I'm going to go with Dennis Nordman over "I think that flipper is in the wrong place" personally.
I'm going to go with Dennis Nordman over "I think that flipper is in the wrong place" personally.
Also, I reeeeaaally hope then consider making the screen hole more interesting. That's honestly my biggest complaint about Full Throttle. The rectangular hole showing the screen looks really afterthought-y. Real turn off for me personally.
Find a way to shape the opening for the screen in a more interesting fashion. A decal under the plexi maybe. But make it feel like an organic part of the game, with a UI that matches. Would elevate the game so much more.
Or what if the screen hole was just cut into a rounded 4:3 rectangle, like an old CRT tube (what the Alien movie monitors were) and the monitor was mounted down a little below the playfield, at a slight angle towards the player, with the inside frame and edges of the playfield painted black? Maybe even use a lightly smoked piece of plexi for the window, so it was basically black when it was off.
Would be pretty cool to see the score and images almost floating in space below the playfield, pointed right up at your eyes.
Quoted from HeighwayPinball:
With the screen, it's difficult to lock down the screen design to any one style because you restrict the usage and impact of the screen. For example, someone suggested (Aurich I believe) that there could be a 'Mother' decal for the screen. This would be great for all 'Mother' type messages, but would be unsuitable for a full screen motion tracker. We believe the best and most versatile solution is to let the screen itself provide the surround graphics
That wasn't me, but I did think about the motion tracker idea. I rejected it (like actually making the window half round) because you're right, too restrictive.
I'd just love to see you find a creative way to hide the "rectangle hole with screen in it" look. But in a way that doesn't overly restrict you, 100% hear that. Like a slightly rounded border, like an old school CRT, with a bezel graphic. Would only take up a small percentage of the very edge of the screen, could still do anything with it, but would fit the theme.
But I haven't seen your playfield art, and can't wait to, so I'll try and hold back my enthusiasm for suggesting stuff!
AC/DC looks like hammered shit. It might be a great game, but it's an ugly motherf-er, no question. It doesn't really matter, but no one buys it for the looks.
If Lebowski didn't have the great hand drawn art I'd be out. That's what sold me first, it's what I've been waiting for pinball to go back to for so long now. These high priced pins need to work on every level for me.
Alien sounds super exciting, and it could really go with a lot of different approaches to the art and work, so I'll just wait and see what they reveal. But I hope they really nail it.
Quoted from Hazoff:
Do you guys think I'm taking a risk waiting till Nov 1 to make payment? I'm getting a little nervous here, when it comes to pinball I have problem and can't miss out on an LE. Help me.
Honestly I can't see the LE coming close to selling out before the art is revealed. I think you're totally safe until then. So wait, and look at it. If you like it then get in then. It's still a pre-order, but at least you know what you'll be getting.
Quoted from Cheeks:
Can someone confirm the differences between the standard and LE? I've seen the website and assumed that was correct, but someone posted an image of an LE shot map with a bunch of additional playfield features unique to the LE that were not listed in the website comparison chart. Nobody even commented on the LE shot map so I'm wondering if it is even real.
It was a joke. Look at it more closely and you'll see that someone was making stuff up.
You guys are some crazy mother-fers and I salute you. I'm in on TBL, and I thought I'd never pre-order a game (let alone pay that much for a damn pin), but at least I've played it and seen it and chilled with Dutch Pinball. Alien sounds absolutely bad ass, I love the theme to death, but you haven't even seen the art yet and you're pre-ordering?!
Looking forward to the reveal, and I love me some Dennis Nordman, but I gotta see the art before I even think about it.
Quoted from frolic:
I think everyone will be understanding of whatever news you bring, but you've got to keep the updates coming, especially now that you've taken deposits.
Seriously, posting even little tidbits often will really help you right now, people are gunshy with all the pre-order stuff going somewhat sour, so keeping people feeling connected will do a lot to ease fears.
People like to feel involved, and know things are moving. Even minor updates or photos are appreciated. IMHO you should be doing that already with Full Throttle.
Quoted from bemmett:
I am all for keeping people updated on here as well and hopefully it spawns new excitement leading to new buyers and customers but if you have such an interest in it, put some money in on a pre-order and get it back if it isn't something you care for later.
Honestly, forget that. I'm not putting money down on a product just to find out more about it.
We're a huge customer pool, you can either cater to us or not. But I'm not reading the PPS forum to see what Rick is doing, I'm not giving money to someone for access, be it Heighway or Jpop, you either tell me what's up in the hopes that I'm interested or you don't.
Quoted from bemmett:
I am saying people that have some interest in the machine, put your money up to show your support and interest and judge as you go.
I think that's fair, but I need to at least see the art at the very, very least. This is a game that could look incredible, or end up really disappointing. It's hard when you pick a theme that comes with great expectations.
The word was expect photorealistic art. That could mean a lot of things, so definitely curious to see how that goes down.
This is the downside to showing in progress stuff. I'm sure it's frustrating to not be able to reveal more, and the news of Nordman leaving is probably not helping, but I personally make it a rule to not do public reveals of unfinished things. People can't help but fill in the blanks with their own imaginations, and it's incredibly difficult to live up to the expectations that people create inside their heads.
Quoted from HeighwayPinball:
We are nearly at the stage where we can show you some backglass art and sideart - and as soon as we get official approval, we will post images here.
Super curious to see this! Art is going to be a real make or break for me on this one, there's just so much awesome potential.
I'm expecting Photoshop personally. I believe it's already been stated it won't be hand drawn. Won't judge until the art is revealed, just have my expectations dialed down is all.
Quoted from Pinballpal:
They need to release a video of some buddy playing full throttle who has played pinball more than once in their lives. Every video I see of this pin every buddy is just crushing the posts it makes the game look extremely hard with no flow what so ever. I have read that it has tons of flow and super fast. They have to release a video were the person is not bricking the shots so much you would think they were buliding a house.
I watched Josh Sharpe play it at Expo for what felt like 20 minutes. He had no problem rocking it.
Yeah those were nice, but I wasn't tempted because I already have my favorite Mondo Alien print framed behind me:
This is why I'm sad there's no possibility of hand drawn art, but let's see how the final results look, could still be awesome.
Quoted from aeonblack:
I honestly just find it baffling why companies would refuse to hire on an artist to really make something special, something that stands out and is just as beautiful as a piece of art as it is a functional, fun machine. They put so much work into the code, the layout, design, toys, etc, and then it seems like they half-ass it with some seemingly thrown together photoshop art.
It's not that simple unfortunately. Greg Freres works for Stern now for instance. He's the artist behind some of the most beloved games out there. Think about how many people love the art on Fathom or Elvira ATPM and Scared Stiff.
But when you get in bed with a license your hands can often be tied. I believe there are creative solutions that Stern doesn't want to take the time and effort to pursue, and smart licenses can lead to more creative packages (see Metallica) but that's just the reality of so much of the photoshopped PR collages.
Quoted from PinBalt:
Aurich mentioned Greg Freres in his example and it reminded of Andrew being asked whether Greg might be doing the playfield art and he gave a no comment Does anyone else recall this? I know Greg works for Stern but I wonder if he still has freelance ability and was pulled on with Nordman's early involvement.
I would be really surprised if Greg was freelancing for other people. Remember what happened to David Thiel, he did music for JJP and Stern cut him off.
Just for fun, here are the modern Alien arcade games, you can see how they handled the art for these. May or may not be relevant! ( they even have toppers )
Awesome, love seeing the flipping whitewood. Obviously still early, but that's okay, it's cool to see the early stages. Looking forward to seeing the second one too, and very much to the art when you have approval to show it.
Quoted from iceman44:
Yeah, I'm just excited that Andrew did what he said he was going to do!
That feels like a major victory in and of itself given some of the other projects out there
Haha, no shit, we're so easy to please now. Just say you'll do something, and then actually do it, and we're blown away!
Notice there's no "we can't show you the whitewood because we're too busy filing 37 patents for our game" or any other nonsense. Yes, I want to see the art. But the important thing is first, a ball being flipped around!
Quoted from iceman44:
Well, I said it watching Andrew at Expo give his interview and I thought he had his shit together.
So, naturally, being the start up pinball supporter that I am, AND the fact that the Alien theme is awesome, I dropped into it with a deposit.
I always knew I was gonna get a Woz one day, 4 yrs later, I suspect Andrew is of the best of the best top notch caliber as well.
Hey, it's pinball, and I love it, and I like to support groups like this!
Reasonable prices, new ideas, good communication, I think all the things that should be in place for people to support are there.
Full Throttle doesn't interest me, as a theme first and foremost. And I'm not pre-ordering anything. But Alien I could be excited about, it's a killer theme. But I need to see the art, hear the sounds, etc. I love the theme so much that I couldn't do it if it wasn't right, if that makes sense!
Easy answer? So that the playfields are exchangeable between games. I'm not a big widebody fan myself, but I'd have to see how it plays, Full Throttle was flowing and fast for sure.
I got sucked into watching Alien 3 last night. I know it's got problems, but I have to admit, I enjoy it still.
Quoted from sammiesguys:
I don't mind it either but there's a lot of hate for it out there. And I think that has as much to do with "what could have been" as it does with anger toward the actual movie that was released. If people want to see what happened in the production of the movie, you can google search and read all about it. A real mess.
Yeah, I've watched all the behind the scenes footage and interviews. It's actually amazing it came out as well as it did.
Production starting on their first game is a huge milestone! I know they did the Bacardi thing, and it was a great test of their ability to Get Shit Done™, but doing a real pin is a big step up from that.
Love the business model here. 50% before production, 50% with a pic of your game. Sounds super reasonable to me!
Can we please leave other game's dramas at the door? Take it to PM if you must. Heighway has been super great on the communication, they're about to start rolling the line on their first game, and we'll quickly see how legit they are or aren't. No reason to stir up dirt here, they don't deserve it.
Quoted from ZenTron:
No official revised release date announced makes me disagree about the communication being super great. Im a potential customer and was thinking of preordering an LE but so far i feel like im glad i didnt. Its shame that has to be the case.
Making licensed games when you have to do them properly instead of calling the number on the back of the DVD case is hard!
I've never done a pinball game, but I definitely know what it's like to work with clients that have multiple approval departments, and people have to figure out who can approve what, and requests and assets get kicked around, and you have to just cool your heels while the wheels and gears grind.
I have to think anything I've experienced has got to be way worse with a giant movie studio.
The difference with Heighway is they're offering the pre-order if you want model, not you must pre-order model.
If you want an LE you can buy one after they come out, but you do run the risk of them selling out. But that's your call, not something artificial.
Really I think everyone will probably breathe a little easier not just when Alien news is able to be released, but when Full Throttle games start arriving in people's houses. That's the real acid test, to use an apt for the topic metaphor.
I think one thing you have to remember is that Full Throttle is an unlicensed pin. Destiny was firmly in Heighway's hands for making it. No one else to answer to. And you have to respect that there were features planned for it that just didn't hold up in testing, so they were scrapped to make sure the game was as good as it could be.
Alien is the first licensed title. I don't doubt that were things fully in Heighway's control that we'd see more results already. But you're a bit of a slave to the licensor's schedule when it comes to approvals, and it's not the kind of thing you can show in-progress work on when you're waiting for that response. So I would think we're just seeing a little of the reality of that side of the game appearing. Big corporations aren't exactly known for moving fast.
No reason to doubt what they're doing, the first game is about to hit the line, let them keep learning their lessons, listening to the fan base, and do what's needed to make a great game. Alien is a killer license.
My two cents: Beacons and lit ramps aren't exactly "gameplay" features, but they interact with the ball (I assume, no idea how the ramp lights work). I'd prefer personally that anything that is actually tied to the gameplay be available to anyone. Have a Full Throttle and want to convert it to an Alien? Pay extra and get all the features.
Let the LE be limited to more cool stuff that's not really gameplay related. Special powdercoat sure, but maybe an exclusive art package that only the LE can have. That keeps it limited, but not at the expense of people getting the full game.
That just seems to fit with the "modular" idea. You don't want to feel like you can't get a full game upgrade. But it still makes the LE special for people who love the theme and want a really dedicated cabinet for it that shows that they got the special version.
I guess I just would prefer things to be player first, collector second, in terms of priority, while still be sensitive to the concerns of both sides, since they both matter.
A little bird chirped a tune outside my window that sounded suspiciously like "Alien updates are coming tonight" just now.
Quoted from sammiesguys:
An honest, straightforward update. Thanks!
It's funny how far a little communication and honesty goes, right? Things are delayed, but here's why. Here's what we're working on, here's what we hope to show soon, here are some rough timelines that we're aiming for.
And if you say you're gonna show something in a month, and you can't, because the real world is complicated? Hey, just update like you promised, and say whatever you're allowed to about what's going on again, and give your best estimate for when you can try again.
I truly believe that pinball people are very patient, if you just make them feel informed and part of the process. Almost everyone would rather wait a little longer for a better game, they just want to know why they're waiting, and maybe a little other information to tide them over.
The trouble and drama appear when there's an information vacuum.
Ice, this isn't a Jpop thread, relax man. I know John's got you worked up, but Andrew is the polar opposite. Let's list some differences between the two and their current stable of titles:
Is communicating regularly directly with people: Andrew [x] | John [ ]
Is being up front and honest about progress and issues: Andrew [x] | John [ ]
Has shown a flipping game: Andrew [x] | John [ ]
Has a factory: Andrew [x] | John [ ]
Is actually building a game, right now: Andrew [x] | John [ ]
Took 4 years to still not finish anything: Andrew [ ] | John [x]
Is charging $17,000 for games: Andrew [ ] | John [x]
I could go on, but I think we all get the point. Let's not try and create drama based on other people's issues. This thread is the communication and honesty we deserve, from everyone.
Let's just leave everyone else's drama at the door and keep it positive, it's almost Easter.
Quoted from underlord:
I'm with ya bro! But right now Andrew just needs to get the prototype built with art and PF approvals, then we can see what works and what doesn't.
This is what got me in trouble in 2012-2013 with another ( unnamed) pinball boutique.
When HEIGHWAY gets FTH out in numbers and Alien being built, they will be past boutique status. But until then...
Heh. I think Heighway is way beyond "Kevin status" already, just having a factory building their first game alone does that. But I hear you, show and prove, sounds fair enough to me.
Here's my take on the state of things with these "startup" pinball companies. Whatever size they might be.
I think it's totally fair for us, as consumers, to have expectations when it comes to communication. Show and prove. People have been burned before, it's a reasonable and smart approach. We should have done it from the beginning, but it's not too late to learn. And frankly it's not a lot to ask for.
The other side of that coin is I feel like we should support the businesses who do the right things.
Spooky and Heighway both have done original themes, something we've asked for. Now they're both moving into the world of licensed themes, because it turns out that what we actually want.
There are going to be delays. It's just the nature of the beast. Licensing can get pretty complicated. You have to work with the movie studio, and then work with the rights holders for the music, work with the reps for actors. Wait for this guy to return your call with permission to contact that other guy who will promise to get back to you. In two weeks. Rinse and repeat.
As long as you don't go all dark and silent and keep us in the loop I can be patient.
I've already told Chuck and Ben that if there's a way I can help them that I'm there, I want to see Spooky thrive.
I'm throwing my hat into the Heighway ring now too. Let's get behind these companies that are making drama free games.
Agreed, that's the sane model. It's fun to be in on the process as a community, but ultimately it just creates more frustration and drama than it's worth. Sometimes you don't need to see the sausage being made.
Quoted from Aurich:
I'm throwing my hat into the Heighway ring now too.
I really meant it!
And I meant what I've said before too, about waiting to see the art. I think it's totally fair to say "game sounds great, but I need to see what it looks like before I even think about ordering". It's on me to try and sell you.
Quoted from TigerLaw:
I am two months behind on this thread, so sorry for the way back bump if this is discuss further later on, but I think this is an awesome idea. I'm curious what aurich thinks if he has not already commented later.
Andrew covered this earlier, they're going to revolve the way they should.
Other than that I don't know how they're being designed specifically. I imagine all anyone needs is them going nuts at the right times though.
I don't really want to speak for Andrew, but he has been really busy lately, even I haven't talked to him a ton the past couple days, and we're in pretty close contact. So just saying that you might not get any immediate response in this thread from him like you're used to.
Quoted from drinkduffbeers:
Quick question for Aurich, are you involved in the playfield artwork or just the LE back glass and side art?
I'm doing the standard backglass and sideart, though the initial rough concepts for it were already done before I came on board, so my role there is to flesh them out and finish them.
I'm doing the playfield. Some things were in place there too, but probably a lot less will be kept, concept-wise, that's what I'm working through now.
I'm doing the LE backglass and sideart.
I'm working on designs for the LCD screen, though we have an animator, as well as people at Heighway who've done concepts and animations.
Working with the license is a process, and that's the main reason we haven't been ready to show anything yet. I'm used to working with big brands, but on much tighter/faster time schedules, it's definitely a learning experience to go through this all. When you do an ad campaign for Microsoft or Lexus you're working with their agency, and while there's always a style guide and legal requirements you never had to submit work through such a formal and intense process that comes with the world of film.
Quoted from CaptK:
Just re-watched Aliens (director's cut) for the ???th time. Aliens is such a great movie! Then again, SO is the original! I can't wait to see what Heighway does with this franchise.
I love them both. But I might have to give the edge to Aliens if I had to pick, only in that it's the one I can just rewatch again more easily.
Quoted from Hazoff:
Any idea's of when we can expect some updates? I would love see some artwork.
We're at a stage where it's not really up to us. But I happen to agree that it's probably best to let Full Throttle have a little spotlight time. The early reports on it from Pintastic were really positive, give people a little time to get to know what Heighway is doing. First customer games should be showing up soon I think. I haven't even played it myself, and I'd like to.
I'll say this: The extra time for Alien is really a good thing, it's allowed for some space to iterate and improve the playfield. I think people are going to really dig the next reveal of the design, whenever that is, because there are more shots now, better flow, more toys, more interaction, etc. The design has been refined. I just got the latest CAD file yesterday, and I'm loving the tweaks from even the last version I had.
Both Andrew and I are huge fans of the movies. More than anything we want to get it right.
The art process is taking longer than anyone would like. It's slower than I would like. But I think we all know by now that pinball can be like that, especially with a license. There's no drama, it's just the process playing out.
I'm probably getting into speaking for Andrew territory here, so I'll stop, but hang in there guys, we're going to do our best to make a great game.
I mean, sure, I'd love to say this game I'm working on already has the LEs sold out, but to be honest in a funny way I'm glad they're not. No one has really seen the game yet. I'd like to think that we earn the orders from the work, not just picking the theme, if that makes sense.
Quoted from Cheeks:
This is a great example of the hypocrisy of people regarding the "I'll buy any original theme" line they like to throw around. Full Throttle might as well be a non-licensed game for us here in the states, and obviously Alien is a license. Everyone is clamoring over Alien. That's understandable. But everyone also keeps saying Full Throttle is a bad theme...why?
People don't want original themes. That's really obvious. They pretend they do, but every single "dream theme" thread is full of movies and bands and TV shows etc. And there's nothing really wrong with that. Alien is an awesome theme, I'm excited for the ideas we have for the modes, it's going to feel great. Really good theme for a pin.
It's just extremely difficult to push an original game now. Without a known theme helping sell it everyone is extra skeptical and critical of everything. I feel like Full Throttle is going to be a slow burn, but I do think it will build some momentum once people are unboxing and reviewing it, because everyone who's played it seems to really like it. At the end of the day we're not talking posters or action figures, these are games, and they're about being fun to play.
I'll say this: as someone who just likes to work on these things as a hobby, definitely not looking to quit my day job, this might be the last licensed title I work on like this. We'll see, I may never do another pin, or a theme might convince me, but the restrictions of a license are a little bit too much like my regular client work, as opposed to the creative freedom that makes this hobby stuff an escape for me.
So I personally feel it's a shame that non-licensed pins are such a tough sell. Is what it is.
I'm not a big fan of the pre-order model myself. But in a funny way I'm in on this deeper than anyone else. I don't see any compensation for my work until the games ship. I'll get my own personal LE, and my payments are all royalty based. No game, nothing for me but a ton of my time spent!
So honestly I'm "gambling" more than anyone who's put money down on this. And I'm perfectly comfortable with it. IMHO the "worst case scenario" is simply that the games take longer to ship than people would like. Alien was probably announced a little early. So it goes, that's pinball. Heighway is a legit company, with a real factory, a real plan, and real ambitions. And they've got real funding.
You can add the beacons and fiber optic lights to a Standard. So if you decide to wait and the LEs are sold out at least you won't miss out on anything cool in that sense. But the LE should be a bad ass package. I won't lie, my goal is to make it cooler than the Standard.
I haven't even started on the LE art yet, it's just not as high a priority vs getting the rest of the game together. Looking forward to it since it's the version of the game I'll personally own though!
So I'm really not trying to push anyone into ordering right now, honest. Do what you're comfortable with. But I'm in with everyone who has and will, and feeling frosty.
Well beyond the fact that there's a hell of a lot of other stuff to do with the playfield and the LCD screen, we haven't shown the standard art yet because it isn't approved (though it has been submitted). I'd feel way more comfortable doing the LE art once the Standard has the green light. Then if there are any issues with the licensor they can be addressed before starting another package.
We're getting into territory where I don't want to speak for Andrew, so I won't address the specific questions. But yeah, pinball takes a while. And with a license you have all sort of delays you can't anticipate, it's definitely slower than I expected. I have a lot of experience working with big brands, but nothing like this. Maybe it's a film industry thing, I dunno.
As I said earlier in this thread, the delays have been a good thing for the gameplay, I'm way more excited to shoot the playfield design now compared to what was first shown. I'm sure there will be an update at some point.
Edit: I'm a huge Dennis Nordman fan, so whatever happened with him, my point above isn't a diss at him, to be clear. The design has just evolved in good ways since he left is all.
Quoted from iceman44:
I will always be ok putting down $1k or $1500 on a pin for pinball innovators. Never get sucked into the Jpop rabbit hole again though
Yeah, I'm on the list for Rob Zombie, and if I stay committed I have no issue with the $1000 deposit. But I'm not paying to develop a game, or paying for the thing in full years before it eventually ships. Big difference between crowd funding a game, and putting down a "yes I'm serious" deposit.
I thought Andrew showed the pop caps at Pintastic? I should really find the video of that and see what he showed.
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:
The more I think about this, the more I feel I should place a deposit. I told myself not to preorder until I've at least seen the playfield/artwork, but reading this thread is making it really hard for me. Between Aurich's comments, Heighway's great communication & the FullT reviews.....I'm really feeling confident about this game & this company.
Well I'm not a fan of pre-ordering, I wouldn't want to try and talk anyone else into doing it.
But that said, I'm in on Spoooky's Rob Zombie, and it's basically the same model as Heighway is using. So I guess I'm down to endorse the "put down deposit to hold spot and show you're serious, pay the rest when game is ready" model. It feels like a reasonable compromise.
The important thing to me is you a) don't pay in full without the game being done, and b) you're not funding development of the game. Both lead to too much heartache.
Heighway isn't asking for the rest of the money until your game is ready to be built, and they have independent financing, they aren't using pre-order money to fund making a game, and then not having any cash when it's time to build or something. So they pass that test.
Those sentry guns are clever, but they just look like a massive headache as far as getting broken from ball strikes.
Well, like I said earlier, just speaking for myself, I'm happy to earn people's purchases, not just ride the theme. I have no doubt that Andrew will be showing more when he's able to, he's not the kind of guy that likes to hold back updates, if you hadn't noticed.
I haven't a clue how many of the LEs have "sold" already, I haven't asked. I won't say I don't care, because sure I do, and I really appreciate the notes people have sent me as they've gone in, you guys are great. But I'm just not focused on it. If we do our job right selling out the LE games isn't going to be an issue.
Will it happen overnight, and if you don't get in now you risk missing one? Beats me man. But at least I know that if you miss out on the LE you're still going to have the same gameplay. We're not taking out the spinner and the drop targets for the Standard, or gimping the RGB LEDs, or removing one of the toys. And if you want the extra beacon lights or fiber optics you can add them.
Find your comfort level, follow along, and do what feels right.
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:
That's easy. Sell me your Flash Gordon
Flash Gordon is going nowhere, one of my favorite pins. So great. Really under appreciated IMHO. I can't think of a single ball pin I like more. I really love the early 80s Ballys, have Flash Gordon and Mystic, and a Fathom on loan. I have space for 10 pins but I only list 9 since I don't own the Fathom. If I can find a Medusa I'll sell my Abra Ca Dabra to fit it next to Mystic in my office.
Quoted from PaulCoff:
I spotted the white wood briefly and noticed one of the top flippers being kinda in the center of the playfield. Is there any chance of putting a post/protection at the end of that upper flipper to protected it from shots? I think that after a few random hits w/out protection that upper flipper is going to be needing adjusting due to the constant middle playfield bash shots.
I wouldn't worry about that flipper.
I'm sure a new layout will be shown as soon as possible, but that's Andrew's department.
I'm always hesitant to speak on things, it's really not my department. But the old whitewood and CAD drawing are definitely out of date, and the changes since then are IMHO real improvements. Same spirit, but refined. And the issues people (rightly) brought up with the upper right flipper have been addressed. Still 4 flippers to be clear, and they all have real shots that matter.
That's all I feel like I can say until we show an update!
Also, as long as I'm revealing "secret" things here that might make Andrew raise his eyebrows at me ( ) I should note that he hasn't been around much recently because the guy just got married! It's all over his Facebook, so hopefully it's not a secret he's gonna be mad at be for blowing up.
He's getting back to work now, but I'm sure he was trying to not think too much about pinball for at least a couple days!
Quoted from PinCrush:
I liked the floating flipper and the shots that set it up and the shots it fed into. The original layout was very well done (or so it appeared). I hope some of those ideas remain!
I'm excited to see progress but I've really changed my tune on showing work product. I was in way early on WOZ and thought I'd enjoy the process. Looking back, it was a freaking beating with all the MMQB and second guessing going on here. Extended delays aside, the dead space between updates just lead to more critique as people look for something to talk about. I've reluctantly realized that I think Stern has this right. Reveal nothing at all until the package is complete. Show it and capitalize on the wave of frenzy before naysaying sets in.
I know this won't be a popular opinion and I don't like it much either. But I think there is something to it.
Are you kidding? It should be a totally popular opinion!
I hate this model. If it were up to me Alien wouldn't even have been announced yet. Blow people away with a surprise and watch the mouths drop, that's how to do it. Building pins is slow, and even when you think you've got dates covered there's a million things that can happen to slow it down that you couldn't possibly have controlled. Even the most drama-free projects don't tick along like clockwork.
I don't like to announce my personal projects ahead of time either really. I've tried it, and it can work, but better to feel like you can throw away all your work and start over without worrying about what people think. The end result is more important than sharing progress.
I don't think Andrew likes it either. But I can understand why he did it. Frankly the climate when Alien was announced in pinball was pretty different. It felt like if you didn't throw your card into the ring people were going to commit all their pinball funds to other pre-orders. It was announce or risk being left out of the game. For a new company trying to build support that's death. And no disrespect to Full Throttle, but as Spooky has learned original themes are a lot harder to sell fast. You need to build them up, you can't count on support from the name alone.
Is what it is, and the game is progressing either way, we're just in this awkward period where there isn't much to talk about publicly. That will change, just going to require some patience.
I'll admit that I do kind of enjoy teasing you guys a little bit. But honestly if I was free to just share anything and everything I would. Once you've let the cat out of the bag I don't like the games and secrets. But it's not my call, and in some ways it's not even Andrew's. We've all seen the drama that can come with showing licensed stuff before approval has happened (see Philgate). Much more important to do things right and have a good end product.
Trust me, the soul of the game is still there, it's just been improved. Every flipper has cool shots. Every flipper has interesting setups. And frankly more shots and more setups than before, with more flow. I'm much happier with it now, as someone who's going to own an LE.
Quoted from MK6PIN:
All good...it will come, and no need for a frenzy....
I know, but thanks for saying it. I don't think "pinball is hard" is the right saying. Pinball takes time. Pinball is complicated. It's hard when you don't know what you're doing. It's hard to predict. But Heighway has a great team and a great factory. In the end that's what will matter when it comes to building everyone a rad game. And Alien will be game 2, all the lessons learned from doing Full Throttle means they're a little bit wiser now!
Quoted from frolic:
I can understand the thinking, but boy, when you think about it, how messed up the whole "pre-order pinball mania" was. All this money sucked up for games that may never see the light of day. Heighway is at Expo 2014 with a Full Throttle prototype, but that was yesterday's news already, so the arms race meant you had to announce something else.
Exactly. That's a dead on description.
The stuff with Jpop and Kevin really sucks. But their implosions really were rather small in the grand scheme of things. I'm hoping some sanity has returned with the bubble being pricked, not torn wide open. Maybe the hobby will be healthier for it. A real medieval bleeding. I know some of that blood was yours man, and that sucks. BTW I haven't forgotten about my PM to you.
Quoted from Classic_Stern:
This is genius level thinkin' right here .....
Tell you what man, I love pinball in so many ways. The 1980 Bally games make my heart beat faster. Just seeing them makes me happy. They're just right, the art, the sounds, the rules, the gameplay: just a real raw simplicity that's still extra challenging to actually master, and keeps you coming back. I keep my games on 5 ball, and the games still fly by in a 4 player match. Especially on my Flash Gordon!
But I also love what modern tech is giving us. Andrew, I'm gonna just spit a little hype out here, I'm not giving anything away, just talking about what we *could* do with the tech your company is letting me play with!
(The following is just a hypothetical for the moment, making it up on the spot, the team can steal it if they want, but not saying it will be in the game.)
We have a playfield where every single light both on top of and below it is a fully addressable RGB light (plus if you upgrade or have the LE there's fiberoptic ramp lighting, same color changing abilities). There's a high rez LCD screen right in the middle of that.
We kill all the GI and the inserts and the LCD. Game goes dark.
A rumbling explosion builds on the sound system, and the LCD lights up with a fireball. The screen goes red. A "shockwave" of red travels outwards from the screen as the inserts and GI all bloom into red in sequence as it moves away from the center. The beacons start spinning. The flashers start going off, red of course.
Man, I dunno what Andrew is gonna do here, but the man says he's going to offer an optional game-activated smoke machine. If you have one it would let out a big puff of smoke, right as the screen animates.
The game is bathed in red, the inserts fade out and flashers go off, so just the red GI remains, keep the beacons going though, and then we ... who knows? Launch a 4 ball multiball. Light up all the major shot arrows red. Every time you hit one it goes orange (and all the flashers orange). Then yellow. Then you extinguish it. Put out all the shots to light the super jackpots.
I dunno, I'm making this up right now, and the rules are all covered by Bálint and team. Just an example for the kinds of thinking I hope we bring to the game. But I'm working with the game designers and programmers to figure out stuff like that. It's this enormously cool playground. I'm honestly just as excited about art directing the LCD screens and the lighting as I am about the cabinet/playfield art.
So my point is, I love Flash Gordon and Mystic, but I love the new level of immersive-ness we're going to be able to bring to a game that's begging to have the atmospheres of the films. It's awesome that at a fundamental level they're both just games to bat the ball around. And yet they're real generations apart.
Flash Gordon is balls out hard, a drain monster with wild balls even when you hit the shot you were trying to (#^¢%ing inline drops). You're just lighting up the spinners and multipliers, that's the whole game for the most part. It's super basic. But it's so damn fun.
Alien will have multiple modes and multiballs and outside of mode things, full screen animations, all this insane lighting (though they'll both have interactive backbox lighting!). Just a totally different experience.
I've got secrets about the lighting that I won't even share, you'll have to see it in person and hopefully the ideas work!
Sorry man. Sort of just piled on there a little bit.
Quoted from WIKED:
I wouldn't have thought so. Only 14,489 posts in 3yrs on Pinside. You need to be posting a lot more.
I work from home. My wife is at work, my kids are at camp. Or, my kids and wife are asleep and I'm sitting here working, I'm a night owl. Either way I'm used to talking to people all day through the keyboard. Email, the Ars IRC channels, various IM and texting, etc.
Pinside is my non-work water cooler, where I don't have to think about doing a native Porsche piece, or working on a pitch to Microsoft. Don't get me wrong, the big clients are great, it's fun to work on a campaign for a brand that's looking for original thinking and willing to do what it takes to execute it. But look how fast I'm slipping into talking like I'm back at work.
So yeah, I need a place to chat with people that's a mental break from that. Pinball is a great outlet, because the community is awesome – warts and all, I love it – but also because playing pinball is how I relax.
I think the BOM and currency conversions and everything else have just led to some adjustments to make sure making the games is a sustainable thing. I dunno, I'm not in the middle of that stuff, Andrew and I have only briefly even talked about it. Considering what they're cramming into the games as far as features and the competitive landscape I feel like the price is reasonable. But obviously everyone has to make their own call on that stuff.
Quoted from RobT:
It's hard for anyone to say that the $8k price point is reasonable compared to other pins on the market because we haven't seen enough of Alien to make that call.
Personally, I'd still have a hard time calling any pin at the $8k price point "reasonable." Doesn't mean I won't pay that much for it eventually, but regardless of how good it winds up being, $8k is a lot of coin.
I was actually talking about the Standards. For any company's LE I think the value proposition is rarely there from a straight numbers perspective, it's more of an emotional thing. Only LE I own is Metallica, and I paid extra for it just because I really wanted the intangibles on that one. Not because it was really "worth it" otherwise.
But the Heighway Standard is priced right with the Stern Premium. But at least with Stern's current Spike offerings you getting a ton more. The obvious differences being a high rez full color LCD screen and complete RGB lighting. Plus widebody I guess. And as Full Throttle has shown that doesn't mean slow and no flow.
My bad, I missed that we were specifically talking about the LE I guess. Honestly I have no insights nor am I qualified to speak on the pricing, so I'll just stay out of it.
Now that Andrew has addressed that, maybe I can talk about the value and features of Heighway pins a little more. Rob and I were having a parallel conversation in the Hobbit thread, and it got pretty off topic. Rob suggested bringing it here, so this quote is from that thread:
The answer to that is no, you don't. Stern has never released a game with full RGB lighting. The closest they've come is Star Trek Prem/LE, which had true RGB lighting for the inserts. The Pro had a weaker style of RGB (could only do 6 colors) on a few inserts. None of the flashers and GI were RGB on either game.
Walking Dead has two different colors of GI bulbs, it's white and red right? So they can run both, or one or the other. Red GI, white GI, or white with red accents. Which inserts are RGB? Honestly not sure, only really played the Pro. But I know it's not every single one like Star Trek. On Alien every single lamp in the game will be able to be one of 16 million colors. Obviously in practice it will be less than that, but you get the point. Smooth transitions, any shade we want, fade on and off, etc.
So that's what allows effects like the one I posted earlier, with my explosion idea. Stern pins, as of right now at least, cannot do that.
Star Trek is a great example though, if you've played it with the most recent code, and you get a medal, it does that cool insert light show in the color of the medal. We can take things like that, and bring them up to the next level since we can integrate the GI, flashers, and LCD screen into the effect.
So when I say that Heighway is offering more value at the Stern Premium price point that's what I mean, they have more advanced tech. I'm not sure what Hobbit has. I think it's white GI and full RGB inserts, more like Star Trek Prem? Anyone know for sure? Or are they full RGB too?
Quoted from Law:
This is cool in theory and looks nice in a dark room, but really dramatic lighting effects are completely awful to play through, particularly if it pulses or flashers are involved. Going light-blind and not being able to see the ball(s) well, particularly after a successful run, is extremely frustrating. Stern has gone in the wrong direction with that lately, for sure.
Point taken, but I think that it's part of the gameplay too. Meaning that too many showy effects that detract from the gameplay can suck, but doing things where you're purposefully messing with the player are fair game. Like Fade to Black on Metallica. I love that the lights keep getting darker. It's part of the mode. Lyman really milked a lot of value out of just red, white, and blue GI lights. If he had the Heighway system of fully RGB GI I imagine he would have taken things even further.
Anyways, in my pretend explosion example above, that's clearly something you'd do while holding the ball. Make a saucer shot, then kill the lights, run the animation, and launch the multiball. Just like Star Trek does for Klingon Multiball. You can't expect the player to play through stuff like that, it's to build up momentum for the upcoming multiball or mode.
I don't want to post more examples, because we already have plans for the actual game that it's too early to talk about. But I hear your point for sure.
Quoted from jazzmaster:
My bad. I thought this was a forum thread. Guess I didn't realize I was in a PM discussion between you and Aurich.
Hey, it's all good, you have legit questions. Andrew answered the first part, so there's a dialogue straight with the owner of the company here. Within hours too. That's great.
Apparently WOZ prices just went up $500 out of the blue? https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/woz-500-price-increase
Stern raises prices between games. Alien is just caught with probably being announced a little early, but we already talked about why that happened, so no point in beating it to death.
I appreciate everyone who pre-orders, it's a real show of support, and I love you for it. But personally I think anyone who wants to wait it out and see what happens is no lesser in any way. Definitely isn't drama in my book to be cautious, or have questions.
Our job is to make a kick ass game, and whenever you buy it I'll appreciate it. And if you don't that's all good too, can't sell one to everyone. Though if that happened I wouldn't be mad.
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:
I know there are purists who prefer incandescent lighting & find insert LEDs blinding, but we're in the 21st century now & RGB lighting is becoming the standard. Bring on the high tech bright lights & cool effects!
I think having systems built from scratch to handle LEDs, with smooth fading, no flickering, ghosting etc helps. A lot of the hate for LEDs comes from retrofitting them in games where they just don't work right.
I know that I love Herg's LED OCD board. My Tron looks so much nicer now with it.
Quoted from RobT:
That's all nice stuff, but what we were discussing is your statement that Heighway is really going to put pressure on Stern with their price point and features. Even given the above...I still don't see it. It's not a game changer. It isn't a big enough improvement over what Stern does with their RGB lighting to put "pressure" on them to change what they do currently.
Eh, we'll just have to agree to disagree on that then. For me it's a big deal. The more interactive lighting is the main reason I bought my Metallica LE (used with the "real" code) over a Pro. It's definitely the reason I bought my Star Trek Premium over a Pro.
I didn't get a Tron Pro until Eli's ramp kit existed. I needed it to make the game feel complete.
Obviously theme and gameplay come first. But if you're contemplating Alien vs Jurassic World or whatever, and Stern's game is same old LEDs and a DMD and Alien has bad ass lighting effects and an LCD screen I think we have the edge.
Game of Thrones is going to change that though is my guess, so we'll just have to see where the cards fall.
Quoted from RobT:
Why are you comparing the difference in Stern's lighting between their LE/Premium and their pro, with the lighting between Heighway and Stern LE/Premium?
I'm saying that I paid more for the better lighting models. Star Trek Premium was worth extra to me for full RGB lighting. That's the main reason I got it over the Pro. The gameplay was really almost identical otherwise. So to me more advanced lighting is worth extra money, that's my point. To me it's more value.
I have literally zero to do with Full Throttle. I haven't even played it! Saw it at Expo '14 and that's it. I don't know how they use the RGB lights. All I know is that Alien is going to be filled with atmosphere, and the lighting is definitely going to be a part of that, and I think it will be a compelling package. And I think relative to the Stern Premium, which is the direct price comparison, it will represent a good value. Only you can judge what matters of course. And if the game isn't fun no lights will help that, we have to get everything else right too.
Edit: I started a new thread here https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/how-does-twd-premle-use-its-rgb-inserts because I'm curious to learn more about TWD lighting, and don't want to drag this off topic. Sorry for the Stern derail, was just trying to explain a value point. Removed my paragraph about Star Trek.
Quoted from PinPatch:
That poster above is a shocker. Looks like a giant cookie in front of a nude man...
I guess they were trying to be clever and combine the acid burn look with the whole "hey something just came out of a hole in this guy's chest" deal.
But considering that no one had seen the film yet as these were teasers it probably just confused the heck out of anyone who saw it.
Just goes to show, even when the end image is totally simple and iconic (the egg) there's often a ton of stuff left on the cutting room floor before you get there.
Quoted from TOK:
Do you have access to a higher quality image of #5 from this page? Looks like they went through a landmine of semi-cheesy stuff before nailing it!
You mean this one? (This is the highest quality I have, no high rez versions of these old images.)
Quoted from TOK:
The one from Attempt #5 in the link... It looks like a dude in spacesuit (or something) all wound up in spider web. Makes me wonder if the original Alien concept was more spider than wasp-like. I'd love to see a good pic of that poster!
Ah, I must have been counting from a different reference point, I think you're talking about this one:
Quoted from CaptK:
Okay, this is me speaking, not an official Heighway response, just to be clear.
But video modes as a general rule suck ass. Just saying. If a Heighway game never has a video mode I won't cry a single tear.
I think the only video mode game I have is the Shadow now, and I actually don't mind that one. But it's an exception.
And yes, I know Flippy Ghost on AMH is my fault.
Quoted from Chosen_S:
Drinking and typing!?
The dirty secret is if I'm posting after say 9pm Pacific on any given night there's a good chance there's at least onr substance or another flowing through my bloodstream. California living man.
Had a good talk with Andrew tonight. He was much more relaxed, I'm going to say at least so far being married is agreeing with him!
We both agreed that we need to show some more updates to people. Give us some time to get things together and we'll find something to share.
Quoted from CaptK:
Haha Aurich! Actually, I'm not a big fan of video modes in pins either. I was just having a hard time imagining how to incorporate that classic scene into the Alien pin in any other way. No worries! Now, quit screwing around here on Pinside, and get back to making us the best-looking pin ever! (No pressure...)
I am very capable of screwing around on Pinside and working at the same time!
Quoted from Methos:
Was that an actual early marketing idea?
Yeah, these are all legit ideas from inside Fox. The actual stories behind them I don't know. I'm not leaking anything secret, they're out there already, I just happen to have them all in a folder of JPEGs in the asset library Fox provided.
I think they're very cool, but in a "deleted scene that didn't need to make the movie" kind of way. Gives you some cool insight, but not as good as what was "real".
As I've said before, I'm a huge fan of the Alien "egg". It's just so iconic still, after all these years. They really touched a nerve with it.
There are two big differences between how JJP is using their screen and how we are. Obviously the first one is just size, we're going smaller, and keeping the traditional backglass. I'll admit that I prefer this, I just love seeing big art backlit up there. Just feel right to me, a little more traditional.
But the real difference is because we're embedding ours in the playfield you really need to think about it differently. The information is right there to glance at, you don't have to take your eye off the game. But that also means you need to be careful to not fill it with too much overwhelming information and animation while people are trying to shoot. Not a great place for looping dancing scarecrows.
JJP is really using the screen as a secondary area. They've moved a lot of things up there, like mode inserts etc. We are again a bit more traditional, all the modes will have actual inserts in the playfield still. It's really a bridge between the traditional DMD games, and one where there's more flexibility with high rez animations etc.
Quoted from nephasth:
Yeah. I'm not trying to be negative about it, but April has come and gone long ago. Even though we all knew that was an unrealistic timeframe for release, we haven't seen anything new since the first whitewood. Obviously that whitewood led to design changes, keep us excited...
We know people are eager to see something, so we'll figure something out.
I talked with Andrew. We both agree that we'd like to post an updated CAD drawing. There were some tweaks recently, so we just want to make sure it's feeling final, and then figure out how/what we want to talk about as far as a shot map or something.
I know waiting sucks. At this point we can either just be silent, or do our best to tell you what's going on and ask for patience. I think just being up front is way better than being quiet. And it's why Andrew has gotten so much respect here, he's the only major manufacturer that just tells you what's going on as best he's able, because he feels the same way.
That's one of the things that gave me confidence in working with Andrew, he gets that communication is so important.
I hate that the old CAD drawing is till being referenced, just since it's out of date. So is that first whitewood video. We'll fix that as soon as possible.
I can't get into specifics before Andrew is good with showing something, but I will say this:
All the flippers will make more sense with the tweaks, there's really a purpose to all 4. No one will be wondering why any of them are there.
Dave @ Heighway has really been obsessively iterating and improving the layout, some of it will be immediately obvious and change/add shots, and some of it is subtle but should create better geometry. In a previous version I had at one point there was a shot that looked like it might be a real ball trap problem. He spotted it before I even mentioned it and completely changed the flow of the shot, and now it's got more interesting possibilities. Every change has made it better, more polished. And since we're developing the rules in concert with this process the rules were able to influence the shots too, so that everything matched up to a vision.
It's what is posted up there, but better. I'm really confident that everyone will be excited about the changes. As a to-be owner myself I'm really pleased with them. I know people want to know about the art and LCD screen and stuff, but the most important thing is that it's fun to play. And I'm not even a big widebody fan, but this pin couldn't be done otherwise. It really utilizes the real estate. And I think Nordman's widebody vision, combined with Dave's flow mechanics is going to be a lot of fun to shoot.
Andrew is at ReplayFX this week, so hopefully will get some more reports on Full Throttle coming out. Not Alien I know!
I probably won't have much communication with him until he gets back. I hadn't checked this thread since my last post, I appreciate all the upvotes, it gives me confidence that people appreciate the situation.
Quoted from Join_The_Cirqus:
Aurich,, mabye you can post if here if Andrew did indeed show it at his seminar today?
Sorry, I don't have the shot map, I'm not sure what he showed. I have a CAD file, but not the same thing really. I'm sure he'll get it up here, it's not always easy when you're traveling and at a show to keep up with the internet.
If I talk to him and he needs help posting I'm of course happy to do it, but might need to be slightly patient.
So as I hinted before you can see that the upper right flipper will no longer be in the way of shots, and every flipper has important shots dedicated to it. No mystery wondering why a flipper exists or anything.
I'm really looking forward to the first time I get to flip this one.
Quoted from Pinballpal:
How much for an Alien LE kit if I buy full throttle?
How much for an standard Alien kit if I buy full throttle?
I don't think you can buy an LE kit? Since part of the LE is the powdercoated hardware. Honestly not sure though. You can buy all the LE upgrades for the game though, the fiber optic lights and beacons.
Quoted from joelreeves:
Holy crap! I've been staring at the layout for about 10 minutes, taking it all in ( blow it up and take a close look if you haven't yet ).
I blew it up by printing a 1 version of it and laying it out over one of my cabinets. Really helped me to visualize the geometry. Of course right after that Dave made some major tweaks to the shots and now it's out of date!
I'm not normally a big widebody fan, but this is a game that is really utilizing the potential. There are sequences that will use all the flippers together that just look super satisfying. Sometime it feels like an extra flipper is just added because the game is wide, these all feel really necessary, you can't navigate the entire playfield without them. Going to reward skillful aim and shot selection for sure.
Quoted from Jeekayjay:
In the LE is there any gameplay differences or differences on the pf?
From what I read it seems it's just a cosmetic thing?
Just cosmetics. No deleted spinners, or removed drop targets or any nonsense like that.
Quoted from bemmett:
It just seems if I get an LE then I am more or less stuck with custom trim and things that likely won't mesh with the next game? Can I possibly choose to get an LE without custom colored trim for less bu still have any other add-ons?
The LE option is really for people who intend to keep the game whole I guess? Obviously you can do whatever you want, but that's what makes sense to me.
However, to your other question, you can actually add the cosmetic LE options to a Standard. The only things you can't add are the powder coat, which you didn't want, and the LE-exclusive art package. That you'd just have to live without I guess. It's what sets the LE apart and is actually truly limited.
Quoted from Hazoff:
I'm really hoping you can get a different color trim for the LE, not into the green and would much prefer black or chrome. That would make swapping game PF's down the road alot better.
That's an interesting point. I wonder what % of people buying the LE over a Standard would do so with plans to swap?
Quoted from jlm33:
If (When...) I become Heighway pinball customer one day, I would be interested in a LE cabinet (the red one is gorgeous) with regular versions of at least two games.
In other words, I would only buy one cabinet and several games - space is an issue -, so I would like this cabinet to be as nice as possible. Makes sense?
Sure, makes total sense.
I think priority one with the LE is that it look great. If that means doing something that matches the art I think that's the right approach. The LE is after all supposed to be a complete package. No reason to compromise it for future possibilities.
But I hear the arguments too. I'll keep them in mind when talking to Andrew about it, something to at least factor into the thinking.
Hey, I can't promise anything, I haven't spoken to Andrew about it, but I will say that I love seeing feedback like this, it's helpful to hear people's thoughts on owning the games, and plans for them, etc.
Quoted from iceman44:
Now we are hopefully two weeks away from the "global launch".
I would guess that means "flippable whitewood", but I'm not at all involved in the plans for the party, I won't be there. Not even an option for me to be, I'll be in New York for business with my day job then.
Alien will be plenty represented in the game, don't worry! This is just the shot map, more to the game than that.
Quoted from nephasth:
How's that LE art coming?
I'm going out of town tomorrow, won't be back until after Andrew throws his party. Have family and business to take care of on East Coast. I might do some work from my laptop, but probably not a whole lot, we'll see. Looking forward to seeing where we're at when I get back.
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:
Thanks so much for posting this link! What an incredibly interesting read. Who knew there is a subset of individuals interested in typographic deconstructions in sci-fi cinema?
I'm in that subset, I read that several times before Andrew approached me about Alien.
If you watch carefully in the director's cut of Aliens when they're in the scene where the guy approves Newt's family going off to explore you can see the evolution of the semiotic standards in the background. I think it's the only time they appear in the film. I've gone through the entire film taking screen caps off all the icons and signs and text for reference.
I'd buy it if I didn't already own it.
Chilling with family in Brooklyn, but I got some Alien work done on the train yesterday.
Man, super jealous of the people who got to see the prototype art lit up in person, I've only seen photos myself. I have some tweaks I think I'd like to make based on the pics, but backlit stuff is so hard to photograph to look like it does in real life.
Quoted from PinChili:
"If anything"? How long ago was this title announced? Last Expo maybe? How can there be nothing to reveal at this point? These 3-4 year development cycles from some manufacturers is wearing thin.
Yes, last Expo. And here we are, not quite a year later, and already you're complaining about a 4 year development cycle.
Everyone relax, I don't speak for Andrew. The process is what it is, people are working, the game is real, it's just a matter of letting it all happen. In the meantime let Full Throttle get some time in the sun, it just started shipping for real!
Quoted from PinChili:
10 months ago was a playfield layout drawing. I haven't actually SEEN an update since then.
Welp, then all I can say is you're not only complaining about things in a hyperbolic way (10 months became 4 years somehow) but you're not even actually paying attention. Forget the closed doors stuff that just happened at the UK party (with Fox's permission, no photos allowed). A brand new CAD drawing was just shown last month, with all the new shots, details on toys, etc.
Stern just took two years to work on GoT. They have the luxury of being able to work behind the scenes quietly. New companies have to announce way more ahead of time.
Here's the reality: People are more interested in buying Full Throttle now because they know that swapping in an Alien playfield is a possibility. So Heighway announced it earlier than they might have otherwise. They're providing a roadmap as a new company to customers, so you know what to expect.
This is what pinball is like. It takes a long time, because it's complicated. You say it keeps happening. Well yeah, everyone is building pinball machines, it takes time. Licensing approvals alone make the process slower. Andrew is playing by the rules, not showing things he shouldn't (ala the Dutch Pinball explosion) and it just means you have to be patient. You haven't sent in any money, which doesn't mean you don't get to have an opinion, but it means you're just waiting. You're not out any cash. Have to be a little patient is all.
Quoted from ZenTron:
So Fox said you could reveal parts of game at UK show ?
People at the show were allowed to see artwork, not sure what else since I wasn't there. And yes, with Fox's permission, provided there were no cameras.
Quoted from ZenTron:
They can't blame licensing restrictions on not being able to show the game but then show it to folks who attend a pinball show at their facility. That contradicts what they are saying and should be a little concerning.
See above. No contradiction. Fox was cool with showing unapproved concepts in person with no media. Nothing else has been approved for public reveals as of this moment that I'm aware of. It's a process, you have to let it play out.
Quoted from PinChili:
There should be as much transparency as possible and that is clearly not happening here.
This is, frankly, ridiculous. There is as much as possible, you just don't like what's possible. Can't be helped.
Show me a manufacturer who's been as good as Andrew with updating people here on Pinside. Maybe Spooky? But now that they have a licensed game you'll notice how quiet it's become on the Rob Zombie front. It's just the nature of the beast. When you're playing with other people's properties there are contracts and rules, and you follow them or you risk losing the license, and screwing yourself and everyone who ordered.
Bottom line: no one has to pre-order Alien. If you want in early or whatever then go for it, I'm not mad! But it's not being built with pre-order dollars, it's not only happening if X people pre-order.
Quoted from Plungemaster:
It is almost laughable highway getting critism for their inactivity into the communication department.
Trying to put on my neutral observer hat here, though I know I can't be totally impartial:
People are inpatient. People are nervous. People are curious. Lots of natural reactions. Alien was probably announced too early in some ways, but I think Andrew did it for the right reasons at the time. Things have changed since then, doubt you'll see him do it again as his company grows.
I think it's fair to say that Heighway is a new company, and is allowed the growing pains and mis-steps, but also should get the slack that new companies get too. You have to announce early sometimes, you have to hype a little. It's part of building up a following and a brand when you're an upstart in a market with an established base. When Alien was announced Jpop still seemed real to some people. Predator hadn't collapsed horribly. Hobbit and TBL were generating lots of talk. Heighway had to try and get into the mix.
Pinball building is just an incredible dance. So many moving parts. I know people want to see how the sausage is made, but often times it's just a bad idea to show them. Forget even the license stuff, things change over time. Ideas get scrapped when they don't work right. New ones replace them.
Image if JJP had shown renders of a big Smaug that rose up from the playfield, as was apparently originally planned. People would be mad to see the final version, having been expecting something else.
I think there's also the risk of fatigue. We want to see things! Now! But we also can get bored before they're ready. It feels like old news before it's even shipped in a way.
Still, even with all that said, Andrew is telling people things all the time, being very approachable, and basically pulling off a trick that pretty much no other company short of Spooky has been able to, which is be here on Pinside, not create drama, and try and keep people in the loop.
We should appreciate that it's harder than you might think, and there's a reason why not everyone does it.
Quoted from ZenTron:
One contradiction is that Andrew says on 8/19 "Realistically, we are targeting UK and USA events in October as launch events." You say yesterday: "I'll be at Expo. Dunno what if anything we're showing from Alien" I'd just recommend you guys figure out whats going to be revealed at Expo if anything and communicate this on a united front.
That's my bad, I shouldn't have said anything. It's not my role. This is Andrew's company, I'm just helping out with a project, need to not overstep my boundaries.
I will be at Expo. I don't know what the plans are as far as showing things, it's not mine to plan. That's all I meant, but I didn't help things the way I phrased it, and I'll be more careful.
I get everyone's frustrations, so I just try and be honest with people as best I can, it's my way of doing things. Look back through my posts here and I consistently say "if you're going to take pre-order money you owe your customers some answers, and if you can't do that then don't take the money". I still feel that way. I get that!
But for me what Andrew is doing is the kind of thing I want to see. I don't mean to pick on any other company, or set up some kind of us vs them scenario, but if everyone else who took money before delivering (and I mean code too, if you know what I mean) was as transparent as Andrew I'd be satisfied.
You can't know all the behind the scenes shit, you just can't. Some things aren't for sharing publicly, even if you wish you could see it all. That's business, and there are sound reasons supporting that. What I want is just a little communication.
Here's what I want to see, from any pinball company that takes pre-orders or announces things:
"We're still here, we're working on it, and as we reach certain milestones we'll share them. We can't promise when, because we don't want to make promises we can't keep. Things aren't always under our control when it comes to timing, that's just the real world. But if things are quiet for a while and we're not ready to show you something we'll at least tell you that we're not ready and still working on it, so you know we haven't forgotten the people who are waiting and supporting us."
That's my bar. I think I've been consistent over the years in communicating that message. And Heighway meets it. It's why I agreed to work with Andrew in the first place, he gets it.
If you ship a game, and the code's not done, then okay, I want the same messaging. Are you still working on it? If you can't say when it's done okay, just let us know you're not leaving us hanging.
Quoted from rai:
for the US delivery, what are the taxes or duties that would be incurred as well as the US shipping (roughly)?
My understanding is none, as far as duties or anything weird. Heighway will has US distribution like any other game, the "overseas" part won't affect you. But maybe someone who's bought Full Throttle can confirm how it worked.
Quoted from Hwawonyu:
There is about $100 fee for the company dealing with customs otherwise you pay for boat or air shipping.
You know, I guess you early guys aren't the best example, you were dealing directly with the UK before the first container for the US arrived. I dunno, I'm not the official answer here, but that's what Andrew has said, US distribution like normal once things are established more.
Quoted from ZenTron:
Aurich, I appreciate and respect your response.
In "sought of" related news I saw your full alternative Star Trek graphic set for the first time in person on Saturday. My friend in Columbia, SC picked up a brand-new ST Pro and his other friend bought your kit as a gift for him. I know its cliche but the pictures don't it justice and it looked fantastic in person. Having you part of the art team working on this pin was definitely a good move on Andrews part.
Thanks man, I appreciate it. I'm sitting here reading pinside because it's not *quite* time for lunch, but close enough that I don't want to get back into this playfield stuff I was working on last night and have to stop.
Which is a fancy way of saying I'm procrastinating.
Today's plan is to throw some chicken on the smoker, put on my headphones, and get into Alien art for the afternoon, and then relax with cocktails and tasty food for the evening.
Quoted from RyanStl:
I just looked at the prices because I'm dreaming of an Alien pin and my wife asked how much. If I was able to make it work with Heighway I wouldn't bother with LE and just get a standard cab and take advantage of interchangeable games. The lights up top and smoke machine being talked about with the Alien LE would lock the cabinet to that game.
I haven't seen them yet myself, but the LE is supposed to have Tron LE style fiber optic ramp lighting. Optional upgrade for the Standard. That would be my choice since it would "travel" with the playfield if you stored it.
As the for the modes, I don't want to discuss anything I'm not supposed to, but if the two movies aspect has already been talked about I guess that's safe. The plan right now is to have each film be a self contained run, complete with wizard mode, and you can choose which one you want to play first. Plenty of things outside of the self contained parts too. I think it will be a nice way to break the game into chunks. Might be doable to beat one movie in a game for instance, but a challenge to beat both, plus all the other parts. Plenty more to talk about later when it's time.
Quoted from wcbrandes:
I myself, ordered an Alien LE as I have no idea how the "beacons" or anything that doesn't "travel" with the playfield works.
I'm sure the beacons aren't glued down or anything. All I know is what Andrew has publicly discussed. And that's that new games will ship in some kind of box/crate, and you can put the playfield you don't want in it and store it under the game if you like. I think all the games are on full rails that stand up on their own on the floor. Keep in mind that my involvement is from across the pond, so I haven't actually touched or seen any of this stuff, just repeating what I've heard. People like frolic know more than I do, he's got a game he can touch!
I'm sure you can just take the beacons off and put them in a drawer or whatever, no big deal. It's a topper, it's not anything gnarly.
Quoted from wcbrandes:
Lets hope they have chrome or metallic black as LE options.
I have no clue at this stage what the plan is for the trim. But I've seen a lot of people express concern that the green was a little too specific for something that's being sold as a modular system. Maybe since it's the LE it doesn't matter. But when the time grows closer I'll make sure Andrew and I have a discussion about what makes sense. He's a sharp guy, and he reads all the feedback too, I'm sure we'll sort out what's best. And if that means the green stays then so be it, not promising anything! But I can promise that we'll talk about it.
Quoted from HeighwayPinball:
We are looking at being able to offer a number of different trim options to LE customers
I just want to point out that it was a little after 7pm my time when Andrew posted that. He's 8 hours ahead of me. Doing the math the man is up at 3am still posting on Pinside. This is the crazy person I work with!
Quoted from Yipykya:
OEM Sideboard Art Blades
So what's you're suggesting, to be clear, is that there are sideblades, built into the game, that are standard on the LE, and an optional upgrade on the Standard?
The idea isn't new to us, I think it's interesting too. Just personally, not speaking for Heighway. I like the model of building pins like Mini, the car company. They let you customize the shit out of your Mini on their website, and charge you for each upgrade. It's awesome, really get a tricked out model, but you can spend a lot if you go overboard. And hey, for some people that's fine, right?
Just make it all optional (sideblades are cool, but super unnecessary to play) so that no one feels gimped. Special art, lighting upgrades for things outside the playfield, special effects (smoke?, shaking), all that kind of stuff that adds to the experience, but isn't about the actual gameplay with the ball.
So just for my own curiosity, I checked with the mod market for these. Looks like they range from $75 - $160 in price. So that gives you the economics of what it takes to make something like that worthwhile.
But if you're a company that is doing 20 different titles, making blades is one thing. If you're doing it for just one game right now, that's another. So I'd think you'd have to charge on the more premium side to make sure you don't lose money on the whole thing.
Are people willing to pay $150 for a visual upgrade like that, if it's done right, and not an aftermarket product that you have to be careful to not scratch etc?
Also, to be honest, I think at that level you can't auto-include it in the LE. It's just the reality of the market. The bulk of your buyers of upgrades will be the LE buyers. Without them there really isn't a reasonable market. You have to cut off the LE BOM at some point, or it's too expensive to make too.
One nice thing about mods is you can order them later. Ge the game, see if you like it, and if it's a keeper then put some money into making it extra special to enjoy.
Quoted from Yipykya:
Nope. Just a channel routed in to every single cabinet. Like an indentation where the blade is set into. The blade fills the area so it is flush and doesn't interfere with anything.
Heighway can offer their art blades from that point on for every title they ever make as an option to all 3 buyers: LE, SE, and Playfield buyers.
Gotcha. Tough to do now, would screw everyone who's already ordered, and all the cabinets already built. Might have to be attached to the playfield, if that's possible. Would eliminate scratches though!
Quoted from Zampinator:
If there was ever a perfect time to give an update on Alien pinball on pinside.com, it's today. After the whole GOT art saga, it would be a beautiful thing if Andrew had/could give an update/pic of Alien pinball. Makes no difference to me, but it would be a wise move for a young company, if possible.
Eh. This is Stern's moment, no real reason to try and cut in on it. Alien will stand on its own when it's ready.
Quoted from rai:
Couldn't just give a tease? (Gasp don't want to say it, but like Jpop was fond of doing)
Seriously Stern has fallen time to gain some advantage, David vs Goliath
Haha. Well since this is the Alien thread, and I can be partisan without being dickish, I'll try and sell you on Alien over GOT. They don't really compete, GoT will be shipping first, but it's the flavor of the moment, so why not?
Here's where I think Stern's strategy is a real failure: the Pro/Premium thing lets them offer a cheaper price, but it bifurcates their games in a way that holds them back. Let me explain.
Alien has 4 flippers. You can't buy a version of the game without 4, they're built into the basic shot strategy. GOT only has 4 flippers sometimes. You can use them for the miniplayfield, but you can't make that central to the rules (like say TSPP does). Since the Pro doesn't have them you have to make the upper playfield secondary. Or make the rules just utterly different from Pro to PremLE. Which is weird, and more work, and isn't going to help with code updates being timely.
Alien has full RGB lighting, every single light. GOT has RGB (inserts, pops, and maybe spots?), and only a handful of inserts on the Pro. So you can't rely on the colored lighting for the rules on every shot. You have to hold back on creativity. And I'm betting the Pro can only do 6 colors. I once asked Dwight Sullivan to make the Klingon Multiball insert color orange instead of red, so it wouldn't be confusing when you stack it with Klingon Battle. He replied that he couldn't, because the Pro can't do orange. Just the 6 colors of the main inserts.
If we want a mode on Alien where the GI dims, and then parts of the GI flare up orange, and the inserts around them go orange, and we simulate that part of the playfield being on fire? Can do it. And we can make that a part of the rules, because every model will have that feature.
GOT can't do that. GI can't go orange. Pro doesn't have enough RGB lights to do that (and probably can't do orange anyways).
I can tell you right now there's a mode in Alien that uses the color changing lights that couldn't be done without them. It's really cool to have them on every shipping game, you don't have to hold back.
Alien display: High rez LCD screen. Movie clips, instructions, scores and stats? No problem. GOT: Low rez dots. We haven't seen them yet. We know that if they try to use clips from the show they're going to be a smeary mess though.
Alien Standard is more feature equipped than the Stern Premium, for the same price.
LE is price competitive too (not sure exactly how close, have to see latest quotes, Stern just raised prices) but comes with the interactive topper, no $400 extra charge from the store. Comes with fiberoptic lighting, ala Tron. Exclusive LE art package.
Right now Heighway is simply offering more for your money than Stern. They don't have a cheaper Pro option, it's true. If that's your price point go Stern. But look at the GOT Pro. It's pretty sad without that upper playfield, it's like a whole different game. How is the code going to work across these two models? The Pro doesn't feel like the one to pick here.
Heighway is new, still lots to prove, and Alien is still being worked on and GOT is close to shipping. You have to make your own calls. But I think we're going to deliver a killer game, I'm really looking forward to the first time I get to flip it.
Also, if you're still reading this long ass post, you did ask for a tease. Hmm. Let's just say that I hope you like multiballs ...
As far as the art goes ... I'm going to just quote myself for a moment here:
Quoted from Aurich:
Look, I'm not going to promise you that you'll like how Alien's art looks. I can't. You might not like it, you might think I didn't do it right. Hopefully you love it. I can't control that.
But I can promise you this: I've obsessed over it. I've watched the films frame by frame. Want to know how many scenes in Aliens have some interesting typography? Probably in the 70s, because I took 83 captures from it recently of all the UI and fonts and interfaces, just to keep them in mind as I'm working. I'm a huge fan of the movies, there's a limited edition Mondo print of ALIEN hanging behind me at my desk. I have a huge xenomorph bust. Toys, books, and I'm a long time fan of HR Giger.
Maybe I blow it. I'm not perfect. But it won't be because I didn't try. And GOT feels to me like someone didn't try or didn't care. And I wish they had, because I think this could have been something else.
Andrew is a huge Alien fan. I mean huge. I'm a big fan, and he makes me look casual. This is his dream theme. I signed on because I just couldn't stand not getting a chance to work with Alien. Working with Fox has taken time. Things have changed on the team. Full Throttle getting out the door took a little longer. These are all normal new company teething issues. This game is coming out later than some might want. But the time means we've been able to not feel rushed.
I'm really excited about the playfield changes. It's going to shoot better now than the initial design. Maybe it would have been better to announce it at this Expo instead of last year. But oh well, it's done, no point in worrying about it. Just need to keep trying to make a killer game, and update everyone along the way as best as we know how.
Full Throttle is shipping now. The factory is spooling up. The company is real!
Quoted from rai:
Aurich nice to hear. Alien sounds terrific. Will hold off final ordering until I see more details and art.
Totally fair, I'm happy to try and win you over.
Quoted from guyincognito:
Could you say that realistically GOT and Alien actual release dates are probably a year or more apart?
I would hope not. I really can't speak to anything date related though.
Quoted from chessiv:
The best way to sell any machine is to show the layout, art, sound and gameplay. Showing any of this would certainly help your case. Hard to complete because they showed theirs. You have to show yours
Agreed 100%. I don't really think of GOT as a competitor for Alien to be honest. But people asked, so I obliged. I wouldn't have done this in a GOT thread, that would feel unfair.
Quoted from iceman44:
And one very obvious huge difference you failed to mention, a guy named Aurich is doing the artwork!
That guy is a huge asshole though, you know that.
Quoted from Jvspin:
All great points Aurich and sounds so similar to the old Stern vs Woz comparisons. However, the "Bill of Materials" argument fails for a large contingent of buyers who place theme, flow and fun above content.
I think the difference is that WOZ was truly trying to do something new. And I think they did. Thing is, it was a "different" kind of game, and not everyone really likes it.
Alien has 4 flippers, but they all have real shots. We have magnets, and drop targets, and a spinner, and custom molded pops, and LCDs, and RGB lights and all that good stuff WOZ has, even a widebody. But we're not trying to play like a modern EM. We have real ramps. We have flow. Ask anyone who's played Full Throttle if it's a slow game because it's a wide body.
And on top of that I frankly think it's a killer license. ALIEN. That's why I'm doing this. There are very few licenses people could call me up and ask me to come on board with. I have a day job, I have my own mod hobby business, I'm coaching my daughter's soccer team again, blah blah. This is a lot of work. But ALIEN man. Couldn't say no to that! I'll do the best I can with the art, and hope everyone loves it. But at least I won't look at what someone else did and feel mad that I didn't get a shot to do better. I couldn't live with that.