Thursday, October 18, 2012

CC new game rules

Followup on my previous post..

After some thinking and reviewing things I now really know what way to go and what to implement.

Months ago I had about half of the new rules in my head (most were very much based on current CC rules) and had implemented that part, and thought I would just continue to add things later. Some things didn't integrate well. Now I have made some changes and it all fits better. I'm happy with that. Less question marks, I have guidelines to follow.

Have about 80 percent now of how it'll play decided. Most of the existing code I can re-use, with some changes.
Some things are totally new. I'm not sure if I will be able to implement them well, write good code that runs fast enough, make good dmd graphics, .. so not sure if these ideas will be implemented or not. But I will try to as they bring additional depth and it would be cool to see my original ideas in reality.

About how different it'll be from the existing game rules: it will be similar and different enough at the same time.
Similar because from the beginning I stated I want to keep the same level of flow, difficulty, .. and I'm bound by playfield inserts and soundcalls. A gunfight is a gunfight. But what is implemented for a gunfight, and how it's started, has changed.

What I've done this week was work on a new skillshot. There's more skill involved than just plunging the pinball with the right force. Also made new dmd graphics for it. My first 'real' dmd graphics.
I've hand drawn them using Paint.Net. Wasn't too bad to work with - set to pixels, showing a pixel grid, leftclick is a black pixel, rightclick a white pixel..

Last week I had seen the Dutch Pinball Teams new Bride of Pinbot running P-Roc. Their dmd animations are amazing. Rendered in 3D Studio Max, they're very smooth and detailed. But a powerful pc has much more processing power than plain WPC hardware. Freewpc / default wpc hardware also has less colors (shades) to use than P-Roc.

I considered the option to also use 3D rendering.
But: I'm not a specialist in 3D rendering. I know some basics, played with it 20 years ago on Amiga computers. Last week I spent some time using free 3D programs like google sketchup and blender.
Learning these programs in detail, just to make some simple dmd animations would take too much time for me. And the wpc hardware has more limitations than P-Roc, so I wouldn't be sure the results would be useable enough.

So therefor I decided not to follow this path. For now I will just paint everything by hand. That's also a huge job, but I'll also learn more along the way, and can always upgrade and replace my early work when I make better dmd pictures later. I'm glad this also has been decided.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cactus Canyon dmd animations

Contacted Rick of (who owns the rights to make reproduction parts for WMS games now, and with whom people who want to make their own repro parts can cooperate) about my FreeWPC project.  Asked him for permission to re-use existing dmd artwork. I expected to get a no back, but you never know, right ? Getting permission would save me a lot of time..

The answer was as expected, WMS does not allow any of their copyrighted things to be re-used.
I didn't play to use a Bally/WMS logo (I'm that smart) but even 'Cactus Canyon' is a trademarked name, so using that logo (I first planned to draw my own similar looking logo) or even showing that name on the dmd as title for the game is probably a no..
So officially I'm making new rules for some random western themed pinball machine.

Even gamerules are copyrighted so taking over existing rules could be a problem. Hadn't thought about that.
Anyway I didn't plan on copying the rules and change them, having the same feel but still have it different (more difficult / challenging / more strategy / ..).  There will always be similarities because I'm bound by existing playfield layout, the lamp inserts and the text on them (shoot jackpot light will always be a shoot jackpot light) and the existing soundcalls (stampede multiball will always be called stampede multiball).

Back to the drawing board.. will re-think some basic rules I have already implemented, see if I can change them even more.