(Topic ID: 234666)

Phoenix Retheme Project --- The Black Hole


By oliviarium

3 months ago



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  • 41 posts
  • 22 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 9 days ago by TheDrewster
  • Topic is favorited by 22 Pinsiders

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    11
    #1 3 months ago

    Background:

    In December of 2017, Kaydee and I added our first pinball machine to our collection of 37 arcade games, and we were hooked pretty quickly. Since then our pin collection has grown to 11, including a restoration of what probably should have been a parts machine Blackout. We are pretty good at fixing monitors and power supplies and the other things that go wrong on arcade machines, and were initially a bit intimated by the prospects of keeping pinball machines running, but once we got over that and jumped in head first -- we got over the initial unfounded worries and its just been growing.

    Once we knew we could get a dead and neglected machine up and running -- of course we started thinking of making our own. Doesn't everybody?

    The Candidate:

    In March of 2018, we traded some monitor repair work for a Phoenix project. This game was in bad shape:
    * No backbox - we had the light board, looking at the displays, we'd be lucky if one of them was in working order
    * Incomplete boardset
    * Harness had been cut off of the playfield
    * Cabinet was warped such that the plunger could not be used
    * Warped plastics

    Restoring this machine would have likely cost many times what a Phoenix would cost on the open market -- and it really wasn't one we'd pick if we were out to add to our collection. So we chose a different path that would cost many times what a Phoenix would cost on the open market -- a total retheme with new software, hardware, and artwork!

    The Theme:

    Kaydee loved the movie "The Black Hole" as a kid and came up with that idea almost immediately, and we ran with it!

    The Guts:

    We went with the P3Roc boards from metamorphic and the Mission Pinball framework for software.

    Where we are now:

    As we await some final powdercoated pieces (which we expect today) and our translite (which USPS said we'd have 3 days go), we are ready to put the machine back together to start in-game playtesting of the "0.71 pre-alpha" version of our code. The code as it currently exists is a fully playable game with a reasonably coherent ruleset and 7 modes. I'll talk more about this in subsequent posts to this thread.

    The Schedule:

    We will be on our 0.8 alpha code by Saturday, February 23rd, when we host the Phoenix Belles and Chimes February event in our home arcade (Outpost Kodelia), which will feature a side tournament on our new machine! As a side note -- after the tournament, we'll keep the doors (to our home) open for an open arcade party -- any fellow collectors and enthusiasts are welcome to attend. PM me for details.

    We will use data we collect from that for our next iteration, the plan is to have the machine at Starfighters (our local retro arcade) in April for a weekend, then our final 1.0 version of the code ready for May and the Zapcon show in Mesa, AZ.

    I've included some of our "what we started with" photos here, and will be adding much more detail to this thread later today and over the weekend. Over the next few weeks we'll be sharing much more information about the game, typically on our Outpost Kodelia facebook page, but I will keep things updated here as well.

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    #2 3 months ago

    So, of course, the plastics were all warped, the inserts were all cupped... the playfield art wasn't horrible but in certain areas had certainly seen better days. We tore it all down, and took a rough scan of the playfield we could use for the MPF monitor in development of the code.

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    #3 3 months ago

    We wanted color changing LEDs for all of the lighting, including the GI, which meant different inserts. And wiring. So much wiring. Pretty sure we crimped over 1,000 wire ends before it was all said and done.

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    #4 3 months ago

    The guides for the drop targets were in bad shape -- also we wanted to be able to change the color of the lights in the pop bumpers. 3D Printing ensues. We've shared these designs on Thingverse.

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    #5 3 months ago

    We are both pretty good at dealing with hardware and software -- less good at artwork. So we came with with a strategy -- grab source from the movie, apply some "comic-bookish" type filters, and away we go. We used this technique extensively for the playfield art and the plastics.

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    #6 3 months ago

    Base colors applied to the sanded & initial cleared playfield with the airbrush and fisket technique....

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    #7 3 months ago

    ...playfield art with waterslide decals, as per the limitations of our artistic skill set Note that we did correct the pixalization of the insert decals before final printing!

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    #8 3 months ago

    We were able to borrow a set of non-warped repro plastics to make our new ones -- reverse printed waterslide decals for the win!

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    #9 3 months ago

    Our fully assembled playfield!

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    #10 3 months ago

    We obtained a Bally Playboy cabinet, empty, that had been restenciled, in purple for some reason, which we adapted to take our playfield, and modified the backbox to hold our speakers and LCD.

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    #11 3 months ago

    I'll be sharing much more later -- and probably going back to edit some of these posts with more detail, as well as some shout outs to those who helped us along the way, either directly or with various guides here. I'll also talk more about the gameplay and share some gameplay video in the coming weeks.

    #12 3 months ago

    Let me just say that is a gorgeous-looking build!

    #13 3 months ago

    Yup... this is way cool!

    #14 3 months ago

    Love that movie! Can't wait to see this thing in action.

    I feel like you should make the speakers look like VINCENTs eyes!

    #15 3 months ago

    Wow. Very cool. I hope to get a chance to see it someday. Great job

    #16 3 months ago

    I too have a Phoenix in about the same condition (although complete and playable) for which I've been contemplating a re-theme for some time. What you have accomplished so far is awesome and I find your design ideas and simple workarounds very inspiring! Definitely looking forward to your project updates! Congrats and thanks for sharing!

    #17 3 months ago

    Well, what a fitting end to such a phoenix. True definition of the term!
    Fantastic work, can't wait for more posts.

    #18 3 months ago

    Take this to TPF........please!

    #19 3 months ago

    Killer!!

    #20 3 months ago

    Wow, that looks great! It's a lot of work putting a game together like that, even starting with an existing playfield.

    #21 3 months ago

    Looks great! Hope to see it at a show.

    #22 3 months ago

    That's awesome! Love what how you tackled the artwork.

    #23 3 months ago

    Very nice!

    #25 3 months ago

    Powder coating of the coin door, side rails, lockbar, apron and shooter lane cover are complete. Still some graphics to add, but really happy with how they came out!

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    #26 3 months ago

    Amazing, love the theme....

    #27 3 months ago

    This is awesome!

    #28 3 months ago

    Thanks for sharing, that looks fantastic. I was wondering if you clearcoated over the playfield, and if not, aren't you concerned that the waterslide images will get damaged ?

    #29 3 months ago

    As you can tell from my avatar image, I'm all over this build! Subscribed!

    I've always loved the Black Hole and have been waiting for years to hear that they're going to let Joseph Kosinski do a re-imagining of it. I thought for sure he was lobbying for it in Tron: Legacy when he showed it in Sam's house (18 seconds in:

    )

    #30 3 months ago
    Quoted from GPinballer:

    Thanks for sharing, that looks fantastic. I was wondering if you clearcoated over the playfield, and if not, aren't you concerned that the waterslide images will get damaged ?

    Yes, the playfield was clearcoated and polished. The waterslide decals would likely be destroyed without that pretty quickly!

    #31 3 months ago

    Working on the backbox lighting -- but the translite is finally here!

    Not the best photo in the world, but it'll show much nicer once its lit up!

    It should have been here a week ago. Then the USPS tracking just stopped giving a date. I called them today. They opened a case. Then the local post office called me to say "well we see the same thing you do, its in transit". Sure it was. Funny thing, 90 minutes after I called, it went from "in transit" to "arrived at post office" with a delivery date of tomorrow. 90 minutes after that, it was at my doorstep. Tube must have rolled under a bin or something

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    #32 3 months ago

    Our initial pass at a ruleset is fully implemented at this time. The basic gameplay loop is to start a scene, do what it tells you to do/hit the lit shots, get points, qualify the next scene, do what it tells you for more points, keep doing this until you have qualified and are ready to tackle the last scene, build up a big "discovery bonus", collect it without draining, and repeat (you should be so lucky, haha).

    It did take me 5 pages to explain all the nuance of that -- but we did try to pack quite a bit into a fairly simple playfield. If you read close you'll probably see some influences from other games -- namely little pieces of rule ideas from Genesis, ST:TNG, Flash Gordon, and Metallica.

    This is what is currently implemented right now, and what we are going to go with for our Belles and Chimes side tournament on February 23 -- that will be our "field test"

    The current rulesheet --
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1L6DIS_hdBoTFU9eY8JIcE--eozdkj2_Q/view?usp=sharing

    #33 3 months ago

    Working through some checklist items as we approach our alpha release and the Belles & Chimes side tournament.

    The Prusa i3 MK3 has been working overtime on our backbox light holders/baffles. We'll be running controlled lighting up there as well, and for now we've just lit up the title. Minor adjustments to the baffle still needed, and still some more printing to do, but the design work is all done. The photo made the lights look more yellowish (they don't look that way in person) and we managed to capture the screen mid-transition, we don't really display last game scores on top of the graphic

    Of course we've been printing some other pretty fun things too -- but more on those when they are closer to completion

    Start button is now on controlled lighting, and pulses on and off when you can still add players, or when the button is available for making selections.

    Got some instruction cards printed up, we might go with something different later. Still need to design some apron art.

    With Feb 23 rapidly approaching, we are at the phase where we need to decide what is important for the .8, .9 and 1.0 releases Feb 23, April 6th, and May 4th. Making good progress though! Its really starting to come together, and its really rewarding to get to the point where you can actually play the game -- we see things we want to adjust each time through of course -- but the game itself is fully playable, the modes do the things they are supposed to do, etc.

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    2 weeks later
    #34 3 months ago

    Apron art is done!

    And yes we have new glass to install

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    #35 3 months ago

    A quick video of the backbox lighting, starting to look allot like a real pinball machine

    https://vimeo.com/318126707

    1 month later
    #36 46 days ago

    A quick update....

    * We had our alpha-testing event, including a Belles & Chimes side tournament and semi-public party at our home in Feb which was a success! Only a couple of reboots were required and we believe we have found and corrected the cause for the beta event.

    * We will be at Starfighters Arcade in Mesa, AZ this weekend for our beta test event and our first public access to the game before Zapcon in May.

    I expect we'll have more photos and videos that will come out of that event!

    #37 44 days ago

    Very cool project!

    1 month later
    #38 12 days ago

    I am so behind on sharing updates, but will share some more photos soon!

    We had a very successful Zapcon and won the voting for Fan Favorite in the Pinball category, and added a really neat feature to the backbox

    We still have side art to do, better integration of the topper lighting with modes, and general overall polish of the UI, but I feel good about the ruleset and the feedback we got at the show.

    More updates in a few weeks

    --O

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    #39 12 days ago

    Great job on the project and congrats on the award. I have an MPF project that I have not touched in many months, but need to get back to it.

    Having done an overlay (that I did myself in AutoCAD), waterslide, clearcoat job on one of my EMs I know how much of a process just that part is. The total package of a game like this is a ton of work and looks like it was a great adventure.

    -The guy who took the Zapcon Women's Semifinal picture so Tracy could actually be in the pic

    #40 10 days ago

    I was really impressed with this when I saw it at ZapCon over the weekend.
    Well done you two.

    #41 9 days ago

    Played this machine at Zapcon. Fantastic work!

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