If Zidware was a public company, I'd be shorting the stock right now.
Quoted from roc-noc:
I'm guessing Jpop stopped using your services then?
As a general rule of owning and operating a business, I stop supplying customers who don't pay their invoices.
I believe this is a good common business sense and one that other companies/suppliers that may be (or ARE) in similar circumstances should be practicing as well.
YKpinballer has a good grasp of the situation.
Epthegeek's comments should be taken very seriously.
The only thing I have received from Zidware is a "you're on the MG waiting list" letter.
Unfortunately my bank can't cash that.
At this point at least DP have actually shown playable product and have delivered at least some of the BOP kits, and done it in an amazingly short time frame. Plus I believe that they have requested (to Phil) to continue paying invoices. So at LEAST it sounds like things are better off from a supplier/vendor standpoint in TBL land than they are in MG/RAZA land.
You guys still have one more day to wait to see if the latest reveal date holds out. Can't wait to see how that plays out.
"Come down to the shop, see the shiny things and you'll forget all your troubles for the next couple of months."
At this point the owners are likely the only ones who have any means to pressure John to get things done. And I'm not talking about "just finishing a game" but also dealing with the supplier/vendor issues that are currently ongoing.
Quoted from ChrisVW:
Have you been there in the last few months?
I have not been there in over a year.
If there were truly a manager in place, I would have expected that they would have contacted me by now to do a "knowledge transfer" on the various parts and assemblies they have in their possession. To date there has not been a "knowledge transfer".
Might want to stop and consider what that means, even if the games do get built and shipped...
Quoted from boo32:
Gl - are you saying they will not be able to provide support or replacements for the parts involved in the knowledge transfer?
That would largely depend on what parts are used in the final machines. At this point I don't know what is still left of the projects that I was involved with. I got an email just today that indicated that some of them were still being used as of a few months ago, but which ones and in what capacity, I couldn't tell you.
Quoted from frolic:
I suppose its possible another vendor stepped in and started from scratch, but is this another part of why we are so delayed?
Absolutely. There certainly have been other vendors involved. Take a look at page 11, post #519. The major piece of hardware shown in the first image is exactly that, redone from scratch, after fully functional working assemblies were delivered a year earlier.
Reveal or not, if you are a buyer, I would strongly suggest trying to look beyond the artwork and shiny things and question what you are NOT being shown or told.
Quoted from ChrisVW:
No but there's a preorder
LOL! One of the things I told him early on was that he should be selling those things so that he'd at least have some trickle money coming in that wasn't pre-order money. I think I've accumulated about 3 or 4, including a hockey shirt (I think).
Okay, time to "reveal" some more concerns that you should raise. Particularly those buyers who are NOT in the US....
Four little letters...
Quoted from boo32:
Is he using materials that aren't RoHS compliant?
I can't answer that question completely. All I can say is that there were (at one time) a number of OTS "off the shelf" parts that were being used that were not RoHS compliant. It is likely that Zidware doesn't even know which parts those are and may not even be aware of how extensive of a problem that could really be for them.
Someone pointed out earlier in this thread that they saw WMS return lane guides being used. Keep in mind that parts like these, sold as "replacement" parts, are exempt from RoHS as long as they go into a machine manufactured before RoHS went into effect (which all WMS games were). They do not get exempted from any new machines being made that might use them.
Another issue is that in order to be truly compliant with RoHS, you have to have documentation from every part supplier certifying that each and every part used is in compliance (and the suppliers have to keep records of compliance as well) and everything has to be kept on record at all times in the event that an importing country/agent asks for it.
What the possibility is of this happening, I couldn't tell you.
Quoted from limelime20:
...they had faith in a guy with 20+ year's reputation designing some of the top pinball machines of all time.
And so did those of us who were trying to help him realize these dreams. Don't think that any of us vendors/suppliers/engineers/artists/etc. weren't any less excited about being a part of it or that we didn't have faith that he would be able to pull it off with our help. We all want to see him succeed and deliver a fantastic product.
But the truth of it is this: He has thrown away far more years of experience (at his disposal) than he ever accumulated through out his career. He needs a good team of experts in their respective fields to be able to complete what he's started.
Unfortunately there isn't a team. Never was a team. A bunch of very talented people, yes, but only working one-on-one with John. And I'm sure that those talented individuals still want to see him succeed and get the products done. But John has to step up and fix the outstanding issues at hand and finally bring a "real team" together. That's the only way it's ever going to happen.
Sure. I even offered to do project management for John early on, since that's what I've done most of my career anyway, but at this point a PM would only go as far as to bring the schedule back on track. Won't help much if there's no money to push the project to completion.
Quoted from QuickSilverShelby:
Just a quick word of advice for Fast/Mission from my perspective....... if you do work on this project make sure you receive payment prior to forwarding any programming to John. Based on everything we've seen and heard in this thread, it might be the only way you avoid working for free.
This times a million. No net 30's, payment up front.
Early on, I had requested an engineering platform to be able to be able to better do the work John wanted done. Even though he had enough proto (non-game specific) parts that could have been used for that purpose (and that were going to be scrapped anyway), he would not release any of it.
So...good luck with that.
Well I'm glad you put that out there, Ice. It was the conversations I had with Chris and the programmer that really led me to having to air out the non-payment issues with Zidware.
The scary thought is, there may be others.
At one point, Zidware was buying production quantity parts for both MG and RAZA. That's about the point in time where the trouble started.
It's about all he can do while he's waiting for the magic hardware and software fairies to come finish MG.
Quoted from Linolium:
I know I'm basically a nobody in the pinball world, but maybe should try and contact him and see if he would like a game programmer to help out. I mean, even if it takes another 3 years to manufacture the games, it'd be nice to at least be able to play prototype machines no?
You had best read back through all of this before you decide to throw your hat into the ring.
Here are the basic things you'll need to know:
You won't get a prototype game in which to develop the software code on. John won't let anything out of his sight, even if it's stuff that will be "junked".
You will not be communicating with anyone else involved with Zidware, just John. So if someone else makes (or convinces John to make) changes that affect your work, don't expect to be able to bring up dialogue with the other parties to help support your ideas or ways of doing things.
Anything you send John to "test", you will likely not get any feedback or anything resembling "test results" or any valuable information in which to judge the success or failure of anything you are doing. You will also likely likely be asked to make a million revisions, even after he has signed off on your work.
You will likely be pushed very hard to "meet deadlines" that John will then blow off at the very last minute, causing you to need to wear a hat for subsequent weeks to cover the bruises you inflict on yourself from banging your head into the nearest brick wall.
You will likely come out of the scenario with a couple of neat t-shirts, possibly owed money, and a negative attitude towards doing any form of contract work for anyone else in the pinball business.
I think that about covers it.
Still want to give it a try?
Hopefully someone has done a site capture.
You know, for posterity (and legal) sake.
Well since John is pulling information, guess it's time to read through the MG blog before it gets pulled.
Have already found some "interesting" information therein.
Quoted from SunKing:
Care to share?
I'm still in the process of sifting through information, so bear with me. From the looks of things, there is good evidence to support the concept that some of the projects that were assigned to GLM may have also been given to other parties to work on concurrently. That would definitely lend a lot of weight to my theory as to why some vendors (GLM included) weren't paid for their work.
I'm guessing that this is one of the many reasons why none of the Vendors were given access to the blogs.
Quoted from Aurich:
"Some vendors are probably upset because he has checked out many, going with the cheapest option for quality parts when he can, and those that were not on board after prototyping are understandably unhappy."
I'm guessing that whatever the truth is behind that statement is the source of the problem here.
That quote is both hilarious and insulting! When you deliver more than a thousand (approved and signed off on by John) PCB assemblies and you don't get paid for them, we're not talking about "not on board ... understandably unhappy".
I'm in manufacturing. I have lived and breathed it for 20+ years. I know how a typical bidding process works and usually, it's just another day at the office, win or lose.
The fact of the matter is, every project that I worked on and delivered to Zidware has FULL documentation. That is: Zidware requests a part, GLM quotes it, Zidware creates a PO, Zidware sends deposit check, GLM does the design work and sends it to Zidware for approval, Zidware approves the design, GLM produces the part, GLM delivers the part, GLM sends an invoice, Zidware pays invoice.
If the case were: Zidware requests a part, GLM quotes it, Zidware says "No thanks, someone was cheaper.", then I'd have no issues to gripe about. I'd have been more than happy to let someone else take it on (and be in this position). But that isn't how it went down.
Quoted from Aurich:
So I'm confused, you said Zidware pays invoice, but you didn't get paid. Were you paid for some things and not others?
I was outlining the general process.
There are two invoices that were not paid by Zidware. Meaning GLM upheld it's part of the process (as outlined), but Zidware didn't complete the final part (paying the invoice).
Quoted from StevenP:
The quote did not refer to actual parts orders like the one you describe (where the specs are confirmed and full order placed), but to one-off prototype development in the hope that the prototype will be accepted and ordered in quantity. Two different things.
The classification of a product has no bearing on the contractual business that occurred.
Zidware placed an order. Orders were fulfilled. Payment was not received. End-Of-Story.
This is the post I made to the private owners thread:
"From my records GLM worked on and delivered approximately 16 different prototype PCBs and 4 production ready PCBs over the course of 2 years from March 2012 to October 2013, totaling approximately 1420 total boards built and delivered to Zidware.
Out of the 10 invoices that were sent to Zidware, two are outstanding
One of the invoices was for 4 different production ready PCBs (1122 in total). All four of the designs were 1st runs, although one was a modified version of a previously run prototype, all of which had been properly quoted and signed off on by John.
The second invoice was for 4 power supply units which were signed off on, but due to a heavily compressed time schedule to get them done for the 2013 Expo "reveal" (that didn't happen), a proper quote and invoice was sent afterwards.
By Expo 2013, the first invoice had already been past due by 4 months."
Quoted from StevenP:
My comment was not directed to approved and fulfilled orders, including yours. Prototyping and samples do exist when soliciting vendors, and that general case is what I was speculating on, with no specific knowledge of particular vendors' situations. Please don't conflate the two.
I see. Unfortunately the way Aurich posed the response (to my post) it came across as being a bit more directed (at GLM) than it should have been taken. I do apologize for any confusion it may have caused.
Quoted from c3trey:
FWIW, and I'm sure GLM will clarify, I did a double-take on that 1122 number as well and then realized the intent was to convey that the total for the invoice was $1122, which was the cost of 4 PCBs. I don't think 1000 boards have been ordered. I could be misreading it, of course.
No, the numbers are as I quoted them. As this was intended to be the first major round of "production" boards, it was for boards that were to be used between both MG and RAZA, hence the higher quantity. Also, they would have been multiples used in each game.
Quoted from frolic:
Ok, so that is 1000 boards likely to be junked?
Check out this video:
It's posted on this page (from 05.02.14):
All of the pcbs you see in the video are from that production run (a year earlier and not paid for).
Don't know if that answers your question or not.
Quoted from Aurich:
My bad, I was just trying to figure out if John's perspective and yours were different, and maybe that was the source of the confusion. It's pretty clear that your side is crystal, there's no "well it was just some bidding work" here, you made him a ton of parts and invoiced him.
The fact that he's paid 8 invoices and now suddenly refuses to pay 2 of them, and then is showing a third game ... well, it's hard to read it as anything other than him being broke and trying to use the 3rd game to raise capital.
No worries, Aurich.
As for non-payment vs. cash flow, the two should not be taken as having any "direct" relation. Keep in mind that somehow Zidware expanded and is now leasing twice the space they had when I was last there, so somehow there is justification (and money) to pay for that, but not to pay the outstanding invoices for GLM, Cointaker, etc.?
You mean like this:
That's all the TOTAN spinner is based on. Pretty much all of John's games have elements that were originally in classic EM games, but hadn't been used in modern games.
Quoted from Mr68:
Nice Doug. That phone will be disconnected by tomorrow from random Pinsiders abusing it. You just screwed those of us who needed it.
I would point out that the number Doug listed isn't the number that I had in my contacts. And my understanding is that the previous number had been disconnected due to customers/vendors slamming it. So I'm guessing it won't be long before this one gets disconnected and you all have to discover what phone #3 is.
Huh. Funny that the picture copyrights on that page are 2015, yet I don't see any access points to the "expanded space" that he supposedly has. Nor do the pictures match what was in the Adobe video. (IE, where are the three MG prototypes?).
I don't recall that when I was there could you see all the way to the back of the building like that.
If John posted the number publicly on his own website, then he obviously wants us to use it.
The BOM was doable, but only if he had stuck with OTS (off the shelf) parts and minimized the custom parts to cabinet, playfield, plastics, and ramps.
Obviously that didn't happen!
Well I'm guessing that once John finds out Yet is here on Pinside, that means all the artwork will need to be redone.
Quoted from jwilson:
He must really hate Pinside now - we've forced him to pay his artist!
When ZYeti says he has actually been paid, then you can all say that Pinside had an effect. Otherwise, this is following the same path that GLM went down...to the letter. Oh, and GLM still hasn't been paid. Going on two years here in a month or so!
Quoted from Goronic:
I agree with you that is THE big issue, my point was it was really silly on his part to try to make 3 at the 'same time'...
It is simple economics. There wasn't enough money that was going to be generated in the first game to pay for its own development and manufacturing (at least not in the way John was going about it). Everyone, and I do mean everyone (except probably the initial buyers), told him to make MG unlimited so that he would have enough money to do it (especially those of us who weren't interested in BHZA/RAZA).
But John insisted that those who missed out on MG would jump on board with BHZA/RAZA, and then he made THAT a limited run, which also wasn't going to be enough capital to get MG into production and pay for the development of BHZA/RAZA.
Hence why the "unlimited" AIW was "needed". Robbing Peter to pay Paul. Unfortunately it's a catch 22. No one game will ever generate enough money to complete the games preceding it.
If he had simply opened up MG from the beginning, used as much off-the-shelf parts he could, I can only imagine that the game would have been finished and shipping by now.
Quoted from Euchrid:
Yes, but AIW is also *supposedly* limited to 133 units.
Was it? I just though that John had jumped on the "LE" bandwagon and was going to do an "LE" AIW, but otherwise, it was unlimited? If it was truly limited to 133 total, then it's even MORE of a financial management trainwreck.
Quoted from Trekie:
Or were you a investor?
Not an investor, just a contractor/vendor.
Quoted from Eddie:
I was going to have a Cameo on the RAZA playful and was given this from John as a gift of friendship.
At least your picture looks like you! (probably before you have had coffee)
Supposedly one of the characters on MG was based on me, but the drawing of it that I saw didn't bear much (if any) resemblance. The picture was sent to me on 10/2012.
Quoted from Aurich:
Can he keep paying rent on that huge workshop?
Very good question. I have long held the theory that the workshop was a far larger drain on overall resources than most people might think. I do not know how much a space like that goes for, (I think some numbers were thrown out some time back) but 3+ years of that can't be small money.
It was just one of the many things (leasing that large space) that baffled me when I was working with Zidware.
Quoted from toyotaboy:
After the show, no matter how many people are sitting in the hall after the show, no matter how long it takes, they will sign autographs and pose for photos with every single person. They are very genuine people.
I enjoyed meeting them after a show a number of years ago. Very approachable and quite humble.
Quoted from woodworker:
Just wondering if John Popadiuk has paid you yet. I want to to keep bringing this up until John Popadiuk pays you. Apparently John Popadiuk has enough money to pay for making ramps, but you are not worth paying even though your boards are what run the games.
Thank you for bringing it up.
Unfortunately, no, GLM has not been paid, nor has there been any communication from Zidware.
And yes, knowing how much that mold costs (I have been involved with a few over the years), it is rather telling that Zidware places things like that above settling debts owed.
As for debts owed, I am glad that Cointaker has spoken out as it was difficult for me to keep silent about it all this time (I could only hint at it).
Just to keep everyone up to date on things, here is the list of unpaid vendors/suppliers (redacted for privacy purposes) that I know about or have been made aware of:
The original programmer
A Chicago-area specialty pinball parts supplier (NOT Pinball Life...)
Another engineer/board house (not confirmed by me)
Pinball Customs (added)
ZombieYeti ? Not sure what his current status is.
Due to the fractured cell-like operating structure at Zidware, there are likely more vendors/suppliers that are owed money. No way to know unless they speak up.
Quoted from ChadH:
John mentioned it's going to take "about two weeks" for his tempered glass order.
My local glass place is "slow" and it takes them about a week for most of the orders I have placed since they apparently don't stock glass but order it when a job is placed.
So YMMV depending on the glass place.
Quoted from Aurich:
And why is the shooter rod so high anyway?
Heh. I noticed that too. Not only high, but at an angle that won't hit the ball with full force.
Either there is a mech above the PF there (the PF doesn't have a shooter lane routed into it), or it's just a quick thrown together bit purely for the sake of the video (most likely).
Quoted from doghouse:
Though the deal supposedly blew up, the company recently funded itself to the tune of $6MM. The point is, they do exist and do have money. Anyone know if the original deal is truly dead?
Correction, "IS trying to fund itself". The Form D filing is an intent to sell securities to raise capital. In this case, 6 million. The terms of the funding are 1 year and currently no securities have been sold. Minimum buy-in is $25K (if you feel like investing).
You can find the Form D filing on the SEC website. Just do an EDGAR search for "Deeproot".
Quoted from Aurich:
Pretty sure it is. Investor was in Texas, so is that account, and if you go back in the thread that's the same account that was sending cryptic messages to Kim, which in context look like investment related.
I'm aware of the situation, but there are also elements (such as the altered logo, the cryptic messages, etc) which either make it seem less-than-genuine, or as Chuck nicely put it "dicey stuff".
New video up on FB.
Look at the innovative and high quality back box latch and skid pads...
Quoted from frolic:
Hold on, so those return lanes we saw in aluminum, there are other parts that still don't exist as anything other than paper?
It certainly looks like it according to the paper pieces on the playfield pic.
My big question has always been: Will you even SEE the display in the back with all that rampage all up in front of it? Or has it pretty much been relegated to a "live" backboard?
Quoted from benheck:
but man, this REALLY looks like a long shot to get the ball to the top.
The other thing I thought of when I saw the huge corkscrew ramp is that it'll likely take blue flipper coils to get the ball up that thing, which means, parts breakage everywhere else on the playfield!
Quoted from frolic:
He was trying to make the impression that he was going to show up somewhere with his game next month and people were going to play it.
If he won't drag MG out to Chicago or MGC, then why would he risk shipping it across the country? My guess is he's heading West since that's the only place he can show up "without" an MG and nobody will be that disappointed for hearing that John didn't want to risk shipping it.
The ramp in the above two pictures looks different than the one that was posted previously. Didn't save a copy of it, so I'm trying to remember what the difference was (if any).
Hmm. I never got a letter.
Did any other vendors/suppliers get a letter?
Aren't we going to be given the same opportunity to convert Zidware debt over?
Quoted from boo32:
I need to hear from GLM and the programmer.
I have largely just been mulling through the information and am still processing things as new information comes to light. I am being kept largely out of the loop, only getting information when basically everyone else does (the secret owners group is apparently only the first dream level of the Inception).
Currently my viewpoint on this whole situation has not changed any, since I have yet to be contacted by anyone other than a few concerned owners who are still looking for shreds of validation to the current situation. Unfortunately I just don't know anything more than anyone else.
My current thoughts are these:
1) I would not sign anything that waives your rights to sue or seek damages. EVER.
2) Until the "joint venture" with a known reputable pinball team is announced (and confirmed), there really isn't anything to get excited about, and all the more reason to believe that this is yet just another stall tactic that we should all be concerned about.
3) There is definitely a problem with the "need all owners on board" but ignoring the fact that the unpaid vendors/suppliers can still bankrupt Zidware and kill the whole thing.
4) I'm quite tired of the "for the love of pinball" statement being constantly thrown around. Simply because as a business owner who manufactures pinball parts, some which were made for the very same reasons that are being thrown around here (because if I don't do it, nobody will), I still have to make money at it. If I can't do that, then it's not worth pursuing, love or not.
And by various statements made by Pintasia, it would appear that they are like minded. If the numbers don't work, it's not worth pursuing. So again, hard to get excited about anything when Pintasia hasn't fully committed.
5) Apparently nobody seems to want to respond to Jim's (Applejuice) questions about the money he's owed. And that is really bad. Jim is very much the main reason why I raised my voice about the whole vendor/supplier thing. It was purely one thing for GLM or any other vendor (that can afford) to take a loss, but to nearly bankrupt a single individual out of his livelihood, that was the unforgivable act.
So where does all this go from here? I don't know. There are still too many questions that remain unanswered.
But it does lead me speculate...
Keep in mind that as an engineer, I am very much used to having to think about the "worst possible scenario", so my mind naturally keys into what every possible outcome could be. Unfortunately there is a lot of past precedence to lead to the conclusion that "ultra" collectors are the ones that are going to make out.
So to that end, I offer this as one "potential" outcome of the current state of things...(conspiracy theorists get in here!)
Don't you think it's a bit strange that all of a sudden there's a huge push to get a completed game done by June and out to Seattle without points 2, 3, 4, and 5 being addressed?
Maybe the plan isn't to save Zidware (or anyone else) at all. Maybe the plan IS to let Zidware go bankrupt (in spite of all of the behind the scenes murmuring), and that all of this is a huge stall tactic. Keep reading...
Maybe if I was an MG owner (and were still in JPop's good graces), I might want to throw some personal money in to get the three nearly complete prototypes done, get one (or more) shipped out of the state (or even better...into another country) and then let "the deal with the owners falls through" and have the wolves devour Zidware.
Seems like someone (or a couple of people) could come away with "the only known completed Magic Girl's (and RAZA) in existance", of which any would be worth a shit ton more than 16K (IE, they make their money back and then some).
Maybe, just maybe that would be my plan if I saw the writing on the wall...
One might suggest that a similar grab would occur in a bankruptcy, but at that point, you'd have a lot more people bidding for it and likely paying a lot more for it. So getting a game completed (and out of John's hands) before bankruptcy makes the most logical sense.
Okay, I gotta go mow a lawn. Will return later...
Quoted from applejuice:
No letter, email, or correspondence so far received here. I do want these projects to succeed, hence myself continuing to develop the systems for as long as I could and selling my own games to keep myself going, before having to say enough is enough.
All I am looking for is for my contract agreements and unpaid invoices to be settled in full. If this can happen I am more than happy to provide any handover assistance I can in terms of what code is written, what isn't, the hardware, the os, the graphics engine etc etc so any new team can get going asap.
What Jim said. Most of us involved, myself included, want to see these games succeed, and are absolutely still willing to help if at all possible.
Quoted from applejuice:
Also there is a glm produced board in purple top right shown.
All of the blue boards were designed and manufactured by GLM as well. These are the lamp boards for both the GI and the RGB lighting system. The original insert lighting system was based on RGB "pixels". There are three of them in the picture (flat metal squares). These "pixels" were reverse engineered and then built with various configurations to fit all of the different type of inserts that were going to be used.
A small minor note of interest, purple was the original color John wanted for all of the PCBs. Unfortunately purple is a custom color (please don't mention OSHpark or any of the other prototyping houses) and very difficult to get in small volume production runs. I then convinced John to do blue, primarily because of time crunch issues (gotta get it ready for that Expo reveal!). So a majority of the boards produced were in blue.
Later John toyed with the idea of doing black before settling on...standard green.
Quoted from frolic:
I would bet engineering the new board instead of p-roc was 100% ego driven, that he couldn't use an "off the shelf" solution. Just like every part in the machine. What a waste.
Partially true. He definitely wanted everything to "fit" a certain way. He didn't want to use something if he had to alter his design to "fit" around someone else's product. That was "compromise".
Quoted from applejuice:
Also, to update on the Pintasia and Bill front. (I still want them to succeed) I haven't had any reply from my emails on Tuesday, or the Skype chat Bill said he would sort out with me. I appreciate they are busy, but i just want people to tell me the truth and give me honest answers to honest questions. I had enough BS with Zidware.
Same here. No contact from Pintasia, but I a) haven't emailed them and b) don't think that they really need to talk to me just yet anyway. Maybe once they get to the BOM portion - assuming anything is left (or needed) of the work that GLM did.
Again, this is just for transparency, nothing more.
Quoted from dgarrett:
The large $ are think were spent on prototype parts - ie. machine this mech and lets see how it works, redraw, remake, try again - almost every part on this game, from side rails to apron to the spikey bolts were custom made, likely at larger costs that you realize. Spooky is standard parts, except for a few specific 3d stuff (Ghost, upper lanes, a few brackets underneath PF) and the powder coat ramps. Most all else was not in need of parts drawings, protos, or re-protos for tweaks. I think most of the time and $ were put into design, drawings and custom part making.
Exactly right. There was so much custom stuff designed and made. Every bit of it costing money and time.
I know I pleaded with John to use as much OTS (off-the-shelf) parts as possible, but that was pretty much ignored.
The ramp can be hit and made. The flippers ARE strong. Those are the LEAST of the issues you guys should be concerned about.
Quoted from jwilson:
The tone I was getting from the posts was that most people think the game is extremely underwhelming in its current state, which given that it's even more alpha than anyone was letting on, makes sense.
This is what I took away from it. The game is in what I would refer to as a "proof of concept", which is polite way of saying, "we want to see if you would be willing to fork out money for this thing."
Anyone who thinks the game is close to being handed off for production...it isn't. Not even close. The only thing that could possibly be moved straight into production is the cabinet, which is probably the single most awesome thing there is.
Quoted from hank527:
Bingo. This is the only solution that makes sense, since there is about $400k left to collect. Plus I think the new team could push RAZA to $10,500.00 for a limited edition of 100 and possibly sell another 100 plus at the $8995.00 price point. Who knows as the cost to make Magic Girl seems high. Why not retool RAZA and give that a go first. Raza appears to be easier to produce.
The main issue, as I understand it, is that the BOM for the machine is too high. I've heard 8K, others are speculating 10K. While I haven't personally run the numbers myself, it is going to be high. Too high to MSRP at anything less than 10K, and likely the $16K price point is where it'd have to stay.
Keep in mind that the game is missing a LOT of items and very likely that those missing items haven't either been finalized in design or properly tested to even validate that they'll work in game as expected. Much of what I saw in the game needs to be reworked or replaced to make it more manufacturable. So there is some unknown amount of money and time that will need to be invested in order to get to the point where you could accurately nail down the BOM and then calculate the final needed MSRP to make the project fly.
It would seem that the only way to make this game affordable (and manufacturable) would be to edit a lot of the features out of the game. But at that point, would it lose that J Poppin' Fresh Goodness that made people want to buy it in the first place?
After I saw the state of the machine at the NW pinball show, I am not surprised that this is the outcome.
I am glad to have met Bill and the others that helped get MG to the show. I do commend them for their efforts, their time, the money, and enthusiasm.
I do feel a bit disappointed that the original MG crew were not involved more with the efforts. I feel that we could have gotten MG to a much more functional state if we had just been asked. Some elements, like the TOTAN genie spinner, could have been made operational, but I only learned about it after talking with Acejedi, when it was too late to do anything about it.
Not sure that ultimately it would have made a difference for Bill and Pintasia, but at least it might have allowed MG a better showing.
Quoted from MikeS:
It honestly wouldn't surprise me if PPS swept in and bought the assets on the cheap like they did after the IPB bankruptcy. There's not much usable IP there, but I think it strokes Rick's ego to own rare stuff that nobody has so that people can speculate about whether or not PPS will make it? They actually probably could, but I wouldn't bet on seeing it happen.
PPS would do much better to re-run BBB. They have all of the assets and there is already a demand for it.
Quoted from jwilson:
I'm genuinely curious why the Pintasia team didn't involve the original people either, not out of finger-pointing blame, just to understand the reasoning. I mean, there must be a reason. Did they think they wouldn't help due to being owed money?
I honestly wouldn't be surprised if John made that a condition of the license.
Quoted from dgarrett:
Yes. LED boards, with 1,2 or 4 lights each, about 1inch square, wire in serial by a 4 wire ribbon cable with clock, data, ground power - controlled by an arduino, in a 64 address daisy chain. I presume one of the "secrets" he didn't want another maker to "borrow". But that's just a speculation.
What you are describing was the standard insert and GI lighting system based originally on off-the-shelf parts.
John had mentioned this lighting system as something different. I never saw it because he would hide it any time I would come over.
I believe it had something to do with over-playfield lighting and I "think" was shown as part of the Kiss proto. Not sure though.
Quoted from Sparky347:
Something like this?
Those are based on the original off-the-shelf RGB "pixels" that John got from Adafruit. The originals had 4 RGB LEDs. I had reverse engineered them and reformatted them into 1, 2, 3, and 4 LED configurations to properly fit a wide variety of insert types.
Apparently these were discarded and redone by Cointaker in a single LED configuration. (I didn't see any of those with more than one LED in them).
BTW, all of the GLM boards had proper locking headers on them.
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:
The pixels from adafruit are basically what the first JJP engineer did. Total and complete idiocy to try and use something like that in a pinball machine.
Keep in mind that there weren't a lot of RGB lighting solutions for pinball machines at that time. Everyone was basically "rolling their own". I had other ideas of how to do it, but got overruled.
Quoted from toyotaboy:
I'm just amazed John didn't steal Ben's idea about using lasers to illuminate insert lighting and eliminate all the wiring underneath. Maybe he tried and we just don't know about the hundreds of hours he spent on it (and also trying to get a patent on)
I'm sure that was quickly nixed as it wouldn't have worked with John's first and primary rule of pinball design: Put as much crap on the playfield as possible!
I have been told (about a thousand times) that it was "static buildup" and lack of buffered IC's. Personally I haven't looked into it, but I can only believe what a JJP tech told me until I otherwise evaluate it first hand.
Regardless, the ICs used for the Zidware RGB boards are buffered, so for what it's worth, it wasn't likely to have the same problems. The major issue (for me) was that the 5050 LEDs don't seem to have as good color contrast as the ones used by JJP. The 5050 LEDs are good for one thing and one thing only. Being cheap. So from a BOM perspective, it was likely one of the best solutions available.
Quoted from hank527:
I said why not expand your business model and sell artwork etc..,
This was suggested from day one. He could have easily funded his entire operations from t-shirts, prints, neon, whatever. But as far as I know, he gave all of that stuff away. Pre-order money (not) well spent!
I could have ridden on a lot of (real) roller coasters for the money - and had a much better time.
Quoted from frolic:
Apparently the Magic Girl that went to the NW show hasn't been touched since it came back.
You would think anyone with half a brain (yes, I know who we're talking about), and with the intention to save things (which he says he's still there "working" every day to save everything) would have spent the last 4 months since the game came back fixing whatever it needed to have gotten it to some point it could have been brought to Expo, and try to change the narrative about what is going on.
The problem with that is it was very clear (when I examined the game at NW show) that he doesn't understand how to properly apply technology, so it is highly unlikely that he would be able to "fix" the issues we all saw by himself.
Even simple technical things, such as using an opto switch correctly, he got wrong. Ultra mind blowing.
Even if you ignore the massive failure on the technical side of things, many of us couldn't even fathom how some of the playfield features were even supposed to work (or that they would be any fun if they did).
So the question is, what could John have done in 4 months to correct all those problems that he basically created himself. I just don't see it happening. The best chance he HAD was to hand it off to a fully qualified group of engineers and let them fix/edit the design down and leave him out of it (sounds like history repeating itself...). But it is highly unlikely that option will ever be available to him again.
The difference is that he had a full crew of people around him telling him "you can't do it that way" that he couldn't fire, ignore, or otherwise make "go away".
Quoted from ShinyNick:
Here is my first day testing report on my MG #006 that I picked up from John on Feb 28, 2017. Bear in mind that there are many issues here right out of the box. This machine is not playable yet due to ball hangup issues. I consider all 19+2 MG machines to be prototypes and from what I have seen here and from looking at other peoples’ pics and videos for their MGs I suspect that each machine is different in some ways. I hope this info will assist other owners and I’m very curious if they share these issues.
When I picked up from John I asked him the following:
Does Multiball work? “No”
Is it a code issue only? “Yes” (I don’t think this is true…)
Does the magnaflip playfield work? “Yes”
Does the magnetic “hare” bumper work or do we need to add a magnet under the playfield? “Yes you have to add the magnet and this an optional mod. The code is working for the magnet. I will send you the specs for the magnet. There are several optional mods that will be available and I will publish the info online.”
Setup and Issue Photos:
Thanks Nick! I took a look through the pictures and added some comments to a couple.
Basically, it would appear that the game does contain GLM hardware, boards that GLM was contracted to design and manufacture, plus redesigns of boards that GLM was contracted to design and manufacture.
I can provide more clarity on what GLM might have been involved with (and might be able to provide support for) if more detailed pictures of all the PCB's are posted.
Thanks again, Nick!
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