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synPool is one of the toys which can be played in Arcadia. It's just a pool table with realistic ball physics, synchronized between all the players on the channel. You make up your own rules (8-ball, billiards, etc.) and decide when it's time to hand the cue stick to the next player.

To get SynPool, download Arcadia then Fetch Toys

How To Play:

This toy provides you with a few pool tables to play with as you see fit. It's up to you and your co-players to manually pass the cue stick around, take turns, and decide what the rules of the game are. SynPool just provides the table, balls and one cue stick. Actually there are four tables per server.

Basically, you can do the following:

  • Click on one of the four TABLE SELECTORS (upper left) to switch tables.
  • Click and drag on the table itself to change your view angle
  • Click and drag on the 'handle' box of the poolstick to aim your shot
  • Click and drag on the 'spring' on the left to adjust the 'power' of your shot (stretch it for more power)
  • Click on the button BELOW the spring to shoot.
  • Click and drag on the button ABOVE the spring to change camera ZOOM
  • RIGHT-Click on the board to get a menu of special commands
  • Click and drag on any ball to return it to the table or reposition it
  • RIGHT-Click on a name in the PLAYER LIST to pass the cue stick around.
  • DOUBLE-Click a face in the main window to pass Cue to recent player on table.

Note: You can't do too much while the balls are still moving (other than drag the table around and change your view)


Ha, fooled you! Bet you thought I was going to try to explain the myriad rule sets by which pool is played on Planet Earth. Well, no, I decided my web site wasn't big enough for that. You might try visiting one of these sites, however


Having said that, here are the rules to the game I played as a kid. I think it was called "Stars and Stripes" and is basically the same as 8-ball, only handles scratches differently. Basically the 15 balls are divided into 3 groups: 1-7 (the solids), 9-15 (the stripes), and the 8-ball. You basically try to AVOID sinking the 8-ball until the very end. Sinking the 8-ball prematurely makes you LOSE INSTANTLY.

One player "Breaks" (we will assume you know what that means. You will want to stretch your spring way out to break nicely.. don't forget to unstretch it for the rest of the game, though...). Players take turns hitting the CUE BALL into some other balls with the hope of knocking something in (other than the 8-ball, of course).

One player's goal is to sink all the solids, while the other player must sink all the stripes. You decide which player gets which based on who sinks the first ball (if I am first to sink a ball, and it is a solid, then I play for the solids team and therefore YOU play for the stripes team).

If I accidentally sink one of your balls, you do a little happy dance but I am not otherwise punished (other than by handing you the cue stuck coz my turn ends in that case.) Otherwise, I get to keep hitting balls so long as I keep knocking in the right kind. As soon as I fail to knock anything in, it's YOUR turn.

Sadly, most of the game is me missing, then you missing, then me missing again. So the cue stick goes back and forth a lot. Remember, the POLITE THING TO DO is give the cue stick to the next player as soon as you realize your turn is over (you didn't knock any in, or you knocked in the wrong kind of thing). DOUBLE-CLICK on their face to hand them the cue (you can only do this if you HAVE the cue, and the balls have all come to rest.)

To get your face up on the screen, you will need to ask someone in the game to give you the cue at the appropriate moment (they can do this by RIGHT-CLICKING on your name in the player list and choosing "give cue stick to fresh meat" (assuming your name is Fresh Meat)).

So, let's say I finish knocking in all my solids (while you still have 7 stripes on the table)... Well, I do another happy dance and then enter the terrifying final phase of the game -- knocking in the 8-ball. The terrifying part is that I have to tell you first exactly where it is going to be knocked in. Unlike earlier where I could just randomly power shot into a mass of balls and hope I lucked out. I have to say "8 ball in the corner pocket" (and you get to challenge me if you don't know which corner I mean). Then I have to knock it into THAT POCKET. If I do, then fabulous! I do my finally happy dance while typing "good game" (to look like a good sport) when really I am jumping around shouting: "I ownerz joo! loser!"

If I knock it into the WRONG POCKET... then game over for ME. I mean YOU WIN. Even with your lousy seven stripes still on the table. ANY TIME the eight ball is sunk 'the wrong way' it is GAME OVER. And pity me if I knock it in CORRECTLY, but accidentally scratch at the same time. Then I also LOSE LOSE LOSE.

SCRATCHing is when you knock the cue ball in (that's the all-white ball). The cue ball is never supposed to be sunk. Other than the 8-ball shot, where scratching is instant death, regular scratching in the middle of the game is not quite so catastrophic. You lose your turn (hand over that cue stick, buddy) AND you also pull out one of the balls you sank before. (whether from this shot or some earlier one.. and it has to be one of YOUR balls, not one of the other guys, mister lawyer kid!). Let's call that the 'punishment ball' (since I don't know the real name for it). You put the punishment ball on the table on the 'green spot' (the place where the balls get racked up).

The cue ball can then be placed anywhere on the table 'behind the line' that the happy player likes (the happy player being the one who did NOT just scratch.) The 'line' in question goes through the 'gray spot' on the table. It's the "front quarter" of the table (the green spot marks the back quarter of the table).

OK, since we got to this spot so nicely, I'll tell you how to break after all. Toss a coin or something (use the arcadia /dice command maybe?) to pick who will break. That person then racks the table (right-click on table, select the appropriate rack-em-up choice -- use 8-ball for Stars and Stripes), then places the cue ball somewhere in the front quarter of the table and whacks it as hard as possible into the racked mass of balls.

So that's how you play Stars and Stripes as I remember it from my youth. That is the OFFICIAL GAME of synPool for anyone who wants to point to official rules to play by.

But I encourage you to play 'real pool' by whatever 'real pool rules' you can all agree on.


If there really are any rules for synPool they are these:

  • Pass the stick to the next player at the end of your turn
  • Don't grab the stick in the middle of someone else's game (ask them to give it to you)
  • Be encouraging to other players, not a jerk.
  • Understand that skill in synPool is different from skill in Real Pool. It's hard to play by computer with dinky little pixels and stuff.


In the upper left are four miniature tables (note that you can watch the balls move in real time right on the buttons themselves!) Click on a table button to switch your main view to that table.


On the upper right is the arcadian FACE of the person currently holding the cue stick on that table. If you just entered the server, that is the only face you will see. Other faces will appear as those players get the cue stick and take their turns in front of you. The order of the faces on the list shows what order they have held the cue stick on that table. Hint: Usually you will want to hand the stick to the BOTTOM face on the list at the end of your turn.


Getting your face on the list requires that someone hand you the cue stick for that table (or you grab it yourself if you are certain the table is idle -- evidenced by the top face being of someone who is not on the server any more.) You do this by RIGHT-CLICKING on the name of the person you want to give the stick to. (currenly anyone can do this, so be polite). A menu will pop up which includes the necessary commands.


Right-Click on the face itself for a menu which includes a removal instruction. Note: this just removes it from YOUR list. Other people have their own copies of the list. Recap: Give someone the stick to get their face up there. Cue Stick holder is always at the top, pushing other faces DOWN as needed (only four faces on the list max), right-click menu to remove face of an inactive player.


The laser sight is enabled by the right-click menu on the main table. However, the sight only works when you are alone (solo mode, or alone on the server). The sight is veerrry powerful and gives you an unfair advantage over other players. However, it is an excellent training tool in solo mode. I suggest (in training), to orient the stick manually first, then turn on the site and see if it agrees with you. Then learn from what it says. Also, try dragging the stick in a full circle while the site is on and see shots you might otherwise not have thought to try. Often there is a very simple bank shot which will be less tricky than trying to knock the ball in directly.

Toy Status:

Unlike the other toys, this is more of a tool for you to use rather than the game itself. It doesn't know if you are playing 8-ball or billiards. It's up to you and your friends to keep things organized. Just like a real pool hall.

Recent Developments:

As of release .0003, this is now a multiplayer game with synchronized tables. Use the right-click menu in the PLAYER LIST to pass the cue stick around. Whoever has the cue stick has 'the turn' and can shoot, move balls around, re-rack the table, etc.

To Install Toys:

  1. Run Arcadia
  2. Select your 'channel'
  3. Push the "Check for New Toys" button
  4. Follow Instructions.
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