Catching up on this thread, I can't even count the number of configuration options Alien has now. From a business standpoint, managing all of these different options would be my nightmare. How many of each part do you buy? Which popular configurations do you assemble, box and have ready to ship? Which configuration do distributors receive and how does anyone involved support every variation being offered?
If it is not too late to do so, I really think it would be helpful for Heighway to switch to selling far fewer variations "made to order" and instead sell mods packs for the user to install themselves. The pinball consumer who loves to trick out their pinball machines would certainly buy a mod pack with a nice instruction manual (the cost of creating the manual and documentation worked into the mod's price) and install it in their game.
I have certainly never run a pinball manufacturing company before, but I have run a business for 17 years. There are things we have done in that company that have taken a long time to figure out and to get right, but that was all service and software. My eyes were opened wide when we started FAST Pinball and began working with physical product. Where every design, prototype, revision, re-revision, new prototype, better prototype, incorrect part order shipping cost, correct part order shipping cost, correct printing or printing mistake, hauling pinball to different shows around the country, all cost real time and real money. Seeing everything that Andrew has shared, I see it from the perspective of a business owner first and a pinball fan second.
I am sure I will get blasted by some for saying this, but from one biz owner to another, Andrew don't lose focus on shipping the kickass pinball game that Brian, David, Kelly, Aurich and all the others have worked so hard on by getting lost in the "infinite configurabilty" trap.
I look forward to playing Alien with my friend David Thiel (and hearing all about why he did what he did in the game) at the NW Pinball Show in June. Keep your eye on the prize and make the tough business decisions critical to ensure you get these games delivered and can continue to deliver new pinball to the masses for years to come.