Is Houdini Too Damn Hard? Poll

(Topic ID: 222154)

Is Houdini Too Damn Hard? Poll


By jeffspinballpalace

5 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 87 posts
  • 36 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 days ago by kdecgp
  • Topic is favorited by 11 Pinsiders

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Topic poll

“Is Houdini Too Damn Hard?”

  • No - default settings are just right 19 votes
    8%
  • No - game is no harder than others 23 votes
    9%
  • No - mastering a game takes awhile 86 votes
    35%
  • Yes - have adjusted settings (ashamed to admit it) 0 votes
  • Yes - adjusted settings (not ashamed) 6 votes
    2%
  • Yes - adjusted settings and having fun 9 votes
    4%
  • Yes - don't care what others think 26 votes
    11%
  • Yes - geometry is off & game is FUBAR'd 78 votes
    32%

(247 votes)

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#51 5 months ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

How the heck do you light chain link inserts and what do the colors mean?

Quoted from flashinstinct:

From what I can tell they are linked to the modes, combos, missions, films. For instance, completing a combo 1 (ramp + scoop) (magenta insert) will light a magenta link. Other groups like film are cyan and things like jail escape are green. I'll play tonight to really confirm but from the top of my head that's what happens.

Three sets of links (left to right), Movies, Jail Escapes and Secret Missions. The are color coded to match the objective (Movies are blue, escapes green and missions pink). Missions and Escapes light when completed, movies when started. At that end of each section is a 'lock' that will light when the mini-magician mode is ready for that objective. Those locks also light in Turquoise to indicated how many trunkmb locks you have. Progress on Stage Modes is shown on the marquee and as indicated above will show Green or Red after attempted if it was completed or not.

#52 5 months ago

great info rosh! would love to see a gameplay video of someone with pro level skills play through the modes and letters even on the " enthusiast" setting . is there one out there or in the works?

#53 5 months ago

Yah a pro stream link anyone?

#54 5 months ago
Quoted from rosh:

Those locks also light in Turquoise to indicated how many trunkmb locks you have.

I knew about the chain links lighting per non-stage modes completed, but (ashamedly) hadn't associated the locks lighting in the interim as an indicator for trunk multiball balls locked so far. Good info to know and use - thanks Josh.

Looking forward to the coming code update! How soon does AP expect to release it?

Quoted from pinballjj:

great info rosh! would love to see a gameplay video of someone with pro level skills play through the modes and letters even on the " enthusiast" setting . is there one out there or in the works?

A Bowen Kerins tutorial video would be great! Submit those requests for a Houdini video via his Patreon site.

https://www.patreon.com/pinball

#55 5 months ago

I dont think Houdini is hard at all. Challenging yes but hard, no.

Challenging is good, at least for me.

No harder than tons of other games out there. I posted 700k on my 4th game at TPF and Im an average player at best.

I dont want a game that gets old quickly for my home. I have had to learn and master all of my games over time.

People say AFM is hard. People say Ghostbusters is hard. People say tons of stuff, most of it is subjective at best.

I guess if its too hard for a person, move on. there are thousands of games to be played and enjoyed!

#56 5 months ago
Quoted from pinballinreno:

I dont think Houdini is hard at all. Challenging yes but hard, no.

Challenging is good, at least for me.

No harder than tons of other games out there. I posted 700k on my 4th game at TPF and Im an average player at best.

I dont want a game that gets old quickly for my home. I have had to learn and master all of my games over time.

People say AFM is hard. People say Ghostbusters is hard. People say tons of stuff, most of it is subjective at best.

I guess if its too hard for a person, move on. there are thousands of games to be played and enjoyed!

Well - people like me are actively not buying the game based on how it felt and shot. So there seems to be a delicate balance of challenge vs frustration.

My newest game is IMDN. The ramp shots are challenging for me. But I can get in a rhythm and hit them consistently and its rewarding. It seems most are not finding this on Houdini. So maybe it's slightly over the edge. Maybe not.

#57 5 months ago
Quoted from OnTheSnap:

Well - people like me are actively not buying the game based on how it felt and shot. So there seems to be a delicate balance of challenge vs frustration.
My newest game is IMDN. The ramp shots are challenging for me. But I can get in a rhythm and hit them consistently and its rewarding. It seems most are not finding this on Houdini. So maybe it's slightly over the edge. Maybe not.

Yep - like all games, it's a matter of "to each their own". Some more than others.

I happened to sell a NIB IMDN LE in order to buy a Houdini. I routinely play an IMDN Premium on route now and in an ideal world, I'd own both games. No regrets though as I really love Houdini's challenging gameplay and distinctively different character.

#58 5 months ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

From what I can tell they are linked to the modes, combos, missions, films. For instance, completing a combo 1 (ramp + scoop) (magenta insert) will light a magenta link. Other groups like film are cyan and things like jail escape are green. I'll play tonight to really confirm but from the top of my head that's what happens.

That sounds correct to me.

#60 5 months ago
Quoted from flashinstinct:

From what I can tell they are linked to the modes, combos, missions, films. For instance, completing a combo 1 (ramp + scoop) (magenta insert) will light a magenta link. Other groups like film are cyan and things like jail escape are green. I'll play tonight to really confirm but from the top of my head that's what happens.

That’s correct- those colors refer specifically to the type of completion made to earn the letter. Stage mode/jail/film/combo

#61 5 months ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

I see a number of Houdini pinball machine being resold already. This seems primarily due to the game being difficult so people either don't have fun playing or they get frustrated and decide to get rid of it. My question is for anyone who has purchased a Houdini - what adjustments did you make to help your family to enjoy playing Houdini pinball more?
Menu adjustments allow for the game to be set easier or harder. The default settings are IMPOSSIBLE for most people, and that is coming from someone who thinks hard games are good to find. The objective of the game is to collect Houdini letters and start the wizard mode. I've watched a number of vids where players do not collect a single letter during the game. While I see people playing, I don't see many doing it well. Sure, they bang the silverball around and complete modes and get to see lots of cool stuff, but at the end of the day how many letters did they light?
I suggest adjusting a few of the game settings to make the game easier until you've learned the rules and have seen most everything, while collecting the letters and work towards the wizard mode. The changes which come to mind ...
Standard Adjustments -
Balls per Game - 5 vs 3
Ball Saver Time - 24 vs 12 sec
Max # Extra Balls - 9 vs 4
Replay Adjustments -
Replay Award Type - extra ball vs points
Feature Adjustments -
Escapes for Escape from Death - 1 vs 2
FILM Lit at Start of Game - On vs Off
Illusions for Houdini Letter - 3 vs 4
Illusions for 2nd Houdini Letter - 8 vs Off
King of Cards Throws Per Hand - 8 vs 5
King of Cards Timer - 60 vs 40
Missions Completed for Houdini Letter - 3 vs 5
Movies Started for Houdini - 3 vs 5
Seance Jackpots for Return from Beyond - 1 vs 1 (no change)
Trunk Multiball Jackpots for Houdini Letter - 2 vs 3
Visits to the Magic Shop for Houdini Letter - 3 vs 4
Looking over this list, one might worry they are making their game too easy. I’d say - nonsense! You still need to play well for 30 or 40 minutes to reach the Wizard mode and your chances of success have increased from never to slim. Lowering the requirements increases the average number of letters collected and likely the amount fun people have playing. insert your opinion here ->
Other game settings to consider with default value shown.
Standard Adjustments -
Tilt Warnings - 2
Replay Adjustments -
Replay Award Level 1 - 500k
Replay Award Level 2 - 1M
Replay Award Levels 3 & 4 - 1M (not being used)
Feature Adjustments -
Handcuff Escape Pops per Handcuff - 3
Handcuffs in Handcuff Escape - 6
Jail Escapes for Houdini Letter - 3
Jail Escapes for Extra Ball - 6
Movies Started for Light Extra Ball - 3
That leaves physical adjustments which could be made to the playfield to impact game play. Moving posts, removing rubbers or changing pitch are commonly targeted for this.

I agree with your suggestions and have gotten as many as 5 H letters in a game. But no wizard modes so far, and only a few successful stage modes. But its been only 1 week of play. I know the success rate will grow.

#62 5 months ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

Yes there is a row of gas lamp inserts (one circle above each Houdini letter). After qualified they all turn yellow together and maybe pulse too but when you collect each letter, one lamp will be lit a solid color. All colors are different so it will look like a rainbow if you did a good job and got all 7 Houdini letters. and who know what happens once you start Wizard mode.

The color above the houdini letter you earn matches the color code for the mode that you earned it for. Teal for seance, gfeen for escapes, etc.

#63 5 months ago
Quoted from PhantomO:

I agree with your suggestions and have gotten as many as 5 H letters in a game. But no wizard modes so far, and only a few successful stage modes. But its been only 1 week of play. I know the success rate will grow.

Seeing rising scores from 18.8.1 code. Used to be 1M points per game was a good score, now seeing more 2M scores. I think primarily due to fixing start of missions and adding a few ball saves. Game is more fun too. Be sure to offer any suggestions or point out bugs while Josh is buffing the last of the fingerprints away.

#64 5 months ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

you could master the Milkcan shot - absolutely you can. I can do it on demand, 8 out of 10 times

Mastery is 80%?

Damn, for like a year and a half I was the master of Dallas pinball tournaments.

#65 5 months ago
Quoted from Frax:

Mastery is 80%?
Damn, for like a year and a half I was the master of Dallas pinball tournaments.

Well, ok so that was a back of the napkin estimate, for that ONE shot; Joe Balcer gave me some tips (slow ball, light touch at end of the flipper), but yeah I can make it pretty regularly

#66 5 months ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Well, ok so that was a back of the napkin estimate, for that ONE shot; Joe Balcer gave me some tips (slow ball, light touch at end of the flipper), but yeah I can make it pretty regularly

My tendency is to try and slam the ball in there. Consequently, I rarely seem to make this shot.

Gonna try your (and Joe's) recommended technique. Thanks.

#67 5 months ago
Quoted from Tuna_Delight:

My tendency is to try and slam the ball in there. Consequently, I rarely seem to make this shot.
Gonna try your (and Joe's) recommended technique. Thanks.

Never works for me - many shots in this game require the very lightest touch of the button to gently hit the ball in. Works for the inner loop too

#68 5 months ago

Yep - that one I've already realized. Just a light backhand will do ya.

But you know - the shots are TOO DAMN TIGHT and that's why Houdini's no fun. Or so I hear anyway.

#69 5 months ago
Quoted from Tuna_Delight:

Yep - that one I've already realized. Just a light backhand will do ya.
But you know - the shots are TOO DAMN TIGHT and that's why Houdini's no fun. Or so I hear anyway.

Haha!

I had a party last night, and the kids, ages 12 and 14 (I think?) were drawn to Dialed In and Houdini, respectively. Houdini was a home run hit, despite being "too damn hard!" . New code is really helping iron out some stuff

#71 5 months ago

This game is definitely not too hard. I am a mediocre player and this game is wicked fun. Shouldn't all games have some tight shots to make it challenging? Great game American Pinball!

#72 5 months ago

Alice Cooper is harder. I’ve played both at AYCE Gogi and definitely can say the shots on Houdini are easier and more fun.

4 months later
#73 10 days ago

I brought Houdini home about three weeks ago. At first I thought "oh man this game is too hard". but after a few games into it I was having lots of fun. My wife was a little slower coming around but is still learning the objectives. The variety of modes are great, tons of stuff to master,. This game will keep our interest for a long time. We have maybe 250 plays on it and looking forward to many more You need to be focused on what you are shooting for and I can hit all of the shots, although not always when I need too. We get lots of multiballs (5 or more a game) and stacking those with other modes is very rewarding. I am certainly becoming a better player thanks to this game.

Game flow? I have no complaints, the spinner is doable and always rewarding and makes for a perfect set up to the magic shop. Many people complain about drains from the key lane, my table rarely drains from there. I have had to adjust my scoop eject a little and the skill shot need a tweak too but I love how this game plays. I am on the latest code... It seems forgiving with the ball saves and the center post makes for welcome nudge saves.

The OP suggests adjusting game settings and I think that was the original point of this thread and so important to maximum enjoyment out of this unique machine. I have it set at 5 ball play, 60 sec modes and 5 ball max extra balls and some reduced completions for Houdini letters (oh and I turned off those irritating giggling girls) We regularly get games over 750k. 1.5 mill is our high score with three letters

#74 10 days ago
Quoted from Platypus:

I brought Houdini home about three weeks ago. At first I thought "oh man this game is too hard". but after a few games into it I was having lots of fun. My wife was a little slower coming around but is still learning the objectives. The variety of modes are great, tons of stuff to master,. This game will keep our interest for a long time. We have maybe 250 plays on it and looking forward to many more You need to be focused on what you are shooting for and I can hit all of the shots, although not always when I need too. We get lots of multiballs (5 or more a game) and stacking those with other modes is very rewarding. I am certainly becoming a better player thanks to this game.
Game flow? I have no complaints, the spinner is doable and always rewarding and makes for a perfect set up to the magic shop. Many people complain about drains from the key lane, my table rarely drains from there. I have had to adjust my scoop eject a little and the skill shot need a tweak too but I love how this game plays. I am on the latest code... It seems forgiving with the ball saves and the center post makes for welcome nudge saves.
The OP suggests adjusting game settings and I think that was the original point of this thread and so important to maximum enjoyment out of this unique machine. I have it set at 5 ball play, 60 sec modes and 5 ball max extra balls and some reduced completions for Houdini letters (oh and I turned off those irritating giggling girls) We regularly get games over 750k. 1.5 mill is our high score with three letters

Great post - since buying last year, I have since reverted back my game to default settings, except I think I may award extra balls earlier than default. I do think the game is way too hard out of the box, but this also has something to do with it having SO much you can shoot for. I am getting to be really good at hitting the inner loop, and still can make the milk can shot pretty frequently. I have friends who still don't believe you can make that shot consistently (and won a Roger Sharpe bet that I could, on the first shot!). I think my only criticism at all is about the ramp - it is very very hard to hit that ramp consistently, and I do not understand why.

Still, IMO it's too hard to feel like you've achieved anything for most players - perhaps they should allow the stage to be open by default when you start your game, so you can get right into a mode.

#75 10 days ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Great post - since buying last year, I have since reverted back my game to default settings, except I think I may award extra balls earlier than default. I do think the game is way too hard out of the box, but this also has something to do with it having SO much you can shoot for. I am getting to be really good at hitting the inner loop, and still can make the milk can shot pretty frequently. I have friends who still don't believe you can make that shot consistently (and won a Roger Sharpe bet that I could, on the first shot!). I think my only criticism at all is about the ramp - it is very very hard to hit that ramp consistently, and I do not understand why.
Still, IMO it's too hard to feel like you've achieved anything for most players - perhaps they should allow the stage to be open by default when you start your game, so you can get right into a mode.

I agree the ramp is rather hard, although I hit it a bunch when not trying. the Elephant illusion is maybe my least favorite.

first stage opening is rather easy requiring only a shot or two

Spelling seance is very doable by most players and that multiball is so much fun! and magic shop, often happens by accident but a good achievement.

I don't have a very hard time hitting the inner loop and enjoy setting up the lock at stage alley and FILM letters. all great objectives that are indeed rewarding. Several times I have hit the inner loop on the first flip off the plunge, sometimes coupled with ball locked skill shot and that feels like an accomplishment.

I often don't enjoy complex games when I first play them, primarily because I don't know the rules or what to shoot for. Houdini has great objective call outs and the color coded lighting that should be easy for newer players to pick up on.

#76 10 days ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

I do think the game is way too hard out of the box

This is probably true as far as the defaults, and that is all on me. Being my first machine, I set those as the true objectives as I had envisioned it, where the 'easy' setting (presets were not in the machine originally, but are now), is probably a better place for most players. Although in a home environment with family, etc. some, extra easy may be the best way to start. Heck, I think Balcer set his to easy or extra easy when he first unboxed his (well, he still does not really know the rules).

At home I have it on defaults other then the secret missions for a Houdini letter at 3 and Houdini letters for stage at 8 and 10. That extra one lets me get to master magician without having to have completed all the others. Setting Jail Escape to 4 is also probably a good setting with Jail Difficulty on 'easy', which is the default (or to 3, but with difficulty on hard), since there is always one escape shot, that varies from game to game, you just can't seem to hit. Taking Magic shop visits down by 1 can be helpful, since that is a shot that you can't directly make from the flippers (although it is a relatively easy bank shot off the stage once you get the feel for it). Anytime you visit the magic shop, you should immediately focus on the spinner to re-open it, so that when the ball goes in there it is not a wasted visit. Just like always having FILM lit when shooting inner loop (helpful to have the feel for the ramp to quickly spell FILM). You also want to be sure to relight the lock, after a lock so again, so not to waste any inner loop shots. I keep films at 5 for the letter, since I want to get to Movie Binge given the huge points available (I also find it the easiest of the mini-wizard modes to get to). And certainly want to get to the Stage Encore before starting Master Magician, since it is a done of points for making just one shot. The Great Jail Escape is also lucrative, and even if you sent Houdini letters to just 4 escapes, you can still get that fifth one to start the Great Jail Escape.

#77 10 days ago

I find the Secret Mission shots to be difficult as I'm still trying to get past the second one.

#78 10 days ago
Quoted from Tuna_Delight:

I find the Secret Mission shots to be difficult as I'm still trying to get past the second one.

just because it is a combo, does not mean you can't do a drop catch or similar Keep in mind it is not timed based, it is shot/switch based. So as along as you don't hit a 'kill' switch . . .

#79 10 days ago
Quoted from rosh:

just because it is a combo, does not mean you can't do a drop catch or similar Keep in mind it is not timed based, it is shot/switch based. So as along as you don't hit a 'kill' switch . . .

Thanks Josh. I apparently need to dial in my game further in order to enable performing a drop catch with the left flipper immediately after shooting the right orbit. Currently, the most left flipper contact I typically get with the ball, after doing so, is just a glance off of its extended tip.

#80 10 days ago
Quoted from Tuna_Delight:

Thanks Josh. I apparently need to dial in my game further in order to enable performing a drop catch with the left flipper immediately after shooting the right orbit. Currently, the most left flipper contact I typically get with the ball, after doing so, is just a glance off of its extended tip.

If it is hitting the tip, then yes, you should try to tweak the left orbit flat rail so it more closely feeds in front of the sling down to the middle of the flipper. Tricky to adjust and does not take a lot to change the ball flow, so, do things in small steps. Obviously not ever shot will flow just right, but more often then not it should hit the middle.

#81 9 days ago

I am going to add some rule suggestions in the main thread, but speaking of mission difficulty, I can earn three. Chances of earning more are minimal. So suggestion is 1) allow magic targets to collect next step in the combo. This would let you hit two or three shots in a combo and claim the next with magic shot, maybe equaling the magic number. Another option 2) is to add a setting in menu to allow x switches to be hit after correct shot in sequence before resetting combo.

#82 9 days ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

I am going to add some rule suggestions in the main thread, but speaking of mission difficulty, I can earn three. Chances of earning more are minimal. So suggestion is 1) allow magic targets to collect next step in the combo. This would let you hit two or three shots in a combo and claim the next with magic shot, maybe equaling the magic number. Another option 2) is to add a setting in menu to allow x switches to be hit after correct shot in sequence before resetting combo.

I think the first three or quite doable if you give them attention, the fourth is tricky and the fifth is super hard, which is why I suggested 3 for Houdini letter on secret mission since it leaves that objective still quite challenging, but achievable by most (if they really try). Also possible I will adjust things by adding a difficulty setting that replace missions 4 and 5 with something easier. The reality is the layout does not allow for a ton of combo shots.

I'll give these suggestions thought. It would certainly be a fit for the philosophy behind the magic stand-ups especially since one is near the scoop, which is often the last shot in the sequence. Given the above, it is possible I would make it only valid on the last shot or in the case of the 5th combo, the first shot. Part of that is off the top of my head I can see how doing it for those would not be nearly as complex in re-factoring code as it would be if it was on all shots in the combo sequence.

There are only some switches/shots that kill the combo, typically those tied to other major shots. So the SEANCE targets and slings, won't kill the combo. But, I'll take a look at it. I think that often folks are not focused on the missions, so even if they just need one more shot and it is still alive, they don't realize they can still make it and finish it.

#83 9 days ago

I like the secret mission I always keep it in mind and try for it. I get the first one fairly often. The second a couple of times now, but the third never yet.When the ball comes down fast from the left orbit I usually deflect to my right flipper which puts me in a bad position for the scoop.can you score the combo by hitting the left orbit or must it be right (counter clockwise)?

I like Jeffs two suggestions The magic "wildcards" add a nice element but are no gimmes.

#84 9 days ago
Quoted from rosh:

There are only some switches/shots that kill the combo, typically those tied to other major shots. So the SEANCE targets and slings, won't kill the combo. But, I'll take a look at it. I think that often folks are not focused on the missions, so even if they just need one more shot and it is still alive, they don't realize they can still make it and finish it.

That is good to know as I am never sure what "directly" meant. It sounds like mission 5 might not be that bad if I could only hit that damn milkcan more regularly.

#85 9 days ago

left orbit will give the spinner for the combo and puts you in a better position to go for the scoop. The timer on the combos is insanely long.

#86 9 days ago
Quoted from kdecgp:

left orbit will give the spinner for the combo and puts you in a better position to go for the scoop. The timer on the combos is insanely long.

Pretty sure that is not true. For example, the orbit to scoop combo, the code looks for a switch sequence, in that case it is looking for the right orbit switch, the middle orbit switch the left orbit switch and then the scoop. The spinner switch itself is never used by the code to detect combos or orbits, given how it spins. One of the changes from the originally prototypes and production was the addition of the right orbit switch. Prior to that I was using the spinner for that (for some reason I listened to Joe on that), and while I could make it work, it was not totally reliable, as a delayed final spin, could occur far enough later that the code would think it was a new shot to the spinner. That extra switch made my life a lot easier.

No timer, you could shoot the right orbit, hold the ball on the left flipper for five minutes, then shoot the scoop and score the combo.

#87 8 days ago

Double checked and I was mistaken. The combo light changes over solid but left orbit to scoop will just reject. If you go up the ramp but don't make it all the way the combo light will revert back to the ramp. I don't know what the hell I'm talkin' about.

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