(Topic ID: 106728)

ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over

By HeighwayPinball

4 years ago

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  • Latest reply 2 days ago by MK6PIN
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Linked Games

  • Alien Heighway Pinball, 2017

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Topic index (key posts)

51 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 20

Post #9151 Insight from Alien's programmer on tournament mode Posted by Ferret (2 years ago)

Post #9234 Update on distribution Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #9660 Here we show you a short clip from the 'Ambush Multiball' mode Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #10128 Photo of Alien at UK Trade Show Posted by unigroove (2 years ago)

Post #10230 game play video from EAG UK tradeshow Posted by Join_The_Cirqus (2 years ago)

Post #10231 game play video from EAG UK tradeshow Posted by Join_The_Cirqus (2 years ago)

Post #10914 Alien ships Posted by ZenTron (2 years ago)

Post #10916 Alien ships Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #11230 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by ezeltmann (2 years ago)

Post #11372 Nordman outline for Alien Posted by solarvalue (2 years ago)

Post #11389 CAD comparison of final Aliens vs Nordman drawing Posted by EalaDubhSidhe (2 years ago)

Post #11417 Gameplay from Heighway as of 2/28/17 Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #13008 Andrew reveals the LE artwork and ramp installation in an alien day video Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #13013 Andrew confirms LE art is finally approved by fox Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #13022 Andrew explains the artist difference for the LE backglass Posted by HeighwayPinball (2 years ago)

Post #14488 Andrew returns, hints at big announcement coming in a few days. Posted by HeighwayPinball (1 year ago)

Post #15501 Copy of update posted to Facebook by the new HP Posted by Dust2000 (1 year ago)

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#6193 2 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

David is a luddite who doesn't own a smart phone, but he has an iPod touch, no reason why he couldn't have the video loaded on that for the curious ...

Well, not quite. The fact is that I work from a home studio nearly seven days a week. I have no need to be mobile. Weeks go by sometimes without driving my car. So $60 a month for a smart phone is unnecessary. As long as I have WiFi I have the smartphone experience.

I've asked for clearance from Fox through Andrew to show the promo video for Alien at my talk. I don't know if I will get clearance or not. Failing that I will ask for clearance to show the video on my laptop. As a consultant who has signed non-disclosure I have to be more careful than the owner of the company.

I've put together an interesting seminar organized around the concept of creating audio for game startup companies. I have done this (and am doing this) a lot. I hope to see a lot of folks at 12:30 in the seminar area of NWPAS on Saturday.

2 weeks later
#6464 2 years ago
Quoted from rcbrown316:

how much are you going to hear the mechanics of the machine while playing in the part before the multiple tracks come together.

Even though the background is atmospheric it will still be powerful and totally mask pin mechanics assuming that the system volume is sufficient.

2 weeks later
#6604 2 years ago

Mike Lorraine put this up last week

1 month later
#6848 2 years ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Whomever is coding the video assets is doing a great job.

Kelly Mazurowski is creating the video assets (with some direction from Aurich) for Alien Pinball. He is doing a fantastic job. We are doing more than just shoveling video from the movies. There are some very creative/functional visualizations of mode progress that Aurich/Kelly are creating that are all Alien but unique to the pin. Team Alien is creating something special.

2 months later
#8573 2 years ago
Quoted from thewool:

If you're playing Alien and keep hearing xenos getting blown to pieces when hitting those targets that could be jarring.

from the horses mouth:
In OOM (out of mode) hitting the targets elicit a variety of Xeno sounds. We do not use the rifle sounds to blow Xenos apart in either Alien nor Aliens mode when hitting the Xeno. That is reserved for the combat modes like Bug Hunt, Sentry Gun Multiball and others.

Keep in minds that once the Xeno mech is fully implemented there will be a number of 'pupetering' options available as a response to hitting the targets in front of it beyond the 'mouth coming out and grabbing the ball' event. Lights and sounds will add to making these hits memorable.

The sounds for the Xeno are being designed thoughtfully for greatest impact when the time is right. We have plenty of resources from both films to accomplish this.

Just like programming, I cannot finish my job till I have a machine to test all the audio assets and their behaviors. This will happen before Alien gets into full production. Tuning up Xeno audio will be one of the many tasks that I will do then.

horse out.


#8588 2 years ago
Quoted from desertT1:

How friendly is the game for public location? Language/gore...

All callouts from the movie have beeped versions that can be selected in the non-adult state.


2 weeks later
#9177 2 years ago
Quoted from PoMC:

I'm hoping Alien is just as fun, fast and flowing

By the time I got to Expo I had worked on the Alien sound package for nine and a half months (which is a long time compared to projects with previous clients) and I had never flipped it. I had a little anxiety. Brian has created a very good game simulator so I was confident about the rules and AV integration. Finally at 3:30AM Thursday (the day of the reveal) we got a chance to flip it for the first time. I was relieved and exalted. It flips great. Dave's work on top of Dennis' initial design has resulted in some great flow with good shots from all four flippers. While I test with the glass on I am not more than an average player and I actually hit a four shot combo within my first 5 minutes! It was very sweet. Now we need to define some nifty rewards based on the possible combos. I am blessed in 2016 to be working on two great shooting pins (not always the case) and pinball fans are going to have great purchasing options moving forward.

over and out

3 months later
#11075 2 years ago
Quoted from Yipykya:

Wondering if Mr Thiel might be receptive to separating sounds into left and right audio channels?
Imagining what would happen if that was taken a step further into 4 channels with a sound card/amp upgrade and a pin sound bar?

The Alien sound package is VERY stereo and dot one. About a year ago I added a subwoofer to my studio setup so that I could understand the contribution of low frequency stuff when I added it. There are times in the Alien sound package when audio only a subwoofer can reproduce makes a difference (Aurich encouraged this low frequency contribution). Very soon now I will be mastering all the sounds for the amp/speaker setup of the Heighway cabinet.
For spatial audio cues to work at all given the geometry of pinball speaker placement they have to be exaggerated and dynamic. I do this wherever possible. Even the music benefits from the spaciousness of a stereo mix. Reverb effects of dialog put in a resinous Xeno cave are much richer in stereo. Balls moving around orbits and ramps have proper and dynamic audio location effects.
I've been working on this package since Jan 2016 and it has really come together.
After I have a chance to flip and tweak, flip and tweak I think you will be real happy.
(and yes, there is lots of Hudson [in stereo])

#11102 2 years ago
Quoted from PanzerFreak:

In regards to music is all the of the music recorded for the game currently in the game? My only critique of the game (it looks really good) is that the game seems to possibly be missing a general upbeat ass kicking main audio track that I think would fit theme. I may not have heard the main track very well yet either. Does the main audio track change depending on which film mode is being played?
I can understand a main track for Alien based modes being a bit more subdued but the one for Aliens should be more of the ass kicking vibe variety, lol.

First, yes the Out Of Mode music is unique to each mode tree (Alien, AlienS). The AlienS OOM music is a lot more militaristic than Alien but is more about staging the missions on the Sulaco. The 'ass kicking' music has been reserved for the many combat oriented modes and phases within modes.

Once I can mix and adjust Alien sound on a pin in my studio some of the music cues will be refined. Some of the music cues are first versions and will be enhanced once I can experience the audio in context.

Very soon.... so for early acquirers be assured that it will only get better.

#11106 2 years ago
Quoted from HeighwayPinball:

I'll let David give a running total of how many callouts are currently in the game.

Integrating callouts correctly into highly interactive pinball action is a time consuming task. Joe and Brian have done a fair amount of it and there is more to come.

as for callouts - Hudson (121), Hicks (70), Apone (56), Dallas (41), Burke (34), Lambert (19), Parker (31), Brett (22) and so on

Addressing the elephant in the room, no there is no Ripley. As you can imagine we tried. I leave that detail to Andrew.

This is a 'dream theme' for the developers as well and we have made best efforts to immerse the game play in Alien stuff.

#11110 2 years ago

Sure, I have extracted 21 callouts of Bishop from AlienS though only about three of them have found a place in the action so far. He is not a chatty artificial person.

2 weeks later
#11640 2 years ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Seems like this mode would be even more intense with that motion tracker sound slowly escalating as the aliens get closer.

We have installed in the build about 25 callouts from Hudson (as he was the tech marine handling the tracker) calling out distances as the Xenos get closer. Joe (ferret) will get these in there but this kind of callout choreography is time intensive and we have had bigger fish to fry. There is a long list of "refinements" that we will be getting to soon as we are very close to feature complete. Phew.

Hudson calling out distance will make the mode considerably more intense.

Again, as I flip the game a lot of things are going to get more intense.


#11832 2 years ago
Quoted from navajas:

during the Combat Drop, that is not the cadence used during the scene in the film

Oh my, cadenceGate.

The issue is rights and infringement. No rights to music from the '79 or the'86 Alien films were procured. Hard to do and very expensive. This is an AH issue.

The only thing I can take from the films is inspiration and my feet are held to the fire on issues of rights infringement. Defending myself against one claim of infringement would wipe out my fees for the entire project. So you can imagine that I am careful.

That said I have really enjoyed the challenge. I admire Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner's work and I tried to be faithful to the spirit (but not the letter) of their efforts.

Near the end of a project which has been worked on over 15 months I've reviewed everything and I am pleased. I hope that it works for everybody, cadence notwithstanding.


1 month later
#13217 2 years ago

Issue 161 of Pingame Journal has a lot of coverage of Alien pinball. It features in depth interviews of members of Team Alien from both sides of the Atlantic.

2 weeks later
#13854 2 years ago
Quoted from Join_The_Cirqus:

Oh, its turned up
But sound is night and day with the Polk Attached

At Aurich's encouragement I paid significant attention to the bottom octave of the Alien sound package. To this end I added a Daytona Audio sub to my studio. You can't adjust what you can't hear. There are a lot of moments when something dives down that dives down a little further with a Sub Woofer.

I have a background as a rock musician and know how to 'rock'.

I hope this is working for everybody.


1 month later
#15234 1 year ago
Quoted from flippersandballs:

DI just plays better than Alien.

I hesitate to dive in on this one but I have a personal perspective. Right now I have both at my studio. I've had DI since Nov 2016. I've only had Alien for seven days (thanks to Tommy of Nitro). It was one of the failures of previous management that pins didn't get into all the US dev's hands sooner. This is getting better.

DI shoots great, you don't need my perspective on that.
I first shot Alien at Expo last October. I'd been working on it for ten months and I was a bit anxious. By my second game I was shooting combo (using all four flippers). I was relieved.

DI shoots smooth naturally, it does what you expect.
Alien is a little eccentric and it takes a few games to learn where the shots are. But they are there. And there are so many of them. Multiple targets are possible from multiple flippers.

The Alien pin that I have is fully functional (it took a little tweaking). The Xeno mech works. The egg bumpers have great action (thanks to some professional adjustment from Tim M.). The EL blades, the lights, the switches are all working. All the modes work with AV assets except the final final mode. With games getting into dev hands we are providing feedback to Wales production and QA.

I can't imagine two projects more different than each other in every way. Comparing them will be a polarizing activity.
I am thrilled to be associated with both of them and in very different ways I have done my best work for each.

As far as Alien goes I will not predict any outcomes that are out of my hands and I will only speak to what I am directly experiencing.

I would just say that "DI just plays different than Alien". After that it is a matter of taste.


2 weeks later
#15439 1 year ago
Quoted from HighProtein:

Can we get a few more reviews of ALIEN pinball on here by those that have spent a good amount of time on it?

a note from the sound free-lancer of Alien:

Let me suggest that it is a little too soon to review Alien. What is there is good and a great indication of where the final product will be.

The biggest challenge for the developers has been the unavailability of games to develop on. Only the rules programmer has had a machine to test and experience the game on and this one is deficient in a number of ways including not having a Xeno mech.

But things are better. I have had a fully functional Alien pin to work on for weeks. In that time I have added over one hundred sound assets and adjusted as many.

There is no substitute for hands-on experience. The former management understood this but failed to do anything about it. The AIG (Active Investor Group) does understand this and is addressing it.

While at this point I will not make any predictions I believe that all the US developers will have access to Alien dev machines.

As it is we are 96% of the way there to feature complete. We are 85% there to the polished, balanced, enhanced and robust package that we want to ship at version 1.1.

We understand your frustration and ask for a little more patience. Give it a little more time then review the hell out of it.


1 week later
#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.


#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.


#15630 1 year ago

I gave a talk at Pintastic. 52 minutes into it I talk about Alien pinball audio. There is an "Alien Autopsy" of the Ambush Multiball music that might interest some here. This link should get you there:


#15633 1 year ago
Quoted from pingod:

David,have you added all your latest sound code into the game now.
Also has the game code itself been updated since you have had the game.

Yes, and yes.

I continue to test and refine the audio package while I have an Alien pin here. Invoking callouts well is a time consuming task. Joe and I continue to find opportunities to use the wealth of clips from the movies and Muthur to make playing Alien more understandable, immersive and fun.

At this point we have shifted from making sure that everything does something to polishing and refining everything and that feels great.


2 weeks later
#15791 1 year ago
Quoted from budroosker:

I would suggest getting an external powered subwoofer because the one in the machine doesn't do it justice. However, it could just be I am configuring something wrong.

Let me clarify. The speaker in most pinball cabinets is not a 'subwoofer'. At best it is a left/right mono mix coming through a 6-8 inch speaker trying to push audio through a metal plate with holes in and sometimes additionally through wood slots. This driver is pointed at the floor. It produces low midrange and high bass audio. To be fair there are a few machines with better stock cabinet speakers. The Dialed In speaker is a dual-coil wonder driven by both channels of a stereo amp. I am speaking about the average pinball cabinet speaker.

A real subwoofer's contribution is usually 80-160 Hz which (for those musically inclined) is the bottom octave where thumps and bass drums live and there is little overlap with the cabinet speakers output.

Most games have some content down there and a subwoofer will make those real (for better or worse).

At the beginning of 2016 I added a subwoofer to my studio so that I could review the content that I was creating down there (knowing that some home owner were enhancing their pins with subwoofers). It is easy to put unintended content down there that isn't appropriate at the time and could even be distracting.

Both Alien and Dialed In have had the benefit of audio design with a sub-woofer in mind. There are times in both sound packages when booms and frequency swoops and other spine tickling content are present that should make a scoring event or mode completion that much more tangible. It takes a little more effort but for those who avail themselves of it they will be rewarded.

I hope this clarifies this issue. Audiophiles....lock and load.


#15798 1 year ago
Quoted from PinballRulez:

Can you tell us what the ideal crossover settings for the sub are?

I will need to measure that. It will differ from pin to pin. I have an Alien loaner currently and I have not gone through the ordeal to bring it down to my studio where I would evaluate the HP sound system. Ideally I would have done that at the 50% completion point in the project when I get the whitewood to work on. But as may be obvious by now, not very much of the development process of this project has been "ideal".
Frankly, I am very proud of the current state of rules, video, graphics and sound integration. It is very good and very playable. Once all the devs have machines it will only get better, but it is worth your time and money right now.
As for the cutoff point it is a little bit audio engineering and a little bit personal taste. I don't think I would make it higher than 200 Hz but how high the volume of the subwoofer is turned up is a more significant factor in your sub-woofer experience. Some folks like their chest cavities moved by external forces.
Let it ROCK!
(when you wife (or neighbors) come to your game room to seek out the disturbance you will know that you have exceeded the sub limit)
bass travels

#15805 1 year ago
Quoted from MK6PIN:

it's been one of the more neglected areas of the experience until some machines as of late ( just imho)...

This is slightly off Alien topic but here goes. Yes, mk6pin you are right. When I came back to pinball in 2006 I took the Stern sound system as a given and tried to do my best with what they had. Then for AC/DC and the LE version they put in a big speaker (10~12?) and then asked me why it didn't sound better. So I looked at the cabinet speakers and tried to help.

First for the normal speaker sound was trying to get through a metal grill and three slots cut in the bottom of the cabinet. Hardly acoustically transparent. So there is a tradeoff between security and sound. I got them to cut a hole (instead of slots) and find a metal grille with more and bigger holes so the sound had a chance of getting out. This was better.
Then we played with the cutoff frequency of the simple network for the cabinet speaker.
Eventually I did some radical mastering EQ to make the AC/DC songs sound as good as they could from the imperfect pinball audio system (you would not want to listen to this in headphones).

Since then out of self-defense I have not taken the audio systems of new clients as a given. I worked with JJP on the Hobbit and Dialed In to improve what they had relative to WOZ.

I've only recently had an Alien to work with. At face value the sound system is good and when I can bring it into my studio I will optimize the sounds for it.

Generally speaking coin-operated games (video games as well) have spent 10% of the BOM on the hardware that creates the sound and 1% on the amplification system. This is a battle I have always fought. Sometimes I win.


3 weeks later
#16358 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

remind me - what is your experience thus far with the game considering yours sounds new (not a proto)

Joe has a very early game. Most recently I had a recently produced game for eight weeks. I tested the game mostly with the glass on. Nearly 200 games.
The Zeno always worked, the software didn't reset.
The pop bumpers once adjusted by Tim Meihan were lively. All the inductive lane switches were consistent.
Basically the Alien pin was solid.
It is early days for the Wales factory. They are still getting their QA regimens in place. But contrary to the Buffalo pin my experience is that it is solid and as robust as any pin I work on.
Grab your towel and "Don't Panic"

1 month later
#18067 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

isn't ripley's voice not in this game? I swear during that cat mode (right before it starts) ripley says, "its a cat" or something. I noticed another line too.

"Its a cat" is the late great Harry Dean Stanton. We were very careful not to accidentally use any Ripley. It was a strange constraint to work under. Not a deal breaker as Hudson has the best stuff by far. There are half a dozen great lines by Ripley that it would have been great to have. HP tried. They tried real hard. They could not come to an agreement. We worked around it and we are happy with the results. We hope you are.

#18073 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

Would Heighway have been able to use Ripley’s quotes, but using a good impersonator? Don’t see why this couldn’t be a workable solution to get her ‘Bitch’ line in there. Could be even cooler if that was the ONLY Ripley quote in the pin.

basically, nope. If the actor has rights for derivative uses this covers 'sound-a-likes' as well. If an actor passes and their contract doesn't prohibit it then it can be possible. In this case Weaver controls derivative uses of Ripley.

I have been around this a lot but this is not what I do and we are getting on the fringes of what I can talk about authoritatively. In this particular case HP tried to make a deal and failed to do it.


2 weeks later
#18518 1 year ago

Just so you know:

I finally received a production Alien pinball machine that I can use for development. I had a loaner for a few months from Tommy of Nitro in June, but I will keep this pin and move it down to my studio as soon as possible.

Currently, the only AV assets that are missing are for the final-final mode "All Out War". These are being worked on now.
Additionally the US team is working on refinements that can only be accomplished on a production machine. You just can't effectively tune choreography if you can't experience it.
Our goal is for an upgrade in mid December that will be 100% complete and polished.


#18562 1 year ago

I am sad the Jeff has had problems with his Xeno. Just so the community has more data points:

I had a pre-production machine with a Xeno mech for 12 weeks. The rubber ring around the magnet at the end of the tongue needed to be adjusted 1 mm. After that it always worked.

I now have a production machine. The Xeno worked out of the box and I have had no problems with it.

The production machine was not without some things that needed adjustment. No parts needed, the pop bumpers needed adjustment to be more sensitive. I have reported this to the factory and they are going to check them in the future.

Customers have reported issues with the orbit posts. Neither of the posts worked in this pin. To clarify, they popped up but did not stay up. We explored the issue and found a software fix that will be included in the next update. Now the posts work all the time (and Derelict and Queen's Nest are now possible!).

The launch mechanism is working on the first attempt 95% of the time. Coil strength adjustments have been added to the adjustments and I am experimenting with it to get it 100%.

The key is that a developer (me) has a production game. A byproduct of refining the audio is game testing hardware/software.

It is not a breech of my non-disclosure to state that at times the conditions under which the Alien pinball machine was developed were not ideal. I can state for a fact that it is now better. And will get better still.

Before you ask, I don't know when an update will drop. The devs have to draw a line in the sand and determine when to test and package one up. It will be sooner than later.

thanks for your patience.


1 week later
#18770 1 year ago
Quoted from Ferret:

daudioguy has a current production machine, though.

Yes I do and everything works. However I don't have a shaker motor or beacons so we still are not at the point where they can be artfully added to our choreography. This will be rectified and Joe and Brian and Aurich and Kelly will all have machines sooner than later.

The Active Investor Group is solidly committed to building and shipping Alien and games beyond that. There are still major steps that need to be taken by them toward that end but there has been a lot of progress and I am very happy that Alien pins are in the wild and working.


3 weeks later
#19113 1 year ago
Quoted from VividPsychosis:

sound could still be added for whenever you press the extra ball button during multiballs it can still use the call outs that are already in the game that says the name of the weapon, which would indicate which one is active....

If you have more than one weapon when you press the extra ball button you will get a sound effect that includes the sound of the selected weapon. For instance, the shotgun is very distinctive. Muthur might be too much but we will consider it.

Added recently is your active weapon displayed on the airlock screen during modes.
Your available weapons and selected weapon is displayed whenever the dashboard is available.
Displaying the currently selected weapon on the airlock during Ambush sound feasible

Adding more useful information is what we intend once we have everything in place. There are a number of enhancements that we have on the list. Using the airlock screen for useful information is one of them Improving they test status at the bottom of the dashboard is another.

We have to get the AV assets into the final final mode first and then we will start enhancing things. Hopefully by that time the other US developers will have machines and this will be easier.

BTW - The Vent 3 shot is the Super Jackpot during Ambush. Hudson goes bonkers when you make it. There are improvements to Ambush on the table as well.

This is an exciting time to be able to 'polish the apple' in Alien development. There are too many things out of our control to be able to suggest when this enhancement upgrade will be available but first quarter should be right.

tip: When you get the shotgun make sure it is the selected weapon and that you are at the '2 Xenos left' state. If you are heading for a sure drain - whack the launch button. This will start Ambush Multiball (in spite of the drain). A very satisfying maneuver.


2 weeks later
#19353 1 year ago

Thanks to kevinbuffalo and Nick for the newer Alien Twitch. The next revision is in Beta testing (we want a limited number of testers to find problems before we go wide). It is up to HP to decide to release it, it is close. As soon as we are confident in it, you will have it.


1 week later
#19497 1 year ago
Quoted from Astropin:

Upper post working properly makes a big difference! More than I would have realized.

This is your main way to the egg bumpers which are crucial for several mode completions.

Makes a big difference. I'm glad the fix works.


1 month later
#20137 1 year ago
Quoted from swenny:

I've never seen it fling the ball

Both Alien pins that I've had fling the ball. One of my favorites is when the magnet flings the ball into the airlock. I've seen this a half dozen times. Sometimes it tosses the ball into the pops.

If you are not seeing this then something isn't right.
I've never changed the magnet settings from default.

#20145 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

would love to see video of this if you have it.

I am remodeling my studio right now. In about a week I will have pins in the new remodeled space. After my pinball machines are in a heated, well lit space, shooting a video of magnet action will be easy. Stay tuned....


#20147 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

Just to confirm - the way it should work is the ball hits the two alien targets side by side and then the magnet grabs it and flips it around

Something you should check: in switch test - are your two Xeno targets adjusted to be sensitive enough? Mine were not and a fair number of Xeno target hits were not registering. After some adjustment they were registering all the shots that should have been hits. The magnet will not work very well if the switches are not adjusted to be sensitive.


#20167 1 year ago
Quoted from Ferret:

I’ve implemented some new fling code that’s more chaotic so there will be much less doubt that you got flung.

cue up the tympani roll, the late great Don Pardo announces:

"Now with improved FLING"

another great moment in marketing...

ferret's contribution (besides making it work)

"It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that fling"


#20169 1 year ago
Quoted from ezeltmann:

Are you brainstorming a "fling " sound effect?

This is an event collision as the magnet turns on when the Xeno targets are hit. There are already a bunch of angry Xeno sounds (for having been hit by a ball bearing). There will probably be a few more.

You can consider the 'fling' of your ball as a response of having been swatted at by the aforementioned Xeno.


1 month later
#20508 1 year ago
Quoted from legionsoup:

Are there fully working machines out there? All we hear about are the ones with issues

One data point: I've had a production machine for several months and it is totally functional.
I play it every day and all the features work.
So, yes there are fully functional Alien pinball machines in the wild.

2 weeks later
#20831 1 year ago

I have limited experience but more than most with the home use reliability of an Alien pin. Like any solid state electronics, if you get past infant mortality you will be fine for a long while (unless the solid state board has cheap Chinese electrolytic capacitors which the IOboard does not).
So across two machines over nearly a year I have had one IOboard go south. This was not a production machine and it went after playing more than 600 games at a show. Once replaced it worked till it went to it's real owner.
There is a design defect that mounts the two Xeno targets too close to the jaw so that when it lowers jaw rubs the back of the targets. Removing some material from the tops of the targets and bracket fixes this (you'd never notice this). If you don't eventually it will stress the $5 servo that moves the jaw and it will fail (I speak from experience). I have replaced mine.
Other than that all works. In my experience (which is more like home use than location) it is as reliable as any of the 25 machines that has passed through here in the last 12 years. Better than many, it is a very sturdy build.
It would be wise to buy an extra IO board if you are still considering trying to acquire and Alien pin.

Other than personal experience I have no knowledge of where this is going to go. I find the Alien pin fun to play. It is a bit eccentric but once I figured out what it wants I find that it is one of my favorite games.

I will be very sad if the current owners do not find a way to deal with the problems and realize the potential of a product that is proven fun. On the other hand I will end up with a very collectable pin that you will have to pry out of my dead hands.


#20843 1 year ago
Quoted from SunKing:

Let me rephrase - is there anyone besides Heighway that sells 'em?

Not that I am aware of. HP should acknowledge the precarious position that they are in without any tangible support structure (especially in North America). They can help us and help their cause if they just ordered 20% more IOBoards in their next order and sell them to whoever wants them for a modest markup. At this point I am just an owner of an Alien pinball like everybody else. There are more sound assets in the build than are being used and HP has everything they need to make a good final release.
Anything I say at this point is as an owner of an Alien pinball.

I still have some hope (but some have called me an optimist).


1 week later
#21781 1 year ago

Ripley: Best efforts were made to secure the rights to use Sigourney Weaver's likeness and voice from both movies. Andrew made an offer to her agent which was refused. I don't participate in the mechanics of licensing but after 12 years I have a notion of what is generally paid and HP's first offer was on target. HP responded with a better offer and that was refused as well. This offer was well above what actors generally get for permissions.
Keep in mind, we were not getting any of Ms. Weaver's time for custom callouts, just permission to use her likeness and voice from the films.
Her agent was doing her job as she saw it. I have no idea of whether her agent brought either offer to Ms. Weaver.

At that point AH made the judgement that it was too costly per game to get the rights.

As you get to the end of each film it becomes harder to dance around the fact that you cannot use Ripley but the team danced very well. It turned out to be a nice to have and not a deal breaker in our judgment (unless you still have that poster with Ripley in the tee-shirt, by now your wife should have taken that down).

This is what happened to the best of my knowledge.


#21795 1 year ago
Quoted from zeddex:

Studio and Audio Engineer time. Recording, prep and delivery fees

There is more to consider as well. My work to include the new callouts in the build is no charge as I do the work for a fixed bid (boy am I dumb). However, just having them in the build doesn't get them invoked. It takes considerable effort to call a few hundred callouts properly and that is on the JJP programmers. Do you want a finished game this year?

If the licensor has the same constraints as they did last time around Jack is not allowed to say anything anachronistic. Captain Jack cannot talk about balls or ramps or shots or anything useful so having a custom session is nearly pointless. Extracting all the Captain Jack from five movies will result in some 'color' callouts, "nice to hear Jack" but very few functional callouts.

Kevin McNalley is doing a fantastic job. The team wrote a great script. The callouts are steeped in POTC flavor and are very functional. It is one of the better callout packages I've been associated with.

Now, stop hijacking this thread and continue on a JJPOTC thread if you yearn for Jack.

where's Ripley?.........


1 month later
#22433 10 months ago
Quoted from RazerX:

so I just cut a couple of small strips of electrical tape and put them on the end of it to put some space in between the magnet and the ball. This essentially makes the magnet on the rod a little weaker and it's worked perfectly like 10 times in a row now

This is the same solution I came up with on the pre-production loaner that I had for a few months. "The Duct Tape Solution"
The rubber sleeve on the end of the tongue needs to be far enough past the permanent magnet to diminish the power of that magnet so the stepper motor can dislodge the ball. I found it hard to move the rubber sleeve so two layers of duct tape worked great. It always worked after that. The Alien's Xeno tongue on my production Alien has always worked.


1 month later
#22789 9 months ago
Quoted from frolic:

From my observation it seems that they are, which makes it a bigger shame that they pulled the plug on everything.

As a developer who took a game as a component of my remuneration I am simultaneously thrilled to have an Alien pin, sad that buyers got stiffed and frustrated that more pinball players will not get a chance to get their hands on one.

I got a pro and I've upgraded it with beacons and a shaker so I could test the results of using them with light shows, SFX and video together.

In all honesty I have had difficulties keeping the Xeno jaw working. Pushed to its open position it is purely cosmetic but I am going to install a better servo (the $7 one instead of the $5 one) now that I know how to do it (it is a bit tricky).

Otherwise everything works.

I'm going to replace the factory supplied tall yellow beacons with short, green, motor-less beacons. I know it is out of metaphor but green just seems to go with everything else.

It is beyond frustrating to have delivered something to be proud of and to be torpedoed by things out of our control. Next year I will make sure that it shows up at the NWPAS in the spirit of sharing.


2 months later
#23375 7 months ago
Quoted from adamross:

Does anyone’s xeno jaw actually works? My original didn’t and neither does the new replacement head I just received.

mine worked, got jammed up and the servo failed. I installed a new one (it is tricky) and it worked for a while. Servos are standard RC airplane stuff, $5 from Amazon. The $7 servo gets metal gears and is more reliable.

Two of the wires of the replacement servo need to be swapped for the new servos to work with the jack on the servo control board. (I have no idea why (US/UK??)).
When I get a chance I will fix it. As long as you leave the jaw open the jaw is strictly cosmetic. The Xeno tongue has always worked.
Still it is a pretty neat when everything works so when I get a chance I will be putting in the better servo.


#23377 7 months ago
Quoted from adamross:I replaced the servo but it still didn't work...

the servo control board could have an issue. It is a small board and I seem to remember that somebody was creating a replacement.



3 weeks later
#23519 6 months ago

the sound guy is in for one

2 months later
#23757 4 months ago
Quoted from TomDK:

I think the sound is pure Stereo

Yes, it is 44.1 stereo mixed with a sub woofer in mind. I did 18 months of work before ever hearing it reproduced by the pinball sound system.

A couple of years ago I added a sub to my studio setup so that I took into account what the mix was doing down there (knowing that some owners were amending their pins with subs).

I was pleasantly surprised the first time I played Alien in my studio. The Chinese amp that Andrew branded as the 'Heighway Amp' is very good. The only downside was that the levels needed to be adjusted down quite a bit if the coin-door volume buttons were to be of any use and the bass needed to be balanced with the stereo pair. I did this and published it for Heighway and users. If you adjust the knobs to the documented values the pin has some real kick.

I've never felt the need to add a sub to Alien as the wood floor vibrates under my feet at the right times.


3 months later
#24379 15 days ago
Quoted from delt31:

I almost think the situation itself contributed to that in a weird way.

The US team was good at overcoming the obstacles. Armed with fully functional machines at month four instead of month sixteen I can only imagine what we could have done. But we did what we could under the circumstances and I'm proud of what we managed to do.

We had decentralized group management. Reasonable individuals working with mutual respect. Something dev teams dream of. I enjoyed the collaboration.

With Team Alien US being five to eight time zones away from the factory we didn't have a grasp of just how bad it was over there so we forged ahead.


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