<D <M <Y
Y> M> D>

: Lawrence! You got me!

: More gambling: Kevin claims to have a seedy uncle John who designs slot machines. Kevin also claims that everyone has a seedy uncle John, which is patently false: I have an uncle Jon but he's just about the least seedy person imaginable. But where I'm going with this is that more than I want to be a bad-ass card counter (q.v.) I would like the more profitable occupation of bad-ass slot machine designer.

Right now gambling is only legal in certain parts of the country, which means that almost all opportunities for impulse gambling are squandered on the miserable payoff of state lottery tickets. Slot machines are designed for placement in a featureless wasteland where people go specifically to gamble, such as Las Vegas, a reservation, or the state of New Jersey. If gambling were to be legalized in a new area, slot-machine companies would simply flood that area with their current lowest-common-denominator slots, with no regard for local differences. Slot machine companies need to have a flexible system in place that allows them to instantly deploy region-specific slots to any state or U.S. territory.

I envision a Sun-like system with a network of dumb slot machines each of which has not only its payoff pattern but also its branding controlled by a central server. Whenever someone walks away from a machine, the machine may undergo a state transformation into a game more likely to keep someone at the machine.

This opens up amazing new opportunities for the house. Rather than relying on crude randomness, slots can play in quasi-legal ways on people's superstitious conceptions of the odds in order to increase revenue (it will also create new superstitions, such that a slot is 'hot' after changing state). As new and flashier themes are created, a casino operator can purchase them online and download them onto the server, which will automatically begin propagating them onto the casino's slot machines. It also gives me license to come up with thousands of bizarre, unworkable slot machine themes like Nethack slots, slots with polynomial terms on the reels where you win if the resulting polynomial can be factored, and slots with Magic Eye icons.

Eventually all the slots will settle to an equilibrium consisting of the same sort of lowest-common-denominator slots that existed in the first place, but by that time I will have retired wealthy and fled the country. (Bizarrely, many of my plans end with "but by that time I will have retired wealthy and fled the country"; I should look into this.)

Game Roundup:

: Phidgets are single-purpose peripherals that take computer action based on sensor data and/or take real-life action based on the computer or network environment. A gallery of whimsical phidgets brings to physical manifestation the little X toys, the load monitors and IRC notification agents and the like. My favorite is the physical biff implementation Marble Mail.

It's all pretty useless, of course, but my cube at work is full of useless stuff that isn't connected to the computer, so why not (for example) make my Godzilla action figure stomp around whenever someone assigns me an issue?


[Main]

Unless otherwise noted, all content licensed by Leonard Richardson
under a Creative Commons License.