One may wonder why the concept of generating a random number may be so useful and crucial in modern day and age, yet the fact still stands that this piece of tech is utilized in many different industries, ranging from computer science to entertainment, such as video games, or casinos.
It can often be hard to imagine that sometimes, the greatest and most impressive inventive innovations are based on relatively simple concepts, at least upon first glance. This is extremely relevant to the topic of the current discussion, which is RNG (Random Number Generator) technologies/mechanics.
The concept itself has been around for an extremely long time. Even around 2800 BC, there were a number of board games utilizing it through dice or other tools, generating random numbers that would affect the course or an outcome of a game. Over the years, this specific use was maintained, but RNG has broken through many more fields and industries, breaking grounds that were likely not even dreamt of by the originators of the concept.
The simplest way the RNG system is utilized is a coin toss. In this case, there are only two possible numbers/outcomes to be generated. Outside of the famous use in various sports like Football, in which a coin flip often decides the team with the first possession, a toss has often solved some small-scale disputes or arguments amongst people.
A slightly more advanced use of the system is the above-mentioned dice, which is crucial for many board games, bringing in RNG and spicing up matches. Some industries took these board games to new extremes, raising the stakes and offering chances for hefty prizes depending on one’s luck with the RNG.
Surely, everyone knows the industries implied are gambling related. Through utilizing these randomized software-based systems, casinos have created extremely successful businesses, offering high-risk high-reward experiences to their customers. There are many different games, such online baccarat utilizing RNG, but the most famous is certainly the slot machine.
When it comes to physical machines, they often have three reels, each one with most often 20 different outcomes, leading to a total of8000, therefore a one in 8000 chance of success. Where it gets even more risky is the virtual slots, where we have more reels and combinations.
The way virtual machines work, is that a number is assigned to a slot symbol, with an algorithm selecting that number, and therefore a corresponding symbol at random. 2 extra reels and 10 extra symbols may not sound like a lot, but it leads to a massive difference in probability of success, with it being one to 24 million, of course correlating larger prizes for much lower chances. Despite these massive numbers, lotteries often take it to an even more ridiculous zone, which some having a chance of success of 1 in 300 million.
Gaming is a thriving industry, winning over billions of people around the globe through various complex mechanics, a lot of which do rely on RNG systems. Of course, the industry is very diverse, thus having products on both sides of the spectrum, utilizing no RNG at all, for example games like Rocket League, to embracing it fully like Gacha games or Battle Royales.
Gacha games have been getting somewhat more popular in recent years, with games like Genshin Impact being the biggest one. These types of games are almost entirely RNG, from character rate up banners, having a one in 90 chance of getting a limited time character, to upgrade systems such as Artifact domains.
What is important to mention is the so-called pity systems in these games, which is basically an incrementing rising of a player’s probability of getting an exclusive character with every unsuccessful attempt. This up rise does eventually go up to a 100% if one is unlucky enough to not get anything before that, giving even the unluckiest of players somewhat of a chance.
As for the Battle Royale’s, the RNG system is not quite as extreme. It is simply present in equipment gathering, as upon opening a chest an algorithm decides player’s loot. It is also present with the zone mechanics, shrinking the map and bringing players to randomized locations as the game progresses, making matches more dynamic.
The smaller scale implementation is often seen in single player games as well, with NPCs or enemies dropping randomized loot upon being dealt with. Survival horror games for example; such as the last of us occasionally have, enemies drop ammo or other equipment, the volume of which is mostly dictated by the difficulty chosen.
Ultimately, the player base of the industry is often split about their opinions on the RNG system. Some find it thrilling and exciting, while others prefer the only deciding factor of their success or failure be their skill alone. Thankfully, the gaming industry is big enough to offer both types their fair share of great product.