American Pinball Houdini thread

(Topic ID: 183206)

American Pinball Houdini thread


By lllvjr

2 years ago



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Topic index (key posts)

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

Post #145 Houdini Pinball initial flyer Posted by HighProtein (2 years ago)

Post #184 Initial reveal at TPF Posted by SilverballNut (1 year ago)

Post #190 Introductory Price of Houdini Posted by 1iblind (1 year ago)

Post #198 Initial Pictures of Machine Posted by lllvjr (1 year ago)

Post #229 Playfield Close-Up Pics Posted by bigd1979 (1 year ago)

Post #284 Machine feature details Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #312 More feature details Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #385 Double switch lane picture Posted by pinballrockstar (1 year ago)

Post #420 Pinball show appearance schedule for Houdini Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #434 Houdini pics from Allentown show Posted by PinballSTAR (1 year ago)

Post #533 Official Houdini Flyer with features listed Posted by Join_The_Cirqus (1 year ago)

Post #535 Ball Counter graphic for game Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #609 More mode and feature details from programmer Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #639 More game system details from programmer Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #978 Photos of the updated game for expo Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #1000 Photos of the cabinet interior side art Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #1287 Josh Kugler Interview Posted by konjurer (1 year ago)

Post #1357 Houdini Gameplay video Posted by rosh (1 year ago)

Post #2290 Key posted, but no summary given Posted by BarryJ (1 year ago)


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#997 1 year ago

The changes look nice. Wireform on left side is much better. I'm curious as to if the animations on the LCD are better. I think the LCD animations are better than Stern but not in the same league as JJP. Hopefully we'll see a video soon.

I think POTC looks amazing. It is very tempting. Is is worth $1,500 more? Absolutely! At the same time, it's not like I have an extra $1,500 just lying around. So Houdini is a great option at $7000. So many great pins coming out - hard to decide.

#1012 1 year ago

I was hoping to see new video of Houdini in this thread but nothing yet. I did find this on youtube. Very interesting...

#1105 1 year ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

Font is a gigantic improvement

I strongly dislike the suggested font and think the original font looks great. I liked the suggested logo better but the original logo is cool. There are some things that make for a bad logo but everything else is so subjective.

#1112 1 year ago

Someone mentioned this on a different Houdini thread a few minutes ago and I think it's worth mentioning as a suggestion here.

I would like to see the Houdini animations cleaned-up, have more consistency and perhaps up the quality of the creative work. I'm not saying it's bad - it fact I think it's a lot better than what Stern is doing. Some of it looks great. However, JJP's animations are the standard. And it is being compared to POTC. Houdini's animation are the weak link in an otherwise beautiful game. Please don't take that as an insult! I know it's really hard work.

#1178 1 year ago

I went ahead and gave a deposit to Great American Pinball today for a Houdini. I figure it is refundable but I really think this is my next NIB.

#1207 1 year ago

For you folks hungry for American Pinball news, Kaneda's Pinball Podcast interviewed Blake (didn't catch his last name) who gave a recap of his AP factory tour during Expo week. He had very good stuff about AP and Houdini. Blake had played in a back when it was first shown at TPF and again at Expo and had some nice things to say about all the tweaks since then. He felt the shots were better. Starts at 19:55 - the audio is spotty due to Blake's cell phone connection but still worth listening too.

https://soundcloud.com/kanedapinball

1 week later
#1273 1 year ago

Great interview Josh! Loved hearing about the depth of thinking that went into this title. As a magic historian, I can really appreciate the details taken from Houdini's career and put into the game. I'm coding a machine myself and it was fun to hear your approach to rules, modes and combos. I like that you've taken a breadth-first approach to the rules giving players a lot of things to do and approaches to take. Then you've provided a substantial amount of depth to the game. This game checks so many of my boxes.

I placed a refundable deposit on a game with GAP but this interviewed locked in my money on Houdini. As cool as GOTG looks, I just can't see an equivalent value in the $7000 price point anywhere else.

BTW, love him or hate him, Kaneda provides a valuable service to the community. Way to go K-man! Thanks for an outstanding interview.

#1292 1 year ago
Quoted from spfxted:

Any update on the Magical Houdini Glass? When will it be available? Price?

And the side blades and shaker motor...price, availability?? Will they be available to be installed at the factory?

3 weeks later
#1350 1 year ago

I'm hoping that this Houdini media blackout means that the production line is rolling and Josh is too busy getting the final software build ready to load on the first machines off the assembly line.

#1353 1 year ago

I would have loved to get both TNA and Houdini. I can only afford one this year. I visited the Spooky factory and I literally had my deposit in my hand for TNA. At the last minute, I decided that Houdini might be a better fit for my tiny collection. I really, really liked TNA though.

#1379 1 year ago
Quoted from rosh:

Animations will get some more attention... I am always open to suggestions and input.

Thanks for the videos, I love the machine and I think the animations are getting better. I'm coding a machine myself so I understand the difficulty and amount of work it takes to pull all this together. In fact, I spent the last 3 days reformatting dozens and dozens of slides and animations. Since you're open to suggestions I do have a couple...

Not a fan of the top hat with the hand. The top hat and cape have become a caricature of a bad magician. Houdini and his contemporaries didn't wear or use top hats during performances. Instead, how about rising card from a wine glass ... would have been a classic trick from that period.

I cringe when I see the magic shop animation. Could you find a picture of a turn of the century brick building and Photoshop in a magic shop sign? Or find a vintage picture from the interior of an old magic shop?

One last thing that sticks out is the wide variety of fonts used. The overuse of different fonts looks yucky. Given the context of the game, maybe three to four period-correct fonts max. Vary the size of the font and perhaps a two complementary fonts on the same screen at the same time (one fancy and one simple sans serif). Overall, the game's animations and graphics should come together in a consistent, cohesive design. I think you're close! A little font consistency would make the animations look 1000% better.

Great job and thanks for taking some constructive feedback gracefully.

#1402 1 year ago

Cardini, the master of card manipulation also wore a top hat but it was part of his character as a drunken, rich aristocrat and not playing the character of a magician.

I'm not a pro full time magician but I do take paid gigs as a mentalist. I think the thing about top hats that many in the magic community find distasteful is that it has come to represent bad magicians and made fun of on TV, commercials and movies. Having the top hat associated with magic has not been good for our reputations.

#1417 1 year ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

Seems like the Opposite would be the smarter business decision to interest buyers. I for one hate walking up to a machine pinball or other and Not have a clue what to do.

Amen! I've dropped a butt-load of money into GOT and still have no clue what I'm doing. I think the verbose explanations are a feature not a hindrance.

#1426 1 year ago

Not sure how they could legal stop Houdini from be manufactured and shipped. The machine was redesigned from the the ground up on an public domain IP. Although there might be some legal rangling on who owes refunds on RAZA and AIW, I doubt that will affect Houdini. I'm not a legal expert but it's unlikely that you could legally stop a product from being produced unless you were clearly using Jpop's or DR's IP which I doubt has happened.

#1471 1 year ago

I have many cool decks of cards in my collection and was fooling around with some ideas. I made a quick video this morning with a seance deck I have.

#1505 1 year ago
Quoted from rosh:

I do want to give a special shout out to Konjurer who took what had to be a decent amount of time to bring his vision to life. t

Thanks for the shout out! No worries. It literally took me longer to locate that deck of cards than it did to make the video.

I'm just excited that Houdini is being made. I'm sure what you come up with will be awesome for the match sequence.

#1562 1 year ago

It's going to be difficult waiting past Christmas for Houdini for me. I could have a new Dialed In or GOTG in my house in time for Christmas. Some news on when the line is going to get going would be helpful in tempering my impatience. I'm just not good at waiting.

1 week later
#1606 1 year ago

Great interview. I didn’t know about the locking system that allows to ball to disappear in one location and reappear immediately in another. Brilliant concept!

Sounds like a few games are very close to shipping.

#1620 1 year ago

Rosh - any chance that the magic glass and side blades will be ready to ship with the first games? I might be getting one from the first batch and I would certainly prefer those add-ons without having to ship and install later.

#1630 1 year ago

Let’s not give the Greenhornet too much grief. We’re all excited for more videos of game play. If I do get a Houdini from that first batch I’ll be posting some video.

That being stated, American Pinball (Josh) has been freaking awesome and providing info on the development of Houdini. I most certainly would have bought something else had Josh not provided a steady diet of Houdini info.

1 week later
#1681 1 year ago

Amazing! Absolutely amazing! Congrats to the API team. That is quite an accomplishment.

#1685 1 year ago

I hope I’m in the front of the queue. Looks like my distributor has already delivered one. I’m super stoked to get one.

So glad API was able to meet their prediction for December.

#1710 1 year ago

I've been a little critical of the animations in this thread. Great American Pinball just posted probably the best video of the LCD animations and they look pretty fantastic. GAP's camera picks up a lot more detail and the colors are more clear and vivid than Josh's video. Looks great. More excited than ever to get Houdini.

1 month later
#2013 1 year ago

I drove 90 minutes to check out Houdini at the Analog Arcade in Davenport, Iowa.

Here's my most controversial thought while playing Houdini... it ocassionally played like Ghostbusters; and I strongly dislike Ghostbusters. Houdini can be brutal. The power on the right flipper was lacking and I could not backhand shots all the way up the ramp. The ball flew off the left wireform right down the middle twice on my first game. Several times the magnet threw the ball down the outlanes. The center post seemed dead... unlike STDM Zach's machine where the ball would nicely bounce back to a flipper, a straight-on drain would just die off the post like a wounded duck. Frequently, the ball save would shoot at the ESC targets and drain immediately. The ball got stuck on the switch several times when coming back down the Key Lane. The pops are not nearly as lively as a Stern - wonder if that is adjustable?? Houdini drove me crazy and I said many bad words in anger during my time with it.

OK, I got the negatives out of the way. I freaking loved it. Played for 2 hours and my games got better as I went. The left shots are pretty easy to hit. The right shots are tight and hard... but not impossible for a below average player like myself. I got to see the catapult at least 12 times. So that shot is not impossible at all.

I'm not going to repeat all the good stuff that's already been said about Houdini. My key take aways were

* it's absolutely beautiful, easily the most beautiful, detailed pinball machine I've seen in person, wow!
* the game makes it very easy to understand what you are supposed to be doing
* one of the best games where the modes actually mean something
* Josh did a fantastic job of integrating magic and Houdini's escapes into the modes
* the card flinging video mode is very clever
* the playfield design is very, very good. Love the pops, gobble hole and theater area
* anything negative I said about the animations I now take back - well done!
* this is a stop and go game. On those "stop" moments the backbox display is really helpful. Not just random animations.
* Music and callouts are really well done
* there is so much to do in this game!

Houdini is loaded and has excellent value for the money. More excited than ever to get mine now.

#2044 1 year ago
Quoted from rosh:

One of my mantras is just because others do it or its 'always been done that way', does not make it right (I think Joe hates when I say that) nor does it mean I have to do it that way.

Amen Brother Josh! I've been coding a machine and as I design modes and think about the way modes have been written before I'm like, damn, there's not a lot of imagination going on with existing modes on most Stern games. I like the new ideas Josh - especially the life after death modes.

I'd like to see more use of the RGB inserts in modes. Instead of shoot the red shots - colors and color animation used in RGB inserts can represent things like fire, water, electricity, etc. I think that is a rich area that hasn't been explored in much depth yet.

1 week later
#2116 1 year ago

Games have been really slow to trickle out. Does anyone have an update. I heard there were some production problems but that batches of Houdini were going to start shipping soon.

#2173 1 year ago

I love the side art. Let's see if we can identify all of the people in the art.

The guy with the swami hat looks like Carter the Great.

The Chinese guy looks looks like Chung Ling Soo (aka William Robinson) who died performing the Bullet Catch when the "fake" gun misfired. Robinson pretended to be Chinese in public to build his brand as "Marvelous Chinese Conjurer" and was a long time friend of Houdini.

The one photo shows Mac King in the water with the gold fish; one of is signature tricks. King is a very successful magician with a long running show at Harrah's in Las Vegas.

There is a shadow of Nosferatu haunting the wall.

Anyone else recognize anyone else?

1 week later
#2249 1 year ago

Just listened to Kaneda's review of Houdini and I thought it was very fair. Kaneda hated BM64 and now owns one so he'll have a better day with Houdini once he finds one where he can hear the music and callouts and it is set up properly. I think it's fair to say that not everyone is going to love it. I did. I really loved it.

I do think the tight shot reputation is WAY overblown. It like a self fulfilling prophesy thing. It looks tight and so therefore when I brick a shot it feeds into that expectation that its so tight that you're never going to find the shot.

Every machine worth playing has tough shots! I have a KISS and everyone bitches about the right ramp being impossible to hit. Once you figure out how to backhand then you hit it every time. Yet, the orbit through the bumpers is impossible for me to hit. And when I do connect with that shot it feels freaking great. Now if KISS made the completion of every mode dependent on that left orbit I would hate the game. Like Houdini, KISS gives me other paths to take to get around that shot. It makes the game fun and challenging to get through. Do you really want a game that every shot is equally as easy to hit?

#2257 1 year ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

So, how do you backhand right ramp on KISS?! Only done it accidentally...

This from VividPsychosis’ post about the tight Houdini shot. Literally the same instructions for the KISS shot!!!

“backhand is literally at the top of the flipper. After trapping, just release flipper and the rehit it. Only let go long enough so that it doesn't hit the bottom of the sling. Once you get it down, you will prefer the backhand over the forehand, everytime. Its like butter and hits the shot clearly, unlike my backhand to the left stage lane.”

I nail it 95% of the time on KISS. I’m guessing Houdini will be the same. You need to let it drop for just a fraction of a second to clear the bottom of the sling.

#2333 1 year ago

I got the call from my distributor yesterday and mine will be shipping on Tuesday! I had to specify if I wanted the side art and magic glass installed. I ordered the side art installed. It's getting closer!

#2335 1 year ago

Damn Bob! That's a great game.

#2336 1 year ago

I'd like to see a challenge as to who can spell Houdini and make it through Master Magician mode first on the default settings. There was a similar challenge going on for TNA.

#2348 1 year ago
Quoted from Zaquar:

Congrats! Just curious when you placed your order?

I don't remember exactly... maybe September??? The list at my distributor wasn't very deep at that time. I still wasn't sure Houdini was the way to go. I almost went with TNA. Still want that TNA but Houdini was too much of a dream theme for me and packed a lot in for the money. When I finally got to play a Houdini I was very happy with my decision to reserve a spot.

I certainly feel your pain if you've waited longer than me! I like my dealer so if his pre-order list was already lengthy I still would have stuck with him.

1 week later
#2425 1 year ago

My Houdini is on a truck and heading for my humble home. It will be delivered on Monday. It's going to be a looong weekend.

#2492 12 months ago

Houdini #1098 is in the house! The game is beautiful. Spent the morning getting the game set up. I'm about 10 games in and it's playing great. I had one ball get stuck on the milk can loop lock... that white spike was releasing too fast and not giving the ball time enough to fall.

I hit the milkcan loop shot a ton of times already... amazed at how easy it is to hit in the flow off the left flipper. Beginner's luck?

Feedback on the unboxing:

* Generally, you guys need a "quickstart guide." I didn't find the owner's manual until after I got the legs on and the plastic wrap removed and the instructions were not that helpful.
* The lock down bar is confusing. Called customer support and the guy was very nice. You have to press down on the lock down bar to latch. You need to put those directions in the quickstart guide. When you just spent $7,000 on a machine, you hate to force and break things.
* Jury is still out on those leg bolts. They look great but were hard to get the hex wrench into the hole. When you're busting your spleen trying to hold up that tank you guys call a pinball machine you don't want to be struggling with that bolt
* I didn't understand how to toggle the settings - like set to freeplay. I guess you have to hold two buttons down to toggle the setting??? Very confusing. I managed but it was not intuitive.

Congrats on bringing a great, first game to the market.

IMG_3111 (resized).JPG

#2579 12 months ago

Josh,

I have a odd request, Pinstadium basically has 2 channels One channel connects to GI and the stadium lighting follows what the GI is doing. The other channel you hook up to a flasher. I'm having a hard time finding an LED that operates like a flasher. The spots are on all the time. The stage spotlight is also on all of the most of the time. Can you think of a LED that us Pinstadium owners could use as the flasher channel? Otherwise, the flasher channel is pretty much useless.

The LED in the pops is the only other interesting location I can think of. What are the pins on the RGB LEDs? Is the left pin ground and then R-G-B? I'm guessing that there are a lot of Houdini's with Pinstadiums that are running into this issue.

#2584 12 months ago

So I installed my Pinstadium a couple nights ago and I wasn't impressed at first. I think with all of the hype surrounding Pinstadium I thought it was going to be mind blowing.

But once I got to playing with the phone app comes with it then I could turn it on and off. Wow, the difference is pretty amazing. I'm telling you that unless you have some kind of super-hero, feline vision, you are missing seeing a lot when you're playing in the dark. HUGE difference. My favorite setting is to turn the white channel up all the way and set the RGB channel to yellow or yellowish red. It really makes the game look old timey like gas footlights in a theater from the turn of the century.

Just my opinion, but if you are thinking about getting Pinstadium for your Houdini, I would recommend NOT playing extra for the UV+Glow or even the flasher. There isn't a great LED to tie into yet and the UV-Glow doesn't really fit the theme and not something you want on all the time. Again, just my opinion. Maybe after someone finds a great LED to tie it into then maybe I'll change my opinion. You probably will want to the GI plug in though.

#2621 11 months ago
Quoted from ZEUS:

Curious if others are seeing this ?

Not yet but I only have about 100 games on mine.

#2623 11 months ago

Does anyone else think that the mode countdown timer is too short? I'm an intermediate player and I rarely complete a modes. I find that very frustrating at times. You get 45 seconds to complete most of these modes to complete 3 or 4 shots. If you brick the first shot you're screwed.

The clock on the animation looks like it goes to 60. Maybe there could be an option to set to 60 instead for us average players.

#2630 11 months ago
Quoted from vireland:

We didn't change them, but pretty sure there are options for adjusting the mode lengths.

I can't find such a setting for mode length. The only thing related to the stage modes is how difficult it is to open the stage. There is a setting for the King of Cards Timer but that is the only one I see.

Josh - Any chance to add a setting to extend the stage mode timer?

#2631 11 months ago

Does Houdini use the Multimorphic RGB LED boards or are they custom to AP?

#2643 11 months ago

I agree with GreenHornet. And it would be rude to go into the PS thread and suggest that all manufacturers should have stadium style lighting... but they should.

Houdini essentially does have a strip of LEDs at the back of the playfield. Just need to add them to the sides as well. Make them RGBs and we’re in business. Maybe on Oktoberfest.

#2655 11 months ago
Quoted from Manic:

I'm also tired of having to hear about it in every pin thread... but that's probably just me also.

I believed it important to share information about the shortcomings of the Pinstadium product with regards to Houdini. Overall, I like my Pinstadium lighting but there was some issues with hooking it up. It makes sense to talk about it here so that other Houdini owners can find the information before making a $230 purchase. I would also add something else I forgot to mention... Pinstadium did not solve my glare problem as people suggested to me the Pinstadium thread. It basically had no effect on reducing glare from my overhead lighting.

Would I buy PS again? Absolutely, it was a HUGE improvement over native lighting. However, I would recommend skipping the $60 flasher option.

#2659 11 months ago

Hi Josh - thanks for the responses as always. I'm an intermediate player and in my first 125 games I've only completed a mode 3 times. By the time you get the ball under control you're toast. Two popular podcasters, Kaneda and Ryan from Head2Head, played Houdini over the weekend and Kaneda gave a quick review on Monday and stated their games averaged under a minute. I'm averaging 3 minutes. I'm lucky to get one shot towards the mode progress before I'm out of time. With a game that is getting a reputation for super tight shots, it seems to be a good idea to loosen up the mode times a bit.

On a related note, there needs to be more ball saves on the scoop kickout. I'm seeing a few SDTM ejects with no ball save. My KISS Gene Simmons head does that sometimes but there is always a ball save to protect against that situation.

#2665 11 months ago

Josh - hope you don't take these comments as too critical. I think the Houdini rules are one of the best rule sets I've ever played. Hopefully feedback makes the game better for beginner to intermediate players.

Another thing that could improve the game play is to make the "Add Time" shot provide more time or at least make it adjustable. By the time the ball is back under control I've just chewed through what little time was awarded to me. Houdini is very much a stop and go game. If Houdini was a great flow game you could bang out these modes. However, it takes time to get control and make these shots. Any shot to the middle and left of middle takes you into the bumpers. Once into the bumpers and the mode is essentially over.

I have a question for the Houdini players out there... has anyone completed the Milkcan Escape? That mode seems like it would be almost impossible to complete. One potential improvement could be a difficulty setting so that one (easy), two (medium) or three (difficult) milkcan shots are required. I think the mode would still need 3 shots to complete but with fewer milkcan loops for mere mortals. Hitting one on purpose is freaking hard enough!

#2680 11 months ago

My lock shot quit working. The ball just sits in the catapult. When the ball search starts, it does fire the catapult and I get credit for lock but it really sucks to have to wait and no lighting effect either. Any thoughts as to what's going on? Seems to stuck be in a weird state.

#2690 11 months ago
Quoted from vireland:

Does the switch in the catapult saucer register in switch test with a ball (not your finger)? Sounds like the switch is not working so it doesn't know the ball is there.

Tested the VUK switch a few times and it works - when the ball is in the VUK it lights up. I've rebooted the machine several times and no difference.

#2691 11 months ago
Quoted from PinballTilt:

I highly suggest the little shop of games plastic protector set for Houdini to everyone. I've played maybe 5 games and already have a broken plastic at stock coil settings.

Just noticed that mine is broken at that same spot. Bummer! Just ordered my protectors.

#2693 11 months ago
Quoted from vireland:

Next time it goes dead there, open the coin door while in the game and go straight to the switch test and see if the switch is registering. I don't think it's software because we haven't had this issue at all. Is this always a 1 or 2 player game (we haven't played more than a 2 player game)?

Thanks vireland for the help. The VUK is firing. So that makes me think the VUK switch is fine. When the ball gets into the catapult its just not firing the catapult. I'll have to check to see if there is an opto or some other switch in the catapult... I didn't think so but I may have overlooked it.

One player game. But I haven't tried two player to see of it happens in 2 player. It started failing in the middle of a mode.

#2699 11 months ago

Fixed my lower catapult issue. Thanks to everyone who chimed in. I called American Pinball and spoke with Barry. He was super nice and helpful. He told me that there has been 2 causes for that

1. the connector on the switch driver board has come loose
2. a wire going to the lower catapult switch has gotten sheared off (due to it's proximity to the edge of the playfield). Note really sure how that could happen (see image) but fyi in case you have an issue yourself

Turns out it was none of the above. The screws that hold the switch in place had come loose.

IMG_3119 (resized).JPG

#2723 11 months ago
Quoted from murfe88:

Has anybody figured out the rules yet ? How do you get the Houdini letters ?

I’ve collected the rules from the different sources (TWIP, manual, TPF presentation and watch streams). I was thinking about posting to tiltforums rule sheets if anyone is interested.
Hopefully people would add to them as it is a wiki. Pretty good start so far.

19
#2725 11 months ago

Houdini Rules
Current Version: 18.2.27

Playfield Design, Mechanics: Joe Balcer
Engineering: Jim Thornton
Rules, Programming, Animation: Josh Kugler
Artwork, Animations: Jeff Busch
Music, Sound: Matt Kern
Sculptures: Matt Riesterer (Back Alley)
Animation: Ish Raneses

Rules compiled from the following sources: This Week in Pinball, Josh Kugler, SDTM, Konjurer, et al.

THE GOAL:
The goal of Houdini is to become the Master Magician and make it to the Master Magician wizard mode. You to the Master Magician Mode by spelling H-O-U-D-I-N-I. Each of the 7 letters of Houdini correspond to the 7 major areas of the game.

Becoming a Master Magician is very difficult due to the depth of the ruleset. You have to complete 20 modes, 5 combos, collect 8 awards, collect jackpots from 2 multiballs, and complete 3 mini-wizards modes. Simple, right?

The difficulty of getting to the end of the game can be adjusted in the settings so that Houdini letters are easier to achieve.

Progress towards the Master Master mode can be seen on a cool dashboard display by pressing both flippers before plunging. You can also see progress and by the chain link inserts on the playfield. Each major area of the game is represented by a different color as noted later in this document. Progress towards the end goal impacts your end-of-ball bonus.

OVERVIEW:

Skill shot – shoot moving red target for skill shot, shoot moving green target for super skill shot

10 Stage Modes
Vanishing Elephant
Chinese Water Torture
Indian Needle Trick
Walk through Walls
Handcuff King
Milkcan Escape
Metamorphosis
Bullet Catch Multiball (video mode using the upper catapult)
Straight Jacket Multiball (reverse/inverted flipper mode)
Card King (video mode)

Mini Wizard Modes
Movie Binge - complete all 5 Movie Modes
Great Jail Escape - complete all 5 Jail Escape Hurry-Up Modes
Ultimate Secret Mission - complete all Secret Mission Combos

Master Magician Mode
For the Master Magician (Wizard) Mode, you must collect all the HOUDINI letters by:
Complete all 10 Stage modes
Complete all 5 Movie Modes
Collect eight items from the Magic Shop
Complete all 5 Jail Escape Hurry-Up Modes
Complete all Secret Mission Combos
Earn a super jackpot during Trunk Multiball
Earn a certain number of jackpots during Seance Multiball

Drain Modes
There are two modes that are set up at the outlanes that can revive your ball.
Return from Beyond
Escape Death

STAGE MODES
Color Code: Red

The stage modes are started in two ways. Bashing the theater curtain 3 times or by going through the Back Stage Alley shot hitting the red target at the back of the pops.

Vanishing Elephant — Three ramp shots move elephant into the crate, then stage to show crate empty.
Ramp 3 times
Stage

Chinese Water Torture — KeyLane to lower into tank, either orbit to close curtain, stage to open curtain and set Houdini free.
Key Lane
Either Orbit
Stage

Indian Needle Trick — All switches score X, magic and red standup targets increase value. Houdini pulls needles out of his mouth as shots are made.
All switches
Red Standups to increase values

Walk through Walls — To move Houdini through the wall, shoot one of the left shots, then one of center shots, then right shots.
Left Shot
Middle Shots
Right Shot

Handcuff King — Shoot the pops, every X hits results in a handcuff or chain being thrown out, hit it enough time to totally free Houdini. The number of handcuffs on Houdini and the number of pops needed to shed a handcuff is adjustable in the Feature Settings.
Hit 3 Pops to shed a handcuff
Shed 5 handcuffs

Milkcan Escape — Three shots through the lower left loop will lower him into milkman, rollout the screen and then show him free. This can be the most lucrative of the stage modes.
Milkcan Loop 3 times

Metamorphosis — Shoot trunk to lower Houdini into the trunk, then orbit to close curtain, then stage or trunk to open curtain to set Houdini free, and Bess then in the trunk.
Trunk
Orbit
Stage

King of Cards — A video mode where you are throwing cards (known as scaling) through moving hoops. The longer you hold the flipper in before throwing, the higher it will go, so you need to time it both for when you start and release your press. As you make shots, the hoops move faster, making three of the smaller hoop, will then light the smaller hoop for extra ball. It is possible to make both hoops with a single throw, which will double their value.

The length of time in this mode is adjustable in the Feature Settings

Straight Jacket Multiball — You have the option of ‘reversed flippers’ (left flipper button controls right flipper, right controls left) or ‘reversed and inverted flippers’, where flippers are reversed as described, but they are inverted, which means they are the up position and then drop when flipper button is pressed, so they become ‘release to flip’. Jackpots are doubled when inverted. A feature will soon be added that if you are ‘chimping’ the flippers (e.g. just hitting both at the same time) during this mode will result in a reprimand and the jackpot value will be reduced.

Hint: cross your arms so that your right hand is on the left flipper button and left hand is on the right flipper button. Your brain will work as intended and you should be fine.

Hint: Once you feel comfortable with the reversed flippers, try the “reversed and inverted” a few times. It is worth big points and it’s actually not that difficult.

Bullet Catch — Shoot trunk to lock a ball in upper catapult, then shoot moving target to lock in the site (and jackpot value which is decreasing while you try to hit the moving shot). Locking the site fires the gun, to get into a two ball MB. Then continue to hit the trunk shot (right inner loop) to lock and fire the gun again to score jackpots.

MAGIC TARGETS

The Magic Standup Targets help you in different ways depending on the current state of the game. Hitting a magic target can add escape letters, séance letters, or film letters. Hitting a target can also advance you a step during a Stage Mode or Movie Mode. The magic targets also engage the magnets.

MOVIE MODES
Color Code: Blue

There are five modes based on Houdini’s movies. These modes are presented in black and white with an old film look and have a piano accompaniment. Failing to complete results in the film ‘burning’. One is a type of add-a-ball Multiball. Complete all five for Houdini letter. Completing all five will also start the Mini-Magician Mode called Movie Binge. You don’t have to complete each movie mode but how well you did at each mode will impact your scoring potential in Movie Binge.

Terror Island (Scoop, ramp, scoop, ramp) — Free the woman from the safe that was thrown in the ocean, then go back for the treasure.

Haldane of Secret Service (all about the spinner) — Escape the waterwheel. Each shot makes it spin faster until it breaks free

Master Mystery — Features Q The Automaton, the first ever movie robot, stop him from getting the woman or getting to the weapon — left orbit, right orbit, left orbit, right orbit. You only have X seconds to complete the next shot in the sequence, making it resets the clock (but less time that previous shot).

Grim Game — Move Houdini from plane to plane to rescue the woman (orbit, ramp, orbit)

Man From Beyond — This is a add-a-ball kind of mode. First bash the stage to free Houdini from the Ice (where he was frozen for 100 years), this will then put a second ball in play. Then shoot orbits X times to free him from his restraints in the insane asylum, another ball is put into play, then all the GI and Inserts turn off, except for three shots (and a moving ‘spotlight’ running through inserts). Only one of the three lit shots will pay off, you can figure out which by sneaking a peek at the display and spotting Houdini when the spotlight is on him. Shooting the correct shot scores a jackpot, and then Houdini will randomly move between the three shots.

NOTE: For most of the stage and movie modes, you can also hit one of the two ‘magic stand-ups’ targets, which are located on either side of the lower playfield to advance a step through the mode. When not in a mode, these targets will assist you in other ways, based on current state, typically adding ESCAPE, SEANCE or FILM letters. They will also trigger the magnets under the hands which will then twirl and throw the ball. There is an optional ball saver (controlled via settings), when the magnets are triggered via the targets (and when not in seance mulitball). Also, for most stage and movie modes, once the timer gets to 10 seconds or less, you can shoot the spinner to add time to the timer. You can up to 10 seconds to the timer.

JAIL ESCAPE HURRY-UPS
Color Code: Green

Spell E-S-C-A-P-E via stand-up targets begin a Jail Escape Hurry Up. Complete all five to earn a Houdini letter. Complete all five for the Great Jail Escape mini-magician mode.

E-S-C stand-up targets are shootable but the A-P-E letters are not. Use the pop bumpers and indirect shots to hit the A-P-E stand-ups. Complete X to earn Return From Beyond, also possible to earn Extra Ball if enabled in settings. Can be random or easy to hard based on settings. Complete all five for mini-magician mode.

SECRET MISSION COMBOS
Color Code: Pink

Houdini was rumored to be a spy for the US government - hence the secret missions! Each secret mission is a combo. Each combo gets progressively harder to complete. There are five different combos to complete. The secret missions are considered to be the hardest objective in the game to complete.

Secret Missions start at the scoop. Only one secret mission is active at a time. Complete it and you can then start the next. Complete all five for a mini-magician mode and a Houdini letter. The next shot in the sequence will be identified with a flashing purple arrow. If the sequence is broken, it will go back to the first shot of the sequence. They get harder as you go.

Combo Mission 1: chain together the ramp and scoop shots for 25,000
Combo Mission 2: chain together the right orbit and scoop shots for 50,000
Combo Mission 3: chain together the ramp, right orbit, and scoop for 75,000 and lits extra ball at the scoop
Combo Mission 4: chain together the right ramp, right orbit, lock shoot and scoop for 100,000
Combo Mission 5: chain together the milkcan, ramp, right orbit and scoop for 250,000

OUTLANE DRAIN MODES
Complete the task, continue your ball, fail and ball ends. The modes are:

Return From Beyond
You get 30 flips to spell seance (via mini stand-up targets). Earned by scoring X jackpots during seance multiball.

Escape Death
You get 30 seconds to spell ESCAPE (via stand-up targets). Escape Death is the harder of the two to complete. Earned by completing X jail escape hurry-ups.

You can also earn/light the outlane drain modes at Magic Shop. If earned there it will bounce from side to side with flippers. If earned via Seance or Escapes, it will not move. If you have earned one plus magic shop version, then both outlines are lit. You can only earn each once per game.

MAGIC SHOP “MYSTERY AWARD”
Color Code: Yellow

The Magic Shop is the place to get mystery awards. You’ll need to collect 8 items from the shop to get to the Master Magician Mode.

The magic shop is opened by the spinner. Once the Magic Shop is open for business you can get something from the shop by entering the “gobble hole” under the ramp. The direct shot to the gobble hole is through the Stage Alley lane through the pops. You can also bank it in off the theater curtain or use the pop bumpers to bounce it into the hole.

There are also Easter eggs at the Magic Shop that poke fun at some of American Pinball’s friends and competitors.

Magic Shop Awards:
Virtual Ball Lock
Extra Ball Lit
Playfield Multiplier
20 second Ball Save
Milkcan Multiplier Advance
Return from Beyond Lit
Escape Death Lit
Big Points (various amounts)
Hold Bonus
Bonus Multipliers (various award)
more???

There are settings to also you to earn a HOUDINI letter more easily or even multiple letters.

STACKING

You can stack multiballs on both stage and movie modes as well as other multiballs. You do have to start the modes first. Stage modes and movie modes can not be stacked with each other. Once a multiball is running, you can not start a movie or stage mode. Jail Escapes, starting of Secret Missions and Magic shop visits can occur if a mode is running, but not if multiball is running.

MULTIBALLS

Trunk Multiball
Color Code: Turquoise

By default the lock is lit at the start of the game. Stage Alley shot will lit the lock on subsequent locks. Shoot the right inner loop to catapult a ball into the trunk for each locked ball. Lock three balls in the trunk to start the Trunk Multiball. Three shots are lit for jackpots, complete those then shoot trunk (via inner loop) to score super jackpot and re-light jackpots. Super Jackpot will earn Houdini letter.

Seance Multiball - 3 ball
Color Code: Teal

Spell S-E-A-N-C-E to light at the scoop. The magnets will engage in this multiball. Spell seance to score jackpots, spell in order for super jackpot (very hard). Gets harder to light each time. Two jackpots during Seance Multiball will earn you a Houdini letter.

STACKING

You can stack multiballs on both stage and movie modes as well as other multiballs. Stage modes and movie modes can not be stacked with each other. Once a multiball is running, you can not start a movie or stage mode. Jail Escapes, starting of Secret Missions and Magic shop visits can occur if a mode is running, but not if multiball is running.

MILKCAN PLAYFIELD MULTIPLIERS
Color: Orange

The Milkcan loop (lower left loop) is a difficult shot that feeds the left inlane. Shooting the milkman loop feeds immediately followed by the ramp will increase the playfield multiplier for X seconds. Each time this 2 shot combo is hit advances the multiple from 2X to 3X to 4X. Starting a mode via Stage Alley with a max milkcan multiplier gives 8X scoring.

#2726 11 months ago

Tilt Forums won't let me post them there for some reason. Here is a link to a Google document. Feel free to leave comments and corrections and I will update the document until I can get this posted to Tilt Forums.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aE5RKe7v1XG6X0COCBoqWD1soqM6882SYVsa7aQvMMk

#2736 11 months ago

Yeah, great explanation. A lot of vibration in that catapult to rattle the screws out!

#2753 11 months ago

Rosh,

Have you given any more thought to adding a setting to adjust the mode difficulty such as extending the time to complete? Certain podcasters this past week went out and played the game with 1 minute average ball times. They speculated that the game was not approachable by average players on location (I'm paraphrasing). Houdini has developed a reputation that it is brutal. Brutal is good to a point but I wonder if that growing reputation is going to hurt sales. I love the rules and I'm having a blast. But it is frustrating that the mode times are so short making it hard for novice to intermediate players to make progress into the game.

Hopefully you are considering the suggestion and keep up the great work!

#2763 11 months ago
Quoted from luvthatapex2:

Looks like every mode has an adjustment.

Really, only 2 stage modes have an adjustment. Most of the Feature settings have to do with the Houdini letters. However, your suggestion is a valid option. The down side to that approach is that the modes are pretty simple in the number of steps to complete. Most have only 3-4 shots to complete. Unlike my Stern sitting next to Houdini that requires 8 shots to complete each mode and unlimited time to complete each mode.

Here are some valid options to make the game modes more approachable for mere mortals...

* Allow the timer to be adjustable to 60 seconds (maybe the easiest solution because the clock already goes to 60)
* Allow the timer to reset on a made shot
* Allow the timer to ratch back X seconds on each made shot (that would be a cool mystery award!)
* Make the "Add Time" add more seconds or reset the clock
* Give each mode it's own setting to make easy, medium or hard (default)

I would love to see a setting to the Milkcan mode easier for sure. I doubt I'll ever get that mode completed without some way to advance the shot (besides the magic target advance thing).

#2764 11 months ago
Quoted from JIM_Z:

The developing reputation has me thinking of canceling my order......I'm an average player at best and don't think frustration equals fun.

This is what I'm worried about! This is what some influential podcasters are saying. I thought it worth mentioning here.

JIM_Z, it is a freaking awesome game. It is not Ghostbusters brutal. It is not unfair. I never feel robbed. You are going to brick shots until you start getting the shots dialed in. The good news is that while the game is very challenging, it is very forgiving in other areas. The layout is tough but Balcer really designed a cool game.

#2766 11 months ago

Since we are talking about books about Houdini. Here is one about a good friend of Houdini's named William Robinson. Robinson was the most famous magician to die from the Bullet Catch. Robinson had little success as a magician until he re-imagined his persona as Chung Ling Soo, the Marvelous Chinese Conjurer. Robinson and his wife lived their public lives as Chinese! Talk about cultural appropriation!

After Robinson died, Houdini started to practice the Bullet Catch. Magic historians now believe that Houdini did perform the bullet catch but it is unclear whether he actually did. Houdini's friends had been pleading with him not to attempt the trick.

Any of Jim Steinmeyer's books are fabulous...

Chung Ling Soo (resized).jpg

#2767 11 months ago

This is my favorite book on magic history called Hiding The Elephant - again by Jim Steinmeyer. It gives away some of magic's greatest secrets without giving too much away. The book covers the greatest advancements in illusions from the Black Art principle, to Pepper's Ghost (the principle used in Ghostbusters and Dialed In pinball machines) to Houdini's Elephant Vanish. A great read!

Hiding the Elephant (resized).jpg

#2768 11 months ago

Last awesome magic history book by Jim Steinmeyer - The Magician and the Cardsharp... Dai Vernon is the father of modern, close-up magic (think David Blaine, not Copperfield). Dia Vernon invented hundreds of tricks and sleight of hand moves - the greatest innovator in card magic. This is the story of a legend about a card sharp that could deal any card from the middle of the deck. Basically, a card cheat that could not be detected. Dai spent much of his life, cruising the back rooms of bars and illegal gambling houses to find if the legend was real. Great story!

magician and the cardsharp (resized).jpg

#2803 11 months ago
Quoted from foxtj24:

Open the back box. Take the lcd down. You will now see the amp where you can hook the sub up directly. Google the amp model for directions on how to hook up the sub if you are not sure. This is what I did and it works great.

Do I need a powered or unpowered sub?

#2894 11 months ago

Another dumb audio question. Is there a place inside the cabinet for a subwoofer or are you guys using a standalone under the cabinet? If so, any reason a car audio sub work?

#2917 11 months ago

Is there an opening to run the speaker wires out of the cabinet or do I need to drill a hole?

#2970 11 months ago

Not telling you where the ball is coming from adds to the fun, challenge and theme of the game. Maybe that is a proposal for a feature setting. I wouldn’t want it set on though.

#2979 11 months ago
Quoted from adamross:

remove the back box.

Do you mean remove the backglass?

I haven’t done this yet but I think the lower row of outputs are labeled SUB. I think you would hook up the sub to either the two on the right or the two on the left.

#3011 11 months ago

It is a pain to get the translite out. Thanks for the tip Barry!

#3041 11 months ago
Quoted from monte_:

I want to know if it is really that hard even after you have played the game a couple hundred times. I had no games where i got 3 balls into the lock mechanism and to get into milk jug was luck.

I've had my machine for 4-5 weeks now. I'm a average player at best. I can hit the lock shot at least 33% of my attempts. I sometimes forget to re-light the lock and then I can't miss. You'll find that the magic shop awards you locked balls and that can improve your chance to get to trunk multiball. I have a Stern KISS sitting next to it and there are 2 shots on that game that, for me, are much harder to hit with any consistency (left orbit through the pops and the Star shot).

The Milkcan shot is almost impossible! I've never hit it on purpose yet. NEVER, not once. I've hit it accidentally dozens of times.

#3170 11 months ago

Rosh,

Thanks for all of your hard work on the code drop and for the mode timer options! Thanks for listening to me bitch and moan. I owe you a beer or two.

Downloading now!

#3179 11 months ago
Quoted from LTG:

On the Dialed In ? Looks like the CE topper.

No that cool Houdini topper that Join_The_Cirqus posted in his pics. It looks freaking fantastic. I'm curious as well.

#3220 11 months ago
Quoted from Ericc123:

Did anyone notice the magnets being more active after the update? Maybe active isn't the right word but they are definitely moving the ball all over the place and I love it. Wasn't sure if it was code related or if it's in my head. lol

I upp'ed the magnet intensity setting and I love it. It does some crazy stuff with the ball. The magnets rarely have pitched the ball down an outlane. I love the lower magnet as it does doesn't kick in for very long and sends the ball off a crazy angles. Brilliant use of magnets. I'll never get tired of those.

#3230 11 months ago
Quoted from Rferullo:

Great American Pinball looks wider and fills the machine but the Modfather's looks brighter and can change colors

I think both change colors. I just really think the Modfather topper will get my dollars. While both are well done, I don’t think the Laseriffic topper art style matches the game. The Modfather arts obviously matches the game. The only minor tweak I would have done is leave the Houdini logo off. It’s already on the backglass. Would have looked more amazing to just have Houdini crawling out the top of the machine.

#3231 11 months ago

I’m loving the new code! I adjusted the mode times to 60 seconds and I can complete modes now. My scores improved dramatically once I was able to close out a modes or two. Amazing what you can do with an extra 15 seconds. The game feels less brutal now.

#3295 10 months ago
Quoted from Frogman:

Love the machine, hate that callout. Frequent and not clever or humorous.

Minor compliant but yes it is getting old quickly. I think it doesn’t need to play each time you miss. Or more variety where every comment was not a jab.

#3319 10 months ago
Quoted from rosh:

No controversy, some people like to be insulted, some don't. I'll take all of the comments into consideration.

I like the insults. I would be nice to have a little variety in the callouts or not make a call out every time you miss. That’s all. Minor, minor, minor issue but we know you listen!

#3326 10 months ago

I think holding both flipper does cancel animations and instructions. Certainly does for instructions screens. Also holding both flippers speeds up the end of ball bonus calculation.

#3381 10 months ago
Quoted from lodgingdolphin:

Still have a lot of work to go to reach the wizard modes though.

Great score! I’m not even close to that level yet. Has anyone gotten to a wizard mode yet?

#3410 10 months ago
Quoted from hawkmoon:

OK,lots of second thoughts going on! Whats the deal??Are the shots just to tight? I've heard about the flow,some saying its slow go and requires you to hit targets in sequence? PinballTilt is out,any thoughts??

I don't see lots of second thoughts on Houdini. Go check out the JJPPOTC thread for "lots of second thoughts." Seems to be a lot of people still waiting in line to get their Houdini.

I call BS on the shots are too tight reputation. There are tight shots on every game that is worth playing. I've said this many times...I'm a below average play and I can purposefully hit every shot, every game, with the exception of the Milkcan shot. If I concentrate on getting to Trunk Multiball I can usually get it now. I don't find Houdini to be a "slow go" game either. It's just as intense as a flow-style game but in a different way. You have to make shots count to complete the timed modes.

Houdini presents you with a lot of options as you progress through a game. You can go with the flow of the game or you can choose to concentrate on one four types of modes; stage modes, movies, escapes or secret missions. If you are go with the flow then one moment you're starting a stage mode, the next the game throws an Escape Hurry-up at you, then Houdini starts a movie mode and meanwhile your stage mode timer is running out, do you try to hit the "Add Time" at the orbit? meanwhile the Magic shop is giving you a mystery award that may change your current strategy, then you might have started a secret mission combo mode. By this time in the game, you've spelled Seance by accident and then do you start Seance Multiball or try to get a stage mode going first? Houdini is hardly a "slow go" game.

#3412 10 months ago

Thanks Josh! Go enjoy the weekend.

#3422 10 months ago

API Grand Theater Stickers are awesome! Well worth the $30. Beatmaster also threw in a Houdini poster magnet that looks great on the coin door.

IMG_3173 (resized).JPG

IMG_3178 (resized).JPG

#3424 10 months ago

BTW, I created a Houdini rulesheet on Tilt Forums. That seems to be the default location for publishing rulesheets. Feel free to discuss rules in the comments section below the rulesheet.

http://tiltforums.com/t/houdini-rulesheet

1 week later
#3581 10 months ago
Quoted from vireland:

Pfft. Play KISS. THAT right ramp opening is brutal.

I have a KISS sitting right next to Houdini. The left orbit through the bumps and right ramp are harder than hell to hit. Way harder for me to figure out those shots on KISS than The Houdini lock shot.

#3641 10 months ago

Josh was kind enough to provide some details on the Escape Modes. I've updated the Houdini Rule Sheet to include this information.

http://tiltforums.com/t/houdini-rulesheet/3934

#3784 10 months ago
Quoted from hawkmoon:

No,sorry.I'm not up to rebuild a brand new pin any more!

The vast majority of people are having no problems. Someone came up with a minor tweak to give them more control over the skill shot. That is NOT rebuilding the pin. The adjustability of the coils is a feature, not a defect.

Saying that the manufacturer doesn’t give a shit is absurd. I’m sure if you asked the families of the design team at American Pinball whether or not they give a shit I’m sure they would tell you about how they didn’t give a shit as they worked nights and weekends for a year plus to get you your Houdini.

Isn’t it clear by now that manufacturing a pinball machine is a unique and difficult venture for a tiny niche market. Has every product you bought been defect free? Seems like with a product as complex as a pinball machine you’d expect there might be some adjustments for a small percentage of the customers.

#3857 10 months ago

I've had my Houdini for 2 months. First month I was lucky to break 200,000. I'm admittedly a below average player. After the latest code update I was able to set the stage mode timer to 60 seconds. Wow! What a big difference 15 seconds makes. Now, I'm starting to get somewhere in the game. This game is freaking amazing and getting better as I get deeper into the rules. I think the people that play it a few times on location and get frustrated by the tight, unconventional layout are really missing a great game.

But more than that, Houdini is making me a much, much better player. Last night, new high score. Not bad for a hack player like me.

IMG_3202 (resized).JPG

#3899 10 months ago
Quoted from vireland:

King of Cards is the first stage mode I play every game for that reason. Easy Extra Ball.

I still have not got the timing down yet!! Not so easy for me yet.

#3900 10 months ago
Quoted from rosh:

While I did tweak some scoring (primary MB), does not account for the rise of reported scores I'm seeing, so shows some owners are starting to find the shots and learn some of the strategy. Those going to a longer timer is probably helping since often the later shots in a mode are more valuable.

The extra seconds made a huge difference in my score cause I just could not get the ball/keep the ball under control long enough to complete a mode and it was getting frustrating. But now it’s just right at 60 seconds.

My shots are getting pretty accurate now. The shots feel sooo good when you dial them in.

#3903 10 months ago

As I charge up the card, at what level should I release to hit the large and small targets? How much lead time do you give when releasing the card?

#3975 10 months ago

My mini review on the Pinstadium system for Houdini. I was a little underwhelmed especially given the price and the hype. If this was a $100 system it would be a no-brainer... $150 maybe... at $240 and not being able to use the $60 UV glow, I was not thrilled.

It was not obvious how to connect the flasher which was very disappointing. It does look like some people are finally getting it figured out. I was hesitant to experiment myself and damage the machine. I did try to slide the pins into the theater flasher but it wasn't a great solution and didn't look very good. I'll have to try this new approach from Ilushka85. It would be better if the Pinstadium guy would come up with a more integrated approach that shoving some cheap wires into an existing connector.

On the plus side it does looks great. The playfield is more vivid and bright. I add a little yellow/red color and it really gives Houdini that gas-light turn of the century feel. Again, it's a great product. Just overpriced and poorly integrates with Houdini.

#3986 10 months ago
Quoted from rosh:

Was just in the factory, saw 1304 in the shipping area.

Congratulations on moving a lot of games in a short amount of time. Any sign of sales slowing down? How would you describe the mood around the API offices?

#4037 9 months ago
Quoted from rogerdodger:

In hindsight, would all or most of you buy Houdini again, after owning it for a while?

Absolutely. I've had mine for 2 months and I'm still in the honeymoon phase and I expect that to go on for quite some time as I feel I'm just scratching the surface. The code is amazing. The game has depth breadth and depth. There are four major things that the game presents you with... Stage Modes, Escapes, Movie Modes and Secret Mission Combos. The modes are shorter and more direct than most Sterns. It never feels like a grind. Houdini has a certain simplicity and the two narrators explain everything as you go.

Unfortunately, the rules are a bit tight right out of the box as are the shots. For an average player, loosening up just a couple of the rules makes the game more enjoyable. When you're first on the machine, you're bricking shots and the modes end before you have a chance to dial in the shots. Setting the mode timer from 45 to 60 seconds made a huge difference. The game gets better and better as you master the shots.

I think Houdini is a great choice for a small collection. It feels very different from a Stern. Houdini is a nice complement to a game like Iron Maiden where that is very open and most of the shots are fairly easy.

#4107 9 months ago
Quoted from foxtj24:

So no matter how we try we cannot back hand the lock shot off the right flipper. Checked the level on the machine with the iphone app, Left to right was good, Said to raise the back over 1" to get to 6.5 degrees. Did that. Game now plays faster, more airballs and still no back hand shot.

Any advice?

I can't back hand it either. It's interesting that I can backhand a similar shot on my KISS that other KISS owners can't seem to backhand. Not sure what would be different from machine to machine. Regardless, it doesn't matter because I can hit the lock shot from the left flipper about 50% of my attempts. Maybe even more like 75% when I'm feeling it.

My advice? Keep trying to dial it in from the left flipper. It's not bad at all! The sweet spot is from a cradle...letting it roll 60-65% of the distance down the flipper.

#4140 9 months ago

I agree that when you complete a mode it sounds like the crowd is booing not cheering. Very anti climatic! I would like to see that changed someday.

#4252 9 months ago

Hi Josh,

Semi pro mage here as well (I occasionally do a paid mentalist gig). I stuck on a couple small felt sticky things like you place on the bottom of the chair legs. The lockdown bar does rub a bit and was scratching the power coat off the side rails. I would recommend doing this to yours.

Tim

#4262 9 months ago
Quoted from Josho:

But I have no idea how to test the Left Locks 1, 2, and 3.

Call Tech Support. Barry has always been available to assist me when I've called.

I'm guessing that Left Locks 1,2 and 3 are the switches in the lane behind the Alley Shot. If the "Lock is Not Lit" the ball loops around and doesn't go to the catapult trunk shot...instead it goes past the VUK (vertical up kicker) to a lane behind the Alley. It releases those stored balls from a white, sharp-looking pin. There are 3 switches hiding there that keep track of the number of balls in that lane (see the ace and 7 of clubs). You can test the switch with your finger. It may be that there are 3 balls in that lane.

#4309 9 months ago
Quoted from rosh:

Checked the code, timer starts when third ball put into play, and it is 10 seconds. I'll evaluate making it longer and check to see if something else might be impacting the timer.

I seem to experience the same thing. It like you finally get to trunk MB and frequently it’s over in seconds. MBs on Houdini seem to drain faster than Sterns. I’m guessing that is caused by the playfield layout being tighter and lower and that gets balls into the outlines faster and angled past the flippers.

1 week later
#4477 9 months ago
Quoted from WW2GURU:

Well I finally broke down and changed to 5 balls per game. By the 4th and 5th I really get a flow going and increased scoring by a factor of 4. I spent 2 months on three with no real gains. The machine is here for enjoyment so ill make it fit the part.

Thanks for the insight. I never feel good about loosening up the rules on a game. I want to enjoy it as the designer intended. On the other hand, I don’t yet have the skills to get deep into most games. My best score is 1.3 million and even on that game I only received 1 or 2 Houdini letters.

My goal is to get to wizards modes occasionally. Currently, I’ve never gotten close to any of the mini wizard modes. I think I’m going to stay at 3 balls but I’m thinking of moving in the left outlane post. That outlane is hungry!

#4497 9 months ago
Quoted from Pinballer73:

What's your opinion, is it fun, is it a keeper, would you buy one/happy with your purchase?

I’ve had mine for a since March and I like it immensely. It has made me a better player. It is difficult but in a good way. Doesn’t feel unfair. The theme integration is fabulous and it is a beautiful game. I don’t see Houdini leaving my home for a very long time if ever.

#4543 8 months ago

My upper catapult quit working after I pulled the playfield. Looking at the switch, you can see that the contact got sheared off. The contact is sticking right out into the track just begging to be cut off. Not sure that was the best design. Be careful when pulling the playfield!

I could attempt to solder but there is almost no play in the wire leading to that contact and my soldering skills are not that good. Any ideas?

A643FB12-16F6-491E-B5E9-BCBE25A02721 (resized).jpeg
1 week later
#4649 8 months ago

Looks freaking great BladeFury! Even the water bottle glows.

#4666 8 months ago
Quoted from jkashani:

Where do I obtain the hook up for the external sub?

It is covered in this thread including pictures. Basically, the amp has a subwoofer output as well as a crossover knob. You have to take off the backglass, then take off the monitor which is like 6 screws. Then you have access to the amp and all of it's controls and outputs. You can route the wires out the back by loosening up the ventilation grill and sliding the wires behind the grill to the subwoofer.

This seems to be a very popular option and the one that I purchased.

amazon.com link »

I am partially happy with the sound. It's not a punchy as I had hoped. The final mastering of the soundtrack is rather boomy that punchy. My guess is that it was mixed down for a system without a sub so maybe the sound engineer tried to compensate in the mix. Any one else notice this? Overall, the soundtrack on this rocks.

#4667 8 months ago

Josh,

Speaking of the soundtrack I do have some feedback for you. I've been noticing the music more as I get a little deeper into the game. When I play it loud I started noticing other themes that I couldn't really hear as well as the main themes. Aside from the main steampunk track and the more gypsy-sounding theme, the other tracks are too quiet and not noticeable at moderate volume levels. There is some fantastic music that needs to be louder.

Secondly, in my opinion when you duck the music for callouts, the ducking is too dramatic. I think it would sound much better if you normalize the volume level across all tracks and perhaps a little less volume ducking on callouts.

1 week later
#4806 8 months ago
Quoted from jkashani:

Installed an external subwoofer (polk SPW 10) today and although it does sound better, it still lacks that boom I thought I would get. Any suggestions as far as dialing in for a better sound? Otherwise, the game is stellar just lacks in the sound department. Maybe a speaker upgrade will be available at some point.

I have the same Polk Audio sub and mine sounds "boomy" or muddy. I've played with the cross over settings and such but I cannot get a crisp or punchy bass sound from the sub. There's an over abundance of a certain frequency. I'm guessing that it is a problem in the mixdown of the source audio. Not sure about what the API sound engineer has done for Houdini, but these days such audio is mixed down for the lowest common denominator. Overall, the sub makes a big difference but I can't quite tease out the right sound yet.

1 week later
#4937 7 months ago
Quoted from pinballjj:

For the owners how far are you progressing through the modes?

Since a setting was added to give more time per mode I can get one or two modes (Illusion) completed and maybe the first combo and if I’m on fire perhaps a movie. I’m an average player.

I think I’m really going to have to dial down the difficulty level to have hope of reaching any mini wizard mode.

#4985 7 months ago
Quoted from Jeffreyjonesbsme:

My wife is my pinball buddy and I've seen her get so frustrated with some games, she stops playing them completely.
Is Houdini SO hard that a casual player won't have fun?

I hated Ghostbusters so that was my measuring stick for whether a hard game would be enjoyable. I was expecting that I might hate it like I hated GB. But I love Houdini and I loved it from the first time I played it on location. I spent hours and hours trying to like Ghostbusters but it felt unfair and brutal. Houdini is hard but a freaking great time.

I am definitely an average, casual player. I had a friend over to play who hadn't played pinball in like 30 years. He loved it and scored 500,000 on his first game! Beginners luck I think. It goes to show that you can have some short games but you're also going to have EPIC game play experiences as well. It's not unusual for me to have a 15-20 game. Houdini teaches you to be a better player.

#4987 7 months ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Just want to get a bit farther and actually complete a mode without draining!

Now with the Player's Choice, I try to select the easiest mode for me to complete. I try to get these modes going first. If I can start a stage mode with the 2X Theater Scoring then all the better. I try to get these modes started first to get a good score going quickly.

Walk through Walls
Straight Jacket Multiball
Indian Needle Trick

These tips are from the Tilt Forums Houdini Rule Sheet.

SUGGESTED HOME SETTINGS
If you would like a more approachable game for the family and for new to intermediate players try these settings. This configuration allows the player to start a mode by bashing the theater just one time. You also get more time to complete a mode before the mode times out and the crowd “boos” at you. When the jail escape order is from “easy to hard”, it forces you to complete the cities in order.

Stage Difficulty: Easy
Stage Mode Timer from 45 to 60 seconds
King of Cards from 40 to 60 seconds
Jail Escapes Order: Easy to Hard
Jail Escapes Difficulty: Easy

TIPS
You may elect to start each stage mode by shooting through the Stage Alley lane. A well-placed shot will start the stage mode at 2X.

#4988 7 months ago
Quoted from CUJO:

I completed all the modes in my best game to date (1.7+ Million). I thought something would happen but it just rolled over and started all the modes again...I need to read the ruleset again. I thought the mini wizard mode started after that.

Congratulations! I've not close to that yet. Yes, you are right. You only earn a Houdini letter by completing the stage modes. The other 3 areas (film, escapes and secret missions) each have a mini mode.

#5001 7 months ago
Quoted from pinden007:

It always sounds like I get boo’d even when I complete a stage mode.

The cheering is not clear enough.

YES! I posted this a couple months ago and I thought I was alone in that thought. To me it sounds like I'm getting boo'ed.

1 week later
#5128 7 months ago

I've been playing it for two weeks and it is a substantial release. WOW, so much to like in the Houdini 18.8.1 Release. THANKS Josh and API for great code and all the hard work.

Here are some of my notes from testing.

(MINI SPOILERS)
(MINI SPOILERS)
(MINI SPOILERS)
(MINI SPOILERS)
(MINI SPOILERS)
(MINI SPOILERS)

* Light shows are WOW. They were already great
* Very impressive soundtrack got much better. The mix seems better. 4 main music tracks are some of the BEST ORIGINAL TRACKS in pinball.
* Animations have improved dramatically! But... still is the weakest part of an otherwise great title. Great upgrade though - very, very appreciated.
* The animated API logo gives the brand image a boost. Love it. Love the overall improvements to the display in attract mode.
* The mouth animations are better and somewhat weird at the same time. The cops animation and voice overs have improved.
* I love the improvements in the jails! Name of the city in the gray stone was a great idea.
* Intro to the FILM modes are much better. The male voice is an improvement over the female voice
* The callouts were great. Now they are super great. Jackpots callouts got my blood pumping!
* People are going to be happy with the balance of positive comments versus the taunts
* The humor is coming through better
* I love the giggling girls so don’t ever remove them
* The end-of-game player summary bar is brilliant Josh. I think that is such a cool way to track my overall progress towards
* Ball save on Trunk Multiball, Return from Beyond and Escape Death was badly needed and worked as advertised. I actually enjoyed getting to Trunk MB for a change!
* I'm working on my custom message and can't wait to try that new feature

(MINI SPOILERS END)
(MINI SPOILERS END)
(MINI SPOILERS END)

1 week later
#5355 7 months ago
Quoted from mcbPalisade:

Seems like a great place to learn more about ways to implement pins.

Download Mission Pinball Framework. You can start playing with programming your pin virtually. You'll literally have something working in under an hour. Then move to hardware when you are ready. I started re-coding my Stern KISS Pro and had it flipping the first evening. Of course, making a fully baked game is months of work. You don't even need to know how to code - although it certainly helps. It theory, you could write new code for Houdini. Thankfully, the Houdini code is complete unlike KISS.

1 week later
#5521 6 months ago

I can't backhand either the ramp or the inner loop on my Houdini. I removed the glass and tried for 10 minutes to backhand and it doesn't seem possible. What might be the issue?

#5547 6 months ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

And the trunk multiball is still way too short for how hard it is to achieve

This seems to be fixed in the new code. Also set the ball save to be longer and you should have a nice trunk multiball experience.

2 weeks later
#5851 6 months ago

Bummer that some are having these odd issues. I have #98 and mine has been rock solid since day one. No soft flippers, catapult works fine, VUK and scoop works fine and no wear at the scoop yet. The only issue I've had is that the upper catapult switch contact got sheared off when I pulled out the playfield.

1 week later
#6018 5 months ago
Quoted from zahner:

I'm thinking about purchasing a Houdini. I've been collecting for about 20 years, but let me expose my ignorance and say that I am unfamiliar with what is meant by "dropping" or "lowering" the flippers. Probably something obvious, but I thought I'd ask. I've always just struggled with getting things back to stock and typically am paralyzed with fear when it comes to drilling or altering a playfield. Hoping it's just a reference to a mechanical adjustment. Appreciate any info.

There has been a lot of adjustment talk lately on this thread. I would imagine that most Houdini owners have not had to made any modifications to their game. There has been some real issues that some owners have had to work with API on fixing and I imagine the tweaking helps dial in the game. I've made no adjustments on mine and I've had no issues. The milkcan shot is crazy hard to make so perhaps I will try lowering the flipper to see if that helps at some point but I really need to make that shot... so much other stuff to do.

#6144 5 months ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Also confirmed that IMO the standard settings are far too hard for most players. You can have 20+ minute games and never hit one of the special miniwiz modes, which IMO seems long

I think the standard settings are too hard as well. I do appreciate that API has provided outstanding configurability in the settings. Mine are set with long ball save times and 1 hit to get into the theater. The defaults seem tough for casual players - especially if you are bricking shots.

#6228 5 months ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

Have to play it again with all mechs working and with sound (didn't really hear a thing, wich is sad because I like the sound package).

I think Matt Kern is the composer and I hope he gets some more work from API.

#6265 5 months ago
Quoted from colonel_caverne:

- if there is a rules sheet out there

Yes, but I haven't updated for the last code update. Although it should be 98% accurate.

http://tiltforums.com/t/houdini-rulesheet/3934

3 weeks later
#6589 4 months ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

I'm assuming the Houdini toppers they mentioned at Pinburgh weren't released / shown at Expo?

Yes the topper was available for sale at the show. Looked wonderful.

#6624 4 months ago
Quoted from BarryJ:

We were selling it at expo. I believe the price is $235.00 Comes with mounting hardware and external 12V power supply. We should have it on our web site today.

This API topper is pretty cool. It's not easy to see in Barry's photo but there are two layers; the Houdini logo in front and the Metamorphosis trunk behind. So you get a little 3D effect as you approach the machine. I do like the API topper over the Laserrific topper. I'm still leaning towards the Houdini topper by Modfather.

houdini_topper4_1024x1024 (resized).jpg
#6653 4 months ago
Quoted from mcbPalisade:

Don't release it before it is thoroughly tested and ready.

Are you over in the Stern thread basing them for code updates? My KISS is still waiting for complete code. The Houdini code was 100X better than my KISS code on day 1 (and I have machine #98). You're being a troll. Ignore the troll.

#6742 4 months ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Definitely get it as a preventive measure. And though I know none of us would EVER think of selling our Houdini.. for those with small collections if you ever do need to sell, a good buyer will ask if you have the supplementary power supply.

I've been wondering about that. I've never had any power issues with my Houdini. Should I buy the power supply for the unlikely event of a sale down the road?

#6759 4 months ago
Quoted from wesman:

Are these plastic protectors useful if I'm getting the basic, non catapult, Cliffy set?

I bought a set of the plastic protectors after breaking a plastic with an airborne ball - which is not uncommon. I would think about getting a set.

I haven’t seen much wear around the scoop yet but I did buy a cliff at expo for the scoop.

2 weeks later
#7113 4 months ago
Quoted from Tokkentakker:

Might be a crazy idea......Considering replacing the seance targets with spring post style limit switches. They are narrow, sensitive, and have a pretty strong spring to take abuse and rebound. What do you think?

Interesting. I would like to see someone try one.

#7175 3 months ago
Quoted from wesman:

Does anybody have a clue what these are supposed to do? I ordered these when gathering supplies before getting my game. They arrived two weeks ago, and I really don't know what purpose they serve. Are they actually supposed to cover the plastics, and obscure them???

They go under the plastics. I was worried that that they would not let the light shine through but they look okay (see image of the protector under the right sling). I didn't use all of the protectors - especially under the milkcan. I would definitely use the protector that goes under the green plastic that is under the Ouija planchette. That piece is susceptible to breaking from air balls.

Quoted from wesman:

Also, the extra plastics in the goody bag from API seem rough around the edges, and a bit beaten up. Are these meant to replace plastics in case of future damage?

I think they include the "rejects" for the extra plastics. Better than no extras I guess.
IMG_3571 (resized).JPG

#7204 3 months ago
Quoted from wesman:

These are all for protecting the bottoms? I figured they protected the top.

The danger is from the side. They are slightly larger than the plastic so they absorb a direct hit to the edge.

1 month later
#7650 82 days ago
Quoted from hollywood:

The Buffalo Pinball dudes on YouTube were complete idiots on their review and honestly I am not too sure they knew anything about Houdini (I’ll never watch their channel again)

The one guy was sort of objective but the other guy was a complete tool - the one Buffalo Pinball dude who said he flipped a ball or two on Houdini and immediately hated it and walked away. Complained he couldn’t hear the sound. Why are you reviewing pinball machines when you are too lazy to invest some serious time actually reviewing the various aspects of the game in an environment that is conducive to an objective review? Obviously he went into the experience not wanting to like Houdini.

1 week later
#7682 70 days ago

Don't forget to VOTE for Houdini as game if the year for the TWIPY Awards!

#7686 70 days ago
Quoted from hollywood:

#39??? Seriously?

That's pretty freaking good! Thousands of pinball machines have been produced and a couple hundred in the modern era. Also, Stern outsells everyone today by a huge margin so a lot more Stern owners out there voting up those titles above 39.

The Pinside rankings need to be taken with a huge grain of salt. It's fun and informative but very biased by many factors.

2 weeks later
#7774 55 days ago
Quoted from hollywood:

I was playing last night and I have no idea what I did but the light show was awesome! Play field was dark with minimal lights....it was phenomenal! Can I be so stupid as to ask what mode I was playing?
Sorry such a noob question!

It was a movie mode called Man From Beyond. I have no idea what’s going on but it is a helluva rush!

#7780 55 days ago

Houdini has two shots that can be very clunky; the Key Lane and the Stage. You don't hit them cleanly and they rattle around. That bothers some people.

Next factor in the hater mentality... when I hear podcasters hate on Houdini, they've closen to play in a location where the machines are not setup properly and you can't hear the music and callouts - especially that tool on Buffalo Pinball who played one ball and decides he hated it and Kaneda to a lesser extent. If you are going to review a pinball machine, how about a little subjective evaluation criteria. Kaneda, whose podcast I like, criticizes the SDTM reviewers for giving overly positive grades but at least they have a grading system.

Lastly, the haters seem to think that the lock shot is the most narrow shot ever created in the history of pinball.

Then the Pinside mob mentality kicks in. There is comfort in the mob. They parrot what they've heard.

The criticisms are not without merit. It is a hard game... especially when first released the rules where pretty difficult. I think if one of these haters would give it a chance in a home environment they might find they like it.

1 week later
#7890 43 days ago

Does anyone else find the end of ball bonus speed up to be too fast now? Not that the speed is too fast but the audio is really grating and annoying to me. I would rather not have the sound rapid fire sound clips playing.

#7921 42 days ago

I got a set of the LSOG protectors and the work great. They are slightly larger and mount under the plastic. My plastic under the planchette broke immediately. Barry sent a new set and I haven’t had a problem since.

3 weeks later
#8287 17 days ago
Quoted from imagamejunky:

Has there been a game manufactured date where American Pinball started shipping games that already had the upgraded PS or EOS switches?

Nope - only a small % of the homes need the upgraded PS. I believe that Josh stated the EOS switches are not needed but if you insist they make them available.

1 week later
#8477 5 days ago
Quoted from vireland:

It's just nice to have the ability to float pricing based on the time of day or day of the week so you can coordinate specials with locations. Some kind of M-F table with a "promo pricing" time range and amount would be GREAT.

The Operating Room (barcade in Des Moines IA) has that feature on all of their machines. You download an app to your phone and load the app with $$. Then scan QR code on the coin door and the app tells you the cost per game. I assume this is a common technology in other arcades. It had various prices on games at different times of the day. You could look for the best deals from the collection of pinball machines. Very cool.

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