Split off from the 9 ball troubleshooting thread, starting a separate thread to keep track.
What's been done so far:
Complete disassembly of the binary code into an editable, re-compileable format.
Code crunching to make space in the 9 ball rom to improve the ball handling. This is under test right now by a couple beta testers to make sure something isn't woefully broken before moving forward.
This will also free up space to add a playfield multiplier of 2x/3x similar to the Oliver Kaegi mod from several years ago, but without having to use some kind of larger rom and a board mod.... and anything else we can think of. I know people will want the spinner counter as it's been popular in the other games it's been added to so far (meteor and big game).
Documentation of how the game handles the balls right now is starting, this will be the longest phase, and once all variables and routines have been identified, an analysis of what will have to change will take place. Implementation of the changes and testing will commence at that point to ensure the fix is solid before releasing it into the wild, although anyone can grab the beta and try it out.
A conversation with one of the beta testers gave me a radical idea - what if 9 ball was no longer a multiball game and it was just single ball play? I think from preliminary analysis of the code that the game might have been designed initially as a single ball game and they whacked the multiball in there later on - this is COMPLETE wild-ass speculation on my part though, as I do not have any insider info regarding this at all. It might explain why the switch handling is so mangled though.
Because this idea tickles my fancy, in conjunction with whatever fixes for the multiball are come up with, I'll also be producing a version of the game that's just a single ball game. No hardware changes needed to do this - just remove 2 balls (Although I guess I could just write it to also recognize there's 3 balls and react accordingly.) Just a bit of fun, really. People might end up liking it! I've written multiball add-ons for other games in the past so why not do it the other way?
I actually did this with flight 2000 in 2018 in prep for a new operating system I was writing at the time for the weebly board, and it was kind of fun but that exercise was VERY preliminary and never stepped out of the alpha stage - no sound or speech driver existed. I did find out how fast you can move the ball walker though to speed a ball through it.
Anyway, this thread will keep people updated with the progress of the 9 ball fix-up as it occurs as well as any other mods like the single ball play. Any suggestions for updates to gameplay welcomed as well, although I can't promise that any of them will make it into the rom. One I think would be good would be instead of rolling the 173k over back to the beginning, is to leave it there for a little bit and decay it relatively quickly, to 40k, 30k, etc. with each step being lit for 50% longer. Kind of like Stern Star Wars PF multiplier.