(Topic ID: 128038)

What has Stern innovated in the past 20 years?


By rai

4 years ago



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  • Latest reply 4 years ago by markmon
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    There are 291 posts in this topic. You are on page 6 of 6.
    #251 4 years ago
    Quoted from Det_Deckard:

    I don't understand this comment. Horsepower was never the limiting factor. Everything done today could have been done in the early 90s and probably the late 80s. Was pinball so segregated from the rest of the world that it had no idea what was possible?

    Power was out there.. but at the price point and the kind of real-time nature they needed? The simple issue of storage is a huge delta.. as is memory. To do a simple display like Hobbit does in high res would have been possibly only as a static image back in the early 90s (Myst anyone???).. let alone played back with no lag, no loading, at these resolutions, etc.

    #252 4 years ago
    Quoted from Det_Deckard:

    I don't understand this comment. Horsepower was never the limiting factor. Everything done today could have been done in the early 90s and probably the late 80s. Was pinball so segregated from the rest of the world that it had no idea what was possible?

    I don't understand what you mean by 'everything'. I worked with CGI in the early 90's and we definitely did not have the horsepower to push displays even close to what you see on a WOZ or TH unless you think it would have been feasible to put a quarter-million dollar SGI box into a pin cabinet.

    #253 4 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    Power was out there.. but at the price point and the kind of real-time nature they needed? The simple issue of storage is a huge delta.. as is memory. To do a simple display like Hobbit does in high res would have been possibly only as a static image back in the early 90s (Myst anyone???).. let alone played back with no lag, no loading, at these resolutions, etc.

    Space Ace was done in 84 and we still haven't seen anything in pinball that looks that nice. That isn't the same res as woz but Enough to do a lot. I still say that late 80s it would have been possible.

    #254 4 years ago
    Quoted from Det_Deckard:

    I don't understand this comment. Horsepower was never the limiting factor. Everything done today could have been done in the early 90s and probably the late 80s. Was pinball so segregated from the rest of the world that it had no idea what was possible?

    2015 there remains a fair number of pinball fans who are perfectly content with the 1992 DMD, so yes, pinball was and still is somewhat segregated from the rest of the technology world. The biggest issue in 1992 was that you couldn't do full color hi-res animations as you see in WOZ and TH... Perhaps a better gauge is video games, 1992 being the time of PS2... only years later did we see the likes of HD TV, X-Box, PS3, etc... all these advancements required faster CPUs and graphics hardware, and early versions required huge heat sinks and internal fans on the processors, something pinball manufacturers try to avoid due to noise and longevity issues.

    #255 4 years ago
    Quoted from Det_Deckard:

    Space Ace was done in 84 and we still haven't seen anything in pinball that looks that nice. That isn't the same res as woz but Enough to do a lot. I still say that late 80s it would have been possible.

    Space Ace wasn't directly rendered graphics, all that game did was play pre-generated laserdisc sequences in CGA resolution (320x200 pixels). WOZ and TH generate graphics on the fly at 6x the resolution with a million times more colors... it requires substantially more memory and processing power that wasn't available in the 80's at any price.

    #256 4 years ago
    Quoted from Baiter:

    2015 there remains a fair number of pinball fans who are perfectly content with the 1992 DMD, so yes, pinball was and still is somewhat segregated from the rest of the technology world. The biggest issue in 1992 was that you couldn't do full color hi-res animations as you see in WOZ and TH... Perhaps a better gauge is video games, 1992 being the time of PS2... only years later did we see the likes of HD TV, X-Box, PS3, etc... all these advancements required faster CPUs and graphics hardware, and early versions required huge heat sinks and internal fans on the processors, something pinball manufacturers try to avoid due to noise and longevity issues.

    ummm... 92 was not the time of PS2. lol

    #257 4 years ago
    Quoted from Det_Deckard:

    Space Ace was done in 84 and we still haven't seen anything in pinball that looks that nice. That isn't the same res as woz but Enough to do a lot. I still say that late 80s it would have been possible.

    Space Ace wasn't even a rendered display.. it was simple FMV playback from a full sized laserdisc from pre-recorded content that required massive platters to store even short amounts of video.

    'we still haven't seen anything in pinball that looks that nice' - HUH? what would you call Hobbit or WOZ? I mean, I love Don Bluth's animation.. but from from presentation and impact in a digital age.. laserdisc's 425 lines of resolution can't hold a candle to modern high res displays.

    #258 4 years ago

    Color DMD is awesome.
    Plasma DMD was okay.
    LED module DMD kinda sucks, and it's selling a lot of ColorDMDs.

    #259 4 years ago
    Quoted from Baiter:

    Perhaps a better gauge is video games, 1992 being the time of PS2...

    1992 was the time of the SNES. 1995-2001 was the time of the ps1. So Id say you're way way off lol.

    #261 4 years ago
    Quoted from dmbjunky:

    I think Data East made quite a few contributions to pinball. They did some interesting things with toys that continued after Sega bought them. I also personally liked Sega's backbox but they abandoned that by the end of their run. Maybe someone can enlighten me as to why.
    I believe Stern was held back in the 2000s from delivering too many innovations because they were trying to just stay solvent. Now is the time where they will prove themselves as innovators with the renewed interest in pinball. They've already streamlined the electronics with the Spike. I hope they come up with some interesting ideas since they have new competition.

    Same company, different name

    https://www.facebook.com/sternpinball/posts/10153667773829244:0

    #262 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Yeah, you are right, those old B/W pins were super pretty compared to a modern Stern.
    afm_003.jpg
    large.jpg

    That's the funny thing about the subjectivity of art. To me, the Tron playfield art is hideous (really dislike the photo heads and almost monotone color) whereas the AFM art is fine.

    #263 4 years ago

    Stern has un-invented subways. They make for some fun gameplay variation, like Well of Souls mb in IJ.

    #264 4 years ago
    Quoted from Jvspin:

    whereas the AFM art is fine.

    AFM always seemed to me to be a crappier, transgendered, red headed stepchild to the charmless Terminator playfield.

    terminator.jpg

    -1
    #265 4 years ago

    Stern's marketing is being generous with the term 'we'. It is 'we' as in the people.. but not 'we' as including the company Stern Pinball. The people came from DE.. but not the company itself.

    First rule.. never treat marketing as if it were an encyclopedia.

    #266 4 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    Stern's marketing is being generous with the term 'we'. It is 'we' as in the people.. but not 'we' as including the company Stern Pinball. The people came from DE.. but not the company itself.
    First rule.. never treat marketing as if it were an encyclopedia.

    They are different corporate entities, but really, the same company, just sold and renamed a few times.

    Stern Electronics -> Data East -> Sega -> Stern

    #267 4 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    Stern's marketing is being generous with the term 'we'. It is 'we' as in the people.. but not 'we' as including the company Stern Pinball. The people came from DE.. but not the company itself.
    First rule.. never treat marketing as if it were an encyclopedia.

    Dude it's the same company just a different name.

    #268 4 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    Stern's marketing is being generous with the term 'we'. It is 'we' as in the people.. but not 'we' as including the company Stern Pinball. The people came from DE.. but not the company itself.
    First rule.. never treat marketing as if it were an encyclopedia.

    Learn your history. You're embarrassing yourself.

    #269 4 years ago
    Quoted from paul_8788:

    Stern Electronics -> Data East -> Sega -> Stern

    All decendants of Chicago Coin

    #270 4 years ago
    Quoted from paul_8788:

    They are different corporate entities, but really, the same company, just sold and renamed a few times.
    Stern Electronics -> Data East -> Sega -> Stern

    Actually, Stern Electronics was a separate company, created from the ashes of Chicago Coin. When it went under, Gary screwed around for a couple of years making upgrade playfields for Bally games, then started up a new pinball company with backing from Data East.

    That being said, the current Stern Pinball owns all of the IP from Stern Electronics.

    #271 4 years ago
    Quoted from dmbjunky:

    ummm... 92 was not the time of PS2. lol

    Ha, I obviously wasn't paying well enough attention to dates.... but it helps reinforce my original point that even console gaming remained largely low-res 2D until the late 90's due to lack of processing power. What I was really digging for was an accurate comparison of relative processing power of 1992 vs today's hardware... best guess is 10,000x faster core to core, but that's drastically understated when you consider today's multi-core processors with added graphics hardware. Tough to envision that gap when the difference in HP between a moped and a McLaren P1 is only 240x.

    -1
    #272 4 years ago
    Quoted from paul_8788:

    They are different corporate entities, but really, the same company, just sold and renamed a few times.
    Stern Electronics -> Data East -> Sega -> Stern

    Not in a real straight line tho.. the SEI heritage is a bit of a break.. and I had that on my mind crossing wires with DE when I made my post. DE->Sega->SPI is much cleaner and linear in terms of assets and leadership (Gary & Joe). So I had my wires crossed a bit.

    Quoted from Captain_Kirk:

    Learn your history. You're embarrassing yourself.

    Well even with my gaff today, I can still sleep comfortably knowing I have a long way to go before catching up to you. So

    #273 4 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    Not in a real straight line tho.. the SEI heritage is a bit of a break.. and I had that on my mind crossing wires with DE when I made my post. DE->Sega->SPI is much cleaner and linear in terms of assets and leadership (Gary & Joe). So I had my wires crossed a bit.

    <shrug>. Don't know the entire timeline and the intricacies of how each corporate changeover was structured (buying assets, corporate name changes, etc). Time break aside, from what I have read Data East pinball was formed from the assets of Stern Electronics, Gary was in charge of both, so there is some continuity there. Close enough imo.

    #274 4 years ago
    Quoted from paul_8788:

    <shrug>. Don't know the entire timeline and the intricacies of how each corporate changeover was structured (buying assets, corporate name changes, etc). Time break aside, from what I have read Data East pinball was formed from the assets of Stern Electronics, Gary was in charge of both, so there is some continuity there. Close enough imo.

    Although some Data East personnel came from Stern Electronics, the companies are completely separate. Stern Electronics reverted back to Chicago Coin and dissolved.

    #275 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    charmless Terminator playfield

    You hurt my feelings

    -1
    #276 4 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    Well even with my gaff today, I can still sleep comfortably knowing I have a long way to go before catching up to you. So

    You should never sleep comfortably knowing that I'm always out there....correcting you.

    #277 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    the charmless Terminator playfield.

    Quoted from tezting:

    You hurt my feelings

    At least Terminator has the robot head front and center, but 80% of the playfield is just blank grey paint.

    #278 4 years ago
    Quoted from Captain_Kirk:

    You should never sleep comfortably knowing that I'm always out there....

    tumblr_lzgsh4SMn31qzm87go4_250.gif

    #279 4 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    AFM always seemed to me to be a crappier, transgendered, red headed stepchild to the charmless Terminator playfield.
    terminator.jpg

    I would take the artwork on Terminator over Tron in a heartbeat.

    Terminator.jpg

    tron.png

    #280 4 years ago
    Quoted from Jvspin:

    I would take the artwork on Terminator over Tron in a heartbeat.

    Take it.

    -

    Suum Cuique

    #281 4 years ago
    Quoted from paul_8788:

    Time break aside, from what I have read Data East pinball was formed from the assets of Stern Electronics, Gary was in charge of both, so there is some continuity there. Close enough imo.

    The first bit is where lore kind of blurs the lines. Stern Electronics basically folded up.. the core people (Gary, Joe K, etc) get together later with Data East to start a new pinball division.. which at the end of the day they pull together the same core of vets from SEI/CC to form Data East pinball (hence why people draw the line from SEI->DE) but is really a new venture with DE. Then DE falters, the pin division gets sold off to Sega, which after they retreat... Sega sells the division to Gary.. and Gary forms SPI. But DE->Sega->SPI was mostly just changing the sign over the door.. the pin division had been largely autonomous under both Japanese orgs. The bigger delta was when Joe Kaminkow left in 1999.. as JoeK really was the leader/core of the game design and licensing in the DE/Sega era.

    RGP was much more fun in the 90s when you actually had the industry watercooler action happening

    #282 4 years ago

    Agreed.

    Edit: and thanks for teaching me a new phrase today.

    #283 4 years ago

    It's only pinball people

    #284 4 years ago
    Quoted from Baiter:

    Space Ace wasn't directly rendered graphics, all that game did was play pre-generated laserdisc sequences in CGA resolution (320x200 pixels). WOZ and TH generate graphics on the fly at 6x the resolution with a million times more colors... it requires substantially more memory and processing power that wasn't available in the 80's at any price.

    Maybe, it isn't entirely an apples to apples comparison but the graphics on a pinball display is rather limited in the number of possible paths. Like nba jam and mk are 1993 games the great graphics but you could make something really nice looking if you restricted what could happen next, so you don't have generate as much on the fly. Maybe, we can agree to disagree but I think with a few compromises something similar to what we see now could have been done.

    #285 4 years ago

    Not every pin is going to have Whitewater quality animations.

    Some games were rushed out the door and have really poor DMD art (and really poor playfield art).

    As long as the game is fun to play, who can bitch? (besides bitches?).

    #286 4 years ago
    Quoted from flynnibus:

    The first bit is where lore kind of blurs the lines. Stern Electronics basically folded up.. the core people (Gary, Joe K, etc) get together later with Data East to start a new pinball division.. which at the end of the day they pull together the same core of vets from SEI/CC to form Data East pinball (hence why people draw the line from SEI->DE) but is really a new venture with DE. Then DE falters, the pin division gets sold off to Sega, which after they retreat... Sega sells the division to Gary.. and Gary forms SPI. But DE->Sega->SPI was mostly just changing the sign over the door.. the pin division had been largely autonomous under both Japanese orgs. The bigger delta was when Joe Kaminkow left in 1999.. as JoeK really was the leader/core of the game design and licensing in the DE/Sega era.
    RGP was much more fun in the 90s when you actually had the industry watercooler action happening

    This is what I mean when saying that DE is not the Stern of today or even the Stern of 2001. Joe K left in '99 and then John Borg made his last machine in 2001. Borg had designed the first four machines of Stern and then didn't design another machine until 2008's Indiana Jones. 2001 was also the first time Pat Lawlor designed a machine for Stern and pretty soon they were having a Bally/Williams reunion. So Gary may be the constant through all of those years but when talking about design and innovation, there was a significant change after the name changed in '99.

    #287 4 years ago
    Quoted from dmbjunky:

    This is what I mean when saying that DE is not the Stern of today or even the Stern of 2001. Joe K left in '99 and then John Borg made his last machine in 2001. Borg had designed the first four machines of Stern and then didn't design another machine until 2008's Indiana Jones. 2001 was also the first time Pat Lawlor designed a machine for Stern and pretty soon they were having a Bally/Williams reunion. So Gary may be the constant through all of those years but when talking about design and innovation, there was a significant change after the name changed in '99.

    So you are talking about employees over the actual company. Nice argument.

    #288 4 years ago

    What the heck did Borg do between 2001-2008?

    I hadn't noticed that gap before.

    #289 4 years ago
    Quoted from Det_Deckard:

    Maybe, it isn't entirely an apples to apples comparison but the graphics on a pinball display is rather limited in the number of possible paths. Like nba jam and mk are 1993 games the great graphics but you could make something really nice looking if you restricted what could happen next, so you don't have generate as much on the fly. Maybe, we can agree to disagree but I think with a few compromises something similar to what we see now could have been done.

    No, it couldn't have. Apples to apples? More like oranges to onyxes. Your timeline of CGI and graphics technology development is way, way off.

    Not to mention, even if the horsepower to do that had been accessible back then, what sort of display existed back then to put it on? Certainly nothing that would fit in the head of a pinball machine!

    #290 4 years ago
    Quoted from Captain_Kirk:

    What the heck did Borg do between 2001-2008?
    I hadn't noticed that gap before.

    I was wondering that too. Did he still work for Stern?

    1 week later
    #291 4 years ago

    After playing around with game of thrones, it looks like stern has innovated a bit on spike. It has all 5v low voltage flashers. It makes sense since you don't need 20v anymore to make a decent flash lamp flash.

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