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Kraken Pinball

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After years of wanting to make my own pin, two years ago I finally committed and I made this:




Hyperdrive took around 4 months to build from start to finish (apart from coding which I continue to add things to). A big part of the reason why it was such a quick build was because the layout was based heavily on TNA. I wanted to start with a layout that I know is fun to play, then put my own spin on it.

I talk about every step of the build process in this post if anybody is interested to find out more about this build.


While I was making that game, I had a constant flow of ideas on what I should do on the next one. I'm sure anybody else who has made a homebrew knows this feeling. This time I want to step up my game with better art, wireform ramps, sculptures, and overall better quality. Hyperdrive was sort of a practice attempt to see if I could make a pin. I'm going to take my time with this one and really do the best job I can.


Seeing the Haggis pin at Flipout this year and the videos he's been putting out really pushed me to stop procrastinating and get started on a new pin.


Kraken Pinball

The theme for this pin will be 'Kraken'. I liked the freedom of using an original theme last time and while it means I'll have a lot more work to do in terms of media (can't just dump movie clips on the screen or the playfield), it means I can do whatever I want.

The idea behind the theme is you're the captain of a ship and you hunt mythical sea creatures. I like it when a pin takes me on a journey, and this one will take that literally. When you start the game, you set sail on the open seas. The shots you make steer your ship in different directions. Every encounter you have with creatures or other ships along the way changes the journey you're on. The plan is to be able to upgrade your ship's weapons, crew, etc. as you progress through the locations on a big open map.


The end goal of this journey is to hunt down and defeat the mythical kraken. The weapons, ship upgrades, and crew you collect over the journey will play a massive role in the end battle.

This idea is based on the video game 'FTL'. If you haven't played it, the idea is you control a crew on a spaceship and you're on the run from a rebel flagship. The goal is to make it back to your base, then you battle the flagship.


Along the way you choose different paths, encounter different enemies and can upgrade your ship and crew in different ways. This means every game is different. Half of your crew may die in one playthrough, then the next time you might be lucky to upgrade to a powerful weapon early on. What makes me keep going back to FTL is the idea that I don't quite know what's going to happen along the way and each game can be quite different.


I want a similar experience with Kraken - each game has a similar journey, but the path you take and encounters along the way can completely change the later part of the game. If you fly through the modes and avoid conflict, you'll have less weapons and crew to deal with the kraken. If you work hard to get the most out of every encounter along the way, the battle with the kraken will be easier. That's the goal - whether I can code something like this is another story.


As you can see, this is an ambitious project (at least for me). Multiple branching paths to take and different ship upgrades means I have a lot of coding and media work to do. While I really enjoyed creating pixel animations on the RGB DMD in my last pin, I feel I need an LCD for this one to display the map and objectives as clearly as possible. I feel it's going to be a lot harder making animations and art look good on an LCD, so we'll see how I go.


The music I created for my last pin was based on a style called synthwave (I was heavily influenced by TNA). It was fun and easy to create after a few YouTube tutorials and really fit the theme. For Kraken, I'm thinking a big and epic journey needs music to match. I'd love to hear suggestions on what type of music you think fits with the theme. I'm thinking big guitar riffs mixed with orchestral parts like a movie soundtrack.


Cabinet Build

I've ordered parts and while I wait (I remember waiting for parts last time to be painfully slow) I thought I'd whip a cabinet together. I pulled off the lockbar and leg bracket from my other pin to measure up the new one.




I found other people's homebrew threads really helpful when I built my first pin, so I'll try and share as much detail as I can along the way to hopefully help somebody else out.


Keen to hear what people think of the theme or any ideas on what should happen in the modes!


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Awesome mate - looking forward to seeing the progress on this :)


My goal for 2020 is to spend less time fixing other peoples machines and work more towards my Pinbot 2.0 project and then my own homebrew beyond that. Seeing these sorts of posts is motivating - keep them coming :)

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Top idea mate, sort of like the Hobbit in a way where you are 'going on an adventure'. I like it a lot and it lets you create a lot of different events and then tie them together. The sea creatures theme is great too.
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Love the name. Love the ideas and if you know me, any innovation for pinball is a good thing and long overdue.


Here's a suggestion now used in the Car machine industry you may like to incorporate. Seeing as your machine's gameplay revolves around upgrades on ships etc, a method of saving your previous achievements on previous games savable to a memory device that can be uploaded on future game plays on the machine?.

This feature works extremely well in arcade machines and hasn't been adapted to the pinball industry yet as far as I'm aware.

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Great thought. For a HUO machine which all the companies seem to be targeting as at least part of their market nowadays, it may be the only chance for a mug like me to ever see the big modes, wizard etc except by one of those once a year games.


If it was a setting you could turn off, and turn off in comp mode, lets say like Tommy where you hold the button in to start and get a game all blinders?

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Great thought. For a HUO machine which all the companies seem to be targeting as at least part of their market nowadays, it may be the only chance for a mug like me to ever see the big modes, wizard etc except by one of those once a year games.


If it was a setting you could turn off, and turn off in comp mode, lets say like Tommy where you hold the button in to start and get a game all blinders?


Who showed you that trick:cool:

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The one i remember was you cradling six balls and letting the other 4 drain.

I'd never seen anyone do that before.


When i asked why, you said 'I only need two balls'.


There's still some high scores on the board here thqat have been set with blinder up games too.



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While I'm waiting for parts, I'm going to start sculpting a big kraken model for the playfield. The plan is to have a big head sticking out of the water and legs looping around the playfield. I like the idea of having the legs wrap around the ramps. Sort of like GOTG where you have Groot's head over a scoop and hands stretching over the playfield.


I bought some Monster Clay, which is used to sculpt these type of things. Never used it before but there are a stack of tutorials on YouTube.




The plan is to sculpt the head in clay, create a silicone mold, then make a rubber cast and paint it. I've never done anything like this before, so I'll be watching a lot of tutorials.




This stuff is surprisingly easy to use. Heat it up in the microwave and it softens until you can scoop it out. It's hard to come up with a good looking design though.


Knowing that I'll have a big kraken head as the main feature makes it easier to start planning the layout. Here's a rough head and mouth sitting on a MDF board where I've been sketching out different layouts in pencil.




It makes sense to have the head somewhere around here and sit it over a scoop. With the head roughly in position, I spent some time looking over different pins with this main shot. Groot in GOTG, the ship in Star Trek, and Sparky in Metallica are good examples of what I'm aiming for. I like playing those games so they're good starting points.


Here's my first attempt at a monster head:




More Cthulhu than kraken, but a good practice run.


Cabinet is now ready for when the legs arrive. I might spray the inside so I can start installing the power supplies and FAST boards straight away (bought them a year ago).



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Kraken Pinball



For a moment then I thought you were eating chocolate ice cream while working on the game :lol



Some system level things I love from Bride of Pinbot 2.0 that would be worth considering in the game are the achievements (same type of thing as Xbox and Playstation achievements / trophies) for achieving certain milestones in the game and the detailed account stats tracking that can be uploaded and compared online.

Edited by Jesder
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Been experimenting with different playfield layouts. I decided on having three flippers before I started, which sort of automatically positions a few shots to feed the flipper.


The orbits and lower third are pretty basic, so I'm using pieces of paper to quickly sketch out different ideas for the middle shots. It'd be interesting to see how the pros plan out their playfields in the early stages.


Here are a couple of layouts I like:




I want to have lots of loops and use a drop target to block off a path at different times. Some of these shots look tight, so I'm making some cardboard ball guides to quickly test out the layouts.

If they're too tight, I could cut the two captive balls to one. The idea is to make these look like cannons on the ship.




As soon as the parts arrive, I'll be able to wire up the flippers and see how these shots feel.




Having my other pin and some spare parts makes this one easy to measure up and get ready for parts.





I've seen other people use foam core, but cardboard seems to work just fine.


At night I've been experimenting with different sculpture designs. Here's one that really didn't work out to show how hard it is to come up with original designs:





Those people on YouTube make it look so easy.

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Not much time to work on Kraken over Christmas, but managed to set up some cardboard ball guides to test out a layout.



Making cardboard ramps might take a bit longer, but should give me a good idea of how this layout flows.


I wired up the power supplies, FAST Power Filter and Controller boards.





I also added some terminals in the cabinet to be able to easily connect and disconnect the playfield.





The switches for the flipper buttons and start button also need to connect to the playfield because the switch board will be mounted on the playfield.

As soon as I have my playfield parts, I should be able to quickly wire it up and test it out.

Edited by Arcade King
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After trying to make a few different monster heads and getting frustrated with them, I thought I'd try a more straight-forward octopus head.




Pretty happy with how it opens up at the front for the ball to go in. It should look good with the ball flying in and out. It sort of looks like a mouth without looking weird. Looks more like a kraken than any other attempts.




I also made a tentacle loop that will stick out of the playfield in a few spots.




I'm boxing it up in cardboard so I can try making a silicone mould. Never tried this before, so it'll be interesting if it works.


Seeing as I'll be using an LCD for the display, I've been playing around with different layouts on a cheap sketchpad.




The idea is that you will have a map showing your current path, what shots you need to take to go to different places, and an overview of your ship with what weapons you have, crew, etc. What else do you consider essential to have on the screen?


Need to research how other pins use an LCD. I'd love to hear what pin you think does the best job of using an LCD and why. Or what pins do a bad job so I know what to avoid!

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Smoothed out the clay head and added some texture to it. Pretty happy with how it turned out.




Boxed up the tentacle loop and prepared it for mould making.






It used a lot of the silicone, so I'm going to need to buy a lot for the head. It started to firm up within about 10 minutes, which was plenty of time to work it.




Once I cut the clay out, I'll try casting it.


Not much else I can work on while I wait for parts, so I'm going to start working on the media for the screen. Here's a mockup of the layout I'm thinking about for the main screen.




It won't have bright colours like this one, this is just so I can figure out what works and what doesn't.

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Looking great.

The mold and sculpts look good too.


What I did was use Virtual to get design tweaked, once happy with shots and flow, printed a full size blueprint (jpg file) at office works.


Glued to the playfield and Mylar over that. Then followed the blueprint using long metal strips bolted through the playfield.


I do like the quick easy cardboard guides you’re using to work out your design though.


Foam core, phftt. Who needs it.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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