(Topic ID: 77386)

Hobbit Update

By B9

6 years ago

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  • 10,044 posts
  • 743 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by GravitaR
  • Topic is favorited by 96 Pinsiders


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#458 5 years ago
Quoted from CraZ4Pin:

It just seems like nobody is managing this project to a timeline. We've been told a whitewood video is coming for months now ... and it's still not ready?

Rather than it not being ready, I think it is more that they don't want to show it. I'm sure the project is being managed very carefully and the fact that little has been revealed is, perhaps, evidence of that. Look at how the information has been released, they have shown as little as possible and milked it for all it is worth. The playfield reveal, for example, was strung out over several weeks with a small section being shown each time. That indicates to me that the project is being very carefully managed. It seems like Joe and the team have learnt from what happened with the early reveals during the WOZ project and they are getting smarter with their marketing.

Time and again, when information about a pinball machine has been released early, people (myself included) make all kinds of criticisms which are either unfounded, irrelevant, or were always going to be addressed. I think they have handled this project very intelligently and with maturity, which ultimately they need to do after the difficulties they have had with the WOZ.

I want to see more details as much as anyone but they need to avoid creating extra work for themselves and annoying the license holder. If they produce a good game it will sell and the people who have pre-ordered will be rewarded, regardless of whether they show anything now or not. Furthermore, if less is revealed now the game will have a bigger impact when it is launched later on.

What do they really stand to gain by showing the whitewood now? Are people likely to drop out because they haven't had an update? Maybe, but I think it is more likely that people will stay in as the excitement builds. In some ways, it could be argued that showing a whitewood is a little unprofessional, perhaps it is better to wait and show a more polished item.

Maybe it's time to sit back and let the designers design and the engineers engineer.

#482 5 years ago
Quoted from CraZ4Pin:

Right. That's why Stern has had 2 titles released since WOZ without incorporating an LCD ... or direct-printed cabinets ... or thicker playfields, or widebodies, or even adding silly toppers. You think Stern's focus is spying on and copying JJP?? I don't think so. If JJP is so concerned that Stern is watching their every move trying to copy them I think they're being a little over arrogant there.

Whether or not Stern are watching JJP, it's easy to imagine that JJP would be very wary in case they are. Pinball manufacturers have always been careful about giving anything away to the competition. Stern are certainly very careful to keep information about their next game under wraps.

#534 5 years ago

Nice! Very happy we have this company making new machines.

#691 5 years ago
Quoted from riverinapinball:

100,000 is $100 each on 1000 machines. Not that expensive.

Maybe they would rather see the $100 000 go into the BOM for the game. Perhaps they could get that guy that Clay did the TOPcast interview with if he is still around, I think his name was Fred Young. He did amazing impersonations. Apparently it was often difficult to tell the difference between his callouts and those from the real actor. He has been at Expo a few times.

#924 5 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

I personally don't think that there is much positive to come out of JJP posting these whitewood videos.

Although I like seeing the videos, I think it would have been better to keep the game under wraps until it was complete. People just don't seem to get that it is a work in progress.

3 weeks later
#988 5 years ago
Quoted from PinballRulez:

From Gabe on JJP forum:
Great show and thank you to pinball star and jjp for having such a great presence at Allentown.
It was great talking to Jack and Jeff about the Hobbit. The game will be nothing short of amazing. What I can tell you is.....the rules are done just not programmed yet....the layout is done (some changes from what has been shown so far)....the third generation white wood is being built and should be done in a week or so. There are many more features that have not been relised. JJP is not trying to copy anyone they are making new innovations and raising the bar once again.

Sounds exciting, thanks.

#1005 5 years ago
Quoted from ek77:

The first WOZ game were at shows 7 months before shipping.

Yeah, but the Hobbit is already further along than those early WOZ games that appeared at shows. We've seen from the video that the Hobbit has the LCD screen up and running and registering scores from the playfield. With those early WOZ games the LCD played a continual loop, and they had a keyboard hanging out the coin door.

#1032 5 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

took my best crack at it

Wow, good job! Amazing what can be done with photoshop. Well, Smaug is there on the playfield, that should please some people.

Looks like a nicely-integrated artwork package so far, colour-scheme wise.

#1033 5 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

If it makes you feel any better I did order one .

A book or The Hobbit machine?

Where was that image of the map apron? Frolic can you get that in the picture too?

(Edit: The apron appears in a video which Mummite posted in this thread about three pages back, can someone with the skills get a still of the video and put the apron in the image?)

#1107 5 years ago

Sorry, maybe I'm missing it but how does that confirm anything?

#1115 5 years ago
Quoted from DCFAN:

That certainly does not sound/look good when they also recently dumped that other vice president last week. It especially is worrisome in that Balcer is the Hobbit designer and that game is not finished yet.
I am starting to feel that everyone with skin in the games should prepare to lose out.

Hang on, can someone explain to me why they think Balcer has left JJP based on that page? I can't see anything that indicates he has left JJP.

#1118 5 years ago
Quoted from frolic:

There is an "end date" on his employment, as opposed to "Present" (pasted GG's for comparison)

OK, thankyou for the explanation.

#1119 5 years ago
Quoted from dannunz:

all parts designed and being fabricated.

Last I heard they were building whitewood, mark III. So, if this is true they must have been happy with how that played?

#1154 5 years ago

JJP mixing up their designers is a good thing, there will be more variety in their games.

3 weeks later
#1239 5 years ago

Pretty sure Jack said in the video that he plans to have test games out in September.

#1242 5 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

The side with the white Orc is no more.

Really? This would be great if true, please confirm source.

#1245 5 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

That whitewood and video is really old too.
Source is very reliable...also heard that there is a chance the LE might have different artwork than standard too.

Ok, thanks, I'm hopeful. LE with Smaug on the cabinet would be cool.

3 months later
#1665 5 years ago

I think these will be just fine in light of the following:

- we are looking at them in isolation, close up, from one photograph, taken at one angle, and not in the game
- there were constraints on the design because of how they are to be used and placed in the game
- there were licensing constraints

The orc and goblin depicted are not the main characters in the film but are a representation of the many hundreds of orcs and goblins which appear in it. I think the main thing is that the bash toys look different enough so that they can be distinguished from one another and yet similar enough to their corresponding characters on the playfield (which I think they do):

playfield bash-toy comparison.jpg

If people had seen a picture of the MM troll in isolation several months before that game was released there may be a similar reaction. Remember also that TH will have four individual bash toys (that we know of so far) rather than two that are the same (like in MM). I think its great that so many different characters are being represented as toys in the game because it will likely make the machine more fun to play.

Matt's explanation of the design process was very interesting, thanks for that. I also applaud him and the rest of the team for coming on here and engaging in a dialogue with the public.

By the way, I actually like Matt's sculpting style. I think it's good that his toys look 'hand-made' and have an artisan flavour about then, rather than being super-slick and realistic. It will, no doubt, imbue the game with a certain feeling of warmth as his toys do on WOZ (especially when the extra "75th anniversary" mods are on the game). It is important that this style in maintained on all the toys throughout the game. In any case, the orc and goblin are supposed to be ugly although I actually think that the orc is a bit "easier-on-the-eye" than the example from the film which was shown in the picture that someone posted earlier.

1 week later
#1942 5 years ago

I don't really care how long it takes. To me, it's the quality of the game that matters.

One thing is clear, The Big Lebowski reveal has raised the bar, it will be interesting how JJP responds. WOZ was a ground-breaking design and, while The Hobbit is looking good, there have been a few things about it that seemed to be slipping backwards slightly. The backglass composition looks off to me and the playfield artwork seems a little rushed. It uses a lot of stock images and not as carefully-executed when compared to WOZ. Now that Dutch Pinball has come out with some incredible looking artwork on a game with a licensed theme it will be harder for pinheads to accept the excuse that JJP was constrained by the license when they did the Hobbit artwork.

Exciting times ahead.

1 month later
#2312 5 years ago

From Jack on the owner's group:

"We implemented many changes that are on these games at IAAPA - there are a few changes that are NOT on these games but will be for Production. I want to compile a list of them. Many were due to feedback, some were happening anyway."

#2544 5 years ago

#2594 5 years ago

The backglass looks much better, they got rid of the halo around Bilbo's head.

3 weeks later
#3320 5 years ago


1 month later
#3715 5 years ago

Looks like the software has progressed a lot since Expo. Should be quite developed (if not complete) by they time they start shipping in April (rumoured date).

3 weeks later
#4246 5 years ago

Maybe Matt will make a moulded Bag End for that area and release it as an official mod, similar to what happened with the castle walls on WOZ.

1 month later
#4565 4 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

Will it be the final production version oh Hobbit?

Are you calling Joe a hobbit?

2 weeks later
#4760 4 years ago
Quoted from Hazoff:

I think with Skit B, JPOP and DP

I don't think DP should be placed in the same category as Skit B, and JPOP. Yes, there were problems but they haven't actually missed any deadlines yet. In fact they have been very quick to get to the prototype stage. We will see as it unfolds over the next few months.

1 week later
#5061 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballRulez:

So what are we waiting for?


#5210 4 years ago

Would be great if someone could post video of the game at Midwest Gaming Classic, seems it has some new features and code.

From the JJP Google group:

"We are here now - great crowd - new software in Hobbit and a long line to play it!

Newer game is at MGC now - that one has lights in the Beasts and Smaug lights as well and the production slide bracket along with the Ring Button introduced.

Thorin, when lit, will spot dwarves now
Ring button now starting to do some stuff, much more will be added later.
Ring button graphics on main score screen
Lots more music and sounds - this game has 40+ minutes of music!!
Multiball locks/start much easier by default now (one LOCK lights all 3 locks the first time - adjustable)
Modes use the scroll lights for indicating where to shoot (not arrows)
Lots of tweaked/updated graphics from JP
Drop targets part of ball search now
Mode start now feeds windlance (kickback)"

#5218 4 years ago
Quoted from lowepg:

If it follows the WOZ timing

It won't be the same as the WOZ timing, TH is already much farther along than WOZ was on release but, yes, can always buy later.

#5283 4 years ago
Quoted from statsdoc:

They need this guy ... ยป YouTube video

Wow! This guy is talented, he's also an artist:

Web page and contact details here (for JJP):


#5287 4 years ago
Quoted from DCFAN:

I wonder if he is expensive.

I don't think he'd be too expensive, he's a 24-year-old arts student.

#5295 4 years ago
Quoted from beelzeboob:

Why does it look like the lighting effects (especially in the GI) only work on the left side? (You can really see it when Smaug breathes fire at the start of multiball.) I wonder if there was a problem with the machine? Can't be the coding. Nice video, though!

If you watch closely you can see that some of the lighting effects (orange) represent fire coming from the dragon's mouth. The eyes on the dragon head light and then the inserts light up in orange in the direction in which the head is facing. So, in the video this is mostly down the left side but at one point (0.38-0.39) the head is facing across the playfield towards the upper right and you can see the same lighting effect going in a different direction. Pretty clever really.

2 weeks later
#5810 4 years ago

Jack looks a lot more relaxed in the video than I have seen him looking in a long time...good sign.

#5867 4 years ago

Well it's great to see so many are coming around to the machine, bodes well for the future of JJP and Pat's game.

1 month later
#6382 4 years ago

Any video from the NW show?

1 month later
#7457 4 years ago

Hoping for some new video from Replayfx.

3 weeks later
#7881 4 years ago
Quoted from pindome:

Full Throttle LE is over $9,000 US Dollars plus shipping.

It says US $7950 plus shipping from Chicago on their website. Standard is $6150.


#7962 4 years ago

There was a Q & A session at the show, so I expect they would have at least discussed the progress of the Hobbit. From their facebook page:


#8175 4 years ago

Just listened to a talk by Joe Balcer from the recent UK pinball party. Not great audio quality, but he does talk a little bit about the Hobbit towards the end and in the questions. It explains quite a bit about the original design: why he included the upper 2 flippers, what Smaug was originally going to be like, etc.

The talk is available on the Pinball News website:

#8186 4 years ago
Quoted from Pimp77:

Please post why there was 2 upper flippers and what Smaug was originally supposed to be...don't have the time to listen.

Sorry I just got back to this thread. As Purpledrilmonkey mentioned earlier, originally the idea was that the game would award different point values when the upper flippers were used to attack creatures, etc. He said they planned to also have different animations or unlock different features when those flippers were used. The upper flippers were supposed to represent different weapons, swords perhaps. My impression was that these were to contrast with the axes on the slingshots. He was also thinking of cutting off power to the lower flippers at times to force a shot with the upper flippers. He mentioned that he was trying to do something different, looking for a unique way to use upper flippers rather than have them for a specific ramp shot. It was more difficult than he expected to design a system to detect when these flippers were being used, however, and later on, after he left, the left upper flipper was removed. So only the windlance/Smaug shot remains from the upper right flipper.

Purpledrilmonkey explained the deal with Smaug above.

2 weeks later
#8564 4 years ago

Looks like there is a new decal on the coin door, maybe indicating how to start a game?

#8573 4 years ago

Exciting times for JJP ahead, they sound more confident about releasing TH in Fall, so what's that, end of November at the latest? Then release of Pat's game in Q2 next year, so end of June at the latest? They sure have been working on Pat's game for a while, announced at the start of 2014, so that will be a 2 1/2 year development cycle. Mind you Hobbit was announced November 2012, so that will be 3 years of development when it is released.

As a comparison, WOZ was first announced (along with the formation of JJP) in January 2011 and the first games shipped at the end of April 2013. So that was a 2 1/4 year development cycle (although the complete ruleset was not in place when it shipped). It seemed to take ages at the time, but looking back that was not long for a new company to go from announcement to shipping games.

Further comparisons:
Heighway: formation of company to shipping pinball games = July 2012 - August 2015 (3 years)
Spooky: formation of company to shipping games = Feb 2013 - August 2014 (1 1/2 years)
Dutch pinball: Announcement of TBL (worked on BOP before this) to shipping games = December 2013 - (1 3/4 years so far)

#8594 4 years ago

Just one more thing about dates:

If the Hobbit ships at the end of November, the time from the formation of JJP to the shipping of the first WOZ will be roughly the same as the time from the shipping of the first WOZ to the shipping of the first TH (2 1/4 as compared to 2 1/2 years). Hope they can reduce the time between game #2 and #3.

2 weeks later
#8791 4 years ago

Great to see that work is beginning on setting up the assembly line. These updates are getting really sharp and more frequent, hope they keep it up.

JJP is actually turning being late into a good thing. Yes, the delays have been frustrating but they seem to be using the extra time to good effect. It must have been tempting to try to rush the game out when they were coming under a lot of fire for the delays but I think it's actually commendable that they have taken their time to get it right. Hopefully it will ensure that the early production of this game proceeds more smoothly than WOZ.

It's also good that they now have product in stock ready to ship. Really hoping JJP can become the stable and major player in the market that we all envisioned way back when the company was announced.

6 months later
#9696 3 years ago

That's a great video above, you can actually see what is going on in each mode, thanks.

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