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1961 Bally SharpShooter

rascal

Pinball Nudger
Site Supporters
My latest project is a 1961 Bally SharpShooter. It’s not a pinball table… it’s a shooting gallery. It was a challenge to create with VP, but it’s coming along very nice. I have the moving targets working, and the gun moves around chasing a crosshair on the screen. The gun shoots and the targets drop and everything. All I have left to do is script the reels for scoring, ball count, and the timer.

I’m hoping to be releasing this here soon. Here is the screenshot and a couple of pics of the real thing.
 

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Shockman

appropriate at this time
That looks great. The first pic is the VP version, right?, it's so hard to tell. It looks like 3 angles of a real one. What does it shoot? Or does it actually shoot something? It costs a quarter, but the coin slot on the top pic looks dime size.

Aiming must be hard with keys.
No physics problems?

Tell us how you did it.
 

rascal

Pinball Nudger
Site Supporters
Re: RE: 1961 Bally SharpShooter

Shockman said:
That looks great. The first pic is the VP version, right?, it's so hard to tell. It looks like 3 angles of a real one. What does it shoot? Or does it actually shoot something? It costs a quarter, but the coin slot on the top pic looks dime size.

Aiming must be hard with keys.
No physics problems?

Tell us how you did it.

Yes the first picture is the screenshot of my recreation. The game actually takes dimes. You get a minimum of 20 shots for 10 cents, extra shots until the timer reaches 50 seconds. If you reach a score of 700 or better, you get a “Shoot Again†play. I picked 700 as the high score, but there are also tags for 500, 550, 650, 750, and 800 which will be added to the image collection in case anyone wants to change it.

The real game shoots 11/16†solid plastic balls with a blower/vacuum. The table slopes to the rear so that the balls collect at the back in a pan under the target scene. A solenoid valve on the blower/vacuum regulates the retrieval of the balls through vacuum, and shooting the balls while blowing. A pretty simple design actually. I used a row of drains in a collection at the back of the table to catch and destroy the balls as they collect. I am using a kicker on a platform wall just under the gun height and in front of the gun images to shoot (kick) the balls at a speed of 150. I change the X angle by changing the kicker angle from -25 through 25. The Z value (climb or drop), I regulate with script and a timer. Once the ball reaches a set Y distance right in front of the target scene, the timer releases the Z hold and lets the ball do it own thing. So you will see the ball deflect off the objects and bounce back into the table area. So everything except some of the Z value of the ball is VP driven. Because of the extreme ball speed, I ran into trouble with the balls deflecting off objects and shooting out the top and side walls. I resolved this by watching the ball’s X and Z values in a timer and not letting the X and Z reach past the distance of the walls.

As far as rendering the table, VP doesn’t render the undersides of the walls, they become transparent. So the top of the table was resolved by changing the perspective of the view, where the top is not visible. Where the underside of the side walls became transparent, I drew them in on the backdrop image. I also drew the slightly frosted glass sides on the backdrop image.

There are 3 rows of targets. The bottom row of targets is 4 rabbits. They are stationary, so 4 drop targets did the trick for them. They are worth 10 points each. The middle row of targets are small squirrels and larger squirrels running from right to left on a chain belt. Every other squirrel is the same size (small, large, small, etc…). This row of targets was the hardest to recreate, because of the varying size targets. There are 130 drop targets (65 large and 65 small squirrels) that make up the squirrel row. I curved the angles of the targets at the beginning and the end of the rows to simulate the turning of the belt. However, this is not very apparent during the play. Large squirrels are worth 10 points and small squirrels are worth 20 points. If I had designed this game, I would have made the squirrels worth 20 and 30 points, just because they are moving. The top row is a single target of a fox. The fox is on a mechanism much like a inkjet printer head. It can move right and left. Also to make it harder to hit, it dodges. It will head say left for awhile and then decide to head right. I’m not rightly sure how they achieved this seemingly random movement in the real game. Did they have a random logic board in 1961 for games like this? Maybe they used a notched cam wheel and it is not random at all… I don’t know. Anyway, I set 6 evenly spaced areas in this row, where the fox randomly decides which way it wants to run. This worked out really nice, and the fox is now the most elusive of the targets. If it is hit, it drops, and reappears from the right or left sides after a short period. The fox is worth 40 points and took 63 drop targets to recreate.

The crosshair is a ball with a crosshair image. It is moved around in front of the target scene by its Z and X values. The Z and X values are watched as to not move out of a set range, so the crosshair is fixed to just move around the target area. Movement controls of the crosshair are done with the number keypad. Yes this is a little harder then it would be with a joystick or mouse, but you are basically just moving between 3 rows and then right or left. Even though I have the diagonal buttons programmed, I find myself not using them to often. When a shot is fired using either one of the shift keys, the crosshair ball image changes to a transparent image and records its Y location. Then its Y location is set to 0, so that it drops back to the back of the table, out of the way of the arriving ball.

Last but not least the gun is made up of 153 drop targets. There are 9 rows collections with 17 images in each. I took a screenshot of the table and drew a grid 9 by 17 in front of the target area. I then drew lines from the intersections of that grid to the center of the ball launcher. The gun itself is a free 3d Studio Max model of a Brauning pistol that I downloaded on the Internet. I also found a cheesy 3d viewer called ModelPress and another program called ChaosCrystal that allows you to make your windows semi-transparent. This allowed me to overlay the 3d model over my screenshot, so that I could line up the gun with my lines off the grid and capture each gun position as a separate image. Yes this took a long time and I had to redo this a few times until I had some images that I was happy with. They are still not perfect, but for the most part they move around and look pretty good. Depending on where the crosshair is positioned, determines which gun drop target is up. I have two problems with this method of making the gun move. The first is the amount of lag that this process puts on the computer. You can see the moving targets slow down slightly while you are navigating into position. The other problem is that because I have 153 targets all in one place (walls on top of walls) the ball can show through the gun, mainly the barrel of the gun. My questions here are, do reels have this trouble with transparency, and are reel more efficient for doing this type of animation? Before I go through all the trouble of converting my drop targets to a reel, I would like to know if it will be worth it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Shockman

appropriate at this time
A great deal of work. Sounds great. I don't know much about reels, so I cant answer that.

I doubt if this would help at all, but I made a dart game. I had the problem of gravity, the Y hold. If the Y hold don't bog then this is a moot point. I basically put the dart board on the floor and the player rotated 90 degrees facing the floor some number of feet above the floor. I put the floor on the wall and the wall on the floor. It looks like you are standing on the floor and facing a dartboard on the wall. Shooting then from the hand position in the direction up or down and side to side that you set. the ball would then go straight as an arrow in that vector. Only the graphics made it a dart game. It could be an archery game as well with a graphic change and a player farther away. Gravity will be from applying Yvel value though, with the archery game, so it is still there. I have not finished it.
Simple compared with what you are doing. I can't wait to see Sharp Shooter in action.

The quarter could be a modern conversion, I don't know.

Maybe you could make the ball invisible while it is in the gun?
 

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destruk

Pinball Wizard
Site Supporters
Gerson Agena made a game like that in 2001. I also like his Bomb Squad game - still fun after all these years. I think your gun game here will be more technically advanced - it looks nicer too so please continue with it.
 

rascal

Pinball Nudger
Site Supporters
Thanks for the suggestions and the comments guys. Never mind about the reels question, I tried it and it doesn't work out very well. The reel is even more transparent then the drop target, I guess this is due to it actually being on the backdrop… behind the table. Plus, I had to reduce the resolution of the gun image in order to import a grid under 1024 X 1024. It turned the gun into a choppy pixilated mess.

Actually the ball only shows through the barrel of the gun and only after it is fired. The gun turret or the cone thingy keeps the majority of the gun solid. Only the parts of the gun that extend past this turret have this problem… most of the time just the barrel, maybe the gun handle on far left or right extremes. I can’t really line up solid walls with the barrel, because the barrel moves far too much. It’s not too noticeable normally, because by this time you are busy trying to line up for the next shot. I think it is just one of those things that I am going to have to live with.
 
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