(Topic ID: 323915)

The Cat's Meow -- a new home ROM for Bad Cats

By idealjoker

1 year ago


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  • 393 posts
  • 47 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 15 days ago by Tuukka
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#251 4 months ago
Quoted from idealjoker:

TECH POST -- Debugging with PinMAME
PinMAME is a program that emulates the eletronics (not they physics) of Pinball hardware. It rocks, because it has a real debugger. When you start a game in PinMAME with the --debug option, you get a debugger window, which supports a bunch of different commands. With G (go) you continue execution of the game program where it was interrupted. On startup, this means booting the game. When you do this, the debugger window disappears and you get another window showing the alphanumeric game displays, in this case with the attract mode running. There's also a couple of grids showing the status of the switch and lamp matrices. Using the keyboard, you can toggle any of the playfield switches and also trigger the cabinet switches.
To start a game, you press the "Start Button" (number 1 key). But since there is no ball in the game you get "PINBALL MISSING" on the display. So, first you have to put a ball in the game, which you can do by closing the shooter-lane switch (W+H at the same time). Now a game can be started with the "1" key. To launch the ball, you press W+H again to toggle (open) the shooter-lane switch.
To reproduce the bug, I had to light the Jackpot and drain the ball immediately afterwards. The quickest way to light the JP is to drop the Bird drop targets 3 times with single targets. The PinMAME sequence for this is 6x R+A-S-D-F-G (3x drop and reset), followed by W+S (outhole). Now the game was blocked: the ball was in the outhole, but the bonus count did not start. The game continued with the lit-Jackpot music playing and with all switches working except for the outhole switch, which was dead. The only way to end the ball in this situation is to tilt (immediate end) or to score the Jackpot, in which case the bonus count would begin automatically after the JP had been scored.
However, I did not do end the game but interrupted it to enter the debugger. Since I had access to the entire memory I could inspect the (linked) list of threads that active ("running"). In the memory at $0089 there are two bytes of data that point to the data structure of the first element in this list. It contained the value $043C. At this address there are 18 bytes of private data for this thread, including register values, flags and, importantly, a program counter (PC) that holds the address of the next instruction to execute when the thread wakes up (resumes execution). With this address it's easy to figure out what code the thread is running. However, the first two bytes in the data structure (at address $043C-$043D) is a pointer to the next thread in the list, $0406 in this case. The last element in the list has $0000 in its first two bytes.
Following the list of active threads it was not hard to find the outhole handler thread, and its PC told me that it was stuck in an infinite loop, waiting for threads with the WAIT flag to exit. (This is a feature of System 7-11, which is used to synchronize the end-of-ball sounds with the bonus count down, for example.) Going through the list of threads again, I found a single one with the WAIT flag and that was the Jackpot Flasher thread. Turns out that this thread was stuck waiting for the background music to stop, which it never did, because the lit-Jackpot music was started after the ball had already drained.
Thus, I had nailed the bug. To fix it, I cleared the WAIT flag of the Jackpot-flasher thread. Completely trivial.
[Note: The description above describes the way I eventually diagnosed the bug. This took maybe 25% of the time I spent on the problem. The remaining 75% were false starts and other mistakes.]

Awesome. Love the technical write up. Glad you tracked it down and got it fixed!

#252 4 months ago

Impressive !

#253 4 months ago

I enjoy problem solving, fixing & restoring my Bad Cats (Now 80% finished), more mechanical & hardware but still gives a good feeling.
Well done with tracking down issues seems you get a kick out of it too.

VPX useful in may ways helps me choose real games to buy and play some I will never see.

#254 4 months ago
Quoted from jrcmlc:

Wowza...buddy you are putting in the effort. Thank you again for all this.

She’s a beau, Clark!

#255 4 months ago
Quoted from idealjoker:

TECH POST -- Debugging with PinMAME
PinMAME is a program that emulates the eletronics (not they physics) of Pinball hardware. It rocks, because it has a real debugger. When you start a game in PinMAME with the --debug option, you get a debugger window, which supports a bunch of different commands. With G (go) you continue execution of the game program where it was interrupted. On startup, this means booting the game. When you do this, the debugger window disappears and you get another window showing the alphanumeric game displays, in this case with the attract mode running. There's also a couple of grids showing the status of the switch and lamp matrices. Using the keyboard, you can toggle any of the playfield switches and also trigger the cabinet switches.
To start a game, you press the "Start Button" (number 1 key). But since there is no ball in the game you get "PINBALL MISSING" on the display. So, first you have to put a ball in the game, which you can do by closing the shooter-lane switch (W+H at the same time). Now a game can be started with the "1" key. To launch the ball, you press W+H again to toggle (open) the shooter-lane switch.
To reproduce the bug, I had to light the Jackpot and drain the ball immediately afterwards. The quickest way to light the JP is to drop the Bird drop targets 3 times with single targets. The PinMAME sequence for this is 6x R+A-S-D-F-G (3x drop and reset), followed by W+S (outhole). Now the game was blocked: the ball was in the outhole, but the bonus count did not start. The game continued with the lit-Jackpot music playing and with all switches working except for the outhole switch, which was dead. The only way to end the ball in this situation is to tilt (immediate end) or to score the Jackpot, in which case the bonus count would begin automatically after the JP had been scored.
However, I did not do end the game but interrupted it to enter the debugger. Since I had access to the entire memory I could inspect the (linked) list of threads that active ("running"). In the memory at $0089 there are two bytes of data that point to the data structure of the first element in this list. It contained the value $043C. At this address there are 18 bytes of private data for this thread, including register values, flags and, importantly, a program counter (PC) that holds the address of the next instruction to execute when the thread wakes up (resumes execution). With this address it's easy to figure out what code the thread is running. However, the first two bytes in the data structure (at address $043C-$043D) is a pointer to the next thread in the list, $0406 in this case. The last element in the list has $0000 in its first two bytes.
Following the list of active threads it was not hard to find the outhole handler thread, and its PC told me that it was stuck in an infinite loop, waiting for threads with the WAIT flag to exit. (This is a feature of System 7-11, which is used to synchronize the end-of-ball sounds with the bonus count down, for example.) Going through the list of threads again, I found a single one with the WAIT flag and that was the Jackpot Flasher thread. Turns out that this thread was stuck waiting for the background music to stop, which it never did, because the lit-Jackpot music was started after the ball had already drained.
Thus, I had nailed the bug. To fix it, I cleared the WAIT flag of the Jackpot-flasher thread. Completely trivial.
[Note: The description above describes the way I eventually diagnosed the bug. This took maybe 25% of the time I spent on the problem. The remaining 75% were false starts and other mistakes.]

Wow!

#256 4 months ago

Hope you will not mind me posting question here as related to seafood flasher and trying to sort flasher light bleeding into inserts using directed lamps (See picture).

98% finished cleaning & restoring my Bat Cats. Found some interesting temporary fix's by previous owner (Some real horror stories), found I have LA-5 roms (Which explains harder fish bone-us shot) and house lady's butterfly tattoo (?).
Leaving me with 2 tasks. Replacing target decals & fixing seafood flashers (I also have removed 3rd flasher under spin wheel arrow insert).
But sadly my seafood flashers not working under test or during game. Multimeter show wires to PCB ok, but no voltage to socket.
Can anyone suggest where else to look to fix this? Assume I have a component fault somewhere but manual unhelpful.
LED Lamp (resized).jpgLED Lamp (resized).jpg

#257 4 months ago

I just popped in TCM version JP-1.0 (Joker Patch), pre-dated for planned release sometime on Sunday, probably in the evening. I have a couple of friends coming over to play tonight, and this means some more multiplayer-testing with different game rules. I don't expect there to be any problems.

The other thing I did to prepare for tonight was to use a new version of adjustment 51 to change the default game rules to SEAFOOD (easy). With this, my guests won't have to remember to change the game rules, and I can still choose the hard rules for myself. Importantly, the high score list also follows adjustment 51, which means that my guests playing easy rules will be able to enter their initials while I, playing regular or hard, won't. Tomorrow, I'll change the adjustment back to the deafult and see how long it will take me to get to #1 again.

Why am I still making changes? Because I am waiting for the week to pass since the last bug fix and because I really want to use tonight for multi-player games. And on Saturday or Sunday during the day I will have another group of buddies come and play. I found three more bugs:

  • When you could pressed and held the Start button while launching the ball the game would enter Cat Nap with the ball in play.
  • I had to re-fix an old race-condition where the Trashcan thread passes the score to the display FX thread in the display buffer. If there is another thread that modifies the display buffer running between the two, the FX thread will display something else but the score (empty displays in this case). The old "fix" was not general enough to catch all possible cases.
  • For some weird reason the game reset handler used a data byte from another PIA to reset the solenoid PIA. A bug, for sure, but one without any apparent effects.

After fixing those, I made two additional improvements: I modified adjustment 51, which was easy to debug because it does not affect game play at all. And I also made a couple of simple changes to reduce the number of simultaneously running threads by 3, which is about 15% of the total thread space. While this last change was not really necessary, it will make the game less likely to be affected by spurious switch closures, for example.

#258 4 months ago
Quoted from No_CLU:

Hope you will not mind me posting question here as related to seafood flasher and trying to sort flasher light bleeding into inserts using directed lamps (See picture).
98% finished cleaning & restoring my Bat Cats. Found some interesting temporary fix's by previous owner (Some real horror stories), found I have LA-5 roms (Which explains harder fish bone-us shot) and house lady's butterfly tattoo (?).
Leaving me with 2 tasks. Replacing target decals & fixing seafood flashers (I also have removed 3rd flasher under spin wheel arrow insert).
But sadly my seafood flashers not working under test or during game. Multimeter show wires to PCB ok, but no voltage to socket.
Can anyone suggest where else to look to fix this? Assume I have a component fault somewhere but manual unhelpful.
[quoted image]

The Seafood Flashers are multiplexed with the 5 bank drop target ("bird cages") reset solenoid (#6), so there won't be any "power" to the flashers except when the A/C relay (solenoid #12) is energized. The A/C relay only operates momentarily when the flashers "need" power, which would occur during game play or testing. If the rest of the flashers are working, it would indicate that the A/C relay and the flasher fuse (F2C) are OK. So the problem would have to either an open in the orange wire between the "+" side of seafood flasher and another flasher on the orange wire bus, or an open between the Black-Blue "-" side of the flasher and the Aux Power Board connector 5J5 pin 3, which first passes through the Backbox Interconnect Board on 2J12 pin 11 and 2J4 pin 6 (White-Blue) or diode D40. This all assumes that the 5 drop target bank is, in fact, resetting properly, indicating that solenoid 6's driver etc. is working correctly.

#259 4 months ago
Quoted from Mthomasslo:

The Seafood Flashers are multiplexed with the 5 bank drop target ("bird cages") reset solenoid (#6), so there won't be any "power" to the flashers except when the A/C relay (solenoid #12) is energized. The A/C relay only operates momentarily when the flashers "need" power, which would occur during game play or testing. If the rest of the flashers are working, it would indicate that the A/C relay and the flasher fuse (F2C) are OK. So the problem would have to either an open in the orange wire between the "+" side of seafood flasher and another flasher on the orange wire bus, or an open between the Black-Blue "-" side of the flasher and the Aux Power Board connector 5J5 pin 3, which first passes through the Backbox Interconnect Board on 2J12 pin 11 and 2J4 pin 6 (White-Blue) or diode D40. This all assumes that the 5 drop target bank is, in fact, resetting properly, indicating that solenoid 6's driver etc. is working correctly.

Thanks for information. Should have been clearer on what's working to start. As this seems to be the only fault I can not trace.
Yes all flasher on playfield working apart from seafood flasher. 5 bank drop targets also working correctly and resets after all 5 targets hit.

Did continuty check on orange wire in relation to all other flashers, no problem. Continuty check Black-Blue wire to Backbox Interconnect Board on 2J12 pin 11 and 2J4 pin 6 (White-Blue) wire to Aux Power Board connector. Again no problems.
Check diode D40 which responds same as all other diode on Aux Power Board connector.
Any other suggestions? Thinking maybe cold solder joint or loose connector.
Also I assume when you say "open" you mean break or no connection?

Sadly little progress today in tracking this fault. Only thing I have to show for my time is new target decals fitted.

#260 4 months ago
Quoted from No_CLU:

Thanks for information. Should have been clearer on what's working to start. As this seems to be the only fault I can not trace.
Yes all flasher on playfield working apart from seafood flasher. 5 bank drop targets also working correctly and resets after all 5 targets hit.
Did continuty check on orange wire in relation to all other flashers, no problem. Continuty check Black-Blue wire to Backbox Interconnect Board on 2J12 pin 11 and 2J4 pin 6 (White-Blue) wire to Aux Power Board connector. Again no problems.
Check diode D40 which responds same as all other diode on Aux Power Board connector.
Any other suggestions? Thinking maybe cold solder joint or loose connector.
Also I assume when you say "open" you mean break or no connection?
Sadly little progress today in tracking this fault. Only thing I have to show for my time is new target decals fitted.

Yes , open means no continuity, or a broken connection somewhere, I’d start by running a jumper from the anode (non banded end) of d40 to the black blue lead on the flasher socket and see if the light flashes when it’s supposed to. If so, move the d40 end of the jumper one step at a time until the test fails, and then the fault is somewhere between the last two tests

#261 4 months ago

Does this new rom have a streak counter on the ramps?

Looped around 20 fishbowls in a row, would be nice to know how many that was.

#262 4 months ago
Picky_Kitty (resized).pngPicky_Kitty (resized).png
#263 4 months ago

Picky Kitty.gifPicky Kitty.gif

18
#264 4 months ago

RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT TCM VERSION JP-1.0

After nearly 14 months of effort I am proud to announce the release of THE CAT'S MEOW (TCM), a patch for the 1989 Williams BAD CATS pinball game. TCM gameplay is overall very similar to BAD CATS, with the main difference that the 20M shot is not lit automatically on the last ball but must be earned by completing all other major awards of the game. At game start players can choose whether to play TCM or the original BAD CATS rules. Several difficulty levels support multiplayer games with handicaps. Additional features include a ball saver, as well as the ability to pause/mute the game (CAT NAP) whenever the ball is parked.

The different game rules are implemented as four different options each for the eight primary game features (Skill Shot, Drop Targets, Jackpot, Linear Fish Target, Fishbowl Ramp, Tiger Ramp, 20M Shot, Seafood Wheel). The game rules can be freely mixed and matched with eight game-feature adjustments, supporting a total of 65536 different game-rules combinations. Additional adjustments control several timer values, the ball saver, as well as different methods for handling spurious switch closures of the Linear Fish Target.

In addition to the new game rules, all known bugs in the original BAD CATS code have been fixed. TCM also contains improvements to the sound and light effects, including Tigerramp lamps that indicate when the 20M shot is available, better Seafood table lighting and flasher FX during the wheel spin, as well as a Doghouse that is lit from the inside when enabled.

I would like to acknowledge all pinsiders who have contributed to this thread and provided feedback. I am particularly grateful to all the beta testers, especially interconnect (and his family) who found the majority of the bugs that I did not find myself.

#265 4 months ago

If you would like a set of pre-programmed The Cat’s Meow EPROM chips, PM me!

#266 4 months ago

Additionally, a big thank you is in order to Ideal Joker for making this new game possible. It is truly amazing what he's done here. I believe it stays true to the vision of the original designers and makes the game what it always could've been.

#267 4 months ago

RELEASE NOTES AND A COMPETITION

  • Please note that I only distribute the patch files for TCM. (Send me a PM if you would like to receive a free copy.) In order to create the ROM chips you have to apply the patch files to the original L5 ROM images to create TCM ROM images, which you can then burn to EPROM chips and install in your game. Please do not ask me for TCM ROM images or programmed chips.

  • I have not finished updating the documentation for release version JP-1.0. I intend to do so within the next few days and post the updated manual in this thread.

  • Included in the release version JP-1.0 is an Easter Egg, which I believe is fairly easy to find. The first person who finds the egg and posts a video of it in this thread wins a price: They will receive a custom patch with a default user message of their choice as well as custom default settings for all other adjustments.

#268 4 months ago

Thanks again for spending all the time to do this, it's really awesome

#269 4 months ago

Got mine ordered....!!!!

#270 4 months ago

I believe I have found the easter egg (I think)...

For the record, my wife and I started looking for this after the final version went live. I purposely didn't load version 1.0 until after IdealJoker officially released it this afternoon.

#271 4 months ago

Well done in finishing THE CAT'S MEOW (TCM) patch. Looking forward to installing.
More motivation to fix lighting problems now.

#272 4 months ago

This is huge! Congrats! Just wondering did you make it all manually, or did you make some own tools that would help modifying ROMs the way you do it? I'm merely interested in changing the texts on the DMD to retheme some W11b/c games to something else. This would be so much easier, if there were some tools to find out where all these strings are and how they are coded in for 14-segment display. This kind of tools would open up a totally new scene for modifying old games and bringing new experiences. Of course with same ROM patching methods as you mentioned already and totally for custom use.

#273 4 months ago
Quoted from interconnect:

I believe I have found the easter egg (I think)...

We have a winner! Yes, the bonusX kittens that have both eyes lit try to distract the player by blinking their eyes once in a while. Congratulations, that was fast! PM me at some stage with your preferred default message and settings. No rush, of course.

#274 4 months ago

Thank you all for your kind words!

Quoted from iaakki:

Just wondering did you make it all manually, or did you make some own tools that would help modifying ROMs the way you do it?

I created a set of tools, which I call 7eleven, to help disassemble and assemble System 7-11 games. For my PEMBOT and TCM patches I disassembled essentially the entire game. This allows me to freely modify and move the code around. But full disassembly is a serious time commitment.

Quoted from iaakki:

I'm merely interested in changing the texts on the DMD to retheme some W11b/c games to something else.

Please note that Sys 11 games do not support DMDs, only alphanumeric displays. If you are looking to patching DMD games my tools won't be useful. However, if you want to change the text of Sys 11 games that's not all that difficult. What you will have to do is 1) disable the ROM checksum tests and 2) modify the text strings. I can make a thread that describes in some detail how to do this and what can and cannot be done. (Not right now but maybe early in the new year.) If there is sufficient interest I can even try improving 7eleven to make this process easier.

#275 4 months ago

Note for Linux users: the ROM patch xdelta files are rejected by Linux 'xdelta' but work with 'xdelta3'.

Otherwise, no problems and the new ruleset sure is an improvement, with lots of configuration options!

#276 4 months ago
Quoted from Tuukka:

Otherwise, no problems

Except for the two you just reported in a PM, of course

1. AD14, which sets the top backup high-score, appears as 00,000 in the adjustment, rather than as 20,000,000. This is because regular sys 11 does not allow backup highscores above 9,900,000. I am not yet sure how, but I will try to provide a fix in the next version.

2. AD22, when set to off displays as "H.S.RESET OFF PE" instead of as "H.S.RESET OFF". A typo that will be easy to fix.

Please keep those bug reports coming. Unless there are bugs affecting game play, I do not intend to provide an updated version very soon.

#277 4 months ago
Quoted from idealjoker:

Except for the two you just reported in a PM, of course

I considered those as minor cosmetic issues, not actual problems...

#278 4 months ago

Store the bu hstd as hex and convert when needed.

#279 4 months ago
Quoted from slochar:

Store the bu hstd as hex and convert when needed.

Sys 11 stores the backup high-score to date as a single BCD byte containing the 1M and 100K digits. So, $45 means 4,500,000. The max you can do with hex ($FF) is 16,500,000. I want 20M, because that's the highest award, so I made $FF a special case. I just need to make it a special case in the game adjustment routine as well.

#280 4 months ago

UPDATE -- SHOCK HORROR

TCM no longer means The Cat's Meow:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/-the-texas-chainsaw-massacre-hype-

Goshdarn: we were here first!

#281 4 months ago
Quoted from idealjoker:

UPDATE -- SHOCK HORROR
TCM no longer means The Cat's Meow:
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/-the-texas-chainsaw-massacre-hype-
Goshdarn: we were here first!

LOL. Let's make 'em change it!

#282 4 months ago

Is there an adjustment for locking the fishbowl jackpot value or resetting every game?

There is a local machine that gets used in tournaments and the progressive jackpot is an issue - whoever can light it from a mystery award and collect it first usually wins.

#283 4 months ago
Quoted from RatShack:

Is there an adjustment for locking the fishbowl jackpot value or resetting every game?
There is a local machine that gets used in tournaments and the progressive jackpot is an issue - whoever can light it from a mystery award and collect it first usually wins.

There's settings where the jackpot is not shared between players that addresses that issue.

AD43: JACKPOT RULES The operator can choose (via the Credit button) the rules governing
advance of the Goldfish Ramp Jackpot value. The choices are:
• ORIGINAL -- The Jackpot value, with a maximum of 20M, is shared between players and
carried over from game to game. Jackpot advance is mainly by the skill shot (500K). After
scoring, the Jackpot is reset to 1M. On game reset and after 7 minutes of inactivity a Jackpot
value below 3M is reset to 3M. During attract mode the shared Jackpot value is shown on the
backbox (up to 8M) and periodically reported as the LITTER JACKPOT on the score displays.
• NORMAL -- The Jackpot value, with a maximum of 15M, is separate for each game but
partially shared between players during multi-player games, as follows: At the beginning of
ball 1, the Jackpot value for each player is initialized to 2,840,000 points. At the beginning of
each subsequent regular ball (not extra balls), the Jackpot value of each player is initialized
with the highest Jackpot value of any player achieved during the previous ball. The skill shot,
drop targets, ramps and outlanes advance the Jackpot Value. Scoring the Jackpot does not
change its value.
• EASY -- The Jackpot value, initialized to 2,840,000 at game start and with a maximum of
15M, is not shared with other players or carried from game to game. Jackpot advance is
double that of NORMAL and scoring the Jackpot does not change its value.
• HARD -- The Jackpot value, initialized to 1M at game start and with a maximum of 15M, is
not shared with other players or carried from game to game. Jackpot advance is the same as
NORMAL and scoring the Jackpot does not change its value.

You're looking for "NORMAL" (now called "TCM"), "EASY" or "HARD" I believe.

#284 4 months ago
Quoted from idealjoker:

Thank you all for your kind words!

I created a set of tools, which I call 7eleven, to help disassemble and assemble System 7-11 games. For my PEMBOT and TCM patches I disassembled essentially the entire game. This allows me to freely modify and move the code around. But full disassembly is a serious time commitment.

Please note that Sys 11 games do not support DMDs, only alphanumeric displays. If you are looking to patching DMD games my tools won't be useful. However, if you want to change the text of Sys 11 games that's not all that difficult. What you will have to do is 1) disable the ROM checksum tests and 2) modify the text strings. I can make a thread that describes in some detail how to do this and what can and cannot be done. (Not right now but maybe early in the new year.) If there is sufficient interest I can even try improving 7eleven to make this process easier.

Oh yes I used that term a bit incorrectly. Meant about the score display. And I got so far myself that I tried decoding some characters and tried to find where they are stored. I used ROM from Radical and pinmame to run it through step-by-step. Also found out that the latest Mame (not Pinmame) has a lot more user friendly debugger. My friend helped on decoding some of the stuff as he is a wizard with any binary data.

Anyway I'd be thrilled to learn more how to do this and also try helping on developing it. I prefer open-source work as that usually helps to get more devs around that want to implement more features. Like some helpers that would allow modifying sounds. Or purely tune up the game logic. well.. Could it be possible to implement basic PWM control for light matrix, so that one could really use LED's properly, so that natural looking incandescent fading is supported. There is a lot to add in here. So it would be great if you could consider putting your stuff to GitHub and then see how community could contribute.

I have Transporter The Rescue and maybe I could cook up some improvements to the rules that are really basic atm. And yes I have 20+ years of SW development and 3+ years for developing pinball games from scratch.

#285 4 months ago

Played the TCM now for some time... almost if I had a totally new game. Congratulations, you have transferred a System 11 game to WPC level!

I was always trying to clean and adjust the linear fish target rubbers... now with the TCM ROM the target scores as expected. What a nice improvement!

#286 4 months ago
Quoted from iaakki:

I prefer open-source work

Others have been using my open-source software since 1992. Making 7eleven available on GitHub is easy. What's not easy is documenting the software to the point where it actually becomes usable to others. Making a thread explaining how to modify text in Sys 11 games might be a good way to start.

But the 7eleven disassembler needs work before it makes sense for me to do that.

#287 4 months ago

JP-1.0 GAME MANUAL -- Start Button Menu, Game Rules and Cat Nap

START BUTTON MENU

When the START BUTTON MENU is enabled (AD51), a game is in progress and the ball is parked either in the shooter lane, trash can or dog house, pressing the start button longer than 0.75s enables special functionality:

  1. When the first ball of any player is in the shooter lane, the game enters the rules menu (PICKY KITTY).
  2. In all other cases, the game is paused (CAT NAP).

GAME RULES MENU (PICKY KITTY)

There are two general rule sets to chose from -- BAD CATS and THE CAT'S MEOW -- each with multiple difficulty levels. THE CAT'S MEOW rules are similar to the BAD CATS rules with the main difference that the 20M shot is not lit automatically on the last ball but must be earned by completing all other major awards of the game (EXTRA BALL, JACKPOT and 5M FISH BONE-US). Different players in a multi-player game can play with different rules, allowing games with handicaps. Only the scores of games played with the default rules (AD51) are recorded in the high-scores list.

There are two variants of the original BAD CATS rules, one a normal one with factory settings (BAD CATS) and an easier one with longer timers and ball saver (BAD KITTENS). There are three variants of THE CAT'S MEOW rules: in addition to the normal one (THE CAT'S MEOW), there is an easier one (SEAFOOD) and a harder one (ME-OW). For details of the different game rules, refer to the GAME ADJUSTMENTS section of the manual.

When entering the PICKY KITTY menu, the display shows the currently active game rules (see NOTE below). Use the flipper buttons to select the desired rule set. Then launch the ball to start the game or long-press the start button to return to the score display. While the PICKY KITTY menu is active, short-pressing the start button adds another player to the current game, and the flipper buttons can be used to set the rules for that player. This feature allows player 1 to start a multi-player game with different rules (handicaps) for different players.

NOTE: On game boot the active rules are taken from AD51. When a player in a multi-player game chooses a different rule set, the change applies to all remaining players. (Later players can use PICKY KITTY themselves if they wish to play with different rules.) After a game ends, the active rules are the rules that were last chosen with the menu. After 7 minutes in attract mode, the game reverts to the default rules from AD51.

CAT NAP

The intent of the CAT NAP is to pause the game so the player can take a phone call, for example. To do so, the player long-presses the start button whenever the ball is parked. (With the first ball parked in the shooter lane, the start button must be pressed longer than 4s to begin a CAT NAP instead of entering the PICKY KITTY menu.) Note that the ball is not ejected from the trashcan or dog house until the start button is released, which makes it easy to start the nap even in the unlit dog house.

During the CAT NAP the game is dimmed and muted, with all regular lamp FX continuing at a much slower speed. To end the nap and continue the game, either launch the ball (if it's in the shooter lane), start a CAT SCAN (raise both flippers) or press the start button (long or short).

#288 4 months ago

Have the day off tomorrow and looking forward to burning the latest patch and trying it out. I've been really impressed by the entire project and you've made this game more enjoyable for me, my family, and those that visit and play. Will be great to have this in place before the Christmas Holiday.

If this had a clock like the WPC games it would have been cool to add some date based easter eggs like saying have a Meowy Christmas, etc.

My cat Paws totally approves of all the updates!

Paws_BadCats (resized).jpgPaws_BadCats (resized).jpg
#289 4 months ago

The improved seafood wheel illumination is nice, but I guess some masking tape could be used to prevent flasher lights leaking to #7 and #3 inserts. I am still unsure, whether I keep the 3rd flasher or not. Maybe install a series resistor to make it a bit less bright.

#290 4 months ago
Quoted from Tuukka:

masking tape could be used to prevent flasher lights leaking to #7 and #3 inserts.

That's what I did before I installed directional LED flashers, exactly to solve that problem. But on Bad Cats I prefer incandescent flashers. I wonder how hard it would be to design a baffle for 3-D printing.

#291 4 months ago

JP-1.0 GAME MANUAL - Game Adjustment Procedure

[The information in this section supersedes the corresponding information on pp.18-20 in the Bad Cat Operations Manual. For the adjustments not listed here, consult the Bad Cat Operations Manual.]

    AD31: DROP TARGET RULES. The operator can choose (via the Credit button) the Drop Target rules that light B-A-D C-A-T-S letters. The choices are:
    • ORIGINAL -- Each target bank spots 1 letter.
    • NORMAL -- The 3-bank spots 1 letter; the 5-bank spots 2 letters (normally), or 3 (all targets dropped as singles). After the Jackpot has been lit for the first time both target banks are on a timer.
    • EASY -- Same as NORMAL, except that the B-A-D letters are pre-lit at game start.
    • HARD -- Each target bank spots 1 letter; both banks are on a timer; the targets only reset after both banks have been completed.

      AD34: FISH BONE-US RULES. The operator can choose (via the Credit button) the rules governing the Fish Bone-Us award. The choices are:
      • ORIGINAL -- Both the Fish Bone-US value and 10x multiplier carry over from ball to ball. Once lit, the Fish Bone-Us value does not drop below 25K. The 10x multiplier can be lit (blinking) either via the lit right inlane or by completing the 5-bank.
      • NORMAL -- The Fish Bone-US value, but not the 10x multiplier, carries over from ball to ball. The 10x multiplier can be lit temporarily (blinking) via the lit right inlane or semi-permanently (solid) by completing the 5-bank or the T skill shot. When blinking, the 10x multiplier is turned off whenever the current Fish Bone-Us timer expires. When the 10x multiplier is lit solid, the Fish Bone-Us timer is paused unless the 5M Fish Bone-Us award has already been scored.
      • EASY -- Same as NORMAL except that the 10x multiplier carries over from ball to ball.
      • HARD -- Neither the Fish Bone-US value nor the 10x multiplier carry over from ball to ball. The 10x multiplier can only be lit by completing the 5-bank.

        AD35: TIGER RAMP RULES. The operator can choose (via the Credit button) the rules governing the Tiger Ramp awards (except for the 20M shot which is controlled by AD42). The choices are:
        • ORIGINAL -- The starting value of the ramp is 50K; the 1M shot is always qualified.
        • NORMAL -- The starting value of the ramp is 50K; the 1M shot is pre-qualified at ball start but must be re-qualified by completing the 5-target bank after each Unlimited Million mode, unless the 20M shot is also lit.
        • EASY -- The starting value of the ramp is 50K; the 1M shot is always qualified.
        • HARD -- The starting value of the ramp is zero; the 1M shot must be qualified by completing the 5-target bank, even when the 20M shot is lit.

          AD36: SKILL SHOT RULES. The operator can choose (via the Credit button) the rules governing the skill shot. The choices are:
          • ORIGINAL -- All three T-O-Y letters award a 2x bonus multiplier; lane change is disabled during the skill shot.
          • NORMAL -- The T letter awards the same Fish Bone-Us 10x multiplier as the 5-target bank; the O letter awards a 3x bonus multiplier; the Y letter awards a B-A-D C-A-T-S letter. Lane change is disabled during the skill shot.
          • EASY -- Same as NORMAL except that lane change is enabled during the skill shot.
          • HARD -- All three T-O-Y letters award a score of 150K; lane change is disabled during the skill shot.

            AD38: GOLDFISH RAMP RULES. The operator can choose (via the Credit button) the rules governing qualification of the Goldfish Ramp. The choices are:
            • ORIGINAL -- The ramp is always qualified.
            • NORMAL -- The ramp must be qualified with a completion of the T-O-Y letters or either drop target bank.
            • EASY -- Same as ORIGINAL, but with the ramp value not resetting to 25K after the 100K or EB awards. The award sequences are 25K-50K-75K-100K-100K-... and 25K-50K-75K-100K-EB-100K-100K-...
            • HARD -- The ramp must be qualified by completing the 3-target bank.

              AD41: BALL SAVER. The operator can choose (via the Credit button) whether and for how long to enable the Ball Saver. This setting is either OFF or ranges from 3 seconds (conservative) to 10 seconds (liberal).

                AD42: 20M SHOT RULES. The operator can choose (via the Credit button) the rules governing qualification of the 20M award of the Tiger Ramp. The choices are:
                • ORIGINAL -- The 20M shot is enabled on the last regular ball of the game and can be collected only once per game.
                • NORMAL -- The 20M WISH shot is qualified by scoring a Goldfishbowl Jackpot, an Extra Ball, and a 5M Fish Bone-Us award. After scoring the 20M WISH, all awards are re-enabled and the 20M WISH shot can be lit again.
                • EASY -- Same as NORMAL except that the Unlimited Million mode is not aborted when another playfield switch is hit while the 20M WISH is lit. As a result, there are no consecutive shots required to score the 20M WISH. Other scoring features, including the doghouse and trashcan, are disabled while the 20M WISH is lit and Unlimited Millions is in progress.
                • HARD -- Same as NORMAL except that Seafood Wheel awards do not count as progress toward the 20M WISH shot.

                  AD43: JACKPOT RULES. The operator can choose (via the Credit button) the rules governing advance of the Goldfish Ramp Jackpot value. The choices are:
                  • ORIGINAL -- The Jackpot value, with a maximum of 20M, is shared between players and carried over from game to game. Jackpot advance is mainly by the skill shot (500K). After scoring, the Jackpot value resets to 1M. On game reset and after 7 minutes of inactivity a Jackpot value below 3M is reset to 3M. During Attract Mode the shared Jackpot value is shown with lamps on the backbox (up to 8M) and periodically reported as the LITTER JACKPOT on the score displays.
                  • NORMAL -- The Jackpot value, with a maximum of 15M, does not carry over from game to game. It is partially shared between players during multi-player games as follows: At the beginning of ball 1, the Jackpot value for each player is initialized to 2,840,000 points. At the beginning of each subsequent regular ball (not extra balls), the Jackpot value of each player is initialized with the highest Jackpot value of any player achieved during the previous ball. Unless the Jackpot is lit, the skill shot, drop targets, ramps and outlanes advance the Jackpot Value; except for the Skillshot, the bonus multiplier is applied to the Jackpot advance. When the Jackpot is lit, the Jackpot value can only be increased by completing either drop target bank for 1M. Scoring the Jackpot does not change its value.
                  • EASY -- The Jackpot value, initialized to 2,840,000 at game start and with a maximum of 15M, is not shared with other players or carried from game to game. Jackpot advance is double that of NORMAL and scoring the Jackpot does not change its value.
                  • HARD -- The Jackpot value, initialized to 1,860,000 at game start and with a maximum of 15M, is not shared with other players or carried from game to game. Jackpot advance is the same as NORMAL and scoring the Jackpot does not change its value.

                    AD44: SEAFOOD WHEEL RULES. The operator can choose (via the Credit button) the rules governing the Seafood Wheel awards. The choices are:
                    • ORIGINAL -- The Seafood Wheel awards Light Jackpot, Extra Ball and Special according to the percentages set in AD45-AD47 and the Consolation Extra Ball according to AD39.
                    • NORMAL -- Same as ORIGINAL, but during the BBQ mode when the Jackpot has not yet been scored, the wheel awards B-A-D C-A-T-S letters with higher probability.
                    • EASY -- Same as NORMAL but with the Special always (independent of AD07) awarding a score of 5M that contributes to the 20M WISH progress.
                    • HARD -- The Seafood Wheel gives out awards in a sequence that is random but identical for all players in a multi-player game, and that does not include the Light Jackpot, Extra Ball and Special awards.

                      AD48: ATT.SND./P.G. STROBE (ATTRACT MODE SOUNDS / POST-GAME STROBE EFFECT). The operator can choose (via the Credit button) whether there are sounds to be heard during the Attract Mode, and whether the post-game GI strobe effect is enabled. The choices are:
                      • YES -- The feature is enabled.
                      • NO -- The feature is disabled.

                        AD51: DEF.RULES/S.BT.MENU (DEFAULT RULES / STARTBUTTON MENU). The operator can choose (via the Credit button) the default game rules, which are used to start new games and record high scores. The choices are :
                        • B.KTN (BAD KITTENS) -- easier variant of the original Bad Cats rules with longer timers and Ball Saver.
                        • B.CAT (BAD CATS) -- original rules (LA-5) with factory settings.
                        • T.C.M. (THE CAT'S MEOW) -- TCM rules with normal difficulty.
                        • EASY (SEAFOOD) -- easier variant of the TCM rules.
                        • HARD (ME-OW) -- harder variant of the TCM rules.
                        Additionally, AD51 is also used to enable additional functionality when the Credit button (Start button) is pressed for longer than 0.75s while the ball is parked in the shooter lane, in the Trashcan, or in the Doghouse. The choices are YES (default) or NO. For additional information, see the GAME RULES MENU and CAT NAP sections of the manual.

                          AD52: BAD FISH HANDLER. The opto interrupter wheel of the linear Fish Bone-Us target occasionally lands in a position where even the slightest vibration causes the switch to toggle. (With bright LEDs installed it is also possible that reflection off the wheel causes switch toggles without any vibrations at all.) The operator can choose (via the Credit button) three different algorithms for mitigating these effects. The choices are:
                          • WMS LA-2 -- The fish target behaves like the LA-2 ROM, where there is no special treatment of phantom switch hits. Shots to the target award 1-4 fish advances, which is taken as the behavior intended by the game designers. This setting is not suitable for competition play.
                          • WMS LA-5 -- The fish target behaves like the LA-5 ROM, where the fish switch is throttled severely. While there are very few phantom switch hits with this setting, shots to the target award only 1-2 fish advances. This setting is the most suitable for competition play.
                          • T. C. MEOW -- Alternative algorithm for detecting phantom switch hits with the intent to combine the target responsiveness of the LA-2 ROM with the phantom-switch filtering of the LA-5 ROM.

                            AD60: INSTALL 5 BALL. The operator can change the game to 5-ball play. In addition to setting BALLS/GAME (AD09) to 5, REPLAY START (AD02) is set to 5,000,000. No other adjustments are affected.

                              AD62: INSTALL BAD KITTENS. The operator can change the game rule adjustments to the same combination that is in effect when the BAD KITTENS rules are selected at game start. The GAME DIFFICULTY SETTING TABLE lists the settings that make up the "BAD KITTENS" group.

                                AD63: INSTALL BAD CATS. The operator can change the game rule adjustments to the same combination that is in effect when the BAD CATS rules are selected at game start. The GAME DIFFICULTY SETTING TABLE lists the settings that make up the "BAD CATS" group.

                                  AD64: INSTALL THE CATS MEOW. The operator can change the game rule adjustments to the same combination that is in effect when THE CAT'S MEOW rules, the default rules, are selected at game start. The GAME DIFFICULTY SETTING TABLE lists the settings that make up the "THE CAT'S MEOW" group.

                                    AD65: INSTALL T.C.M. EASY. The operator can change the game rule adjustments to the same combination that is in effect when the SEAFOOD rules are selected at game start. The GAME DIFFICULTY SETTING TABLE lists the settings that make up the "SEAFOOD" group.

                                      AD66: INSTALL T.C.M. HARD. The operator can change the game rule adjustments to the same combination that is in effect when the ME-OW rules are selected at game start. The GAME DIFFICULTY SETTING TABLE lists the settings that comprise the "ME-OW" group.

                                            GAME DIFFICULTY SETTING TABLE

                                            There is a close relation between the five rule sets the player can choose at ball start and the TCM game adjustments listed above. For example, when playing with SEAFOOD rules, the game plays as if all rules adjustments were set to EASY. Other adjustments, such as timers, are also affected. All the relevant information is found in the following table:

                                            TCM_JP1.0_GameDifficultySettingTable_20231214.pdfTCM_JP1.0_GameDifficultySettingTable_20231214.pdf

                                            Added 116 days ago:

                                            UPDATE 1 (Correction): Wherever it says NORMAL in the above list, the string displayed in the game adjustments is THE CAT'S MEOW. Wherever it says EASY, the adjustment display is SEAFOOD <EASY> and where it says HARD, the display is ME-OW <HARD>.

                                            #292 3 months ago

                                            JP-1.0 GAME MANUAL - Audit Table

                                            THE CAT'S MEOW provides five new audits, in addition to the ones listed on p.12 of the WMS Bad Cats Manual:

                                              AU59: BAD CATS GAMES. Number of games started with BAD CATS or BAD KITTENS rules.

                                                AU60: T.C. MEOW GAMES. Number of games started with TCM NORMAL rules.

                                                  AU61: SEAFOOD GAMES. Number of games started with TCM EASY (SEAFOOD) rules.

                                                    AU62: ME-OW GAMES. Number of games started with TCM HARD (ME-OW) rules.

                                                      AU63: BALLS SAVED. Number of balls saved by the Ball Saver.

                                                      Added 116 days ago:

                                                      UPDATE 1 (Clarification): To calculate the percentage of saved balls, divide AU63 by AU19 (balls played) and multiply by 100.

                                                      #293 3 months ago

                                                      QR Code for the start page (index of key posts) of this thread.

                                                      QR-code (resized).pngQR-code (resized).png
                                                      #294 3 months ago

                                                      Still playing with a constant smile the timed drop targets, much better fish target handling, doghouse lighting up, ball saver, improved skill shot, new sound and lamp effects and lots more!

                                                      One question: I am playing with the TCM settings, but being a lousy player, I have some settings changed from NORMAL to EASY. If I temporarily change the game rules via start button menu, does it then use the default settings for the selected mode, regardless my adjustments? And does it revert to my custom settings after the 7 minute timeout?

                                                      #295 3 months ago

                                                      You cannot be such a lousy player if you enjoy the timed Drop Targets!

                                                      To answer your question, when you temporarily change the game rules none of the adjustments is modified. So when you play with the ME-OW rules for example, the game plays as if all game rules adjustments (31, 34-36, 38, 42-44) were set to HARD, regardless of what you actually have set these adjustments to. The situation is different for the timer adjustments (32, 33 and 37), which are used without modification for the TCM NORMAL rules, but shortened when you play ME-OW. You can see all this in the rightmost column of the GAME DIFFICULTY SETTING TABLE.

                                                      The 7 minute timeout is there so you don't have to change the rules every game when you want to play several games with non-default rules, which is what I usually want to do. So when I feel like a few games of ME-OW I only have to change the rules once. As long as I start another game within 7 minutes, it will start with ME-OW rules. But when I have guests I like the game to return to a known default state automatically, which is why I used the Jackpot-reset timeout that's in the original BAD CATS rules to also reset the default game rules.

                                                      #296 3 months ago

                                                      I assume this is correct. When you install new TCM rom default rules as listed in JP-1.0 GAME MANUAL table. Default TCM.
                                                      So if you want original rules you would need to use "AD63: INSTALL BAD CATS."
                                                      Also that you can not turn off extra balls under Bad Kittens & Seafood? As local league rules need extra ball turned off.

                                                      #297 3 months ago

                                                      HOW TO Configure THE CAT'S MEOW for competitive play

                                                      1. Set AD51 to T.C.M./ NO to set the default game to THE CAT'S MEOW (NORMAL) and disable the start button menu to prevent players from changing the game rules or pausing the game.

                                                      2. Use the preset adjustments to choose the basic game rules. For example, use AD63 to configure the game for play with the original BAD CATS rules.

                                                      3. Modify individual adjustments as needed. While any adjustments can be used, for fairness
                                                        • Set AD43 to HARD or EASY to make the Jackpot individual (not shared).
                                                        • Set AD44 to HARD to give the same wheel awards to all players, and disable Extra Ball, light Jackpot and Special.
                                                        • Set AD52 to WMS LA-5 to prevent phantom fish target hits to give a player an unfair advantage.
                                                        Other common tournament settings are no Extra Balls (AD09) and Ball Saver (AD41)

                                                      #298 3 months ago

                                                      OT, but I have always wondered why the tournament people want to cripple the games. If the rules allow extra balls, then why would they need to be disabled?

                                                      No need to start flame war on this

                                                      #299 3 months ago
                                                      Quoted from Tuukka:

                                                      OT, but I have always wondered why the tournament people want to cripple the games. If the rules allow extra balls, then why would they need to be disabled?
                                                      No need to start flame war on this

                                                      Time constraints mostly. I like the early SS games that I've modded to only give 1 EB per 'real' ball in play (so max 3) - especially on games like Stars where it's not lasting long anyway.

                                                      #300 3 months ago

                                                      Occasionally we are seeing that the skill shot does not appear as an option during gameplay. Is this intentional?

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