Interview with Michael Maokhamphiou of Lightning Box Games

author Written by Shallyn Goodhead on September 28, 2020

Sydney studio Lightning Box prides itself on delivering games designed for the players. Founded by mathematicians, the casino provider's games portfolio is packed with math focused titles designed to build tension and excitement. Lightning Box spoke to BonusFinder about its compelling math models and how they are the main component in building momentum and maintaining interest with players.

You recently launched Extreme Fishing with a few interesting features. Could you tell us a bit about that?

Well, as the name would suggest, it has got a fishing theme and plenty of symbols and creatures that you'd associate with that hobby. There's an exciting Shark Attack feature which can occur randomly on any spin, allowing symbols to become Wild for that round, and a unique Fishing Feature. This is triggered during the free games when a player lands five marlins and it simulates a cool fishing experience. Touch wood, it seems to be going down well with players at the moment.

lighnint box casino game extreme fishing

Extreme Fishing is one of the latest casino slots launched by Lightning Box

Where does the inspiration for your slots come from?

A lot of our games have a wildlife theme or inspiration, now I think about it. Whether that's particular animals or landscapes, like the African savannah or the outback in our native Australia. But we've also delved into history with games like Spartan Fire and Viking Fire. Then there are the more playful, cartoon-like ones such as Astro Pug and Panda Pow that are a little more leftfield. In answer to your question, anywhere and everywhere, whether that's popular culture, TV and film, or the weird and wonderful world of the internet.

What's your main focus when developing a new game?

That's easier to answer: the player. They should be the start, finish and middle of any conversation about game design. Obviously, we provide our games for operators, but they'll only take them if they are popular with players. It helps being avid players of online casino slots ourselves. What is interesting is that it's not about re-inventing the wheel every time. People like familiarity as well as innovation, so getting the balance right is very important.

How do you best ensure that your slots appeal to beginners, intermediate, and more experienced players?

Again, it's trying to find that balance. Sometimes you can't do it all in one game and by appealing to everyone you appeal to no one. That's why having a good spread of games in a portfolio is important. It's also why operators have so many on offer on their websites. You want a range of volatilities, features, themes, graphics and soundtracks. You can't please all of the people all of the time, but you can make sure you cater for as wide an audience as possible.

What do you think are the key factors that make your games appreciated by players?

Consistency would be up there. They know what they're going to get. And that's hopefully a fun experience each and every time. I think our games have a fairly distinctive look and feel, which is no mean feat with so many slot studios out there. They also appeal in multiple markets around the world, whether that's Europe or North America, and across online, land-based and social. I like to think they know they're going to get a fair crack at hitting some good wins and some entertainment on the way.

What is your own personal favourite title in your portfolio?

I'd have to say my favourite is Silver Lion. The theme, the maths and the art all blended well to produce an entertaining game which till this day is still very popular amongst players. With a good feature hit rate and opportunities to earn nice wins, it still draws me in to have a play on a regular basis.

What is the most important aspect of the game from your perspective?

It's always the maths. The graphics are the cover of the book that make you pick it up, but the maths is the content that makes you want to keep reading. It's how you build the tension and the excitement; it's how you build momentum and, most importantly, maintain interest. If you look at all the games that do well over time it's because they have compelling maths models. The others fizzle and burn like fireworks.

What can we expect from Lightning Box in the coming months? Any exciting upcoming titles?

Absolutely. There's a game called Kalahari Safari on its way at the end of the month, which will be right up the street of those who like our African adventure slots. It's going to be exclusive to Betsson for two weeks before hitting the sites of our other operator partners.
Another game called Chicken Fox5x Skillstar will be available with Sky Vegas and Paddy Power exclusively in November. It's an enhanced version of our hit Chicken Fox that now offers a 5x Wild in the Free games as well as a nostalgic retro egg catching Skill game. I Think it will excite players who will enjoy adding their high scores to the Skillstar leaderboard.