(Topic ID: 218220)

I’m going to build a Virtual Pinball, am I insane?


By WackyBrakke

2 years ago



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  • 54 posts
  • 44 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 months ago by WackyBrakke
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “Am I insane to build a Virtual Pinball?”

    • Yes 32 votes
      46%
    • No 38 votes
      54%

    (70 votes)

    Topic Gallery

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    There are 54 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 2 years ago

    Guess this will be the start of my build thread. Always been hard core real pinball, but I had a nice empty cabinet sitting around waiting for a TZ rebuild that will never happen. Thought to myself why not build a virtual pinball and give it a whirl. Am I insane?
    9564B304-43CE-468A-BB8F-CC9308B8E20E (resized).jpeg

    22
    #2 2 years ago

    You will be disappointed, seriously.

    #3 2 years ago

    You're not crazy plenty of people have done it. It will take a long time, and you'll sell it shortly after; but that doesn't make you crazy.

    #4 2 years ago

    Actually that's how I got into the hobby. Then got my first pin, then second.....then the virtual pin sat unplayed. Eventually I had a hard drive crash and it's been sitting ever since waiting for a rebuild/reinstall.

    In my opinion, save the space and just get another pin There's nothing like playing, cleaning, waxing a real pin.

    #5 2 years ago

    Virtual pinball is absolute garbage. You're better off saving your money and buying all the pinball arcade tables and playing it that way. Playing it in a cabinet doesn't improve upon it.

    #6 2 years ago

    I won't say the idea is bad. After all, I've got The Pinball Arcade on my tablet.

    But, before spending this much cash on parts: See if there's anyone else in the vicinity that will let you try theirs out first. For my_ the fixed perspective screen and the lag make the games pretty unenjoyable.

    #7 2 years ago

    Yes, you are clearly insane. Along with those of us who spend thousands of hard earned dollars on a game.

    #8 2 years ago

    I made one, didn't turn out so well and years later purchased a professional build with shaker. found it's a nice way to play the older games that I would never purchase and high-end games that I don't have the money to purchase.

    #9 2 years ago

    I'm considering selling mine, buy it instead and save yourself the time.

    #10 2 years ago

    Dissapointment awaits. I say spend your time refurbishing a real pin. Just my opinion. Good luck.

    -1
    #11 2 years ago

    The cab will probably be worth more without a virtual setup in it...

    #12 2 years ago
    Quoted from SuperDaveOsbourn:

    You will be disappointed, seriously.

    This ^

    #13 2 years ago

    You're not crazy. You will however spend a LOT of time building it and even more time setting up your PC. It's very time consuming.
    Keep in mind that you are on a pinball forum with a lot of very opinionated die hard pinball fanatics. You'll hear a lot of hate from guys towards anything that isn't a traditional pinball machine.
    If you build this with the idea that it's a pinball machine replacement you may be disappointed. If you keep in mind that this is another cool toy in your gameroom then you'll love it. Since you already have some great pins then you can't go wrong with adding a virtual to your collection.
    I HIGHLY recommend that you add all of the bells and whistles. It's a MUCH better experience with force feedback, shakers, gear motors, etc...
    For me it's a way to play machines that I've never seen and will likely never own.
    And a full force feedback virtual cab is COMPLETELY different than playing on a desktop PC or a mobile device. There's no comparison!
    Don't skimp on the pc! A good processor and GPU are a must.
    Have fun!
    Junky

    #14 2 years ago

    You won't get much help here and you are not crazy. If your goal is a nice accessory to your game room, like adding a video game cabinet, then you are on the right track. It's not a pinball replacement but it is an engrossing fun experience that will allow you to play games you will never find or have never been created in wood and metal. Guess I am crazy too, As I have over 500 games on my cabinet and there is always something to entertain me. New and improved games come out weekly. People that claim there is lag and cabinets are junk haven't played a properly configured cabinet. Want to play a nice EM? There are plenty of them emulated and play well. How about ice cold beer? Yep, that too. Bagatelle? Yep there are a few. Just about every DMD game made has an emulation, right up to spike (but not including). The latest VPX uses primitives and 3D objects for better realism. I like to play games I don't have access to like kingpin, Big Bang bar, import games like zaccaria and taito and some old favorites I recall as a kid, like the zipper flipper games.

    Check out vpforums, vpuniverse and vpinball.com for hints and help and get ready for a long journey.

    #15 2 years ago

    Yeah my goal isn’t to replace a pinball machine with a virtual one, the real thing will always be better. My goal is to have the option to play numerous other games and to learn the rules better, etc. I don’t expect it to be perfect, but hopefully a fun alternative with the ability to play hundreds of other games I don’t own.

    #16 2 years ago
    Quoted from WackyBrakke:

    Yeah my goal isn’t to replace a pinball machine with a virtual one, the real thing will always be better. My goal is to have the option to play numerous other games and to learn the rules better, etc. I don’t expect it to be perfect, but hopefully a fun alternative with the ability to play hundreds of other games I don’t own.

    and this is exactly why you're not insane. In fact this is the perfect reason to do it.

    #17 2 years ago
    Quoted from WackyBrakke:

    Yeah my goal isn’t to replace a pinball machine with a virtual one, the real thing will always be better. My goal is to have the option to play numerous other games and to learn the rules better, etc. I don’t expect it to be perfect, but hopefully a fun alternative with the ability to play hundreds of other games I don’t own.

    The main reason I built one was because I thought it would be a fun project to put together. It was a nice combination of woodworking, electrical, and software/pc work.

    #18 2 years ago
    Quoted from WackyBrakke:

    Yeah my goal isn’t to replace a pinball machine with a virtual one, the real thing will always be better. My goal is to have the option to play numerous other games and to learn the rules better, etc. I don’t expect it to be perfect, but hopefully a fun alternative with the ability to play hundreds of other games I don’t own.

    You can do that now on a PC, if you want to build something then build a usb connection box with flipper buttons to work on the PC. As many others have said said, save yourself the cash that you can use towards another purchase. Rules can be learned just using a PC.

    #19 2 years ago
    Quoted from DeathHimself:

    You can do that now on a PC, if you want to build something then build a usb connection box with flipper buttons to work on the PC. As many others have said said, save yourself the cash that you can use towards another purchase. Rules can be learned just using a PC.

    I did exactly this. I have an actual plunger, lockdown bar, real flipper buttons in a box with an LCD on the wall mounted vertically along with a smaller screen for the backbox. I got it about 80% working and gave up on it. I keep telling myself I'm going to get it 100% before I decide to totally give up on it. Tweaking and installing everything is so much work. If you find any pre built images or good tutorials let me know.

    #20 2 years ago

    Don't listen to the hate. You will enjoy it for what it is. And don't worry about how hard it is to set up. Once the hardware is set, the software is easy. VPX, B2S, and DOF now have all in one installers. Big piece of advice, get familiar with vpforums.com and vpinball.com. also, use windows 10 and turn off auto update. I've owned a virtual cab for 4 years now and still enjoy it.

    #21 2 years ago

    I built one fully loaded - shaker, solenoids, flashers, accelerometer, etc and later sold it. The concept of a virtual pin and building it was more fun for me than actually playing it. I thought I'd use it for checking out other pins I've never played when deciding to buy or trade for one. I did, to a point, but ultimately Youtube videos were far more beneficial to me in that regard.

    If you enjoy playing video pinball then you're not crazy, but make sure you do. I was bummed that VP didn't click with me and I had a very short attention span with it.

    #22 2 years ago

    I want to elaborate on why I think they suck.

    I built a virtual pin with top of the line hardware. I had it decked out with force feedback, real plunger, accelerometer, RGB leds that triggered with gameplay etc.

    It was a decent set up.

    I could never get over the flatness of the game. It just isn't right looking at a screen to play pinball. It just looks wonky.
    The physics are awful. There are a few games that are really nicely playable but there are far more where you can't hit shots so it's impossible to progress thru the entire game.
    The force feedback contactors don't feel like an actual pinball machine and honestly it just makes the game feel more laggy in my opinion.

    YMMV. I will say that it was fun as hell building it and I played the crap out of it when I first had it and really enjoyed every minute of it. I think if you view it as not being even close to real pinball and know it's just a video game then you'll have fun with it.

    #23 2 years ago

    I had plans to do the same. Found An I5 computer And bought a new GTX 1060 gpu. I've downloaded a bunch of tables and play them on an old 40 inch lcd screen.

    It's fun, but I find myself thinking more and more about just letting the project go.

    #24 2 years ago

    Dont you need a widebody, not a standard cab?
    Edit: thought it was T2 not TZ

    #25 2 years ago

    I built a mini VP. It is how I discovered the pin that I eventually bought. Now, the VP sits unused; Part of the reason for that is that I had to reload the software (Windows 7) and I"m really not a PC guy.

    You will find some nice games to download. And you will find some that are not so good. I played it for several months and got a kick out of it. And then I played one at TPF 2017. It just did not work for me. Why? Because no matter how much you sing and dance you are still playing a 2D machine. There is comparison to seeing that 1 1/16" silver ball blasting back at you.

    If you still wish to do this, then start out on the cheap and make sure you like it before you trash that nice cabinet. Just lay your TV down flat, make your hook ups and play it that way for a while. See if you like it.

    Here is the other thing to really think about: This is all my opinion, so go with the grain of salt. A lot of people blow out big bucks trying to make their VP look just like a pinball machine. They will take a cab like your TZ cab, lay the TV down flat and add blades to the sides of the cab. Hold this thought.

    I am not a tall person so if I stand at someone's full size VP I cannot clearly see what is going on that the back of the play field. And I especially have a hard time seeing that flat disk that is supposed to represent a ball. So, if I were going to build a full size VP using a TZ type cab I would have to build up both sides no of the cab another 6 inches or so to allow me to have a good viewing angle on the play field. Or at least I would forget the blades and set the TV screen parallel to the play field glass.

    I don't have viewing problems with my mini cab because I have it setting on an old desk that is the right height for me. All of the above depends on how tall you are but be aware of your viewing angle. And know that you are building a video game and not a pinball machine.

    The main thing is to build it as cheap as you can so you can make sure you like it.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    For me, if I ever decide to get my mini cab up and running I would rebuild the cab to look like this:

    Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 9.08.46 AM (resized).png

    #26 2 years ago

    One small thing to consider is it will throw off you your real pinball skills. You will have an adjustment period when going back & forth between the 2

    #27 2 years ago
    Quoted from fattdirk:

    I want to elaborate on why I think they suck.
    I built a virtual pin with top of the line hardware. I had it decked out with force feedback, real plunger, accelerometer, RGB leds that triggered with gameplay etc.
    It was a decent set up.
    I could never get over the flatness of the game. It just isn't right looking at a screen to play pinball. It just looks wonky.
    The physics are awful. There are a few games that are really nicely playable but there are far more where you can't hit shots so it's impossible to progress thru the entire game.
    The force feedback contactors don't feel like an actual pinball machine and honestly it just makes the game feel more laggy in my opinion.
    YMMV. I will say that it was fun as hell building it and I played the crap out of it when I first had it and really enjoyed every minute of it. I think if you view it as not being even close to real pinball and know it's just a video game then you'll have fun with it.

    Agree 100%, like you said it's the flatness and the physics that throw it off.

    To the OP I would recommend looking into building a VR pinball cabinet like the one I had made (cabinet itself) and then assembled. Pinball FX2 VR now has 12 tables in its dedicated VR app, including the Universal table pack that includes ET, Jaws and Back to the Future. With the Oculus Rift it's an incredible virtual pinball experience and blows standard virtual pinball away in my opinion. The VR cabinet cost less and takes up less room compared to a full size cabinet. There is the cost of the gaming PC and headset but if you already have 1 or 2 of those the cost isn't that bad.

    752e65f7d683128704edf83adc77d274a089468f (resized).jpg

    #28 2 years ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    To the OP I would recommend looking into building a VR pinball cabinet like the one I had made (cabinet itself) and then assembled.

    I just bought a rift, and I'm excited to see how it works with pinball. What sort of controller do you have working those buttons, and how long did it take you to set all of that up?

    #29 2 years ago
    Quoted from Deaconblooze:

    I just bought a rift, and I'm excited to see how it works with pinball. What sort of controller do you have working those buttons, and how long did it take you to set all of that up?

    Here's the original plans I used for assembly. I just recently purchased leaf switches for the buttons and the rumble pack motors. I had the cabinet made locally from a pinball / arcade cabinet maker and then added everything else myself. I've been really happy with it so far. After I had the cabinet made and painted it I may of spent another few hours hooking everything else up.

    http://www.tested.com/tech/gaming/569647-how-build-pinsim-virtual-reality-pinball-machine/

    #30 2 years ago

    Computer parts have been acquired, still waiting on the 42" TV screen, Digital plunger, interface board, amplifier, etc.

    appreciate the thoughts on the different form factors, but this whole thing started because I had a empty wide body cabinet serving no purpose so the plan is to use it.

    IMG_1044 (resized).jpgIMG_1045 (resized).jpg
    #31 2 years ago

    I built a mini one, its fun. Its got FFB and all that jazz but I couldn't justify dropping more coin for the plunger. Its no replacement for the real thing, but you already know that. So no, you aren't crazy.

    Stiff (resized).jpgmini (resized).jpg
    #32 2 years ago
    Quoted from WackyBrakke:

    Guess this will be the start of my build thread. Always been hard core real pinball, but I had a nice empty cabinet sitting around waiting for a TZ rebuild that will never happen. Thought to myself why not build a virtual pinball and give it a whirl. Am I insane?

    Ill sell you one cheap. I built mine with all the best stuff and I never play it. I have probably 5K in it and ill sell it to you for 3K.

    #33 2 years ago

    Not insane at all as long as you enjoy virtual pinball. Personally I must be missing that part of my brain because I have never been able to enjoy virtual pinball. I do kind of enjoy some of the wilder fantasy pins on VPcabs, but those are more of a video game than a pinball simulation.

    #34 2 years ago

    I really wanted a full-size virtual pin but have settled for installing the Pinball Arcade and Zaccaria Pinball into a M.A.M.E. cabinet. Luckily, with side-mounted buttons (with leaf switches) I can still practice tap-passing (believe it or not!). Then when I get sick of virtual pinball I use the cabinet to play MS Pac Man, Tempest, Mr Do!, Robotron 2084, Raiden II, Metal Slug, Arkanoid or Volfied!

    #35 2 years ago

    If you're a tournament player this is a great way to learn the rules of games you might not know. If you know the lineup well in advance it'll give you plenty of time to download a game and figure it out without going in blind.

    #36 2 years ago

    It's not a replacement for real pinball but I like the best VPX tables for look/feel/fun. How many people with aggressive opinions against virtual pinball have played a good VPX version vs. The Pinball Arcade? I never understood why hardliners don't think real and virtual can or should coexist.

    Have fun with the project!

    #37 2 years ago

    Definitely get one of these.
    Allows for using a real digital plunger. And nudge and tilt sensors.

    https://virtuapin.net/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=105

    Screenshot_20180601-160338 (resized).png
    #38 2 years ago

    Mine has all that Ill still sell it for 3K

    #39 2 years ago

    You will get out of it what you put in. If you go cheap on the build and don’t take the time to set it up correctly then you won’t like it. If you take the time to build it right then it’s a great way to play games that you don’t own. There are also games that are enhanced with movie clips etc. I have 13 pins in my game room and am building one right now. I have already spent the time building and refining the computer and it will have features that I haven’t seen before. There are several 4K tables out there that look amazing.

    It will never replace Pinball and that’s not what it is meant for. I also hope that it will be something that kids will also try.

    Have fun with it.

    #40 2 years ago
    Quoted from Pahuffman:

    If you know the lineup well in advance it'll give you plenty of time to download a game and figure it out without going in blind.

    or broke

    a new stern pro runs about $8200cdn all in and maybe more now thanks to tariffs

    -1
    #41 2 years ago

    They stink... I wanted one for the same reason as you. I was out of space and wanted to learn/play a lot of the remaining games.

    Bought some of the hardware to build one, and stopped once I tried the software. Most of the games look weird and all of them play weird. The physics are off, and it's really glaring when they're in the room with real pins. Throw in any weirdness like display lag and you've wound up with an enormous wasted spot in your lineup. Either use the hardware to build a MAME cab, or sell it off and get another pin.

    #42 2 years ago

    Like with all things, Virtual Pinball progresses. All the guys saying here that the physics are off need to try Virtual again with the latest tables. The table designers get better with every table nailing the physics. Things like drop catches, post passes, dead flips, everything is possible with the better tables and VP10.5

    Still NO replacement for a real pin, but please do not keep putting it down as rubbish. That is very disrespectfull to all the hard work that the developers and table builders are putting into this, which for me is just another part of the pinball hobby.

    wackybrakke : also look into the pinscape controller (google it). It is a nice controller board that even has the possibility to connect a plunger that works with a camera module. In my opinion the best solution, as there are no moving parts involved in the electronics and you can just use a standard plunger (the one that is in the TZ works perfectly for that). The board also has an accelerometer for nudge and tilt and more than enough buttton inputs to cover everything.

    #43 2 years ago

    I'm not fully versed in it's operation and usage, but I know some people have been adapting the Xbox Kinect sensor into their virtual cab builds. Namely with Future Pinball. The program is called BAM and gives the games a proper 3D look. Search "BAM Future Pinball" on youtube and you'll see what I mean. It's pretty awesome stuff.

    #44 2 years ago

    If you enjoy working on computers and don’t get frustrated downloading, installing and setting up SW, Virtual pinball is another fun hobby

    Before investing time and money in building the cab, grab a couple monitors or a TV if you have already and invest a couple hours/days setting up VP, and PinballX front end on whatever PC you have. Download some of the newest releases and play.

    Make a decision if you want to go down the rabbit hole after that. I still enjoy it after 5 years.

    #45 2 years ago

    BAM looks pretty cool and would address the largest complaint I have against VP.

    #46 2 years ago
    Quoted from jfesler:

    BAM looks pretty cool and would address the largest complaint I have against VP.

    Unfortunately it only works with Future Pinball and the physics on that are no where near as refined as VPX. As cool as BAM was I couldn’t stand the physics of FP and removed it from my cab.

    #47 2 years ago

    Does anybody know if there any plans, or is it already in the works, to get BAM to work with any of the other virtual pinball platforms? Seems like this is the way to go for really good VP.

    #48 2 years ago

    …. huh, that's pretty cool.

    I have a virtual cabinet
    Yeah it definitely makes a difference from playing on your keyboard to playing on a cabinet. Yes, not all cabinets are created equal, like the other guy said you get what you put in. Mine still gets play from time to time, it just takes a little getting used to nudging wise.
    EX. in VPX, when nudging the ball moves, but the table doesn't. that's fine for outlane nudging (most of the time) but SDTM it sucks, since it does the opposite of what you wanted. not sure how TPA works, since I couldn't get over how bad the physics were. Cool that you can play it on your phone though.

    #49 2 years ago

    Eventually when an attempt is offered to sell, the answer will be fully revealed.

    #50 2 years ago

    Did some digging on Youtube and found this, BAM working with TPA:

    He starts it in FP, but then loads up a BAM for TPA executable and plays TOTAN with it. Pretty awesome stuff.

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