Video Game Designer Puts New Twist on Poker with HTML5 CasinoRPG

23 January 2013, Created By: Arthur Crowson
Video Game Designer Puts New Twist on Poker with HTML5 CasinoRPG

Tired of losing to the house? Poker players will finally get a chance to BE the house in upcoming video game CasinoRPG.

James Simpson, an avid poker fan, and his company GoldFire Studios is trying to kick-start the ambitious game that will combine role-playing, social gaming and gambling games in a massively multiplayer format.

CasinoRPG has elements that may remind players of classic PC games like Railroad Tycoon and Rollercoaster Tycoon. 

“This isn't Farmville with casinos, it is truly an MMORPG with a focus on poker and other casino games,” said Simpson.

“The game is played in real-time with friends and strangers alike, even away from the poker tables. Whether you are a poker, tycoon, city-builder, or RPG fan, there is something for you in CasinoRPG.”

The game is currently featured on Kickstarter and has already raised nearly $10,000 towards production.

From PokerRPG to CasinoRPG

James Simpson
James Simpson made his first poker video game in high school.

The 24-year-old Simpson is an intriguing story in his own right. He was motivated to design video games from a young age in Oklahoma City and GoldFire Studios was essentially born out of a number of projects he was working on during high school.

It was around this time Simpson started playing poker home games (he was too young to play in the casino) and quickly fell in love with the game.

Simpson wanted to do more than play home games, however. He wanted the complete poker experience. It was this desire that led him to create PokerRPG.

“The reason I started PokerRPG in 2006 was because I loved poker and I loved role-playing games but there was nowhere to play both at the same time,” he said.

The game gave users a chance to play cards but also customize their poker player avatar by designing their own pad, chat with friends and invest in poker stocks. 

PokerRPG went on to develop a strong community and over 13 million hands have been played in the game. 

Going Bigger and Better With CasinoRPG

Poker table casinoRPG
Poker will play a big part of CasinoRPG

Simpson describes CasinoRPG as the next level of PokerRPG. You can still play poker in the game but there are also table games like blackjack and slots.

Players start out as a janitor in a casino but can eventually become the casino owner by gambling their way to the top.

“As a casino owner, you can actually design and run your own casino, and other people can visit your casino and play your games,” he explained.

Poker is big business when it comes to social gaming. Games like Zynga Poker have hundreds of thousands of players.

“There is a large emphasis on poker specifically within CasinoRPG, and why we think this game will truly stand out in the crowd for poker players is because your winnings are no longer just a number,” he said.

“Most of today's free-to-play poker games just offer the poker, but no surrounding experience.”

Not so in CasinoRPG. In fact players will be able to able to build bigger and better casinos as well as lake-side mansions and sports cars.

CasinoRPG Part of HTML5 Revolution

CasinoRPG Room
CasinoRPG's entire world will run in-browser

Another major selling point of CasinoRPG is that it utilizes cutting-edge HTML5 technology, which means it will be playable in Internet browsers without any extra add-ons.

It’s a relatively new technology that’s still catching on in the gaming world.

“We've worked with platforms like Flash, Unity and native apps in the past, but they all have very specific drawbacks,” he said.

“HTML5 is finally maturing in a way that lets us address those drawbacks directly and present and truly cross-device experience that just can't exist on those other platforms.”

That means the game can be updated without players having to re-download the software. It also means CasinoRPG is fully accessible on both PCs and Macs.

“I believe people will be blown away by what they see running in a browser with no plugins or downloads,” he said.

How Video Games Could Change Real-Money Poker

pokerstars final table
Could a poker client like PokerStars be improved?

As someone that been designing games for a good portion of his life, Simpson has a unique perspective on the software behind major online poker sites such as PokerStars or Party Poker.

“I have played on PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Party Poker in the past,” he said.

“They all have solid pieces of software, but the common thread I've seen lacking has to do with communication. I almost never saw things like chat utilized by players at these sites.”

Simpson went on to say they’ve placed a heavy emphasis on community in CasinoRPG and one of the goals was to have players make friends at the table. There’s a great deal of communication and personalization at the tables.

“These are aspects that could still work well on real-money tables as well,” he said. 

CasinoRPG has two more weeks on Kickstarter to make its goal of $20,000 in pledges. Poker fans can check out the Kickstarter page here.

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