(Topic ID: 320324)

I really dislike staging. (warning: petulant whining)

By oldbaby

1 year ago


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  • 47 posts
  • 25 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by MrMikeman
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “Staging is:”

    • a good game mechanic 20 votes
      51%
    • a bad game mechanic 6 votes
      15%
    • neither good nor bad 13 votes
      33%

    (39 votes)

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    #1 1 year ago

    Just played a pin where it was almost impossible to stage because the sensors were too close together. How many operators would identify and fix such a problem? Only the most dedicated. If you ask me, Multimorphic has the right idea. (The upper flippers are controlled with a separate button).

    Staging is like playing tennis with the racket tucked in your armpit.

    #2 1 year ago

    What is staging, and what sensors are too close together?

    #3 1 year ago
    Quoted from oldbaby:

    Just played a pin where it was almost impossible to stage because the sensors were too close together. How many operators would identify and fix such a problem? Only the most dedicated. If you ask me, Multimorphic has the right idea. (The upper flippers are controlled with a separate button).
    Staging is like playing tennis with the racket tucked in your armpit.

    Counterpoint - unstaged flippers (Example: Congo’s 2 left flippers) make it physically impossible to cradle on the lower and use the upper. This is a technique used in many competitive settings on games that have staged flippers.

    People need to set up their games properly. Just because an OP may have a game set up poorly, doesn’t mean an industry should take away something that adds to competitive gameplay.

    Edit - multiple flipper buttons are also confusing, unless it’s blatantly obvious it has another function (MagnaSave on BK/BK2K, center post kickback on Medusa…etc).

    #4 1 year ago
    Quoted from RCA1:

    What is staging, and what sensors are too close together?

    It's where flippers of one side of a game say.... Twilight zone is a game I like to do it on... Cradling a ball on the left flipper but only pushing in the button some as to not activate the upper left flipper that way you can hold a ball below and shoot the jackpot scoop above with another ball.

    Sensors meaning either mechanical leaf switches, optos, or magnets, if they are too close it becomes super hard to get breathing room between lower flipper cradled up and flipping the upper flipper. The "closer" they are the faster they flip one after the other

    -6
    #5 1 year ago
    Quoted from RCA1:

    What is staging?

    Really 10 years and 7k plus post

    #6 1 year ago
    Quoted from RCA1:

    What is staging, and what sensors are too close together?

    In one picture I have the flipper button fully pressed in. Both left flippers are up. But there’s two switches in series and the upper flipper is 2nd in line, so if I depress the flipper button a bit, the upper flipper returns to rest. So by depressing and pressing just a little all the way in, I have full control of that flipper while not moving the lower flipper (which is cradling a ball, typically in a multi ball so I don’t drain).

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    #7 1 year ago

    I knew this technique but not by the term staging. At any rate, why would one not like staging? It’s an additional technique you can do if you want to, but totally optional.

    On my games that will allow it I do have the flipper switches adjusted so it can be done. My no good gofers is a game where it’s seemingly not possible due to there being fixed optos instead of leaf switches.

    Ps - I also think there are probably few operators that would ever care or pay attention to dialing in a game enough to consider staging. Maybe some real pinheads.

    #8 1 year ago

    I love the implementation of staging. I know on my ST-TNG with optos, there are 2 optos per flipper button to properly support this play feature.

    The leafs are not too bad to adjust in my experience, but I think this is going to boil down to different eras of machines and how important it is, VS the risk of the flipper not working on route which would be the cardinal symptom to avoid.

    Successfully cradling a ball, while looping a ball or otherwise making a great shot with the upper flipper is such a freaking flex. hopefully most see this as a pretty important feature if you are trying to attract players and improve the pinball scene in your area.

    #9 1 year ago

    Bah humbug, watching competitive pinball wouldn't be such a friggin' snoozefest if the flippers only stayed up for 5 seconds and then dropped......would make multiballs as exciting as they should be.

    #10 1 year ago

    I get crazy with that, I really wouldn't mind going back to 3 or 4 buttons

    #11 1 year ago
    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    Counterpoint - unstaged flippers (Example: Congo’s 2 left flippers) make it physically impossible to cradle on the lower and use the upper. This is a technique used in many competitive settings on games that have staged flippers.
    People need to set up their games properly. Just because an OP may have a game set up poorly, doesn’t mean an industry should take away something that adds to competitive gameplay.
    Edit - multiple flipper buttons are also confusing, unless it’s blatantly obvious it has another function (MagnaSave on BK/BK2K, center post kickback on Medusa…etc).

    To be clear, I do think being able to stage is better than nothing at all. I'd just prefer multiple flipper buttons.

    #12 1 year ago

    Let me explain myself:
    Some skills are fun to make use of and some are not.
    Aiming is fun.
    Ball control is fun.
    Nudging is fun.
    Post passes are fun.

    To me, staging is not fun. It's stressful. It's not that I don't how to do it, I'm pretty decent at it actually. It just doesn't fit with the game experience I want to have.

    #13 1 year ago
    Quoted from oldbaby:

    To be clear, I do think being able to stage is better than nothing at all. I'd just prefer multiple flipper buttons.

    To me, it is a refined skill.. like a tap pass.. Machines are going to vary, but the faster you can adapt, the better.

    I can't comment on the Multimorphic set up, but when I get a chance to play one, I'll for sure compare to see how it goes.

    #14 1 year ago
    Quoted from Brtlkat:

    Really 10 years and 7k plus post

    Yup. That's why I asked.
    Otherwise, how will I learn?

    I would call it cradling with a lower flipper while shooting with the upper, rather than staging.
    And I wouldn't refer to flipper button leaf or opto switches as "sensors", but apparently some folks do.

    #15 1 year ago
    Quoted from RCA1:

    Yup. That's why I asked.
    Otherwise, how will I learn?
    I would call it cradling with a lower flipper while shooting with the upper, rather than staging.
    And I wouldn't refer to flipper button leaf or opto switches as "sensors", but apparently some folks do.

    I used to play a lot of competitive pinball and been exposed to more pinball than I thought imaginable and I’ve never heard of this phrase until tonight.

    Staging to me thinks of balls in various troughs under the PF on STTNG etc

    #16 1 year ago

    I never heard of staging before now. How about the 80s where with Bally/Stern, the second flipper was usually activated by a switch in the first flipper, can't stage with that. But I think they did it to reduce switch arcing and/or to give the main flipper maximum power until the second flipper switch closed. Sort of staging in a mechanical type way ya might say. Williams simply used two switches on each flipper button on games like Black Knight.

    #17 1 year ago

    I don't have an issue with it, but I really dislike it when people alter their machine to make it easier.

    #18 1 year ago

    I use 2 fingers on each flipper button as do many people, a second button for upper flippers would be a nightmare. I imagine it’d be difficult for kids too or those with small hands.

    If it’s your machine you can adjust the leaf switches to make staging easier. If it’s a location machine that staging is hard on then that’s just one of the downsides of location machines unfortunately. You can report it to the owner and they may fix it.

    Separate buttons for separate flippers is completely unnecessary, it only adds problems and difficulty imo

    #19 1 year ago
    Quoted from NoSkills:

    Separate buttons for separate flippers is completely unnecessary, it only adds problems and difficulty imo

    It would make staging an absolute breeze... while otherwise making the rest of the game a royal pain in the butt to play. Imagine if a lot of the pinballs out there had four buttons but the rest didn't. Players would be constantly forgetting and reaching for the button that isn't there, or not reaching for the button that is.

    #20 1 year ago
    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    Edit - multiple flipper buttons are also confusing, unless it’s blatantly obvious it has another function (MagnaSave on BK/BK2K, center post kickback on Medusa…etc).

    It's only confusing because you've been trained to do something counter intuitive.

    Think about it this way, if you were a new player and you walked up to a game with two buttons on a side, within one game you'd figure out how to operate both the lower and upper flippers independently.

    If that same new player walked up to a standard game with a single button to control both flippers. They could play that game 100 times and not realize they could control both flippers independently. Single buttons are typically On/Off switches, it is not intuitive that they have different trigger points based on how far the button is pressed.

    #21 1 year ago
    Quoted from explosiveegg:

    It's only confusing because you've been trained to do something counter intuitive.
    Think about it this way, if you were a new player and you walked up to a game with two buttons on a side, within one game you'd figure out how to operate both the lower and upper flippers independently.
    If that same new player walked up to a standard game with a single button to control both flippers. They could play that game 100 times and not realize they could control both flippers independently. Single buttons are typically On/Off switches, it is not intuitive that they have different trigger points based on how far the button is pressed.

    So your argument is that pinball games should be designed instead to accommodate someone who doesn’t know what they are doing rather than implementing it the better way and forcing someone to learn how something works?

    #22 1 year ago
    Quoted from skink91:

    So your argument is that pinball games should be designed instead to accommodate someone who doesn’t know what they are doing rather than implementing it the better way and forcing someone to learn how something works?

    That argument is so right. If you added extra buttons for staging, you are vastly increasing the complexity of the game’s interface to accommodate a tiny fraction of the player base. Which is the opposite of the basic product design principle to make things as simple as possible for the largest number of people.

    #23 1 year ago

    I would suggest that too much strategy and fancy-work runs counter to the calamity that lies at the essence of pinball.

    #24 1 year ago
    Quoted from skink91:

    So your argument is that pinball games should be designed instead to accommodate someone who doesn’t know what they are doing rather than implementing it the better way and forcing someone to learn how something works?

    I'm not making that argument at all.

    I was responding to the users comment which specifically argued that 'Two buttons is confusing'.

    I completely disagree with that statement.

    I've met people who own games where staging is important, and they didn't even realize it was a trick you could do. I've also played people at league who just found out about it. These are people who have played hundreds or thousands of games and still didn't figure out staging on their own.

    Why is this, because an arcade button being able to be pressed at different pressures being able to perform different actions is surely more confusing.

    The only reason a single flipper button to control two flippers independently is less confusing to top tier players is because they've been forced to learn something that is counter intuitive.

    #25 1 year ago

    Anyone arguing that separate buttons for staging will be more intuitive for casuals hasn’t seen an arcade visitor be confused or angry at munsters lower playfield ‘not working’.

    If you have an arcade with some machines that flip an upper flipper with the same button and some machines that have a separate button, casuals will just think those ones are broken.

    #26 1 year ago
    Quoted from NoSkills:

    Anyone arguing that separate buttons for staging will be more intuitive for casuals hasn’t seen an arcade visitor be confused or angry at munsters lower playfield ‘not working’.
    If you have an arcade with some machines that flip an upper flipper with the same button and some machines that have a separate button, casuals will just think those ones are broken.

    That is the same argument though. Those people got used to pinball machines having two buttons to operate every flipper on a game. They've been trained to do the counter intuitive thing.

    Assuming you want the user to be able to operate each flipper independently, in my eyes, the clearest way to do this for someone who has never touched the game is to provide a button for each flipper.

    I think the keyboard we type on is a good comparison. As most people know, the whole QWERTY layout of keys found on most keyboards was designed to be very inefficient and intentionally slow down people on typewriters to prevent them from locking up their keys. It's a very counter intuitive layout, but it's standard at this point, that it's almost impossible to get rid of it. To say an alphabetically arranged keyboard is confusing is not taking in account how confusing the normal keyboard really is, you've just become use to it.

    The imperial system of measurement would be another good example.

    #27 1 year ago

    I wish I was good enough at pinball to even worry about staging lol

    #28 1 year ago
    Quoted from explosiveegg:

    That is the same argument though. Those people got used to pinball machines having two buttons to operate every flipper on a game. They've been trained to do the counter intuitive thing.
    Assuming you want the user to be able to operate each flipper independently, in my eyes, the clearest way to do this for someone who has never touched the game is to provide a button for each flipper.
    I think the keyboard we type on is a good comparison. As most people know, the whole QWERTY layout of keys found on most keyboards was designed to be very inefficient and intentionally slow down people on typewriters to prevent them from locking up their keys. It's a very counter intuitive layout, but it's standard at this point, that it's almost impossible to get rid of it. To say an alphabetically arranged keyboard is confusing is not taking in account how confusing the normal keyboard really is, you've just become use to it.
    The imperial system of measurement would be another good example.

    But I actually think a button for each flipper makes it more difficult for someone who has never seen a pinball machine. A certain level of play you don’t need to stage flip, thinking about which button to press adds to difficulty. 2 buttons to flip all the flippers or 4 buttons (for a 4 flipper game), 2 buttons is easier.

    Think about how many people still flip both flippers at the same time because they’re not sure which is best, especially during mbs, they’re just going to be sitting there either mashing 4 buttons or ignoring the upper flippers or loosing their finger placement switching between. It’s not just that I think it’d be worse for me, I actually think it’d be worse for new people too.

    #29 1 year ago

    I'm pretty indifferent towards staging, but it makes you feel super-pro when you pull off a successfuly staged shot. Having seperate buttons would make it a lot easier and also remove some of that skillfull feeling.

    #30 1 year ago

    New players don't even know there are upper flippers. Eventually they notice them flipping, usually after several games. Then it takes a few more games before they remember to use them when a ball is near.

    Factor in extra buttons, and they never get past step one.

    #31 1 year ago

    I was at Stranger Things Experience in NYC this weekend. I saw a lot of new people playing the ST pinball they had there on freeplay. Anyone that thinks 4 flipper buttons is a good idea should observe players in the wild. One family started the game and kept pressing the action button on the lockdown bar to activate the flippers. They were getting really frustrated, thought the game was broke. I showed them the flipper buttons on the side. Other people did not know how to start a game. Other people said "aw shucks" and walked away after the first drain not knowing they get more than 1 ball. Now, clearly, these people aren't necessarily the main target audience for all location pinball play, but they are much closer to the target audience than the 0.1% of the audience that wants to do stage flipping. 4 buttons is not just perceived as more difficult because we've all been trained on two. It's inherently more complex cognitively, by a factor of about 4x. Quadruple the complexity. To appeal to 0.1%. Some pins have four buttons. Because something has been done does not mean it's a good design. The world is full of bad design, more bad than good. Anyway, I will cease now. Hot button topic for me as a video game, software, and product designer of 20+ years

    #32 1 year ago
    Quoted from NoSkills:

    But I actually think a button for each flipper makes it more difficult for someone who has never seen a pinball machine. A certain level of play you don’t need to stage flip, thinking about which button to press adds to difficulty. 2 buttons to flip all the flippers or 4 buttons (for a 4 flipper game), 2 buttons is easier.
    Think about how many people still flip both flippers at the same time because they’re not sure which is best, especially during mbs, they’re just going to be sitting there either mashing 4 buttons or ignoring the upper flippers or loosing their finger placement switching between. It’s not just that I think it’d be worse for me, I actually think it’d be worse for new people too.

    That is why I specifically said, "Assuming you want the user to be able to operate each flipper independently".

    If your objective is to make the game as easy as possible for someone who has never played the game to play. For a new player, two buttons is excessive as we all know any new player instinctively just wants to trigger all the flippers at the same time.

    My Summertime game which is an early flipper title is wired so that both the left and right flippers fire regardless of which button is pressed. One button for all flippers is easiest to figure out.

    I personally think people are capable of figuring how to use an extra button. It would take time, just like it takes time to learn how to use two buttons separately. That is just part of getting better. Most people who play my WCS94 don't even realize there is another button for magna save. When they figure that out it just becomes another fun element to master.

    It is not much different than Sterns middle button. New players don't know when to use it, they don't get that there are rules to the game, they just bash a ball around without it and have fun. As they start to figure out how to keep the ball in play for more than 2 seconds.

    Don't get me wrong, I've played the P3, and thought the upper flipper being on a separate button was awkward. That being said, I fully expect if I played it more I'd begin to prefer that approach over the norm.

    #33 1 year ago
    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    In one picture I have the flipper button fully pressed in. Both left flippers are up. But there’s two switches in series and the upper flipper is 2nd in line, so if I depress the flipper button a bit, the upper flipper returns to rest. So by depressing and pressing just a little all the way in, I have full control of that flipper while not moving the lower flipper (which is cradling a ball, typically in a multi ball so I don’t drain).
    [quoted image][quoted image]

    Learn something new every day

    #34 1 year ago
    Quoted from Brtlkat:

    Really 10 years and 7k plus post

    Until today I have never heard of staging in pinball. Thought OP was going to rant about buying a house or something. In fact, I didn't even know a light touch would only activate the bottom flipper until my son showed me the other day. Never thought about it.

    #35 1 year ago

    Wait 'til you discover tap passing.

    #36 1 year ago

    I dont want to intrude on this delightful bone of contention, but if it wasnt intuitive to use multiple buttons for things, then how do people play video games? Have you ever seen a kid play a shooter where you do a million things at the same time with different buttons? Now, imagine you had to do the same things, walk, aim, fire, reload, turn around, pull up a menu, etc., with only one or two buttons but the amount of pressure is what determines your actions. This would be incredibly hard to do if not impossible. Thats said, in those same games you walk or run based on how much you move the joystick, thus giving you both options with a single button.
    So, tldr is you are all correct and everyone gets a trophy! Also, fwiw, I know plenty of seasoned pinball players that occasionally forget that upper flippers exist, so its not just for people that have never played before. Oh, and staged flipping is fine, but I suck at it. Nothing is more fun than dropping a cradled ball because you let off just ever so slightly too much. Fuck you Krang ramp!

    #37 1 year ago
    Quoted from timab2000:

    Learn something new every day

    It's crucial, especially in games where an upper flipper hits the Super Jackpot or other key shot. Take TMNT for example where Mondo Jackpot is reached from the Krang loop. You can flail around with all the balls in play during MB, but when you get down to two, the smart play is to trap up one and play the other. If you can get one ball trapped on the lower left flipper, you now have full control of the right flipper and upper left flipper to try to make controlled attempts at Super Jackpot.

    Now compare that to my earlier example (Congo) where Super Jackpot is still an upper flipper shot, BUT those flipper mechs only have 1 opto for both flippers to fire together, and you lose that ability that staged flippers offer. In that case, the play is to get both on the right flipper, quickly cradle separate, shoot GRAY, and quickly go for Super JP while you hope to maintain the other ball down below. If you have one on each flipper, you still use the right flipper to hit GRAY and then go for Super JP while knowing the other ball is going to get rifled off since you can't stage the left flippers so the lower ball is flipped when you attempt Super JP up top.

    #38 1 year ago
    Quoted from SpyroFTW:

    I dont want to intrude on this delightful bone of contention, but if it wasnt intuitive to use multiple buttons for things, then how do people play video games? Have you ever seen a kid play a shooter where you do a million things at the same time with different buttons? Now, imagine you had to do the same things, walk, aim, fire, reload, turn around, pull up a menu, etc., with only one or two buttons but the amount of pressure is what determines your actions. This would be incredibly hard to do if not impossible. Thats said, in those same games you walk or run based on how much you move the joystick, thus giving you both options with a single button.
    So, tldr is you are all correct and everyone gets a trophy! Also, fwiw, I know plenty of seasoned pinball players that occasionally forget that upper flippers exist, so its not just for people that have never played before. Oh, and staged flipping is fine, but I suck at it. Nothing is more fun than dropping a cradled ball because you let off just ever so slightly too much. Fuck you Krang ramp!

    That’s a great question my friend. Certainly people can learn and play games with complex controls. Any product has to be considered in context of its goal and setting. Imagine a coin-op game in a public location that is as complex as a PC shooter. Would it rake it money? Does it appeal to a wide enough audience? Is it easily approachable and learnable? Now admittedly pinball is crossing over into the home space, potentially changing its goal and context, but thus far as a product it has remained firmly rooted in it’s coin op legacy. Surely there could be a pin made with 4 buttons or even an Xbox controller that has all kinds of features intended to be learned over time ina home setting. And some hardcore pinheads would love it. Including me, probably. Does that mean there’s a big enough market for a company to pursue that? I don’t know, maybe! You be the judge.

    #39 1 year ago
    Quoted from RCA1:

    Yup. That's why I asked.
    Otherwise, how will I learn?
    I would call it cradling with a lower flipper while shooting with the upper, rather than staging.
    And I wouldn't refer to flipper button leaf or opto switches as "sensors", but apparently some folks do.

    Man, your response was refined, mature, and way nicer than what I wanted to say.

    Good job, dude.

    #40 1 year ago
    Quoted from NPO:

    Man, your response was refined, mature, and way nicer than what I wanted to say.
    Good job, dude.

    I was laughing pretty hard when I typed that.
    I was just as surprised as the other guy to see something that I never heard of that's common pinball knowledge to some.
    He's been around a long time and he's OK. He was just surprised that someone didn't know.
    Good day though, since I learned something new.

    #41 1 year ago

    People are probably right when they say it would make things too confusing for new players. I seem to be in the minority regardless. I'm glad I got people to weigh in, now I know.

    #42 1 year ago
    Quoted from oldbaby:

    People are probably right when they say it would make things too confusing for new players. I seem to be in the minority regardless. I'm glad I got people to weigh in, now I know.

    I think it just depends on the person. Some people will probably take to multiple buttons faster than a single multi switch one and vice versa. Its an interesting conversation though. Having played a P3, I found it fairly easy to manage with the multiple buttons and flippers. Still haven’t found a game on that platform that really suits me yet.

    3 weeks later
    #43 1 year ago
    Quoted from Yoko2una:

    It's crucial,

    OMG, nothing in pinball is crucial; except maybe Cliffy's or ColorDMD.

    #44 1 year ago

    Wow I guess a lot of Pinside folks have never played a Gtb Haunted House. I mean, how could they? There's SEPARATE buttons for the upper/lower flippers!!! Way too confusing to figure that out man

    Separate buttons isn't a new thing, it's just not the common setup, and probably has more to do with saving money on the parts than the fear of confusing the player.

    Also, the ability to do staging isn't a "feature", it's a side effect of having 2 switches on 1 button. We use it to our advantage but having separate buttons makes way more sense from a human/machine interface aspect, just like left and right buttons for left/right flippers. Way more intuitive than having features on the lockdown bar button that's for sure. I'd love the ability to flip just the upper flipper on games with under flipper shots like WOZ, ST, etc.

    And no I do not own a P3 nor have I ever played one - but I do have one on order for next year.

    #45 1 year ago
    Quoted from MrMikeman:

    ... And no I do not own a P3 nor have I ever played one - but I do have one on order for next year.

    #46 1 year ago

    I wold love a P3 and if I had the money would buy one. I've never seen one in the wild, ever. It's a leap of faith thing probably for lots of customers.

    #47 1 year ago
    Quoted from RyanStl:

    I wold love a P3 and if I had the money would buy one. I've never seen one in the wild, ever. It's a leap of faith thing probably for lots of customers.

    Watched a whole lotta twitch and youtube before pulling the trigger. Although there’s likely more I only know of 2 P3 in Canada. One near Montreal and one near Toronto. Never seen one in person. So yeah it’s a leap of faith. Although I’ve been lucky with those so far. JP, WOZ, and SW I had never seen or tried when I bought them.

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