(Topic ID: 109704)

PMD - ACDC SmartDMD


By PinballMikeD

5 years ago



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  • 499 posts
  • 136 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by tytydell
  • Topic is favorited by 76 Pinsiders

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#4 5 years ago

What does colorized mean? Palette swaps? Hand colored? Are you distributing colorization macros? Presumably not modified ROMs.

-1
#21 5 years ago
Quoted from toyotaboy:

How often can you change pallets? Every separate DMD animation?
You should start finding volunteers to colorize titles like colorDMD does.

I haven't used the software yet, so someone correct me if I'm mistaken, but I believe it's technically 15 colors, and the 16th slot is used to store the pallet pointer.

#46 5 years ago
Quoted from oga83:

It's 16 colors / pallet

Where are you storing the pallet pointer? Is that why the upper left pixel of the display looks like it's missing sometimes?

#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.

#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:

#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.

3 weeks later
#99 4 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 month later
#178 4 years ago

So a question:

It seems like any time there's a full screen color (anything not black) the upper left 8 pixels are missing.

I'm thinking the number 8 is probably a clue, does SmartDMD store some kind of palette info in the address for those pixels? Is that how it's going to look for the final release?

See the upper left missing blue on the train for example:

smartdmd-acdc.jpg

#184 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballMikeD:

What you see is what you get.

So wait, that's not really much of an answer. Are all the games going to have this issue? Because it makes it look like you're selling a display with a bunch of dead pixels. I assume it's a software problem, not hardware, isn't there something that could be explored to make it not look so broken?

Maybe those 8 pixels could take their color from the 9th pixel? On solid color stuff it would hide it perfectly, though I guess under some circumstances it could introduce a weird color glitch. But better than just always black and dead.

smartdmd-corner.jpg

#191 4 years ago
Quoted from pinballlooking:

That would drive me crazy. I am careful with dead pixels on a monitor a couple these really gets to me also.

Yeah, I have a dead pixel on my Retina 15" Macbook. Tiny pixels, just a little dot in the right hand side of the screen. And yet it drives me nuts.

This is at least a software problem, not hardware. But I'm getting the sense there's not going to be a fix for it.

#199 4 years ago
Quoted from herg:

This is a mod that is purely cosmetic, and you have a competitor that colors those 8 dots. If I were in your shoes, I'd at least attempt to come up with a solution. Ridiculing critics that are trying to help you improve your product does not strike me as good practice.

Yeah, I don't really understand the attitude here. The video clearly shows the flaw, it's not like it's some hidden secret. Every single full screen animation in the video shows it. And yet Mike just seem really dismissive of me asking about it. "What you see is what you get." Okay?

It's a software problem, surely there's a solution. There have been suggestions in this thread for at least covering it up more so it doesn't look like the upper left hand corner of the displays is broken.

But I guess it's love or leave it.

#200 4 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

Looks like those 8 dots are colored there.

No, that yellow is the "transparent" color, you can see that in the palette. Not the actual background color, you won't see that yellow. I haven't used the software, but presumably you set a color that the program marks as transparent, and if there are other backgrounds or whatever the snake would appear over them.

11
#228 4 years ago
Quoted from herg:

Yes, Aurich has made it clear that he speaks to the ColorDMD guys and sees them at leagues, etc. That said, he hasn't exposed some super-secret flaw in a combative manner. You weren't just hoping it would never be mentioned, were you? If you don't fix this, your customers will notice it, and they will ask you about it. We pinheads, especially the ones that would buy a colorized DMD, are a picky group.

Just to be clear, yes I know the ColorDMD guys, but it's not like I get a discount on their product (or a kickback on their sales!). I buy whatever makes sense for my machines, because I'm the one who looks at them and plays them, not Chris and Randy.

It's just natural that SmartDMD and ColorDMD are going to get compared. They have different prices, different number of colors they can show at once, and apparently different numbers of pixels they light up. I had a question about the video. That's all. I'll bow out now, because as Herg said, not trying to be combative.

#255 4 years ago
Quoted from Frax:

Oh, my bad then, I didn't realize Aurich and DMOD were the same damn person.

Shit, I didn't realize that either! Time to go question my whole existence.

(For the record I'm not anyone's mouthpiece, and no one tells me how to post. Back to lurking in this thread now I think.)

#262 4 years ago

Mike, ColorDMD exists, there's no reason to try and pretend no one on Pinside doesn't already know that, so I wouldn't worry about "advertising". It's a forum, we're just here to talk. I thumbed up Randy's post because I liked his attitude, "this isn't a race". Just let people make their projects, show what they have, and people can choose whatever feels right to them. I personally want whatever looks best in my games.

Like, I've posted before that I'm really excited about ColorDMD's Metallica. That's because I know the guy doing the coloring, I play in league with him, and his day job is doing graphics for a game company and he's big on getting details right. But if he makes some choices that I don't agree with then just knowing him doesn't really mean anything. The end result is what's important.

The coloring process takes a lot of time to do right, and it's why I haven't done one. Or we'd have a color Shadow by now. I simply don't have the time to dedicate to something like that. For any company.

If we meet I'll have to pass on the beer, I'm gluten free (celiac), but make it a Manhattan and you're on! Also, I know it's a totally weird name, but it's Aurich. Sounds like Oric. I post under my real name.

#270 4 years ago
Quoted from boogies:

I hope this project continues. I believe competion leads to better products, more variety, and better pricing.

I agree with the products and variety part. Not sure the pricing part really works though.

Easy example: JJP coming in definitely seemed to make Stern step up their game, I think it was a win for pinball. I think we can all agree prices definitely didn't come down, and Jack's pricing model might have actually accelerated Stern raising prices.

Obviously people love paying less money for things. But I think lowering prices can be a dangerous game. You chase the bottom line down too far and ultimately things can suffer. I know how much work the ColorDMD stuff is, not just coloring the games (though that's a ton of work) and not just assembling and shipping and figuring out brackets and doing booths at shows etc (ton of work there too) but also just developing the platform itself. They're still working on it, constantly improving things. Custom hardware, custom software.

When we just keep demanding they sell it for cheaper, with a product that frankly sells out every time and has a limited audience as far as growth goes, we risk killing the incentive to keep doing all that work. You reach a point where it's just not worth the time anymore.

As a mod maker I'm really conscious of what having these "second job" companies is like. I couldn't support myself going full time, and I wouldn't want to, it would be a lot more stress and a lot less fun to even try. But my free time is a precious thing. I have to charge for it to be able to justify it. Otherwise it just becomes something I dread doing, and I won't want to do another project. And then I think everyone loses.

Only you can decide if something is worth buying. But I think we should pay the prices things are worth, and support the small businesses that make this hobby even better.

/off soap box

#299 4 years ago
Quoted from snakesnsparklers:

ColorDMD is nothing but a money grab company, they are scared of competition so people won't keep happily overpaying for their overpriced product.
SmartDMD to the rescue of the pinball community!

aww-why-dont-you-cry-about-it.jpg

#303 4 years ago
Quoted from Drewblood419:

if it's a game may have already done tweak it how I want has me leaning towards a smartDMD

Please correct me if I'm wrong Mike, but I believe that you cannot change the coloring of a game that you purchase already colored, it's locked down. So in that sense both products are the same.

But if someone were to color a game themselves they could share the file with you and you could run it on the SmartDMD hardware. If I'm understanding it right.

4 weeks later
#363 4 years ago

Mike, can you clarify this new system? If I were to buy say ACDC specific, it would be $330. Then say I want to move it over to Metallica later. At that point I pay $50 to "unlock" Metallica and I can move my screen over there?

If I want to move it back to ACDC will I be able to go back? Do I get the ability to download that file from your site since I bought it with it?

#381 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballMikeD:

Also, it's worth noting that the ACDC SmartDMD will only work when the pinball machine is set to "Free Play" mode.

Wait, what? Seriously? Is that just ACDC for some reason, or is that a limitation on every game? This is the first I've heard of this, what happens if you set it back to coin?

#382 4 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Mike, can you clarify this new system? If I were to buy say ACDC specific, it would be $330. Then say I want to move it over to Metallica later. At that point I pay $50 to "unlock" Metallica and I can move my screen over there?
If I want to move it back to ACDC will I be able to go back? Do I get the ability to download that file from your site since I bought it with it?

Also, you never answered my question from earlier, so asking again. Do I have it right? Thanks!

#386 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballMikeD:

Why would you move an ACDC SmartDMD kit over to a Metallica and then re-install it in ACDC?

People move their ColorDMDs around all the time. Move it over to the newly supported machine, move it back when you sell it, etc. I'm not trying to compare the two, just saying that it's an established use case in the market is all.

So just curious how that would work since you announced the pricing for "switching" a display to a new game. Can you switch back if you wanted to? Since you've already bought the first one? I don't know how your DRM is set up (I assume you're using DRM).

#394 4 years ago
Quoted from PinballMikeD:

We received numerous requests from existing SmartDMD users, asking for the opportunity to purchase our color files independently from our kits. These are the guys that built their own SmartDMD systems. They are the original beta testers that helped make Pinball Browser what it is today. It didn't seem right to make them buy hardware they already owned. This is the reason we decided to sell the color files independently.

Anyway, I now understand your question. Yes, if you buy an ACDC SmartDMD kit and move it to another game you can always move it back. I've always sold my pins with the MODs included, so that is a new concept for me.

Ah, that makes more sense now, thanks.

#403 4 years ago

If you're on a Mac (I am) you just can't natively run the software to edit things. But you just have to load the rom on a USB stick like any normal update, so that part won't matter a bit in OS X.

You just lose out on any of the customization functionality. That's Windows only. So you'll need to have some kind of VM solution to use it.

As I understand it at least, since I haven't used it.

#408 4 years ago

Mike, maybe you already know this, but there are two styles of mounting on the new angled speaker panels, they changed it after Mustang I think, so might want to be sure you're testing your fit for both.

#417 4 years ago

Doug's the one who gave me the heads up on the speaker panel changes, though it doesn't seem to affect the outside, which is all I've had to worry about.

1 week later
#486 4 years ago

Mike if you can find the frame from that GIF I made with the girls I'm happy to update my comparison graphic, because I see that you've added dirt etc. Trying to keep things fair, but it's hard to keep up!

Also, can you confirm something so I have my facts right: I totally get the palette swapping idea, your pictures above make it really clear. And I get changing the dot mask and upscaling too.

But you can't go in and edit the individual dots on your releases right? They're closed to that level of editing, aside from the customization features you allow. Do I have that right? It's what I've been saying, but people weren't sure I was right, so just want to make sure I'm getting that correct so I'm not misleading anyone.

Like stupid example: If I bought your ACDC release and wanted the 666 numbers on the sign to be blue, then orange, then brown, each one a different color, you can't change that. You can only change the single color that they already are.

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