Examples of casino games with different levels of space
This is Golden Sevens, a game that gives you the feeling that you are in a relatively small, enclosed space. There are three different environments to choose from (meadows, an Egyptian tomb, and space), but they are all about the same: narrow paths lead around pagodas and pyramids, with prize boxes inside. The camera is mostly static, which helps create a sense of enclosure. The golden horseshoes on the sides of the reels are reminiscent of previous casino games, which had a big "WILD" sign in place of these horseshoes; it's easy to see what role they play here.
This is Big Deal, which has a very different feel. The screen is open, with endless space in all directions; you might find something interesting if you go far enough, but there are no walls or barriers to keep you from going too far. The camera view is also dynamic, panning left and right as you spin the reels. It's hard to tell what kind of space this is; it feels almost like a physical place until you start spinning the drums and notice how discontinuous the camera looks. The horseshoes here also work as "WILD" substitutes and look more natural than in Golden Sevens.
The final example is Diamond Valley, which is the most complex of the group. Diamond Valley uses space more broadly than any other game I've seen; you must explore several different environments, looking for hidden paths and obstacles that impede your progress. The camera angle also moves in some places, showing you things that are off-screen in some directions, even though they are technically "behind" you. The sky also changes depending on where you are: the far left image shows the beach, and the middle image shows the world looking from inside a cave (no sky there).
The environment here seems much larger than in Big Deal and Golden Sevens because it takes up most of the screen; it should, because you're moving around in it. They also allow the positive space (card symbols) and negative space (the rest of the screen) to exist independently of each other for a while between transitions; this gives you time to breathe and assess your surroundings, rather than instantly jumping into action when a win rolls like in Big Deal. This level of space is almost unheard of in any other game. If you look at the video slots and scratch games at Canadian online casino Fresh, the most common method of determining how much space a game uses is to take a screenshot and draw bounding boxes around important elements; there is always at least some distance between what we are controlling and where the screen ends, even if it is just a few pixels.
Games Using Limited Space
This is the Velvet Lounge, which creates one of the tightest sense of space at Canada's best online casinos . You also have to deal with the fact that the reels overlap the top and bottom of the window. Velvet Lounge is one of those cases where the developers were clearly more interested in filling up as much screen space as possible than in making a good game. There is no sense that you can advance the cursor very far before you click on anything else.
Dazzle Me, on the other hand, is considered the game with the most overwhelming design I've ever seen; there are so many different types of spaces, paths, and things going on at the same time that it's very hard to know what's going on. The gameplay isn't really any different from almost any other scratch game, but the way it's presented and the amount of detail you have to control all make it feel overwhelming. Some games allow you to change the backgrounds; Velvet Lounge has some "theme packs" on new grounds that replace the entire game with something like a forest or city scene. This does little more than change the colors of what you see, but it can make the game a little less frustrating.
Finally, here's Peaks, another game in which most of the visual design decisions were made to fill in as much space as possible. The top and bottom of this game are completely useless; they are simply relegated to shortcuts and arrows that don't really correspond to anything. If you look at the gameplay, it's not much different from Dazzle Me in terms of the number of controllable parts, but it seems much less stressful because it uses negative space, allowing characters to fill most of the screen, even if they're not as big as in Velvet Lounge.
The way space is used in Big Deal is a pretty good model of how it should be done; there is more than enough room to control everything and determine what is going on, since you can see most of your cards at once, and it only takes two clicks (two taps with your finger) to control everything. However, there are some aspects that could have been better; the most obvious ones are the narrow cards and the fact that you have to tap twice to move to another table instead of swiping one finger horizontally.
Tabletop games also often do a better job of giving you all the information you need without having to display unnecessary items on the screen; for example, the Spades game has an option that shows you what the others need to get a certain number, which lets you know what to expect without having to look at their cards. Big Deal lets you see your opponents' bets as part of the presentation, but there's no way to tell what they're holding other than with text labels on the cards themselves.
Big Deal is one of those games that can perfectly replicate the experience of playing at a real card table with playing cards and chips.