(Topic ID: 106728)

ALIEN PINBALL - Game Over, Man, Game Over


By HeighwayPinball

4 years ago



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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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13
#7942 2 years ago

There are 7 distinct skill shots that can be made from the right flipper. You don't have to select in advance, but the timer is short so you only have one chance to make the shot. Each shot awards some number of points (depending on the relative difficulty of the shot) as well as an associated award or power-up. (e.g. shooting the left orbit increases spinner value for the rest of the ball... shooting a weapon target instantly awards a weapon)

Additionally, making three different skill shots over the course of a game gives a large Super Skill point bonus.

22
#7958 2 years ago
Quoted from Zampinator:

I'll bet in Alien/s you'll use the "launch button" for a bomb. Even better, a Nuke!

Actually, for a pistol, a shotgun, a smart gun, a pulse rifle, or a flamethrower. Each must be earned and each one does something different. Use them wisely. Or save them up to increase the value of wizard modes.

#8124 2 years ago

There are TONS of human actors from the films in the video clips in the game.

#8125 2 years ago

Thanks to everyone who made it out to the launch party tonight, great to see so many people enjoying the game! Hopefully the scoop eject can get fixed so people can try out some modes... So much in the game that people didn't get to see tonight.

54
#8529 2 years ago

Wow, I just caught up on a few hundred messages from the weekend. Glad to see so much excitement about the game. Thank you to the many people who came up to me at Expo with feedback on the game... it's an extraordinary thrill to produce something like this and hear/see what people think about it.

A few random comments...

Someone asked what Lifecycle was. If you examine the playfield, you'll see that many major shots have an additional insert besides the arrow, with icons for Egg, Facehugger, Chestburster, and Xeno. These inserts light up in that exact sequence (representing the lifecycle of an Alien). Completing that 4 shot sequence (no timer or combo requirement) completes a Lifecycle. Your progress is indicated on the playfield inserts, and also shown on the on-screen status when nothing more important (modes, multiballs) takes priority. The on-screen status also tells you what happens when you complete X Lifecycles. The biggest reason to complete Lifecycles is to progress towards Save Newt Multiball, one of the four primary multiballs in the game. However, completing Lifecycles also has other side effects, such as increasing the spinner value, increasing the value of Ambush Multiball, and progressing toward Extra Ball lit. And the Lifecycle shots award points, of course. Lifecycle progress can be made pretty much any time you're not in a multiball.

I've been trying hard to ensure that every game rule has value beyond just points. I dislike game features that just award nominal points that no one cares about. So I've tried to build a meaningful web of interactions between features. As an example: when you hit X number of pop bumpers (eggs), an egg is destroyed. (Think "pop level completed" in other games.) Yay. But each egg destroyed also boosts the scoring in every mode that specifically uses the bumpers... so if you're trying to maximize your score, you might not want to start an egg-based mode until you've racked up some sweet pop bumper action. It's important to me that these sorts of rules exist for advanced players to strategize about (because I totally geek out on complicated rules interaction in pinball, without needing a 45 minute game to do it all) but not act as blockers for more casual players who just want to shoot around and have fun with the game.

Overall, I'm proud of the rules we've done for the game. I think no one will be disappointed in the breadth or depth of rules. Incorporating feedback from the entire team, Wales and US, I've written and maintained our internal rule sheet for the game (that I use as a task list / checklist, and David Thiel and Kelly Mazurowski use as their guide for what A/V assets they need to provide), and it's about 20 pages long, filled with, hopefully, interesting subtleties. 90%+ of this rulesheet (that's an educated guess, not a scientific analysis) is completed and was available on the games at Expo.

A word on lighting effects in the game. If you thought they were nice at Expo, thank you, but you literally have seen nothing yet. I've intentionally been deferring "decorative" lighting (the cool swooshes and sweeps and explosions of lights that we all love) until my physical game arrives. Brian's simulator is fantastic, but it's not able to represent things like lamp diffusion, blockages by plastics and metal, etc. Brian and I have done some decorative effects anyway, but there is much more to be done to really make the game sparkle (literally!). Once my game arrives (maybe this week, fingers crossed!), I expect to spend a lot of time focusing on lighting effects, because the whole team agrees those are a big part of providing the great atmosphere that the game demands.

There's still some work to be done in all departments, but getting to experience this game for real for the first time this weekend, I'm really optimistic that the end result is going to be amazing.

2 weeks later
15
#9133 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

How is the queen shot generally used? Is it like a mode start shot, a bash target (like the castle in Medieval Madness), or something else?

Trying to steer this thread back to an actual discussion of Alien...

The Airlock/Queen shot is a scoop. Its most common purpose is to start and end modes. Start is obvious. All modes have some objective that must be fulfilled, and once fulfilled, you shoot the Airlock shot again to officially "win" the mode. Winning a mode awards a portion of the total points earned in the mode as multipliable bonus, awards a weapon, and boosts the value of the wizard modes. Many (not all) modes remain playable once the win is qualified, so there is strategic choice available at that point to try to run up the score before cashing out the win... if you time out or drain out without shooting that final Airlock shot, you don't get awarded the bonus goodies for the win.

The Airlock/Queen shot is also a progress shot in some modes (certainly all of the ones involving the Queen, like Queen's Nest and Loader Battle) and a jackpot shot in at least one multiball.

16
#9150 2 years ago
Quoted from Yipykya:

Will there be a players guide in some fashion made available once games are shipping?
So many of these expensive complex games with deep rules and nuanced programing seem to come with nothing more than an index card on the apron.

I don't know the answer; that's up to Andrew. My personal preference would be to offer a basic guide to gameplay (perhaps on YouTube, as was done for Full Throttle), but NOT publish our entire rulebook. For me, a big part of the joy of a new game, whether on location or as a home owner, is the discovery process: finding the tricks to boosting scores, finding the right combination of features to stack, learning that how you do on this thing influences that thing over there. Publishing the full rules would short-circuit most of that discovery experience.

The balanced scoring question is a good one, and a topic that's come up over and over again amongst the design team. IMHO TimeBandit's definition is really on point:

Quoted from TimeBandit:

In greater detail, I really meant balanced in that you get what you work for, or that you get paid commensurately for risks you take. If you feel you are doing good work, then expect to be paid for it.

Alien's scoring is generally designed around chain reactions. As an example: destroying eggs increases the value of modes that involve eggs (Derelict Ship and Queen's Nest). Doing well in modes increases the value of the associated mini-wizard mode, as well as the final wizard mode. Doing well in modes also gives weapons that you can use to boost your scoring in other modes or multiballs.

However, I've tried to scale things so the scoring progressions are more Fibonacci-ish rather than exponential. That means that Alien won't have many situations of "OMG that one shot that was worth more than my last 5 game scores combined" ... but it also shouldn't have many situations of putting players "in jail" where you screw up one thing and your scoring potential goes completely down the drain. Hopefully everyone finds the balance to be fair and fun. And of course, if any of the scoring is out of whack (and let's be realistic, SOMETHING will probably be out of whack in the initial version... probably multiple somethings... I'm quite interested to learn what exploit someone like KME comes up with!) I'm committed to making it right.

22
#9151 2 years ago
Quoted from Jgaltr56:

This is something that a tournament mode should address

BTW, balanced scoring (whatever that means to any given person ) has nothing to do with Tournament Mode. Alien fully supports Tournament Mode -- both Brian and I play lots of tournaments, that's important to us. But Tournament Mode means that the random number generator has no say in what happens: if two players shoot the exact same sequence of shots with the exact same timing, they'll wind up with the exact same score. So if Tournament Mode is active, the Mystery awards will always be the same for a given game state, the Xenos will always attack in the same pattern in Ambush Multiball, Jonesy will always run in a predictable pattern during Find Jonesy. If Tournament Mode is not active, Mystery awards are somewhat more mysterious (biased random), you won't know where the Xenos will appear next during Ambush, and Jonesy will go wherever the catnip leads him.

13
#9183 2 years ago
Quoted from Frax:

Heighway is lucky to have you, David. Your work on Tron's sound package was beyond good, it was ludicrous.

I can't agree with this enough. And David has some more spectacular work in Alien. I've told him many times that I know the music is good when I forget to shut down the simulator while I'm coding... it's just playing the game music in the background. I've heard it a thousand times by now, and I'm still not in any hurry to shut it down. Great stuff.

My personal favorite might be David's work on Hypersleep Multiball. He's created this gradual build-up in the background music as you progress through the jackpot levels; I can't recall another game with a similar effect. (Closest thing that comes to mind would be the way Whitewater's background music gets more and more enthusiastic as you progress rafts.) It's very orchestral and wonderful.

1 month later
#9441 2 years ago
Quoted from J85M:

I don't know if it's ever been done before (sure someone will know for certain) but has a spinner ever had mode specific sounds??

Not sure if it's been done before, but Alien does have distinct spinner sounds during Sentry Guns Multiball, which is a spinner-centric multiball.

2 weeks later
#9749 2 years ago

Stefan is a super nice guy, excellent machine technician (y'all have no idea how much he helped making the prototypes at Expo work well), and now he writes a great rulesheet too... well done, sir.

1 week later
53
#9955 2 years ago

Progress is obviously slower than what anyone wants, but there *is* progress... a development machine has finally landed in the programmer's house! For me this counts as the start of the final stretch...

IMG_3865 (resized).jpg

IMG_3872 (resized).jpg

31
#9960 2 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

So, another 5-6 months to go?

From the code standpoint, no, not at all. All the game rules have been done for awhile and have been played in Wales and at a few shows. The two biggest things I'll be working on are:

1) Score balancing - tweaking point values, timers, etc to make things feel as good as possible from a risk/reward standpoint.

2) Choreography polish - more/better lighting shows is the big one, but also tweaking the A/V effects overall to be as immersive as we can. We all know atmosphere is a big deal for this theme.

I'm sure that I'll be fiddling with these things even after the game ships, but v1 is already quite solid today. (I've said it before, but Brian's code simulator is terrific, huge props to him. The code wouldn't be anywhere without his sim.)

#9963 2 years ago
Quoted from ezeltmann:

i'm only a half hour away! Need any help? LOL

You are? When'd you move to the DC area?

18
#9966 2 years ago
Quoted from J85M:

If any requests can be made by the community Ferret, if its not already an idea or plan you have could you please see if its possible to make the games lighting flicker and strobe during the Xeno ball grab/eat?

Funny you should mention that... on our weekly status call two days ago, heighwaypinball was specifically talking about that very effect. So yeah, I think that'll make it in.

#9971 2 years ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

Strobing on say AFM is just right.
On GOT sunglasses are needed

That's what my eyes say too.

I'm a bit more willing to blind the player when the ball is out of play, like when the Xeno is eating it. IMHO it's not fair or fun to blind the player when they're trying to make shots (ala GOT).

23
#10012 2 years ago
Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

Replica M56, also known as:
“that huge ass gun Vasquez and Drake use in the film.”

Ah, the M56 Smart Gun... one of the weapons you can earn in the game; when used, it spots the best available shot on the playfield (because it's, y'know, a smart gun... )

My wife (Julie -- people on the competitive circuit probably know her) and I have been playing games and trying to get used to using the different weapons. They really are the souped-up version of MB items / AC/DC VIP passes / etc, without being obtrusive, which was our intention when we designed them. Casual players can ignore them and just get modest extra points for having them. Intermediate players can jam the launch button when they drain and hope something good happens (perhaps spotting enough Xeno hits to start a multiball and thus override the drain). Advanced players can purposefully select the weapon they want to use at exactly the moment they want to use it. (This is hard!) It's pretty cool... nice to see a concept actually work out in practice the way it was envisioned.

1 week later
#10292 2 years ago
Quoted from Toads:

So EAG is over?
And no decent video of the first production games?

unigroove posted a pretty decent video yesterday...

#10295 2 years ago
Quoted from Toads:

Btw am I going to see the name "ferret" as one of the high scores when I open my game up

Just JOE, I think.

20
#10335 2 years ago

David Thiel reported that 173 custom Mother callouts have been recorded for the game. Some of them aren't used in the code yet, and some probably never will be (stuff we were brainstorming and said "well, as long as you're in the recording studio, get these lines, just in case..."). But Mother is definitely there to help guide the player. If you listen to the recent gameplay video recordings, you'll hear some of them.

#10338 2 years ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

That's incredible! Just as long as MUTHUR taunts me during Self Destruct mode, telling me I have "X minutes to reach minimum safe distance", while the beacon lights are lighting up my game room & I frantically struggle to hit my shots for big points

Exactly that.

I have to say, the audio/visual work done by David Thiel and Kelly Mazurowski when the Nostromo blows up is superb. And the rules ensure it always happens when the ball is captured in a device, so the player gets a few seconds to simply enjoy.

Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Now that I'm thinking, I'm not sure if this was answered before.... will there be an adjustable setting in the menus as to whether the individual game modes are playable as selectable, random, or linear? I can see multiple reasons for these adjustments, either for home use or tournament play.

That's an interesting thought. Currently the next mode to be started is selectable by the player. However, Self Destruct can only be played after the other 4 Alien modes have been played. (Likewise for Aliens, Loader Battle is unavailable until the 4 Aliens modes have been played.)

22
#10341 2 years ago
Quoted from karl:

One thing that is on my mind: I really hope that Alien has sounds when you hit targets (standups and drops etc)

I am fairly sure that every single switch has at least one, and in most cases multiple (depending on game state), sound effects when hit. David Thiel is very meticulous about that sort of thing, and I've been trying my best to do justice to all the assets he has provided.

Quoted from Berserk:

I am very interested in seeing how the Meltdown and self destruct modes will play, the alarm sound in the original Alien movie was so awesome!

Meltdown? You're looking at waaaaay old pictures. The Aliens mini-wizard mode is Loader Battle, representing the climactic battle between Ripley (in the power loader exoskeleton) and the Alien Queen.

They're vaguely similar to each other yet quite different. Both have three phases. In the first phase of Self Destruct, you activate the self-destruct sequence of the Nostromo, then run around the ship gathering supplies (including Jonesy! must have cat) and evacuating to the escape shuttle before the Nostromo blows up. In the second phase, you're in the shuttle discovering the alien hiding there, blasting it out the airlock, and torching it to smithereens. If you're successful at all that, the scene converts to a victory multiball where you can rack up big points. (This victory phase has some very clever and unexpected displays that go with it... I'll save the details for people to discover in the game. )

In Loader Battle, the first phase involves you fist-fighting (for lack of a better word -- watch Aliens to understand!) the Alien Queen until you both tumble into the Airlock. The second phase involves Ripley climbing out of the Airlock and blasting the Queen into the vacuum of space. Again, if you're successful at all this, you get promoted to a victory multiball.

In both cases, the scoring is dependent on how well you did in the other 4 of the movie's modes. You can time out all the other modes just to rush your way to the mini-wizard features (Self Destruct / Loader Battle) if you really want, but then you'll be quite disappointed in the point value of the mini-wizards. Conversely, if you kick butt in the primary modes, the mini-wizard modes become very lucrative ... which also puts more pressure on you to succeed in the first two phases of the mini-wiz modes to advance to the multiball stage with really high point values on the victory shots.

40
#10370 2 years ago
Quoted from mountaingamer:

it's gonna ship (hopefully)with shallow, early code.

I feel quite comfortable saying that the code is not shallow. Our internal rulesheet is 20 pages long, and it's all implemented, except for a few trivial things. There's lots to do and lots of reasonable strategic choices. I can't guarantee that a high-level player won't find some scoring exploit that I didn't anticipate -- that seems to happen frequently when new games are released -- but if that happens, I'll do my best to normalize it in a code update.

1 week later
#10637 2 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

Would be great to "WHAM!" and grab it or also sometimesto use the tongue/mine jaws thing to slam it off the magnet back down the pf.

Ack, that would be terrible. The "tongue" only moves straight forward and backward, and is directly above the center drain... so doing what you describe would most likely just slam the ball SDTM. That's not fun.

I don't know if folks have noticed one nice thing about the Xeno targets... they are two standup targets in a slight "V" configuration. What this means is that when you shoot up the middle to the Xeno, the ball will probably rebound at a slight angle, not just slam down the middle like you see too often on a shot to (AFM saucer shield / Spidey Sandman shield / Metallica Sparky / TWD Prison / etc). Good attention to detail by ealadubhsidhe.

19
#10640 2 years ago
Quoted from bigd1979:

I love that the shot on afm is risky and it makes you really have to have a strategy other than just bashing shield and ship.

On Alien, you can just shoot the Xeno repeatedly to start Ambush MB, but the point values won't be great. Shooting around the field first (Lifecycle shots) increases the Ambush values. That was my compromise to let casual players just pound the middle and enjoy getting a fun multiball, while requiring advanced players to strategize to optimize scoring.

#10657 2 years ago
Quoted from J85M:

I might have missed it in some of the videos but when the Xeno is not setup or ready to attack/eat the ball, will the magnet in front of the Xeno pulse and whip the ball back at the player/flippers?

Yes. Well, it pulses. Sometimes it flings toward the flippers, sometimes it goes sideways into the egg bumpers or into a post, sometimes it has no apparent effect. Typical magnet randomness.

12
#10811 2 years ago
Quoted from Manic:

Seems to have one of my pet peeves... virtually no satisfying sounds or sound effect when hitting the left ramp or right return.

The sound wasn't very good on this video, but I can assure you that the ramps and return lanes have distinctive sound effects... David Thiel is doing audio and he doesn't miss a beat.

#10840 2 years ago
Quoted from ezeltmann:

At around 3:40 in the video we see balls being "locked" (through shots on the playfield) and hypersleep multiball starts. Is this the actual final gameplay behavior?

No, the Hypersleep locks were not functioning correctly in that gameplay video. Hypersleep ball locks (3rd lock = start Hypersleep MB) are supposed to be collected on the upper/center ramp, after qualifying the lock via the drop targets. (You hear Mother announcing that the Hypersleep locks are qualified at 3:35, after the drop target bank is completed.) Not sure why other playfield shots were spotting locks. Perhaps it has something to do with the missing ramp gates that Andrew mentioned.

#10853 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

Gameplay layout question... How does the ball feed to the upper flipper, is it by the left orbit like on Shadow Dirty Harry or another way?

Ambiguous question, there are two upper flippers.

The only way to feed the upper left flipper is to shoot the Vent 1 saucer, which ejects the ball so it drops past the upper left flipper. From there several shots are possible, including the right ramp, Chestburster lane, Vent 2 lane, or APC drop targets.

The upper right flipper can be fed by shooting the Chestburster lane from either the upper left flipper or (difficult but possible) the lower left flipper. The ball will bounce off a standup at the end of that lane and drop past the upper right flipper. This lane will also be fed ~50% of the time when the ball exits the egg bumpers. However the ball reaches the upper right flipper, again several shots are possible, including the upper/center ramp, the Vent 3 loop, or the Airlock.

#10855 2 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

Wasn't there a magnet that pulled the ball over from a loop shot too?

There was. That was removed from the design sometime around Expo (October).

15
#10955 2 years ago

I'll enjoy my waning moments of having the only Alien Pinball in the USA...

20
#11090 2 years ago
Quoted from solarvalue:

This looks really fun! How do the weapons work?

You earn weapons by winning modes or completing the five weapon standup targets around the playfield. If you have more than one weapon, you can select amongst them using the Extra Ball button. Launch button fires the currently selected weapon. Each weapon has a different ability, always earned in order: VP70 Handgun (Advance Bonus X), Ithaca 37 Shotgun (spot 2 Xeno hits), M56 Smart Gun (spot "best" lit shot), M41A Pulse Rifle (start 2X playfield), M240 Flame Thrower (start short ball saver). Advanced players can strategically use the right weapons at the right time to make much goodness happen. But they don't get in the way of casual players. (You could just jam the launch button as your ball is draining and hope that 2 Xeno hits is enough to start Ambush Multiball or something.)

In addition to their abilities, weapons that haven't been used contribute to multipliable end of ball bonus, and also boost scoring of the mini-wizard and final wizard modes.

#11124 2 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

do weapons carry over form ball to ball?
if you use a weapon on Ball 1 (i.e. advance bonus X), will the next weapon you gain be m240? or do you always restart at the first weapon after you use them?

Yes, the next one in the rotation always gets awarded, even if you used some along the way or it's a different ball. We tried several variations during development and this seemed to be the only way that made sense as far as letting players get the more powerful weapons without dissuading them from using what they've earned.

15
#11126 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

1. What sort of playfield multipliers are there?
2. Are there add-a-ball features in any multi-balls?
3. How many balls does Alien have?
4. Are modes/multiballs stackable?
5. Is there a overarching wizard mode for finishing all 3 tiers (I didn't see an insert for one, so I'm not sure... Although an insert isn't necessary I suppose)?

1 - There's a 2X playfield multiplier, accessible a few different ways.
2 - Yep.
3 - Six.
4 - Yes, with some restrictions. Most notably, only one mode can run at a time. The modes are very atmospheric and we didn't want to ruin that effect by having them stomp on each other. (Really, for atmosphere it would've been better to not allow stacking multiballs either, but we wanted to make a good pinball rule set, not just show the movie in a pinball cabinet.)
5 - Yes, All Out War. Scoring is highly influenced by how you performed in modes and multiballs, so you'll be unhappy with it if you just time out everything to get there.

Quoted from jonesjb:

What is the maximum combo shot in the game, trying to figure out on the layout. Anything to rival the 7 shot combo in The Shadow?

Infinite way combos are allowed, fun, and valuable. However, the rule is designed so the two most recent shots can't be reused, so you can't just left ramp-right ramp indefinitely.

#11129 2 years ago

Thanks guys!

#11152 2 years ago

Having played quite a number of games now, I have to agree with ealadubhsidhe. There are a lot of outlane drains on this machine, so offsetting it with a slightly easier center isn't a bad thing. It's not a super long playing game.

#11209 2 years ago
Quoted from dmbjunky:

Who was the designer anyway? Last I heard that wasn't revealed.

Designer of Alien? Original layout by Dennis Nordman ... Dave Sanders ( ealadubhsidhe ) took over when Dennis left the project. I'm sure everyone knows Dennis; Dave is Heighway's in-house designer who also did Full Throttle.

#11319 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

What is the Dropship, complete for 2x play field?

Left ramp shots spot letters in DROP. Right ramp shots spot letters in SHIP. Upper ramp shots spot a letter in both DROP and SHIP. Once DROP SHIP is fully spelled, 2X Playfield scoring starts for awhile. That is one of 3 ways to start (or extend the time of) 2X Playfield.

I only watched a bit of last night's stream, but it looked to me like the left ramp wasn't registering shots, so DROP letters weren't getting spotted. Probably need to adjust the left ramp made switch to ensure that the ball is consistently activating it. ( cjmjmm2006 )

#11338 2 years ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

I would also think that it would be an important strategy to go for hypersleep chamber ball locks on the upper LT ramp as soon as they are available. I'm not sure what you have to do to light the lock though. Since the out lane drains are common, at least you can exchange a ball lock for a LT outlane drain if you hit the lit rollover.

Light lock by completing the APC drop targets on the mid-right. Lock balls by shooting the upper ramp.

I kind of agree with you about that being an important strategy... with that in mind (as well as the difficulty of the upper ramp shot), I just checked in code changes a couple days ago to make Hypersleep Multiball more valuable points-wise. Tricky balancing act on this one... if HSMB isn't worth enough, players may just avoid starting it at all in favor of the outlane protection... if it's worth too much, it's unbalanced.

13
#11345 2 years ago

I was watching the last hour or so of the stream and taking notes... needless to say, it's a totally different perspective for me to watch this way vs just playing the prototype. Thanks to the stream team!

I think at the very least, I'll add a "Revive = Easy" adjustment that spots one Revive lane per ball... to give the option for the outlane nudge maze to be a useful feature for everyone right off the bat. (On my prototype, the left outlane area is tough, but not as tough as it appeared to be on the stream. A little of that might be due to what looked like a very sensitive tilt on the Pittsburgh game... perhaps also steeper than normal? Hard to say.)

Mode timer = 40 seconds for most modes. Modes on average require 5 shots to complete. (Alien modes tend to require fewer but more precise shots; Aliens modes tend to have more shots lit at once but also require more to complete.) If you collect Mother during a mode, she'll always extend mode time (once per mode). Half the modes also have other ways to extend the mode time.

No clue why the Xeno isn't growling and eating balls.

I invite (constructive ) software feedback from anyone who's played it...

10
#11374 2 years ago
Quoted from ezeltmann:

For some reason the lower pop bumper and the inserts on the right loop were not lighting.

Yes, several of the upper playfield lights on serial #1 seem to be not working. I believe Andrew's team is working to figure out why this is and get it fixed. Once fixed, it'll definitely improve game play, because some mode scenes (e.g. Find Jonesy, Acid Burn) really require the arrow inserts.

Quoted from ezeltmann:

The right loop itself seems to be a bit clunky; the only flow problem i could detect. The upper inner loop was fantastic as are the ramps flow.

I saw that too, and it surprised me... right orbit on my prototype game is smooth. In fact, all the shots on my game are really smooth, although the Chestburster lane (the lane above the upper-right flipper) and upper ramp are not easy shots... but feel great when you nail them. Mr. Thiel has provided unique combo sounds through 8-way, and it's very satisfying when you start hearing the higher-level ones.

Quoted from ezeltmann:

If the ball can be detected near the opening of the left outlane drain , an animation on the lcd showing to nudge to the lit lane might help newbies understand to do something.

Unfortunately that's not a thing, there aren't any switches between the upper-left flipper and the outlane switches that are on the bottom of the outlane post maze. The dev team is actively discussing software solutions to make the left outlane area be more player-friendly, I'll probably be testing code in the next day or two.

Quoted from ezeltmann:

Is there anything more planned for some of the mystery awards (not 100% sure if its mystery). They are indicated by simple text and a couple of lines on the screen (Like AWARD LOCK or 15 second ball saver). Seems like it could be jazzed up a little since the ball is being held and you actually can enjoy some graphics.

There's actually an A/V sequence that precedes the actual Mother award, representing Dallas going into Mother's interface chamber. The only expected change there is that the award text should get a teletype-looking presentation, closer to what Mother's Interface 2037 looks like in Alien, instead of just displaying instantly. I'll probably also expedite the award sequence during multiball, vs showing the whole thing when you've got other balls flying around and can't watch it anyway.

A couple other random comments about playfield layout. Besides what's already been noted, the ball launch now always kicks up to the right-side platform and then feeds to the right flipper -- it used to fly around the right orbit. (IMHO this is a great change, because it enabled multiple flipper skill shots, each of which has a distinct point value and feature boost.) The Vent 2 shot also returns directly to the right flipper now instead of feeding the launcher lane, which again is an improvement IMHO... I thought dropping into the launcher lane and then kicking it back out was kinda clunky.

1 week later
#11722 2 years ago
Quoted from bcd:

Quoted from luvthatapex2:
Curious, is there going to be a tournament mode or competitive mode?
Both Full Throttle and ALIEN already support a tournament mode feature. It can be enabled in the operator's menu, or you can hold the left flipper for 5 seconds before starting a game and it will go into competition mode for the next game only.
This removes all random features. For ALIEN this means Muthur Mystery will award items in a fixed sequence. Presently it just gives points every time, but this will probably evolve.

It actually does more than that in Alien. Two mode scenes (Find Jonesy, Acid Burn) and two multiballs (Ambush, Save Newt) have semi-random shot selections in normal play. These are all de-randomized in tournament mode.

#11752 2 years ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Really looking forward to seeing how the airlock LCD screen is further implemented. Seems like it's almost at alpha code right now with that small timer in the upper left corner. Lots of potential there though. Seems like it would be best utilized to display critical priority info, timers, etc. Care to share any ideas on using it?

What Aurich said. Yes, it's fair to say that the Airlock LCD code is very immature right now. Definitely will add weapon info there, since otherwise it's nigh impossible to strategically choose your weapon in the middle of a mode/multiball. And Kelly has already provided me with a bunch more assets for it that I haven't hooked up yet.

Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Also had a question about the modes like Find Jonesy, where the orange insert is moving around & your bonus value get penalized for hit hitting blue shots. From watching the videos, sometimes its hard to find exactly where that orange insert is, but maybe it's easier in person. I'm aware you're still working on the coding of lighting effects.
Also if you keep hitting blue shots (not intentionally), is there any other shot to get those penalty points back? I'm guessing you keep hitting the orange shots to rank up value, perhaps extending the timer, then hit the airlock scoop to finish mode & collect reward? It's probably similar to Acid Burn as well correct?

No, you're right, it's a little too hard to find the "hiding" lights in Find Jonesy. I think the biggest problem is that if combos are active, the combo arrows provide too much visual clutter, so I'll probably squelch those while FJ is running.

You can regain some of your penalty points by hitting the Recharge target, but if you hit too many errant shots, the mode just won't be worth as much. Find Jonesy is all about patience and accurate shooting. If you have those things, you can clean up FJ in 3 shots and 8-9M, which is very strong points/shot. Acid Burn wants accuracy too of course, but it's more about speed.

1 week later
11
#12162 2 years ago
Quoted from Toads:

I thought the new processor could only handle 2 separate feeds?

No, it can handle 3 separate HD outputs. That was one of the key objectives of the CPU upgrade... even though Alien only provides 2 distinct outputs, we wanted to ensure that future games could potentially move up to 3 distinct outputs without having to go through the CPU upgrade hassle again.

#12172 2 years ago
Quoted from redundor:

The upper left flipper can't hit the drop targets? It looks like it should be able to.

Yes, it can.

12
#12179 2 years ago

Yes, all three APC drop targets are shootable from the UL flipper... though it's not necessarily a good idea, could cause some wicked side-to-side motion. Personally I'd rather let the ball fall from the saucer without flipping (should roll nicely into the left inlane) and shoot the drops from the LL flipper.

BTW, a couple weeks ago I reduced the power on the saucer kickout... makes the ball come out a little slower and thus makes UL flipper shots a bit easier. IMHO nicer for the difficult Chestburster and Vent 2 shots.

#12192 2 years ago
Quoted from guyincognito:

What is the cost of a wooden cabinet, a backbox with LCD and metal legs? Is that really 40% of $6450 or $2580?

Standard backbox actually doesn't include the LCD (but it does include a hinged door and LED lighting).

But besides what you mention, the full cabinet includes the power system (transformer and power board), computer, cabinet I/O board, speakers and amplifier, coin door, flipper buttons, operator button panel, tilt bob, etc...

21
#12407 2 years ago

Legit game. Ball 3 didn't last long, sadly...

Image uploaded from iOS (resized).jpg

#12412 2 years ago
Quoted from TimeBandit:

Ferret, Hi Joe, may I ask a boring technical question? I've always wondered if the code for a full game is state machine within a state machine ad infinitum. You know, start with the ultimate state, game on or game off, etc etc, then keep inserting new states deeper and deeper, or if there is always still some element of linear code with a bunch of nested IFs. I guess there are a lot of home brew venues where I could explore the answer to this, but just thought I would ask in the context of Alien and your approach.

We use a mix of techniques... there are state machines; every display and sound and lighting effect is tagged with a priority, and a prioritization manager helps sequence things; and yes, there are even places where just a cascading series of "if" statements is the most effective approach. As you may know, Brian Dominy created the underlying platform used by Heighway Pinball's games, and it's generally really well thought out and easy to work with.

Quoted from PeterG:

Where are the slingshot facehuggers?

What Aurich said ... my game is a dev prototype that was built 3.5 months ago. No slingshot Facehuggers.

#12417 2 years ago
Quoted from iluvak9:

Well, Joe, if your excellent score was obtained on your prototype game, then I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it means that it cannot be recognized as an "official" stellar performance

Hey, I'm using that score at league tonight! I need every point I can get...

#12476 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

To those who have had the good fortune of being able to try Alien, how does the Add-a-Ball and jackpots work on Multiball? That's always been one of my favorite features!

Mother will always give one add-a-ball during multiball. (Except during All Out War, which plays by its own rules...)

As for jackpots... every multiball is completely different.

#12478 2 years ago
Quoted from SunKing:

First is the Queens Nest, where the playfieled goes green, and you have to alternate between hitting the queen (xeno head) and the eggs.

Actually, you want to alternate the eggs and the Airlock scoop. (Not sure what code version you're running; the very latest, which may not be released yet, is better about showing info on the screen telling you what to shoot.) You can also shoot the Xeno head (center targets) to increase point values, but doing so does not progress you toward winning the scene.

Quoted from SunKing:

But let me tell ya, tonight as I was playing, I hit Save Newt multi-ball. I got chills. Swear to god goosebumps on my arms chills. ...been while since a pin has done that for me

Hopefully you'll like it even better when we get some more callouts populated in that multiball... David's queued up a bunch for me. That's actually the multiball that still needs the most choreography polish (well, besides All Out War).

Very glad to hear that you're enjoying the game!

1 week later
#12635 2 years ago

IMHO, the thing about Ripley is: she doesn't actually have many awesome lines that would pump you up while playing. Yes, I, and probably everyone, would love the "Get away from her, you bitch!" line. But other than that, how many other iconic, exciting Ripley quotes jump to your mind? For me, her next best quote would be "nuke the site from orbit... it's the only way to be sure" ... but the way she actually says that in the film is very calm and slow, good atmosphere, but it doesn't build excitement.

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#12796 2 years ago

I am very receptive to any specific suggestions on communicating status/instructions to the player. If you feel that in mode/multiball X you didn't understand Y, please tell me exactly that and I'll see what I can do. Find Jonesy is a little bit of an exception, we were intentionally going for a "I'm looking for that cat, where the heck is he?!... oh, THERE!" vibe, since in the film he was darting around the shadows (because cat ). The latest code hopefully makes it a little easier (while maintaining that vibe) by decluttering combo arrows when the cat's on the move, and also making him meow when he moves so you get an audible cue too.

Latest code also improves status about Xeno hits until Ambush: the GI around the Xeno now flashes brighter and faster as you get closer to Ambush, and when not in a mode, the Dashboard status line now specifically says "4 Xeno hits for Ambush" or whatever.

As for "Game Over Man"... it's currently one of the tilt quotes. There will be more Game Over A/V sequences in the future besides Bishop's current one; I'd be willing to bet that Game Over Man will get more use there.

#12799 2 years ago

Code updates are sent out by Heighway support, not me. I kinda think they have all hands on deck getting Xeno issues resolved and getting machines shipping, so I can't speak to code rollout schedule.

#12800 2 years ago

As a supplement to my earlier note: I don't intend to have every_ game rule spelled out to the player ... partly because that could be confusing by inundating the player with too much information, and partly because it is (IMHO) fun to have secret tricks and bonuses in the game that you can discover over time. There are a decent number of those in the code.

But certainly the primary rules for modes and multiballs are not meant to be secretive or confusing.

15
#12809 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

One of the uniquely cool things about Alien is that there are shots that you want to hit as well as ones to avoid. ferret is there some sort of consistent color hierarchy that symbolizes this (i.e. always aim for green shots or flashing shots, always avoid red ones - symbolizing aliens attacking)?

There isn't currently a consistent color for "bad" shots, but it's not because we didn't think about that. I could but won't prattle on forever about all the considerations that went into it, but the combination of "making the lights represent the entities from the movie" (e.g. I thought the "cat" shots in Find Jonesy should be orange) and "making the lights distinguishable, especially when stacking of features is considered" (e.g. multiball Jackpot shots are generally red) made things challenging. This still might get revisited in the future. I personally find it easier just to focus on what the color is for the "good" shots, since anything that's not that color is something I want to avoid during those modes.

Quoted from jonesjb:

Also, how do shots to avoid work in this game? Do they have negative points, or reduce progression toward goals, or something like 3 strikes and you lose the mode?

We never subtract from your actual score.

Beyond that: Depends on the mode. There are three modes that have "bad" shots: Acid Burn, Find Jonesy, and Bug Hunt. Acid Burn features a hurry countdown; shooting a "bad" shot fast-forwards the countdown, which means fewer points for the remaining good shots, and could cause you to time out the mode sooner if the hurry value gets to its minimum. Find Jonesy is a different model, it's a game of finding the cat via "warmer/colder" ... shooting the good (cat) shots moves you "warmer", shooting the bad (Alien) shots moves you "colder". If you get "warm enough", you catch Jonesy and win; if you get "too cold", the Alien gets ya and you lose the mode. Scoring in this mode is based on shot efficiency; you'll score the most by hitting only cat shots. In Bug Hunt, "bad shots" only come into play in the second part of the mode (the Marines vs Aliens firefight) ... here, shot values are multiplied by the number of Marines that are still alive, but Marines get killed when you make bad shots. (And I watched that scene several times with a notebook in hand to make sure they get killed in the same order in the game as in the movie. )

As you might guess, these modes aren't your best choices for stacking with multiballs (although I'd be willing to take Bug Hunt into a multiball and hope multiball firepower wins out before the Aliens ravage the good guys). On the other hand, these modes have some of the best points-per-shot potential in the game for those who can shoot accurately.

#12848 2 years ago
Quoted from sed6:

How about mode timing? I've seen many a mode fail because time ran out. How's that determined or calculated?

Nothing too surprising. In the code in the field, most modes have a 40 second timer; modes with a hurry point countdown also approximate 40 seconds. APC uses a shot clock of 15 seconds instead of a full mode timer. Some modes automatically add extra time if you get through the first part. Mother will extend each mode once.

In the very latest code (Heighway doesn't even have this build yet) all mode timers are fully operator adjustable, with Extra Easy/Easy/Medium/Hard/Extra Hard presets available. The Medium preset got nudged up to 45 seconds.

22
#12852 2 years ago
Quoted from SadSack:

I'm still trying to understand how this could be useful for operators.

Example: operator has 4 locations. They buy Full Throttle, Alien, HP game #3, and HP game #4, and place one at each location. They wish to rotate titles regularly to keep things fresh (= robust coin drop) at each location. It's MUCH easier for a solo tech to move just a playfield rather than the entire machine: it weighs less, easier to navigate around tight spaces, don't have to screw with taking on/off legs or backbox, releveling, etc.

#12870 2 years ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Getting Nute Multiball seems pretty straightforward, just keep going for lifecycles to start, like around 8 shots I think. But I still haven't seen it in a video yet. But the lifecycles sound pretty important overall, since they increase scoring values for the modes & multiballs. Seems like starting Nute first before diving into modes might be a good strategy.

By default (Medium difficulty), Save Newt takes 3 Lifecycles = 12 shots to start the first time. Here's the gotcha: one of those shots (the third in the sequence) is the Chestburster shot (the lane above the UR flipper), which is a pretty tough shot. The existing code requires the ball to strike the standup target at the end of that lane for the shot to count. I recently added a "Chestburster Lane Difficulty" adjustment which, if set to Easy, allows that lane to be awarded just by the inductive switch in the lane, which means that weaker shots or even sometimes a well-placed kick from the pop bumper could award the shot. Owners/operators will have to decide if they prefer that behavior, and/or want to lower the Save Newt MB difficulty (e.g. "Easy" would only need 2 Lifecycles to start the first time), if they feel Save Newt MB isn't getting started often enough. I also recently made Mother more likely to award "Advance Lifecycle" when the Chestburster is lit to help with this.

Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Hypersleep Multiball sounds really cool by the way Ferret described it. I'm guessing it's the hardest of the multiballs to start. But I'm still a little confused how the locks are acquired & how they are used for ball saves in the left outlane. I also noticed that the drop insert lights change color, but not sure what that signifies. Because as I understand it, you have to knock down the drops to light the lock, but it can be pretty hard to make the ramp shot from the upper RT flipper, let alone getting it to feed to that flipper when the lock is lit. Sounds pretty tough, which is a good thing! You have to do that three times to start it, but you can also lose one of those hard earned ball locks via a LT outlane save.

Again by default (Medium difficulty), completing the drop targets lights all 3 locks for the first Hypersleep MB, so then it's 3 upper ramps and you're off to the races. The upper ramp shot is not easy, but it's not terrible either... to me it feels similar to the Millions Plus ramp on Whirlwind. The game will often divert orbit shots to the pops when Lock is lit, to give a ~50/50 chance of the ball exiting for a UR flipper feed. Recent code revisions also make Mother more likely to award Advance Hypersleep Lock (though she won't award Lock 3 that way, gotta start the MB on the ramp).

Also, somewhat sadly, we removed the "steal your own locked ball" rule. Now the upper ramp always adds a lit "Revive" lane, but using a Revive lane to save your ball does NOT decrease your locked ball count. That change was based on play-testing and watching streams: the ratio of left outlane drains to upper ramp shots was very skewed, and we didn't want Hypersleep MB to be Unobtanium.

#12882 2 years ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Looks like it's one of LED standups like on Full Throttle, so I'm guessing it will pulse when the chestburster shot is ready? That's pretty cool.

Actually, I'm not using the LED in that standup at all, but that's a good idea, I'll try it and see how it looks. The Chestburster shot, like all the Lifecycle shots, has a dedicated square insert on the playfield (next to the base of the UR flipper).

#12897 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

ferret is the target up most of the time, and only lowers when the ball is in the bumpers? Or is there something else going on?

The Chestburster drop target was removed last year. There is now a normal standup target (or "touch target" as some folks call them) at the end of the lane.

1 week later
#13250 2 years ago
Quoted from master_of_chaos:

Software still with some bugs

Please feel free to expound here on any bugs you observed. I want to make sure they're fixed.

Thanks!

#13286 2 years ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

I was watching one of the gameplay feeds the other day, and noticed that there's an insert now in the RT outlane, right where Paxton's skull & crossbones logo was located. But I still can't seem to find a clear picture of that area.
When was that insert added to the playfield, and what function does it serve relating to the code?

That's Special. It's been there as long as I've been associated with the project.

11
#13576 2 years ago
Quoted from DarthSinex:

Game seemed slow and really not at all intuitive to me. Although the Alien head was fully working and everything seemed to be operating as intended, the call-outs seemed nearly none existent and it was extremely difficult to tell what was happening, what to do next or generally what progression looked like.

I'm very sorry that you didn't enjoy the game. I'd certainly welcome feedback about what you found confusing... the Dashboard (the full-screen status that shows up when no modes or multiballs are active) tries to give suggestions about what to shoot for. The basic rule structure was meant to feel familiar to players acquainted with games like TAF, TZ, LOTR, Spiderman, etc.

Just in case you'd like to try it again on your next visit to that pub, or if anyone else wants to be armed with a little background info before playing at a show or location (since that's becoming more common as the machines work their way out into the wild), here's a quick crash course on the basics of playing Alien.

=== Anyone who finds joy in exploring a new game on their own might be happier skipping the rest of this message. ===

Alien is fundamentally a modes-and-multiballs game, as you might guess from the grid of mode and multiball status lights down near the flippers.

MODES: Light WEYLAND (left inlane) and YUTANI (right inlane) to qualify mode start. That will light the Airlock shot (top scoop) to start a mode. During modes, on-screen instructions and playfield lights will guide you, but most of the time "shoot the flashing lights" is a good plan. Completing all the shots of a mode will relight the Airlock to win the mode.

MULTIBALLS:

Ambush: Hit the Xenomorph X times to start Ambush. Recent code is more helpful about showing your status toward Ambush on the Dashboard and also by flashing the Xeno targets faster and brighter as you get closer to starting it.

Hypersleep: Complete the drop target 3-bank on the right side of the playfield to light lock on the upper ramp. Lock 3 balls to start Hypersleep.

Save Newt: Complete X Lifecycles to start Save Newt. A Lifecycle represents the life stages of an Alien: Egg (orbit shots), Facehugger (1-2-3 shots), Chestburster (lane by upper-right flipper), Xeno (Xeno!). You have to shoot them in that order to progress. For the stages with multiple shots, any one suffices to progress. Flashing square inserts around the playfield indicate the next available Lifecycle shot. The right side of the Dashboard shows what stage you're at within the Lifecycle, and how many more Lifecycles are required to start Save Newt.

Sentry Guns: Collect 1000 ammo to qualify. Ammo is collected from shots and switches. The upper-right section of the Dashboard tells you how much ammo you have, and reminds you that Sentry Guns is available at 1000. Once you reach 1000 ammo, shoot the Vent 1 shot to start Sentry Guns.

During any multiball, shoot the flashing shots.

That's the basics! Hopefully not too confusing. Of course there are many secondary rules and objectives, as well as tricks to improve your score, but perhaps this summary will help you get into the game.

#13604 2 years ago

What?!?

My wife and I play two player games all the time with any combination of movie selections between us, I've never seen that and can't even imagine how that'd be possible. But I'll do some testing this afternoon and see if I can replicate that with current code.

22
#13630 2 years ago
Quoted from aeonblack:

While playing at YEGpin we also noticed another issue where if player one plays Alien, and player two plays Aliens, every skill shot that player one makes on Alien gives him 50 million (instead of what should be 50k, if I'm correct). It really imbalanced the game, but it was pretty consistent and easy to subtract that. Seems like a strange thing to miss in coding, but it wasn't a huge deal.

Thanks very much for this bug report. Actually had nothing to do with the skill shots themselves (the code for which hadn't changed in ages) but a totally unrelated buffer-corruption bug when switching players. Happened pretty recently. A fix has been checked in.

And thanks for the excuse to play more of those two-player games with my wife, it had been a couple weeks... (Although when we replicated the bug this afternoon, she was player 1 and was the beneficiary of the 68.5M skill shot, and promptly gloated about how badly she was crushing me...

13
#13725 2 years ago
Quoted from libtech:

Ok so a few things for you Ferret (or Andrew):

I'm happy to talk about software issues, but any physical / electromechanical questions I'll defer to heighwaypinball or ealadubhsidhe or whoever...

Quoted from libtech:

- if possible coil power adjustment mainly for the trough would be great

This is on our to-do list.

Quoted from libtech:

-50m skill shot lol, didnt get to play much at yegpin but got it well playing with a buddy here - easy 100+million game!

My apologies for that one, not sure how that snuck past testing on both sides of the pond, but it's a legit memory corruption bug having to do with switching players... it isn't specific to skill shots, although by pure coincidence of the memory map, it'll probably mostly affect skill shots. Should not be a problem in one-player games. It's fixed in v0.98, which was sent to Wales yesterday. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Quoted from libtech:

-Modes are too easy to cycle through, I would think that not necessarily making guys complete a mode before starting the next but maybe make it so you have to at least get a few shots first or it stays on the same mode next time you start one?

The design team went back and forth a LOT about this general topic. There are pros and cons to different approaches. Doing something like you describe could cause a player to get stuck forever (or at least long enough to be seriously not-fun). For example, consider Tunnel Hunt. 3 shots followed by the Airlock to win. Two of those shots, Vent 2 and Vent 3, are upper-flipper, cross-playfield shots, relatively difficult, especially for less skilled players. So let's say we required at least two shots to "clear" the mode. Players might get through the other three Alien modes, get to Tunnel Hunt, and then be stuck trying it over... and over... until they got the harder shots. That's not very fun IMHO.

However, as I've noted here before, if you're interested in a good score, winning modes (vs intentionally timing them out) is a good idea.

Quoted from libtech:

-A timer on either screen to let you know how much time you have left in a mode would be great

Errr... there should be one on the Airlock screen.

Quoted from libtech:

All in all, so far I'm really liking it

Great, I'm very glad to hear that!

Quoted from libtech:

I cant for the life of me make the chest burster shot at this angle so I'll have to bring it down.

I still haven't decided if Chestburster is easier from the upper-left flipper or the lower-left flipper. Making it from the UL flipper is the "intended" and probably geometrically easier shot, but of course you have to hit the ball on the fly for that, can't trap it. It is also possible to shoot the Chestburster from a trap from the LL flipper, but it's a *very* tight fit. Nevertheless, I'll try for it sometimes (Bug Hunt!) and sometimes even succeed.

Have fun!

#13729 2 years ago
Quoted from libtech:

I'm running v0.97, is there an update? have to look on the site.

v0.98 was just built Tuesday night. The team in Wales still needs to run it through their testing before they'll release it for customers. It also requires the final-final (please, Lord, let it be final!) Xeno mech.

Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

play through all the modes (which are randomized & not linear)

They're not randomized, BTW. Player can rotate the selected mode by shooting any ramp. This can be used strategically... for example, if you've got a multiball ready to start, some modes stack much better with multiballs than others.

#13761 2 years ago
Quoted from Tsskinne:

I have a timer on airlock screen for some modes but not others. I assume some aren't timed.

All modes are timed (*), but some are timed in seconds, and others are timed as point value countdowns. The modes with second timers should all show a timer on the Airlock LCD. The modes with point value countdowns currently show the point value on the main screen instead. There's a decent chance this may change a bit once Airlock LCD choreography is finalized, which it certainly is not yet. Either way, all modes should have some indication somewhere that you need to get moving. Please let me know if this is not the case for you.

(* this is only half true for mini-wiz modes)

#13762 2 years ago
Quoted from Dee-Bow:

I also think its radd that early owners (Libtech, Pingod& Sunking)are so understanding and helpful to get the bugs sorted out

Wholeheartedly agree, with shout-outs also to tsskinne, WhySnow, and Chris Meyers. The dev team has learned a lot from the feedback and streams of the early owners. We've been consuming every bit of this information to help improve the game as much as possible. It's very much appreciated, y'all.

#13768 2 years ago
Quoted from J85M:

Firstly thanks for the reply via pm ferret secondly have you ever coded a pin before? Reading your posts usually more than once to take all the little details that you have added to the code makes me wonder if you have done this before because the code sounds and looks simply brilliant, the accessibility is almost perfect for novices and advance players and the lighting is awesome in particular the self destruct lighting for instant is simply genius!

Yowza, thanks, man... really appreciate the kind words. I might have to frame your message and hang it by my bedside. Of course, most of the credit for what you see and hear in the software belongs to the rest of the team... David Thiel is an audio god and Kelly Mazurowski has been killing it with the animations.

This is the first shipping pinball game I've coded. Awhile ago, I wrote a replacement WPC-compatible framework just for fun. Although I had bigger plans, the only thing I've actually used it for (so far) was to drive my Cashball playfield. You can watch a verrrry dorky video here: <

16
#13800 2 years ago
Quoted from tp:

Please reaffirm for me the reasons I must hold out. Anyone? Andrew? Ferret? Guy who just received his?

I'm quite reluctant to tell anyone how to spend their money. Everyone on the Alien dev team has tried our best to make a game that we think people will love, especially if they're fans of the Alien universe... but the reality is that you can't please all the people all the time. If you've played Alien and enjoyed it, or if you've watched some of the streams and thought it looks cool, I think it's fair to say that it will only get better from here. At this point we're polishing things to make the game as great as it can be. David Thiel has been updating frequently to tweak the balance on the sound effects, or add some new callouts, etc. I've been working on improving choreography in various modes or multiballs... some better lighting here, some more variety in callouts or sound effects there... plus futzing with the scoring to make features more balanced. Everyone on the team knows this is a world-class theme and we'll do everything we can to make it shine.

#13809 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

ferret, what are your favorite 3 pins?

I should say Alien, Alien, and Alien, right?

Probably not what you're asking. So not counting Alien ... LOTR is probably my favorite. Great theme integration (and I've always been a Tolkien fan), seemingly infinite ruleset, awesome music and callouts. Next would probably be AFM. It's fun, fast, shots flow like butter, easy for anyone to understand, and just makes me feel good. After that... perhaps Whirlwind, one of my first loves when I got back into pinball.

But really, it's so hard to pick, if you ask me again in a few weeks I might give you different answers. I love the classic 80's Bally's and Stern's ... Meteor, Nine Ball, Centaur, Fathom, stuff like that. At a show you'll often find me on those era games or EM's that I just don't get to play as much as DMD era stuff but are really fun to shoot. And of course, the real answer is "whatever game I'm playing at the moment, because pinball!"

#13817 2 years ago

That's quite a carpet you've got there!

#13874 2 years ago
Quoted from libtech:

also, the chestburster shot, hard shot, you may need to adjust the guide to hit it properly, however my switch is not clearing the shot eg. here I am pushing the button and it is not clearing (still flashing), it registers on the switch matrix test as right lane target which sounds correct? Or does it clear with pop bumper hits etc?

There's an inductive switch under the playfield just below the standup target in that lane. On older software, it required inductive switch -> standup target in quick succession to award the Chestburster lane shot. On newer software (probably what you have), there's an operator adjustment, "Chestburster Lane Diff.", that can be Easy or Hard. If set Hard, it follows the original behavior, needs inductive -> standup in quick succession. If set Easy, it only requires the inductive switch, and the standup is basically unused. I made this change because I was seeing on streams, as well as my own game, that many shots to that lane were just making it to the standup target without enough oomph to fully trigger the standup, and thus not registering. Frustrating for what's already a hard shot. So the Easy setting makes it, well, easier. The flip side of the Easy setting -- some may even consider this a benefit -- is that sometimes the pop bumper can kick the ball over the inductive switch and award the shot. Personally I consider that an acceptable tradeoff, but that's why I made it an adjustment, so owners can select the behavior that feels right to them.

All this means that you should also use Switch Edges to verify the inductive switch in that lane.

#13881 2 years ago
Quoted from libtech:

What would have been slightly better in terms of inserts would have been to have the airlock 2 shot have a 2nd chestburster light rather than another hugger insert. Give a guy some options - plus when trying to work towards the save newt you have to make the mother shot to get either of those shots and its a hugger shot already.

If you look back over the evolution of this game (somewhere in this 13,000 message thread) you'll see that originally, the Chestburster lane had a controllable drop target and a magnet, and there was to be some trickery to make it sometimes appear that the ball was bursting through a chest (the target). Those devices were only in that one lane, thus the single location/insert for the Chestburster shot and insert.

Misc. non-obvious rules trivia: when Facehugger is the currently lit Lifecycle shot, the points awarded for the shot are multiplied by the Vent number... i.e. Vent 1/Mother = 1x points, Vent 2 = 2x points, Vent 3 = 3x points.

Quoted from Whysnow:

Can you provide a medium setting? That makes it need two inductive switch hits in X time. In other words a shot up the lane but without enough oompf shoul go over tHe switch then back down the switch?
This would eliminate the freebie from the pops, but allow a shoot kwith almost the oompf to still count.

That's an interesting idea. Sure, I can experiment with adding that as an option, thanks for the thought.

#13898 2 years ago
Quoted from Shadrac:

For Alien owners, does the code is deep? How much Multiballs, mini or normal Wizard modes and normals modes?

Each movie represented (Alien and Aliens) has 4 regular modes + 1 mini-wizard mode. The mini-wizard modes start as single-ball but convert to multiballs if you get to a certain point.

There are 4 "normal" multiballs, plus 1 final wizard mode which is also a multiball.

People may choose to tally all that in slightly different ways (is the final wizard mode a "mode" or a "multiball" or both or other?), but regardless, there's quite a lot to do.

#13914 2 years ago
Quoted from libtech:

Also looking there, there are two positions for eddy sensors on the board up the chestburster shot, the lower is empty, and the higher right by the target is the one that wasnt working, is that correct or should the lower have one as well?

No, there is no longer a lower inductive switch in that lane... remnants of the original Chestburster design.

4 weeks later
#15174 1 year ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

To expand on this it happens on .97 when there is a 4 player game. Scores are normal for ball 1 and get screwed as soon as player 4 bonus ends.

This is true. A bug related to player context switching snuck into that version. It's fixed in 0.98 and later. I do apologize, that's a terribly embarrassing bug that never should've gotten out. It affects any multiplayer game; single player games should be fine.

1 week later
32
#15312 1 year ago

I've been really happy to hear reports recently of some people getting refunds, some people getting their games. I personally feel the new investors/managers are making all the right moves to get things settled; it won't happen overnight, but I think it's happening. I'd love to see everyone get their games ASAP, but I certainly understand those who want to get their cash and run. I hope everyone winds up with what they want.

But I have very little special insight about what's happening in the Wales factory ... so I thought I'd share a few thoughts on what's happening on the software side of Alien. LOTS! Our Slack channels and to-do list have been hopping with more activity in the past couple weeks than in the past couple months. daudioguy got a game into his studio last week, and since then he's tuned or added ~50 sound effects and callouts. We've got new Game Over callouts (yes, we know already, Not Bad For A Human!), tweaked scoring rules, better choreography, bug fixes... and much more on the way. We're all excited to make sure the software shines as much as possible when people do get their games.

To that point: in recent weeks, as more people have played the game at shows and private homes, I've seen comments like "the software seems almost complete". That's... almost great! If you've played the game and have feedback, please don't hesitate to tell us (either publicly or by PM) what about the software didn't work for you or seems incomplete. I know what *our* to-do list is, but if there's something in the software that didn't feel awesome to *you*, let us know about it. No promises of anything, but we'll definitely consider all feedback.

Thanks! And if you're able to play the game, I hope you have a great time with it.

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#15346 1 year ago

Well. When I posted that last night, I certainly didn't envision it turning into a lengthy discussion of my paycheck...

I am a professional software developer. Writing code and getting paid for doing so is how I pay my bills. Last I looked, the lights are still working, and if this message goes through, my ISP bill is also paid up. There is no need for any of y'all to worry about my financial status.

Unless the new investment/management team at Heighway Pinball decides to terminate my contract (and I have no reason to believe that's imminent), I intend to do everything I can to make Alien's software the best it can be.

#15360 1 year ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

I see now in the heighway rebirth thread - the new owner's advocate refers to the company as Heighway Pinball Ltd. This would indeed be different than any similar reading companies that are LLC's. Likely the new owners will have acquired (absorbed) Heighway Pinball LLC anyways. That would include transferring of existing licenses, subcontracts and purchase orders for example. Makes sense ferret would still be under contract then.

FWIW, my contract (from 18 months ago) is with Heighway Pinball Ltd. I have no idea if that's a separate entity from Heighway Pinball LLC ... IANAL.

2 weeks later
12
#15495 1 year ago

The already-great audio package has gotten significantly better in the past few weeks, since daudioguy has had a physical game in his studio. He has tweaked the volume balance on countless sound assets, added dozens or perhaps hundreds of new sound effects and callouts, and put quite a number of choreography requests on my work queue. Good stuff.

#15499 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

Speaking of Shadow ferret are there any double or triple jackpots in Alien? One of my favorite parts of Shadow is the ability to lock the ball in the two saucers, then score double or triple jackpots accordingly... It really adds a level of strategy and dimension to the multiball jackpots. If you are taking requests, I'd LOVE to see something similar to this implemented. If you can do this, and happen to be in NYC, I'll shout you a beer as a thank you!

Not exactly the way Shadow does it, no. But players can activate 2X Playfield Scoring several different ways (spelling DROP SHIP on the ramps, using the Pulse Rifle weapon, or occasionally from Mother), so of course doing that at the right time can be critical to big scores. Also, if you stack multiballs, all jackpots for both multiballs are doubled, and that does combine with 2X Playfield if running. And Super Jackpot values are generally "sum of all Jackpots since last Super"... which does consider the value of any multiplied jackpots along the way. So it's definitely possible to throw down some huge Super Jackpots.

Also also, each multiball has a distinct way of increasing its jackpot values before starting the multiball. I've been futzing with the scoring balance of that in recent weeks... I don't think it was generous enough in the versions of code that are currently in the field. I want advanced players to have a compelling reason to shoot around the playfield before starting multiballs.

23
#15514 1 year ago
Quoted from ezeltmann:

David Thiel and Ferret still working on this adds to the credibility of the resurgence.

Everything I've seen/read/heard from the new management team in the past month or so points in the right direction. I will again say that I don't have too much more insight into the day-to-day operations in Wales than any of the rest of yuz... but I *can* say there have been a couple hundred software (code and media) file checkins just in the past 3 weeks. Probably fair to say there wouldn't be that much recent activity if we thought we were on a sinking ship.

#15522 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

Very cool, my understanding is that the only multi balls that can be stacked are sentry gun multiball with another.

That's correct: Sentry Guns can be stacked on top of any other (non-wizard-mode) multiball.

Quoted from jonesjb:

Good to hear that there are super jackpots too, are they collected in different ways depending on the multiball, like with Shadow or Medieval Madness?

Of course.

17
#15544 1 year ago

No idea what Iceman's post is referring to, but I'll always thumbs-up applause for David Thiel.

It's been quite an honor for me to work with David on Alien. I was aware of and quite enjoyed his work on pins of the past decade or so, but after chatting with him, I learned about all his other work... Reactor? As a kid I'd go into arcades and hit buttons in attract mode on Reactor just to hear its cool music. QBert? Legendary. DE Time Machine? Always one of my favorite soundtracks of that era. The man is ridiculously talented, great to work with, and just a super nice guy.

#15565 1 year ago
Quoted from Cheeks:

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

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

#15577 1 year ago

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

10
#15587 1 year ago

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

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

#15594 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

ferret will Alien possibly have a midnight madness mode?

Not planned, sorry.

17
#15666 1 year ago
Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

Sometimes, on a Stern, a 7 year old, with no playtime, can get Multiball and rewards, and that isnt as likely to happen on Aliens...

I certainly hope Alien can deliver that experience too... we've got the "bash toy" multiball, Ambush, started by hitting the Xeno a few times, which should be an obvious target for even pinball novices. I also recently made a tweak to the default settings so that Airlock (start mode) is lit at start of game, so players are more likely to start at least one mode and see some cool stuff. We certainly want everyone to have a blast playing, not just expert players.

1 week later
#15762 1 year ago

daudioguy specifically did the audio so it would have extra pizzazz with an external subwoofer.

#15859 1 year ago

I believe the game in Kevin's stream was running code 0.98... this machine probably shipped before we pushed 0.99 with its big change list.

Quoted from jonesjb:

In the Youtube stream around the 12 minute mark, after the first Ambush multiball kicks in, the radar on the screen stays empty. Will this repopulate? Or is there a shot that needs to be hit (jackpot or super) that needs to happen first?

Yes, when you complete a swarm of Ambush, Super Jackpot lights on the Vent 3 (upper left mini-loop) shot -- you'll see those lights strobing on the video. I'm intending to show something appropriate on the tracker screen at that point. After you collect the SJ, the next swarm begins. The more swarming Xenos you kill without being infiltrated, the higher the Jackpot (Xeno) and Super Jackpot values.

10
#15870 1 year ago
Quoted from ezeltmann:

Ball launcher has trouble making the launch : Just looking for others to chime in and say whether this has been an issue on their games. What seems to be wrong with this one?

I was wondering that too. I haven't seen launch problems like that in any other Alien. I'm guessing (hoping) it's something straightforward, like the autolaunch coil bracket loosened up in shipping, or the launcher lane switch (one of the few actual microswitches in the machine) interfering as wickerman2 suggests.

Quoted from ezeltmann:

Is the Xeno head supposed to grab balls outside of starting AMBUSH multiball? I thought it was cool that it was during Queens nest and Find Jonesy when the shot was lit for that mode.

It did? I must've missed that part of the stream... and also that part of the code. AFAIK, right now it's only coded to eat the ball at the start of Ambush.

Quoted from ezeltmann:

I am still hoping to see some sort of animation on the screen each time you hit the Xeno head as you progress towards AMBUSH. The amount of hits left to start AMBUSH is somewhat buried in the rotating text on the screen. Even if the screen just had a static interruption at a minimum or a brief change to a drooling Xeno it would add a lot to the experience. Xeno articulations and lighting seem to indicate your progress , but i was finding it hard to follow.

An animation may yet sneak in there. As you note, the lighting gets brighter and faster as you get closer to Ambush. Code 0.99 also adds some new callouts to guide you when you're down to a couple hits left.

We also have the ability to do some extra tricks with the Xeno's jaw and tongue, so there's more to come...

Quoted from ezeltmann:

Can the outlane ballsaver be more instantaneous? Seems like the ball being fed into the shooter lane and the callout are way behind the switch being triggered. For people new to the game, i think it would help with figuring out that the navigating the ball to the lit lane saved your ball when you feel the ball being kicked out immediately. Minor point.

Totally agree, this is on our to-do list. Without going too deep into boring details, turns out there is a potential conflict between the outlane saver and the platform's "detect ball serve/ball launch failure" logic, which was occasionally causing two balls to be served from Revive in older code revs, depending on the timing of the outlane ball actually hitting the trough... as some people here will attest to. The current delay is the short term solution. Again, some callouts were added in 0.99 to at least make it more clear to the player that they should stay put when their ball has been saved.

Quoted from ezeltmann:

The animation for completing the cycle is amazing, but seems long. Almost seems like you can steal some of it for a Xeno hit

This is another candidate for the Xeno to eat the ball, thus the length... you start getting into the balancing act of cool (but long) effects vs interrupting the flow of play.

Quoted from ezeltmann:

Queens nest mode and the associated animations are the greatest! No room for improvement! End on a high note!

Yay!

Quoted from ezeltmann:

Anyways, i hope this is received well by a team already doing their best and creating this awesome game.

Constructive feedback is always welcome and appreciated! We all want this game to be epically awesome.

#15882 1 year ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

interesting. I feel the opposite. I can set up the upper right flipper anytime I have the ball on the lower left flipper. It is a clean shoot to the dead end and a nice return to upper right.

I agree, this is the easiest way to shoot the Chestburster lane. It looks unlikely, given the narrow Chestburster lane and the angle of entry from the lower-left flipper, but it's surprisingly consistent. I'd rate it about the same difficulty as Shadow's Start Mode shot.

Quoted from jonesjb:

Can't you also hit the mode/airlock and xenomorph head too?

Absolutely can hit the Airlock from the upper right flipper. I haven't had much luck hitting the Xeno from that flipper, though.

12
#15901 1 year ago

Funny you should mention that... It's in there!

10
#15905 1 year ago

While I'm not aware of another game that has a "Reset Tilt Warnings" award, Dr. Dude comes close, with a "Add 1 Tilt Warning" mystery award.

#15913 1 year ago
Quoted from libtech:

Just a quick question, on the new code coming soon, did you get a shaker in your game by chance and program for it?

I'm expecting a care package from Wales with both shaker motor and beacons in the coming days, so both of those accessories should be getting some code love soon.

#15915 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

This gets me thinking. ferret is it possible to add weapons in future code updates or is the pin locked to 5. This reset tilt warnings to zero could be a great 'proximity mine' weapon.

It's not locked per se, but there's a lot more than you might expect to adding a weapon: each weapon has unique callouts and appropriate video clips from the movies, the weapon icons are all sized for having 5 weapons in their Dashboard region, etc.

The game rules are unlikely to change at this point, except perhaps for trivial tweaks like adjusting point values to improve scoring balance. There's always "just one more cool thing" that can be added, but at some point you gotta draw the line and say we're done, write the ideas in a notebook for future games. (This isn't unique to pinball, pretty much any software designer deals with feature creep...)

#15922 1 year ago

Do they? I didn't know that. I have minimal time on WOZ... somewhat more on Hobbit, but I never noticed that award. Should've figured Keefer would come up with that.

17
#15935 1 year ago

IMHO: LEs can be blinged out to whatever extent, but I hate seeing actual gameplay changes between "standard" and LE. Custom art, toppers, shaker, fog machine, etc... sure, go for it.

#15988 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

Any value in doing more than one round of modes before going into all out war, point wise?

Well, yeah, All Out War's value increases depending on how you did in each mode and multiball played... but I doubt it's worth intentionally avoiding AOW for that. And once it's actually qualified, you can't avoid it, most other features disable when AOW is lit.

On a related note, you can't screw yourself by "lapping" any AOW requirements, the code does keep track of everything if you're having an epic game. (Said with unwarranted confidence, after a bug in 0.98 that prevented AOW from starting at all... doh!)

1 week later
#16246 1 year ago
Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

Is it still the 5 SMD RGB Towers, that I saw in Chicago?

Machines shipping now have single-element GI lamps. Still full RGB, of course.

#16352 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

So I was told that the new machines arriving to Cointaker will have an updated CPU compared to older ones. Expectation is that this will resolve issues too. FYI in the event others have heard the same....

There is a different PC, yes. I've been running it on my game for the past month or so... there is no perceptible difference between this PC and the Zotacs that have already been shipped (OK, the new ones don't say "Zotac" ). My understanding is that the change was just because they were able to acquire large quantities of this PC more quickly than they could get Zotacs.

10
#16416 1 year ago
Quoted from Join_The_Cirqus:

From Heighway Facebook Page
Alien V0.99 (available later this month)
Changes since 0.98:

FWIW, I suspect that Alien 0.99 will never be released... because we've got v1.0, with another few dozen improvements over 0.99.

#16425 1 year ago

And there are strategic reasons to do that. Several modes have their scoring boosted by doing related things before starting the mode; you may wish to defer those. And some modes are much better than others to stack with a multiball, if that situation is imminent.

#16430 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

The one thing I don't get yet Is the weapons. So you can pick a weapon and it gives you a boost or bonus? Does it do anything else and how do you obtain them?

You can collect weapons by winning modes, completing the standup targets around the playfield, skill shot, or through Mother. Weapons are always collected in a particular order, and each weapon has a unique ability, ranging from "advance bonus X" through "turn on ball saver". You can select a weapon with the Extra Ball button, and use the currently selected weapon with the Launch button.

Weapons also add to end-of-ball bonus and boost the value of the wizard modes.

#16540 1 year ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

Have you heard anything about the process for upgrading software?

It's what you'd expect: download file to USB stick, insert stick into Alien's computer, navigate to "software update" function in operator menus. Takes about one minute. For most updates, settings/audits/high scores are preserved.

#16561 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

I mentioned the below suggestion to Andrew about a year ago and he liked it. He said he'd suggest it to his team, but as a menu option for home use. Was/could this be ever implemented in a version of software?
The idea was for a home use for people with families or playing with people new to pinball. My suggestion:
I’m pretty good at pinball but my wife is not. It would be great to be able to have a setting that allows the players in a multiplayer game to select different difficulties by player, something like a handicap which extends the ball saves, mode time limits etc (I could play on hard, and my wife on easy). It would make competition more even, especially for the newer players.

Could this be implemented? Of course.

However, such a feature does not exist in Alien, and there are no current plans for it.

There is some precedent for such a feature. Several games in the mid 90s offered "novice mode", which was effectively a 1 ball game with a 2 minute ball saver -- so guaranteed at least 2 minutes of play time. And back in the mid 80s, Bally's Motordome prompted each player to choose a "level"... higher levels had harder rules but bigger scores (level = playfield X, I think?).

#16600 1 year ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

Played one of the 1st 4 shipped from cointaker at the Cleveland show. Some minor issues, but nothing bad. The game is now on my radar and will follow to see how reliable they are and watch for software updates.

Just out of curiosity, what software update are you looking for?

#16605 1 year ago
Quoted from WeirPinball:

As they get out there, I'm sure bugs will be discovered - would like to see continued updates as the game continues to ship

It is my expectation that we will fix any bugs we learn about and make other polishing tweaks. (For example, I'll continue to monitor score balance... I think it's pretty good now, but if I learn that someone finds an unreasonably safe path to high scoring, I'll adjust. I'm a competitive player and want this to be a fun competitive game!)

I believe current games are shipping with 1.02. I don't know Wales' plan to get machines already in the field up to current software -- this partly depends on getting those machines up to current hardware as needed.

2 weeks later
#16863 1 year ago
Quoted from luvthatapex2:

Watch the first minute of this. The first player plunged, it dropped right into the right inlane. Did it hit something?

That's just how plunge works on Alien. Ball always feeds the right flipper. It's like Theatre of Magic (but autoplunger instead of manual).

#16865 1 year ago
Quoted from luvthatapex2:

ok, so basically plunge and shoot the scoop with the right flipper and you can start your first mode?

Yup, with default (medium) settings on current code.

There are also several (7, I think) skill shot opportunities on the plunge if you prefer.

#16869 1 year ago
Quoted from PoMC:

I was gonna say it reminds me of the X-Files launcher.

Pedantic: if I remember right (haven't played X-Files in a lonnnnng time), that game plunges the ball straight (flat) into a scoop, and then a ball popper kicks it up onto the right ramp return. On Alien, it plunges up a short ramp, then falls through a hole to the right ramp, which is more or less identical to ToM. The end result is the same either way, ball is delivered to the right flipper, although on Alien (and ToM) it's always in view during the plunge, which is nice IMHO.

Quoted from delt31:

Def easier b/c one I played would complain if I hit scoop before lighting the other two. Nice to have option.

Yeah, that's one of those little changes we made based on watching livestreams and listening to player feedback. Want to make sure that players of all skill levels have a good chance of experiencing cool stuff. The "Start Scene Difficulty" adjustment now ranges from Extra Easy (Airlock always lit to start a mode, when mode start is allowed) to Extra Hard (must relight the Airlock each time, and turns off at start of each ball).

There are also more specific callouts from Mother now to guide a player who shoots an unlit Airlock (e.g. "complete left inlane to qualify mission").

1 week later
#17068 1 year ago
Quoted from Lamprey:

I can't remember how Alien works with regards to GI and dimming.

All lights on Alien are individually addressable, full color LEDs. We do lots of GI color effects and swooshes and wipes and such.

#17183 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

Can someone explain how that ambush mb works? How does the tracking of the dots line to shots?

As budroosker notes, the Aliens appear in quadrants on the radar, which correspond to quadrants of the playfield. Playfield shots in the leftmost quadrant will flash red, playfield shots in the second quadrant are green, third quadrant is blue, and fourth (rightmost) quadrant is yellow. A quadrant's lit shots will flash faster and brighter as that quadrant's Aliens get closer to infiltrating the lab.

Each Alien you kill awards a jackpot. As long as you don't allow Aliens to infiltrate the lab, the jackpot value will keep rising. If any Alien infiltrates the lab, the jackpot value drops back to its previous base value. Clearing a wave of Aliens lights the Super on Vent 3, and locks in the current jackpot value as the new base for the rest of the game.

So each successive wave is worth more points, but with each round, you get more and more Aliens attacking faster and faster. It gets pretty intense. Fun trivia: there are 18 distinct Alien kill video scenes for this multiball alone!

24
#17237 1 year ago

So greenhornet presents a fun thought experiment with his proposed alternate playfield layout. As he notes, the existing layout is simply a design choice. I'm having a hard time seeing his proposal as clearly "better" or "worse" than the existing design. Let's consider some of the potential repercussions of his proposed alterations...

The main advantage I see to GH's alternative would be allowing left orbit or left upper-loop (Vent 3) shots -- or even right orbit shots, given the controllable posts near the top lanes -- to be "definitively" fed to the UR flipper if the software wished. (I put "definitively" in quotes, because a weak shot could still just fall into the top lanes/bumpers, but let's assume it would loop around most of the time.) This could allow feeds to shoot the Hypersleep ramp, or repeated Vent 3 loops. Certainly, repeating a side loop shot like that, ala Shadow loops, is fun... in fact, there were specific rules designed for Alien around loop combos, back when we had the right orbit diverter and Chestburster magnet that allowed shots to be redirected to the UR flipper. Had the original diverter/magnet been retained, I think that would have offered the feeds you desire, while keeping the UR flipper in its current position.

Moving the UR flipper to the outer right orbit guide wall isn't without downsides. One that catches my eye is that I suspect placing the flipper there would cause some physical interference with the APC drop targets, from the flipper bat blocking the "A" target, and/or from the under-playfield mechanisms interacting. This could presumably be remedied by scooting the drop target bank down a bit... but then I suspect it would become difficult to deliberately shoot the "C" target from the LL flipper... in the current design, the "C" is a somewhat tight shot past the right slingshot's top post... nudging the drops closer to the bottom would make it that much harder.

I suspect the extra couple inches of distance would make shooting the Hypersleep ramp, a steep ramp, somewhat harder. Also, the Vent 2 shot in GH's diagram is completely blocked by the resting UR flipper... I'm guessing casual players would often not remember to hold the right flipper when trying for that shot, making that harder too. (I've heard many casual players complain about that with Stern Star Trek's Away Team shot, for example, or even TZ's Camera shot.)

In the current design, Chestburster -> {upper ramp or upper loop} is a fast, fun combo, that gets special treatment in the software: it's a "Chestburster Combo" that awards extra points and is how you hold various accumulating values across balls. I'd guess that saucer -> kickout -> shot, as in the proposal, wouldn't feel as exciting.

Finally, I think there's a little something to be said for just being unique. The vast majority of games with main playfield upper flippers have them on the orbit walls. This design is more memorable.

Though I haven't seen him around here lately, game designer ealadubhsidhe reads this thread on occasion... perhaps he'll comment sometime on his thinking on all this.

BTW: GH dug up something I wrote 8 months ago about the difficulty of the Chestburster shot. Since then I've obviously played the game lots more. There's no question that this is a harder shot than, say, an orbit or the Airlock. It's a tight lane. But I'd guess that I can make this shot from a trapped ball on the LL flipper about 1/3 of the time. (Sometime when I'm bored, I'll try it 100 times and record stats...) To me, the Chestburster shot from the LL flipper feels a lot like Shadow's Start Mode shot. Also: a few months ago (after my post that GH quoted) I reduced the power on the Vent 1 eject. The ball used to pop out of there very energetically, which made the UL flipper combo to the Chestburster lane difficult. Now the Vent 1 saucer just nudges the ball out gently, which makes the UL flipper combo to the Chestburster lane much more reasonable. (BTW, Vent 1 -> Chestburster is also a special combo, a "Host Combo".)

At any rate, certainly glad to see so many people with passionate feelings about the game. Looking forward to hearing more feedback as more games get delivered!

#17501 1 year ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

What do the APC targets do? And how are they used in modes? Any stacking complexities?

They light Hypersleep locks, increase Hypersleep jackpot value and jackpot multipliers, spot shots and multiply shot values in APC mode, and start and finish Rescue. In other words, pretty important!

#17538 1 year ago

The next (probably) code release will add support for adjusting coil strengths.

#17622 1 year ago

delt31 ... based on your description of your blank lamps, it seems most likely that 2-A11 (Left Ramp Arrow) is either out of its socket, or broken. Could also possibly be a problem with 2-A10 (Left Orbit Symbol, which is the square insert with an egg icon). The lamps are kinda like Christmas tree lights, they come in strands... if there's a break in a strand, it takes out the rest of the strand.

Unfortunately, if just pressing on the socket from underneath isn't enough, you'll probably have to detach the center PCB to try to fix this, which is a pain in the butt... be very careful if you attempt this, lots of opportunities to damage stuff, what with the lights, inductive switches, and even the USB cable plugged into the IOBoard, which is very easy to break.

Good luck!

BTW, Mats' 874M score is crazy high, extremely impressive... I'm quite curious to know if he discovered an exploit or just played it long and hard...

#17795 1 year ago

Come again, delt31 ? Are you saying that if you unplug the power line to the Airlock LCD (I'm assuming that's what you mean by "mini LCD"), the playfield LCD works properly?

23
#17800 1 year ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Alien code is quite respectable, but it's nothing like the level of depth in LOTR or WOZ.

I thank you for your kind words on the quality of the code in Alien. However, I had to sleep on your comment that Alien's depth isn't comparable to LOTR. (For the record, I own and love LOTR, it's probably #2 on my list of "games I'd want with me on a deserted island" ... I've always been a Tolkien fan, love the LOTR movies, and think the LOTR pin is beautifully executed, represents its theme well, and is great fun to play.)

I consider "depth" to reflect the number of distinct, meaningful rules in a game, and how they can interact with each other. Considering that...

LOTR has 6 very distinct main game modes + 1 mode mini-wiz (based on mode performance), with all modes exclusive. Alien has 8 very distinct main game modes + 2 mode mini-wiz (based on mode performance), with all modes exclusive, and with most modes boostable by out-of-mode activity.

LOTR has 4 very distinct primary multiballs, with 3 exclusive and 1 stackable. Alien has the same. On both games, multiballs can stack on an active mode.

LOTR has Gifts of the Elves; Alien has Weapons. Both of these can stack with other stuff as appropriate. LOTR does have SRFMB, which doesn't have an analog in Alien.

LOTR has Super features; Alien has a more accessible 2x Playfield. Both of these can stack with other stuff.

LOTR has [Super] Ring Frenzy; Alien has Rescue. Both of these can stack with other stuff.

LOTR has Destroy the Ring; Alien has nothing like that.

Both games have über wizard modes; LOTR's is for "winning" everything, while Alien's is for starting everything.

Both games have a nice variety of "miscellaneous" features.

Unless I'm forgetting something major from LOTR, I think Alien's depth is objectively right in line with LOTR's. However, I'd say that LOTR is "longer" than Alien, in the sense that LOTR requires you to do something over and over A LOT if you want to "beat the game". RotK MB alone requires 28 lit shots to "win" (the same 4 shots, 7 times over). That's certainly a LOT of shots, but I don't think that increases the depth of the game, it just makes it more of a grind. FotR MB requires "only" 18 lit shots to win, but if you don't manage that in a single go, it's really a grind to get back to FotR on typical game settings. I think this "length" is why Valinor is nigh unreachable for most players. Frankly, I wasn't interested in that level of exclusivity when designing Alien's rules... I think it's OK if a strong intermediate player "beats the game" once in awhile, and doesn't need an hour to do so.

This really isn't a competition -- I think players should play or buy a game because they love the game's experience, not just because it has the deepest ruleset ever created. But as I said, I went to bed last night with my brain percolating over Alien's depth, and just wanted to give a brain dump of my opinion.

#17824 1 year ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

Hope this project opens some doors for you in the future too. You deserve the opportunity

Thanks, I hope so too.

18
#17908 1 year ago
Quoted from Roostking:

ferret He says he had a possibly never ending multiball, which could maybe explain that 800,000,000 plus score you mentioned as a possible exploit.

If anyone encounters what seems to be an infinite ball saver or infinite multiball and want to lend a hand, it'd be very helpful if you:

- Jump into the operator menu.
- Insert a USB thumb drive into the game's computer. (Not sure how easy or difficult this is, e.g. if they've run an extension USB cable to somewhere near the coin door...)
- Select Reports > Debug Report. It should advise that it's writing pinprog.log to your USB drive.
- Once it exits back to the menu, you can remove the USB thumb drive.
- Put the thumb drive into your regular computer, where as promised you should see a file called "pinprog.log". Mail that to me at alien<at>joe.tater.org.

The only cause I'm aware of for infinite ballsaver is a hyperactive outlane or trough switch, but if there's some other issue, I would love to fix it ASAP.

Thanks!

#17914 1 year ago

Logs get removed when you power-cycle the game, so sending me a log tomorrow is unlikely to help. Best bet is to capture a log immediately at the time you notice that it seems to be infinite ball saving. Doing this shouldn't even cancel your game in progress, should you wish to continue it. (This is certainly not restricted to ball saver analysis, of course... anyone can follow the steps I outlined above if you encounter anything that seems weird in software.)

BTW, to be clear, I am not an official Heighway Pinball support channel... but in this case, I see no reason to burden the Wales crew, who I know are crazy busy, when they'd just be forwarding these logs to me and Brian anyway.

Thanks!

19
#17924 1 year ago

The Find Jonesy scene has a mode bonus if you find an actual live cat while playing.

10
#18097 1 year ago
Quoted from kklank:

Is Ferret out there?? Does the button get used during gameplay for weapons?

The Launch button should light up at the start of each new ball, when the ball is sitting in the launcher lane ready for action. Pressing the Launch button at this time just launches the ball, doesn't fire a weapon.

Once a ball is in play, the Launch button should light up if you have any weapon available, indicating that pressing the Launch button will fire the currently selected weapon. (If you're not in a mode/multiball, the Dashboard should also advise this on the LCD.) If you have two or more different kinds of weapons, the Extra Ball button should also light up, indicating that pressing that button will rotate which weapon is currently selected. If you have any weapons at all, one will always be "currently selected" to be fired with the Launch button, so if you fire it, the software automatically selects the next available weapon. It is possible to accumulate multiples of each weapon, so should you earn 6 weapons in a row without using any, you'll have two pistols plus one each of the other four weapons.

(I've got code sitting on my computer to show weapons status on the Airlock LCD during modes/multiballs, because you'll often want to use a weapon when those features are active, but currently it's difficult to figure out which weapon is ready to launch if the main Dashboard isn't showing. But because David Thiel is a freakin' genius, there's already a distinct sound effect played when each type of weapon is selected, so you actually can cycle the Extra Ball button and know which weapon is currently active through audio cues alone.)

#18101 1 year ago
Quoted from kklank:

What purpose do the weapons serve in gameplay.
I've got to figure out what's wrong with my button and why it's not lighting up.

Sorry, I don't know why your Launch button isn't lighting up.

The weapons, in order that they're awarded:

VP-70 Handgun: increase bonus X
Ithaca 37 Shotgun: award 2 Xenomorph hits
M-56 Smart Gun: award the most valuable (*) shot on the playfield
M-41A Pulse Rifle: start 2X Playfield scoring
M-240 Flamethrower: start ball saver

(*) in V1.02 code, this awards "a pretty good" shot... newer code actually awards the shot that is literally most valuable at the time

I hope the weapons add a fun new dimension of play to those who choose to explore them!

#18135 1 year ago

Repeating an earlier message I wrote on this...

If anyone encounters what seems to be an infinite ball saver or infinite multiball and want to lend a hand, it'd be very helpful if you:
- Jump into the operator menu (during the game, while it's infinite multiball-ing)
- Insert a USB thumb drive into the game's computer. (Not sure how easy or difficult this is, e.g. if they've run an extension USB cable to somewhere near the coin door...)
- Select Reports > Debug Report. It should advise that it's writing pinprog.log to your USB drive.
- Once it exits back to the menu, you can remove the USB thumb drive.
- Put the thumb drive into your regular computer, where as promised you should see a file called "pinprog.log". Mail that to me at alien<at>joe.tater.org.

The only cause I'm aware of for infinite ballsaver is a hyperactive outlane or trough switch, but if there's some other issue (like a software bug), I would love to fix it ASAP. Meanwhile, I apologize for the inconvenience.

Thanks!

#18147 1 year ago

For those with random resets: is it resetting immediately back to attract mode, or is it resetting to the PC’s BIOS (“American Megatrends” or whatever)?

Also, are you doing anything noteworthy when it resets (e.g. multiball)?

#18149 1 year ago

Do you have a shaker motor installed?

13
#18153 1 year ago

I got this info from Helmut at Heighway Customer Support ... those of you with shakers and game resets, perhaps check this out? (Of course, please turn off your game before playing with connectors on the power board

-----

The shaker may be connected the wrong way round on the power supply. As you look at the power supply from the coin door the red cable of the connector should be left and the black on the right side. If it is the other way round the game will reset when the shaker is active.

#18162 1 year ago
Quoted from Ferret:

I got this info from Helmut at Heighway Customer Support ... those of you with shakers and game resets, perhaps check this out? (Of course, please turn off your game before playing with connectors on the power board )

-----

The shaker may be connected the wrong way round on the power supply. As you look at the power supply from the coin door the red cable of the connector should be left and the black on the right side. If it is the other way round the game will reset when the shaker is active.

Helmut provided a photo of the correct cable positioning:

IMG_20171030_172347 (resized).jpg

#18348 1 year ago
Quoted from kklank:

I'm still trying to figure out how to get to the eggs(pop bumpers) in Derelict Ship and Queens Nest. My orbit shots go right by them and the upper right flipper to inner orbit is a bear.

In Derelict Ship, the green orbit should divert the ball into the pops; the blue orbit will travel around. In Queen's Nest, both orbits should always divert to the pops. If this isn't happening, check if the two posts near the top L-V lanes are working properly. (In the operator menus, Tests > Up Post Test should help.)

1 week later
#18431 1 year ago

"It's a hardware problem!" <-- the immediate response of any software programmer to a bug report

Seriously, though, I'm not sure. Y'all are reporting the same behavior (left up-post is fine, right up-post just clicks up for a fraction of a second), including video that an owner sent me demonstrating the problem. My game is running 1.02, and keeps both up-posts raised for 2 seconds (which is what's intended) both in Tests > Up Post Test, as well as during normal game play. However, my game is also a year-old prototype, and might or might not have the same hardware for the posts as production games. I'm reaching out to the hardware and electrical guys to try to figure out what the deal is with this.

I'll give an update when I know more myself.

1 week later
#18579 1 year ago

Thanks, libtech ... that answer is exactly correct. I am studying to see if there's any reason that the standup can't also award the shot, even with Chestburster Lane Diff set to Easy, for anyone whose lane switch is having problems.

Quoted from jonesjb:

Anytime a switch fails, you need to get a board swap from Heighway?

Of course not. The inductive switches are socketed devices. If a switch is defective, you remove the switch and insert a new one.

#18585 1 year ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

If one target is blinking while down, bank won't reset, nor will it light lock nor will it raise the up posts above top rollovers.

1) I'm sorry you've had issues on your game. The drop targets in Alien work pretty much the same as every drop target I've seen on any pinball machine: if a drop target switch isn't working, the game software doesn't know that the associated drop has fallen, and it won't award the target or the bank. I suspect most people who have been in pinball for awhile have seen drop target banks on whatever machine where all the targets are down and the software doesn't know it.

2) Raising up posts is a different matter, has nothing to do with drop targets. It appears, for reasons unknown to me, that different up-post assemblies on different Alien machine behave differently. For an upcoming code release, we are strengthening these coils, to hopefully be more tolerant of whatever the physical variations are. (A big huzzah to daudioguy who has stepped outside his audio domain to thoroughly analyze the effects of different coil strengths here on his production game.)

#18586 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

How do find this socketed switch though? Any suggestions so I can troubleshoot?

If you look under the playfield and identify the standup target in the Chestburster lane, then look about 1" away from that standup (if the playfield is raised, that will be 1" *up* from the standup, since you're looking at it backwards when the playfield is raised), and you'll see a socketed device terminating in a flat disc that's sitting in a recess in the playfield. That's the inductive switch. There are lots of these scattered around the playfield.

** here's the point where I remind everyone, again, that I am not employed by Heighway nor am I official Heighway Customer Support, so anything I say is just some random yahoo talking on the Internet **

The inductive switch has a little LED on it (that you might or might not be able to see even if it's working, depending on angles and such) that should light up when it detects a ball over it. (You have to use a ball, since these are metal-sensing switches.) If you hold a ball over the switch, and it doesn't register in the Switch Edges test and the switch's little LED doesn't light, you can try pressing **gently** on the PCB to attempt to seat it more firmly in its socket... or you can take a few screws off the PCB (probably don't need to pull the whole PCB) so you can try pressing **gently** down on the switch sensor disk from the top. Don't do anything that doesn't feel right or that you're uncomfortable with, don't want to damage anything.

#18588 1 year ago
Quoted from libtech:

I actually prefer just the inductive switch, as that shot is hard, then you can also hit that shot by hitting the orbit to the pops, the out the chestburster shot

FWIW, given where the inductive switch is in that lane, having the ball come out the pops on the Chestburster side won't necessarily award the shot; the lower pop bumper would have to give the ball a "northeast" bounce into the lane to trigger the switch. But yes, certainly more likely for this to happen when Chestburster Lane Diff is set to Easy.

#18606 1 year ago
Quoted from ezeltmann:

New Xeno head and computer were received. Not yet installed.
How long should it take to install those things?

Can’t speak to the Xeno Head, but the computer? Maybe 10 minutes? 3 video cables, 4 USB cables, audio cord, power cord. Hardest part is probably ensuring the video cables are plugged into the correct ports, so the Airlock and backbox screens don’t try to swap places.

18
#18656 1 year ago
Quoted from greenhornet:

so far none of the reviewers has stepped up and praised the upper flipper play on this machine.

Can I play? I may be a bit biased (though who knows if I'm more biased than new owners in the honeymoon period) but I've played a *lot* of games on it...

I think the upper flipper play on Alien is excellent. UL->Chestburster is a nice combo with its own special rule. UL->Vent 2 is fast and fun and situationally useful as well. UL->right ramp is surprisingly easy and feels great... only problem is that I haven't thought up a rule I'm happy with to specially reward this. Chestburster->UR->Vent 3 and Chestburster->UR->upper ramp are also good combos with a dedicated rule. UR->Recharge is the most reliable way to hit that target, which is beneficial in all modes and multiballs. There aren't "special" rules reasons to do UR->Airlock or UR->right ramp, but those shots are also options from the UR flipper, and I'll often take UR->Airlock if lock isn't lit but Airlock is... e.g. useful during Queen's Nest, since it wants you to alternate pops and Airlock.

So, yes, I enjoy using all 4 flippers on this game.

Now, do I wish the upper (Hypersleep) ramp was a little easier? Yes, I do. I think if the point of no return on that ramp was about 2 inches closer to the ramp entrance, it'd be perfect. But it's not unreasonable as it stands.

One thing that I have heard from quite a few players is that the geometry of Alien is just "different" from, say, a Ritchie or Lawlor game. I'd agree with that. The shots flow well, but they don't feel quite the same as most WMS or Stern. It takes some games to get used to, and during that time, I wouldn't be surprised if a player bricked more shots than normal. At least based on my experience watching visitors (of various skill levels) who've gotten in a few rounds on my Alien, they get the hang of it before too long.

28
#18674 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

I also want to know about rescue as I've seen the same but no idea how I scored it. I know it's happening bc the game plays this really spooky music and I'm able to hit the xeno which I believe it moves it's jaw after I do so. It'sa really cool mode.

OK, while I've generally just been giving little snippets of info about game features, I'll actually throw out full information on Rescue, because it's not well explained on the game... this is something that needs to be made more clear.

Rescue is a hybrid hurryup/frenzy feature. It's started by completing the APC drop targets *in order* (A, P, C) X times (X is operator adjustable, and gets harder [and more valuable] after each Rescue). You'll know you're doing them in order because the APC inserts will light gold instead of green as you drop targets. When Rescue begins, a point value will start counting down (a hurryup). While this hurryup is going, completing the APC drops again (doesn't have to be in order) will boost the hurryup value and continue the hurryup.

Shooting the Xeno during the hurryup will collect and freeze the hurryup point value, which then becomes the switch value for a switch frenzy... i.e. all switches are worth this value, for a timed period. You can extend the Rescue timer as much as you want by hitting the Xeno. However, there is a catch: you're not awarded the frenzy points directly... they go into a pot. You must complete the APC targets again (doesn't have to be in order) to complete the Rescue and collect the pot. So basically: feel free to extend the timer forever and keep racking up crazy frenzy points, but don't drain or time-out before cashing out the APC drops or it all goes bye-bye. Rescue is stackable in any order with everything except All Out War, so clearly it's most valuable when played with a multiball... although errant balls might complete APC before you want and end the Rescue early, so be careful.

(At some point I had a "duh!" moment and noted a rule enhancement where cashing out the frenzy by completing the APC drops in order should award extra value... that isn't the case in v1.02 but will be in a future version.)

There is a narrative around this feature, with the APC bringing in the Marines, who get into a firefight with Xeno killing a-plenty, but it only matters if the Marines can escape again on the APC... hopefully we'll be able to present more of that narrative in future code updates.

Enjoy!

#18680 1 year ago
Quoted from Travish:

Nice downvote?

Broke my 100%, ack!

#18693 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

Not when it comes to helping others that will eventually get the game and getting feedback from the coder which is what I'm after (specifically the shaker this time).

Oh, hi.

There are only coarsely added shaker effects in Alien right now. Shaker code will be refined when I receive a machine with a shaker.

(Same goes for beacon effects.)

#18764 1 year ago

Well, I've still got my year-old prototype, not a current production machine. daudioguy has a current production machine, though.

#18769 1 year ago

Correct.

#18773 1 year ago
Quoted from Indypin:

it seems like the bumpers don't react as much when the ball hits them.

It seems like the pop bumper switches are poorly gapped from the factory, so they don't give the kind of action they should. If you adjust the switches they should work fine... and Derelict Ship and Queen's Nest will become much more reasonable.

Glad you're happy with the game!

#18787 1 year ago

Which callout are you referring to, delt31 ? Just narrowing it down to a particular mode would be fine...

#18790 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

ferret - I would also strongly suggest ensuring the target only option is given for the lifecycle mode shot (CB shot).

Already done for next code release.

#18803 1 year ago
Quoted from Pinballpal:

Is their a shot that feeds the upper flipper to hit the lock ramp shot?

The Chestburster shot feeds the upper right flipper directly. Also, ~half the exits from the pop bumpers feed the upper right flipper, and the software generally tries to divert orbit shots to the pops if it thinks you'll be wanting to shoot the lock ramp.

#18815 1 year ago
Quoted from kklank:

Beside the random Mother award, how do you earn an extra ball.

After 12X (4+2+6) bonus multiplier is lit, the next completion of the L-V lanes will light extra ball. (An additional path to EB has been added in pending code.)

Quoted from kklank:

Also, is there any definitive answer to why the posts don't stay up for extended period during queens nest a derelict ship?
Is it code?

Somewhat. We've learned that some up-posts on some games need more power to stay up as intended. I don't understand the electro-mechanical cause for this, but we've tweaked the code to apply extra power to those coils when activated, which will hopefully resolve this situation for affected games.

#18821 1 year ago
Quoted from delt31:

I'm a little slow on the uptake here - can you explain how you achieve this 12X? I understand the rollover lanes up top are the L-V.

First completion of the L-V lanes in a ball gives you 2X (that's bonus multiplier). Next completion gives you 4X. Next completion gives you 6X. I'll leave the next few as an exercise for the reader. Once you're at 12X, the next completion -- that you would think would be 14X, but we can't go that high because it's (LV) 4+2+6 -- lights Extra Ball.

Quoted from kklank:

I almost never hit the chestburster shot with the lower left flipper. I hit it with the upper left flipper or kick from the pops.

IMHO hitting it from the LL flipper is hard but not as hard as it looks. Personally I never try it with a moving ball, only from a trap.

#18825 1 year ago

I'd totally forgotten about that, but since I was winding my day down anyway, I figured I'd go try it.

My outcome = 32/100 shots on the Chestburster lane were successful from a ball trapped on the LL flipper. That's unreasonably close to my estimate, I probably should've videotaped it for posterity, but whatever. It's a data point that's only meaningful for me anyway; some will do worse, some will do better. (Hell, *I* will do worse or better if I tried it again.) It was one of those things where sometimes I made 3 or 4 in a row, sometimes I missed 10 in a row. Actually, the most surprising part for me was the number of times the ball bounced off the center of the UR flipper and straight up the right ramp, I didn't know that was such a frequent thing. (My hand wasn't anywhere near the right flipper button, I was using that hand to tally counts on a sheet of paper.)

Couple other notes...

I'd be perfectly content if the Save Newt start rate is 2/10 games. Not every game feature can or should start just by whacking a big central target a few times. One might ask how often players start, say, Ring Multiball on LOTR... or Pretzel Multiball on TSPP... or Ringmaster Special on CV... or any number of other examples from popular games. Don't have to just talk multiballs either: how often do players complete Gem on Tron? If players are frequently seeing everything a game can do, they'll get bored of it pretty quickly. And don't ascribe too much to the label "Easy". Could've just as easily been "2". I chose to use the ExEasy-ExHard difficulty designations to give us some flexibility in case we wanted to mix in other tweaks at different settings. (e.g. maybe Hard could be not only 4 Lifecycles, but the orbits and vents only pick one to light for their phase instead of lighting both orbits or all three vents)

And the additional Extra Ball path isn't in response to any videos or player feedback, we had multiple paths to light EB in the rules spec a year ago. Just hadn't gotten implemented yet. We're in the "tie up loose ends" phase.