can't help but go back to Atlantean Treasures Mega Moolah, Age of Conquest™ and Queen of Alexandria™. They were really ground-breaking at the time and despite being out for a few years now, they continue to have a very strong following.
Can you tell us more about your upcoming release, Gallo Gold Bruno's™ Megaways™?
Yes, it's a game we are really excited about. We're very aware of how well chicken-themed games have performed traditionally and wanted to bring an updated take on the genre. We put the team's full creative force behind the charismatic Bruno character while paying full attention to all details surrounding the environment and the supporting cast of characters. Then, pairing this with an action-packed Megaways™ mechanic was a very easy choice. We had a lot of fun building it and hope it will shine through to the players.
Expect to see Bruno pop up in new adventures in the near future!
Can you walk me through your development process, from concept to launch?
It all starts with inspiration and ideas from our game designers or the team at large. We will zero in on a mechanic and work closely with the creative team to come up with potential art concepts. Once we settle on a vision, the game is presented to the full product team, who then take ownership of the game and spend some time defining all functionality.
With a plan in place, the team then goes into production for 2 or 3 months, always playing and revising the game to their satisfaction. In parallel with production, our marketing team works closely with the publishers to ensure the game is reaching casino operators well in advance. Once the team is ready, production wraps up and we move on to the certification phase for a few weeks before the game is finally able to go live.
How do you ensure the fairness and randomness of your games?
This is absolutely critical for us and something we take very seriously. It starts with billions of simulations at the math level. Both our math and QA teams review the numbers very meticulously. Then while the game is being built, QA does another pass to ensure that transactions are being represented accurately and clearly.
Finally, we work closely with the regulators during the certification process to ensure that the math information of the game is communicated clearly and that they have the visibility and documentation they need to confidently certify the game.
Can you tell me about any particularly successful or innovative games you've developed?
We are always looking for opportunities to push the boundaries or tread the path least traveled if we feel there's opportunity there. Atlantean Treasures Mega Moolah was the first original math model in the Mega Moolah network in about 10 years, while Queen of Alexandria™ WowPot! was among the first titles to feature the WowPot! jackpot.
How do you stay current with the latest trends and technologies in the slot game industry?
The short answer is we play a lot of games. We live in a city where we have access to slot games in every corner, literally 24/7.
But beyond that, we work closely with the customer-facing members of the team such as publishing and sales at Games Global. Their feedback and insight is invaluable in our decisions on what to build next.
Can you discuss any partnerships or collaborations you have with other companies or organizations in the gaming industry?
As I hinted at earlier, we have an exclusive partnership with Game Global for the distribution of all our games. Having the full support of such an extensive organization is a huge advantage for us, and has been instrumental in our ability to deliver great content to the widest possible audience.
How do you handle player feedback and incorporate it into your game development?
That is one of the key elements driving the success of our games. We have frequent meetings with casino operators as well as the sales team. We also do multiple rounds of playability sessions. The goal is to get as much feedback as possible while we are in production so decisions can be made based on the feedback received.