(Topic ID: 77386)

Hobbit Update

By B9

5 years ago

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#492 5 years ago

I would love to see Jack keep the rest of the Hobbit details tightly under wraps until it is ready for release and then blow everyone away with the finished game! I really think that JJP was almost too transparent on WOZ and as a result the game felt somewhat "old" by the time it was released... We played every early iteration of code at shows and suffered through all the bugs, weak flippers, etc. along the way... Could you imagine if all of the details of WOZ were kept secret and it was released with finished 3.0 code and little to no bugs or issues. It would have created a frenzy unlike anything we've seen before! I hope that's the case with the Hobbit and future games from JJP.

#525 5 years ago

The display effects and music look great! I really hope they can bring this game to market on time and get their production kinks figured out before it's released.

1 month later
#1133 5 years ago

Joe's been working almost exclusively on Hobbit for over 18 months. I would guess that his part of the design is most likely done and it's mostly software/sound/lcd work that remains.

#1178 5 years ago
Quoted from PinPatch:

Who is designer 3 (machine 4) ?
Veteran or rookie?
Hopefully a rookie mix things up a bit crazy new ideas etc

Is Bryan Hansen still with JJP? The rumor I heard a while back was that he already completed a Pinball Circus re-design for JJP but I don't know if there's any truth to that?

4 months later
#2126 5 years ago

MSRP on JJP pins is a confusing subject. I thought the Hobbit LE was supposed to be $7500 pre-order price with a $8K MSRP? Now the Standard is $8K and the LE $9K. If it's anything like WOZ we'll see increases on both of these prices as well before they ship.

On WOZ the standard game started out with a $6500 pre-order price followed by an increase to $7000 and then $8K. Wonder if the Hobbit Standard will follow suit and be priced at $9K non-preorder price. Maybe we'll see a 2nd LE (similar to Ruby Red) break the magical $10K barrier?

1 month later
#2419 5 years ago

Huge improvement over the old design! The playfield art is so much more vibrant and colorful than before. Kudos to JJP for listening to the customers and making these changes so quickly! Also like the new Smaug a lot better as well. Much better than staring at a grey rock I think they'd be wise just to make Smaug in Red and ditch the gold model though. The gold is just too much... Also like the look of the apron and glad they incorporated an LCD for the book.-I just hope it integrates into gameplay vs. just being eye candy like the crystal ball. Something similar to the TV in TSPP would be ideal.

1 week later
#3099 5 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

I finally had the chance to play TWD yesterday. Played it for over an hour.
I'm afraid that I will now be referring to that game as The Walking Dud.
That was the least fun pin that I have played in a very long time. The layout is terrible. The ball exiting the pops caused a SDTM drain about a third of the time. The prison magnet is stupid. I got several SDTM drains from the magnet releasing the ball. Ball is in the pops far too much. Theme implementation is absolutely horrible.
I'm so glad that I backed out of my preorder on this. Ugh.
Just my opinion so take it easy.

I couldn't agree more. Borg's hot streak is over. It's just not a good design. I like the skill-shot but besides that the layout is a kludgy mess. From the 2 left orbits that lead to the pops to the way the ball exits the pops it just doesn't seem well thought out. Plus there are no backhand opportunities and shots to the ramps come back to the same flipper vs. criss-crossing. If you play a game like ACDC or Star Trek and then play TWD it just feels clunky in comparison. It's a shame because the artwork and theme are great and they have one of the best programmers in the business working on it. No offense to those that love it, this is just my personal opinion. I honestly think Mustang is a better game and I'm by no means a big fan of that one.

#3108 5 years ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Different strokes Rob, I love "the Walking Dud". I haven't had more fun playing a pin at the outset than this one, of every other pin that has come through the door.
The layout is great, because its different, the shots are "satisfying" and Lyman will do his usual great job on the rules.
Even though this is a "Hobbit Update", TWD is NOT a "dud", far from it!

Different strokes indeed. I guess that's what makes this hobby great. I just can't see what people like in this game from a layout standpoint. If you break down the shots from each flipper you have:

From right flipper -
Shoot standard drop target bank. I like drops but these are no where near as fun as inline drops like Metallica has.
Shoot left orbit which goes to pops.
Shoot left ramp which returns to same flipper. Whoop!
Shoot inner left orbit which goes to pops.
Backhand Well Walker
Attempt prison shot which is obscured by well walker.-Not worth trying!

From Left flipper
Bash Prison
Bash Well Walker
Shoot thru the pops. -I like this one.
Shoot Right ramp - returns to same flipper.
Woodbury shot- yet another shot that leads to the pops.

Lack of true backhand shots and cross shots really closes down this layout for me. Basically you either bashing one of the two bash targets, looping the same ramp shot or shooting the pops. It just feels like Borg phoned it in and didn't really think this layout through enough. Sure the LE has a few more shots but those shots close the layout out even more by closing off the left ramp (bicycle girl). and no unique shots from the crossbow.

#3111 5 years ago

Tough call but I think I would opt for the regular LE on this one. I like the look of the just the Red Smaug over the Red/Gold and think I prefer the dark silver powdercoat over the gold.-I'd have to compare in person to be sure though. Cabinet artwork is a tough call. I like the Smaug artwork better but it is kind of redundant having the same artwork on both sides along with a similar scene on the center of the playfield. I think I'd rather have the variety of the standard cabinet artwork since it features different scenes. The Smaug version is almost too much Smaug.-if there is a such thing.

3 weeks later
#3383 5 years ago

The Hobbit is shaping up to be a really nice looking game! Big improvement over what was shown at Expo. Can't wait to play one someday soon. Would be a difficult decision between LE/SE as well. I think I'd prefer having unique artwork on both sides and the seaside bronze, but the Smaug version looks much more menacing! I really don't think you can make a "wrong" choice either way.

3 months later
#5311 4 years ago

I got 4 plays in on Hobbit over the weekend at MGC and really enjoyed the game and where it's heading. Here's a list of the positives and negatives of my current thoughts on the game.

I'll start with the non-gameplay items.
1. The quality of the display and the animations are sick! This game was sitting directly next to a WOZRR and the quality of the graphics and the way it is utilized made WOZ look outdated. It was a joy just to watch the display waiting in line as others' played.
2. The sounds are a huge step up from WOZ as well. Music and sound effects just sounded way more full and less annoying.
3. The game itself is beautiful all around and the LED's look great as do the LED effects.. Just feels solid and of high quality. The insert lighting doesn't seem as impressive as on WOZ but is still impressive. GI Lighting is a huge step forward. I also liked the look of the trim.

Honestly, There aren't really any negatives in the looks, sound, music dept. especially since the software is nowhere near completion. If I had to pick one thing I didn't really care for the axes on the slingshots.

Now for the gameplay
1. The pop up targets and the way they are implemented is really cool and unlike anything we have ever seen before. They react from even glancing blows from the front or rear and feel completely different from pop up targets on MM or XMen.
2. If you like shooting drop targets than this game is for you. It's definitely more of a shooter's game than a flow game.
3. The central fishtales ramp/captive ball/diverter in the middle is a welcome change from traditional layouts. Ramp shots feel good to hit although they are often blocked by the pop up targets.

1. When you play you honestly forget the the upper right flipper is even there. I did have the Windlace hold the ball in the left outlane (and fired with the fire button on the lockdown bar) which fires the ball towards that flipper for a one-timer but other than that it just doesn't seem that important.
2. Playfield does seem enormous and gameplay isn't that fast or punishing. Ball times are way longer than WOZ and you usually have plenty of time to react to shots. I think it would be a better game as a standard body vs. widebody. The saving grace is the pop-ups in this situation as they actually give you something in that vast openness to shoot for.

3. The entire upper right quadrant of the playfield seems like kind of a waste. There's really just a target and shot into the bumpers and a VUK to shoot. The bag end video screen looked nice but I honestly didn't ever look at it while I was playing. Game could have used a unique toy/target/ramp in this area for sure.

Overall I liked the game though primarily for the fact that it is unique and different and will no doubt have an awesome rule-set to go along with a great theme/art/sound/video package. It's the same reason I like WOZ. I think once it's complete I'll like it more than WOZ since the theme is better and because I prefer having lots of drops/pop-ups to upper playfields. It's a target game with some flow which is nice to see for a change vs. just a fast/flow game like Stern usually releases.

I would most likely never spend $8K plus on a pin but if I came into a windfall of money and could justify spending that kind of cash on a single pin I would buy a Hobbit way before buying a PPS remake or a Stern LE. It just feels like you get more for your money and the long term play-ability will be there with Keefer on software duty. On the contrary if I had to choose between the Hobbit and 2 Stern Pro's I would probably take the 2 Stern Pro's. It would be a tougher decision between Hobbit and TBL for me but I still think I would lean towards Hobbit just because i think it will be the more challenging pin long term. Bottom line is that it's a cool and unique pin and I look forward to playing it more in the future!

#5333 4 years ago
Quoted from HoakyPoaky:

After doing some more thinking, there's even more skill shot possibilities right off the ball plunger. A strong pull could hit one of the moving DWARF drop targets, or go into the LT VUK. You could time your plunger pull to hit one of the moving popups. Or a soft plunger pull could roll across all four rollover locks right off the bat. And that's before the game has even started.
And I'm sure that the power of the windlance can be adjusted by programming, so that the ball can be shot at the MAN drop targets or the RT VUK. As for that "useless" RT upper flipper, it's clear that a powered up windlance shot can get the ball up to that flipper, then across to the DWARF drop targets.
So imagine that the Smaug killshot is ready & the windlance is loaded. 4 of the 5 DWARF targets are up & moving back & forth, simulating Smaug's exposed scale & leaving a single standup target exposed. The lower flippers have been disabled. The playfield is dark, Smaug is taunting you, breathing fire all across the playfield. The shaker kit is rumbling, the sound & music are booming. The timer is counting down. You have one chance to launch the ball up to the RT upper flipper & make the killshot, or the ball will drain. Talk about pressure! And how satisfying would making that shot be for the player? Perhaps one of the most satisfying in pinball.
When I look at this playfield I see so much potential. This game is going to be a home run.

I talked to Chris at the Hobbit booth at MGC and several of those skillshots including having the ball roll over the 4 lock targets are in the works. -None of them were present in the MGC game however.

The Windlace is also partially programmed at this time. The post will pop up and hold the ball and you can launch it up to the UR flipper for a one timer. In the two times that I attempted it though it wasn't a smooth feed up the right orbit and down to the flipper though.-You had to hit it on the fly which wasn't easy! It would be cool if there was a way to dial in the strength via a power meter on the display where you could charge it up by holding and releasing the lockdown button. I doubt they'll ever disable the lower flippers in any mode due to the unreliability of any mechanical ball shooter. Unfortunately I think the UR flipper will continue to be mostly an afterthought.-similar to how it is on WOZ. Not totally worthless but only used sparingly.

#5336 4 years ago
Quoted from statsdoc:

He does make a good point. There should be something to regularly aim at with that top flipper. Perhaps it is coming in the code, but I don't see it. With WOZ, there are shots from that top right flipper that are difficult but only possible from that flipper (i.e. into the haunted forest) and shots that are best taken from that flipper (i.e. the witch). I don't see that in Hobbit ... but I trust that Keith will find a way to incorporate the flipper somehow. He deserves the benefit of the doubt here.

They could do something in single ball play where you have to combo the left orbit to UR flipper in order to do a "Kill Shot" on Smaug. They could also make it so that when you shoot down the drops using the lower flippers the drop pops back up and Smaug laughs at you!

#5341 4 years ago
Quoted from Plungemaster:

Every shot is easely made, with almost no risc when missing.
Only the drops, if coded well which i think they will, will be challenging and satisfying shots.
I still think this will be of of the best pins ever, due to the whole package. But lay out wise it could have been so much better. This lay out lacks fantasy for a theme like The Hobbit.

Most of the risky shots right now are from bad carrom's off of the pop ups. I also had one drain where it went around the U-turn and went SDTM. There wasn't a post to save it in the MGC game.

I agree that this has the capability to be one of the best pins of all time because of the entire package, but the layout is definitely the weakest link. If this was Pat's game there would be no way he would design a game with a "worthless upper flipper" and such a poorly designed Bag End pop area. On Pat's games the biggest jackpots are always unique shots using the upper flippers. The rest of the game is top notch though and I think great software can make up for a lot of the layout's faults.

#5342 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballRulez:

By the way. Look at the right upper flipper of TZ. How many shots can you make with that one Does not bother me in any way.

UR flipper on TZ is the only way you can shoot the Hitchhiker and camera shot as well as some of the smaller targets. You can even carrom shots up to the piano on occasion and it is also how you relight the jackpot in multiball. If the Hobbit's UR flipper is half as useful I will be impressed!

#5381 4 years ago
Quoted from Zebulon-74:

VIDEO MODE on The Hobbit?.?.?.
Yes! Could be epic!
No! Absolutely not!

Please no! If I want to play a video game I can break out the Playstation or XBox.

#5418 4 years ago
Quoted from Rarehero:

I have no idea how the Hobbit modes will play out - but I have to assume they'll be non-linear in some respect...so there's probably a good chance average players will get to experience most of them.

My guess is that they'll be a lot like either WOZ or TSPP and be mostly non-linear. If you look at the TSPP rule-set there is close to 30 modes. I'm guessing many of Hobbit's modes will be Hurry-ups/2x scoring variety mixed along with some longer objective based modes.

From the top of my head on Simpsons:
7 TV modes
5 Treehouse modes
4 Daredevil Modes
10 2x Scoring Otto modes
Doh Frenzy
Comic Book Guy hurry-ups

Also all of the various multiballs (Pretzel, 3x I&s, etc)

30 modes is a ton but we've seen games in the past with nearly that many modes.

8 months later
#9084 3 years ago

Once they start building games have they given an estimate on how long it will take to build them? I thought I remember WOZ taking right around a year to make 1000 of them with a few extra standards mixed in. Also, is it 1500 LEs plus all the SE's? If so that's got to be well over 2000 games. Even if they double the production rate of WOZ you'd still be looking at over a year.-or has production capacity increases significantly more than that?

#9085 3 years ago
Quoted from Goronic:

I think that is right. It is a ton of dough, but I don't think JJP can sell if for much less - that game is rather packed to be honest. In my opinion anyway

The game is amazing and is truly packed with feautures and is worthy of an $8k price.. If LEs were $8k and I could order one and have it within a month (guaranteed) I would buy one. The problem is by the time all the games get made and you can buy one without pre-ordering the price will likely be $9.5k plus like WOZ. I could justify 7.5-8k but not more than that.

#9093 3 years ago
Quoted from wtatumjr:

I wouldn't put too much faith in the "when" from JJP only that indeed you will receive your game. They are notoriously optimistic as to dates.

Has anyone got an estimate from JJP later than June 2016 for an LE/SE game? Hard to believe they'll have all 1500-2000 games done by then but I would love to have them prove me wrong!

2 months later
#9474 3 years ago

Hobbit is a very impressive machine all around. The LCD, the art, sounds, lights, etc. are pretty much unparalleled. I really think it is an engineering marvel and technically superior to anything else out there not named P3. The game is lacking however in it's intuitiveness. I play a lot of pinball but find myself lost in trying to play it. Basically I try to roll over the lock shots and start multiball and hit the pop up targets which eventually start another multiball. I don't really understand how you control which modes are started or how anything stacks. When a mode starts I check out the screen for what I'm supposed to hit but beyond that I'm lost.... I feel like with a bunch more plays or if I owned the game at home I could start figuring this stuff out but for someone just coming in off the street the game's rule-set has such a huge learning curve. I think the large display is great for spectators but it's a hindrance when your playing. DMD's are nice because I can glance up and I know exactly where to look to find the info I need. On a big LCD I have to train myself to look at different areas to find what I'm looking for. If I want to see what the lockdown button is currently active for I have to know to look towards a certain section on the screen. For modes you have to look at a big map area. It's also tough to see what your shots score because that info isn't really in your periphery while you're playing.-it's too high on the screen. I'm sure with more plays I could train myself to get used to these differences and figure out the game but I feel like you need to play it a bunch to really know what your doing. I'm looking forward to playing it more and I'm sure for home buyers this stuff won't be an issue but in the dozen or so plays I've put on it so far I don't really have a positive feeling on the gameplay and software side of things. Hoping this changes with time!

#9483 3 years ago
Quoted from Eskaybee:

All good points. If you want to know what to shoot in a mode, look at bilbos book. Clear as day (ie shoot pops, shoot spider, shoot left ramp, etc...). Great game, but yea, the overall rules seem scattered and missing the Keefer synergy.

I get that (The book) and the rules seem straight forward and rather simplistic about what to hit (left ramp, orbits, spider, etc.) The book is a massive improvement over the Crystal ball in WOZ btw.... The modes rather just seem kind of flat and anti-climactic. Maybe it's because a lot of the sound effects and visual queues aren't there? I think I also have a hard time just wrapping my mind around so many different modes that I have a hard time seeing how everything fits together? I don't really have a clear strategy around how to make the modes more lucrative. I know in Keefer's past games like LOTR I always knew the strategy about which modes to start and when as well as which modes to stack with multiball. In Hobbit I honestly have no idea. I also don't know what anything is worth while I'm shooting during modes because that info isn't in my peripheral vision while playing. If I score decent points while playing I'm unsure of how I actually accumulated those points.

It's kind of funny that I played a production Hobbit and a production Full Throttle for the first time on the same night and within a couple games on FT I already understood 90% of the rule-set and kept wanting to play more games because of the addictive gameplay. Hobbit was far more frustrating because It is so hard to figure everything out in comparison. Felt far more like work playing and wasn't as enjoyable. I'm sure as you figure out the rule-set and become more accustomed to it Hobbit would be more fun as these strategies become more apparent and you get more engrossed in the theme but it has just taken me a lot longer to warm up to the game because it isn't as intuitive.

#9486 3 years ago

Thanks. I've seen that diagram before but didn't really get a chance to study before playing. That does help everything make more sense though.

#9489 3 years ago
Quoted from Jvspin:

Did you know all these things after your first 10 games on LOTR?

I think I knew the basic strategy on LOTR within 10 plays. I knew that POTD qualified ROTK MB, that the keep letters and sword ramp qualified TT MB, and that Fellowship was started by collecting characters on the playfield. i also knew the basic strategy of how to start modes at the ring and to always carry a mode into a multiball. Sure it took a while to develop the finer points of the rule-set but I at least had a general understanding within 10 games. I'm nearly positive I reached DTR within my first 10 plays on LOTR with my friend (who owned the game) coaching me along.

#9499 3 years ago
Quoted from dgoett:

Me too. And Keith will do it right. Version at work is .81 - TONS more to come.
For all we know radically advanced code is done already, but .81 was the most stable to get new games out the door and watch for potential problems.
I'm sure by summer stuff will be developing quickly. Whats a few more months after waiting 40??

Good point. I forget that code is only at .81 release. WOZ code wasn't great starting out but turned out amazing! I'm sure Hobbit will be as well with Keefer on it.

7 months later
#9962 3 years ago

I would like to see some kind of save and resume function where you can save a game after a ball and then at a later date/time continue where you left out, and it could stage any locked balls. As someone with young kids I rarely get more than 5-10 minutes without getting interrupted. It's the reason I can't have games like LOTR, TSPP and Hobbit in my collection.-at least for a while. If there was a save/continue function like video games have this would be possible again! Also a pause game feature like TZ would be awesome!

#9979 3 years ago
Quoted from Goronic:

How could you pause it if were able using existing hardware

It shouldn't be that hard. On TZ you can trap a ball on a flipper and hold the buy in button to pause the game. I actually use this feature a lot on that game with young kids and wish all games had a similar feature. I can't remember what the limit is (maybe 10-15 minutes), but it's perfect for those times where you have to rush away for a minute or two which in my case is often!

With modern pc based games like Hobbit I wouldn't think it would be that hard to save your current game state in a file. It wouldn't have to be mid ball but maybe at the start of the next ball you could hold the lockdown button and the start button in succession and it could allow you to save that status using your initials. You can then power off the game and after starting the next game you press the lockdown bar and start button again and punch in those initials and it loads the progress from before. It's the same thing they've been doing in video games since Zelda 30 years ago. As games get deeper and game times longer it really only makes sense to do something like this.

#9981 3 years ago
Quoted from brucipher:

I think the game save state is a great idea and I would love to see it implemented on a game like the Hobbit which can have very long game times. I think the one caveat is once a save state is loaded, it should be deleted so you could not continue to resume a game from that same spot over and over again.

Yeah you'd also have to do something where after saving the game that it automatically ends your game and puts the game back in attract mode so that you can't keep replaying the ball over again.

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