(Topic ID: 269157)

Pinballs connected online... in the future


By Midway-Man

14 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 19 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 days ago by gstellenberg
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    #1 14 days ago

    Hi Guys, a few days ago someone posted a question at a Facebook group about games being able to be on WiFi.

    This got me thinking... I mean we know that games will sooner or later being able to connect online. Also I think George Gomez said in the past, Stern games running on Spike2 will be able to connect online soon.

    So I would like to discuss what we actually expect also what would we like to see?
    I will share my thoughts.

    -Software updates.
    Of course the main focus of this online thing are software updates. No matter how it's done, I could imagine the game checks for updates every power up and also frequently while idle. If a software update is available, the game will either just notify you with a message or automatically install it. Depending on what the game has been set to do before.

    -Competition.
    Also competition is one of the main focuses. So I think there will be online leaderboards. So you can see where you are ranked at and what other players where able to score. But in order to work properly, the leaderboard should be able to keep apart Pro and Premium/LE games. Since the different models can score different because of modes being altered or entire playfield and mechs missing.

    -Bug reports.
    What about games sending bugs directly to the manufacturer. Let's say the game crashes during gameplay wouldn't it be nice if the game automatically reports it online. So the software team, can see the terms and conditions while the game crashed, to make it easier to patch issues.

    -Playing together.
    Instead of playing against each other, what about playing together? For example let's say Stern made a Grand Theft Auto 5 based Pinball game. I think we all know GTA since it's one of the worlds best selling games... Imagine doing a mission which involves a group of 4 people playing Pinball. While someone is busy stealing a getaway vehicle his teammate is battling enemies, while others are busy stealing some money, gear or whatever... Sound like fun to me. I got this idea from playing GTA:Online Heists. Of course this wouldn't work with a standard 1/3Ball rule. But if you change the 1/3Ball rule to team lives it works. That means if you start the "Mission" you begin with 3 team lives. As soon as someone drains the team live decreases for all players. If the team lives counter is at 0 and someone drains again. The mission is failed for all. Thats just something I had in my head... I don't know if its just me but I like this idea. It's not always about competition.
    EDIT: The main focus of any Pinball machine still is local single player with standard 1/3Ball rules of course! The playing together thing should be available via adjustment, in attract mode. Like Escape Nublar on JP.

    -Remote access/Service App
    Well I am not an operator. But I think it would be nice to have an application for a computer or phone. Where you can see what's going on with your game. Like bookkeepings how much the game earned in a certain time frame, how many games have been played etc... Also wouldn't it be nice if the Pinball machine sends you a message asking for a service? Where it tells you this switch, sensor, node... is broken, so you know what you have to oder or bring to the machine to service it. The game could also send a message to let you know "Hey there is new software update waiting for you. Do you want me to install it for you?" So location games could be updated if the game is idle for a certain amount of time. Also change adjustments remotely would be nice, let's say game prices are 1/2 this weekend. Or increase extra balls etc... Game manufacturers could also send messages to this app. To let you know there is a technical service bulletin available for your game with serial number XY.

    -Bluetooth/Player App
    What about an App where you could create a player profile. With a picture, name, initials. Which connects to the game via Bluetooth and automatically shares your info with the game, so you no longer have to enter your initials. Also display the name so you will never forget if you were Player1 or Player3 in a multiplayer game. Also a little report bug feature, where you can write down bugs you experienced while playing and send them directly to the developers. If the "playing together" feature will ever be available. It would be awesome if you could connect a headset to your game or phone and join a little chat room in this app. So you can communicate with your teammates. "Hey I am unable to make that shot" "Hey you suck, get those enemies out of my way" "Sorry I have to leave my game caught on fire"

    These are just some ideas I had. I am curious what ideas you guys might have. Also hear some feedback what you guy think about mine. Hopefully Stern, JJP and other manufactures read this. So they get an idea what we like to see from them.

    Best regards
    Maximilian

    #2 14 days ago

    -Software updates.
    This is likely the most useful thing it could do.

    -Competition.
    A global leaderboard would be neat, till someone takes the glass off.

    -Bug reports.
    Mixed emotions. Seems code has been buggy out of the gate, not sure if this would remedy or exacerbate the situation.

    -Playing together.
    Forced multiplayer is a terrible idea. Locking modes behind multiplayer only is just dumb.

    -Remote access/Service App
    This seems like its lumped in with the software updates, and your idea of it sounds like a security nightmare. Unless it was some sort of read only app and the changes had to be done on the actual machine.

    -Bluetooth/Player App
    Sounds like a solution to a problem that doesnt exist. I personally enjoy putting my initials in the game and Im more likely to put them in using the flippers than I am downloading an app and setting up a profile.

    #3 14 days ago

    at CES 2 years ago I spoke to Gary Stern about online and they were wanting to do some big things with online...so it should be coming. Being software though, it is easy to get delayed and take longer than previously thought. I would also argue they want the release to be pretty spot on.

    #4 14 days ago

    I am in the process of getting my arcade games online (moto gps and BBHHD) so that I can play against people around the world. This doesn’t work for pinball. Each game is set up differently so global leader board would not work. It would be cool for updates and fixes though.

    #5 14 days ago

    Wifi software updates are currently being beta tested for all of the JJP pins. New testing on that started back up this week and is moving forward.

    #6 14 days ago

    P3 Multimorphic just dropped their online features.... this is exciting times!

    #7 14 days ago
    Quoted from Malenko:

    -Playing together.
    Forced multiplayer is a terrible idea. Locking modes behind multiplayer only is just dumb.

    I edited my original post. It shouldn't be forced by any means. The main focus still remains the local single player game. With a standard 1/3Ball rule.

    #8 14 days ago
    Quoted from Midway-Man:

    I edited my original post. It shouldn't be forced by any means. The main focus still remains the local single player game. With a standard 1/3Ball rule.

    We get your idea, and I agree that multiplayer/coop would be fun. Your machine would behave differently based on how the other players are doing. Modes would require a group effort, so would be easier or harder to complete depending on the skill of those you are playing with. I see myself offline 75% of the time and online maybe 25%. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.

    #9 14 days ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    P3 Multimorphic just dropped their online features.... this is exciting times!

    No thank you to be honest. I mean... How long will those servers be maintained. And also at what COST!!!

    THere is a cost to everything. Even if you're not charged... It comes out of the budget somewhere.

    And lets be honest a lot of people have 40 year old pins in their collections. Or older... Do you think those leaderboards will be up in 40 year time. I see a lot of... Unable to connect in the future for those functions.

    #10 14 days ago

    Scorbit has some useful functionality.
    https://scorbit.io/

    One of the most useful things from a tournament director standpoint is reduced volunteer help needed to enter scores.

    #11 14 days ago

    To heck with all this. They should bring back those dedicated initial entry and lane change buttons. These buttons today are out here doing too much!

    #12 14 days ago
    Quoted from Diospinball:

    No thank you to be honest. I mean... How long will those servers be maintained. And also at what COST!!!
    THere is a cost to everything. Even if you're not charged... It comes out of the budget somewhere.
    And lets be honest a lot of people have 40 year old pins in their collections. Or older... Do you think those leaderboards will be up in 40 year time. I see a lot of... Unable to connect in the future for those functions.

    Are people still able to play pin2k online?

    Will stern support theirs?
    Will xbox still be around?

    No one is certain about anything, but if online goes away, it doesn't mean you can't still play local, and if it is open like a lot of P3, someone can remake a new server or method.

    #13 14 days ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    Are people still able to play pin2k online?
    Will stern support theirs?
    Will xbox still be around?
    No one is certain about anything, but if online goes away, it doesn't mean you can't still play local, and if it is open like a lot of P3, someone can remake a new server or method.

    Quoted from Diospinball:

    No thank you to be honest. I mean... How long will those servers be maintained. And also at what COST!!!
    THere is a cost to everything. Even if you're not charged... It comes out of the budget somewhere.
    And lets be honest a lot of people have 40 year old pins in their collections. Or older... Do you think those leaderboards will be up in 40 year time. I see a lot of... Unable to connect in the future for those functions.

    northvibe is right. Another example are smartphones. Most of them won't get updates after usually 4-6 years. So everything is discontinued at some point. But online features are new in pinball. So we have to see how it evolves in the long term.

    #14 14 days ago
    Quoted from Diospinball:

    No thank you to be honest. I mean... How long will those servers be maintained. And also at what COST!!!
    THere is a cost to everything. Even if you're not charged... It comes out of the budget somewhere.
    And lets be honest a lot of people have 40 year old pins in their collections. Or older... Do you think those leaderboards will be up in 40 year time. I see a lot of... Unable to connect in the future for those functions.

    You make some good points here. Now let me speak to it as an engineer who is actively working to implement some of these features:

    1. Multimorphic tries to design their stuff to run peer-to-peer in some cases, so you can directly link on a LAN. Multimorphic does run a pair of matchmaker servers responsible for finding peers across the Internet, but such a thing could be replicated to a stand-alone application and hosted by the community.

    2. I've been working with Scorbit on some of their title adoption, and they plan to be fairly open with their APIs so that you can implement your own web service layers and mitigate risk via the community if necessary.

    3. For those who mention RFM/P2K, you have to remember that it was originally designed for a LAN and implemented over a weekend. The stuff we have today was pretty much reverse engineered out of that, and various other layers have been put in place to essentially hack it so that it works over the wide area network.

    4. Servers are lower cost than you think. Most of the bandwidth would be consumed by edge content (software update downloads). Gameplay bandwidth consumption on a pinball machine is fairly meager, and most messages can fit into less than 0.5 kilobytes. Software updates would be about $0.05 per user that downloads them given a conservative game/asset update package size of 2 gigs at unscaled pricing.

    The bigger concern as we work to roll these features out is actually security. A pinball machine is inherently a dangerous device if left in the wrong hands. Things go boom or catch on fire. A lot of focus is put into reducing the attack surface area, and for decades it's been much easier to just leave the whole connectivity piece out of it if you're even thinking_ about venturing outside the LAN.

    But, adoption and positive reception from the community (due to some sort of value being provided) will spark the need/demand to maintain these systems for decades to come, but simply not using something because it might_ not be around in 40 years is a bit short sighted. Hell, a lot of US might not be around in 40 years.

    The priority, still is and always has been to make the game fun. If we can leverage connectivity to further make the game fun or lower maintenance costs, then great, you'll see it sooner. Leaderboards aren't fun, but connecting up your brand new Stranger Things or Heist pinball machine and playing co-op with a clan across the world in a way that makes the joint storyline change for everyone's games while you're doing it, that sounds pretty fun.

    Just my two cents, respectfully.

    -- Jimmy

    #15 13 days ago
    Quoted from Compy:

    You make some good points here. Now let me speak to it as an engineer who is actively working to implement some of these features:
    1. Multimorphic tries to design their stuff to run peer-to-peer in some cases, so you can directly link on a LAN. Multimorphic does run a pair of matchmaker servers responsible for finding peers across the Internet, but such a thing could be replicated to a stand-alone application and hosted by the community.
    2. I've been working with Scorbit on some of their title adoption, and they plan to be fairly open with their APIs so that you can implement your own web service layers and mitigate risk via the community if necessary.
    3. For those who mention RFM/P2K, you have to remember that it was originally designed for a LAN and implemented over a weekend. The stuff we have today was pretty much reverse engineered out of that, and various other layers have been put in place to essentially hack it so that it works over the wide area network.
    4. Servers are lower cost than you think. Most of the bandwidth would be consumed by edge content (software update downloads). Gameplay bandwidth consumption on a pinball machine is fairly meager, and most messages can fit into less than 0.5 kilobytes. Software updates would be about $0.05 per user that downloads them given a conservative game/asset update package size of 2 gigs at unscaled pricing.
    The bigger concern as we work to roll these features out is actually security. A pinball machine is inherently a dangerous device if left in the wrong hands. Things go boom or catch on fire. A lot of focus is put into reducing the attack surface area, and for decades it's been much easier to just leave the whole connectivity piece out of it if you're even thinking_ about venturing outside the LAN.
    But, adoption and positive reception from the community (due to some sort of value being provided) will spark the need/demand to maintain these systems for decades to come, but simply not using something because it might_ not be around in 40 years is a bit short sighted. Hell, a lot of US might not be around in 40 years.
    The priority, still is and always has been to make the game fun. If we can leverage connectivity to further make the game fun or lower maintenance costs, then great, you'll see it sooner. Leaderboards aren't fun, but connecting up your brand new Stranger Things or Heist pinball machine and playing co-op with a clan across the world in a way that makes the joint storyline change for everyone's games while you're doing it, that sounds pretty fun.
    Just my two cents, respectfully.
    -- Jimmy

    Well, again... You hit on some points that are begining to be addressed in the smart applicance field as well... A smart fridge could be an easy way to hack into someone home network. Infect it... Do what thou wilt to it... All sorts of stuff. Most people do not really have a secure home network... Not really. And they have so many devices on it...
    I won't pretend to know as much about the tech stuff as you do. I'm a crappy computer tech for a really big school district, but I am not a network tech. So I don't know all the ins and outs. But, I do work with some really smart people. I'm just not one of those people.

    Now... Lets say this becomes the norm... Guess what you turn on you 10 pinball machines with wifi connection. You guests on your wifi... Your tv, your fridge... Etc cetera and so on and so forth... And now you better have one hell of a home router. And also with the data usage. Companies have still kept normal data caps on. So I'd be interested to know the bandwidth for hosting a local tourney or online co-op. Or even just always on 24 seven in your gameroom. It'll add up.

    It is a security concern and could be the weak point on a persons network... Well... Nothing is weaker than the person between the monitor and keyboard, that shall always be the weakest link.

    But, I still stand by my. If they have someone like you working on this feature. Thats money that could go into the code, the animations and the layout. There is a cost to your work. It takes money away from another area. I would prefer all that money to be spent on making the game as great as possible.

    And lets not kid ourselves. This is going to lead to a paywall. It will. And I'm not against DLC for video games. I bought the DLC for Horizon Zero Dawn, and a few other games. But, it needs to be fair content, not like CAPCOM, or CRAPCOM. Or EA... So many abusers in it. I don't trust big companies. They want money and profits... That is fair. I want money and profits. But, I believe there is a sweet spot where I get a great quality and affordable product and the company gets a nice profit so they can keep doing business as usual. And in return, when I get more money I'll buy from them again. But, so many companies want to break your back and squeeze blood from a stone.

    #16 13 days ago
    Quoted from Compy:

    You make some good points here. Now let me speak to it as an engineer who is actively working to implement some of these features:
    1. Multimorphic tries to design their stuff to run peer-to-peer in some cases, so you can directly link on a LAN. Multimorphic does run a pair of matchmaker servers responsible for finding peers across the Internet, but such a thing could be replicated to a stand-alone application and hosted by the community.
    2. I've been working with Scorbit on some of their title adoption, and they plan to be fairly open with their APIs so that you can implement your own web service layers and mitigate risk via the community if necessary.
    3. For those who mention RFM/P2K, you have to remember that it was originally designed for a LAN and implemented over a weekend. The stuff we have today was pretty much reverse engineered out of that, and various other layers have been put in place to essentially hack it so that it works over the wide area network.
    4. Servers are lower cost than you think. Most of the bandwidth would be consumed by edge content (software update downloads). Gameplay bandwidth consumption on a pinball machine is fairly meager, and most messages can fit into less than 0.5 kilobytes. Software updates would be about $0.05 per user that downloads them given a conservative game/asset update package size of 2 gigs at unscaled pricing.
    The bigger concern as we work to roll these features out is actually security. A pinball machine is inherently a dangerous device if left in the wrong hands. Things go boom or catch on fire. A lot of focus is put into reducing the attack surface area, and for decades it's been much easier to just leave the whole connectivity piece out of it if you're even thinking_ about venturing outside the LAN.
    But, adoption and positive reception from the community (due to some sort of value being provided) will spark the need/demand to maintain these systems for decades to come, but simply not using something because it might_ not be around in 40 years is a bit short sighted. Hell, a lot of US might not be around in 40 years.
    The priority, still is and always has been to make the game fun. If we can leverage connectivity to further make the game fun or lower maintenance costs, then great, you'll see it sooner. Leaderboards aren't fun, but connecting up your brand new Stranger Things or Heist pinball machine and playing co-op with a clan across the world in a way that makes the joint storyline change for everyone's games while you're doing it, that sounds pretty fun.
    Just my two cents, respectfully.
    -- Jimmy

    FYI...
    I'm not really that against these features. Its mostly from the budget time cost that I said in my above post.
    I don't really care. I'm sure you'll be able to tweak the displays and turn off what settings you want. Or you should be able to... Hell I'm happy I got a Welcome to Dio's Arcade on some of my newer machine.

    I am a Luddite. I might work in the tech field, but I'm very much an antiquarian in many regards. So I like to yell at kids to get off my LAWN!!!! And sometimes just shout at the sky for no reason at all!

    #17 11 days ago

    It's another of those features that you probably need to experience for yourself to relate to, but the head-to-head gameplay party we had yesterday was an absolute blast!

    You can now change this thread title to "Pinballs Connected Online... Now!" I'm sure a lot of the features listed by the OP will be implemented by a bunch of companies eventually, but playing with/against each other will definitely be the most fun.

    - Gerry
    https://www.multimorphic.com

    #18 10 days ago
    Quoted from gstellenberg:

    It's another of those features that you probably need to experience for yourself to relate to, but the head-to-head gameplay party we had yesterday was an absolute blast!
    You can now change this thread title to "Pinballs Connected Online... Now!" I'm sure a lot of the features listed by the OP will be implemented by a bunch of companies eventually, but playing with/against each other will definitely be the most fun.
    - Gerry
    https://www.multimorphic.com

    Or it'll make my lack of friends even more apparent...

    Question. Would you have to pay for matchmaking, or will that be offered free? Just curious. Because, you are right. It could add a lot more enjoyment to the pin, just playing against people. And I would assume you would implement a future like rankings or track your win loss records?

    #19 10 days ago
    Quoted from Diospinball:

    Question. Would you have to pay for matchmaking, or will that be offered free? Just curious. Because, you are right. It could add a lot more enjoyment to the pin, just playing against people.

    Our customers don't need to pay anything additional to play head-to-head. They just need a P3 and the game(s) (currently Cosmic Cart Racing, but more are coming). We’re not looking to nickel and dime our loyal customers. We’re more interested in giving more people more reasons to buy into the P3 ecosystem and expand their game libraries. We've got the server costs covered. It's just a part of doing business, just like having a website. And yes, we'll be adding all kinds of additional features, some you can easily predict and many you probably won't.

    - Gerry
    https://www.multimorphic.com

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