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Wizard Modes

Unlockable game modes that take over the playfield are typically referred to as "wizard" modes and are often considered milestones for a player's progress. Here we will outline some common approaches to tracking, starting, and completing wizard modes in MPF.

Achievements to Qualify Wizard Modes

The simplest way to track a player qualifying, attempting, and completing wizard modes is through achievements, a special type of player variable that progress through a series of pre-defined states.

One common approach for wizard modes is to have a counter that tracks shots to qualify the mode. In this example, hitting three shots will enable and immediately start the wizard mode:

##! mode: wizard_qualify
# mode: wizard_qualify
  start_events: mode_base_started
    enable_events: logicblock_winteriscoming_count_complete
    start_events: achievement_winterhascome_state_enabled
    starting_count: 0
    count_complete_value: 3
    count_events: winteriscoming_shot_hit
##! mode: winterhascome
# mode: winterhascome
  start_events: achievement_winterhascome_state_started
##! test
#! start_game
#! post mode_base_started
#! post winteriscoming_shot_hit
#! post winteriscoming_shot_hit
#! assert_mode_not_running winterhascome
#! post winteriscoming_shot_hit
#! assert_mode_running winterhascome

The different achievement states allow you to fine-tune when and how modes can be qualified. Achievements can be enabled/disabled, selected, started/stopped, and completed, and have some rules to help control the flow:

  • disabled achievements must be enabled before any other state changes will work
  • enabled achievements can be disabled, selected, or started
  • selected achievements can be disabled, started, or completed
  • started achievements can be stopped or completed
  • completed achievements cannot change state anymore

By combining these state flows with your qualifying shots, mode selections, and end-of-ball events, there is a lot of flexibility for using achievements to track wizard modes. For example, a one-time-only wizard mode could distinguish between an enabled achievement (i.e. it hasn't been played) and a stopped achievement (i.e. it has been played), while a wizard mode awarding a bonus for accomplishing some goal could distinguish between a stopped achievement and a completed achievement.

Of course, there's no requirement that achievements be used to start and stop wizard modes. Achievements are a convenience for tracking progress, your own game design may have other approaches.

Starting and Stopping Wizard Modes

Most wizard modes will be started and stopped like any other game mode, using the mode start_events and stop_events. There will usually be a close relationship between the start/stop events and the achievement state events, as in these typical examples:

# Use a counter to enable an achievement
    enable_events: completed_missions_count_hit{value==6}

# Enable an achievement to start a mode [direct event]
  start_events: achievement_captainschair_state_enabled

# Enable an achievement to start a mode [indirect event]
  achievement_captainschair_state_enabled: start_mode_captainschair

# Start an achievement when its wizard mode starts
    start_events: mode_captainschair_started

# Complete an objective to complete an achievement [direct event]
    complete_events: logicblock_captainshots_counter_complete

# Complete an objective to complete an achievement [indirect event]
    complete_events: captainschair_complete
  logicblock_captainshots_counter_complete: captainschair_complete

# Stop an achievement when a mode stops
    stop_events: mode_captainschair_will_stop

For wizard modes that stop other game modes, disable qualifier shots or ball locks, and/or have other "takeover" behaviors, consider using Mode Layering to handle the transitions in and out of wizard modes.

After a Wizard Mode

Most wizard modes are only played once and have a "completion" goal for the player to accomplish. Mid-game wizard modes (also called "mini-wizard" modes) will usually end if the goal is completed, while end-of-game wizard modes play until the ball drains. Similarly, end-of-game wizard modes typically restart immediately on the players next ball while mid-game wizard modes usually do not. Multiball wizard modes usually remain active until only one ball is left in play.

Achievement states are an excellent way to track how a wizard mode ended and whether it impacts future game behavior. If you're using the achievement_(name)_started event to start your wizard mode the restart_after_stop_possible: setting determines whether a "stopped" achievement can be started and the restart_on_next_ball_when_started: setting will post the achievement_(name)_started event when its parent mode starts. If the wizard mode has a "completion" goal, the achievement's "completed" state can be used to track whether a player accomplished it.

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