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Posts posted by Jesder

  1. I thought I was going to sneak it past you this year @Fairground - I should have known better!! 😉

    Thank you all 🙂 I really appreciate it🙂


    On 14/11/2021 at 6:47 PM, Cursed said:

    How is the P-ROC project coming along?

    A little slower than I would like, but progress is generally in bursts 🙂

    One of these days I'll get some video together to show off the current gameplay features!


    • Like 1
  2. 3 hours ago, pinball god said:

    Where are people getting $1500 for Wi-Fi from? I'm hearing $200usd. Are we thinking the price rise is purely due to the reader being added? At $1500 I'd think everyone would be out,  I am. 

    In an interview with George Gomez a few weeks ago, he said that he made it clear to the heads at Stern he did not want the new hardware for Connected to be a revenue stream for Stern. He wants it installed on as many peoples machines as possible and the only way for that to happen is make it affordable. There's no way it's $1500. 

    I'm extremely excited about the Connected platform and plan to buy it for all 3 of my Stern games. 

    • Like 1
  3. For anyone that's interested in protecting their ramp entrance, Cliffy now has a ramp protector set (along with a shooter lane & drain set):



    Given the number of people reporting a broken left side of the ramp entrance from the small protectors that ship with the game - I decided grab a set. They're $28USD plus $11USD for shipping. I think the shooter lane / drain set was around the same also.




    • Like 3
  4. Official pricing from AMD website for Godzilla :

    Pro - $10,650
    Prem - $13,250
    LE - $15,500


    Godzilla isn't a theme for me, but the playfield looks great! Looking forward to seeing it on the Deadflip stream Saturday morning.

    In the last 30 minutes, Godzilla Pro "Next avail" has gone from November to TBA. The LE has also been updated to Sold Out.


    • Like 4
  5. A new week is kicking off, which hopefully means lots of exciting changes to come for PINBOT 2.0 over the next seven days. I've decided to start putting together a small "developer diary" of the progress for people to read and follow along with. Sometimes there will be images or videos to share. While at other times it will just be text. I don't have any planned format for what I share - only that it will be broken down into the days of the week, where I document progress for each day. Ideally I'd love to be able to put up a post each week, but there will be periods where little to no work on the project is done. This means some posts may span several weeks - I'll just see how it goes.


    Monday 16/11/2020

    First thing to look at today was adding flashers to the lamp shows in both the high score and bonus modes. I've opted to go with a simple top to bottom sequence for the high score mode. This repeats every 5 seconds. The bonus mode sequence will work in reverse, with the flashers activating from the bottom of the playfield to the top and sync with the insert light show that plays.


    A somewhat boring task today was creating a script that packages together the "pinbot-recoded" folder for deployment to the production machine. Up until now, it's been a manual process of deleting the old folder from a USB stick and copying the required folders across. It would be so much easier to just run a single command line (like "packagepb" for example), which did everything and removed all manual steps. I'm often using either LUA or PHP for my scripting since those are what I'm most familiar with. I decided to go with PHP in this case. The script didn't take long to create and has a reasonable amount of logging and error handling for when things fail. I expect this will evolve as the project goes on.




    After catching up with @ztdgz last week and getting some good feedback on the game, I've been toying with the idea of including a "Bride of PINBOT" mode in the game. I'm not sure if this will be one of the planet modes, a stand alone mode or even a secret mode. I like the idea of secret modes and features for players to find. I can't call it a retro mode since BoP came out after PINBOT. It's more like a "Next Gen" mode - but that name doesn't have the same appeal to it. Anyway, I came up with some ideas on how this small mode would play out and made some initial design notes. It will basically include references to BoP with some sounds, music and a goal. I'll look to develop the design notes further over the coming weeks. This also has me interested in adding a small "Jackbot" mode too.


    From testing the game today, I managed to put up a score of over 18 million points. My previous best was just over 5 million. A lot of the points came from maxing out my program upgrades. At present there isn't a whole lot else to do in the game (besides skill shot, hurry up modes, super pops, and eject boosters), so it makes sense that I'm focusing on upgrading the programs while playing. Once I add playable planet modes, the focus of play will shift more to those. But I think I'll drop the points awarded for some aspects around program upgrading as it currently feels too high. I've made a note to look at this later in the week. I'm expecting that point balancing is something that will continue on for the entire project.


    The final task for today was syncing up the flashing inserts on the chest matrix that represent the upgrade progress on the 5 programs. From the first day the upgrades were added to the game, the 5 active inserts would flash slightly out of sync due to small gaps in milliseconds when each light show was instructed to start. MPF has a "sync_ms" setting as part of the "show_player" that's designed to help sync up different shows within a mode (or even across modes). The value for "sync_ms" should be 1 full iteration of the show. So in this case, the inserts remain lit for 300ms and then off for 100ms - which makes 400ms. This setting was applied to each show across the 5 programs and now the inserts blink together in sync.



    Tuesday 17/11/2020

    A small task to start today off - adding flashers to the super skill shot success light show. Actually, there are no other lights currently animating as part of a successful skill shot. I'd like to animate the inserts for this and have made a note to add something. Maybe later this week. For now though, the flashers animate top to bottom. PINBOT has several cases where flashers on the playfield are combined with the topper. It also has some cases where 2 flashers on the playfield are linked too. That means I can't just activate one of these flashers - they are all linked to the same coil. This limits the animation you can perform with them sadly. For example, all four flashers marked here will activate when coil 05-C is pulsed. Also, this is the outside worlds first glimpse of a screen from the service menu!




    One issue I keep running into with the flashers is they can lock on. This is due to how the System 11 set up works, where many of the flashers are on the same transistor as a coil. For example, the ramp release coil is on the A side, while the lower flashers are on the C side. There's an A/C relay that toggles between the active side, giving preference to the A side where the important coils are. If both attempt to fire at once, this can cause the flashers to remain locked on. I think this is something that could be fixed in the MPF framework, but is currently beyond me to look at. I encountered the issue again today during the bonus mode where the drop target bank reset coil was being triggered at the same time as one of the flashers during the bonus light show. This needed some tweaking to ensure the coil pulses don't overlap.


    During the bonus mode, the group of flashers below the large solar insert activate when awarding the solar pops component of the bonus. They were activating 25% faster than other lights, so I've slowed them down to match all other lights during the bonus mode. It's the sort of thing no one would probably notice except for me.


    When the ball is released from the single eject (located to the left of the visor), it had a large time out of 10 seconds configured. This value tells MPF to wait for a period of time for the ball to hit a switch (after ejecting) before it considers the eject action a failure and attempts to kick the ball out again. It is possible during play to hit the ball straight back into the saucer with no playfield switches being triggered. It's not common, but it does happen. This results in the game sitting still until the 10 seconds are up and the saucer attempts to eject again. This value needs to be high enough to allow for cases where a player doesn't activate a target switch straight away, but not too long that the player is kept waiting if they hit the ball straight back in. I decided to lower this timeout to 6 seconds and see how it goes. By my calculation, in the worst case scenario, the player should only be left waiting around 3 seconds (instead of 7) if they shoot the ball straight back in.


    Something exciting I started today is a new mode which I think will be the first planet mode. It's called virus core and essentially will turn the 5x5 lamp matrix into a space invaders type mode. Where lit inserts will advance towards the player and they have to hit the lit targets to destroy the infections. I'm going to dive into the python level a bit with this mode too, which I think will be a good exercise in learning how to move some of the YAML complexity when creating a mode into simpler python code. I'm expecting this mode will be my primary focus for the next week or so as it evolves.


    I finally published the latest blog post for the PINBOT 2.0 project today. It's been sitting half complete for months, so glad to finally get it out there.


    An interesting stat from my code repository today shows there have been 35 commits so far for the month of November. This consists of many tweaks, bug fixes, improvements and documentation changes. In October there were 49 commits and September had 25. So it's looking like my activity on the project is building, which is good to see.



    Wednesday 18/11/2020

    I've been toying with the idea of having a mystery feature in the game for awhile now. Originally I had planned to have it as one of the 5 upgrade programs the player shoots for on the chest matrix. But I felt it was less important than the other upgrades that now reside there. PINBOT has 3 "10 point" switches spread across the playfield which I'm now considering using as a way to activate mystery. There's one at the lower exit of the pop bumpers, another on the left of the single eject shot and the last one is just below the drop targets. These switches don't have any inserts assigned to them, but I'm thinking I could repurpose them for a mystery feature. For example, hit all 3 to enable mystery at the single eject saucer. For now, I've set up a new mode folder and skeleton config in the project which I'll play with when I want a break from other features. The location of the 3 switches are marked here:




    I'm thinking about the possibility of using the lift ramp as something of a soft lock at certain points of the game. There is a target right at the back under the ramp which could have multiple uses. It has 2 inserts assigned and is already used to score the solar hurry up jackpot and energy value hurry up jackpot. I'm considering using it to also lock a ball up (by lowering the ramp). This needs some more thought.


    I started putting together a list of animation frames for the chest matrix. Some will be used while others will never make it into a light show file. I think it's a good way to record the animation ideas for future reference. The "WELL DONE" frames are currently used on the high score entry mode. They smoothly scroll from left to right (instead of just flashing up each individual frame).




    No time spent today on the new virus core mode as I had hoped. Instead I wanted to try and solve an issue in the service menu. For now you can use one of the buttons on the service panel inside the coin door as "enter" or "select" when navigating the service menu. I want have this ability with the credit button on the front of the cabinet. The problem is though MPF will start a new game when the credit button is pressed. I had a few attempts at trying to override this today, even heading down into the python layer but without any success.


    An interesting stat for today is the current uncompressed package size for the game is 61MB. Of that, 58.3MB is music and SFX.



    Thursday 19/11/2020

    Kicking off Thursday with a bang! I finally ordered my own P-ROC board from Multimorphic!! The one I've been using has been on loan from a mate and has really helped me get this project going. I'm happy with the progress I've made and convinced it's something I'll be working on for some time to come. I also view this project as a lead up to making my own game from scratch, which will be built around the P-ROC platform. So ordering one now makes sense. I'm looking forward to receiving it!


    Earlier in the week I noted that scoring on the upgrade programs was a little too high, so I've halved the points. You can think of these upgrades as "supers", where they boost the value on other features of the game. They are intended to help the player boost scoring opportunities in different areas of the game and not be a primary point scoring feature themselves.


    Back onto that service menu issue from yesterday, with some extra info about how you use the service menu. PINBOT has 3 buttons inside the coin door "Advance", "Manual/Auto" and "Highscore Reset". You can access the service menu in PINBOT 2.0 pressing the "Advance" button. This same button can also be used to select options from within the service menu. The "Highscore reset" button is used to exit out of the current sub menu or exit the service menu if you're at the root level. The "Manual/Auto" button isn't much use to me as it's a state button that's either pressed in or out. You use the flipper buttons to cycle left and right through the service menu options (thanks to the 2 AUX flipper switches I installed into unused switch matrix slots). Now to get that credit button working in the service menu. It feels far more natural to press the credit button to select than have to reach down to the coin door. There is a problem however (isn't there always?). By default, MPF will see the credit button press as a request to start the game. Under the hood, MPF sends out a boolean event "request_to_start_game". Because this is a boolean event, if any event handler listening for this event returns false, the request will be denied. At the YAML configuration level, there's no way to return false for an event. So the solution is to create a small python script for the Service Menu mode that handles this. I can now use the credit button as select while navigating the service menu. It ended up being a simple issue to solve and a nice little intro to working at the python level in MPF.




    The time I spent making the packager script on Monday is already paying off. With lots a small tweaks to things over the last few days, it's really simplified the process of getting a new build ready. I'm annoyed I didn't set aside the time to create it weeks ago.



    Friday 20/11/2020

    A little bit of bug fixing today. I found the service menu change I added yesterday for the credit button wasn't quite right. I was adding an event handler in the mode_init() function when it should have been in the mode_start() function. This lead to a few unintended side effects. Thankfully it was quite straight forward to fix.


    Second bug today came from play testing. When you complete an upgrade, you're awarded points (50,000 for levels 2 to 4 and 125,000 for level 5). This value is then multiplied by an upgrade boost which should only reach 4x but was allowed to reach 5x. Another simple fix.


    Not much else to report from today other than playing the game.



    Saturday 21/11/2020

    I set aside time today to improve the out lane ball save feature. In it's current state, you can enable both left and right "extra ball" out lane inserts by collecting the "lite extra ball" award from the single eject saucer. This would then activate a ball save if the player was to drain via either out lane. It was also designed to only be active on the current ball, meaning if you drained via the center, then it would be lost for the next ball. This feature was updated today to only activate 1 of the out lane extra ball inserts. If you collect "lite extra ball" from the single eject a second time, this can stack and you can once again have both extra ball inserts lit. When the player has only 1 insert lit, the sling shots and pop bumpers will toggle which out lane is lit. The player can also toggle the lit insert between the left and right out lanes using the flipper buttons. The ball save now persists between balls too. So I've taken a little bit away from the player by only activating 1 insert at first. But if the player is good enough they can stack two. In return, I've now given the player the ability to persist the feature between balls which makes it more useful. Having the lit insert toggle based on pop bumpers, sling shots and flippers buttons also makes it more exciting to use.





    Sunday 22/11/2020

    The drop targets currently serve two purposes. The first is to collect the letters of ENERGY to activate the Energy Value Hurry Up mode. To collect a letter, the player simply needs to complete the drop target bank. The second purpose is to activate planet modes. This has a timer however (similar to the original PINBOT), so the player must drop all 3 targets within 14 seconds to open up the next planet mode. The round insert in front of the drop targets will flash during this timer. It will flash slowly for the first 7 seconds and then fast for the final 7 seconds. Today I added new sound effects for both of these timers to help convey the urgency to the player.




    During some play testing in the morning, I found a bug with the out lane ball save updates I implemented yesterday. In a certain scenario it was possible to have both out lane saves enable, but one would fail if activated. This turned out to be a simple condition check I had wrong, so was fixed easily.


    @ztdgz dropped by for an afternoon catch up and we put quite a few games into PINBOT 2.0. This was his second session on the game and some more excellent feedback was obtained from the session. Some new ideas were discussed, improvement suggestions made and sadly a few bugs to sort out. The perfect lead into a new week!

    • Like 3
  6. Once again I'm well overdue for an update on my PINBOT 2.0 project. Huge steps have been made since my last post in July, so let's get started. With the display panel completed in the last update, it's time to get the boards installed to actually drive this 2.0 project. PINBOT has an MPU board that consists of both a CPU section and driver section for the coils. Before removing anything, all connectors were labelled.




    The System 11 MPU board was removed first from the headbox and stored in a safe place.




    To use a P-ROC with a System 11 game, you need a second board that is a driver board for the lamps and coils. This was designed to slot into place using the existing mounting holes. The connectors are marked to match that of the System 11 MPU board, which makes hooking it up easy.




    I was now ready to mount the P-ROC board into the headbox. The board is already mounted to a frame that's designed to slot right in on a Williams WPC machine as it's essentially a replacement for the existing CPU board. That sadly won't work here on a System 11 machine since the MPU board is both a CPU and driver board in one and the mounting holes don't line up.




    Since the P-Roc is on loan, I have no intention of modifying the frame. Instead I put together a new frame that makes use of the mounting holes available so it can line up in the correct position next to the Snux driver board.




    With both boards installed, all connectors were hooked up to the boards. The loose connectors at the top of the Snux board are for the old alphanumeric displays, which I won't be using on this project.




    One more thing that is needed are adapter cables for the switches. These need to hook up to the P-ROC board. I also created a third adapter for direct switches. These are the switches just inside the coil door for Credit, Advance and Highscore reset. They are not part of the switch matrix and connect to a different header on the P-ROC.




    After installing the auxiliary flipper switches in my previous update, I found they just weren't activating reliably when stacked with the existing flipper switch. I decided against stacking the switches and instead placed the auxiliary switch into a different position. This now activates correctly each time the flipper button is pressed.




    In my last update, I was in the process of putting together a new light panel for the headbox. I put some feelers out for a set of bracket and latch so I could mount it correctly. I could use the set from the existing PINBOT light panel, but it would be much easier to have a second set that I could permanently attach to the new light panel. A set was tracked down and purchased.




    The light panel was painted white, the brackets added and then installed into the headbox. I need to adjust the height of the panel as it's a little too tall and won't open with the display panel up. But this will do for now.




    At this point I quadruple checked everything and started my power on. The display came on, but of course it's upside down. I only had a 50% chance of getting it right...




    The next step was to get the game running the new code using MPF. This next step took a few days due to several issues. Most things were simple like missing drivers on my PINBOT PC while others were a little more complicated to track down like incorrect config settings in MPF. But eventually, I got there and had the game running in attract mode! It's looking messy with the cables all coming out of the headbox, but that's how things will stay during development.




    Here's a short video of the attract mode in action:



    From this point, the last few months have been heavily focused on developing the game code. Each week has seen the game grow and grow. I'm planning to start a developer diary series this week to help cover the progress. I'm also wanting to put together some short videos showing the current state of things with the game. I think it will be interesting to look back on and see how various components evolve over the course of the project.





    • Like 5

    Hi mate,

    Looks like this link no longer works. Would you still happen to have the file somewhere?

    I'm trying to find a way to replace the badge on my machine as it's gone. :(

    Thanks a lot!



    Sadly no. The image was uploaded to a temp folder, which I must have cleaned out at some point.


    I had a hunt through all my LAH photos, but didn't copy it across to my back up drive for some reason.


    Someone else here should own the game through and be able to get a photo for you.


  8. If youve got another pc in the house with the removeable speakers (2 wire) - try it as a last resort - as in it may come up with beeps. Im confident there will be a spot for it - typicaly by the pwr/rst/led configuration. Even get an old speaker and try it - might tell a story. and then go from there


    Sorry POST = BIOS startUP. No point with installing Prism card as you need to post first.

    FYI = Power supplies provide different voltages (rails) so even if cpu fan works 12v Rail doesnt necessarily mean its all working. Having said that, you have tried youre primary PSU so I dont reckon its the PSU.


    It is looking like a failed motherboard but I would exhaust all attempts before giving up!


    My last option will be to replace the caps and see if that works. I'd prefer to not be touching the motherboard in that way though, so leaving it as my final option.


    What about if the BIOS is corrupted? What sort of behaviour would be seen at start up? There's a jumper on the motherboard to clear the BIOS. It's also in a socket, so could be removed.



    I know you said that you tested the battery. But remove it for 20-30sec to clear. Then put back in. Try the bios out of the working board next. Failing that it's cap replacement then give up.


    OK will do - I posted the above before noticing you managed to sneak in a reply talking about the BIOS and caps :)


    I gave this a go, leaving the battery out for a couple of minutes (to be sure) but still no start up :(


    If I remove the BIOS chip from my working machine, won't that clear the settings?


  9. Try the ram stick in the other slot. Some motherboards can be fickle with ram


    Yep good idea. No go sadly. Attempted this with the RAM stick from the other machine too (in both slots). No luck.



    I've got no knowledge of these boards but know a little about motherboards in general. Do you have a speaker output and if so do you have one connected?


    "I found that the PRISM card, CPU, RAM and power supply from the spare PC all worked fine in my primary P2K PC"


    Now my question is did you go the other way? ie, did you put the primary RAM, CPU, and PSU into the old PC? (Try RAM first)


    I know this sounds crazy but I had the same thing happen to me and I couldnt explain it. Motherboard wouldnt POST - I thought it was dead. I did a MEM Test on both RAM sticks that were OK, yet 1 of the sticks would not work in 1 of the other boards. After the fact, it drove me crazy and wanted to find out more - my conclusion (rightly or wrongly - but let me sleep that night lol) - timings for RAM were not compatible with the board - not necessarily faulty board / CPU. But think of it like underclocking/ overclocking a modern CPU or that in the factory the difference between an i5 and and i3 is basically an i3 didnt meet all the specs of an i5 (temp,timings - beyond the scope here, but hope you get the idea)

    Note: my MB's had soldered CPU's - so less testing

    In my experience, 90% of the time it's a RAM issue,9.9% PSU, and 0.01 CPU - you get my drift?


    So I would mark your primary stuff with a pencil ( I know this sounds crazy but do it anyway - 5 minutes later youll be questioning which is which)

    Test your RAM first then , PSU, then CPU with different permutations (write them down) - leave the prism card out of the euation until you can boot BIOS


    If none of that works - replace all your caps - seen that work too, even with good looking caps.




    The only thing I originally tested back the other way was the RAM. So I spent time this morning testing the other components in the non working machine. But no luck there either.


    At this point I know for sure that the components from the second PC (CPU, PRISM card, RAM and power supply) are all working since they worked correctly in my other P2K PC. Everything is pointing towards the motherboard.



    I don't suppose it beeps on start up like PC's in general. The number of beeps tell you if it's RAM or ROM issues.


    No start up beep, but there's no PC speaker with it.


    Is your working MB green or amber in colour?


    If green does the video cable and adapter from the non working one work in it?


    Have the caps around the processor previously been replaced? If so removal could have damaged the board beyond repair.



    Both my motherboards are green. I've tried using both video adapters (and ribbon cables) but without any success.


    There's no sign of the caps being replaced. I flipped the motherboard over to check the solder points and they look original. No signs of any work done to the board or damage.





    For those that are following along. As I mentioned earlier, if you remove the PRISM card, you can hook the P2K PC up to an LCD screen and view the start up. The game won't boot obviously since it needs the PRISM card, but this actually lets you confirm that the motherboard does start up and gives you access to the BIOS if needed. Here's a pic from my working P2K PC.




    The non working PC I'm looking at won't even get to this. Nothing comes up on the screen at all :( So it's not just that the machine won't boot, but it doesn't even show the BIOS start up (I think you guys call that step POST?)


    So I guess a question for you guys - if my P2K PC can't even reach this point (and I've confirmed the CPU, RAM, power supply and video adapter all work in the other machine) - does that leave anything else other than the MB?


    I had wondered if the motherboard was getting power, so I plugged in a CPU fan to the motherboard and it started. The existing CPU fan it hooked up to the power supply and turns on when the machine powers, but having one drawing power from the motherboard at least confirms power is getting to it.




    All good suggestions and thoughts guys!

    • Like 1
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