(Topic ID: 126013)

Heighway Announces North American Pinball Prototype Build Gr


By HeighwayPinball

4 years ago



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  • Latest reply 3 years ago by greatwichjohn
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    #1 4 years ago

    Heighway Pinball Announces A North American Pinball Prototype Build Group.

    After years of talking with John Greatwich, John is putting together a group that will build pinball prototypes based on Heighway Pinball’s parts & operating system. Fully supported by Heighway Pinball, the group will work on developing, and building, non-licensed themes, which could eventually be manufactured as licensed, or unlicensed, games by Heighway in the future – if there is sufficient demand.

    The goal is to have a group of volunteer pinball people work independently on creating new ideas - bringing back creative thinking with non-licensed themes for prototypes. The build group will make pinball prototypes for the group only – with the goal being that each group member will own a version of the game they helped to produce. The group will not be manufacturing pinball machines for public sale. All technical people will work remotely, and the builds will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

    John Greatwich is currently putting a North American team together. If you are interested in joining this group, please contact John for more information at johngreatwich@outlook.com

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    #2 4 years ago

    Thanks Andrew: The first member of the team is Randy Murray, who will be doing some of the art packages. I would still like to move forward with his ideas on art for the cancelled Dolly Parton conversions. My choice is to move forward with a skateboarding theme, & possibly his other art ideas.

    #3 4 years ago

    This sounds really cool! Are there any sort of qualifications that volunteers need to have, or is a love of the game enough?

    #4 4 years ago

    coolio

    #5 4 years ago

    I'm pretty sure you told me 2 hours ago you were going to bed. This post proves otherwise sir!

    #6 4 years ago

    This is super cool, best of luck.

    #8 4 years ago
    #9 4 years ago

    Here is a example of production with Star Gazer playfields. Had 11 printed in one day this week. More being cut on the cnc with the sign shop.

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    #10 4 years ago

    I want a skateboarding game

    So I'd like to help the group

    I can sweep floors & etc

    #11 4 years ago

    skateboarding would be cool, maybe John can start a thread with a range of 10 different non licensed themes to see what interest there is

    #12 4 years ago

    I'm really big on skateboarding theme. There is a big group in my city, & a number of skate parks. Maybe the mod guys can come up with some cool stuff. I was thinking today of getting a deck in there, & it looks cool the guys working on the wheel on shooter rod. I had one of those plastic deck ones in the early 70's, had a steep hill to go down on. Those were the days young & stupid!

    #13 4 years ago

    and a pool skate bowl below the playfield surface, so many things you could do with ramps

    #14 4 years ago

    Love this whole idea. Would love to be in. The ball needs to do a full loop. It also needs to catch air on a vert ramp and a long jump ramp. I am mr. X games. Let me know.
    Jim
    PS- I also happen to be an LE purchaser of both Heighway games.

    #15 4 years ago

    John I'd love it if you could just talk about what your thinking for this group is. It sounds really interesting (I know nothing about it, not involved) and I grasp the basic idea of an incubator, but how will it really function? Are you looking for people who have their own whitewoods who might want to pitch a game?

    #16 4 years ago
    Quoted from Aurich:

    John I'd love it if you could just talk about what your thinking for this group is. It sounds really interesting (I know nothing about it, not involved) and I grasp the basic idea of an incubator, but how will it really function? Are you looking for people who have their own whitewoods who might want to pitch a game?

    I do agree with this, as the potential group needs to have some sort of organisation about it with a clear scope to be able to function and turn out a end result otherwise could flounder around

    - does one group comprise of one of each - leader, mech engineer, artist, electronics wiz, timber craftsperson, programmer?

    - if more than one of each do the groups break up into smaller groups in zones???

    #17 4 years ago

    My dream theme is saltwater fishing. So if anyone wants to do a colorful art package featuring beautiful women on a sportfish boat catching sailfish, blue marlin, red snapper, etc feel free to have at it

    #18 4 years ago

    Wish I was closer. Unfortunately 10,000 miles away, I don't think my skill set (woodwork, hands on project management, manufacturing, ideas man) would be too much use.

    Unless you send a machine down here. Lots of motivated, clever guys down here.

    rd.

    #19 4 years ago
    Quoted from rotordave:

    Wish I was closer. Unfortunately 10,000 miles away, I don't think my skill set (woodwork, hands on project management, manufacturing, ideas man) would be too much use.
    Unless you send a machine down here. Lots of motivated, clever guys down here.
    rd.

    can always create the AUS/NZ group....

    #20 4 years ago
    Quoted from swinks:

    can always create the AUS/NZ group....

    True. Sydney is a little closer than Canada.

    With your CAD stuff and my woodworking we could make a winner.

    rd.

    #21 4 years ago
    Quoted from rotordave:

    True. Sydney is a little closer than Canada.
    With your CAD stuff and my woodworking we could make a winner.
    rd.

    I use to build CNC lasers and routers so know my way around wood as well. I am open...

    #22 4 years ago

    So the idea here is to "pay" people for designing mechs and interesting layouts by giving them one free game once they've been developed? Then Heighway takes these and produces re-skinned games in quantities of hundreds or thousands? In the process you're having a team of unpaid QA/QC testers debug your platform and provide additional IP for you to use?

    Seems like a raw deal for everyone but Heighway. Advancing the hobby and industry is well and good but relying on volunteers in this fashion smells off to me. Even interns get paid.

    #23 4 years ago
    Quoted from Law:

    So the idea here is to "pay" people for designing mechs and interesting layouts by giving them one free game once they've been developed? Then Heighway takes these and produces re-skinned games in quantities of hundreds or thousands? In the process you're having a team of unpaid QA/QC testers debug your platform and provide additional IP for you to use?
    Seems like a raw deal for everyone but Heighway. Advancing the hobby and industry is well and good but relying on volunteers in this fashion smells off to me. Even interns get paid.

    Well no one's holding a gun to their head. If they want to develop games they could go the P-ROC route and then commission a company to make the games, this is hugely expensive.
    Using the heighway system they can possibly work a deal dependent on what they design. this is not new, look at Gottliebs Black Hole.

    #24 4 years ago
    Quoted from Law:

    So the idea here is to "pay" people for designing mechs and interesting layouts by giving them one free game once they've been developed? Then Heighway takes these and produces re-skinned games in quantities of hundreds or thousands? In the process you're having a team of unpaid QA/QC testers debug your platform and provide additional IP for you to use?
    Seems like a raw deal for everyone but Heighway. Advancing the hobby and industry is well and good but relying on volunteers in this fashion smells off to me. Even interns get paid.

    These types of think tank models can work, but with something as complex and laborious as pinball design I have to agree with the above. With the ability to digitally design games now, that seems like the easiest / cheapest way to pitch ideas. My hunch is this plan is in direct response to failed boutique attempts that were all good ideas but had no manufacturing muscle to complete the projects. But hey, like someone said this is an optional thing and if you're a dude in a garage this might be your only chance to see your game make it out there.

    I still think highway needs to prove they can make a great game first before they position themselves as an incubator company like Google. Full Throttle won't ignite the community...when is Aliens slated for release? That game will make or break Heighway. No pressure Aulrich

    #25 4 years ago
    Quoted from Law:

    So the idea here is to "pay" people for designing mechs and interesting layouts by giving them one free game once they've been developed? Then Heighway takes these and produces re-skinned games in quantities of hundreds or thousands? In the process you're having a team of unpaid QA/QC testers debug your platform and provide additional IP for you to use?
    Seems like a raw deal for everyone but Heighway. Advancing the hobby and industry is well and good but relying on volunteers in this fashion smells off to me. Even interns get paid.

    If such a game becomes a commercial reality, then those involved in the design and development of the game will be rewarded with a royalty structure

    #26 4 years ago

    The thought process is to get a group together to produce proto type pinball machines based on Heighway Pinball cabinets, parts, & operating system. Andrew gets to absorb all the costs which is needed for pinball production on a commercial scale. So all the huge R & D costs are taken care of, & we have parts that are engineered for commercial use.

    The group gets parts at almost cost. Have everything to make playfields plug & play into Heighway Pinball machines. Hopefully they move on into production, but if not the group still gets cool proto type pins.

    It will take some time to hash out the group members & get things going. Also to figure out how to cost it out. Those that can help out with design, art, programming, mods, etc. please contact me.

    #27 4 years ago
    Quoted from swinks:

    I use to build CNC lasers and routers so know my way around wood as well. I am open...

    If there is enough interest, which it sounds like it down under. Then you could assembly there to make it even more cost effective. So only parts would need to be sent. Playfields & plastics, etc. could be printed & cut there. The main thing is to move forward first with interested playfield designers. Do the first white wood & see how it plays before wasting a bunch of time & money. Then you can move forward with a finished product.

    #28 4 years ago
    Quoted from HeighwayPinball:

    If such a game becomes a commercial reality, then those involved in the design and development of the game will be rewarded with a royalty structure

    That sounds like a good deal.

    #29 4 years ago

    Wouldn't the "Heighway Way" be to develop a game virtually first? Having something fun to play, rules, etc, then start fabricating an actual game (ie: wasting time & money)? Isn't that how its done at HP?

    #30 4 years ago

    Ah, so this is starting to make more sense to me.

    So here's how I understand it:

    If you're interested in building a pinball, you have ideas, you have skills, but you're just clueless about what to do with it once you've built it, or the idea of manufacturing (rightly) scares you, there's a path now.

    Heighway will provide a support structure, a technical framework, and a source of low cost parts. Help you build up your pin, and make your vision complete.

    In return, Heighway would like the option to work out a deal to build your pin, and the creators would get a share of the sales.

    So it's an incubator, a farm team. Everyone gets something out of it, but with no guarantees.

    John does that sound accurate?

    #31 4 years ago

    Would be a lot of fun...wish I had more time/experience. As is, the only thing I'm usefully good at is making wire harnesses...lol..good luck guys, could see some real interesting stuff come out of groups like this.

    #32 4 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    Would be a lot of fun...wish I had more time/experience. As is, the only thing I'm usefully good at is making wire harnesses...lol..good luck guys, could see some real interesting stuff come out of groups like this.

    I was just thinking that it might be the last thing needed. Someone to do wiring possibly.
    It definitely looks like everyone is going to have to sign a NDA with Andrew to get involved.

    #33 4 years ago
    Quoted from Law:

    So the idea here is to "pay" people for designing mechs and interesting layouts by giving them one free game once they've been developed? Then Heighway takes these and produces re-skinned games in quantities of hundreds or thousands? In the process you're having a team of unpaid QA/QC testers debug your platform and provide additional IP for you to use?
    Seems like a raw deal for everyone but Heighway. Advancing the hobby and industry is well and good but relying on volunteers in this fashion smells off to me. Even interns get paid.

    sounds to me like a way to soak up potential future competition by making their ideas the IP of heighway. do they really have any interest in letting others design their games? thats like if a brewery went to a bar and asked people to write recipes in exchange for some of the beer when and if it was brewed. all the creativity lies in the design of the game, seems odd that their passing this task off to their fans before game one has even left the factory.

    #34 4 years ago

    I can see where both sides of the fence could benefit from this sort of arrangement. I can also see where Heighway would be putting in minimal effort and getting excellent dividends and the people doing the design work get the short end of the stick.

    If this "think tank" has an exclusive agreement with Heighway it seems like a very slippery legal situation as well, in my limited experience. Will these exclusive designers be "employees"? Will their out-of-pocket expenses be tax deductable? Are they going to buy in as part of a "club" to avoid the employee problem? What sort of legal and tax status will this organization have? Would designers have the option to bring designs to other manufacturers, or will they forfeit that when their IP was released for prototyping? Will they forfeit that as soon as a Heighway system is used in the development of their ideas?

    Also, as it's relevant- Patents in the US now go to the first to file. It doesn't matter who came up with the idea. Just something to be cognizant of when sharing this kind of thing with a company that is looking to profit from ideas like yours.

    None of this is necessarily a bad thing, but I would have to see a lot more than some posts on an internet forum before entering an arrangement like that.

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from stainedundies:

    sounds to me like a way to soak up potential future competition by making their ideas the IP of heighway. do they really have any interest in letting others design their games? thats like if a brewery went to a bar and asked people to write recipes in exchange for some of the beer when and if it was brewed. all the creativity lies in the design of the game, seems odd that their passing this task off to their fans before game one has even left the factory.

    I think that's definitely one way to look at it.

    Another is to realize that there are people out there who love the idea of designing a pinball, but have no support infrastructure, and no way to actually get it built.

    If you're the kind of person who loves the idea of building a game, and finds the idea of then being able to hand it off to a factory to be created, and take your share of the profits without that headache attractive? Then it sounds like a good win win.

    If you'd rather control the entire process yourself? Hey, do your own thing. Work with Aaron and FAST, use the Mission pinball framework, use P-Roc, whatever makes sense.

    I have to say, with Heighway games being modular, the idea that you could potentially have your game created, sold at the "lower cost" option of being a kit to be slid into an existing cabinet, that's pretty attractive.

    I look at a game like WOOLY. Great team, really built out their own vision, did their own thing. But then they ran up against the build reality. They partnered up with Spooky, kind of a similar idea, but the game was going to be $8k. Just too expensive. Maybe with Heighway's bulk power they could have got the BOM lower, and more realistic to buy.

    #36 4 years ago

    This a win for Highway they get to pick and choose whatever they want via the prototyping stage from layouts, mech's and toys. They also get to see if the full prototypes create enough interest via pinball shows and the internet to see if it would be viable for production and they don't even have to spend a single dime to do it.

    It also ties up these talented people to the development to the Highway system and stopping them for going to another startup or established pinball company.

    Honestly its a great move for Heighway, not sure about the people doing the work since it seems they will be paying for the right for a chance for Heighway to use their designs.

    Also lets be honest every person and their dog has an idea for a pinball game, but there will only be a few that will take through to completion, using this model it will weed out those people who can't go all the way.

    #37 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinballfantexas:

    This a win for Highway they get to pick and choose whatever they want via the prototyping stage from layouts, mech's and toys. They also get to see if the full prototypes create enough interest via pinball shows and the internet to see if it would be viable for production and they don't even have to spend a single dime to do it.
    It also ties up these talented people to the development to the Highway system and stopping them for going to another startup or established pinball company.
    Honestly its a great move for Heighway, not sure about the people doing the work since it seems they will be paying for the right for a chance for Heighway to use their designs.
    Also lets be honest every person and their dog has an idea for a pinball game, but there will only be a few that will take through to completion, using this model it will weed out those people who can't go all the way.

    Very much this. It also seems like a bid to get the large(r) pinball crowd in the US to participate in a "North American" project with more accessible manufacturing and shipping. John seems like a good guy, but are these participants they're looking for really going to risk being financially and legally tied to a UK corporation by way of a hobbyist group that's run by a guy in Nova Scotia and may or may not be any sort of legal or corporate entity? Good luck pursuing any kind of international claims or grievances. This group definitely, 100%, no question has a business interest in profiting from your ideas and in fact this is their primary business? This is a group that has previously hired actual pinball industry designers that have since left the company under unclear (to me) circumstances?

    I might be off base, but I'm a skeptic by nature. I'm encouraging anyone reading this to do their due diligence as well. Aurich, I get your points as well and I agree 100% that it could be worth it to some people to just get their ideas out there. Pardon if I'm also skeptical of your take on it due to your position as an Heighway contractor with a good shot of profiting personally on future art packages developed for these hobbyist-developed machines.

    #38 4 years ago
    Quoted from greatwichjohn:

    I was just thinking that it might be the last thing needed. Someone to do wiring possibly.
    It definitely looks like everyone is going to have to sign a NDA with Andrew to get involved.

    Yeah, but the question becomes how much is really needed for wiring... biggest thing I can think of would be just to make the chart showing the routing and lengths and connections. It doesn't really matter if the proto is a little messy, but the "clean" version is needed for production. Not really complicated for someone to do, just tedious measuring it and figuring out where to put the ties/supports. Access to the physical machine is a concern too..not really something that can be done via email without a big pain in the butt.

    #39 4 years ago
    Quoted from Law:

    Aurich, I get your points as well and I agree 100% that it could be worth it to some people to just get their ideas out there. Pardon if I'm also skeptical of your take on it due to your position as an Heighway contractor with a good shot of profiting personally on future art packages developed for these hobbyist-developed machines.

    Ha, all good. I have zero involvement or knowledge of this initiative, and to be honest, no real interest in being the "go to guy" for these projects either. Because frankly if I was getting involved in a homebrew project and doing the art etc I'd rather be doing it with my own team, and my own idea. Maybe with Heighway! Who knows, I'm not announcing that I'm making my own game or anything.

    I'm doing Alien because it's an awesome license for a movie that I'm a huge fan of. I have an Alien limited print hanging right behind me as I type. The stars aligned.

    I like Andrew a lot, I like his philosophy, I like how he does business. Right now I'm only signed on for this one project. We'll see what the future brings. But in this particular thread I'm a "biased outsider". Obviously I want Heighway to succeed, but I have no particular skin in this game, or inside knowledge (at this time at least).

    I wouldn't advise anyone to take a deal they weren't comfortable with. And I respect anyone who wants to be indie and DIY. But I'd think this was a cool idea coming from Jack, or Stern too. I'd say Spooky, but as much as I respect them, they don't have the factory and infrastructure right now to offer it.

    So I know it's hard for me to sound impartial, because I'm not. But I am trying to view this as a fan, and it's not something I've been involved at all in. If that changes later, so be it, but right now I know as much as anyone who's read this thread.

    #40 4 years ago

    Jack was approached in the past but it got no where. Andrew is at least open to the idea. All the time I ever talked with Gary about anything, he had more important things to do.

    Lots of people want to build a table & hopefully a complete game. Most of us will likely never get a real job with a pinball manufacture. But some in this group have had previous talks with Andrew.

    Most of us have real jobs. This is a chance to get some different themes out into the public.

    -1
    #41 4 years ago
    Quoted from greatwichjohn:

    Most of us have real jobs. This is a chance to get some different themes out into the public.

    Exactly and truth be told you could start a thread here and folks would spend all their time giving input with zero return. Even a free game is a good deal.

    #42 4 years ago

    Any increase in variety of pinball machines is a plus. I try to get the ball going, & there is nothing stopping others doing the same. They way it's going I consider myself like a pinball guidance counsellor. I can hopefully get a small group or groups together with a common goal.

    What I see needed in each group, is a core group. Once it gets going the knowledge or expertise can be shared to move forward. I will get a list of interested people, & forward it on to Andrew to send out a NDA. I will do it at the start of each week, so that he isn't pestered while he is trying to run a factory.

    #43 4 years ago

    While I think this has potential and would love to be part of a design group, I personally can't sign any NDA's until a clear detailed scope of how the project/s will work, the structure of the teams, how team decisions will be made, details of how design rights and design ownership is shared, kept and given away, picking a theme and if the team have a true collective say or down to a team leader, shown a royalty structure.

    So for me I am not willing to sign a NDA without knowing what rights I am giving away and what real / tangible benefits exist for the people in the group.

    I hope this design group / leader / creator can share a bit more on how they will approach this.

    #44 4 years ago
    Quoted from greatwichjohn:

    The big one is finding guys willing to do the coding using Heighway Pinball operating system, & signing off on the NDA.

    I haven't seen very much information about the internals of the Highway machines. What is the base controller hardware they are using? Is it microcontroller or PC based? How much software is there in the OS versus per machine?

    #45 4 years ago
    Quoted from swinks:

    While I think this has potential and would love to be part of a design group, I personally can't sign any NDA's until a clear detailed scope of how the project/s will work, the structure of the teams, how team decisions will be made, details of how design rights and design ownership is shared, kept and given away, picking a theme and if the team have a true collective say or down to a team leader, shown a royalty structure.
    So for me I am not willing to sign a NDA without knowing what rights I am giving away and what real / tangible benefits exist for the people in the group.
    I hope this design group / leader / creator can share a bit more on how they will approach this.

    If people feel they can build their own games, or parts go for it. That goes for anyone who thinks they can produce a good or service for monetary gain. Don't want to infringe on anyone's rights & the NDA is restrictive.

    This is just starting up & i'm not privy to Heighway Pinball operating system, or parts at this time. When the first small core group is assembled. NDA's have been signed, people involved will have more information.

    #46 4 years ago

    I'm going back to just being a North American Build team. Just too much hassle making a huge group. For the guys I have been dealing with. Can you provide me your info: name, address, email, phone number, occupation, & what you will be likely doing towards the build group. The info will be sent to Andrew & he will get a NDA for you to look at & sign. If you aren't happy with the NDA, then you can bail out.

    #47 4 years ago

    Bump: Still looking for more interested people, there are about 6 now if they are ok with the NDA agreement. North American participants only!

    #48 4 years ago

    I'd sign an NDA if I had skills to contribute. All I have are ideas.

    1) Roman Empire - Aqueduct ramp, hippodrome loop, Gladiator spinners, Coliseum pops, triumvirate multiball. Horseshoe to advance legions on Via Appia, pops to fight battles, ramps to build infrastructure and secure.

    2) not mine, but great idea from another thread would be to have a generic rock music table and leave source open enough to upload own content- plug & play for soundtrack, modes for songs, etc.

    #49 4 years ago

    Thanks for some more ideas. Still looking for a few more core people.

    3 weeks later
    #50 3 years ago

    Update: There are a small core group of Americans that I finally forwarded their info on to Andrew tonight. So far 2 to 1 ratio of Americans & Canadians. If you are interested contact me: johngreatwich@outlook.com

    The majority of posts so far were negative towards the build group. The people that are really interested are keeping it private. Hopefully I will have a lot to say about this & my projects at Pintastic Show.

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