(Topic ID: 224963)

Joe Balcer confirms Oktoberfest as American Pinball's next pin.


By PismoArcade

1 year ago



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#2501 6 months ago
Quoted from Ferret:

The Oktoberfest game team is here listening. Josh and I are regularly engaged in this thread, we're not running away. As I've said before, people shouldn't expect the entire animation package to be scrapped and redone. That's not realistic. But if there are reasonable things we can do to improve the presentation, tell us exactly what those are, and we'll see what we can do.
Several critics here have mentioned fonts. There is one font that is primarily used throughout the game, a Germanic typeface. Do you find that hard to read? If we hear a lot of that, we might be able to select another font that preserves the general style but is easier to read. Or do you have a problem with the color contrast of the text against certain backgrounds? That's something we can work with. Back around Expo, someone here posted a screenshot of a tent total screen, and said that they had a hard time reading it because of the contrast of the text against the background. That was very specific and constructive feedback, we agreed, and an improvement was checked into the code base minutes later. No problem. So go ahead, if you have access to the game, send a photo and tell us exactly what you'd like to see changed. Heck, if you don't have access to a game, watch one of the streams and send a link and a timecode with your explanation. Even feedback that can't be incorporated into Oktoberfest can help advise the team for future games.
Even something like "the dachshund walks like an anxious goat!"... well, OK, that just made me laugh, and frankly I personally have no idea what that means, but then I'm neither an animator nor an anatomist. But at least it's something specific, and thus more helpful than "the LCD sucks, booooo!"
Thanks!

Is there any way to share a video of all of the screens and animations to date? I haven’t received my game yet, nor have I seen it in person, but I would be more than happy to throw a few hours into graphic design suggestions. None of this needs to be public if you prefer feedback outside of this forum.

I am actually buying into the idea that people with some skills in design would throw you free moc-ups or animations. Chances are people in these forums are fairly skilled in their various careers since pinball is an expensive hobby.

Just a thought…

#2502 6 months ago

It's 2019. A $7500 luxury item needs art that exceeds the quality standard of the Middle Ages when they didn't understand human anatomy or perspective.

#2503 6 months ago
Quoted from Roostking:

No offense to those who I am about to offend, but when you are a pro at art, or art direction, you can't see the forest from the trees when it comes to what makes a fun pin.

"You people who have studied this stuff for years are incapable of seeing it". Just stop.

The whole package matters. If you can't see that it's not because you have some magic common man vision that the hoity toity elites just don't get, it's just that you don't know what you're talking about, and are dunning krugering all over the thread.

Nobody is attacking the AP team. I like Rosh, I've met him, Joe is a friend of mine. I hope the game does well. We're all looking to help them be stronger, for the future if nothing else. We're encouraging them.

Alice Cooper has a kick ass LCD. If Spooky can do it AP can do it, they just have to make it a priority to be smarter about it.

#2504 6 months ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

pass...
Of all the issues with the art, I think this is by far the least worthy of mention. Conner's goofs with KISS and BKSOR are way more 'abnormal'.
My biggest beef with the media is it's a smorgasbord of styles with almost no rhyme or reason to shift from one presentation to another. Its like taking 5 different people in isolation and then merging at the end.

I would agree. Ben makes great points but all considering, I'll take the broken wrist thing all day long if that was the only issue they had with this presentation.

#2505 6 months ago

If I were asked my opinion it would be to choose an art style with lower production cost and do it well. 3D is more expensive so go with a line art style, comic or painted. But hire one person to do it all for cohesion sake.

Having said that, I think if screen art is the tallest blade of grass, then the priorities are right. I played this at TPF and loved the play field, toys, mechanics and shots. To me, they got the most important piece right.

#2506 6 months ago
Quoted from Aurich:

"You people who have studied this stuff for years are incapable of seeing it". Just stop.
The whole package matters. If you can't see that it's not because you have some magic common man vision that the hoity toity elites just don't get, it's just that you don't know what you're talking about, and are dunning krugering all over the thread.
Nobody is attacking the AP team. I like Rosh, I've met him, Joe is a friend of mine. I hope the game does well. We're all looking to help them be stronger, for the future if nothing else. We're encouraging them.
Alice Cooper has a kick ass LCD. If Spooky can do it AP can do it, they just have to make it a priority to be smarter about it.

I don't think those of us who "don't see it" think you are attacking the AP team, and those guys have been vocal about accepting constructive criticism. However the nit-picking of the art in games does get a little old with those of us who don't see what we think are really minor things. Take the sword in the Black Knight SOR backglass angle, or the shield position, I bet 95% of people on this thread looked at those pictures and thought "man, that looks cool!" but others see issues with it. I'm not saying they shouldn't voice their opinion but just like Otto's wrist here, most don't see any problem with it as we are taking the picture in as a whole rather than dissecting each aspect.

As for Art Direction and experience, IIRC Aurich some people were shitting all over your Alien PF design when it was first posted. This is no more an attack on you than your comments are on the API team so please don't take it that way, and I know you were working under licensing constraints but art is a very subjective thing and if you believe that everyone sees the same thing you guys do then that is the disconnect. It also means that they could hire someone as widely revered around here as Zombie Yeti and some people would still have problems with aspects of the art.

The animations are a different story and obviously API chose a certain style or styles if you will for OKT (and Houdini), when I played the game at LAX I thought it was a lot of fun and the playfield looked great. I did notice that many of the animations aren't fantastic and I would like to see them up there game there but as Ben said I seriously doubt they are going to scrap the whole thing and start over. They have probably started at least preliminary work on their next game if they are really going to release as many titles as they aim to so it's likely resources are allocated there. They are also a startup from scratch with only the revenue from ~600 Houdini's over the past two years so it could be that belt-tightening is a further constraint. I guess the only good in all of this is that we've moved on from Monkeygate.

#2507 6 months ago
Quoted from bobukcat:

Take the sword in the Black Knight SOR backglass angle, or the shield position, I bet 95% of people on this thread looked at those pictures and thought "man, that looks cool!" but others see issuns with it.

I guess I just don't care about Stern's approach to pinball design to jump into that particular throng that deeply to discuss those issues. For me, I've detailed my points because I WANT to buy Oktoberfest, and wish specific elements, (which are not in anyway unachievable goals to strive towards) were improved upon significantly with their second game.

Other than tight shot layout, LCD usage was the primary point of conflict people took issue with on Houdini. It seems with Oktoberfest, possibly half of that equation has been improved upon, and the other half made more glaring via API's ambitious and admirable concepts for this game.

I think I'll jump off this dead horse until I get some play in, and even at that point, it's all a bit moot.

#2508 6 months ago

Just because you don't notice something is wrong doesn't mean there isn't something wrong. A carpenter, a doctor, a dentist, a mechanic can all look at things and see issues others can't. You wouldn't ask Aurich to fix your teeth but he could tell you if Luci's hips were drawn wrong.

Broken wrists and pretzel women are a result of making a game entirely out of clip art and not in an effective Chris Franchi way. Pretzel woman was made from at least 3 different women and they used an ass shot to form the front of her skirt. They fixed it, but the fact it was there in the first place speaks to the lack of cohesion.

There's a reason animators on G rated movies sketch nudes or what DaVinci dug up corpses and Python Angelo chopped up animals - to understand anatomy and apply it correctly to art.

As Kaneda says the theme is a tough sell so EVERY other aspect has to be top notch. It's frustrating to see a company put so much work into the physical game yet cover it with a frosting of puke.

Lastly, David van Es and I designed the ACNC display. Thus I know how much work it takes to do this right which means I can also tell when something has been done very lazily.

#2509 6 months ago

What you should do for your released pins is get the fans involved. We can be so criticall, but we can also be very creative. Dont just ask for opinion, ask for content... just as Ben offered a visual take on the “broken” wrist, fans could offer content for your machines, post release, that you could incorporate to improve the game. Hell, I would animate thirty screens for the chance to get 3 seconds on your LCD if you give me a credit on the credit page. Yes, I have been paid to do animations and coding for pinball... if anyone remembers Global VR and UltraPin. But you give me a style, a storyboard, and any required IP, such as Otto, or Twisted Sister, or Logos and Signage guidelines, I can cram your inbox with content.

Or offer this perk through a Patreon subcription, I pay a price, I get access to the design team to submit ideas, animations, call outs, rule changes. I could see tapping into the fans who would do this from a “cool” factor alone.

And best thing is, you could make your machines better without much cost, and actually the Patreon influx would help cover the administration costs to run the program.

Or run a contest to get a fan idea made into a mode. Or offer a flipper code to enter just for me that gives a personal shout out to me for being a Patreon Supporter. Complete with my own custom graphic avatar

These are great marketing ideas... have your guy call me and we can talk lol...

#2510 6 months ago
Quoted from benheck:

Just because you don't notice something is wrong doesn't mean there isn't something wrong. A carpenter, a doctor, a dentist, a mechanic can all look at things and see issues others can't. You wouldn't ask Aurich to fix your teeth but he could tell you if Luci's hips were drawn wrong.
Broken wrists and pretzel women are a result of making a game entirely out of clip art and not in an effective Chris Franchi way. Pretzel woman was made from at least 3 different women and they used an ass shot to form the front of her skirt. They fixed it, but the fact it was there in the first place speaks to the lack of cohesion.
There's a reason animators on G rated movies sketch nudes or what DaVinci dug up corpses and Python Angelo chopped up animals - to understand anatomy and apply it correctly to art.
As Kaneda says the theme is a tough sell so EVERY other aspect has to be top notch. It's frustrating to see a company put so much work into the physical game yet cover it with a frosting of puke.
Lastly, David van Es and I designed the ACNC display. Thus I know how much work it takes to do this right which means I can also tell when something has been done very lazily.

But a toothache isn't subjective, it hurts everyone who has one. Art is very subjective and much more subtle. Quoting "K-man" is a sure-fire way for me to discount just about everything you have to say following that quote BTW.

#2511 6 months ago

Thanks for listening Team AP! I think the sequence played when entering a tent of an Oktoberfest tent needs cleaned up. This is my favorite part and most authentic to Oktoberfest. I would like to see more of that! Not sure if it was blurred on purpose for rights etc? Also the left pinblade of the brewery sold with the machine is way to dark and all brown. I'ts hard to make out what it is. Something bright and festive like the right side to match would be a better balance? The Eurothrash music is whats holding me back. Be honest if you stick with the theme and played live music from an Oktoberfest tent with polka,cheering,mugs banging, bench stomping,and whistling by the crowd it would be a hit! Notice when that sequence of the tent and music comes on in the feeds the reaction of players bopping up and down getting in the mood just craving a beer. Oktoberfest is probably the best theme I can think of for a game but is let down by music and potential sound effects for call outs. Spend a few hours at Hofbrauhaus on a busy night and you get the drift. It's almost there bust lacks Gemutlichkeit!

#2512 6 months ago
Quoted from Viggin900:

Thanks for listening Team AP! I think the sequence played when entering a tent of an Oktoberfest tent needs cleaned up. This is my favorite part and most authentic to Oktoberfest. I would like to see more of that! Not sure if it was blurred on purpose for rights etc? Also the left pinblade of the brewery sold with the machine is way to dark and all brown. I'ts hard to make out what it is. Something bright and festive like the right side to match would be a better balance? The Eurothrash music is whats holding me back. Be honest if you stick with the theme and played live music from an Oktoberfest tent with polka,cheering,mugs banging, bench stomping,and whistling by the crowd it would be a hit! Notice when that sequence of the tent and music comes on in the feeds the reaction of players bopping up and down getting in the mood just craving a beer. Oktoberfest is probably the best theme I can think of for a game but is let down by music and potential sound effects for call outs. Spend a few hours at Hofbrauhaus on a busy night and you get the drift. It's almost there bust lacks Gemutlichkeit!

I mentioned the option of using the original theme's music or...crazy idea...allowing the user to insert their own playlist via usb, and resolve that issue entirely that so many seem to have.

I never saw a single comment to that idea, yet the issue still exists.

#2513 6 months ago
Quoted from Aurich:

"You people who have studied this stuff for years are incapable of seeing it". Just stop.
The whole package matters. If you can't see that it's not because you have some magic common man vision that the hoity toity elites just don't get, it's just that you don't know what you're talking about, and are dunning krugering all over the thread.
Nobody is attacking the AP team. I like Rosh, I've met him, Joe is a friend of mine. I hope the game does well. We're all looking to help them be stronger, for the future if nothing else. We're encouraging them.
Alice Cooper has a kick ass LCD. If Spooky can do it AP can do it, they just have to make it a priority to be smarter about it.

Well I just reread my post and it didnt come out right. You personally know about art and making a fun game. Is what I meant to get across is that a pro might be overly critical, whereas the layman, such as myself, might not see it as a big deal. Of course when the pros get critical, it pushes the developer to improve.

Back on topic. Can't wait to play one day.

#2514 6 months ago
Quoted from Roostking:

Well I just reread my post and it didnt come out right. You personally know about srt and .aking a fun game. Is what I meant to get across is that a pro might be overly critical, whereas the layman, such as myself, might not see it as a big deal. Of course when the pros get critical, it pushes the developer to improve.
Back on topic. Can't wait to play one day.

I tend towards being an average shlub.

I barely notice color or art.
But if it's well done, I do appreciate it.

Mostly I keep my head down focusing on flashing lights and the ball.

And where I set my drink...

10
#2515 6 months ago
Quoted from benheck:

As Kaneda says the theme is a tough sell so EVERY other aspect has to be top notch. It's frustrating to see a company put so much work into the physical game yet cover it with a frosting of puke.

Lastly, David van Es and I designed the ACNC display. Thus I know how much work it takes to do this right which means I can also tell when something has been done very lazily.

Damn dude, what's your excuse for AMH then?

For someone so critical of other people's work its seems a bit ironic that AMH has some of the worst artwork in pinball history?

Even at 200 games you can't give them away on the secondary market. Sorry but it had to be said due to the A hole nature of your comments here.

You are really focusing on the "broken wrist"? That's so lame.

#2516 6 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Damn dude, what's your excuse for AMH then?
For someone so critical of other people's work its seems a bit ironic that AMH has some of the worst artwork in pinball history?
Even at 200 games you can't give them away on the secondary market. Sorry but it had to be said due to the A hole nature of your comments here.

He didn't respond when I suggested he offer his considerable talents for free. I say again, when sticking with a budget, the last $5 should go playfield art or gameplay.

-1
#2517 6 months ago
Quoted from Roostking:

He didn't respond when I suggested he offer his considerable talents for free. I say again, when sticking with a budget, the last $5 should go playfield art or gameplay.

Maybe that explains the AMH artwork? $5

Ben is too "stressed out" from the Spooky encounter (his words). Artists need chill time

#2518 6 months ago

Greenhorn here so forgive me, but what game is AMH?

#2519 6 months ago
Quoted from JayDee:

Greenhorn here so forgive me, but what game is AMH?

LOL. Exactly.

#2520 6 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Maybe that explains the AMH artwork? $5

I'm not getting into that, but choices have to be made. Whats more important? What the player sees, or what the observers see...

#2521 6 months ago
Quoted from JayDee:

Greenhorn here so forgive me, but what game is AMH?

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#2522 6 months ago
Quoted from Roostking:

I'm not getting into that, but choices have to be made. Whats more important? What the player sees, or what the observers see...

Well you know its 100% what you see on the playfield and actually play.

Oktoberfest is a fun pin with a cool layout.

The artwork and LCD are cheesy spot on.

#2523 6 months ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

[quoted image][quoted image]

Woof.....Major insert font fail for starters! Yikes

#2524 6 months ago

I must be weird, I really like the AMH playfield art, I like the ghosts cabinet too. I've never been given any good reasons why people think its bad. It seems cohesive throughout. Yes, it's a simple style but it's eye-catching, clear and the fonts are easy to read. It reminds me of the simple playfield and cabinet designs of the late 70s, early 80s.

americasmosthaunted (resized).jpg
#2525 6 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Woof.....Major insert font fail for starters! Yikes

9649DB84-0C76-47D7-83F6-2A80B0F0B9E6 (resized).jpeg
#2526 6 months ago

Well it clearly states, "Complete Investigations to battle ghost bosses" right there in the middle of the PF.

Should that go on the Instruction card? Along with "complete all four to light fight demon"?

And the psychic lady on the backglass has NO titties or legs for that matter, and her left wrist looks broken.

#2527 6 months ago

Being a CGI artist myself for a global company I don't think the animations can be improved without scrapping them. I wouldn't have used CGI at all for this application and instead run video clips of the crowd around tents with some After Effects to add signage. I'm sure there are great videos out there. Also we do the weiner dog race here at Zinzinnati which would work as well. Much cheaper,quicker than building and animating all the stuff going on? No one can complain either. I played this game atleast 20 times and can't believe "Ein Prosit" is not sung or mentioned for call outs or a wizard mode? Bands are required to play this every hour at any Oktoberfest. Sicky socky hoy hoy hoy! The game play and deep rule set are probably one of the best, may surpass Simpsons Pinball Party?

SmartSelect_20190406-212314_Chrome (resized).jpgSmartSelect_20190406-212457_Chrome (resized).jpg
#2528 6 months ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

[quoted image][quoted image]

That's an abysmal mess of a game, but fortunately there is hope for Oktoberfest, not for America's Most Haunted.

#2529 6 months ago
Quoted from Viggin900:

I played this game atleast 20 times and can't believe "Ein Prosit" is not sung or mentioned for call outs or a wizard mode? Bands are required to play this every hour at any Oktoberfest. Sicky socky hoy hoy hoy! The game play and deep rule set are probably one of the best, may surpass Simpsons Pinball Party?

Sicky socky needs to be in there. Best thing about the slot machine sing along fun!

I think they listened to the oompa rockers to overuse that sound but classic Oktoberfest needs some hoy hoy hoy!

#2530 6 months ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

[quoted image][quoted image]

Ahh, a zizzle in a full size cabinet.

#2531 6 months ago
Quoted from Viggin900:

Being a CGI artist myself for a global company I don't think the animations can be improved without scrapping them. I wouldn't have used CGI at all for this application and instead run video clips of the crowd around tents with some After Effects to add signage. I'm sure there are great videos out there. Also we do the weiner dog race here at Zinzinnati which would work as well. Much cheaper,quicker than building and animating all the stuff going on? No one can complain either. I played this game atleast 20 times and can't believe "Ein Prosit" is not sung or mentioned for call outs or a wizard mode? Bands are required to play this every hour at any Oktoberfest. Sicky socky hoy hoy hoy! The game play and deep rule set are probably one of the best, may surpass Simpsons Pinball Party?
[quoted image][quoted image]

Wait the game doesn’t have Ein Prosit??? It is literally THE Oktoberfest song. Like if you spend 30 minutes at Oktoberfest you’ll hear it at least twice.

#2532 6 months ago
Quoted from f3honda4me:

Ein Prosit??? It is literally THE Oktoberfest song.

LTG : )

#2533 6 months ago

Thanks very much to those of you who wrote specific suggestions of items that you find unappealing / hard to read / etc... I won't respond to everyone individually, but the team appreciates it, and I'm taking notes on what's been said... as the dust settles here, we'll certainly review everything to see what improvements we can make that give us the most bang for the buck in addressing the most (un)popular items. And of course we continue to welcome any comments and concerns that anyone wishes to share, the more specific/detailed the better, either publicly on the forums or via DM.

A couple quick responses to some items that were mentioned multiple times:

- The "blurry crowd scene" when entering tents... that was always meant as a concept placeholder, not final imagery. It will be improved.

- Animations when choosing which tent you'd like to enter... skipping for the moment the question of whether an individual likes the imagery, but about timing: you don't have to wait for the animation when choosing tents. Flipper-select as fast as you can; the playfield lights are always instantly updated, and the animation always fast-forwards to the currently selected tent. Double-flip to select. And double-flip again if you want to cancel the tent intro animation. We try not to make anyone look at animations if they'd rather be flipping the ball sooner.

- Ein Prosit absolutely is in the game. A short clip of it is played at the end of Every. Single. Game. It's also played at length during Chugging, HSTD initial entry, and may be used in a mini-wiz feature.

Thanks for everyone's continued interest in Oktoberfest!

#2534 6 months ago
Quoted from Ferret:

- Ein Prosit absolutely is in the game. A short clip of it is played at the end of Every. Single. Game. It's also played at length during Chugging, HSTD initial entry, and may be used in a mini-wiz feature.

Boom boom, that's all that matters right there!

#2535 6 months ago
Quoted from Ferret:

- Ein Prosit absolutely is in the game. A short clip of it is played at the end of Every. Single. Game. It's also played at length during Chugging, HSTD initial entry, and may be used in a mini-wizard mode

Sweeeeeet. That is awesome

#2536 6 months ago
Quoted from Ferret:

It's also played at length during Chugging

It is played without words during the first chugging match, against Inga, then with words when against Otto

#2537 6 months ago
Quoted from solarvalue:

I must be weird, I really like the AMH playfield art, I like the ghosts cabinet too. I've never been given any good reasons why people think its bad. It seems cohesive throughout. Yes, it's a simple style but it's eye-catching, clear and the fonts are easy to read. It reminds me of the simple playfield and cabinet designs of the late 70s, early 80s.[quoted image]

I like the AMH art, too. This is all so subjective; not everyone is going to agree on art.

#2538 6 months ago
Quoted from mthirkell:

I like the AMH art, too. This is all so subjective; not everyone is going to agree on art.

I like Salvador Dali, I think Picasso sucks.

#2539 6 months ago
Quoted from mthirkell:

I like the AMH art, too. This is all so subjective; not everyone is going to agree on art.

I think that's exactly the point some of us have been trying to make multiple times in this thread.

-2
#2540 6 months ago

There are lots of companies trying to sell a limited market new pinball machines

To compete in 2019 you need a complete package
Layout
Theme
Code
Art
Animation
Sound

I have played a bunch of dialed in and really like it, but it's not in my basement because I don't want to own a phone themed pinball. There are too many other fun machines to buy that also look good in my basement. In a competitive market, everything matters.

The final say will be how many of these they sell. It's not for me, I can't get past the theme, art, and animations.

I wish American pinball well. I thought Houdini was a good start, this is a step back.

#2541 6 months ago

AMH is ancient history. More recently I along with David van Es designed the beloved ACNC display including storyboards, text layouts, keep safe zones and even a custom font with manually kerned letter pairs to make it "programmer proof"

So there.

14
#2542 6 months ago

I'm gonna defend America's Most Haunted for a minute. I know it's a little off topic sounding, but it's not, so stay with me. Or skip reading, this might get wordy.

AMH was the first true boutique pinball. A 'homebrew' game that was built in real numbers, you could actually buy one, and it showed up. Nobody had done it before. And plenty have tried and failed. So first off, don't go dragging the game down, it's part of pinball's history now. And plenty has been built on top of its accomplishment. Would AP exist if Spooky didn't put themselves on the map with AMH? Maybe, but I think it's fair to say Spooky paved the way for others in at least some ways. It's a less bumpy road to be a new pinball company now.

I remember first seeing AMH at Expo. If I'm remembering my timeline correctly (you go to enough of these things and the years can blur) it was also the same year as Predator (non playing joke, and we know that story) and Matrix (very cool, but a reskin of an existing game, much less ambitious), and I think WOOLY was there (they built a handful, but just couldn't get it into production). It was a cool year for custom game stuff, there was more I'm forgetting. AMH was the only game to really take the next step.

There was no frenzy of pre-orders. There was no budget and workshops filled with tools paid for by starry-eyed customers. There was, frankly, no bullshit. There were also no voice actors, parts were 3D printed, Ben did a lot of the art himself while also programming and figuring out hardware and just generally doing a freaking pinball. I'll let him speak to who helped him, I don't know the details well enough, but he carried that game himself in a lot of ways. It has complete code, real rules, a solid playfield design (maybe except for the jump ramp) with toys that move and interact with the ball. The railings on the ramps are a really cool idea that frankly more people should steal from.

And what he discovered in the end is people didn't want to take a chance on it. They weren't wowed by an art package, the presentation and sizzle wasn't popping and snapping enough, and people were gunshy with their money and an unknown company. They had to limit it to 150 to tempt people to buy it, and that was kinda that.

The voice acting sounded like a bunch of friends without experience, because it was. Ben has a graphic design background, but it's not like he's famous for being an illustrator. And, doing a pinball playfield is hard honestly. Take it from me, I would know. Leaving aside allllll the surrounding issues with Alien and what I had to work with, I would do a lot differently (and I think better) now that I've done it. It's a learning experience. I could talk a lot about it honestly, but just decide if my experience makes me credible.

MY POINT IS: Cut Ben some slack, I couldn't be more impressed with what he took on and accomplished. Understand that he knows the pitfalls well, and understands why things like art matter, why the package counts. He'll be the first to admit he's bitter about things in pinball, and frankly so am I, so that's another thing I get. But he's really trying to help here. Listen to the man who's experienced what a public response to art packages is like.

Ask yourself this: If Ben were redoing AMH right now, to sell in 2019, do you think he'd do some things differently? And do you think the things he'd want to improve 6 years later are worthwhile lessons to consider?

I know on the forum nobody is king, no one's posts count more than others. But I like to give the weight of experience to voices. It's easy to type things, it's hard to do them, and you learn a shit ton in the process, because you simply can't understand everything that goes into a pin until you've done it. It's good to listen to experience I think.

Anyways, my 2¢, but I hope AP sees success.

I took this in 2013, a lot has happened to pinball in the last 6 years

#2543 6 months ago
Quoted from Aurich:

I'm gonna defend America's Most Haunted for a minute. I know it's a little off topic sounding, but it's not, so stay with me. Or skip reading, this might get wordy.
AMH was the first true boutique pinball. A 'homebrew' game that was built in real numbers, you could actually buy one, and it showed up. Nobody had done it before. And plenty have tried and failed. So first off, don't go dragging the game down, it's part of pinball's history now. And plenty has been built on top of its accomplishment. Would AP exist if Spooky didn't put themselves on the map with AMH? Maybe, but I think it's fair to say Spooky paved the way for others in at least some ways. It's a less bumpy road to be a new pinball company now.
I remember first seeing AMH at Expo. If I'm remembering my timeline correctly (you go to enough of these things and the years can blur) it was also the same year as Predator (non playing joke, and we know that story) and Matrix (very cool, but a reskin of an existing game, much less ambitious), and I think WOOLY was there (they built a handful, but just couldn't get it into production). It was a cool year for custom game stuff, there was more I'm forgetting. AMH was the only game to really take the next step.
There was no frenzy of pre-orders. There was no budget and workshops filled with tools paid for by starry-eyed customers. There was, frankly, no bullshit. There were also no voice actors, parts were 3D printed, Ben did a lot of the art himself while also programming and figuring out hardware and just generally doing a freaking pinball. I'll let him speak to who helped him, I don't know the details well enough, but he carried that game himself in a lot of ways. It has complete code, real rules, a solid playfield design (maybe except for the jump ramp) with toys that move and interact with the ball. The railings on the ramps are a really cool idea that frankly more people should steal from.
And what he discovered in the end is people didn't want to take a chance on it. They weren't wowed by an art package, the presentation and sizzle wasn't popping and snapping enough, and people were gunshy with their money and an unknown company. They had to limit it to 150 to tempt people to buy it, and that was kinda that.
The voice acting sounded like a bunch of friends without experience, because it was. Ben has a graphic design background, but it's not like he's famous for being an illustrator. And, doing a pinball playfield is hard honestly. Take it from me, I would know. Leaving aside allllll the surrounding issues with Alien and what I had to work with, I would do a lot differently (and I think better) now that I've done it. It's a learning experience. I could talk a lot about it honestly, but just decide if my experience makes me credible.
MY POINT IS: Cut Ben some slack, I couldn't be more impressed with what he took on and accomplished. Understand that he knows the pitfalls well, and understands why things like art matter, why the package counts. He'll be the first to admit he's bitter about things in pinball, and frankly so am I, so that's another thing I get. But he's really trying to help here. Listen to the man who's experienced what a public response to art packages is like.
Ask yourself this: If Ben were redoing AMH right now, to sell in 2019, do you think he'd do some things differently? And do you think the things he'd want to improve 6 years later are worthwhile lessons to consider?
I know on the forum nobody is king, no one's posts count more than others. But I like to give the weight of experience to voices. It's easy to type things, it's hard to do them, and you learn a shit ton in the process, because you simply can't understand everything that goes into a pin until you've done it. It's good to listen to experience I think.
Anyways, my 2¢, but I hope AP sees success.
[quoted image]

I think there's a great deal of valid points here, but I find it ironic coming to the "defense" of someone that's been fairly outspoken about another game and creator's art package in well, less than delicate ways, and multiple times as well, unprovoked. I say this as someone also that has also been highly critical of Oktoberfest, and I'd be more than fine stating my artwork is poor or underdeveloped, if I decide the critique others.

I agree with Ben about the wrist angle, diagonals create more excitement for sure, but not as much about the broken bone he sees in that image.

I think tact, and being fairly careful about wording hasn't happened in several of his posts, (Being really blunt might fly smoother if any of us were ON the art team) so of course his work is given scrutiny as well. That's okay, as much as it is to be critical, in delicate and compassionate ways, towards API's work or your own on Alien.

We're all learning here...

P.S. I also definitely agree with your points regarding AMH's compelling footnote in pinball history, as other countless games deserve kudos as well, but that doesn't deny that people might view that art package as crude, not elegant, and unpleasing to the eye. That said, ACNC is really damn good, and most likely AMH paved the way for that really excellent art package.

#2544 6 months ago
Quoted from wesman:

I think there's a great deal of valid points here, but I find it ironic coming to the "defense" of someone that's been fairly outspoken about another game and creator's art package in well, less than delicate ways, and multiple times as well, unprovoked. I say this as someone also that has also been highly critical of Oktoberfest, and I'd be more than fine stating my artwork is poor or underdeveloped, if I decide the critique others.

You can be sensitive about that stuff, or you can listen to the message.

Ben's heard all that shit about his game already. He's still around. You're new here, so you probably have no idea how much shit I've taken, a lot of it very personal, over my pinball design work. No one is personally attacking anyone at AP or doing more than offer suggestions. As it should be, don't make it personal, that sucks.

I have no desire to tear anyone down, but just saying, if you're getting some words earned the hard way don't get too hung up on the tone.

12
#2545 6 months ago

Rip on AMH's art all you want. In the end I created the first boutique pin that didn't steal people's money.

#2546 6 months ago
Quoted from Aurich:

You can be sensitive about that stuff, or you can listen to the message.
Ben's heard all that shit about his game already. He's still around. You're new here, so you probably have no idea how much shit I've taken, a lot of it very personal, over my pinball design work. No one is personally attacking anyone at AP or doing more than offer suggestions. As it should be, don't make it personal, that sucks.
I gave no desire to tear anyone down, but just saying, if you're getting some words earned the hard way don't get too hung up on the tone.

Sure, but that wrist has come up at least two, three or more times. At that point, the issue of that specific art element becomes one more of one person's ego pressing outwards in a way that's more demanding to be acknowledged and "right" than helpful, and at a further point, unless you're on that development team, it becomes a matter of disrespect, emphasizing time and time again, that your vision is more valid than the creative team at work. (This is where I personally feel I need to be delicate in wording and tone. Do I want my ideas received and valued or to insult someone I admire?)

This entire board is about ego. Me typing this opinion is ego based. I'm taking your time in you reading this message, and hoping in some capacity you value my thoughts, as much I value yours when I read your thoughts. In that regard it's more a matter of respect, superceding what we find accurate artistically or critically.

I'm not familiar with the flack you took for Alien. I've only just seen an unboxing recently. I'd definitely want to understand your design process, the experience you had, and why people chose to see things critically in shitty ways more than constructive. But then again, I'm a bit new here, as you and you alone have mentioned a couple of times now, so maybe the approach of asking questions first and wanting to empathize, is lessoned as time goes by, and experience accrued, on forums like this.

#2547 6 months ago
Quoted from benheck:

Rip on AMH's art all you want. In the end I created the first boutique pin that didn't steal people's money.

You know Ben, I'd pay you that compliment, among others, if you weren't so keen on beating me, and everyone else to the punch yourself.

#2548 6 months ago

Wesman you're entirely correct in saying this is about ego. Everybody wants to feel that their opinion is correct and they'll go online in search of validation. It's like the old saying "Nobody goes on the internet to be proven wrong"

I'd ask you to consider Aurich and I's viewpoints. We both poured heart and soul into pinball projects. Aurich spent a lot of time on a game that wasn't fully produced while I help start Spooky Pinball only to be "de-prioritized" when ACNC was delayed and TNA became a huge hit.

We know how hard it is to make games and the choices that go into that. We see something like OKT and it's not just the bad art decisions that bother us, it's knowing that a lot of resources were available but not utilized correctly. We WISH we had the opportunity to do that with our games but we didn't - so when we see that potential squandered it makes us all the more frustrated.

Storytime. 2013 we take AMH to Pinball Expo. Almost everyone hates our Photoshop artwork (the green version) Pretty much the only person who doesn't hate it is Roger Sharpe. "It makes sense" he says "like a painting around a frame". Great! Everyone else says "You have to change this it sucks". I remember the younger guy from Cointaker taking me aside dead serious like it's an intervention "Ben, you have to change this". Who do I listen to? Roger Sharpe, or everyone else?

Steve Richie has a saying. "If 2 people tell you something sucks, then it sucks".

In the following weeks I commission the backglass to be redrawn by hand and I redesign the cabinet with the swirling ghost design. Hate it or love it Spooky is still around today.

AP is a lot younger than Spooky. Just saying they should learn from our mistakes not repeat them.

#2549 6 months ago
Quoted from benheck:

In the following weeks I commission the backglass to be redrawn by hand and I redesign the cabinet with the swirling ghost design. Hate it or love it Spooky is still around today.

I love that swirling ghost design - so much better than what you had.

-1
#2550 6 months ago

In defense of AP, Stern’s work on Munsters UI is pretty bad too, so even the big boys are struggling.

If you want examples of amazing game UI in a restricted environment, look no further than mobile gaming. A great example is Peggle. It uses a thematically appropriate font and uses it consistently, and makes it very visible by using a black drop shadow and gradient shading.

I suggest all the pinball manufacturers take a look at mobile design for inspiration.

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