A Closer Look at Starnet's New Games

20 September 2000
Research has shown that most online gamblers have a 56K Internet connection and usually use a 4.0 or higher version browser software. Keeping these little details in mind helped Starnet Communications International software designers put together their latest offering, Beyond2000. The new software package is being released in phases, with the Java-based casino games, multi-player bingo games and Internet lottery games issued first.

"We wanted to make our Java games as exciting and multi-media as our CD games have been," explained Jake Soroka, interactive products manager for Inphinity, Starnet's wholly-owned subsidiary devoted to software development. To accomplish their goal, the designers have increased the size of graphics, added more sounds, and used more realistic animation.

They also paid attention to smaller details to make things easier for the customer, such as enabling players to switch between denominations without leaving the game.

Soroka was especially proud of Inphinity's ability to offer larger graphics using smaller file sizes. This was attributed, he says, to three key things; the advent of newer browsers which handle Java more quickly and efficiently; the use of better compression techniques, which helped reduce file sizes; and a team of top-quality programmers who write tight, efficient code.

Beyond2000 also enable Starnet to easily produce games in many languages. "Our old games, as well as many competitors' games, are written in ASCII," Soroka said. "These were written in Unicode, which allows them to be offered in unlimited languages." The Java games will initially be offered in Japanese, traditional and simplified Chinese, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Korean and English.

Inphinity has also been able to adapt the games for players using Macintosh and Linux operating systems. "Sometimes there's a compatibility issue with Macs," he acknowledged. "We try to keep these issues in mind."

Designers are busy planning even more new games, such as craps and roulette, as well as themed lottery games and themed bingo games. Keeping the games fun and exciting, Soroka added, has directed their efforts in trying to develop among the largest selection of games available.

Licensees are likely to launch the new games by year's end and will be able to add new games easily into the software's back end. The new Java games can be checked out at www.worldgaming.com. Downloadable games are still under development.

Vicky Nolan joined the IGN staff in October 1999. She's best known for inventing fire, the wheel and swiss cheese. She can be reached at vicky@igamingnews.com.