(Topic ID: 284890)

Who will the new American Pinball designer be?

By westofrome

9 months ago


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  • 199 posts
  • 77 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 9 months ago by TheLaw
  • Topic is favorited by 14 Pinsiders

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    Topic poll

    “Who will the new American Pinball designer be?”

    • Dennis Nordman 71 votes
      55%
    • Ryan McQuaid 10 votes
      8%
    • Mark Ritchie 18 votes
      14%
    • Someone else 29 votes
      23%

    (128 votes)

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    There are 199 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 4.
    #1 9 months ago

    Assuming the rumors are true, who will be joining American Pinball?

    #2 9 months ago
    Quoted from westofrome:

    Assuming the rumors are true, who will be joining American Pinball?

    Ryan,if he’s the guy working on Sonic Spinball!I think Sonic would sell a shit ton of pins.

    #3 9 months ago

    I'd love to see more Nordman designs, no pinbars included.
    But a New designer would be best for the health of the industry.

    Message from the Freeeek Kingdom.

    #4 9 months ago

    I remember it was rumor reported over 6 months ago that Dennis went to CGC.

    #5 9 months ago
    Quoted from gonzo73:

    I'd love to see more Nordman designs, no pinbars included.
    But a New designer would be best for the health of the industry.
    Message from the Freeeek Kingdom.

    Agreed. Nothing against Nordman, but new blood is always a good thing

    #6 9 months ago

    Harry Williams
    after the discovery of finding his old unused designs and the success of Sterns 'The Beetles' machine, they are using a successful name and format to bring all new games

    #7 9 months ago

    They should go after Scott Danesi. He has a loyal following and brings much much more than just layout to the table (music, light show, coding, etc).

    #8 9 months ago
    Quoted from TigerLaw:

    They should go after Scott Danesi. He has a loyal following and brings much much more than just layout to the table (music, light show, coding, etc).

    I wonder if Scott would leave Spooky though.

    #9 9 months ago
    Quoted from Ericc123:

    I wonder if Scott would leave Spooky though.

    Good point! Spooky only does a game every 18-24 months though and aren’t they committed to both a game from their coder and a game from Ben? If so, it could be a long time before Scott is back up to bat. I’m ready for my third Danesi game though.

    #10 9 months ago
    Quoted from westofrome:

    Assuming the rumors are true, who will be joining American Pinball?

    What rumors? From where?

    #11 9 months ago
    Quoted from TigerLaw:

    Good point! Spooky only does a game every 18-24 months though and aren’t they committed to both a game from their coder and a game from Ben? If so, it could be a long time before Scott is back up to bat. I’m ready for my third Danesi game though.

    Just to clarify as this post has a whole bunch of incorrect information.

    Scott is a contractor. He works at PBL and designs games. Just so happens that spooky built his past two games

    Their coder is an incorrect statement.... actually is their Grapics guru David vanes. Guy is awesome.

    Ben’s next game is a CGC/spooky game being built by CGC.

    #12 9 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Just to clarify as this post has a whole bunch of incorrect information.

    Asking a question is “a whole bunch of incorrect information”?

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Scott is a contractor. He works at PBL and designs games. Just so happens that spooky built his past two games

    I’m very much aware.

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Their coder is an incorrect statement.... actually is their Grapics guru David vanes.

    Graphics are not code?

    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Ben’s next game is a CGC/spooky game being built by CGC.

    I’m looking forward to this.

    #13 9 months ago
    Quoted from TigerLaw:

    They should go after Scott Danesi. He has a loyal following and brings much much more than just layout to the table (music, light show, coding, etc).

    Scott also has a proven track record of success. With 1300 games sold and TNA 2.0 coming, there has likely been more Danesi games sold than American Pinball games to date. His games just have the "it" factor and desirability that AP games are lacking. I hope we see more games from him in the future.

    #14 9 months ago

    Just picked up Houdini, my first AP game.

    It’s been posted many times, but build quality is second to none. They use some COTS parts vs. Stern’s in-house designs and boards. Takes some tweaking, but once dialed in, they play great.

    Art is subjective, but I think a common complaint with AP games is the layout, theme and animations. Code is phenomenal with all three games.

    If AP had a traditional (fan) layout with a new designer combined with their build quality, I think they’d be in great shape. Theme and animations would be icing on the cake.

    #15 9 months ago
    Quoted from Mudflaps:

    Just picked up Houdini, my first AP game.
    It’s been posted many times, but build quality is second to none. They use some COTS parts vs. Stern’s in-house designs and boards. Takes some tweaking, but once dialed in, they play great.
    Art is subjective, but I think a common complaint with AP games is the layout, theme and animations. Code is phenomenal with all three games.
    If AP had a traditional (fan) layout with a new designer combined with their build quality, I think they’d be in great shape. Theme and animations would be icing on the cake.

    Yup, seems like a lot of other manufactures have better build quality than stern and I’m looking and waiting on a theme I like to get them.

    -29
    #16 9 months ago
    Quoted from TigerLaw:

    Asking a question is “a whole bunch of incorrect information”?

    No need to get defensive. We all make mistakes. I just felt it was important to correct since when a moderator makes such statements (even with a ?) then can often spin out of control.

    That “moderator” handle gives and extra air of authority to those that are new/lurking and don’t know you. Misinformation can be damaging to some of these people so better off to just nip it off.

    #17 9 months ago
    Quoted from MikeS:

    Scott also has a proven track record of success. With 1300 games sold and TNA 2.0 coming, there has likely been more Danesi games sold than American Pinball games to date. His games just have the "it" factor and desirability that AP games are lacking. I hope we see more games from him in the future.

    I love TNA and had a blast playing R&M when I had the chances.

    I do think some of the shots in TNA and R&M could’ve been dialed better. I’m sure that aspect will only improve with his future games. I love the fast returns of his scoop shots, but need to figure out the rejects as they are very common on TNA and R&M.

    #18 9 months ago
    Quoted from TigerLaw:

    Graphics are not code?

    Graphics are definitely NOT code, just as audio is definitely NOT code.

    People that do animations/art or sound are artists. Coders are engineers.

    #19 9 months ago
    Quoted from skink91:

    Graphics are definitely NOT code, just as audio is definitely NOT code.
    People that do animations/art or sound are artists. Coders are engineers.

    I mean if you want to get technical, not every coder is an “engineer”.

    #20 9 months ago

    Broad strokes.

    Not everyone is interested in specifics of this stuff. Most people’s eyes glaze over when specifics of software and design are discussed, so its hard to know where to draw that line.

    #21 9 months ago

    On top of that, many artists can code (maybe even well) but we all have different things we are ‘better’ at or like working on more... an EE may be able to do mechanical work, but they would probably defer to someone who specializes in that.

    #22 9 months ago
    Quoted from skink91:

    Broad strokes.
    Not everyone is interested in specifics of this stuff. Most people’s eyes glaze over when specifics of software and design are discussed, so its hard to know where to draw that line.

    Idk, a programmer and a software engineer have decently different roles.

    #23 9 months ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    Idk, a programmer and a software engineer have decently different roles.

    In my experience, no business actually makes this distinction (other than academia): in a company that demands “software engineering”, everyone (including those without specific training in it) are expected to adhere to a set of specific design requirements/processes. In those that don’t demand it, everyone is just a software/IT person.

    #24 9 months ago

    Since all your statements are always mistake free, his name is David van Es.

    #25 9 months ago
    Quoted from PinballManiac40:

    Since all your statements are always mistake free, his name is David van Es.

    Thanks for the spelling clarification. I suck at spelling. Luckily the facts were correct despite my poor spelling.

    Biggest point. He is a great guy and I am excited to see what he comes up with.

    #26 9 months ago

    What Happened to Joe Balcer?
    Did he move on?

    #27 9 months ago

    Back on topic, I think AP could benefit from a new, younger designer with an interesting story. The biggest buzz over the past few releases has come from Scott Danesi and Keith Elwin, two young designers with a compelling background.

    Scott designed a game in his garage and carted it to shows. Keith is a top ranked player who brought a fresh design take with high energy, kinetic flow.

    Much of pinball works when you have someone to root for. I think that's where Spooky (Charlie, Scott), Stern (Keith) and JJP (Eric, Slash) have succeeded and Deep Root (JPop) failed. AP could use a new designer to bring back the buzz.

    -6
    #28 9 months ago
    Quoted from Mudflaps:

    Back on topic, I think AP could benefit from a new, younger designer with an interesting story. The biggest buzz over the past few releases has come from Scott Danesi and Keith Elwin, two young designers with a compelling background.
    Scott designed a game in his garage and carted it to shows. Keith is a top ranked player who brought a fresh design take with high energy, kinetic flow.
    Much of pinball works when you have someone to root for. I think that's where Spooky (Charlie, Scott), Stern (Keith) and JJP (Eric, Slash) have succeeded and Deep Root (JPop) failed. AP could use a new designer to bring back the buzz.

    Completely agree. AP needs fresh young blood. I keep thinking Mark (nightmare before Xmas) or Scott G (wooly/LOV) would be a great fit.

    Could be cool to see Scott D also.

    Outside of designer I actually think the biggest thing AP needs is a new code team or new direction in it.

    Big part of the reason TNA and R&M are great is the code.

    Same thing with stern... the new coders combined with new designers are the one/two punch

    #29 9 months ago

    I think the best currently unused/underused possibly available designer is barry driessen

    #30 9 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Outside of designer I actually think the biggest thing AP needs is a new code team or new direction in it.

    In my opinion what stands out in a negative way is theme incorperation and how it is presented on the screen.
    Octoberfest could actually worked well as a theme and playfield layout is not bad at all. With a more crazy, goofy and fun presentation. It would have been great.
    Now its just wierd, not funny and whats presented on the lcd is mostly just ugly and old looking.

    #31 9 months ago

    Josh Kugler made a couple home brews before going to work for American Pinball. He could design a game and he already works for them.

    #32 9 months ago
    Quoted from skink91:

    In my experience, no business actually makes this distinction (other than academia): in a company that demands “software engineering”, everyone (including those without specific training in it) are expected to adhere to a set of specific design requirements/processes. In those that don’t demand it, everyone is just a software/IT person.

    Kind of a huge distinction. One just creates code on a platform, one creates the platform, how it will function, the future etc. the roles are very different some businesses may mix them but when mixed the inexperienced software programmer is a bad fit to create... we have dealt with many software and hardware projects with these issues.

    #33 9 months ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    Kind of a huge distinction. One just creates code on a platform, one creates the platform, how it will function, the future etc. the roles are very different some businesses may mix them but when mixed the inexperienced software programmer is a bad fit to create... we have dealt with many software and hardware projects with these issues.

    I would recommend we take this convo to a separate thread, as ‘the eyes glazing over’ I mentioned earlier is occurring here. I love talking about it, as it isn’t just what I do for work - it is fascinating to me in all aspects.

    #34 9 months ago
    Quoted from northvibe:

    Kind of a huge distinction. One just creates code on a platform, one creates the platform, how it will function, the future etc. the roles are very different some businesses may mix them but when mixed the inexperienced software programmer is a bad fit to create... we have dealt with many software and hardware projects with these issues.

    These are all semantics. Depends where you work. The role you describe as creating the platform, how it will function, etc, is called in my company the “Architect”. That’s my role. The developers implement the design. Sometimes it’s called the “lead developer”

    #36 9 months ago
    Quoted from Ericpinballfan:

    What Happened to Joe Balcer?
    Did he move on?

    I’ll ask the same question...

    What happened to Joe Balcer???

    #37 9 months ago
    Quoted from wrb1977:

    I’ll ask the same question...
    What happened to Joe Balcer???

    Agreed, in all the excitement and debate the 400lb gorilla question got ignored.

    #38 9 months ago

    Less Balcor the better for me, never been a fan

    #39 9 months ago
    Quoted from romulusx:

    Ryan,if he’s the guy working on Sonic Spinball!I think Sonic would sell a shit ton of pins.

    I’d love a sonic!

    #40 9 months ago
    Quoted from Ericpinballfan:

    Agreed, in all the excitement and debate the 400lb gorilla question got ignored.

    Maybe it’s a secret? Anyone want to share? Joe Balcer

    #41 9 months ago

    I do agree, a "non" pinball industry designer would be fun to mix it up and bring new ideas in!

    #42 9 months ago
    Quoted from wrb1977:

    Maybe it’s a secret? Anyone want to share? Joe Balcer

    He may not be going anywhere, maybe they're just transitioning roles a bit. He's done 3 games for them, he could use a break and more time to work on another title. They are also doing redemption games, so he may be assisting there as well.

    38
    #43 9 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Outside of designer I actually think the biggest thing AP needs is a new code team or new direction in it.

    Care to elaborate on that? I think the code on API's games is a solid match against any manufacturer's offerings from both an "objective" standpoint (simply counting the different features available; i.e. how much stuff is there to do?) and a "subjective" standpoint (unique rules, making good use of all the shots/targets on the game, offering a variety of strategies to approach the game, etc). If you disagree, I would like to hear some concrete examples where you think API falls short.

    #44 9 months ago
    Quoted from Ferret:

    Care to elaborate on that? I think the code on API's games is a solid match against any manufacturer's offerings from both an "objective" standpoint (simply counting the different features available; i.e. how much stuff is there to do?) and a "subjective" standpoint (unique rules, making good use of all the shots/targets on the game, offering a variety of strategies to approach the game, etc). If you disagree, I would like to hear some concrete examples where you think API falls short.

    I enjoy games where every shot is rewarded. EHOH and IMDN are like that. Even if I miss, I build towards something.

    Houdini is like that, too. There are tons of modes, movies, missions, jail escapes, multiballs, magic shop stuff, etc. to shoot. I have zero complaints with code, and I enjoy the animations as well.

    Oktoberfest seems to be cut from the same cloth, and it’s on my wishlist after owning Houdini. I’m pretty sure I’ll have one soon. Build quality is great, code is great, and the team accepts criticisms with an open mind.

    As I mentioned previously, I think the team could benefit from a more traditional layout from a new designer, but code-wise, you guys are crushing it.

    #45 9 months ago
    Quoted from Mudflaps:

    As I mentioned previously, I think the team could benefit from a more traditional layout

    Then you might give Hot Wheels a whirl. It's a fast flowy fan layout.

    Quoted from Mudflaps:

    code-wise, you guys are crushing it.

    Thanks!

    #46 9 months ago
    Quoted from Mudflaps:

    I enjoy games where every shot is rewarded. EHOH and IMDN are like that. Even if I miss, I build towards something.
    Houdini is like that, too. There are tons of modes, movies, missions, jail escapes, multiballs, magic shop stuff, etc. to shoot. I have zero complaints with code, and I enjoy the animations as well.
    Oktoberfest seems to be cut from the same cloth, and it’s on my wishlist after owning Houdini. I’m pretty sure I’ll have one soon. Build quality is great, code is great, and the team accepts criticisms with an open mind.
    As I mentioned previously, I think the team could benefit from a more traditional layout from a new designer, but code-wise, you guys are crushing it.

    Hard to disagree - Houdini and OKT AND HW are deep enough, lots of variety and multiple paths to the end goal. The latest Houdini update is amazeballs!

    #47 9 months ago
    Quoted from Ferret:

    Then you might give Hot Wheels a whirl. It's a fast flowy fan layout.

    Damn quarantine means I haven’t really played anything new. The only way I’m able to try stuff is to purchase.

    The Hot Wheels theme would keep me from owning, but I’d definitely drop some quarters. Oktoberfest, on the other hand, has the theme, layout and code to land in my game room. I was able to play at TPF before the world went to shit, but it’s come a long way. Kudos to you guys for all the hard work.

    #48 9 months ago
    Quoted from Ferret:

    Care to elaborate on that? I think the code on API's games is a solid match against any manufacturer's offerings from both an "objective" standpoint (simply counting the different features available; i.e. how much stuff is there to do?) and a "subjective" standpoint (unique rules, making good use of all the shots/targets on the game, offering a variety of strategies to approach the game, etc). If you disagree, I would like to hear some concrete examples where you think API falls short.

    I think its great when company representatives are here interacting in a good way.
    I hope your next game is a smash.

    -17
    #49 9 months ago
    Quoted from Ferret:

    Care to elaborate on that? I think the code on API's games is a solid match against any manufacturer's offerings from both an "objective" standpoint (simply counting the different features available; i.e. how much stuff is there to do?) and a "subjective" standpoint (unique rules, making good use of all the shots/targets on the game, offering a variety of strategies to approach the game, etc). If you disagree, I would like to hear some concrete examples where you think API falls short.

    It does not sound like you actually want the feedback so I see no reason to put the effort in to giving my opinion with a long list of specific examples.

    In short, I can say things are WAY better since you arrived but I still find AP needs some fresh ideas for overall code to be less formulaic and smoother integration.

    I would suggest really digging in on a game like TWD, R&M, and JP2 as three examples of games where code is done very well. Great risk v reward which aligns with the physical risk/reward of the game. Great 3rd tier game play (I.e collect walkers and on the fly strategy changes that allow a player to grow with the game as they get better but not overly complex). Great immersion and priority for player feedback.

    Thus far Josh has a very formulaic approach to coding. Would like to see a more modern approach. The formula for what makes a great modern coded game is out there with a handful of examples.

    If you want some introspection just ask what games people talk about for great code, what coders names are tossed around, and why thus far nobody has elevated AP coders to that status. Simply put, people will line up to buy a Lyman coded game despite an oft elevated premium price tag and sometimes less desirable theme. AP game code is meeting expectations but I have a feeling you want to exceed them.

    I hope you guys get a better theme to work with soon and the ability to really dig in with some passion. I know that you specifically are capable of amazing things.

    I wish you nothing but the best Joe.

    #50 9 months ago

    I actually think hot wheels thread's the needle pretty well on code. Easy to get a general just of it quickly but deep enough even after 30 or so plays, I didn't come close to seeing it all.

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