Hi Burningman. Should we be expecting another NSNL very soon?
Thanks for that response Burningman! I am excited to see the update. One thing that you might be able to answer. Will there be different shipping options in the US for delivery and installation, e.g. Transfer up second floor and full install?
Quoted from rubberducks:
Little report from factory visit:
#78 is the highest numbered finished boxed up game.
20 of them done, waiting for shipment.
Unfortunately all of them have to be depacked again as faults were detected on test samples of the latest batch of one of the boards, so they're checking all of them. Probably more of a pain in the arse than a major delay.
In my view it's highly unlikely any other companies in pinball would do this, or that any (save maybe for JJP - big maybe) would even detect a batch of PCBs with a minor fault after initial production, in the first place, before shipping them.
#92 is the highest number currently in production.
ARA are at a cadence of ~8 per week now. They've told DP that they think they can do up to 20 per week once they're fully up to speed. They're obviously picking up pace.
They have climate, wear and mechanical testing rigs set up in house. As the previous factory visit reported, all the bespoke PCBs can be designed, prototyped, tested and produced in-house ... which has to be a huge asset.
All machines are properly tested (technical and play) before they go out.
Still continually refining TBL in terms of assembly procedure, setup, and revising the odd part.
To put an end to the Pinside rumours, licensing is NOT an issue for TBL. The run of 300 has not yet been extended, because the contract with their manufacturing partner ARA is for 300, and it or a new one has to be negotiated. Nor are they quitting after TBL ... they're working on game #2 and have plenty more ideas. They wouldn't comment, but I feel like it may not be THAT long before we hear or see something, given the glint in their eyes. Guess it depends on how long they intend to produce TBL for.
Both Dutch Pinball and ARA seem very well organised, and far more professional than any other operations I've seen or heard of. I mean that both in the general sense, and that they are all professionals with expertise. Specific tasks are all delegated to those with the most relevant skills, experience and qualification, and the means and tools for them to do their jobs as well as possible are provided. That goes for everything from art, to code, to parts ordering, to software, to human resources. There's instruction and oversight at every stage of production, and protocol arranged to deal with failures. It's a typical example of studied, modern, lean production and management ... rather than the rather old fashioned, inefficient or chaotic garden shed like archetypes that tend to otherwise be associated with the industry.
They're happy to show anything in the production facility and have photos taken, no NDAs or no requests for keeping mum about anything. They happily answered any questions (save for timing or theme of game #2) all afternoon and night, including anything probing, inviting any scepticism or critique, including from customers who already had games and had parts fail ... indeed some of them left with bags of newly revised bits. Didn't seem like they wanted to brush anything under the rug or deflect. Nothing any of the staff said whilst I was there appeared optimistic or exaggerated (besides Jaap's personality ) and all of them seemed like realists. On the face of what I saw, heard and their demeanour, I'd be far more confident about ordering a NIB machine from them than anyone else, and them then standing behind their product.
Some of the stuff they use is of immensely higher quality and greater expense than other manufacturers. Two things that really stood out most were the backglass and bowling mech. The glass is 5mm thick and looks like bullet proof glass. It's ridiculously heavy, so much so they had to change the plastic guide it sits in as it kept breaking, and extremely solid. Thickness is so it can be bottom lit with LEDs and diffuse light through the panel. The bowling mech - it's even bigger and more industrial looking than it seems in photos, and surely the most expensive toy there's ever been or perhaps will be in pinball. But talking of cost, Jaap talked quite a bit about bill of materials, and efficiency. I strongly suspect TBL isn't as unaffordably costly to DP as many would think (or I suspected). The whole enterprise seems to be put together with a view to sustainability. But at the same time, Jaap and Barry clearly don't need to do this or aren't counting on it making them squillions; love of pinball does really seem to be the primary motivation, rather than a PR soundbite.
Without exception, the staff were friendly and informed.
They're looking at offering a high resolution mode on the LCD - default and only choice is a simulated dot matrix at the moment. Was a conscious decision to go with the latter, but they realise some would prefer it without. I certainly would given how many movie clips there are. A lot of colour and contrast are lost, and with the playfield and lights being so colourful, I think the ability to disable dots would make it a lot more eye catching.
Plenty more code planned. Though no exact ETA for next update. Wifi is ready to go now.
The product's finish, fit, feel and construction screams high quality. Stern, Heighway and Spooky aren't in the same universe. JJP are a bit different but definitely on the same planet, however I don't think they have anything like such stringent quality control and production procedure, and from what I've observed there will be a lot more variance and simple assembly errors & issues, or damage incurred in build or transit.
Was my first time playing. Lit up, the playfield looks prettier than any other. Shots all feel REALLY smooth, and most if not easy are immediately intuitive ... there doesn't seem to be any weird or potentially badly calculated geometry, unlike a lot of recent modern machines. I feel like the game would work whether flat as a pancake or raked as steeply as possible. Flipper feel seems excellent, though they use SuperBands as stock, which whilst I know many like them, I hate and would have to change - wish they'd use Titan Silicon. Sound design is good, and the low paced music wasn't an issue at all for me (I felt it might be). I liked that there are plenty of increments in adjustments for things like slingshots ... competitors typically offer few, in the games they do allow it. I think it will really benefit from code expansions in future, as it does still feel like such a rich game isn't yet making as much use of all its features as it can.
Don't know if I'll end up with one or not yet, probably depends on how large the run is and European pricing, as the theme has never been a huge attention grabber for me (sorry fans). But I do await their future titles with far more anticipation than anything else ... that and installing my BoP 2.0 kit.
P.S. Sorry for 1000 edits ... on tablet.
I want to say as a TBL #75 owner a BIG thanks Rubberducks for that update! Also glad that DP is taking the time to investigate the boards before shipping. Hearing how DP is handling the manufacturing (much more modern than Stern) is making me more confident that they will gain my respect and my interest for DP Game #2.
Rubberducks, did the DP team give any indication if Game 2 would be a preorder or a "the game is done and buy it now" scenario? I am guessing that DP wont show the game until after the Preorders for TBL are finalized. I am estimating that that could be as early as than a year from production before March. The Texas Pinball would be a good time to make a splash. Perhaps a hint ala the TBL marketing could happen earlier though ... near the 3 year anninversary of the TBL official announcement (12/27/13) or after all Preorders are completed
Has anyone else, other than Bemmett, heard back from Barry or Jaap by email? I messaged them this week and so far no response. I'm hoping that everyone is working extra/ busy to get new boards in and tested for release
Quoted from MrBally:
Well then, that's PROOF POSITIVE for me..... Just like it was going to be at Pinball Expo in Chicago last October.
He wasn't in Chicago cause he had a busted up hand and underwent surgery on it. There were photos of him in hospital on Facebook site. I'm not happy about the situation but I wanted to point out facts.
Quoted from Nilroc:
I hope some of the EA's are able to get to the TPF and talk to Jaap and see and hear what he has to say.
Hopefully the information presented by Jaap will calm down all the unnecessary speculation that is being posted on this thread. It's all very undude like.
I will be there at TPF.
Based on my conversation do not expect any good news on TBL. Lawyers are involved and DP is focusing on BOP 3 with new CM. Want your deposit back ... sorry can't do that. Want ARA to give you your game sitting in the wharehouse for extra $ ... sorry they don't have rights to do that only DP does. Based on what I was told it truly is a clusterfrack.
Is anyone else here at Pinside from the Achievers and attending the 3pm talk? Prepping followup questions.
I will have my phone with me and do my best. I have to reality that I may never see this pin. That sucks but if it does then I will only be surprised.
Here is a far out idea. I'm in this mess with you all but I was tired of being upset. My sense is that DP and ARA are emotionally pissed with each other, it is personal, and a burnt bridge has occurred. We all have heard the details and that path would likely just lead to legal efforts. My suggestion is to pursue a different pathway. We need a win win for all parties. My proposal is that we get ARA to release the 40+ games and parts through a joint effort on all three parties (ARA, DP, and Achievers). What if we turn this Shi% sandwhich into something positive by contributing cost differences for the 40+ machines to a Charity, e.g. Dutch Cancer Society, Childrens Hospital, or a choice of the CEO in conflict with DP. I would be willing to pay up money. Achievers have to pony up a bit more ($<1000) but get their games, DP ponies up a bit but gets parts for non ARA manufacturing. ARA gets positive publicity from donation effort and good will as a business and a tax write off.
I don't know, you may scoff at this thought but I was tired of being down/depressed and wanted to think of another more positive way. Take a conflict and redirect it to turn it into helping others less fortunate.
Thanks Rarehero. I did email Jaap/Barry about this idea as well since it would have to involve all parties. I can see how they repsonnd first. I think a fund could be created somehow to donate to. That would be a detail post and agreement on DP and ARA ends. I did not think through details enough but wanted to pitch it if this even had legs. I think turning it to something positive can make all parties feel good, even if not fully satisfied, plus we help people/children that are in bad health.
Thanks for your input Levi. I do not 100% believe that it is a possibility am just trying to make suggestions that might lead to a positive outcome for those actually with a vested interest. I personally don't see BOP 3.0 working out and I don't want to wait 3-5 yrs for lawyers to figure it out. I don't know if you are in on a TBL. Are you? More than willing to hear some other ideas that could actually create a positive outcome.
Wasn't the 51% ownership one of the original sticky points that was stated back in March. I get the feeling that this has come back full circle? I hope not.
I actually think DP should realize that a vested ARA manufacturer is their best option. I just don't see them redoing this with anyone else. Trying to stay positive
I am sure that DP does not like the demand of 51% but DP is really not much of anything anymore. They need to get over the bitter pill and swallow it if it allows them to be involved in Pinball design and production. If they cancel the deal with ARA over this then they need a clear and viable option2 for owners or they will face a whole bunch of other issues. No BOP2 LE option! Again, 100% of a concept gets them nowhere.
I really hope Jaap and Barry realize this and do not shoot themselves in the foot.
DP needs to think hard about this. I get that they are upset about losing control but as Rarehero said, what was possible/the dream in 2014 has evaporated in 2017. Pros/Cons seem obvious...
They could dump the deal:
Pros - They own 100% of DP and a couple handfuls of people happy with a TBL.
Cons: No software support going forward nor any hardware support for the 40+ owners. They will also have hundreds of people pissed off
that they lost thousands of dollars and looking for legal means to find resolution. A big headache and potential financial loss for them.
They accept the deal:
Pros: Customers happy, More DP Pinball customers. Reputation restored. More DP Games for the FUN of Pinball. No headache with Manufacturing
Cons: DP lose control and maybe some independence.
It seems like a no brainer to me. IF DP's ultimate goal was to design/make Pinball machines and have fun then that is still possible. The vision / scope much change... They must adapt. Sometimes you have two shit sandwiches and have to pick one. This all comes down to how pragmatic DP is and if Egos can be checked at the door. They are in a hole and a rope is being dangled....
If they dump a deal over pride and ego with no immediate backup plan .... then they are fools.
Well, I get that it might be a holiday weekend but DP did say, "We will send out another update next week". I hope they stick to their improved messaging of weekly emails. I do suspect though that it would be no positive news. If the ball is in DPs hands then I am wondering what is taking so much time for the decision. I am curious if they are allowed time to assess the potential for better deals with other manufacturers,e.g. the company that they spoke to for BoP3.0.
We don’t have any special news this week. Because of the Ascension Holiday a lot of people take a short break in the Netherlands (including Jaap). We will have more news next week!
Thanks for your patience.
We will send out another update next week.
Barry (& Jaap)
I actually smiled for the first time in months while reading this thread. Getting happy, cautiously optimistic. Keep up the weekly Updates DP!
My email response from DP today was that an update would be sent out on Monday this week.
I hope there is still an update today... maybe some photos of pinball machines being assembled
I hear that there will be a TBL at Cointakers booth but I suspect that is the original one they had from past shows. I am hoping that DP will have a presentation focused on the beginning of production with the new contact manufacturer, e.g. photos of engineering samples in process.
In talking with Jaap my impression was a blend of new buyers and original achievers. My impression from them was that something will be given to the achievers as thanks for their patience.
DP previously said the next update would be mid December after Barrry returns from China and updating on the status of the Production builds.
Yes - I heard from good source that it will actually be next week for update. I was just being hopeful for today
Well Alien/Heighway is dead so I’m hoping that my other grailpin TBL still survives the preorder curse from 2014. I have seen comments by people in the know that things may be going forward now with TBL, new investor for cash flow for manufacturing. Anyone hear if manufacturing has actually begun? The first sign would be a big order of parts, which I would guess come from PInball Life.
It would be in the best interest of everyone if the DP guys started up regular email NSNL updates starting this month. This whole HP cluster frack just reinforces the concerns. They have always been there and the implementation of consistent brief communications will be a powerful tool for confidence building if this truly is going forward. It’s been only 6 months since the Xytech announcement and pinball production is complicated, so some delay is not surprising, But just keep us updated. Like is that contract to start production signed?
It’s been a month and an update is due. Based on last update the papers should be signed, production should have begun, and parts being assembled for at least subassemblies. Anything less than that makes me think that it will not happen.
I had a dream that I woke up on Friday and saw a new positive DP post .... "DP is proud to finally announce that the production of The Big Lebowski with our partners in Xytech Module Technologies has officially begun. How many days are left before production begins ... "Mark it zero". We are excited to share with you the photos of the initial TBL cabinets, sub-assemblies that are in process, and testing of initial machines by the Chinese Xytech production staff. We cannot state exactly when "everyone" will get their exact machine however we want to share with you our plan to both provide Early Achievers and newer customers with TBL machines. The delivery of the first 30 pinball machines will consist of a ratio of 10 machines for Achievers and 20 for new buyers. The next delivery of 50 machines will be split at a ratio of 1 and this will continue until all of the remaining Early Achievers have received their machine. We understand that the split between preorders and new buyers might create some consternation and are rewarding preorderers with a set of custom miniature Brunswick bowling balls to mod your TBL, and a set of spare TBL plastics, and custom coindoor key chain FOBs. Additionally, all new TBLs will be shipping with code update 1.0 which will include the exciting new wizard mode (Viva Las Vegas!!!) and additional updates and tweaks to the software code. This code update will also be provided to existing TBL owners when the first new games began shipping in 2 weeks from today. This has been an incredible and sometime difficult journey and the entire team wants to extend Thanks everyone involved and who ordered this game".... I can only hope that reality is somewhat close to that ... but my hope is razor thin ;-/
Proof of existence. That is what is needed. Documented Proof ....
Pictures of production area and parts, Engineering sample 4 being tested, documentation for contacts, etc. if they have no new news then give us more proof of what was stated in words. Sorry but post HP words are not enough.
So what the f??& would Ara do with the 40 hostage units sitting in their warehouse. If they win then they should be released to customers.
So this seems like those 40ish boxed up units could be freed up either way. DP wins and could get access to them at original rate. ARA wins and DP pays at new rate and games get released. I have a hijacked game so just trying to see some potential closure on this.
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