Ranger In The Ruins

The Concept

Make a modern score attack game that brings back some of the more difficult elements that I love from older games, utilizing the Cosmic Cart Racing playfield module.

Create a new type of Internet-connected integration for pinball.

Create my first commercially-released pinball game!

The Programming

My experience with Quest For Glory taught me the basics of what I needed to know to make a game on the P3 platform.

For Ranger In The Ruins, I had to learn how to interact with the mechanisms specific to the Cosmic Cart Racing playfield module, and how to control the incredibly large number of LEDs to make useful light shows.

I also had to learn how to integrate with a web service using C#/Unity. The service is used to provide ghost data from other players to the game.

The Gameplay

The player is a ranger in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. They are tasked with retrieving the sum of all human knowledge, and returning to their settlement. The player has a single ball to achieve the highest score possible and retrieve this knowledge (by default). Balls are launched through the back wall onto the upper ramp. Three magnets accelerate the ball as quickly as possible to the left inlane, and the ranger starts running.

Each shot on the playfield is marked with chevrons and a numeric value. Scoring is intentionally easy to understand. Similar to many electro-mechanical games, there are three standard point values. Each point value has an associated sound.

After a period of time, a ghost sound will ring out, and a ghost will appear on screen, and a hidden countdown timer starts.

While the ghost is on screen, all standup targets indicators will change to the ghost's color. Hitting one of these switches before the timer finishes will pop up a scoop in the area between the lower and upper playfield. The scoop determined is based on the ball's position when a switch is hit to prevent ball sticks. The scoop is also available based on a hidden timer. If the player doesn't hit the target or the scoop within that period of time, the ranger continues running.

Firing a ball into the scoop while raised will grant the player the last item held by the ranger who created the ghost. If connected to the Internet, the ghost data is sent to a remote server. Items can also be stored locally.

Items can manipulate the game in a number of ways. Each item that can help the player is balanced by an item that can hinder the player. For example, acquiring certain items will enable ball locks. Ball locks can be emptied by acquiring another item. There are instant points items as well as items that provide negative points. The most common class of item are multipliers. These items multiply (or remove multipliers) from various shots. There are also time-limited full playfield multipliers. All multipliers can stack, so if the base value for a shot is 1000 points, an item might double the value to 2000, then a full playfield multiplier can be acquired, changing the value to 4000 points.

Some items provide special light shows and change the appearance of the game, another item allows the player to change between eight different background songs.

In the tradition of rogue-like games, item effects are hidden by default. Acquiring a specific item will teach the player the effects of any new item acquired.

Tilting ends the player's game.

A wizard mode was added with the first update. The game keeps track of the amount of time the game is played. Once the player acquires the number of items required to land on the top spot of the high score table for highest number of items, the game will award a special item, the sum of all human knowledge. At this point, the player's avatar will turn around and must run backwards to the place where they started the game. Upon returning home, the game ends. A separate high score table keeps track of the time it took to arrive back home, encouraging repeat play with faster acquisition of items. The player must beat the new high score for items, however, so as with the items the player acquires, there is both a negative and a positive enticement.

Additional operator options are available to remove extra balls, disable instant multiball, and change the number of players and balls per player. Additional balls will divide base scores by 10 at 3 balls and again at 5 balls.

Viewers of players streaming the game on Twitch can interact with Twitch-Connect by summoning a ghost, awarding an extra ball, blanking out the screen, or reversing or inverting flippers. These integrations can be enabled or disabled individually, and if the streamer is partnered or a Twitch affliate, they can charge a custom number of bits per interaction.


Ranger In The Ruins has proved to be very popular. There are groups of players that have started their own lists of items and their effects, and two that have so far publicly completed the wizard mode.


Ranger In The Ruins retails for $149 in the Multimorphic store.

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