Dear manufacturers: get rid of the bubble level

(Topic ID: 233208)

Dear manufacturers: get rid of the bubble level


By ryanwanger

18 days ago



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  • 58 posts
  • 42 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 16 days ago by Travish
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    There are 58 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 18 days ago

    Stern, JJP, American, Spooky, and everyone else...I implore you. Please make the steepness of your games idiot proof.

    Operators who rely on the built-in bubble level when setting up will generally end up with flat games. Lots of possibilities: Maybe the level wasn't installed perfectly from the factory? Maybe it's an older game and the level has shifted within the holder? Maybe it's the fact that there are 2-4 lines on the level, as well as a top and bottom edge of the air bubble itself, so it's not entirely clear what goes where?

    I've seen games from at least 3-4 major operators in my area with THE BACK LEGS COMPLETELY DOWN. Consistently. This happens with NIB games on the show floor that are there for the purpose of getting people to buy these games. Someone who played Iron Maiden for the first time told me it was "a lot slower and less exciting" than he expected. Sure enough, the back legs were all the way down. He later played a different copy with the legs almost all the way up, and loved it!

    I've seen people walk up to my games on location, look at the bubble level, and mansplain to their friend: "see, this game isn't level" and move on without having actually played it...BECAUSE THE BUBBLE LEVEL DIDN'T MATCH THEIR EXPECTATIONS. I've had someone tell me to my face that they wouldn't play a game of mine because "it wasn't level" using the same logic. The game in question was 1000% level side to side (and probably 7-7.5% steep), but they had a bad game and blamed it on the position of the 1/8th inch air bubble in a tiny plastic tube sitting near the shooter rod.

    In numerous instances, I've found games of mine on location where SOMEONE JACKED THE FRONT LEGS ALL THE WAY UP. The first few times this happened, I assumed it was because people were cheating, ie: wanting to make their games last as long as possible by making the game really flat. Eventually I discovered that the bubbles were always perfectly centered between the lines when this had been done. What was happening is that a customer would look at the bubble level, decide that the game wasn't level, and then jack up the front legs until the bubble ended up where they thought it should be. In some cases, they ended up doing one leg differently than the other, resulting in an extremely un-level game side to side. Oh, the irony.

    And don't get me started on side to side leveling. This one is even more of a slam dunk in terms of idiot proofing because while some people like to set up games with varying degrees of steepness, every game should always be level side to side at all times. (As much as I hate the bubble level, it might nice to have one for side to side lean, rather than one for steepness only).

    I'm 100% certain that location games would play better if the bubble levels were removed completely. Replace it with a marking on the feet threads (for the back legs) that would put the game around 6.5% on a level floor and call it a day. Or better yet, ship the game with two legs labeled "back" and have those both marked and already set (identically) to the approximate steepness...the steepness that the game was designed to be played at.

    Quit making the default leg/bubble settings a poor gameplay experience. Who's with me???

    24
    #2 18 days ago

    or add a digital one on one of the play-field boards and have the screen tell you when the level is correct.

    #3 18 days ago

    An op with 30 years experience sent me this recently: “A weird thing on the Beatles: the pitch gauge was saying to jack up the front legs”.

    One of my players sent me this pic of the final setup

    975F91A4-968E-45A9-AFA7-4BF6A443FA72 (resized).jpeg

    Sorry if you’re reading this Mr Operator, but please know that I’m putting the blame on the manufacturers here, not you!

    #4 18 days ago

    A circle bubble would be better than what we have, as it would show left-right. But you’d need to make it with an off center circle to account for the correct incline.

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    #5 18 days ago

    People are literally “leveling the game”. Prob is it’s not supposed to be.

    #6 18 days ago

    Every newer Stern pin that I have seen, that are set up, the level is useless. The level is really only for the incline of the whole game, not left to right.
    Have never seen one with the bubble in the middle, its always in the top. As most owners always raise the game higher in the back.

    #7 18 days ago

    I only have two games with a built in level (TWD and TAF). I never use it, but you are right, if I did, the game would be pitched way too low. Can't you just remove it from your location games? It's just two screws.

    #8 18 days ago
    Quoted from Darcy:

    Have never seen one with the bubble in the middle, its always in the top. As most owners always raise the game higher in the back.

    Mine are always near the top. But tons of people (understandably), both operators and players alike, assume that if the bubble isn't centered, then the game isn't level.

    I should probably go around and remove all of mine so people can't make bubble-level-based judgements on my setup.

    #9 18 days ago

    Removal is your best option on location if you don't want your games jacked up.

    #10 18 days ago
    Quoted from Phat_Jay:

    A circle bubble would be better than what we have, as it would show left-right. But you’d need to make it with an off center circle to account for the correct incline.[quoted image]

    No off-circle needed, just put it on a wedge

    #11 18 days ago

    I was having this conversations last night.
    All my games are well off, it doesn’t help that my games cabin is slightly pissed as well!

    I can’t get the hang of the levelling app either.. with games lik GOTGLE & SWLE the drain on them is unbelievable.. need to sort this out on my next day off

    #12 18 days ago

    Pinside is always super happy when manufacturers remove or change anything.

    Probably not worth the trouble.

    #13 18 days ago

    But, but they could save .3 cents. Seems like a no brainer to me.

    #14 18 days ago
    Quoted from Pinhead1982:

    I was having this conversations last night.
    All my games are well off, it doesn’t help that my games cabin is slightly pissed as well!
    I can’t get the hang of the levelling app either.. with games lik GOTGLE & SWLE the drain on them is unbelievable.. need to sort this out on my next day off

    I use the pinguy app and it works great, pitch and side to side leveling

    #15 18 days ago

    I like having the bubble level for home use. I'd recommend taking them off for route. Only takes an extra minute or two once you have the glass off. Its probably a 25 cent part when bought in bulk so it's really not worth costing out for the manufacturer.

    #16 18 days ago

    and if i cut myself on it’s razor sharp corners one more time when cleaning the shooter lane...!!!

    22
    #17 18 days ago

    Data East used to hide them under the instruction card, always thought it was a nice way to handle it.

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    #18 18 days ago

    Get rid of them. I used to remove them in the 1990's.

    Cheap, can be installed backwards. Plastic can be tube pushed down.

    And a major pain if people think the game isn't level.

    Most people may not recognize the level in the picture. One of the manufacturers started putting one on each end of coin op pool tables in the mid 1950's. Only one year. Ops removed them fast. Can you imagine having a service call each and every time a drunk thought a game wasn't level ?

    LTG : )

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    #19 18 days ago

    Great points and suggestions in this thread.

    Learning the tricks from this thread isn't good enough - I want it to be fool proof for those who aren't aware and are being tricked into setting up games poorly at home or on location!!!

    #20 18 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Pinside is always super happy when manufacturers remove or change anything.
    Probably not worth the trouble.

    Imagine if they removed it and didn’t lower the price $1.99....

    #21 18 days ago

    it is my understanding that level is left to right, and pitch is front to back? I don't understand why pinheads on this forum think the bubble is for LEVEL, its for proper pitch of the games design. or am I totally wrong here?

    when I move a game, I use a regular torpedo level on the playfield (or on the glass if im in a hurry) then usually set the pitch based on the bubble level in the game. I aim to have the bubble in the middle, and if the game plays too slow (or floaty) for my liking, I make the bubble go above the center line...

    if im doing it wrong, please set me straight!!

    #22 18 days ago
    Quoted from MikeS:

    I like having the bubble level for home use. I'd recommend taking them off for route. Only takes an extra minute or two once you have the glass off. Its probably a 25 cent part when bought in bulk so it's really not worth costing out for the manufacturer.

    This ^

    #23 18 days ago

    It all depends on the game. Refer to your manual for what the bubble should look like on your game. I just checked my tz manual and the actual bubble on the machine which I pitched with an old fashioned inclinometer and it matches up well

    3D4598CF-23EB-43C3-BAD9-8C93B20C74C7 (resized).jpegAABA2C4A-EA04-4B16-B46E-C5D62C7E2E1C (resized).jpeg
    #24 18 days ago
    Quoted from fxdwg:

    I don't understand why pinheads on this forum think the bubble is for LEVEL,

    And the problem is multiplied many times over when you consider the general public looking at a game on location.

    LTG : )

    #25 18 days ago

    That South Park looks crazy off

    #26 18 days ago

    Am I right in thinking that at least one front leg should always be wound fully in (both if the floor is level) ?

    #27 18 days ago
    Quoted from Durzel:

    Am I right in thinking that at least one front leg should always be wound fully in (both if the floor is level) ?

    Nope.

    Use a level on the playfield, no substitutions!

    #28 18 days ago
    Quoted from ryanwanger:

    Sorry if you’re reading this Mr Operator, but please know that I’m putting the blame on the manufacturers here, not you!

    How did you know I bought a Beatles?
    But actually, if it bugs you I'd just remove them.
    And if a game has the Feet tight, and the nut tight, a player can't fuc& with them, not without a wrench at least.
    Having feet tight also helps keep the game more stable, and prevents the feet from wandering up or down.
    Personally, I think they should have the level read "level" at 7 degrees, then it wouldn't seem off when a game is at a good pitch.

    #29 18 days ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Can you imagine having a service call each and every time a drunk thought a game wasn't level ?
    LTG : )
    [quoted image]

    Hey... easy now. I would only call once or twice a week.

    #30 18 days ago
    Quoted from bluespin:

    I use the pinguy app and it works great, pitch and side to side leveling

    Never heard of this app, gonna use it!

    Quoted from ryanwanger:

    An op with 30 years experience sent me this recently: “A weird thing on the Beatles: the pitch gauge was saying to jack up the front legs”.
    One of my players sent me this pic of the final setup
    [quoted image]
    Sorry if you’re reading this Mr Operator, but please know that I’m putting the blame on the manufacturers here, not you!

    I figured Beatles is supposed to be more flat since it’s an early 80’s design and those games were pretty darn flat

    Quoted from ryanwanger:

    I've seen people walk up to my games on location, look at the bubble level, and mansplain to their friend: "see, this game isn't level" and move on without having actually played it

    This made me physically cringe. Please never use Buzzfeed vocabulary again, it gives legitimacy to dumb slacktivist terms.

    Most ops I’ve seen just remove the level, it’s literally 2 screws, fast and easy. Most people can’t even read a normal one correctly.

    #31 18 days ago

    Multimorpic has a digital level on the LCD. Beautiful. Legs are same length, so fuss.

    On any other game; I set the rear all the way out and the front all the way in. Never had any complaints.

    #32 18 days ago
    Quoted from ryanwanger:

    Stern, JJP, American, Spooky, and everyone else...I implore you. Please make the steepness of your games idiot proof.
    Operators who rely on the built-in bubble level when setting up will generally end up with flat games. Lots of possibilities: Maybe the level wasn't installed perfectly from the factory? Maybe it's an older game and the level has shifted within the holder? Maybe it's the fact that there are 2-4 lines on the level, as well as a top and bottom edge of the air bubble itself, so it's not entirely clear what goes where?
    I've seen games from at least 3-4 major operators in my area with THE BACK LEGS COMPLETELY DOWN. Consistently. This happens with NIB games on the show floor that are there for the purpose of getting people to buy these games. Someone who played Iron Maiden for the first time told me it was "a lot slower and less exciting" than he expected. Sure enough, the back legs were all the way down. He later played a different copy with the legs almost all the way up, and loved it!
    I've seen people walk up to my games on location, look at the bubble level, and mansplain to their friend: "see, this game isn't level" and move on without having actually played it...BECAUSE THE BUBBLE LEVEL DIDN'T MATCH THEIR EXPECTATIONS. I've had someone tell me to my face that they wouldn't play a game of mine because "it wasn't level" using the same logic. The game in question was 1000% level side to side (and probably 7-7.5% steep), but they had a bad game and blamed it on the position of the 1/8th inch air bubble in a tiny plastic tube sitting near the shooter rod.
    In numerous instances, I've found games of mine on location where SOMEONE JACKED THE FRONT LEGS ALL THE WAY UP. The first few times this happened, I assumed it was because people were cheating, ie: wanting to make their games last as long as possible by making the game really flat. Eventually I discovered that the bubbles were always perfectly centered between the lines when this had been done. What was happening is that a customer would look at the bubble level, decide that the game wasn't level, and then jack up the front legs until the bubble ended up where they thought it should be. In some cases, they ended up doing one leg differently than the other, resulting in an extremely un-level game side to side. Oh, the irony.
    And don't get me started on side to side leveling. This one is even more of a slam dunk in terms of idiot proofing because while some people like to set up games with varying degrees of steepness, every game should always be level side to side at all times. (As much as I hate the bubble level, it might nice to have one for side to side lean, rather than one for steepness only).
    I'm 100% certain that location games would play better if the bubble levels were removed completely. Replace it with a marking on the feet threads (for the back legs) that would put the game around 6.5% on a level floor and call it a day. Or better yet, ship the game with two legs labeled "back" and have those both marked and already set (identically) to the approximate steepness...the steepness that the game was designed to be played at.
    Quit making the default leg/bubble settings a poor gameplay experience. Who's with me???

    Are you on Crack!?? You've just given Stern another reason to raise the price of their games by $200

    QSS

    #33 18 days ago

    I'd rather see manufacturers just have the back legs holes lower so all games are pre-pitched and can be sat up with levelers all the way in.
    One thing I do for my pre-DMD games is. I use 28.5 legs in back and 27" in the front.

    #34 18 days ago
    Quoted from Asmig:

    Data East used to hide them under the instruction card, always thought it was a nice way to handle it. [quoted image]

    I didn’t know this! This is a brilliant way of solving this issue.

    A digital gauge would be best but I can imagine that the board might have a slightly different angle then the play field itself.

    This old DA solution would be the best solution in my opinion. And you can even attach the two levels in a way that you could calibrate them with screws on both ends. This way you could even make your own preferred incline of 9,5 degrees (or whatever) the centered and ‘level’ position of the air bubble!

    #35 18 days ago

    I take them off myself, or someone always "levels" it for me. They don't test them at the factory. They tell me to ignore it and Jack up the rear legs

    #36 18 days ago
    Quoted from arcademojo:

    I'd rather see manufacturers just have the back legs holes lower so all games are pre-pitched and can be sat up with levelers all the way in.
    One thing I do for my pre-DMD games is. I use 28.5 legs in back and 27" in the front.

    Houdini is set up so all levelers are in.

    #37 18 days ago
    Quoted from fxdwg:

    it is my understanding that level is left to right, and pitch is front to back? I don't understand why pinheads on this forum think the bubble is for LEVEL, its for proper pitch of the games design. or am I totally wrong here?
    when I move a game, I use a regular torpedo level on the playfield (or on the glass if im in a hurry) then usually set the pitch based on the bubble level in the game. I aim to have the bubble in the middle, and if the game plays too slow (or floaty) for my liking, I make the bubble go above the center line...
    if im doing it wrong, please set me straight!!

    Of course. The level on the side that is shipped with the game is for the proper pitch. On Iron Maiden that creates a pitch of 6.5, if the bubble is between the lines. A little torpedo level placed on the Playfield horizontal would allowed to make the adjustment to level from left and right. Thought this was pretty obvious and basic.

    #38 18 days ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    This made me physically cringe. Please never use Buzzfeed vocabulary again, it gives legitimacy to dumb slacktivist terms.

    Much irony.

    Yeah, those bubbles are worthless. You don’t even want to see how I have MMR setup to compensate for lumpy carpet.

    #39 18 days ago
    Quoted from bzbatl:

    Much irony.
    Yeah, those bubbles are worthless. You don’t even want to see how I have MMR setup to compensate for lumpy carpet.

    It was meant to be ironic, but at the same time, Slacktivist was coined to specifically to refer to these people who make up online crusades that serve no real purpose other than to make the people behind them feel morally superior.

    Some synonyms would be the “Price Police” or “Keyboard Warriors” that we so frequently run into here!

    #40 18 days ago
    Quoted from bluespin:

    I use the pinguy app and it works great, pitch and side to side leveling

    Just got this and just wanted to confirm that you put your phone on the playfield and not glass right?

    #41 18 days ago
    Quoted from Anonymouse:

    Just got this and just wanted to confirm that you put your phone on the playfield and not glass right?

    Both. You set it up in the playfield to get a baseline then you can sync the glass to make it easier later.

    #42 17 days ago

    Proposed Solution. Two digital levels should be installed under the playfield (front and back) that report back to the display. You can set your desired incline via setting. The game will produce a unique tone or callout (so you can hear it from under the table) for side to side level of each level, as well as the set pitch.

    As for the original post, new Sterns are supposed to have the leg levelers all the way in for the desired pitch on a flat floor. I forget which title it started with that they changed the rest position inside the cabinet for this to work, but it's mentioned in the setup guide. I've seen a few games that were playing horribly because they were much too steep. Anyways, I think I have a rather inexpensive solution to a long standing problem. Stern, JJP, Spooky, etc please hear me out

    #43 17 days ago

    It doesn't take much either to mark what leg goes to what place. Just need to emboss the letters "back" or "front" before the sheet metal is formed in the press brake. Or even laser etch it but really you should emboss it.

    I like what they did with Dialed In! and their way of leveling though. OR what you can do is hook up an inclinometer to the playfield and have the LCD tell you the pitch, etc on the screen itself.

    #44 17 days ago
    Quoted from Phat_Jay:

    A circle bubble would be better than what we have, as it would show left-right. But you’d need to make it with an off center circle to account for the correct incline.[quoted image]

    Homepin has one of these on their apron, it's pretty sweet. A lot of nice touches like that in their game.

    #45 17 days ago

    Lets eliminate the level and install the passive ball release on the trough so the balls stay in when the playfield is raised. Seems like an equal tradeoff.

    #46 17 days ago
    Quoted from pinballplusMN:

    Lets eliminate the level and install the passive ball release on the trough so the balls stay in when the playfield is raised. Seems like an equal tradeoff.

    Homepin has that too.

    ...they could use some better pinball designers though.

    #47 17 days ago

    Why not just mark the bubble level with a Sharpie to indicate where the bubble belongs on each particular game? That'd indicate to any potential "adjusters" that the issue had been examined and handled.

    #48 17 days ago

    The digital levels sound the best in my opinion. Those are sweet, and modern. Also love the idea of legs that are embossed with “front” and “rear”

    #49 17 days ago
    Quoted from pinballplusMN:

    Lets eliminate the level and install the passive ball release on the trough so the balls stay in when the playfield is raised. Seems like an equal tradeoff.

    Houdini did that also.

    #50 17 days ago

    Latch door swings to keep balls in.

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