Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Caedes - Arcade Pinball: Breaking the Mold

When designing the mechanics for Caedus I first asked myself what could I do to further engage the player into a pinball game ... How could I make pinball even more fun than it already is? In tackling this challenge I knew that I had something that most pinball machines don't have - The medium of video games. By creating a pinball game centered around the limitless possibilities of a video game I've been able to incorporate many features that could not be re-created on an actual pinball table. This advantage has the power to break the mold.

Excerpt taken from the Design Document:

Pinball Meets the Plague…

The appeal of Caedes comes from a mix of classic and updated pinball elements, appropriately named Arcade Pinball, combined with a new and immersive action RPG experience. While the main focus of the game is on the pinball tables fast and frantic gameplay, Caedes includes a world outside of the familiar table that houses extra gameplay elements, using a World Map layout the player is able to travel in-between different locations, buying and selling items and upgrading various gameplay affecting stats using stores located around the World Map. While the first pinball table (the pinball tables are known as Plague Dungeons) is available to play from the beginning of the game, the remaining Plague Dungeons are unlocked after specific objectives have been met in previous Dungeons. Each Plague Dungeon will have a unique theme (The Crypt, Furnace Mountain, The Frozen Fortress etc…) consisting of its own set of objectives, enemies, a Bonus Room, a Mini-Boss Room and a primary Boss Room.

Objective Synopsis:

Every Plague Dungeon has six different objectives that must be completed to acquire the possible 100% rating per table. Objectives may include defeating a certain enemy type, shooting the ball into a hard-to-hit specific spot or completing a bonus room. While most of the objectives vary from table to table there is a standard objective that remains consistent throughout the game. To advance to the next Plague Dungeon the player must defeat the current Plague Dungeon Boss; once the Boss has been defeated a new path opens on the world map leading to the next table.

By destroying enemies and completing objectives the player will be rewarded with money points (called Lucre) which act as currency, which can then be spent outside of the Plague Dungeons to buy items, upgrades, information or whatever may pertain to the gameplay. This element of the game gives more meaning to the Action RPG aspect of the game. For the hard core pinballers the familiar high scoring of pinball will still very much exist in the game. After completing a table by destroying the Boss, the table will then become available to play in ‘Free Play’ which is a throwback to classic pinball with the money points replaced by standard pinball points. Other key differences noted in Free Play mode are explained in the ‘Free Play’ section of the document.

By entertaining the idea of giving the player a world to traverse, items to collect, upgrade enhancements, solid controls and an engaging story to follow coupled with Arcade Pinball elements that could only be incorporated into a videogame I believe that this game could be received well by new and veteran players alike. Simply because all the elements incorporated into this game have already been tested for decades and still, today remain popular and friendly to all player preferences. It’s pinball with perks … It’s Arcade Pinball!

After months of research and development these features arose from the dust to be molded into the game that is now under construction today. This is one of the many aspects I love about creating games - the ability to encapsulate a specific genre, using the solid traditional rules and processes forged in the past and then building upon that formula, adding your own unique features, in attempt to create something new. I truly believe that this potential for creativity is essential for all aspects of life.

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