FarSight Studios has successfully funded and produced numerous critically acclaimed digital recreations of real Pinball machines. Now, we would like to bring you a never-before-seen Pinball Experience by Trick Gaming Studios.
The year is 2030 and mankind is being threatened by Invaders from a nearby galaxy. We need an intergalactic Pinball hero to protect us!
It was only 60 years ago that the Pinball Invaders arrived on Earth. No one was able to stop them, and, in a Pinball Tournament for the ages, the losing side was forced to leave.
We gathered whatever was most important to us: Pinball Tables, and left aboard our primitive spaceships.
But now, things have changed. Humanity, thriving in space and having perfected Pinball Warfare, is committed to finding it’s way back home.
The Player, recently appointed captain of the MMS Pinball Battleship, is placed at the epicenter of this conflict. Unlock the secrets of what really happened 60 years ago by building an arsenal of upgradable power-ups and battling through more than 100 levels of chaotic Pinball warfare.
The Game is being developed by Argentina based Trick Gaming Studios with the assistance and expertise of FarSight Studios, who will also act as Publisher for the title.
Leandro, one of the Co-Founder’s of the studio, says they got the inspiration to create this game out of their own personal experiences.
In his own words:
“As you know, Argentina has gone through some harsh economic crisis. When I was around 10, it wasn’t that common to have a console at home. Or if you had it, you may only have 2 or 3 games. At that time a single game could cost up to $180 dollars over here.
So, long story short, we would go to the Arcade and spend all day over there. This is around the year 1995, so naturally, Video Games are everywhere in this place, but at this time they still co-existed peacefully with the Pinball machines.
Some of my favorite tables to play were Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Addams Family, Terminator 2: Judgement day and Fish Tales. There are some clear influences of those tables in our concepts!
On the other side, with Julian (the other Co-Founder) we’ve always been huge fans of Nintendo Games. And, since we were pretty poor, we would play a fan translation of Pokemon Red/Blue in our No$GB (No Cash Game Boy) Emulator.
The N64 came out around those times, but I was still playing on my Family Game (that’s Argentina’s counterfeit NES).
Much of our inspiration comes from games from those times and their natural evolutions, games like Zelda, Super Mario and Pokemon.
When I started designing Pinball Invaders I wanted to make a Pinball Game with soft Role Playing elements, like in Zelda games. I believe this is called Ability Based progression, where the new abilities you acquire organically open new areas that were previously inaccessible.
No complicated statistics or cranking the enemy’s difficulty to 11, instead, when the player gets too comfortable, let’s face him with a new challenge. Of course, this is easier said than done haha”
We started developing the concept around March 2015, and it was around May of that year that our Artist Dana came on-board.
The initial research was pretty difficult: surprisingly there were not a lot of good Pinball Games, so the first 6 months were a lot of trial and error trying to define the Core Game Loop and the Graphical Style.
At that time, the mission changed slightly: let's make the best 2D Pinball game in history! The ULTIMATE 2D Pinball game, with amazing physics and level design, ability based progression and polish worthy of a Nintendo game.
We were under the false impression that developing a 2D Pinball game would be a simple thing, but man were we wrong!
The first prototype was easy to put together but once we started looking at it under the magnifying glass, all the problems with the physics started to pop out.
It took the better part of the next 4 months to write the Physics from scratch instead of using Unity’s out of the box Physics.
At that time the game was feeling pretty good, but the real breakthrough came during GDC when we met again with FarSight Studios and they helped us by sharing their own Physics calculations. The way the game feels now is the result of this long iterative process, and we think fans will really enjoy playing a 2D Pinball game like this, because it has never been done before.
One of the most common comments we got while showing the game, is that this is a casual game. Since this is a Pinball Game, then it must be Casual, right?
The answer is No. And that’s a myth we want to debunk.
Sure, everyone will be able to enjoy the game in casual 10 minute play-sessions, it took a great effort to maintain that balance.
But under the hood, the game packs a lot of features that will keep Completionists, Competitive Players and Collectors hooked for months.
There are 5 big pieces to this Game Design, and all of them work together to create a product that is more than the sum of it’s parts: the Core Game Mechanics, Progression, Power Ups, The Robodex and The Bosses.
Maybe in a future we’ll write a detailed article about each of them, but for now let’s go with a brief description.
The idea is to develop realistic, yet accessible, 2D Pinball physics. With a joint effort between Farsight and Trick, we fine-tuned the flipper’s angles and power until they felt completely responsive. As true Pinball fans, we also made sure to implement features like: Trap, Cradle, Post Pass, Dead Flipper Pass, Backhand Shots and many more.
The keyword here is Game Feel. We want to make sure every interaction with the world feels realistic and the sound effects, consequences and graphics that represent that interaction feel absolutely perfect in the context of the game.
As you can see above, in this game you’ll have to battle the aforementioned Pinball Invaders. Initially they will be pretty weak and easy to defeat (and fun!), but as the levels go by… read ahead!
The game will be divided in 7 very different chapters. Each chapter with 15 very different levels. We are trying to pack as much content as we can in this game. If possible, all 105 levels will take place on a different board.
Each chapter will unlock a bit of the Game’s Story and at the same time force the player to learn and re-adapt to the new enemy skills and newly unlocked Power-Ups.
As the levels progress, abilities previously used to defeat your enemies will no longer work. As cunning little creatures they are, the Pinball Invaders will come up with ways to counter your Skills, like hiding behind structures, or shooting your base to make you lose your balls!
The levels will also become increasingly larger, with nooks and crannies to explore and multiple floors for the gameplay to expand.
But don’t worry, in Space, you are not alone! A plethora of Robots with specific abilities will join your crew and help you defeat the Invaders. Rest assured, these Power-Ups will not feel like Gimmicks, every new ability you unlock will have a measurable and rewarding effect on the Gameplay.
Not only that, but you’ll be able to Upgrade your own Battleship in order to withstand more enemy attacks or carry additional abilities into battle, among others.
And if that’s not enough, you’ll also be tasked with completing the Galactic Robodex. Can you track and collect every single Robot, Enemy, Character and Special Ball in this weird Universe?
We are planning to develop more than 50 Special Balls that you can add to your collection.
Some will have direct effects on the game, like duplicating your loot or points, while others will have awesome visual effects (did anyone say Bat Ball?). Since a game is a set of meaningful choices, it’s up to you to decide how to prepare for the next battle.
We think these guys deserve a section of their own just out of how cool they are. Every Chapter will have it’s own boss, and the player will need to use a combination of specific skills to defeat it.
Again, we took a page of the Zelda book here. Every Boss will be different and their weak spot will not be clear right away. Some of these battles are already implemented, and we can tell you: this is where the games shines the most, it’ll keep you at the edge of your seat!
As we said before, this game is more than the sum of its parts. If you haven’t been following (we don’t blame you), this game will consist of a combination of subsystems that will tie nicely together to fulfill the experience.
Add other things to the equation, like Leaderboards and the ability to revisit older levels with newly unlocked Power-Ups.
Can’t get 3 Stars in a level? No problem! Come back later and it’ll be a walk in the park.
Imagine all the possibilities that come out of this kind of Emergent Gameplay.
We mentioned Leaderboards briefly, but don’t be mistaken, they’ll be a central part of the game. Pinball Invaders will seamlessly integrate into FarSight’s leaderboard system to keep track of who’s at the top of the Intergalactic League.
Since actions speak louder than words, why don’t you go ahead and get a taste of what we are building? Of course, it’s not the full game (else we wouldn’t we doing this Campaign!), but we put together a pretty awesome board where you can test the Core Game Mechanics and see for yourself what we mean by the game feeling great. The size of this board is what we are planning for the later levels in Pinball Invaders, so keep that in mind!
At the moment of this campaign going live, we have released Pinball Cadet (yes, it’s a nod to the amazing Space Cadet for old Window’s Systems) to demonstrate the perfect blend of videogame mechanics mixed with a true Pinball feel.
That’s not all: if you help us fund Pinball Invaders, you’ll also get Rewards for Pinball Cadet, which we plan to keep updating and adding more content in the future.
Yes, that's two games for one Kickstarter campaign! And you can play RIGHT NOW while you wait for the Pinball Invaders release!
We need an intergalactic Pinball hero to protect us! Only those with outstanding Pinball skills will be chosen to defend Earth.
But not so fast! Before you are deployed into space to fight off the Invaders, you must first prove yourself in the MMS Pinball Trainship - the ultimate Pinball Warfare Simulator.
Hone your skills at the academy before being sent to the Pinball War zone.
The MMS Pinball Battleship recently lost its captain and the mission will continue in Pinball Invaders as you take the helm on your first day.
You can play the Pinball Cadet prototype now on Android and iOS to get a taste of what's to come if this project successfully funds.
Your feedback on this game will also help us polish the physics, so we can make sure Pinball Invaders feels perfect from day 1.
Technology matters, and as old school console players, we want this game to be available on all possible platforms.
That’s the reason we are building this game in Unity (and because we think it’s an amazing engine, too!).
Also, since we are a small studio it made sense to develop the project in a way that it could be used to release a whole product line. Since this was our first internal project, we knew the risk was high, and being able to reuse a large percentage of the code in multiple successions made a lot of sense.
If everything goes well, Pinball Invaders will be the first of many products we release.
With the help of pinball fans around the world, FarSight and Trick Gaming Studios would like to bring you Pinball Invaders! A pinball adventure like you've never seen before.
The completion of the Pinball Cadet prototype paves the way for Trick to develop the full fledged Pinball Invaders adventure for Android, iOS, and Facebook upon funding of the campaign.
We’ve put together a tempting list of rewards to say “thank you” for helping out. Please join us in creating this amazing addition to the Pinball world!
Our initial Kickstarter campaign ensures we’ll be able to release Pinball Invaders on Android, iOS and Facebook. However, we would love to see this game being played on PCs and Consoles.
If we can secure additional funding, we’ll port the game to other platforms, making sure we make proper utilization of each platform’s specific features.
Additionally, we have a list of extras we’d like to implement, but were cut from the initial campaign in order to reduce costs.
Any extra money we raise after that, will of course be directed towards the implementation of the game. We’ll keep adding polish and new boards until there’s not one dollar left!
We want to make sure the message doesn’t get lost in Space. Help us reach other Pinball fans out there!
Risks and challenges
At this point, the game’s Core is pretty much done, a bunch of the Art has been finished and we need this campaign to succeed in order to create the vast amount of content we are planning. Creating so much content to match the vision we have for Pinball Invaders is what sparked the idea of launching this campaign. The alternative would have been to release an incomplete version.
We believe the game we are trying to build would normally cost way more than what we are asking for, but by being located in Argentina (and very conscious about our spending), we can bring it to you at a fraction of that cost. There's a commitment from the team to you to make sure every single dollar we raise is well spent.
We also know this game is something new and unique. That, by itself, comes with challenges of it's own. Every artistic endeavor has it's inherent process of trial and error, especially when treading in uncharted territory. What we can say about this is that the hardest part of the development seems to be already behind us. We have a 2D Pinball engine that feels great and it's improving by the day, and through that same process hundreds of ideas popped up for the different levels and power ups. I guess what we mean to say is, even if we can't predict what's going to happen at every step along the way, we are certain about the goal.
In the case we still have to weather some storms (which will probably happen!) we want to end this with a quote by Ed Catmull, who says:
“Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.”
With that mindset is that both the team at Trick Gaming Studios and FarSight Studios look forward to dealing with those consequences.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)