(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
  • Topic is favorited by 47 Pinsiders

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There are 393 posts in this topic. You are on page 7 of 8.
#301 3 months ago
Quoted from madamyates:

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

Wonder if that is a side-effect of the drain shield. If the outhole kicker has to kick twice to put a ball in play then the drain shield gets used up, and maybe the plunger skill shot is lost as well. Only had this happen a couple of times so far. Having lots of fun with these TCM roms, like having a new game.

Another thought, a TCM instruction card would look great on the machine. If anyone makes one up, please share it.

#302 3 months ago
Quoted from madamyates:

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

Was it after a ball save? There's no skill shot on a saved ball.

#303 3 months ago
Quoted from interconnect:

Was it after a ball save? There's no skill shot on a saved ball.

No, not after ball save.

#304 3 months ago
Quoted from madamyates:

No, not after ball save.

If the ball was saved and put in the trough, then there is no skill shot. Skill shot is only on a “real” ball, not a saved ball.

#305 3 months ago
Quoted from madamyates:

No, not after ball save.

None of the beta testers reported this as a problem with The Cat's Meow. However, when I started the project, there were two or three Pinsiders who reported that sometimes the skill shot does not work with the original ROMs (e.g. https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-cat-s-meow-a-new-home-rom-for-bad-cats#post-7215061). I tried quite hard to replicate the problem with my game but I never could -- with my game the skill shot is always enabled when it should be, both with the original ROMs and with The Cat's Meow.

However, one of the things that can mess up the skill shot is a bad opto, because the skill shot is aborted (canceled) when the playfield is qualified via another switch. I had a problem with my drop targets for a while where suddenly the game would think that one of the targets had dropped when it had not. When I had that problem, once or twice the skill shot got aborted before the ball hit any of the TOY switches. The problem went away after I disconnected and reconnected the drop target cables.

So my suggestion is to make sure that all the switches are properly adjusted and I would also re-seat the opto connectors. If the problem persists, please try to take a video and send that to me. It should be possible to tell from the lights and sound FX whether the skill shot is enabled and then prematurely aborted, or whether it is never enabled at all. Without seeing the problem I do not think that I can do much about it.

#306 3 months ago
Quoted from interconnect:

If the ball was saved and put in the trough, then there is no skill shot. Skill shot is only on a “real” ball, not a saved ball.

The issue arises when a "real" ball is ejected. During our Sunday tournament a few players had mentioned it. It has nothing to do with the ball save.

#307 3 months ago
Quoted from idealjoker:

None of the beta testers reported this as a problem with The Cat's Meow. However, when I started the project, there were two or three Pinsiders who reported that sometimes the skill shot does not work with the original ROMs (e.g. https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-cat-s-meow-a-new-home-rom-for-bad-cats#post-7215061). I tried quite hard to replicate the problem with my game but I never could -- with my game the skill shot is always enabled when it should be, both with the original ROMs and with The Cat's Meow.
However, one of the things that can mess up the skill shot is a bad opto, because the skill shot is aborted (canceled) when the playfield is qualified via another switch. I had a problem with my drop targets for a while where suddenly the game would think that one of the targets had dropped when it had not. When I had that problem, once or twice the skill shot got aborted before the ball hit any of the TOY switches. The problem went away after I disconnected and reconnected the drop target cables.
So my suggestion is to make sure that all the switches are properly adjusted and I would also re-seat the opto connectors. If the problem persists, please try to take a video and send that to me. It should be possible to tell from the lights and sound FX whether the skill shot is enabled and then prematurely aborted, or whether it is never enabled at all. Without seeing the problem I do not think that I can do much about it.

I will try to recreate the issue, thanks. From what I have witnessed, when a ball is ejected into the trough, none of the T-O-Y lights are lit to indicate the skill shot is ready. It is anyone's guess what else has happened in the game prior but I do know this has never happened for ball 1. And again, this is not when a ball save occurs. I know when a ball save occurs there is no subsequent skill shot. I suspect it has to do with drop targets as you mentioned.

#308 3 months ago

Wow, what a crazy issue. Never saw that in over a year of testing. When the issue arises again, you could also go into switch test and see what the offending switch is. That might get you zeroed in quickly on whatever switch is the issue and then can troubleshoot from there. Yeah, could be any switch, opto or connector on the playfield. Makes sense though; I’ve just never seen anything like that happen. I had tons of of issues with connectors on my game and replaced every single one in the the back box, all the display connectors and many under the playfield, including the ones for the seafood wheel, which had been acting weird. Wouldn’t surprise me if it was a bad connector.

#309 3 months ago
Quoted from madamyates:

From what I have witnessed, when a ball is ejected into the trough, none of the T-O-Y lights are lit to indicate the skill shot is ready.

The init_ball_handler cannot be interrupted between when it starts the thread that kicks the ball into the shooter lane and when it blinks one of the TOY lamps for the skill shot. Therefore, if the ball is being kicked into the shooter lane but none of the TOY lamps are blinking, this means either that the skillshot has been aborted or maybe that the TOY lamps are masked. The game sound -- shooter lane music or normal game background music -- would tell me which it is.

I hope that you can either reproduce the problem and share a video or solve it by re-seating the DT connectors.

#310 3 months ago

Got my roms the other day. Can't wait to get my Bad Cats back and try this out!

Chris

#311 3 months ago

Coincidentally I bought a Bad Cats in pretty decent condition a few weeks ago.
Reading threads here and there I stumbled upon this project. Immediately ordered a few 27256's, ROM-burner and an UV-eraser.
Received the patch files (after a few mail hiccups hehe) and burned the two ROMs.

WOW!

idealjoker I really can't thank you, and all beta testers of course, enough for all your efforts you've put into this.

With all those efforts there is a revived Bad Cats all the way over across the big pond.

#312 3 months ago

New code is sweet. Thanks for making this happen

#313 3 months ago
Quoted from Numiah:

Coincidentally I bought a Bad Cats in pretty decent condition a few weeks ago.
Reading threads here and there I stumbled upon this project. Immediately ordered a few 27256's, ROM-burner and an UV-eraser.
Received the patch files (after a few mail hiccups hehe) and burned the two ROMs.
WOW!
idealjoker I really can't thank you, and all beta testers of course, enough for all your efforts you've put into this.
With all those efforts there is a revived Bad Cats all the way over across the big pond.

First post, after 11 years, about TCM!?!
Awesome!

#314 3 months ago
Quoted from Mthomasslo:

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

Finally finished repair and restoring thanks Mthomasslo and join Numiah as new owner this year. Just in time for Christmas & New Year.
Last flasher fault turned out to be R6 resistors on interconnect board. Only effecting 1 flasher set.

New directed LED lamps (See previous post) all but remove light bleeding into seafood inserts. But did move left side flasher to new location (See image) and using cable holder screw to hold lamp so no new hole.
But you may need to cutting wire ties to give you more loose wire to move socket.
IMG_20231223_143302.jpgIMG_20231223_143302.jpgNew location (resized).jpgNew location (resized).jpg

#315 3 months ago

Suggestion for next release: disable last ball "curiosity spin" if an extra ball has been earned on the last ball, so that it is available on "real" last ball only.

#316 3 months ago
Quoted from DK:

First post, after 11 years, about TCM!?!
Awesome!

I'll try to get in the game more often. Teehee!

#317 3 months ago
Quoted from Tuukka:

Suggestion for next release: disable last ball "curiosity spin" if an extra ball has been earned on the last ball, so that it is available on "real" last ball only.

Extra ball on "curiosity spin" seems high probability on last ball but not 100%. So I assume you mean to just remove extra ball option from spin.

#318 3 months ago

I guess I should have considered there might be additional revisions before paying for a rom lol... I was just so excited. Heh

#319 3 months ago

So great to see the excitement about Bad Cats. It's such a beautiful game!

Quoted from Tuukka:

Suggestion for next release: disable last ball "curiosity spin" if an extra ball has been earned on the last ball

You mean turn off the Curiosity Spin lamps whenever the extra ball is awarded? Great idea -- I intend to add it to the TCM normal and hard rules in the next release.

Quoted from jrcmlc:

there might be additional revisions

I try to minimize the number of releases. So far the bugs that have been reported (and a few more unreported ones that I found) are all cosmetic and minor, so there is no need for an update yet. I am somewhat surprised that there have not been any reports of bugs affecting game play, but I think that it will probably take some time for players to notice inconsistencies and bugs. Also, the greatest probability for bugs is with uncommon game-rules combinations. So I want to hold off some more before I make a new release to give time for additional bugs to be found.

#320 3 months ago

Something I might have missed is the "status report" when holding right flipper.
Was such thing feasible at all?

#321 3 months ago
Quoted from Numiah:

"status report" when holding right flipper.

With Bad Cats you need to raise both flippers to get the status report (CAT SCAN).

#322 3 months ago

This is without a doubt the best homebrewed code update that anyone has ever created. Pause button? Status report? Being able to change settings midgame? Once again hats off to you, idealjoker.

#323 3 months ago

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the original Bad Cats only displayed the "cat scan" with the right flipper. If I remember correctly, the author of Bad Cats rulesheet said there is no status report, maybe because only having tried the left flipper. The game apron clearly says "Hold flipper button for status report" on the right side only.

From the rulesheet:

"Bad Cats has a couple of software bugs. Perhaps the biggest is that
there is NO "Status Report", despite what it says on the apron."

The original displayed the status report by holding up the right flipper, but it looks like at least the Cat's Meow rules only shows "cat scan" with both flippers.

#324 3 months ago
Quoted from idealjoker:

With Bad Cats you need to raise both flippers to get the status report (CAT SCAN).

How could I have completely missed that.... doh.
Thank you sir!

#325 3 months ago
Quoted from Tuukka:

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think the original Bad Cats only displayed the "cat scan" with the right flipper. If I remember correctly, the author of Bad Cats rulesheet said there is no status report, maybe because only having tried the left flipper. The game apron clearly says "Hold flipper button for status report" on the right side only.
From the rulesheet:
"Bad Cats has a couple of software bugs. Perhaps the biggest is that
there is NO "Status Report", despite what it says on the apron."
The original displayed the status report by holding up the right flipper, but it looks like at least the Cat's Meow rules only shows "cat scan" with both flippers.

I think he thought the status report was missing because, unlike any other System 11 game, the status report for some reason in the original Bad Cats firmware was always both flippers. Why Williams did that, I have no idea; doesn’t even match the wording on the apron.

I actually mentioned to IdealJoker about changing it to one flipper but he said he liked and wanted to keep the quirk. Maybe this could be a setting somehow? I still do like the idea that it matches the apron wording and all the other System 11 games though. I feel like it was a bug or mistake by Williams and not an intentional thing, but hey, I could be wrong…. But I don’t think we’ll ever know.

#326 3 months ago

I would prefer operating as the apron instructions say. Not a major issue though.

#327 3 months ago

Yeah the cat scan has always been hold both flippers.

#328 3 months ago
Quoted from interconnect:

Why Williams did that, I have no idea

I don't know if I am right but I do not think it was Williams, I think it was the game designers. The Cat Scan starts up much more quickly than the status report on Pin Bot, for example. This is a design choice which I like a lot. But if the status report were to start with one flipper, it wold start every time the player traps a ball. And that simply looks bad.

As far as I am concerned, the "bug" is the print on the apron. It was surely cheaper not to have to design and manufacture a custom apron for Bad Cats.

And I, too, thought there was no status report until I saw the "CAT SCAN" string in the code

#329 3 months ago
Quoted from idealjoker:

I don't know if I am right but I do not think it was Williams, I think it was the game designers. The Cat Scan starts up much more quickly than the status report on Pin Bot, for example. This is a design choice which I like a lot. But if the status report were to start with one flipper, it wold start every time the player traps a ball. And that simply looks bad.
As far as I am concerned, the "bug" is the print on the apron. It was surely cheaper not to have to design and manufacture a custom apron for Bad Cats.
And I, too, thought there was no status report until I saw the "CAT SCAN" string in the code

Fair points. Isn’t “Williams” and the “game designers” essentially the same thing though? How did other System 11 games avoid the status report starting when trapping a ball? I’ll have to look on Space Station. I seem to remember seeing it displayed and simply just ignoring it. You are correct though, technically the “bug” may be the apron artwork, but that can’t easily be changed by most people. It’d much easier to change the code to match, IMO. Or make it a setting, so you can change it if you want.

1 week later
#330 3 months ago

Does anyone have, or could provide a detailed step by step guide of how to patch the original roms on a PC?

Never done that and uncertain of what tools I need to create the "final" Rom to lock and load into the eprom burner.

Cheers
/mima

#331 3 months ago
Quoted from mima:

Does anyone have, or could provide a detailed step by step guide of how to patch the original roms on a PC?
Never done that amd uncertain of what tools i need to create the "final" Rom to lock amd load into the eprom burner.
Cheers
/mima

You need to download the original L-5 ROM set U26 and U27 out of the ZIP file you can get on IPDB.org:

https://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=127

With that and the patch files you can use this site to patch each of them:

https://www.marcrobledo.com/RomPatcher.js/

Then program each of the new images on blank EPROM's.

#332 3 months ago

https://nintenscorner.wordpress.com/2020/02/16/how-to-create-and-use-xdelta-patches/

lots of videos and stuff as well if you want to watch on youtube

#333 3 months ago

I am so stoked to get the cats out of storage in the next month or so. I can't wait to try this out.

idealjoker is a true pinball hero!

20240107_192349 (resized).jpg20240107_192349 (resized).jpg

#334 3 months ago

I didn't see a reference in this thread, but maybe it was discussed elsewhere.
Would it be fun/feasible if the knocker went off when scoring a replay instead of only when match is won?
Or am I being greedy.

#335 3 months ago
Quoted from Numiah:

Would it be fun/feasible if the knocker went off when scoring a replay instead of only when match is won?

It does, unless your credits are already at maximum.

#336 89 days ago

For those who are interested (or curious), I have published the colorization of the rom here:
https://vpuniverse.com/files/file/18040-bad-cats-williams-1989-dmd-64-colors-serum-format/
PK Meow.gifPK Meow.gifSeaFood 4.gifSeaFood 4.gifLoterie.gifLoterie.gif
Thanks again idealjoker for your work and your permission to colorize this home rom

#337 89 days ago

This looks awesome!!!!!

So far I have used PinMAME only for debugging, and without visuals. But this I really want to see with game play. So what do I do? Install VPinMAME on my desktop, download your colorization from the vpuniverse link and I am good to go?

#338 89 days ago

Have you already used Visual Pinball? Have you played a few tables?

#339 89 days ago
Quoted from Tuukka:

It does, unless your credits are already at maximum.

I'll have to investigate then. My knocker only knocks when match is won, never while playing a game.
Perhaps because she's on freeplay?

#340 89 days ago
Quoted from ebor:

For those who are interested (or curious), I have published the colorization of the rom here:
https://vpuniverse.com/files/file/18040-bad-cats-williams-1989-dmd-64-colors-serum-format/
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]
Thanks again idealjoker for your work and your permission to colorize this home rom

Wait, what?! Is this only for VP or would it be possible to work up a color DMD for Bad Cats? Not that I am smart enough at all to do so, but could it be done?

Pretty awesome work!

Chris

#341 88 days ago

I'm in the process of installing Visual Pinball, so I can check this TCM rom on there and some of the other tables. Looks pretty cool. Found this project that brings VP to other platforms like Linux/MacOS/Android, etc. as I think it's normally a Windows app, but can be run on other platforms.

https://github.com/vpinball/vpinball/tree/standalone/standalone

Here's a video of someone running it on MacOS; looks pretty sweet. Graphics look much better than Pinball Arcade.

#342 88 days ago
Quoted from interconnect:

I'm in the process of installing Visual Pinball, so I can check this TCM rom on there and some of the other tables. Looks pretty cool. Found this project that brings VP to other platforms like Linux/MacOS/Android, etc. as I think it's normally a Windows app, but can be run on other platforms.
https://github.com/vpinball/vpinball/tree/standalone/standalone
Here's a video of someone running it on MacOS; looks pretty sweet. Graphics look much better than Pinball Arcade.

And those aren't even "showcase" tables
Bad Cats actually got the premium treatment recently:

#343 88 days ago
Quoted from SilverUnicorn:

Wait, what?! Is this only for VP or would it be possible to work up a color DMD for Bad Cats? Not that I am smart enough at all to do so, but could it be done?
Pretty awesome work!
Chris

Only for VP, for now. When ZeDMD *is* able to work with real pins, all of the Serum colorizations should be compatible as well. It will be an exciting and disruptive day

#344 88 days ago

Thank you for the pointer. I spent several frustrating hours this morning unsuccessfully trying to compile on an ARM Mac laptop running MacOS 13 (I got close) but then I managed to compile the code on an Intel Mac mini running MacOS 12 with one minor change (remove -fapprox-func from CMakeLists.txt). Unfortunately, when I try to run the app, I get the error "kLSIncompatibleSystemVersionErr: The app cannot run on the current OS version". I haven't given up yet.

Quoted from Wylte:

When ZeDMD *is* able to work with real pins

Color DMDs for system-11 games? As a drop-in replacement for the alpha displays without any permanent hardware modifications? Wow!

#345 88 days ago
Quoted from idealjoker:

Thank you for the pointer. I spent several frustrating hours this morning unsuccessfully trying to compile on an ARM Mac laptop running MacOS 13 (I got close) but then I managed to compile the code on an Intel Mac mini running MacOS 12 with one minor change (remove -fapprox-func from CMakeLists.txt). Unfortunately, when I try to run the app, I get the error "kLSIncompatibleSystemVersionErr: The app cannot run on the current OS version". I haven't given up yet.

Color DMDs for system-11 games? As a drop-in replacement for the alpha displays without any permanent hardware modifications? Wow!

I tried to compile on an M2 Mac with MacOS 14 and was unsuccessful as well. Then, I realized they provide pre-built apps for Mac, Linux, Android, etc. You can get them here (latest as of today):

https://github.com/vpinball/vpinball/actions/runs/7532398663

Much easier. The necessary folders for the files and ROMs will be in your home folder and are hidden folders (Command-Shift-. will show hidden files and folder in Finder). Hope that helps. I’m still working on getting it set up as well.

1 week later
#346 81 days ago

Just here to say this is available for public play at the Pinball Gallery! We ran it in a large max match play with a lot of NACS/WNACS players this weekend and in the actual WNACS tournament this weekend and seemed like it was a hit.

#347 81 days ago
Quoted from lemonhalf:

Just here to say this is available for public play at the Pinball Gallery!

Awesome, thank you! For those who don't know, Pinball Gallery is in Malvern, PA. Great line-up of games, both classic and modern. Anyone, please post if you have set up the game for public play somewhere or if you find it in the wild. I'd like to make a new key post with locations.

Quoted from lemonhalf:

in the actual WNACS tournament this weekend and seemed like it was a hit.

I am *very* happy to hear that competitive players liked it.

1 week later
#348 73 days ago

BUG REPORT -- Adjustment 11 (Maximum Extra Balls) does not work as intended

This bug was reported by @lemonhalf. Rather than limiting the number of EB per game, the setting currently limits the number of EB earned per ball. (Note that even with this problem, setting AD11 to zero disables all extra balls, as intended.)

Fixing this bug will be a little bit tricky because the Bad Cats code does not keep track of the number of EB earned by each player in the game. And there is no free byte in the player data to store this number. Fortunately, I only need 4 bits to store the values 0-9 and I have 4 bits available both in the volatile flags, which I can use to store the value during game play, and also in one of the permanent registers (counters), where I can park the value while other players are up. This will be fixed in version JP1.1

#349 73 days ago

That bug is a Williams quirk it works that way in wpc as well.

#350 73 days ago
Quoted from idealjoker:

BUG REPORT -- Adjustment 11 (Maximum Extra Balls) does not work as intended
This bug was reported by @lemonhalf. Rather than limiting the number of EB per game, the setting currently limits the number of EB earned per ball. (Note that even with this problem, setting AD11 to zero disables all extra balls, as intended.)
Fixing this bug will be a little bit tricky because the Bad Cats code does not keep track of the number of EB earned by each player in the game. And there is no free byte in the player data to store this number. Fortunately, I only need 4 bits to store the values 0-9 and I have 4 bits available both in the volatile flags, which I can use to store the value during game play, and also in one of the permanent registers (counters), where I can park the value while other players are up. This will be fixed in version JP1.1

I think at the time, it was intended for exactly the idea of "limit the extra balls per ball" instead of "limit the extra balls per game"... a lot of early solid state games limited to a single extra ball per ball, and that likely would have still been the philosophy around the setting even by the time Bad Cats came out, especially given the price of silicon to hold values in memory and the stinginess of operators.

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