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(Topic ID: 172646)

Which is more important: Code or Design?


By TKDalumni

3 years ago



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  • Latest reply 3 years ago by Pimp77
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    There are 59 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 3 years ago

    Obviously, the best have both, but which is more crucial?

    #2 3 years ago

    Depends on what you're playing for, but code is absolutely important. The simple algebra of EMs and early SS pins is what makes them so addictive, and DMD games have to be not only fun to play but entertaining. It's why TZ is a classic and RCT isn't - even though RCT has a potentially fun layout, it's wasted on a boring code that has dull animations, no story, and less wit.

    #3 3 years ago

    Good topic. But people like Lyman & Keefer have proven to me that code is more important; i.e. TWD, WOZ... these same guys take typical fan layouts that have been designed over and over again and make them over the top fantastic games; i.e. AC/DC & LOTR.

    Another way to look at it; how many pins has Lyman Sheats programmed in the last 5 years depreciate in value? And how many non-Lyman stern games have. 'Nuff said. The sad part is these other programs are more than capable of doing what these 2 programmers can do, but either they don't have the desire, or their bosses do not give them adequate time...or perhaps it's both.

    #4 3 years ago

    I gotta go with code. Can you add a poll?

    #5 3 years ago

    Cash box.

    For me, it never lies. Customers like a game or not.

    LTG : )

    #6 3 years ago

    Neither. I want my games to have hot voluptuous women pictured on them in striking poses, and I'm not talking some generic Playboy machine. The rest is just details.

    #7 3 years ago

    A game to me has to have some kind of rhythm or rhyme to it, multiple choices is always good even if it's hard to figure out. So, I'd go with code over design. A game can be fun to shoot on, but if you can demolish it in a day, it doesn't mean a lot without decent code.

    #8 3 years ago

    Design first and foremost bc a crappy ,clunky table with good code dont mean much if its not fun to shoot.... case in point avengers le has pretty good code now but it dont shoot very well unless its been modified and dialed in to not be so dam clunky.
    Look at older pins (late 70s early 80s)that really didn't have alot of code but had great design and are just fun to shoot.

    #9 3 years ago

    Design. . .code is nice but you can only shoot for the colored LED shot so many times.

    #10 3 years ago
    Quoted from TKDalumni:

    which is more crucial?

    Yes!

    #11 3 years ago

    Code

    #12 3 years ago

    They're inseparable and must compliment each other.

    #13 3 years ago

    Code! It can make a good design terrible. Example for me was Metallica. Didn't like it at all at first, because of the code. Now I bought one, because the design & code is perfect.

    #14 3 years ago

    Either one can ruin the other, but certain designs can't be salvaged by code. The Avengers could get amazing code, and it was always be a stinker. The Hobbit is boring, and code isn't belong much. On the other hand, many Data East games with decent layouts are held back by lame code, especially in their alphanumeric days.

    But if I had to pick just one, I'll say that design is more important overall. I would rather play a lame code KISS than a clunky Avengers.

    #15 3 years ago

    Code, all the day

    When i bought my Batman (tdk) it had very early code, the game was a dud just out of the box
    updating the code to the latest at the time made the game playable, but still not great

    It took stern two years of updates to make it good

    #16 3 years ago

    "Equality."
    You cannot have one without the other.
    Good design and bad code = bad game
    Good code and bad design = bad game

    Updated code does not save poorly designed games, EVER.
    Enthusiasts praising singularity of code are forgetting the wonderfully designed games of the 80s with simple but solid rules (ie "the code").
    EBD? Black Knight? Firepower? Eight Ball? Fathom? Centaur? Xenon? Vector? Paragon?

    The list is quite long.
    You don't need complex deep code to be "good", you simply need "good code".
    What this simply means is everything designed has to actually work correctly, not "sort of right". Scoring, features, and modes no matter how simple or complex.
    There is a reason classics are classics, long after other games fade.
    People call old games code simple, but I can tell you that there are very few people on these forums that can decompile and rewrite code for any game from 1980-1999 and beyond.

    "A poor pinball machine ends up in a landfill, a good pinball machine tells a story that is remembered every time you play it."

    #17 3 years ago

    I don't think you can truly evaluate a game unless both code and design are together for newer pins. Old school eighties pins had simpler code but great layouts that were less dependent upon each other.

    #18 3 years ago

    If you have a well-designed machine with bad or unfinished code, it can be improved amazingly with new and better code.

    You can't change the physical design and layout later if it sucks.

    Code is key, but code is fluid. Design isn't.

    RM

    #19 3 years ago

    DESIGN always. if it doesn't feels good, no amount of code will fix that.
    Nowadays code can be re-jigged anytime

    #20 3 years ago

    Both are important but I give the edge to code. A game can have a cool looking playfield but none of that matters if unique and deep isn't there. As newer games continue to cost more and more code support has become a lot more important to me.

    I remember backing out of The Hobbit twice only to be sucked back in and purchased the game after seeing how much better it played with version .80x code. That was about 6 or updates ago and a ton has since been added to the game. Today it's one of my favorite games.

    Also, code that is deep with unique rules is also very important. I think there's a big difference with a game loaded with mainly "super ramps", "super pops" and "super loops" type modes (hitting the same shot over and over again) versus a game that works the entire playfield in unique ways.

    #21 3 years ago

    Design.

    Code can be modified post facto and redeem a machine to some extent, but good code won't save an inherently poor design.

    #22 3 years ago

    Design needs to be a certain level of 'not horrible', but I'd take a game with great code and meh design to a game with great design and meh code.

    #23 3 years ago
    Quoted from Rarehero:

    They're inseparable and must compliment each other.

    This!!!!!!! If either is bad the game has no chance of ever being a top 10 game. Great code can make up for a lot of things and can make old layouts feel fresh and new again but it cannot fix poorly designed shots or bad toys.

    A perfect example to me is TWD. A lot of people love this game but I hate the layout and think there are major design flaws plus the toys all suck. The game has killer code though. The code wasn't enough for me to keep it and I don't miss it one bit.

    #24 3 years ago

    Code can always be updated but a poor table design will never get better.
    Mike

    #25 3 years ago

    This is almost like what came before?... the chicken or the egg kinda of question. It takes good design and great code. It takes two to tango. If we take GB for example, the design really made the first impression and boosted sales even before a first code update. Even with code 1.10's poor reception, people are still buying in droves. Mind you design can only bring you so far. Eventually strong code has to be implemented to complement the machine or else the games turn into polished turds. Design is more important for operators because they want people to step up to the machine. For the collectors, code becomes more important as time goes by.

    You can't have one without the other.
    GOT Pro for example, suffers from poor graphical design, that backglass is absolutely horrible not to mention the look of the playfield. It was overall a miss. While code is good, I only played it once on location. I can't stare at it without feeling let down. in other words sales would have been better if the theme would have been darker and more in line with the look and feel of the show.

    1. Design
    2. Code

    #26 3 years ago

    A bad layout with great code is a good game -- you want to play again to see more of what the game offers in terms of build up and modes. A great layout with bad code is usually an average game. But great code and great design. . . that is a great game.

    #27 3 years ago

    Cargument coming... sorry in advance

    To me that is like asking what is more important for a high performance car... the wheels or the engine. The answer is you can't have a high performance car without both as each is critical to achieving high performance. The same is true for an extremely fun pinball machine in my opinion.

    #28 3 years ago
    Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

    EBD? Black Knight? Firepower? Eight Ball? Fathom? Centaur? Xenon? Vector? Paragon?
    The list is quite long.
    You don't need complex deep code to be "good", you simply need "good code".

    Those games had good code for their day. If you sold a game today with code that simple it wouldn't do well. I think WNBJM & its Pabst redesign showed simplicity doesn't sell well today unless it has a price to match.

    Code is king now but it's like asking if your heart or your lungs are more important. If either isn't good the whole package fails.

    #29 3 years ago
    Quoted from LTG:

    Cash box.
    For me, it never lies. Customers like a game or not.
    LTG : )

    Yep!

    Design is most important. That involves layout and theme. Once it's there, it's permanent.

    Code can be changed, although we are at the mercy of the coder.

    The more popular the game is, the better the chance for good code. (at least we hope).

    #30 3 years ago

    There are a lot of elements that go into a game. Design, code, sound, dots, artwork....

    Some games have one area that really stands out, but is lacking in others. Other games do fairly well in most areas, but are average overall. And a select few blow the roof off all areas and are just fun every time you step up to it.

    #31 3 years ago

    Design,
    it always comes first.
    Look at the sketches that Harry Williams did.
    For your cargument you are not going to slap high performance wheels and a engine on a body that looks like its a 1978 station wagon.
    you are going to design the body first and then worry about he rest

    --Jeff

    #32 3 years ago

    I used to think design was king then I played TWD. Out of the box it was a crapfest. I hated it and honestly thought there was no saving it. The design, I thought, was beyond repair. After it got a code update, I now think it's one of the better Sterns made. The game is an absolute blast to play and I would like one in the collection some day. That clearly showed me the importance of code.

    #33 3 years ago

    Sight unseen, would you consider buying a machine with just a design and shot layout or Feature/Code matrix? Of course there are other elements, but these two reign supreme.

    **If a mod would like to add a poll, I'm all for it, but the site won't let me**

    #34 3 years ago
    Quoted from TKDalumni:

    **If a mod would like to add a poll, I'm all for it, but the site won't let me**

    Sorry, can't add a poll after the fact. It needs to be added while you are creating the thread.

    #35 3 years ago

    ok bummer. Looks like design is more important. So Lyman couldn't save a game will my crappy layout haha

    #36 3 years ago
    Quoted from flashinstinct:

    This is almost like what came before?... the chicken or the egg kinda of question. It takes good design and great code. It takes two to tango. If we take GB for example, the design really made the first impression and boosted sales even before a first code update. Even with code 1.10's poor reception, people are still buying in droves. Mind you design can only bring you so far. Eventually strong code has to be implemented to complement the machine or else the games turn into polished turds. Design is more important for operators because they want people to step up to the machine. For the collectors, code becomes more important as time goes by.
    You can't have one without the other.
    GOT Pro for example, suffers from poor graphical design, that backglass is absolutely horrible not to mention the look of the playfield. It was overall a miss. While code is good, I only played it once on location. I can't stare at it without feeling let down. in other words sales would have been better if the theme would have been darker and more in line with the look and feel of the show.
    1. Design
    2. Code

    You're confusing art for design. GB has terrible design (flipper gap, droopy flippers, tight shots, airballs, drops too close, ramps that don't work right, Slimers that don't register) but fantastic art. GOT has an uninspired bit pretty good design - it's a fast and flowy Steve Ritchie game....but terrible art.

    #37 3 years ago
    Quoted from Rarehero:

    You're confusing art for design. GB has terrible design (flipper gap, droopy flippers, tight shots, airballs, drops too close, ramps that don't work right, Slimers that don't register) but fantastic art. GOT has an uninspired bit pretty good design - it's a fast and flowy Steve Ritchie game....but terrible art.

    ah yes. The only thing I really hate about GB is the drop targets but mind you once you get the hang of it it becomes more of a challenge than a nuissance. Airballs definitely bad. Apart from that I get a kick out of it. And that flipper gap must be the best thing that has happen . I've learned to really nudge the game now and has made me a better player overall. Especially on other games with the regular gap, I tend to drain alot lesss now.

    #38 3 years ago

    I'd still like GB a lot more if the code was more involving. "Deep and complex" is one thing, but creative personality is another. Where's the humor? Do we want a playable sudoku puzzle, or a richly characterized experience? Would Medieval Madness be half as popular if the callouts came less frequently and were more serious?

    #39 3 years ago
    Quoted from trunchbull:

    I'd still like GB a lot more if the code was more involving. "Deep and complex" is one thing, but creative personality is another. Where's the humor? Do we want a playable sudoku puzzle, or a richly characterized experience? Would Medieval Madness be half as popular if the callouts came less frequently and were more serious?

    Bingo. Not only does the linear nature of the modes make the game less exciting, the modes themselves don't "mean" anything. "We Got One" ...so each shot makes the car turn corners? Zzzzz. "Who Brought the Dog" ...each shot makes Rick Moranis continue to run? Zzzz. "Spooked Librarian" ...each shot stops books from floating? Zzzz. There's nothing satisfying/cool/funny to any of the mode shot hits. Think of modes on any other game and how they work and react to the player. In LOTR, if you start the Warg mode...each shot is a Warg and you see them get killed on each shot. Or on the Ents mode, each shot hits a "wall" and then the Ent throws a rock at the wall. It all ties together for a more satisfying experience. Or on FGY...Ipecac mode - each shot to a character makes them puke with a funny animation, call out, and light show. Sexy Party, each shot gets a funny callout ("One sexy girl! Two sexy girls! Oooh, I'm so cheeky!" and more girls follow Stewie on the DMD. ..and of course, the modes are randomizable and stackable with other fun events. GB seems to be missing all this fun and personality, which is a shame considering how funny the movie is. More randomized events, loosely based on the films but augmented for satisfying pinball modes would have been the way to go.

    #40 3 years ago

    A clunky design that has few smooth shots can't be saved by good code.

    You need both.

    #41 3 years ago
    Quoted from jwilson:

    A clunky design that has few smooth shots can't be saved by good code.
    You need both.

    But I thought that's exactly what LOTR is. Clunky shots with a few smooth ones and completely saved by code?

    #42 3 years ago

    Just buy pins designed by Borg & coded by Lyman. Then you don't have to worry about either

    #43 3 years ago
    Quoted from Eskaybee:

    But I thought that's exactly what LOTR is. Clunky shots with a few smooth ones and completely saved by code?

    I don't find any of the early DMD Sterns all that "smooth" and I don't really care for LOTR either, but that's my personal preferences. I came into this hobby playing smooth as glass WPC games so I am biased.

    #44 3 years ago
    Quoted from Rarehero:

    Bingo. Not only does the linear nature of the modes make the game less exciting, the modes themselves don't "mean" anything. "We Got One" ...so each shot makes the car turn corners? Zzzzz. "Who Brought the Dog" ...each shot makes Rick Moranis continue to run? Zzzz. "Spooked Librarian" ...each shot stops books from floating? Zzzz. There's nothing satisfying/cool/funny to any of the mode shot hits. [snip] GB seems to be missing all this fun and personality, which is a shame considering how funny the movie is. More randomized events, loosely based on the films but augmented for satisfying pinball modes would have been the way to go.

    It makes me wonder what kind of restrictions the license had, because it's kind of uncreative. As I've said elsewhere, it's not much fun when a pin is just a playable clip show - I can watch the movie, I don't want to play the game of the movie if it doesn't bring anything new to the table. I've never been able to get very far in GOT, but from what I've played of it, it feels like a very obedient use of the license. In one mode, you hit hurry-ups to make a dragon breathe fire. The dragon doesn't breathe fire on anything, it's just a blurry video clip of fire coming at the camera. There's no fleeing warriors, or screaming peasants, it's "here is a thing from the show, do you remember that?" Or when Arya's training to be an assassin, you're just adding people to her list. She says the name and you see a picture. Maybe I'm asking for too much, but is that the spirit of the show?

    I do appreciate GB's attempts at interactivity but it still has that arms-length sanitized feel. Why am I getting a super jackpot during regular play? How does it tie into the Ghostbusters story? It doesn't, it just exists for me to get a bunch of points. What's going on during Spooked Librarian? I'm stopping the books, and then I'm scaring her? What? Little things like that make it feel like a less cohesive experience.

    #45 3 years ago

    As someone who teaches design and architecture for a living... it's all design work. Good code doesn't exist without good design. A better way to think about this is systems (high level, holistic) design, hardware design and software design. Pins have one other facet that other products don't have called game mechanics (rules, scoring) - is also a design.

    One other note... a pinball machine is a system of systems. That's where good systems thinking comes into play. So systems thinking is likely the most critical piece.

    They're all related.

    #46 3 years ago

    This is easy becasue you can't fix a bad design.

    #47 3 years ago
    Quoted from Eskaybee:

    But I thought that's exactly what LOTR is. Clunky shots with a few smooth ones and completely saved by code?

    People have been calling LOTR clunky for years...and I've owned it for about 8 years...and I still don't see the "clunk". I guess it comes from some people hating missed shots hitting post sleeves instead of targets...but any shot made on LOTR is smooth as fuuuuuck - OK, the Gandalf shot has some clunkiness as sometimes the ball will loop and sometimes it'll rattle into the pops...but, it doesn't bother me as it never takes away anything from the player whether it goes to one place or the other. When I get in a groove on a multiball, I'm just like left ramp, right ramp, orbit, ring, flow flow flow flow...LOTR is a really great playing layout IMO.

    That being said, mine did need some dialing in to get to this level of smoothness. Had to adjust the ring ramp to shoot the ball dead center, added the stronger PBL flipper coils, replaced the plastic Stern post sleeves with Cliffy sleeves - which definitely reduces "clunk" on post hits...but anyway, I love how my LOTR plays & the code rules

    #48 3 years ago

    Code and layout could both be dealbreakers to me. One of them not right, no buy.

    And if i buy a nib once, the theme has to be awesome also.

    #49 3 years ago

    Not sure how many will get this. But....IMG_20161104_003835 (resized).jpg

    #50 3 years ago
    Quoted from Eskaybee:

    Good topic. But people like Lyman & Keefer have proven to me that code is more important; i.e. TWD, WOZ... these same guys take typical fan layouts that have been designed over and over again and make them over the top fantastic games; i.e. AC/DC & LOTR.
    Another way to look at it; how many pins has Lyman Sheats programmed in the last 5 years depreciate in value? And how many non-Lyman stern games have. 'Nuff said.

    Couldn't agree more.

    If you gotta choose between code vs design, give me great code every time. TWD is a good example of this (although the design has grown on me a lot once I owned it vs playing on location).

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