Designing a pinball machine turns out to be harder than it looks, and there are a lot of intricacies that are easily overlooked. It obviously needs to be fun, otherwise no one will play it, and it needs some harder, complicated shots to keep the player’s interest once they master the basics. Also the physics of a little steel ball, how does it work?
On a basic pinball machine the player only controls the two flippers. This does not amount to a whole lot of varied input. It’s therefore quite important that those two flippers can produce a big range of shots and tricks. Understanding the trajectory of the ball from the flipper is quite important, and it’s not something I ever sat down and worked out. Instead I had a rough understanding and just started trying designs. I had already decided on the main features I wanted to use, such as 3 pop bumpers and a bank of drop targets, and using some cool (free) pinball software called Visual Pinball I could simulate the layouts.
Eventually I settled on a rough design!