(Topic ID: 106728)

ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over


By HeighwayPinball

4 years ago



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  • Alien Heighway Pinball, 2017

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11
#12801 2 years ago

And I think it's worth repeating that the first games have shipped with alpha code, with limited use of the airlock screen & multiple audio/lighting/rule refinements on the way. Last I read, some of the development team (who are on both sides of the Atlantic) were still waiting on pins of their own to test on. The fact the code looks this good already is an accomplishment in itself.

So being disappointed, and saying there's no excuse for conveying the proper information is pretty unrealistic. I mean, seriously, give them a break already. The updates & improvements are coming.

#12802 2 years ago

Hi Andrew,

Can you please comment on if the first batch of production run games going out to CoinTaker will have all of the latest production boards / fixes? Are there other changes that will not be on those games?

Thank you

#12803 2 years ago
Quoted from LoveNeverDiesGuy:

Been noticing a ton of Alien stuff lately. SF Bart just got scarier.
Can't wait to see this game at Pin a Go Go!

Nice!!
Hahah

#12804 2 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

tounge is heavy duty geared steel piece. I think the ball would get hurt first?
blockquote>

Definitely not a good idea to allow the ball to strike the extended tongue side on, Heighway should be ( and probably are! ) doing there best with the code to prevent that happening.

#12805 2 years ago

it is way up the pf and side hits are unlikely based on code. I think they are making some further updates to how that works to help reduce/prevent it.

#12806 2 years ago

Great updates on the game code, thanks guys!

#12807 2 years ago

alien pinball 1 (resized).jpg

#12808 2 years ago
Quoted from Ferret:

As a supplement to my earlier note: I don't intend to have every_ game rule spelled out to the player ... partly because that could be confusing by inundating the player with too much information, and partly because it is (IMHO) fun to have secret tricks and bonuses in the game that you can discover over time. There are a decent number of those in the code.
But certainly the primary rules for modes and multiballs are not meant to be secretive or confusing.

One of the uniquely cool things about Alien is that there are shots that you want to hit as well as ones to avoid. ferret is there some sort of consistent color hierarchy that symbolizes this (i.e. always aim for green shots or flashing shots, always avoid red ones - symbolizing aliens attacking)?

Also, how do shots to avoid work in this game? Do they have negative points, or reduce progression toward goals, or something like 3 strikes and you lose the mode?

15
#12809 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

One of the uniquely cool things about Alien is that there are shots that you want to hit as well as ones to avoid. ferret is there some sort of consistent color hierarchy that symbolizes this (i.e. always aim for green shots or flashing shots, always avoid red ones - symbolizing aliens attacking)?

There isn't currently a consistent color for "bad" shots, but it's not because we didn't think about that. I could but won't prattle on forever about all the considerations that went into it, but the combination of "making the lights represent the entities from the movie" (e.g. I thought the "cat" shots in Find Jonesy should be orange) and "making the lights distinguishable, especially when stacking of features is considered" (e.g. multiball Jackpot shots are generally red) made things challenging. This still might get revisited in the future. I personally find it easier just to focus on what the color is for the "good" shots, since anything that's not that color is something I want to avoid during those modes.

Quoted from jonesjb:

Also, how do shots to avoid work in this game? Do they have negative points, or reduce progression toward goals, or something like 3 strikes and you lose the mode?

We never subtract from your actual score.

Beyond that: Depends on the mode. There are three modes that have "bad" shots: Acid Burn, Find Jonesy, and Bug Hunt. Acid Burn features a hurry countdown; shooting a "bad" shot fast-forwards the countdown, which means fewer points for the remaining good shots, and could cause you to time out the mode sooner if the hurry value gets to its minimum. Find Jonesy is a different model, it's a game of finding the cat via "warmer/colder" ... shooting the good (cat) shots moves you "warmer", shooting the bad (Alien) shots moves you "colder". If you get "warm enough", you catch Jonesy and win; if you get "too cold", the Alien gets ya and you lose the mode. Scoring in this mode is based on shot efficiency; you'll score the most by hitting only cat shots. In Bug Hunt, "bad shots" only come into play in the second part of the mode (the Marines vs Aliens firefight) ... here, shot values are multiplied by the number of Marines that are still alive, but Marines get killed when you make bad shots. (And I watched that scene several times with a notebook in hand to make sure they get killed in the same order in the game as in the movie. )

As you might guess, these modes aren't your best choices for stacking with multiballs (although I'd be willing to take Bug Hunt into a multiball and hope multiball firepower wins out before the Aliens ravage the good guys). On the other hand, these modes have some of the best points-per-shot potential in the game for those who can shoot accurately.

#12810 2 years ago
Quoted from Ferret:

There isn't currently a consistent color for "bad" shots, but it's not because we didn't think about that. I could but won't prattle on forever about all the considerations that went into it, but the combination of "making the lights represent the entities from the movie" (e.g. I thought the "cat" shots in Find Jonesy should be orange) and "making the lights distinguishable, especially when stacking of features is considered" (e.g. multiball Jackpot shots are generally red) made things challenging. This still might get revisited in the future. I personally find it easier just to focus on what the color is for the "good" shots, since anything that's not that color is something I want to avoid during those modes.

We never subtract from your actual score.
Beyond that: Depends on the mode. There are three modes that have "bad" shots: Acid Burn, Find Jonesy, and Bug Hunt. Acid Burn features a hurry countdown; shooting a "bad" shot fast-forwards the countdown, which means fewer points for the remaining good shots, and could cause you to time out the mode sooner if the hurry value gets to its minimum. Find Jonesy is a different model, it's a game of finding the cat via "warmer/colder" ... shooting the good (cat) shots moves you "warmer", shooting the bad (Alien) shots moves you "colder". If you get "warm enough", you catch Jonesy and win; if you get "too cold", the Alien gets ya and you lose the mode. Scoring in this mode is based on shot efficiency; you'll score the most by hitting only cat shots. In Bug Hunt, "bad shots" only come into play in the second part of the mode (the Marines vs Aliens firefight) ... here, shot values are multiplied by the number of Marines that are still alive, but Marines get killed when you make bad shots. (And I watched that scene several times with a notebook in hand to make sure they get killed in the same order in the game as in the movie. )
As you might guess, these modes aren't your best choices for stacking with multiballs (although I'd be willing to take Bug Hunt into a multiball and hope multiball firepower wins out before the Aliens ravage the good guys). On the other hand, these modes have some of the best points-per-shot potential in the game for those who can shoot accurately.

Just played a lot more tonight and had a friend over as well. Keep liking it more and more.

#12811 2 years ago
Quoted from Ferret:

There isn't currently a consistent color for "bad" shots, but it's not because we didn't think about that. I could but won't prattle on forever about all the considerations that went into it, but the combination of "making the lights represent the entities from the movie" (e.g. I thought the "cat" shots in Find Jonesy should be orange) and "making the lights distinguishable, especially when stacking of features is considered" (e.g. multiball Jackpot shots are generally red) made things challenging. This still might get revisited in the future. I personally find it easier just to focus on what the color is for the "good" shots, since anything that's not that color is something I want to avoid during those modes.

We never subtract from your actual score.
Beyond that: Depends on the mode. There are three modes that have "bad" shots: Acid Burn, Find Jonesy, and Bug Hunt. Acid Burn features a hurry countdown; shooting a "bad" shot fast-forwards the countdown, which means fewer points for the remaining good shots, and could cause you to time out the mode sooner if the hurry value gets to its minimum. Find Jonesy is a different model, it's a game of finding the cat via "warmer/colder" ... shooting the good (cat) shots moves you "warmer", shooting the bad (Alien) shots moves you "colder". If you get "warm enough", you catch Jonesy and win; if you get "too cold", the Alien gets ya and you lose the mode. Scoring in this mode is based on shot efficiency; you'll score the most by hitting only cat shots. In Bug Hunt, "bad shots" only come into play in the second part of the mode (the Marines vs Aliens firefight) ... here, shot values are multiplied by the number of Marines that are still alive, but Marines get killed when you make bad shots. (And I watched that scene several times with a notebook in hand to make sure they get killed in the same order in the game as in the movie. )
As you might guess, these modes aren't your best choices for stacking with multiballs (although I'd be willing to take Bug Hunt into a multiball and hope multiball firepower wins out before the Aliens ravage the good guys). On the other hand, these modes have some of the best points-per-shot potential in the game for those who can shoot accurately.

Wow, just fantastic info and insight, thanks!

How about mode timing? I've seen many a mode fail because time ran out. How's that determined or calculated?

#12812 2 years ago
Quoted from Ferret:

"making the lights represent the entities from the movie" (e.g. I thought the "cat" shots in Find Jonesy should be orange) and "making the lights distinguishable, especially when stacking of features is considered" (e.g. multiball Jackpot shots are generally red) made things challenging. This still might get revisited in the future. I personally find it easier just to focus on what the color is for the "good" shots, since anything that's not that color is something I want to avoid during those modes.

I always enjoy your posts. You're approach makes sense. And in most pinball machines, jackpot is aways red. You're better off keeping this similar, otherwise people may find it unintuitive... Kinda like how a company should follow general user experience web design when building a website, you don't want to be clever and put the menu down the right side because it would be frustrating.

I don't have the good fortune of an Alien on location nearby, so I haven't played one first hand. But I've watched videos and had difficulty figuring out shots for 'Find Jonesy', I'd see the player hit the flashing orange shot, see the mode continue (Jonesy still isn't found) and think... Why isn't it registering what is the player supposed to be shooting for. Your response of warmer and cooler clears this up and makes sense - Sounds like a neat and rather innovative mode.

#12813 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

And in most pinball machines, jackpot is aways red.

Also, green on pretty much every pinball I've ever played is a multiball lock. I've used color scanning for green as a way for me to figure out the multiball on any unfamiliar game I play.

#12814 2 years ago

From Heighway pinball:

"The price for the Alien game kit is $4,350. The CPU swap is an additional cost and this is cost is $225. This cost can be lowered if you return the original CPU from the your Full Throttle the price then becomes $150. There are slight differences between the two cabinets. The Alien cabinet has additional slots on the inside of the cabinet to accommodate for the EL lighting system where as the Full Throttle cabinet does not have this feature. There will be a playfield storage solution that we will offer in the future as a product."

Let me know if anyone is interested in buying my Full Throttle.

#12815 2 years ago
Quoted from Russell:

From Heighway pinball:
"The price for the Alien game kit is $4,350. The CPU swap is an additional cost and this is cost is $225. This cost can be lowered if you return the original CPU from the your Full Throttle the price then becomes $150. There are slight differences between the two cabinets. The Alien cabinet has additional slots on the inside of the cabinet to accommodate for the EL lighting system where as the Full Throttle cabinet does not have this feature. There will be a playfield storage solution that we will offer in the future as a product."
Let me know if anyone is interested in buying my Full Throttle.

That is a great deal and nice to see some hard numbers around it. only $150 to upgrade the PC seems like a more than fair solution.

#12816 2 years ago

I thought the PC upgrade would be free for FT owners that are upgrading to Alien?

#12817 2 years ago
Quoted from snakesnsparklers:

I thought the PC upgrade would be free for FT owners that are upgrading to Alien?

Given that their "swappable" system needed an upgrade before any early adopters could even swap in a single game, I think it's kinda shitty that people need to pay for these. If this was a few years and several games later, I wouldn't have an issue because hardware evolves and people should expect there might be upgrades over time. I wouldn't have expected the base system to be unable to accommodate what it was sold to do.

That said, if you're going to stick it to the handful of early adopters, $150 is a reasonable price to upgrade the computer.

#12818 2 years ago

yeah they would have been better off just saying "Aliens kit is $4600 and includes the new PC; return your old PC and get $100 back"

Reality is that is what it is a still a good deal. They are also pretty darn close to the original estimate of 60% of the full game price so that is good.

Some will complain no matter what, but lets be honest $150 to upgrade your game is a small % of the total cost

#12819 2 years ago

I'll just say this cpu thing was mishandled. The ONLY people that can buy a kit are existing Full Throttle owners. Heighway knows who those people are, it should have just been a simple "if you're below serial #xxx a cpu upgrade will be included in your kit".

The horse is out of the barn at this point, the nominal fee is out there, I just think it could have been handled differently.

#12820 2 years ago

All Alien kits should come with a CPU and a return box for your old FT CPU. You can't run Aliens on the FT CPU so why even make it an option? When you return the old CPU, you get a refund. That would make it easy.

#12821 2 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

I'll just say this cpu thing was mishandled.

whom knows. a 1 off email is not official communication. Maybe it will change?

#12822 2 years ago

Agree the CPU thing is an annoyance but $150 in the scheme of things isn't the end of the world. The cabinet change is also annoying but not a deal breaker. I'm not going to sell my Full Throttle because of it. That said, how many Full Throttles are there? If there are 100, how many of those people are going to buy a kit...take those numbers and extrapolate what it would take to give people these items free of charge. That would insure 100% product loyalty.

#12823 2 years ago

What is a promise of forward compatibility worth? Apparently $150.

#12824 2 years ago
Quoted from Russell:

There will be a playfield storage solution that we will offer in the future as a product."

This stood out to me as well.. I thought the container the kit came in was an all in one storage/shipping container

#12825 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

What is a promise of forward compatibility

I dont think I was ever promised forward compatability? were you?

All I remember was being told I would be able to buy a kit for future machines to drop into a current cabinent. Serious question, were we told specifically that all hardware would be future compatible? I just dont remember it like that.

#12826 2 years ago

How much do the lighted blades contribute to the lighting of the game? Wondering if upgraded FT would be too dark without those.

#12827 2 years ago
Quoted from Russell:

How much do the lighted blades contribute to the lighting of the game? Wondering if upgraded FT would be too dark without those.

From the videos I've seen it looks cool but the GI is more than enough to light the game.

#12828 2 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

Serious question, were we told specifically that all hardware would be future compatible? I just dont remember it like that.

If the only thing "modular" about the system was the wood cabinet, that would be silly.

Obviously hardware will change in time, but I think anyone would expect game #1 could run game #2.

#12829 2 years ago

Like, I totally get that they wanted to do more with Alien than show pre-rendered videos. The vision for the entire system changed. I'm guessing that means the cost of Alien also went up from what they originally forecasted it to be.

This entire conversation wouldn't be happening if the kit was all inclusive and kept simple and whatever was going on behind the scenes didn't affect the end customer.

#12830 2 years ago

Why does the obsolete CPU have to be returned? Is it going into repair parts or is it just some IP protection strategy? I can't imagine the salvage value is much at all.

#12831 2 years ago
Quoted from Wickerman2:

From the videos I've seen it looks cool but the GI is more than enough to light the game.

GI is plenty. I diconnected the LE side/back panels at one time and checked it out. They look cool, but needed from a light perspective at all.

-3
#12832 2 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

I dont think I was ever promised forward compatability? were you?
All I remember was being told I would be able to buy a kit for future machines to drop into a current cabinent. Serious question, were we told specifically that all hardware would be future compatible? I just dont remember it like that.

Why do you try to play lawyer on discussion boards? Are we talking about what was technically offered or what was implied to virtually everyone who's been watching besides you?

In fact, I find your arguments consistently weak, but I will continue to occasionally suggest improvements in your thinking. Please don't take offense at what I'm saying but accept it as friendly criticism.

Regarding the CPU upgrade - the kits should have priced in a new CPU for the early adopters. This weird upgrade pricing scheme just complicates everything from production to distribution to maintenance and repair. A little more Henry Ford and a little less Willy Wonka would do wonders for the industry as a whole. Oh wait, there still are two Henry Fords consistently delivering pinball machines.

#12833 2 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

I dont think I was ever promised forward compatability? were you?
All I remember was being told I would be able to buy a kit for future machines to drop into a current cabinent. Serious question

"With the Heighway Pinball Game change System (HPGS), the latest games can be easily installed in established hardware units in a matter of minutes."

Not sure if that's a promise of no changes to CPU or cab...?

#12834 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

In fact, I find your arguments consistently weak

pot kettle black

#12835 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

Regarding the CPU upgrade - the kits should have priced in a new CPU for the early adopters

agreed and I said that already.

Quoted from Whysnow:

yeah they would have been better off just saying "Aliens kit is $4600 and includes the new PC; return your old PC and get $100 back"

controlling the message is something so many pinball companies seem to not recognize. That said, I will wait to hear exactly what the company message is rather than a 1 off email.

no lawyer here, just asking a simple question of what we were actually told.

#12836 2 years ago
Quoted from Wickerman2:

pot kettle black

You may say that, but those who have had experience in manufacturing, industrial design, production process and international sales/ distribution, they see the truth in my comments.

#12837 2 years ago

I just look at it like this, Full Throttle is 2 years old, in technology terms two years of computer technology improvements is incredibly drastic. And the cost is similar to many mods, I would expect Heighway's 3rd game, if it is 2 years from now to also have a new computer and possibly need upgraded. I think that is the reality of a computer based system even if it is offered as interchangeable. This also seems better to me that they do continue the upgraded technology on the computer side so you don't end up with a pin2k type scenario down the road in the future....if that were the case I would stock up on at least a spare or two of the units in whatever heighway game you have.

I agree its not great, but its reality and to me the added $200+/- is well worth the enjoyment of the game.

#12838 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

You may say that, but those who have had experience in manufacturing, industrial design, production process and international sales/ distribution, they see the truth in my comments.

Horseshit. No offense!

#12839 2 years ago
Quoted from Wickerman2:

Horseshit. No offense!

No offense taken at all. I never find ignorance offensive. Although it is often threatening in mobs.

#12840 2 years ago

I bet Heighway is wishing they had never even done this modular thing.

#12841 2 years ago
Quoted from Tsskinne:

I just look at it like this, Full Throttle is 2 years old, in technology terms two years of computer technology improvements is incredibly drastic.

Not a bad way to look at it, I thought the same thing. I figured if the first generation system supported 4-6 games, that was decent. Heighway was saying 3 games per year. I fully planned on buying more cabinets if I went beyond 4 titles.

But all that is moot, since we're talking about game #2 here.

#12842 2 years ago
Quoted from Russell:

I bet Heighway is wishing they had never even done this modular thing.

Word UP! I'm still trying to understand how this could be useful for operators. The only place I see any play for this is from guys who have expensive collections and no room for their games. Why would I ever want a nice game sitting in a box. I don't care if it only takes a second to switch it out.

We have experience with this. Just ask the RFM guys how often they switch out to SWEP1.

#12843 2 years ago

Hopefully the new CPU is spec'd much higher than necessary so it builds obsolescence protection. There is no reason the new CPU won't last through the next 4-5 games unless something major changes in the display technology. I'm sure they don't want to go through this again with greater numbers of customers.

#12844 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

Ask the guys who have a SWEP1 kit for their AFM. How often do they switch out?

Quoted from SadSack:

We have experience with this. Just ask the RFM guys how often they switch out to SWEP1.

you need new material Chief. Same moronic comparison as 3 months ago. No offense!

#12845 2 years ago

Quick question. Do all standards come with the exterior lit cabinet art or is that part of the Blade EL lighting system?

Thanks!

#12846 2 years ago
Quoted from Wickerman2:

you need new material Chief. Same moronic comparison as 3 months ago. No offense!

There's no need to rehash the system as a whole, but I would suggest minimizing the value of the swappable system when making a purchase decision. Most times in life when I've factored future use into a current purchase it's been waste.

I think we all have heard the pimply kid at best buy tell us how "upgradeable" the latest and greatest PC was.

#12847 2 years ago
Quoted from PanzerFreak:

Do all standards come with the exterior lit cabinet art or is that part of the Blade EL lighting system?

All SE's include the exterior lit cabinet. That is a standard feature on all Heighway games. The EL blade lighting for Alien is completely seperate.

Regarding the CPU upgrade, I remember reading that Heighway picked the curent model in Alien so that it COULD be forward compatabe. It can power three completely seperate HD screens (Alien has only two seperate feeds).

#12848 2 years ago
Quoted from sed6:

How about mode timing? I've seen many a mode fail because time ran out. How's that determined or calculated?

Nothing too surprising. In the code in the field, most modes have a 40 second timer; modes with a hurry point countdown also approximate 40 seconds. APC uses a shot clock of 15 seconds instead of a full mode timer. Some modes automatically add extra time if you get through the first part. Mother will extend each mode once.

In the very latest code (Heighway doesn't even have this build yet) all mode timers are fully operator adjustable, with Extra Easy/Easy/Medium/Hard/Extra Hard presets available. The Medium preset got nudged up to 45 seconds.

#12849 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

Just ask the RFM guys how often they switch out to SWEP1.

never.
1.SWEP1 sucks
2. Pin2K swap is a PITA, but you already knew that and are trying to paint a false picture. Heighway swap is super easy and 5 min with one person.
3. SWEP1 sucks

We went over this all 3 months ago when you brought it up.

Quoted from Russell:

I bet Heighway is wishing they had never even done this modular thing.

I think they are very happy with the modular nature and it is a great long term play with future state in mind. I can eventually see having 4 Heighway cabinents and 6 games. Shop out one whole kit and then drop it in a cab. Bring the new pf home shop it. Rinse and repeat. Now I can more regularly swap pfs among locations with less space, effort, and cost.

#12850 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

I never find ignorance offensive.

Quoted from SadSack:

The only place I see any play for this is from guys who have expensive collections and no room for their games.

Talk about ignorance!!!

Just because you can't fathom the concept or can only look at it from one rather narrow viewpoint doesn't mean it isn't a worthwhile feature for quite a few people. Compared to many other collectors and Pinsiders, I certainly don't have an expensive collection... But the idea of having 2 or more games in less space than 2 games is very appealing. Especially since I have a nice crawl space where I could store the "kits" (5 or 6 probably) and they would be easily accessible for swapping.

It's no longer an operator dominated market. Even though operators can also benefit from Heighway's system. It's a collector / home arcade market now. Different set of needs/wants.

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