It's now just over a year since i started with pinball, in some way.
Well, like many others here and out in the wild i was standing in front of a lot of pinball machines and dropping every coin I could gather when I was younger.
This started in the early 90ies, right after the breakdown of the german wall between east and west. Like many people like to say today: "we had nothing". I think only germans will understand ;) All of us eastern-german kids (I'm born 1980) tried to catch up on everything we missed so far.
WPC-Games were the ones I played most an which I still do and like. Ever remeber your first game? No, sorry, I don't. I assume it's been a T2 or Creature, these are the ones i remember best.
After a couple of years with other interests, console gaming, skating and other typical 90ies hobbies catching my interest I kind of grow up and lost spare time due to school, job and girls.
Last year I found a video on youtube, telling about virtual pinballs, made out of real cabs, stripped and mounted TVs, solenoids and all the other fancy, electronics goodies you're used to nowadays. There was only one thing I didn't like from the very beginning: the 3rd screen, emulating the DMD. Even though there was a solution using real DMDs, I found it limiting. Maybe it was the lack of colors that could be dislayed by pinmame or it was the price factor...
At the same time, 2 guys found a very neat solution extracting data from vpinmames DMD output and passing that to a LED-Matrix Display. That's been the first step of replacing the above mentioned solutions. Well there were even other guys around the globe experimenting with all different kinds of controllers, tinker-boards, SoC etc. But like you might suggest, you better talk to people in your native language, it just makes things easier.
I was so impressed by the system and the effort that was put into it that I had no other chance than supporting that project. The first group buy was organised.
And sold out in less that 24 hours.
...and then came support for real pinball machines! People got excited when they heard it was possible to replace their broken DMDs with another DMD, adding colors and that for the same price an original replacement would cost. The drawback was fiddling, tinkering and finding the right parts. Some were concerned about putting it into their machines. I then began to drive to the people and helping them install!
The project is called PIN2DMD and lucky1 and steve45 developed this unique and incredible piece of software. It has been open source in the beginning, but suddenly some guy appeared and found it neat too. Well, I guess, you know whats coming?! They ripped it off and sold it as their own. Changing the bootlogo was their only contribution...
After a few more group buys, more and more successful, there was this idea. Making a business by supporting material, hardware and helping with installation.
My friends called me nuts, my wife called me stupid (we're still married ;) ) And although I had absolutely no idea how taxes, ordering etc. work, I couldn't get it out of my mind (na na na, nan na nan na © goes to Kylie).
Then there appeared a 2nd product: goDMD-Clock, developed by steve45.
It's been inspired by thorbjörns run-dmd and has been constantly developed further and further. until now it's featuring colored output, animations, temperature and humidity data and an browser-based menu (wifi module included). To top it even more it became compatible to pin2dmd as it's been ported to the same hardware platform pin2dmd uses.
After this little ad let's get back to topic:
What had happened to quit my job, a save income and daily routine?
An unsatisfied mind is a commonly known thing a lot of people see every day when they look in the mirror. Why should I be an exeption?
Some bucks from the group buys, yes I made a little profit, went right into some hardware, tools and a very little backup money.
Well changing from group buy organisation to a business, primarely there to earn money, wasn't the small step I supposed it would be. But some happiness came back to my mind. And then came another opportunity, replacing a part, no one else had. Lucky1 was very kind by giving me this opportunity exclusively, due to the efforts I made until then for contributing, helping etc. Oh wait, it's been selfish, we wanted a replacement for the large SEGA DMDs at first for ourselves...
I can't thank him enough!!!
And now I'm sitting here, waiting for my orders to arrive from the suppliers and writing these lines.
It makes me feel sad, not being able to serve the way and as fast i'd like to, but happy about the circumstances making pinball mods, enhancements, in short making the things I like.
Support shortage is the only concern for now, bothering about the future has never been an option for me. Who knows what comes next?! Nobody knows! We're all only influencing our paths, but we're normally not making the roads, are we? Maybe, one day going bankrupt, produce a pinball with talented (or gifted) people, we'll see what comes next!
Oh, my collection is rather small at the moment, there's only a single machine... a Creature, and it's borrowed! Why? Because it's needed for another mod, maybe you guess it?!
For now, I think I've finished these lines to myself and maybe some of you.
Those wo think about: "What is he going to tell, what the heck?!"
Nothing, just my thoughts. I'm here, maybe for now not yet organised, maybe not yet reliable as major companies, but I'm going to do my best!