As the temperatures begin to cool down during the third quarter of 2008, GSA's technical committees are continuing to make great strides. The August Technical Meetings were held in Chicago, Illinois and hosted by WMS.
The Operator's Advisory Committee (OAC), chaired by Don Karrer, Penn National Gaming has been busy finalizing the contents of a new class called the Casino Property Information Class (the definition of a class in this instance is a logical grouping of business functions). The class includes dozens of operational data elements encompassing a wide variety of areas, such as; casino brand information, physical & geographical locations, operating hours, owner information, employee staffing, legal, compliance, revenue sharing parameters, economic, EGM inventory and performance information. This information will be extremely beneficial to both our North American and international lottery and route operators who routinely interface to a wide variety of vendors and systems. The class received approvals from both the OAC and the Board of Directors effective August 21st and has been submitted to the various technical committees for inclusion into future releases of the protocols.
The G2S Committee Chair, Kevin Higgins of IGT reports that the committee has completed work on G2S version 2.0 and, on August 13, voted to send it to the GSA Board of Directors and the GSA membership for final approval. This version represents over a year's worth of work for the G2S committee. The new version provided numerous clarifications resulting from questions by implementers designing applications for version 1.0.3 and most recently, some very important clarifications regarding data associated with events. This version also provides new functionality such as "namespace negotiation" that will allow applications to "discover" and negotiate a common set of communications functions. Additionally, a new device configuration class has been added to assist in further managing the EGM's resources and configuration, remotely. The new version 2.0 is expected to be released to the general public in early November 2008
The committee is also working on a major upgrade in the protocol documentation. The new format will be incorporated in a future errata release and will highlight extensions to the protocol as well as features that should no longer be used. Clarifications to prior versions are also highlighted. This change is designed to make it easier for the developer to review the protocol document and immediately see what has changed and what new clarifications have been added. The committee believes that this documentation feature will save developers numerous hours of looking though the protocol and will prevent numerous errors in their applications. The errata release of the protocol with the new documentation features is expected to be released in early December 2008.
Dan Milligan of Video Gaming Technologies, the S2S Committee Chair, reports the committee has been moving full speed ahead with the 2.0 version of the protocol. The first two chapters are near completion with some final ideas being incorporated which should make the protocol more flexible in the future. Once finished they will be sent out to the committee for approval. The committee will do this as chapters are written and accepted in order to keep the development focused on a subset which is easier to understand and keep up with. We have added a new section to the communication class regarding system information which will improve the plug and play nature of the protocol as a whole by allowing a system to determine the feature set of another system through a simple command. The playerInfo, clientInfo, and propertyInfo classes have all been written and are nearing completion with discussion now moving to the subscription classes which are events, meters, infoUpdate, and g2sPassThrough.
Tony Green of Bally Technologies, Transport Committee Chair, reports the committee has been diligently working on the specifications for GSA Point To Point v1.1 and GSA Multicast v1.1 protocols this summer. There has been a high level of participation within the Transport workgroup and the progress is impressive. The draft versions are currently being reviewed by the Transport workgroup and final drafts will be available for membership review shortly. The highlights of the GSA Point To Point v1.1 draft include the requirement of SOAP v1.1 and clarification of key points for implementers. The GSA Multicast v1.1 draft includes enhancements, guidelines, and network infrastructure multicast messages, plus validation and cryptographic processes related to multicast messages.
The GDS Committee Chair, John Hilbert, John Hilbert, FutureLogic, Inc. reports the committee has adopted the use of Unicode UTF16 for passing strings to the printers. This will make the job of international language printouts much easier as Unicode is a recognized method of printing international characters.
The committee is starting to work with outside testing agencies to establish a GDS certification program that will allow peripheral suppliers to test their products for compliance with GDS protocols. This will also provide an important measuring tool for EGM's to evaluate peripheral equipment. This work will likely continue into early next year.
Our desire to continually improve the GDS protocols will result in the issuance of a some errata this year. No major revisions to the protocols are planned.
Ken McNichols of IGT, the SAS Protocol Committee Chair reports the committee is preparing a new version of the development suite and test tools to accompany changes made to the SAS protocol since version 6.02 was published.
Keep up-to-date on all the activities of the GSA Technical Committees by attending meetings if you're a member. A full meeting schedule can be found here. The next major face-to-face meetings are scheduled for December and will be located in Reno, Nevada.
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