The company's media/simulation guy has put together a flappable flowtest version in digital form, and the gameplay is absolutely superb. It completely hits the 'instant appeal' mark, with a single ball leaving you wanting to make every single shot.
The company's media/simulation guy has put together a flappable flowtest version in digital form, and the gameplay is absolutely superb. It completely hits the 'instant appeal' mark, with a single ball leaving you wanting to make every single shot.
You are a Data East Time Machine and I claim my five pounds.
Yeah, the thing about a train wreck is the train is expected then to GODDAMN STOP.
The xeno head model that sits around the mech is the same size one that's been shown before, and yes, it will 'eat' the ball. What you don't see yet on the CAD is the mini-subway that will take the ball behind the backboard, to be ejected back into play onto the upper corner of the right platform, to drop onto the end of the habitrail and down to the return. In front of the backboard re-entry is where the Space Jockey will stand as a large upright plastic, so it should look like the ball is emerging from behind his turret. The LV-426 area is also the most natural place for him to be.
The centre mini-post is a deliberate design choice. The flipper gap isn't any wider than standard, but there's a lot of lateral movement on this game which means more outlane drain potential. The post balances things pretty well, and you can't knock the satisfaction of a successful save with it.
The hypersleep chamber is a physical three-ball lock, the 'fourth' ball drawn on the CAD is a visual indicator of how the dispenser works, dropping the foremost ball onto the level below while holding the others back.
The launch ramp habitrail simply pops the ball onto the right platform, to be deposited in the right inlane.
The left ramp target, as well as being a legitimate shot, acts as a deflector to angle the ball down the left platform without requiring a large drop-off (which the ramp isn't really long or high enough for). This let's the hypersleep exit and lock function connect to the same platform without causing a break in the ramp flow.
This layout offers plenty of multiple skill shot opportunities at different levels. For instance, from the delivery to the right flipper, shoot for the xeno (easy, regular points), airlock (medium, points plus instant mode start), or orbit to the upper flipper immediately followed by the ramp (hard, big points plus instant lock).
He's clearly yawning there at how BLOODY TIRESOME the MK franchise has become. It's the fighting series equivalent of one of those godawful indy-game FPSes on Steam Greenlight, that consist of a bunch of pre-bought Unity models chucked into the same map without any shits given as to whether they all belong there together.
Achievements could be good if you had a game specifically dedicated to a list of goals rather than modes; the rules will include a large list of potential achievements for every section of the game, and every time you play it brings up a randomized selection from that list. Completing these in one go would qualify your wizard mode, and the random factor would help to keep the game fresh for longer.
Once these new gens are fully built up for testing, I'll be playing one of my favourite games; 'A Lie-In'.
Quoted from Aurich:
Those two arrow inserts there say REVIVE, and if they're lit you get a ball save from that side. So if only one is lit you gotta nudge to make sure the ball falls on the right side, because as you noted there are some posts and rubbers there.
I forget how you light them, I'd have to dig into the rules doc.
You light them by having balls locked in the Hypersleep chamber. One ball = one REVIVE lights alternately, two balls = both REVIVES are lit. One ball is ejected from the Hypersleep when the ball in play drains through a lit REVIVE, then the LOCK has to be lit again.
Quoted from rubberducks:
Airlock is there, just the look changed.
Space Jockey was indeed missing from both the game I saw (probably the one in the flyer) and the flyer, and Andrew seemed to suggest the game was feature complete save for an incoming logic board. Assume it was canned.
Only difference is that they've added the (production) colour eggs ... neutral colour instead of proto green ones (ensures they can be properly lit by the rgb leds)
The Space Jockey is intended to be present as décor in the upper right LV-426 area, either as décor on the final backwall design or as its own standup plastic. Probably the former.
This next week in particular is going to be a busy one in Wales as we start making those revisions; taking on board the feedback, making improvements and fixing things that aren't 100-percent right yet. The airlock is going to constructed differently from the more plasticy demonstration version, with a metal endoskeleton; the orbit diverter will be implemented and secondary magnet made fully functional, which will improve flow to the upper right flipper; and the platforms will be reworked for rigidity, easier construction and the inclusion of fibre-optic lighting and potential flashers and spotlights. As far as the shots go, the game is complete; we had one or two minor issues there related to the playfield, but were able to solve them before the show and get the overall feel of the game as solid as a rock.
Upper left flipper shoots across the field towards the drops and the return loop shot to the right flipper, below the launch ramp and platform; it shoots at the chestburster lane between the pops and the upper right flipper; and it's also capable of shooting at the right reverse-o ramp.
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:
Seriously though, I think a smaller space jockey chair might look good there. When the start mode scoop is ready, it could start spinning? Just a thought
We already have the visual representation of the space jockey pretty well established for the game. Popping it in place of the queen airlock wouldn't actually solve much since the biggest criticism was that people found the Queen's scale next to the xenomorph rather underwhelming, and the same scale issue would happen if we were to attempt this.
Quoted from DJKYrtgfsRFw:
1) I have downloaded Zen pinballs version of Alien/s. Lets hope heighway capture the same audio atomosphere OR BETTER as zen does.
2) And noticed ripley quotes and sigourneys likeness is in Zen. How did they get licensing and heighway not?
Zen Pinball is developed and sold as a videogame, and obtains licenses as such. It's an entirely different category from pinball, with very different criteria involved.
Think of how the TV was used in Simpsons Pinball Party, but a couple of visual jumps above that, and you'll be on the right track. Information on each screen is designed not to clash with each other and be tailored to the size and resolution; punchier in-your-face material stays on the larger / backbox screen, while the airlock displays shot arrows, lit locks, timer countdowns, quick details relevant to the modes, the Queen herself, and as the 'default', the airlock doors. All this is relevant to that specific region of the game, that being where your eye is naturally drawn to from time to time as you follow the game rules.
Quoted from Hazoff:
I agree but also think that theres multiple options with the mini screen and only one action with a toy for the most part, a jumping plastic Alien Queen would become boring real fast, its all going to come down to how its implemented, I think using it as a light source with the Xeno head is a smart move.
Plus, the Alien playfield already has, at last count, six dedicated models from three unique toy moulds, even without the physical Queen.
Quoted from fishbone:
Does anyone know why there's no artwork beneath the flippers?
Because it's a nylon-filled hole that the entire flipper fits through. The reason for this is it keeps the flipper bat, mechanism and plate as one modular easy-to-remove piece. The bat doesn't slip so easily since there is no normal need to take it off; the plate is designed for compact space and dual function (the same plate fits both left and right flippers in a small space than either Williams or Stern flippers do), and to take it out for maintenace, just unscrew the plate from the embedded nuts under the playfield and the whole unit simply lifts out without needing to take it apart.
It's just an unpretentious target-shooter that knows its boundaries and limitations and doesn't step beyond them. I don't even find the theme objectionable (and I really really really really should).
Just so that people are aware: work from my end has been slow on Alien for the last couple of weeks since my brother died; I had to shoot off at very short notice back to Northern Ireland for a funeral service and to address some family matters. I fly back tomorrow, normal service should be resumed later in the week.
Not something I'd normally raise here, but significant given the current gearing up of the game and the spanner this put in the works.
Quoted from bcd:
It's a virtual ball lock - the up post is raised briefly to announce any awards, then the ball is released. It's working correctly.
It also turned out to be the best possible move from a gameplay perspective. Much as it's nice to be able to see three physical balls in the chamber, that ties the lock down to three shots by default with no flexibility. With a comparatively tough but satisfying shot like the upper ramp is, it's better to give all owners the chance to set it according to their players' own skill levels as a reward for making it.
Quoted from o-din:
Is that post between the flippers optional? Or will they all come with a hole drilled there.
That narrow of a flipper gap shouldn't need one.
Well maybe for some on this forum it might.
I got to the part in the video where the ball first bounced off that post and couldn't watch anymore.
It's a regular mini-post. Simple matter to undo the nut from underneath and take the post out.
Quoted from solarvalue:
Nordman actually said that he was not the designer but that he did the initial playfield drawing:
Here's the original Nordman drawing:
I agree he should still be given credit for the initial drawing and for being a better judge of how long it would take to produce the game.
I wouldn't disagree with that. The geometry has been completely reworked from top to bottom, sometimes a little in places and sometimes a lot, but even though no component is going to be in exactly the same place by this point, Dennis gave me the sound foundations to work from. There has been a lot of trial and error along the way, but much of the thought process behind my revision has been along the lines of 'OK, this is a good idea, how can I make it work better or more efficiently and save some more space'.
Here's what some of you want to see: an export of the production playfield, simplified for clarity, and an overlay of the two versions so you can see what's been changed (or changed back, even) and how it's all been refined over the development time. My lines are in green, Dennis' are in blue.
Turned out to be largely cost, but it was also a case of overthinking and overcomplicating an idea that the team get so invested in, and put so much effort in to make work in a clever fashion, that removing it seemed inconceivable without any other alternative at the time. In the end, it was when Andrew was pricing things up and just asked the Skype group, 'what would happen if we took the magnet out'. There was a lot of initial scepticism from me since it involved a major element of the game's flow, but a look over the CAD later from a fresh perspective revealed a sizeable cause-and-effect chain whereby the top lane up-posts and pops could be used to do the job of the magnet if the orbit was then separated - and if the magnet went, the diverter became unnecessary; and if there was now an end point below the bumper, a regular target should be put there instead. Three for the price of one, and all the game would really lose was the trap, catch and 'fling' effect from the secondary magnet.
The immense sense that relief that everyone on the Wales side IMMEDIATELY felt afterwards also told us this was absolutely the correct decision to make.
Quoted from DCFAN:
I would still give Dennis credit as one of the designers since the general layout was used and adjusted. The before and after layouts show normal functional adjustments between schematic design and final design. A good designer is going to find the problems with the original schematic design when the whitewood is built and used for flipping and then make adjustments. If you go back and look at WOZ you will see very similar if not more changes from beginning to end.
This is fair. I wouldn't detract anything Dennis provided me with to build upon.
Quoted from Hazoff:
I have the perfect themes for Heighway #3 and #4 Robocop based on 1 and 2 like Alien you choose the film with lots of Multi's then Predator same thing choose 1 or 2, I would be a happy boy but also poor as I would have to have them all in their own cabs and all LE versions but what a line up.
The Robocop reboot, when that was in development hell, was actually one of the potential licenses that was offered to us about four years ago when the company was still in relative infancy and finding its long-term creative feet. It didn't take us twenty seconds to comply; it took us the time to process in the Batman suit and exposed hand to turn it down and run away.
The other one, which actually did get some early development time to explore the potential for an interesting and unique game, was Russell Crowe's Noah; as in 'Noahbody else is going to be touching this one with a barge pole'.
Quoted from DCFAN:
That is a terrible comparison because JPOP screwed the pooch on SWEP1.
Nobody could possibly have given their best work on SWEP1 given how restrictive the licensors were in curtailing communication even between different departments in order to curtail any movie information from getting out.
The skip is something I intend to fix with a tweak to the end section of the platform, it's happening because the ball comes down the left ramp much faster on average than it did before.
Quoted from Fytr:
For the scoop, make it extend out approx. 2cm from the hole on all 3 sides, and also down into the scoop to cover the pf wood edge there the width of the pf.
For the magnet, cut a circle that is maybe 2 cm wider in diameter (so it extends 1 cm. out from the magnet edge) than the magnet core itself, apply it centered over the magnet, and then using a razor knife carefully cut away the portion that is covering the magnet (cut in the gap between the magnet core and the pf). First check that the magnet core itself is level with the pf. If it is noticeably higher or lower than the pf, adjust it's height before applying the mylar (some mechanism under the pf for that).
I'd also do the shooter lane, just cut a rectangular piece that covers the section of the lane that the ball shoots into when fed from the trough, including into the trough hole itself as this area gets smashed with the higher power coil they are using there.
For the ramp drops, just cut a small square big enough to cover the precise section where the ball drops from the ramps.
Good luck and congratulations!
There is a cliffy that has been designed for the scoop now.
I may as well confirm as much as I can safely do so right now to allay people's fears, since it's already been leaked elsewhere. (You can guess by who. I've no idea how he found out so much.)
Yes, there is a deal in the works. Yes, there is cash infusion coming into the company. Yes, Alien production will be continuing and increasing and talks are already being had as to how best to achieve that.
No, the deal is not quite done, dusted and signed yet. The official announcement will come when it comes. But I've talked to the parties involved and expressed both my confidence and my loyalty to them. It's in my best interests as well to see this through to its successful conclusion, so I'm also one of the individuals with the most to lose, substantially more than just about anybody else here on the thread right now.
Quoted from frolic:
I saved him the work:
I am writing this letter purely in the spirit of uplifting and sharing, as corny and dated as those sentiments may sound in the fast-moving and ever-evolving modern techno-plastic times in which we live. Primarily, I want to share with you my view that those who think that cannibalism brings one closer to nirvana should think again. It is requisite, even in this summary sketch, to go back a few years to see how it would be great if all of us could prescribe a course of action. In the end, however, money talks and you-know-what walks. Perhaps that truism also explains why whenever I hear Alien Pinball use a word like “electrotelethermometer” I think that someone must have given it a thesaurus without telling it how to use it. It would have been much clearer, for instance, for Alien Pinball simply to say that if you're like most people around here, you've already gotten into an argle-bargle at some point with it about where the free exchange of ideas ends and outright stupidity begins. In my case, Alien Pinball was claiming that matters of racial justice should enter a period of “benign neglect”. I, in turn, made the counterargument that it's its deep-seated belief that it is patriotic to make higher education accessible only to those in the higher echelons of society. Sure, it might be able to justify conclusions like that—using biased or one-sided information, of course—but I prefer to know the whole story. In this case, the whole story is that we need to make a manful effort to bear witness to the plain, unvarnished truth. A halfhearted attempt simply won't do.
To Hell with Alien Pinball! I find that some of Alien Pinball's choices of words in its squibs would not have been mine. For example, I would have substituted “evil” for “intercommunicability” and “dotty” for “chromatographic.” Alien Pinball's confreres claim to have no choice but to create anomie. I wish there were some way to help these miserable, jaundiced scoundrels. They are outcasts, lost in a world they didn't make and don't understand.
Although I generally try to be tolerant of unabashed laziness, defiant incompetence, willful ignorance, and combative arrogance, finding the best way to put Alien Pinball in its place is a challenging problem indeed. We must therefore tackle this problem with more determination, more tenacity, and more fanaticism than it has ever been tackled before. Only then will people realize that Alien Pinball's pontifications are based on hate. Hate, Fabianism, and an intolerance of another viewpoint, another way of life. I suggest we point out the glaring contradictions between Alien Pinball's idealized view of mandarinism and reality. This idea isn't as outré as it sounds, especially when you consider that it is thoroughly versipellous. When Alien Pinball is among plebeians, it warms the cockles of their hearts by remonstrating against recidivism. But when it's safely surrounded by its servitors, Alien Pinball instructs them to propound ideas that are widely perceived as representing outright ethnocentrism. That type of cunning two-sidedness tells us that Alien Pinball thinks that it's a living bodhisattva of peace and nonviolence. What planet is it from? The planet Splenetic? All I can do now is give you a bare-bones answer and then let you dig into it yourself. To understand the basic answer you need to realize that Alien Pinball's undertakings stink. Let me express that same thought in slightly different terms: It's a pity that two thousand years after Christ, the voices of repulsive know-nothings like Alien Pinball can still be heard, worse still that they're listened to, and worst of all that anyone believes them.
I like to face facts. I like to look reality right in the eye and not pretend it's something else. And the reality of our present situation is this: I call upon Alien Pinball to stop its oppression, lies, immorality, and debauchery. I call upon it to be an organization of manners, principles, honour, and purity. And finally, I call upon it to forgo its desire to instill a general ennui. Alien Pinball is unhappy that people like me want to encourage students to be bold, independent, and creative thinkers. Such cavils notwithstanding, I wish I didn't have to be the one to break the news that even sick-minded autocrats object to its self-righteous arrogance. Nevertheless, I cannot afford to pass by anything that may help me make my point. So let me just state that by comparing today to even ten years ago and projecting the course we're on, I'd say we're in for an even more snooty, headlong, and logorrheic society, all thanks to Alien Pinball's methods of interpretation.
Alien Pinball is a sore loser. Need I say more? I don't think so, but this I will say: We all know, in the world that surrounds us, that there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and carjackers and knockout gamers and rapers and haters and venom-spouting faitours who scheme to hamstring our efforts to cast an unfamiliar ray of sunshine over the crapulous, thrasonical landscape of Alien Pinball's rodomontades. What is often easy to forget, however, is that every so often you'll see Alien Pinball lament, flog itself, cry mea culpa for blowing the whole situation way out of proportion, and vow never again to be so headstrong. Sadly, it always reverts to its old behavior immediately afterwards, making me think that my current plan is to express concern about its conduct. Yes, Alien Pinball will draw upon the most powerful fires of Hell to tear that plan asunder, but the dominant opinion of the day proclaims that its agitprop machine is running at full throttle. (Actually, its tractates provide a vivid example of how it is unwilling to entertain any opposition to its ideas and policies, but that's not important now.) Alien Pinball's jobations are not “supposedly” perverted. They are fundamentally so. In fact, because its jobations have so much to do with suppressing people's instinct and intellect, one might even say that I once heard a couple people ask Alien Pinball to comment on how out of all of the blinkered ochlocrats I've ever known, it is clearly the most inconsiderate. Alien Pinball proceeded to bombard these questioners with insults, calling them blathering, unruly preachers of allotheism and the like. Sure, Alien Pinball has a reputation for laying into its opponents, but this overbearing reaction fails to answer the substance of its competitors' points.
Regardless of what Alien Pinball seems to avow, our duty should be to nourish children with good morals and self-esteem. To make everyone agree to a specific, deeply political set of beliefs about how race, culture, class, and gender play out in our society is alien to this duty. That's why I want you to know that it keeps talking about the importance of its cause. As far as I can tell, Alien Pinball's “cause” is to concentrate all the wealth of the world into its own hands. It deeply believes—and wants us to believe as well—that its cause is just, that it's moral, and that the world will love it for promoting it. In reality, Alien Pinball's lickspittles are engaged in perpetual one-upmanship over who more deeply enjoys Alien Pinball's circulars. These are the sorts of people who can't stomach the fact that what I wrote just a moment ago is not the paranoid rambling of a malapert wacko. It's a fact.
How's this for an Alien Pinball apophasis: By claiming that it has no intention of portraying disaffected gaberlunzies as peddlers of snake-oil remedies, Alien Pinball is in fact acknowledging just the opposite. Specifically, it's confirming that it says that human beings should be appraised by the number of things and the amount of money they possess instead of by their internal value and achievements. At least we can't accuse it of hiding its prejudices, I suppose. Of course, it would nice if Alien Pinball were also to confess that not only does it impede every diplomatic, security, and social priority on which our government needs to focus its efforts, but it then commands its surrogates, “Go, and do thou likewise.” Alien Pinball's self-centered cop-outs have spawned an industry of consultants, advisors, and departments that, among them, have corporatized Alien Pinball's dream of producing a new generation of alabandical, surly traitors whose opinions and prejudices, far from being enlightened and challenged, are simply legitimized. Let me try to explain what I mean by that in a single sentence: Many, many people have been hurt by it for daring to put an end to its diabolical cycle of prejudice and reprisal. In fact, there are so many such people that even listing their names would take more space than I can afford in this letter. In their honor, though, I will say that the point at which you discover that Alien Pinball's unambitious capilotades serve as a stark reminder that anyone who questions Alien Pinball's warped view of the world is a threat to its tottering sense of reality is not only a moment of disenchantment. It is a moment of resolve, a determination that the time has arrived to make a choice between freedom and slavery, revolt and submission, liberty and subservience. We must choose wisely, knowing that if we fight denominationalism in all its infernal, self-seeking forms, we can live as truly free and empowered human beings. If, however, we let Alien Pinball prevent the real problems from being solved, we become little more than fearful, broken dogs condemned to exist in a world of doolally colonialism.
Shall we pretend that Alien Pinball is a wonderful, caring organization with no intention of leaving behind a wake of peccable reaction? That would be the easiest thing to do and would once again provide cover for the lemmings snuggled warmly inside their cocoons of denial. However, it would decidedly overlook the imporant fact that Alien Pinball pretends to be supportive of my plan to subject its exegeses to the rigorous scrutiny they warrant. Don't trust it, though; it's a wolf in sheep's clothing. Before you know it, it'll force people to act in ways far removed from the natural patterns of human behavior. Not only that, but there are two kinds of people in this world. There are those who doctor evidence and classification systems and make revolting generalizations to support unpleasant, preconceived views, and there are those who keep our priorities in check. Alien Pinball fits neatly into the former category, of course.
I am certain that if I asked the next person I meet if he would want Alien Pinball to sap people's moral stamina, he would say no. Yet we all stand idly by while Alien Pinball claims that its debauches are the result of a high-minded urge to do sociological research. Other than that, unflappably immoral wisenheimers rarely question, resist, or protest those events that do not appear to affect them directly. For example, they ignore how Alien Pinball has been displaying an irreconcilable hatred toward all nations. I have begun to see, more and more, how our failure to extricate as many people as possible from Alien Pinball's grip is reflected in our failure to promote peace, prosperity, and quality of life, both here and abroad. The situations are different, of course, but also similar. At the heart of both is Alien Pinball's success at blitzing media outlets with faxes and newsletters that highlight the good points of its brain-damaged complaints. At the heart of both, there's a denial of reality. At the heart of both, there's the observation that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Of course, if Alien Pinball had learned anything from history, it'd know that its serfs have repeatedly been caught beating plowshares into swords. I had expected better from Alien Pinball and its vaunted coven, but then again, my quest is to determine why it has been trying so hard to encourage and exacerbate passivity in some people who might otherwise be active and responsible citizens. I want to know the real stuff going on behind the scenes. I want to know why Alien Pinball periodically puts up a façade of reform. However, underneath the pretty surface, it's always business as usual.
Alien Pinball may have modernized the appeal and packaging of its proposals, but satanic proposals are satanic proposals regardless of how they're presented. Alien Pinball's objective is clear: to hammer a few more nails into the coffin of freedom some day. Although chimpanzees can be convinced to wear clothing, understand commands, and even ride bicycles (if well paid for their services in bananas), it would be virtually impossible to convince Alien Pinball that back when our policemen were guardians, not enforcers, they would have protected us from Alien Pinball's army of disingenuous maniacs. Today, it seems that most officers of the law are content to sit back and let Alien Pinball make nearby communities victims of environmental degradation and toxic waste dumping. That's why we must raise people's consciousness about its judgmental sottises. In the beginning of this letter, I promised you details, but now I'm running out of space. So here's one detail to end with: Alien Pinball is caught up in an irrational belief about its own powers and abilities.
I don't know what this game is but I wish I'd designed it.
Quoted from Drewscruis:
Played 1 game on this last night, got to the 3rd ball and the game puked. Playfield entirely went out, artifacts left on the screen in the head and then it started to go into attract mode on the screen in the head. Tried to reset it and stayed the same. Oh well.
Check all the USB connections underneath the field. Sounds like something came loose.
What makes anyone think that if a 'fix' was as simple as moving Dennis Nordman's flipper to the outside orbit, it wouldn't have been done? As it happened, neither the geometry nor the mechanics and electronics below the field (it's easy to forget the playfield areas you can't see) allowed for it. Placing a flipper in its own space, and then extending a shot from it, as was done with the chestburster lane, gives you flexibility of angles. Placing a flipper in an existing orbit doesn't - the flipper angle has to be an extension of said orbit. Geometry is like a jigsaw - you can't simply exchange pieces and expect it to work. Look at the angle of the flipper, and compare it with the orbit. Either the flipper would have been terrible for the shots, or a ball from the orbit passing the flipper would have drained every time. You could solve one or the other, but not both.
Personally here I prefer having the upper flipper in a different place from the orbit anyway, because the orbit is where it goes 90 percent of the time in a modern game, so in this case it was a design choice. It was to have had additional feed from another magnet, but complications arose with that and the game's mechanical BOM ultimately needed to be trimmed anyway. I considered blocking off the second exit from the pops so that every top lane entry would feed the flipper, but almost nobody else liked it that way - the majority verdict wanted the pops more open and the game to remain less predictable.
Quoted from jonesjb:
Really good post from ealadubhsidhe. I’d like to see greenhornet’s response. GH hasn’t accounted for under the playfield mechanics in the design, and based on what ealadubhsidhe has pointed out about the geometry, GH would have likely been otherwise raising concern about the difficulty of nailing vent 3 or hyperspace from the alternate reality UR orbit flipper.
The Vent 3 loop would certainly have been harder, but what would probably would have happened more is the ball would have clonked the inside edge of the hypersleep ramp a lot and not gone up it smoothly. The more vertical the flipper bat, the greater the curviture of the ramp you need to squeeze into what may be a very confined space; at the same time, the bat can't be too high or too low that the natural perpendicular angle from the bat drifts away from the entry point of the lower shot.
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:
Alien code is quite respectable, but it's nothing like the level of depth in LOTR or WOZ. You've basically got two movies to choose from, with 4 modes each. I think most 3-ball games end before starting the movie mini-wizard mode. If playing well, you might start the mini-wizard, then move on to repeat process with the next movie. But I've never seen anyone finish both mini-wizards in a single game. If you're lucky to do that, you also need to start all 4 multiballs to get to the ALL OUT WAR final wizard mode. And I think it's already been made clear that Lifecycle multiball is a quite challenge to start, so getting to All Out War will be incredibly difficult on a 3 ball game.
I see Aliens as an amped up 90's mode based game, with some user flexibility choices for keeping individual games fresh, and a substantial challenge for getting to the final wizard mode. Also has scoring bonuses for completing the modes, and selectable gun bonuses depending on your gameplay. It's pretty clear cut & easy to understand, and there's nothing wrong with that. I think Ferret did an excellent job. But I wouldn't call that depth, just more of a difficult challenge to reach the end. Kinda similar to Metallica.
This is a good, accurate assessment. Andrew's ethos for operator games was always to get a balance where there were enough challenges in the game for good players, but the important new ones wouldn't be put off by the fear that there was no way they were ever going to achieve it all in one go. Alien has more depth than Full Throttle, but FT is much more of a pure skill-based score attack game. JJP's ultra-heavy mode approach simply wasn't for him.
A simple 'turning it off and on again' often works with the screens - they work best when they're all booted at the same time.
Quoted from VividPsychosis:
Hey guys, has anyone figured out a solution for the shooterlane ball wireform scraping against the Pinball glass? It is currently making a pretty intense mark on the underside of my glass, to the point where it’s scraping away the chrome completely. Will this eventually cause my glass to shatter?
Check the platform plastic which your launch ramp goes over. If there is a 'bar' on the top level that the rail is sitting on and possibly being pushed up by, crop it. If this in itself doesn't solve it, you have a few millimetres flexibility to lower the rail without affecting play. All games going out by now should have the plastic 'bar' cropped.
The 'bar' in question would be a part of the plastic, the bottom edge of the hole the launch ramp drops the ball into - a strut going across. It doesn't need to be there, so if it is you can safely cut this bit out if it pushes up your launch ramp.
Quoted from greenhornet:
copy that rouge leader..
nearly a dozen posts in a couple days time drooling over blue, and a week later youve vacillated back to black. point: you've claimed, on occasion, that my posts add nothing the discussion. what exactly did repeating your color choice so many times during your 'blue' period add to the discussion? and now that you are [at least temporarily] no longer going with blue, that makes all those redundant posts even more of a waste of the readershipszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Christ, and I thought I was on the autistic spectrum.
Quoted from delt31:
Really? I feel like the market is looking for anything remotely good associated with the series bc so many disappointments recently. This game def doesn't disappoint so I would think it fills in that need well. They just need to make them...
To be perfectly frank, there was a time when all we needed to do to sell the game was say "it's not Colonial Marines".
Remember when the investors made their first announcement, and I said that outside of them, I as the game's designer had the most to lose? That wasn't hyperbole. I hope Aurich does get his machine, because he knows what I'm talking about. I wish I was in a better position to give my side of the story, but I can't because right now I'm a focal point in between two parties, I have to remain neutral, and I've got to let things play out between them first.
Quoted from simon:
Directors Meeting was last week I think it said, decision made to go into voluntary liquidation. No one contacted me, oddly enough.
Meeting at office of insolvency company on the 4th May for I think stakeholders to agree / disagree the liquidation. Undecided whether to bother going or not.
The representative of the liquidation firm met with the office employees to outline the process and give the official termination notices last Friday. The insolvency becomes official on Friday May 4th, giving a time scale of... two weeks. >_<
Quoted from spfxted:
Some employees were spoken to. Chris spoke to one. I tried to do as much homework as possible. All the warning signs were published here including employees leaving because they were not paid, changing factories because they weren't being paid, vendors not being paid, Dennis not being paid, etc.
When these things were mentioned, people were jumped on.
Chris has had communication with at least two others that I'm aware of. Difficult to say *which* two that would be though.
Quoted from benheck:
Andrew wanting to make a Playboy pin in 2018 shows you just how clueless he is.
The Playboy license was first pitched to the upstairs team in, I think, 2014, and opinions ranged from the ambivalent to the really really outright hostile. This was before the brand itself was forced to sharply change direction and people really *did* end up having to read the magazine for the articles, but even back then I knew that a British company taking on a brand that was synonymous with bygone-America - particularly for the age range in an American-led market that would be expected to buy the machines - was a spectacularly bad idea that couldn't possibly be met with anything other than a hostile response.
I advised him personally face-to-face on Monday to not do this, or at least be very very careful how he phrased himself because it was guaranteed to be taken in the most negative light possible - people wouldn't just read between the lines, they'd try and fly a blimp through them. :/
Quoted from GAP:
Dont sell your Alien. Like you said, you love playing it. It sucks the way things went down, but if you enjoy it, keep it and play it. I have one and also worried about parts and repairs, but there is enough of us, that we should be a able to keep them running. We can always start a new thread "Keeping Alien Alive" and start fresh.
If the community can keep alive arcade machines and pinballs from 1979, a license from 1979 should be no trouble.
Quoted from benheck:
The pinball market has a nostalgia problem...
It also makes it that much harder to bring fresh ideas to the pinball table and demonstrate that it's capable of standing on its own merits. But as long as there are Scott Danesis out there, some of us won't stop trying if we can help it.
Quoted from benheck:
They have new money and moved manufacturing to China. Not dead yet.
And yes, somebody else could license Alien but they'd have to make their own game from scratch. Honestly they should have just made Aliens it lends itself much more to pinball.
Translation: "It has Bill Paxton in it."
I want to clarify one thing related to Barry Oursler, since that was raised in the article... The problem wasn't that he didn't do much in the time that we had him - he was a lot faster than we were, for a start - but the feedback he was getting for his work was often terribly unhelpful and the brief would sometimes change from week to week with no clear direction. Anyone tackling more than one project at one time is naturally going to prioritise and focus on the one that gives them the most freedom, and this is exactly what happened. Two of his three major designs were being hamstrung from complicated and unproven demands to be included before even starting - Andrew wanted a game with a 14-ball multiball in it for example, just so he could state that he broke Apollo 13's 'record' - or frequent suggestions at a later point that meant that everything had to be bunched over again and again to cram everything in. Barry and I were able to eventually work through this after the changeover, and nobody could call his work sub-par - he definitely still has the spark - but it couldn't have been much creative fun for him and I don't think he came away with anywhere near enough of what he actually wanted to do.
Quoted from rubberducks:
For the record, I think they're mad to try to continue.
I have no idea what's going to happen yet in the future, what I can say for sure is that if Alien and Full Throttle are both canned just like that, it'll mean an utter waste of five years of my life under Andrew, right from the very start, for less than no benefit whatsoever and nothing to show for it, either personally, financially or productively. With what I had to spend to get here, I could have sat on my arse in Northern Ireland doing nothing and been around £20k better off in the long run than I am now, and from promises I was given to join in the first place, I'm out a potential six-figure sum, and I *wasn't* an investor. No salary, nothing ever made official, just vague assurances of 'royalties' that I refused point blank to ever agree to. I finally got a contract once he'd gone, but the one thing you can't put a price on is all that *time*.
Quoted from ezeltmann:
Hopefully someone else realizes you are a talented designer and we see a game from you, produced by a real company.
I'd like to think so, but the whole affair has also left me with an insane case of imposter syndrome on top of my inferiority complex and all the other personal issues. There's also a lot of outstanding work that if everything were to stop here would become pretty valueless now to anyone other than myself.
Quoted from rubberducks:
Your point about time is a salient one ... I don't think so many people who were burned, mistreated, or left after witnessing alarming practices were afraid of either NDAs, or what he might do to them if wronged (though some seemed legitimately fearful) or they exposed him ... it was more to do with not wanting to waste a single second more time on having to communicate or deal with him. Most seemed to want to forget that they ever had any contact with him.
I was too deep down the rabbit hole, didn't have anything I could just walk away back to, and was legitimately terrified of the consequences of doing so anyway, if it all came tumbling down once I pulled the keystone away. I just couldn't face the idea of having so much of my life come to naught and potentially taking the blame for it. That last point was something I don't believe Andrew actually saw, and I think the point of realisation for myself was when you yourself began using the phrase 'Stockholm syndrome' to describe the impression you were getting.
I can personally guarantee that, opportunity willing, no game I work on again will adopt anything like the same approach as Alien, whoever such a project would be overseen by. That's not just a matter of principle; I get a hell of a lot more now about design and build hierarchy, that 'cheaper to build' doesn't necessarily equate to 'easier', and about not trying to push limits by ignoring Occam's Razor for the sake of 'cleverness'.
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:
However, ealadubhsidhe whenever I look at your screen name, all I see is Eastside W’s. Then I imagine a Welsh gang of hooligans and pinball enthusiasts - who hang out late at night (past 9pm on a school night) in the bad end of town (near W street) - playing pinball, hoisting pints and talking smack.
WHEN YOU'RE A TAFF
YOU'RE A TAFF ALL THE WAY
FROM THE FIRST PONTYPRIDD
TO THE LAST CARDIFF BAY
It's not a game for everyone's play style or taste, I'll certainly concede that. It's definitely more of a player's game than a beginner's one; it's also not the kind of design I'd attempt anything like twice in a row, regardless of whether the initial seed is mine or not. 'Generic' isn't my thing, but expect the next design I do, should there be one, to be more conventional and easily accessible.
Yeah, the names that are cropping up on the list - JJP, Ben Heck, Kaneda, and so many more - mean as much to me for support as the contributions do. I'm blown away.
I thought History Today was outlined on the questions thread?
"You see an old shoebox, that a small child would use to store marbles in?"
"Would it happen to contain other items of youthful interest, such as buttons and cotton reels?"
"Yes, and a pencil stuck into each side."
"Then I am familiar with such a method of storage, yes."
"That's your pinball machine, that is. That's you getting to All Out War multiball."
"...I see. You see an old videocassette tape?"
"Would this be VHS or Betamax?"
"Betamax, with daytime soap operas recorded on it and worn to the point of constant video static."
"I recall how such media would degenerate over time, yes."
"That's your latest code update, that is."
"Dave and I have been friends for nearly nine years. Dave shared the company dream from the very beginning. At the start, Dave had the option to be directly involved with the company – including shares – and he declined."
OK, first the obvious. No matter what personal state they're in, nobody, but NOBODY, decides to up and move away from their family and move hundreds of miles to a new area to help set up a major new venture, for the sake of 'voluntary' work. I won't go into things that started going wrong once we got there; that's irrelevant. And yes, I did turn down the option of shares but then so would anyone whose personal issues have left them reliant on the state safety net for a long time that said venture is their shot at getting off of. Shares count as savings, and savings are used as a cap towards benefit calculation, so it would have been a pretty big deal if I ever had to leave for any reason and thus worse than useless if I couldn't cash them out. It wasn't a risk I was prepared to take, plus I wasn't prepared to accept any potential liabilities in a company that wasn't mine. Multiple people told me at the time, in my position, don't take shares.
"One big reason that I can discuss is that Dave wanted the freedom to come and go as he pleased – with no set working days or working hours as an ‘employee’ would have. Dave always preferred working from home... In 2015 I told Dave that the company’s finances were much healthier and asked him if he would consider becoming a paid employee. Again Dave declined."
This is true. I have major sleep issues in that my sleep pattern just does not work (I believe that's an Asperger thing), and anyone familiar with me from the Visual Pinball days knows that I get engrossed in a project, I tend to work long and hard well into the night. But you know what that's called, utilising your own time and hours to get a job done within an allocated timescale? Freelancing! How hard would it have been to put some manner of freelance contract in place that would have suited us both? That's how I intend to continue from this point on.
"Of course, Dave wasn’t going to do all of this for nothing – but he wanted to be paid retrospective royalties for his design work in the future."
No, that's what you wanted to pay me, every time the subject was broached. A royalty on every game produced, whether by myself or another designer. Potentially great if you were, say, Stern; but as I told you more than once, you weren't. You were selling me a dream. And that's what was really irking me; straightforward royalties meant my work held no value on its own merit. I would receive no money *unless* the manufacture and sales side of the company unrelated to my work were also up to the job. You wanted me to assume the same risks as the company, but weren't prepared to take any 'risks' for your designer in return.
Look, just ask yourself this: if you really thought we had a mutual arrangement in place, why did you never contract me for it?
They couldn't have liquidated straight away even if they wanted to, not without repercussions, because the fly in that ointment would have been, er, me. Specifically, the situation I'd been put in and what the HMRC was trying to do about it.
That's literally what the idea was - a table with a simpler, smaller pinball game inside. No backbox, all scoring on a small playfield screen, playfields designed like 'street level' games, trad solid-state size (42-inch standard body). Intended to appeal to both the home gameroom and the ponce furniture markets (though the Venn diagram between the two must be remote at best), but also places like European cafes might pick up.
A version of Queen was designed for it as well - at least in digital form - which I did. Interesting exercise in seeing what you could do with that kind of less-is-more playfield that could still feel fresh to play. Couldn't have too many features, so I made sure what there was would have all been different; a bank of drops, scattered stand-ups, a captive ball, a kicking target, two capture shots for multiball, and spinning posts styled as a vinyl record. Pretty pleased with how the digital sim flips, flows and bounces.
Quoted from Dee-Bow:
Touche.. them are some good songs listed.. just don't think that Queen would sell pins based on theme alone. Just my opinion!
At this stage in the market, you *shouldn't* hedge your bets on a machine selling on theme alone. Even if it's a 'good' theme. It can always get cocked up to the point where it would hurt sales of the following game, whatever it is.
Quoted from Ive:
Maybe the timing was wrong in that the company was going down the pan ....BUT this isn't *that* insane an idea. Cocktail 60-in-1 type vids are popular and I've seen them in many bars/pubs recently. Done right, marketed correctly I could see these selling - maybe not to the hardcore on here.
The optimum phrase there of course is '60 in one'.
Quoted from vid1900:
I love the idea.
But, I'd change it so instead of using money from your bank to buy the yacht, you finance it, and get a gold toilet installed (after admiring the one Saddam Hussein had).
As you progress towards wizard mode, the yacht gets repossessed during your 6th bankruptcy.
Robert Maxwell Multiball.
Yeah, don't blame Barry for the content of the demo game there. The only thing that's really his is the layout. The 'demo' was put together with whatever limited clip assets, images and stock music as a sample - no more than that - of what such a game could look like based around Andrew's idea. Not *intentionally* bad enough to change Andrew's mind (it didn't), but eh, it's not like we'd have cared. If anything, it made Andrew more convinced we could do the whole art and media package on the cheap.
Quoted from SLAMT1LT:
Yes, Barry had no input in the demo at all, beyond designing the original layout (which I had to slightly modify for the demo). It's all my work so I take full responsibility. I protested against this theme from day one but I did what I could. And had some fun along the way, making it as cheesy as I could.
Andrew had a hard on for an adult themed game. I agree with him, there aren't enough adult-only themed pinball games, but that doesn't always mean soft core pornography.
Personally, I would've gone with horror - Evil Dead, Saw, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween...etc. With the money he wasted on Playboy we could've had anything we wanted.
I thought the 'aspirational lifestyle' aspect to the demo game, a la Williams Millionaire, worked pretty well. This is very much a 'toys for boys' industry anyway, so there's no reason a good 'lifestyle' game couldn't be popular... just not *that* one.
I remember Andrew wanting a hidden 'adult' mode in Circe's Animal House, with the central hostess showing her cleavage to get the punters in. I told THAT where to go in a big hurry.
Quoted from SLAMT1LT:
Kind of. The original concept was much darker and scarier than the final game. I wanted to scare the player shitless.
I wanted the screen to display 'Bug Hunt' attacks with the player facing off against the Aliens and having to shoot them with the ball, like an arcade gun game. It could be done fairly easily with just the screen and a row of sensor switches above and below. Ball crosses both switch rows from the bottom flippers, the switch hits triangulate the point between them on the screen, anything in that general screen area gets hit.
Quoted from benheck:
My point is the quality of the band has no effect on the resulting pinball.
I don't think Queen's music fits pinball. Neither does the Beatles. Guess we'll see.
If I were to do a music or band-themed game from scratch of my own choice, if I had the freedom to I certainly wouldn't rely solely on the music to illustrate the gameplay; I'd use it as the starting point for a tangential theme related to the band, and the iconography and imagination associated with that. I personally wouldn't do 'Beatles' per se, I'd do Yellow Submarine.
You're all forgetting the first and most important criteria for any music or licensed pin: the *designer* has to give a shit. :p
Yellow Submarine would be a movie license, a piece of pop art and pop culture, a decent slice of the Revolver / Sergeant Pepper / Magical Mystery Tour song catalogue, and you could pull off some marvellous and original things with toys and features. What's not to appreciate?
Quoted from Aurich:
Welp, this showed up today. Still not entirely sure what to do with it, gonna sit in the box for the moment. Some damage to the box itself, game inside seems fine, just tore a little hole in the box. Says LE with black trim, haven't confirmed anything.
I've had people asking me if I'll sell it long before I got it, but until it was here I wasn't really ready to think about it. It's a little sad, but right now I'm inclined to turn it into as much cash as I can get for it and feel like I got paid at least something for all that work. I just don't know that I want to look at it every day.
Time to ponder I guess, but in the meantime here's one of the last pieces of the saga, one of the last games made.
Given that it's one more machine than I actually got, my answer is undoubtedly FOR FUCK'S SAKE KEEP IT.
Quoted from jonesjb:
Interesting developments at Deeproot Pinball related to Heighway, I wonder what this means?
"From October 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018, we will offer some form of relief to those affected customers of Heighway/Pinball Bros and Dutch Pinball who have not received their promised game or other relief. While it won’t make up for the wrongs, it is the right thing to do, and we are sure will be appreciated by the hundreds of affected customers.”
That's nice. I lost five years.
Quoted from jonesjb:
I wonder if we’ll ever see Alien offered digitally, such as in Visual Pinball?
Unlikely at best, at least in the short term. Full Throttle would stand a better chance, but since I hold sway over much of the game's design rights as well as access to assets, there's no way I'm letting any old hack jizz it out. I'd more than likely have to oversee such a project myself.
Why does there *have* to be anything new to say right now, as opposed to wanting there to be? Especially when jumping the gun on promises you don't know if you'll keep has been the plague on this industry for years now.
Quoted from Ferret:
For all you folks saying kind words about Alien -- thank you so much! Really glad you're enjoying the game. If you haven't already, I'd invite you to take a moment to fill out a game rating for Alien here on Pinside. Obviously, it's just for posterity, but I'm quite curious to see where its ratings wind up when people rate the game when it's working properly.
Ditto with the IPDB. And be honest, please.
Quoted from SunKing:
I removed the post below the upper right flipper - makes it easier to hit the chestbuster and vent shots.[quoted image]
I don't personally recommend that, it's there to protect the tip of the flipper from direct ball strikes and stop the flipper being knocked out of angle alignment.
Quoted from Damonator:
Deeproot pinball actually attempted this (and may be better funded than anyone else to try besides Stern) and said it was a non-starter.
It would involve dealing with:
A) customers that were owed a game (or deposit money)
B) vendors that were owed money
C) working with Fox to re-acquire the license
D) working with Pinball Brothers to acquire the assets
E) redesigning some of the more fragile aspects of the game (IO boards, light boards, Xeno head etc)
F) probably other parties that I’m not thinking about
But basically - a huge pain in the butt, very expensive and very time consuming.
One of those parties would absolutely be myself.
Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside