So guess who won the Venom #pinball launch party tournament at our local barcade tonight and it is totally coincidence that I'd be easily melted into a covering layer of goo.
Not sure if there are any fellow Big Lebowski #pinball owners on here, but The Electric Playground are taking deposits for their upcoming topper.. They look pretty sweet.
The full interactive topper is limited to 100 - I managed to get my pre-order earlier today in fine 😊
November 28, 2023 - Day 331 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 351
Game: Pinball FX
Release Date: Apr 13, 2023
Installation Date: Aug 22, 2023
Unplayed: 98d (3m6d)
Pinball FX is a pinball simulator, and is a sequel to Pinball FX3.
Bit of an odd game to be reviewing, but it's literally the only thing I played yesterday, and is my only review option.
Pinball FX uses the razor business model of giving the game away for free, and selling the tables as DLC.
Over time I'd collected quite a few tables in Pinball FX3 (14 hours playtime), but I'd specifically downloaded it for one specific table - The Getaway: High Speed II.
This pinball table is a core memory for me. I spent countless hours and dollars playing the real-world version of The Getaway. Any arcade I entered (or still enter!), I will scan for this machine. Given that it was released in 1992, I'm usually disappointed.
When Pinball FX3 presented the opportunity to be able to play it again, whenever I wanted, I jumped on the opportunity. For what it is, it's great. It's not the same though.
In 2021 the dev team behind Zen Studios announced that they were going to reboot the Pinball FX series in Unreal Engine 4 (with a now-expired exclusivity deal with the Epic Store), and that all future tables would be released on Pinball FX, not Pinball FX3.
Of course, existing tables that were purchased for FX3 do not transfer to Pinball FX, meaning if you want to play your tables in FX, buy them all again, sunshine.
However, they've since made concessions, and you can buy a "bundle" for any owned DLC that provides the FX version of the table at 50% off.
For the Black Friday sales, they heavily discounted all of the DLC, which meant that I was able to upgrade my Getaway table for $2.64.
As for Pinball FX itself? It's good. The interface is a lot cleaner that FX3. The flippers seem feel a little bit... off, but I need to investigate more.
However, what it DOES do properly is ultrawide portrait mode, which was broken in FX3.
Playing Pinball FX3 on a QHD monitor in portrait mode was a revelation (thank you again, @atomicpoet), but it was miserable on an ultrawide in portrait mode.
Pinball FX, however? Being able to see the whole playfield AND part of the cabinet brings a whole new sense of immersion, and enjoyment, and feels as close as I'll get to owning The Getaway (real table? AUD$5500) which makes that $2.64 worth it.
The thing which takes the edge off is the seemingly ever-present microtransactions built into the game. They don't seem to be necessary, and I'll likely continue to ignore them.
Even so, I'm more than happy to declare Pinball FX:
I love when my hyperfixations start popping up across my usual content channels. A few weeks ago @TechConnectify released a #pinball video, and now Adam Savage's #Tested released a video going into the design process of the brand-new #Labyrinth pinball machine from #BarrelsOfFun
Funny thing, I walk into our work space and the very first thing that I notice is this very distinct smell of EM #pinball. It's odd how they smell different than solid state games.
Yesterday 2 EM games moved in, we haven't had an EM for many years now.
Alien pinball beacon mod!
5v RC beacons, a printed mount, and a photoresistor relay pointing at the 'scoop occupied' LED on the under-playfield board – I assume that LED is for testing, but it worked great for this purpose.
If there's a ball in the airlock, the beacons flash. Once the ball is ejected, they stop.
Designed the mount to have the same feel as the Nostromo beacons ceiling pattern and to bounce the light a bit.
I think it turned out okay!
The second one is Gottlieb's Top Score from 1975. I've always loved the way this game counts bonus; it adds orange balls in a groove behind the backglass every time bonus is increased and then counts them when you drain.
Two thumbs up for Riku for his own games numbers 3 and 4! This is how it gets out of hand! #pinball
First of the 2 new projects Riku and I hauled today: Williams' Gay 90s from 1970. #pinball
My best at The Mandalorian #pinball, #design by Brian Eddy for Stern 2021
I'm a Star Wars kid, but I don't enjoy either Star Wars themed games from Stern, even though I consider Eddy to be one of the greatest game designers of the classic era. I don't play this often.
This reinforces my dislike of Stern's mini-playfields. The fact that it uses a full size flip makes it so clumsy & stupid IMO. No skill, all luck.
Music is cool, callouts are bleah, theme is weakly integrated. C- all around.
No real screenshot to share but I finally fixed a little issue where the CSG objects used by the playfield cutout would be displaced from their proper locations after the scene was saved and reloaded.
It was a simple fix, but I had to deal with some of my own hemming and hawing and negative self-talk which gets in my way of just sitting down and figuring something out. At the end of it it was basically a one-line fix and it seems to be working
At times I feel like understanding #parody is a lost art. A running #pinball joke for loose coil wires has been "it should be wireless so this won't happen". As a gag I cut of the wire lugs from a dead coil and printed a custom Bluetooth wrapper for it. I posted that on social media.
The amount of "it can't work", "scam!" and calling me incompetent and/or stupid was just unbelievable. Some took time to explain why this can't possibly work. All this after all the PCB repair work I've posted.
Incidentally, I did great in qualifying, cruising easily into the playoffs, and then faceplanted out of the playoffs in the first round of the #pinball tournament.
Or, as Charles Schulz put it perfectly ...
The #pinball tournament ran far, far longer than we expected, but it was merry, with some of the players entering GRV's initials in the high score table. (GRV has once again sworn he's never setting foot in this barcade again.)
One of the wild things about learning to repair old #pinball machines is trying to reverse-engineer dead concepts. There are things that were duh-obvious to the creators that I have to painstakingly deduce over days of effort.
The only #pinball machine in the house. It holds down the tree.
The 4 year-old only broke ONE ornament while decorating the tree, so I consider it a win.
Yoku's Island Express is a #pinball/#metroidvania mashup, published in 2018 by Villa Gorilla. That's a combination I never would have imagined, and the game does it so well. It's got a demo on Steam, in addition to it being on sale for cheap right now.
just figured out that lane change on this pinball machine i'm fixing up works off the right flipper's EOS (end-of-stroke) switch, not the flipper button switch. that is ... interesting.
i figured it out because i remember being annoyed that i have do a full flip to lane change instead of just tapping the button, and then wondering why the right flipper mech has more wires connected to it than the left. #pinball 1/2
I wonder what syndicated comic strip is going to have the Oldest comment section today!
(Also I know comics need to simplify stuff so they read cleanly and unambiguously but that is some un-referenced #pinball playfield art there.)
I've always known there's some hacks in #pinball machines to get the approved by various authorities around there world, but today I learned of the wildest one yet.
Apparently in Japan the motors used in Williams games didn't please the authorities, to the point they couldn't get them in. The local importer had the motors removed.
I'm very curious how they managed to make the games work after that, especially knowing Roadshow was one of the "fixed" games.
With the retro boom, some bars have gotten pinball machines again. It's however a kind of interesting conflict of generations, when the bartenders or doormen are too young to have seen how pinball is really played.
So after first slap save or slight nudge they go off the rails about the player breaking the machine. No amount of "really, it doesn't fall apart from reasonable nudging" sinks in.
When this happened to us, we just stopped going there.
Unfortunately, whatever leads Hercules had were diminished by some shady business dealings and trouble with lawsuits.
They managed to irk the biggest trade magazine of the time, Automatic Age, who refused to run advertisements or stories about Hercules Novelty.
It was an ignoble end to a promising company in the right place at the right time... But with the wrong mindset.
Here' to another #pinball legend!
One other notable Hercules innovation was their game Double Shuffle.
Among the first #pinball games to add a degree of player control, it had a primitive form of "flippers" by which players could get higher score by kicking it up the field.
Though noted at the time, it was not widely imitated.
Pioneering researcher Richard Beuschel found that the product Hercules Novelty released, *Roll-A-Ball*, featured an identical layout to the patent for a game called "Play Threes" from Akron, Ohio.
However it came to Chizewar's attention, Roll-A-Ball set in motion the explosion of #pinball in the 1930s.
It was the first widespread countertop model, it sold for $16.50, and it was playable for a penny.
Hercules Novelty is another of the great #pinball innovators.
Company head Charles Chizewar started his career in all types of countertop machines. Grip testers, pistol games, and and early form of pitch-and-bat.
One day, somebody came into his shop with a design for a coin-operated bagatelle game. He agreed to build it, and inadvertently changed history.
The #pinball tilt was famously invented by Harry Williams... Except it wasn't.
Evidence of tilt mechanisms goes back to trade stimulators in the late 1800s, more for the coin receptors than for the gameplay itself.
Even before the first Williams design to feature a tilt, several companies like D. Gottlieb, Rock-Ola, and Genco all had their own versions of the tilt.
Harry Williams invented some impressive things - the tilt was not among them!
Bingo Novelty played an important role in the spread of #pinball - by ripping someone off.
In 1931, D. Gottlieb & Co. was promised exclusive distribution rights on this early table - until Bingo started making side deals.
Infuriated, David Gottlieb got his company into manufacturing with the redesigned Baffle Ball, creating the first pinball mega-hit.
This is the single most addictive and frustrating pinball table of all time. And Zen have totally recreated the cruelty of the real thing (other than the money it costs you) with their table.
Maybe in a few months time I can start thinking about a virtual pinball machine finally…
For decades a staple of the Chicago landscape, the Bally Mfg office on W Belmont Ave was a symbol of the vibrant coin-op industry from its construction in 1935 until it was vacated in 1983.
The so-called "Bally Man" featured on the building's side was of particular fascination for #pinball heads and for a time was preserved by a private collector.
At times I get asked – "Why did you spend so much time at that seedy truck stop as a pre-teen?" These are not the usual summer plans. "I Set The High Score" is a kid trying to fill up a summer. Much of it spent at a stop off I-75. With an aunt selling pills to truckers. #writing #FlashMemoir #poetry #florida #pinball #SpokenWord
Video game extra lives come from the #pinball feature of add-a-ball.
Created in response to the prohibition on free games starting in the 1930s, Alvin Gottlieb pushed for the creation of Add-A-Ball to drive skilled pinball play.
After being introduced in the table *Flipper*, it subsequently became a standard industry feature and itself an iconic piece of pinball vernacular.
This table I whipped up in two minutes is pretty cursed, but the individual elements are definitely feeling "playable" and fine-tuning them will be just a matter of #playtesting.
Feels like I have a good base to go on making more reusable table elements like drop targets and rollovers.
Been doing some more architecture-level work, creating some nodes that implement functionality to be applied to RigidBodies. In this case, it's the solenoid with return spring. This allows the strength of the solenoid impulse, the spring stiffness, and the tightness of the spring at the body's rest position to all be tuned.
Very gratifying to see all these tweakable knobs in the node inspector!
I was partially there helping my friend who designs pinball games for the P3 platform.
Years ago he also made these Multi Bingo and Multi Races games, which lets you play every bingo pinball (51 onward) and every oneball horserace game (1936-1950) with the physical playfields but virtual art+rules
Ka-pow! but with physics this time!
It's a little tedious, but the ability to tune the properties of the virtual springs and solenoids will hopefully be interesting.
Between the flipper and the bumper it's clear that I'll need to make a reusable chunk of code for representing a spring-solenoid pair
It took many hours of tinkering, but the physics-based flipper is taking shape. I had to switch from Godot's builtin physics to #JoltPhysics which I hoped I wouldn't need to do but things were too wonky to figure out
Things still need tuning, but I like that I'll be getting the ability to simulate more tired flippers for free.
No screen recording for now, but I've taken a much-needed detour into linear algebra to make the flippers work with #Godot physics rather than animating them by hand.
Because the physics works on global coordinates there isn't a built-in way to lock the rotation axis to the flipper's local Y, but now I am a wizard of linear transforms 👌
October 3, 2023 - Day 276 - NewPlay Review
Total NewPlays: 296
Game: Yoku's Island Express
Release Date: May 30, 2018
Installation Date: Sep 7, 2019
Unplayed: 1487d (4y26d)
Yoku's Island Express is a sideways-scrolling Metroidvania... pinball mash-up?
I've been playing a LOT of Cyberpunk 2077. Sorry, Bethesda, CD Projekt Red is my master now. I quit out of CP2077 at 11:55pm last night, and was like "oh no!", and randomly grabbed an unplayed game.
The thing about this project is stumbling across a game that blows my mind with just how bad it is... or how good.
Firstly, if you've known me for any period of time, I have a bit of a thing for pinball; there's one specific pinball machine that if I see it in an arcade, I WILL play it until I'm dragged away.
As usual, I opened Yoku's Island Express without any idea of what I was getting myself into. I assumed it was some kind of cutesy 3D platformer, which is why it had sat unplayed for so long.
I have regrets. Four years of missed opportunity.
You play as a bug rolling a ball (a la dung beetles, but it's a *white* ball) around a tropical island, in which you've just taken over the role of postmaster. You're given a delivery quest to a part of the island obscured by clouds.
You need to traverse the island by rolling your ball, collecting fruit bubbles, completing quests, and navigating via flippers and bumpers.
Honestly, I'm not sure I can really do it justice with words. The idea of a Metroidvania using pinball mechanics seems too wild to work, but it does. It's so damn fun.
Note: You absolutely want a controller for this game.
For reasons that are not entirely clear, it's recently jumped up to AUD$29, but accordingly to gg.deals, it normally sits around AUD$5. The demo is available on Steam for free, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Yoku's Island Express may be one of my favourite games this year. It's:
Continuing to make progress on my #pinball project, got some basic flippers implemented. On top of the flipper itself I took some time to implement a "flipper pair" node which places two flippers with their angle and the gap between them adjustable in the editor.
The goal is to make a large set of flexible components to make building any pinball table easy.
Have to head to Moms Organic Market so going to gather quarters for #pinball !
Is there anyone with #Godot experience who likes #pinball who'd be interested in helping to build a pinball table creation tool as an open-source project? It's something I've been thinking about but I think it would be more fun to work as a team.
cool article featuring several of my friends about Belles and Chimes and the growth of women in #pinball! https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2023/09/25/how-pinballs-feminist-uprising-got-its-start-in-the-bay-area/
Youngest person in the tournament is also one of the tournament directors (TDs) so it’s extra fun as a 40ish year old to tell “I NEED AN ADULT” every time I need a TD #pinball
The best way to describe the soundtrack at the pinball arcade tonight is “80s roller rink” #pinball
One of the greatest single balls I've ever seen on Eight Ball Deluxe, Jason Zahler (currently ranked as 2nd best pinball player in the world) puts up a ridiculous 3 million.
Several other early #pinball companies like Genco and Gottlieb were actually manufacturing all-wins before the pinball boom. Mechanically, they are very similar games.
Peo parlayed this expertise into making some of the earliest "square circle" tables and even later combined all-win and pinball with a game called *Pigskin*.