slots by Zynga

Released as Zynga's first entry into the slots category, Zynga Slots was more than a traditional slot machine. The game targeted a casual audience with social rewards, bonus games, and level progression. 


Role: Lead Designer
Launch: June 2012
Contribution: Feature Specifications, Economy and Balance, User Interface
Recognition: #1 Arcade and Casino iOS Charts. Peek 450k Users, $50k day revenue.

More than a skinner box (sorta)

No one on the team was happy when we were asked to build a slot machine—even less so when we learned of our aggressive 4-month timeline. Nevertheless, we tabled our half-completed game and rallied to build a slot machine that appealed to the gamers within us. Rather than building a classic slot machine, we added on layers of gameplay around the basic skinner box. The more players spin, the more friends they invite, the more goodies they unlock. 

progression, social, and brand

The main attraction of slot machines are the machines themselves. Brand appeal and licensing are often the biggest factor in gamers trying new machines. With this in mind, we leveraged the Zynga brand and created special Zynga-branded machines (Farmville, WithFriends, ZombieSmash) along the progression path. Additionally, social invites produced better machine bonuses; and maxing out a machine unlocked better payouts.

Machine Mechanics

From paytables, to strip designs, to near-miss clustering, I was responsible for breaking down classic slot machine mechanics and utilizing them in Zynga Slots. I built the basic spread sheets and a brute force simulator to help tune our payouts and revenue goals.