(Topic ID: 262812)

Let's P-Roc this (Haunted) House. My 'Magnum Opus' has begun.


By HHaase

32 days ago



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  • 43 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 hours ago by HHaase
  • Topic is favorited by 26 Pinsiders

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19
#1 32 days ago

Wayyyyy back in time, Minneapolis airport had a great arcade in it, or at least I thought so as a kid. Travelling back and forth between NY and the Dakota's I played many a game in that arcade. One of them always stood out more than any other, and really fueled this entire hobby for me. The Beautiful Beast as some call it. Haunted House. It is one of three machines that are my core, the games that brought me here. Haunted House is the first pinball machine I remember ever playing. This game, above all others, has held a very special place for me ever since. There is just something about the artwork, the back-glass, and that basement playfield, that have called to me for nearly forty years.

Surprisingly I've never owned one, and I honestly cannot remember playing one since then. But I have never forgotten.

I've lurked for a long time. I've studied. I've watched the marketplace. But the timing never seemed right. As some people say, you should never meet your heroes. I feared disappointment. I feared that golden part of my childhood would be broken, and the whole house of cards would follow. This isn't a mere 'Grail' machine to me. Haunted House is the foundation by which my EVERYTHING pinball is built on. I resisted with every fiber of my being.

But some things cannot be forgotten.

And some things cannot be denied.

Temptation has won and a project has come home.

It is time for me to take on this beautiful beast.

But let’s not forget that this is me we’re talking about. If I’m going to do this, it’s going to be MY way. This will be my 'Magnum Opus', throwing everything I've learned into one single project.

Right now I am sitting on an original playfield set that is as dirty as it is stunning, and I have a lower cabinet en-route to me. This of course leaves me some significant missing parts. I have no head, no backglass, no boards, and no displays. So I am going to have to scavenge and create the rest of this game, and I think this is a perfect opportunity to improve upon the things that are lacking in the game.

My plan is to use a P3-ROC controller to build new rules, new lighting, and new sounds, into this cabinet. I'll use the soul of the original game as my guide, to mold it into something worthy of that pedestal I have put it on. There will be a lot of custom stuff under the hood, but anything visible MUST be worthy of the original art design work. There will be no multi-ball. Any changes to the appearance will blend with the 1982 style as best I can. Sounds and music will change in quality and how they are used, but all the beloved elements of the original will still be there. Speech is undecided at this point. The thought is something along the lines of Vincent Price and Orson Wells for style, and it will be minimal if there is any. I want anybody who plays this game to think it's a natural and worthy extension of the original.

Also, this will not be a fast project. I'm going to work on it when I am inspired. I'll take breaks when needed. But I will see this through to the end.

In my next post we will start getting to work.

Haunted House

#2 32 days ago

Reserving this post for a few things. Staring off with parts for sale and parts needed.

Currently for sale/trade.
Playfield wiring harness, appears to be complete. Includes all lamp sockets, does not include any coils or switches.

#3 32 days ago

Congrats! How exciting. I do believe that someone in either MA or ME had a Haunted House head not long ago. I don’t recall who it was but I definitely remember running into it before. There is absolutely a head floating around somewhere between New York and Boston possibly further north.
I had been tempted to buy it and salvage a lower cabinet I had seen but never pulled the trigger.

I would reconsider your decision to leave out multiball. Those pinball brothers made a Haunted House speech AND multiball mod for the original boardset, it was only left out due to time and memory constraints. I believe HH was originally supposed to have both.

#4 32 days ago

I know multiball does work well with the game, but I've got two reasons to keep single ball. One is sentimentality, which plays a big part in this project as a whole. The other is an explanation I heard once, that is part of what I'm using as my guiding muse.

The single ball represents you, the person lost in this grand mansion. You are exploring all the dark areas of a place you shouldn't be, lost, alone, trapped, and lonely for help. This is what I'm going to use as the basis for the narrative, which I'll build my rules around, that lost soul looking for an escape.

Here's a couple teaser photos of the playfield set I'm working with. You can see how dirty it is, appropriate to the theme I think, but the basement playfield is flawless under all the grime. And look at the secret passage entrance on the upper playfield. All this time and nearly no wear on the holes, and the plastic is unbroken.

Unfortunately there are a few flaws to correct on the main and attic playfields, but still a phenomenal original set to start with.

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#5 32 days ago

Pretty cool Hans. Following. I'm interested to see this develop. Always refreshing to see someone discussing a project where the primary focus will be to bring out the best in a theme while staying true to existing art and layout.... Especially for something as iconic to pinball as HH. Will be a nice change from watching someone simply re-skin a Hollywood Heat or a beater EM. Also, although it may take a while for you to get where inspiration leads, at least I won't have to see 2 years of whitewood development.....

Would be interested to know what framework you ultimately decide to use with the P-ROC and why as well.

Good luck!

#6 32 days ago

Framework is the first big decision hurdle I need to solve, thankfully I’ve got some time to sort that out. Code is a weak point of mine so I need to be pretty deliberate on my choice. Both mission and skeleton have their apparent advantages, not leaning either way yet.

Lots of easy, but time and money consuming, things to sort out before that. First things will be playfield tear down and starting the shopping list. I’ll also be doing a paper version of the basic rules concept too. If I don’t have a solid conceptual framework I’ll just be thrashing around pointlessly. I need to go at this like a project manager, not a technician.

#7 31 days ago

Yeah, that pf will clean up nicely. There's a nice game under all that grime! Following

#8 31 days ago
Quoted from HHaase:

Framework is the first big decision hurdle I need to solve, thankfully I’ve got some time to sort that out. Code is a weak point of mine so I need to be pretty deliberate on my choice. Both mission and skeleton have their apparent advantages, not leaning either way yet.
Lots of easy, but time and money consuming, things to sort out before that. First things will be playfield tear down and starting the shopping list. I’ll also be doing a paper version of the basic rules concept too. If I don’t have a solid conceptual framework I’ll just be thrashing around pointlessly. I need to go at this like a project manager, not a technician.

I have no dog in the framework fight, but my (limited) understanding of Skeletongame is that it rides on top of the pyprocgamehd libraries, and that it only supports display output to LCD. So, if true, and if you are sticking with the traditional style displays in HH, using that may be a challenge.....

https://pinballmakers.com/wiki/index.php?title=Programming#Pinball_Frameworks

#9 31 days ago

Ok, this looks very promising all around. Following.

#10 31 days ago

Haunted Houses are always dirty. Clearcoat the playfields with the dirt on it

#11 31 days ago

The more I look at it, the more I'm going to at least start with the Mission Pinball framework. From what I can tell so far it's just better documented and more user friendly. I've never worked with Python before so the higher level environment is more beneficial to me.

From what I can tell it also better supports non-LCD style displays. I'm not 100% sure what I'll be doing for displays yet, but I do know I won't be doing an LCD system. Anything I do will still need to fit inside the original plasma display openings in the backglass and playfield. I am leaning toward some kind of alphanumeric setup at the moment but that's still wide open as I haven't done any actual work in that direction yet.

-Hans

#12 31 days ago
Quoted from HHaase:

The more I look at it, the more I'm going to at least start with the Mission Pinball framework. From what I can tell so far it's just better documented and more user friendly. I've never worked with Python before so the higher level environment is more beneficial to me.
From what I can tell it also better supports non-LCD style displays. I'm not 100% sure what I'll be doing for displays yet, but I do know I won't be doing an LCD system. Anything I do will still need to fit inside the original plasma display openings in the backglass and playfield. I am leaning toward some kind of alphanumeric setup at the moment but that's still wide open as I haven't done any actual work in that direction yet.
-Hans

The gottlieb displays are already semi alphanumeric, they might be good enough.

#13 31 days ago
Quoted from cmack750:

I have no dog in the framework fight, but my (limited) understanding of Skeletongame is that it rides on top of the pyprocgamehd libraries, and that it only supports display output to LCD. So, if true, and if you are sticking with the traditional style displays in HH, using that may be a challenge.....
https://pinballmakers.com/wiki/index.php?title=Programming#Pinball_Frameworks

Way back long ago in 2014, I used a Adruino Uno to drive a set of Williams System 3-6 displays. In fact you can see my setup and code here:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/a-uno-based-williams-system-3-to-6-display-controller

I have not looked at the schematics for the Gotlieb display system, but if they use the same BCD based controller, it may be possible to control them via an Uno. The game code will have to be setup to send the commands down the appropriate USB connection to drive the Uno. Skeletongame may be more suited for this.

#14 31 days ago

Gottlieb uses a different chip to drive the displays because the '1' is the middle segments instead of just sharing the rightmost segments, but it's essentially similar. - I think they even use hardware to detect the '1' and routine the signal differently, and the decoder chip doesn't strip out invalid BCD codes.

I'd think that whatever framework Hans ends up using should be able to drive a display directly without having to interface with another piece of hardware - are there shortages of I/O pins on the boards or something?

#15 31 days ago

Whichever style the displays are, I'll be avoiding any kind of high voltage plasma displays. Trying to keep the power distribution simple.

-Hans

#16 31 days ago
Quoted from slochar:

I'd think that whatever framework Hans ends up using should be able to drive a display directly without having to interface with another piece of hardware - are there shortages of I/O pins on the boards or something?

I was working with the original P-ROC board connected to a system 11 driver board. So I started out limited to what I could connect. The issue with driving displays it that they take a lot of connections. Every strobe has a separate connection, and the BCDs each need three outputs. I use the Uno with a shield board containing a pair of shift registers chips to increase the number of available outputs to 25.

#17 31 days ago
Quoted from HHaase:

Whichever style the displays are, I'll be avoiding any kind of high voltage plasma displays. Trying to keep the power distribution simple.
-Hans

I understand that. You could use LED displays and run the whole thing off 5 volts.

#18 31 days ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

but if they use the same BCD based controller,

The gottlieb displays aren't BCD, or rather the BCD decoder is on the MPU, and the raw segment info is sent to the display. This is what allows aftermarket MPUs to display psuedo-text on them.

#19 31 days ago

Favorite-d!!! Looking forward to following along, I have similar plans for a Centaur retheme in the future!

#21 31 days ago

Holy Moly, the harness on this game is a pain to remove. I'm used to Williams stuff where the lamps, switches, and solenoids, are all in their own bundles and can come off in layers. With Haunted House it's all one giant bundle that's all completely bundled together. The only thing that came off separately was the wiring for the score display.

Photos tomorrow, I'm wrapping it up for the night.

-Hans

#22 30 days ago

Teardown is always fun. I'm absolutely gobsmacked at the sheer volume of wiring on this game, no wonder it's considered to be a maintenance nightmare. I'm just glad it doesn't have to go back onto the machine, and I feel deep pain for anybody who does a playfield or restoration on one. It took me a good evening just to get the wiring off the main playfield. I've barely even touched the upper, and haven't started the lower at all. This harness is massive and not very maintenance friendly to work on or around.

It's also incredible how much functionality the designers got from the system 80 board set. For a driver board that was only made to support 9 discreet solenoids, there are 27 in this game (including flipper). I can really see the benefit that came from using matrix layouts on lamps and switches, would have saved a lot of complexity.

The crazy thing is, with all the stuff on this playfield, I've removed all the lamp sockets already. So this is just solenoid mechanisms and switches.

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#23 29 days ago

Following! Great project! I believe you can get an lcd sized to still fit in the same area as original display and work with mpf. I think I have a link to one floating around from someone else that used one in his game

#24 29 days ago

What about a lower playfield?
Are you sure it didn't have multiball?
Black hole did... kinda surprised if HH didn't have MB.

#25 29 days ago

Lower playfield is here, I just haven’t gotten to it yet. That’s next on the list for pulling the wiring.

-Hans

#26 29 days ago

Wiring harness has been completely removed. Without all the relays, transistor boards, pop bumper boards, diode boards and so on and so on, some of these playfields look pretty stinking sparse on the bottom side. Particularly the lower playfield, though that one is missing a drop target mechanism at the moment. Only a couple pieces of it were present, I'll have to source one and I think I have a lead on one already.

Looking at the top side of the lower playfield it's an interesting comparison between the clean and bright artwork where I've wiped it down, compared to the areas I haven't yet. You can't even see the bat on the kicking target at all.

A depressing amount of the plastics are broken, so I likely see a repro plastic set in my future, which isn't terribly upsetting. I can probably sell the secret passage plastic alone for a good price. All the rubbers are complete trash, no loss there as I'm going to replace with titan rings anyway. Missing a couple proper pop bumper caps, but I'm going to be changing the bodies and caps to different colors. The stuff I really need though all looks to be in great condition, which is the playfields and the mechanisms. I appear to have all the posts and wireforms too.

At times I was thinking with absolute dread that I was taking this all apart, clipping the braided wire for the lamps, and clipping where the harness attaches to the switches. But the more I went through it the less I was worried. The lamp sockets are all essentially trash from corrosion, though the wiring itself all looks fine. I think the P3-Roc conversion is actually going to be easier than piecing together a full machine and restoring it with original wiring and boards.

Next step is going to be labeling all the mechanisms and parts, and getting down to completely bare playfields.

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#27 28 days ago

I may change my mind later, but right now I don't think the wear and damage on this playfield justify the risk of removing the mylar to do a full restore and clearcoat. I'm not a phenomenal talent at playfield touchup, but I'm getting better, and I'm not afraid to do some small spots here and there.

Here's the upper playfield after a wipedown and spot touchup this evening. Perfect? No. Improved? Yes. Just needs a coat of wax and I can set this one aside and move to the next. I'm not too worried about the mismatched colors behind the pop bumper mounting holes, those will never be seen due to the angle. Nor will I do anything about the chipping under the inserts. For a 1982 playfield I'm quite happy.

If this project goes extremely well I do think I'll pull the playfield again and send it out to get done professionally. Right now I'm just looking to get it presentable enough for starting the later development.

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#28 27 days ago

The original clear posts are really dirty, and in this game I think the white rubbers and clear posts stand out too much. In fact, I think any of the transparent colored posts will be a bit too obvious, and I can't find colors that I like.

So I made my own. Printer will be busy for a bit. The green and black are going to be the best match on the upper playfield and lower playfields for sure. Main playfield will probably end up with reds and oranges most likely. Upper playfield is going to need 20, so I'll be printing most of the day, but I can at least get a good view of what it will look like before I take my week off.

I've also added these to the website for sale if anybody wants oddball colored posts. I can make different designs as needed too. A bit softer patterns than injection molded, but sometimes you just gotta compromise if you REALLY need that unavailable color.

https://www.siegecraft.us/presta/index.php?id_product=87&controller=product&id_lang=1
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#29 27 days ago

20 printed posts later, and we can cover up the only real damage under the old posts. It really improves the look of the playfield, and for now I'm only going to lavish my attention onto areas that will be visible. Nice thing is, if I want to change any colors it's quick and easy to just have more of them.

In person, the green is nearly a perfect match to the darker green on the playfield, though photos do show the plastic is a hair brighter than the paint, but not by much.

Unfortunately, as I'm tearing down the playfields, every single plastic is broken on the lower and upper playfields. So I'll be needing a complete set it seems. I'm sure I can get a few bucks for the secret passage piece from this one, but I'm going to wait until I've inventoried all of them before putting them up for sale.

I might keep the broken ones though for photo backdrops and things like that, or make something else out of them. Haven't decided yet.

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1 week later
#30 20 days ago

I was away for a week, so didn't get any work done until today. Mainly a teardown of the lower playfield. This seemed a lot easier than the upper for some reason, probably because everything came out the bottom and there was no wiring to worry about on the top. Unlike the upper playfield, there really is no damage to the playing surface, only some crackling under the posts, and of course it's extremely dirty.

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#31 20 days ago

This is about 20 minutes of work with Naptha and Griot's cleaner wax, which I've taken a liking to. I'll probably give it a bit more buffing tomorrow but no touch-up is required on this playfield. The flash catches a bit of uneven color, but in person it's not foggy at all. Once it's all polished up I can make some new posts for this one and them move on to the upper playfield.

I've also received word the lower cabinet I'll be using should be here in about a week.

-Hans

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#32 15 days ago

Another batch of playfield posts are done on the 3D printer, and I even managed to figure out how to import from CAD to Blender, and make up a Siamese style post fairly easily. Now that I know I can do these in blender, I can maybe make them even fancier.

This playfield looks awesome when it has a fresh coat of wax on it, but going to take a bit more work to really get it looking good normally. Once the wax dries the shiny black goes foggy again on me and won't polish up. After the PRoc stuff is done, I am definitely re-pulling the field and getting it done professionally.

Either way, progress is being made.

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#33 15 days ago

Also had this delivered today, so I can start doing a bit more in earnest. Came with a new CPR spiderweb plastic, and the 5-drop target bank that I am missing parts for. SCORE! A buddy of mine may have some generic legs I can use for the time being until I get a proper set sorted out.

Solid, no repairs needed, artwork is fantastic condition, one of the best coin-doors I've received on a game.

But.... well.....

It might have to go into the garage for a bit before I can keep it in the basement shop.

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#34 15 days ago

Hmmm, I'm tempted to make some Stern styled coin door entry plates, so I can put some different pricing sheets in there without the red tint.

But I also need the best method on the interweb's for ridding a cabinet of the smell of mouse pee.

-Hans

#35 13 days ago

Curious why import from cad to blender? Or are you just using STL files from online and then editing in blender?

#36 13 days ago
Quoted from Mbecker:

Curious why import from cad to blender? Or are you just using STL files from online and then editing in blender?

I’m just starting to use blender, and haven’t quite got dimensioning figured out yet. So I did the initial post design in freecad.

Couldn’t figure an easy way to transform it into the Siamese post in freecad, but was super easy to do in Blender by just grabbing vertices in wireform.

#37 9 days ago

No updates at the moment, I've been absolutely swamped in orders the past few weeks, and probably won't be at this one again till next week. The good news is that the smell has died down considerably in the cabinet. I really need to get myself a more organized workspace for all this before doing much more, it's turned into a mess in a hurry. So that'll be my next step.

Then I need some legs for the cabinet, and I can get moving again. I have been slowly tinkering around with teardown on the main playfield as well, and working on a parts list to get the mechanisms in shape. Pretty small list at the moment.

I am wondering though, and Gottlieb die-hards may consider this the talk of a heathen, but I may use some Williams style pop bumper bodies instead. I just think the bright white bodies on the pops on this game are a huge negative in appearance, and I want something that blends better with the playfield and plastics. I can get transparent green and other colors for the Williams pop bodies. Still thinking on that.

I do also need to order some different filament colors for the main playfield parts on the 3D printer, as I'll need red and orange posts instead of the green and black I've been using. I also need a set of drop targets for the lower playfield, but really any Gottlieb part will work since you can't see the faces anyway.

-Hans

#38 9 days ago

Interesting project. Following.

#39 9 days ago
Quoted from HHaase:

No updates at the moment, I've been absolutely swamped in orders the past few weeks, and probably won't be at this one again till next week. The good news is that the smell has died down considerably in the cabinet. I really need to get myself a more organized workspace for all this before doing much more, it's turned into a mess in a hurry. So that'll be my next step.
Then I need some legs for the cabinet, and I can get moving again. I have been slowly tinkering around with teardown on the main playfield as well, and working on a parts list to get the mechanisms in shape. Pretty small list at the moment.
I am wondering though, and Gottlieb die-hards may consider this the talk of a heathen, but I may use some Williams style pop bumper bodies instead. I just think the bright white bodies on the pops on this game are a huge negative in appearance, and I want something that blends better with the playfield and plastics. I can get transparent green and other colors for the Williams pop bodies. Still thinking on that.
I do also need to order some different filament colors for the main playfield parts on the 3D printer, as I'll need red and orange posts instead of the green and black I've been using. I also need a set of drop targets for the lower playfield, but really any Gottlieb part will work since you can't see the faces anyway.
-Hans

I dyed the pop bodies to blend in better. Worked really well. Mike

#40 5 days ago
Quoted from psd4me:

I dyed the pop bodies to blend in better.

I often dye almost all the nylon, here are the parts from Motordome.

RIT clothes dye is very effective.

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#41 5 days ago

Oooooh! I was actually going to ask what I could use for dye. That looks like a perfect idea.

-Hans

#42 4 days ago
Quoted from HHaase:

But I also need the best method on the interweb's for ridding a cabinet of the smell of mouse pee.

I think you are going to need to apply heat to the inside of that cabinet … I don't know any other way to get rid of that smell..

I had success removing urine order in my G35 after a bad nuetering of my cats using Woolite Carpet Pet Urine Eliminator... but that was on carpet. I don't know how it would work (or if it would work) on wood.

If you could do it; putting that cabinet in a "oven" at low temps for 2-3 days might help outgass the smell.

#43 7 hours ago

The baking soda is working to get the smell down pretty quick, but when it gets warm out I might bring it to the garage and let it sit in there close up, sans playfield, with a few lightbulbs inside to bake the heat out. I did also finally get some legs under it, and mounted the playfields. So I can start stacking them up and visualizing things.

Still working at the teardown on the main playfield as time permits. Whatever made this thing dirty is annoying. When I wipe it with Naptha, and while it's still damp, the colors all look fantastic. But it's some kind of dust that just won't really let go from the playfield wood, though it comes right off the mylar.

I've also been doing some behind-the-scenes work upgrading my 3D printing capacity to do multi-color prints. My brain keeps coming up with ideas on this one and I'm looking forward to implementing them.

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