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synPool is a simple multiplayer game of 3D pool, played by the player's choice of rule they agree with. The toy only provides a few gameplay options and no enforceable rules, so it is up to the players to decide on them.

The game requires only a mouse (plus a Shift key) and no powerful computer at all, so those whose PCs are behind spec-wise can also fully enjoy the game.

Since mouse is the only thing you use to play, I have faith in you that you can figure them out by yourself, but I will write them here just in case.

You can drag your mouse at any given time to freely change your camera angle. You can also hold Shift together to move your camera freehand and adjust zoom. Use this to your maximum advantage when aiming your shots.

When you have the cue, you may drag the cue by the white box to aim (no vertical aim supported yet). You can adjust your shot power using the bar bar on your left; more stretched the spring is, more power ful your shot will be. Click the white ball below the power bar to shoot your cue ball. You cannot adjust the point you hit your cue ball at (no backspins, jumpballs, or other fancy tricks).

You may move any ball, including your cue ball, at any time when all the balls are dead (the game enforces no rules at all, including cheating). Hold Shift to bring up the ball numbers on top of each balls, in case you forget. This is particulary useful when playing a Nine-Ball game.

Right-click anywhere on the screen to bring up a mini-menu.

  • Rack'em up!: When you're the moderator, this will instantly rearrange the balls, ready to start a fresh game. Otherwise, this sends the moderator request the table to be re-racked. The moderator has the choice of racking up the balls between three options:
    • Eight-Ball: Arrangement best optimized for an Eight-Ball game.
    • Nine-Ball: Arrangement best optimized for a Nine-Ball game.
    • Random: Similar to Eight-Ball, but with random ball lineup and cueball spot.
  • Ball Cam: When this is checked, the camera will automatically chase the ball currently in focus.
  • Stick Cam: When this is checked, the camera will chase behind the stick in aim. In other words, this will let you aim the stick camera in first-person.
  • Laser Sight: This enables the laser sight that will display the expected path of the cue ball. Good for aiming practice. This only works in Solo Mode, and is disabled in Multiplayer.

When in multiplayer mode, players may use up to four tables simultaneously. Click on the table buttons on the top-left of the screen to switch tables. There are no limits to how many players can play in a table. The game does not automatically switch around the cues to each player, so you should take turns when playing; to hand the cue to someone else, right-click his/her name in the player list and click "Give cue to...".

As of time being, no toy preference is available.

synPool has no rule that it supports and run. The gameplay is entirely dependant on the players. So messing around with the balls or one person taking more many turns is perfectly legal (so long as there is an agreement between players).

But generally, there are a couple of sets of rules known worldwide that will make up a real "game", with minor local differences of course. Here, let me explain about two of the most popular pool games: Eight-Ball and Nine-Ball.

Eight-Ball is a game where two players (or two teams of players) try to pocket all of their object balls as fast as they can, and win by pocketing the 8-Ball in the end, hence its name.

The players will decide on which object balls they are going to pocket during the series of the game. Usually they decide on whether to pocket all the Low Balls (#1-7, also known as "Solid Balls") or all the High Balls (#9-15, also known as "Striped Balls"). They may decide this at any time, but must be before the shot after the break is open.

The game begins with one player breaking the balls. It's up to you who will be doing this, but I recommend using the /dice command. At this point, all balls except for the 8-ball are open to anyone (unless you already decided which balls you're taking). After the balls are broken, if the breaking player managed to pocket any balls, he/she may take another turn. He/she may also choose to take the Solids or the Stripes at this time. You would probably want to go for the one you just pocketed, because you've given yourself a head start by pocketing your first ball. This is why generally the breaking player is considered to have a better advantage in Eight-Balls.

Now, if no ball was pocketed upon breaking the ball, he/she must hand the cue to the other player (of the other team, if you're playing a team game). In this case, this other player will have the advantage, because since the balls are open to anyone, he/she can try to pocket the easiest ball and go for that series of ball for the remainder of the game! Of course, if he/she fails to pocket, then the cue must be handed to the opponent and do the same until someone pockets the ball.

Anyways, once the players/teams have agreed on which balls they are going for, they will keep playing the game until they have pocketed all the balls of their choice, in which case the player/team is to try to pocket the 8-ball. When pocketing the balls, you are not required to announce which ball you're going to pocket, or to which pocket you're going to sink that ball in. But you might want to do it anyways and show off your leet skillz. In either ways, if you successfully pocket your balls, you get to take another turn. Otherwise, you must hand your cue to your opponent after every shots.

You do not get any penalty for pocketing the opponent's ball (except for the fact that you just did him/her/them a big favor!). However, if you do pocket your CUE BALL, then you've just 'scratched' and some special consequences await! First, you will have to hand the cue to your opponent as usual. Second, your opponent gets to place their cue ball at anywhere he/she/they want, and make a shot from there! Yes, they can place their cue ball right next to that ball around the corner pocket, and sink it! And you can't even argue about it, since cue balls are never meant to be pocketed at all!

Actually, different rules handle scratches differently. In the rules I first learned, you can only place your cue ball behind the "cue ball spot", and you can only shoot toward that direction. In Dan's rule, the violator will LOSE his/her/their ball, meaning you will have to put the last ball he/she/they pocketed back into play! That's a pretty darn harsh rule for him/her/them! (OK, from now on I'm just going to write "he/his/him/etc" and you'll know what I mean, right?)

In whatever cases, let's say the game goes on and you managed to pocket all seven of your solids or stripes ball. You are, then, to stake your money to pocket the 8-ball and claim your victory! But wait! Because your victory is on this last shot, there is a special rule that requires you to announce which pocket you're going to sink your ball at. Otherwise, you will not be alleged the winner! Moreover, if you do any of the following:

  • pocket the 8-ball to the wrong pocket
  • pocket the opponent's ball
  • scratch (pocket the cue ball)

...then you LOSE instantly! That's right, no matter how many balls your opponent have left, he will have won the game! Also, if the 8-ball was pocketed before you pocket all your balls, then it's game over for you (opponent gets the lucky win)!

So in the game of Eight-Ball there are technically two ways to win:

  1. Pocket all your object balls, then pocket 8-ball into the pocket you declared
  2. Pray that your opponent somehow pockets the 8-ball illegally

Normally you'd want to go for the former. But this is difficult because no matter how fast you fly through all your balls, if you messed up in the 8-ball, you'd lose. So you might be sneaky and go for the latter, while pretending that you suck by purposely missing the pockets and saying "Oops, I missed again". But this is also difficult because if your opponent was GOOD, then he may successfully pocket the 8-ball, in which case you'd also lose!

But hey, what's the point of playing the game if you don't play properly? After all, pool is (debatably) a sport, so it should be played fairly with the spirit of sportsmanship, and should be enjoyed before anything else! So don't be afraid to lose and play the game! Mind you, it is 100x cooler to win by EARNING it, than to be wishy-washy and pick up some lucky wins!

Nine-Ball is a rather minor game in America where you're to pocket the 9-ball in the last to win. But to get there, you must pocket the lower balls (#1-8) in numerical sequence, from low to high. But in some cases, 9-ball may be prematurely pocketed before all the other balls are pocketed, making Nine-Ball not so black-and-white like Eight-Ball (of course, your rule may forbid this and whoever did this may lose, if you prefer).

The game is played by one player breaking the balls in the Nine-Ball rack (hopefully synPool will do this for you), then pocketing the object balls. The difference between Eight-Ball is that EVERYBODY must go for the same ball; you cannot go pocketing the easy balls first. So in other words, everybody gets the same object balls, which would be the ball of the smallest number on the table.

Suppose one player breaks the balls, and in the process balls 2, 6, and 8 are pocketed. Since the breaker gets another turn, he will go for ball #1, as that is the smallest ball on play. This may be hard because that is the ONLY ball he may aim for; otherwise it's a foul (explained later) and he will lose his turn.

So let's say he hits the ball #1, but he fails to pocket it. He'd then hand the cue to the next player, and hopefully he pockets it correctly. Now, since ball #2 is already sunk, he must go for the ball #3, no matter how hard the shot will be. And if he doesn't pocket it, it may possibly be an easy shot for your opponent the next shot!

So in Nine-Ball, you do not get a choice of which object balls to aim at, because that is already settled by the rule. You must aim for balls 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and finally, the 9-ball, in that order (Use Shift to see which balls are numbered which). No shortcuts allowed. And no matter how hard the shot is. Whenever a player fails to pocket his object ball, then the cue must be handed to the next player.

What makes Nine-Ball even harder is that there are a certain set of illegal moves called fouls, and every time you make a foul, you must hand your cue to your opponent. Moreover, if you make three consecutive fouls, then you LOSE! These are considered a foul in Nine-Ball:

  • When you scratch.
  • When the cue ball hits another ball before it hits the smallest ball on play.
  • When the cue ball fails to hit any balls on the table.
  • When the cue ball hits the object ball, and, if it did not sink, none of the balls on the table hit the cushion (side of the table).

The last foul is especially known as the "no-cushion rule", and is meant to prevent players making weak shots in attempt to adjust ball positions and make the next shot easier. But since this is too strict, you may want to ignore that in synPool (of course, if you're playing a serious game, use that foul).

Have you noticed how the fouls don't include prematurely pocketing the balls? That is because it is legal, as long as your shot hits the smallest ball on play before anything else. So again let's say that balls 4 and 7 are placed very close to a corner pocket, lined up next to each other. And 4 is the smallest ball on play. You shoot the cue ball, and hits 4, but it hits 7 and sinks that instead. In this case, a foul is not called, as it was a legal move (but you still need to let go of your cue, because you failed to pocket ball #4).

So what if the ball sunk was, instead of 7, the 9-ball? Yes, you guessed it: you WIN the game immediately! So if you see the 9-ball in an easy position, you can hit the smallest ball, and use either the cue ball or some other balls to hit the 9-ball and pocket it, and you win! This is totally different from Eight-Ball, where the premature pocket of 8-ball is an instant loss.

Likewise, if the cue ball did NOT hit the smallest ball first, the shot would be illegal, you will receive a foul, and any pockets made in this shot will be put back onto the table. This, however, isn't true in the Texas Express rule, where illegally pocketed balls except for the 9-ball WON'T be placed back onto play.

In any ways, to win the game of Nine-Ball, you must:

  • Pocket the 9-ball after all the other balls have been pocketed
  • Pocket the 9-ball after the cue ball hit the smallest ball on play
  • ...again pray that your opponent makes three consecutive fouls

There are a number of rule variations that make Nine-Ball easier and more enjoyable to play for beginning players, one among these known as the Neo Nine-Ball. In the game of Neo Nine-Ball, you may pocket balls 1 to 8 in ANY ORDER, as long as the 9-ball is pocketed legally in either of the ways written above. A few others are the "ball count"game, where you simply compete for how many balls you pocketed, or the "money" game, which is similar to the "ball count", but you compete for the sum of the numbers written on balls you pocketed. Both of these games may be played in Eight-Ball and Nine-Ball, and is recommended for players who want to have a simple and fun game.

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