(Topic ID: 277384)

Why are pinball animations so basic?


By Dan1733

6 days ago



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  • Latest reply 15 hours ago by Hazoff
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    #1 6 days ago

    Given the state of video gaming, why are pinball animations so crude? AQI and TMNT both look like great games, fun shots, good code, etc. But the animations are pretty much at the level of Aerosmith, which is itself far behind behind video gaming. I am guessing the answer is cost. For 9k or more is it fair to expect more?

    #2 6 days ago

    I wouldn't compare them to current gaming and think they are lacking... I would compare whats being done now vs. what was being done on DMD displays and see it as progress.

    23
    #3 6 days ago
    Quoted from Dan1733:

    Given the state of video gaming, why are pinball animations so crude? AQI and TMNT both look like great games, fun shots, good code, etc. But the animations are pretty much at the level of Aerosmith, which is itself far behind behind video gaming. I am guessing the answer is cost. For 9k or more is it fair to expect more?

    Possibly because they are not video games? Why do animations in a video game not look like a cinema movie? Because they are not movies.

    #4 6 days ago

    Because AAA video games have hundreds of artists working over years to make those animations and art assets. Stern has around a dozen animators trying to grind something out every six months or so.

    Most of their animations in recent years are acceptable to very good. Of course you might disagree with the artistic style, like Avengers using an pseudo-animated comic book style. But most of them are pretty good, whenever the code is "finished" and the presentation has been polished.

    #5 6 days ago

    No doubt JJP is doing pinball LCD animations better than anyone right now and they have the Twippys to prove it. I would put Spooky #2, AP # 3 (based on Hot wheels which is much, much better than their previous game animations) with Stern #4 (depending on the game). I think Stern is very hit and miss. BKSOR is fantastic, GOTG and SW I feel are good.

    #6 6 days ago
    Quoted from Crile1:

    No doubt JJP is doing pinball LCD animations better than anyone right now and they have the Twippys to prove it. I would put Spooky #2, AP # 3 (based on Hot wheels which is much, much better than their previous game animations) with Stern #4 (depending on the game). I think Stern is very hit and miss. BKSOR is fantastic, GOTG and SW I feel are good.

    While I think it is true JJP has the best animations by far, Stern is doing much better lately. I think Spooky is second - they look really good on Alice Cooper and R&M.

    42
    #7 6 days ago
    Quoted from Dan1733:

    Given the state of video gaming, why are pinball animations so crude? AQI and TMNT both look like great games, fun shots, good code, etc. But the animations are pretty much at the level of Aerosmith, which is itself far behind behind video gaming. I am guessing the answer is cost. For 9k or more is it fair to expect more?

    Pinball noobs: why are they so basic?

    Coding pinball animations requires a ton of resources, and the move to LCD has been a giant pain in the ass for the industry and has increased development time and cost more than anything in the modern history of pinball. You are completely off your rocker "expecting more" than the excellent level of animations you've been getting on modern games.

    Yes, the answer "is cost" Einstein, brilliant deduction. Your "9K pinball" that you expect more from could not stay at $9k with the added time and resources for the ILM-level CG animation you crave. And frankly it's absolutely insulting to the people in the pinball industry who bring us these high quality animations on a short design schedule we've been enjoying lately in pinball. "Basic?!??!" Dear lord; most pinball LCD animations I've seen do a fantastic job in the context of playing pinball, relaying info, engaging the player, and ramping up excitement, and are of course a million times more complex than the DMD stuff that most of us were previously happy with.

    You want movie or video game levels of animation? On top of the already ridiculously laboriously complex and time consuming design of all other aspects of a pinball machine? When pinball brings in a tiny fraction of the net gross and profits of video games and movies?

    Why do I have to type this twice a week? It's a mystery, but I'll do my part:

    If Pinside ran Stern (or any other pinball company) they'd be out of business in a month. We are all lucky there are actual pros in charge who know what they are doing and what makes sense in the business, so we can continue to enjoy new pinball machines for years to come.

    This is what happens when people who don't like pinball somehow end up in our hobby. It's been going on for years. You want video game animations? Here's an idea: go play some video games. You want an authentic theatrical cinematic experience when watching an LCD screen? Cue up some Netflix.

    #8 6 days ago
    Quoted from Goronic:

    While I think it is true JJP has the best animations by far, Stern is doing much better lately. I think Spooky is second - they look really good on Alice Cooper and R&M.

    Alice Cooper is fantastic. But Rick and Morty? I know there is some original stuff in there, but it's mostly video clips. It's not that I think the game doesn't look great, but it's animations from the show...

    #9 6 days ago
    Quoted from Dan1733:

    For 9k or more is it fair to expect more?

    No. More would be a lot more than 9K. When you think of what it would take. The two games you mention I think did a fine job.

    LTG : )

    #10 6 days ago
    Quoted from Goronic:

    While I think it is true JJP has the best animations by far, Stern is doing much better lately. I think Spooky is second - they look really good on Alice Cooper and R&M.

    Don't forget TNA. Animations were perfect for that game. Hell, I even love the AMH dots.

    19
    #11 6 days ago

    I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but when I play pinball, I’m not watching the animations.

    #12 6 days ago

    Because nobody really need them.
    It's pinball.

    #13 6 days ago

    I don't really pay attention to the videos when I'm playing...I'm more concerned with my score.

    #14 6 days ago

    Check out Jurassic park

    #15 6 days ago

    I actually prefer the more crude, cartoony animations rather than clips from movies or some CGI renders. Cartoony feels more fitting for pinball.

    #16 6 days ago

    I don’t often look at the screen when the ball is in play. Personally, I don’t find anything wrong with the 90s dmd animations, there’s a charm to them. Wonka and TMNT seem awesome if you like modern animations.

    #17 6 days ago

    You can even get multi-color now.

    pinitech-1 (resized).jpg

    #18 6 days ago

    I thought JP and Black Knights animations looked great. The Avengers IQ and Tmnt animations seem like a big step down.

    #19 6 days ago
    Quoted from Yelobird:

    Possibly because they are not video games? Why do animations in a video game not look like a cinema movie? Because they are not movies.

    Have you played a recent video game? The animation and graphics are cinematic quality

    #20 6 days ago

    I've a RUN-DMD clock running in my kitchen for the last two years. Everyone that comes by marvels and my kids are still amused. But what it's really shown me is that if anything, the "basic" DMD dot clips that predated today's shockwave-flash shorts, were absolutely stunning and UNIQUE works of communication art, given what they accomplished with such limited technology.

    And you know what? They were - and still are - absolutely FINE! Nobody really *needs* any more than that. From the split-second "blink and you miss it" fluff, to a well earned "wizard mode ready, take your breath cuz here it comes" clips, they convey just enough information while establishing an environment layered with snark, humor, and amusement... because you still need to keep your eye on the PINBALL itself!

    Video game cinematics? Feh. Cut-scenes in video games are annoying the 3rd time through. Load screens are pacification. Pinball is the last gasp of the frenetic arcade quarter munching experience: you're there to beat the machine, not watch a movie. Information overload is a hindrance to quick, frenetic, on-point gameplay. Full screen "we need to stuff it somehow cuz it's there" animations and quadrant-sectors on JJP games are distracting and overwhelming IMO.

    An LCD offers color, resolution, and crisp movement unavailable in the DMD era, and those improvements should arguably be lauded when used properly. Some games do "just enough", with the price penalty being the price of entry: if you want it, you pay for it. The animations on say, Deadpool and JP2, feel like gorgeous and natural evolutions, and really point out the debatable shame that Ghostbusters didn't get to benefit from them. But ask yourself honestly: are they really necessary, and could the games be more affordable without them?

    If you answer yes and what you want is multi-minute intros and disruptive transitions and full cinematic experiences, whyTF are you playing pinball in the first place? That's not what pinball was, is, or god forbid should become. Connect a DVD drive to your JJP motherboard and watch Pirates or Wonka on your new theater cabinet, sure, knock yourself out. But you can't play a movie (and in case you forgot, Dragon's Lair was a terrible game).

    -4
    #21 6 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Pinball noobs: why are they so basic?
    Coding pinball animations requires a ton of resources, and the move to LCD has been a giant pain in the ass for the industry and has increased development time and cost more than anything in the modern history of pinball. You are completely off your rocker "expecting more" than the excellent level of animations you've been getting on modern games.
    Yes, the answer "is cost" Einstein, brilliant deduction. Your "9K pinball" that you expect more from could not stay at $9k with the added time and resources for the ILM-level CG animation you crave. And frankly it's absolutely insulting to the people in the pinball industry who bring us these high quality animations on a short design schedule we've been enjoying lately in pinball. "Basic?!??!" Dear lord; most pinball LCD animations I've seen do a fantastic job in the context of playing pinball, relaying info, engaging the player, and ramping up excitement, and are of course a million times more complex than the DMD stuff that most of us were previously happy with.
    You want movie or video game levels of animation? On top of the already ridiculously laboriously complex and time consuming design of all other aspects of a pinball machine? When pinball brings in a tiny fraction of the net gross and profits of video games and movies?
    Why do I have to type this twice a week? It's a mystery, but I'll do my part:
    If Pinside ran Stern (or any other pinball company) they'd be out of business in a month. We are all lucky there are actual pros in charge who know what they are doing and what makes sense in the business, so we can continue to enjoy new pinball machines for years to come.
    This is what happens when people who don't like pinball somehow end up in our hobby. It's been going on for years. You want video game animations? Here's an idea: go play some video games. You want an authentic theatrical cinematic experience when watching an LCD screen? Cue up some Netflix.

    I wonder why JJP consistently makes games with far higher quality animations then Stern with probably 25% of the staff size?

    10
    #22 6 days ago
    download (resized).jpg
    #23 6 days ago

    The retro video game style worked very well for Deadpool. No reason these HD screens can't be utilized at 1/3 resolution with detailed pixel art, bringing back that old DMD style.

    13
    #24 6 days ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    I wonder why JJP consistently make games with far higher quality animations then Stern with probably 25% of the staff size?

    By having less than 25% of the output of Stern?

    #25 6 days ago
    Quoted from dyopp21:

    I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but when I play pinball, I’m not watching the animations.

    Right. The focus is the pf - art, toys, ramps, features, etc. Display is not a focus to the player and primarily used to see game info/score. Better animations are always welcomed but a great display is not going to save a poor playing game.

    #26 6 days ago

    Pinball animations are pretty incredible, and have made insane advances in just the last 5 years.

    This complaint is just like back when the Jurassic Park movie came out in the movie theaters and then everyone went on the internet and complained that the pinball machine was still using crude dots on the display instead of realistic dinosaurs created by dozens of the worlds most talented computer graphic artists.

    10
    #27 6 days ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    I wonder why JJP consistently make games with far higher quality animations then Stern with probably 25% of the staff size?

    Wonder no more!

    It’s Because they spend two years between releases and have made fewer games in 10 years than stern releases every single year.

    Not worth the time or effort. That huge screen was their biggest mistake; they’ve spent 10years trying to fill it on 5 games.

    -3
    #28 6 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Because they spend 3 years between releases and have made fewer games in 10 years than stern releases every single year?
    Not worth the time or effort. That huge screen was their biggest mistake; they’ve spent 10years trying to fill it on 5 games.

    10 years? WOZ came out in 2013. It takes longer to do higher quality animations and I think its been well worth it for JJP as it sets their games apart.

    Today's NIB prices are crazy and its nice to have those prices backed up in part by high quality animation work. High quality animations also leads to better theme integration. There's a reason people are complaining about TMNT and Avengers theme integration and part of that is due to the basic animation work.

    Quoted from TreyBo69:

    By having less than 25% of the output of Stern?

    By spending the proper amount of time on software development versus rushing code development in order to crank out 4-6 games per year?

    #29 6 days ago

    I think it's partly because the animation has to end so quickly to keep up with the ball in play.

    John

    #30 6 days ago
    Quoted from captainadam_21:

    Have you played a recent video game? The animation and graphics are cinematic quality

    Maybe thats why they are called VIDEO games? When they change our hobby to Video-Pin I will worry about the movie content.

    #31 6 days ago

    what are talking about? the animations are awesome on octoberfest.

    #32 6 days ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    10 years? WOZ came out in 2013. It takes longer to do higher quality animations and I think its been well worth it for JJP as it sets their games apart.
    Today's NIB prices are crazy and its nice to have those prices backed up in part by high quality animation work. High quality animations also leads to better theme integration. There's a reason people are complaining about TMNT and Avengers theme integration and part of that is due to the basic animation work.

    By spending the proper amount of time on software development versus rushing code development in order to crank out 4-6 games per year?

    Answer the noob’s question instead of reflexively shilling for JJp as you do in every thread; why are pinball animations so basic? As wonderful as JJp animations are, why aren’t they better? Why aren’t they as good as video games and movies?

    #33 6 days ago

    No complaints here about the video content in EHoH.
    Original commentary scenes filmed by Elvira specifically for the pin.
    And lots of clips from various horror films well integrated by Lyman.
    What more could you possibly want?

    #34 6 days ago
    Quoted from TreyBo69:

    Because AAA video games have hundreds of artists working over years to make those animations and art assets. Stern has around a dozen animators trying to grind something out every six months or so.
    Most of their animations in recent years are acceptable to very good. Of course you might disagree with the artistic style, like Avengers using an pseudo-animated comic book style. But most of them are pretty good, whenever the code is "finished" and the presentation has been polished.

    This ^^^

    #35 6 days ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    By spending the proper amount of time on software development versus rushing code development in order to crank out 4-6 games per year?

    What a crazy idea, a pinball company that actually makes pinball games.

    People can dog on Stern all they want, they make more good games in one year than most other make in their entire company history. I won't dispute that some games come out of the oven too soon, but it's been a while since Stern outright abandoned anything.

    #36 6 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Pinball noobs: why are they so basic?
    Coding pinball animations requires a ton of resources, and the move to LCD has been a giant pain in the ass for the industry and has increased development time and cost more than anything in the modern history of pinball. You are completely off your rocker "expecting more" than the excellent level of animations you've been getting on modern games.
    Yes, the answer "is cost" Einstein, brilliant deduction. Your "9K pinball" that you expect more from could not stay at $9k with the added time and resources for the ILM-level CG animation you crave. And frankly it's absolutely insulting to the people in the pinball industry who bring us these high quality animations on a short design schedule we've been enjoying lately in pinball. "Basic?!??!" Dear lord; most pinball LCD animations I've seen do a fantastic job in the context of playing pinball, relaying info, engaging the player, and ramping up excitement, and are of course a million times more complex than the DMD stuff that most of us were previously happy with.
    You want movie or video game levels of animation? On top of the already ridiculously laboriously complex and time consuming design of all other aspects of a pinball machine? When pinball brings in a tiny fraction of the net gross and profits of video games and movies?
    Why do I have to type this twice a week? It's a mystery, but I'll do my part:
    If Pinside ran Stern (or any other pinball company) they'd be out of business in a month. We are all lucky there are actual pros in charge who know what they are doing and what makes sense in the business, so we can continue to enjoy new pinball machines for years to come.
    This is what happens when people who don't like pinball somehow end up in our hobby. It's been going on for years. You want video game animations? Here's an idea: go play some video games. You want an authentic theatrical cinematic experience when watching an LCD screen? Cue up some Netflix.

    I'm not sure its really all that tricky. https://tinkerlab.com/easy-stop-motion-animation-kids/

    #37 6 days ago

    Because you are not playing the screen - but I think Jurassic Park was very good. Really don't need much better than that for pinball

    I am surprised we have not seen any video modes with the new LCD screen -
    They were cheesy, but I always liked the video modes on the old DMD games

    #38 6 days ago
    Quoted from BMore-Pinball:

    Because you are not playing the screen - but I think Jurassic Park was very good. Really don't need much better than that for pinball
    I am surprised we have not seen any video modes with the new LCD screen -
    They were cheesy, but I always liked the video modes on the old DMD games

    Star Wars

    #39 6 days ago

    Do you want a 9K movie? Give Hollywood a little while, but for the most part, aren't the mechanics what make a pinball machine?

    #40 6 days ago

    I think its a prioritization thing. People in this thread are right, comparing the animation quality to AAA games doesn't make sense, but indie games have shown the incredible things you can do with animation with a small team. How many people would change their mind and buy a game they normally wouldn't because the animations are signficantly improved? I know I want better animations in my games, but I'll admit its unlikely to fully swing a purchase, so I can't complain.

    #41 6 days ago

    No one realistically expects anywhere near AAA game level quality. I also want to say Stern has made some improvements recently. They are still around the level of budget knock off indie video games. Its not so much the graphics, that I understand. The feature set is what drives me crazy. It is just so far below where it needs to be. That is across the board, the industry as whole is still pretty much in the dark ages when it comes to features.

    #42 6 days ago
    Quoted from Crile1:

    No doubt JJP is doing pinball LCD animations better than anyone right now and they have the Twippys to prove it. I would put Spooky #2, AP # 3 (based on Hot wheels which is much, much better than their previous game animations) with Stern #4 (depending on the game). I think Stern is very hit and miss. BKSOR is fantastic, GOTG and SW I feel are good.

    AP get the worst. They made 3 games and 2 ones Houdini, Oktoberfest are really bad.

    Video games really feel as real as a movie now. When you watch some movies, Avatar and many others it is really bluffing. When i look at a Pixar it is the same.
    But i think to get this high quality animations it needs many time, and money, certainly too much.

    #43 6 days ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    I wonder why JJP consistently makes games with far higher quality animations then Stern with probably 25% of the staff size?

    They spend 3 years per game? They are also using alot of movies assets with overlaid graphics, not completely new animations like Stern.

    #44 6 days ago

    The resources required to create super high quality animations on modern displays are far beyond what it's worth considering most of the time you won't even be looking at the display. Stern certainly could spend more resources on creating higher quality animations, but I don't think that would translate into better sales or even a more popular game. The most important part of a display IMHO is simply that it conveys information cleanly and clearly. I don't care if the animations are basic if I'm able to get the info I need from a quick glance.

    For this reason, I honestly would not mind at all if a new game were ever to release with a DMD. Good dots look really nice and require far fewer resources than modern displays. I think we can all agree that some nice DMD animations on Houdini and Octoberfest would have been much better than what we ended up with, but the question is if a DMD would have been able to convey enough info.

    #45 6 days ago
    Quoted from PanzerFreak:

    10 years? WOZ came out in 2013.

    It came out in 2013, but he announced and Jack collected money in 2011, so JJP is damn near a decade old.

    #46 6 days ago
    Quoted from pterofractal:I think its a prioritization thing. People in this thread are right, comparing the animation quality to AAA games doesn't make sense, but indie games have shown the incredible things you can do with animation with a small team. How many people would change their mind and buy a game they normally wouldn't because the animations are signficantly improved? I know I want better animations in my games, but I'll admit its unlikely to fully swing a purchase, so I can't complain.

    I think video modes on lcd should be a common feature like they were on dmd. But in high qualify animation. There a big difference between the star wars video mode and the Houdini one.

    #47 6 days ago
    Quoted from treborlicec:

    It came out in 2013, but he announced and Jack collected money in 2011, so JJP is damn near a decade old.

    Correct. 10 years. 5 games. A guy named Panzer who thinks this would be a good business model for Stern to emulate, rather than actually mKk g. Profit selling 6 games a year. This is the track record.

    If pinside ran stern they’d be out of business in a month. Actually Panzer could probably do it in two weeks.

    #48 6 days ago
    Quoted from treborlicec:

    They spend 3 years per game? They are also using alot of movies assets with overlaid graphics, not completely new animations like Stern.

    Agreed.

    However Dialed in animations were the best part in this game imo

    #49 6 days ago

    Ok great, now make that animation you shot on a desk loop properly and hook up to something else you shot on a different day seamlessly. It’s not just “making things move” but also fitting them in together so it feels like one single experience.

    I’ve been out of the animation industry too long to accurately speak to budgets, but we’ve got to be talking 2-3 months of work plus 3D modeling/rendering. I’m sure they consider immersiveness in relation to cost every single time.

    #50 6 days ago
    Quoted from colonel_caverne:

    I think video modes on lcd should be a common feature like they were on dmd. But in high qualify animation. There a big difference between the star wars video mode and the Houdini one.

    Oof. No thank you. The graphics aren't the issue.

    Pinball video modes are tolerable at best. I came to bat around a ball, not play a basic Flash level video game. I'm sympathetic to a degree though. How much can they really do with 2 flipper buttons and the lockdown button?

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