(Topic ID: 203829)

Smaller balls for more varied and intricate playfields?


By westofrome

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 15 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by TaylorVA
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    24745-family-guy-pinball-machine-stewies-mini-pinball.jpg

    #1 1 year ago

    One of the things that bug me about pinball these days is the sameness of the designs. The cabs are almost always the same dimensions, sometimes widebodies. We tend to see the same layouts again and again with little variation. A single lower pop bumper is a huge anomaly and cause for commotion.

    One idea to mix it up would be to vary the balls - an iteration of the Powerball concept. This could be in the form of:
    1) Smaller ball (1/2 or 3/4 scale) to allow for more and tighter shots and unique playfield designs. Sort of the opposite of Hercules.
    2) Mix up standard, power, and mini balls in multiballs or in different modes

    Thoughts?

    #2 1 year ago

    Speed increases way too fast when you go smaller. That's the only problem. It would probably work with a very open layout with far away ramps and nothing too close by, but otherwise it doesn't lend to more interesting design choices. I think the current size really allows the optimal footprint vs speed. Larger, and there would be no way to move it around (Hercules).

    I actually tried messing around with 3/4 size bearings on a piece of MDF with some flipper assemblies attached while entertaining the idea of an arduino based pitch and batt. Needless to say, it didn't work well at that size, and I abandoned it shortly after that initial test, since the entire PF was built around the concept of that size ball.

    But I hear you on sameness. No real innovation going on. But that is what people like and what sells. We won't see further innovation in pinball PF layouts/size probably because these aren't 99% in arcades generating large profits anymore where innovation could put a leg up on the competition for quarters.

    #3 1 year ago

    When i got my spirit it had 2 one inch balls in it and one 1+1/16 inch ball. Took me a while to realize, and even after I did I didn't change it right away. Was interesting to play taking the size into account, how it changed your shots and bounces, etc.

    I wonder if using a one inch ball would allow you to make your shots slightly smaller enough that you could fit an extra one on the playfield?

    #4 1 year ago
    Quoted from thedefog:

    Speed increases way too fast when you go smaller. That's the only problem. It would probably work with a very open layout with far away ramps and nothing too close by, but otherwise it doesn't lend to more interesting design choices. I think the current size really allows the optimal footprint vs speed. Larger, and there would be no way to move it around (Hercules).

    Interesting, but isn't speed also primarily a function of weight? If you had 3/4 balls with the same weight as a standard, would that make it more tenable?

    #5 1 year ago

    a 3/4" ball would have to be made from a material 4x the density of steel to keep the same weight as a 1.062" ball.

    Not sure what that material would be....

    #6 1 year ago
    Quoted from westofrome:

    Interesting, but isn't speed also primarily a function of weight? If you had 3/4 balls with the same weight as a standard, would that make it more tenable?

    Good question. It would definitely make for more destruction though having that more concentrated mass.

    Crazy part would be that every standardized part we know of in pinball would have to be tweaked with a ball size change. There would be so much retooling to do and customized tweaks to parts that I think it would instantly blow the budget of any company trying to produce mass quantities. But I am talking out my ass here because I don't run a pinball factory.

    #7 1 year ago
    Quoted from BobLangelius:

    a 3/4" ball would have to be made from a material 4x the density of steel to keep the same weight as a 1.062" ball.
    Not sure what that material would be....

    Tungsten would probably be the closest actually obtainable thing, but even it is only like 2.5x the density of steel.

    Other denser of the metals would be Gold, Platinum, Iridium, Osmium, Platinum, Rhenium. Either not possible or too damn expensive. Just looking at periodic table here.

    amazon.com link »

    That's a spicy meatball

    #8 1 year ago
    Quoted from thedefog:

    Tungsten would probably be the closest actually obtainable thing, but even it is only like 2.5x the density of steel.
    Other denser of the metals would be Gold, Platinum, Iridium, Osmium, Platinum, Rhenium. Either not possible or too damn expensive. Just looking at periodic table here.
    amazon.com link »
    That's a spicy meatball

    I assume steel is mostly Iron, no? Could go Lead balls?

    Why not Uranium?

    #9 1 year ago

    Unobtainium.

    #10 1 year ago

    If a person wants to see and play uniqueness and direct innovation in pinball, look to the past.
    This includes use of different types/sizes of pinballs, game ball directional control, and playfield design.

    It only required a bit of research and reflection.

    Banzai Run is a direct example.
    It defines many of the aspects the OP described in request.
    What something a bit more creative with a pinball?
    Give Strange Science a go with its Atom Smasher and Anti Gravity ramp, and that was not a first either.
    A few games just in the last 40 years, not considering firsts in the early solid state, late EM, and woodrail ages.

    Even use of the "Stewie Ball" mini playfield (Family Guy, 2007) was a partial recreation of games that came before this specific title, but it was implemented well.

    24745-family-guy-pinball-machine-stewies-mini-pinball.jpg

    #11 1 year ago
    Quoted from BobLangelius:

    a 3/4" ball would have to be made from a material 4x the density of steel to keep the same weight as a 1.062" ball.
    Not sure what that material would be....

    think more outside of the box, change the gravity!

    #12 1 year ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    If a person wants to see uniqueness and direct innovation in pinball, look to the past.

    Quoted from westofrome:

    One of the things that bug me about pinball these days...

    #13 1 year ago

    Bally Truck Stop used 1" balls:

    "Due to an engineering mistake during design, the wireforms in the upper part of the playfield were smaller than normal, causing the balls to get stuck in them. The workaround was to replace the standard 1¼" balls with smaller ones, making this one of only two pinball games to use 1" balls."

    #14 1 year ago

    "making this one of only two pinball games to use 1" balls."

    Which was the other then ?

    About the FG mini playfield, I remember reading an interview with Pat Lawlor that he spent a lot of time working on it to get it right so it feels like regular pinball.

    Imo going to a 1 inch pinball could be done and probably is the only reasonable way to do it. Lot of playfield parts can still be the used (or be changed later).
    If you go much smaller then it's a total redesign of every part without knowing if it will still feel right.

    I do find that parts like popbumpers are (too) large. The typical setup of 3 bumpers takes up a large part of the playfield. On electromechanical games this didn't matter as they usually didn't have a lot of other assemblies to fill the playfield, but nowadays they could replace it by smaller popbumper assemblies to make room.

    #15 1 year ago

    I used smaller balls in my Safecracker and it affected the play in a negative way to lead me to remove them. The balls were too quick and would inhbit the lock coil from kicking in time.

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