GP2X Group Game Project: Pinball-esque

Dzz

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Hello everybody. This thread is a continuation a discussion which began here: http://www.gp32x.de/board/index.php?showtopic=27749

In that thread, the idea of building a "pinball-esque" type of game arose. It struck me as an ideal concept for a group project, for the following reasons:

1) It is reasonably well bounded with a clear concept. It should not be too confusing for us to understand what we're talking about.

2) The gameplay design should be a manageable size and give budding young game designers a tractable problem to solve.

3) The art requirements are relatively modest yet leave a wide range for creative expression.

4) The project only has to reach the point of one polished "table" to be a success in that it would be an enjoyable download. I believe that tangible releasable milestones like this will help keep the participants motivated.

I'm appointing myself "project leader" for this effort (though I'd relinquish the job to another dedicated individual). That does NOT mean that I am the "designer" -- and design is our first goal. In particular, the basic idea of the game has to be decided, and I'll do that in a vague way here:

The game consists of a set of "tables", each of which is similar in spirit to "pinball" in the following way: There should be something similar in concept to a "ball" that is manipulated with something similar in concept to "flippers". This "ball" interacts with a 2D (or perhaps in some cases 2.5D) environment using some sort of comprehensible "physics".

Now, as far as design goes, we need to work on the design of specific tables. At some point we will need to choose one to work on first, but let's start with letting the game designers have a go at this task. The goal here is a description of a table that is specific enough that all participants understand it in the same way so that coding and art can begin. I would expect that a game designer would produce a description that gets expanded and more specific over time. Also, a sketch of what the screen should look like would be very helpful. These sketches can be the worst artwork ever done, that doesn't matter. The point is to make ideas concrete by showing in a rough and crude way what the idea is talking about. A bad picture is still worth 1000 words.

Some very interesting ideas were begun in the previous thread. I encourage their authors to bring those ideas over here and start working on some details.

I would like to hold off for now on discussion of "construction kits" or other attempts to generalize the task. I believe that we will be in a much better position to think about such a thing correctly after implementing a couple of tables; I do not want to delay the process of producing some actual gameplay or place framework-based restrictions on this effort at this time.

Ok, game designers, creative people, anybody with a sense of fun or adventure, let's design some gp2x pinball-esque tables!
 
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FluffyPanda

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I liked the idea of the state changing ball, though it doesn't necessarily have to be the solid / liquid / gas / plasma thing mentioned before. Some kind of ball powerup though would be very nice indeed.

How about a robot construction facility as the table design? That offers plenty of scope for interesting things, moving bits, sources of heat for a state change, etc.

You could have sections that you can't break through until you have powered up your ball and after making it through 3 sections (always on the same table) you can start pounding away at a big robot, trying to kill it for points.

I think I may have been overly influenced by sonic spinball here ;)
 

Julius

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Julius posted on May 3 2006 at 12:54 PM said:
I don't think tilting would be necessary if we went for a more expertimental pinball type of game (and I think doing so would be really quite annoying while playing).

Concerning the actual game: I don't think the state (ice water vapuor, plasma etc) should be directly playercontrolled, but it should be time and enviroment specific.
If you just let the ball sit in one corner is will slowly melt until is is at the surrounding temperature, and act acording to that (water drop down until is is at the bottom, vapuor rise until it reaches the top sink... both would mean game over).
All you can controll are where the ball is in the enviroment, and maybe also special gajets like a freeze cannon somewhere in the level.
Of course there could be special powerups with slow the temperature change, or reverse ist for some time, or give you an extra 30° or something by activating. Or other powerups, could turn the level into a iceage, where the graphics change according to that... maybe this could also be controlled by hitting a switch for 'climate-control' in the level with your ball.

To monitor your ball-temerature there should be a simple coloured temperature bar at the side of the screen.

Your padels that are scattered around the level (not only the two at the bottom) could be also state specific. For example there a 'grid' ones that can only hit the solid state (ice) or fans that only effect the vapour state etc. And special parts of the level could be also blocked of by grids etc, thus forcing you to changing state before getting access.

Last but not least, the point of the level shouldn't be just getting points, but maybe solve certian missions, or reaching certain places/final holes etc.

Edit: the states could of course not be completely true to physics, as they still have to remain ball shaped... but there could of course be different characteristics.
Just to have it all in one place :)

I think there should the the two standart flippers at the bottom, and several custom one (maybe even with different characteristics) placeable by the 'table-builder'.
The robot factory sounds like a cool theme... otherwise we could also make a fanasy theme, with a fire, water etc 'sub-world'.
 
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thebooboo

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Goodness, I got caught up with fixing Level Shmup for 2.0.0 firmware and totally missed all the action here.

I'll help for deffo. This project has the plus side of my girlfriend liking Pinball games!

Did anyone every play Sonic Pinball Party on GBA? That had a Nights into Dreams table on which was amazing, but probably only if you have the same kind of semi-obsessional relationship with Nights as I did.

OK, we're being asked for ideas and bad pictures, two of my strongpoints. I will return shortly with the fruits of my labour.
 

Dzz

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thebooboo posted on May 7 2006 at 10:34 AM said:
Goodness, I got caught up with fixing Level Shmup for 2.0.0 firmware and totally missed all the action here.

I'll help for deffo. This project has the plus side of my girlfriend liking Pinball games!

Did anyone every play Sonic Pinball Party on GBA? That had a Nights into Dreams table on which was amazing, but probably only if you have the same kind of semi-obsessional relationship with Nights as I did.

OK, we're being asked for ideas and bad pictures, two of my strongpoints. I will return shortly with the fruits of my labour.
Thanks! Looking forward to it!

As to the rest of you, is nobody actually interested in working on this project? I thought it might be a good opportunity for some budding game designers to have a go at thinking and talking about which gameplay elements would make for a fun game (which principles are universal although we're just talking about pinball in this case).
 
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Dimacus

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Im on, if im of any help.
I can code some C/C++ and I'm quiet familiar with SDL.
My art is worse than.. hmm I cant think of anyone worse than me :p

But as allway's i think it would be a good thing to beging with a very simple table, sutch as (if i understood the term table correctly) a set of flippers and some bounce things.

where the red things are the flippers, gray are walls and green are score-bouncy things.
(i apologise for any damage done to anyones eyes by looking at this picture)
 

Julius

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Build a working prototype, and I will try to hack up some 2D graphics. I suck at anything but 3D graphics though, so don't expect wonders. (and no I will not model and render 2d graphics :p ).
 

noreason

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what size should the table be?
320 x 240 and turn the gp2x or 320 x 720 and work with a scrolling background? anyway i'm not that good at graphics :( and i cannot code really good in c(++)... damn i wanna code on the gp2x in c# :p
 

ingrin

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noreason posted on May 10 2006 at 02:07 AM said:
what size should the table be?
320 x 240 and turn the gp2x or 320 x 720 and work with a scrolling background? anyway i'm not that good at graphics :( and i cannot code really good in c(++)... damn i wanna code on the gp2x in c# :p
I think scrolling background would be great. I also like all of Julius' ideas.

I have been looking at some video of the PSP game Roco Loco, which has an blob you roll around. apparently you can shift the 'board' by moving your joystick.

Since I don't see any other need for the Joystick, I was thinking that a 'tilt' ability using the Joystick might be handy. It would be effective on all states except steam. Perhaps if it is overused, you would lose control of the paddles like a real Pinball table...
 
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thebooboo

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Sorry for the lack of output after my last enthusiastic post. I had a bout of exhaustion and had to spend 3 days in bed (too much programming). Still need to take it easy, but hope to contribute soon...

Anyways, I think it's best to keep the GP2X horizontal for the tables. Vertical may give a better screen ratio but holding the thing and controlling it would be uncomfortable. In horizontal you can use the shoulder buttons for the flippers, and perhaps pull the d-pad to launch the ball.

Again, I would refer to Pinball of the Dead and Sonic Pinball Party on GBA, which both used a horizontal format very well.

Does this project have a sourceforge page yet? And what language is it going to be in?
 

thebooboo

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I can't insert this image direct at the moment for reasons to boring to go into, so have linked to the image below - will edit this post later with the image straight in.

Here's a sketch I just did with some ideas for the previously suggested robot factory themed table.

These are:

1. A big robot boss at the top to be destroyed with a number of ball-hits for extra bonuses. As with many popular tables the ball could spend some time bouncing around between the arms and head, racking up points.

2. Ramp leading to track which carries the ball back to flippers.

3. Robot factory which releases animated robots onto the table - these can then be destroyed with the ball, also ball can be flipped through the door of the factory to bounce around inside racking up points.

4. The obligatory light-up letters - light them up for a score - perhaps these could be made into switches connected to the factory?

Image link
 

FluffyPanda

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I like the big robot at the top, he looks like megatron :)

There really should be some energon cubes you can break open for points and optimus' fist could be used instead of the launcher :lol:
 

Tobriand

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So far as table size is concerned, I'd suggest horizontal and 320x720, possibly with status bar goodness on the bottom. Otherwise you end up with a control scheme that feels weird.

One other thing also occurred to me, though, re: control schemage. Namely, that yes, l and r would be ideal, but really shouldn't they be on the bottom of the console, thus making it seem closer to a real pinball table? Given, after all, that you don't exactly need to use the control stick much, therefore, why not turn the whole thing upside down and see how it feels? Or at least, add an option to the proggy for such...
 

FluffyPanda

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Hmmmm... I've just tried it and no matter how I hold it I just can't find a position where I can comfortably press the shoulder buttons when it's upside down. You have to use your thumbs to press them and that leaves you with your eight fingers trying to squeeze the console enough on the top and sides to keep it still.

Could be an option, but I don't think it'll see much use.
 

Dimacus

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I agree with FlyffyPanda, it's not very comfortably.
How about using the vol+ and select?
I know it's probably bad practice but that fit's my hand very nicely, and to enter the ingame menue, where you can raise and lower the volume, you could use the stickbutton + start.
 
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I understand what Tobriand means as far as reality is concerned but I can't see it being very comfy at all. All I reckon I would do is suceed in flicking my 2X across the room....
 

thebooboo

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This has also been posted at source forge, suggestion of how to proceed:

1. Coding in C++ with object-oriented design.

2. Propose that The Booboo creates a UML design and rough prototype with basic graphics, this is in order to establish the ball physics, gameplay rules etc. At this stage display to be done using SDL.

3. At this point I will either recruit an artist or do new graphics myself. Artist to work with Dzz. Dzz to code high-performance low-level graphics module(s) to support the agreed art requirements of the game, which will be discussed by all involved in the project at the time.

4. Music can be drawn from Tim's Record Label (The Booboo and others) creative commons back catalogue, and/or any tracks any other project members may wish to contribute.

5. Sound design to be done by The Booboo.
 
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