(Topic ID: 198116)

Has 2017 been a bad year for Stern code support?


By PanzerFreak

1 year ago



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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by TigerLaw
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    Topic poll

    “Is 2017 Sterns worst year for code support?”

    • Yes 163 votes
      88%
    • No 22 votes
      12%

    (185 votes by 0 Pinsiders)

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    23
    #1 1 year ago

    Is it just me or does 2017 seem like a bad year for Stern code support?

    First off I believe that Stern has some amazing programmers, that they are very talented and that they put out great work. However, I also believe that Stern management is the main cause of 1 year + code update delays due to the number of games they are now putting out and that their programming staff is stretched thin.

    Below are 2017 update counts by game

    KISS: 1
    GOT: 0
    Ghostbusters: 1 (back in January)
    Batman 66: 6, still pre 1.0
    Aerosmith: 2
    Star Wars: 1, still pre 1.0

    Its obvious by the counts above that the focus for updates are on the latest games. The counts also include code updates that are mainly smaller bug fix updates. Numbers for just updates that add at least 1 new mode would be lower.

    So, what's going on here? Why is Batman 66, a game that cost more then any modern Stern, still on pre 1.0 code? Why hasn't GOT received another code update since last year? Why hasn't one of Sterns most recent games, Ghostbusters, received a code update since early January?

    As Stern has continued to raise prices they have also raised expectations of buyers. For $5k-$9k, or in the case of Batman 66 SLE $15k, owners shouldn't have to wait 6 months, one year, longer or never in some cases for code updates.

    There's also a big difference between code that is just average versus deep and unique that works an entire playfield in interesting ways. At these crazy prices more buyers expect deep and unique code.

    Personally I won't even consider buying a Star Wars pin until Stern completes the code for Ghostbusters.

    What do you think? (Wheres the code?)

    13
    #2 1 year ago

    What's code support?

    #3 1 year ago

    When you lay it out like that... #wheresthecode

    #4 1 year ago

    Who in their right mind would give Stern $15k for an updated BTDK (same crane etc..)? It's on them if they are happy to give Stern money for a game code unseen, Stern is going to take the money it's that simple.

    #5 1 year ago

    The coders must be on to the next games or projects/systems.

    How many coders does Stern have....Lyman, Dwight, Lonnie, Waison, ....I am sure there are more, who else?

    #6 1 year ago
    Quoted from rai:

    Who in their right mind would give Stern $15k for an updated BTDK (same crane etc..)?

    People with a lot of monies....wish I could.

    20
    #7 1 year ago

    "Stern is absolutely committed to code updates and games with great code on them"....Jared Guynes

    #8 1 year ago

    Shouldn't one year of one full-time programmer be enough to produce one complete/finished game? The base code is repeated every game so that simplifies it down to game specific coding.

    Stern is putting out less than one new game per programmer per year (3 games a year and 4 plus programmers).

    #9 1 year ago

    Genuine question: Does GoT need an update?

    #10 1 year ago

    I voted no because I still think 2015 was the worst on record.... mind you 2017 is not done yet. Back then the backlog was enormous

    Mustang
    Avengers
    Xmen
    WWE
    Walking Dead
    Star Trek specifically LE (features that didnt work for more than a year)
    KISS

    To name a few

    #11 1 year ago
    Quoted from flashinstinct:

    I voted no because I still think 2015 was the worst on record.... mind you 2017 is not done yet. Back then the backlog was enormous
    Mustang
    Avengers
    Xmen
    WWE
    Walking Dead
    Star Trek LE (features that didnt work for more than a year)
    KISS
    To name a few

    Oops, I forgot to edit the name of the poll when I posted the thread. I meant to use the name of the thread as the title of the poll as well.

    Yeah, 2015 was bad.

    #12 1 year ago
    Quoted from Rasavage:

    Genuine question: Does GoT need an update?

    Yes, it's got some pretty serious code exploits and bugs that need to be corrected. Could use some call outs in key places as well but that is outside the issue of "need" and goes into a "want".

    We shouldn't still be here with a LOL that doesn't work if a danger is given prior to the roll over being actived or a Super Jackpot that stays lit indefinitely if bought as a mystery gift prior to starting MB (and not collecting the 5 black water jackpots). Plus Martel mode not requiring the final shot to be hit to collect the house nor the GreyJoy shots to be hit when playing as house GreyJoy. There are more but these are the obvious ones.

    #13 1 year ago

    i called to stern last week on a playfield question. i was told there are code updates coming for meticalla and aerosmith. those are the next ones.

    #14 1 year ago

    GOT thrones premium needs update. when it says "gold targets" for lannister. they are, in fact, red on the playfield. am i the only one that noticed that?

    #15 1 year ago

    A skill shot for Aerosmith is an obvious one.

    #17 1 year ago
    Quoted from zaki:

    i called to stern last week on a playfield question. i was told there are code updates coming for meticalla and aerosmith. those are the next ones.

    Hope it's a big update for AS

    #18 1 year ago

    (Troll thread.)

    AS was released in 2017 with damn good software and given some polish. Isn't that what people want? SW might be sub 1.0 but it is also pretty darn good this early considering pre-2017 games.

    13
    #19 1 year ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    Is it just me or does 2017 seem like a bad year for Stern code support?

    It's been that way for years. You're just noticing it because you knowingly bought an unfinished game and expected things to be different for some reason.

    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    So, what's going on here? Why is Batman 66, a game that cost more then any modern Stern, still on pre 1.0 code?

    The game was announced/released without giving Lyman any time to create a game. He's still working on it, but he codes art, not math...art takes time.

    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    Why hasn't GOT received another code update since last year?

    Cuz Dwight moved on to Ghostbusters.

    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    Why hasn't one of Sterns most recent games, Ghostbusters, received a code update since early January?

    Cuz Dwight moved on to Star Wars.

    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    As Stern has continued to raise prices they have also raised expectations of buyers. For $5k-$9k, or in the case of Batman 66 SLE $15k, owners shouldn't have to wait 6 months, one year, longer or never in some cases for code updates.

    Stern's M.O. has been clear for years. Buy a game at launch, you're buying a proto/beta game that has no guarantee of completion or timetable for updates. Not buying at launch and continuing to hold out until code is complete is the only way to send a message that this is unacceptable.

    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    There's also a big difference between code that is just average versus deep and unique that works an entire playfield in interesting ways. At these crazy prices more buyers expect deep and unique code.

    Pinball programmers do not have the time required for deep & unique in the way you're expecting. Keith's games, arguably the deepest and most packed with content, take years.

    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    Personally I won't even consider buying a Star Wars pin until Stern completes the code for Ghostbusters.

    Why'd you buy GB when you knew it was unfinished and that previous Sterns were unfinished? Why didn't you take that stand before buying? They have your money now. You told them their product was acceptable and worth the purchase price.

    #20 1 year ago
    Quoted from zaki:

    i was told there are code updates coming for meticalla and aerosmith.

    And you believed them?

    It's obvious the only thing Stern is interested is the machine which is currently on the production line. They don't give a s1ht about any previous games they are not intending to build in the future. Once they are out of production; they are "out" of planned updates. The only time is when a design comes out as a vault... then they may do one or two updates to the art or something.
    IE spider man -> spider man "comic book"

    #21 1 year ago
    Quoted from Zitt:

    And you believed them?
    It's obvious the only thing Stern is interested is the machine which is currently on the production line. They don't give a s1ht about any previous games they are not intending to build in the future. Once they are out of production; they are "out" of planned updates. The only time is when a design comes out as a vault... then they may do one or two updates to the art or something.
    IE spider man -> spider man "comic book"

    That's not true. They updated Avengers after it was long out of production and there are definitely no vault plans.

    A game may get an update. It may not. It all comes down to if the programmers have time to do it, which they usually don't. It's a crapshoot. Only buy when the game is at a code level you're happy with.

    #22 1 year ago
    Quoted from thundergod76:

    "Stern is absolutely committed to code updates and games with great code on them"....Jared Guynes

    That gave me a good laugh, unfortunately that was while I had a mouthful of hot chocolate, well played sir

    #23 1 year ago
    Quoted from Rasavage:

    Genuine question: Does GoT need an update?

    Ya to balance this game out enough to benefit playing other things aside from Martell. To make iron throne higher scoring than hotk that way if you blow your hotk in tourney you still have a way to come back if you play great ball. Do something with wall multiball besides make it an intermission in play. The game is good, how about make it better than good with some adjustments.

    #24 1 year ago
    Quoted from nikpinball:

    Ya to balance this game out enough to benefit playing other things aside from Martell. To make iron throne higher scoring than hotk that way if you blow your hotk in tourney you still have a way to come back if you play great ball. Do something with wall multiball besides make it an intermission in play. The game is good, how about make it better than good with some adjustments.

    This is all personal opinion though. Massive scoring opportunities with three other houses outside of Martell.

    I've almost scored 4 billion in IT. Been there 5 times. I've never even gotten half that in hundreds of times to HOTK. Could just be me there though.

    Wall multiball? Stack it with WHC. Or be Trent Augenstein.

    Definitely agree the game can be better though. I would mainly like some more fanfare for some of the modes and multiballs (Blackwater is sooooo good) before I would like to see anything else.

    #25 1 year ago

    Game of Thrones is finished. There are lots of changes, adjustments and fixes that could be made, but you could say that about any game if you put enough thought into it.

    #26 1 year ago

    I waited 2 years to get be able to earn an extra ball in Tron. *shrug* Game was still fun to play prior to that.

    It is too bad code updates take so long from Stern. They should be like all the other companies that release feature complete and bug free code right at launch.

    #27 1 year ago
    Quoted from Rasavage:

    Genuine question: Does GoT need an update?

    No, it's solid. That said, it could be made better. I'd love to see modes adjusted with newer content from the show instead of just season 5 plot points. Have the modes be ramdomized a bit to give us greater emersion with the show.

    GoT is a level below Metallica and TWD code wise but it has the potential to be better than either with just some minor tweaks and score balancing.

    #28 1 year ago

    Stern should take a lesson in communication from CGC.
    If you follow that thread, that is how it is done.
    This whole secrecy thing is nonsense.

    #29 1 year ago
    Quoted from Arcade:

    If you follow that thread, that is how it is done.
    This whole secrecy thing is nonsense.

    Agreed... but we don't really "welcome" the industry here. They always get crucified.
    Most of the time; it's well deserved... but sometimes its just thin-skinned "reps".

    #30 1 year ago

    Whenever I buy a game, I do so assuming it will never get an update. If it does, great! If not, if I'm not happy with it when I get it, so it's all good.

    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    Personally I won't even consider buying a Star Wars pin until Stern completes the code for Ghostbusters.

    I'm almost nervous to ask, but what do you think is wrong with Ghostbusters? I mean, I see some tweaks that could be done, but that's no different than WWFRR, BSD or Cybernaut... I don't see anything crazy that is missing.

    #31 1 year ago

    I don't see much difference. I think 2016 was a quieter year for Stern on game releases. GB, Batman and Spiderman vault and two of them were towards the end of the year (BM only just started to ship around xmas) (oh and pabst thing). 2017 we've had two big games already; a big Vault (AC-DC) and atleast one more game to come that will probably start shipping end of the year... games are a year cycle so...

    It seems we either have a choice of quality or quantity...

    In my view I'd like to see bugs fixed atleast; new features would be good too but thats a bonus. The features of the machine have to be delivered so that stuff on the play field is used in the game.

    The only games I expect updates are BM'66 because its simply not complete and its a marque pin for Stern, if they don't sort it then future big pinball machines will tough to do and Star Wars.

    My personal view is that Stern will eventually come good on all of these things. Yes we all want it tomorrow but I think Stern are pinball folks who want to do a good job thats hard in this environment.

    Neil.

    #32 1 year ago
    Quoted from goatdan:

    Whenever I buy a game, I do so assuming it will never get an update. If it does, great! If not, if I'm not happy with it when I get it, so it's all good.

    I'm almost nervous to ask, but what do you think is wrong with Ghostbusters? I mean, I see some tweaks that could be done, but that's no different than WWFRR, BSD or Cybernaut... I don't see anything crazy that is missing.

    People are waiting on the "Are You A God?" Final wizard mode that was apparently announced when the machine was. I think other than that a few tweaks to scoring and it's done IMO.

    #33 1 year ago
    Quoted from zaki:

    i called to stern last week on a playfield question. i was told there are code updates coming for meticalla and aerosmith. those are the next ones.

    Makes me wonder exactly what in Metallica needs to be updated? Seems pretty complete to me (other than skipping the sparky sequence with the flipper buttons).

    #34 1 year ago
    Quoted from zaki:

    GOT thrones premium needs update. when it says "gold targets" for lannister. they are, in fact, red on the playfield. am i the only one that noticed that?

    The targets have gold printed on them, I think. They light red because they're associated with the Lannisters.

    #35 1 year ago
    Quoted from zaki:

    i was told there are code updates coming for meticalla

    I love that band.

    #36 1 year ago
    Quoted from ItsBwalt:

    People are waiting on the "Are You A God?" Final wizard mode that was apparently announced when the machine was. I think other than that a few tweaks to scoring and it's done IMO.

    This is one of Sterns biggest issues with their lack of code development time/support. There really isn't any excuse for a game to still be missing it's wizard mode 18months after reveal/release.

    #37 1 year ago
    Quoted from J85M:

    This is one of Sterns biggest issues with their lack of code development time/support. There really isn't any excuse for a game to still be missing it's wizard mode 18months after kooreveal/release.

    Exactly. We are talking about a mode for a pinball machine not NASA programming code for a new nuclear powered Mars rover. Heck, NASA is probably quicker. This is not a knock against Sterns programmers who are awesome but rather about Stern management stretching programming staff thin.

    If Stern is going to announce a mode and put an options entry for it in the games menu then it should and needs to be completed in a resonable amount of time.

    #38 1 year ago

    i noticed the pro version, the lanister targets are actually gold when they light up

    #39 1 year ago

    Apparently my original code update counts were off, I've updated them.

    Change logs often have multiple entries that get released publicly under one update. After searching through Sterns Facebook page going back to January 1st, which always announces code updates, I've updated the totals.

    Below are the exact dates for 2017 Stern code updates in order of release.

    January 12th: Batman .65
    January 17th: Ghostbusters 1.13
    January 31st: Batman. 68
    February 17th: Batman .69
    March 16th: Aerosmith 1.02
    March 23rd: Batman. 70
    March 30th: Aerosmith 1.03
    April 28th: Batman . 71
    May 25th: Batman. 75
    August 8th: KISS 1.30
    August 15th: Star Wars .89

    So 11 public code updates in all for 2017. Again some of the updates are mostly bug fix updates versus those that add to gameplay.

    By comparison I recall Keith Johnson putting out 12+ code updates for WOZ over the course of a year. This doesn't mean anyone else is more or less talented then Keith but rather shows what type of code support can be offered when programmers are given enough time to create deep and unique code.

    #40 1 year ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    Exactly. We are talking about a mode for a pinball machine not NASA programming code for a new nuclear powered Mars rover. Heck, NASA is probably quicker. This is not a knock against Sterns programmers who are awesome but rather about Stern management stretching programming staff thin.

    Well, this leaves room for volunteers to release some personnal programming instead of Stern no?

    #41 1 year ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    Apparently my original code update counts were off, I've updated them.
    Change logs often have multiple entries that get released publicly under one update. After searching through Sterns Facebook page going back to January 1st, which always announces code updates, I've updated the totals.
    Below are the exact dates for 2017 Stern code updates in order of release.
    January 12th: Batman .65
    January 17th: Ghostbusters 1.13
    January 31st: Batman. 68
    February 17th: Batman .69
    March 16th: Aerosmith 1.02
    March 23rd: Batman. 70
    March 30th: Aerosmith 1.03
    April 28th: Batman . 71
    May 25th: Batman. 75
    August 8th: KISS 1.30
    August 15th: Star Wars .89
    So 11 public code updates in all for 2017. Again some of the updates are mostly bug fix updates versus those that add to gameplay.
    By comparison I recall Keith Johnson putting out 12+ code updates for WOZ over the course of a year. This doesn't mean anyone else is more or less talented then Keith but rather shows what type of code support can be offered when programmers are given enough time to create deep and unique code.

    Star wars has had two updates not just one. Also what year did keith put out 12 updates for WOZ within a year?

    #42 1 year ago
    Quoted from Dr-Willy:

    Star wars has had two updates not just one. Also what year did keith put out 12 updates for WOZ within a year?

    That was between spring of 2013 and spring of 2014.

    -2
    #43 1 year ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    That was between spring of 2013 and spring of 2014.

    Okay so you are comparing a company that released 12 updates within a year, for the one machine they had out at the time, to a company who currently has four or five different machines running on the production line and has also released 12 updates within the 9 months that have passed already?

    Of course Keith is going to release as many updates as possible, he had nothing else to code for and he still wants to receive a paycheck doesn't he?

    Seriously these trolling threads are stupid (on both sides of the JJP and Stern fanboys) there is no point to them and nothing productive comes from them other then to get the two sides fighting with each other.

    #44 1 year ago
    Quoted from Dr-Willy:

    Okay so you are comparing a company that released 12 updates within a year, for the one machine they had out at the time, to a company who currently has different machines running on the production line and has also released 12 updates within the 9 months that have passed already?
    Of course Keith is going to release as many updates as possible, he had nothing else to code for and he still wants to receive a paycheck doesn't he?
    Seriously these trolling threads are stupid (on both sides of the JJP and Stern fanboys) there is no point to them and nothing productive comes from them other then to get the two sides fighting with each other.

    It's not a trolling thread. It's to bring awareness and discussion about the ongoing complaints with Stern code update delays after owners have spent $5k, $8k and in some cases $15k on a pinball machine.

    12
    #45 1 year ago
    Quoted from Dr-Willy:

    Okay so you are comparing a company that released 12 updates within a year, for the one machine they had out at the time, to a company who currently has four or five different machines running on the production line and has also released 12 updates within the 9 months that have passed already?
    Of course Keith is going to release as many updates as possible, he had nothing else to code for and he still wants to receive a paycheck doesn't he?
    Seriously these trolling threads are stupid (on both sides of the JJP and Stern fanboys) there is no point to them and nothing productive comes from them other then to get the two sides fighting with each other.

    I don't understand your comment as it makes zero sense. The point is whether you have one game or 20 games a company's responsibility to to provide adequate support....period....clearly Stern is stretched thin....so hire more programmers...thats an operational issue that should be addressed.

    #46 1 year ago

    The state of code on several games is a legit mark of shame. The entire Batman '66 situation is probably the dumbest thing I've ever seen in pinball (outside of the scammers) from a manufacturer. There's no excuse for that game not getting top priority given all the promises, the premium pricing, and it being a special celebration product. Instead, it's been a total failure in all regards.

    Aerosmith has fine code, but it's the great outlier in Stern's recent games. It could use some tweaks, but it's not a huge deal if it's considered mostly complete by now.

    Ghostbusters badly needs an update to features and some bug maintenance. The wizard modes are still placeholder garbage, there are lots of terrible bugs, and it badly needs some score balancing. For a game that sold as much as it did, it's inexcusable to leave it so unpolished.

    Star Wars is new, so it gets a pass for right now. It definitely needs work, but the fact that it's not 1.0 code yet shows that we can expect more to come.

    #47 1 year ago

    I think with the difficulties with doing all this code, has stretched their resources thin! The new Stern Pin will be out soon,and they have that to contend with! I also think GB is done! AS shouldn't receive new code ahead of older pins(B66)!! This seems to me to be putting the cart,before the Horse! Reason,$$$ !!!

    #48 1 year ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    I waited 2 years to get be able to earn an extra ball in Tron.

    We've been waiting 7 years to earn an achievable extra ball (not via a random reward) on IM

    #49 1 year ago

    Stern needs to hire some fresh young people. The only reason for this atrocious level of code support is they refuse to spend the money or simply don't care. I work in a major studio and I think of what I get out of my Co-ops. One Software Engineer paired with a Technical Artist and it would revolutionize Sterns process. I know Stern is a small shop with nowhere near the talent pool we have but there is a lot of amazing young talent out there. There is no excuse for this level software and support.

    #50 1 year ago

    Still waiting for the final KISS update that was promised.

    Yes, we finally got 1.30 but it was minor and not major as promised by Jody.

    Surely it can't be that difficult to add things like Champion awards?

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