27 Replies Latest reply on Jul 5, 2017 9:27 PM by plyanthony

    What pinball game would YOU want?

    theheckwithkaren

      element14's The Ben Heck Show

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      I've been to a reasonable amount of arcades throughout my life. I spent quite a few days slinging quarters into machines at Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum. Despite this, I never paid much attention to pinball games. I wasn't very good at them. A lot were more expensive to play than other video games. I never became interested or invested. Working alongside Pinhead Ben here, it's difficult to not be cured of that. With his passion for pinball, I've learned a lot about the games through osmosis. One thing I didn't realize, was how well thought out the themes, storylines, and gameplay were. I always thought you just hit a ball around, get points for hitting things, and that was it. With some nice artwork to make it enticing. Boy, was I underestimating the creativity that goes into these things.

       

      Most pinball games have a theme; over the last 30 years or so, they are more commonly licensed themes such as a TV show, movie, or band. Within that theme, there is a sort of storyline or modes that you have to play through to get the chance to beat the game. Hitting different targets and getting to different lanes of the playfield gets you more points and unlocks missions that you can complete to work your way through to the next mode. Progressing to the next mode will frequently enable a new, interesting mechanism such as opening up a door or a monster appearing. Since beginning working with Ben, I've paid more attention to the games, figuring out exactly what I need to hit and when to make things happen and progress through the game. It really can be a game of skill, not just chance.

       

      For our mini pinball kit, we don't have any themes in mind. Licensing is expensive, so we likely won't be able to support any themes that are properties of Warner Bros, Marvel, Disney, or even smaller outfits with more niche characters and titles, but that doesn't mean we can't get creative with our themes.

      What theme would you want in YOUR pinball game? Can you come up with a storyline with corresponding mechs to keep it interesting? Do you have any questions about pinball game development?

       

      Tell us in the comments below!

        • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
          dougw

          Way back in the day, I was pretty much addicted to pinball. One machine that stands out in my memory is Gorgar - the first machine that had speech - as far as I remember. I still like pinball better than video games - I just can't afford to buy any of these machines.

          For a modern machine how about an IoT programmable theme pinball machine? It is connected to the web and displays iconic images or possibly You Tube snippets off the web from whatever theme you select - but in response to bumper activity and reward system of course. Also it would need to grab  musical ditties or riffs or famous phrases or sound bites or exclamations off the web for appropriate sound effects and rewards. Maybe you could load your own mp3 songs . Maybe the whole reward system could be based on a file of internet URLs so anyone could make a custom reward system by simply organizing a bunch of web links into a config file. Each link would correspond to a descriptor such as: "bumper number 3 sound effect 400 ms" or "1000 point star target audio-video reward 3 s"

          1 of 1 people found this helpful
          • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
            f5kn

            Something related to the 1950s-1960s horror movies, with giant atomic monsters that needed to be destroyed, at first a small number would "walk" around a city appearing at random locations that you could kill using "simple" guns (level-1 shots), and then more and stronger monsters would appear, which would require either more shots or stronger shots (they'd have more hp, basically) which you could kill more easily by upgrading your shots by activating different parts of the playfield. At one point you'd have to disable a big death ray weapon, which you would be able to reactivate and use against one huge monster at the end.

            The game would give you tips of what to do through its sound board, and it would also set the mood for the universe of the game.

             

            There could be structures that would be slowly consumed by the monsters, like buildings that you would have to protect, otherwise they'd sink into the playfield. So you'd have to juggle between trying to get better weapons and keeping the city standing.

             

            One thing that I do not have an exact idea for at the moment but I always wondered why I never saw in a game was an LCD screen under the playfield, in between the slingshots in a somewhat large area (thinking on the layout of Gorgar or Centaur), with some parts blocked so it wouldn't look like a rectangle, but basically to make a more dynamic looking board, with things changing there or the illustration on the board "coming alive". Not as virtual targets, though.

            • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
              grahambest

              I would self reference two things: you're selling this to makers, and this is a quarter sized table. The story would be that you're a scientist who accidentally shrunk themselves, so you'd have to go around the lab to assemble a Giganto-Ray to restore your size.

               

              Parts of the Giganto-Ray would be earned by completing certain shots. I also like what Ricardo P said; this could take place in a 1960's lab. In between collecting items you could be fighting off laboratory mice, etc.

              1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                balearicdynamics

                I launch an idea that maybe totally silly but if I have it available I will use it.

                As a new theme (series of themes) should be done from scratch, why don't use the best challengers images (some are fascinating with good videos and good sown material, differing very much one from the other) and create challenge themed for the pinball kit?

                 

                In addition if this is not too complex (if it is it is the same I suppose) why don't give a specific set of information on how users can theme theirselves extra pinball theme?

                 

                Enrico

                  • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                    dougw

                    An engineering project pinball theme - that's different.

                      • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                        beacon_dave

                        Perhaps you could have a set of 8 knock down 'flags' and you get bonus points for knocking them down in a specified binary pattern.

                        Alternatively bring some of the Ben Heck Show logic puzzle game into it and have three 'flags' which have to be knocked down as per a specified truth table entry for some bonus points.

                        2 of 2 people found this helpful
                          • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                            grahambest

                            Knocking down individual drop targets is hard. Knocking down a sequence of drop targets in a order is very hard, and probably out of reach of the average player.

                             

                            Pinball tables of the 1970's were all about knocking down a row of drop targets. Now tables are designed around combos, which means that one shot leads to another shot, typically in the form of loops or ramps. That doesn't mean that a row of drop targets can't be fun, but most pinball players today expect some sort of 'flow'.

                            2 of 2 people found this helpful
                          • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                            grahambest

                            That's what I was trying to do with the scientist / collect Giganto-Ray parts. There needs to be some sort of story for the engineering theme.

                             

                            I'd like to create a table based on MythBusters, where you would actually test real science experiments as part of playing the game. However, that's probably far more than the allowed $80 budget.

                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                        • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                          tgbuzz

                          Some of the simplest games were the best!  I loved Pinball in the 70's and 80's and Eightball Deluxe and Odin were some of my favorites.  To bring things up-to-date, How about a game called "Smartphone?"  You probably get the idea.  Try to take pictures, selfies, make texts, choose apps, and, oh yeah...send and answer telephone calls!

                          • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                            vacfink

                            If you provide a template (Adobe IA/PS) I would love to design one, maybe other community members can make others and share as a DIY upload your own.

                             

                            Almost anything can work, but layout will dictate IMO.

                            1 of 1 people found this helpful
                            • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                              DAB

                              I played my first pinball game in the early 1960's and have no idea what the theme was, just that it was fun and I got good enough to play for hours on a single nickel.

                               

                              How about a nice Babylon 5 or Farscape theme.

                               

                              DAB

                               

                              PS, I can't wait to get a kit and put one together.

                              • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                                ninjatrent

                                       I would like to own a Tron pinball machine if one was ever made. It would really be cool to upgrade the lighting and electronics with modern technology such as El wire, RGB LED, UV LED, Lasers, Matte Black and UV reactive paint scheme with some holographic print graphics would be awesome. I want the experience to be as if the user begins quest in Flynn's Arcade with the sound of top 10 80's music blasting over the sounds of bells, whistles, and video game nostalgia.

                                 

                                Time to fire up the Retro Pi.     

                                  

                                        A Lawnmower Man pinball machine is another on my strange wishlist of things.

                                • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                                  beacon_dave

                                  Spotted this 'Pirates of the Caribbean' pinball machine build in this quarter's ft:pedia magazine, which may be of some interest to followers of this project

                                  http://www.ftcommunity.de/ftpedia_ausgaben/ftpedia-2017-2.pdf#page=74

                                   

                                  pinball machine

                                   

                                  It looks like it has been inspired by the Fischertechnik Robo TXT Electropneumatic construction kit.

                                  fischertechnik GmbH - ROBOTICS - ROBO TXT ElectroPneumatic

                                  • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                                    f5kn

                                    My comment got selected! Yaaay!

                                    • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                                      rouverius

                                      Here's a totally out of the box idea.
                                      2 Player Pinball Game
                                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUE3zWnZbTo

                                      Two pinball fields head to head with no backer board.

                                      So, it's a bit like the plywood love child of pinball and air hockey.

                                       

                                      She's got the concept but lacking any electronics for the project.

                                      Might be interesting to reach out to her and see about a collaborative build.

                                      • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                                        ninjatrent

                                        The Bill Paxton's Pinball Machine was an awesome. A Bruce Campbell's Evil Pinball would be epic.

                                          

                                        An undead zombie apocalypse theme is one suggestion I have for future designs.

                                         

                                          Another would be for a Retro Video Game Theme with graphics similar to what was used in game systems such as NES and Sega Genesis incorporated into the score keeping, lighting, and overall theme of the design. The recent popularity of the "8-bit" pixelated style of animation would be an interesting aspect to bring to Pinball. Many early video games were designed with simple mechanics and simple themes but to this day are still very popular. The theme, characters, and aspects such music, graphics, and playability are often critical factors of a games overall success and popularity. I would really like to see current technologies such as RGB LED, OLED, eInk, LCD, UV LED, EL Wire and Panels and similar used in a design such as this.

                                         

                                          I have a similar idea for a RetroPie console and LCD display in a picture frame as a low power functional art installation.

                                         

                                        Thank you Karen, Ben, Felix, and Max for doing projects like this and all the work required to make the show. This show is how I learned about the Element 14 community. The projects that the team have made possible are inspiring and I look forward to future episodes.

                                         

                                        Trent

                                         

                                        PS tell Ben the beard is awesome and he should let it grow out if he wants to. Very suiting for an infamous pirate of electronics. Like Red Beard the Solderer. Yarr!!! There is hacking to be done in these circuits! No retro game console is safe from his plunder. Sorry, regrettable acting is cool.

                                        • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                                          f5kn

                                          Okay, so I was rewatching the Community Feedback video (this time with a bit more attention and less of an adrenaline rush), and Ben mentions the 2016 Aliens pinball and the P3 pinball to answer my question (not exactly a suggestion, it was kinda unrelated, sorry) on using LCDs in the playfield... That in turn took me to, y'know, go look for those, and upon seeing the P3... They have some neat ideas, but one that Ben might be able to use to make his customizable machine is to attach some obstacles, targets, bumpers and stuff not to the playfield board, but to a structure above it, using different transparent polycarbonate "modules". Then you wouldn't need to make too many holes on the board, thus making it more customizable!

                                           

                                          Now, specifically of using LCDs (and I don't think Ben will want to use them, because of costs... dunno, maybe!), Aliens doesn't use them well enough (it's just an effin' screen with video running on it, same as in the backbox) and the P3 is too much of a "video game", the actual pinball parts are around the screen, surrounding it. My idea is (now) to put obstacles on top of the screen, again, attached to a structure above it.

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                                          • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                                            f5kn

                                            As to which features it should have... The ones I find indispensable are pop bumpers, slingshots, drop targets, spinners and ramps.

                                            Habitrails would be cool, but I guess hard to put on a customizable machine. You could have 2 different kinds available for people to add to their machines, though.

                                             

                                            EDIT: And of course, blinking lights everywhere.

                                            • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                                              rask4p

                                              I can't wait to see how the kit turns out!  For features, slings and pops are essential I find games feel anemic without them. Ramps are optional for me, but not everyone likes street level games.  Drop targets would be great!  The biggest must have in my mind is RGB LEDs!  The code can get so much more complete if we create color coded modes!

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                                              • Re: What pinball game would YOU want?
                                                plyanthony

                                                I was born in the 90's, so past the whole "pinball era". We played game consoles when I grew up, arcades with pinball machines didn't even cross our minds! I have played very very few real pinball machines in my time. With that said I am super excited to see and get my hands on this kit. For people like me and in my age range I would suggest to put an emphasis on the story mode. Make it really known to the player that they are progressing in some way by doing certain things on the table, like record sound bytes by you guys saying "HIT THIS OVER HERE!" or "PUT THE BALL OVER THERE!".Or with the use of light up arrows. For people who never had real pinball in their lifetime it would help them acknowledge that there is an actual game to it and a "story" and how to progress. As for the theme Im thinking a "spy" or "secret agent" theme, like a mix of James Bond seriousness with the comedic effects of Archer mixed in. Who doesn't want to be a spy!

                                                1 of 1 people found this helpful