[Prototype] - Adventure Pinball

edited in Projects
Greetings Guinea Pigs, (*queue evil laughter)

[url =http://bit.ly/XJO85r ]Here[/url] you will find a pinball game entitled [url =http://bit.ly/XJO85r ]A day at the Circus[/url].

Please give it a play and tell me what you think. This is the game that I wanted to show at the meetup. I have been working on it some more and included some of the suggestions that were made at the meetup. Thanks for the guys giving it a play there, I really appreciate it ;) . This is still a really early build(about 3 days of work), but I want to focus on getting the basic feel of play right before adding much of the "content".

So if you do decide to give it a play, please try and focus on how the game feels to play. Is the speed too fast, do the paddles feel unresponsive, those types of things.

You might also experience some minor issues like your pinball falling through the paddles. If you do please mention it in the feedback, I think I fixed it, but I want to make sure :). If you ever get stuck in anything or lose all your lives, just hit R and the game will restart.


Thanked by 1Elyaradine


  • I didn't notice any bugs and the controls feel tight and responsive. I like that two of the walls light up red when you hit the nose, but why stop there? All the walls could light up and the background could flash whenever you hit anything? Also, Camera shake!!!

    The score multipliers could be more explicit. I presume that when one of the clown's cheeks light up a 4x multiplier is awarded, however, when the cheek is lit I can no longer see the 'x4'. Simply making it black instead of white could solve this. I'm also unsure of how multipliers accumulate, if both are active does that imply an x8 or x16 multiplier? Displaying the accumulated multiplier next to the score would help.

    You've only spent 3 days on this so I'm sure you have lots of ideas that you haven't implemented yet, but here are some thoughts:
    - Point popup-bubble-things when you hit a pin
    - Camera shake
    - Trail behind the ball
    - Time manipulation? Maybe managing multiple balls at once, kinda like Time Ducks (I think)

    Why did you decide to use a circus theme? Personally, I find sincere clowns deeply disturbing and unpleasant.

    tl;dr: Camera Shake!
    Thanked by 1Elyaradine
  • @Merrik, thanks for giving it a play :)

    The two walls that light up are actually not the walls lighting up. It's a light that lights up where the nose is, so the walls just catch the light(by accident :P). But yeah, I need a lot of special effects and I need to make the table come alive. I just wanted to make sure that the paddles and speed feel ok before I started working on those things.

    The multipliers are a bit obscure. It actually doesn't stack at all, the left light means that everything is multiplied by 2 and the right(when both are on) means that everything gets multiplied by 4.

    As for the suggestions, the "point popup-bubble-things when you hit a pin" seems like a great idea :) I'll definitively do something like that. And I'll have to add camera shake at some point...it's all about da'shake :P

    The circus theme actually came as an accident. When I started prototyping the different bumpers and things the parts actually lined up so that it looked like a clown face. But I have a new direction I want the game to go in, so clowns and the circus are out.
  • Hooray! Someone's making a pinball game! Got very limited data where I'm at now, so I can't download it and comment on the current demo. I can however suggest something that I have found to be an great feature on my favorite pinball games.
    Make multiple tables, one main table and some bonus tables. Make the main table longer than the display (+-3 screen high should do it) with the camera following the ball, add about 3 sets of flippers at the bottom, midpoint, and near the top of the table. Insert ball sized portals on the table that activate when certain conditions are met eg. knocking down a row of pins, activating a group of buttons etc. Each portal should lead to a bonus table (1 screen in size) that has a specific win condition eg, knock the clowns nose with the ball 10 times. If the ball is lost on the bonus table, drop the ball back into the portal entry point of the main table. Your main table can have closed off tunnels and ramps that could also lead to other bonus tables.

    I would highly recommend playing Devil Crash (1990 Technosoft) on a Megadrive/Genesis emulator. It is the finest pinball game by any measure (and no, I'm not being subjective! lol)

  • Please can I request a downloadable link for those of use without a consistent internet connection?
  • [quote = aodendaal]Please can I request a downloadable link for those of use without a consistent internet connection?[/quote]

    Can do, [url =http://bit.ly/ZHSJS9 ]here is the link[/url].

    Let me know if it doesn't work. Bear in mind the resolutions might be a bit screwed because I built it for the web player, and you have to quit with the ever elegant ALT+F4. But everything else should work the same.
  • edited
    So far my current best score is 14890 with triple-ball [Edit] (I'm recording my plays if you want). The paddles feel a bit bouncy to me, and the bumpers in the clowns hair feels too randomly placed to be used.

    I would talk about the interface but I know this is an early Alpha so I'll wait and look forward to more content and stuff to do!
  • edited
    FYI the reset doesn't reset the pink targets on the board.
  • There's still a problem with the ball going through the paddles (unzip attached video)
  • @aodendaal, thanks for giving it a play. :)

    You say that the paddles feel a bit bouncy. Do you mean that they hit the ball too hard, or they don't respond to the controls or is it something else?

    You are correct, the pink targets don't reset. I must have missed that when I put in the code to restart.

    As far as the ball going through the paddles go, I'm not sure what to do about it yet. I tweaked quite a few things from the last build and so far I haven't been able to get the ball going through the paddle again, except at ridiculous speeds. But I'll definitely have to look into the problem.
  • I mean that the ball bounces off the paddles sometimes as though they are bumpers. I'll try to get you an example.
  • @aodendaal, the paddles are actually not bouncy at all. I think this is a symptom of the physics not working as they should. As far as I can tell the ball gets stuck inside the paddle and then the physics engine does unintended stuff.
  • I did some work on this over the past week. It's still very rough and I didn't actually want to release the build like it is now because there are still a lot of things that needs to be done before it feels like a proper game, but I figured the more feedback I get the better, so......here...

    [url = http://bit.ly/10gzwtA ]Web Build[/url]
    [url = http://bit.ly/10gCI8z ]Standalone Build[/url]

    The graphics are still placeholder, but the build should show in what direction I'm taking the game. Please give it a play and let me know what issues, insights or suggestions you have.

    Also, I renamed it to Adventure Pinball. The Circus name doesn't really make sense with the theme anymore.
  • I see that you're trying to create some kind of pinball RPG but I think you would have an easier time and more compelling game if monsters were puzzles rather the randomly wondering monsters. Boards can probably be randomly generated but I strongly feel the game will be better with pinball style puzzles.

    For example, in your circus game you had the 3 pink barriers that had to all be knocked down to get a multiplier. What if those barriers were made to look like a static monster's healthbar, that's only killed when all the barriers are gone.

    This monster can block an alternate path to another area or bonus.

    Goblins can replace the standard bumpers; they disappear for half a second after being hit and then re-appear.

    Randomly moving monsters are very hard to interact with unless you provide impeccable ball control and players are incredibly skilled.

    Having static monsters which are puzzles to be figured out is, I think, more traditional of a pinball game and gives the players deterministic practice.
  • Ha, I like the theme and direction. :)

    I think you could do a lot with static obstacles (even if they're not themed yet, just cubes and cylinders) to get a flow that feels nice; something that guides the ball toward the paddles, and knocks the ball from side to side more, or create paths to aim for. You can theme them after you've got a nice-feeling flow. At the moment, I often feel as if the ball gets stuck in a certain area and that I'm waiting for the ball, so it often feels disjointed.
  • @aodendaal & @Elyaradine, thanks for the feedback. :)

    It's actually a bit concerning to me. I want to create a RPG/adventure experience using pinball mechanics. It seems that your experience so far is that it's pinball, but skinned differently, which worries me. I'm not sure if building pinball, and then just colouring it with monsters will have the effect I want. :(

    So a question then to anyone who tests : While you are playing, do you get the feeling of exploring and adventuring, or does it just feel like badly designed pinball?

  • I gave the second version a play yesterday, and I really love the idea! I think it's a really interesting mash up that has tons of potential.

    Regarding what you're worrying about now though: I don't think you should veer away from the RPG mechanics yet, I honestly feel that it might be too early to make that call. I'm sure you have plenty of ideas, but I think you need more areas and content to begin giving it that exploration feel. I hope I'm not missing anything, but from what I saw there was just the top screen, and the forest screen below. You could have a map that spanned horizontally and vertically, and perhaps even make "lower" areas tougher, so you'd basically have a multi-directional pinball where one of the rewards for keeping your ball up would be the safety of the "town" area.

    From what I saw, there was XP gain, but while it looked and felt like an RPG, the xp was basically the same as a pinball score. If you had a bunch of shops that your ball could enter, pausing the game and providing you with an updates screen where you could spend it, it would make for a really compelling process. You'd have to pick what gear/skills you need before going into battle, but also have to get there somehow, which could be quite funny.

    In terms of other gameplay, the physics felt pretty solid, but I agree with @Elyaradine that you should maybe prototype now with more evident shapes. I got the ball stuck on some trees, and it was quite difficult to see the shapes clearly. That being said, I love the style of having classic RPG environment elements making up your board pieces - it's an artist's wonderland! That ball is also crying out to be skinned as a fat, rolling adventurer :D

    Also, as @aodendaal mentioned, the randomness is quite tricky to predict. You could have like 2 - 4 random waypoints that a monster marches between, that are chosen when it's spawned. You'd have some randomness, but a player could work out the monster's path and anticipate the shot. Just a thought.

    Anyway, I think if you play around with screens in each direction using simple shapes (also so that you're not pumping out a whole lot of graphics for each screen), with different types of monsters/play style on each, I think that feeling of exploration will come out much more.
  • From what I saw, there was XP gain, but while it looked and felt like an RPG, the xp was basically the same as a pinball score. If you had a bunch of shops that your ball could enter, pausing the game and providing you with an updates screen where you could spend it, it would make for a really compelling process. You'd have to pick what gear/skills you need before going into battle, but also have to get there somehow, which could be quite funny.
    I kind of imagined having to do the shop navigation via pinball too. :P

    @Rigormortis: Honestly, it feels like pinball with an RPG skin at the moment to me. I think this is because the moment-to-moment gameplay is exactly pinball, and the RPG stuff is more to do with the theme and possible meta-game.

    I guess it doesn't feel like there's exploration because there isn't actually anything to explore really. Would the game be more fun if it had fog-of-war, and all you could see was a small area around the ball? Otherwise, I find it pretty much impossible to work my way back up to an upper level, so it's not as if there was really exploration because there was only ever really one option to go to the "next" area, and that was to let the ball fall through the paddles.
  • Ok, thanks for the feedback guys. :)

    @Manikin, the idea is definitely to have more areas(was thinking about around 6). I just have to actually do the things. But I'll try the bare bones approach of just implementing stuff as cubes to make it go faster.

    I'll get to work and hopefully get some stuff implemented before next week. Thanks again. :)

    BTW...has anyone managed to upgrade their weapon yet? Or was it way too vague?
  • @Rigormortis I wouldn't worry too much about the RPG elements at the moment (although I do think they can work really well.). I would suggest looking at the layout of existing pinball tables just to get a feel for the movement and guidance of the ball. I think that is the most important factor at this point. The RPG elements can be worked in at a later point. I personally would increase the main play area to at least twice the height of what you have now.
    Look at all the major components of pinball games and try implementing them in your prototype. Things like barriers that ricochet, nodes that catapault the ball out at high speed when the ball falls into one, rows of pegs that open up new bonuses/areas/ when they're all knocked down. Alas, I lack the vocabulary of pinball... but I hope this gives you some idea.
    I like this idea overall, but I think that the pinball table 'feel' is critically important.
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