Kaiser: Marching boots, unstoppable tanks, and amusing animated characters

Today we are launching another amazing game from Peter & Sons – KAISER that will take us back to 1914 when the world is shaken by the rolling thunder of marching boots and waves of unstoppable tanks. The WWI mood in Kaiser is lifted by amazing cartoonish game art with humorous animated characters that brighten up the historically themed game.

Game art was created by Evgeny Viitman, who is the Art director at Peter & Sons.

Can you please share with us more about your artistic background and what inspired you to start working in the iGaming industry?

I’m coming from a family of artists – both of my parents are theatrical artists, costume and scene designers, so I grew and learned by observing them working. I started my career in game development in 2005, working as a 3D artist for Unigine and then moving from one company to another (Disney Mobile Games studio, Gameloft, GameDuell, Studio 49 … ), looking for something where I could exploit all my potential. It was difficult to work for big corporations because of the limitations and visual dictatorship 🙂 In 2017 I got an offer from Casumo to start working on casino games, and, to be honest, in the very beginning, I looked at the opportunity quite skeptically, as I saw it pretty downgrading to move from mobile mid/hardcore games to slot games. But then I saw this as an opportunity to bring my experience from mobile, add something new into the gambling games universe, and flavor it with innovative visuals. My 4 years journey at Casumo ended, and luckily, I got the opportunity to join this fantastic studio, Peter and Sons, where I have all the freedom to explore and create!

Kaiser is one of the latest additions from Peter & Sons. Can you tell us more about the creative process of making this game? 

This was a great experience! We had the idea to create something completely different. We decided to take Hasek’s “Brave Soldier Svejk” and try to make a very cartoony game about a soldier that doesn’t really care about his military career or war but is more interested in taking care of dogs. Then we brought in Brunhilda, a nurse, Schultz’s platonic love with her name tattooed on his hand, and also a hysterical general, the opposite to Schultz.

Many things are happening on the scene – the bombs are falling, and tanks are shooting, airplanes in the background, while the brave or silly Schultz remains unharmed and full of joy, collecting pieces of cheese and pretzels. 

Here is the first scribble we had for the game. 

We started to fill up the scene with animations. We had many more than what you see in the final product, but we had to cut it down to make it more panel-focused. It was indeed a lot of fun working on Kaiser! 

What future projects are you preparing for? What kind of projects motivate you the most and why?

We have plenty of new projects and different, cool ideas we are experimenting with. As a small teaser, I’m currently working on a Mayan-themed game with dancing shamans and aliens. I find new challenges very motivating, especially when I need to use my brain to not repeat myself and try to create something new and surprising. 

Meet brave soldier Schultz and give Kaiser game a spin here. More information about the game is also in the promo video.

Find other great games from Peter & Sons on this link.

More artwork from Evgeny Viitman on his Behance profile.


ORYX Analytics platform – data in the cloud

Data is said to be one of the most significant raw materials in today’s industry. But just having a plethora of raw materials never guaranteed success, and data is not an exception. That is why the Oryx data analytics team designed a modern process that put all the data in the cloud and ensured speed and deeper insight for our clients.

Just having a lot of data is not enough. It’s much more the process of collecting it, cleaning it, refining it, and transforming it into presentable information that makes the difference. With the always increasing needs that come with business growth, it was Oryx’s strategic decision to re-evaluate our approach and consider moving to a cloud-based system.

The Oryx data analytics team modernized the processing of data and in the period of six months moved the Oryx Analytics platform entirely into the cloud. An exciting task not only made their job easier in the long run but enabled the whole company to process data into informative decisions. The step helped improve our clients’ results by getting more detailed insights faster and thus enabling better conclusions.

The ORYX Analytics platform is essentially a cloud-based data warehouse and it is part of both the iGaming platform and ORYX Hub products. It aims to tackle a wide array of topics exceeding basic reporting and dashboards. Its ambitions include dynamic player segmentation, targeting, fraud detection, alerting, and algorithmic data processing.

To do this, a solid foundation as a combination of hardware and software needs to be available.

Data security is ensured by Google and Oryx Gaming additionally developed processes and designed fail-safe data procedures.

Why move to the cloud?

It was a lengthy and well-weighted decision that led the data team to shift from an on-premise solution to Google’s BigQuery. The main reasons can be summed up as:

1. Data Access: Putting our clients’ data in the cloud-enabled us to give their analysts access to real-time data from numerous sources, allowing them to run better and faster analytics.

2. Scalability: It is much faster and less expensive to scale a cloud data warehouse than an on-premise system. It doesn’t require purchasing new hardware and the scaling can happen automatically as needed.

3. Performance: A cloud data warehouse allows for queries to be run much more quickly, at a lower cost.

4. Reliability and maintenance: Google’s cloud platform comes with a service-level agreement (SLA) promising a 99.99% availability.

5. Modularity: It allows us for ongoing agile development based on current customer needs.

What is Google BigQuery?

BigQuery is an enterprise data warehouse that solves the problems of storing and querying massive datasets being time-consuming and expensive without the right hardware and infrastructure by enabling super-fast SQL queries using the processing power of Google’s infrastructure.

Beyond the big decision – the project

When the drawing boards were full and the decision was made, the development started. Based on our previous experience and knowledge the product came together very quickly.

On one side everyone in the data engineering team ensured a steady continuous stream of near real-time data to be transferred into the cloud, and on the other side, in close cooperation with both an iGaming platform client and internal marketing teams, we developed the 1st data-marts (subsets of data carefully prepared for direct use by end-users) focusing on the main entities of the business. As the proverbial “cherry on top” we then also set up real-time reports, which dived into the specifics of the business.

As a result, we could brag about a fully working cloud data-warehouse on a live client, incorporating our platform data and external provider data.

And then …?

This wasn’t the end of the story; in fact, it was merely a beginning of “continuous improvement”, ”scaling” and “products and services”.

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES – Our in-house Campaign management software, back-integration with the platform, alerting system, monitoring system, 360-degree reporting, but also ventures into machine learning are just some of the more prominent uses.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT – We strive to keep our solution at the front of the industry standards. All parts of the solution went through multiple iterations, each improving on the previous

SCALING – At the time of this writing we provide the solution to several clients, including Oryx managed iGaming platforms, aggregator clients, and game providers.

What can operators do with this product?

With the ORYX Analytics platform, the analytics are better and faster because of detailed information and because queries are run much more quickly. Cloud technology makes it possible to process terabytes of data in a matter of seconds, which is not even possible on a regular PC, or very expensive on regular databases.

The potential of sophisticated tools is enormous and rewarding. With the ORYX Analytics platform, operators can deep dive into the data and gain the insights needed for data-based decision-making.

Operations can develop:

  • advanced player segmentation,
  • loyalty schemes,
  • recommendations,
  • analyze game launch performance,
  • campaign results, etc.

I’m glad I am a part of the Oryx Data analytics team and that I could be a part of this transformation. It’s quite humbling to see the capabilities of cutting-edge technology, but it’s also very empowering to see what we can achieve by utilizing it.

Thus far, we can observe concrete results in added capabilities and shortening of the delivery times. We enabled our clients to quickly access their data, even from external sources they could not access before. This service is something we can now offer to both operators and game-providing partners.

In the coming months, we are looking to change our focus; not only are we going further with increasing capabilities, but we’re also venturing into driving retention activities via the data warehouse.

Oryx Gaming at DragonHack

DragonHack, the main student hacking event in Slovenia, is also one of our main ways to meet new developers’ talent, so Oryx Gaming was in the middle of the action, sponsoring the event the third year in a row.

DragonHack is an opportunity for students to practice their skills on practical software and hardware problems. This year the event was held online on the 22nd and 23rd of May, with teams working 24 hours straight. Companies supported them with mentorship and after the presentations of hacks chose the best teams in their categories. 

Oryx Gaming sponsored the Most readable code hack. Submitted hacks were judged by our mentors, Domen Kern and Igor Jurić, software developers with more than ten years of experience. Their criteria for most readable code were: is the code readable and runs all the tests, is it maintainable, understandable, contains no duplication, and minimizes the number of entities.

Domen Kern and Igor Jurić, Oryx Gaming mentors at DragonHack

The mentors were available for contestants during the weekend to offer them advice and they of course also chose the winners. The most readable code in their opinion was from a group of first-year students and Domen described the decision: “Winners of 2021 most readable code challenge, Bine, Nik and Marko from the team called 00010001, were chosen for their clearly structured and nicely commented project. The code is separated into logical units. Modules are separated into the front-end and back-end and all their underlying modules are also logically separate, so I can find what I am looking for simply by looking at the project structure. When we go into separate files/classes again things are logically ordered, well commented, and divided into small readable chunks. Method and variable names are meaningful and descriptive without being too long.

Congratulations to Bine, Nik and Marko from the team called 00010001, who won the Most readable code hack!

DragonHack must be known as well for the prizes as it is for the hacks. Companies go all out to attract contestants with interesting hacks and covetable prizes. Oryx Gaming awarded the winning team of the Most readable code hack, the 00010001 group, with portable projectors.

Congratulations to all the contesting teams, the winning teams, and of course the 00010001 group, who won the Most readable code hack. It is a pleasure to see the level of code the young teams can do on such short notice. Thank you to the DragonHack organizing team for a great platform for networking and meeting young bright minds!

Fruits are forever

Fruit symbols on slot machines are almost as old as slot machines themselves. But why fruits? And more interestingly, why oranges, cherries, plums? Historians haven’t yet come to an agreement, and there are many theories and conflicting statements on why these particular symbols were placed on the reels. But one thing is sure: once the fruits arrived, they were here to stay.

One-armed bandit’s instant success

While classic casino games like blackjack, baccarat and even roulette have longer histories, automated machines only started appearing at the end of the 19th century. They quickly gained popularity, and manufacturers could barely cope with the demand.

When the gambling – or should we say anti-gambling – laws prohibited cash payouts, bars offering the machines to customers had to adapt quickly. Some simply provided rewards in the form of drinks, snacks, cigarettes (maybe cigars for bigger wins) and similar bar items at the counter. Others went a step further and disguised the slot machines as vending machines, dispensing chewing gum with every pull. The gum would, of course, be traded back for the “unofficial official” award.

Forbidden fruits are the sweetest

One theory holds that these adaptations were the breakthrough moment for the fruit symbols. Symbols of fruits were added on the reels to match the candy and gum flavours available as prizes. As to why these specific flavours – orange, plum, cherry, lemon – were offered, one speculation sounds particularly plausible. As bar owners wanted to buy the cheapest gum to minimise their expenses, gum manufacturers sold them gum with flavours they had trouble selling.
One cannot but admire the poetry of this full circle. Unpopular fruits got associated with an underground, forbidden activity and – as it tends to happen with forbidden fruits – inevitably became the sweetest, most desired ones.

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger

Later, when the prohibition on alcohol struck, the whole bar scene went underground. The 1930s saw the emergence of speakeasies, establishments that served illegal alcohol, with a touch of gambling on the side. It wasn’t long before the owners realised since their enterprise was already illegal, they might as well start offering cash prizes again. This gave slots an additional boost in popularity. The fruit-flavoured prizes were gone, but the symbols stayed.

Long live the king

When the prohibition period ended, the production of slots grew exponentially for a couple of decades. The slot machine, the undisputed king of gambling establishments, was finally crowned, never to be dethroned again. Even though the industry evolved well beyond the fruit machine concept, fruit symbols continue to represent the roots of the slot machine identity to this very day.

Recent fruit releases from the Oryx RGS

The true testament to the never-ending popularity of fruit machines is the steady flow of fruit-themed slot games added to the Oryx RGS. Below is our cherry-picked selection:

Stacks of Jacks
Jack is a lighthearted jester beaming with joy. His smile is highly contagious, especially for players who catch Jack stacked across all reels.

Fruit Rush
Some players like fruits, and then some players can’t get enough of fruits. No matter the type, the 6-reels-4-rows Fruit Rush makes sure no one ever runs out of vitamins.

Asian Fruits Combo
In Asia, the charismatic fruit king Durian reigns supreme and brings entertainment and winnings to players worldwide. Make a spin here.

Fruit Love
True love might be hard to find, but Fruit Love certainly isn’t. You can find it on Oryx RGS.

Sunny Sevens
It’s a known fact that fruit machines usually don’t have any special features. Fancy features, that is, as Sunny Seven symbols pay up to 5000x total bet.

Sevens & Books
Fruits in fruit machines always have companions in various forms like a 7 symbol, a BAR symbol, a Bell … So Gamomat added one of their own: the notorious Book symbol.

Fruit Lines
Last but not least, let’s not forget about Fruit Lines, the latest release from “yours truly”. The first game from the new generation of Oryx games is a 5-line fruit machine with lean looks and mean rewards. Be sure to check it out!

Author: Jernej Demšar, Copywriter at Oryx Gaming

Get ready for the Mafiosi with top 5 mafia movies

At the end of this week, we are releasing another fantastic game from Peter & Son’sThe Mafiosi. The game takes us back to the 1920’s prohibition-era New York where dry law was set to squeeze the booze industry. What it actually did was drive it underground, where the Mafiosi took matters into their own hands. One may disagree with their ways, but no one can argue they inspired some of the most iconic movies of our time.

Get yourself in the mafia mood and prepare for some action with our top mafia movie selection.

Goodfellas (1990)

American biographical crime film directed by Martin Scorsese is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made, particularly in the gangster genre. It is a film adaptation of the 1985 nonfiction book Wiseguy by Pileggi. Starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci, the film narrates the rise and fall of mob associate Henry Hill and his friends and family from 1955 to 1980.

Fun facts about the movie:

  • Scorsese gave his actors conflicting directions to create tension.
  • Scorsese cast real mobsters in the film. Lots of extras were guys who were connected, in some way or another, to organized crime. Many of them actually knew the main characters in real life. This casting was Scorsese’s way of blurring real life with Hollywood.
  • There are 300 usages of the word f*ck in Goodfellas, which, for a time, made it the record holder for most uses in a film.
  • Goodfellas infamous “funny how?” scene wasn’t in the script

Godfather (1972)

The Godfather is an American film series that consists of three crime films directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It was inspired by the 1969 novel of the same name by Italian American author Mario Puzo. The movies follow the trials of the fictional Corleone family, whose patriarch, Vito Corleone, rises to be a major figure in American organized crime. The Godfather series was nominated for 28 Academy Awards and won 9.

Fun facts about the movie:

  • Many famous actors failed to be cast in the film: Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Nicholson, and Robert DeNiro all wanted to play the part of Michael, which was ultimately given to Al Pacino.
  • One of the movie’s most famous lines was improvised. “Leave the gun, take the cannoli” was uttered by capo Peter Clemenza after a certain dirty deed. Actor Richard Castellano improvised that line after the director added a line in an earlier scene where Clemenza’s wife says, “Don’t forget the cannoli!”

Scarface (1983)

Scarface is an American crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma, a remake of the 1932 film of the same name. It tells the story of a Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who arrives penniless in 1980s Miami and goes on to become a powerful drug lord.

Fun facts about the movie:

  • Steven Spielberg directed a scene. The E.T. director visited the set and ended up directing a scene in which a henchman scales the outer walls of Tony’s home.
  • Scarface was initially rated X. In 1983, a movie could get slapped with an X just for excessive swearing and graphic violence. An appeals board overturned the X rating and awarded Scarface a less restrictive R which allowed children under 17 to see the film if accompanied by an adult.

Casino (1995)

Casino is an American epic crime film directed by Martin Scorsese, based on the 1995 nonfiction book “Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas”. Author Nicholas Pileggi also co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Scorsese. Casino stars Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci. The film marks the eighth collaboration between director Scorsese and De Niro.

Fun facts about the movie:

  • Most dialogues between Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci were improvised. The director just told them where to start and where to end.
  • The movie was shot in a real casino. Scorsese used real dealers and pit bosses where possible for extra authenticity (and to spare the hassle of teaching actors how to do it). 

Irishman (2019)

The Irishman is an American epic crime film directed and produced by Martin Scorsese, based on the 2004 nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt. It stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci. The film follows Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a truck driver who becomes a hitman for the mobster Russell Bufalino (Pesci) and his crime family, including his time working for the powerful Teamster Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino).

Fun fact about the movie:

  • The Irishman had the longest shoot of Martin Scorsese’s career: 108 shooting days total. Across those 108 days, the cast and crew were required to shoot 309 scenes across 117 locations. All of this required a gargantuan budget of around $160 million, which no major studio was willing to fork out. Only Netflix would agree to it.

Author: Špela Bric, Project Manager at Oryx Gaming