Are good graphics important in casino games?

Many players would argue that, apart from the gameplay itself, the graphics are probably the most important part of any online game. The visual appeal of a game is one of the things that sets a game apart from other similar games and keeps players coming back again and again. How the graphics and animations play out on the screen can have a huge impact on the feel of the game, how exciting (or otherwise) it is, how the players feel when they’re playing the game, and how tempting it is to come back and play another day.

In the early days of gaming there were a lot of limits around how a game could look, but now things have progressed a lot. We’re pretty much at the point where online games are an art form in their own right, with a huge amount of time, effort, and design skill put into how they look. 

What’s more, the graphics tend to play into an overall theme that is carefully thought out and designed to enhance user experience and the players’ engagement with the game. These days, game designers for the top studios make big money, but many would claim they earn every penny, as the expectations are higher than they’ve ever been before. 

Many studios try to go for very rich and luxurious visuals in an attempt to recreate the original glitz and glamour associated with the casino experience. These days, online casinos don’t exactly have the same upmarket, “James Bond on a night out” feel as going to a real brick-and-mortar casino, but the right casino graphics can provide a visually exciting virtual experience and can go a long way to making a visit to the online casino feel like a special event.

Visual appeal of the game 

Twenty-first century gamers and gamblers expect a lot from their online games. It’s not just about finding a visually appealing game; it’s also about feeling that a lot of thought has been put into the design of a game. Many games have a very strong theme, with all the symbols, background graphics, and animations playing into that perfectly, in what often comes across as a very cinematic way.

Even in the most basic slot machine games, modern players will expect there to be a theme, with the symbols and graphics tightly linked to it. Many games have characters and entire storylines that play out as the game progresses. Often a bonus round will take you to a whole new “scene” or part of the story, and good game designers try to make the whole process as seamless as possible.

As the sophistication of online gaming has progressed, high-quality animation has become a vital element of gaming, and it is this animation that has initiated the evolution of online casino games from merely functional to highly entertaining. The right animations allow gamers to progress through a game, maybe going on a quest, hunting for hidden treasure, fishing for sharks, or chasing criminals across an apocalyptic landscape. 

Often, in an online slot game for example, the player has very little control over the game, as these types of games do tend to come down to pure chance. However, the graphics and animations can immerse the player in the storyline of the game and keep their attention on what’s happening on the screen, even if they have very little to do in terms of gameplay. For example, simply allowing the player to choose new bet levels and click a spinner to spin the reels will help them stay engaged . With these types of games, attention-grabbing graphics and animations may be the only thing stopping the player from simply moving on to another game.

Talented game designers use animations to create a unique and immersive gaming experience for players in order to raise excitement and enhance player engagement. The animations are often used to give out valuable information about the gameplay as well, indicating when they hit a big win or letting players know what will happen next.

Online casino games commonly use various types of graphics, such as 2D, 3D, motion graphics, and particle effects. The types of casino graphics used will depend on the aims of the game producers, the type of game, the budget, and many more factors, but they will always be developed with player experience in mind. Designers and developers know their game has to really stand out to potential customers in what is becoming a pretty crowded marketplace.

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Impact on player experience

The way animation is used in online games depends on the casino game, but the emphasis is generally on creating a bigger, better, more defined player experience. Video slots will tend to use a lot of animations both to entertain the player but also to enhance the gameplay and give visual feedback on the player’s progress through the game. 

When a player gets a big win, for example, the result is often shown on the screen with flashy animations and accompanying sound effects to congratulate the player and create a sense of accomplishment – which in turn will encourage the player to keep playing and maybe reach the next level, jackpot, or bonus game. 

Likewise, each bonus round is often introduced by more animations and sound effects to create a sense of excitement in the player. Winning a few free spins may not be that big a deal, but if one of the characters from the game is jumping up and down with excitement or high fiving you through the screen, that gives off a whole different vibe.

Often animations make an otherwise run-of-the-mill feature more of an event. Cascading reels that allow some symbols to disappear and others to fall into place, are not that unusual anymore. But in many games the graphics hugely contribute to a feeling that something special is happening. For example, often the symbols will explode in quite a spectacular way so the new symbols can come crashing down to replace them.

In the best games, the animations for each section are distinctive. The designers constantly change things up based on the various gameplay factors and features so that the game doesn’t get too monotonous. At the same time, they use the theme, characters, symbols and storylines to tie everything together in a way that is often really satisfying for the player.

The way graphics are used to convey information also has a big impact on player experience. Players don’t want to have to keep consulting the rules or the pay table while playing a slot. The more game information that can be displayed on the screen, the better. And the way this is done, again, can create the atmosphere and emotions that the game creators want their customers to feel.

It may not be logical, but seeing the amount you just won flashing on the screen or watching a mini firework display announcing that you have just hit the next bonus round can really make players feel more excited. The way the graphics present information can even make players feel more accomplished. With slot games, a lot of wins are random, but a character popping up to say congratulations, do a little dance, or cartwheel across the screen can make a player feel like they really accomplished something.

There’s also the fact that showing information about the game via graphics and animations keeps the player “in flow.” To find out game info, you often have to click away from the main game and take a look at another screen. So, it pays off if relevant facts about what you’ve just won, or what’s about to happen next, flashes up on the screen, keeping you in your seat and glued to the game.

Player attraction

Game providers are clever. They’re not making the game fun just for the benefit of the player. They want to attract new players, tempt back people who have already played the game before, and keep the player stuck to the gaming screen like a magnet once they start spinning those reels.

This means that the design of most online games is thought out and planned to be highly attractive and maybe a little addictive. Even some of the more straightforward games that you play will be designed with attracting players in mind. They may actually be full of unobtrusive but carefully planned design elements and animations that create unique and compelling visuals, designed mainly to keep players engaged with the game for as long as possible.

Game designers have certain objectives to meet when planning out the visuals of any given game. The graphics of a game can create true immersion for the players, transporting them into the game’s world and making them feel like they are truly a part of it, perhaps even taking on the role of a character in the game. 

Having the power to create this level of engagement can have a big impact on the player, especially in games that require any kind of strategic thinking. It can be argued that a high level of immersion in the game can help players make better decisions and, ultimately, can improve their gameplay. 

In online casinos, graphics are also used to try and create an environment that is similar to a real-life casino. We now have the technology to create a reality that is similar to real-life play, and that is largely due to how graphics and animations are used.

With slot games, in particular, designers rely heavily on creating unique, stunning, and compelling visuals to attract and retain players. With literally thousands of slot games on the market – and more being released every month – unique and immersive graphics and animations are what sets one apart from another and attracts players back to keep playing it again and again.
Ultimately, good graphics are a vital element in any casino game. They are often what makes a game memorable to a player, and therefore graphics play a big part in bringing repeat players back to the same game, often over and over again.

Author: Tanya Fields

Campaign Acquisition Manager Length with RC: 1 year, 9 months Favorite Casino Game: Starburst Background in iGaming: Opened the iGaming Department at Hard Rock Atlantic City in 2018 in both Customer Service, and then CRM, prior to moving over to RC in January 2021 Location: Based in NJ at the RC HQ Content: Occasionally, but only as it pertains to RC