(Topic ID: 346426)

What does the "Extra Ball Percentage" affect?

By nullPinner

8 months ago

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    #1 8 months ago

    I see all the Stern manuals have a setting within the Standard Adjustment tree labeled "Extra Ball Percentage".

    From what I've read, nearly all of them are defaulted to 25%.

    I've spent some time looking around but I can find any documentation that clearly explains what this setting affects within each game?

    Does anyone have any insight into this particular setting?


    #2 8 months ago

    It affects the percentage of extra balls. sorry, i had to.

    #3 8 months ago

    I always just assumed it was for mystery awards, but i never mess with it, just leave it at factory

    #4 8 months ago

    Besides Light Extra Ball awards from Mystery, the percent adjustment can also affect the count needed on a specific shot to light the EB. (A couple examples are ramp shots on Rush, weapons collected on Deadpool, etc.)

    Some things in a game, maybe modes completed or something, have their own dedicated EB count adjustments that the % adjustment doesn't modify. Those "fixed count" EB awards will still affect the difficulty of the other EBs depending on overall play.

    Every Stern game is a little different in that regard.

    #5 8 months ago

    There is a disconnect between what a retail operator of pinballs needs from the machine and what a home user needs from a machine.

    A retail operator looks at it like this: I have a happy hour at Joe's bar that lasts two hours. That's sixty minutes, and the pinball is played every moment during that window of time. That's where I make my money until Friday-Saturday nights. If I set the game so that the average game time is 2.5 minutes, I have 24 games. If an extra ball increases that game time to 3 minutes, I make money on 20 games.


    Intermittent reward is the strongest motivator. So the customer will come back to a machine and play again because you give them a small reward.


    I don't want to think about it, in order to make enough money I have to be running a LOT of machines. So the 'Auto-extra ball' percentage does the thinking for the operator. It enables (through various methods) the ability of the customer to get an extra ball 'often enough', but not 'too often'.

    In the early System 11 games the programming of these details was more transparent, because the rules were simpler. You could 'Install' to Easy, or Hard, and it would change a bunch of settings for you, and you wouldn't have to think about it. At that time they would explain which settings were changed to what.

    Here is the Earthshaker PDF:


    Look at PDF page 16.

    Today's software environment in pinballs is rapidly moving. Updates are pushed to machines automatically, so there is no incentive for the programmers to document the magic behind the scenes.

    Just trust that the game is doing 'something' to get the result of 'enough extra balls' but not 'too many'.

    Added 8 months ago:

    HA! Of course, I know that a happy hour lasting two hours is more than 60 minutes, and thus the math in this post is wrong. Dunno what I was thinking!

    #6 8 months ago

    Thank you both SonicZone & PinRetail

    Great explanations!


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