(Topic ID: 203700)

deeproot Pinball thread

By pin2d

3 years ago

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20 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 10 items.

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Post #111 Firsthand information from the Magic Girl programmer. Posted by applejuice (3 years ago)

Post #3026 RAZA promotional video Posted by PinMonk (2 years ago)

Post #5771 First RAZA gameplay video Posted by ZMeny (1 year ago)

Post #5874 RAZA video with more audible game sounds Posted by zaphX (1 year ago)

Post #5926 First RAZA video with successful ramp completion Posted by zaphX (1 year ago)

Post #5967 Another RAZA gameplay video Posted by flynnibus (1 year ago)

Post #6050 Closeup pictures of key playfield features Posted by Potatoloco (1 year ago)

Post #6133 Video of display animations Posted by LateCenturyMods (1 year ago)

Post #6329 Summary of Robert Mueller's interview Posted by jeffspinballpalace (1 year ago)

Post #6724 RAZA Gameplay video Posted by DS_Nadine (1 year ago)

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#64 3 years ago

Can't believe no-one has commented on this yet:

******TWIP: Has pinsider Applejuice been paid in full for his work with Zidware? Is he owed a Magic Girl game?

dr: We have not heard from Applejuice. According to Zidware records that we have seen, Applejuice was paid over $100k, and has been in material breach of several terms of his agreement with Zidware for some time.*******

This does not exactly have the ring of truth to it ..... much like some of their other statements.

applejuice care to dignify this with a response?

#126 3 years ago
Quoted from PinballNewb:

Doesn’t matter. If they somehow pull a rabbit out of their ass and have a full featured, JPOP designed, flipping game ready to go in the next year and half...many people will be lined up ready to buy. Especially if it is at the price point they seem to be implying.

The chances of this actually happening reside much closer to none, than slim.

#131 3 years ago

I think you're confused ... AP - American Pinball never had any responsibility towards MG customers, or JPop's contractors. They were simply the contract manufacturer for Magic Girl. There was talk of restitution for various parties, with JPop completing work on Houdini .. but we know how that worked out - AP quickly dispensed with him and made a completely new design, as JPop had presented them with an unworkable diorama. To the best of my knowledge, they have never threatened anyone.

Deeproot Pinball are being discussed here.

#152 3 years ago

I don't see how it would be possible to defend such a patent. But that wouldn't stop them / others from trying, and then asking for monies to go away and stop bothering people.

1 month later
#181 3 years ago

First machine is a religious theme with a license from a christian comic book maker.


Still concerns about patent trolling.

Massively arrogant.

What could possibly go wrong?


I'm very surprised to hear of Barry Oursler and Dennis Nordman getting involved. Plus, how could they be exclusive to Deeproot as the article claims? Nordman is doing Elvira, and Oursler is apparently back working for HW's new operators, on games 3 & 4.

#257 3 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Nah, he's all Texas now. So that part at least scans.
I honestly didn't read the interview, glanced at it and just couldn't work myself up to care. It looks like really great work! Solid reporting, really a service, I just can't spare the emotional energy for this shit any more.
But for the sake of my friend David Thiel, who's work I respect immensely, and the same for my not-friend-but-I-sure-like-him Dennis Nordman who's a pinball god, I guess I wish them the best. The Jpop shit leaves a terrible taste in my mouth, but I'll let the people who lost money to that clown judge what happens.

That was a short lived return for Barry, then.

I certainly hope he, Nordman and others were paid up front or are receiving significant monthly / weekly salary. If there's any hint of offset payment or share options / sales commission forming a large portion of the remuneration, they should be running a mile.

Staggered that Nordman would go in on this, given his statement of conscience on HW & Andrew on his departure, and how eerily prescient it was, and how bad this looks and sounds.

Also, I really can't see him abandoning Elvira and his *new* company (making the pitch and bat) in order to be exclusive .... or maybe this really is a huge pay day?

Quoted from Richthofen:

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!"

"Trade secret development" ... "Silicon Valley-esque" .... "heavy manufacturing of raw materials" ... "quad assembly[what?]" .... "no production line"

Talk of cutting edge technology and innovation, lower cost, higher quality, less maintenance, dramatically simplified production methods, no prototype / test machines, incumbent competition not being able to compete, a 40,000ft2 facility.

Where have I have heard all this before? The only thing that's missing is a claim that they'll be capable of producing more than 10,000 machines in their first year of production.

Or maybe we're all just too cynical, given the past few years of pinball history, and the sky really is the limit here? Not an outcome I'd put money on, though.

#263 3 years ago
Quoted from deeproot:

While I don’t know what the current design or status is, if rumors are true that Stern is going to delay it’s release, I would love to purchase the license from them and finish it right. —Robert

One would think you'd know if you really have poached Dennis and have him working for you exclusively.

Is that what the play is here? Get Stern to relinquish it and that be the big seller?

Not sure ( . )( . ) will go over well with church groups and christian youth organisations who would presumably be the mainstay for your bible title's market.

#284 3 years ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Well this is the last deep root post we’ll see around here for a while. The tax dodge is in full effect!!

What a tragedy that would be, if true.

Even if Dennis, Barry et al are getting handsomely paid, they're not getting any younger, and if they're going to stay in the industry, it'd be great if they could pass on some of their considerable knowledge and experience to the next generations, rather than pouring it into a pit of an elaborate financial instrument.

#303 3 years ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

Is there ANY reason to actually believe any of these guys have signed on a deal with an exclusive to deeproot?
If anything the deeproot marketing scheme seems to currently be all about disruption and ego, and nothing else. I am not sure why anyone currently believes a word they are saying?
That staged/sniped picture (and the way that Dennis, and Barry appear to not even want to be in the picture) makes me thing this was all part of the ploy. Deeproot possibly brought them in for a few days to try and negotiate a deal and then took this single sloppy picture to try and bolster up a perceived foundation of exclusive talent. If you really had signed an exclusive for these big deal industry guys, wouldn't you at least get a few real photos of them actually posed together in front of your amazing new building? They of course are not going to come out and say anything if they are currently on a retainer and a deal is still being inked, so perfect timing to dump a crappy staged photo from the original meeting on the web.

I think you're dreaming, as usual. Though at least not playing shill this time.

Aurich confirmed Barry's with them.

Especially after all the Elvira crap that was said yesterday, I think Dennis would be rushing in here to dissassociate himself if it were not true.

Photo just looks like an informal staff meeting. Looks less staged than a contrived company one, lined up outside the building.

#315 3 years ago
Quoted from CaptMonkeyPants:

"Quad Manufacturing"??? They are saying there will be no assembly line? This ragtag bunch is going to revolutionize product manufacturing? A proven process that companies with BILLIONS of dollars of capital and the smartest people on the planet still use and even then, run into slowdowns and problems (see Tesla). If world class companies (Apple, Toyota, Tesla, Foxconn, GE, etc.) that spend tens of billions of dollars each year on process improvement and product development haven't discovered the magic of Quad Manufacturing, what makes anyone think this group has invented some revolutionary manufacturing process?
If they did develop some new, wonderful process, they wouldn't be trying to sell pinball machines (which most likely will never exist), but would be licensing this patented process to the aforementioned companies and would end up being some of the richest people on the planet.

I'd generally agree. Though Tesla are an absolute fustercluck (I support electric cars though).

1 week later
#414 3 years ago

This does look more and more like a play to ensure that their holding company / insurance business doesn't make a profit, in order to avoid tax. Particularly as the settlement terms appear pretty generous, at face value.

Claiming that, ".... John Popadiuk was the best option primarily because of his talent at game design and his ability to work with deeproot Tech’s engineers and staff .... " isn't remotely credible. Particularly as this came after the AP/JPop fiasco.

They may well have every intention of running a real pinball business and potentially could succeed, but I don't think there's a single person left in the hobby that still believes the above, or that, "... his best work in the Pinball industry, as a game designer, is still ahead of him ..."

It just sounds like an excuse.

JPop's losses and failure, and perhaps the host of patents that never should have been granted, are probably the assets here. Not what ever capability he may still have as a designer. Especially with Nordman and Oursler apparently on board.

If avoiding corporation tax is the idea, I think they'd be best served being open about it. There's nothing wrong with it necessarily, and they'd avoid becoming an object of derision as they are now, holding JPop up as some kind of beacon.

aaaaaaa (resized).PNG

P.S. The document is a little vague on one thing .. Space Mission X ... it could be inferred that money was taken for this. Does anyone know if that really happened?

#416 3 years ago
Quoted from spfxted:

I think the goal is to get rid of the Poppadork lawsuits. They don't want an employee going to court every month.

What ever talents and skills he may have can't possibly be worth this settlement, all other things being equal. Unless the assumed burden is an asset in itself.

On recent evidence, John being in the dock 5 days a week wouldn't have any significant impact on his productivity.

#444 3 years ago

The owners (money depositors into JPop inc.) should collectively seek legal advice on the terms of the deal that's being offered, before anyone accepts anything.


Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

*cough* CAPCOM *cough*

Didn't realise that was the idea behind their pinball unit, if indeed it was.

Guess they got rather more than they bargained for, with Python's profligacy and taking the piss with Zingy Bingy etc ...

#455 3 years ago
Quoted from EalaDubhSidhe:

From what I've been told in the past, Capcom knew *exactly* what they were bargaining for *because* they put Python in a high ranking position.

Bit sad if it was specifically set up to fail, rather than just register losses.

#541 3 years ago
Quoted from deeproot:

You misunderstood. We will be taking a hammer to every PF.

You might not fracture the clear, and if it's properly aged / compressed wood then it might not dimple it either.

Great way of either cracking the relatively brittle plastics inserts or 'bouncing' them out of their holes, though, as the wood rebounds, if it's heavy enough.

Also, since this would obviously be a rubber mallet, what exactly would it prove re: the hardness of the clear or dimpling? Not really on the same level of index of hardness as a steel ball bearing.

1 month later
#755 3 years ago
Quoted from HeavyMetalBalls:

You must be the life of the party... U want an exciting announcement? Do u expect Robert to come out acting like Steve Ballmer from Microsoft or what? If u don't know who Steve Ballmer is then watch this video
» YouTube video

Maybe the 5th day of DeepRoot will involve a coke binge fueled rampage around the stage at TPF next year. It worked for Steve.

2 months later
#890 2 years ago
Quoted from pin2d:

well, my first question in the interview starts out "Why on earth would deeproot...?"

"..... first approve and then retain their logo?"

#903 2 years ago
Quoted from bobukcat:

The more talented and experienced people they hire the more I keep thinking there must really be something to this guy's "vision" for pinball. JPOP doesn't count because his situation was such that any offer he'd almost HAVE to accept, but all these other guys were not in the same situation, though I guess you could say Nordman fell for Heighways' BS. Time will tell.

Barry Oursler, too.

But at least they're not taking anyone's money, and there are yet to be any rumours of either absent or poor pay of staff or creditors. So one could look at that as a mark of distinction.

There still seems to be fud, hyperbole and misleading stuff, though.

"In fact, we have received or are ordering all machinery needed to create nearly every component of a pinball machine in house."

Seems both improbable & hyperbolic, and likely to cause serious issues. How many startups in any sector choose to manufacture a disparate set of components made from totally different materials, using different machinery and techniques, in a complex assembled product using hundreds if not several thousands of components? The answer is that they don't. Because it's less efficient, more costly, and particularly in a startup scenario likely to lead to serious quality problems.

He also appears to be trying to say that DP / Pinball Brothers will profit or are profiting from the situation they (mis)managed, or took on in the case of the latter. Unless one counts their salaries, I doubt DP have or will ever (at this juncture) profit from TBL. Pinball Brothers profit? They've likely lost several million, up until now, and the chances of a dramatic turnaround if they choose to continue under a new structure seems extremely unlikely to yield any significant profit.

"For example, we assessed that the Hobbit COGS which we estimate to be around $6,750.00 would have cost us less than half of that for a similar build using our standard but with JJP’s specs. Even cheaper if we built it from scratch using our standard alone. It’s been a great teaching tool."

Building it to their spec at less than half the cost? There's no such thing as a free lunch, so that would likely have to involve MUCH cheaper materials. Perhaps they've managed to find alternatives which match the quality for much less money, but it seems doubtful. Two most expensive parts of JJP machines are the (high quality) cabinets and playfields. They're not going to do those at a fraction of the cost whilst maintaining 'spec' in wood. That's impossible. Makes me think they may intend to do metal cabs and resin pfs, or something along those lines. They could certainly use much cheaper LCD, a Pi / Arduino / etc like computer instead of a far more expensive PC, and much cheaper boardsets .. but again that wouln't really be to spec. I also wonder if they have some kind of plan to dispense with coils.

Assuming the intent and ambition are legit, the most ridiculous thing is launching with 3 machines. There absolutely will be serious issues they have to resolve with their first wave of product, however good they are, and having to try and deal with potentially 3 or more products from the offset will make that far more difficult to manage.

#924 2 years ago
Quoted from toyotaboy:

I think it's too vague to make the assumption that "nearly every component" means they are going to reverse engineer every single mechanism (ball through, pop bumpers, plunger, flipper assemblies, sling assemblies). Perhaps they mean that nearly every "unique component to each table design" is going to be made in-house (laser cutter for plastics, CNC and printer for playfields, etc).

I think he's perfectly cognisant of the language he's using, so my point is that it's likely to be either major exaggeration or that it will prove ruinous. It's simply not possible to make everything yourself without incurring unneeded cost and problems. Especially in the kind of lean, low cost operation and product he's promising. Maybe in 10-15 years with huge advancements and lowering in cost of 3D printing. But not now.

#926 2 years ago
Quoted from JodyG:

Anyone who actually works with 3d printing on a commercial level knows full well that it still has major limitations on many levels when it comes to using it to manufacture an end product. I surely hope that isn't what DR is banking on.

It would be the only way to avoid gigantic sunk costs for specialist equipment and training, and then not having most of that equipment and indeed some of the staff lie idle for much of the day. But like you say, not really possible as of now. 10-15 years IMO.

#956 2 years 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.

Um, how?

Their electric cars? The CO2 footprint of the average Tesla is so high (due to the large capacity Lithium-Ion batteries) that you have to do huge mileages for years to emit less CO2 overall than an average family car over the same period.

For the average owner, it's multiples worse. As of now, pure ICEs, mild hybrids, or small city-type electric cars are vastly 'greener' and more sustainable. In terms of environmental impact and resources expended, Teslas are the most burdensome cars on the planet.

Or you mean building the same 70 year old rocket designs but slightly re-useable?

#980 2 years ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

I’m curious about the weight factor when using resin or an epoxy composite - I have some guitars made from a similar substance and they are HEEEEEAVY!! when we have 350 pound games coming and going from JJP, an additional heavy play field is a bit of a concern. One thing though, it definitely will never dimple or crack from play.

I think the bigger problem is that a durable, stable, non-toxic resin is likely to be pretty damned expensive if you want to guarantee it'll still be in good shape semi-indefinitely.

If they're doing resin pfs *much* cheaper than any of the industry incumbents are doing with wood, then you can very likely expect them to come with major drawbacks.

#982 2 years ago
Quoted from LTG:

Like not hold screws and posts good like on the Bally plastic playfields ?
LTG : )

That, warping, expansion, contraction, brittleness, printed layers delaminating, discolouration that could effect the printed layers, way it ages effecting the adhesive used to bind inserts' bonding etc etc. Though I suppose it would theoretically be possible to use a clear resin and dispense with inserts.

2 weeks later
#1052 2 years ago
Quoted from hank527:

Hey now they are giving me a big FU in that those of us who took Jpop to court got the big FU treatment. Then Jpop counter sues because he claims if he had gotten the full money from everyone that he could have made the games. I'm sorry but Im not buying any of this free game crap.

Quoted from frolic:

What an asshole.

I hope some pinball designers (obviously ones not under contract with Deeproot), engineers and service professionals are willing to give expert testimony to make sure that the judge doesn't give his BS the time of day.

The idea that any of those designs were either workable, or even close to his favoured diorama stage (other than Magic Girl) is a joke. A few thousand more wouldn't have changed anything.

#1143 2 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

I didn't listen to the interview and I'm not gonna, but they're seriously releasing a Houdini game? Extra lol to that, and if it's the hilariously broken joke Jpop did then I'm gonna need a trailer to carry the lols around with me.

IMO it wasn't *just* the fact that it was a broken, totally unworkable diorama ... it looked hideous.

Take a look at a picture of it. Cabinet and translite were fine (though I prefer the production model's seemless translite / screen integration). But, no offence to the artist - he was working to do what JPop wanted - the playfield and plastics looked awful.

Albeit I think Magic Girl looks like a complete dog's dinner. Others seem to disagree.
houdini (resized).jpghoudini1 (resized).PNG

#1199 2 years ago
Quoted from Fulltilt:

From TWIP it was exciting to see that both Magic Girl and RAZA were listed as being part of the initial launch.

Is that really exciting? There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to suggest that they won't remain a total pile of excrement.

1 week later
#1233 2 years ago

Well Stern have been cutting costs enormously hardware wise. Only cost that will have appreciably increased for them is doing stuff for the LCD - though in some cases the effort has been so minimal or relied so heavily on video footage, it's probably not increased man hours.

So it wouldn't take a lot for someone to put out a physically superior product at a significantly lower price, provided they have some scale.

But it would be very hard to do that with good layout, code and assset quality when you're promising 3-4 games at launch and up to 5 or 6in the first year.

That's like peak WMS / Bally output .... but with complex, deeper modern games with LCDs but from a much smaller operation.

It seems really unlikely that the quality will be as good as most people would want with the volume of titles that DR are promising.

If they were saying 2 at launch, maybe another 1 at Expo the same year, then 2 more the next year, I'd be a lot more optimistic. They seem to think they can just have a conveyor belt development of more titles whilst doing everything better and having fewer staff than the competition. Doesn't add up to me.

Maybe we're just seeing the hyperbole and shit talk. Perhaps the reality will be a more sensible cadence of releases.

#1235 2 years ago

You think GotG or BM'66 took a lot of man hours? There's very little original animation or content. Even Maiden, a ton of it seems to be offline renders from the mobile game.

I can definitely see Deadpool (depending on how much content there is) taking a load more man hours than DMD games though ... but by the same token, absolutely nowhere near JJP games, and particularly Pirates.

Either way, I'd be quite surprised if Stern didn't intend to amortise the per unit cost increase due to display content with the presumably significantly reduced DMD -> LCD cost.

#1240 2 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

Nobody knows what Stern paid for their DMDs. Probably a lot less than we got the AMH ones for. And remember Stern uses the better version of the LCD. So the hardware savings might not as as much as you think.
If you look at Alice Cooper the LCD is like a third what the AMH DMD cost....But! You need a single board computer to drive it, PROC, and an HDMI to LVDS converter board. And on top of that you have to create tons of content from scratch.
So for smaller companies with fewer games to amortize costs across the LCD is most certainly a landmine they've all happily chosen to step on.

I don't disagree in the case of a smaller company. However Stern are buying something that's produced in millions of units, in bulk, with the LCDs. DMDs of any description certainly aren't. Moreover they're using a one-board solution that's likely very cheap (though development of software may not have been).

#1243 2 years ago

They charged in to the market with Python wasting money and doing unmarketable vanity projects, with no oversight, just as the most historic name in pinball (Gottlieb) were shuttering their business, SEGA entered an awful stretch of games doing a fraction of DE's number's, and WMS produced some great games but lost all interest in selling them.

#1252 2 years ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

And that’s exactly why pinball should be moving away from complex display graphics. Reduce the cost, make it more acce$$ible for operators and home collectors... and put some additional resources into what’s happening on the playfield.
The industry is stuck on this idea that it must put resources into the backbox... why not innovate and forge ahead using different, less expensive, avenues to driving player interest??
And it’s not as if a DMD/LCD makes a game more accessible to the 99% of all humans that finds pinball endless confusing. The pinball industry should start looking at new ways to make games easy to understand.

You want pinball to grow or attract new players? You need stuff happening that looks fun on the LCD.

That was one of the reasons WOZ broke new ground.

Also, some of the people saying less resources should be put into the display, and forget it, and it's too costly nevertheless go bananas for ColorDMD and describe it as the best upgrade ever ... which is it?

#1255 2 years ago

192x64. 128x64 would be a strange aspect ratio. I've suggested it in the past ... for Spooky.

But they've moved, and I'm glad. ACNC looks incredible.

The main thing I'm sad about is that SEGA / Stern abandoned the XL DMDs ... almost 2 decades of games could have had some far more interesting, creative dots. Albeit not that surprising they were abandoned given how expensive they were. I'm doubtful that even now for a small outfit and LED XL DMDs rather than plasma, you'd be able to lower costs over cheapo LCD panels with far more man hours in display work.

#1272 2 years ago
Quoted from KerryImming:

I don't think those are two different statements. ColorDMD provided low-resolution color display; it emulated a DMD on a cheaper LCD panel. It also had the advantage of user-community generated colorizations.
Another cost to consider... 128 x 32 x 4bits (16 brightness levels) is 2KB per frame. 1366 x 768 x 32bits is over 4MB per frame. That's data that must be stored and moved to the display. At those rates you need compression and a GPU. It all adds cost... a little here, a little there.
Overall I agree with you though. Once you've given people high-resolution displays there is no going back.

There are integrated GPUs or media processors on almost any CPU (APU) or SoC you'd consider anyway. It's not an additional cost. They're also getting very capable.

As an example, a new maker board is coming out soon that can do 4x4K display output on HDMI 2.0, and costs ~$210-330. The CPU's also miles more powerful than the ones the UP2 uses - which is what TNA / ACNC / think Houdini? / probably Kingpin use.

Give it a couple of years and you'll get that kind of capability for half the cost again. Couple more. Halve it again.

Spike 2 is absolutely paltry in comparison. But likely on a very lightweight close to the metal OS with minimal abstraction.

SS storage is very cheap for the kind of asset sizes you're talking even with something like Pirates. It was more of a cost issue when WOZ shipped in 2013. Now? No.


As to the future of the media ... I don't think we'll be seeing 4K and 8K content on pinball machines. 1) Because the monitors aren't big enough, and 2) because assets would take more time and money to make.

However, as processing power gets cheaper, we're likely to see more and more of a push towards rendering fully interactive content on the fly. It'll take a while though.

#1286 2 years ago
Quoted from lpeters82:

My favorite display style to date has been The Big Lebowski.

IMO it was foolish. Very expensive custom aspect ratio LCD (it wasn't a larger one running letterboxed). Simulating dots from higher res. content when there were loads of movie assets ....

To me it was the worst part of the presentation, and silly unneeded extra cost. All they need have done was change the backglass / speaker panel ratios and used a vastly cheaper laptop like screen a la Stern / Spooky / Houdini.

#1290 2 years ago
Quoted from KerryImming:

That is way too expensive. Plus you still need the equivalent of a Solenoid Driver Board.

No. It's the same price range as the UP2 which the machines I specified use.

Nothing like as cheap as Spike2 (likely absolute max of ~$60-70 for their MPU board) ... but then Stern can afford to develop their own software that will run efficiently on low end hardware.

But I agree, that is a LOT of money for the small players to be spending. It'll get better for them though, as I said, as 'maker board' type solutions become more and more powerful, and the same or better level of spec gets cheaper and cheaper.

The new board I referenced is this:


By the time 7nm Ryzen3 based embedded versions come out in ~18months, you'll probably see the cheaper one's spec dropping well below $150. Faster and cheaper Intel ones will almost certainly launch in the mean time, too.

#1322 2 years ago
Quoted from toyotaboy:

you need to go over to gopinball.com, those first 2 original titles were created by one or two guys, for free. once the engine is made, its not that terrible laying out a design (code is still hard). go look at the stranger things future pinball table, thats definately one guy.

Looks great ... especially the array of LEDs he's got in the cab. But I don't think fully virtual pinball is going to replace physical stuff any time soon.

Best chance of superseding it is a hybrid like P3 some time further into the future ... especially in 20-25 years if real holographic screens are available and cheap enough to be ubiquitous. Then, it'd almost be a necessity.

#1364 2 years ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

I like watching that video in a loop. One of the few that think HP's swappable concept was the right way to go. Not having spare parts to plug in was its downfall. That was exasperated by extreme underfunding of the company. Wishing someone else would give it a go.

It wasn't "extremely underfunded".

It was extremely badly (criminally) managed with colossal wastage.

#1366 2 years ago

Dunno if this has been discussed, but I wonder if Norris' machine (which he says will be at TPF) is going to be something to do with his Wizard's Arcade / Golden Cue project.

I saw a link to some FB posts of his, recently, and he was working on Wizard's Arcade immediately before he was hired by DeepRoot.

He also appears to have collaborated with or helped JPop to some degree with the original Houdini design or art (now apparently scrapped by DR).

3 weeks later
#1451 2 years ago
Quoted from YKpinballer:

Oh and there is also the possibility that he hasn't just hired a bunch of great people in pinball, but has talked them each into buying one of those $25,000 investments in the company. I'd be interested to know if they are just employees or also investors.

None of them will be investors.

Though it's very possible they might have share entitlements.

3 weeks later
#1466 2 years ago
Quoted from BillySastard:

Unless they have a bigger wall of microwaves, then we don't really care[quoted image]

That's still one of the saddest images in pinball.

#1474 2 years ago

Transparent displays cost the earth and are barely available. Ask again in 10 years.

#1484 2 years ago

Doubt they'll do Goonies or Big Trouble In Little China.

#1498 2 years ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

I guess the slot machine guys are from another planet then?

Anything with something remotely capable costs a ridiculous amount.

Also, good luck with having a large steel ball bearing smash into it. Furthermore, good luck with building a cab that that can accommodate pf 'glass' like this, that isn't terribly compromised and hideous.

Oh, and if you think pf glass is heavy and inconveniently messy when you drop it, best wishes with a display sandwiched between two layers of tempered glass. Then there's the connectivity and power supply.

Plus the whole playfield area would look noticeably dull and low contrast. Light transmittance I think is usually between 70-80%.

There is no chance of anything practically useful or economical at this juncture.

The reason for the ridiculous Heighway glass magazine was because Andrew started out wanting and initially claimed to be capable of delivering a transparent OLED pf glass. Not for narrow walkways between machines at home or in arcades to increase serviceability. That worked out well given how impractical, ugly, heavy and prone to causing glass breakage it proved to be.

#1500 2 years ago
Quoted from russdx:

iv seen store drink fridges with massive transparent lcd displays, look so cool. Not sure on price though :/

I don't think they'd be suitable for fast moving graphics anyway. Pixel responsiveness is too low in transparent LCDs (at least the ones I know of). OLED is fine ... but unobtainium / low pixel life in large sizes.

#1504 2 years ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

Still used by most modern slots.. and in heavy common usage in redemption machines now too. You dismissed as not even of this earth... yet it's common place in the industries where innovation really is happening. Slots and redemptions.
You don't have to have the entire PF glass or the cabinet to make use of these kinds of things. (for instance, look at how the ghost effects were done in GB... localized effects).

Discussion has previously been about replacing or augmenting pf glass with it.

A 1.5" screen operating a 'hologram' isn't innovative or in any way game changing.

It's not really feasible or desirable to do much more than that in pinball.

#1516 2 years ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

Not sure If you are replying to me, but IMO we need to think more creatively. 2 (or ideally 3) levels of transparent screens will allow to “float” things above a playfield, yes. But what if the screen IS the playfield? You can create depth with a flat layer at bottom, a middle layer for plastics and lane guides, and a top layer for big toys, mechs, and ramps. There, 3D without goggles because it actually IS in 3 dimensions. 3D printer slicer software does this x 10,000 right now.

Thinking creatively won't do anything. Pinball companies don't have R&D budgets that run into the billions.

Per prior posts, neither current transparent LCDs nor OLEDs have fantastic light transmissions properties. Layering them would make it worse. Pixel responsiveness is bad on the LCDs. Low life time, expense and non-availability in large sizes of OLEDs rules them out.

Also, can you imagine how bad it'd be if you developed a fault with or suffered damage to one of the layers?

Deeproot (or anyone else) are right to look for savings and efficiencies where ever they can to reduce build costs and complication, but chasing unicorns is extremely unwise.

#1527 2 years ago
Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

I hear ya, but I'm not sure where you're getting costs from. We buy panels of roughly the same size as a pin for about $1K each. So that's a cost per machine of $3,000 or so. Even if the final MSRP is 8K you're still in a good spot.
here's an example of an existing game that uses what I'm talking about. I don't know what this game is exactly, but the screen can be *entirely* full-color (which you don't really see in this video too well), or transparent. There's a little haze where it's not quite as clear as a window, and yes the colors aren't super bright (backlighting or angled sidelighting would help w/ this) :

A Stern LE's entire BoM is probably well under the $3k mark ...

#1529 2 years ago
Quoted from snakesnsparklers:

Through-mount components! I mean surface-hole! Wait what

Sounds glorious ...

#1548 2 years ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

I love Blade Runner but how the hell can you do a pinball (Action) out of this?!

Why not?

1 week later
#1681 2 years ago
Quoted from wolfemaaan:

Hopefully J-Pop gets back to his 90’s glory and pops out some good machines

Does anyone really think that's likely? Putting all the Zidware stuff, then his version of Houdini together, there was barely a single redeeming feature aside from a few elements of graphic design (which in some cases he initially tried to pass off as his own).

It was all total crap.

Not mad genius. Just mad.

If there are good or even playable 'JPop' designs, others will have done ALL the hard work.

#1743 2 years ago

Well, Mueller claims they're going to release more machines in 2019 than any manufacturer has in a year, in the history of the industry. He didn't say Stern era, or even solid state or DMD era.

That's got to be hyperbole, and probably refers to DMD era. What was the max for BW? 5? 6?

Even assuming they can get all these games out, they're great to play, reliable, well built, more affordable, look good, the software's excellent, and that they can manufacture more machines than the rest of the industry combined (as was implied previously) .... where is the demand?

More importantly, even if there were potentially enough buyers (globally) to support this level of production, where is the distribution network and where are the retailers? A big enough one for arcade and pinball machines hasn't existed since the 90s. He obviously wants to do direct sales, but that's probably only going to work in the US (& maybe Canada), and then, he better have planned for millions in marketing budgets (net, print, TV), else who's going to know about them, much less buy them?

From talk I've heard, and what has been implied by Robert, a modular software framework that allows very quick implementation of rules and getting machines playable very swiftly seems to be their ace as far as development is concerned. This is great, and long overdue - more so if the end user has access to an API. Manufacturing, and BOM costs, well I guess we'll see about that.

But why release everything en masse on your *debut* ????? Just why.

You flood the market, almost ensuring lower sales for not just the industry, but your titles too, and placing a huge amount of pressure on keeping the pipeline going.

This seems mad, given that interest rates in the US are expected to continue quickly upwards in 2019, public and private debt will snowball, Trump shows no sign of backing down on his global trade war, major economies are looking either very shaky or potentially entering crises (Turkey, Italy, UK etc), China is cooling off a little and debt levels are getting a bit dangerous there. 2020 *could* be a cataclysmic year, and if there hasn't been a major shock and economic consequences by the middle of 2021, I'd be really surprised.

Why blow your load like this, given the way the wind is blowing? Pinball market is already a bit overheated, and in danger of market saturation even before they launch.

Maybe they want to be the #1 right away, but even if that happens they risk catalysing a crash in the industry, which will screw them as much as anyone else given their apparently very large investments. Unless this is all just a tax write off, so the cost of cornering the market is immaterial?

#1747 2 years ago

Also, Ritchie definitely asked Barry Oursler if he could make another Comet. Nothing to do with copying.

#1760 2 years ago
Quoted from Potatoloco:

I haven't seen anyone point this out, but I believe the intention of releasing multiple products at launch is to cause market cannibalism. In which case, considering the current pinball climate and how all the pinball companies typically release games, it's the right strategy to implement.
Simply put, the intention isn't to be #1 today or immediately. The intention is to flood the market, the intention is to produce more than what is currently in demand, the intention is to lower sales of competitors across the board in order to gain a higher market share in the future. The gamble is to take the hits in the first couple of years, effectively putting all other companies not named Stern in their crosshairs and aiming at putting them out of business. The industry won't crash, but other companies that produce 1 game per year or every 2 years will.

The market WILL crash if there's a serious economic shock ... and one looks due in the next 2 years, and probably unavoidable in the next 3 given levels of debt in major economies. For those not following, US public spending deficit will double to more than $1Trillion this year and continue to worsen as rates rise.

If the market's flooded when that happens, it will be a lot worse.

#1762 2 years ago
Quoted from andre060:

*9*! What a year 1995 was...
Dirty Harry - March 1995
Theatre of Magic - March 1995
No Fear: Dangerous Sports - May 1995
Indianapolis 500 - June 1995
Johnny Mnemonic - August 1995
Jack·Bot - October 1995
WHO Dunnit - September 1995
Congo - November 1995
Attack from Mars - December 1995

Quoted from o-din:

That's a pretty tall order considering Gottlieb released 14 titles in 1935 alone.

It's hyperbole. But I think we can assume he's probably aiming at more than 5.

Quoted from flynnibus:

People questioning 5 in one year and what that does to sales... remember he may not make 5 of the same type of thing.
He could make a video pin, a home pin, a stern-level pin, etc

Didn't he previously say they were in the business to make fully featured pinball machines?

Also, when someone was asking about swappable games / playfields in this seminar, he stated that their machines won't have any gimmicks. So I'd guess that precludes video pins.

#1764 2 years ago

Also, can't help thinking that if WMS had released 'just' these 5 titles in '95, they'd have sold a hell of a lot more, saved a lot of money on development, and history might have been a little bit different ...

Theatre of Magic
No Fear: Dangerous Sports
Johnny Mnemonic
Attack from Mars

#1770 2 years ago
Quoted from toyotaboy:

i wouldnt include congo. it might be a hot title today, but for many years it was thought of as crappy for its theme.

Still sold more than some of the others on the list, and it missed the movie being at theatres entirely in the US, which didn't help.

But if they hadn't saturated the market so badly, people might have given it more of an opportunity and played it a bit, and realised how awesomely well it shoots.

#1808 2 years ago
Quoted from SirScott:

I am surprised that no one put up this "philosophy" by JPop (around the 19:17 mark):
"Part of the problem is that you can't work on a game for four years and not finish it. You have to finish it in a reasonable amount of time--cut if off, move forward, take all those extra ideas and put them on the next game and the next game and kind of keep it going. Because people don't want to wait like five years for a game."

It has been touched on.

More interesting was that he said the guy who did all the engineering on his games at BW died recently (and presumably couldn't be recruited), so he was doing all the design AND engineering work for his games at DeepRoot.

There was no sign that he even had the first clue about engineering, or even about basic assembly of pinball machines, during his Zidware spell.

So regardless of anything else, this can't be true. Presumably he's convinced himself that the engineers making stuff work aren't really doing anything of much import, and he's the 'engineer'.

1 week later
#1843 2 years ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

Lol, you could read the opposite from Deeproot itself right above you.
(Ok, granted you propably were higher up the thread when reading that post you answered to.)
You misheard that, that was about the customer service when something is broken.
They said that they prefer to do that themselfes (since they know their own machines better).
Wich is still a tall order of course, when you think of worldwide distribution.

Robert spoke mainly about direct sales in the seminar at Expo.

#1847 2 years ago
Quoted from toyotaboy:

while manufacturing is its own animal (you really need employees dedicated to it), for all we know they are contracting it out to an outside assembly plant. at my work we buy sub-assemblies all the time because its more cost effective. sometimes we OEM a complete product and slap our label on it. im not saying what Stern does is easy, but new companies setup manufacturing all the time (at much higher volumes than pinball). people need to stop believing Stern has some magical formula. they effectively bought sega, transferred the name, and kept rolling out games the same way (with minor improvements). they are still using the same dimpling machine for playfields, same 4x8 plywood sheets for making wire harnesses. im excited to see a video of deeproot's manufacturing process.

He's talked about doing it at their facility several times, and in more of an office rather than production line type environment.

Have to assume that major sub-assemblies will all be shipped in though ... I don't see how the above production model could possibly work efficiently (or at all) if they were doing complex assembly and fabrication in house.

#1848 2 years ago
Quoted from SirScott:

I'm not sure that my brain would be able to handle the awesomeness that is quad-assembly (or was is octo-assembly?). But I'm willing to give it a shot.

Octo = Octopus.

Cthulu has tentacle face.

In order to take over the market they needed the blessing of Cthulu.

Cthulu agreed on the condition that they hire JPop.

1 week later
#1874 2 years ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

And this is why I think Dead Flip would not dare to fake a Bill & Ted Pinball image with the Stern logo on it.

I don't think Stern much care, all talk is good talk as far as they're concerned***, particularly when it's their 'brand ambassador' doing the talking.

*** Unless it's about Spike1/2 boards, splitting cabinets, late & abandoned code, or playfield quality.

#1877 2 years ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

Please read what Robert wrote.
Yes Stern would allow DF to use their logo, but it's about hurting relations with other business partners just using that logo and slapping it over their intellectual property without asking.

I did. Most licensors don't give a damn what people cook up re: rumours or fanart, and nor do licensees or potential licensees. It's par for the course and expected.

4 weeks later
#1967 2 years ago

Though pretty predictable, some of RM's responses are quite concerning:


1) TWIP: What are the biggest hurdles you have to get past before launch?
RM: Staffing. It has been very difficult getting qualified candidates (in TX and UT) that will fit our pipeline.

2)TWIP: Is there any concern at deeproot that the launch may never happen?
RM: Zero concern. We are spending over $750k a month now on this project, and that will increase through launch. That is unsustainable without a launch in the short term.

3)TWIP: How many people are now employed by deeproot’s pinball division?
RM: From my best guess, we have more non-line, non-temp staff than all the other pinball companies put together. And that will only increase over the next few months.

4)TWIP: Do you still plan to launch in 2019?
RM: We will launch when we are ready. I certainly hope it’s in 2019.


1) No shit. You chose your main base of operations as Texas, and not in Dallas, Houston or Austin. How many people are going to move to Utah unless they really like winter sports?

2) Zero concern, but then follows up by saying they're spending an annualised $9M per year, which is continuing to rise, and that it's unsustainable without a launch (income). I wouldn't be unconcerned about that admission if I was an investor.

3) Might be right, since Stern appear to rely quite heavily on contract work. But see 2).

4) In light of 2) & 3), if they don't launch in 2019, or launch without immediate and significant revenue generation, how long before it starts getting hairy, given that he's already said it's unsustainable without it.

Maybe everything's under control, but if people start leaving in the next few months, watch out ...

#1971 2 years ago
Quoted from epthegeek:

Would it? they haven't taken any consumer money, and they're paying salaries of pinball people in the meantime. If they fail and fold up before taking money OUT of the hobby, I'm not sure it makes any difference at all.

Where'd you think all that money came from? Investors.

Also, on a more general point, nothing exists in a vacuum in such a small industry. Particularly as you're wasting the time and talents (JPop excepted) of mostly elderly designers who don't have that long left in their working lives.

You're also potentially raising the barriers to entry, for serious competitors to the incumbents. Others may be less willing to step in. That's very bad for buyers.

#1993 2 years ago
Quoted from captainadam_21:

What are they spending 750k per month on if they aren't manufacturing?

Well if they have 30+ full time creative / engineering roles, a big facility and have a bunch of off site software contractors, then that's going to get eaten up pretty quickly with payroll, rent, power etc. I suspect people are working a ton of overtime, too, and I doubt the salaries are low, or they wouldn't have relocated to San Antonio, or taken the risk on another pinball start up. On top of all that they have to get ready for production - dunno if that's included in this figure or whether it's just their rolling monthly costs - and that's going to cost millions if they're really serious about building more machines than Stern. Then there's all the licensing and legal fees. Closer to production they're going to need parts inventory into the millions, some of which may already be on order and partially paid for, and payroll will explode once they've either hired assembly staff or filled the roles with temps.

#2081 2 years ago

VR will be huge in future, when graphics cards can push much higher resolutions (need higher FoV and DPI) at 144Hz and above (and FPS), and the HMDs match that. For now, it's a novel if expensive gimmick.

For pinball it makes zero sense, and DeepRoot would be exceedingly foolish to pursue it. Apart from HMDs, they'd need the GPUs to feed it. Way too expensive.

Holographic stuff like Pinball2000, why not? Although hopefully it would be selectively used, or wouldn't cover the whole rear of the playfield, as with Pin2k. Transparent LCDs covering or replacing the pf glass would increase costs hugely, be very prone to damage & failure, and have poor light transmission.

Small ones at the rear of the playfield, mounted vertically like in CV could definitely work, and I'm sure it'd be the stuff of JPop's wet dreams ... but why do it when from what Mueller has indicated so far, price and volume are going to be so important to them. It'd be costly, and I could foresee supply issues. Plus it limits what you can do towards the rear of the play area.

#2098 2 years ago
Quoted from Fulltilt:

Giving money to somebody or company, including JPop, for a product/something never made and only a fantasy vision, is always an investment or if you prefer, gamble. I always knew I could end up with nothing but fantasized it would be a great pin. If you had sent in money and were on Wordpress following the story, you would likely have been manipulated too.
If you didn't send in money to Jpop... STFU.

You may not have put more money in, but you're investing more hope and faith in, " ..... a product/something never made and only a fantasy vision..."

At Expo, Robert confidently told us they would launch more titles (and have them ready to ship) in 2019 than anybody in the history of the industry, and it would all kick off in March at TPF. He'd been saying all year that they'd produce more units than the whole industry / Stern in their first year.

50 days later, he acknowledged their spending was unsustainable without a launch soon, pulled out of TPF, and 'hoped' the launch would be in 2019.

That's a pretty extraordinary climbdown, and it seems to suggest there's no chance whatsoever of them meeting the scale and bombast of his earlier stated goals.

To avoid major disappointment, or to be pleasantly surprised if they do pull it off, you might wish to reel in your expectations a little, rather than potentially falling into the same trap again.

#2192 2 years ago
Quoted from benheck:

Why doesn't deeproot just save Alien or TBL?
I ask rhetorically, knowing the likely answer is Robert doesn't like those games or find then pretty enough.
But I think owners should set aside what they personally like (cough cough Charlie) and focus on what the market is asking for.

I think there's more to it than that.

TBL BoM will cost an absolute buttload, even if they go with an ordinary translite and glass, ordinary aspect LCD instead of custom 4 : 1 aspect, and remove the bowling mech entirely. Mueller's repeatedly talked about doing things cheaper. Would also need to be ported to what ever systems they're using, and unclear if Koen would be interested in helping them port the code.

Alien could probably do with further physical refinement as well as being ported to their systems, the game coder now works for AP, no clue if the system coder would help them. No indication that PBros will sell the rights. No indication that Fox would re-license the title after such an injurious mess. Also no indication as to whether they are or will be set up for wide bodies.

I think both could cost more than a new title to develop, particularly Alien, and then there are so many people burned on both. Neither has a bunch of dubious patents of potential interest, either, unlike JPop.

#2194 2 years ago
Quoted from Zablon:

On that note, why not fix/finish Magic Girl? I personally think that looked like it could have been great.

What about it could have been great? The layout didn't work at all, mechs were all broken or missing, it had all sorts of weird parts (like the bizarre cabinet), and Zombie Yeti's artwork was nothing like as good as his latter stuff has been -JPop was 'directing' and it was his first experience with pinball.

#2196 2 years ago
Quoted from Zablon:

Did the 'finish/fix' part not come through?

So the whole thing was a pile of crap, and theme was just a bad amalgamation of ToM & CV, but it 'could be great' ... makes sense.

#2202 2 years ago
Quoted from lpeters82:

I'd start saving pennies if Spooky ever committed to building The Big Lebowski. With that said, does Spooky have the capacity for a much larger market share, without expanding to a more urban area? They went from what what 150 to 300 to 500 to 500. I certainly could be wrong, but a run of 750 or 1000 seems near capacity in Benton.

He's making a critique of the way he considers that Charlie has run Spooky - doing what he likes rather than that which may be good for business. Not suggesting that Spooky should build TBL.

#2222 2 years ago
Quoted from jonesjb:

It was a genuine question.
There's an incredible amount of skill and nuance that goes into creating logo design, things that aren't obvious to the non-graphic designer. Some might say that designing a logo is easy, but thinking it's that simple could be considered an example of the Dunning Kruger effect:
Wasn't there an earlier version of the logo with a gear in it that then changed? That to me suggests that someone else thought the original version wasn't considered effective enough to keep. I'm not saying that is the case here, and I bring no malice, just trying to understand. I really wish great things for Deeproot Pinball, and am excited to see the innovations they bring to the industry. It's disappointing to see they will no longer be able to meet the 5 days of Deeproot event at Texas, I just hope they haven't over promised and I hope we're not seeing the Dunning Kruger effect applied to pinball creation.

Logo design may not be easy, but it would be very easy to do better than the appalling current logo (which is also unintentionally suggestive), and even easier to junk it.

I guess Robert may have either come up with or commissioned it, because it is so ridiculously bad that I can't imagine how they'd have stuck with it so long, otherwise.

2 weeks later
#2235 2 years ago

"The designer will also help set up the machine, discuss the design process and the game, and play your game at your place of residence!! You can invite up to four friends."

The above looks awfully familiar ... sounds like someone we know is calling the shots.

Is JPop's body an empty vessel, with one of those parasitic mind slug things controlling it, and has he infected RM?

Seems like it.

#2255 2 years ago
Quoted from lancestorm:

Disagree. It was stated much earlier in the threads and other avenues. I remember this and so do many other people. Basically RUBBERDUCKS should have sourced it instead of just putting quotes and posting it. Knowing the source is important. But I remember this from long ago. This is NOT new news.

I wasn't the OP, as has already been stated. Would it have mattered though? It's almost as outlandish a commitment / statement ~12 months ago as it is today. Might be an attempt to create good will, but it just sounds like a great way of pissing off your designers (except JPop) and fuelling disappointment.

#2257 2 years ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

Regardless of when the idea was introduced, it was advertised in the Jan 10 post from TWIP as 'future giveaway' - so please don't try to flush this away as if someone were copying something old out place.
All the same cringe worthy promises in there still have their own stigmas
[quoted image]

I'd overlooked it, but I'm surprised no-one else commented.

I'm assuming this is a sneak preview of Mueller's bible game. That decal looks like vengeful, angry, old testament god / other figure.

afe4d2c4b584ee92d3af8b59dda5768d08919ba0.png (resized).jpg

Or is this something I don't recognise from one of JPop's box of lights?

Edit: Magic Girl.

#2281 2 years ago
Quoted from wolfemaaan:

So, when is Deeproot going to reveal their first Pin? Doesn’t sound like anything is right around the corner. Summer?

"Hopefully in 2019"

1 month later
#2427 2 years ago
Quoted from Borygard:

I think you're missing most of the story then Bryan. JPop got American Pinball to build Magic Girl. Deeproot has contracted with many JPop customers to make them whole on their game deposits. Deeproot is likely building Magic Girl, RAZA, AIW, and others, likely with the system JPop developed.
I don't see how anyone could objectively look at everything and conclude he did nothing but simply took a job.
Rob Anthony
Pinball Classics
Quality Board Work - In Home Service
borygard at gmail dot com

I don't think he is missing that, but you do appear to be missing the part where JPop completely screwed and took advantage of the-new-to-the-industry and slightly naive AP backers.

Obviously history proved to be different, but when they realised they'd been had re: the joke of a diorama that was the original Houdini, the much more likely outcome was that they quit immediately and went back, chastened, to what they knew. Takes a lot of balls and commitment to come back from a farce like that.

1 month later
#2707 2 years ago

It would be difficult to convince me that the patent was ever explored seriously.

It looks like a classic JPop car-with-rectangular-wheels design.

They'd have to be paying all their industry veterans through the nose to get them to stifle their laughter long enough to do any work on it.

2 weeks later
#2868 2 years ago

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're going to have to sell a lot of games ...

Also, I think we can surmise from this trailer that they're probably sticking with a traditional super wide aspect DMD style monitor. Unless this is a crop and a bait. Not sure that's a brilliant choice either cost wise or presentation wise.

#2872 2 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

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 )

I think the animators and coders are supposed to be in Mormon country, and it is apparently an external studio. So setup cost would be less, but having 40 of them working full time on your projects would still be obscenely expensive.

#2881 2 years ago

Tracking the ball with a camera would just mean horrible latency, even if it worked 'perfectly' otherwise - which it certainly wouldn't.

Hopefully JPop won't read this as it'll give him money wasting ideas.

#2885 2 years ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

Where would that horrible latency come from?
JPop is not in technical development.

From processing time. Also, for multiball you'd likely need an AI based solution with an expensive accellerator such as those sold by NVIDIA or AMD. The notion that this would save money and time is patently ridiculous.

Shouldn't be, not isn't. You may have missed the Expo panel where JPop said the guy who used to do the engineering and technical stuff on his games at WMS was the best, but unfortunately he'd died, so he was doing all of that himself this time. Nobody corrected or contradicted him. Almost certainly delusion and hyperbole, but if he wasn't involved at all I doubt Mueller or the others wouldn't have said something. Also, if you've seen some of his patents and generally crap ideas over the years, he's very keen on trying to reinvent the wheel, even if he sucks at it.

#2888 2 years ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

Well, see above. Edited that in.
You're totally overthinking it.
Main problems why this is not feasible would be: Traking when the machine goes dark, what if something obstruses the view, etc.

It would be a problem. Also, where do you think the cameras would go? Cameras because they'd have to be below the playfield glass and therefore there'd need to be several of them. They couldn't go in the head and expect to have a useful view, and at that angle reflections would be terrible. A seperate external overplayfield mount would be rejected by locations and a lot of home buyers, and would still suffer with reflections.

Not just dark, but light too. LEDs are bright.

From just about every perspective it would be crazy to even try.

#2960 2 years ago
Quoted from Chippewa-Pin:

Any word on when the reveal is supposed to be?

Presumably before the deadline with the Zidware customers, if they intend to observe that, or miss it, but placate them with something.

#2993 2 years ago
Quoted from wolfemaaan:

And his games are still better than any pins released in the last 20 years.
It’s going to be difficult for him to Top already what’s in the top 20, but hopefully he pulls it off

Do you really believe what you are saying?

In terms of actually playing it, and doing so more than a handful of times, WCS is by a country mile his best machine. The rest may have flow, or be 'collectible'. But better than the best of the last 20 years? That's laughable.

Even in 2011 before Stern's golden era of great SAMs and JJP coming onto the scene, when that statement may have had slightly more relevance, I'd say TSPP absolutely blew away anything he did.

#3009 2 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

Like a marble in a shoe box.

Foam core lined shoe box.

#3065 2 years ago
Quoted from Rondogg:

I don't know, last night I watched the SpaceX rocket take off from Houston. The booster rockets were spent and split off after about 4 minutes. 4 minutes later they landed perfectly upright in Cape Canaveral Florida at the exact same time. All done in 8 minutes! Musk is making real magic happen.

Seems like a pretty bad example, given what's being discussed here. That is a very minor evolution of what has been the status quo for 60 years.

It's still an obscenely energy intensive and wasteful way of putting things into orbit.

The industry still hasn't really moved on much further from what Werner von Braun pioneered.

#3195 2 years ago

I'm surprised how little discussion there is of how JPop absolutely screwed and took advantage of American Pinball.

The shenanigans didn't end with his Zidware operations.

1 week later
#3311 2 years ago
Quoted from harryhoudini:

One of the main reasons I don't own a Houdini is due to fonts. Chiller just doesn't work as part of a steam punk-esque, turn of the century game. Neither does bright neon green or purple but that's a different story. The animations and graphics on that game look like a kid in computer graphics class made them. If anyone here should be owning a Houdini I think it should be me and they just killed it for me. Now no one will touch that topic since AP did it so I'm going to have to suck it up and get one someday, ugh.

I think Houdini looks fine as an overall package as long as you avoid looking at individual elements too closely. The clunk on the display somewhat fits the theme.

Oktoberfest on the other hand, even after the minor fixes, is much worse and a backwards step. The amount of visual noise and lack of clarity on the playfield puts it in an exclusive league of its own. The display graphics and animations are cringe inducing. Absolute abominations.

3 weeks later
#3559 1 year ago
Quoted from pin2d:

This just posted on http://deeprootpinball.com
We know there is a lot of excitement around deeproot and its mysterious pinball project. We also know there is frustration in how long it has taken to see something, let alone experience the deeproot pinball difference. If all we wanted to do is compete with existing pinball manufacturers and churn out the outdated and uninspired pinball package as it exists in the market today, it would have been a much easier path and accomplished years ago. We chose a different path. The simultaneous development on hundreds of unique pinball innovations and tens of titles has taken much longer than anyone (has) wanted.The fringe benefit to developing innovative pinball machines is the forced creation of multiple divisions and groups across a wide variety of industries and fields. These would not normally be found in a singular relatively small company. Which is why deeproot is unique and uniquely positioned to not only provide a different type of pinball experience, but also a cross-branded and diverse exploration of new concepts, ideas, stories, and experiences. This will keep deeproot Pinball tied to more popular entertainment choices and trends, and our Pinball creations relevant for decades to come.There have been endless amounts of speculation in forums or disseminated in the ‘pinball media’ regarding our pinball project, our finances, and even our separate and independent investment funds (that have very little to do with pinball). We’ve definitely had some good laughs along the way at the seemingly endless queue of ‘experts’. We will keep on doing what we do best along the following schedule:
June 28, 2019
By June 28th, we will provide Zidware claimants who i) filed and perfected a claim ii) within the prescribed time, and iii) signed/returned the Goodwill Agreements a choice between extending the delivery date or receiving monetary benefits as outlined in each’s agreement. All other claimants' claims or vendors' claims will thereinafter be rejected. That is the finale and extent of our self-imposed, voluntary goodwill to deal with the Zidware situation.
November 15-16, 2019
At a minimum, several RAZA prototypes will be available to play at the Houston Arcade Expo.
Fall 2019 - Summer 2020
Knowing exactly when we launch is a valuable trade secret that allows competitors an undesirable competitive advantage. At a minimum, the 5 days of deeproot will be scheduled and RAZA will be available for sale during this time period.We fully intend to make good on our 2018 Pinball Expo promises we regrettably did not accomplish in 2019. -- Robert J. Mueller, Principal
deeproot Pinball, 12621 Silicon Dr, San Antonio, TX 78249
(888) 316-2935

Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you pinball's latest tragi-comic episode, featuring everyone's favourite clown, John Popadiuk, with an all new ringmaster!

More titles launched and available to buy in 2019 than in the history of the pinball industry. More games manufactured than Stern, and potentially the rest of the industry combined, in the first year. Repeatedly hints that 4-5 titles will be available to buy at TPF 2019.

Fast forward 8 months. Nothing shown, let alone launched. Hoping to have RAZA on sale by Summer 2020. Talking about 'trade secrets' to avoid being pinned down on any date - despite repeatedly committing to them previously. Yet he's still talking about "tens of titles" ...

Most we've seen of actual games are a few grainy photos of those stupid high sided cabinets (are they really keeping those?) from someone in the community in San Antonio.

Not a good look.

#3564 1 year ago
Quoted from deeproot:

You mean like a GB that won’t turn on half the time, the two brand new premium Batman 66’s I bought that are already more dimpled than the moon and with broken mechs already, a Hobbit that’s been dead for months, a Dialed In with constant sound and rebooting problems, and a TNA with so many problems that it has kept my eningeers from engineering on deeproot stuff? Playing and maintaining a deeproot game is pretty refreshing for me thus far...

The implied criticism of others in your official statement was a pretty poor show, considering that you've missed the mark - namely due to constant and impossible hyperbole.

I won't question that you've had issues with those games, especially as many people have also had problems with them.

However, you seem to be saying that these are games you bought and which need service, directly stating that you're taking your engineers off company projects to work on them.

It's mind boggling to me that you would do that in the first place. All the more that you would admit it on a public forum, after having just announced massive delays; maybe not massive to launch, but certainly to the previously stated scale of launch.

What on earth must your investors think? Are they paying your staff to develop games, or to service your collection?

There's a nasty sense of deja vu about this ... hopefully it's just lashing out and unfounded exaggeration though.

#3583 1 year ago
Quoted from wolfemaaan:

I’d drink a beer with J-pop. Much more interesting conversation than this thread

Aren't you its most frequent poster?

#3623 1 year ago
Quoted from adol75:

Stern has been keeping the industry alive for the last 20 years and managed to stay afloat while every other competitor sunk.

Stern sunk. They were bailed out.

JJP were in the process of sinking. They were bailed out.

#3634 1 year ago
Quoted from LTG:

That isn't quite accurate.
Gary kept the doors open in the worst decade in coin op ever. Look at the year the investor came in. And the games Stern made leading up to it. They were rolling, the investor made things bigger, better, faster.
LTG : )

Gary said they were 2 weeks from shutting the doors. Ex Stern staff (some now employed there again) confirmed that was the case and that the business was being wound up.

They were done.

2 weeks later
#3815 1 year ago
Quoted from JamesUK:

I asked them how they would go about getting games into the U.K. and got a reply stating they "do not plan to sell internationally at this time"

More games than the rest of the industry combined, selling exclusively to the US.


Quoted from yaksplat:

Going global on a first release could be a logistics nightmare if they're new to it. Better to have the machine all set up for 120v and nail down domestic before going overseas. They only have one chance at a first machine launch.
I'm sure other countries will come with time.

Almost everything that has been spoken about so far is a logistical nightmare ... so I don't see how that wouldn't be in keeping. Also, it really isn't that difficult to set up international sales and service channels.

2 weeks later
#4071 1 year ago
Quoted from RobT:

You are supposedly an attorney? This is complete nonsense. Unless I am missing the sarcasm?

After rowing back the historic launches, a new line of hyperbole needed to be established.

1 week later
#4167 1 year ago
Quoted from Fulltilt:

I can’t imagine backing out now unless it’s a cash needed situation.

A number of pundits are predicting interest rates being cut to 0% early next year and then full blown recession by this time next year in the US. If that holds true, are you really expecting to be receiving anything?

If it's more than a blip, it's odds against most of these new entities surviving.

1 week later
#4306 1 year ago
Quoted from johnnyutah:

Interesting.[quoted image]

If they really exist, in the described scale, their animation studios and all the story boarding and code people certainly aren't primarily for pinball - how ever large they may dream of being.

Presumably any pinball machine they do will have game and digital pinball tie-ins, or vice versa.

The problem is, the former will probably end up either running hugely behind or holding up the latter, and involve much greater costs, lower margins & lower revenue.

If games or digital pinball sell decently well for them, and there's a viable business, I can see them abandoning physical pinball either before or very after shortly their first title(s) launch.

#4361 1 year ago
Quoted from Tranquilize:

I think it makes a huge difference. How many other manufacturers could offer such a payment before their first production? To me, this shows they are very far from insolvent, which means we're very likely to see at least one title, possibly more.

I don't think it shows this at all. It likely means they're solvent currently, but start ups with no revenue flow established rarely have a gigantic pot of gold that will last them for years. They rely on a continuous flow of fund raising and loans.

With the kind of overheads, payroll burden and investments that Robert has talked about, it almost certainly means that financing is an ongoing job, and a very important one at that.

They could well be on the cusp of incredible things in pinball and / or gaming (or not). But that doesn't mean the whole thing won't end if the taps get turned off. That's why the length and scale of delays is potentially so bad. They look like they're going to be launching on the cusp of a major slowdown, if not outright recession. Aside from constrained demand, investors will be tightening their belts, and banks looking very carefully at their loan books. Timing, both in the market and the economic cycle are frequently make or break for many businesses.

Don't think that because they can afford this goodwill gesture it'll all be rosy. Though hopefully it will be.

2 weeks later
#4613 1 year ago
Quoted from wolfemaaan:

Yeah it’s very clear Pinball is mice nuts on what Deeproot does as a whole. They have a pretty impressive staff of animators for TV, Movies, etc and very little for the Pinball part.
So they can turn out Pinball in 2026 or never as they have many other revenue streams

They have no revenue streams, remember.

You're talking about potential revenue streams. Competition is also rather more cuthroat in gaming than pinball, even if potential sales and profitability are on a completely different scale.

#4621 1 year ago
Quoted from wolfemaaan:

Actually you’re wrong, look at their studios page. There main business is not gaming, it’s video & animation. For TV commercials, movies. Gaming is probably next and pinball is a very small portion based on their roster

What revenue?

2 months later
#5143 1 year ago

Patent for a canted, extending arm. Pretty sure there might be some prior art on that one

Patent doesn't suggest a novel design, and it's difficult to imagine a court could rule that the application is novel.

Looks like patent trolling, or a worthless document to show restive financial backers that, "Look, really, we're innovating!"

#5145 1 year ago
Quoted from frolic:

jpop used to talk endlessly about his patents as evidence of his "working".

#5147 1 year ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

Arm yes... arm in pinball cabinet to improve access to pf? Thats where you get separation.

There's absolutely nothing novel about the application.

#5149 1 year ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

So show us where it's been done before?
And the patent office disagrees with you.

It's a canted extending arm attached to a box at each end. The contents of either box has no bearing on the arm, nor the arm on them. There is absolutely NOTHING novel about it.

Secondly, it hasn't been tested in court. You can get granted a patent for virtually anything in the US if you're prepared to file ... see JPop's list of crap. Doesn't mean you'll be able to defend any of them.

#5151 1 year ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

They won't need to defend it. IF an entity tried to use their patented tech, that entity would have to 'defend' their usage of it.
Further reading: https://www.eff.org/issues/patents

They'd still need to bring a case, which essentially entails defending the patent.

Also, people or companies can bring cases to have patents struck off.

#5185 1 year ago
Quoted from howdoyouafford:

The red sole case is about trademark (brand identification), not patent (novel invention) or copyright (protection of creative works). The difference is easily confused as with most subtleties in law.

Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

It’s not “patenting a color”, this is a trademark case.
Think of it like protecting your company logo

Principle is the same though. Red soled heels were a common thing going back decades before CL even existed. It's about abusing a broken legal system.

#5223 1 year ago
Quoted from La4s:

Anyone else think their statements on Houston are some sort of deception, and the game they show in Houston will be complete and available for purchase?

Quoted from PinballManiac40:

With a 10'x20' booth, I think not.

Their statement that 1) 2 early prototypes will be present, and 2) game will ship early next year are not really conversant with each other.

They've been working on RAZA for more than 2 years, JPop a total of 7 or 8. If it is an 'early' prototype, then is development likely to speed up exponentially over the course of a few short months? Seems unlikely. Of course they could just be managing expectations by saying early, and it is almost ready to go.

Their spectacular misses tend to suggest otherwise though. If it truly is 'early', I think we can take it as read that things are going very, very badly.

1 week later
#5316 1 year ago
Quoted from vicjw66:

Why bother showing a watered down, mech missing prototype?

Because JPop's fairy dust mechs don't work.

#5353 1 year ago
Quoted from frankmac:

Is 750K a month a real number?
Sounds way out of line.

Sounds like it's seriously low balling. Aside from all the pinball stuff in Texas, they supposedly have a studio of 30+ ex-Disney & Dreamworks animation people, plus a bunch of coders. Presumably the 750k a month was exclusive of capital expenditure, or at least didn't include the 7 figure sums, if not 8 figures, they'd spend whilst setting up the factory and hiring for production.

#5378 1 year ago

Looks very reminiscent of C.Voltaire. Art is CV with zombies / aliens. Layout is ostensibly simple with a few interesting toys. Typical JPop.

Don't like the decision to go with a super wide, vertically narrow display. Especially when they're spending millions with their animation studio. It seriously limits the amount of information available to the player, and what they can do with animation. A waste, IMO.

Looks solid, but nothing really breathtaking, either in terms of art (some recent Sterns and ACNC do it better), or the stuff you play (JJPs are way more interesting still). Indeed, this looks much closer to typical Sterns in features and value for money of what you play than one of JJP's widebodies or DI.

I'm sure all of us would feel much more positive about it if there hadn't been so much hyperbole and shit-talking everyone else whilst insisting your products are going to be in a different galaxy in every respect.

On the positive side, it does look like it has the potential to be a decent machine, and they appear to have done away with JPop's stupid high sided cabinets.

#5386 1 year ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

How so? - The aspect ratio changed, not the screen space.

The vertical measurement is much smaller than everbody except CGC (with remakes they have a reason to preserve continuity - this is just nostalgia). Any information is going to be extremely peripheral - right at either end, and for the most part the centre of the display will be a dead zone re: info - where player's eyes are. When have ultra wide aspect monitors with nominally much smaller vertical measurements been a thing in computer monitors or TVs? Never. They're totally impractical.

#5464 1 year ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

Well, we'll see.
As said, screen space is the same so for me it's awesome that you've allready set up your mind that this is destined to be shit, without ever having seen anything.
The mentioned problems of a "dead zone" are correct, of course, but occur with mot modern games also... just look ad Batman, Munsters and Elvira.
You have a Fake Television in the center, and stuff for Modes left and right... and additionally stuff on the bottom.
I'm not saying this will be great, I'm just intrigued and you should be "open" too, at least until you see it in action.

It's not the same. You're deliberately choosing to ignore what's in front of your eyes. This IS objectively bad for the application. If it were a scrolling news or price ticker, fine. But it isn't.

Moreover, having mounted the speakers underneath the display, this appears to be even narrower vertically than CGC's solution ... and CGC have good reason for preserving original aspect ratio, as they are both selling a 'classic' edition and expanding on the original animations of the games.

The 'problem' you're saying that Batman, Munsters & Elvira have is not a problem for them. It's a problem for this machine.

DMDs went 128x16 -> 128x32 -> 192x64 (and physically much larger) - the latter being abandoned because they were considered too expensive. Each change was a major improvement in terms of the amount of information that could be displayed, and what you could do with animations.

This ultra wide, very vertically narrow display forces the UI designers into a corner - literally.

It also makes absolutely zero sense to be spending millions on an animation studio, and then never even give them the luxury of any depth of field whatsoever. Anything in the background? Pixel size. Portraits? Forget it. Anything tall? Has to be shown in either super wide format where it'll appear tiny, or you need to scroll up it to show it. Makes even less sense for a game that it is specifically about characters ... Ned, the princess, undead, aliens etc.

They're not spending millions on the translite art. Yet it dominates the backbox. Why is the most expensive part of the game in terms of development crammed into a small letterbox?

You could take an optimistic approach and say that they're going to do AR, and the display is just a sideshow. But it still wouldn't make any sense ... not everyone is going to wear glasses, and there are locations, show rooms and events to think of. You could also choose to think this is non-final, but aspect seems similar or the same to teaser videos released.

Or perhaps what we assume is the translite or backglass is another monitor? But, again, it would seem a strange design choice.

WOZ could do so much more with its display. It wasn't just all the toys and world under glass that caused it to pull so many new people into pinball, or collecting. It immersed people who were just watching the player. Will this ...?

It's extremely sub-optimal, to put it kindly, when they had a blank canvas.

#5470 1 year ago
Quoted from nogoodnames222:

You're completely ignoring the fact that all animations for this game are original, there is no source material and as a result MANY of your complaints are moot... Why would any animator (when given the task of animating for this aspect ratio) choose to put tall vertical images, portraits, small background details, etc in? The screen on this is perfect for actually playing the game, maybe not for spectators but obviously that wasn't their focus. Keeping the critical information closer to the playfield is an AWESOME design choice IMO.
If this were using movie clips or art sourced from somewhere else I would completely agree that it's a horrible choice for displaying that, but it's not. Maybe wait to see it in action before completely writing the idea off.

I must have missed the part where all animators always want to create stuff in a letterbox format ... and indeed, it is all original, so why would you pigeon hole them with this aspect? The reason DMDs were originally so small, and vertically small, is that first Plasma and then LED DMDs were extremely expensive. It made sense to cram one in between the speakers and have it be as short as possible, due to costs.

#5687 1 year ago
Quoted from Nihonmasa:

I do understand that 3D printing is awesome for fasf prototyping, but I really hope they won't dare using it for production.

Quoted from BMore-Pinball:

I am really hoping they nailed the quality - that's what's going to give the other guys a run for their money, not a few hundred $ discount.
If they can build a solid machine with a good PF that doesn't breakdown .................................

Pretty sure this is indeed an 'early prototype' as they initially stated, and not "something that any other manufacturer could release right now, but we're not going to" - paraphrasing.

Jack (Dead Flip) went through the whole thing, part by part, on stream last night. It has a lot of strange, janky, and very proto looking stuff. IMO they're going to need at least the 6 - 7 months they've allowed themselves to get this to production, if it's already taken them 2+ and JPop 8+ years to get to this stage.

I'd be very surprised if what we are seeing now doesn't require major revision.

#5691 1 year ago
Quoted from razorsedge:

According to Mr Pinball, who says he just recieved an update from DR, "they will start building games in a few Months".
I guess only time will tell.

End of June is only a few months ...

However, it would not surprise me if some of the non-Popadiuk games are further along than this is, in terms of what's under the glass.

#5702 1 year ago
Quoted from screaminr:

The end of June is over 7 months away

Yes. Quite. Only a few months.

#5712 1 year ago
Quoted from screaminr:

Over here a few months means around 3 months but I'm not surprised in Amsterdam it could mean almost anything

A few typically refers to more than 2 and less than 10. Everywhere. Also, given that this game has been worked on for nearly a decade already, this isn't a lot of time.

#5768 1 year ago

I'd guess the screens in Sterns are probably $30-40, if they buy them in ~5k units. If it's 1k units, probably $40-50.

#5781 1 year ago
Quoted from ZMeny:

FIRST LOOK Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland (RAZA) Gameplay
Subscribe Now to Flip N Out Pinball YouTube for exclusive pinball streams, reveals, series, entertainment, and more!

It doesn't look like there's too much that's working on that machine.

I guess you'd describe it as shootable.

#5790 1 year ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

Really, the game looks horrible to play in that video, can't believe it's that bad for real.

Are you sure you can't believe it? 8 years of his work, and more than 2 years of DeepRoot's work on this 'masterpiece', from the genius who brought the world Magic Girl ... it's very reminiscent of the latter.

#5803 1 year ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

MG had shots that lead to nowhere, this guys here just don't hit any ...
(Why so negative?)
In addition I might add it'll look the same if I'd do a video trying to hit the Iron Maiden ramps.
I would LIKE to say it's the game's fault...

So does this. Half the game is placeholders.

#5806 1 year ago
Quoted from DS_Nadine:

Since you're obviously there and have played it a lot, fill us in.

You appear to be choosing not to acknowledge the content of the photos and videos.

#5855 1 year ago
Quoted from noitbe1:

Peolple are always complainig about everything. At least now we have a game to look at and it looks great. No one still knows really how it plays but the bashing already started.
If you can no longer feel joy regarding new project maybe some here should change hobbies.

Looks great? Seriously? People seem to be in the denial phase still.

Be honest. This looks bad. Really bad.

It is also entirely consistent with JPop's 'work' since the birth of Zidware.

The danger here is not that this sucks. It looks like it will. It's that the whole company is set up to succeed or fail around JPop's shit, and that the other designers end up as some kind of marginalised tech support team for him, who get ignored anyway, and whose own designs suffer as a result.

With 6-8 months to go until their supposedly final deadline for this machine or their product launch(es), I hope Mueller and the others have their eye on the ball, and are not fixated solely on JPop and Zidware's mess that he chose to involve them in.

With Robert sounding like he regretted his involvement in the shit show now, in that interview, hopefully that is the case, and he will make sure that everyone else can carry the company and product line.

#5859 1 year ago
Quoted from frolic:

I was part of the groan launch of Dialed In and changed my tune when I actually played it, becoming a buyer. So I'll be the first to admit seeing a game online isn't the best way to experience it.
Like Dialed In, this one had a lot of hype behind it, so it was imperative to launch properly. They can claim all day long this isn't their launch, but that doesn't make a difference to the thousands of hardcore pinheads who will experience the game the first time this way.

People were reeeeing about the phone, title and dad jeans for DI. It was clearly packed with stuff, complete, and shot really well from first showing. This is very different. You have a disfunctional early proto full of placeholders that looks really bricky and Zidwarey.

#5865 1 year ago

JJP had Hobbits, DIs and PotCs on location for months getting feedback before they went to production, too.

But as Keith Johnson alluded to on Twitter, I'm not sure DR are going to get much useful testing data from these.

#5868 1 year ago
Quoted from NoQuarters:

Yes - I wonder how much actual data they collect at a show and how useful it is. Maybe what they are really interested in is firsthand reaction to what they have. A lot of stuff in pinball can't be quantified - could be that stuff is what is being observed. Question is Will they do anything with what they learn.

I think it's more the fact that this is stuffed with placeholders and things that clearly have major ongoing development efforts. They know they're going to revise it and are doing. It's already obsolete. So even if they collect a load of data, what use is it? If they're going to make their deadlines, the game will be totally different in a month.

#5932 1 year ago
Quoted from zaphX:

It’s some combination of the lighting and my iphones camera. There is a lot of green in the art but it’s nicely balanced with purple and other colors.
This machine was directly under an overhead light. The other one was darker and more difficult to photograph.

Use the pro mode and adjust the light temperature (and colour balance if you can). It should remove a lot of the green cast.

#5939 1 year ago
Quoted from kvan99:

Yes, he has the ability to make beautiful looking machines that do not shoot well, even his successful titles have issues. He throws a bunch of things together without thinking how they'll interact together. But this time Robert is in charge he can take the whole project and give it to Dennis to clean up.

Why the fuck would you wish that on Nordman, or anybody else, or want the time wasted? A polished turd is still a turd.

#5953 1 year ago
Quoted from kvan99:

Well, I think it's fixable. It needs a Pinball designer not a Pinball dreamer to fix it.

Why bother? I'm sure the other designers have been saying "this won't work" and "you should do this", since day one. JPop clearly hasn't listened.

What's worth saving?

#6085 1 year ago
Quoted from Tranquilize:

1. People hate Jpop because of his business decisions. Fair. That does not give anyone a licence to claim they know that he "always" needs help with his designs and is just a shit-show for pinball design. Good designers would welcome help. Jpop designed some great classics that are well respected in the community. That is the plain truth.

6. This game is not supposed to be a Stern. It appears to shoot like Jpops 90s designs, just like DI shoots like a polished older lawlor. If you want combo city, buy a stern. I look forward to some "bump into new mechs" and some stop and go. I consider myself a good player and I still have a blast when playing TOTAN. The design amazes me.

1. Yes he does. Always. Save those Zizzle games. See referenced article where Ritchie talks about it at WMS. See Magic Girl. See RAZA (original & this). See the drawings for Alice. See his version of Houdini.

6. At this stage it shoots nothing like his 90s designs, clearly. That appears to be what people are hoping for, but how likely that is to happen given that this has been being worked on for years and years and years already is unclear.

#6108 1 year ago
Quoted from CLEllison:

I had Pm'd RM 4 months ago and told him with all the hype he's created, showing a game that was anything less than dialed in and done code wise (excluding bugs) would be suicide.
I understand because of RMs excessive hype they feel pressured to get something out there. I just cant believe their "debut" was like a WIP homebrew. Not to mention they allowed piss poor lighting, couldn't be bothered to "freshen" up rubbers or identify weak flippers let alone create a semi professional video if it in action. A real head scratcher. RM either needs to hire a PR manager or fire who he's got right now . This was their time to shine! The time to fire back and give a big middle finger to all the pinside haters ya know?

My hope is that the Oursler, Nordman and Norris machines are in a much better state.

Whilst I assume this is further along with audio visual assets than others, as they seem to be leading with it ... if this represents the most advanced stage they've reached with a game in terms of shooting it, that's extremely worrying.

Being charitable, maybe they just feel obligated to show this, because of the Zidware settlement agreement?

#6113 1 year ago
Quoted from hank527:

I feel others always helped Jpop make a better game. Several designers have hinted Jpop was always a mess and others tweaked his games. In fact, several say he has taken credit for games others have designed.
I have to believe this as none of his Zidware stuff was ever completed and Magic Girl shoots like crap.

Anyone who disputes this is a fool.

It's really difficult to imagine Nordman or Oursler not coming up with something awesome after 2+ years and the kind of massive support and spending that JPop has enjoyed. Norris I guess is a bit more of an unknown quantity, as I think he was out of the industry for 15 years.

I just hope RM hasn't gone all in on the JPop madness, potentially to the ultimately fatal neglect of the rest of the clearly very talented team he's hired, and the large sums spent setting up this company.

Maybe he and he his backers can afford for the investments to be lost, but this would be a disaster for pinball if potentially tens of millions went down the drain and little came of it. It would entrench the existing players and hold back competition and innovation.

#6127 1 year ago
Quoted from MikeS:

If DR really has a dozen games in the pipeline, why not take away design duties from JPop and just make him the lead Art Director for all of the games. That's what he's best at and there should be plenty there to keep him busy! I don't think Nordman, Barry O or John Norris are especially known for having games with good art direction.

You're missing the stark staringly obvious role for him. Not having one.

If they want a decent art director, it isn't JPop.

#6336 1 year ago
Quoted from jarozi:

In the interview he tries to temper pricing expectation. To paraphrase; 'we're putting more in our games than the other guys, and will be charging commensurately'. He talks about value, not in the context of inexpensive, rather in the context of giving you more for the same money. Now some of his 'more' is the DeepRoot cabinet and tech, so remains to be see what the market will think of the value that adds.
My interpretation of his message is that his full feature mass market games will be ~$9500. But he wasn't specific and that's entirely my reading the tea leaves.
Go have a listen and see if you hear something different.

These simply aren't going to sell in any appreciable numbers if they're going to be around JJP standard or even higher pricing. If they're at LE or higher, forget it.

He could surprise all of us and have a lean, efficient, and incredibly fast manufacturing operation, capable of building more than Stern, as he liked to claim. But if RAZA is the feature or 'value' level and high is the price, supply is going to dwarf demand.

Again, I really hope the other designers' games are far along and they've been given the freedom and resources to do their best work.

#6344 1 year ago
Quoted from zombieyeti:

* Zombie Yeti's version of "artwork on Raza was a hack job".
Sounds slanderous.... of course Jpop was the 'ART director' and his eventual 'vision' (A.B. After Ben) required that I create all of the playfield art in AI as vector. Any illustrator knows that's a great way to limit detail & speed (jpop didn't know photoshop and wanted to tweak colorways) - but I finally relented at the moment he started to request EXACT IP characters and elements - not my original ideas. (Ask my wife about how much I wanted to run away at that point...)
That said - it's fantastic to see Robert sh*tting on all the effort (and drama therein) of so many people in pinball that actually have made games you can buy and play today. Classy stuff. Best of luck.

From my point of view, it's patently obvious that JPop is both a terrible art director and things went badly wrong for you.

The stuff he had you do stands out like a sore thumb as being way below the calibre of any of your other work - pinball or other. The colour work - no offense - is bad, quite apart from the design direction.

Also, his version of Houdini .... god that was hideous. Matt Andrews then goes and does a very decent package for TNA immediately afterwards.

I don't understand why people think JPop is some kind of god in this respect. He isn't.

Moreover he repeatedly tried to pass off artists' work as his own, including yours.

#6349 1 year ago
Quoted from jeffspinballpalace:

There was plenty of humor in the interview. Hackjob Yeti is my favorite artist.
Deep-root has shown they can design and build (2) prototype games of RAZA and that is big deal. Every story told about the pinball business is making pinballs is hard. Specifically, the physical manufacturing thru shipping. That part has yet to come, so as hard as Deeproot feels they have worked to get here, the road ahead is uphill and steeper.

It's nothing like as hard as a lot of people want you to think.

Just look what Haggis did in only a year.

#6508 1 year ago
Quoted from cjchand:

Not that this wasn't a dead-end conversation to begin with, but after listening to the Kaneda interview, it's clear that "value" doesn't mean "value priced". Am I mis-remembering the "Ferrari for a Kia's price" line of talk from Robert?
Since Robert was not happy people were thinking RAZA needed to be priced at/below Stern Pro pricing, my armchair financing exercise is even less pointless than when I started.
So, what shall we all argue about now?

You're not mis-remembering.

He went on ad nauseum about doing stuff cheaper, undercutting the competition, doing more volume, and price points between $3500 & $50k.

The seeming implication that RAZA could be priced towards the higher end of the market, with him claiming in the interview that it arguably had as much as a Wonka CE (it certainly doesn't under the glass) seems totally out of touch with reality, even if they do bling out the final version.

One thing I agreed with him entirely about is how Jpop's designs will be a very niche market. Small market = big price, and if he wants any return on investment (which he said he did), then they won't be cheap after the vast amount of time and money spent.

He bounced from hyperbole to managing expectations throughout the interview. But there were some hints that he realised JPop's stuff *could* be a total bust.

Still very much hoping the others won't have been compromised by JPop spending and design choices.

#6614 1 year ago
Quoted from Rondogg:

It's just strange. If he does have investors than the statements he made in the interview would probably generate some kind of legal issue. If he doesn't have any investors then I find it almost impossible to believe he paid for all this stumbling around out of his own bank account. My best guess is that this is "technically" his money but that he is not the only person taking a risk and that there are so many wrappers around this company that he is legally entitled to make that claim.
But then again, who knows, I work in the sewer...

He previously boasted about his ability to raise massive clods of capital through investors to fund the project.

So who knows how the thing is actually structured.

#6620 1 year ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

And why does it honestly matter? We only become investors if we Buy a game so it seems irrelevant unless he robbed a bank to build the machines.

Because Robert has already stated that their cash burn is unsustainable without a launch soon, and resulting cash flow. Remember the interview a year ago, where he told us about the, at the time, $750k per month expenditure? That was December 2018, and he's since delayed the launch significantly. Quote below if you don't recall.


TWIP: Is there any concern at deeproot that the launch may never happen?
RM: Zero concern. We are spending over $750k a month now on this project, and that will increase through launch. That is unsustainable without a launch in the short term.


So funding is a pretty important topic.

Let's say they've spent $20m so far, and need to spend another $10m before they get 500 games shipped by the end of June 2020, or begin building them.

$30m is a lot of money, and that's likely a conservative estimate. If this isn't a success and dies, then that's a huge loss to the pinball market, huge loss for the mostly elderly talent he brought in from the industry, and a turn off to other potential entrants and investors.

He's been inconsistent on his statements re: funding, and there have been large delays & back tracking on their goals and what they can achieve. Then there was the rather underwhelming RAZA spectacle last weekend, plus the possibility that all the resources expended on JPop may never yield a return. So people are rightly concerned.

I very much hope they do release some awesome games, meet with lots of success, and become the next big player. But said delays, massively over-promising, seemingly big overheads (according to Robert) and JPop stuff looks bad.

#6626 1 year ago
Quoted from Yelobird:

I have a BBB, Cosmic Carnival, AMC Gremlin, scientific batting practice, Chicago Coin games, Genco Games,...... hasn’t made me care yet?

He's previously talked about proprietary everything.

The effort to fix and keep running the HW Aliens has been Herculean.

#6639 1 year ago
Quoted from wamonkey:

The old adage-
Some designers may not even be on salary - we live in a gig economy and who know how many staff are even full time.

Come on, if that were the case, they'd have to have been completely out of their minds given recent history in the industry. Especially as most of them moved half way across the country to Texas, and many quit existing gigs.

#6652 1 year ago
Quoted from iceman44:

It's sort of amazing isn't it Bill? They are operating under Reg D and file annual updates with the SEC. If you go onto SEC.GOV and search it you'll find the details right there.
Investment advisors are putting their "accredited clients" into this investment. Looks like an 8% commission.
However, nothing wrong with Reg D, idle capital sitting on the sidelines going to work in the marketplace creating jobs and opportunity. Usually high risk high reward.
Here you go, public records. Actually up to $32 million raised and filed for a new $37 million offering once they reach $35 million on the first one.

So there are likely hundreds of detached, moderately well off, relatively clueless people being sold small to medium sized investments by detached, relatively clueless salesmen on commissions.

Seems like an interesting financing model for what's a fairly esoteric creative industry, with a string of entry failures. Particularly at what appears to be the tail end of a long boom cycle.

If this is accurate, then I can see why he feels he has licence to make rather bold statements. There might not be any big investors, and the chances of them hearing anything he says, let alone organising to protect their money seem pretty small. Still, it doesn't make publicly calling your largest concentrated market a sewer any smarter, even if you aren't going to get in trouble for it.

I'd be especially curious to see what any sales literature or pitches might say. What kind of returns over what kind of time scale. Risk assessments. Even more curious to see what updates and annual reports for people who bought in might contain, particularly about the delays.

#6669 1 year ago
Quoted from fastpinball:

I have had offerings like this explained to me as “I made you a bunch of money in a previously deal, I want you to put $XXX,XXX into this new deal.” The amount asked is usually less than the gains made in a previously deal. So if you win, you win. If you lose, you are still ahead when the win/loss is totaled across the multiple deals.
iceman44 or wcbrandes would know this better than I.
FAST Pinball

Funny thing is, people seem unbothered by this, but went apopleptic over The Pinball Company's crowd funding pitch.

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