(Topic ID: 333718)

Retrofit vintage machines with "Ball Save"?

By c_leez

1 year ago


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  • 20 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by KenH
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    #1 1 year ago

    Hello Pinside members,
    I have become quite found of the "Ball Save" (Auto Save) option on newer pins, this made me wonder if anyone has discussed retrofitting vintage or older machines with a kickback option?

    Best regards

    #3 1 year ago

    Some people are updating older game code and adding more things....almost always it's not needed and not an improvement.
    Some games have them and some don't; learn to enjoy the diff'rences.

    #4 1 year ago

    I have a Gottlieb Volcano (1981). This came factory with a ball-save, but you have to earn it by hitting a specific drop target first. I am good with such things as they are.

    #5 1 year ago

    It's something that would have to be introduced in the game code...which probably won't happen.

    TAF could use it, IMHO.

    #6 1 year ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    It's something that would have to be introduced in the game code...which probably won't happen.
    TAF could use it, IMHO.

    Addams is the worst

    #7 1 year ago

    What do you mean by ball save/auto save and kickback? Kickback is normally referred to outlane coil that kicks the ball back into play when you are about to drain in outlane. Ball save is a feature where you get your ball back if you drain shortly after plunging ball into play, or at start of multiball or special modes. Classic games (and addams family) usually have a ball save if you don't hit any switches. Many classic games have gates that open and close the outlanes saving you from draining just like a kickback.

    #9 1 year ago
    Quoted from switch3:

    Kickback is normally referred to outlane coil that kicks the ball back into play when you are about to drain in outlane. Ball save is a feature where you get your ball back if you drain shortly after plunging ball into play...

    I don't believe the terminology is that clear-cut.

    I have a stock Gottlieb Volcano (1981). On this game, there is an outlane coil that kicks the ball back into play. However, "BALL-SAVE" is painted on the playfield's outlane, and the speech board says "Ball Save" whenever it's activated.

    Screen Shot 2023-03-23 at 11.27.00 AM (resized).pngScreen Shot 2023-03-23 at 11.27.00 AM (resized).png

    #10 1 year ago
    Quoted from sparky672:

    I don't believe the terminology is that clear-cut.

    It never is. Kickbacks are also front facing like F14/JP/GOT etc.

    #11 1 year ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    It's something that would have to be introduced in the game code...which probably won't happen.
    TAF could use it, IMHO.

    If you hit nothing, you get the ball back. Play worse.

    #12 1 year ago

    Do what you want with your game but I hate this! Played Totem with that garbage ball save crap, wanted to walk away. Just play the games as they were designed, that is why they are cool. Buy new games if you want ball save, they all have it.
    B

    #13 1 year ago

    The ni wumpf design is nice if one wants to add this feature. I do agree addams, funhouse and a few others would benefit.

    #14 1 year ago

    Well at a certain point Lawlor decided he didn't want them, so I feel like it's hard to change it.
    TZ added it in 9.2...was that even an official update or after like Home ROMS?
    RBION had one but it was replaced with some sort of switch validation

    1 week later
    #15 1 year ago

    TAF is pretty damn unforgiving. Teaches you to play better and nudge.

    #16 1 year ago

    On the 70's - 80's Bally games, there is a Game Time Audit routine that is pretty useless IMO, and could be rewritten to do a ball save thing and be configured through the audit/diagnostics menu.

    #17 1 year ago
    Quoted from KenH:

    On the 70's - 80's Bally games, there is a Game Time Audit routine that is pretty useless IMO, and could be rewritten to do a ball save thing and be configured through the audit/diagnostics menu.

    I believe that audit is intended so that operators could tell how much use the game got on a time basis vs. just on a games played basis.

    Unfortunately, from the backend software perspective, it counts by the minute, not by the second, so unless you want a ball save that's a minute long, it's not really going to work if you're watching it go from minute to minute. There are better ways to do this, and all of them require disassembling and understanding of the code first.

    #18 1 year ago

    I would just use that ROM space and memory values it used for the ball save feature and totally overwrite the time keeping audit. Knowing those memory values were reserved for the timekeeping audit, I'd know I wasn't screwing something else up. I'd have to experiment a lot to figure out how to ball save for say 10 seconds after launch (set a counter and decrement it, and keep checking it till it hits zero). If the ball is drained and counter has not gone to zero yet, return the ball and decrement the ball counter aka like a shoot again feature -- I'd light that light while the counter is > 0. You'd only want it active once per ball though, so you'd need another memory location to keep track of that too, and I'm not sure if that audit used that many memory locations. But there are a whole bunch of useless audits you could hijack if you needed more memory.

    Adding to the menu is easy. I've already done stuff like that for freeplay and score display options adjustable from the front door button. And I'm pretty sure you are the guy that helped me get started years ago

    Its fun to think about, and would be kinda cool, but I imagine there would be unforeseen problems once you get into it.

    Quoted from slochar:

    There are better ways to do this, and all of them require disassembling and understanding of the code first.

    I wish Bally or Planetary or whoever owns the source code these days would let it go open source.

    #19 1 year ago
    Quoted from KenH:

    And I'm pretty sure you are the guy that helped me get started years ago

    If it was spyhunter probably.

    The audit takes up 7 nibbles in nvram. The counter takes up 2 bytes in u7 6810 ram.

    Quoted from KenH:

    I wish Bally or Planetary or whoever owns the source code these days would let it go open source.

    Probably won't happen. The people that bought the archival source code packages way back when (couple years ago?), the source code you'd THINK was in great shape and really explanatory.... nope. Ram was very expensive in 1976-1983 etc. so they kept comments to a minimum, and they were more for their reference vs. someone else coming in and doing anything. All the source code I've seen from that era is pretty much useless, as you usually want to know the intent behind the code, not what it's doing literally.... that you can see plain as day from pinmame already.

    #$1C20 is the one minute timer, so $04b0 gets you 10 seconds. It's even nice in that the timer doesn't start until the playfield is validated..... so you should be able to do this relatively easily.

    Ball drain with timer active=relaunch, otherwise, don't. I guess you'd have to pause the timer etc. or just give one ball save.... but eliminating the game timer is pretty easy.

    Now, how accurate that timer is might be an issue, but lots of games that do have ball savers aren't sticklers for the time it's active, for the same reason this one wouldn't be active - it takes place in the zero cross interrupt, which has a tiny bit of variability. (not much, but you wouldn't depend on the way it works now for a real-time situation.... which pinball isn't.)

    #20 1 year ago
    Quoted from slochar:

    If it was spyhunter probably.

    Yes. Although I'm nowhere near your level (I'm not sure anyone is), I think you'd be proud of me. I rewrote all those routines, overwrote/bypassed a bunch of audits I didn't need, and added the features I wanted configurable from the front door menu. I coded a set of ROMs that automatically reloads the replay scores when the memory cap fails. I coded a U6 that can be used on any game using the SpyHunter OS, that has freeplay and score display options and works with the original U2 (I had to simply the checksum routine--more along the lines of what Stern did). I made ROMs that display the replay and HSTD values during the game after each ball drains.

    I rewrote my code hacker program so it works in Linux now, and can use either the DOS assembler or the Linux (AS0) one.

    Quoted from slochar:

    The audit takes up 7 nibbles in nvram. The counter takes up 2 bytes in u7 6810 ram.

    That's probably more than enough to do a simple ball save feature. And I don't think inaccurate timing would be a problem. As long as you get a few seconds or so. Hey, without the feature you get zip, zero, nada.

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