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Thread: Your favourite playfield toys, design ideas

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    Table Designer deep's Avatar
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    Default Your favourite playfield toys, design ideas

    I would like to know what are your mostly liked toys and parts on pinball tables (not only Zen products), and why did you liked them. If you have original ideas, share them here! They could find their way into one of my next tables I am interested in your other suggestions about how can we make our tables even better.

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    Table Designer deep's Avatar
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    Also, please tell me about the layout likes, and dislikes of yours. E.g.: How many ramps do you like on a table? How many flippers, sinkholes, mini playfields, levels, other elements. What is your dream layout looks like?

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    The main dislike I have is when the table punishes you for something you are supposed to do, and/or even if you do nothing truly wrong.

    The Rocky and Bullwinkle table is the best example, as going for the BOXTOP targets is very dangerous, and the ball just simply hitting the slingshots usually results in a drain. I've also had the ball drain by it simply making it's way down from the top half of the table. The Empire table occasionally has that slingshot issue, and it's maddening.

    A couple lesser examples are the Warbound orbits and the Mission Gate in World World Hulk, and the SHIELD target on Iron Man. All targets you can hit perfectly and still (and if some cases, often) lose the ball.

    At least the infamous right ramp in Rome, while annoying, only hurts you when you botch the shot.

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    Senior Member shogun00's Avatar
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    Favorite Toy Gimmick - Demolition Man's toy cars (far left)! Instead of using a captured ball, the table uses 2 (or 4 depending to the operator) micro-machine like cars to hit the bullseye.

    Favorite Moving Part - Judge Dredd's Dead World spinner and Space Station arm. It would have been nice if it functioned like the original prototype (read the notes).

    Favorite Table Layout - Any table from Steve Ritchie, but if I had to choose one I would go with Rollergames. He really is the "king of flow".

    What I Really Like - Wicked lighting effects and General Illumination (GI) lighting. So far only the Blade and Sorcerer's Lair tables had really cool lighting effects. What I really like to see is real time multi-level GI lighting on your tables.

    What I Dislike The Most - Wonky ball saves! I really like the ball saves to follow the KISS rule. I'm not a big fan of unique ball saves where the ball comes out a robot's arm (Earth Defense) or shoots out between the flippers (Clone Wars) or goes into a vortex and I have wait for the character to pick it up (Fantastic 4). Keep the ball save simple and just have the ball launch from the plunger lane. The above examples either create unnecessary frustrating ball drains, game breaking bugs, or failed mission attempts because the timer ran out.
    Last edited by shogun00; 06-27-2013 at 01:05 AM. Reason: Stupid typo

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    Something to add: I don't know how practical it is, but I'd like to have an option to turn off the kickbacks or permanent ballsave on some multiball modes. It's one thing to use them up on a multiball that's part of a mission (like Hulk v. Dr Strange in World War Hulk), but annoying on an "optional" one (like losing your kickbacks and the Sabre Saver during the Jedi/Sith multiball on Empire).

    And to be clear so I'm not coming of as negative, I do think most of these tables are fantastic. I've gotten a lot more than I've expected from what was really a chance download, and I've made it a point to tell most people I know about this game.
    Tables completed: Ms Splosion Man, Spiderman, BioLab, Captain America, Empire Strikes Back, The Avengers, Wolverine, World War Hulk, Sorcerer's Lair, Fantastic Four, Blade, X-Men, Thor, Moon Knight, Infinity Gauntlet, Super League Football, Starfighter Assault, Han Solo
    Billionaire's Club: Spider-Man, World War Hulk, The Avengers, Sorcerer's Lair, Empire Strikes Back, Captain America, Ms. Splosion Man, Han Solo

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    Quote Originally Posted by shogun00 View Post
    Favorite Toy Gimmick - Demolition Man's toy cars (far left)! Instead of using a captured ball, the table uses 2 (or 4 depending to the operator) micro-machine like cars to hit the bullseye.

    Favorite Moving Part - Judge Dredd's Dead World spinner and Space Station arm. It would have be nice if it functioned like the original prototype (read the notes).

    Favorite Table Layout - Any table from Steve Ritchie, but if I had to choose one I would go with Rollergames. He really is the "king of flow".

    What I Really Like - Wicked lighting effects and General Illumination (GI) lighting. So far only the Blade and Sorcerer's Lair tables had really cool lighting effects. What I really like to see is real time multi-level GI lighting on your tables.

    What I Dislike The Most - Wonky ball saves! I really like the ball saves to follow the KISS rule. I'm not a big fan of unique ball saves where the ball comes out a robot's arm (Earth Defense) or shoots out between the flippers (Clone Wars) or goes into a vortex and I have wait for the character to pick it up (Fantastic 4). Keep the ball save simple and just have the ball launch from the plunger lane. The above examples either create unnecessary frustrating ball drains, game breaking bugs, or failed mission attempts because the timer ran out.
    The Demolition Man cars are indeed a good idea, I was planning to use this, could be on my next table
    I like Steve's works, all are great tables but a bit simple. John Popadiuk is my favorite
    The light effects are one of the most important things of a pinball table. Sadly our graphics engine is limited in this area, some real time lights would be awesome. Maybe on nextgen consoles
    About ball saves: I promise not to design any more like Fantastic 4

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    Quote Originally Posted by OriginalEther View Post
    The main dislike I have is when the table punishes you for something you are supposed to do, and/or even if you do nothing truly wrong.

    The Rocky and Bullwinkle table is the best example, as going for the BOXTOP targets is very dangerous, and the ball just simply hitting the slingshots usually results in a drain. I've also had the ball drain by it simply making it's way down from the top half of the table. The Empire table occasionally has that slingshot issue, and it's maddening.

    A couple lesser examples are the Warbound orbits and the Mission Gate in World World Hulk, and the SHIELD target on Iron Man. All targets you can hit perfectly and still (and if some cases, often) lose the ball.

    At least the infamous right ramp in Rome, while annoying, only hurts you when you botch the shot.
    Well, yeah the slingshots can be a bit rough sometimes, but hey...thats what they do after all I don't like if they just nudge the ball slightly, some early Zen table does that and its so unrealistic. However its safe

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    I'm a big drop target fan - nothing more satisfying to me!
    I also like to hit my targets using an unusually orientated upper flipper (eg Black Knight), or lower playfield (Black Hole).

    I tend to favour the real life tables from the 80's, the pre-dmd more open playfield tables where accuracy of shot counted more and game times were shorter.

    My biggest pinball hate - ill thought out and excessive multiball modes that are accessed too easily or without intent.

    I work as a CAD draughtsman, and have been playing with some layouts of my own recently , using Autodesk Inventor Pro's dynamic simulation suite for mockup.
    I've been playing with some non conventional ball plunge positions and am tweaking one where the ball is plunged from a flipper central location which is aimable by the player to make specific launch targets. Also this layout doesn't have the traditional outer orbit loop.

    Theme wise - I'm fairly open, but like where a ball can be tied to the theme (eg Medieval Madness's cannon). I don't like where the theme is just a loose tie in with no relevance to a rolling ball.

    I'm not a big fan of blindly copying existing real table layouts and features and rebranding them (Rocky and Bulwinkle - Sorcerer etc... ).
    I love creation and innovation like in Fear Itself's Circle Lane.

    Toywise - I love Excalibur. Believable (ie could almost be a real table) but with an extra twist of non-real mechanical world required reliability.

    Hope some of that makes sense - and helps or inspires.
    Looking forward to your future work.

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    Senior Member shogun00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nik Barbour View Post
    I'm not a big fan of blindly copying existing real table layouts and features and rebranding them (Rocky and Bulwinkle - Sorcerer etc...).
    You don't have to worry about that one. They only did that when they were first starting off (first six tables on PFX1). Street Fighter 2 and everything after was of their own design.

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    Just remembered another playfield toy idea I tried out years ago. I modelled it up in CAD but never did anything with it.

    It was a centrally located ramp. The lower half was fixed in the 12 o clock orientation, but the centre had a snaking hinge and the upper half of the ramp was motorised and steerable.
    The steering was to be done via, pressing and holding a button, which would temporarily disable the flipper coils, and allow the upper half of the ramp to be steered using the left/right flipper buttons (whilst the ball was in play up the table).
    You could combine this with a central located fixed manual plunger (so shot strength could be varied) and have an in game sinkhole to access the plunger, whilst also making the ramp accessible from left or right flipper shots.

    The ramp could then used for anything from 3d target hitting, to accessing mini playfields, or hitting a character in varying locations (similar to Champion Pub).
    I had a non-themed CAD simulation working really nicely with this ramp a few years back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shogun00 View Post
    What I Really Like - Wicked lighting effects and General Illumination (GI) lighting. So far only the Blade and Sorcerer's Lair tables had really cool lighting effects. What I really like to see is real time multi-level GI lighting on your tables.
    Firstly, I have to say I love this thread! How lucky are we to be communicating with actual game designers of a game we all love??

    Secondly, shogun has already mentioned my personal number one most important feature of any pinball: lighting effects. It doesn't matter if it's a real table or a simulation, a great light show can make or break a table for me. I've played The Addams family, Theatre of Magic and Twilight Zone, they all put on a fantastic light show and especially when you earn multi-ball which really ramps up the excitement.

    That brings me on to my next point: real-life pinball tables seem much better at making the player aware something big is about to happen, like multi-ball. A pause in the action with some flashing lights followed by a manic mission/multi-ball is why I love pinball. That and combos. Which brings me onto my next point...

    I love a combo. Earth Defense and Sorcerers Lair had some great rewards for hitting a tricky combo. Actually, Clone Wars' toughest mission 'Weapons Factory' was great fun as hitting those initial combos was really testing yet satisfying. I Also love hitting sink-holes to end a multi-ball mission, that can be satisfying too.

    One last thing I love: magnets. Whether they are under the playfield or over I've always loved the way they can be used to move the pinball. Addams family really uses these to great effect and some Zen tables have too. Probably my favourite of any mission out of ALL the tables is 'Chain Reaction' on Tesla. I love lining up each shot and the realistic way the balls react to the magnets followed by sending the four balls flying when you successfully complete it. Magic stuff.

    I think that will do for now, I'll save my pet hates and ideas for table toys and layouts etc. for another post...

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    My favourite toy on an actual pinball were the slingshot cannons on STNG. They worked well and added to the gameplay.

    My favourite gimmick was the Mist multiball from Dracula: having to knock the floating ball to activate it was a cool idea. I also liked the manual ramp diverters on the Shadow ramps.

    I'm a fan of fast, smooth games that flow well, offering plenty of ramps, loops and orbits that allow for continuous combo shots and am a fan of scoring mechanisms like the combos in Demo man and Vengeance from Shadow.

    The ability to stack multiball modes is always welcome, and I really like the way Dracula handled this. With one MB activated, jackpots were 10mil. With 2 MB modes activated they were 20mil. With 3 MB modes activated they were 30mil. It wasn't easy to stack all 3 modes, but if you did, it really paid off.

    I always find myself leaning to tables that have at least 3 flippers (rather than the standard 2) and prefer a playfield that has plenty of shots available, but is not overly cluttered. Mini playfields can be fun but a pet hate of mine are larger sized mini-playfields (or any other feature for that matter) that obscure too much of the main playfield.

    Though I have only tried the demos on most of the Zen tables, I've played a lot of ESB, and I'm really enjoying it. There's plenty of sweet-spot shots available and the game rules force the player to use the whole playfield. Plenty of variety, numerous ways to obtain good scores, and I really like the balance factor in the Sith/Jedi super jackpot scoring. Compared to what I have seen from the other tables, ESB is definitely going in the right direction... so more like this please :-)

    What I'd really like to see Zen explore is a new spin on the Hotseat multiplayer concept. Have the opponents spawn inside the playfield, standing a little higher than the ball, and make them real life moving targets. Provide them objectives such as blocking and or shutting down lit shots and jackpots, all the while themselves being prime high-scoring targets for the hotseat player. Imagine how scary multiball would be!

    Throw in some AI based characters (unlocked with modes) that target the guys running around the playfield, you could really have fun with this concept. :-)

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    I liked the upside down flipper on Paranormal. That shot through the gate was very satisfying.

    Also liked the adamantium mode on wolverine where you have to lock 2 balls in separate sinkholes in a short period of time. Always a nice challenge.

    I quite like magnet games as well (pasha, fear itself).

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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for the posts guys! Good to have your opinions and ideas. I am making notes what to and not to do on future tables, so keep them coming!

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    Great thread.

    I agree with others. Better lighting would be great with an adjustable setting to change the ambient lighting and more light effects when starting up or defeating important modes. Pro Pinball has a cool lighting simulator for their Timeshock pinball table. You can find it here for the pc, mac, ios and android http://www.pro-pinball.com/. It's just a tech demo but it would be cool if zen could one day implement something similar.

    Favorite Toys: A great table doesn't necessarily need any toys. But my favorite playfield toy is definitely Rudy in Funhouse. He taunts you and I know I get a lot of satisfaction when I smack in the mouth. I also like the idea of a rotating toy that has different features like the magic box in Theater of Magic. One side has a sinkhole, another has spot or drop targets. In regards to Zen tables, I don't think there are many interactive toys but I like the giant robot in Earth defense and the catapult in Excalibur. Toys I hate are the cannons on STTNG and the giant lamp spinner in TOTAN. They always lead wild uncontrollable balls.

    Layout: My favorite tables seem to have around 3 ramps and 3 flippers and the 3rd flipper is used to hit the 3rd ramp with a cross shot. I like tables that use the upper flipper for combo shots and the upper flipper has two things you can hit like a ramp and a sinkhole like STTNG. STTNG has the Picard Maneuver combo that you can hit with the upper flipper as well as a sinkhole (Command decision?). But with video pinball it is important to have a good view of the upper flipper and above it to time the shot. I would also like to see drop targets. Zen barely uses drop targets at all. I have been playing a lot of Pinball Arcade recently and I really like the drop targets in Centaur, Firepower, and Gorgar. The layouts for these tables are fairly simple with no ramps but I really like the challenge and accurate drop target shots are key to getting good scores.

    Mini-playfields/Mini games: Some are good and some are crap. The powerfield on TZ is cool (but you already made that a minigame on IG). I hate the mini playfield on The Shadow. I think mini games on Zen are hit and miss. The Dark Asgard mini game on FI gets boring pretty quick.

    I would like to see Easter Eggs/Cows thrown into Zen games like poker with Riker on STTNG.
    Last edited by surf1der; 06-16-2013 at 10:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by surf1der View Post
    I would like to see Easter Eggs/Cows thrown into Zen games like poker with Riker on STTNG.
    First we need to create an inside joke, that everyone at Zen likes.

    Maybe we can create an inside joke here on the forums and it could be applied to all future tables as an easter egg.

    Cows were Williams' thing, so we need to think of something different.

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    Thanks for the thread but I only saw it by chance. Maybe a note in the Pinball FX2-PC-forum would be great, too. (https://forum.zenstudios.com/forumdi...l-FX2%99-Steam)

    Personally, I don't like symmetric tables that much (Star Wars Empire strikes back, Avengers...)...apart from sound, music and color combinations I really like a limited number of 3D action going -> characters that pop out of the table and long and curvy ramps...corkscrew ramps (Spiderman!!!), the round ball platform with the hole in the middle -> the grey circle on the right side, next to the submarine.

    I also love the silver half ramp of Moon Knight.

    The key to a good table is having enough action going on but without getting a crowded table. World War Hulk has too many ramps for my taste or Iron Man too.

    So the ideal table shouldn't have too many objects but a mix of cool ramps, 3D characters and objects such the galley (Rome) or the submarine (Secrets of the deep).

    It's better to use 3D characters that pop out of the table or appear from nowhere than stuffing too many of them onto the table. The contents of a table doesn't need to be visible all the time. A second or third playfield you can get to is better than everything on just one table.

    Missions are important, too. There shouldn't be just a main goal or some side goals but enough variety and missions to complete. The old Stones n bones table from Pinball Fantasies 2 is a good example.

    Something like that:

    1) Hit targets to start mission 1, hit them again for mission 2...up to mission 5...the missions are different 3D characters that jump on the table once activated. Win mission 1 by shooting ramp 1, ramp 2, ramp 1, ramp 3....win mission 2 by hitting the drop target 1, ramp 2, hitting the bumpers several times, then shooting ramp 2 again....so different tasks for each mission.
    2) hit the bumpers to get the x2, x3 etc. bonus
    3) hit other targets to choose from mission 6, 7 or 8 (but they aren't related to 1-5)...mission 6 is on the default playfield, 7 is on a second mini playfield and so is mission 8 (on a second mini playfield)
    4) Light all lights to get a bonus, light them again to get a higher bonus, light them again for an extra ball
    5) collect something to start two different video modes!

    All in all, there should be enough stories, missions, sections to choose from.

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    Senior Member s-carnegie's Avatar
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    I would also like to see more tables with drop targets. Keep the great work coming Zen, you are by far #1 in pinball.

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    Quote Originally Posted by surf1der View Post
    Toys I hate are the cannons on STTNG and the giant lamp spinner in TOTAN. They always lead wild uncontrollable balls.

    Layout: My favorite tables seem to have around 3 ramps and 3 flippers and the 3rd flipper is used to hit the 3rd ramp with a cross shot. I like tables that use the upper flipper for combo shots and the upper flipper has two things you can hit like a ramp and a sinkhole like STTNG.
    Hmm, you are going to like and dislike my new table at the same time

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    Senior Member shogun00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deep View Post
    Hmm, you are going to like and dislike my new table at the same time
    You mean there is going to be a spinning lamp cannon on your next table? Sweet!

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    Quote Originally Posted by shogun00 View Post
    You mean there is going to be a spinning lamp cannon on your next table? Sweet!
    Haha, yeah. And Aladdin with it

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    Senior Member shogun00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deep View Post
    Haha, yeah. And Aladdin with it
    I can see it now.

    "Rub the lamp Aladdin!"
    "I'm am the Genie of the lamp. Say hello to my little friend."

    **6 balls launch out of the spinning lamp cannon for multiball**

    How's that for a pinball idea?

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    My favorite table toy was the elephant on the Pinball Circus! When he has the ball, he lifts his head to channel the ball to an upper playfield. Simple but awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deep View Post
    Hmm, you are going to like and dislike my new table at the same time
    That's okay. There are many things in life that I have a love/hate relationship with. Why should pinball be any different.

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    most liked part: i really actvating kickbacks by spelling a word on the rollovers
    i like how you smashed god on infinity gaunlet , maybe more of that but like the game arkanoid ( brick breaker) in the middle of playfield

    i would really want to see a dark colored table like blade again , night time smelly arcade style

    i don't like invisible ramps (civil war style)
    i don't like ramps popping up in middle of playfield (clone)
    i don't like when the balls take forever to come back (esb sith cross shot into sinkhole) its like i know whats going to happen and the sequence is too long

    i like sinkholes on tip of flip
    i like ramdom rewards (maybe a mini playfield with that)
    i really like the cross tie flipper shot on esb , i do that just to hear the sound effect and rebound trajectory !
    i don't have a pci use ps3 browser

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    Senior Member LeanderL's Avatar
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    How about a contest? Everyone sends his/her ideas (detailed explanations, how to, missions etc.) via email and the winner's ideas will be used for a newly designed tables?

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    Senior Member skyway73's Avatar
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    Regarding layouts, I prefer not too many ramps personally. 2 orbits, 2 main ramps and maybe 2 more ramps/orbits which can only be hit by an upper flipper. I'd rather have a mini-play field of some sort than a separate mini game any day. I have played nearly all Zen tables on the PS3 and I can't think of one mini-game I really like. Even the better ones I find are only 'ok' and the worst ones like the table at the back of Paranormal or the mini playfield on Excalibur are no fun.

    I don't like to be taken away from the table for a mini-game, I like it when the camera zooms in on a part like the manifold on V12 or the Citadel on Blade. I really don't like the physics on some of the mini-games, they just don't feel natural.

    I don't like missions that are overly hard or long-winded to start, I would rather make starting a mission simpler and the actual missions tougher. I think Zen have learned this is better too as most tables now seem to follow this philosophy.

    Thinking about lighting, I think it has already sort of been mentioned somewhere that the ambient table lighting could be darker, this could make things look even nicer.

    I love a Super Skillshot, the one on Paranormal I think is my favourite to hit. In fact the backwards flipper at the bottom is cool, I wouldn't mind seeing something like that again.

    Finally (for now anyway!) I think my pet-hate is a ball-saver that is too easy to activate. Tesla and El Dorado spring to mind, I hate feeling like I need to have it activated before I take a shot. It's nice to have to earn it as a reward though, even better a lucky reward like on some tables.

    I think that will do for now, I've got some new ideas for missions etc. which I will come back with soon...

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    Senior Member LeanderL's Avatar
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    Just bought Fantastic Four. This is what I call the perfect layout! Ramps, lanes, targets, flippers...3D characters.

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarbieBobomb View Post
    My favorite table toy was the elephant on the Pinball Circus! When he has the ball, he lifts his head to channel the ball to an upper playfield. Simple but awesome.
    Was in LV in April and played the hell out of this table at the Pinball Hall of Fame...so cool. The creepy clown at the top is a good 'toy' too.

    Great thread, Deep...psyched to share thoughts and wish I had more.

    Overall, I love affecting the table in some way...a hit somewhere makes something happen or changes the table in some subtle way, repeated hits stack up to a (not so subtle) event. Compare it to the shooting gallery at disneyworld if you follow. You guys have done a great job at this generally, but more changes are even better/less repetative. I also think it'd be great to see more 'permanent' affects on a table. For example: You've completed a 'destroying the castle' mission, the castle STAYS destroyed and now a new mission comes out of that...ogres invade the ruins and set up camp or whatever and the changes keep happening. Make it a cycle of 5 changes or so...that'd be rad.

    Some favorite stuff from the previous tables:

    1. The crossbow launch in Excalibur (go figure)
    2. The background changes in Empire
    3. Dracula reveal in Monster bash
    4. Lighting effects in Blade
    5. Subways and helicopters in Earth defense


    That's all I got time for now....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trollwart View Post
    Was in LV in April and played the hell out of this table at the Pinball Hall of Fame...so cool. The creepy clown at the top is a good 'toy' too.
    Really?! I was there in April too! I wanna go back

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    Well, I have started to work on my next table, and based on your feedbacks, I created a very cool layout with multiple changing parts. I hope you will like it

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarbieBobomb View Post
    Really?! I was there in April too! I wanna go back
    Whaaa? Were you there for NAB, or something more fun?

    Whatever it is, Deep...I'm sure its gonna rule

  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trollwart View Post
    Whaaa? Were you there for NAB, or something more fun?
    I was visiting a friend who lives in Vegas, just checked out the PHoF for the afternoon

  34. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trollwart View Post
    Whaaa? Were you there for NAB, or something more fun?
    I was visiting a friend who lives in Vegas, just checked out the PHoF for the afternoon

  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarbieBobomb View Post
    I was visiting a friend who lives in Vegas, just checked out the PHoF for the afternoon
    Definitely more fun.
    Well next time we'll have to get a few games in.

    This one brought back some memories, too. After a play, though, not sure they were good memories

  36. #36
    Senior Member skyway73's Avatar
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    An idea I had for a mission: a four ball multi-ball where you have to lock all for balls into 4 different sink-holes. When you get down to needing to lock the final ball maybe add a 10 second countdown timer? That could be fun.

    Another idea borrows a little from Theatre of Magic: some sort of 4 sided object with one side sloped to act as a ramp. Hit it once to turn it 90 degrees which reveals a sink-hole. Hit the hole to turn it a further 90 degrees so the ramp side is revealed. Hit this ramp to land ball in a hole/magnet to start mission. I would make the shots easy to hit but have a countdown timer for each stage and the cube turns back one stage when the countdown is up.

    One side could be a magnet, a mission could be to lock 3 balls by sticking them to the cube starting a multi-ball.

    A general idea or theme for a table could be you have to assemble stage by stage a series of events, I'll try and explain. Who remembers the old board game Mouse Trap? It involved setting up a kind of chain of different events which would result in the end pay-off being a domino effect resulting in a mouse being trapped in a cage. Mouse Trap video.

    These Little Big Planet levels by Tripletremelo also show the kind of thing I mean. Each mission on the table could involve hitting a ladder into position, swinging a bridge round, loading a cannon with a ball ready to fire etc. The grand finale would see all the pieces in position and the player having to hit a captive ball to start it, then the player gets to sit back and watch his hard work!

  37. #37
    Senior Member LeanderL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deep View Post
    Well, I have started to work on my next table, and based on your feedbacks, I created a very cool layout with multiple changing parts. I hope you will like it
    Any hint about the theme?
    And please think about a different skill shot. Not just the usual "gently move the right stick backwards"...this type of skill shot is really easy with the Wii U controller (using the touch screen) but more difficult with the XBOX controller (PC). For example the ball could be automatically launched at full speed and you need to hit the upper left flipper at the correct time to make a special ramp shot....as in Pinball Fantasies - Partyland (tunnel shot / 2x cyclone shot).

  38. #38
    Table Designer deep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeanderL View Post
    Any hint about the theme?
    And please think about a different skill shot. Not just the usual "gently move the right stick backwards"...this type of skill shot is really easy with the Wii U controller (using the touch screen) but more difficult with the XBOX controller (PC). For example the ball could be automatically launched at full speed and you need to hit the upper left flipper at the correct time to make a special ramp shot....as in Pinball Fantasies - Partyland (tunnel shot / 2x cyclone shot).
    The new tables are almost finished, so they will be announced soon On my next table, there will be this "gently type" skillshot, but every time a random one out of 3 different (plus the super). On my next-next table, which is in development already, I will create something different, I promise

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    I've read through some of the post here and have to agree that a "light show", with the "music pumping" as you start to "BLOW UP" the table is a must. Other than that, don't know, been awhile since I played a real table. Just keep doing what your doing, but do it better

    Nice thread though.

  40. #40
    Senior Member ER777's Avatar
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    The toy that is widely considered the best in all of (real) pinball is the wrecking ball crane in Batman (Dark Knight). Something like that which creates a target that moves around the playfield will always be interesting. Of course there are already some things like that in your tables but more would be good.

    I'm also in favor of more mini-playfields, whether they be above the regular playfield like in Shaman or Tesla, or something off in a different area like the Sorcerer's Lair Cellar, Clone Wars Training, or Hulk Arena.

    Lastly, how about some drop targets? There are very few drop targets in all of the Zen tables.

  41. #41
    Senior Member hunter328's Avatar
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    Great thread. Here's some of my thoughts:

    I prefer tables that have a progression of goals that correspond to the theme, but I really don't like how trying to complete these goals and "win" the table is often counterproductive to obtaining a high score. Most tables set up this way it's never nessesary to even attempt beating the table as there always seems to be a ramp combo or multiball jackpot along the way that can be spammed for higher points. So better weighing of points towards goals and difficulty I'd love to see.
    I'm not a fan at all of toys like Bobba Fett's Slave One or the Transport ship on Clone Wars, especially the later as again it's not table goal relevant and more dangerous than its worth in points, so I'm forced to hold the ball for a minute each time until it times out and goes away.
    This is not really what you'd asked for but I'd love too see either a table pack with or a new mode using existing tables that had a sort of warp hole that would trigger after a time and take your ball to another random table until all tables had been visited once then repeat. I'd be like setting your proscore but all in one play through.

    I'm sure I'll have more but I've got to run now.

    Thank you for asking us by the way. Zen's employee feedback/forums/community are the best in the business.

  42. #42
    Senior Member LeanderL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ER777 View Post
    The toy that is widely considered the best in all of (real) pinball is the wrecking ball crane in Batman (Dark Knight). Something like that which creates a target that moves around the playfield will always be interesting. Of course there are already some things like that in your tables but more would be good.

    I'm also in favor of more mini-playfields, whether they be above the regular playfield like in Shaman or Tesla, or something off in a different area like the Sorcerer's Lair Cellar, Clone Wars Training, or Hulk Arena.

    Lastly, how about some drop targets? There are very few drop targets in all of the Zen tables.
    There's a crane in Secrets of the Deep and Mars. The elastic guy's hand in Fantastic Four is also something like a crane.

  43. #43
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    I like miniplayfields as well but they have to be fun. Sometimes they feel like they were added for the sake of it and just aren't very fun.
    Some good ones: Clone Wars, Infinity Gauntlet, Black Hole.
    Some I'm not fond of: V12, Fantastic Four, Excalibur, Shaman.

    With Zen's tables having the luxury of not needing to be restricted with real world limitations it would be cool to see mini playfields that weren't limited to the standard keep a ball from draining with flippers, magnets etc. Maybe one that plays like Labyrinth where you need to tilt the ball through a maze, or even a short PAC Man like game.

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    As a general theme I would love to see a castle siege. The different missions all serving the ultimate goal of destroying or capturing the castle. Working in the digital world, this castle could actually be in the playfield and destructable with permanent effects lasting throughout the overall game. This could also allow advancement through the missions with ramps or targets becoming available after certain parts of the castle have been destroyed. You would have many siege options available to you such as catapaults and trebuchets (with options of attacking with different ammo loads from rocks and flaming pitch to diseased cattle or explosive ordinance), battering rams, siege towers, tunneling, etc. You could include a time cycle for the repair of the castle, be it between balls or for failure to advance through the missions. There is also the possibility of different castles to be conquered, each uniquely different and progressively more difficult to destroy. The castles could even be defended interactively, from archers shooting arrows that alter the trajectory of the ball to boiling oil that can alter the ball's physics, there is a lot of potential. Just seems like a lot of logical content available with an obvious goal to achieve and lots of fun to be had in the process of getting there.

    Another idea for your consideration would be the ability to reverse time/rewind instead of the traditional ball save. Something that the player would build up, a fillable meter or amount of time, that would then be used in real time. It would add the challenge of being quick enough to actually trigger the rewind before it is too late. I could see this being used not only to save the ball from the drain but also give the option for a second chance on an important shot. It also removes the complaint of magnets saving balls not worth saving, like in a minor multiball (Star Wars Empire) as mentioned earlier. I leave its play balance in your capable hands.

    I tend to prefer tables with 3 flippers and 2-3 primary ramps with a bonus ramp for the 3rd flipper. That my be due to my love for Funhouse and The Addams Family. I do agree with many above that table lighting can be crucial. It may be linked to the complaint of a lack of build up to a major event. I don't think anyone who has played The Addams Family can deny the feeling of excitement when "Showtime" kicked in. That said, i have to say that the Hyperspace trigger does an awesome job of getting my attention.

    I think Zen does an amazing job with its tables and I've really enjoyed seeing their progression over the years. They have really gotten much better in my opinion. I'm really looking forward to your new offerings.

    Thanks for all the hard work and yet still taking the time to listen, you guys rock!

  45. #45
    Senior Member Roo5676's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zedekiah View Post
    As a general theme I would love to see a castle siege. The different missions all serving the ultimate goal of destroying or capturing the castle...
    Zen already made that; it's called CastleStorm. Ok, so it's not pinball. But what about a CastleStorm-themed pinball table? It would be fun to destroy a castle with the ball. Kind of a supercharged Medieval Madness where you bash the actual wall apart instead of just the gate.


    One thing I'm not a big fan of is missions where you have to hit the bumpers X number of times within a time limit. It's just so random. Sometimes you hit the required shot once and the ball stays there all day and completes the mission immediately. Other times you hit the required shot and the ball hits only one or even zero bumpers. It can be frustrating to hit the correct shot a bunch of times and still fail. I'm not saying never do it, but maybe make it a little more forgiving with a higher time limit or something. The one in Starfighter Assault is not that bad, but I remember having trouble with the ones in Thor and Iron Man.

  46. #46
    Senior Member skyway73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skyway73 View Post
    An idea I had for a mission: a four ball multi-ball where you have to lock all for balls into 4 different sink-holes. When you get down to needing to lock the final ball maybe add a 10 second countdown timer? That could be fun.

    Another idea borrows a little from Theatre of Magic: some sort of 4 sided object with one side sloped to act as a ramp. Hit it once to turn it 90 degrees which reveals a sink-hole. Hit the hole to turn it a further 90 degrees so the ramp side is revealed. Hit this ramp to land ball in a hole/magnet to start mission. I would make the shots easy to hit but have a countdown timer for each stage and the cube turns back one stage when the countdown is up.
    I just played some Masters of the Force and was thinking back to the above post I made a while ago, I'm sure it's just coincidence but some of my ideas seemed similar to a couple of features in the game

    Anyway, thought of a few more ideas which you can use or file them safely in the rubbish bin

    Hitting a spinner gradually makes the table darker until finally starting a Mission/Multiball. (I love dark tables with flashing lights)

    A glass globe/box containing 3 or 4 balls which needs to be hit several times until it smashes and releases the balls for Multiball.

    Fire a ball from a launcher/gun at a magnetically moving ball. If you hit the ball sticks to it and you fire another ball at those 2 moving balls. With 3 balls now moving across the playfield a plastic ball or ceramic ball is dropped on the flipper and you hit those balls to 'win'

    A 2 ball Multiball where you hold 1 ball on flipper and need to hit 3 simple-ish mini loops with the other ball, the ball then continues looping round and round automatically and you need to hit it with the other ball to 'win'


    Just a few ideas

  47. #47

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    I like the spinner making the table darker idea, it would look pretty cool
    One of the things I have a gripe with is NPCs obstructing the view of the ball ala Dr Strange and Han Solo, puts me offshot a lot. Maybe move them further down so they're out of the playing area.
    If players manage to get to wizard mode, the table should erupt with flashlights, fanfares and Barbie popping up with the thumbs up sign lol. There's been a few wizard modes that could've had more of a celebration of the achievement.
    A plinky bonus mode in the backboard would be cool lol with different prizes at the bottom, if you were gonna do a carnival table that is
    When a player is in a timed mission that doesn't require bumper hits, is it possible to pause the timer when the ball hits them? You can be bouncing about for quite a while lol.
    Looking forward to all these new tables too But what's the themes gonna be?

  48. #48
    Senior Member skyway73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brucethejam View Post
    One of the things I have a gripe with is NPCs obstructing the view of the ball ala Dr Strange and Han Solo, puts me offshot a lot. Maybe move them further down so they're out of the playing area.
    If players manage to get to wizard mode, the table should erupt with flashlights, fanfares and Barbie popping up with the thumbs up sign lol. There's been a few wizard modes that could've had more of a celebration of the achievement.
    I agree with you on your first point, they can be off-putting. Though I guess that adds to the fun/challenge.

    I completely agree with your second point, at the risk of repeating other posts from myself Zen could dramatically improve tables by adding more of all the things you mentioned. Maybe someone will read this and take notice

    Also wanted to mention a couple of things I love with the new tables:

    'He certainly has courage' Multiball. Just such fun to play this and what a clever idea, love it!

    The speech samples seem much better and more varied in these tables, a big improvement. Han Solo's quips are my favourite.

    Locking a ball by jumping off the Sith Holocron on Masters of the Force. Very satisfying hitting that shot and I like the small 'clink' sound effect as the ball hits at the top, sounds like it's hitting the glass.

    Hitting loops on the Sith Alchemy to earn an Extra Ball, rewarding and a lot of fun.


    I'm ready to see what Deadpool has to offer now, heard some of his ramblings and he sounds funny

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by deep View Post
    I would like to know what are your mostly liked toys and parts on pinball tables (not only Zen products), and why did you liked them. If you have original ideas, share them here! They could find their way into one of my next tables I am interested in your other suggestions about how can we make our tables even better.
    For me best pinball tables that i have ever played was Circus Voltaire, Theater of Magic, WhoDunnit

    Circus Voltaire

    When Ringmaster goes up and challenge you to defeat him, it was tricky shot and you never know how the ball will bounce back.
    The artwork of the table was unique with great sound and lighting effects. There was one video mode which tested your quickness on flippers by repeating the sequence.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAz-oQJ8-H0

    Theatre of Magic

    The skill shoot at the trunk, multi balls, hidden multi balls, tricky but very beautiful machine, i was having such great fun, the designing of ramps was epic,outstanding artwork and lightning effects. And on multi ball shooting on trunk that was really hard.
    Such beautiful indication and lighting where to shoot. So much going on on that table don't know where to begin

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRQqrL5JjtY

    WhoDunnit

    Table had manual how to play it, it was so complex with modes that i have drulled
    The story was set in 1940. where you are in role of detective who is solving crimes finding clues and guessing who is the criminal. It was having elements from family board game Cluedo, that really gave him unique dimension.
    The table was having unique feature of casino in him, where you could bet with your earned points on roulette table to earn some random reward. He even had slot jack machine built in. Time setting and music was so well integrated that you felt like you were real detective in the black and white movie with mafia elements.
    Something like Sherlock Holmes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_on5jjcIhwM
    Last edited by Arie01; 08-31-2014 at 05:15 PM.

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