(Topic ID: 289066)

Flash Gordon 2021: Re-imagined code for Bally Flash Gordon (1981)

By bluebomber

6 months ago


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  • Latest reply 2 days ago by DickHamill
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#1 6 months ago

Current Version: v1.1.0

I created brand new game code to re-imagine Bally's Flash Gordon with the Bally/Stern Operating System (BSOS) using an Arduino (C++). All of the code is free, you can easily change between the original game code and the new code with the flip of a switch, and the whole circuit can be built for less than $20. BSOS was created by Pinside user DickHamill, and utilizes an Arduino Nano circuit connected to the MPUs J5 connector to take control.

All original hardware is being used, including sound generation from the Squawk & Talk board. An unused sound was found in the Flash Gordon S&T rom that I have added to the new code. You can hear it when a target hurry up is not collected and times out.

This thread, and my GitHub, will be the to two main places I keep updated with information on this project.

========================================================================

The Flash Gordon 2021 code can be downloaded here (including printable rule cards): https://github.com/tmurren/bsos-flash-gordon-2021

BSOS files & instructions, and other games re-created by Dick, can be found here: https://github.com/BallySternOS

I put together simple information/rules website for when the game is at events: https://tmurren.github.io/Flash-Gordon-2021-Info/

========================================================================

Latest Update v1.1.0 (8/5/21): Added attract mode speech callout. "Operator Game Adjustments" section added to the top of FG2021.ino to organize user definable variables. Also, a couple new ones were added: Turn strobe on or off (off is recommended at the moment), wizard mode drop target and attack power goals, attract mode speech callout and its timing. Updated wizard mode attack power saucer insert lamp animations so they are divided equally, and can handle operator game adjustment variables. Split up coin slot 1 & 2 use and added drop sounds, and updated credit addition to function properly. Repaired issue where 2x and 3x playfield multipliers weren't stacking. Adjusted EEPROM order numbering, variables, and reading/writing. Cleaned up some variable names.

v1.0.0 (7/11/21): First full release of the code! Code version number now appears on the player 1 display when turning on the game. Added Squawk & Talk board and sound playback/handling to code. Collecting a blinking inlane now starts a quick hurry up at the opposite spinner for 2000 a spin. Refined bonus collects so they countdown and add score as they go (including repeating for bonus multipliers). Added some EEPROM variables to track gameplay achievements. Self test modes are back, and I added a sound test and EEPROM readouts (highscore, games played, skill shot levels collected, wizard modes played, and mings defeated). Squashed some lamp animation, and saucer collect bugs. Created printable score/rule cards. Ming only laughs once after tilting now.

v0.3.1 (7/11/21): Resolved compiler warnings that I wasn't previously able to see.

v0.3.0 (3/28/21): Refined wizard mode, and fixed a player addition bug after a four player game completed. After playing the wizard mode awhile, I realized that I needed to add some interest/strategy, do some balancing, and make it a little easier. The pop bumpers now score 20 attack power instead of 22, and I've added the saucer into the attack power mix at 35. The saucer now always fires down into the pop bumpers instead of up. Finally, the Ming attack goal is set to 140 instead of 152.

v0.2.0 (3/8/21): Added backglass lamp animations for "Flash Gordon" and strobe into gameplay, and fixed a bug with the 3 bank drop target completion award.

v0.1.0 (3/2/21): Base gameplay code and lamp animations have been implemented. Video of initial gameplay instructions here

========================================================================

NEW Rules
Updated and/or additional rules
* Skill Shot: Plunge to hit shooter lane star rollovers without entering playfield, and return to plunger. Higher rollovers score more points.
* Wizard Mode: Drop 16 targets to light wizard mode at the outlane special inserts.
* Lighting white and amber inserts next to 4 drop targets starts 15 second hurry up at corresponding target on the right.
* Collect blinking inlane to start quick hurry up at spinner (2000 a spin).
* Wood Beast target resets inline targets.
* Completing each drop target bank lights its corresponding saucer insert (4 bank - 10k, inline - 20k, and 3 bank - 30k). If Wood Beast extra ball has already been collected, light all three saucer inserts to light extra ball at saucer. Saucer always collects any and all awards available.

NEW Wizard Mode
After defeating Ming's henchmen, you are faced with battling Ming himself in this new wizard mode
* Shoot spinners for 1 attack power per spin, pop bumpers for 20 attack power per pop, and the saucer for 35 attack power
* Build attack power to 140 and light saucer to attack Emperor Ming.
* Defeat Emperor Ming by attacking three times.

Carried Over Rules
Rules from the original code that were carried over into FG2021
* Dropping inline targets lites bonus multiplier 2X and 3X, and lights extra ball at Wood Beast target.
* Dropping 1-2-3 targets 1st time lites top pop bumper. 2nd and 3rd time lites and advances top target for collect mini ring bonus and special. Also, lites 4X after 3X is lit.
* Lighting 1-2-3 flashing arrows lites mini-bonus for 50,000 and saucer for 2X.
* Dropping 4 targets 1st time lites left spinner. and the 2nd ttime lites right spinner. Also, lites 5X after 4x is lit.
* Lighting flashing amber, yellow, blue, and white inserts next to the 4 drop targets, 2 right targets, and flipper return lanes lites super-bonus for 100,000 and saucer 3X.
* Ball shooter lane rollover scores super ring bonus when single target is dropped.
* Super-bonus and mini-bonus scores are collected in outhole only.
* Ball in saucer when 2X or 3X are lit lites 15 clock seconds to increase playfield scores 2X or 3X. When both are lit 5X value is scored.
* Maximum - 1 extra ball per ball in play.
* Tilt Penalty - Ball in play.

Flash-Gordon-2021-Rule-Card-2 (resized).jpg
Flash-Gordon-2021-Rule-Card-1 (resized).jpg

#2 6 months ago

Skateball?

I would LOVE some skillshots in Skateball!

#3 6 months ago

Great!

Robert

#4 6 months ago

This is AWESOME. Can't wait to try it and see future iterations!

#6 6 months ago
Quoted from bluebomber:

The past couple months, I've been working with the Bally / Stern Operating System (BSOS) to re-imagine Bally's Flash Gordon game code. BSOS was created by Pinside user DickHamill, and it utilizes an Arduino Nano circuit connected to the MPUs J5 connector to take over the machine. It can easily be dual-booted between the original code and the updated code with the flip of a switch, and the whole project can be built for less than $20.
The Flash Gordon 2021 code can be downloaded here: https://github.com/tmurren/bsos-flash-gordon-2021
BSOS files & instructions, and other games re-created by Dick, can be found here: https://github.com/BallySternOS
Future updates will smooth out the code, and add sound/music. I've uploaded a video of initial gameplay instructions here:
This thread, and my GitHub, will be to two main places that I keep updated with information on the project.

I'm in! You just spurred me into getting my flash gordon done.

#7 6 months ago

Sounds great.

#8 6 months ago

Definitely interested.

Any instructions on how to build the Arduino Nano circuit?

#9 6 months ago
Quoted from tktlwyr:

Definitely interested.
Any instructions on how to build the Arduino Nano circuit?

Over on Github

#10 6 months ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

Over on Github

It's there, but at first glance it definitely requires some deciphering for the uninclined. I'll have to look it over again to see if its something I would be able to tackle.

#11 6 months ago

following

#12 6 months ago

Any chance of anyone just making the circuits for sale?

#13 6 months ago

This is an awesome implementation!
bluebomber created his own PCB for this (as seen in his video), but there are DIY instructions (circuit diagram & pics) here:
https://ballysternos.github.io
His implementation of the BSOS is slightly customized, so be sure to get the software (including the underlying library) from his repository:
https://github.com/tmurren/bsos-flash-gordon-2021

#15 6 months ago
Quoted from tktlwyr:

Definitely interested.
Any instructions on how to build the Arduino Nano circuit?

Here is a diagram of the circuit. It should be pretty straightforward from there, but let me know if you have any questions.

Quoted from DickHamill:

This is an awesome implementation!
bluebomber created his own PCB for this (as seen in his video), but there are DIY instructions (circuit diagram & pics) here:
https://ballysternos.github.io
His implementation of the BSOS is slightly customized, so be sure to get the software (including the underlying library) from his repository:
https://github.com/tmurren/bsos-flash-gordon-2021

Thanks! I'm hoping to modify my code to work with the updated Bally/Stern OS, so FG2021 won't be as standalone as it is currently.

Wiring rev5.png
#16 6 months ago

I don't know much about the progression of the tech in games, so how recently in the past can this tech be applied? In other words, what are some examples of the newest games that can be changed?

#17 6 months ago
Quoted from UNCgump:

what are some examples of the newest games that can be changed?

Latest games would be Stern MPU-200 (1982) like
Catacomb
Orbiter 1

or Bally -35 (1984) like
Kings of Steel
Eight Ball Deluxe

This hardware will work with any -17, MPU-100, -35, or MPU-200 board, but those are examples of the newest. Flash Gordon & Meteor are the newest machines rewritten so far.

#18 6 months ago

I thought I saw in another thread (when I looked after my last post) something about up to system 11 games.

#19 6 months ago

And ooh, Kings of Steel is ripe for a good recode

#20 6 months ago
Quoted from DickHamill:

Latest games would be Stern MPU-200 (1982) like
Catacomb
Orbiter 1
or Bally -35 (1984) like
Kings of Steel
Eight Ball Deluxe
This hardware will work with any -17, MPU-100, -35, or MPU-200 board, but those are examples of the newest. Flash Gordon & Meteor are the newest machines rewritten so far.

I'm eyeballing my Bally Star Trek. The rules are ok but I'm looking at the wave triggering for some proper sound.

#21 6 months ago

Fantastic,

has anybody used an esp32s board yet - I fancy that because with wifi we can have endless possibilities - e.g. update a scorbit style server for game scores etc. Also ability to serve up diagnostics and even change settings vis a simple web page.

#22 6 months ago
Quoted from AlanJ:Fantastic,
has anybody used an esp32s board yet - I fancy that because with wifi we can have endless possibilities - e.g. update a scorbit style server for game scores etc. Also ability to serve up diagnostics and even change settings vis a simple web page.

...or just update Scorbit’s servers vis the API.

#23 6 months ago
Quoted from AlanJ:Fantastic,
has anybody used an esp32s board yet - I fancy that because with wifi we can have endless possibilities - e.g. update a scorbit style server for game scores etc. Also ability to serve up diagnostics and even change settings vis a simple web page.

I built a prototype and wrote some monitoring/diagnostics for the ESP32-S2-SAOLA.
My experience wasn't great. Maybe I should have stayed with a more seasoned ESP32. At the time I was messing around, I had to side-load the support into the Arduino IDE and the board would sometimes get into a reboot loop that could only be fixed by holding the Boot0 and Reset button and reprogramming.

Probably my fault for poor board choice.
That said, I have code that uses ESP port definitions if anyone wants to blaze that path. There are a ton of advantages - almost endless code size, much more speed, WiFi (as you mentioned), and it could control all the bus lines instead of just the few I'm currently using.

Another fun thing I was messing with - I halted the 6800 while it was running, messed with the CRAM, and then rebooted the processor again. As you were saying, this could be used to change high-score, number of credits, etc. on the MPU running the original code, all via WiFi.

#24 6 months ago
Quoted from UNCgump:

I thought I saw in another thread (when I looked after my last post) something about up to system 11 games.

I haven't experimented with any William's boards yet. So far, this is just a Bally/Stern project.

#25 6 months ago
Quoted from DickHamill:

I haven't experimented with any William's boards yet. So far, this is just a Bally/Stern project.

Incredible work as it stands. I can't wait to install this on my Flash Gordon. May wait for the final version with music etc.

#26 6 months ago
Quoted from UNCgump:

I thought I saw in another thread (when I looked after my last post) something about up to system 11 games.

That's a different project although I don't have a link handy to that one - that was P3 (normally for the DMD era games) going down to the system 11 era Snux has a thread on this project running on system 11 F-14.

Quoted from UNCgump:

And ooh, Kings of Steel is ripe for a good recode

I was looking for ideas for that game a while ago but didn't really go anywhere with it (I don't have the game.... yet....) I know people love to hit the right target and some tournaments do stuff like swap the dangerous center targets' wiring with that target, but the gist of the game comes down to people just shoot the safe thing over and over again, instead of (to me) shooting the drop target bank.

I wasn't going to recode with the arduino project though I was going to use the original boardsets with that code, but the idea is the same.

#27 6 months ago
Quoted from slochar:

I was looking for ideas for that game a while ago

How about once you complete the drop target bank, then the right target lights up. You can collect the right target, then it unlights. You have to hit the next group of cards (drop targets) to get it to re-light.

#28 6 months ago
Quoted from djblouw:

How about once you complete the drop target bank, then the right target lights up. You can collect the right target, then it unlights. You have to hit the next group of cards (drop targets) to get it to re-light.

So it would ramp up until collected? So you could hit the bank down as many times as you can before collecting. Looks like it might not be 'called out' on the playfield what actually advances that right target.

I'll have to read the ruleset again to see if stuff like bonus multiplier carry over - that seems like it could really high too. I know back in the day when KoS was in the arcades it was one of the new 7 digit games we could turn over pretty easily.

Can you test if I get something together?

#29 6 months ago
Quoted from UNCgump:

Incredible work as it stands. I can't wait to install this on my Flash Gordon. May wait for the final version with music etc.

We are trying to implement the Squawk and Talk board into the library which will give me access to existing sounds, but I also have a Wav Trigger arriving this weekend that will give me full control to add any sound. I haven't thought about what custom sounds to use for the Wav Trigger version yet. Is there anything specific you have in mind? I know lots of people will want the Queen song added, but I'm not sure that's the direction I want to go yet.

#30 6 months ago

bluebomber There are tons of sound clips online to work with, e.g. https://www.101soundboards.com/boards/10008-flash-gordon-soundboard

I do think using the soundtrack carefully would be awesome. If I remember, much of it is actually pretty atmospheric, which could work really well.

#31 6 months ago
Quoted from slochar:

So it would ramp up until collected? So you could hit the bank down as many times as you can before collecting. Looks like it might not be 'called out' on the playfield what actually advances that right target.
I'll have to read the ruleset again to see if stuff like bonus multiplier carry over - that seems like it could really high too. I know back in the day when KoS was in the arcades it was one of the new 7 digit games we could turn over pretty easily.
Can you test if I get something together?

I'll start a new topic so we don't derail this one.

Edit: here it is: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/kings-of-steel-code-re-write#post-6167282

Quoted from bluebomber:

I know lots of people will want the Queen song added

That's really the only sound mod I'd wish for in Flash Gordon. Others would be fine, but not necessary.

#32 6 months ago
Quoted from djblouw:

I'll start a new topic so we don't derail this one.

That's really the only sound mod I'd wish for in Flash Gordon. Others would be fine, but not necessary.

Fair preference, but there's so much great music, sound, and dialogue to mine!

#33 6 months ago
Quoted from jsa:

...or just update Scorbit’s servers vis the API.

Is that possible? Cant see anywhere that scorbit allow that?

Quoted from DickHamill:

I built a prototype and wrote some monitoring/diagnostics for the ESP32-S2-SAOLA.
My experience wasn't great. Maybe I should have stayed with a more seasoned ESP32. At the time I was messing around, I had to side-load the support into the Arduino IDE and the board would sometimes get into a reboot loop that could only be fixed by holding the Boot0 and Reset button and reprogramming.
Probably my fault for poor board choice.
That said, I have code that uses ESP port definitions if anyone wants to blaze that path. There are a ton of advantages - almost endless code size, much more speed, WiFi (as you mentioned), and it could control all the bus lines instead of just the few I'm currently using.
Another fun thing I was messing with - I halted the 6800 while it was running, messed with the CRAM, and then rebooted the processor again. As you were saying, this could be used to change high-score, number of credits, etc. on the MPU running the original code, all via WiFi.

I use the devkitV1 boards - have used literally 100's of them in lamps and clocks I have built and very good to use. Would be great if you have code already with the pinouts for it, please?

#34 6 months ago
Quoted from AlanJ:

I use the devkitV1 boards - have used literally 100's of them in lamps and clocks I have built and very good to use. Would be great if you have code already with the pinouts for it, please?

Send me a link to one you recommend and I'll put up some code for it.

#35 6 months ago
Quoted from DickHamill:

Send me a link to one you recommend and I'll put up some code for it.

Thank you. Its the one 1/2 way down this page the " ESP32 DEVKIT V1 DOIT" 30 pin version - there is also a 36 pin board, but I've used the 30 pin version a lot and never found it lacking enough gpios.

https://randomnerdtutorials.com/getting-started-with-esp32/

buy ebay:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ESP-WROOM-32-ESP32-ESP32S-2-4GHz-WiFi-Bluetooth-Development-Board-for-Arduino-UK/353400331085?hash=item52484d1b4d:g:EWUAAOSw8ydf-EDS

buy cheaper aliexpress:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32959541446.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.27424c4d2FAq2H

30 pin version (resized).png
#36 6 months ago

Interesting. I created a modern/retro version of Flash Gordon a few years back for the virtual pinball community. Does makes the game so much better with all the movie music, quotes and fx. A completely different experience. But if you get tired of all the modern rubbish, just hold up both flippers and all the original game comes back.

Maybe this will give you some ideas for your remaster.

Check out my other videos to see some of your favourite games with brand new audio design, rules and features.

Such as....KISS

It's more fun than you can possibly imagine, adding new life to these old games.

I just finished Bram Stoker's Dracula and I'm currently re-writing Stern's Ghostbusters code.

#37 6 months ago

About the 1:16 minute of this video shows how I hi-jack the attract mode sound in the FG to play the Queen Flash song. My replacement S&T board knows it hasn't seen the game start sequence, so it can play a custom sound file when the attract sound is played. Funny. I had to make it skip every 3 or 4 times because the FG attract sound is played every minute!!!

It would be interesting to run this board with a custom MPU code. You could have tons more sounds.

#38 6 months ago
Quoted from DickHamill:

I haven't experimented with any William's boards yet. So far, this is just a Bally/Stern project.

DickHamill
Is it in theory possible to do a similar thing with 90's era Bally/Williams games? For example, I love my Indy 500 but have always dreamed of some tweaks.

Thank you all for doing this. Had very nearly sold off my Flash Gordon recently but this has totally changed my mind!

#39 6 months ago

This is rad. Will definitely add something like this to Flash Gordon.

#40 6 months ago
Quoted from geeteoh:

About the 1:16 minute of this video shows how I hi-jack the attract mode sound in the FG to play the Queen Flash song. My replacement S&T board knows it hasn't seen the game start sequence, so it can play a custom sound file when the attract sound is played. Funny. I had to make it skip every 3 or 4 times because the FG attract sound is played every minute!!!

It would be interesting to run this board with a custom MPU code. You could have tons more sounds.

Wow, that's really something! Nice to know there is a S&T replacement option available. What do the relay's do?

#41 6 months ago

Pretty exciting idea, there are so many old Ballys and Sterns that are code/rule limited rather than playfield limited. You had me with the sweeping light patterns alone. I have always wanted to update my Bally Eight Ball but found the learning curve steep, I have not found documentation on the original code for a SW newbie like me to know where to start.

I have a Flash Gordon right next to my Eight Ball so I will definitely be making up a board for both.

#42 6 months ago
Quoted from geeteoh:

About the 1:16 minute of this video shows how I hi-jack the attract mode sound in the FG to play the Queen Flash song. My replacement S&T board knows it hasn't seen the game start sequence, so it can play a custom sound file when the attract sound is played. Funny. I had to make it skip every 3 or 4 times because the FG attract sound is played every minute!!!

It would be interesting to run this board with a custom MPU code. You could have tons more sounds.

Are these available at this time?

#43 6 months ago

bluebomber

I just love the wizard mode idea and execution! Is there a final payoff/bonus for defeating Ming with the 3rd attack?

Also, the hardware probably prevents this, but would there be a way to use the inline drops as a lock that when dropped again would start a multiball?

Open to other rules ideas? This is so fun!

#44 6 months ago
Quoted from UNCgump:

bluebomber
I just love the wizard mode idea and execution! Is there a final payoff/bonus for defeating Ming with the 3rd attack?
Also, the hardware probably prevents this, but would there be a way to use the inline drops as a lock that when dropped again would start a multiball?
Open to other rules ideas? This is so fun!

Thanks! Yes, there are points awarded during the wizard mode, and for entering and defeating the mode. I have a list of "large" scoring and wizard scoring in the rule card on my GitHub: https://github.com/tmurren/bsos-flash-gordon-2021/blob/main/RuleCard.md. 50,000 for entering wizard mode and for first two times you attack Ming. The third time you attack Ming is the kill shot, and you are awarded 150,000 and the mode ends.

I'm still trying to balance all the award scoring to make sure nothing seems over or underpowered. For example, I noticed the changes I made to the inlanes and lower right targets lowered the scores a bit overall each game, but the amount points I'm granting for the skill shot and hurry up awards seemed to balance this out.

The main limitation with starting a multiball would be that this is a single ball game. You would need to redo the whole trough, and wire things up differently, which would keep you from dual booting the original code.

#45 6 months ago
Quoted from bluebomber:

Thanks! Yes, there are points awarded during the wizard mode, and for entering and defeating the mode. I have a list of "large" scoring and wizard scoring in the rule card on my GitHub: https://github.com/tmurren/bsos-flash-gordon-2021/blob/main/RuleCard.md. 50,000 for entering wizard mode and for first two times you attack Ming. The third time you attack Ming is the kill shot, and you are awarded 150,000 and the mode ends.
I'm still trying to balance all the award scoring to make sure nothing seems over or underpowered. For example, I noticed the changes I made to the inlanes and lower right targets lowered the scores a bit overall each game, but the amount points I'm granting for the skill shot and hurry up awards seemed to balance this out.
The main limitation with starting a multiball would be that this is a single ball game. You would need to redo the whole trough, and wire things up differently, which would keep you from dual booting the original code.

Thanks for the insights! Figured that was the issue re multiball.

Again, great work, and thanks so much for doing this. Can't wait to run the finished product. Lots of sound potential for the wizard mode!

#46 6 months ago

This is not going to help my search to find a FG. Regardless, nice work and I hope to install this if I ever find a game.

#47 6 months ago

I’m going to ask a dumb question. Is there any way to get this to work with an Alltek board?

#48 6 months ago
Quoted from zahner:

I’m going to ask a dumb question. Is there any way to get this to work with an Alltek board?

Not a dumb question. I’m running mine on an Alltek, no problems!

#49 6 months ago

I think GnR will soon be knocked off it's perch if this is done right.

#50 6 months ago

I have my Trident running Dick's new rules and sounds with a nano and a wav trigger. I can attest that you will want to do this to any machine that people have already "hacked." Dick's Blackjack update looks killer and makes me wish I still had mine.
These mods are so fun and groovy and dual bootable!

Uncle Pinball talked about this:
https://www.buzzsprout.com/1201796/episodes/7644076

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