Phantom News

Behind the Scenes of Gods of Olympus with Bryan VanDaele!

Jul 26th, 2011

Game News

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Hi Phans!

My name is Bryan VanDaele, and I’m a designer at Phantom EFX. You may be asking yourself, “What does a designer do?” Well, I’m here to tell you. My job consists of 3 main areas:  slot machine design, ‘metagame’ design, and new game design.

Bryan VanDaele 

Slot Machine Design

The most important part of my job is designing the slot machines that go into our games. The slots that I design go into our retail products (the ones you buy at WalMart, Target, Best Buy, etc, or online from our website), and into our Reel Deal Slot Club program. We release 2 slot machines each month in our Reel Deal Slot Club, and approximately 30 more slots in our retail products. So that means we need to design about 55-60 slot machines every year!  

The task of coming up with new ideas for slot machines is the most difficult and most fun aspects of my job. A vast majority of my time goes into ‘research’ at the casinos (which means playing a lot of slot machines!), I read the industry magazines to see upcoming trends in game play, and I go to G2E, the slot machine and table game trade show, to see what new slots will be rolling out in the coming year. I am always working and generating new ideas so I keep a notebook with me all the time so if I’m watching TV, playing videogames on my PC or Xbox, in the car, or even sleeping and an idea pops into my head, I can jot it down. I have a huge spreadsheet of theme ideas, bonus ideas, and feature ideas that I pull from when I’m designing a new slot. Keeping all my ideas at my finger tips allows me to create the best slot machines possible that translate into an exciting game play experience for you! 

Metagame Design

The second thing I do is metagame design. Metagame design is difficult to describe, since it encompasses so many different aspects of a project. A metagame is the entire game that the slot machines reside inside. So each slot machine is an individual game, and then the metagame would be the Prize Vaults, slot machine unlocking mechanisms, or mini-games, basically everything that wraps the entire package together and makes it more than just a collection of separate slots. My favorite metagame creation revolves around designing and writing the storylines for our Slot Quest and Adventure lines of games. They are a blast to make as well as play!

I also group Reel Deal LIVE content into this category. Reel Deal LIVE is our online multiplayer casino world. While playing in Reel Deal LIVE, you can compete in tournaments against other players, use magical Powers to influence the slot machines, join in quests given out by our casino cast of characters, and even travel outside the casino to Egypt, the Far East, or the Pirate Isles! Those are the type things that I am involved in Reel Deal LIVE. 

New Game Design

Lastly is new game design. New game design consists of any projects that we develop not directly related to our slot machine and casino products. We are always brainstorming ideas for new games or new ways to use our gaming knowledge. This is how we came up with games like Battle Slots and Super Neutronic. We have many other new game designs in the pipeline that we’re sure you will enjoy.

So what about Reel Deal Slots: Gods of Olympus, our new slot game that was released on July 22nd?

We’ve wanted to do a Greek mythology themed game for awhile now, so we started out knowing that was the direction we wanted to go. Greek mythology has so many interesting, fun and iconic stories and characters to build from that we knew it was going to be an amazing game. When we design a new slot product, we try to theme 4 or 5 of the slot machines in the game to match the overall game theme. So once we knew we were working with Greek Gods, those slot ideas came easy. Then we built the metagame around different Realms that you would need to visit, and you would need to appease the God or Goddess in each of these Realms in order to reach the summit of Olympus. 

We truly hope that you enjoy the new direction we took the game this year. We had a blast designing it, and watching as all the pieces come together into the final product is always super exciting. Putting a design on paper and then getting to actually play it is a joy, and I hope you can feel how much effort, work, and love went into building Gods of Olympus for you. Thank you so much for playing and good luck on the casino floor!


Bryan VanDaele

Game Designer

Phantom EFX