Silver Falls

The Concept

Create a commercially-released game using the Heist playfield module, co-designed with my daughter, Sophia.

Integrate avatar appearance choices, difficulty levels, and characteristics from simulation games.

The Programming

While Quest For Glory taught me the basics of what I needed to know to make a game on the P3 platform, Ranger In The Ruins taught me how to make a piece of commercial pinball software.

New features were added to the SDK after the release of Ranger In The Ruins, and I was eager to incorporate as many of the new tools as possible.

In speaking with Sophia about the type of game I could make utilizing this playfield module, which incorporates a three-dimensional cityscape, she suggested a simulation game that takes place in a city.

The Gameplay

The player is an avatar moving about in a 3D environment. Once the game is started, the player must choose between 24 different appearance options, three different skin tones, and six different voices. After selecting, the player appears in an empty living room.

Unlike Ranger In The Ruins, shots on the playfield are not identified with a clear numeric value. Points double as currency (known as PinBucks), which can be spent in an in-game store. The award for each shot falls within a predetermined range based on the difficulty of the shot.

The central shot on the Heist playfield module is a jail. When the game starts, the door is down. Three hits to the door will open it, allowing access to the shop. While in the shop, the player can choose between six different items per room. Each room must be completely furnished, then a hurry-up mode, unique to that room, will start. If the player does not accomplish the hurry-up mode before the time expires, the flippers will die (and so will the player).

Progessing through the game requires completion of the hurry-up modes specific to each room. As the player completes these modes, the scoops pop up with a particular choreography, and a shot to the scoops will award an extra ball and advance the player to the next room.

After completing five rooms (Living Room, Kitchen, Gameroom, Bathroom, Bedroom), the player begins a job at a grocery store. Just as they finish restocking the shelves, the crane breaks loose and scatters everything within the store! The player must hit forty indicated shots before the scene is over and they can return to the Living Room to begin the loop anew. To help the player achieve their goal, three balls are launched at the beginning of this scene.

At the start of all but the last scene, the crane sweeps out along the playfield. If the player hits the crane, they are awarded with a 10 second playfield multiplier. Completing the side targets will also award the temporary multiplier.

Hitting specific shots on the playfield will alternate a diverter in the back of the game, allowing a skilled player to drop a ball into the hole in the back of the playfield at will for a small bonus. Each shot will also trigger the start of a two shot combo. Shots on the left side of the playfield will pick a shot at random on the right side and vice-versa. Hitting the indicated shot without another target in between will award a large amount of bonus PinBucks.

Tilting ends the player's current ball in play.

Additional options are available to remove extra balls, and change the number of players, and balls per player. Further options exist to reduce the number of hits to the jail needed to open the door (from 3 to 1), as well as to increase the base multiplier of all shots by from 1.0 - 2.0 at 1/10th increments, and alter or remove the ball save. These last three options can be set on a per-machine or per-profile basis, allowing for customized skill per player.

Viewers of players streaming the game on Twitch can interact with Twitch-Connect by awarding a custom amount of PinBucks, sweep the crane across the screen to award a multiplier (and increase challenge), 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.

High score tables exist for each scene in the game, as well as for the highest overall score.

The first update to the game added a discount for each additional entry to the store in a given scene. 10% off the initial prices, with an additional 5% for each re-entry. Eventually, a player can acquire all items for 100% off!

Various pieces of stateful information are saved between each ball, including the number of hits to the jail shot, opening or closing the door as required, and the previously acquired items. If the player has already acquired all items in a room, the game will re-start the hurry-up mode once the ball rolls over the screen (also starting the ball save as directed by settings).

For the music in this game, I wanted to try something very different. While programming, I listened to a lot of chillhop, and thought the laid-back nature of the music would be a perfect fit for the game. Having spoken with Scott Danesi about a possible collaboration, he was excited for the challenge. His work is exactly what I was hoping to receive. It sets the tone of each room independently, while providing an atmosphere which is completely different from any other pinball game.

The colors used for lamps in the game correspond with the scene the player is active within. Special light shows include fades, sweeps, chase sequences, flashes, and combo and shot hit indicators. All lamps change color when in the multiplier mode.


Players have enjoyed progressing through the various challenges within the game. Many players choose to play "Team Games" which allow for cooperative play to progress through each scene, or utilizing the save system integral to the P3 to allow for resuming a game from a specific room.


Silver Falls retails for $149 in the Multimorphic store.

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