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Hustle Kings – The King of Pool Games

Mark Williams's Avatar + Posted by Mark Williams on Jul 23, 2009 // Technology Director, VooFoo Studios

Hi, I’m Mark Williams, Technology Director at VooFoo Studios, developers of the soon to be released Hustle Kings for PSN and PS3. We really wanted to make sure Hustle Kings was something special right from the start, and the response from the unveiling at E3 has exceeded all of our initial expectations.

Everyone who has seen and played Hustle Kings so far has been incredibly impressed, and one of the things that many people have commented on is how brilliantly the AI plays. We have such a comprehensive selection of online and multiplayer game modes in Hustle Kings, I was keen to ensure that our single player career campaign was just as challenging and enjoyable. I initially sat down and played a lot of other pool and snooker games, and it really struck me as to how tiresome and predictable the AI generally was. I found myself wanting to skip past the shots played by my computer controlled opponent as they just weren’t fun to watch. Hustle Kings needed something different, I thought, we needed to make our AI both challenging and entertaining.

Hustle Kings screenshot 1

Pool, and snooker probably even more so, are not games simply about potting balls. When lining up to pot a ball, you ideally want to leave the cue ball in a position that makes your next shot easier. Conversely, if you’re not able to pot a ball, you want to make the next shot difficult for your opponent, and in games such as Killer, this is even more important because the next shot will always be taken by your opponent. When a computer controlled opponent is lining up its shot in Hustle Kings, it can read where all the possible pots are within an instant, but instead of always opting for the easiest and most obvious shot, it will consider the alternatives, and how different shots will affect the table.

In Hustle Kings, bonus credits are also awarded for skillful shots that involve swerves or jumps, and pots that include plants or banks, so the AI is always trying to look for the best shot possible, to leave the cue ball in the best possible position, and earn as many bonus credits as possible along the way. But this is only the beginning. At the top end of our difficulty scale we are able to entice it to go much further, to attempt crazy and seemingly impossible shots. Try leaving the insane-level AI tight up against a cushion, awkwardly snookered on its only remaining ball, with no possible path of escape. Somehow, more often than not, it will manage an escape. It’s quite a sight to see the AI smash the cue-ball into the jaw of a pocket so hard that it bounces up along the rail, rolls past the obstructing balls, spins back down onto the table, pots the remaining ball and leaves itself perfectly positioned on the black – and you know that it was all planned. Some AI opponents will even show off and purposely leave themselves in these tricky situations, only to make the next shot appear just as trivial as the one before it.

Hustle Kings screenshot 2

There’s no cheating here – the AI is in no way defying the laws of physics and every single shot the AI pulls off is one that any human player could also pull off. When watching the AI play Hustle Kings, you get to see how much spin and power is being applied – trying the same shot yourself will yield exactly the same result.

There is one problem with this AI though: as it stands, it’s pretty unbeatable. It might be entertaining to watch, but if you can’t beat it, then where’s the fun in that? Thankfully we have a variety of AI characters in Hustle Kings, at various skill levels, all set to play in different ways. Some make occasional mistakes, others are fiendishly difficult, but whether you’re a beginner or an expert pool player, you’ll find a suitable opponent for an enjoyable game. Once you’ve conquered the easy, difficult and expert level career modes, you get to play against the incredibly challenging insane-level AI. Even the most hardcore pool players will have a tough time completing the insane career mode!

Keep your eyes peeled for more Hustle Kings news coming your way soon.

//Add Your Own

43 Comments

1

+ Craazy on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:12 am said:

Will there be Sixaxis controls?


2

+ ATOMS11 on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:13 am said:

Looks awesome ! I’m a shark in real pool so I should be a shark in this as well. Cant wait !


3

+ ghamdikh1 on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:15 am said:

COOL GAME


4

+ Zezzler on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:17 am said:

First off just want to say it looks pretty cool. but i do have a few questions:

– will there be local multiplayer? Online?
– 1080p?
– Leaderboards?
– Sixaxis controls?
– DLC?
– remote play?
– anything else cool?


5

+ MGSTigerFox on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:26 am said:

Amazing. This is something that has long-deserved to be on the PS3. I’m very, VERY excited about getting this! I can imagine the trophies are going to be TOUGH to get! =)


6

+ Maguss on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:26 am said:

Please let this have local muiltplayer, most games don’t offer this anymore and it’s such a shame.


7

+ cleanme2 on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:27 am said:

Any videos of some gameplay action? It looks absolutely gorgeous.

Custom soundtracks? I’d love to play to the music from “Color of Money” & “Pool Hall Junkies”

Release date?


8

+ SPARDA on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:27 am said:

Looking great

Quick question: is this game shareable up to 5 PSN users or unique to one?


9

+ Jack-Bauer-89 on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:28 am said:

Ill be happy to Beta test

*nudge nudge wink wink*


10

+ ZAANOS on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:29 am said:

The game looks seriously amazing! It is on my wishlist.

Will it support Replay and YouTube Upload?

Will the players be visible and have a options to choose from? If so will we ever see Sony Characters playing pool?

I want to see Ratchet trying to shark Kratos.

:)


11

+ blaccat on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:30 am said:

Can’t wait for this, waste money on that nonsense inferno pool.

This looks so slick.

Please ingame music straight from the XMB, not some ingame menu system please.

I hit the PS buton XMB pops up, select my song.

Thank you goodnite, good luck lads


12

+ DFogz on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:31 am said:

“developers of the soon to be released Hustle Kings *for PSN and PS3.*”

Does this mean I can either download it, or buy a hard copy to put on my bookshelf? Because to be honest, I’d much rather have a physical copy than a digital.


13

+ stormtooper on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:34 am said:

so will this be a complete download, or like number 12 said?

also, what’s the time frame release on this game? like late fall 09 or when?

will this game have trophies?

Thanks mark! this game looks awesome!


14

+ PhillyManOfSteel on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:35 am said:

The best Pool game that also has online play is Virual Pool 3 for the PC!

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=Virual+Pool+3&hl=en&filter=1&num=10&lr=&cr=&source=ggsearch&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=6ZFoSuiqC8KltgeDkvGUCw&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4#

I hope Hustle Kings will be a lot better!

How many different Pool games will there be in Hustle Kings?

Also will I be able to listen to music on my PS3 hard drive while I play pool?


15

+ TheThunder2008CA on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:39 am said:

is there going to be a Demo ?


16

+ blaccat on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:42 am said:

Trick shot competitions or exhibition with Youtube upload would be a killer.

I know I said goodnite earlier but I am kinda excited lol

Will there be Snooker? I guess you should know what I mean. Or is it billiard

Because it wasn’t shown in the E3 trailer

Thank you


17

+ SalarymanDaishi on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:48 am said:

Somewhat interesting, although I’ve witnessed so many incredible AI shots in various other pool games that extra emphasis put on AI performance doesn’t sound much fun.

Granted, choosing a difficulty level in which the AI makes “occasional mistakes” is always an option but winning like that is hardly rewarding.

Any chance a possible sequel could track the performance of the player in realtime, dynamically and transparently adjusting the difficulty so that the game would punish you for playing half-heartedly, reward you for being genuinely good, and being somewhere in-between for the rest of us?

As it stands, sounds like you can either be truly hardcore or chicken out by dumbing down the AI but as for an enjoyable experience, it’s all manual?


18

+ Xoonaka on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:55 am said:

Is this a port of the PSP game..?

…this was a PSP game before, right? Either way, hope it’s awesome. Love a good pool game.

Oh, and please have a shot line for us more casual players.


19

+ StalkingSilence on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:56 am said:

Saw it listed for a winter release… was hoping to see something before then. Hopefully a demo in the future as well.

Keep us posted!


20

+ DeathGazer on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:59 am said:

Hope this is out before the end of the year. The last great pool game I’ve played was in GTA IV.

Was the E3 trailer all real-time? If so, wow great job.


21

+ ADR143 on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:59 am said:

local multiplayer? online?


22

+ iExile on July 23rd, 2009 at 10:03 am said:

Lol Xoonaka. Does it LOOK like a port of the PSP game?

Anyway, finally a great looking pool game for PS3. Can’t wait.


23

+ TailsTheCat on July 23rd, 2009 at 10:12 am said:

Again, when?

Stop wasting resources on pointless nothings. You can pay me one third of what this Mark Williams ‘earns’ and I can inform everyone of nothing. Useless.


24

+ MegaClank on July 23rd, 2009 at 10:19 am said:

This is awesome, getting bored of HOME’s pool albeit. XD

Can’t wait.


25

+ ThreeLeggedFreak on July 23rd, 2009 at 10:36 am said:

Is this gonna be forward compatible with the PS Waggle?


26

+ Xoonaka on July 23rd, 2009 at 10:51 am said:

@iExile

Well, I didn’t mean graphically… I just coulda swore there was a PSP Pool game with a similar name. They could’ve ported the gameplay mechanics and such, then did a huge graphical re-write.

Upon further review, the game I was thinking of was this:
http://www.gamespot.com/psp/puzzle/thehustledetroitstreets/index.html

I don’t think they’re related in anyway.


27

+ TRIX_BOL on July 23rd, 2009 at 11:19 am said:

From yours’ perspective, maybe this game is going to be the best game ever!

Keep the news coming, I’m glad to hear this game’s spirit is still alive!


28

+ Enforcer_X on July 23rd, 2009 at 11:19 am said:

@4 Zezzler
Check out the description …

http://www.us.playstation.com/PS3/Games/Hustle_Kings/Description


29

+ Enforcer_X on July 23rd, 2009 at 11:19 am said:

I am looking forward to this game!
Can’t wait!


30

+ jqtaxpayer on July 23rd, 2009 at 11:19 am said:

Realistic AI is certainly one of the bigger challenges in video game programming from my limited experience with it. Best of luck, I’ll be sure to watch out for this one.

For what it’s worth, the best pool game I’ve ever played was, believe it or not, the “Monkey Billiards” minigame in Super Monkey Ball from Sega. If you can match or beat THAT experience, then you’ve got yourself a major winner on your hands. Pro Tip: Monkeys, PLEASE! :-p


31

+ Keebzerz on July 23rd, 2009 at 11:31 am said:

ALL GAMES FROM JAN 1, 2009 ONWARD HAVE TROPHIES. ALL GAMES FROM JAN 1, 2009 ONWARD HAVE TROPHIES. ALL GAMES FROM JAN 1, 2009 ONWARD HAVE TROPHIES. ALL GAMES FROM JAN 1, 2009 ONWARD HAVE TROPHIES. ALL GAMES FROM JAN 1, 2009 ONWARD HAVE TROPHIES. ALL GAMES FROM JAN 1, 2009 ONWARD HAVE TROPHIES. ALL GAMES FROM JAN 1, 2009 ONWARD HAVE TROPHIES. ALL GAMES FROM JAN 1, 2009 ONWARD HAVE TROPHIES.

Will people ever stop asking about games having trophies?


32

+ Tex on July 23rd, 2009 at 11:33 am said:

Will you be able to customize the table and balls? Like differnt colors for the tables and different designs on the balls? I think that would be cool.


33

+ Jeigh on July 23rd, 2009 at 12:55 pm said:

I can appreciate the desire to approach the greatest degree of realism possible and if you were to show it in a TV commerical people would rave over it, definitely adding a strong selling point, but, at some point, I’d like to know that I’m getting something more than reality offers. Flaming balls that explode the others or something, the ability to whack your opponent with your stick (you CAN do that in real life, but retaliation is painful :P ), something that shakes up the norm.

Sorry to criticize, but at least it’s constructive criticism, not to mention honest. You can only imagine how many are going to just say “looks great” and then pass it by without any explanation as to why.


34

+ Enforcer_X on July 23rd, 2009 at 1:22 pm said:

#31 Keebzerz
CORRECTION!
All games submitted to Sony for approval after Jan. 01, 2009 must have trophies to be approved.
Submitted for approval is different than released.
Games take years to make and there is a slim possibility that a game that had been approved prior to Jan 01, 2009 and to be released later this year could still be lacking trophies.

Please don’t make such broad statements.
Granted almost all games coming out in 2009 will have trophies because as a Dev they should know better.

However if people didn’t ask no one would ever know the answer, just because you know the answer or THINK you do is no excuse to be a D*CK about it.


35

+ DustyBlue on July 23rd, 2009 at 1:53 pm said:

Those are some shiny balls… I’m mesmerized…


36

+ Codex0nz on July 23rd, 2009 at 4:15 pm said:

@DustyBlue: That’s what she said


37

+ Quickxdrawxkid1 on July 23rd, 2009 at 4:48 pm said:

Just putting this out their…but this game would be more appealing if you supported sony’s motion controller when it comes out. Not that you should hold your game till then but I can’t help but think this game would be perfect for it. Gonna pray u patch it later on cuz I still want this now. Only other game that would be perfect for motion controls would be Resistance 3.


38

+ mAicLo on July 23rd, 2009 at 5:26 pm said:

i found that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cfbPduKOqE


39

+ Conrad_Max on July 24th, 2009 at 4:49 am said:

This looks to be the video pool game i have been looking for for years. Awesome images and the video I saw at E3 grabbed me from the first second.

It wasn’t mentioned, but is there a possibility for this game to have a space in SCEA’s Home and supoort game launching? That certainly would be cool and the space will definitely be a hot spot in Home.

Looking forward to Hustle Kings, excitedly. And do consider coming Home.


40

+ Cartin91 on July 26th, 2009 at 9:29 am said:

please, PLEASE let it have local multiplayer and sixaxis controls- PLEASE!


41

+ AC_STORM on July 27th, 2009 at 4:06 pm said:

Hello,
When is the Hustle Kings The King of pool game coming out. I do not see it in the PSN store for download.
Thanks


42

+ BlackHearts on July 29th, 2009 at 10:38 pm said:

Looking forward to all First Party Titles… The future of games are First Party only..


43

+ BlackHearts on July 29th, 2009 at 10:41 pm said:

Also, this game and many more should be in HOME Network.. Velocity Bowling and HOME (PAIN)..


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