(Topic ID: 269190)

Stars 2020 - new code for Stern Stars (1978)


By DickHamill

11 months ago

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  • 437 posts
  • 58 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 days ago by DickHamill
  • Topic is favorited by 79 Pinsiders

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  • Stars Stern Electronics, 1978

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There are 437 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 9.
59
#1 11 months ago

I've written all new code for Stern Stars and implemented that code by replacing the M6800 processor on the MPU with a daughter card plugged into J5 of the MPU100. The new code features deeper goals, free play, multiple brightness levels for lamps, scores up to 4 billion, and a wizard mode awarded for completing the three major goals of the game.

The hardware build (less than $20) and game features are documented here:
http://ikehamill.com/stars2020/
(full code & up-to-date project details here: https://github.com/BallySternOS)

Here's a video of the Wizard Mode (which demonstrates a lot of the game's features):

I've also overhauled the self test, audits, and parameter control available through the switch in the coin box:

During the process of updating these rules, I created a new Bally/Stern OS that can be used on Bally AS-2518-17, -35, and Stern MPU100 or 200 boards with the addition of a daughter card as described. Calling it a "daughter card" is actually a bit fancy--it's just an Arduino Nano plugged into J5. That whole process is documented here:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/replacing-the-m6800-in-a-stern-mpu100-with-an-arduino

The board takes a couple of hours to build and the parts are less than $20 (less than $10 if you buy supplies for more than 4 at a time). I'm hoping some people will give this mod a try on their Stars (it's easy to switch back and forth between the stock game and this mod) in order to get ideas for new features and potentially find bugs.
Stars with Arduino Closeup (resized).jpg

#2 11 months ago

Very cool. I've had this urge to 'hot rod' an older game like Stars for a while now (granted, in a slightly different direction - all RGB, kickin' audio) but this is awesome!

#3 11 months ago

epthegeek - sound is my next target for this game. Maybe re-do the lights later, but this first revision was focused on doing everything on stock hardware as much as possible.

#4 11 months ago

Awesome! I have been wondering for a while why more people don't do this instead of a full re-theme. Excellent work! Did you have to re-write the base code from the ground up and work from there or is this sort of "tacked on"?

#5 11 months ago

Very cool!!

#6 11 months ago

That looks really cool! Great job! I may have to give this a try on my Stars. Any recommendation on the best place to source the needed parts?

#7 11 months ago
Quoted from aeonblack:

I have been wondering for a while why more people don't do this instead of a full re-theme.

Because people care more about theme and "assets" than gameplay. But I digress.

This thing is sweet.

#8 11 months ago

This is awesome!

#9 11 months ago

Will this work with an nvram.weebly replacement board?

#10 11 months ago
Quoted from yancy:

Because people care more about theme and "assets" than gameplay.

Shit. I got called out. haha.

/project is still awesome/amazing

#11 11 months ago

Badass! Well done. The fading of the insert lighting alone is so cool.

Seems weird to have such high scoring possible with only 6 digits to work with though. Sorry if it was implemented well. I haven’t been able to watch all of the videos.

#12 11 months ago
Quoted from aeonblack:

Awesome! I have been wondering for a while why more people don't do this instead of a full re-theme. Excellent work! Did you have to re-write the base code from the ground up and work from there or is this sort of "tacked on"?

This is a full re-write. I started with using an oscilloscope to get all the timing of the original Stern interrupt service routine and coded everything to that. I documented the whole reverse engineering here:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/replacing-the-m6800-in-a-stern-mpu100-with-an-arduino

#13 11 months ago
Quoted from MikeS:

That looks really cool! Great job! I may have to give this a try on my Stars. Any recommendation on the best place to source the needed parts?

I threw together a quick shopping list in another thread. You might find better sources for these...

Official Arduino Nano ($12.50)
amazon.com link »

Cheap Arduino knockoff x3 ($12.98) - needs CH340 driver for programming
amazon.com link »

0.1" 40-pin connector (40 pieces for $7.99)
amazon.com link »

32-pin Prototype PCB (2 pack for $9.99)
amazon.com link »

60-pin Prototype PCB (3 pack for $12.99)
amazon.com link »

Wire ($7.99)
amazon.com link »

I'm adding a picture of the parts needed for this mod.

Parts for Arduino Board (resized).jpg Added 11 months ago:

Correction: Don't purchase the "Arduino Nano Every" board based on the ATmega4809 chip. It doesn't allow fast direct port access. You need the cheaper Elegoo board or a Nano based on the ATmega328p chip.

#14 11 months ago
Quoted from Tsskinne:

Will this work with an nvram.weebly replacement board?

I have no idea! I glanced at that board and it looks like it's the same architecture, but I don't have any experience with it. The approach for a stock MPU100 is to pull the M6800 and plug into J5. This approach doesn't use any of the RAM/ROM chips on the MPU (just uses the internal memory of the Arduino), so you would lose access to all those images on the weebly while this was plugged in.

So... not sure, but maybe? Perhaps someone more experienced could answer this better.

#15 11 months ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

Badass! Well done. The fading of the insert lighting alone is so cool.
Seems weird to have such high scoring possible with only 6 digits to work with though. Sorry if it was implemented well. I haven’t been able to watch all of the videos.

The scrolling scores can be seen at this time:

#16 11 months ago

So cool. Again, well done!

#17 11 months ago

Well Done!!!!

#18 11 months ago
Quoted from DickHamill:

I have no idea! I glanced at that board and it looks like it's the same architecture, but I don't have any experience with it. The approach for a stock MPU100 is to pull the M6800 and plug into J5. This approach doesn't use any of the RAM/ROM chips on the MPU (just uses the internal memory of the Arduino), so you would lose access to all those images on the weebly while this was plugged in.
So... not sure, but maybe? Perhaps someone more experienced could answer this better.

No worries. I have an original board as well but I was just curious.

#19 11 months ago

This looks amazing. I might give this a try after my other projects are wrapped up. Thanks for the great documentation!

#20 11 months ago
Quoted from Tsskinne:

No worries. I have an original board as well but I was just curious.

It might work on the weebly but the timing might be slightly different. Andrew would know for sure.

Tom if you have a Stars you can try out my requires-a-weebly version of it that I wrote as proof of concept for a hybrid OS I made combining elements of Stern pigs and Williams' system 7, although there's definitely a bug in the special lighting routine I haven't been able to track down. (Sometimes the special lights when it shouldn't.... not a problem for home use, but for tournaments..... errrr.....) Either that or I have a lamp out and just don't realize it.... but sometimes at the start of a new ball it's lit, so can't be something simple like that.

I took it to 2 tournaments and no one noticed it wasn't custom software even though it has an attract mode that's completely different, although the person trying to set the dip switches was very confused as all the settings are done through the door.

I suppose it could be called "stars 2018"? I'll have to update my website that keeps track of all the custom versions out there with these new ones.

#21 11 months ago

Woah. Very cool. My Stars has just come off the market!

#22 11 months ago

nice!

#23 11 months ago
Quoted from slochar:

It might work on the weebly but the timing might be slightly different. Andrew would know for sure.
Tom if you have a Stars you can try out my requires-a-weebly version of it that I wrote as proof of concept for a hybrid OS I made combining elements of Stern pigs and Williams' system 7, although there's definitely a bug in the special lighting routine I haven't been able to track down. (Sometimes the special lights when it shouldn't.... not a problem for home use, but for tournaments..... errrr.....) Either that or I have a lamp out and just don't realize it.... but sometimes at the start of a new ball it's lit, so can't be something simple like that.
I took it to 2 tournaments and no one noticed it wasn't custom software even though it has an attract mode that's completely different, although the person trying to set the dip switches was very confused as all the settings are done through the door.
I suppose it could be called "stars 2018"? I'll have to update my website that keeps track of all the custom versions out there with these new ones.

I’ve got to get it out of storage but it just moved way up the list.

#24 11 months ago

is this a good arduino substitute? (seems to have the CH340 usb port so it can be programmed):

ebay.com link: MINI USB Nano V3 0 ATmega328P CH340G 5V 16M Micro controller board for Arduino

or
ebay.com link: MINI USB Nano V3 0 ATmega328P CH340G 5V 16M Micro controller board Arduino

or if you need four of them!
ebay.com link: 4X MINI USB Nano V3 0 ATmega328P CH340G 5V 16M Micro controller board Arduino

====

Here's the 40 pin connector kit if you prefer ebay (i don't use amazon):
ebay.com link: Honbay 40pcs 40 Pin Single Row Male and Female Pin Header Connector Kit PCB Pin

And i think this prototype board would work too:
ebay.com link: 10X Prototype PCB for Arduino Mega 2560 R3 Shield Board DIY Breadboard

====

Here's an interesting combo pack!
ebay.com link: ElectroCookie Arduino Prototype Shield Board Kit Stackable DIY Expansion PCB R3

i would like to construct an actual board that would make assembly easier (opposed to having wires going all over the place)....

comments?

#25 11 months ago

My buddy and I were going to work on his stars this weekend anyways, cool!

#26 11 months ago

This is amazing!

Only question... why not make a plug and play version and sell it?

#27 11 months ago

Nicely done!
Any Chance for Flight 2000 next?

#28 11 months ago

Could you make this work with something like a spark fun MP3 trigger for all new sounds? Would be sweet!

5FCDA2F2-8C18-4A57-8E76-39C9EB400A6B (resized).png
#29 11 months ago

Noice

12
#30 11 months ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

This is amazing!
Only question... why not make a plug and play version and sell it?

Whysnow - several people have asked that. There are a couple of reasons. Maybe they're not great reasons.
1) I'm not sure of the legality? I guess they're our machines and nobody can tell us how to mod them, but I don't know.
2) I've worked in hardware manufacturing before and I'm really not interested in doing that again. I love hobbies & pinball, but I would rather just share what I've learned and help other people do their own mods.
3) I would hate to sell something and then have something go wrong and burn up a solenoid or whatever, you know? I have hundreds of hours playing this software/hardware, but that's no guarantee.

If someone wants to make a PCB and populate it, be my guest. I'll support you however I can. If you want to sell it, that's cool too.

I'm pretty good at software, and I'm pretty good at coming up with rules. If someone wants a rewrite of another machine, hit me up. All you need to do is ship your machine to me for a month or so and I'll send it back with all new code.

(I'm just kidding, but I'm really not--I would seriously recode any machine for fun.)

I live in Maine. If you want to drive a machine up here, I'll work on it.

#31 11 months ago
Quoted from 29REO:

Could you make this work with something like a spark fun MP3 trigger for all new sounds? Would be sweet!
[quoted image]

29REO Yes, I'm already working on WavTrigger support. I believe that's the same-ish? I'm new to that hardware, but I have one I'm going to try hooking up in the next few days. It violates one of my original design rules (use only stock hardware) but whatever. Anyway, I'll post an update when I have modern sound working. The chimes aren't all that great.

#32 11 months ago
Quoted from DickHamill:

whysnow - several people have asked that. There are a couple of reasons. Maybe they're not great reasons.
1) I'm not sure of the legality? I guess they're our machines and nobody can tell us how to mod them, but I don't know.
2) I've worked in hardware manufacturing before and I'm really not interested in doing that again. I love hobbies & pinball, but I would rather just share what I've learned and help other people do their own mods.
3) I would hate to sell something and then have something go wrong and burn up a solenoid or whatever, you know? I have hundreds of hours playing this software/hardware, but that's no guarantee.
If someone wants to make a PCB and populate it, be my guest. I'll support you however I can. If you want to sell it, that's cool too.
I'm pretty good at software, and I'm pretty good at coming up with rules. If someone wants a rewrite of another machine, hit me up. All you need to do is ship your machine to me for a month or so and I'll send it back with all new code.
(I'm just kidding, but I'm really not--I would seriously recode any machine for fun.)
I live in Maine. If you want to drive a machine up here, I'll work on it.

Completely understand. Thanks for what you have done. Really cool.

If you lived closer, I would let you come borrow any and all of my classics. I have around 100 that could all have some fun rewriting to make them even better.

#33 11 months ago
Quoted from DickHamill:

The chimes aren't all that great.

Wooooaoaoaoaaatttttt

Never mind, have to reconsider my offer now

Stars chimes
Rock!

#34 11 months ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

Completely understand. Thanks for what you have done. Really cool.
If you lived closer, I would let you come borrow any and all of my classics. I have around 100 that could all have some fun rewriting to make them even better.

100? That's crazy.
100?
Do you happen to have a Bally Black Jack (1977)? That's the machine I started on tonight. I should have some code ready in a few days.

#35 11 months ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

Wooooaoaoaoaaatttttt
Never mind, have to reconsider my offer now
Stars chimes
Rock!

Maybe I should clarify -- the chimes on *my* Stars aren't all that great. I got the machine (broken) out of a basement a few months ago. I did what I could to resurrect the chime box, but they sound a little clanky.

#36 11 months ago
Quoted from DickHamill:

100? That's crazy.
100?
Do you happen to have a Bally Black Jack (1977)? That's the machine I started on tonight. I should have some code ready in a few days.

So funny. I have Stars, and I just sold my Bally Black Jack. If you come up with an interesting new rule set for Black Jack, I may reach out to the new owner and see if he wants to give it a try.

Nice work on Stars! I plan to take a look at this in a few months when my life slows down. I have a few projects in the works including a Rollergames that is in dire need of a playfield restore.

Keep up the good work!!!

#37 11 months ago
Quoted from DickHamill:

Maybe I should clarify -- the chimes on *my* Stars aren't all that great. I got the machine (broken) out of a basement a few months ago. I did what I could to resurrect the chime box, but they sound a little clanky.

Post# 3078 tells you all the parts you’ll need to rebuild your chime box. https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/price-check-1980-sterns-quicksilver-stargazer-seawitch?tq=Chime+&tu=

#38 11 months ago
Quoted from epthegeek:

Shit. I got called out. haha.

Whaaa? You care about gameplay, mister CCC with awesome code. And uh, rumor has it you might have a little something to do with Rick & Morty beyond theme & assets.

#39 11 months ago
Quoted from DickHamill:

100? That's crazy.
100?
Do you happen to have a Bally Black Jack (1977)? That's the machine I started on tonight. I should have some code ready in a few days.

no Black Jack but fun game.

I am not sure of total count TBT. We break ground on new place soon and will get them all in one place once that is done

#40 11 months ago

Following. Nice work!!

DickHamill - Do you have a Harlem Globetrotters On Tour in your collection to rewrite?

#41 11 months ago
Quoted from Ericpinballfan:

Nicely done!
Any Chance for Flight 2000 next?

Some really good stuff being done here:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/opening-flight-2000-new-software-up-to-the-community

#42 11 months ago

Can somebody please just give Lightning one teeny tiny little tweak to make the ball locks keep kicking the balls back out after multiball starts until a certain amount of time on the pf timer runs out like 10 or 15 seconds maybe? I mean come on, how long could that possibly take to write, ten minutes? I exaggerate of course because I was a COBOL programmer so if I attempted assembler it would take me 6 months.

#43 11 months ago

I can’t do the work, I’m the “plug&play” type. I’m a buyer if this (and the F2k) becomes my type.

#44 11 months ago

emsrph - No, I don't have a HGOT. Right now, I only have Stars & Black Jack. Working on Black Jack now.

#45 11 months ago

bkiefer I'll post Black Jack when I get the new rules going. I have some ideas that I think would be fun.

#46 11 months ago

Is there a novelty setting for the extra ball, WOW or special to score points for tournament play or just zero point option.

#47 11 months ago

I’ve been looking for one classic stern shooter. With this code update I would be a buyer if someone makes this happen. I can follow directions but would love it as plug n play as possible

#48 11 months ago

Same. And be able to easily go back to stock rules.

#49 11 months ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

Same. And be able to easily go back to stock rules.

I've been thinking about the stock rules... Right now, to go back to the stock rules you would have to pull this daughter card off of J5 and plug the M6800 IC back into U9.

Do people change out chips to change rulesets? Is that a common thing, or should there be an easier way?
I suppose I could implement the stock rules for the daughter card. Then, instead of swapping chips you would just plug a laptop into the Arduino and replace one codeset with another. That would definitely require less hardware messing-around, but it would be a chunk of effort and I'm not sure how useful it would be.

What does everyone else think?

#50 11 months ago
Quoted from DickHamill:

Do people change out chips to change rulesets? Is that a common thing, or should there be an easier way?

I have update code for big game and that’s what I currently do. Not the worst thing in the world if you have a proper chip puller. But not ideal either.

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