Multi-Races - the Multi One-Ball Horserace Game

(Topic ID: 220523)

Multi-Races - the Multi One-Ball Horserace Game


By bingopodcast

8 months ago



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    #1 8 months ago

    Hey everyone! Now that the Multi-Bingo project is slowing down a bit (some final polish being put on games... and a few surprises planned), my thoughts have turned to another part of pinball history that is under-appreciated. The one-ball horserace games, manufactured by Bally, Universal, Western, and a few others, are extremely fun games.

    My daughter restored a Turf King a couple of years ago, and we both found the game incredibly appealing and challenging. So much so that I started putting other one-balls on my wishlist, and compiled a list of all of them for an eventual Multi Races!

    The idea of Multi Races is pretty simple, and very similar to the Multi-Bingo: (Credit for the name Multi Races goes to Dennis Dodel - thank you, Dennis!)

    1) All one-ball games in one cabinet
    2) Real playfield and plunger, ball, mechanics.
    3) Real noises provided by actual units
    4) Payout tubes providing payout versions
    5) Replay register providing replay sounds.

    It will use the P3-Roc and associated driver and switch boards, same as the Multi-Bingo, but I should only require about half of the boards in the Multi Races. Almost all of the playfield layouts are very similar.

    For the Multi-Bingo, I was able to be a bit more picky: using only parts from previously parted out machines. For this game, I had to find a complete game to use as a donor. My donor is a 1946 Bally Victory Derby. It has a repainted cab using incorrect colors, and a very poor backglass.

    I will be working to document each one-ball game so that I can accurately recreate the mechanical randomization of each game. This will be far more time-consuming than the Multi-Bingo as the bingos are documented more completely than the one-balls. That said, I'm pleased that most of the games have manuals and schematics available.

    I'm planning to fix the Victory Derby this afternoon, and then start documenting.

    #2 8 months ago

    So Victory Derby...

    I worked on the game on 7/4 and got the machine 100% playable after the above post. I couldn't stop playing it, though... what a great game!

    Here are some of the features:

    1) Single selection play - horse chosen at random on coin insertion between 1-7. Multiple selections only made when Daily Double is active.
    2) Game can be put into replay mode. There is a projection credit unit in the head that is mounted in a spring-loaded cradle and shows the credit through the backglass, along with a well-disguised knock-off button mounted near the front pedastal. I specifically looked for a knock off button as I unloaded, and didn't see one, but noticed the replay unit in the head and a jones plug selector near it... so cool!
    3) Payout feature is very neat and works exactly like a slot machine - payouts are always multiples of 2 coins - the slide contains space for two nickels at a time, and as the slide moves back and forth, it gathers up a couple nickels and drops them in the bay in the coin door.
    4) Left and Right pockets will light at random, and when hit, will advance the word "D-E-R-B-Y". This is a carry-over feature, and once lit fully, will award a big payout.
    5) Odds are not guaranteed advancing, so each coin played is a risk that you will wind up with the lowest odds possible.
    6) Only 4 coin max - but the coins act as a multiplier. Payouts are multiplied by up to 4x based on number of nickels inserted.
    7) The playfield layout feels a bit more 'fair' than the Turf King, but I can't tell if that's because the prior owner had the back end jacked way up and the front end on the floor or... due to the lack of bumpers and a more wide open playing field. Plus lighter game allows for more maneuverability. Maybe.
    8) Feature light lights at random once in a blue blue moon, and will award the same amount of replays as spelling DERBY, if I recall correctly.
    9) Daily Double is a neat feature - two alternate selections will light at random occasionally. If you hit one, it will carry over to the next game, and light an additional selection along with the first. If you hit either, it will light another carry-over light, then allow you to hit one of three horses for a doubled win. The Daily Double is over if you do not make one or the other.
    10) The ability to make the player grin with a simple two coin payout for a ball well-played.

    I haven't had a chance to play again since the 4th, but I can't wait to play again while I plan the next phase.

    #3 8 months ago

    Dont think I've ever seen or played any of the single ball horse games. Would love to play one at the York show this fall. I'm assuming your multi-game of this would not be ready than?

    #4 8 months ago

    I find that I am falling in love with these games in a similar way that I fell in love with the bingos. My plan is to bring it with me to York in years to come, but I likely won't have it ready before this year's show. I am a couple of months behind in my timeline.

    I should have the first three-four machines implemented by next October, though.

    I think I've got a good idea for what to do at the shows regarding payout games - more on that later!

    #5 8 months ago

    adding to my forums!
    I did not know much about one-ball games outside of the early payout machines like Sportsman, but I did recently see this 1949 Champion for sale.
    I love how insidious the flyer for it sounds, read the bottom right text about how it sucks coins from players: https://www.ipdb.org/showpic.pl?id=3008&picno=5656&zoom=1

    Do these games all have a universal playfield? Are there any variations?

    #6 8 months ago

    Champion boasts quite a lot of great features in that flier - hardened armor, guaranteed advancing odds, and the familiar three digit replay register!

    There are four variations that I've noted so far.

    Early games had passive bumpers in interesting spots (like the center of the playfield).
    Some games (particularly those made by Western Equipment and Supply) boast 8 selections on the playfield instead of 7! That will be the hardest to address, and I may have to just forget about those games (for now). I will likely have to have a playfield cut.

    The vast majority can be played using either the Victory Derby playfield (no passive bumpers) or the Turf King playfield (four passive bumpers). I can add a proximity switch for the center bumper on the Turf King playfield, and allow play of the other game.

    The final variation doesn't have a feature hole at the bottom center - if a ball made it all the way there, you'd get absolutely nothing on those games. Alignment of bottom springs and such would also be different.

    Taking just a Turf King playfield to shows would be pretty close to accurate.

    3 weeks later
    #7 7 months ago

    I'm in yet another crunch mode for the Multi-Bingo, but I have been doing some small things behind the scenes to prepare for Multi Races (aside from playing Victory Derby a bunch) - I picked up a replay register to incorporate in the game, and have been planning how to map the spotting discs for Turf King. I -think- if I have that down, I can walk someone through the basics pretty easily. I'm hopeful that there are not many changes between games, but I know that on the bingo side, some games have as few as a single rivet changed.

    I'd love to have that level of accuracy with Multi Races, but I fear that that will never happen. No time to worry right now, though!

    3 months later
    #8 4 months ago

    Now that bingo crunch is over, I'm working on Robo-Frenzy. Multi-Races is still top of mind, though, and I just put in the order for the various boards needed to wire up the game.

    I will be working initially on a Turf King playfield, and get that wired up.

    I unboxed a replay register I bought some time ago last night and found it is missing a coil and stop. I'll find those somewhere, plenty to do in the interim!

    My plan is to unhook the drive wiring for the main motor, and install a relay to toggle it instead. The main motor will turn with each coin added as per normal, providing authentic sound regardless of the game being played.

    #9 4 months ago

    I swear Nicholas, when these 3 projects are all done please let me talk to you about my ideas for resurrecting Smart Ball

    #10 4 months ago

    Looking forward to it! And these 3 are just the projects you know about so far...

    #11 4 months ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    Looking forward to it! And these 3 are just the projects you know about so far...

    very well then, let's discuss sooner, perhaps

    #12 3 months ago

    Boards have arrived, and I've placed an order for the computer to drive them (along with the various components for said computer). I will be assembling and installing an OS and the game framework on it soon.

    1 week later
    #13 3 months ago

    Computer parts arrived and have been assembled. OS to come, then framework, and programming can begin!

    #14 3 months ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    Computer parts arrived and have been assembled. OS to come, then framework, and programming can begin!

    I was just thinking you needed another project Can't wait to see it in action.

    #15 3 months ago

    Off to the races!

    Spent the evening installing the OS and libraries needed to run the Multi-Bingo game code. I built the private repository, and have defined all the coils, switches and lamps in the game. It uses less than half of the switches for the Multi-Bingo. Incredible!

    Now to begin with the code. I think I'm going to start with Turf King.

    #16 3 months ago
    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    Spent the evening installing the OS and libraries needed to run the Multi-Bingo game code. I built the private repository, and have defined all the coils, switches and lamps in the game. It uses less than half of the switches for the Multi-Bingo. Incredible!

    Incredible indeed! Can't wait to see this come together.

    #17 3 months ago

    Having never played these, I really look forward to seeing you dive into the rules and the "behind the scenes" here

    #18 3 months ago

    Spent a bit of time in a break between building a snowman/sledding/snowball fight with the kids (we got over 12" of snow!) and wiring one of the trip banks for Robo-Frenzy, examining the inside of my game to convert.

    I have examined the inside of the front door, and determined that this will be a convenient place to put some of my electronics (if not all). One issue I have is that the wiring will have to come down to the foot of the playfield. Awkward.

    The payout mechanism also got a bit of a review. I pulled this game home and got it playable, but it needs a little work. Specifically, the odd half-height coin mechanism is full of gunk. I'll clean that and it should work fine. The coin lockout mech is quite different from that of later one balls and bingos. Neat!

    The mech itself is motorized. I need to review the voltage to the motor. I could easily see 110V there, but might just be 50V. I'll need to add a relay to drive the motor (AC vs. DC) and handle some other things (adding limit switches?). I'll need to observe the mech in action without the shielding in place.

    I also need to get plastic standoffs like on the Multi-Bingo for the circuit boards. I have a bag of adhesive standoffs, but they are too big for the holes in my boards.

    #19 3 months ago

    show us the game you're going to convert?

    #20 3 months ago

    You know, I should! Let me see if I can dig up some photos...

    #21 3 months ago

    Backglass and painted frame
    IMG_20181212_222426 (resized).jpg
    Better pic of the backglass. Fade, flaking, missing ink, and some mirroring. For the most part, the game is still completely playable, even with all the missing ink.
    IMG_20181212_222433 (resized).jpg
    Playfield is gorgeous.
    IMG_20181212_222439 (resized).jpg
    Payout mechanism, coin mech, payout tube and fancy ski jump for the coins to dump into a (missing) coinbox.
    IMG_20181212_222503 (resized).jpg

    #22 3 months ago

    Boards have been mounted, and clearance is correct.

    Next up will be wiring between boards and switching power supplies, then wiring the playfield.

    IMG_20181216_151238 (resized).jpg

    #23 3 months ago

    Time for everyone's favorite subject - math!

    I spent a little time working on Turf King's code. I am building off of the framework I built (on top of pyprocgame) for the Multi-Bingo.

    The code for the one balls is dramatically simpler than even the simplest bingo pinball. A typical bingo clocks in around 1200-1500 lines of code (much of that is state-tracking for enabling the lifter motor, and the very complex search algorithm). On the one ball, I can do away with ball counting, ball return, searching, and lifting (they were all manual lifts).

    I look forward to handling the portioning (Bally documentation, once again, has proved itself to be fantastic!), but that's just a few lists of rivet numbers and some conditionals.

    I suspect the complex one balls (like Turf King) will clock in around 400-450 lines of code. I'll keep ya posted!

    #24 3 months ago

    I think I underestimated how much portioning logic was needed in Turf King! Turf King has four mixer units, along with two spotting discs. There's a bit more to determining the selection and various features than I remembered (my daughter repaired/restored one a couple years ago).

    #25 3 months ago

    any chance you can post the mixer schematics so we can follow along?

    #26 3 months ago

    The schematic is available on the IPDB (along with the manual). Right now I am implementing the "AB" version, which does not have a separate reel for tracking feature wins. Essentially, early production games allowed for feature wins (quite the rarity) to have their own special replay counter rather than putting them on the communal replay counter. I guess the idea being that you would cash out right away on a feature win. During production, I suppose they got wise to the idea that people might play off a bunch of those 160/300 replays if they had the opportunity, so they changed the circuitry to throw the replays directly on the replay register.

    The AB version is the latter, and is the one that I own. The mixers are documented right on the schematic (which is extremely helpful). The only thing I can't glean from the schematic is the coin flash, which I'll have to document manually.

    https://www.ipdb.org/files/2672/Bally_1950_Turf_King_Schematic_Diagram_XW_319c_for_games_with_serial_numbers_A_B_no_Feature_Reset.pdf

    #27 3 months ago

    Victory Derby seems a bit simpler than Turf Champ, but I like the choice.
    First thought about the schematics is that dang it's kind of annoying they don't have the SPDT switches in a default state, and instead have them floating between. I liked Gottlieb schematics how the always specified a concrete game state.

    Are all of the mixer discs the same size? the pic on IPDB is a touch small.
    I need to understand these Odds discs better. I think, like bingo, it's the kind of thing that will make more sense to me as I see how the game actually advances and what is allowed and what does not occur.

    I hadn't noticed all of the buttons at the front of the machine. I assume those are each pressed to "qualify" each section of the playfield by spending more credits.
    Kind of brutal to have to hit ABCD (in order) on the SAME BALL isn't it? LOL. At least it seems the progress resets each time in the schematic
    I have no idea what the left and rights hats are.

    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    The only thing I can't glean from the schematic is the coin flash, which I'll have to document

    do you mean like the lights/odds flashing when it's rotating discs? I see in the manual Control Unit Disc #2 has "ODSS FLASH" which lines up to the displays in the schematics and might be what makes the lights flash.

    #28 3 months ago

    Lots of good stuff to chat about, thanks for the comment - I'll respond bit-by-bit here:

    Quoted from cait001:

    Victory Derby seems a bit simpler than Turf Champ, but I like the choice.

    Turf King is one of the last one ball games made. It is a closer cousin to the bingos than some of the earlier games. Victory Derby is much simpler (it has a multi-carry-over feature, but otherwise - put the hole in the correct pocket to win), but with Turf King I have the massive advantage of being able to turn 180 degrees in my gameroom and play the real deal. This will tell me if I have various features built correctly. Also, being one of the more complex games, I will have a very nice framework for the rest of the games to hang my jockey cap on, so to speak.

    Quoted from cait001:

    First thought about the schematics is that dang it's kind of annoying they don't have the SPDT switches in a default state, and instead have them floating between. I liked Gottlieb schematics how the always specified a concrete game state.

    All a matter of preference - I like the SPDT switches as displayed here as they nicely tell you each position, and there are only two. Based on the behavior, you can easily see which is touching. Gottlieb schematics are quite grounded and easy to follow (once you figure out their naming conventions).

    Quoted from cait001:

    Are all of the mixer discs the same size? the pic on IPDB is a touch small.

    Ah - yes. The Mixers are exactly those used in the bingos - 24 positions, each with an interesting pawl to allow for randomized (or sequential) movement. The sequential type is shown in a little drawing on the right corner of the schematic. They are numbered in exactly that way on the side.

    Quoted from cait001:

    I need to understand these Odds discs better. I think, like bingo, it's the kind of thing that will make more sense to me as I see how the game actually advances and what is allowed and what does not occur.

    This is an interesting thing. Turf King was made when Don Hooker had already been at Bally for a game or two. One of many innovations he provided were 'guaranteed advancing odds', which means that if you put in money, your odds will -never- decrease. Older games (like Victory Derby) could land you at any position on the odds. The older games did this through use of a spotting disc-type unit (selection, odds, and features all triggered from there), and in Turf King, there is an odds stepper. In this way, the odds can travel up, but only reset at start of game. Looking at the schematic, you can see in the bottom right the various positions on the odds stepper that allow for step once the mixers are in proper alignment. It gets harder to step once you reach a certain threshold. There is another relay that can pull in called the 'extra step' that will award up to 6(!) advances on the odds. This was later used in the bingos (and often removed by operators) to award similar (but smaller, typically) jumps in odds.

    Quoted from cait001:

    I hadn't noticed all of the buttons at the front of the machine. I assume those are each pressed to "qualify" each section of the playfield by spending more credits.

    One of the beautiful things about these games is that the entire playfield is qualified upon insertion of first nickel. Kinda like the bingos. Well, almost - there are three holes (left and right jockey cap, and feature) that are typically qualified through separate coin play. The buttons function like pic-a-play in later bingos: the leftmost plays for everything (red button), the star plays for odds (blue button), the clover plays for scoring features (auto-doubled in certain sections), the horseshoe changes your selections - AND grants a chance that one or more horses will be held for the next press of the horseshoe. Finally, the flag gives you a slightly higher probability of lighting the feature flag for a chance at 160/300 replays in one shot! The feature is separately reflexed and is actually a quite complex feature.

    Quoted from cait001:

    Kind of brutal to have to hit ABCD (in order) on the SAME BALL isn't it? LOL. At least it seems the progress resets each time in the schematic

    This is a carryover feature. The game remembers how many bumpers have been hit and will allow you to continue where you left off (thank goodness!). Once ABC and D are hit, the game will automatically double your next win, no matter what it is. If you earn a jockey cap, it does not count as a win (you have to get replays).

    Quoted from cait001:

    I have no idea what the left and rights hats are.

    These are the jockey cap feature I mention above - if the hat is lit on the backglass -and- you manage to navigate the ball down to the appropriate pocket, the game will automatically step the 'wild stepper' to maximum position, which awards you all eight selections on your NEXT game. Guaranteeing a nickel is put in.

    Quoted from cait001:

    do you mean like the lights/odds flashing when it's rotating discs

    Yes, exactly this - there are two separate spotting discs used in Turf King, each with multiple wipers involved in the flashing situation. I can figure it out by measuring continuity, but the easiest is to put a piece of business card under each wiper that handles flash save one, rotate the unit, and note what lights in each position.

    Quoted from cait001:

    I see in the manual Control Unit Disc #2 has "ODSS FLASH" which lines up to the displays in the schematics and might be what makes the lights flash.

    Yes, unfortunately, this is where the documentation falls flat. I have dozens and dozens (hundreds) of hours perfecting the coin flash alone in the Multi-Bingo. It requires very careful timing and documentation that is missing. Knowing the wiper tells me which one provides the flash, but not which rivets on the disc flash what thing, if that makes sense. Turf King also has 'extra' flash switches that are enabled when pressing one of the footrail buttons, just to make life a little extra challenging. Once this is documented, I can do the same for Victory Derby. Hopefully this provides a really good headstart on most of the games (at least those made by Bally, the largest producer of them).

    I haven't mentioned how I plan to do this, have I? I have a spare Turf King playfield, and will wire it into the Victory Derby. I mentioned that the tail of my wiring will come down into the front of the cabinet. I'll have Jones Plugs there to handle connectivity with the playfield, and from the female side, will wire to the small molex connectors on the boards. I've thought quite a bit about this setup since wiring the Multi-Bingo, with its many swappable playfields, and came to the conclusion that I was correct to use the plugs. It allows for an interface that is not fragile between the playfield and the game, while the fragile molex pins will remain plugged in, and I can rest easy during transport.

    It makes for slightly more wire, but will make the game more reliable. Anyway, this means that the plugs in the head will be unchanged! So I can swap the VD playfield right back in place, and play that game, without having to worry about the damage done by my swap. I like this idea.

    #29 3 months ago

    My most pressing question: when I convince you to build me a multi-bingo, will we also be able to swap a one-ball playfield into it as well????
    Just think of how convenient!!!

    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    Turf King is one of the last one ball games made. It is a closer cousin to the bingos than some of the earlier games. Victory Derby is much simpler (it has a multi-carry-over feature, but otherwise - put the hole in the correct pocket to win), but with Turf King I have the massive advantage of being able to turn 180 degrees in my gameroom and play the real deal

    As a design strategy I really appreciate that, as it allows for the most robust infrastructure and then can prune and modify for other tables.
    What kind of testing and rebuild did you do of your Turf King to maximize the chances of correct operation? How deep of a mechanical restore?

    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    All a matter of preference - I like the SPDT switches as displayed here as they nicely tell you each position, and there are only two. Based on the behavior, you can easily see which is touching. Gottlieb schematics are quite grounded and easy to follow (once you figure out their naming conventions).

    I mean, sure they are more visible, but so many SPDT switches stay rested in a default state anyways. Without the game to test states with, I always found Gottlieb logic easier to read by having that default position of "ball in shooter lane"

    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    Ah - yes. The Mixers are exactly those used in the bingos - 24 positions, each with an interesting pawl to allow for randomized (or sequential) movement. The sequential type is shown in a little drawing on the right corner of the schematic. They are numbered in exactly that way on the side.
    This is an interesting thing. Turf King was made when Don Hooker had already been at Bally for a game or two.

    Eventually there will need to be more of a historical write-up for the single-ball gambling games as they did come first. I am curious about the talent overlap on their designs and who went on to bingos and who abstained.
    Was any bingo design ever fed back into single-balls? Or was it primarily a one-way evolution from one-ball into bingo machines?

    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    The older games did this through use of a spotting disc-type unit (selection, odds, and features all triggered from there), and in Turf King, there is an odds stepper. In this way, the odds can travel up, but only reset at start of game. Looking at the schematic, you can see in the bottom right the various positions on the odds stepper that allow for step once the mixers are in proper alignment. It gets harder to step once you reach a certain threshold

    I did notice that little bit of logic! Good to know the discs are 24 positions.
    first step, open on 1, 4, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, thus closed on 15 positions, 15/24 = 62.5%
    2nd step, closed on 2, 6, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 21, 24, so 9/24 = 37.5%
    final step, closed on 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, so 5/24 = 20.8%

    do you insert more coins to spin for better odds? Or is it random at the beginning through the 3 various steps?

    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    The buttons function like pic-a-play in later bingos: the leftmost plays for everything (red button), the star plays for odds (blue button), the clover plays for scoring features (auto-doubled in certain sections), the horseshoe changes your selections

    What is the advantage of not playing for everything?

    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    This is a carryover feature. The game remembers how many bumpers have been hit and will allow you to continue where you left off (thank goodness!).

    That is interesting, but one thing to note in the schematics is that there is a "reply counter open at 0" switch in the ABCD reset circuit. Does that mean if there are replays on the meter, ABCD doesn't reset. But if you have any replays in the bank, it will reset! (provided you aren't in the 4th position already)

    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    These are the jockey cap feature I mention above

    It took me forever to notice the jockey hats were at the bottom of the playfield

    Quoted from bingopodcast:

    Knowing the wiper tells me which one provides the flash, but not which rivets on the disc flash what thing

    hmmm sounds like that be the most tedious part of reverse-engineering it here. eep

    #30 3 months ago
    Quoted from cait001:

    My most pressing question: when I convince you to build me a multi-bingo, will we also be able to swap a one-ball playfield into it as well????
    Just think of how convenient!!!

    I have thought! For me, I strive for an authentic play experience, and this means that I cannot simply swap a one-ball into the Multi-Bingo. The playfields are wider and longer than a bingo playfield (more like a widebody flipper game). A bingo-sized playfield could be cut for those interested!

    Quoted from cait001:

    What kind of testing and rebuild did you do of your Turf King to maximize the chances of correct operation? How deep of a mechanical restore?

    I did very little of the work, as my (then) 8-year-old daughter told me that she wanted to learn how to fix pinballs, and she loved the horse theme. I documented the work she did (and the little bit I did) over here: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/1950-bally-turf-king-one-ball-horse-race-game - she learned how to read schematics, test lamps (17V lamps are used everywhere except the four on the playfield), solder, clean, adjust switches, scrub steppers, spray paint, etc etc etc. She was a great student and is usually the one to demonstrate the game to those that come over.

    Quoted from cait001:

    I am curious about the talent overlap on their designs and who went on to bingos and who abstained.
    Was any bingo design ever fed back into single-balls? Or was it primarily a one-way evolution from one-ball into bingo machines?

    I don't know who designed the earlier one balls (before Don Hooker) - perhaps Ray Maloney? Once Don Hooker came on, the games were his. The one balls were pretty much dead at the advent of bingos. The reason is a change in the US law that classified the one balls as true gambling devices. They could not be shipped out of state, and were only legal to operate in areas where you could operate slot machines. Bally had to change to bingos to continue to make money. Bingos didn't meet the classification made for the one balls because they had multiple balls and you could win with only 3 out of 5 balls. This also spelled the demise of factory payout machines. Very few games were manufactured after this with a payout mechanism available from the factory.

    The one balls were still made after the Johnson Act was passed. In fact, Turf King had a workaround for the new law. Removing the upper rebound rubber exposes a small trough - just small enough for four balls to be clustered together. This is called the "skill lane", and you can load the game with five balls. The game will only score if the fourth ball is nestled in the trough. A way to obey the letter of the law, but not the spirit!

    Sunshine Park is the last true one ball horserace game, and it had an extra ball feature. Pretty powerful stuff on a one ball, but also a way to get around the law.

    Quoted from cait001:

    do you insert more coins to spin for better odds? Or is it random at the beginning through the 3 various steps?

    There is a coil down near the bottom called the mixer latch. Every time a coin is played, the latch coil pulls, disengaging the latch. This allows the mixers to spin, however, one mixer spins a guaranteed amount each coin (mixer #1) and the rest move on a randomized basis. Bally held the patent on this mechanism, which prevented their competition from introducing randomization that was quite as, well, random (in my opinion).

    Quoted from cait001:

    What is the advantage of not playing for everything?

    Very similar to bingo pic-a-play, you get a slight (VERY SLIGHT) advantage by playing the individual buttons. Look at the odds stepup - you cut out one check on mixer #4, which is a pretty big deal. However, you still have to pass multiple mixer checks or have very little in the way of features lit, otherwise you don't really gain very much.

    On the one balls, though, the pic-a-play is much more critical than on the bingos. Your selection is absolutely everything on these games. Say you get a spin that gives you #1 and #7 (the far edges of each section of the playfield). Well, the smart money is to stop playing all or selections and focus on odds. You are much more likely to get one of the edges or #4 than, say, #3 or #5. And earning two awards at once is a relative rarity. There is quite a bit more thinking in the coin process than on a bingo, which, as you know, has quite a bit of thinking itself!

    Quoted from cait001:

    That is interesting, but one thing to note in the schematics is that there is a "reply counter open at 0" switch in the ABCD reset circuit. Does that mean if there are replays on the meter, ABCD doesn't reset. But if you have any replays in the bank, it will reset! (provided you aren't in the 4th position already)

    I believe this is how it tracks if you have won games since earning ABCD. Since your first win is doubled with ABCD complete, it has to know when you scored to reset. It does not reset if you already have replays on the register.

    Quoted from cait001:

    hmmm sounds like that be the most tedious part of reverse-engineering it here. eep

    Yep. :-/ But it's really something to see the games come to life with the correct coin flash. Very worthwhile to make the effort. Much harder on these older games without spotting disc documentation, though.

    #31 3 months ago

    Implemented the feature probability. I could have sworn there was a secondary reflex governing the feature, but it turns out that the reflex isn't even in the circuit to it at all, and there's only one reflex in the game.

    I am making the earning of the feature more liberal (controlled via an adjustment plug in the real game). Simple spotting disc check, and a couple of mixers. But check out that circuit! You bypass both of the very difficult mixer checks by playing the feature button.

    #32 3 months ago

    I've finished the code for Turf King! This is a big step. I still have to write the graphical routines, but for now I can move to another game and begin programming that.

    #33 3 months ago

    I've begun working on Grandstand, which is the payout version of Turf King. I had to remove the functions that control the replay register, and replace with motor handlers to allow the payout to function. Added another few switches. By the way, Turf King has more lines of code than Coney Island, the second bingo Bally produced. It also has much more complex probability functions.

    #34 3 months ago

    Grandstand was completed a couple of days ago, and I've written most of the unique functions for Futurity. Futurity is really quite interesting. There are multiple carry-over features, some of which build with coin play.

    The truly interesting thing about it is the playfield layout: there are several of the coiled rebound springs which hit a leaf inside a half-height lamp shield/switch cover. There are also two flag springs which hit leaves. Very neat.

    The real deal is wired through the flag springs themselves, but I will need to use proximity sensors to approximate those bumper hits, rather than drilling new holes in the playfield. At least, that's my plan for today! I could also drill a few holes and mount some extra switches. Might be easier in the long run. Obviously, still deciding. Haha!

    Once Futurity is finished (likely today), I'll begin work on Bally's final one ball - Sunshine Park. One ball might be a bit of a misnomer for that game, but you'll hear all about that shortly.

    Futurity allows you to hold your current selections (entry bumpers), guarantee your odds for the next game (odds bumper) - and remember: these odds are guaranteed not to go down with coin play, or guarantee purse/show score as win on your next game with the trophy bumpers.

    The portioning for these bumper features is actually quite interesting. There are multiple stops that prevent the game from advancing your guaranteed odds or enabling trophy without a fight. Otherwise, the portioning is exactly the same as on Grandstand/Turf King, which is actually very convenient for someone as lazy as me.

    #35 89 days ago

    Sunshine Park is also complete - well, for now. I am making portioning assumptions for the special feature of this game until I can find a schematic.

    This was the final one ball game that Bally produced, way in 1952! At this time, several bingos were out, including Coney Island (the first with randomized extra balls). Atlantic City would have been deep in development, and probably Palm Beach as well. Sunshine Park came out the month before Atlantic City.

    It has... a randomized extra ball feature! On a one ball game, having just a single extra ball would be extremely powerful. But what about if you had an additional four extra balls? Well... you have the chance. But if the portioning carried on in the same way that Futurity did, it will be quite difficult. I'm interested to play this game, but I will need to figure out a way to load 5 balls into the game and prevent them from scoring. This scoring prevention is written in to Sunshine Park, but I haven't done so with previous games. I'll work on backporting that function.

    Aside from the above, the odds are a bit higher for steps 9 and 10 (like Futurity) on Win - 192 replays vs. 160 for the slightly earlier games.

    Now... on to the next!

    #36 89 days ago

    Oh... oh my. The next games, going backwards, from Bally were Champion/Kentucky.

    Early versions of Champion used a new style of reflex unit which was never used previously or since. Instead of a wiper disc, Bally implemented weighted switches that acted as SPDT-ish across five cams, each with a slightly different slope direction. Way too complex of a design. I could see operators -hating- this.

    The portioning on the rest of the game is also quite odd. I've got to review backglass photos more carefully. This is the first game I've seen that appears to have portioning based on the selection. However, in typical fashion, the selection would disappear immediately upon playing another coin, so I may be in for an interesting development shortly. Perhaps each selection can be held, unlike the later games?

    EDIT: After further review, the portioning is more like the older games - running through what is essentially a spotting disc. They call it a horseshoe disc. Champion/Kentucky are able to hold numbers 3/4/5 like the later games, but the "held" verbiage is not screened on the glass on Champion/Kentucky. These may be the first games with a fan relay (all 7 selections) and 3/4/5 hold.

    We'll see! No mixers, only the reflex and the spotting disc (and positions of the odds disc) matter for portioning. Working through it now, thinking about how to implement the reflex - should I use the more standard reflex implementation, or build out a version that emulates the early versions of this game? These early games would have been portioned much less effectively - essentially, at several points, multiple switches would be connected vs. one-five fingers on the standard reflex.

    The more I write about this, the more I think I should use a standard reflex. The hard part is that the portioning as written on the schematic I have uses the weird weighted switches (I don't think I mentioned that you adjusted the blades with set screws? Yeah, pretty crazy).

    #37 88 days ago

    Curioser and curioser. This is the first game I've written with only two control buttons, and each disables a large portion of the other. From what I'm seeing, the extra step (extra odds) can only be achieved by pressing button 2, as well as the purse win/show win. Everything else is either available for both, or tied to button 1.

    I am repurposing the clover and horseshoe buttons.

    I note that the trophy feature (similar to the jockey cap on Turf King) appears to be enabled immediately, which seems... incorrect. It does run through the selection disc, but multiple lugs are tied together. I need to find someone with this game. The good news, this game's puzzles are almost unlocked, which will allow me to travel further back in time. I've also figured out a way to bridge the gap between the weirdo reflex unit on early production games and later reflexes.

    #38 88 days ago

    Champion and Kentucky are complete, but they are quite odd, compared to the newer games. I'll be interested to see how well the portioning I wrote works compared to the real thing.

    Champion and Kentucky are the last games with lite-a-name (that's actually the United name, but Bally never used it on the bingos. Bally did use it for the one balls! Very interesting).

    They also had the first use of the wild stepper, which will enable all selections on the next game.

    The next games are Lexington and Citation (1948).

    #39 87 days ago

    Lunchtime ponies! I have just finished up Citation. I am thrilled that the portioning for each game remains largely unchanged, it allows me to code the various rule tweaks much more quickly. On the bingos, there were typically massive shifts between game types, but only minor differences in portioning from game to game, so I guess this tracks.

    Citation is interesting in that the ABCD carryover sequence pays out directly (rather than doubling your score on the next win). Once every 400 coins(!!!!), the game will step a unit that tracks a set number of replays - somewhere from 1 to 45. The game then pays directly.

    I think this is an interesting concept in the evolution of the featureset. It would certainly make hitting ABCD less appealing than in later games, but it's a nice little bonus.

    The odd thing is that odd payout amounts are impossible. I'm going to have to modify the code to allow for two coins to pay out minimum (and step the unit twice) on Lexington.

    -EDIT- I should say, if I read the schematic correctly... because trying to figure out the portioning for the entire game in less than 30 minutes and write code makes it a little challenging. I'll go back and review at a later date, but if anyone has a clear idea of how the ABCD sequence works in Citation, I am all ears!

    #40 87 days ago

    Interestingly, Tophy/Gold Cup award 20x number of feature points shown on the glass (these are the next two in line) when earning Feature. Feature has a fixed payout (* multiplier) in Citation/Lexington. Perhaps ABCD does this on Citation/Lexington, and it is not spelled out. That would make much more sense, and certainly be more of an incentive. In fact, it made so much sense that I went ahead and changed Citation/Lexington to do that.

    #41 87 days ago

    Gold Cup and Trophy are also complete. These games do not have a reflex and rely fully on the 400 gearing to handle initial portioning. This is also the final set of games with a coin multiplier - and is the first game with a fan relay, which enables all selections. In this case, and the case of Citation/Lexington, the fan relay can be engaged with standard coin play. When Don Hooker introduced the Wild Stepper, he made it so that the fan relay was much harder to trigger. In fact, savvy players realized that as the wild stepper stepped, the game got tighter. Playing a coin during the stepup would stop it, preventing the fan relay from tripping.

    I realized tonight that working backwards was actually a mistake... it's so much harder to reverse evolution than to go forward in time. However, I am committed at this point to this course of action, so I shall continue forth.

    Perhaps once Bally is finished, I'll handle Universal from oldest to newest.

    #42 87 days ago

    Question for dennisdodel - Jockey Special/Club have lamps under the odds that say various sections - Purse, Show, Place, Win. What effect do these lamps have on the odds?

    Are they randomized per coin?

    The coin multipliers on left and right of the odds are straightforward. I've implemented the odds in the way that later games function - by vertical column. However, I suspect that only certain columns in the orange row pay on the first coin. Meaning, the blue, yellow and red odds do not come into play at all. Do you happen to recall which method is correct? The lack of documentation on earlier games is lamentable.

    #43 86 days ago

    Looking at the photos on the IPDB, and I see the question has already been answered! Thanks Dennis!

    #44 86 days ago

    Rewrote the odds methods of those games to handle randomized layouts of odds (1:5 chance of any particular set of odds) ,and with that, I finished Special Entry and Bally Entry! These were the first games with the ABCD bumper sequence.

    Next up, Victory Derby and Victory Special.

    #45 83 days ago

    Victory Special rules are complete. Unfortunately, I haven't had much of a chance to work on it in the past couple of days. Thank goodness for lunchtime horse racing!

    Victory Derby and Special have a unique feature called the "Daily Double".

    At 'random' (things are much less randomized now, see above posts), two lamps will light under the horses, marking them as daily double candidates. If you sink a ball into the highlighted first selection in purse or show, the game will allow you to place a ball in WIN only on your second game, and award you 20 * coin multiplier (up to 4). Your max odds on this game are 40 * coin multiplier, and they -do- stack. In other words, if your second daily double horse is #7 and the random selection also happens to be #7, and you've got 40 odds with a 4 coin multiplier going, you will get paid 240 coins!

    This game also has the "Spellname" feature (like Lite-A-Name on the United bingos), and one thing I've noticed as the schematics become more like wiring diagrams rather than the more modern schematics... the names are always 5 characters. This simplifies the name stepper, as you wouldn't need to retool for every game. Late games that have spellname, like Champion, may need a revisit if I can verify how much is GI vs spellname...

    #46 83 days ago

    Also, sorry for the emoticon thing - I am typing 40 : 1

    #47 81 days ago

    Things are starting to get interesting! I'm hitting the games which don't make an appearance at all on IPDB. I am writing the rules for them (as I understand them) if they are a payout or free play model. In this way, when games are uncovered, I will be able to amend my code.

    So! Thorobred! The last game Bally produced pre-war. It is the final game to feature the 'field' bumpers. These are bumpers under the number 4 in each section, that, when hit, will enable all selections on that particular portion of the playfield. Most effective if bounced right into #4, I would assume, except the last one - this final bumper will enable all 7 selections on win as well!

    Also, Thorobred and Longacres have ABCD bumpers, so I was totally wrong about Bally Entry and Special Entry being the first. Learn more about these games, and their complexity, every day.

    Interestingly, Thorobred/Longacres are the last games to use a 40 coin rule (until the 1970s bingos!) - once 40 coins have been input, all 7 selections are enabled. A guaranteed way to ensure repeat play as it is on a standard basis. Though I could see hanging back until someone dumped a nickel or two in to make it easier to get, if you were a long-term player.

    #48 80 days ago

    Received something cool in the mail this week related to Multi-Races - will test it out and let you all know if it works!

    #49 78 days ago

    Good news, I've got kind of a handle on the payout mechanism. First, emptied it of nickels:

    IMG_20190105_134229 (resized).jpg

    Each push vends two nickels.

    Then, put in a handful of test tokens. Manually actuated and all four in the tube would vend.

    Next, fire up the game and get it to pay 2 tokens to make sure it would actually work. It does! My vendor could not find wood in the appropriate thickness, but can make plastic tokens.

    The downside of plastic is that they are too light to actuate the coin switch. The upside is that they can have more varied artwork applied.

    I'm excited to get some tokens made and bring to a show. Commemorative souveniers if you win!

    IMG_20190105_140617_753 (resized).jpg

    #50 78 days ago

    I've also stripped the majority of the Turf King playfield I will be using for Multi-Races. It's incredible to me how sturdy everything is on these playfields. The guides are made of wood rather than metal.

    Solid progress today. Hopefully more tomorrow.

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