long post ahead (resized).jpg
I thought it might be good to give some background on the stage. The first concept for the stage was that it would be a single element that would rotate, almost like a pie with a slice missing, where the ball would be, and as it did so a curtain would appear, and as the ball was rotated to the back it would drop through a hole and down to the subway.
I did not love this since it would be clear that it was rotating the ball away and that would not quite have the right impact. So, I told Joe what I wanted was for there to be a curtain that we could open and close, and when closed, then turn it and drop the ball, and that we could have a second section with a captive ball so we could make it seem like the ball disappeared an re-appeared. Which he thought might be possible, I then said in a perfect world be cool to make it disappear, re-appear and then be able to kick it back out. Joe’s first reaction was ‘not going to happen’
We then brought in the mechanical engineer who was going to design the mech. I described to him what I wanted and he figured out than rather then rotating it, we could have the floor drop out. He used a captive ball for that, since that was in the original concept. While there was no guarantee, he felt that it might work that it can push the ball out. In initial testing I was able to push it our with high reliability and started coding with that in mind.
At one point I said we can probably lose the captive ball and just have a ‘floor’ that we can raise and lower (since I can lower the ball and bring it back into view), but at that point making those kinds of changes were not feasible.
Although I have thought about having the captive ball up and having the player hit it, I decided that was not worth the risk of it potentially damaging the mech. So the captive ball really gets little use in that regard. Other then confusing people who think a ball is trapped in the stage.
Then a few hours before expo, when they had finished the first production samples the eject of the ball was not working. When I went to go see why I saw they had changed the floor of the stage, where it was now coined to create a softer lip in the back. Let just say I was extremely vocal in that a change was made without me being notified, to which I was told that was always the plan, to which I responded, news to me, and that is not what I had been working with for months. But at that point here was no way to change it, since all the parts had been made. The real problem is the coining created a lip that prevents the ball from smoothly moving around the captive ball and rolling out. Filing down the lip was not feasible since it could result in rusting. Some quick attempts, hours before expo, to get around that failed and I shelved it for expo and for quite some time. That is when the setting was added and defaulted to off.
Recently I decided to take another crack to get it to work, and while not 100%, on my machine it works probably 70% of the time, so that is why I indicated that you might want to try the feature. The main downside is while it will handle the failure and send it to the subway, if that happens, you can lose a couple of seconds off the timer.
It is certainly possible, I will make more of the illusions to go back to my original ideas on the ball disappearing, reappearing and then coming back out. I believe now in one mode I do that now, can’t remember.
So, now you know the rest of the story.
Quoted from bobukcat:
Is the Stage Front Eject working for anyone? I calibrated the stage again but haven't seen it work yet, it tries occasionaly but at least quickly realizes it isn't working then closes the door and drops in down into the subway so it's no biggie (and certainly the least of my Houdini related issues right now), just curious if it works for anyone else?
I suggest trying to calibrate again, and make sure the game is level side to side. If it still does not work, send me a video and I'll see if there is anything else I can suggest. Filing down the lip that the ball can catch on, on the right side could help, but that can create other issues, like rusting.