As the temperatures begin to rise during the second quarter of 2008, GSA's technical committees are moving full steam ahead. The April Technical Meetings were held in Vegas and hosted by Aristocrat.
The G2S Committee Chair, Kevin Higgins of IGT reports that the committee has continued work towards the next version of the protocol. The committee has resolved many issues during the past several months, including numerous clarifications on past functionality. On Friday, May 9th, the committee voted to send the current draft version of the protocol to member vote. The functionality added in this release includes namespace negotiation (which addresses backwards compatibility and extensibility issues), and device configuration (deviceConfig class). The committee has also begun working on the errata to G2S 1.1, which is to be released 30 days after 1.1 is released. The errata will clarify additional ambiguities that have been identified in the protocol.
The committee has also begun discussions on what features to add to the next version of G2S once the errata is released. Committee members have suggested adding employee tracking, regional solutions, tournament, and storage management functionality to the protocol. Additionally, development work has already begun on a proposed tournament class, which will provide an interoperable method of configuring and starting tournaments.
Dan Milligan of Video Gaming Technologies, the S2S Committee Chair, reports the committee has approved the 1.3 version of the protocol and the schema. The committee is now wrapping up the errata associated with the 1.3 version and will have that out for membership vote soon. With the 1.3 version comes the new Progressive, Bonus, Authorization, and G2S Passthrough classes. There also has been a significant amount of work done in the comp and patron classes along with the WAT class to define the procedure for the redemption of player points. Moving forward the committee is now working on the next generation of the S2S protocol which will be the 2.0 version. In this version the committee is focusing on aligning the S2S protocol more closely with the G2S protocol, restructuring some classes to make them consistent throughout the S2S protocol, and removing ambiguities that exist in the protocol. Currently work is being done on the basic message structure along with the communication class. Once these fundamental pieces are completed work will continue with the patron and registerClient classes with the remaining classes to follow.
Tony Green of Bally Technologies, Transport Committee Chair, reports the committee has been working on updating the Transport Point-to-Point specification, targeting the draft for membership vote by summer of 2008. The current changes are directed at improving the specification to eliminate ambiguity and providing a clear direction for implementers of the standard. The committee members have been diligent about providing clear specifications and referencing standards based on mature and proven technologies. Dale Buchholz was elected Vice-Chair and is a major contributor to the Transport specifications as well as other GSA standards. Congratulations to Dale!
The GDS Committee Chair, John Hilbert, FutureLogic, Inc. reports after much research and discussion, the GDS Committee has decided on UTF-16LE for the character encoding format used in the GDS protocol. The UTF-16LE is consistent with USB requirements and supports the complete Base Multilingual Plane. This is significant as the overwhelming majority of all characters in use are contained in the Base Multilingual Plane. This choice opens up the possibility of downloading personal information, such as names or custom greetings, from a host system (using G2S to the EGM) to the printer using the GDS protocol and then printing the information using the characters specific to the patron's preferred language. The group is now focusing on the details necessary to make the "capability" to communicate this information into the actual ability to communicate this information.
Ken McNichols of IGT, the SAS Protocol Committee Chair reports the committee has prepared new protocol Errata and Addenda documents specifying clarifications to the existing protocol. We are working on updating the test suite application and test scripts to incorporate updates in SAS since the last version was published. The new documents will be made available by IGT in the near future.
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 August and will be located in Chicago, Illinois.
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