Physics Games and Physics-Based Game Downloads

Ragdolls on a Pinball Table

Saturday, August 19th, 2006 by Matthew in Physics Games
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (Rate this game! 87 votes, average: 3.02 out of 5)

Factory Pinball, “the ragdoll pinball game”, should really have just called itself Ragdoll Pinball. The name alone would perfectly communicate the game concept. Factory Pinball was created by XZM Productions, a team of three, for the Assembly ’05 game development competition. Although the game is a bit self-explanatory, here’s their readme.txt description for good measure:

Factory Pinball is a customizable ragdoll based physics pinball game. The objective is to hit the “ball” with the paddles and keep it from falling down.

Pinball Goodness!

Factory Ragdoll isn’t just a physics test with some paddles. The developers created a complete, if somewhat simplistic, pinball experience. You have a scoring system, bumpers, spinners, and various letters to light up. There are challenges, too–a switch could trigger “hit the crate 15 times in 90 seconds”, for instance. All in all it feels like a very authentic pinball experience (although no multiball?).

The physics are fairly standard. The simulation is stable, even at high speeds, and the ragdolls bounce around as expected. The “ball” starts out as a human ragdoll, and occasionally swaps to other ragdolls, such as a cow or giraffe. Although the various ragdolls have differing geometry, the net effect of their behavior is pretty similar. You don’t need to change up your strategy if you’re dealing with the cow rather than giraffe, for instance.

Visual Muddiness

What bugs me most about Factory Pinball are actually the graphics. Granted, they were done by one person, and probably under a brutally tight schedule, but the contrast is very muddy. It’s hard to visually track the character, and the obstacles blend in with the background. Sharper contrast would definitely serve the game well.

Included Editor

My criticism of the artwork is stopped short by the available editor, though. If I really wanted to change the art, or design new obstacles, or even an entire table, I could. The editor tool is a little clunky–no undo, no contextual menu, little documentation–but if one was determined to make something I’m sure it’s possible.

Factory Pinball Screenshot Screenshot of Physics Games
(Factory Pinball Game Screenshots)

Free Game Download

The game and its editor have been released as a free download, so check them out! Factory Pinball is a solid implementation of a neat concept. There’s certainly a lot of headroom in the design–I’d love to see the ragdoll pinball concept fleshed out even more.

Download Factory Pinball Game (10.5 MB) [mirror]
Download Editor (7.2 MB) [mirror]

The Factory Pinball webpage is awfully sparse, but here’s the link for completeness. Thanks to Ben Clark for emailing me the link!

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6 Responses to 'Ragdolls on a Pinball Table'

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  1. Gmod_user said,

    on August 19th, 2006 at 4:53 pm

    I’ve played this before, a long, long, long time ago though.

    Pretty fun, The giraffe and cow made me wonder though….

  2. Buster said,

    on August 19th, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    Well I just tried to play this game, but I can’t. It runs and everything, but I see about 1 frame per second, or maybe lower. I’d probably need some kind of uber-computer to play it smoothly.

  3. c--b said,

    on August 19th, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    Hah, carefull I’d almost thought you were claiming to have made the game. I now realise that you sent the game to Matt to be reviewed. :P

    Pretty neat game though, it’s still plagued by the same problem all pinball games have; the ball falling right between the paddles, and being able to do absolutely nothing about it (I suppose they wouldn’t have make much money in arcades otherwise though).

  4. Beakless said,

    on August 20th, 2006 at 5:18 am

    Woah, this is such a blast from the past, i remember playing this a long-ass time ago, it was random then, and just werid now…

  5. Wrestler#1 said,

    on August 21st, 2006 at 12:05 am

    I don’t like the game, because it doesn’t work for me very well ( ~1fps ).

  6. Slanzinger said,

    on February 9th, 2007 at 2:18 pm

    I beg to differ, Matt… There is a multiball. See that big red button just next to where the ball comes out? Press that a few times with the ball, and an extra one pops out the chute automatically (albeit the control mechanism with two is quite awkward, it zooms to the ball closest to the flippers)
    (I think you press the button 10 times, could be more though)

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