The National Indian Gaming Association trade show, that is... I spent Monday and Tuesday in beautiful San Diego (though, alas, I didn't get to see much of it... about 3 blocks from the convention center at most, and a little bit of the 3rd base at PETCO Park, visible from my hotel room) helping a bit with setup the first day, and helping a bit with manning the booth the second day. Of course, I and all of the engineers in the company have been spending the last several weeks (if not months) working feverishly to get products ready for this show. To friends and family who wonder where the hell I've been, that's why you've not heard from me for so long.
I even pulled an all-nighter last Thursday, trying to get my own game ready to be loaded on the truck Friday. Haven't done one of those in a long time (not work-related, anyhow...) and I'm definitely getting too old for that kind of stunt...
But the results of all that work paid off nicely once the public got to see our exciting new products. There were a few hiccups along the way, but mostly things went pretty smooth, and the response to the games (and the oversized cabinets) was very encouraging.
Here are a few pictures I took of the booth Monday afternoon, after the games had been set up. At this point the place was still a bit of a mess with packing materials and other miscellaneous stuff cluttering the floor, but at least this will give you an idea of the layout and the dimensions of the games themselves. The people in these photos are various coworkers of mine, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent... ;-)
This picture is a bit overexposed (I seem to have serious flash issues with my camera) but it certainly shows off the booth itself -- the truss system with banners covered almost all of the 20' x 40' booth space that we had. Above the truss (not pictured here) was a rotunda with our company logos highlighted, visible from halfway across the convention floor.
This shows off 3 of the 4 game types we had on display. In the foreground to the right, we have our 42" touch screen display games. Center booth are the two 46" non-touch screen games in massive ("Colossal") cabinets. And in the background to the left you can see a couple of our dual-screen 26" display games with LED light boxes around the top monitors, used in the bonus rounds of the game.
The picture below is the same basic shot, but taken without flash entirely. The booth is a bit dark but the game monitors came out much better, and you can see the light boxes on those 26" games in the back (they're in the middle of animating, which is why not all of the boxes are lit at the moment). Those lights are pretty impressive, each box can be backlit by an LED grid capable of displaying one of more than 65,000 unique colors, which really sets our machines apart from others you might see in a casino.
The picture below shows off the 4th type of game configuration that we displayed, a 5-reel mechanical machine (similar to the "old school" slot machines when physical reels spin around rather than a video display of reels). Ours also happens to have a 26" video touchscreen mounted above the reels, which we use for bonus modes and other display purposes. The cabinet configuration is flexible enough that if we wanted to, we could mount the same LED light box / vertical video display seen in the 26" video product above, on top of the mechanical reels. The lighting in this photo makes it hard to see, but those are 3 white reel strips in the middle, with a red strip on the left and a blue strip on the right which contain bonus and multiplier symbols.
This is a shot of the title that I've been working on for the past month or so. It's another 5-reel mechanical game with video top bonus. Again, there are three white reels in the middle, and a couple of black reels on the sides for bonus and multiplier symbols. This configuration also happens to have a small 6" display set just below the reels, for showing the player's credit balance and current wager information.
This photo shows another angle on the 26" video product in the background, with a pair of 42" video games on the right and just a bit of the 46" Colossal cabinet on the left. Lighting is again problematic, but hopefully you can see the LED effects in the bonus boards of those 26" games (and also get a sense of the scale of these cabinets, with a real live person in the picture for comparison!)
Here's another shot of the same end of the booth as the picture directly above. Unfortunately I didn't get a non-flash version of this angle, so the screens of the games are not clear at all.
Finally, again a shot of the center of the booth and those massive 46" cabinets. The person in the foreground is standing about 10 feet away from that game, more or less -- I believe those cabinets are about 9 feet tall. We've actually been unable to place them in some casinos because their ceilings were too low to handle the machine! This is a "specialty" cabinet, so most casinos would only put one on the floor. Some of the bigger places, with thousands of machines, might place 3 or 4.
Anyhow, now that we've gotten past the show, hopefully things will settle down just a bit. Of course, there's always the next deadline... but at least I won't be personally trying to code a game for that one, so I might get home before midnight once in a while...