(Topic ID: 195186)

Is LCD bad for pinball?


By AJB4

2 years ago



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  • Latest reply 2 years ago by daudioguy
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    There are 111 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 3.
    #1 2 years ago

    I got to thinking about the new LCD screen efforts by everyone now. It seems to me that things like playfield elements / unique gimmicks & features have taken a back-seat in the design process compared to the effort and $$ spent on making the LCD spectacular. Personally, I don't think that the LCD adds much to my gameplay. I would be fine with color dmd's if it meant inventive and unique gimmicks that enhance gameplay. I think maybe Aerosmith got it just right. Thoughts?

    #2 2 years ago

    LCD screens have definitely added to the cost of the machine. Not the actual cost of the LCD, but the programming resources, computer & HW improvements, and time needed to make it look good and match the gameplay. So if the total cost of a pin stays the same, other things will have to be cut instead.....

    11
    #4 2 years ago

    I'm happy with alpha numeric. I don't think HD animations add anything of value at all. The game is on the playfield.

    24
    #5 2 years ago

    I hated when they went to the painted numbers on the backglass that lit up as your score got higher. Ruined pinball for me.

    LTG : )
    Disclaimer : Things evolve. Can't stop it.

    11
    #6 2 years ago

    In short, its not the screen that has taken away from pinball. Think about the 2 major companies that use LCD/LED screens on their games: Stern and JJP. Now think about the layouts and features of the Stern games that use the screen and think about the 3 games of JJP. I think you'll be able to come to your own conclusion.

    #7 2 years ago

    Everyone is putting way to much thought into SW. There's posts about Ritchie not having enough time, or stern refusing to let him have what he wants. Then you have people blaming the cost of the license. Now it's the cost of the LCD.

    SW is the game SR designed and wanted it to be. He's not going to make everyone happy and not every game can be a huge hit with everyone.

    Look at all of the new LCD games and while some might be lacking in code, none other the SW are missing big interactive toys. Look at DI, you couldn't fit anything else on that playfield.

    #8 2 years ago

    Saying LCD is bad for pinball is like saying 3D visuals, HD visuals, and motion controls were bad for video games. While that last one might be debatable with hard core gamers, there's no doubt that the motion control movement put more video games in the hands of people than ever before with the Wii. 3D and HD have increased the development costs and time it takes to develop games, but some of the best games ever to be made in the history of video games have been born from those technological advancement. Perhaps part of the reason that new games with LCD displays have fallen flat is because they really don't do much more for gameplay than a DMD does.

    I think it's up to the manufacturers now to do something creative with the displays in pinball now. Instead of rushing out games, they should take their time to experiment, deepen the code, and really put more time into development. William's experimented with an interactive display back with Pinball 2000, and I thought despite it's shortcomings, their presentation still holds up well today.

    Really, I think LCD displays are here to stay, and they're the next logical evolutionary step for pinball. Designers just need to spend a little more time with them to use them in a way that wasn't possible with DMDs.

    #9 2 years ago

    LCD can really be Great for pinball in time

    14
    #10 2 years ago

    Pinball is....pinball - it's mechanical! Let's concentrate on that.

    The display methods are incidental no matter if they are mechanical reels or super dooper MASSIVE (stupid) LED screens.

    It must be remembered that pinball is a MECHANICAL game.

    Try to move away from that and guess what - - you have a video game!

    #11 2 years ago

    Not in my opinion... the one color DMD was great but it was time for pinball to move on years ago. Whether it was Pinball 2000, or JJP style displays, or the new Stern displays, or hell even just a Color DMD , once you replace that old display with something in color the game seems fresh and new, and the games around it seem older. And that's what people want to buy or drop quarters into.

    #12 2 years ago

    For me, this thread has no logic. It's like saying, if Stern stopped putting artwork the cabinets, couldn't they do a better job programming code. I don't think Lyman Sheets is assigned to programming LCD animations.
    So for that reason, I will have to let this thread go. (Forged in Fire reference!)

    #13 2 years ago

    Doesn’t matter what the technology is, I look at the playfield when I play, not the screen.

    #14 2 years ago

    Shit started going down hill since pinball companies started adding coin mechs.......the money I have lost.....

    -1
    #15 2 years ago

    Bring back score reels, relays, and score motors.

    #16 2 years ago

    If they can get through the growing pains, no. My biggest problem with LCDs is it takes away the peppy, cartoonish zip that good dots had. Brevity is the soul of wit, and LCDs make it easier to screw up your presentation - it's obviously not a universal opinion, but I think the animations in Aerosmith are absolutely revolting. Stern was rarely good at dots to begin with, so it's no surprise their transition to a bigger, more complex, and highly detailed presentation form would come with a bunch of stumbling (SW is nearly incomprehensible when it ventures outside of merely providing information).

    JJP has had more practice, but they haven't nailed it, either - The Hobbit is overwhelming if you're a new player, and Dialed In is missing that spark that makes Lawlor's best pins feel alive and theatrical. It's not funny or menacing enough, and the disasters don't feel neatly delineated and purposeful like they do in his best mode game, RS, which probably has the best modes of any pin in that they're instantly understandable, they all feel unique, and the balance of dots to physical gameplay is pretty even. It's more difficult to manage that when you've got a huge, semi-photorealistic image to work with - would the Minnesota mode work with Dialed In's graphics? Or is there something about the limited nature of dots that makes that mode funnier and more effective?

    Out of all the LCD pins I've played (all of them, I think), so far Alien is the only one where the gameplay and LCD action feel naturally linked. They did an amazing job of creating a cohesive atmosphere and utilizing a few concepts to link everything together, and they used things like video glitches and the MUTHUR interface to link together relatively disparate clips and make it all function as a single piece. The medium is the message, as they say. The relatively huge, high-detail real estate of the LCD demands much, much more information management than dots did, and finding ways to make the display of the display function is a whole challenge by itself.

    #17 2 years ago

    I'm so busy watching the ball I never have time to look up at the display. So, I don't really care what displays my score as long as I can cradle the ball from time to time and GLANCE up and see if I'm beating you yet. What I HATE is when a display, whether it be DMD or LCD, isn't readily displaying all players scores. I don't want to have to cradle the ball forever and have to go through pages of menus to see my score, and whether or not I'm beating you yet.

    The addition of the alpha-numerics on TNA was brilliant, IMO.

    #18 2 years ago

    Is LCD bad for pinball?

    No quite the opposite, now maybe not for the old timers or pretentious pinheads but for most of us I believe it only adds to the game and will get better in time. Oh Yeah.

    #19 2 years ago

    I still don't know why they added legs.

    #20 2 years ago
    Quoted from Mudflaps:

    I still don't know why they added legs.

    They were out of flaps.

    LTG : )

    #21 2 years ago
    Quoted from trunchbull:

    Stern was rarely good at dots to begin with, so it's no surprise their transition to a bigger, more complex, and highly detailed presentation form would come with a bunch of stumbling (SW is nearly incomprehensible when it ventures outside of merely providing information)

    Aside from the games with FMV rips & the last few with down-rezzed CG work, Stern was very good at dots. Metallica & ACDC's dots had excellent & fun design & animation. LOTR, TSPP, FGY, POTC, etc - all had fantastic dots that were equal or better to B/W's best.

    The problem with the LCDs so far is that Stern doesn't have the experience, talent or time to make them look contemporary. So far they look like 90's CD-ROM games. So even tho they're using a modern display, the content on it makes the games look dated...but not in a good way.

    So, even tho the DMD is "old technology" - look at what we're talking about here - PINBALL, for crying out loud. An ancient obsolete game. Pinball is inherently retro - and that's part of the appeal. When people play pinball, they're not playing for the tech - they're playing for the old timeh retro appeal and fun, even if a game is new. Because pinball is retro, a well done retro DMD is going to look far more appealing and fitting than an LCD with dated transitions, animation, font, etc.

    So far the only LCDs that have felt relatively contemporary are WOZ & Hobbit...but they are a bit slot-machiney in presentation. They're far beyond Stern's talent, though - but they've also had far more time to work on them.

    #22 2 years ago

    LCD is great for pinball because it is contemporary. When I went to the pinball hall of fame in Vegas, the only pin that was constantly surrounded by a group (not just those playing) of people was The Hobbit. Why? Because the large LCD provided a completely different visual experience for the onlooker. Yes, the game is on the playfield, but the onlooker needs something, too. I think the LCD will be a huge plus for games on route because they catch the eye. Plus, younger people are expecting the added technology. LCD games make recent DMD games look archaic, just by the display alone. I really don't think the young player or the new pinball enthusiast cares as much about backglass, but would rather want the newest, latest, and greatest (perceived) technology. As a Hobbit owner (my only LCD pin), I find I enjoy watching someone play almost as much as playing. And in home use, once you get a sense of flow and spend time with it, the LCD becomes easy to understand, functional, and entertaining. Yes, once you are used to the game you find ways to watch the LCD (just like we all did with DMD). It's here to stay, and should be an awesome accessory even more in the future as all companies get better at implementing it.

    #23 2 years ago
    Quoted from Rarehero:

    Aside from the games with FMV rips & the last few with down-rezzed CG work, Stern was very good at dots. Metallica & ACDC's dots had excellent & fun design & animation. LOTR, TSPP, FGY, POTC, etc - all had fantastic dots that were equal or better to B/W's best.

    You know, you're right, actually, they did some good stuff, though I don't agree on AC/DC at all - I guess I'm just soured by their recent efforts, and I think it just comes down to overall presentation as well.

    #24 2 years ago
    Quoted from Crile1:

    I think the LCD will be a huge plus for games on route because they catch the eye.

    Wait till some drunk chucks a beer bottle through that LCD.

    #25 2 years ago

    JJP has done it and not forced too much reliance on the screen although they do some on hobbit. Star Wars really forces you to look at the screen and has taken away alot of the visual cues on the field from lights. 1 screen good.... 2 screens, kind of irritating.

    #26 2 years ago
    Quoted from nikpinball:

    JJP has done it and not forced too much reliance on the screen although they do some on hobbit. Star Wars really forces you to look at the screen and has taken away alot of the visual cues on the field from lights. 1 screen good.... 2 screens, kind of irritating.

    Doesn't Hobbit have 2 screens too?

    #27 2 years ago

    Myself, I think all of the scoring & other info should be on a small screen on the apron. That way, you don't have to take your eyes off of the playfield.
    Save the backglass animation for attracting players & bystanders.

    #28 2 years ago

    LCD is probably good for pinball since it helps connect it to the younger crowd. That being said, I personally don't care for LCDs in pinball. The more they start to make LCD screens part of the gameplay, the more I think about moving from SS to EM games. I guess that makes me old

    #29 2 years ago

    I think LCDs are fine if utilized correctly. As a home user, I find it frustrating when you can't look at eye candy on the LCD because it's displayed while you have a fast moving ball (or worse yet, multiball) happening on the playfield. From a design point of view, I think the formula for fun is to include non-complex info on the LCD (when the player barely has time to glance up) but also reward the player with "wow" content on the LCD (when the player does have time to look at it). It's not rocket science. Duplicating main LCD content on a smaller LCD on the playfield... in my view that's a crummy way to address the real design problem.

    #30 2 years ago

    competition helps things evolve a lot faster. I think they look cool, but it's not going to be something that will sway my decision either way. The machine can have all the bells and whistle's but if the game sucks, then no LCD display will help it suck less. all about the game play. I think the appeal is more to people who don't know very much about pinball, that instant attraction. Seeing something their not used to seeing and dropping a quarter in. If it helps rope a few more people into the hobby then I'm all for it. The more people in the hobby - the higher the demand - the more choices we have every year.

    #31 2 years ago

    If anything, LCD probably lowers the cost of the machine to the manufacturer. It's obvious an LCD screen is cheaper than a DMD, and I would also doubt that programming for it is any more expensive -- video editors and digital graphic artists are ubiquitous and tend to skew young. They're a dime a dozen, and can use any major industry standard tools to do the video. Meanwhile, people who can do DMD art are much less common and probably more senior members of the industry, and need knowledge of proprietary software. in other words more expensive.

    anyway, it's not like Stern wasn't making severely minimalistic playfields before the LCD anyway.

    #32 2 years ago
    Quoted from trunchbull:

    You know, you're right, actually, they did some good stuff, though I don't agree on AC/DC at all - I guess I'm just soured by their recent efforts, and I think it just comes down to overall presentation as well.

    AC/DC has a few FMV shots, but - the "hand drawn" dots are really good and funny. The song intros & cartoony Devil Angus and his antics are great.

    #33 2 years ago

    So far, AS seems to be the best use of the right sized LCD, fun graphics but still have a major toy on the p/f.

    #34 2 years ago

    No....I love the screens...creativity will come.....the BM66 interaction is quite good, even with early code....adds to the fun of gameplay....no way you're reproducing that w dmd...

    And Alien was badass....suspect it will be the best yet....

    #35 2 years ago

    I only have time to glance up during little pauses in play, or for a split second when the ball is near the pops bumpers or on a ramp. For me, the DMD and LCD are just added extras and I do not place great emphasis on them.

    I have just as much fun playing a Funhouse or Whirlwind as I do a Batman 66 (with its LCD) or Tron (with its DMD). I think that too much emphasis is being placed on LCD's instead of what is under the glass IMO.

    #36 2 years ago
    Quoted from PinSinner:

    I only have time to glance up during little pauses in play, or for a split second when the ball is near the pops bumpers or on a ramp. For me, the DMD and LCD are just added extras and I do not place great emphasis on them.
    I have just as much fun playing a Funhouse or Whirlwind as I do a Batman 66 (with its LCD) or Tron (with its DMD). I think that too much emphasis is being placed on LCD's instead of what is under the glass IMO.

    Stern was neglecting what's under the glass long before they switched to LCD. it's specious to blame sparse playfields on the LCD.

    #37 2 years ago

    I am very pleased that after 25 years the times of the monochrome DMD are finally over and current display technology is being used by pinball manufacturers.
    With LCD, there are plenty of new creative possibilities. Along with a contemporary presentation, it might attract new crowds into pinball.

    #38 2 years ago

    Color TV came out in the 50's, it took 60 years for pinball to catch up. I yi yi

    #39 2 years ago

    LCD is GREAT for manufacturers as they cost 1/4 the price of a DMD so expect them to continue in pinball machines.

    #40 2 years ago
    Quoted from Homepin:

    LCD is GREAT for manufacturers as they cost 1/4 the price of a DMD so expect them to continue in pinball machines.

    The continuous duty, commercial LCD's are not the same as home use LEDs for home use.....less expensive than DMD? I'm sure, but not by 1/4.... the fact that it's opened incredible avenues for an enhanced experience is where the real value is for me.

    #41 2 years ago
    Quoted from MK6PIN:

    The continuous duty, commercial LCD's are not the same as home use LEDs for home use.....less expensive than DMD? I'm sure, but not by 1/4.... the fact that it's opened incredible avenues for an enhanced experience is where the real value is for me.

    Believe me when I say I know what they cost - we buy LED screens almost every week for several products we make. The screens being used in pinball machines currently are all from China and I deal with the same sources for our product - only we pay even LESS as we are a factory in China and receive a higher discount and tax breaks.

    Oh...we also manufacture DMDs and they cost a great deal more to make - the labour and parts cost FAR exceeds even the most expensive, similar LED screen we can buy - commercial or not.

    The term "commercial grade" is often used to disguise the truth about most screens, they are sold as commercial because (usually) they will have a few pixels out or some similar issue that retails sales won't accept but commercial will. The thought that somehow commercial screens are far superior is not correct.

    #42 2 years ago
    Quoted from Homepin:

    Believe me when I say I know what they cost - we buy LED screens almost every week for several products we make. The screens being used in pinball machines currently are all from China and I deal with the same sources for our product - only we pay even LESS as we are a factory in China and receive a higher discount and tax breaks.

    No desire to really debate, as I don't buy dmd's in my line of work, so no idea how much they cost to produce. I just know the large screens JJP use are substantially closer to what I deal with....and they're not cheap.

    #43 2 years ago
    Quoted from Homepin:

    The thought that somehow commercial screens are far superior is not correct.

    ( responding to your edit)

    Ouch!!!...While I agree the term " commercial" is abused in certain areas, I can quite assure you that the displays we deploy ( not just the screen, entire package) in certain hospital environments far exceed capabilities, UL listings, duty cycles, etc. of anything available in a home environment. These things are expensive, and the only solution for some of the equipment they are connected to....

    Anyway ( back on topic)....I doubt pinball is moving to LCD/LED elements due to cost, but rather innovation. Saving some cost a nice byproduct.....

    #44 2 years ago

    Either way it sounds like neither of you agree with the premise that new screens are stealing from the playfield budget.

    #45 2 years ago

    The LCD was and is a game changer

    I've got Woz and JJP to thank for reeling me back into pinball.

    Innovate or die

    #46 2 years ago

    LCDs are great in pinball machines, until they are used as a central way to bring the theme to the game.

    In my opinion JJP hit it out of the park with the WOZ screen. At any moment I could look up and know exactly what I needed next. Once you understood it, it was brilliant. However they didn't do the same since then. I thought Hobbit was too much info, and with DI they added so much movement that again, too much. I just want to glance at it, and know where I am in the game.

    Stern has done OK with it. However they are treating it like a DMD still. And they are doing things in repeating loops. Taking content from the source and just looping it with no sound. They are missing opportunity with it as they try and leverage it. You don't need to look any farther than the menu system to know that Stern really doesn't want to take on the development cost of fully leveraging an LCD. I believe they only switched because a DMD started to look old. But I don't think their actual development cost is any higher. DMD was specialized. This, for the most part is take a clip and loop it.

    Technology always moves forward. From turning on a light, to score reals, to digits, alpha numeric, DMD, LCD. We will see good and bad implementations over the next few years.

    #47 2 years ago
    Quoted from iceman44:

    The LCD was and is a game changer
    I've got Woz and JJP to thank for reeling me back into pinball.
    Innovate or die

    This^^^^^^^^

    And no way BM66 ever could be as cool or campy without it.....this title NEEDED the screen, imho....

    #48 2 years ago

    The LCD has had basically no impact on pinball as far as gameplay goes. At times it has made things more confusing, at times more clear. It all depends on how well it's used. Just like DMD.

    I do hate seeing clip shows being used when we used to get original art though. That's been a step backwards.

    #49 2 years ago

    LCD monitors in a pinball is just a Baby Pacman all over to me. If I wanted to look at a monitor, I'd go play a video game.

    #50 2 years ago

    If they can bring in outside observers and make the game more fun to watch -as it's played by someone else- I love them. Cool animation and sound for me after I beat something and the ball is captive or held- awesome give me more.

    Make me look up at a confusing animated Disney screen to see what shot or mode or whatever while I am playing- forget it- you just ruined the game. See score display comment above-

    Use them wisely and it brings pinball forward a good bit. Abuse them and you don't understand pinball.

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