(Topic ID: 203700)

deeproot Pinball thread

By pin2d

1 year ago

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  • Latest reply 7 days ago by PinballManiac40
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Post #111 Firsthand information from the Magic Girl programmer. Posted by applejuice (1 year ago)

Post #3026 RAZA promotional video Posted by vireland (5 months ago)

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#191 1 year ago

From the TWIP link:

> Silicon-Valley-esque industrial building

When I read stuff like that, I have no hope in this project. There's nothing about an industrial building that makes it Silicon-Valley-esque. IMHO that's just bandwagon talk, aka "look we are a solid company because silicon valley!"

2 weeks later
#508 1 year ago

If I wanted to do VR I'd buy a Vive. I want to play pinball because it's a physical game.

I really hope that sledgehammer comment was a metaphor. There's no playfield that will take a sledgehammer hit nor is that a real test of anything.

4 months later
#952 1 year ago

Reading this thread; deeproot / Robert sounds very much like the bluster coming out of Elon Musk and his “boring company”. We’re going to revolutionize tunneling / pinball! How? Innovation! The system! Trust me! I know more about it than companies who have been in the industry 40 years! The laws don’t apply to us because we’re innovating. Quad something!

Honestly the braggadocio is mostly to con investors, which he’ll need. I don’t doubt pinball will come out of this approach but I do doubt this will be a profitable enterprise long term.

I much prefer to humble bootstrapped approach Charlie Emerie took with Spooky. Most successful companies don’t take huge sums of investor money and become an overnight success. Most new companies stay small and lean so they can iterate quickly and recover from smaller failures. That way you are not learning huge expensive lessons with borrowed money.

#955 1 year ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

Hold up there. Elon Musk is positioned to be the savior of humanity if his plans come to fruition.
There is a stark difference between him and your run of the mill, egotistical, mid size CEO.

Savior of humanity? LOL. Guy’s a fraud, who got really lucky early in his career. Remember the “solar roof”? At the announcement, the demo panels weren’t working solar tiles. Elon could crush at boutique pinball because he already knows how to show up with just a box of lights

1 month later
#1210 1 year ago
Quoted from LTG:

That is a problem. Gene got it done. ( BBB ) JJP got it done. And people may have gotten complacent and thinking anyone could do it. Then we've seen some notable failures. So the pendulum has swung way the other way. People aren't so quick to believe.
Since they aren't asking for up front money. I'd give them the benefit of the doubt and see what happens as things progress. A couple of recent hires have faith in what is going on. Another positive sign. So soon enough we shall see.
TPF isn't that far away. Doesn't cost us anything to watch what happens once the days of Deeproot starts. Wish them well and hope the best for pinball.
LTG : )

Didn’t BBB ruin Gene financially? And JJP had a second set of investors swoop in and rescue them right? In the meantime JJP’s initial 6K price has jumped to 9K as the reality of manufacturing hit them.

My problem with deep root is this “pinball is easy” braggadocio. No need for it. JJP had it too.

In contrast, I saw Gary Stern talk at Pinburgh. Guy is a class act. Acknowledges other vendors but is laser focused on his vision for the business. Are all Stern games home runs? Nope. But they deliver games and come up with designs and do it without “pinball is easy” and “quad manufacturing” BS.

7 months later
#2495 7 months ago
Quoted from brucipher:

Because at this point they have not taken consumers money, so why not give them the benefit of the doubt. If nothing ever shows up, oh well, nobody loses, and on top of that some old guys collected some paychecks.

Except Steve Bowden gave up his teaching career to move to texas and go work for DR. This is the part that worries me. People like to think "What's the harm in Andrew Heighway/JPOP/etc blowing money", but there's always collateral damage. AppleJuice not getting paid for coding work. The game designer for Heighway who was unpaid and basically made broke. There's always collateral damage when you look behind the big personalities. When DR fails, it will mess over a lot of people, like the investors in Robert's funds, which will then make it harder for pinball manufacturers in the future to raise capital.

I almost immediately thought this was a fraud because THEY ARE SPONSORING EVENTS. A company with zero cash flow and nothing but expenses is sponsoring Pinburgh and otherwise spending money on shit they shouldn't. Reminded me of Dutch Pinball throwing a boozy party with hired models. Pinball is a low margin item, hand manufactured in the USA where labor is notoriously expensive. IMHO If you want to be successful as a pinball manufacturer you need to count every penny to be profitable, especially in the early stages where you have to outlay large expenses (equipment, leases, employees, 1 year lead time on product development) without selling anything just yet. Sponsoring events to 'build brand awareness' is the kind of marketing bullshit people think you need, but let's face it: you can post on pinside you're making a game and pinside will shower you with attention until the games come out.

Oh, and then don't even get me started on taking on JPOP's liabilities and former customers. How that would ever be a profitable move is beyond me.

#2508 7 months ago
Quoted from Roostking:

I agree with everythjng you said, except the part about collateral damage. Anytime you change jobs, you better do your research, especially if its a startup that has not actually produced anything.

Yes, to a degree. Look if you already hired pinball greats and showed me work, it would be hard to say no to Nordman, etc especially since they are the people who made the games we love. I make good money at my job and have it really great, but if stern wanted to hire me? To work for a firm I love whose products I love? Would have a hard time saying no. Once in a lifetime thing.

But if you are blowing smoke out of your ass and essentially fraudulently conveying that you can manufacture pinballs, I mean that’s on the fraudster too. All the people defrauded by JPOP and Heighway, the victims are just that. There’s a difference between evaluating risk and being told lies.

Let’s say in the first paragraph my dream came true and stern said hey we got a big investment, guaranteed money coming in so we can pay for more engineers, then they recruit me, I uproot my family. Then I get there and they say “well investment fell through sorry”; I mean is that my fault for believing them? Nope I was told a guarantee was in place when it wasn’t.

#2515 7 months ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

They invest a lot of money at the moment, wich would be completely burned if they don't manage to generate some income out of it, so...

It isn't their own money, so...

#2525 7 months ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

...that that proves that they have the trust of others that they're no frauds.

Andrew Heighway had a whole company full of people who trusted him. And a ton of customers that did too.
JPop also had a ton of customers who trusted him.
Kevin Kulek was trusted by many depositors.

#2541 6 months ago

Not true. Deeproot spent the money to sponsor the tournament

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2 weeks later
#2698 6 months ago
Quoted from gstellenberg:

Only if "traditional" means theme-specific that's permanently adhered to the cabinet.

Which is what pinball collectors want. Look at how many people dished out extra money for 'rad-cals' or whatever is the new hotness these days.

Quoted from gstellenberg:

Our game kits so far are 25% or less of our full machine price

That's interesting to me, mostly because the expensive part of pinball machines these days are not the parts, it's the labor. Paying workers by the hour to hand-solder components, manually hammer in t-nuts, and build complicated wiring looms (now with more wire so you can cantilever out the playfield 5 feet!) is the big cost. Selling separate playfields doesn't reduce the labor to write the game code, or create the artwork, or any of the other substantial overhead.


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#2702 6 months ago
Quoted from gstellenberg:

It's quite wrong, at least for the majority of manufacturers

I would agree that MOST manufacturers of almost anything else besides a pinball machine have lower labor costs than input costs (and lower them mostly by moving the labor to places with lower wages and by automating the labor).

But... Pinball is made by hand mostly in the USA. In the United States, labor is high in price relatively speaking. Sure, they've made incremental improvements (Spike and the node board setup, plus LEDs over socketed lamps) in reducing labor costs, but I don't see any sort of revolution that suddenly changes the number of hours to assemble a pinball machine.

I do not run a factory, so my take is purely conjecture. But I did do a playfield swap on a Taxi pinball machine. It took probably a hundred hours. I had plenty of help too. And the swap didn't have to build the harness.

#2734 6 months ago

“If deeproot Tech misses the Delivery Date deadline through no fault of Claimant, then deeproot Tech will pay to the order of the Claimant 1x the combined RAZA/AIW deposits claimed on Claimant's proof of claim ("non-delivery payments"), in lieu of the benefits above. deeproot Tech must pay all qualifying non-delivery payments no later than sixty days after the Delivery Date.”

More cash shoveled into the furnace. Yikes.

Quoted from deeproot:

I appreciate your enthusiasm, but maybe not share stuff that’s inaccurate. That number is too low.
—Robert dT

I’m confused, is this meant to be a brag? As a spectator, I’d expect instead on noodling on 12! Or more white woods, I’d expect a better look would be at least one game complete and ready to show. Spreading yourself thin over multiple games and not being ready to deliver seems worse than putting all efforts into one game and being ready to ship.

1 week later
#2871 5 months ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

Cool promo, but if they really have 40 animators working on stuff full time, their cash burn has to be way, way more than $1M a month by now.

They could be outsourcing the animation to overseas studios. Might save them up to 80% of the cost of having domestic animators.

even so, 40 animators is insane. You can't just drive to the Blicks parking lot and pick up animation day laborers and toss them at a project. When you have 40 animators, you need a team of something like 6 or more art directors, and then of course project managers funneling this work into a pipeline, reviewing and making changes, etc. I've worked at design agencies with > 100 employees whose job was to produce commercial art for clients events like trade shows, etc. At no point did we have 40 designers or animators or video people. You need people to manage and coordinate that level of staffing, so if you have 40 animators your total firm should probably be at least 120 total employees. My guess is for a company like Stern, they have 10 graphic designers / animators on staff full time. Stern puts out what 4 games a year? (double checking, linkedin shows 11 people with art/graphics job titles, although one seems like an intern. and Jeremy Packer is a contract artist from what I understand not a full time employee).

All this and let's face it, a lack of animation has never been the reason a pin hasn't shipped. (Remember the original game of thrones video mode graphics )

#2874 5 months ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

I don't get why people have to rethink the companys (investment) structure?

Because several pinball companies / startups have failed.
Because deeproot hired one of the chief architects of a major failure
because deeproot has said "pinball is easy", then failed to deliver on their TPF 5 days of deeproot

#3067 5 months ago
Quoted from benheck:

I found an image of what your smart phone would look like if it were limited to 35 year old tech like a pinball machine.
[quoted image]

Ok, so I just want to preface this by saying I love the Ben Heck show, the Element14 show you used to do, all that, I loved when you were making portable consoles. But, I think you're missing the point.

No one is saying microswitches are perfect. Or that ball tracking is impossible. I'm sure a ball tracking solution could be iterated on and perfected. But nothing happens in a vacuum. Pinball is made by a small number of manufacturers. It's made by people who have industry expertise and a body of knowledge. You don't just get to cram an ASIC and thousands of man hours of software development into an existing market and existing product. These things need to be tested on location over time and iterated on. Just 'inventing' a brand new thing and then the old thing instantly goes away is not how technology works. It works by gradual adaptation, iteration and 'practice', for lack of a better term. They also need to fit into a business framework. What's cheaper, firing your existing software or hardware people and bringing on a computer vision team? Or just using microswitches because they're industry proven, a company like Stern has institutional knowledge to execute on it and know how those switches perform in the field, and they already have an affordable supplier at volume for those switches? Think of the equipment Stern already has that's operated for decades, paid for itself a million times over, like the pinball press they posted about a while back
A business is a gradual thing. You often make what seems, in isolation to the problem, a decision that is sub-optimal, but when viewed in total, make sense for the entire operation. Like economics, like knowledge and reliablity, etc

That's why I think DMDs were in Stern games for way longer than people would have predicted: They needed to iterate on a design that would work as well as a DMD, which the format had been the same for what 25 years and survived location play that long. They needed to ramp up staff to create the art that works for LCDs, that means training existing people and hiring up new people. It needed to fit in the entire picture of business sense, machine reliability, etc.

1 week later
#3277 5 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

It's hard to see how they spend all that money and generate nothing. I guess it could happen, but highly doubt it.

Why would you doubt it? They literally hired a designer who did just that, raised a ton of money and blew through it without generating anything. “This time it’s different.” The most expensive words in investing.

1 month later
#3860 3 months ago


The hard part about manufacturing pinball is not creating art. Jpop created years and years worth of art (or paid others to do so!) No pinball machine was ever held up from shipping because they couldn't get the art done / right.

The reason I am so pessimistic on deeproot is because they're following almost all the same formulas as the other pinball failures.

They all had a carnival barker/salesperson hyping the shit out of people (Jpop, Barry and Jap, Andrew Highway, now Robert)
They all promised the moon, and shit all over everything currently being made
They're doing this whole deal with other people's money (preorders in the case of the above mentioned, some weird fund management thing with Robert)
They spent that money on stuff that isn't core to their business for 'marketing' (dutch pinball's famous parties, and deeproot pinball sponsoring every pinball tournament from here to kingdom come)

The upstarts that have make it to capture a very small part of the market worked lean and kept their mouths mostly shut until they had something to show (Spooky, possibly Suncoast? No idea if Suncoast is viable or if their game is gonna be any good).

Let's be real, in what way is Deeproot going to 'innovate' such that they can create a better pinball machine than Stern can at a cheaper price? Deeproot is still manufacturing in the USA, still hand assembling the games, still paying expensive software developers and game designers and graphic designers. Oh but they're only selling to US customers so their total addressable market is 50% of what Stern's is. I know the last 10 years of delusionally low interest rates has clouded everyone's judgement over what is a viable business and what is not, but how will Deeproot accomplish this 'better game at a lower cost'?

1 month later
#4254 79 days ago
Quoted from gstellenberg:

To argue that a potentially large group of pinball-loving consumers (including a huge % of pinheads) aren't interested in saving floorspace, saving money, and having a variety of shot layouts and gameplay styles in the form of easily swappable is silly. A swappable system actually designed to make it easy and convenient to both store and swap playfields will succeed or fail largely based on size of marketing budget and how well people connect with the content.

I really don’t think the reason I haven’t seen any P3 systems among major collectors isn’t because of marketing.

All pinball gets boring. Collectors rotate and trade games, selling off old ones and buying new ones. It’s often why the latest game is the biggest earner at arcades.

So if you’re a collector, for a P3 game to make sense, you have to have a reasonable % of the other collectors to also have a P3 so you can sell/trade the game kits. Otherwise if you want a new game that isn’t a P3 you’d have to sell your entire collection of P3 kits and the P3 cab/root system, since the market of people who can buy just your kit is way limited.

So in order to buy the P3 system now you gotta spend 2x the price of a new Stern pro and the promise is that for an additional 1/2 the price of a pro you can get a potential second/third/etc game. The same issue will come up with deeproot if they have kit games. You’ve taken something universal, a plug in amusement device, and now it’s proprietary. That’s the worst part of video game consoles, the vendor lock in.

And that’s just collectors. If you’re an operator you want more actual games because you can put each additional game out adding to potential revenue. Kits don’t actually help them because they now have a harder time selling old kits and can’t grow their business without buying more of the 2x cost cabinets.

#4256 78 days ago
Quoted from TreyBo69:

What? Pinball machines have always been proprietary. Some parts might be interchangeable, but for the most part a System 11 game needs those particular boards and a Gottlieb flipper uses different parts than a Williams.

What I mean is that the pinball kits are proprietary. You can sell a System 11 pinball machine to any other collector or gameroom guy. You can't sell your Lexi Lightspeed kit or Cannon Lagoon kit unless the other person has a P3 game to put it in.

#4358 72 days ago
Quoted from Fulltilt:

I thought about taking the cash, but what I signed up for was a pinball machine. That's what I'm wanting to receive.

Why not use the money from the refund to buy a machine that you can get your hands on now?

People who see the refunds as validating deep roots ability to make games, well, I disagree. Refunds simply are a transfer. A transfer to Jpop’s investors (zidware game buyers) from deeproots wealth management investors. Just another dollar owed from a big pile of dollars owed.

I’m sure people will be bitching in a wealth management forum years from now about DP was pinball doodling instead of getting 6% or better in a stock market index fund.

4 weeks later
#4744 43 days ago
Quoted from dnaman:

Our ACNC doesn't have chipping but does have a lot of dimpling and I am very disappointed with that.

Not this again. Every playfield dimples. Steel balls are harder than a wooden playfield.

3 weeks later
#5040 20 days ago
Quoted from okgrak:

Deeproot trashing on Stern and JJP is just really suspect and petty and shows absolutely no humility in entering a pretty tough market.

From what I remember JJP used to trash Stern at shows when he was soliciting preorder money. Call the games stripped down, etc.

A lot of sales type people talk a big game because that’s what they do. I don’t like it, but it’s practically a stereotype with how common it is.

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