Quoted from Zablon:
Hey, so many people say theme doesn't matter if a pin is fun to play. ...but then again what if the plunger was a penis?
I'm not touching that one, so to speak, haha! You meant a penis "plunge her" with that one, right?
Quoted from Bublehead:
quicksilvershelb, sick? yep... twisted? yep... but funny as hell dude. Yes, don’t show crack... unless you are ready to grab crotch... to prove you are an alpha male. Now thats Naval Inteligence for ya right there...
Sounds like everything I've heard about the military, prison, and of course....pirate ships! It's just what happens when you remove, forceably so, a female populace. Sounds rough, and chaffing. Guard those pinballs crew!
Quoted from benheck:
There's plenty of Stern LCD games that slap light colored text on light backgrounds as well.
A design should work in black and white, then think about color. If you squint your eyes and can't tell what's going on that's a fail!
Font usage is my biggest issue with Houdini, and the animations and LCD art being fairly choppy, and having proportion issues and just seeming somewhat crude. The table layout and art, and blade art is all excellent, but other than the Seance gal on the LCD, there's a lot of polish that could be applied. This is where I feel JJP somewhat does things best presently, though the floating dancing scarecrow and other characters, still get on my nerves. The Hobbit is simply sublime though.
Quoted from LTG:
I don't think they chatter.
I think they do.
LTG : )
You're always such a helpful and positive guy Lloyd. For working for another company, yet stressing your love of the medium, and wishing good success and fun for all....is always a delight to see in these various threads!
Total side note, I was installing Cliffy's last night, and did exactly what you said regarding getting the playfield ALLLLLL the way out before lifting, and voila, no worries or fallen playfield! (Next time I just have to make sure to ball eject all the balls prior to working on it, haha! Just didn't figure I'd need to lift it, but once I started working, that fourth rail screw needed loosened.)
You're the man Lloyd!
Quoted from LTG:
I should point out that besides doing tech support for PPS/CGC, JJP. I'm friends with many of the people who work at JJP, PPS/CGC, Stern, American Pinball, Spooky, Multimorphic.
It's not always about pinball. It can be about the people who make it happen.
LTG : )
I'm not surprised to hear that at all! You're a very forthright, experienced, and amiable person, and your exuberance and appreciation of the medium, as well as it's many fans and makers, is readily apparent to those of us on, and surely off, this forum.
Quoted from Tuna_Delight:
Kaneda keeps bitching about this same issue lately every time he talks about American Pinball. I'm sure - as Lloyd has already responded - that AP is busy finishing the game (as well as moving to a new facility) and waiting to reveal the final version accordingly. Probably at TPF based on past history. Drives me crazy with Kaneda as he's the one who's ALWAYS preaching that companies should stay low until a game is finished - yet he seems to disregard his own sermons a lot. Of course, he has also made it clear that he's NO fan of Houdini or Oktoberfest as well - which is a shame.
Anyway on a positive note, I'm REALLY looking forward to Oktoberfest being finished, but I hope AP continues to focus on making another high quality game rather than rushing it to market!
I'd say regardless of what's occurring behind closed doors, allowing the Munsters some breathing room is good for that pin, as well as Oktoberfest. Allowing each new game some time to shine, and people to discuss and enjoy it, helps the market rather than hinder it.
Personally I'd prefer one pin per company per year, and maybe two from Stern. I think that would allow market growth to develop slowly, while lessoning oversaturation.
Quoted from rosh:
Okay, since you guys bumped this post, I'll pipe in.
Things are progressing nicely with Oktoberfest.
Ferret and I are cranking away on code, and I am really happy with how it is coming together. He and I are both pretty passionate and we have really have some great discussions around the rules and philosophy around overall game play.
We did make a few playfield changes and while I won't go into all of them, I'll post a photo below of the scoop change we made. We had already used a 'runoff' on the VUK at the top of the playfield, and Joe was able to do something similar for the scoop, so bounce outs are basically a none issue.
There are also many changes to the art package, including the backglass, cabinet, playfield and plastics. And while the monkey may no longer be on the backglass, he is certainly still a part of Oktoberfest.
I have not listened to Kaneda in awhile, so not sure what he has been saying, but in general, I don't get how anyone who can really criticize a game they have never seen in person, let alone played.
We will certainly bring a few production Oktoberfest machines to TPF, and be sure to attend our seminar to learn more about the changes we have made and about the rules.
Remember that with Oktoberfest Pinball on Tap, every day can be Oktoberfest. I think it is time for a shot and beer.
Here is the scoop photo
Oh man!!! That's all really exciting news Josh!
I'm so glad API has chosen another unlicensed theme, and a really colorful and fun one at that! It's always such a refreshing take on rules, gameplay, and overall design anesthetics. Definitely on my list of pins to look forward to this year, and hopefully buy, woo-hoo...!
Quoted from vireland:
Can't wait to lay my hands on this, but where's the Cliffy? Did Houdini's scoop damage over time prove nothing to you?
I would hope at the VERY LEAST there was a factory OPTION to have one pre-installed (maybe in an LE package with art blades, knocker, invisiglass, shaker, and Cliffy protection on the scoop and shooter lane).
I'd love the option to have this installed at factories. Doing the shooter lane the other night, and the eject, was pretty challenging for a first time owner. Not to mention nerve wracking.
Quoted from LTG:
It is an American Pinball thread. And I apologize for intruding on it.
Since I directed him to the Octoberfests will be at TPF and which post Rosh put it on, he may have been directing his question to me.
Sorry about that.
LTG : )
LTG is never intrusive! I was watching your panel from Chicago this past fall with my friend the other night. Your insights and carefree attitudes are a sight to behold. That video to rosh had me cracking up too!
Quoted from LTG:
From American Pinball on Facebook.
First Octoberfests on the line. Playfields nearly completed.
Looks like the new building.
Things are getting real. Can't wait until Texas Pinball Festival or people getting their games.
LTG : )
I just saw this on facebook too!!!!
So what's the Twilight Zone incident about..?
Quoted from LTG:
Rosh ( Josh ) posted on Rec Games Pinball many, many, years ago. Asking for tear down pictures of Twilight Zone. Since TZ went through some changes during it's time on the assembly line, I posted that it would be better if he took his own pictures. Which killed the thread as no one posted after that.
Rosh, unbeknownst to me. Had acquired a TZ that was disassembled and had no idea where things went.
I emailed him privately, and apologized and offered pictures of mine if it would help.
Rosh started a new thread. Requesting pictures and I stayed out of it. He got pictures. Assembled his TZ. And lived happily ever after. Or so I thought.
I ran into him at MGC last year. And he made a point of thanking me for killing his thread. A thread I don't think I would have remembered. And I apologized again and explained why I had made the post.
Unfortunately, remember Nirmal's picture touching Rosh's keyboard with the do not touch sign on it ? Well, as near as I can tell. Rosh has hit men out looking for two people now.
So if I should disappear. I want people to know I hold no grudge against Rosh or his TZ. Nirmal, and the little guy between his lederhosen, is on his own.
LTG : )
Yikes. Yeah, forum politics and decorum can often be a weird thing for sure. I wonder why no one posted after you had? Seems like you guys have ironed things out since, which is good! I definitely do remember the keyboard note, haha!
Well I hope all of you can enjoy some beers and Oktoberfest at TPF in a few weeks together!
Quoted from arcadem:
I really like the game"s look and it's concept. But, the animations kill it for me. I agree with virtually everything that Kaneda said about Oktoberfest in his recent podcast. AP needs to do much better in it's cartoonish animations and call outs if it wants me to buy the game. Otherwise, I will most likely await JJP'S Toy Story. But, I really do hope that AP can step up their game.
That's the weird thing, the playfield art and backglass have been so nice!
Quoted from Ferret:
I received my Oktoberfest today... and while I may be totally biased, I am very impressed at the quality of the production hardware. The team at the API factory has built a rock-solid machine. And I'm loving the playfield refinements that Joe Balcer has made, compared to the prototype games that have appeared at shows over the past few months. It just shoots better.
Software-wise, as rosh said, it's really not comparable to the game that was shown at the Chicago Expo. Code, art, and audio have all progressed immensely in the past few months. Game rules are pretty much done now (though I'll still be tweaking score balance obsessively). We've been getting new art and audio assets pretty much daily. And now we're at the point of adding in more lighting effects, shaker effects, knocker effects, all that fun icing on the cake.
And had several friends over to break it in... I believe everyone had a ton of fun. We aimed to create a game that was joyous and festive and silly and fun, with great shots and interesting strategic choices, and I think we nailed it. I couldn't be happier with the overall product, and I hope y'all love it too.
Cheers to everyone's hard work! This is most excellent news!
Quoted from rosh:
Things have changed on the plastics, really not sure how much, have not really compared. The Schnurrbart wettbewerb (mustache competition) plastic is still there, but the woman has been moved to the back part, so not nearly as visible. I tried to get her removed completely, I found it a touch disturbing, but the artist was not inclined to do so, but at least she got moved to be less prominent.
If Mustache Girl gets canned from employment, she might have to upgrade to Bearded Lady status to make ends meet, and that would be an entirely higher level of freaky deeky.
Long live Mustache Girl!
Hmm, Loni Anderson steps into the backglass? Definitely a different illustration there.
I really like that there's artwork on the apron near the drain! And the hands on the apron are a nice touch too!
API has consistent and really nice artwork all over their games. This looks really playful and fun! Can't wait to get to give it a go!
Regarding the music, having watched a solid hour of streaming throughout the day, it felt like there was one dominant track in particular.
The animations really need fleshed out. I like the ideas, and some of the transitions, but for what's being aspired to on screen, many things appear primitive. With Houdini, it somewhat fit the time period, but seeing one man walk about in the main game area, didn't look good at all, and the animations throughout are stilted.
When a stein is selected, I'd love to see an animation of it quickly flung down a bar, rather than see the weird urine looking gaussian blur blob behind it. The ideas are really sound, they just need executed a few levels higher than they are currently. Being that the screen was so large in the stream, I genuinely couldn't take my eyes off of it, and focus on the gameplay, that's how glaring these issues are to someone with a background in illustration.
I have the least issue with table layout, sans playing it. All of the playfield still looks pleasant and whimsical, which is a nice change up from modern pin aesthetics.
Also, Otto constantly being a static image feels barren and lifeless. If even not just a static image, at least a drop shadow behind him or him cropped in, rather than floating about on the screen.
Purple fonts with black strokes need to really disappear. There were peculiar stroke and font colors in Houdini that often clashed for me or were gaudy and way too vibrant, and lacking any animation or transitions within the coloration of the text. For excellent font usage and animation, refer to JJP with their work on Pirates.
I feel like the playfield art, layout, and many aspects of API's work has been very, very impressive thus far, but to compete toe to toe with JJP, the GUI and animation work needs a much, much higher level. Music has issues, and can be balanced down the road, but the impressions of the backglass graphic work will set an immediate and somewhat unpleasant impression to anyone that plays this pin.
API needs to knock this out of the park, as Houdini was such a fantastic freshman effort, but Oktoberfest needs to take this to another level to compete with JJP. Stern has and will always have their own piece of the pie, and for JJP or API to cut into that, they both need to create solid and consistent games.
Looking forward to seeing more at TPF!
Quoted from Yelobird:
Spot on review and insight. I viewed it virtually the same as you with the same outcome and opinion. Thanks.
Thanks for noting my opinion Yelobird, you and your wife certainly need to have a grasp on visual design to do what you both do so well with mods!
I want API to smash this out of the park, and be right there with Stern and JJP, but there are some rough visuals that need tended to, to put them on par with those two. And those two certainly have issues with all of their animations as well.
I think POTC being streamlined without clips, allowed them to focus on a core idea, and make it as polished as they possibly could. Lord knows, Dialed-In has incredible polish in it's LCD work, but some of those character designs and animations are not nearly as smooth as those incredible skulls, pistols, flames, etc in POTC. Both Dialed-In and Oktoberfest are creating worlds visually in ways that are new to pinball, and for that I applaud all of those creators!
Pinball needs as high a production level visually in animation and font design, as any video game, ad, film, etc out there now. These companies aren't just competing with each other, but a visual standard across media industries globally.
Quoted from vireland:
THAT is a lazy and actually false narrative.
jjPotC has a TON of custom 3D that is created to seamlessly integrate with the movie assets. It's SO good you may not have noticed it, which is testimony to its excellence. A PERFECT example is the multiball intro for the chapters, and especially the On Stranger Tides chapter that has the camera in the water and the cannonballs/pinballs falling into the sea off the side of the ship. It's impressive and seamlessly integrated with the rest of the assets. Art direction, font use, music, and animation are all top-level for that and are an example of the work that is a universe away from the level of work AP is doing with Oktoberfest. They COULD get that level of work (in 2D or 3D, live action or animated) with a talented artist/animator with art direction skills, but they haven't.
I was, well I already said, that a page or two back regarding these two games specifically. Played some POTC yesterday, and those animations are always so exciting to see, no matter how many.....(or few given I suck) times I see them.
API does such an overwhelmingly great job in so many ways, but this is a literal night and day difference in this regard. I really hope they improve this aspect over time.
Quoted from Pinphila:
Exactly. 8500 for a standard JJP vs low 7s for a AP game. People seem to forget this.
.......aaaaaaand $5800 for most Stern Pro's, where they've finally caught up to JJP in this regard. The Beatles is pricier, sure, but looks very, very meticulous with font design, image integration, and animations. The Munsters has many clips supplementing it's art package, but the created animations look polished, as do fonts. Not perfect or JJP level, but professional quality.
Interestingly enough, I played the Beatles with so much crowd noise the other night, and I lost nearly any appeal to connect with the game. For different games, specific aspects DO tie into game enjoyment. If the ship cannon isn't firing or the Black Pearl isn't rocking in POTC, yes that would have an effect on enjoyment. Just as if these animations aren't of a higher quality, they will detract from the high quality work on the playfield and cabinet. It's all one package, and once an LCD is integrated into that package, whether you personally don't look at it frequently while playing, you definitely will more so while playing with a friend.
And whether a Stern is lower priced, API is mid, and JJP high, there IS parity when these machines sit next to each other in a pinball friendly environment. You'll see and compare, sans acknowledgement of price. Certainly non pinball folks will, without ever getting into the minutiae that goes on in this forum.
Makes the most sense to wait for TPF for further insights on how this game has developed. At this point we know art and code isn't final, and most likely art will be more so in two weeks when many here get to see it in person for the first time.
I just wish I could be there too first-hand!
Quoted from TiltDis:
If it hasn’t been posted before... Pac-Man Entertainment in Schaumburg, IL has an Oktoberfest on location! Looks to be production game possibly based on the backglass and cabinet.
Did they change the name of Level 257...? I was there a few years back for Pac-Man's 35th birthday.
The bumper car riders are still gone, and the American Pinball sticker is back to a white background.
Did you play it?
Quoted from screaminr:
It would be good if Otto on the playfield looked the same as Otto on the back glass
If it in anyway realistically looked like the main Otto, it would be less cute, and bizarre looking I'd say, not in a gufaw gufaw way either.
Quoted from TiltDis:
Yes! Level 257 changed their name and added some more redemption games, but other than that the place is the same.
I was able to get a couple games in on it and the animations have definetly improved! The flow and feel of the pin is still great and pretty similar to the expo proto pin. The callous and sounds were great and loud! The stock bass in this Oktoberfest is unreal. Can feel it from the ground! Overall, me and my dad had lots of fun playing all the new Sterns and classic titles there, but kept coming back to shoot on Oktoberfest! It’s a new game, yes, but it’s also a fun one!
Oooh thanks to you both for your impressions! Going to have to go nag over in the Helicon Brewing thread to see when we'll get one in there!
That's a shame about the name change. I guess Level 257 was too obtuse for people outside of arcade gaming.
Quoted from rosh:
How am I going to beat people if you give them so many of the scoring tips? Plenty more that you did not mention, but still.
But I'll share one more, you want be to sure to being using lane change for TENT letters while in a mode, you will figure out why when you play.
Also ... Ducks!!
I was thinking earlier, I know a pin is a total design package of team pride for all of you working on it at length, but in the same sense in a way to allow the original design to exist, as well as people's desires for different music selections, could an option be coded in for random or direct playlist selection to be added by the home user via the usb stick? Allow the original song selection to exist, and also an option to weave in Chicken Dance or more polka, Danish Death Metal, whathaveyou, via the main interface at startup or from within the menu system in the coin door?
Quoted from BertoDRINK1:
Any idea if the seminar was recorded and be put up at some point?
Should be available in the TPF Twitch recent streams.
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:
Can’t say I’ve ever completely removed any reference to a podcast/artist/personality as fast as I did when that crap went down. Way to get swept up by the groupthink and expose oneself as a child
Now I need to go watch and be nauseated by that review....
Has anyone been talking about the ridiculous shit Franci did with his "joke" to his Stern cohort/compatriot Yeti? Man, I'm so glad no one else in this industry behaves like that. It was embarrassing and truly unfunny, and so many other artists might have valued that TWIPY.
Quoted from solarvalue:
Umm, you might want to read this:
Thank you for the clarification. I definitely bought into it thinking it was an inside joke between the two of them, and a real trophy.
Doesn't mean it was funny though, at least to me anyway. Andy Kaufman, he is not.
Still rings to me of the overall "attitude" I feel from anyone representing Stern, smug and arrogant. Anyone not in on this inside "joke", would see this as a slight, and this is a small enough industry where more class than hijinks would do it well.
Quoted from bobukcat:
You may not like his style but it's hard to say that he doesn't have experience with art direction for games:
But Jeff wasn't responsible for the animations in Houdini, and I assume Oktoberfest as well.
I've been out of art school for two decades now, don't work in the illustration field I majored in, yet I still wouldn't find this level of LCD font usage and "animation" acceptable in a portfolio, much less an art based package for a hobby based interest in the thousands of dollars. This aspect, and this alone, to me, separates American Pinball from being on a toe to toe level with JJP.
To a point, art is subjective. To a point. But this is just a plain poor usage of odd color complementary usage and font size and choice, awkward and stilted poorly visualized animated figures, and most of all that dog prepping nervously to go down the slides, looks more like an anxious goat than a dashshund.
I adore API's build quality, code work, table layout , sound design, table and cab art, but the LCD animation and balance is beyond poor, and I'm more sad about that than irked.
Quoted from rosh:
The extra button on the right is for the player controlled magnets, so can't always be the left flipper. However, there is a setting to be able to play the entire game one handed. We are evaluation an option where at start of game you could hold in both buttons for a couple of seconds before pressing start to put the game into one handed mode vs via settings. My gut says that it would be unlikely for someone to do that by mistake, but would likely be a setting to disable that feature as well.
We have discussed that on Tap-It, but felt that moving left and right is more intuitive with the flippers on either side. Like most video modes, takes a few times to get the feel for what you need to do.
Btw, you can also use the extra button when doing high score entry to move and down through the letters.
While I am sure I will get blasted for what I am about to say, I don't feel that is a fair statement. As you know we listen to all feedback and have demonstrated that we will adjust what we are doing. We continue to strive to make our animations better. While not all will agree, I think what we have done on Oktoberfest is better than what we did on Houdini. I think each company is finding ways to get better with each release. I'm confident that we will do on our next game will be even better. As Ferret indicated, we are still actively working on the Oktoberfest animations and will continue to do so (game logic is in the home stretch). I've had animators from multiple companies comment to me that they feel the criticism of our animations is out of line with what we have done, there is a lot of good stuff on our display, but I get there is a desire to criticize and our animations are not yet where we would like them to be, so I'm not surprised by the hate. The general consensus is we provide a lot of game for the money. There are always tradeoffs, we are not selling machines at 9k or 11K, we try to allocate resources to get our buyers the most game for the money and at the same time build a profitable company. Regardless, we will continue to improve everything we do, so we can provide loaded games, with a great experience for the lowest price we can. As many of you have experienced, our games are extremely well built, have fun and challenging rules, have unique layouts, and give you a lot for the money. I'm pretty pleased with what we have produced, I understand not everyone will be.
Again, we do listen to all feedback, and we do take it to heart. I'm sure my comments will not sit well with some, I've got my flame retardant suit on, so, keyboard warriors, ready, set, go . . .
Josh, I really respect your passion for your work, your dedication to API and it's vision, and I've watched and listened to many interviews you've done, and appreciated your attitude and work on both Houdini and Oktoberfest, but people feeling contrary to the animation and font use in these two games, isn't based in vitriol or hate mongering. It's based on us wanting to see API succeed, and wanting to buy a better, more polished, and overall "best of the industry" level product from your company. People vocalizing in thoughtful ways, how API could improve one specific aspect in their presentation, is entirely different than deconstructing and being overly harsh on every single aspect of your game designs. This idea of animation quality and font usage has been echoed by multiple users across two different products. It hasn't been done in a way that negates the entirety of your games, rather specific aspects we're, to be honest, begging to be adjusted so we could hail API as a viable competitor to both JJP and Stern.
To me, those attitudes don't speak of animosity, rather goodwill and ideally, a desire to WANT to spend more towards your creations, not less.
Quoted from flynnibus:
No, tone deaf is making choices or doing something WITHOUT AWARENESS. Downplaying or ignoring would be stubborn or dismissive.
They knew what they had.. they aren't blind to it. They've acknowledged the comments. They aren't blind to or obvious to any of it.
The question is if its worth spending on changing. Clearly their decision was 'no' and they've stuck with the same format they've had since the game's first public reveal... nearly SIX MONTHS ago.
Maybe it's time for people to catch on.. it's not radically changing!
I definitely agree with this attitude, but as much as people seem to take issue with Dialed In for it's theme not appealing to them, there are specific aspects to Oktoberfest that aren't appealing, that could more easily be corrected than DI.
I'm still anxious to play, but I'm less anxious to buy.
I'd say not being blind to it isn't accurate, Josh is vocalizing it's defense via the argument animators have contacted him, and stated it's not an issue for them. Not being blind would be acknowledging there are issues, wanting to correct them down the road, and making sure the next LCD animation package is of a much higher quality.
I'd say it's definitely not changing, yes, and as a result there are definitely also some select people not buying for home use. How many at this point, we have no idea. I hope to play it soon, and have a better idea personally how I feel about it overall.
I'm assuming the fantastic Seance image is his, maybe the goldfish, and the hands waving over the hat. Even there, it's more a static image than animation. Those images alone stand out eerily compared to the Houdini and Bess frames, which I assume are not his figure renderings. Those look like odd paper doll cutouts, both misproportioned and stilted in movement.
(Edit:. Seems I'm incorrect on some of what I was inferring about up above. Just to clarify, I was guessing on some of these based on style, and was incorrect.)
Quoted from Roostking:
I guess I'm confused. Its the "American Pinball" company, right? Not American "Watch a screen while someone else plays pinball" company. Seems people want a champagne taste on a beer budget.
Let AP grow within a budget. Not everyone is an expert in cartoons.
I don't understand this approach. How much could a really proficient animator/artist charge to get their vision properly aligned with the existing art package, several thousand dollars....under twenty thousand? To improve leaps and bounds, that's not a drastic amount to place towards a more polished product. Especially when you're asking $7400 from consumers by the hundreds, and ideally thousands of customers.
Great package design pays for itself with the success it will bring. Potentially lost sales won't. The real risk is...not...paying someone to come in and make this idea entirely cohesive in a way that compliments the already outstanding product package, rather than hinder it.
If API is asking that much money from it's customers, we deserve the best we can receive from them. Over $7K for a product that's entirely gratuitous for home owners, isn't a small asking price. It's quite exorbitant, and for most people half the price, or a bit less, of an automobile.
The issues exist also not just with animations, but also screen layout and type usage.
That start up skill shot screen, with the entire half of the right screen being black, with ALL that negative space, kills me every time I see it. I thought it was a placeholder graphic in October, but it keeps showing up time and time again....
Quoted from Roostking:
When someone puts a dollar in a pinball machine, they play the game ,not the cartoons. If the game had the most bestest art in the world, yet sucked at gameplay, that player wont play again. If the art sucks, but gameplay is the best, they will play and pay again.
I get it, some people don't have to worry about budgets,but AP is new and focusing on gameplay, callouts, modes and playfield art will attract more players/money than font size and shadowing.
I'm a current API customer. My opinion isn't more valid, but a possible repeat customer is definitely one to listen to in some capacity. What people like myself are stating isn't unreasonable, and the budget for a cohesive art package isn't as well, again when customers are being asked for more than $7K.
For me, the strength of the backglass, theme integration, and LCD usage is exactly the reason I want to buy The Hobbit from JJP. The gameplay isn't at the same level for me, but having one strength doesn't entirely diminish the other. In this case though, the LCD usage will do exactly the opposite for me, than the Hobbit. I wasn't incredibly keen on Houdini's LCD and font usage, but I appreciated enough aspects otherwise to make my very first pinball purchase from API.
To state the LCD has minimal value to a pinball player, suggests why even have a backglass or given amount of any information? Why not just have a headless machine with some minor score counter ala Cirqus Voltaire?
Why do cars even need extra trim, paint that has an appealing aesthetic, etc?
Regarding budgets Stern Pro's are substantially cheaper, and offer more cohesive art packages. I don't really like Yeti or Franchi's work, but I can still acknowledge how it fits the entire design, and gels with their theme usage.
And where or why on Earth are we insinuating that API is a broke ass startup? I'd imagine Spooky has far, far more risk involved, and as much as I was indifferent on their prior art packages, ACNC is genuinely quite impressive via the LCD usage.
And regarding budget, the consumer's budget also needs to be weighed in. At least four, maybe five companies by year's end are offering new games, and an enthusiast only has so much cash to spend on this hobby. So when competition is thick, these elements you personally may feel are minor, become MAJOR to other possible buyers. I've bought two pins this past year, which is crazy for me, can't buy one anytime in the next few months, so when I can....will my next pin go towards this game being a few months old at that point, or a new title by any other company or even an older game?
Quoted from Roostking:
Which game at 7500, right now is blowing away people with the total package?
I'm not descrediting the previous buyer such as your self, your opinion matters more than mine. Again, I ask, what new pins are in the 7500 range? 4 or 5 companies are in this space, please name them, as I have a problem naming ever 4 or 5 legit pinball manufacturers over all. Let alone offering an original theme.
Stern premium anything 7500 Great games for the past couple of years.
CCG I think remakes are around 8,000
Spooky, great games, original themes, about or less than 7500
Deeproot? Nothing announced.
So there is my 5. Which games in that 7500 space have the total package?
I think CGC starts at $6K. Stern's at $5600/5800, Spooky was $6K now $6400, and JJP base at $8500.
It's a tough sell for any game past a few thousand really. For me, anything past $2-3K seems like an irrational purchase. So once we're at the $5K and up range, it's all bananas and to me.
My second pin was POTC literally a week ago, and that's $2K over this, well the LE I bought. It's a non-sensical number for someone making sub $100K, but the game resonated on so many levels the price became secondary.....aside from the mass amounts of overtime I've been doing, never did that much prior to this hobby.
I think Deeproot will exist by year's end, and they have All Star levels of talent to knock this industry for a loop. Whether they pull through, who knows, but clearly massive potential is there, and what if they offer high quality and polish for sub Stern prices, like they're suggesting they will?
And your opinion matters as much as mine! It's just matter of where and if we spend our buccos here, there or over that way, and API, JJP, Stern, etc need to give heed to those voices, and they definitely do, in their own ways.
You seem like a rational and good natured person. Glad to have a back and forth with you.
Quoted from Roostking:
I know when tilt, I spill my beer!
This just goes to show that nobody has all the answers, nor did I see anyone take me up on the offer of free art direction and implementation. It all costs.
I'd offer free art, but they most likely don't want mine even for free!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Quoted from benheck:
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.
I entirely agree with both of your critiques, and I'd say everyone on this thread has provided some good suggestions. I think just after a point of pounding down the same issues, it feels more like "my way is the right way" versus accepting and respecting the design choices by a crew we're not a part of. Doesn't mean we're not trying to be helpful, but at this point, unless anyone is staffed or contracted, it feels like more shade is being thrown at the game than praise, and this close to launch...that doesn't feel fun/celebratory.
I really think if some typography changes were made/tweaked, the entire package might feel more smoothed out and polished, and something like that could be very easily modified and cheap to do, versus redoing entire animations.
Either way, I'm pretty psyched to get to play Oktoberfest, (JJP5), and the new Black Knight this friday at MGC!!!!
And Ben, I really can't imagine the process of how Spooky started, and I'm sure you have some compelling stories, and learned a lot during that process, and like Aurich mentioned, I know I wasn't around firsthand to see any of those things develop on here as they occurred.
Quoted from Ferret:
Yay! I've been semi-patiently waiting for players to start seriously digging into the rules... I love this stuff...
It's a shot in some modes and multiballs. Shooting it as part of a combo (e.g. left orbit->captive ball) gives a combo bonus. In the next code release, there's a Super Striker feature available occasionally (when Inga catches the ball on the UR flipper and says "Eins... Zwei... Drei... Strike!") for bigger points.
One nice thing about the captive ball is that there's a couple switches in its lane, so we can (and do) detect the strength of a hit on the captive ball, and alter awards accordingly.
No quick and easy answer to this question... 14 tent modes, 14 different answers: a mode like Füd Frenzy that wants you to make dozens of switches by necessity has different scoring patterns than a mode like Rotor that wants you to make a few lit shots. But for every tent mode, more ducks = higher scoring.
Similar answer to above.
I should note that I've focused a lot on score balancing over the recent couple weeks, so all the exact details of scoring will be different (and hopefully more fair and fun) soon anyway.
- Skill shot into the bar door
- Bash the bar X number of times, where X is based on difficulty adjustment setting, how many steins you've already collected, and how many Ish Pale Ales ("Easier to Collect Steins") you have.
- Bankshot off the PROST targets into the bar, which immediately opens the bar
- Do a left orbit->bar combo, which immediately opens the bar.
Either inlane -> opposing orbit will generally do an automatic nab. So will X number of pop bumper hits followed by an exit to the UR flipper.
You can complete the TAP lanes again while 2X Playfield is running; this will bump you to 3X Playfield and reset the timer. This is easier to do if you've collected one or more Baker Street Ales ("Increases Playfield X Time").
On a related note: if your Playfield X is larger than 2, when it times out, it doesn't drop all the way to 1X, it just decreases by 1X... you only get partial time at the reduced level, though.
It might be. However, actually making the ? Skill Shot is a bit excessive on difficulty, so hopefully it balances out.
Yep, already there, although not currently well celebrated when you get them. Yes, left orbit -> side ramp, left orbit -> captive ball, and left orbit -> bar are all combos, because who doesn't love orbit -> upper flipper combos? As I mentioned above, I consider bankshotting PROST into the bar to be a combo. Right ramp -> right orbit -> (auto-magnab) -> ramp is kind of a combo, though I need to enhance that one.
True. Already improved for the upcoming code release.
Yep, thanks for that feedback, I agree that Corkscrew MB is rather... red. There's a bunch of improvements I want to make to the lighting in both Corkscrew and Beer Barrel multiballs.
You should be able to. Not sure what to say about this one. So you have a ball trapped up, hit MagNab... it doesn't make the "electrical buzzing" sound or decrement your MagNab count? If it's only "sometimes", perhaps try checking/adjusting the switch on that button?
I'm very glad that you're enjoying the game!
I don't even own the game, but I'm excited by all of these fantastic responses!
Quoted from Viggin900:
Never believe a word that idiot says. He also thinks the game stinks but a pin about a chocolate factory is the golden ticket. Wrong oompah, the polka oompah version is better.
He's not so sold on Wonka anymore. He has seen the error of his hype ways, and well...the game not being what he hoped it to be, I'd say.
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