(Topic ID: 126221)

The Nightmare Before Christmas

By MarkInc

6 years ago

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#1 6 years ago

Add me to the list of crazy people.
I'm building my own pinball machine.

The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Links to the Ruleset:
Part 1 - Overview - https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-nightmare-before-christmas/page/24#post-4884234
Part 2 - Characters - https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-nightmare-before-christmas/page/24#post-4884343
Part 3 - Holidays - https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-nightmare-before-christmas/page/25#post-4884721
Part 4 - Oogie Battles - https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-nightmare-before-christmas/page/25#post-4885911
Part 5 - Wizard modes - https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/the-nightmare-before-christmas/page/25#post-4886255

RGB LED lighting
6 balls
manual/auto plunge
6 diverters
3 flippers
3 pop bumpers
2 ramps
1 target bank
1 magnet
1 spinner
1 drop target
1 kickout hole
1 scoop
1 kickback
1 Oogie Boogie
and a bathtub!

Mission Pinball Framework / python software

Barebones development blog with Future Pinball virtual version downloadable here:


I've uploaded all the pictures and videos I've been taking along the way:

https://www.flickr.com/x/t/0097009/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157652304614315/

#10 6 years ago

Oh, I forgot - videos here:

#37 6 years ago

Working on some wireforms - the VUK that feeds into the right side ramp return:


#62 6 years ago
Quoted from futurepinhead:

Is that top right supposed to represent the forest? Really nice addition!

Yes, that's the Hinterland forest with the 7 holiday trees - Christmas, Valentines, St Patricks, Easter, Independence Day, Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving.
They are the 7 lights surrounding the door (between the slings)

#67 6 years ago

Added the RGB GI driven by a nano.

#73 6 years ago
Quoted from Cappi:

I have almost an identical parts list for the whitewood I'm designing. Its great to see that it is possible Great work! The only difference really is I'm going to try using MissionPinball's framework with their new FadeCandy support for the RGBs.
What motor did you end up going with for the 3 motorized drop targets? All the versions I've seen are 24vAC rather than DC. I was looking at the Mousing Around motor assembly (same as in ATM and spiderman/etc). I found this assembly: http://www.marcospecialties.com/pinball-parts/B-13095

I got the motor at a surplus store here in London. It was about $5 - came with the gearbox!
It's hooked up to 24V, but I ended up using the on/off patter to run it at a slower speed.

My RGB GI is serial neopixels using an arduino nano. Works really well so far.
I send it simple 5 byte commands over USB/comm.
for example:
I can address them all - '255 0 200 100 0' turns them all orange.
Or individually '254 3 200 0 200' turns LED 3 to purple.

I'll have to check the store and see if they have any left, but if they do, I could get one for you. PM me.

1 week later
#83 6 years ago

Thanks Atomicboy!

Working on software while waiting for the inspiration to form the ramps.

Here's a few images of the GI and inserts cycling through some colours.

#85 6 years ago

Yellow card!

1 month later
#92 6 years ago

Currently programming the rules.
Been working with Kris (Gemini) from our league on rules.
He took a few rough ideas and fleshed them out adding modes for all the characters and holidays and some neat ideas for wizard modes, combos and 2x/3x scoring shots. 43 pages and counting!

Here's a brief overview:

Character Modes

Jack - What's This?
Frenzy mode where all switches award points and some increase the point value

Jack - Where's Jack?
Standard 3-ball multiball mode

Jack - The Scientific Method
Advanced multiball which starts with 2 balls but can be brought up to 4 (excluding add-a-ball)

Sally - Sally's Stitches
Spinner shooting mode

Doctor - A Marked Improvement
Clear major shots to win

Mayor - I Can't Make Decisions!
Must make a travelling shot, but it travels really fast, thus you have to shoot the mayor to hold it in place

Zero - Go Fetch!
Make random shots

LSB - Kidnap the Sandi-Claws
Standard 3-ball multiball mode

Hinterland Door Modes

Valentines - Love is in the Air
Increase the spinner value by clearing lit shots/targets

St. Patrick's - Pot o' Gold
Use the pops to fill the pot of gold, then shoot for the Hinterlands to collect, can only collect once in the time limit

Easter - Easter Egg Hunt
Certain major shots will have eggs hidden for points

Independence - Fireworks Festival
Standard 3-ball multiball mode

Halloween - Trick or Treat!
Complete the LSB target bank as many times as possible but don't bug Doctor Finklestein!

Thanksgiving - Harvest Frenzy
An inverse frenzy where only one shot will award points but the value awarded is increased by all other switches

Christmas - Naughty or Nice?
Standard 2-ball mutliball mode where two shots are lit at all times, one worth a few points, the other a lot more

Oogie Boogie Modes

Bug Bash
2-ball multiball mode where each standup target starts at a high value and decreases in value each time it's hit

Santa Vs. Oogie Boogie
Try to escape from Oogie Boogie by getting the ball off the playfield down a hole

Sally Vs. Oogie Boogie
Health-bar limited mode where health goes down constantly and must be recharged by making shots

Luck o' the Dice
Roll the dice as many times as you can without going over a cumulative value of 32

Jack Vs. Oogie Boogie
You must clear all the lit shots in a very short time limit while shooting the spinner to get more time

Oogie Boogie's Unravelling
Unusual 3-ball multiball frenzy which can't be completed until you're down to one ball

Wizard Modes

Characters - Deliver the Presents
Health-bar limited mode where you must make certain shots while avoiding certain shots

Doors - Holiday Rescue
Find random holiday individuals and return them to their proper realm through the Hinterlands

Oogie Boogie - Mega Oogie Showdown
Battle Mega Oogie with unlimited balls until someone wins

Ultimate - Christmastime in Halloween Town
Timed multiball frenzy where the more different switches you hit, the greater your scores are multiplied

Features List

Running value advanced by the pop bumpers which factors into your bonus, as well as the Deliver the Presents wizard mode

Mystery Award
Gives "random" awards based on the state of the game

All multiballs allow for one add-a-ball, qualified by hitting the mystery target and collected on the graveyard shot

Gate Keeper Multiball
Secret 2-ball multiball where you must bash the gate down with one ball and get the other ball past in the brief moment it's down

These lights get more valuable every time you complete them over the course of the entire game

2x/3x Shots
The Soup Shot opens the shooter lane diverter briefly, upon getting the ball in you can multiply the scoring of the next major shot you hit

Soup Scoring
Hurry-Up started every 100+ spinner spins where you must make the soup shot for lots of points

Whenever you shoot one of the 10 major shots, the other 9 will light for a combo potential, with each shot made clearing the combo light

This is Halloween
Video Mode which plays like DDR or Guitar Hero, awarded as the third mystery award (then every 5 following)

And here's a more detailed look at one of the modes:

Character Mode - "What's This?" Frenzy Page 14

Brief Description
30 Second timed frenzy mode where almost all switches award points. Hitting any of the JACK targets increases the frenzy value. You must reach a target score to complete the frenzy and progress towards "Deliver the Presents".

Jack's fallen through the Christmas Town door in the Hinterlands and is wondering what everything is.

To help Jack discover the magic of Christmas Town you must shoot everything! The base value for every switch starts at 40,000, but hitting any of the JACK standups increases this value by 5,000. The mode only lasts 30 seconds and you must score at least 2,000,000 to complete and end the mode.

Frenzy Base Value 40,000
Increments to Base Value 5,000 / each

The lighting in this mode is mostly just festive and fun and meant to distract the player. The JACK targets will be flashing yellow and will ALL flash green briefly when one is hit to indicate the increase in the frenzy value.

Difficulty Adjustments
Very Easy 40 Seconds - Goal of 1,000,000 Points
Easy 35 Seconds - Goal of 1,500,000 Points
Normal 30 Seconds - Goal of 2,000,000 Points
Hard 30 Seconds - Goal of 2,500,000 Points
Very Hard 25 Seconds - Goal of 3,000,000 Points

#95 6 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

have you obtained the license for Nightmare? Looks like this could be a real winner

No Bill, not planning on going into production yet. Just the one machine for now. That is, unless you want to invest

#100 6 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

Just love the layout, sooo much better than MG RAZA or AIW. Also have you thought about possibly using a non license theme and a really good artist

Well, it's hard to think of anything else when the theme has been the inspiration for the past 2 years.

A bit stuck on the artist bit. I talked to Jeremy a few weeks ago, but I'm not sure if license, time & $$ are a problem.

#102 6 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

I've learnt my lesson......how much for the finished proto type?

well, you can have it now for $1M - it's 95% ready for production, just needs ramps

#104 6 years ago
Quoted from luvthatapex2:

Sorry, I totally missed it - LCD. Thank you.

I really liked the Big Lebowski display. Wide, color - with dots.

#105 6 years ago
Quoted from zero:

Seriously, this game needs to get made. Someone should see if getting a license would even be an option. It would be a home run for me.

The bill of materials might be too high on this. $1000 on circuit boards alone.
And, have you seen the price of bathtubs!?

2 weeks later
#120 6 years ago

Working on some ideas for the display.

How's this look?


#123 6 years ago

I just grabbed the title from DVD cover. Scaled it down to 128x32. Then scaled to 2048x512 (no smoothing)
Then dropped a black hole mask on top. Will probably work the assets all at the low resolution then scale up 16x and apply the mask at render time.
Oh, forgot apps - msPaint and Photoshop.

#124 6 years ago

Found my mayor figure. He's got a rotating head which should work well with a micro servo.image.jpg

#126 6 years ago
Quoted from Erik:

Did you cnc the pf? The inserts look perfect

But nope, just used a router and a template. Just followed Josh/Rosh and other guys on the pinballcontrollers.com site.

#130 6 years ago

I want to get it in shape for expo. Anyone have a large oven (I can fit my ramps into) that I can borrow?

2 weeks later
#149 6 years ago

Ok, how many am I making? I think I'll focus on getting this ONE done for now.
Don't even want to think about finding the parts. Maybe Scott's hoarding them

Making good progress on the programming side. Got all this roughed in, some complete.
Combo system in place. Shot Multipliers. Skill shots.
Add-a-ball, mystery prizes.
7 character modes and a mini wiz
6 oogie modes and a mini wiz
7 holiday modes and a mini wiz
Several MBs in there.
MBs can be stacked - one mode from each of these can be running together.
Complete the 3 mini wiz modes for the Ultimate wiz mode.

Hope to get some video together this weekend.

#151 6 years ago
Quoted from luvthatapex2:

Nice rules set so far Mark! Are you creating the assets along the way or are going to rough in the rules and then concentrate on the sound and animations? It will be really fun exploring those color choices with your lighting! Very exciting project! Thanks for sharing your journey.

Frank, I've got many of the sounds (voice clips, music, sfx) over 220 clips and counting all ready to go.
I've got ideas for many of the backgrounds and animations.
But, yes, I'm getting the rough game in place and then I'll put the lipstick on it.
I have a bunch of ideas for light shows, but I'm waiting on MPF to support things like LED coordinates for easy sweeps and effects.

2 weeks later
#154 6 years ago

Progress Report #2314: Continuing journey into the uncharted waters of Softwareland.

I'm on the bleeding edge with mission pinball framework, but making progress.
Here's a list of what's working so far (with basic lighting effects - much display and lighting work to do)
(* these are partially coded stubs)

Combo shots - chain the main shots for 2, 3, ..10 way combos
Multiplier shots - after soup, return to plunger, next main shot will be 2X for rest of ball. 3X if Zero helps
Add-a-ball - when MB running, Gravestone or Saucer adds another ball
Ball save - variable grace period
*Mystery - random? selectable? rewards (extra time, extra ball, toys, pts, etc)
J-A-C-K - complete targets for up to 12 X bonus & gifts
SANTA - complete rollovers for various gifts
Soup Hurry - after 50 spins, soup countdown starts
*Skill shot - 2 of the 4 are coded

Character Modes:
Mayor - fast moving jackpot (big points), can be frozen for a few seconds (fewer points)
Doctor - collect 5 body parts to make a 'Decided Improvement' Sally replacement
Jack - (Where's ) - ramp for jackpot, 2 other shots to make it a super, JACK to relight
Sally - Sally's arm (upper flipper) is disabled - complete stitches (spins) to re-enable
Jack - (What's This) - frenzy mode
*Zero - Fetch - 3 shots to make (revealed one at a time)
*Jack (Scientific)
*LSB - tub MB (working except for scoring jackpots)

Door Modes:
Christmas - Naughty or Nice MB - 2 lit shots, one red, one green. Complete 3 in a row of the same for jackpots
Valentines - Collect pink hearts (all targets & shots) to increase spinner value
St Patricks - get to the pops to increase pot of gold jackpot in the forest
Easter - 10 shots are hiding various jackpot values. Make 3 to reveal values. Keep shooting to score.
*Independence - frenzy
*Halloween - hit LSB but not Doctor
Thanksgiving - soup for jackpots, all other switches increase soup value

Oogie Modes:
Bug Bash: MB - squash bugs (11 targets) hit repeatedly for diminishing points, complete all to reset points

*video mode
*Ultimate Wizard

New Ideas
Zero - fetch mode. throw a bone (make a main shot) Repeat shot to collect jackpots

#155 6 years ago

On the hardware side :

Cut out a big chunk of the mayor's back. Inserted a micro servo. Spinning head!

Redid the left ramp in plastic. It's sturdier and easier to measure or to make a mold.

Pictures and video later tonight.

#159 6 years ago
Quoted from pinball_customs:

Mark, I'll be in London next week. Perhaps we can meet up and talk about your needs for the game!
- B

Very cool. PM me.

Let's see, Skellington shooter rod, bathtub, BSD coffin

#164 6 years ago

Here's some of the modes in action. Sorry about the crappy quality.
Gameplay video - part 1 -

Gameplay video - part 2 -


#176 6 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

Could the spot behind the 3rd flipper be open so the ball can get back to the shooter lane?

Yes, if you get into the soup, the gate opens up for 10 seconds - allowing you to get back to the shooter.
Next shot you make has a 2X or 3X multiplier attached to it for the rest of that ball.


#193 6 years ago

Unobtainium Makeyerownium

#197 6 years ago
Quoted from Hammerhead:

Amazing work Mark! You've forgotten more than I'll ever know about code and layout and everything else you've managed to accomplish here!
I'll have to say that it does seem like some fairly long ball time (except when I'd be playing ); is it just a particular mode or are all the balls going to last that long?

I have a 20 second ball save whenever a ball is launched - just for play testing. I'll balance that out later.

#198 6 years ago
Quoted from Friengineer:

This is Halloween. This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!

Everybody scream!

#206 6 years ago

Oh, to have one of their budgets...
Scrounging around for parts, information, tools, time! I'm exhausted.

#209 6 years ago

Swapped out the Gottlieb drop for the Williams style one that fills the hole completely. No more air balls.

This Frankenstein has pieces from: Paragon, TZ, Dracula, Baywatch, Maverick and many more.

#211 6 years ago
Quoted from Friengineer:

Do you have a running parts list? I would be curious to see it once the game is complete.

Here's a rough list of parts from donors: Panthera, TZ, Roadshow, NBA, Dracula, T2, Maverick, Baywatch
- pop up triangle post from Maverick not installed yet
- 2nd spinner fom Baywatch not installed yet

1 manual/auto plunger - new
6 diverters - 2 X TZ, RS, door lock, my copy of TZ, modified Panthera pop
3 flippers - 2 X NBA FB, ?
3 pop bumpers - new
1 pop up post - new
1 target bank - new parts, home made frame, surplus motor
1 magnet - new
1 spinner - new
1 drop target - Dracula
1 kickout hole - Pathera
1 VUK - TZ
1 scoop - RS
1 kickback - T2

Panthera parts came from Patrick in Kitchener.
Most of the other stuff from Dragon in Bulgaria.

#214 6 years ago
Quoted from lordloss:


Hardware: Spent the weekend doing major surgery to the underside. Removed 10 boards. Replaced with 4. Full details in the next few days.

Software: continue to add more stuff. End of ball bonus, more modes, etc.

#216 6 years ago
Quoted from Shenanigander:

Looks what made a debut on the pinball podcast. The nifty guys are NOT happy!
» YouTube video

Any publicity is good publicity !

#217 6 years ago

Brain & nervous system transplant almost complete. Patient is communicative and responding well. Update when the lights come back on.

#222 6 years ago

Some LED shows:

And a template for the metal apron:

#224 6 years ago

The new FAST lighting system.

#228 6 years ago

She's got legs! And a body!image.jpeg

#235 6 years ago

Places everyone! image.jpegimage.jpeg

1 week later
#242 6 years ago

Got my display mounted in the back box. Jack approves.

#250 6 years ago
Quoted from luvthatapex2:

Expo? Are you bringing the game to the Chicago Expo?

Yes, Frank. That's the plan. As rough as it is - it's a good reference point before the art's done.

I'll be in the FAST booth.

"Everyone loves a box of lights!"

#252 6 years ago
Quoted from fastpinball:

LOL. I'll have a pretty box of covered in art. Let's see if we can get some lights in it too!
FAST Pinball

Hire a driver - work in the trailer. Put those 30 hours to good use!

#254 6 years ago
Quoted from toyotaboy:

I have a silly question, where's the space to mount front bezel speakers? Or are you only doing lower cabinet speakers? Love that you're bringing it to expo.

I'm putting speakers up there. No back glass art. I want the title silhouette cut in metal. and some animated figures in the orange 'T' section.backbox.jpg

#257 6 years ago

Glass, speakers

#263 6 years ago
Quoted from dtowndobe:

I know this is a taboo question for a lot of people, but any idea how much you've spent so far? Or is this one of those projects where you don't keep track of costs on purpose?!

Rough guess...

cab 350 (based on TZ)
trim 400 (trim kit - legs, rails, door, hinges, etc.)
pc 100 (refurb)
display 50 (used Dell)
ps 150 (70/24, 12/5)
wood 200 (playfield, misc)
alum 50 (guides)
wire 200 (several colours, 18, 20)
fast 1000 (3208X2, 1616, Nano, LEDs, fuse, servo)
parts 1500 (flippers, trough, inserts, posts, etc.)
art ??
Time 20000 (~4 hrs/day X 8 months X 30 Days X $20)

Don't ask me to add that up!

#267 6 years ago
Quoted from Shenanigander:

Shit in that case ill trade you my Dr Who instead

You missed a couple zeros on the end there Mike!

#268 6 years ago

Cutting some plastic tonight.

#272 6 years ago
Quoted from Methos:

What does this all include? Is this all the electronics and programing?

Yes, the PC runs mission pinball framework software (free) which talks to the controller board (Nano) which communicates with the driver/switch boards (3208s, 1616, and servo boards) Those boards connect to the coils, motors, switches and LEDs.)
Those other components I listed under 'parts' - (flippers, VUK, Scoop, magnet, targets, opto switches, diverters, buttons, etc.)
The game rules are on top of the framework. My friend Gemini fleshed out a rough set of game ideas I had into a huge document with tons of modes and cool ideas. I'm in the process of coding them using MPF and Python while trying to finish the physical construction. This is a bit much for a one man show.
Maybe I should have built a cloning machine first.

#277 6 years ago
Quoted from MagicMako:

This is all amazing. Was thinking of trying to start a game myself. What was your background or how much design/pinball "know-how" did you have before you started?

Um, let's see, I played pinball before this.

Background: some electronics, lots of game programming, very basic tools skills.

#282 6 years ago

Man, it's windy here!

#284 6 years ago

At expo all weekend. Drop by, and say hi.

#305 6 years ago
Quoted from toyotaboy:

I shot a short video
» YouTube video

Thanks for posting that toyotaboy. I'll get some good video up onc I get her home and set up again.
My audits say over 275 games played. 15000 right flipper presses.
Lock pin on the right flipper pawl fell apart Sunday just before closing time!

#306 6 years ago

It was an amazing experience. Met so many nice, encouraging people. Thank you!

#312 6 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

Looks great Mark. Is the pf going to have any spot lights on it?

Yes, it will have some spots lighting up the characters (only the mayor is there so far)
I am also adding more gi lighting, and the forest in the back will evolve a bit - lit trees, maybe more player interaction.

2 weeks later
#321 5 years ago

Not much to show at the moment - refining some game play a bit. Will work on getting a proper video together. My last few attempts using my phone were crap.

3 weeks later
#323 5 years ago

Project continues...

Maybe a pico projector could fit in this dome...image.jpeg
Cleaning up my ramp lines a bit before going to plastic.
2 new inserts added to playfield.

#325 5 years ago
Quoted from toyotaboy:

Are you 3d printing them, or going right to vacuum forming?

A 3D printer would be nice to have. Alas, I don't even have access to one in the area.
I'm trying to make an 'exact' version of the ramp with this matte board. Bottom, sides, mounting tabs. From those pieces a mold can be created/sculpted. And then a vacuum formed ramp made from that. "Help me Freeplay40, you're my only hope!"

#328 5 years ago
Quoted from MustangPaul:

Question, are the outlanes going to be adjustable...open or close them up?

A bit tricky to change them now, I think, but they can be made harder by removing the rubber rings. Maybe I could do the 3 close post holes to adjust the vertical position, but not sure how it will be easier/harder?

#331 5 years ago

Thanks Linolium. Lots of good ideas in there.

1 month later
#333 5 years ago

Here's what's happened in the last month. This photo only shows the new ramp. I'll have to take some more recent ones.

1 - new ramp - smoother flow, proper height, better diverter angles, ready for plastic mold
2 - moved post 1 cm right - protect back of standup
3 - ramp switch mounted to wireform
4 - orbit aligned with left flipper NOT between them
5 - dedicated light for Mayor Mode
6 - dedicated light for Doctor Mode
7 - moved apron wall down 1 cm
8 - mounted kickback coil with connectors facing down through table
9 - redone diverter - new shaft and beefed up mounting to bracket
10 - not shown - more coding


#335 5 years ago

Mark, Aaron says: "build that oven!"
Small Oven says: "get in ma belly!"



#340 5 years ago
Quoted from rosh:

looks to me like the apron needed to move down 1.25 cm not 1 cm
Looking good, how do you plan to make the plastic ramps?

Ha! I didn't even mention the angle change!

I'm going to magically fill the inside of my ramps to make them into molds. Hopefully freeplay40 can then use them to form some plastic ramps.

#346 5 years ago

I just found out I can import my futurepinball table into Blender!
This will make the transition to CAD quite a bit easier.
Just had to share.


#349 5 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Sweet, 3D render looks nice.
So Mark, can I ask you a question?
The pops seems super enclosed, they really don't seem to add much risk or random ball movement.
Given that, I'm just curious how you see them functioning on the table. Are they a part of the rules so that they just serve a different function? Or maybe there are paths out of them that I'm missing?

The pops are where the toys are made!
There's a popup post at the top to get orbits to drop into the area.
It pops up when a mode requires you to collect pop hits (collect toys, gold, spinner multipliers, etc)
It's also a good place to send balls during a multiball.
Can exit out to left orbit or the inner orbit.

#352 5 years ago
Quoted from wcbrandes:

Mark have you decided what to do with the "forest" and how it will interact with the ball? Nice table

Not sure. Was thinking of a funnel between the trees - somewhat like the White water whirlpool, but visibility and space up there is limited.

#355 5 years ago
Quoted from Chosen_S:

This is one of those projects that I wish I could just walk next door to help. I get so excited when I see there are posts to be read. Will you finish the future pinball version with toys and all, or are you using it as a base to build off of?

Ha, anytime. I could use the help!

I'm trying to update the sim table to match the small changes I had to make on the proto.
Mainly so I have something I can send to a CNC to cut new play fields and models for the ramp molds.
I haven't spent any time updating the gameplay. It's too different between VB and mpf/python.

#359 5 years ago

I have a swizzlefish in my tub! Thanks Mike!


#362 5 years ago
Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

I'd have the trees double up in function as mode inserts (and thus save some playfield space) - place them in a row, with a light-up doorway icon on each. The ramp passes the whole line (or behind it) before the end point, so it's obvious that the lit tree/mode is where you will go next.

Thanks for the input!

I was planning on having the whole tree area change color to reflect which mode is selected. They can more reflect the upcoming mode, whereas the playfield inserts can show the status of mode completion.

I do want to reclaim some space up there so I may change the tree 'poles' into 1/2 cylinders placed against the walls in an semicircle ~3 on back, 1 in corner and 3 on right side. The extra space gained can maybe be a shallow bowl the ball will spiral around. Ball can be spun out of bowl with carefully timed nudging.

#365 5 years ago

something like this?
Trees will have holiday doors on them. Whirlpool will light up in the holiday color.


#366 5 years ago


#368 5 years ago
Quoted from AlexSMendes:

Beautiful.... Can't wait to play the future pinball version!

You can play with it now. Grab the 2016_01_26 table and sound files here:


I'm only using this to work out design issues. I'm not updating the rules on the virtual game.

#370 5 years ago
Quoted from redundor:

tried downloading the sound files and got this error when clicking on any of the three links. I did get the newest table though

Give it another try. I had to change them to zip files - my web host changed something and it doesn't know what to do with that .fpl file extension.

#371 5 years ago

Whirlpool portal thingy. Heading to printer.


#373 5 years ago
Quoted from Chosen_S:

sweet! the table looks great in FP!
im still trying to figure out how to name the sound files so I can hear your studio work, I downloaded the sounds.zip, extracted it, and get 2 folders
what do we need to name them to?
I tried downloading the .fpl.zip files, and the links dont works still, I guess
again, great work!!!

Hmm, well, don't know what's up with my server. It doesn't like .fpl
So I have renamed them yet again. Have another go.

The sounds.zip is for use with the mpf code. FP uses the libraries above.

#376 5 years ago

EalaDubhSidhe suggests rearranging the pops like so, and adding a magnet instead of the popup post. Gonna give that a try in FP.
This should fix the problem of balls passing by the pops and not hitting them.
But it might also cause other problems such as magnet timing during multiballs. How to catch a 2nd ball that's orbiting without re-capturing the one we just dropped into the pops?

Maybe this new configuration would work just as well with a post? Hmm.

2 weeks later
#381 5 years ago

Been patiently waiting for the postman to bring me my plastic models. Hurry up!

#383 5 years ago
Quoted from Chosen_S:

OOOoooooooo, I wanna see, hopefully they arrived

Still waiting. This is Canada. In winter. The poor dogs on the sled team need to rest between cities.

2 weeks later
#384 5 years ago

Installed! See Facebook for videos of them in action.


#386 5 years ago
Quoted from swinks:

coming along nicely, what is the facebook address?

Sorry, thought I had posted it....


#388 5 years ago
Quoted from swinks:

nice work, nice tub movement.
also with the whirlpool thing is it levelled off to the ground or sitting at the playfield angle (guessing 6.5degrees) as level might make it rotate around a little more.

The square cutout is parallel to the playfield, but the bowl is actually level to the ground. The bowl intersects the playfield at 6.5 degrees to counter the playfield slope.

1 month later
#391 5 years ago

We're entering the slow grind part of the process.

My partner is working on artwork for the playfield, cabinet, and plastics as well as some ideas for the backbox.
I'm working on code (mpf 0.30)

Will post more updates when there's stuff to show.

1 month later
#393 5 years ago

dots, dots and more dotspresents_(resized).pnglock_(resized).pngtub_ready_(resized).png

#398 5 years ago
Quoted from Mbecker:

Dots look awesome -- what program are you using to do this?? Is it completely manual or are you using existing images somehow?

I'm using mpf. I use lower rez images and video clips. They are rendered at a higher rez with a dots shader. The stretching/scaling is all automatic thanks to the work Brian has done with mpf.30

I've been grabbing various images and tweaking them to what looks good - cleaning them up, removing backgrounds, adjusting size, contrast, etc.

1 week later
#401 5 years ago

Cleaning up my optos - new 5V driver boards and receivers designed by Jan. Printed in China through seeedstudio - delivered to Canada in 1 week. Other parts from digi-key.


1 week later
#402 5 years ago

Getting closer to it.

2 weeks later
#404 5 years ago

Got all the character and holiday modes mostly figured out.
Here's a sneak of the Doctor's mode:

#405 5 years ago

Kidnap the Sandiclaws!


2 weeks later
#409 5 years ago

Excuse the crappy blurry stuff - still work to do on fonts, text, colors, etc.

But, I finally settled on a screen layout that works.
Bottom will show scores, player, balls, and related details.

Middle strip is the character row. It will pop up when a character is qualified, completed or character mode is running.

The rest of the screen will be the modes that are running - Door, Oogie or even Character (when no Door or Oogie running)
When any mode starts, it will get the whole screen for a brief time.
If no other mode starts, it stays full screen.
If another mode starts, the 2nd mode gets the full screen for a bit and then splits the screen.
Once one of the split modes ends, the remaining one will go full screen again.

In this example you see 'Halloween' Door mode running along with 'Boogie Bug Bash' Oogie mode.
On top of that, 'Zero' has just become qualified and he's highlighted in green.
If 'Zero' is hit again, starting that mode, it would go full screen for a few seconds and then reduce to the character strip above the scores.

Lots to do still, but should be much easier and faster to complete now that the pattern is set.

#412 5 years ago
Quoted from luvthatapex2:

What happens to the other 3 player scores? Are they hidden? Looks great, but its always nice to see all players scores if possible.

Good question. I thought I had posted a multiplayer pic before, guess not. They'll show up in the empty space in the lower right.
Here's an earlier image that shows the other scores.

1 week later
#413 5 years ago

Got your nose!

#416 5 years ago

Careful now!

1 week later
#417 5 years ago

Captured some video (sorry, no audio) of my display. I'll try to redo it later on my other computer without the busted audio drivers.

#418 5 years ago

This version has audio:

- a whole bunch of place holders in there - will replace with proper video clips and other images.
- sfx / music need to be balanced and non-overlapping - I'm working on it.

#423 5 years ago

Here's a bit of the Independence Day mode:

1 month later
#425 5 years ago

Not as far along as hoped for, but making the trek to Expo again. See you all there.
Making pinball art is hard.

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#428 5 years ago

Loaded up and ready to go!

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#430 5 years ago

Hey Monkey! Get ta bed!

#431 5 years ago

If anyone's around Saturday - I should be around my machine. Come check it out and say hi. I'm across from the Batman machines.

#434 5 years ago

And away we go...

Off to freeplay40!

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#436 5 years ago
Quoted from AlexSMendes:

Gameplay videos???

Once again, I don't have any myself! There were many people taking videos. I'm sure they will show up soon.

#440 5 years ago
Quoted from Bonnevil69:

I think wireforms would look way better than plastic ones. And they would last way longer

of course you do!

I kinda agree, but not for this theme. These ramps represent certain things that make more sense in plastic - snow covered rooftops and leafy forest floor.

The metal piece I do have on there - that's the skeletal reindeer sleigh, so it fits thematically.

#442 5 years ago
Quoted from Freeplay40:

Um, we're going to need to talk before we commit to anything. Two of those cannot be done with my current setup...would have to wait until I complete the new machine.

Of course!
The ball is rolling, so to speak. I'm just happy to get them in your hands for your feedback (like above)
We've got until October, next year.
And you can let Aaron do all the work - just stand over his shoulder and direct!
Slope the sides!

#446 5 years ago

Ok Matt, you convinced me with pretty colors. If the plastic is a no-go, green, silver and sparkly metal it will be.

Next you'll be telling me I don't need loops at the end of the ramps, needlessly slowing down the ball!

#452 5 years ago

The red plastic on Buffy was very nice.
Aaron needs to capture Mark's process on video and share it out. We need more people doing this.

#455 5 years ago

Nice! Looks like a gem.

#459 5 years ago
Quoted from T-800:

Great to play your game again Mark. Each year it gets deeper and deeper with code and amps up the already awesome fun factor. Looking forward to next year with art and more durable ramps.

Thanks Scott!

Re our chat about upkickers and the space they take:
Have you seen these:

3 weeks later
#460 4 years ago

Work begins again...

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2 months later
#461 4 years ago

Some times you gotta go back to move forward.
Stripping down to get a proper scan done. Want to make sure art will line up!

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#462 4 years ago

Hey! The underside is wood!

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#463 4 years ago

All stripped and heading to the scanner.

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#465 4 years ago
Quoted from T-800:

Very cool to see the stripped down playfield - shows all the shot paths. You really came up with a fun new playfield design. Any thoughts on creating a vector playfield layout based on your scan so you can get one perfectly CNC'd?

Thanks! I still find it fun, and it's gotten much play over the past ~20 months.
A few minor tweaks here and there have changed it enough from the layout I started with in futurepinball that I can't really use that bitmap to finalize the art or make a CAD file. A few posts moved a bit and the inserts were mostly hand placed, so that majorly affects art.
This scan will help me capture all those changes into a proper CAD.

#469 4 years ago

So, no go on the professional scan.

Playfield too heavy for the machine's rollers. No one else in town has a large scanner that can handle it.

My options:
1. Good photo/s stitched/scaled
2. Tracing paper & pencil -> scan
3. Hand scanner
4. something, something profit? Or any suggestions from the gallery?

#475 4 years ago
Quoted from Redketchup:

any cruse scan in London?

I'll look around. Thanks for the suggestion.

#480 4 years ago
Quoted from swinks:

bummer about the scan,
alternatively I have done a pure measure and draw into CAD and then print (have a small rule printed in the print as a scale check) in tracing paper and then do a overlay check - a little time consuming but once you get in the swing of it measuring from the left side and bottom side for every item keeps it consistent. and then a photo like how toyotaboy suggested as a layer to toggle off / on.

I've tried the measure - adjust - measure - adjust and I just wasn't getting it accurate enough. This was before I stripped everything off, but still not sure I could get it right.

I need a large drafting table with an electronic tracking pen. Then I could just trace things out on the playfield and they'd be transferred accurately to a drawing!

#489 4 years ago

Hammerhead is lending me his scanner!
Will try the scan and stitch approach in a couple of days.

#493 4 years ago
Quoted from jrivelli:

If PS isn't stitching it well for you, I'm happy to take the pics and try myself

Thanks for the offer, very generous.
I should be ok getting the images together. I can grab ICE, it looks free.

Just patiently waiting to get my hands on the scanner tomorrow

#495 4 years ago

all stitched up and ready to go

NBX_SCAN_LOWRES (resized).jpg

#496 4 years ago
Quoted from chadderack:

1) Which 3D modeling tool[s] did you use?

I only went from FP -> blender -> Fusion360
But it all imported as one big model, so never got far with that. It was neat to see the render.

I knew the simulated physics would never really match the real life behaviour.
After my first stab at FP table -> real table I took what I saw on the real table and worked that back into the sim.
The sim became a little clunkier (but I was confident of what worked in the real.)

I didn't really model the ramps. Making them out of matte board and duct tape was a fast, easy, and durable solution.
Start with a rough bottom curve, refine it to the width needed. Make strips for sides. Tape in place.

#499 4 years ago
Quoted from T-800:

For posterity, would you mind posting exactly what you did to create that playfield image? i.e. equipment used, resolution of scan, software for stitching, etc.? I can see many other home projects following this thread benefiting from what you have just done.

PC with XP running scan software that came with HP Scanjet 4600 (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high,781-11.html)
PC with W10 running MS ICE (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=52459) and Photoshop(or gimp)

Scanned in overlapping sections 3X5 at 300dots per inch. This created 15 .tif files approx 22Mb each.

Copied files over to faster PC. Ran the ICE program. Loaded in the 15 images. It automatically stitched them for me.
Resulting file was rotated a couple of degrees in Photoshop to align the left edge of the playfield with the edge of the image. The canvas size was adjusted down until it was just the size of the playfield.

Turns out it was not cut very squarely - hand tools. Noticeable at the top and the fuzzy right edge.
This playfield is not a standard size. It is 23.25 X 45.75 (made to fit the cabinet that was built for me.)
I can easily get rid of that extra .25" width by reducing the shooterlane width and moving the kickback over 1/8th.

#503 4 years ago
Quoted from Hammerhead:

For what its worth I've had that scanner working on my laptop with Windows 8 as well.

I'm sure we could have gotten it working - if the cd drive wasn't disconnected!

#505 4 years ago

This thing is full of holes!

shapes_1 (resized).png

3 weeks later
#507 4 years ago

Slowly coming into focus.

wood_plus (resized).png

wood (resized).png

#508 4 years ago

Crazy outlines with outer glow and drop shadows.
*Not indicative of final art.

crazy outlines (resized).png

2 weeks later
#509 4 years ago


#510 4 years ago

Added a diverter to return left ramp shots back to left or right in lanes when the forest is closed (holiday mode running)

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#511 4 years ago

I'm looking into making the ramps with steel sides and plastic bottom.

#514 4 years ago

Yes, that's the approach I was thinking of using (The model unfolding technique) . Although, I don't have as much variation in my floor section and would not have the degree of curvature in my walls. I can get away with slight wall curves at the positions where the floor turns sharply and where the floor reaches it's peak elevation.

#515 4 years ago

rampy (resized).jpg

#517 4 years ago
Quoted from Bonnevil69:

what happened to the vacuum formed ramps??

They got put on hold due to my redesign. Now thinking of other options.

#527 4 years ago
Quoted from Bonnevil69:

What about Evil pinballs lead designer/fabricator/sculptor/programmer well everything but art guy

You too Matt. Always inspiring. Thanks!

#537 4 years ago


#538 4 years ago

New graphics for Thanksgiving mode. Collect the potions and drop them in the soup. Bigger points for collecting multiples.

nbxmasjars copy.png

#539 4 years ago

somebody's avoiding playfield work...

nbxmasjars (resized).png

#540 4 years ago

Few more characters coming to visit


#542 4 years ago

doorbell mystery light. shoot target multiple times to light reward.

talking bout my doorbell.png

#544 4 years ago

Sally's Stitches (Spinner) and Mayor (Scoop) ideas

a stitch in time.png

#545 4 years ago

Unwrapping my ramps - feel the curves.

IMG_3443 (resized).JPG

#546 4 years ago


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#547 4 years ago

Almost done my templates.

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#553 4 years ago
Quoted from SLCpunk2113:

Ramps are looking really cool. I am reminded of the hill from Jack's lament for some reason. Don't know if you had plans to but it could be a cool feature to work in.

I'm using the moon and hill image for my 'back glass'. I'm sure it inspired the curves.