(Topic ID: 257309)

P3 Game: So You Want to Be a Hero? Quest For Glory Pinball


By bingopodcast

68 days ago



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    #1 68 days ago

    I am a guy that loves video games, particularly classic point and click adventure games and role-playing games. And I also love pinball! And I recently purchased a P3 with the intent of making some modern games. For those that don't know me, I have built a few different homebrew games.

    The Multi-Bingo - 142 games in a single cabinet with swappable playfields - https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/multi-bingo-machine

    Multi-Races - 36 games in a single cabinet without playfield swaps. - https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/multi-races-the-multi-one-ball-horserace-game

    And Robo-Frenzy - a new 2 player, simultaneous competitive EM arcade game - https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/new-em-arcade-game

    So now that those projects have (mostly) come to a close (Robo-Frenzy is going to ramp up again soon, hopefully), I decided that it would be time to dive into this strange new world of flippers.

    #2 68 days ago

    Can't wait to see where this goes!

    #3 68 days ago

    So why Quest for Glory?

    Quest for Glory left an immediate and indelible set of marks in my brain that have not given up, even today. I still replay these games every few years and love, love, love them.

    Quest for Glory is a series about player choice. Unlike other point and click adventure games, QfG contains multiple solutions to every puzzle. On top of this, there is a character progression and the ability to carry over your builds into future games.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quest_for_Glory

    The basic premise is that you are a Hero, freshly graduated from the Famous Adventurer's Correspondence School. You choose between three classes - Fighter, Thief, and Magic User.

    Each character class has certain attributes for various categories. The Fighter class, for example, has points in fighting techniques like parry by default. The Thief has points in lock picking and stealth. The Magic User has points in magic (shocking!). One of the neat things about the computer games is that you could take a small penalty and unlock new skills - for example, you could have a Fighter that could pick locks or cast spells!

    This seemingly endless customization really hit the sweet parts of my brain at the right time growing up. Early on, there is a bird's nest with a ring inside. As an example of the multiple means of solving puzzles, here's a sample -
    a) Throw a rock at the nest.
    b) Climb the tree and get the ring
    c) Cast a spell and levitate to retrieve it.

    Each of these actions requires practice. The game tracks how many times you attempt a difficult task (like climbing a tree without low-hanging branches), and will increase your points in climbing. Eventually, with practice, you can easily slip up the tree and over to the nest, picking up the ring and climbing down without falling flat on your face.

    The games have a very punny sense of humor that can be groan-inducing, but usually puts a smile on my face.

    But the thing that made me appreciate this as a potential P3 game was the profile support.

    #4 68 days ago

    In the games, I mentioned that you can export your character at the end of the game to import into the next one! It's a really clever mechanism and made most other game series feel extremely stagnant (in the late 80s, mind you!).

    I'd been watching the P3 for a long time. Saving my pennies. One of the announcements that really fired my imagination was profile support! You could save settings, for example, and load them between games. Really a great idea.

    In the pinball game of Quest for Glory, I intend to do something similar to the video game. Being able to save your character's accomplishments to your profile, and load them in the next game in the series. I envision creating multiple Quest for Glory pinball games over the coming months and years, and your accomplishments in one will allow you alternate solutions to puzzles in others.

    #5 68 days ago

    Fantastic idea. I love the profile integration and how that'll make it easier to progress through a long adventure game, even with short gameplay sessions. I'm also a big fan of puzzle-based games adventure games (Kings Quest was my first favorite). So I'll be anxiously awaiting my opportunity to play this. Is it done yet?

    - Gerry
    https://www.multimorphic.com

    #6 68 days ago

    As per normal for me, pretty ambitious.

    I purchased my P3 in March of this year and love it to death. In fact, sometimes I have a hard time tearing myself away from Lexy for long enough to work on the game.

    If you're interested in developing a P3 game, contact Multimorphic to get a copy of the SDK. The games are built on the extremely popular Unity framework, using C#. I am not familiar with Unity, and am not a C# programmer either. However, I can write some stuff in lots of other languages that mostly works!

    Unity is a game engine. In video game development, the game engine is or can be responsible for: graphics, audio, animation, collision detection, and more.
    Unity actually automates away some of the most painful parts of the engine creation or implementation process. I've written (very simple) 2D and 3D engines in the past, and this is one of many ways that development is sped up in making a game on the P3. Especially in an unfamiliar language.

    Thankfully, C# is very similarish to C (as are most programming languages), so it's mostly a matter of looking up syntax and implementing.

    The SDK and Unity come with a sample application. I have been modifying this slowly to conform to what I want.

    Thus far, I have written an attract mode that flows into the ability to start a new game or load a previous game in progress. Saving will happen any time you rest.

    I have also implemented the class choice screen to select between Fighter, Thief and Magic User.

    In the attract mode, I have written a Sierra logo with a simple lightshow to simulate the ripple effect. I think it'll be cool, but I'll need to put it on the machine itself to see.

    If there are any QFG fans out there, I'd love to hear thoughts and ideas for puzzles and possible solutions.

    I am initially writing using the Lexy Lightspeed playfield, but will eventually cut a new one with separate shots. Lexy will be used to reduce the number of variables and speed up the coding portion even more. Have I mentioned that this platform is great? Haha!

    #7 68 days ago
    Quoted from Tsskinne:

    Can't wait to see where this goes!

    Hopefully somewhere good!

    Quoted from gstellenberg:

    Fantastic idea. I love the profile integration and how that'll make it easier to progress through a long adventure game, even with short gameplay sessions. I'm also a big fan of puzzle-based games adventure games (Kings Quest was my first favorite). So I'll be anxiously awaiting my opportunity to play this. Is it done yet?

    Yes, you understand precisely. The short gameplay sessions are something that I struggle with constantly. I don't necessarily have time to spend 40 minutes getting to a wizard mode, but I can chip away at it over time, strengthening my character for the eventual puzzle-y battle.

    King's Quest is fantastic, and might be the first 3D adventure game I played. CGA forever!

    #8 68 days ago

    My plan is to complete this, to the best of my limited ability, and bring it out to shows for people to enjoy along with Lexy or another standard P3 game.

    One of the things Sierra games were known for were their deaths, and pinball has its fair share of deaths as well - outlanes or center drain, eventually you die. When you die in QFG Pinball, should you choose to restore your game, you'll be brought back to the last save point. Save early, save often was the mantra back in those days, and it'll hold true today.

    Saving will happen in one of the scoops. You will not be allowed to save in combat or in a timed screen.

    Several sections of the game that will be implemented with pinball rules:
    1) Healer's Hut
    2) Baba Yaga (of course)
    3) Baba Yaga's Gate
    4) Frost Giant
    5) Kobold/Bear
    6) Thieves' Guild/Pub/Alley
    7) Magic Shop
    8 ) Erasmus (of course)
    9) Brigand's Lair
    10) ANTWERP!
    11) Troll
    12) Muck raking
    13) Sword practice against the master at arms
    14) Crafting a potion
    15) Fairy circle
    16) Dryad
    17) Meeps
    18) Hermit (maybe)
    19) Burglary House
    20) Minotaur
    21) Goblin camp
    22) Erana's Peace (maybe)
    23) Graveyard... maybe

    My biggest weakness is art. I found a program that can pull certain assets out of the original resource files and am simply blowing those up for now. I'll work on doing something nicer in the future.

    #9 68 days ago

    Pretty sure you have a good friend who's good at art. Does he like adventure/puzzle games?

    #10 68 days ago

    Awesome idea Nick ... following!

    #11 68 days ago
    Quoted from gstellenberg:

    Pretty sure you have a good friend who's good at art. Does he like adventure/puzzle games?

    I do, but I'm not sure if I want to know the cost to get that artwork made... Plus he's stretched pretty thin at the moment with the other 5000 projects I've commissioned or he and I are working on jointly. Not to mention work and family.

    He does like adventure/puzzle games, though!

    #12 68 days ago

    Sounds very interesting. I used to love playing Kings Quest, police Quest, Space Quest etc. fun times in the early 90s. Once I got a 386/25 that had a CD player it was fun to hear the characters!!

    #13 68 days ago

    Man, what a great idea! I loved the old PAC adventure games although I was mostly into LucasArts games like Monkey Island and Zak MkCrakin.

    #14 68 days ago
    Quoted from Coz:

    Once I got a 386/25 that had a CD player it was fun to hear the characters!!

    I ran floppies for a very long time - never wanted to spend the cash on a CD drive. I was surprised to hear the professional voice cast they had for Quest for Glory 4's talkie version, many years after playing the original to death. I had King's Quest 5 on 5 1/4" floppies, and the CD version was like an entirely different game! I recently picked up the NES version of KQ5 as well, I'm excited to see some of the differences in that extremely frustrating game. Haha!

    I had to look it up, because I didn't realize there was a 25MHz version of the 386 produced! Lightning fast.

    We had an uncle that, as kids, generously provided us Air Force surplus machines every so often. Our first IBM was an XT, and it couldn't run QfG, but we had the game box for the VGA remake and I spent quite a lot of time reading the books inside and imagining how amazing this game would be to play. We played a lot of other games that were CGA compatible, like King's Quest or Manhunter: New York (what a weird game), along with tons of dungeon crawlers and text adventure games. Prior to that, we had a Vic-20 which allowed us to learn the basics of programming and was a great, compact computer that had a good set of expansion possibilities (for what it was). I've always disassembled our computers to learn how they worked, from a very young age. I still fool around with programming a Vic-20 today.

    Quoted from Matesamo:

    Man, what a great idea! I loved the old PAC adventure games although I was mostly into LucasArts games like Monkey Island and Zak MkCrakin.

    Haha, thanks - I like to think so!

    My computers were never really powerful enough to run the LucasArts games as a kid. I tried, though. Haha! A few exceptions, the most memorable being Loom. That game just captured my imagination like few others. But I love all those games as well. The tough thing about those as pinball is that there is no death. There's no end state other than frustration or victory (except in Maniac Mansion). It would be neat to make a sequel to Loom.

    #15 68 days ago

    So your stats will likely only appear if you hit one of the three buttons on the button box. I am not planning to allow for arbitrary point spending during character creation like in the computer game.

    Therefore, you will be locked into one or two different solutions per character class. Finding those solutions will be up to you. Choose wisely!

    At the moment, you'll need to make a separate profile if you want to experience the other character classes. Some solutions will be very similar - fighter and thief have some overlap, for example.

    Combat will present its own challenges, and I've been thinking about that quite a bit.

    #16 68 days ago

    Combat will switch to a dedicated screen. Random battles will be a bit hard to handle, I think. Still working on the plan for that.

    And there will most definitely be inventory management in the game. In my ring example above, if I want to give the ring to someone, I would have to select it, then use it (by hitting a target/switch).

    Flipping will happen using two of the buttons in the default button box. The other two will scroll inventory left/right. The last two will show your character sheet.

    The trick will be communicating this to the player. I'm thinking of utilizing the apron area to show the inventory. The backbox monitor will have a completely separate display. I lack imagination in this area. Hero with a broken sword fighting a dragon? Time will tell.

    Oh, and also, I plan to have puzzle points as the main scoring mechanic. This will allow you to see how far you have progressed in the game. I will probably also wire in plain 'ol scoring for when you're new to the game. Though I wonder if the game will be different enough that it won't even matter. I've been internally debating this for a few weeks now. Any thoughts are appreciated.

    #17 68 days ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    My computers were never really powerful enough to run the LucasArts games as a kid. I tried, though. Haha! A few exceptions, the most memorable being Loom. That game just captured my imagination like few others. But I love all those games as well. The tough thing about those as pinball is that there is no death. There's no end state other than frustration or victory (except in Maniac Mansion). It would be neat to make a sequel to Loom.

    Loom was a phenomenal game, I do not believe it came out for the C-64 as that system was too limited so I did not get to play it until the Turbo-Grafix-16. One of my all-time favorite games and one of the few games I ever played to the end. Looking up the game online it appears it originally shipped with a cassette tape with a thirty minute audio drama leading up to the start of the game. Never knew that.

    Would be nice if there were some "homages" in the Quest for Glory games, or cameos like they used to do in adventure games of the era.

    #18 68 days ago
    Quoted from Matesamo:

    Looking up the game online it appears it originally shipped with a cassette tape with a thirty minute audio drama leading up to the start of the game. Never knew that.

    Yes, I listened to that audio drama a bunch. We didn't have a cassette player on our stereo, so I had a portable unit that I was constantly taking apart and fiddling with. Vivid memories of walking around the house listing to someone give birth through weaving. My youngest just played through Loom for the first time and I played the audio drama for her. She liked the game a lot, I don't think we finished the audio drama together.

    #19 67 days ago

    Looking forward to seeing how you go with this. Good Luck.. Following....

    #20 67 days ago

    Sent out a request for quote to a few different artists that specialize in backgrounds or sprite work. We'll see what they would charge for this.

    Here is a nifty site I've been using to show some examples of the backgrounds and other sprites needed. Spoilers abound. http://www.sierrawallpaper.com/games/qfg1vga/

    #21 66 days ago

    Sounds like a really interesting project. I’ve always thought a ‘choose your own adventure’ type game would be a great fit for the P3.

    #22 66 days ago

    So a bit more behind-the-scenes:

    The P3 uses two monitors - the playfield being 1080x1920 and the backbox being 1920x1080. The assets I am able to pull are 320x200 for 'fullscreen' background illustrations. As you might imagine, these look pretty awful blown up to 1080p, and are in 4:3. This is ok for the initial menu screens (or so I've told myself), but really not ok for the game itself.

    The P3 SDK allows for dynamic ball tracking and virtual 'targets' while it rolls across the playfield display. As such, I need new artwork to extend from the bottom to the top of the screen, or things will look pretty weird. Scaling the 320x200 artwork would leave everything streeeeeeeetched out or large black bands above and below the background. Not really seamless. I've been stalled at this point for some time (a few months, actually! I get really down in the dumps about my lack of art skills and it kinda stalls my projects), and while I've been finishing other projects like Multi-Races, or thinking about it, I came up with an idea.

    I have put out a few bids and spoken quite a bit with a single artist on the site Fiverr.com. This artist seems to have realistic pricing and deadlines. I have zero problem paying what we agree is appropriate for high quality artwork, and this person (in the Netherlands) appears to understand the requirements I've set. Every asset will need to be redrawn. It will be a long-term art project, and I would rather not switch artists in the middle.

    So! That's the plan for the playfield - take the original VGA assets at 320x200 and allow an artist to place their own spin upon them and create at 1080x1920. I think it's kind of a tall order, but this person says she's up to the challenge. Her first deliverable is on Tuesday. If it looks great, I'll be happy to share it.

    For the backbox display, I am torn:
    I'd definitely like to display the VGA box art in attract mode: https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/questforglory/images/2/23/Qfg1vga.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20081223002447 - again, redrawn for a widescreen monitor. However, during gameplay, I'd like to provide relevant data.

    Down in the apron area (where the score display is currently shown for Lexy), I am going to have an inventory band. As discussed further up, you'll be able to change the inventory item with the flipper buttons. Using the items will be a target. For example, if you return the ring mentioned earlier to the owner, but don't have it highlighted in the inventory, the owner will say something like, "Now why would I want that?" In this way, you will need to juggle your inventory while making the correct shots. Think of it like lane change, but with target shooting.

    So again, what's left to show on the backbox? Perhaps the character sheet? I was thinking about showing a hint about the next mode you need to complete, but the game is nonlinear in nature, mostly. Perhaps it'd be best to show just the backbox artwork and your current puzzle points? Any thoughts would be welcome.

    #23 66 days ago

    On the programming side, I mentioned I had no experience with Unity. That was the first hurdle to overcome. I still don't know a lot, but I know enough to rig some things up. The Unity site has a ton of tutorials. I have been through several, and can recommend this one: https://learn.unity.com/project/ruby-s-2d-rpg - I have always been less of a visual person when it comes to programming, and Unity tries to simplify some complex ideas into a set of menus or attributes. It does a great job, but I sometimes find myself confused when trying to accomplish seemingly simple tasks.

    Each 'scene' in Unity has three different main methods (and, of course, you can add your own). One very handy, but easy to overuse, method is update(). If you want something to execute over and over again, it's usually best to stick it in this method. It ensures that it happens every frame. The performance of your Unity application can be greatly influenced by how much stuff your update() method contains.

    There is also awake() which allows you to set up variables and other items when the script is instantiated. These are attributes, typically, and can be called from within update(). Similarly, there is a start() method, which happens only when the object's first frame is run.

    Between the three (and mostly in update) you add your methods that handle various items. For example, my attract mode is split into several distinct backgrounds. I could create separate scenes for them (and that's probably the more Unity way to handle it), but instead, I wrote a method called from update that checks to see if a sound is finished playing (the Sierra startup sound), then swaps the background and enables a mode to choose to start a new game or continue.

    From there, that mode is destroyed and another is added to allow you to choose your character class. At that point, it transitions to the game proper.

    Pretty simple, but it took me an embarrassing number of questions to the extremely patient folks at Multimorphic (thanks Thomas!). Multimorphic is very serious about supporting developers for their platform, and it shows.

    One of the really cool features in the SDK is the separation of display from hardware. The abstraction happens through a small API that allows you to transfer information from the screen to the hardware and vice-versa. It's extremely flexible. So, for the modes I mention above, you change the item selected by pressing the flipper buttons. I have to catch that press and change something on the screen as you do.

    Another great feature in the SDK is the ability to write custom lightshows with fading and crossfade between colors. This is all built into the SDK in such a way that you can typically do what you want with just a couple lines of code.

    As many homebrewers (and likely professional pinball programmers) will tell you, light shows are extremely tedious to program. When you add in RGB capabilities (every lamp on the Lexy playfield in the P3 is RGB), it gets even more tedious. This very nice ability in the SDK is most welcome.

    The SDK works with a version of Unity that is available on Windows and the Mac. This covers a huge chunk of developers, but I'm a Linux guy. I do almost everything programming-related in Linux or Linux on a Chromebook, so this was a bit of a transition as well. That said, I'm getting used to using vscode and Unity in Windows. I bought a refurbished laptop with a reasonable solid state drive and enough memory to run Windows and these programs for about two hundred dollars. When I have a lot of time to work in a row, I plug into a second monitor and full keyboard and mouse. But with the laptop, I can always work on my lap if needed. It handles Unity just fine.

    The SDK simulates the hardware and the playfield display. This hardware simulation works in a very similar way to pyprocgame or skeletongame. As such, the only barrier to entry is a Windows or Mac that can run Unity. It's extremely convenient as you bind certain keys to certain switches. There is a virtual ball that you can drag over the playfield monitor and hit those virtual targets. Between those two functions you can pretty much test everything. I'm not clear on how the backbox monitor is handled yet, but that'll come.

    #24 66 days ago

    Nice summary bingopodcast. Glad you're enjoying the SDK.

    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    I'm not clear on how the backbox monitor is handled yet, but that'll come.

    It's super easy. At the top of a Game window in Unity, there's a pulldown for display. Change it to Display 2, and then change the resolution pulldown to 1920x1080 (which you'll likely have to add the first time). Then in your scene, add another camera and configure it to use Display 2.

    I think the sample game in the SDK is making use of the default backbox image feature that we added for people who didn't want to program the backbox. There's a checkbox on the sceneController object in each scene to enable/disable the default backbox image. To put custom content on the backbox, uncheck that option on the sceneController and then add and configure the camera.

    - Gerry
    https://www.multimorphic.com

    #25 66 days ago
    Quoted from gstellenberg:

    At the top of a Game window in Unity, there's a pulldown for display.

    Well, I don't know if you could make it any easier. Try harder next time!

    #26 62 days ago

    oh wow so happy to discover this thread! I was just thinking you needed a new project! (now, remember the smart ball design...)

    #27 62 days ago
    Quoted from cait001:

    I was just thinking you needed a new project!

    Lots of irons in the fire. This has been cooking for a while, but it's time to get more serious about it. Nice to have you!

    Quoted from cait001:

    now, remember the smart ball design...

    I have not forgotten!

    I received my initial background back from the artist and it needed some revision. We are going back and forth on that a bit, and I'm looking into another artist that might be willing to take on this work. There's a lot of it, so I'll need just the right person. Hopefully this artist can stomach my critiques and come back with something that is spectacular.

    #28 62 days ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    I received my initial background back from the artist and it needed some revision

    wait, what project are you speaking of here?

    #29 62 days ago

    See post #3 he explains it.

    Quoted from cait001:

    wait, what project are you speaking of here?

    #30 62 days ago
    Quoted from luvthatapex2:

    See post #3 he explains it.

    I was confused because the sentence was immediately after a reference to our smart ball discussion
    I swear I do know what thread I am in!

    #31 62 days ago

    This is supper cool! Ever since I bought into the P3, I've thought they needed a game that had persistent goals with an RPG element. So excited to hear about this game.

    So, is this a passion project you're creating just for yourself, or is this something that will ultimately show up in the P3 marketplace for others to buy?

    #32 61 days ago
    Quoted from Cheeks:

    So, is this a passion project you're creating just for yourself, or is this something that will ultimately show up in the P3 marketplace for others to buy?

    So, more to come on this, but I have been in contact with the original developers and received their (unofficial) blessing. That said, the game is now owned by Activision/Blizzard (along with the entire Sierra catalog from those days), so I've been researching how to get in touch with their legal teams between other projects. They don't make it easy.

    This is a passion project, but I see it more as a way to get to know the SDK and programming tools for creating games. When I finish this one, I'll have a really good template for some relatively advanced concepts and their use within the framework. I have ideas for lots of games with some form of progression, and I'll definitely be making more -- as long as I can get the art done.

    #33 61 days ago

    Second draft of initial art came back and it looks a lot better. I have also started working with a second artist, and I'll see how that goes. Ideally, the same artist would work on each environment.

    I'll post some finished art here alongside the originals once it is complete.

    #34 60 days ago

    As I am having all the art redone, and will need to have voice callouts and dialog recorded... I'm toying with the idea of composing new music in the style of the amazing MIDI soundtrack. Alternatively, I could reuse that original soundtrack, but I want to make sure it's not incongruous with the new stuff.

    In other news, I have a nearly finished piece of art to share. Very final touches are being done now. I'll post the original with the recreation shortly.

    Also also, thanks to Dennis Kriesel for finding the email address for the legal dept. at Activision. I'd been through their support, the legal, their various notices, but not their terms of service. Turns out that was where it was hiding! I drafted an initial email, describing the platform and how I am an independent developer working on a game for it, for my own uses, but investigating the possibility of licensing for sale.

    The calculus of what needs to be recreated will change considerably depending on what and how they are willing to license, if I do want to sell the game.

    10
    #35 60 days ago

    entrance (resized).png

    This is the original artwork from the game - it appears when you first start a new character. You stroll into the village, hoping to be a hero to the folks of this town. As I mentioned, the artwork had to be entirely redrawn.

    Here is the same scene as it will appear in the game. The banners at the top will be animated, so ignore those.

    Town_open (resized).png

    I'm pretty pleased with this result. Hopefully this is the start of a collaboration that will span the entire game. Lots of backgrounds to redraw.

    #37 59 days ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    [quoted image]
    This is the original artwork from the game - it appears when you first start a new character. You stroll into the village, hoping to be a hero to the folks of this town. As I mentioned, the artwork had to be entirely redrawn.
    Here is the same scene as it will appear in the game. The banners at the top will be animated, so ignore those.
    [quoted image]
    I'm pretty pleased with this result. Hopefully this is the start of a collaboration that will span the entire game. Lots of backgrounds to redraw.

    Way cool! I'd play pinball over that! Keep it up, my bro! I can't wait to play it. Also, best of luck with the Activision legal stuff. This game deserves to go in the P3 marketplace.

    *fingers crossed*

    #38 59 days ago

    Diving today into the impressively deep world of DAW - I have a MIDI dump of the game's soundtrack that I am going to convert a piece at a time to sheet music, then have professional musicians record. However, I'm having trouble remembering how in the heck to slice and dice. I'm using ardour if there are any experts lurking here - I just have a dump of 10 instruments across hundreds of measures. I'm trying to pull out a subset of those measures, but it seems that this is not as easy as I imagined.

    It's been over a decade since I messed with any kind of DAW and things have progressed quite a lot in user-friendliness. But still not quite friendly enough for me.

    #39 59 days ago

    And as soon as I post that, I realize that you can import midi files into audacity, which I use on a weekly basis. Should be just fine this weekend.

    So I'm going to split each piece into their own files, run a transcription to turn them into sheet music, do a little sanity check and see if they can possibly be played by a human, then try farming them out to various musicians.

    The original game does not play music at all times. It only plays it on certain screens, or after certain events. Partly this was due to the computing power available at the time.

    For a pinball machine, the requirements are a bit different. I will likely want to layer in much more audio. To do so, I will be recording instruments playing the themes (for the recurring themes) with instruments that remind the player of the region. For example, Quest for Glory 1 takes place in kind of a Germanic fairytale setting. It will utilize several woodwind instruments, accordion, tuba, etc.

    With multiple files available, I can pull from a pool whenever the game needs to play something, and the player won't get bored from hearing the same. exact. songs. over and over. (hopefully). The reason I don't want a singular musician to record using multiple instruments on which they are proficient is to allow each musician to put their own spin on the theme. I'm big into sound packages, and in my head this will work really well and add depth to the game.

    In other audio news, the game will have dialog. Both things that are spoken to you in dialog sequences, and narrated at you (like callouts). I'm going to also hire professional voice actors for this work.

    I'm extremely impressed with how inexpensive these things can be, if you are willing to put forth the effort of scripting your dialog and providing sheet music.

    Hopefully I'll have a chance to do some serious audio work this weekend, as well as flushing out all of the control quirks that I would like to include.

    As I've been thinking more and more... I think showing the character sheet on the backbox will be worthwhile, but only if you hold the flipper button for 2s or so.

    I also think I'll use the final button to select the icon (run, take, look, use). Targets on the playfield or hitting elements on the screen will correspond to using those icons.

    Here's an example. In the image I posted previously, the hero will be able to talk to a guy sitting on the stoop as he enters, look around, or move left, right, or down. To do so, they will need to hit particular targets (highlighted on the screen or with RGB LEDs) to indicate what they can hit to have a reaction.

    When I first started conceiving of this game, it was far more traditional. Now, I think I can have something really unique and challenging (I like a challenging game), with extremely unique modes (I have a multiball mode planned that will blow people's minds, for example).

    #40 58 days ago

    I've split each track into their own file, and started determining the best instruments to use for each MIDI instrument (what sounds good on a synthesizer might sound better as an entirely different instrument).

    I sent the main theme to seven different musicians... can't wait to get some of that audio back and start implementing and orchestrating.

    I'm still working on a way to isolate instruments within the MIDI for export to sheet music. Instrument 10 is always left out in the converter I use because it is reserved for percussion in the MIDI spec, but obviously I don't want French Horn to mix with piano or etc. I might have to learn a DAW to do what I want, which would probably be fine in the long run.

    I'm going to see if I have time to start scripting the dialog and separating into parts.

    #41 56 days ago

    Work continues - I am separating all of the dialog into individual scripts for the voice actors. After I finish going through the original dialog, I will be cutting parts down a bit to fit within the frantic context of a pinball machine and adding callouts for various pinball-specific things. Since none of the original dialog was voiced, there are thankfully no expectations of what each character should sound like.

    For comparison, there are approximately 125 pages of script for the computer game. I'll be paring it down a tad, but probably not as much as you suspect!

    #42 56 days ago

    I'm excited to see where this goes. Seems like there is so much potential for a project like this on the P3.

    #43 56 days ago

    Thanks! I'm on page 41 of 125 of the script right now. Lots left to do! I also received the second instrument's performance of the main theme back.

    #44 55 days ago

    After working for several hours, I'm up to page 92 of 125. The narrator's script alone is 17 pages.

    I am solidifying which characters I will cut (the centaurs, the dry goods store clerk, and the little old lady outside the house you can rob (she still has lines inside), the innkeepers and the traveling merchant). While they provide interesting background color to the game, they are not really significant to the story. I might add them in later, but I'll have my hands full for a while without. I'll have to have the sprites created for each, and they mostly just stand around and talk. A few such characters are fine.

    I don't know what size script a modern pinball machine might have, but I know it's not over 100 pages. The game is quite ambitious enough without.

    On the plus side, I did script the fairy encounter and it made me chuckle all over again. The source game is fantastic, and all five of the quest for glory games are on sale at the moment on gog.com in a bundle for $6.50 - a steal! If you haven't tried them, they are pretty fantastic.

    #45 55 days ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    I don't know what size script a modern pinball machine might have, but I know it's not over 100 pages. The game is quite ambitious enough without.

    I think I heard, for a recent game, the custom callout script was 40 pages.

    #46 55 days ago

    Well, with over 2x the custom speech, this is quite the value!

    #47 53 days ago

    Sounds great.
    One step a time.
    First design a playfield and layout.

    #48 53 days ago
    Quoted from pinballwil:Sounds great.
    One step a time.

    Thanks! Yes, for sure.

    Quoted from pinballwil:

    First design a playfield and layout.

    I'm well beyond that step as I am using the Lexy playfield to begin. This will allow several games to be played on my P3 while at shows without a playfield swap. If I continue with the series, I'll develop custom playfields for the second through 5th. As the P3 allows for the entire lower 2/3 to be dynamic, and the shot layout of the upper 1/3 of Lexy is varied and fun to shoot, I don't think this will pose a problem. I have modes laid out in my design doc and how the basic functionality of switching between them will work. At this point, it's a matter of getting the assets so that I can crack my knuckles and program more than the attract mode sweeps, bleeps, and selections. Each mode essentially has a different playfield layout for the lower 2/3.

    I've received the main theme as played by flute, trumpet, violin, classical (nylon string) guitar, and have another couple instruments on the way. I didn't do any work on it over the past two days, but will be working on it again and hopefully finishing the scripts today. I did have a voice actor try out and will be working with him to craft exactly what I'd like. I believe there will be about 20 parts in total, but won't have the final total until later. I can play some tricks with regard to actors, especially for the fairies, to reduce the sheer number of actors I will need to direct.

    #49 53 days ago

    Final tally: 30-34 voice actors (depending on how I want to handle the fairies), with 21 pages in narrator script alone!

    #50 53 days ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    utilize several woodwind instruments, accordion, tuba, etc.

    In case the worst happens I have a good solution for a broken tuba.

    Tuba glue.

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