Quoted from Shapeshifter:
From a players perspective, what are we going to get with the LCD display? Are they games within games? Is it like playing video games with a pinball?
Heh - you didn't want to start me off with some simple yes/no questions? Truthfully, the LCD presents so many options, especially when combined with our ball tracking, that the way we use it will likely continue to evolve as we try things and get feedback.
The no-brainer uses include:
- standard display items (scoring, status, mode info, animations, etc)
- dynamic artwork (both scene changes and animated backgrounds)
- gameplay instructions
gamplay instructions is an interesting one because instead of simply saying "shoot the right ramp", we can give you visual aiming lines and actually highlight where on the flipper the ball should be when you hit the flipper button. Since we can track to speed/direction of the ball, we can calculate the desired flip-points. (And yes, I have experimented some with having the machine play itself. It's quite fascinating to watch, and it plays better than I do!)
The most interesting way we currently expect to use the LCD and ball tracking is with interactive enhancements to normal gameplay. For example, think of playing some kind of battle mode, where you're fighting somebody or something represented by the upper portion of the playfield. Like any other game, you'll need to hit various ramps, loops, targets, combos, etc, but in this game, your enemy can fight back! It can throw or shoot objects at you (represented by virtual fireballs, bullets, catapulted cows, etc), and you can defend yourself by shooting them with the ball.
It's important to note that I don't want to see the LCD used for purely video-mode type games. I'd prefer all of the virtual interactions to be integrated into normal gameplay such that they enhance the physical gameplay experience rather than replace it. That said, we may include some purely independent mini-games that are based on the LCD.
We have tons of other ideas, and I'm sure you do as well. So let's hear them. How do you think we should use the LCD?
Sorry - USP?
Quoted from PinballHelp:
Have you thought about any ways to create physical barriers in the game without obstructing the playfield/LCD or making them permanent?
Do you mean physical objects in the area of the LCD? The current prototype pretty well shows the layout. We aren't planning any physical objects in the middle of the lower playfield.
Quoted from EchoVictor:
Thanks for making this a reality. I'm supremely excited, and think that your new platform is the revolution that pinball has been waiting for. So excited, in fact, that I will be making this my first ever NIB!
Thanks EV. Seeing reactions like yours justifies all of the work we're putting into this.
Not yet. So far we've only had the machine at TPF. I'll be at California Extreme (without the machine) in late July, and we'll have our 2nd proto at PPE in Sept. I'd definitely like to get the machine to some more generic gaming venues to see if we can interest more people.
Quoted from robin:
But there are some huge difficulties as well. With such a prominent position for the LCD, you'll need an extremely talented artists to do the graphics and animation. Integrating the video into the game is not easy. What worries me most is that the LCD may really limit the possibilites design-wise. The prototype games remind me of the Pin2k machines. They were awesome but also a bit boring when it comes to the shot layout (small cabinets, all shots pushed all the way in the back).
You're right about the challenges, Robin, but we're prepared for them. The graphics team will likely be the largest team in the company. That said, we'll be smart about the progression of LCD features and effects, as I'm sure we'll learn what works and doesn't work as the game matures.
As for being like P2k, there are a number of important differences. Our dynamic graphics don't obstruct physical features (and our machine has more physical features than most machines). Also, p2k used dynamic graphics to define the purpose and result of hitting a physical switch, and there were only a handful of physical switches. Since we can track the location of the ball anywhere on the playfield, we can create infinite shot angles. Imagine intentionally shooting towards the opposite slingshot to hit a virtual target that has drifted towards the bottom of the screen. The risk-vs-reward opportunities become very interesting.