Truxton Pinball, Propst Pinball 2006
Designed by Lars Thomas Boye
This rulesheet has been made as part of the work on the Truxton pinball game, primarily as an internal document to keep track of all features, but also in a style that makes it fully usable as a guide for anyone who wants to learn the rules or get tips on how to play better. Don't read it if you want to discover the details of this game for yourself, but use it as a reference if you want to find out more about a certain feature. There is no list of all objects and their placement, so it is assumed that you have seen the game.
This pinball is based on the videogame Truxton 2. In addition to the artwork and sounds, the gameplay is also inspired by the videogame, which is a typical 2D shoot-em-up. While you don't need to be familiar with the videogame to play the pinball, knowing the general shoot-em-up mechanics can be useful in understanding the rules. The main goal is to beat the big end-of-level boss, depicted on the plastic above the bumpers. To get that far, you first have to beat some sub-bosses, and this is done by dropping the targets on the right side of the playfield. This will light locks on the left side, and once the third ball is in the lock, the multiball boss fight will start. You harm the boss by hitting the bumpers, but only while more than one ball is in play. The top bumper does the main damage, so this is the key do beating the boss, and this is also typically the most-scoring target in regular play.
Two other regular shoot-em-up features are also important in this game: smartbombs and power-ups. Lit bombs means the kickback in the left outlane is lit, and unless the machine is set to hard, you can have up to three of these stored. You light bombs by completing the top rollovers. The center targets are for collecting power-ups. There are three types, color-coded: red, blue and green. You collect a power-up when all three lights of the same color are lit, and this will light all features of the same color on the playfield. The lit features score much more than when in the basic state, and this way you choose which set of features to light (only one can be lit at a time, as you can only have one of the three powerup types).
When a new ball is launched into play, the top-most of the three top rollover lanes will be blinking for a skill award, so you need to plunge the ball with just the right force to hit this. The award is 10,000 points, with an additional 10k for each time you get it. It is not lit when balls are brought out during a round, like after locking a ball.
There is a ballsaver grace period at the start of each ball, and at the start of multiball (unless the machine is set to hard; then there will be no grace period at the start). The 1UP light between the flippers blinks when this ballsaver is active (faster when it is about to time out). If the 1UP light is constantly lit, you have an extra ball. The machine can be set up to autoplunge rereleased balls, and if so, it will autoplunge saved balls, usually sending them to the top rollovers.
Note that the ballsaver and other start-of-round features are activated by the rollover trigger near the end of the plunger lane, so it is possible to have the ball just trigger this and then roll back down to the plunger, starting the round without the ball entering the playfield.
Inlanes and outlanes
The inlanes only score 80 points when not lit, but the red powerup lights them for 5000 points (see Powerups). While this powerup is active, the inlanes score 5000 for each power level, up to 25,000 points for a single hit.
Outlanes score 500 points, but they also increase the bonus with 3, which is worth at least 3000 in the end-of-ball bonus count. The bonus is a consolation for draining, and is not awarded by the left outlane if the kickback is active there. Outlanes can be lit for extra ball. Unless they have been lit twice, only one is lit, and this alternates with slingshot and rubber hits. The extra ball is collected even if the ball is saved by the kickback, so it is possible to send the ball out the left outlane when extra ball and kickback is lit there, have it saved, and continue playing with an extra ball waiting. Extra ball is lit by the spinner (see Orbit lanes and spinner).
Bomb Kickback and top rollovers
There is a kickback in the left outlane, saving balls from draining that way when it's lit. This is the smartbomb kickback, and the lights are the three bomb lights next to the left slingshot. You can have up to three bombs stacked, excpet if the machine is on the Hard setting, in which case you can only have one, and all three lights are lit at once. Using the kickback uses one bomb, except if the ballsaver is still on at the start of the round, in which case the kickback acts as the ballsaver. Bombs are lit by completing the three top rollover lanes. Bombs are not saved between balls, so each new round is a clean start, but on regular settings you start with one bomb. Balls can easily end up in the left outlane, so you need the bombs to keep it safe. When kicked back, the ball will usually hit the left bank of droptargets, thus helping you drop them, and using the kickback in multiball will do some damage to the boss. The kickback is not guaranteed to save the ball, as it can sometimes end back in the left outlane (this only happens if the droptargets are down and the ball hits the rubber instead). Try to always have at least one bomb, and stack up before multiball.
The top rollover triggers score 300, 600 and 900, with the highest one scoring the most. Unlit lanes are lit when hit, and the flippers alternate lit lanes. Lighting all three scores 3000 points, in addition to awarding a bomb. If all bombs are lit already, it scores 6000 points instead.
Slingshots and rubber triggers
Slingshots score 50 points. All other rubbers in the game also have triggers: the ones along the right side, the long one on the left side of the left orbit shot, and one just right of the bumpers. Each of these score 10 points. They alternate the extra ball at the outlanes if this is lit.
The three targets in the middle of the playfield can award powerups. Powerups are an essential feature of shoot-em-up videogames, where they give your craft better weapons. In this game, they will power up gameplay features, allowing you to score more points. There are three different powerups, color-coded: red (the color is orange-red), blue and green. In front of the targets, there are three rows with three lights each, one light of each color for each target. The targets work as follows: One color is active at a time; those lights are blinking. You shoot for the targets to get the powerup of the active color. Hitting a target selects the currently active light, so that it becomes solidly lit. It stays lit even if the active color changes, but only one color can be selected at a time for each target, so hitting it again will change the light to the currently active one. Only when all three lights of the same color are solidly lit, is that powerup awarded. So it takes some skill, or luck, to get powerups, as you have to line up all three lights, hitting them when the right color is blinking. At the start of rounds, a random line is active. Making the left orbit changes the active line up, while the right orbit changes it down, and this is how you select the active line. If you go a while without shooting any orbits, the line will start alternating every five seconds, making it hard to select a specific light.
The targets score 500 points each hit, and an additional 1000 when awarding a powerup. You start the game with no powerups. Lighting all three lights of the same color awards the powerup, and you'll have a power level of 1. This powers up all features with lights of the same color, making them much more valuable. The effects of each powerup are described below. Doing it again and getting the same color increase your power level. The power level can go as high as five, and the current level is indicated by five lights on the backbox. If you already had 5 levels, so that you can't go any higher, you get 25,000 points instead. The higher the power level, the more the powered features score. Depending on machine settings, you lose power levels when you drain (on default settings you lose one level, so if that was all you had, you start the next round with nothing). In addition to the color-specific effects, the powerups also help a little in boss multiball, where the damage done when hitting the top bumper increases with power level.
You can only have one type of powerup at a time. Getting a powerup of a different color will switch to that type without increasing the power level. The three types have very different effects, so switching type changes how the game plays. You can try to set the active row based on which color you want, and in order to increase the power level, you have to get the same type as the currently active one. This is quite difficult; getting any powerup is not hard, but getting a specific one is harder, as you have to hit the orbits to select row, and you have to make sure to only hit the targets when the right type is active. When a powerup is awarded, the active line changes, so you have to hit the correct orbit again to get back to the same line. But if you manage it, the reward is big, as powerups drastically increase the scoring potential of the table. They are an important feature for scoring big and getting more bonus points, and something that can separate the experienced player from the rest. Thankfully, there is an easier way of getting powerups as well. Completing the multiball will start a timed mode where each hit to any of the three targets will award one powerup; see Powerup Hunt Mode.
The following describes the effects of each powerup (they are described more fully in the appropriate sections):
* Red: This powerup is mostly about the top bumper, but it also lights the inlanes for 5000 points per power level. The top bumper score is increased by 4000 points per level, making it a valuable target. It also advances the bonus with one per power level. The bumper lane targets score 2000, instead of the usual 600. When the targets are down, completing the bumper lane score 4000 points, plus 2000 per additional level. Since it leads straight to the top bumper, clearing the lane and shooting the ball up there can get very valuable.
* Blue: This puts the ship star triggers in a special mode, where lit triggers score 6000 points per power level, and advances the bonus with 1 per level. Getting a trigger unlights it, and you need to get them all to relight them. This powerup is good if you want to go for a large bonus, but it can be tricky, as you have to get all the triggers to relight them.
* Green: This powerup is mostly about the orbit shots. The left orbit is worth 25,000 points per power level, and the right orbit is worth 15,000 per level. So these are the most valuable shots in the game. The other green shots are also affected. The lock awards 3000 points per power level. The sub-boss droptargets score 2000 points per level, and the timer that otherwise resets them on later locks is disabled, making them easier to complete. So it can help light locks, but mainly its about the big scores at the orbits, and with some skill you can score really big.
Ship star triggers
Scattered around the playfield are nine star triggers, set in light blue lights. The playfield artwork depicts one enemy craft in front of each trigger, so the idea is that each hit shoots down one craft. Each of the nine targets score exactly the same, so there is no difference between them, other than their positions. Each has a basic score of 200 points, and more importantly, each hit adds 1 to the bonus. The bonus is tracked by the eight lights in the middle of the playfield. Each bonus point is worth 1000 points in the end-of-ball bonus count, multiplied by the bonus multiplier. Some other targets will also add to the bonus (see End of Ball Bonus), but the ship star triggers are the most important source for the bonus.
When a trigger is hit, the light blinks for one second. If any star trigger is hit during this time, it's a combo hit, scoring more. The combo can include more targets, as the timer always starts over with the last target hit, so you can have many targets blinking at once. The score is doubled with each hit in a combo, so when hitting star triggers in rapid succession the scoring goes 200, 400, 800, 1600, etc. The left orbit lane is special, in that it has three star triggers lined up so that you always get a combo on a good shot. So passing all three triggers score 200+400+800 equals 1400 points (the display shows the accumulated combo score). That's still not a lot, and with only one ball in play its difficult to make bigger combos, but in multiball its a different situation. So in addition to the regular goal of beating the boss, multiball can also be used to score big combos on the star triggers.
But if you really want to score big on the star triggers, you need the blue powerup. When the blue powerup is awarded, the nine triggers are lit. Hitting a lit target awards 6000 points per power level and increases the bonus with 1 per power level. This is in addition to the basic awards, so the bonus is increased with at least 2. Once it has been hit, the trigger is unlit until all nine are completed. Lit triggers will rotate at regular intervals, faster at higher power levels. When there are no more lit targets left, they all relight.
Sub-boss droptargets and locks
The four droptargets on the right side of the playfield are the sub-boss targets. Dropping all four destroys a sub-boss ship, bringing you closer to the big boss battle by lighting locks. Each target is worth 100 points, except if the green powerup is active, in which case they are worth 2000 points per power level. Completing them scores 5000 points, and it also awards 5 bonus points, which is worth at least 5000 in the end-of-ball bonus. The targets are always reset between rounds. The number of locks lit when completing the targets depend on the machine settings and how many times they have already been completed. On regular settings, the first time lights two locks. The targets must be completed once more to light the final lock, so they must be dropped twice to light all three locks. Completing the targets when all locks are already lit only awards the points and bonus. In multiball (and Super Power Mode) the targets always come right back up and do not award locks; instead the basic score is 1000.
Shooting a ball into the lock hole on the left side of the playfield when no unused locks are lit only awards 150 points, and the ball is returned to the playfield. When lit, the lock scores 2500 points and locks the ball, using one lit lock. With the green powerup, the lock is also lit for 3000 points per power level, and this is always awarded. Lit locks, as well as locked balls, are remembered between rounds. Once the third ball is locked, multiball will start (see Boss Multiball). After multiball is over, the targets reset, and the process starts over with no locks lit. The targets now only award one lock each time they are completed. Also, they now time out, making them harder to complete. The dropped targets reset after a period of time without any hits, but hitting a target restarts the timer. Keep an eye on the lights to know when it is about to time out, and there is also a soundeffect. Having the green powerup will keep the targets from timing out, making it easier to light locks.
Orbit lanes and spinner
The left and right lanes leading up to the top rollover targets register hits when completed. The left orbit is registered by a rollover trigger next to the top left gate. It normally scores 1000 points. The right orbit is registered by the top right gate, but not when the ball is coming from the plunger lane, as it only registeres when the shot is completed from the playfield. It awards 500 points. Note that a weak ball can pass the gate unnoticed. The orbits also change the active row at the power targets. But normally these lanes are not worth too much, and the ship star triggers here are more important than completing the lanes. But the green powerup changes this, lighting the orbits and making them very valuable. The left orbit awards 25,000 points per power level, and the right orbit is worth 15,000 points per power level, making them the most valuable shots in the game when this powerup is active. In addition, they both advance the bonus by 2 points for each power level.
The left lane features a spinner. Each spin is worth 20 points, and enough spins will light extra ball at the outlanes. The number of spins needed are dependent on machine settings, and it rises when the spinner resets after lighting extra ball. The number of spins left are remembered between balls. If extra ball is already lit at one outlane, it will be lit at both. If it is already lit at both, or an extra ball has already been awarded but not used, nothing is awarded. The number of spins will still reset, but the number needed for the next extra ball will not rise when nothing is awarded.
Bumpers and bumper lane
The game has four bumpers, located under the boss plastic on the upper part of the playfield. Three are white, but the top one is orange-red, and this is the important one. When lit, it can be the highest-scoring target in the game. The three white bumpers always score 100 points. The red bumper has a basic score of 1000 points, but two things can increase this, as will be discussed below. Note that the red bumper is more powerful than the white ones, so it has a lower chance of getting multiple hits. Above and to the left of the top bumer there's a standup target. It can be hit when the ball bounces off the top bumper, or when the ball is shot up past the bumpers on the right side in just the right way. It always scores 3000 points, the highest basic score of any target in the game.
On the left side of the bumpers, there is a narrow lane with four drop targets. Dropping these targets will both increase the scoring of the top bumper, and lead the ball straight to the bumper, once all targets are down. The bumper score is increased by 2000 points for each dropped target, for 9000 points when all targets are down. The bumper also advances the bonus with 1 per dropped target. The targets themselves score 600 points. When all targets are down, a good shot will send the ball up the lane, through a gate at the end, and straight into the top bumper. The gate scores 300 points (depending on the force of the ball, it might not register, or register several times), but the important thing is that the bumper now scores at least 9000 per hit. The bumper lane is not easy to hit, and it is dangerous, as a ball coming back down the lane can go SDTM and drain. And the droptargets reset for each new round (except on the easy setting). So this is one of the more demanding features of the game, with which a good player can score big. Starting multiball will drop all targets to clear the bumper lane, and all targets will be reset at the end of multiball (see Boss Multiball). Dropped targets stay down until the end of the round, or until the end of the next multiball.
The other thing that affects the top bumper score, is the red powerup. It adds 4000 points per power level. So the highest possible bumper value, with all droptargets down and five power levels, is 29,000 points. The bumper will then also score 9 bonus points per hit. The red powerup also affects the bumper lane. Dropping targets score 2000 points (irrespective of the power level), and the gate scores 4000 plus 2000 for each additional level.
The top bumper is also the main target in multiball, so it is no exaggeration to call it the most important target in the game. It is hit directly from the top rollover lane above it, and from the bumper lane to its left when all droptargets are down. It will also get hit when the ball is bouncing around in the bumper area, and one could say that the main function of the other bumpers is to push the ball towards the top bumper.
Boss Multiball is the central feature of the game, where you battle the big end-of-level boss depicted on the plastic above the bumpers. Once the third ball is locked, the mode starts and the three balls are released. The ballsaver will be active for a short period, but it will deactivate after saving a ball. Your goal is to destroy the boss, and you harm it by hitting the bumpers. The top bumper is the main target, as this does a lot more damage than the others. The lower bumpers can help with hitting the top one, and they also make a small contribution to the damage. As multiball starts, all targets in the bumper lane are dropped, so the lane is open. Since it leads straight to the top bumper, it's the surest way to get a hit. Another way to do much damage, is to get several balls into the bumper area at once. Having a powerup will increase the damage done at the top bumper; the damage increase depends on the power level but not on the color. Firing the bomb kickback will do some boss damage, and since it also helps keep the balls in play, its a good idea to make sure you have some kickbacks before starting multiball. The display shows a bossmeter - a bar that tracks the status of the boss. When there is nothing left of the bar, the boss is destroyed. The lights around the bumpers also track the boss state, so it should be easy to keep track. If all but one ball drains, the battle ends unsuccessfully.
How much damage the boss can take, depends on the difficulty setting and how many bosses you have already taken out. In the first multiball you fight the level 1 boss. Beating it awards 500,000 points. If you get to start another multiball, the boss will be level 2, and it will be harder to destroy, but also offer a bigger reward. Defeating the level 2 boss is worth 1 million, the level 3 boss is worth 1,5 million etc, up to the maximum five levels. If multiball ends unsuccessfully, you get a score based on how much damage you managed to do. When starting multiball again, you will face the same level over again until you beat it. The machine keeps track of the highest number of bosses defeated, with initials, and awards a credit for beating the current champion.
The top bumper does not award bonus points based on dropped targets and red powerup while in boss multiball. The sub-boss droptargets also score differently in multiball. They won't award locks while the battle is in progress, instead they score 1000 points (more with the green powerup), and always come back up after being dropped. When the boss battle is over, the sub-boss droptargets and the bumperlane droptargets all reset, and the dropping of targets to light locks can start over. Beating the boss has another important award - a mode called Powerup Hunt. This can either start right away, allowing you to keep any balls left of the multiball, or drain the balls first (see Powerup Hunt Mode).
In multiplayer games, it is of course possible for one player to use balls that were physically locked by another player, but you always get three balls in multiball. If the lock is already full when a ball is locked, the ball comes back out at the lock instead of being replaced at the plunger. Keep this in mind, so you are not taken by surprise. And if the balls in the lock were used by another player, and there are no other balls there when the final ball is locked, balls are brought out at the plunger instead. This can actually be an advantage, as balls shot from the plunger and into the top lanes will go straight to the bumpers and start damaging the boss right away. This could make for some interesting strategies in multiplayer games.
Powerup Hunt Mode
Completing the boss multiball starts this mode, where you have the chance to increase your powerup level. There is a machine setting controlling how the mode starts, and it makes a significant difference. On the default setting, the flippers will be disabled as the boss is defeated, so the balls drain. Instructions for the powerup hunt is shown on the display while a new ball is brought out at the plunger. You start the mode when you plunge the ball and it enters the playfield, so you can do so in your own time. A timer shows up on the display, giving you 45 seconds on the default settings. During this time, the powerup targets are in a special mode. One color is lit at a time, and this will alternate every 5 seconds. Hitting any of the three targets will award a powerup of the current color. Since you need to get the same powerup as the currently active one to increase the power level, you need to either hit the same powerup several times before the color changes, or wait until the same color is active again, to increase the level. The timer is paused if the ball is held at the lock, but try to keep it away from the bumpers, as this can use up mode time. Once the time is up, game play continues as normal.
The machine can also be set to start the powerup hunt right away when the boss is defeated, without draining balls. This way, you don't get any time to prepare, but you get to use any balls left from the multiball, and you can keep playing with multiple balls as long as you can keep them from draining. The mode lasts the same amount of time and is otherwise exactly the same, but with several balls it plays quite differently.
End of Ball Bonus
The eight big lights in the middle of the playfield track the end-of-ball bonus. They count in binary, so that the first light (from the bottom) is worth 1, the second is worth 2, then 4, 8, and up to 128 at the top. Several lights are lit at the same time to indicate the total value, and with all lights lit you have 255 points. These translates into thousands of points, multiplied by the bonus multiplier. Bonus points are awarded when enemy ships are destroyed, and also by some powered shots. The ship rollover triggers are the main source of bonus points, as they all award one point, and they are spread out all around the playfield. Destroying a sub-boss by dropping all four targets awards 5 points. Beating the Boss awards 10 points, plus 5 more for each Boss level above one. The top bumper awards bonus points when lit - 1 for each bumper droptarget down, and 1 for each power level of the red powerup. The powerups also affect some other targets. With the blue powerup, each lit trigger award an additional 1 point for each power level, so they can be worth up to 6 points. With the green powerup, the orbit shots are worth 2 points per level. The outlanes award 3 points when the ball is about to drain.
The bonus is counted after each round, and awarded as thousands of points. If you lost the ball after tilting the machine, no bonus is awarded. The bonus is always reset for the next round, and always starts at one. There is a multiplier, indicated by the 2X and 3X lights, so the bonus points can be doubled or trippled. Lighting a multiplier requires you to hit just about all targets in the game. The game counts 35 triggers for this purpose, which is pretty much every trigger of any kind, except the outlanes, and the bumper lane counts as a single entity, triggered by any of the droptargets or the gate at the end. Completing 34 of those 35 lights 2X the first time, 3X if you do it again, and after that it will light extra ball at the outlanes. The number of completed and remaining targets are listed in the status report (hold a flipper to access this).
Super Power Mode
Should you manage to max out the bonus lights, that is, reach a bonus of 255 within a round, you get a spectacular award. This is known as "beating the game", and starts a special timed supermode. Another ball is launched from the plunger, and while the mode is active you get a permanent ballsaver, so two balls are kept in play at all times. A timer on the display tracks the time remaining. You get ALL THREE powerups at once, at the maximum power level, so pretty much everything will score huge points. Once the time is up, the flippers are disabled so the balls drain. This ends the round, and you get those 255,000 bonus points. You then start a new round without subtracting a ball, but your powerups are reset to nothing, so you lose any powerups you had before starting the mode. Reaching a bonus of 255 is very difficult. The best way is probably to build up the power level throughout the game, but this is not easy. With the red or blue powerup at a high level you can get there on a good round.
Note that there will be no progress towards multiball during Super Power mode; locks will not get lit and balls will not get locked. And the mode will not get started during a multiball boss fight. If you max out the bonus during the boss fight, the supermode will wait until its over, and start instead of the Powerup Hunt. If you had more than one ball in play after beating the boss when the supermode starts, you will not get another ball for the mode, but if you had three balls the ballsaver will keep all three in play for the whole mode.
The game can be set to three balls or five, and it keeps separate highscore lists for the two possibilities (for testing purposes, it can also be set to unlimited balls, the game then has no end and no highscores can be awarded). Two other settings are important for how the game plays: the difficulty and how Powerup Hunt is started. As was described in that section, this mode can either start right after the boss is defeated in multiball, giving you multiple balls for this mode as well, or it can drain the balls first.
The machine can be set to Easy, Normal (factory default) or Hard. Here is a list of all the things affected by this setting:
* Ballsaver time: The ballsaver grace period at the start of each ball and at the start of multiball gets shorter with higher difficulty, and on Hard there is no ballsaver at the start of balls.
* Kickback: Rounds start with two lit on Easy, one lit on Normal and nothing lit on Hard. And on Hard, you can only have one kickback lit instead of three.
* Slingshots: They get disabled temporarily when hit several times in rapid succession to prevent the ball from bouncing around too much, but it takes more hits on higher difficulty.
* Power targets: The length of time before the active row starts alternating every five seconds.
* Spinner: Number of spins needed to light extra ball.
* Locks: Both the number of locks awarded when completing the droptargets, and the timer that resets the droptargets on later locks, is affected by the difficulty setting. The timer period is slightly longer on easier settings, and on Easy it is only effective after two multiballs instead of after the first multiball.
* Boss multiball: Boss takes more hits to defeat on higher difficulty.
* Powerup Hunt: Duration of mode.
* Super Power mode: Duration of mode.
* New round: What things reset between balls is affected by the setting. Power level drops by two on Hard, one on Normal, and doesn't drop at all on easy. Bumper lane droptargets doesn't reset on Easy, and the bonus multiplier is easier to get, as hit/unhit status of triggers doesn't reset.