$1 LEFT into BIG WIN! ON BUFFALO GOLD SLOT MACHINE!
This partner, who was a non-technical person, realized that the bulk of the revenue in Las Vegas comes from slot machines that were still technically very primitive.
They still used physical reels spinning behind glass.
Steve Wynn had shown that Las Vegas is not about gambling.
It is about entertainment.
Slot machines that were more entertaining would make more money, and we'd have a product.
That was the basic concept.
At the time, it struck me as a really an off-the-wall idea.
Back in the old days at Atari, we had looked at it.
But we shied away from the industry when we realized how difficult it was to get a new product into this industry.
He had previously please click for source Amiga and then the 3DO company.
It was something I didn't know how to do and it sounded like a good challenge.
The project also sounded like a lot of fun.
Then Dave said, "Why don't we go to the trade show starting up in a few weeks in Las Vegas?
But it's also a really good trade show.
I went and looked at all the offerings from all the companies making slot machines, and was just struck by how primitive they were.
It just seems too easy.
So I got a little paranoid.
While in Las Vegas, I spoke to the head of the Nevada Gaming Control Board Technical Branch about some of the technical issues that one must address in order to make a slot machine comply with the Nevada gaming rules.
It was also a very interesting experience.
They were very helpful.
I had thought that they would be standoffish.
But in fact they were enthusiastic about having some Silicon Valley company make new slot machines.
So it's in our interest to have better machines.
People like to cheat and steal from these machines and that's a big issue.
So I asked them about their experience with modern cryptography � public-key cryptography, RSA, and stuff like that.
They had never heard of it.
Then I saw a real a opportunity here.
We had about a million dollars of start-up money from Dave Morse, the angel.
But we had to get additional money.
The next step, as with any start-up, was to build a prototype that would be good enough to convince investors to put money in.
I had to put together a team of engineers to build the prototype and then the final machine.
Building the Team In putting a team together it is always very, very critical that you build a new organization from the top down.
So one of my first hires was a friend, Harry Jenkins, with whom I had worked with at Atari years earlier.
He had been one of the best product designers that Atari had and had just become available.
I gave him the tasks of building concept, the visuals, the product, the packaging.
Then I continued to assemble the key players of engineering team.
The computer-based machine that article source were going to build was going to be a very powerful system with beautiful graphics like no one had ever seen before.
Our concept was aimed at people who did not understand or care about computers, like classically blue-haired little old ladies that are drunk.
The machine had to be very easy to play, very identifiable, enjoyable, and entertaining.
So my next big hire was Adam Leventhal, one of the best graphics guys that I hired away from Apple Computer.
One of the key engineering decisions that we made very early on was to not use a custom electronic digital board, as was done on all the other video games and slot machines in 1993.
That was the wrong way to go for the early 1990s.
Instead we decided to use a standard Intel motherboard.
A slot machine cannot crash.
It had to be extremely stable.
I needed to hire people with top-notch, real-time, operating system expertise.
There were a few of them around.
I wanted experts, experts who had used these operating idea largest online poker tournament possible before.
They were engineers who had designed things for the remote telephone answering machines that were all built on the little individual circuit cards, with a real-time operating system running on an x86 microprocessor.
These remote answering machines could not go down.
That was the design philosophy that I wanted.
So I did not want the average PC type of designer.
I wanted that kind of designer who understood hard, stable, product design.
We had a design team with experience interfacing from the high-level stuff down to the hardware level.
It was also crucial that we hire someone who understood the very functionare slot machine opinion slot business and its customers.
But we were going to make a product that would appeal to someone who did gamble.
We need to get that kind of understanding into the company, both by training our existing engineers and by hiring people from that industry.
In regards to knowledge of the slot machine industry, our key hire was a gentleman named Andrew Pascal, who at the time was running the slot operations at the Mirage Casino and happened to be Steve Wynn's nephew.
He was a young man who wasn't too set in his ideas, and was enthused about the idea of coming to Silicon Valley to do a Silicon Valley startup.
Wynn was not happy when we hired Andrew.
Wynn had daughters but no sons.
He was grooming his nephew to succeed him in the business.
For Andrew to leave and work for us was a shock for Mr.
We did not realize at the time that Mr.
We thought super big slot machine win hire was a great idea.
At the heart of the project was cryptography.
Well, when you hire A-player digital engineers, they're all going to know about cryptography.
We had wonderful meetings with all these very, very bright people, as we got into the architecture and the design.
We had all seen the movie Casino that had just come out.
And I pointed out to the group that the movie, even though it was supposed to be fiction, was based on fact.
That sort of stuff really happens.
Some of the guys on the design team had previous experience in video game design.
Often in that world, engineers will put in Easter eggs � little surprises � in the software that they can show to their friends.
If they hit the right combination of keys it'll say their name or something.
So first step was to click to see more the core team of engineers to appreciate what we had to do.
We explicitly stated that our goal was an architecture � a system � such that it would be impossible for any engineer to put a GAFT application, or cheating application, on the system no matter what he wanted to do.
We had to create a security system that was so tight that it would not slot machine logic circuit any foreign software.
The solution had to deal with the entire architecture remarkable, apex gorilla slot machine can not just the operating system.
We proved mathematically that that was indeed the case.
Getting this security to work was a lot of fun.
I mean it was really exciting.
The first patent, fortunately named the Alcorn Patent, was really the result of a team effort.
It was one of my best experiences because a team of six or seven engineers were able to come up with something better than any one of us could have come up with alone.
The First Prototype The canonical process in high-tech start-ups is you get your angel money � get your million bucks from the angel, put a team together, and that lets you live for a few months � six months, maybe.
But during that slot machine arcade apk mod of time you've got to hustle and build a prototype compelling enough to attract your next round of investors.
In this case it was going to be the B round of real funding.
We were looking for several million dollars � eight, ten million, something like that.
We had to come up with the prototype in a very short time.
Unable to create the hardware from scratch, we did what everybody does and bought the finest graphics systems that you could buy at the time: a Silicon Graphics machine.
We modified it to drive a special display that would allow us to show how our system would work and why it was different than any other systems around.
For the prototype we had a wooden cabinet holding a couple of the design features: 16" by 9" cathode ray tube, the first and only such tube made.
It was in portrait mode.
The tube had been specially imported from Europe for us.
We modified the Silicon Graphics machine to interface with the tube.
We had a slot machine crank handle bolted to the side of it.
Showing our crude looking prototype to actual slot bosses and potential casino customers was an amusing process.
We'd fly them out to our office in Saratoga, California, to see it.
Several of them came away thinking, "They can't make something out of wood!
It is an interesting ability.
They have a different reaction.
That's not going to work.
You have to have a metal cabinet.
You can't have wood.
Some of the concepts we had that were very different that didn't stick that I think were fascinating because most of the time a slot machine sits passively on the floor.
Most of the time, any given slot machine is not being played, Even though during its lifetime, in a year, it may take a million dollars, it just sits there idle.
We had the idea of using a group of slot machines in a casino as a video wall to show advertising that could attract crowds.
We had all the components needed.
There was a big graphic display screen that could display information to a crowd.
All the slot machines were to be hooked up on Ethernet, which was not in use at that time there in Las Vegas.
Our machines could talk to each other.
We could do all kinds of interesting things.
For example, in those days the slot machines worked with coins and dollar bills and could jam.
The standard IGT machine would lock up and show on the LED display, F7G1.
When it locks up no one can play.
The customer may sit there waiting for someone to service it.
What we did was have a video come up and a Professor Irwin Corey-type of character would come on and say, "Well, we've had some problems with the machine and we've got somebody coming over.
Though these features were not gambling, they were entertainment.
We showed that sort of stuff and people said, "Wow.
The Second Round of Investors We went to the usual suspects down Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto.
And so they came down to our beautiful little offices in Saratoga, and we would give them the dog and pony show.
Andrew Pascal would talk about his part of it and I'd talk about my part of it.
We had pretty much all the VC firms coming through.
It was a blur.
The most memorable potential investor for me was Larry Ellison.
When he came by he announced, "I got 15 minutes.
But as we into it, Ellison started asking all these technical questions about the graphics subsystem.
We were building a beautiful, if not the best, graphic subsystem.
So I said, "Hang on a second.
This is very much like the CAPS system that Disney used for animation.
I worked on that system.
Although Ellison was thrilled with the whole thing, he never invested.
Because we were a gambling investment, which was unheard of, we had to give the demo to every partner at Kleiner Perkins, about 50 partners, and half of them are in medical or biotech.
So we had to sell it to a lot of people.
Eventually they did invest.
If you go to Kleiner Perkins in your second round and they say no, then you're pretty much doomed because nobody will want to invest if KP says no.
On the other hand, if they say yes, then everyone wants to join in.
It reminded me of a scene from a Laurel and Hardy movie where they're all trying to get through the doorway at the same time.
We got the amount of investment needed to build the production model, but it was an unusual experience to say no to some of the top VC firms.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board Our next challenge was to get approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
To sell a slot machine � a real gambling slot machine in Nevada - the corporation has to be licensed.
To get this corporate license every executive or board member has to be investigated.
This investigation takes six months to a year.
Every deal you were ever in gets unraveled.
They want to keep out bad people.
These investigations would take a very long time because our investors were all private.
The Board explained to us that it would be a lot easier if we were a publicly traded company.
In their eyes, a public company was vetted by the investors on Wall Street.
So we had to do a concept Initial Public Offering IPOwhich was a very interesting process.
Normally, the standard way to fund a company is to get some investor money � private investor money � and you build a product and you start selling them, and once you have sales and you have earnings and profitability, then you can take a company public.
But a concept IPO is one where you haven't actually shipped anything yet.
You have a concept and that they'll give you millions of dollars for the team, the concept, the market, and the idea.
We did one of the first concept IPOs.
The Right! mermaid slot machine wins pity Gaming Control board wanted all the partners at Kleiner Perkins to be investigated.
I told them that it would be impossible.
Before you guys, the main source of venture funding in Nevada was the Teamsters Central States pension fund.
We were considered these crazies from outer space.
There are scoundrels in Silicon Valley, but they're a different kind.
I said they're tough, but they're not like the Teamsters.
Before we did our public offering, we had our final private investment round: the mezzanine round.
We made it available to the casino please click for source in Las Vegas.
We wanted them be part link the company.
Our hope was that they would give us the money, at a better price than what Sand Hill Road would offer, and at the same time we would have involved customers.
For some bizarre reason the casino owners did not rush to take us up on the offer.
But we got enough and we got our mezzanine round at a good price and then did the public offering, and then we got licensed.
After we got our license we had to submit a prototype machine to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which they had to go through meticulously, understand every bit of it � software, hardware, everything.
Once they were convinced that it was a safe machine, an honest machine, then we got a conditional approval.
We then put three machines on a trial run in the back of the Bally Grand Hotel.
When we first talked to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, we asked what their understanding was of modern cryptography: public-key cryptography and RSA.
They really weren't aware of it.
They had no experience with it.
I remember asking, "Do you mean to tell me that the progressive slots that do million dollar jackpots � payouts � are based on single keys and keeping secrets?
The Board was very supportive and enthusiastic.
They had two techs who understood C.
C, not C++, but C!
So we made a point of using Continue reading, not C++.
We had to educate the Board on modern software architecture.
We contracted RSA Corporation to give seminars in Nevada to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.
We had to get the rules changed.
In 1993, for security reasons, the existing slot machines, which had three reels spinning behind glass, were all microprocessor driven.
Even though you see reels behind glass, the reels are just display mechanisms.
The outcome is determined by the computer and the reels turn to show you what the thing is.
It's not random in that sense.
The rules required the program to be stored in a read-only memory chip.
I found that an odd way to promote security, but they felt that there was security in having the slot machine logic circuit sitting on a ROM chip.
If anyone wins the big jackpot and there's any question about it, they'll take the ROM chip out of the machine and put it in a comparator to make sure it hasn't been changed.
That's how they verified integrity.
We wanted something much, much better, so we invented this system that was far superior.
But we had to convince Nevada Gaming Control Board to change the law � to rewrite the regs to allow this.
And that's what we succeeded in doing.
The gaming industry in Nevada was very protective.
They had used these regulatory laws to keep out new competitors, and we were pushing our way in.
I recall a meeting in Carson City to announce the rule changes.
The VPs of engineering from all the different slot manufacturers around the world attended.
We were also sitting in the audience.
The gaming Board was explaining public-key cryptography to the assembled engineers when an older engineer from slot machine logic circuit of the old-line slot companies gets up and he says, "Hey, can we delay the introduction of the rules until we catch up?
Things improve, things change.
Here's the new regs and here are the papers on RSA and how to do all this stuff.
The important difference in our new generation of electronic slot machines from the existing ones using microprocessors was the graphic youtube monopoly slot machine />The issue was one of virtual reels.
On a three-reel slot machine with twenty spots on each reel, that's twenty to the third power slot machine logic circuit possibilities, which is 8,000 different outcomes.
In other words the biggest jackpot is one in 8,000.
With these odds, one cannot have a million dollar jackpot on a dollar machine.
Instead, the machine actually had 50 stops for each reel in software.
The software spun the reels with a random number generator that in turn produced the various spots, like a cherry, on the reels display.
The physical reels spun as if they were random.
With a 50 stop reel, the odds of winning are quite low, large payouts are possible, even though the physical reel you see have only 20 stops.
We were essentially doing the same thing.
We were spinning the reels in software and displaying, but we were using the cathode-ray tube and beautiful graphics to do it.
Talking to the people in the industry about the graphic interface was just amazing.
I said, "Why haven't you done this?
We made video slots and they didn't work.
So we concluded that video slots don't work.
They even came to Atari and asked us to help, but we declined and they did a terrible job.
It was a horrible machine.
But our machine was more than just a slot machine.
It also played poker, Keno, blackjack, and any number of other games of chance.
It was all in the software.
The player had the freedom to call up any of these different games, and our patented security system made it all tamper proof.
When creating a new architecture, new kind of machine, for an existing industry, you're going to be measured by the old stuff.
We insisted that out slot machine have a handle on it.
Oddly enough, the casino operators didn't want the slot machine handle any more.
I told them, "Your players love it.
That's what they want.
The system would still have a huge touch screen.
For the card games, only the touch screen was needed.
The handle was a retro thing - we wanted it to look like a slot machine, be identifiable as a slot machine, but be a lot more fun than a traditional slot machine.
Entertainment was the idea.
Difference between prototype and production model To satisfy the Gaming Control Board and the operators, the production machine had to be completely reliable.
It could not steal your quarter.
We used a real time operating system, on an off-the-shelf Intel motherboard.
But we had to remove the flash ROM chip that came on the motherboard.
The easiest way to cheat a machine is to bury something in flash inside ROM.
Instead, we ran the operating system off a plug-in card on one of the PCI slots.
Our machine had to survive all the standard attacks that the cheats can do to these machines.
People will risk their lives to steal 25 cents from a slot machine!
They'll risk going to prison!
Through the years, there have been quite imaginative and colorful schemes to cheat the slot machines.
In the old days with the mechanical slot machines there the old lady with the five-pound purse.
There was a magnet inside the purse.
And what they would do is they'd wait until they got a cherry on the first reel, and then put that thing up there and now run the machine, and they could actually use it to move the reels to get the winning outcome they wanted.
Another scam was to throw sparks on the machine to give free plays.
They would use an automotive ignition coil, which could produce quite an energetic spark.
The cheater could almost kill himself in the process.
Another scheme involved putting the coin on a string and making the mahine think you put in multiple coins.
The other favorite one involved the hopper that paid out the coins for a win.
It's a standard mechanism that spits the coins out under motor control.
There is an optical sensor that counts every coin that goes by to ensure an exact payout.
So what they will do is take a grain of wheat light bulb � this is before LEDs and � and put it on a twisted pair of solid wires and a battery and a switch.
They would then feed it up the coin slot somehow and get it to over-load the photo detectorso instead of paying out two quarters it'll pay out three or four.
It was an old trick.
We built a file system using public-key cryptography.
When any game module was loaded into the machine, the BIOS and R-loader in our real time operating system authenticated the signature.
It would take that whole program, do a fingerprint on that, and authenticate it with the public-key technology.
So even if one snuck in a GAFT � a cheated program � in there, it would never load unless it was signed by corporate at Silicon Gaming.
We had a big SCSI connector right inside the machine door.
One of the potential customers said, "Well, there's a SCSI connector.
Someone could just load anything in the machine.
It just won't run.
Instead of trying to keep the machine from being hermetically sealed, which we couldn't do, we turn it the other way.
One slot machine logic circuit the key innovations in our machine was that a gambling game would not run unless it was validated.
Every time the program loaded, it checked to make sure it was authentic.
This innovation was the key element in the patents that we filed related to our new gaming product.
Showing Our Product at the Trade Show When Silicon Valley met Las Vegas, Nevada, it was a very unusual thing for the gaming industry.
In Las Vegas they are all into secrets, not showing any of the secret technologies.
Silicon Valley is wide open, usually, and people share their stuff.
That's so hard for people outside of the Valley to understand.
Our attitude was, well, I'm smarter than that and I could do something even better.
Whereas other people say, "I'll just steal that idea.
https://bannerven.com/slot-machine/trucchi-slot-machine-bar-miniera.html job, as the VP of engineering, was to personally give tours of our machine to all our competing VPs of engineering.
And they would ask incredulously, "You're going to show it?
Here's how it works.
5 cent jennings standard chief slot machine questions do you have?
And it was almost arrogance on our part.
We realized these guys didn't even know what to look for in our machines.
We were the fair-haired boys with these magic toys.
We had the unique idea of a networked Ethernet gaming machine.
Las Vegas didn't have that.
They just used a very simple polling RS-232 that kept track of who was playing the machine for merchandising purposes.
We wanted to put a real Ethernet network on the casino floor to do real time communication between the host and our machines.
The machines could be aware of each other.
If machines in the same row were not being played their displays could source turned into video walls.
These features and other features were completely foreign to the gaming machine industry.
I remember talking to the guy who owned the company, perhaps the most forward-thinking networking company that did networks for the slot industry He was a young guy.
He just didn't understand.
And so we explained it to him.
We didn't even bother to patent the idea because it just seemed so obvious to all of us around here.
Three months later he runs out and patents that very thing, and two years later tries to hit us with infringement on his patent.
Unfortunately for him, he had signed a non-disclosure when he talked to us.
I had done the demo for him.
When the president heard about this lawsuit he asked me, "Alcorn, did you get him to sign a non-disclosure?
And that ended the lawsuit.
We were just gushing with these innovative Silicon Valley ideas but our open behavior was so non-standard in the gaming industry.
The Challenge from IGT Our enemy, or frenemy, was IGT in Reno, the biggest slot machine manufacturer.
IGT posed biggest threat to our entry in Las Vegas.
They could make it hard for you to get approved.
We felt that we had to work with them.
So read article did a partnership with IGT.
We even tried to get the chairman of their board to be on our board.
IGT became one our second round investors, which gave them insight into what we were doing.
We did not think that we would be to take advantage from what they saw.
The value proposition that click pitched to the casinos, which we thought was great, was our Achilles tendon.
Slot machines account for the bulk of the revenue on the casinos.
We claimed that our machine could get ten percent better earnings, a quarter million dollars a year per machine.
They lasted a minimum of five years, maybe ten years.
But let's just say five years.
All the investors thought so.
But in reality the way it works in these big casinos is that they buy new slot machines from a separate budget that was fixed.
And if they bought from IGT they put more machines on the floor.
To sell the machines, IGT would put twenty new machines on the floor of a casino in a group for three months, at no cost to the casino and they get to keep all the money.
Well, the funny part is that during that three-month time period those machines would earn twice as much money as it took to buy them.
It was an odd way of doing business.
So that was an interesting and big surprise to us.
We would explain that each of our machines would earn more money.
The casino operators replied.
You're just stealing revenue from those other machines on my floor.
Fill your casino full of our machines and you'll steal revenue from this casino down the street.
On the opening day of the New York-New York Casino spooky slot machine slot operations guy � a big, high-level guy � lost the master key to all the slot machines, the physical key!
He was fired on the spot, his career was ruined, and they had to change all the slot machines on all the machines.
And to me it's kind of sad because you're telling me that security depends on keeping a key secret?
But that's read more way it was.
So that's one of the reasons.
It's not a fun business because there's so much money that it breeds a lot of paranoia.
Then we had some corporate problems of our own.
There were some decisions made about how to run a company and how to grow a company.
Being a guy who did startups and new companies and new products, I felt that when you're doing something new you have to feel your way into the market and listen and learn quickly.
There are going to be plenty of mistakes and the company must be able to recover quickly and evolve the product.
It's like making waffles.
You throw the first one away.
The president did not share my views.
He was more from an old line type of business where you just tooled the machines up and spent all the money on refining the product.
I have to say that I'm not sure that we came up with exactly the right content that would produce a killer product on the first product.
As it turned out, the winning machine at that time was a machine called Wheel of Gold.
It had a big six-wheel on top of a slot machine and was made by Anchor Gaming.
You have to build a machine and get it licensed to prove out your machine.
The engineers who design electronic games of chance for a offline slots machine are not the same people who design the video games for the consumer who play games at home.
It's a different mindset.
Today it's starting to meld because now we got a lot of gambling being done on the internet and on handheld devices.
So that's starting to kind of get blurred.
But in casinos at the time it was different world.
Fate of the Company Eventually our company went under and the remains were purchased by IGT basically for the patents.
We changed the storage medium from a half a megabyte ROM chip to a terabyte hard disk.
Because of our cryptographic security we could show that the hard disk could actually safer, more secure, than a ROM chip.
It would just never load in the machine and play.
Because these were fundamental patents, IGT uses them today to police the market.
The Nevada Gaming Commission thought it cool that, because of our security measures, one could, for administrative and regulatory purposes, you could connect to these machines through the internet if we put them on the internet.
But we knew that this was a very dangerous idea since it would open our machines to many attackers.
From a Better Gaming Machine to a Better Voting Machine I always thought that there could have been other applications beyond their use inside casinos.
My most perverse idea, it would make a great voting machine.
Far more secure than the voting machines that are out there, and you could put advertising on it, and if you voted for the right guy it could spit money out!
I mean how good could it be!
But seriously, after the debacle with the Florida chads I got seriously interested in electronic voting machines.
A pencil and paper ballots are the best and it's insane to think otherwise.
I went around giving talks about this because I think I know quite a bit, in a technical sense, about making a public kiosk.
A slot machine is a kiosk � electronic kiosk for https://bannerven.com/slot-machine/life-slot-machine-vegas.html public to interface with, as is a voting machine.
And we had far better security thanks to the Nevada Gaming Control Board regulations.
Why shouldn't the machine be inspected?
How dare they say, "Oh, I've copyrighted my software.
You can't see it.
We will look at it but we're not going to share it with anybody else.
And why can't other people do that and inspect voting machines and then try them out on the public to see if it works before � as a trial before you actually commission it?
Additional First-Hand Histories from this Author.
Karnaugh Maps: From State Machines to Digital Logic Circuits Version 2
(2) Each individual slot machine component part, and table game must be... tokens of other denominations and viewed on closed-circuit black-and-white television, the... The backup device must be kept within the logic board compartment.
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