Quoted from branlon8:
To what extent should the repairability of a game be considered during it’s design even if it means some fancy features have to be omitted or done differently ?
I am not sure I can give a "right" answer.
Here is a little history:
BLY/WMS in the late 80s-early 90s used no more than a 20% cost rule, and added to the time required to create a pinball design, which is where the "one year" design standard came from in the first place. In the early days, Bally could pump out 4 titles in a couple months due to simplicity alone. In some cases this meant cutting complex features as well for the SAME REASONS.
Today, it completely depends on the profit margin requirements of the company at the time, health of the industry, and overall acceptance level of the owners that use the equipment. Acceptance is high out of operational ignorance, not pinball interest, which are two different areas. Hence, less questions mean more profit.
Making equipment easily repairable with redundancy adds to expense whether accessibility to get to said assemblies, or function of electronics.
It is certainly achievable with SMT, but not presently included in ANY Stern games.
Improvements are supposedly planned, but not yet implemented.
Consider this all, when you drop your next $8-10K on a new Stern pinball machine.
It simply is not there.
If I was not a technician, I would probably refuse to work on Stern games as well, but I am just biased after watching the industry for over 30 years.
No senior technician I know lines up at the gates for Stern's new releases, for those that can afford the titles unless they are a distributor as well.
I just see what "right" looks like, and what directions are reversed.
Lack of complete documentation should be the #1 simple indicator that Stern is doing things incorrectly.
It is hard to believe anybody could even consider to argue this point if they wanted.
This is not the way the amusement industry has been run, since the 1940s (after WWII) going into the Golden Age of EMs in the 1950s.
"Secrecy of schematics" is the fastest way to alienate long time repeat buyers, once fat wallets go broke or move onto other hobbies.
Even JJP figured this out, as they are now SHIPPING schematics and added documentation to customers for the EXACT reasons.
They at least are continuing to build a baseline trust in this area, but Stern is not. They are relying on pure customer service and their name to carry the weight until boards are NLA (which has already happened with games starting from 2015), which then they will simply state as before, "sorry, we cannot help". This is the short term profit methodology which has plagued Stern since 2013.
I am reminded of an old saying, "Just because your can, does not mean you should."
This includes cost cutting via reducing long term RSD of games.