Pong's typical gameplay is not based on physics, but simple rules. Reflection at the outer walls: angle of incidence = angle of reflectance (that works with the physics as long as we ignore friction, yes). But the most important thing that spices up Pong's gameplay: if the ball hits the upper half of the paddle it will go upwards, if it hits the lower half, it will go downwards; further on edge means it "higher" angle (EncryptedCow tried to emulate it with sculpting the paddles accordingly, although the result is still different).
At game start, near 90?angle is not used, but probably only like up to 60?. Together with the paddle reflection stuff this will prevent the ball from ever going very slowly horizontally.
Also another AI variant would be moving the paddle into the middle if the ball is moving away from it. This way it covers the biggest range when the ball comes back (especially relevant if the ball moves fast in relation to the paddle AI speed).
Adjusts jedi ninja-robe.
"Aaah, young grasshopper, you are enthusiastic, but you still have a lot to learn,
as not everything is what it always appears to be."
You see, the gameplay is based on the physics behaviour, but i tweaked it as much as i could to mimic how pong usually works, by preventing the rotation of the ball, thus removing some of the randomness, and as you can see the friction is indeed being ignored.
<img src="http://i.imgur.com/3dcuyfh.jpg" border="0" />
As for how paddles work, i also tried doing this, just in a not so apparent way, by adjusting the collision polygon for the paddles. Obviously this is not perfect, as the collisions sometimes fail to detect properly and the change in angle is pretty insignificant but hey, i tried.
<img src="http://i.imgur.com/Imixprc.jpg" border="0" />
Lastly, my solution to the horizontal speed problem was checking if there is a difference in the two of the speeds, and if it were to be found, applying a horizontal boost to the ball. Because the check is done all the time, this should happen seamlessly, as the ball deflects from surfaces.
<img src="http://i.imgur.com/Rqsi20v.jpg" border="0" />
As for the AI, i got lazy. You tip is appreciated.
AnD4D I get your idea, but i just can't finish a project, i always get sidetracked and end up experimenting with new and probably unnecessary features... Feeling the need to rush, well, that usually makes me take the easy way out and create things that work but are not necessarily well made, which shouldn't be encouraged IMO (but there are different people, this is a challenge, not complaining here, just giving you my POV).
Lastly: this is a long post, i'll be quiet not to waste forum space, and let others post their games.