(Topic ID: 252753)

What are DMDs for?


By longtemps1

16 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 26 posts
  • 19 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 12 days ago by Gornkleschnitzer
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “What are DMDs for?”

    • Prefer old scoring reels or simple numeric score displays. 7 votes
      9%
    • Prefer DMDs. 33 votes
      41%
    • Prefer Pinball2000 method. 1 vote
      1%
    • Prefer full resolution monitor in place of DMD. 39 votes
      49%

    (80 votes)

    #1 16 days ago

    I grew up playing EM games in the sixties and seventies. I think the first SS game came into being my senior year in college. By the time SS games advanced to having DMDs I was spending less time playing pinball and more time making a living. I did not often seek out pinball but certainly played whenever it showed up in front of me, in taverns, casinos, hotels, amusement parks, movie theaters. DMDs have always felt at odds with the pinball games that were taking place below them.

    Back in the days of EM scoring reels in the backbox, my eyes were always on the playfield during ball play, only glancing up at my score between balls when nothing was happening on the field. During play, I kept track of my “success” with the sounds of bells and chimes and - YES! - knockers, all audio clues. With a DMD, there seems to always be something happening up there when my eyes should really be on the playfield, but all that DMD action compels me to look up when I really shouldn’t. Should I just ignore that “loud” DMD except between balls or at the end of a game?

    I understand that game modes and quests and progress have become more complicated the last thirty or so years, so it takes more than a paper rule card in the front corner of the machine to elucidate and keep track, and DMDs are one way to do that.

    But there is something else going on in my head. Pingames are beautiful machines, often true works of art, on the playfield, on the back glass, uhhh the translite, on the cabinet. Colors at play all around, an amazing interactive kinetic sculpture on the playfield. With all that beauty around it, a DMD seems like a (usually) monochrome Lite-Brite toy; blocky, rigid, sterile, primitive. But loud.

    I am happy to see some manufacturers using high resolution LCD monitors instead of DMDs, providing something closer to the eye candy that is all around it. But DMDs still seem to dominate.

    A newbie pinsider, a pinball fan for closing on six decades.

    #2 16 days ago

    The beautiful thing is you can buy what you like. If you have enough room have a few of both.

    #3 16 days ago
    Quoted from longtemps1:

    I grew up playing EM games in the sixties and seventies. I think the first SS game came into being my senior year in college. By the time SS games advanced to having DMDs I was spending less time playing pinball and more time making a living. I did not often seek out pinball but certainly played whenever it showed up in front of me, in taverns, casinos, hotels, amusement parks, movie theaters. DMDs have always felt at odds with the pinball games that were taking place below them.
    Back in the days of EM scoring reels in the backbox, my eyes were always on the playfield during ball play, only glancing up at my score between balls when nothing was happening on the field. During play, I kept track of my “success” with the sounds of bells and chimes and - YES! - knockers, all audio clues. With a DMD, there seems to always be something happening up there when my eyes should really be on the playfield, but all that DMD action compels me to look up when I really shouldn’t. Should I just ignore that “loud” DMD except between balls or at the end of a game?
    I understand that game modes and quests and progress have become more complicated the last thirty or so years, so it takes more than a paper rule card in the front corner of the machine to elucidate and keep track, and DMDs are one way to do that.
    But there is something else going on in my head. Pingames are beautiful machines, often true works of art, on the playfield, on the back glass, uhhh the translite, on the cabinet. Colors at play all around, an amazing interactive kinetic sculpture on the playfield. With all that beauty around it, a DMD seems like a (usually) monochrome Lite-Brite toy; blocky, rigid, sterile, primitive. But loud.
    I am happy to see some manufacturers using high resolution LCD monitors instead of DMDs, providing something closer to the eye candy that is all around it. But DMDs still seem to dominate.
    A newbie pinsider, a pinball fan for closing on six decades.

    I gotta say Alphanumerics have been one of my favorites so far. So much can be done yet they’re still simple enough to do their job and simply keep track of scores and bonuses and objectives.
    DMDs really exist, as all innovations in pinball do, to take your eyes off the ball and cause you to drain. That’s precisely why most gimmicks exist. But it does inherently add a new layer of both skill and difficulty so it has its own merit.
    I finally understand the beauty of BW games like TZ, because of how it pauses and lets you actually enjoy the animations instead of most DMDs that say “Hey check this ou-*DRAIN*”

    #5 16 days ago

    A DMD's main purpose is so you can spend $400 an a color upgrade, and the attract mode can entertain you when you are too buzzed to actually play.

    #6 16 days ago

    To keep your high scores, instead of having to carve them into the head...

    #7 16 days ago

    Why did EMs have blinking bulbs that come on when the games ends?

    To attract more coins

    #8 16 days ago
    Quoted from PopBumperPete:

    Why did EMs have blinking bulbs that come on when the games ends?
    To attract more coins

    I own three machines, all EMs, the newest from 1969 and none of them ever blink for any reason at all - except when a 50 year old bulb socket is being cantankerous

    #9 16 days ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    I finally understand the beauty of BW games like TZ, because of how it pauses and lets you actually enjoy the animations instead of most DMDs that say “Hey check this ou-*DRAIN*”

    TZ is actually also one of my favorite DMD games, but I had to get used to those pauses. I tend to keep my eyes still fixed on the playfield waiting for the captured ball to do something. I was so used to the constant flow of the old games, these pauses can seem like a television or youtube commercial break on some machines.

    #10 16 days ago

    These games are designed to take your money. When you’re not playing it’s there to get you pulled in. Once playing it will try to get you to look away from the flippers to break your concentration, It Hopes you drain and put in more money.

    I only look at the screen between balls or unless there’s a video mode to play.

    #11 16 days ago

    DMDs are cool because they just feel like pinball, but you can't beat the amount of data a LCD heads up display gives. As nostalgic as I get about DMD animations, I would never choose to go back to having to trap up and hold the button for several seconds to scroll through all the status just to see how many more times I need to hit a shot to finish it. Once you get familiar with the location and iconography of the displays like Maiden and Deadpool, it's just so much more efficient and makes deeper rulesets much easier to digest.

    #12 16 days ago
    Quoted from longtemps1:

    TZ is actually also one of my favorite DMD games, but I had to get used to those pauses. I tend to keep my eyes still fixed on the playfield waiting for the captured ball to do something. I was so used to the constant flow of the old games, these pauses can seem like a television or youtube commercial break on some machines.

    This times 100. First time playing TZ in over a decade was at league. I’m always to afraid to look up because I thought the ball would pop out and drain. I just keep scanning the playfield wondering where the hell is the ball????

    #13 16 days ago

    I’ve always thought the Pin2k idea was a promising invention executed horribly. It seems to me that you can get twice the game by projecting a different playfield on the glass. LCDs inside the playfield itself (like Multimorphic’s approach) seem like the next evolution on this. Teeter too far into the graphics and it’s a video game, but a refined usage of it seems like a great way to further engage a player.

    It does nothing whatsoever for sales and attract mode coin drops though. Nobody can see it!

    #14 16 days ago

    You know what a DMD is for, this is a coy topic about a change that occurred over 25 years ago.

    It displays scores, instructions, animations and sometimes a video mode or two. Derp.

    #15 16 days ago

    I think the dmd is the right medium or at least a small display that you can glance at quickly. I think the new LCD displays are mostly unnecessary.
    The big thing they seem to get wrong with LCD is the microscopic text and score! You can't quickly look and see it. The animation and presentation seems to be hit and miss. Like a bad DVD menu with art styles that do not match.
    DMD did a lot with the animation of the score and text to make it legible and exciting.
    I think pin2000 style used sparingly may be the best option as you do not have to look away from the PF

    #16 16 days ago
    Quoted from arcademojo:

    I’m always to afraid to look up because I thought the ball would pop out and drain. I just keep scanning the playfield wondering where the hell is the ball????

    This is something I never quite understood about how I see others play. Do people just tune out 100% of the game's music/sounds/display under the assumption it is useless background noise? The vast majority of the time, if the game is holding the ball and showing me something on the display, it is accompanied by distinctly different sound effect cues.

    Although it's not a DMD title, the most extreme example I have ever seen is when we brought Riverboat Gambler to the park in our pop-up pinball tent, and multiple people were completely and utterly stumped when:
    - The roulette diverter held the ball
    - "Pick a color" showed on the display
    - The game said "Pick a color!" (and yes, volume was clearly audible)
    - There were four extremely prominent colored buttons atop the lockdown bar.
    One kid assumed the game was over and pushed the start button!
    How?
    HOW???

    #17 15 days ago

    You are confused.

    Regardless of what people tell you, or what you believe as a player, or the small amount of times when a display is required for a video mode/check of the scores, the primary function of the DMD (and now LCD) is for the OBSERVER to observe and watch it while you play, NOT the player.

    #18 15 days ago
    Quoted from ktownhero:

    You know what a DMD is for, this is a coy topic about a change that occurred over 25 years ago.
    It displays scores, instructions, animations and sometimes a video mode or two. Derp.

    Yes, that’s the stuff one finds on a DMD. But what’s a derp?

    #19 15 days ago
    Quoted from snyper2099:

    You are confused.
    Regardless of what people tell you, or what you believe as a player, or the small amount of times when a display is required for a video mode/check of the scores, the primary function of the DMD (and now LCD) is for the OBSERVER to observe and watch it while you play, NOT the player.

    I won’t argue primary and secondary, but the DMD gives info that replaces info that was formerly on the backglass and specifically of value to the player, e.g. scores and specials progress. Between balls and at the end of a game it has that purpose. During play, which might be the majority of the time but not why the DMD was first put there, I can agree, it’s for the crowds that have formed to watch my score swell to six digits on a nine digit scoreboard

    #20 15 days ago

    Hurray, someone voted for a Pinball2000 type game display in the poll! Yes, Pinball2000 was killed in its infancy, but imagine what it could have become! I imagine video projected onto the entire playfield using anamorphic video and a projector rather than a monitor. But even back then, with just that top edge video, the designers were already exploring its greater potential, witness the stillborn third and fourth planned titles.

    And what about Pinball2020 using a plain whitewood-like playfield and augmented reality (AR) for ALL the visuals? Real ball physics but computer generated and swappable everything else. Hey, manufacturers, think about this. You have a little over a year or under three months to bring it to market.

    #21 14 days ago

    Before saying anything i just want to say that i'm only 19 years old, my dad and uncle have been collecting pinball games here in france since 1999 - 2000, so i was not even born, we have games from dating from the 70's all the way to new stern & jjp games. ( My dad is now selling pinball , babyfoot , pool (billard) and we have a few arcades here in the east of france

    So i played when i was 5 - 6 years old and pinball was something i couldn't understand, spamming both flippers at same time etc... well you know beginner stuff. I played a few times now and then maybe once a month and didn't understand anything i was doing haha.

    School wasnt really my thing and i got really sick, so i started working with my dad 2 years ago, since then i've been playing pinball nearly every day, i just love them.

    As a younger person who played from EM to SS with Alphanumeric display , DMD and LCD displays i can say that for me the best is DMD , new stern games & jjp with even bigger LCD display are great but as @snyper2099 said it's good for the observer. And more a distraction for the player. But like on an Attack From Mars locking a ball, or starting multiball seeing the animation on the DMD is a great feeling you cant have on older EM or Alphanumeric display games.

    DMD gives you info on your progress through the game as others said above , scores , some has video mode etc... while not being too 'invasive" on your game like big LCD screens now.
    For EM games i never really liked them, maybe cause i didnt grew up with them.

    TLDR ; DMD displays for the win , a great balance between alphanumeric display & LCD, gives you everything you need to know at first glance. But big LCD screens gives more possibility code'wise and rule'wise. So it's a really tricky question i think everybody has a different point of view but for me yeah DMDs are the best and even better with ColorDMD !

    #23 12 days ago

    I just remembered what I like the most about DMDs - as a player. At the end of a game, the wonderful animations that lead into the “match” opportunity for a free game. It provides a nice bit of suspense and entertainment when one can take a breath because one has nothing left to lose.

    #24 12 days ago

    I don;t prefer any of them, they all work in their own way

    #25 12 days ago
    Quoted from Gornkleschnitzer:

    This is something I never quite understood about how I see others play. Do people just tune out 100% of the game's music/sounds/display under the assumption it is useless background noise? The vast majority of the time, if the game is holding the ball and showing me something on the display, it is accompanied by distinctly different sound effect cues.

    Our league is in a bar, the machines aren't turned up very loud and arcademojo is basically deaf and refuses to wear hearing aids.

    That doesn't mean that he can't see the flashy lights, but maybe he's too worried about that slide save he saw 10 minutes prior to playing his ball to notice the flashers.

    #26 12 days ago
    Quoted from Spyderturbo007:

    Our league is in a bar, the machines aren't turned up very loud and arcademojo is basically deaf and refuses to wear hearing aids.

    Definitely an understandable reason then, especially for an unfamiliar game.

    Now, the people with good ears in a quiet area with an audible game... I can't think of a good excuse for them!

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