Great to see an official Homepin thread.
Here's a reminder of the price that Homepin is aiming for:
Quoted from Homepin:
Pricing - - - I don't want to give too much away at this stage but let's say that the Homepin pricing plan has only been adjusted slightly from our original targets. It seems that some others have different pricing ideas but ours remain solid with only a moderate price rise. If you look at our original "introductory" price of AU5432.10 in Australia (plus GST [tax] and delivery) we are not a very long way from this currently.
That was always a special introductory price for those who took a chance on Homepin and paid up front. The normal retail price is estimated to be ABOUT (and please don't take this as gospel at this stage) AU$6999.
This equates to ABOUT US$5250 in todays money. This will be for a machine that will have many more "bells & whistles" than some others on the market and will be built with Homepins already well regarded high quality.
Things are a long way from finalised yet however so please don't quote that price anywhere else without the clarifying statements.
So if they can hit that target they will be Stern's only competitor at the lower end of the market.
Quoted from Homepin:
We have seven test machines that are about to hit the streets - well, very shortly anyway for field testing. One of those might actually stay in the factory so maybe only 6 will go out. I have numerous expat bars, most within an hours drive from the factory, screaming at me to be test sites.
Any Pinside members live near Shenzhen?
Clearly just a rumour, see Mike's estimate above. However, I guess if the AUD or CNY drops in value enough (not sure which is more important to Homepin) then the price in USD might reach that level.
Thunderbirds cabinet art just revealed by Jonathon Joosten in the Pinball Magazine monthly email newsletter:
I think the artwork looks cool. Hand-drawn, nice and colourful and shows all the various vehicles which are the best part of the show.
Cool, I had to look that up.
So how does it work? Does the rod retract as you hit it multiple times?
Quoted from MIL:
I notice the inside walls of the cabinets are not painted all the way to the base . Is this only because they are "demo" cabs ? I think it would finish the look off nicely if the actual production cabinets were painted all the way down ( or even better the entire inside of the cabinet )
See posts above for your answer.
Besides, it may just be me, but I actually prefer the inside the way Mike has it, reminds me of the old school cabinets from back in the day. I'm not a fan of the "paint everything because you can" kind of restorations. Just my opinion.
How are you going to print the playfields? Will you do them in house or is there somewhere nearby where you can get them done?
Quoted from HighProtein:
Will there be an option for a typical American style coin door with 2 coin mechs and a bill acceptor,
or just the single coin slot style door?
Quoted from Homepin:
The cabinets we are making here are our first sample run of six that will be used to site test machines in expat bars in China. The largest coin China has is 1RMB (about $0.18) so coins are not suitable for operating any coin-op here.
The final cabinet design will be offered in two versions. (I have drawings of the two fronts in my PC at work and will post them up later today - it's a public holiday here today so I will be late going in)
(1) Similar to the ones seen in the pics above with a small size coin door and a programmable, 8 coin electronic coin mech INCLUDED. Next to the door is provision for a note acceptor but the machine will be supplied with a blanking plate fitted from the factory.
(2) Not shown in this thread yet - version two which is very much like the FACTORY TEST DOOR shown in the picture with the badge above but it is a TWO SLOT door and will also be supplied with ONE electronic coin mech but the second slot will be available for a second mech.
Operators would be free to replace the door with a standard WMS style one - we can't supply them because Suzo-Happ (pretty well the only people making these doors these days) won't sell them to me at a sensible price even though they are made in the Suzo factory about two hours from Homepin (I have visited them and asked). A standard door will pretty much fit straight into the second cabinet choice but may not be required as they will be two slot doors.
The door picture above was to showcase THE BADGE - not the door. That door is one we use all over the factory to check for size and fit. I don't open up and unpack a new door every time I want to take a picture - note this door has a ding top left and yes, plenty of scratches. It happens to be a single slot door because that is what was supplied to me by the door factory as a sample.
Guys, please don't get picky or anal about things I put up here. Mostly it is ADVANCE information and pictures of a job that is still in progress. Also, I did already explain exactly what these six cabinets were for (local use) - the USA has special requirements for doors etc AND SO DO OTHER COUNTRIES!
Once again, the PRIMARY market for Homepin Thunderbirds pinball machine IS NOT the USA. Yes, it will be sold in the USA but that is NOT our primary target market for this machine and never has been.
It's going to be so interesting to see the game come together with all these custom made parts.
Quoted from Homepin:
We needed some additional plastic colours for the first full run of our various small plastic parts that we are making in house. I called at the masterbatch suppliers late last week and picked up a few KGs of each colour we want to use.
Fascinating. Is this a different material to the vulcanised rubber used at the toy factory you visited earlier in the thread?
I'm not sure if you are aware of it but there is already an "announcement only" subforum here on Pinside:
It's not exactly what you want, because no replies to posts are allowed at all and each thread can only have one post, but you could perhaps use it as an interim measure.
It really wouldn't be a big deal. You have an "official" thread for each company which everyone knows is moderated by that company. The various companies can come on here knowing that they have control over their brand. If someone has an issue with a particular company they can start another "neutral" thread and voice their concerns. The company can choose whether or not to respond in the neutral thread. Everyone is happy.
Some more pics which Mike posted of the Thunderbirds 1 ball launch mechanism and a couple of decals they had printed:
I think I remember there was some discussion about pinball in China in this thread somewhere. While going through some old photos, I came across this photo from a trip to Taiwan a few years back. We went to one of the many night markets, I think it was in Taipei from memory. There were various coin-op games among the many food stalls and the games shown in this pic were the closest to pinball. It was a kind of marble game where you had to direct a marble along the wooden track by tilting the "playfield" with the handlebars. Along the way there were various obstacles to avoid and even jumps to go over. If the marble got up too much speed, it would fly off the track, so you had to be careful. It was pretty good fun. The games were not all the same, there were easy, medium and hard versions. It cost 10 Taiwan dollars (about USD 0.30) for 3 balls.
Quoted from ledge:
Wheres Mike .. he tapped out here ?
He has left until Robin implements a feature whereby companies can moderate their own threads. However, he hasn't posted any progress on Facebook or the Australian forums either. I think they are probably pretty busy trying to hit their deadline of finishing a prototype machine by the end of August. If he posts anywhere else I can copy and paste it here.
I really think the complaints about "free speech" are looking at this from the wrong angle. I believe that manufacturer-moderated threads would add to Pinside rather than taking anything away from it. I mean look at it this way:
At the moment we have thousands of Pinside-moderated threads where people can say almost anything they want, which is great, but we also have almost all no manufacturers represented on the site. If you allowed manufacturers to start self-moderated threads (which were clearly marked as such) you would still have all the thousands of Pinside-moderated threads and, maybe, the occasional additional manufacturer-moderated thread.
So, let's say that a manufacturer creates a self-moderated thread. They keep it the way they want it, as a representation of their company and brand, much like their Facebook page, except that it is here on Pinside. Everyone knows it is a manufacturer-moderated thread and is, therefore, presenting a particular image of the company but we also get more information, direct from the manufacturer, right here on Pinside. People can ask questions if they like and the manufacturer can choose to answer them or not.
You might then complain: "But what if there are issues with their product that they are attempting to hide, the public has a right to know!" OK, well then you can create your own Pinside-moderated thread, in that manufacturer's subforum, "My issues with Manufacturer X", and exercise your free speech. The manufacturer cannot delete your comments but can choose to respond in your thread if they like.
This is not a free-speech issue, there would still be free speech on Pinside, but there would also be more content and manufacturers might return to the site.
Quoted from Sonny_Jim:
Plenty of other sites have 'sponsored businesses' sub forums where they can moderate that particular sub forum freely.
I don't think a manufacturer should be able to moderate a whole sub-forum. For example, the Stern sub-forum should stay Pinside-moderated as a whole but I'm saying that Stern should be able to post Stern-moderated threads in that sub-forum. Other people can also post threads to the Stern sub-forum which remain Pinside-moderated.
Quoted from o-din:
What could work and has sort of been done here before is a manufacturer could have a locked update thread where he or she is the only one allowed to post. And that would eliminate a lot of problems.
This might be a good compromise.
New post on Homepin's facebook page:
An early prototype of the T2 ramp - note, it is working upside down on the test bench. The finished unit has much better end sensing and better adjustments for them.
A batch of Tracy Island mechs waiting for the controller PCBs to be fitted
I think this game is shaping up really nicely. The artwork looks great, all the mechs look fantastic and the build quality is of Mike's usual high standard. If the code is good and the price is as projected this should be a real winner.
Quoted from oldskool1969:
I think I would prefer photoshop IMO
Really? I'm so glad Mike went with hand-drawn, it gives the machine a classic feel and it makes it a unique art piece. I love the art so far, I hope the playfield is in a similar classic pinball style.
AUD $6499 puts it about USD $5200 at the moment. If Homepin can hit that price in the US and the layout is decent it will make for very interesting times, Stern's first real competitor at the Pro price-point in the new millennium.
Here's the translite direct from the artist, apparently the colors are not right on the Facebook version posted above.
Here's a couple of pics of the interior of the cabinets being built now for an expo in Australia:
More Facebook updates:
A Homepin shaker motor installed in one of our new cabinets.
Some rails ready for the fitting of our optos, also we supply a REAL mechanical knocker with every pinball machine!
Here's a recent post from an Australian forum:
With all this recent talk about "repair-ability" of modern pinballs I thought I would share a couple of things here.
Our lamp boards almost all use 3 LEDs in series with a 1W resistor so they are far from stressed and are actually operating at about 1/3 of their maximum ratings. They are also very easily replaced.
Almost all of our other boards are made using through hole COMMON parts where possible. Some things simply are not made in through hole anymore and when we find that we try and use other parts. Sometimes it's inevitable and we have to use the SMT part but we avoid that as much as possible. In most cases there simply is no need whatsoever to use SMD for most pinball boards.
Like these simple interface boards using ordinary parts:
From AA forum:
Making a run of small posts in various colours. We made the injection mould for these in-house.
These samples on my desk haven't been cleaned of all the moulding "flash".
From AA forum:
Our power supply. We use a solid toroidal transformer for that extra PUNCH in your coil action.
Also, we include a user mod connector which has a separate winding so anything done here shouldn't affect the rest of the machine.
How amazing - we are loading and shipping our first two finished factory Thunderbirds pinball machines on the 30th of August - they should arrive (land - LOL) in Australia in time for the inaugural "Thunderbirds Day".
Cutting TAG playfields in the Homepin factory on our CNC machine.
Aprons being assembled after screen printing.
Our "modernised" version of 'The Thunderbirds March' that we had commissioned. Naturally the original will feature as well.
Running on one of our bench setups testing the audio board and power supply.
Quoted from KenLayton:
Will your machines come with a playfield prop rod? I feel these are absolutely essential when working on the playfield. Especially when working on the flippers, I don't want to have to lean the playfield against the backbox and stand on a step ladder to solder on wires on a flipper coil or EOS switch.
Your wish is Mike's command:
"Our stainless steel playfield prop. It supports both sides of the playfield so no twisting!"
Quoted from tjc02002:
Interesting idea but it looks a little harder to put up having to make sure it clears all the components.
I imagine you just lift the playfield all they way up and rest it on the backbox, lift up the stand and then lower the playfield back down onto it.
Quoted from tjc02002:
Please consider including a ball catch like JJP does so that the balls dont fall out when the playfield is lifted.
They already have this according to the flyer: "passive ball stop (prevents damage when lifting the playfield)"
There are many toys not installed in this video and also lots of switches need adjusting - but it still plays well (just that the Chinese staff can't play pinball - LOL).
Sadly the shipping company has brought forward the loading of our container to this Sunday morning so there is no chance we will be able to have these machines ready and packed for Pinfest. They will now have to be air freighted at horrendous cost
Quoted from Chitownpinball:
Still SCREAMS colordmd to me guys...the machine has a lot of vibrant color going on and then you have an orange eye sore from 1992. Dots look good, but imagine the look with color. Next level.
They were going to do color, but they had some terrible unforeseen setbacks, not limited to the fact that their main programmer passed away during development. Let them get this game out and we'll see what happens in the future. You can't do everything on the first release. Perhaps later games will have a color LED display, or they might even offer one for Thunderbirds when they are more established. In any case, Homepin has chosen to put most of their resources into mechanical playfield features rather than the display. It's a different approach to a lot of the other manufacturers at the moment and it's good that the consumer has a choice.
The two machines to be airfreighted to Pinfest Australia are now packed and waiting for the pickup truck.
NOTE: Some elements of the following topper are not yet approved by the licence owner.
Some early reviews and comments coming in on the Aussie Arcade forum:
"Played tag. Full report tomorrow. Will take pics and a few game play vids and put them on YouTube. Can't live steam as the reception is too bad. In short, sounds good, looks good, some interesting shots, big flipper gap, smooth ramps and started multiball . You loose locks if you lose your ball. Locks do not carry over."
"I didn't get a chance to play it last night, but watched some of the other guys have a quick game or two. I'll get my first chance to flip it later on this morning and will have more to say then. I am most looking forward to learning the objectives and I hope Mike can spare a few minutes to explain them before my first game.
I can say that it looks fantastic in person. I got up close to the playfield and cabinet, and love the hand drawn and inked caricature art style. The colouring and shading looks great in person.
There is so much that Mike has packed to this machine. A left to right moving (HOOD) target, a bank of three (FAB) drop targets that engages the mechanical ramp, pomp bumpers etc. Lots of other stuff including a number of spotlights, mole target and plenty I didn't see in action. Also there are lots of little details like the palm trees and the LED strip on the centre ramp are a nice touch. The EL's also look great in person and anyone who intends on putting TAG on location will really benefit from the EL's while the machine in attract mode.
I can't comment too much on gameplay and that will have to wait until later on this morning. The centre ramp is clever. I have not seen a ramp quite like it, the way that ball exits at the top and the ball drops back down through the rollovers and swings down to the flippers.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting a few games in this morning. Cheers "
I think the game could do with a few more shots. Maybe a few more targets here and there, like on either side of the ramp. You could probably fit a scoop in to the left of the ramp in front of the pop bumper in place of the plastic which is there.
Best DMD message ever: "KEEP PLAYING!"
I like the white apron for some reason.
Hopefully someone else will have a review when the festivities are over.
Quoted from Fytr:
If Homepin produces games with themes tailored to Chinese culture they can address a large segment of it that nobody else can address.
Imagine if they made a game based on the Wolf Warrior franchise. Wolf Warrior 2 was a 2017 patriotic action film and the highest grossing Chinese film of all time. It made around US$850 million at the box office. As a point of comparison, the Last Jedi made around $40 million in China. A Wolf Warrior 3 film has been planned.
Chinese box office sales surpassed those of the US for the first time this year.
China is an absolutely massive market with a rapidly growing middle class which is becoming increasingly wealthy. China has the largest middle class population in the world (around 109 million people compared to 90 million in the US) and that represents only 10% of the Chinese population.
From Homepin Factory Facebook:
Look who I found yesterday. While we were having a chat Jack was kind enough to give me a few pointers about some production line techniques that will help us speed things up a little. Thanks Jack!
If I can separate the game from all the controversy which has gone with it for a minute:
After watching the stream, I think the game looks pretty good for the price point. The tweaks they have made seen to have improved gameplay. There is a lot going on in this game physically and mechanically and the rules and gameplay look simple and fun. I think they will sell a reasonable number at US$5000. If they can make a few simple changes going forward, future games could be very successful. In order of importance:
1. Clear up any issues with all existing pre-orders and dispense with the pre-order model.
2. Allow Highway Games (their distributor) to be an intermediary with customers/the general public, with all communications going through Highway aside from factory updates on Facebook/Youtube with comments disabled.
3. Hire an experienced/good playfield designer to ensure that all the shots in future games are solid.
4. Modify the board set to allow for USB updates to software.
5. Adopt an LCD display with simple graphics similar to Team Pinball's approach.
If they can make solid, simple and relatively inexpensive games I think they could be a really good choice for operators and families wanting a simple machine for the gameroom.
Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside