(Topic ID: 109704)

PMD - ACDC SmartDMD


By PinballMikeD

5 years ago



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  • 499 posts
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  • Latest reply 4 years ago by tytydell
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There are 499 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 10.
#51 5 years ago
Quoted from DarkWizard:

Right after ColorDMD starts doing Sterns.

Quoted from TaylorVA:

ColorDMD is doing Sterns. ???

ep with the assist.

DarkWizard meant: Odd that this gets announced right after ColorDMD starts doing Sterns.

TaylorVA meant: But colorDMD is already doing Stern?!

/curtsey

#52 5 years ago

I thought he was questioning why this product is coming out right after ColorDMD started doing Sterns.
I think there is an obvious demand for something like SmartDMD to at least fill the gaps of the games that ColorDMD will not do or will not get to anytime soon. Also, hopefully the price point will be considerably lower so people with lower priced DMD games will be able to justify the expense of an upgrade. For example, it would be hard to justify putting a $400 colorDMD display in a $1500 game, but a $250-$300 color display would be tough to pass up for many.

#53 5 years ago

If there's room in the ROMs, coloring stern games via pinball browser is actually easier than the colorDMD method, since you can color right on the dot data, rather than having to trap built frames first. But is there enough room in all the roms? I seem to remember someone was working on coloring Family Guy or Metallica (don't remember which) and mentioned having space issues to get it all done.

#54 5 years ago
Quoted from DCFAN:

I thought he was questioning why this product is coming out right after ColorDMD started doing Sterns.
I think there is an obvious demand for something like SmartDMD to at least fill the gaps of the games that ColorDMD will not do or will not get to anytime soon. Also, hopefully the price point will be considerably lower so people with lower priced DMD games will be able to justify the expense of an upgrade. For example, it would be hard to justify putting a $400 colorDMD display in a $1500 game, but a $250-$300 color display would be tough to pass up for many.

Yeah, pretty much. Just hoping I didn't just pay $100 more for an inferior color solution.

#55 5 years ago
Quoted from DarkWizard:

Yeah, pretty much. Just hoping I didn't just pay $100 more for an inferior color solution.

Never buy electronics like an LCD and expect it to retain its value. LCD screens will only get cheaper.

#56 5 years ago
Quoted from Taxman:

Never buy electronics like an LCD and expect it to retain its value. LCD screens will only get cheaper.

Fair enough, was hoping it would hold its value for longer than 3 days though is all.

#57 5 years ago
Quoted from DarkWizard:

Just hoping I didn't just pay $100 more for an inferior color solution.

You didn't. Let's pretend that this kit is actually $100 cheaper (we don't know yet) and that it's technically equal to ColorDMD (that's not actually clear) you also paid for someone (with experience!) to hand colorize every frame of your game. Test it publicly, fix any bugs or issues, and basically release a solid, polished product.

With this kit you have to either do all that work yourself, or hope someone else does it (and does a good job), and there's a viable way to distribute that colorization that's not going to run into legal trouble (curious about that part myself). I'd also say it's pretty unlikely anyone is rushing to colorize LOTR since it's been done already.

So even assuming all the money and technical stuff is as stated, you're still in a good position. No money wasted. Enjoy your game.

#58 5 years ago

Anyone know the comparison of colorDMD to this as far as the palette? I'd assume both are equal, but it's sounding like maybe smart DMD is superior if it can have 16 colors, and a different palette for each frame? That opens up to a much richer color display for various scenes (not forced to use certain colors because a scene needs lots of blues), unless colorDMD has the capability as well?

#59 5 years ago
Quoted from toyotaboy:

Anyone know the comparison of colorDMD to this as far as the palette? I'd assume both are equal, but it's sounding like maybe smart DMD is superior if it can have 16 colors, and a different palette for each frame? That opens up to a much richer color display for various scenes (not forced to use certain colors because a scene needs lots of blues), unless colorDMD has the capability as well?

ColorDMD can use (currently) 4 different 16 color palettes.

Edit: Don't take this to mean that ColorDMD is badly limited in some way - it's not. You can do really great looking color with that much space. Remember that it's all really low resolution (128x32) art so it's not really about subtlety of color. Hell, I did CCC with 16 colors period.

#60 5 years ago
Quoted from toyotaboy:

Anyone know the comparison of colorDMD to this as far as the palette? I'd assume both are equal, but it's sounding like maybe smart DMD is superior if it can have 16 colors, and a different palette for each frame? That opens up to a much richer color display for various scenes (not forced to use certain colors because a scene needs lots of blues), unless colorDMD has the capability as well?

ColorDMD isn't locked to 16 colors for everything, if that's what you're asking. LOTR YouTube video isn't loading for me for some reason, so using IJ as the example, but look at the colors they're using:

#61 5 years ago

Actually it's more than that... We preserve all the grayscale information.

On WPC and Whitestar there are 48 possible colors per frame (16 hues x 3 nonzero levels).
For SAM there are 192 possible colors per frame (16 hues x 12 nonzero levels).

We currently support 4 unique palettes in each game but this is easily expanded. No game has needed more than 4.

#62 5 years ago
Quoted from Dmod:

Actually it's more than that... We preserve all the grayscale information.
On WPC and Whitestar there are 48 possible colors per frame (16 hues x 3 nonzero levels).
For SAM there are 192 possible colors per frame (16 hues x 12 nonzero levels).
We currently support 4 unique palettes in each game but this is easily expanded. No game has needed more than 4.

Sorry, didn't mean to under-sell the colorDMD like that. I ASS-U-ME-d that the smartDMD was doing a similar thing with tinting the exisitng dots.

However, just from looking at the screenshots, it looks like the PinballBrowser coloring is just color in place of dot - not a tint to the existing brightness. Which would make the "palette for every frame" thing much more necessary as the various shades you want to use would have to be in the palette, rather than already in the dot data. So you could probably get similar looking results the SmartDMD way, but you'll be making a ton more unique palettes to compensate for losing the brightness levels.

#63 5 years ago
Quoted from epthegeek:

However, just from looking at the screenshots, it looks like the PinballBrowser coloring is just color in place of dot - not a tint to the existing brightness. Which would make the "palette for every frame" thing much more necessary as the various shades you want to use would have to be in the palette, rather than already in the dot data. So you could probably get similar looking results the SmartDMD way, but you'll be making a ton more unique palettes to compensate for losing the brightness levels.

Hmm. That's actually going to create a ton more work, because you'll have to hand shade all that to replace the greyscale shading the animators put in, and you're going to eat up that 16 color pallet fast if you have to create tints and shades of your base color.

On modern Sterns there are 16 shades on the DMD. Not a problem for the artist, it's all different shades of red, so working with 16 "colors" isn't limiting. But let's say you have 5 objects on the screen, and you want to make each one their own color. That's 5 of the 16, plus one for black, leaving 10. If you want a tint and a shade for highlights and shadows on each one that's your other 10 colors. And that's a single tint and shade, no soft gradients, and no room for other colors besides your base ones.

Now DMD animations are generally pretty simple, it might not be an issue, but 16 is definitely more limited than 48, even though the disparity it's quite as big as it sounds since we're talking shading not full different colors for some of that.

#64 5 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

You didn't. Let's pretend that this kit is actually $100 cheaper (we don't know yet) and that it's technically equal to ColorDMD (that's not actually clear) you also paid for someone (with experience!) to hand colorize every frame of your game. Test it publicly, fix any bugs or issues, and basically release a solid, polished product.
With this kit you have to either do all that work yourself, or hope someone else does it (and does a good job), and there's a viable way to distribute that colorization that's not going to run into legal trouble (curious about that part myself). I'd also say it's pretty unlikely anyone is rushing to colorize LOTR since it's been done already.
So even assuming all the money and technical stuff is as stated, you're still in a good position. No money wasted. Enjoy your game.

Making a color DMD choice has become a bit confusing for me, so this post cleared it up for me somewhat. I have many machines, so venturing out for the first one at $400 to test it out. I'll keep my eyes open for the next gen product.

#65 5 years ago
Quoted from DarkWizard:

Right after ColorDMD starts doing Sterns.

Purely a coincidence, this project has been in the works for quite some time. Actually, the SmartDMD software for Stern displays has been around for over a year already. We are tweaking the software (adding some new features, etc.) and pairing it with a hardware package.

2 weeks later
#67 5 years ago
Quoted from splitskull:

so what's the price of the kit?

The base kit will retail for $300 + shipping.

Quoted from TomGWI:

Will the colored rom cost extra if you buy a kit?

Yes, game specific dot packages will be sold for an additional $30 per title. Please keep in mind that this money is allocated for our team of dedicated artist. Unfortunately, I can’t convince any of them to work for free

Quoted from turbo20lbs:

Any chance you can step up the display quality so it has a nice black level? I like ColorDMD but the grey glow of the blacks make it look a bit washed.

Yes, the black levels are impressive (see original post for hardware details)

Quoted from stretch2:

Interesting until the actual price is released.....

Disappointed yet

Quoted from toyotaboy:

You should start finding volunteers to colorize titles like colorDMD does.

We are willing to pony up the money for those that are interested in working with us. Drop me a line.

#68 5 years ago

$300+$20 shipping+$30 colored title=$350.

#69 5 years ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

$300+$20 shipping+$30 colored title=$350.

That's really not a bad price especially with having their artist doing all the work. I might be interested. I hope Star Trek will be after AC/DC.

#70 5 years ago

Only $70 difference after buying a $30 color file

#71 5 years ago

Since there's input from multiple people with knowledge on the colorization subject, can someone explain to me why no one has offered colorization+upscaling simultaneously?

The code (e.g. 2xSaI, HQ3x) is mature and available.
Is it a processing power limitation of the current products?

-Brian

#72 5 years ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

Only $70 difference after buying a $30 color file

But it would be plug-n-play. Don't you have to color the other one yourself?

#73 5 years ago
Quoted from bstyles:

Since there's input from multiple people with knowledge on the colorization subject, can someone explain to me why no one has offered colorization+upscaling simultaneously?
The code (e.g. 2xSaI, HQ3x) is mature and available.
Is it a processing power limitation of the current products?
-Brian

We put a lot of effort into the ColorDMD upscaling algorithm.

2xSaI and HQ3x only provide 2x and 3x scaling respectively. The scaling required to go from 128 dots to 1920 pixels is significantly higher (15x!).

To achieve high quality scaling and avoid blockiness by repeating pixels, we needed to develop a unique scaling algorithm that looks over a larger region, employs high resolution smoothing of diagonal lines, maintains proportions between lit and unlit dots, and avoids softening/ringing at sharp contrast edges inherent in 4-level (or 13-level) images.

The resulting algorithm is considerably more complex than both 2xSai and HQ3x and the processing power required is significant. Our current platform (which employs a higher degree of parallel processing than a general purpose processor) can either perform multicolor processing or upscaling at a 60Hz frame rate, but there's not enough processing resources to do both at the same time.

Randy

#74 5 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

But it would be plug-n-play. Don't you have to color the other one yourself?

I think the $70 difference was comparing it to ColorDMD and saying SmartDMD would be $70 less. In that case, no, you don't have to color it yourself, AND you can change games at no extra cost. Here, you would have to pay another $30.

Compared to the DIY solution, I'm not sure what the cost difference is, but it's really the same hardware, it's just that you're buying the pieces yourself. With the SmartDMD kit that work is done for you. I might be missing it somewhere, but can DIY'ers buy color data from SmartDMD or would they have to buy the kit to use your color data?

#75 5 years ago

Yes I would like to know this as well. If we already did a kit ourselves, will the colorization be made available.

With saying that, I am really interested in buying a kit for ACDC.

#76 5 years ago
Quoted from herg:

I think the $70 difference was comparing it to ColorDMD and saying SmartDMD would be $70 less. In that case, no, you don't have to color it yourself, AND you can change games at no extra cost. Here, you would have to pay another $30.

So how long does it take to color a game?

#77 5 years ago
Quoted from herg:

I think the $70 difference was comparing it to ColorDMD and saying SmartDMD would be $70 less. In that case, no, you don't have to color it yourself, AND you can change games at no extra cost. Here, you would have to pay another $30.
Compared to the DIY solution, I'm not sure what the cost difference is, but it's really the same hardware, it's just that you're buying the pieces yourself. With the SmartDMD kit that work is done for you. I might be missing it somewhere, but can DIY'ers buy color data from SmartDMD or would they have to buy the kit to use your color data?

Yes, our custom dot packages will only run on our licensed hardware.
The SmartDMD kit is comparable in price to other DIY solutions. The difference is that:

1) We source all the parts for our customers, so they don’t have to go through the hassle of buying parts from multiple vendors.

2) We provide a professionally engineered/designed laser cut acrylic mounting solution (PCB panels, LED screen holders, etc.). So, our customers don’t have to fabricate their own mounting parts.

3) We provide custom cabling, so everything is plug-and-play. All you need to install our MOD is a Phillips head screw driver and a ¼” nut driver.

4) We pre-assemble the hardware prior to shipping, so this saves our customers time when installing the kit.

5) We pre-program the SD cards prior to shipping.

6) We include a licensed copy of the “SmartDMD” colorization software, so customers don’t have to purchase Pinball Browser separately.

In summary, we wanted to make a convenient (all in one) and cost competitive DIY kit that’s easy to install, 100% reversible and 100% customizable. The nice thing is that our DIY kit will also support full color dot packages as well.

#78 5 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

So how long does it take to color a game?

This depends on what level of colorization you want.

You can easily configure a base kit to run as a red, green, purple, blue, etc. DMD display (red for example - a stock DMD):

Screenshot (116).png

Just use the drop down menu and you're done:

Screenshot (117)-302.png

#79 5 years ago
Quoted from Dmod:

We put a lot of effort into the ColorDMD upscaling algorithm.
2xSaI and HQ3x only provide 2x and 3x scaling respectively. The scaling required to go from 128 dots to 1920 pixels is significantly higher (15x!).
To achieve high quality scaling and avoid blockiness by repeating pixels, we needed to develop a unique scaling algorithm that looks over a larger region, employs high resolution smoothing of diagonal lines, maintains proportions between lit and unlit dots, and avoids softening/ringing at sharp contrast edges inherent in 4-level (or 13-level) images.
The resulting algorithm is considerably more complex than both 2xSai and HQ3x and the processing power required is significant. Our current platform (which employs a higher degree of parallel processing than a general purpose processor) can either perform multicolor processing or upscaling at a 60Hz frame rate, but there's not enough processing resources to do both at the same time.
Randy

Thanks for the detailed reply Randy.

Now that you've explained it how obviously super simple it is, can we expect it by this Christmas?

Seriously though, keep up the great work. I just read another thread where there was a poll asking how many ColorDMD's we had. My thought process wasn't to try to count how many I had, it was to figure out which titles, of the 25 or so in the collection, don't have ColorDMDs installed in them." I came up with RFM, Dr Dude, Cirqus Voltaire, Pinball Magic, and a few Sterns - of which I really only hope to see actual flesh tones someday Playboy 2002

-Brian

#80 5 years ago

Can't wait for Avengers and Iron Man. I'll prob purchase your kits and sell my ColorDmds at that point.

#81 5 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

So how long does it take to color a game?

Another easy thing to use is the gradient tool; this allows you to setup a default pallet and easily simulate a uniform multi-color display. For example, you could do the following (black, white, gray, and 13 shades of red for every frame):

Screenshot (118).png
Screenshot (119).png

It’s amazing what just adding the color white to your pallet will do. Looks much better than a stock DMD right?

#82 5 years ago
Quoted from PinballMikeD:

This depends on what level of colorization you want.

You can easily configure a base kit to run as a red, green, purple, blue, etc. DMD display (red for example):

Just use the drop down menu and you're done:

I understand that but how much colorization could I expect for the $30? I watched your vid and I would DEFENETLY buy it if I got that kind of color for $30

#83 5 years ago
Quoted from PinballMikeD:

Yes, our custom dot packages will only run on our licensed hardware.
The SmartDMD kit is comparable in price to other DIY solutions. The difference is that:
1) We source all the parts for our customers, so they don’t have to go through the hassle of buying parts from multiple vendors.
2) We provide a professionally engineered/designed laser cut acrylic mounting solution (PCB panels, LED screen holders, etc.). So, our customers don’t have to fabricate their own mounting parts.
3) We provide custom cabling, so everything is plug-and-play. All you need to install our MOD is a Phillips head screw driver and a ¼” nut driver.
4) We pre-assemble the hardware prior to shipping, so this saves our customers time when installing the kit.
5) We pre-program the SD cards prior to shipping.
6) We include a licensed copy of the “SmartDMD” colorization software, so customers don’t have to purchase Pinball Browser separately.
In summary, we wanted to make a convenient (all in one) and cost competitive DIY kit that’s easy to install, 100% reversible and 100% customizable. The nice thing is that our DIY kit will also support full color dot packages as well.

I def want to buy one when does it come out ? I'm big fan of drpinball dmd extender and love my set up.

#84 5 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

I understand that but how much colorization could I expect for the $30? I watched your vid and I would DEFENETLY buy it if I got that kind of color for $30

Yes, the promo video is an example of what you'd get for a full color kit.

#85 5 years ago
Quoted from 2Kaulitz:

I def want to buy one when does it come out ? I'm big fan of drpinball dmd extender and love my set up.

We should have some beta units out for testing by late January or early Febuary 2015.

For those interested in purchasing a kit please email me directly at mike@pinballmiked.com. I'll touch base (prior to making kits available to the public) once they are ready.

#86 5 years ago

Bummer. 250 would've been a lot harder to pass up. 300..not so much.

#87 5 years ago
Quoted from Frax:

Bummer. 250 would've been a lot harder to pass up. 300..not so much.

$300+$20 shipping+$30 colored title=$350.

#88 5 years ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

$300+$20 shipping+$30 colored title=$350.

Oop, you got me. Clearly you knew my intent was to use it for the titles they are coloring, not games that have no colorization data.

12
#89 5 years ago
Quoted from PinballManiac40:

$300+$20 shipping+$30 colored title=$350.

I’m perplexed as to why you are so disappointed SmartDMD is the most affordable full color DMD option for Stern SAM machines. You've posted the same comment 3 times now, what is your point? If it makes you feel better, we’re prepared to charge you $400 since you seem to feel better about that price tag. Have a great weekend.

#90 5 years ago
Quoted from Frax:

Bummer. 250 would've been a lot harder to pass up. 300..not so much.

No worries.

#91 5 years ago
Quoted from PinballMikeD:

If it makes you feel better, we’re prepared to charge you $400 since you seem to feel better about that price tag. Have a great weekend.

This is pretty interesting to me actually...I'd like to pick one up and play around with it.

#92 5 years ago

I like this project, another take on how to colorize DMD.. and since it runs on an LCD you don't get the pixelation from DMD or the weird boxes from the vishay displays.

Also with competition, projects like this will keep colorDMD in check (not that they need to at the moment, but every monopoly has the opportunity to do so).

#93 5 years ago

So will it work with Sega? And especially the big DMD games? I have 10 Sega machines, I would do them all with these as they are available!

#94 5 years ago

The SmartDMD stuff has been a around for a while now. It's pretty neat to play with if you have the time to colorize ROMs. This package should take the guess work out of the hardware. It really wasn't that difficult if you followed Olivier's guide...but this will certainly be easier

Quoted from toyotaboy:

I like this project, another take on how to colorize DMD.. and since it runs on an LCD you don't get the pixelation from DMD or the weird boxes from the vishay displays.
Also with competition, projects like this will keep colorDMD in check (not that they need to at the moment, but every Monopoly has the opportunity to do so).

20140818_190942_zpsrywbyika (1).jpg
20140818_191244_zpsk3iuninh.jpg

20140818_190832_zpsduaqaqlu.jpg
#95 5 years ago
Quoted from PinballMikeD:

I’m perplexed as to why you are so disappointed SmartDMD is the most affordable full color DMD option for Stern SAM machines. You've posted the same comment 3 times now, what is your point? If it makes you feel better, we’re prepared to charge you $400 since you seem to feel better about that price tag. Have a great weekend.

Nothing wrong with a lower priced display. It was bound to happen. Obviously some people don't see the full cost of your display if you want to purchase a precolored rom. I am one of such folks who will not be taking the time to color any games.

#96 5 years ago
Quoted from Monster_Bash:

The SmartDMD stuff has been a around for a while now. It's pretty neat to play with if you have the time to colorize ROMs. This package should take the guess work out of the hardware. It really wasn't that difficult if you followed Olivier's guide...but this will certainly be easier

If the DIY version would be compatible with the PMD produced color data, I'd be ready to start putting my own kit together. As it is, I don't want to lock myself out of using their color, so I have to wait. Even more confusing is guessing ahead of time whether they'll have a particular game colored before ColorDMD does.

Another question I just though of; will we be able to modify purchased color files or will they be locked? I really like the idea of being able to buy a finished kit, but locking the color files to specific hardware is a downer.

#97 5 years ago
Quoted from herg:

Another question I just though of; will we be able to modify purchased color files or will they be locked? I really like the idea of being able to buy a finished kit, but locking the color files to specific hardware is a downer.

They can really only distribute the color as a patch file generated from Pinball Browser to be applied to the ROM file from Stern. So I'm not really sure how locking it down to a specific build of the hardware will work. Unless they're also patching the rom with new code to check for something else on the board/SD card?

#98 5 years ago

As oga lives in Europe to my knowledge, will there be an European selling point to? This to avoid a lot of import duties and transport costs

#99 5 years ago
Quoted from epthegeek:

They can really only distribute the color as a patch file generated from Pinball Browser to be applied to the ROM file from Stern. So I'm not really sure how locking it down to a specific build of the hardware will work. Unless they're also patching the rom with new code to check for something else on the board/SD card?

That strikes me as pointless. The % of people who will roll their own is really minuscule compared to the # who'd prefer to just buy a plug and play kit. It's a real headache to do it yourself, the vendors and parts are always changing. That's where this product has a real upside.

My issue is I'd like to see a solution to the expunging of the greyscale data from the colorization. Not only does it create a flatter and less appealing image with a smaller color palette, but it throws out all the extra data the animators took the time to put into the game. That seems like a shame.

One of the things I enjoy so much about seeing the colorized ColorDMD games is how the color brings out all these great detail that you missed in the sea of orange, hate to see all that discarded. Like Whitewater, there's really an amazing amount of stuff going on in the swirling water animations that I never noticed until the colors revealed it.

1 week later
#100 5 years ago

Here are some prototype pictures of the harware installed:

P1.png
P2.png
P3.png

Here's the finished product:

F1.png
F2.png

All hardware panels/parts are 1/4" laser cut black acrylic. Looks better in person

We should have some beta units ready in early January.

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