(Topic ID: 73180)

NGG new rules, new code


By jamescardona

6 years ago



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21
#1 6 years ago

Hi all,
as some of you are aware from previous threads the new code for DM is hereby called complete. I am going to start working on the new code for NGG.

I wanted to use this thread for comments from beta testers - although they can also use PM or private email. Also this thread can be used for showing of progress and videos. etc.

Due to some concerns from PPS and discussions with Rick which made me aware of some things that I was not aware of before the following guidelines will be taken with this project.

There will not be one line of williams code - I will be rewriting all of the rules from scratch.
There will not be a williams logo anywhere in the DMD animations.
There will be no frames ripped from any original source material such as the williams rom or caddyshack movie.

This should keep everything above board and keep the lawyers at bay. I would prefer to do extra work and have something that can be openly shared rather than something that becomes harder to obtain.

#2 6 years ago

Awesome James!

#3 6 years ago

The goal of this project is several:

1) Make an unfinished game complete. There is no denying that NGG is not complete. It has 6 balls in the trough and only 3 multiball modes? And they are 2, 3, and 4 ball modes? Only 9 holes? A lot of things feel unfinished.

2) fixes annoying bugs. A few bugs that are pretty bad. Sometimes the jackpot shot doesn't award. Buzz/Bud gopher stays up when he shouldn't. Game doesn't detect when ramps are out of position and correct. There are more.

3) make this game tournament ready. Would like to see the difficulty and scoring be balanced in such a way as people from PAPA would go to it readily. (By the way, I was also contacted by some people who will remained unmentioned about using my code in tournaments.)

At this point, here is where you all can help.

I would like to first document what the current rules are now and also document what they should be in some form of excel spreadsheet. This would have point values for shots, etc.

Also a listing of all the switches and what modes they activate, contribute to, points scored, etc.

If any of you want to contribute anything to this then feel free to do so. If you come up with an idea for a cool mode that matches the theme then post it here.

In my demolition time code, I wrote 7 modes, 4 multiballs, 3 wizard modes, and 3 video modes. The chip was full to the brim and I couldn't fit much else. NGG currently has no where near that so feel free to submit ideas.

#4 6 years ago

So, like the guy who rewrote CCC, you can't rewrite the entire thing, keep all the DMD animations and williams logos in there? Even if you don't sell it? Doesn't sound like much fun. I am in for new rules though on both games!

#5 6 years ago

Will you use existing rules rewritten in new code?

#6 6 years ago

This is awesome news James. I remember your poll between NGG, TOTAN and a couple other games...
I'm sure you'll receive volunteer requests for BETA testing within mins.
Thanks for your work

#7 6 years ago
Quoted from jrivelli:

So, like the guy who rewrote CCC, you can't rewrite the entire thing, keep all the DMD animations and williams logos in there? Even if you don't sell it? Doesn't sound like much fun. I am in for new rules though on both games!

correct. Animations will have to be done from scratch.

Incorrect about it not being much fun. People who like to draw love that stuff.

I hand drew a bunch of the animations in the new demolition time code - particularly, the new frenzy mode, super jets mode, the laser shot animation and some others. It's pretty cool seeing something I drew in the game for eternity.

If anyone is interested in contributing as far as drawing then that would be helpful and I will put your name in the credits on the attract screen.

#8 6 years ago

Legally he can recreate the modes just as long as the code is different. At least that should suffice. My NGG is in pieces right now doing an extended shop / resto. Every piece of this machine is layed out on my pool table LOL. I'm more than willing to beta test whenever you have stuff to deliver.

Cheers and can't wait for this.

#9 6 years ago

I was told from someone that it has 6 balls because there's still 4 available for multiball in case you've got 2 locked under the ramps, especially when playing 2 player... but I'm certainly no expert in the matter.

Yay! Thanks for doing this. Apparently I've got all the cool "let's write new rules for this" games.

#10 6 years ago
Quoted from dmesserly:

Will you use existing rules rewritten in new code?

all the code has to be rewritten from scratch. That doesn't mean that I can't use the same game rules. The original game rules will be used as a foundation to start from.

#11 6 years ago

Stud!

#12 6 years ago

My NGG arrives on Friday. I am a somewhat decent player (a playground legend in my own mind), and can give detailed and well written feedback to any code you create. I also have high level tech ability on pins and am capable of burning roms. If you needed to make quick changes and want immediate feedback, I could certianly do that.... Just let me know when the time comes...The only reason I sold my old NGG was because the code was lacking, the game is AWESOME!

#13 6 years ago
Quoted from blondetall:

I was told from someone that it has 6 balls because there's still 4 available for multiball in case you've got 2 locked under the ramps, especially when playing 2 player... but I'm certainly no expert in the matter.

good point but I still can't see why we can't have a 6 ball multiball. (or even 5)

#14 6 years ago
Quoted from jamescardona:

all the code has to be rewritten from scratch. That doesn't mean that I can't use the same game rules. The original game rules will be used as a foundation to start from.

I see. Pretty neat project. Good luck.

#15 6 years ago

I assume that your Caddyshack reference is because the owners of *that* franchise would come after you, not PPS, right?

As for that, I've *always* thought that NGG would be better with an actual Caddyshack theme. That said, seems like a better candidate for P-ROC rather than FreeWPC since you could use an LCD and actual movie graphics, because...

Seems the way around the license issue in "can't use stuff from the movie" is possible. It makes distribution "interesting", but you *could* write a program that pulls the movie scenes and sounds you need out of a DVD. Then distribute that program and users would have to own or buy a copy of the DVD and build their own copy. Now, if you really wanted to have a "complete" game you could do your own alternate graphics and sounds, too. But I don't think I'd bother, personally.

But again, that's something more suited for P-ROC than FreeWPC. Unless you also wanted to write something that converted actual Caddyshack movie scenes to dots, but I don't see that working very well. *shrug* But you could potentially still get Caddyshack sounds this way and do your own custom dots...

--Donnie

#16 6 years ago

I have a Gofers and love it. It would be cool to go deeper in the ruleset with other call outs or a true wizard mode after 9 holes. I am interested to see where this goes.

12
#17 6 years ago
Quoted from djb_rh:

I assume that your Caddyshack reference is because the owners of *that* franchise would come after you, not PPS, right?
As for that, I've *always* thought that NGG would be better with an actual Caddyshack theme. That said, seems like a better candidate for P-ROC rather than FreeWPC since you could use an LCD and actual movie graphics, because...
Seems the way around the license issue in "can't use stuff from the movie" is possible. It makes distribution "interesting", but you *could* write a program that pulls the movie scenes and sounds you need out of a DVD. Then distribute that program and users would have to own or buy a copy of the DVD and build their own copy. Now, if you really wanted to have a "complete" game you could do your own alternate graphics and sounds, too. But I don't think I'd bother, personally.
But again, that's something more suited for P-ROC than FreeWPC. Unless you also wanted to write something that converted actual Caddyshack movie scenes to dots, but I don't see that working very well. *shrug* But you could potentially still get Caddyshack sounds this way and do your own custom dots...
--Donnie

PROC is a cool thing too, but I like the ability to give someone a completely new game by swapping out a $20 rom chip.

#18 6 years ago

Very excited love my Ngg third time owning it !!!!!Cant wait for this gofers always seemed a little to easy.

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#19 6 years ago

Wow, sounds like a fun project! I wish I had a ROM burner, I would love to play with FreeWPC myself. Didn't even know it existed till now.

#20 6 years ago
Quoted from jamescardona:

PROC is a cool thing too, but I like the ability to give someone a completely new game by swapping out a $20 rom chip.

Can't blame you for this at all, and if you have the ability to do cool dots and sound (or at least get that part contributed), it'll be pretty great this way, too.

As for pinball_happy wishing for a ROM burner, they really aren't that expensive and definitely aren't difficult to use. You'll want an eraser, too, but again, not expensive.

I have a burner and plenty of ability to use one, but no NGG right now. I've got a WTB out there looking for a prototype one, but so far no sellers. I've got my eyes open for a close enough decent deal on a non-proto, too, but only thanks to this project. So if one falls into my lap I'll be willing to be a tester, too. I've been burning ROMs since I was 12 and around the coin-op basically my entire life.

--Donnie

#21 6 years ago

I am interested in helping out

#22 6 years ago

Will you be able to use the original sounds and music? Part of what makes this game fun is the humor and interaction with the gophers.

I dont see why adding code to an existing product is a problem. We can add mods to the playfield and it should be the same for the code. No one is stealing any sales from Williams. Sometimes laws in this area are just stupid.

#23 6 years ago
Quoted from pinballpete:

Will you be able to use the original sounds and music? Part of what makes this game fun is the humor and interaction with the gophers.
I dont see why adding code to an existing product is a problem. We can add mods to the playfield and it should be the same for the code. No one is stealing any sales from Williams. Sometimes laws in this area are just stupid.

Of course the answer to that is NO, the sad fact is we have to move this stuff underground to keep it viable. Torrents is your friend here, you can also use bitcoin for donations.

#24 6 years ago
Quoted from pinballpete:

Will you be able to use the original sounds and music? Part of what makes this game fun is the humor and interaction with the gophers.

With a FreeWPC rewrite, since the sound rom is untouched, it's apparently no issue that the sounds are used. Never mind that they're used differently than originally intended -- since they're just called from the original storage it's fine. Somehow.

And one of the limitations of using FreeWPC is that the original sound is all you've got to work with. Most games have unused sounds/quotes in the ROM that can be incorporated, though.

#25 6 years ago

Related question, then...has anyone done any open-source-ish tools for dot animations that will work with FreeWPC? I poked around the FreeWPC docs and don't see anything mentioned in this area. I did see the description of how the pixel intensity works, but that's it.

--Donnie

#26 6 years ago

The freewpc engine reads graphics in a format called PGM. Unfortunately there are several different PGM formats around and the one found in photoshop doesn't work. So what I do is create the graphics as JPG files, usually in some form of drawing program first, then edit a bit using photoshop. Photoshop is great because once I have the first image, I can make tiny tweaks and get the whole animation series pretty quick.

At this point the file is grayscale - 16 colors which I mix down to 4 colors (that is all that WPC supports anyway). The DMD size is 128 x 32 so that is the size of the file you can use in the drawing program.

Next I use a free program created specifically for the uses of freewpc called DMDPaint. You can open JPG files with it and save them as PGM. Also it can open PGM files or you could even use it to draw with. I find it useful but not necessarily intuitive as you have to know the keystroke combinations to select different brushes - etc.

The thing with DMDpaint is that it shows 16 colors so it can be misleading as to what the DMD on a wpc will look like (it looks better on DMDPaint than on WPC).

#27 6 years ago
Quoted from epthegeek:

Most games have unused sounds/quotes in the ROM that can be incorporated, though.

This is definately true. There are a lot of sound quotes in there that were never used on DM. I used all of those.

I am hoping that that is also true of NGG, especially since the game was unfinished. That could add a whole new cool layer to the game.

#28 6 years ago
Quoted from kvan99:

Of course the answer to that is NO, the sad fact is we have to move this stuff underground to keep it viable. Torrents is your friend here, you can also use bitcoin for donations.

That's not true. I am working with Rick to keep everything legit for the exact purpose of not having to "go underground"

#29 6 years ago

OK but PPS is not Williams...just know that.

#30 6 years ago

Regarding the multi ball modes. There are a few modes where you can add a ball and I have gotten to a point where I have had a six ball multi ball. I believe rip Off multi ball allows you too add a ball by hitting the Newton ball a certain amount of times.

#31 6 years ago

I am highly interested in this

#32 6 years ago

This project sounds super awesome~! I have a gofers and we play it probably everyday, but I have to agree that it is essentially an incomplete game and would be very interested in helping out to help finish the new code.

#33 6 years ago

Great project!

Do you have a feature / rules template yet ?
Feature wishlist ???

#34 6 years ago
Quoted from cal50:

Great project!
Do you have a feature / rules template yet ?
Feature wishlist ???

no - that is what I was hoping this thread could contribute at this time. There is a rules list up on the net somewhere. I have that already. But was looking to have something more substantial. Would help to have a sort of roadmap before I start coding the rules. Would make things go faster too.

#35 6 years ago

Sure, this happens when I get rid of my NGG!

Anyway, I'd love there to involve a "Mulligan." You loose your ball, but you have 20 seconds to get a hole in one to gain your ball back.

#36 6 years ago

Have you tried using After Effects for your animation?

If you could open the original animation would you be allowed to use them?

#37 6 years ago
Quoted from jamescardona:

Would help to have a sort of roadmap before I start coding the rules. Would make things go faster too

I'm curious as to how you represent and encode rules. If the order in which switches were activated didn't matter, I could see how you'd do it with a bit array to represent switches, logic to flip bits when switches were activated and timers to check & clear them... However the second order matters, I would think that goes out the window. What's the golden path for rule handling?

BTW, if you want me to rtfm / rtfs, then pointers to either is cool and appreciated.

Thanks,
S.

#38 6 years ago
Quoted from swf127:

I'm curious as to how you represent and encode rules. If the order in which switches were activated didn't matter, I could see how you'd do it with a bit array to represent switches, logic to flip bits when switches were activated and timers to check & clear them... However the second order matters, I would think that goes out the window. What's the golden path for rule handling?
BTW, if you want me to rtfm / rtfs, then pointers to either is cool and appreciated.
Thanks,
S.

code is written in C++. We can do pretty much anything.

#39 6 years ago
Quoted from jamescardona:

code is written in C++. We can do pretty much anything.

How cool would it be if there were an open-source, reusable, config-driven library for representing rules? You could have a central repository for rules for various games without the legal encumbrances... a methodology & tooling for non-coders to capture/validate rules by removing the glass and walking modes. It's an intriguing thought.

(BTW, not volunteering your time.. just having a geek out moment.)

#40 6 years ago

Very cool project!

#41 6 years ago

are you still planning on having the capability to go back and forth to original code?

#42 6 years ago

If you have Pinball Arcade (iOS, Android, PS3, etc) and you have NGG for it, the rules there give you a lot of details about scoring and how much certain things are worth at what time. Might want to check it out.

#43 6 years ago
Quoted from pinball_happy:

If you have Pinball Arcade (iOS, Android, PS3, etc) and you have NGG for it, the rules there give you a lot of details about scoring and how much certain things are worth at what time. Might want to check it out.

I'm curious how the pinball arcade guys capture rules because their stuff seems to be pretty faithful to the originals. I could see some FSM representation for rules and having it be configurable, but capturing them off an existing machine seems like a real challenge.

#44 6 years ago

pinball aracade licenses stuff .. dunno if from PPS or williams directly, but they don't have to recreate the game, can do emulation of the hardware

#45 6 years ago
Quoted from jamescardona:

no - that is what I was hoping this thread could contribute at this time. There is a rules list up on the net somewhere. I have that already. But was looking to have something more substantial. Would help to have a sort of roadmap before I start coding the rules. Would make things go faster too.

Two game features I like is the reversed flippers mode like TSPP "Springfield mystery spot" and the vacation jackpot in WH20 if those could be implemented in a mode or new modes.

The basic rule set is generally OK but lacking a real wizard mode and if the ROM has room you can add new mode/s or video mode / animation. Playing dodgem in a golf cart video mode similar to HS2 would be cool. A knock off of the caddyshack song "Im alright" would be WAY cool if possible.

#46 6 years ago

I like how in WOZ when you drain in the no place like home mode you get a chance to earn your ball back. How about you have to light the kickback for it to work but if you drain out the left side without the kickback you get a short amount of time to "find the gopher". Hitting different lit shots would advance and when you hit them all you have "found the gopher" and are back in the game.

#47 6 years ago

Is going to have a video mode ?

#48 6 years ago
Quoted from cal50:

Two game features I like is the reversed flippers mode like TSPP "Springfield mystery spot" and the vacation jackpot in WH20 if those could be implemented in a mode or new modes.

That would be cool.

#49 6 years ago

I think the reversed flipper mode is a cool idea. It is also done elsewhere. Could possibly be done when the gofers chomp on the wires below the playfield - don't remember what that mode is called.

#50 6 years ago
Quoted from cal50:

Two game features I like is the reversed flippers mode like TSPP "Springfield mystery spot" and the vacation jackpot in WH20 if those could be implemented in a mode or new modes.

not that familiar with vacation jackpot, could you explain further?

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