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Kevin Smith

Q & A: Darold Parken

14 June 2001

Chartwell Technologies, one of the leading software developers for the online gaming industry, demonstrated its newest line of casino games at last week's Global Interactive Gaming Summit and Expo in Toronto. IGN got a special preview of the suite of games from Chartwell CEO Darold Parken. After a quick tour of the new games, Parken talked to IGN about recent developments within the company and its new line of products.

IGN: What's the biggest difference between your new line of games and the old games?

Darold Parken: Our business model is based on no-download technology. We try to provide in-browser solutions to the industry. Our original games and software were developed in Java and we have now introduced a full set of games developed in Flash.

IGN: What is the advantage to using Flash in your design versus Java?

DP: It is Flash front-end but still all Java on the back end of it. The Flash is nice because it gives you certain things you can't accomplish with Java. It uses Vector Graphics, which allow you to expand the screen to full size or shrink it to whatever size you want and you don't lose any quality within the graphic.

IGN: Other than the design advantage, are there any other positives to using Flash over Java?

DP: You get some very nice animation features in Flash that you can't get in Java, or it is more difficult to get using Java. The games are super light as well. They run on average 275K a game and that is really, really light. Because of that they are going to load up a lot faster too, even if you are on a poor connection.

IGN: What has the response been from your licensees who have seen the demo of the new software?

DP: They all want to know when they can get it. That is a bit of a problem. We have developed it, but it has to go through very rigorous testing before we are going to put it out in the world to play for real.

IGN: Due you have a target date or time period when you hope to release the new suite to your licensees?

DP: We certainly will have these out by the end or middle of summer, but the operators want them tomorrow. They want it right away because they love it and they want to get it up on their site.

IGN: Your video poker game looked very cutting edge, what makes it unique?

DP: You can play ten hands at a time so the rate of play is much faster. The operators certainly love that and that appeals to the players as well. It is a lot more than just your basic video poker game.

IGN: Explain the concept behind your bonus rounds in the new suite.

DP: You keep getting the option to double up until you lose. Invariably when I play it, I keep doubling up until I lose. Of course I am not playing with real money, but we think the real players will have some of the same tendencies. It gives you the opportunity within the same game to place more bets.

You can win five in a row, win a lot of money and then have it taken away from you instantly. That is the beauty of the bonus round game.

IGN: There has been a lot of work on your slot games too. Why was that and what is different about the new ones?

DP: We are trying to make the online slot product a lot more interesting. The ones that are out there right now are pretty lame. We added five payout lines and a bonus round. Similar to the video poker, the bonus round allows the player to double their winnings, get five free spins or something like that. The operator has the freedom to work with those.

IGN: Sounds similar to the slot machines players would find at a land-based casino then.

DP: Las Vegas has gone to these type of second-stage slots to make it more interesting. We have tried to stay with that.

IGN: Do you find it ironic that the online world is adapting technology found at land-based casinos instead of the other way around?

DP: There is way more experience, history and a lot more game development from the land-based guys. With land-based casinos, like 65 percent of their revenue comes from slot machines, and with some of them it is up towards 85 percent. The online operators don't make nearly as much on their slots, but these new slots may increase the revenue brought in from the slots.

IGN: The Australians are into the second-level slots as well, but many of their second-levels contain things like races or skill-type games. Anything like that on the horizon for your guys?

DP: We have a golf game developing now where the second stage has you putting. The green will have a break in it. The player will be able to make it and control the putt, but within a certain range because you can't have somebody who can nail it every time or you will have a big loser on your hands.

IGN: It seems like the online world is learning a lot from its land-based counterparts.

DP: You realize variety is what it is all about. There is a great deal of various types of slot machines all over the floor at land-based casinos, and that same thinking is being applied to online casinos.

IGN: Chartwell has again demonstrated their leadership in the business with this new suite. Are you pleased with the results to date?

DP: This is really the first time we have let the public see them and the response has been overwhelming. The show was a great stage for us and we certainly feel this says a lot about the pulse we have on the interactive gaming community.

Q & A: Darold Parken is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith