(Topic ID: 106728)

ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over


By HeighwayPinball

4 years ago



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  • 24,458 posts
  • 984 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 days ago by MK6PIN
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  • Alien Heighway Pinball, 2017

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#15551 1 year ago
Quoted from Cheeks:

Well, one of my pet peeves is people that try to put EL wire on wireforms. It never actually comes out straight and always looks like you asked a drunk guy to draw a straight line with a marker. Not surprisingly, Heighway's implementation of this looks about as amateur. Unless they release a less flexible material, this won't change. Tron has the benefit of using the plastic ramps as a guide and a constant contact point, Alien's ramps make the fiber look like an after-thought at best.

Quoted from MK6PIN:

I haven't seen Alien w fiber yet, so can't judge. I do know the same guy that did TRON fiber is making the Alien version. I work w EL a bit, and very flexible. Fiber, as you know is much different. Have you seen Alien w Fiber? I might have missed it somewhere....

I have ordered the fiber optics as an upgrade for my Alien kit. The first implementation I saw was very bad. I did send an e-mail to Heighway recently:

Is there already footage of the production fiber optic kit for Alien? The pre-production version had a lot of tie-wraps for mounting the fibers to the ramps that did ruin the overall look of the fiber optics (seen as of 0:35):

Has the look for the fiber optic changed? And does it really add something to the overall look and feel?

I do want to know as I have already paid for the fiber optic kit, but I am not convinced at the moment that it is a must have.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Answer from Heighway:

I am afraid that I do not have any additional footage of the fibre optic ramp kit at this moment in time. There are developments happening with the fibre optic ramp kits and we will be more than happy to share these once they are complete. I understand your hesitation about the look of the kit and how it looks in relation to the rest of the machine. We have had many customers who have questioned the aesthetics of the kit and how it adds to functionality of the game. As I have stated earlier we are still developing the final version of this and how it fits into the machine. When we have more to share on this topic we will be in touch by email and will also add any additional footage that we create to our YouTube channel.

#15552 1 year ago

I think the problem with the fiber optics is that it was a feature thrown onto a list of LE options way early in the announcement of the machine. Something to grow that list, when the game basically didn't even exist.

Then it became a feature that had to be shoe horned in at the end to fulfill the early LE promise.

#15553 1 year ago

Continuing that thought...

Just another reason why announcing Alien at Expo 2014 was such a mistake. I can't help but wonder if the entire company's future was put in jeopardy by that decision.

By keeping that title secret, they might have bumped it for another title, even an unlicensed one, that they might have been able to sell in 2015 and make money, instead of the years of cash burn. Plus the added complexity of having taken pre-order money for LEs, with promises for things like fiber ramps, when the final design of the machine doesn't really compliment it.

Oh well, shoulda woulda coulda at this point.

#15554 1 year ago
Quoted from frolic:

Just another reason why announcing Alien at Expo 2014 was such a mistake. I can't help but wonder if the entire company's future was put in jeopardy by that decision.

Don't forget though, when Heighway announced Aliens in 2014, Andrew actually believed that they were going to ship Aliens in spring 2015. Even though they had nothing to show but some prototype toys and a early playfield makeup.

I sometimes wonder if Aliens would have shipped sooner and what it would've looked like if Nordman would've been around to finish the pin.

#15555 1 year ago
Quoted from frolic:

I think the problem with the fiber optics is that it was a feature thrown onto a list of LE options way early in the announcement of the machine. Something to grow that list, when the game basically didn't even exist.
Then it became a feature that had to be shoe horned in at the end to fulfill the early LE promise.

Could not agree with this any more! To me, the entire Heighway premise was half-baked, and it kept shifting to try and be more things to more people. This is at least one element of their initial failure. The fiber is just one instance of this where they had a line item idea (theme and machine agnostic) that they then needed to wedge into the plan whether it fit or not.

This same mentality has perpetuated through the evolution of the various LCD screens. The fact that developers don't even know the base configuration of user machines is a huge problem. But Andrew had this idea you could piece things together in any combination to try and satisfy everybody. What they need to do going forward is make the backbox screen a base feature, not an option. Then the development team can design assets specifically for a known setup -- this stuff goes on the backbox screen and this stuff goes on the playfield screen. Other features, like fiber, are determined on a game-by-game basis. Buyers don't need a million configuration options. Andrew thought it would make for a better product, but it's really done a lot more harm than good.

Hopefully Heighway cn real things in and make themselves successful. I still really want Alien and Full Throttle, but I'm not yet convinced to jump onboard.

#15556 1 year ago
Quoted from Ferret:

It's been quite an honor for me to work with David on Alien.

And right back at ya. And let me expand that to the entire dev team Aurich, Brian and Kelly. Alien development has been the work of peers who respect each other and appreciate what everybody else brings to the table.

It has been an honor to work with everybody involved. The package is really coming together. I speak with experience since I have had an Alien pin for nearly a month (thanks Tommy).

It's really getting exciting as we add the very last bits, polish and refine the existing ones.

The folks in Wales have been great as well and now with the AIG I feel that we are heading toward a production of games that will make us all proud.

ddt

17
#15557 1 year ago
Quoted from PACMAN:

Wow, i didn't know David Thiel worked on arcade games too. I have a few of them in my collection (pictured) and the sound definitely kicks ass on all of them!

Thank you so much I'm extremely happy that the work works for you.

Several NWPAS shows ago there was a line of Gottlieb games in chronological order. I hadn't played some of them (Krull, for instance) since I left Gottlieb/Mylstar in 1983. It was great.

I'm really happy that these have survived (and not been turned into MS Pacmans).

Dave Marston, in introducing me for my recent Pintastic talk, said something about my having done this over four decades. Yeow, while correct, it kinda threw me. I intend to keep doing this well into a fifth decade creating audio that makes games more fun.

ddt

#15558 1 year ago
Quoted from daudioguy:

Thank you so much I'm extremely happy that the work works for you.
Several NWPAS shows ago there was a line of Gottlieb games in chronological order. I hadn't played some of them (Krull, for instance) since I left Gottlieb/Mylstar in 1983. It was great.
I'm really happy that these have survived (and not been turned into MS Pacmans).
Dave Marston, in introducing me for my recent Pintastic talk, said something about my having done this over four decades. Yeow, while correct, it kinda threw me. I intend to keep doing this well into a fifth decade creating audio that makes games more fun.
ddt

You're the best audio guy out there currently in my book!

#15559 1 year ago
Quoted from daudioguy:

(Krull, for instance)

Krull was DOPE! Still is.

#15560 1 year ago
Quoted from Cheeks:

This same mentality has perpetuated through the evolution of the various LCD screens. The fact that developers don't even know the base configuration of user machines is a huge problem. But Andrew had this idea you could piece things together in any combination to try and satisfy everybody. What they need to do going forward is make the backbox screen a base feature, not an option. Then the development team can design assets specifically for a known setup -- this stuff goes on the backbox screen and this stuff goes on the playfield screen. Other features, like fiber, are determined on a game-by-game basis. Buyers don't need a million configuration options. Andrew thought it would make for a better product, but it's really done a lot more harm than good.

Exactly. Been saying this for a long time. Make the backbox LCD the main screen & standard on every machine. Playfield LCD for shot info, information, etc. That is all that is needed, and it can be developed appropriately on future titles. There is no reason to have 3 LCD screens on a machine, (with two mirroring the same info), as it's total overkill & clearly wasn't thought out from the start of design.

I also felt that the entire LE package was a mish-mashed mess. Too many colored trim options, when black actually looked the best IMO. I may also be in the minority, but I wasn't impressed with the hand-drawn full-sized backglass, and more importantly, it couldn't even be properly displayed if you ordered the backbox LCD. It's also pretty silly that they had to slap "35th anniversary" fonts all over the LE cabinet art, when we're actually closer to the 40th anniversary now that the game is close to being released. The Fibre Optic lighting looked really out of place with the dark theme. I'm not hating here, it just seemed clear to me that the whole LE package was thrown together, and the cohesive green Alien SE package just looks WAY better.

If I had stayed in, I would have switched to a standard with some optional upgrades (backbox LCD, lit side blades, shaker). The value is just not there for the LE, unless they make some final adjustments to the "official" version.

#15561 1 year ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Exactly. Been saying this for a long time. Make the backbox LCD the main screen & standard on every machine. Playfield LCD for shot info, information, etc. That is all that is needed, and it can be developed appropriately on future titles. There is no reason to have 3 LCD screens on a machine, (with two mirroring the same info), as it's total overkill & clearly wasn't thought out from the start of design.
I also felt that the entire LE package was a mish-mashed mess. Too many colored trim options, when black actually looked the best IMO. I may also be in the minority, but I wasn't impressed with the hand-drawn full-sized backglass, and more importantly, it couldn't even be properly displayed if you ordered the backbox LCD. It's also pretty silly that they had to slap "35th anniversary" fonts all over the LE cabinet art, when we're actually closer to the 40th anniversary now that the game is close to being released. The Fibre Optic lighting looked really out of place with the dark theme. I'm not hating here, it just seemed clear to me that the whole LE package was thrown together, and the cohesive green Alien SE package just looks WAY better.
If I had stayed in, I would have switched to a standard with some optional upgrades (backbox LCD, lit side blades, shaker). The value is just not there for the LE, unless they make some final adjustments to the "official" version.

I agree that the backbox screen should just be standard. I disagree that the playfield screen shouldn't mirror it. When I play the ONLY time I see the backbox screen is during a ball lock or video mode. Otherwise I never see it. I've owned IM for over two years now and still have no idea what is shown on the display 90% of the game.

I do agree that the SE is the better way to go at this time...which is why I pre-ordered it in the first place. I can add beacons on my own...and cheaply.

#15562 1 year ago
Quoted from Ferret:

No idea what Iceman's post is referring to, but I'll always thumbs-up applause for David Thiel.
It's been quite an honor for me to work with David on Alien. I was aware of and quite enjoyed his work on pins of the past decade or so, but after chatting with him, I learned about all his other work... Reactor? As a kid I'd go into arcades and hit buttons in attract mode on Reactor just to hear its cool music. QBert? Legendary. DE Time Machine? Always one of my favorite soundtracks of that era. The man is ridiculously talented, great to work with, and just a super nice guy.

That's amazing! I had no idea he did classic arcade games either. And Reactor, QBert, and Mad Planets, those are the BEST!

"Hero status achieved!"

#15563 1 year ago
Quoted from Astropin:

I disagree that the playfield screen shouldn't mirror it. When I play the ONLY time I see the backbox screen is during a ball lock or video mode. Otherwise I never see it. I've owned IM for over two years now and still have no idea what is shown on the display 90% of the game.

This still doesn't mean they need to mirror each other. The only time you're "watching" the playfield screen is for video clips and such when the ball is not active. Most of the time you're glancing at it as a HUD to get status of current mode, next shot requirements, and other immediate need info while you're flipping. If the playfield screen wasn't trying to mirror the entire backbox screen, much of which is not critically important at any given moment, then the info you actually need on the fly could be displayed much more prominently.

It seems pretty basic to me, but I'm not suggesting they change anything like this for Alien. I do however feel this should be the strategy going forward. Put videos and "full game" info up on the backbox screen. Put mode specific things, and other "I need to know this now" stuff on the playfield screen. Lose the 3rd screen.

There just isn't a rational reason why the designers couldn't make each of the screens work better if they were able to specialize them for specific needs. They weren't able to do this up until now because they never knew what config a given user would have.

#15564 1 year ago

The third screen near the alien head mechanism has a countdown timer for modes. I can never seem to look up and find the number being counted down while the ball is in play without draining soon after I locate the timer. There's just enough of a disconnect for me, ever the novice, to not be coordinated enough to use all three screens to their fullest intent. I'd prefer the timer be on the playfield screen. No idea what I'd do with the third screen in that case. Either that, or turn it into the TSPP upper mini playfield screen and just have the third screen with a giant number when in a mode.

#15565 1 year ago
Quoted from Cheeks:

It seems pretty basic to me, but I'm not suggesting they change anything like this for Alien. I do however feel this should be the strategy going forward. Put videos and "full game" info up on the backbox screen. Put mode specific things, and other "I need to know this now" stuff on the playfield screen. Lose the 3rd screen.

FWIW, I agree. We talked about this many times during the Alien development cycle, and IMHO what you describe would be a great approach to using the playfield screen as a "heads-up" display in the heat of battle, with the huge backbox screen being mainly eye candy for spectators and for times when the ball is captured. Can't do that when the backbox screen is optional, though. (Well, you CAN, but it would basically require doing two versions of every display scene, obviously a huge amount of work.)

#15566 1 year ago
Quoted from Ferret:

Can't do that when the backbox screen is optional, though. (Well, you CAN, but it would basically require doing two versions of every display scene, obviously a huge amount of work.)

Lets keep everything as is and gets the games out the door. Amazing sound work by the way, audio is top notch sir.

#15567 1 year ago
Quoted from Hazoff:

Lets keep everything as is and gets the games out the door. Amazing sound work by the way, audio is top notch sir.

Ferret is game code,daudioguy is sound.
They both are doing great work.

#15568 1 year ago
Quoted from pingod:

Ferret is game code,daudioguy is sound.
They both are doing great work.

I know didn't pay attention to the poster, sorry I think the code is great as well Ferret.

#15569 1 year ago

I'm really looking forward to this pin!

#15570 1 year ago

I feel the line in front of me getting shorter.

#15571 1 year ago
Quoted from TimeBandit:

I feel the line in front of me getting shorter.

If you are living in Jonestown and someone is offering you KoolAid, that may not necessarily be a good thing....

#15572 1 year ago

At the very least they've been working their way through refunds, which can only be a good thing and shows good faith. Whether they can get to 150 more delivered by August (or whatever their revised timescale was, I forget) is another matter.

16
#15573 1 year ago

Recieved my shaker from Heighway yesterday!! Thanks Helmut!
Remaining LE parts should ship soon, I have been told by Daniel!
Thanks to the Heighway Team....
Looking forward to the huge update that David and the Software team are working on!

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#15574 1 year ago

Hi Team Heighway.. I could supply these for your optic fibre mounting..

Consensus as compared to zip-ties anyone?

#15575 1 year ago
Quoted from Join_The_Cirqus:

Recieved my shaker from Heighway yesterday!! Thanks Helmut!
Remaining LE parts should ship soon, I have been told by Daniel!
Thanks to the Heighway Team....
Looking forward to the huge update that David and the Software team are working on!

Sweet! How are you liking the shaker on the game? Thinking of adding one

#15576 1 year ago
Quoted from Join_The_Cirqus:

Recieved my shaker from Heighway yesterday!! Thanks Helmut!
Remaining LE parts should ship soon, I have been told by Daniel!
Thanks to the Heighway Team....
Looking forward to the huge update that David and the Software team are working on!

They're using Red Tremors? Ugh. I hate those shaker motors. They're unpleasantly like a jackhammer.

#15577 1 year ago

There are very few shaker effects in the code right now (largely due to my game not having one) so I doubt it's impressive at the moment. I've got a list of potential shake moments, there are several obvious ones... I've considered coding them "blind" but I'm not a fan of releasing code that has never been tested.

#15578 1 year ago
Quoted from Join_The_Cirqus:

Looking forward to the huge update that David and the Software team are working on!

Given you current collection, how would you rate Alien as it stands so far?

#15579 1 year ago
Quoted from Sonny_Jim:

At the very least they've been working their way through refunds.

It's probably in their favor to work through the refunds. I suspect that the pricing on the pre-order was very competitive, they'll be wanting to provide the pin at the agreed pre-order amount (to anyone with a pre-order), but if they can provide a refund, then when the pins are good to go (and if pricing is increased), anyone without a pre-order will have to pay the new price.

#15580 1 year ago
Quoted from Join_The_Cirqus:

Recieved my shaker from Heighway yesterday!! Thanks Helmut!
Remaining LE parts should ship soon, I have been told by Daniel!
Thanks to the Heighway Team....
Looking forward to the huge update that David and the Software team are working on!

If that's a red tremor then that will certainly test every connection in the machine. You may want to read the thread about "taming the red tremor"... might be prudent with parts and schematics in short supply.

#15581 1 year ago

If thats the shaker that will be stock that will be ok since ferrit can code it to suit the game

#15582 1 year ago
Quoted from Manic:

If that's a red tremor then that will certainly test every connection in the machine. You may want to read the thread about "taming the red tremor"... might be prudent with parts and schematics in short supply.

Or just hook up with Pinball Life and use their much more pleasant shaker motor in the machine.

#15583 1 year ago

The shaker code has already been rewritten completely since Full Throttle was released. It will not be as strong out of the box, and there are adjustments so you can change the strength and frequency of use (or disable entirely). Like Ferret said, it just needs to be worked into the game rules where it makes sense.

#15584 1 year ago
Quoted from bigdaddy07:

Given you current collection, how would you rate Alien as it stands so far?

I play it every night, Alien is definitely one of the top in my opinion.
The game immerses you into the world of Alien and the nonstop action keeps you coming back for more.
Build quality is in line with JJP
The two mini wizard modes are also very rewarding especially when the Beacon lights start up.

This game is awesome, hopefully soon, more will be in the homes of their buyers.

#15585 1 year ago
Quoted from Join_The_Cirqus:

I play it every night, Alien is definitely one of the top in my opinion.
The game immerses you into the world of Alien and the nonstop action keeps you coming back for more.
Build quality is in line with JJP
The two mini wizard modes are also very rewarding especially when the Beacon lights start up.
This game is awesome, hopefully soon, more will be in the homes of their buyers.

What's an average score for you?

#15586 1 year ago
Quoted from Agent_Hero:

What's an average score for you?

I have the game on hard
Back legs cranked all the way up too
Game can be Brutal so anywhere from 10 Mil-35 mil on average
Good games are around 65-90 Mil
My Best Game was 199 Million

10
#15587 1 year ago

That sounds about right. For me, a typical crappy game is 30-40M, a decent game is ~80M, and my best score (lost somewhere in a reset) was ~350M. I just put up 203M, completing Alien and getting halfway through Aliens, with 3 of the 4 multiballs played. That last game was helped by a ridiculous 20-way combo that I wasn't even trying to get, just kept making lots of different shots. Sometimes you get lucky. At that point, the combo value was around 2.4M, which was probably worth more than any multiball jackpot or mode shot. If I was just going for big points (league or tournament), at that level I would've probably ignored everything else and just tried shooting left ramp-right ramp-Airlock as much as possible to cash in combos... but I was trying to win the modes, just because.

(My scores are probably a bit higher than y'alls, because the very latest code has some tweaks to more strongly encourage shooting the field... for example, the current production code requires you to complete a Lifecycle to advance spinner value, which is hard enough to be a poor risk/return. The latest code advances spinner value on each individual Lifecycle shot made, which adds extra incentive to make those shots.)

#15588 1 year ago
Quoted from Join_The_Cirqus:

Recieved my shaker from Heighway yesterday!! Thanks Helmut!
Remaining LE parts should ship soon, I have been told by Daniel!
Thanks to the Heighway Team....
Looking forward to the huge update that David and the Software team are working on!

That is the first Dialed In topper I have seen.

24
#15589 1 year ago

Nitro received the required Xeno heads, parts & upgrades recently for our Alien customers in Canada that had received their game (during Andrew's tenure), but had outstanding issues. The communication between Heighway & Nitro has been fantastic. This is a welcome change from the previous management. Very much looking forward to getting Alien pins out to everyone soon!

#15590 1 year ago

ferret will Alien possibly have a midnight madness mode?

#15591 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

ferret will Alien possibly have a midnight madness mode?

It's always midnight in space.

And no one can hear you scream.

#15592 1 year ago

Need my LE!!!!!

#15593 1 year ago
Quoted from FlipperFreak:

Nitro received the required Xeno heads, parts & upgrades recently for our Alien customers in Canada that had received their game (during Andrew's tenure), but had outstanding issues.

Anxious to get mine as well. Fingers crossed it will happen soon.

#15594 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

ferret will Alien possibly have a midnight madness mode?

Not planned, sorry.

#15595 1 year ago

Website updated! Looks like they won't be selling direct anymore, says volume orders only. I wonder if us single machine buyers will be passed to the local distributor?

#15596 1 year ago
Quoted from Kneissl:

Website updated! Looks like they won't be selling direct anymore, says volume orders only. I wonder if us single machine buyers will be passed to the local distributor?

Potentially new buyers, but I wonder how Heighway will proceed with those who have been standing strong in their support with a preorder. They should handle those sales.

#15597 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

Potentially new buyers, but I wonder how Heighway will proceed with those who have been standing strong in their support with a preorder. They should handle those sales.

Fairly certain they are.....

#15598 1 year ago

Side note ( too lazy to look back through the pages)...what is the total height of the LE w provided beacons? Ve got a spot picked, but might be vertically challenged....

#15599 1 year ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

Side note ( too lazy to look back through the pages)...what is the total height of the LE w provided beacons? Ve got a spot picked, but might be vertically challenged....

Here

IMG_3648 (resized).JPG

IMG_3649 (resized).JPG

#15600 1 year ago

Thank you!!!...off to the game room now.....

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