Friday, July 25, 2014

Clogs of War!

After playing a couple of games, as well as letting "outsiders" play,  I'm pretty confident I need to improve the ball through - or more precisely, the drain. Sometimes if the balls drain too fast during multiball (hey, don't judge me!) the balls pile up and the old school drain can't keep up with the pressure. The balls on top pretty much prevents the drain from clearing and the system has to be unclogged manually. The drain I'm using was only designed for single ball usage, so the joke's on me for trying to adapt it. ;)

I'm thinking I might need to fully replace it with a modern one, but I guess I'll try to improve the actual drain first so that only one ball at a time might enter. The downside with getting a new one is the rather substantial cost, so I'd rather avoid that as much as possible. But it is a problem at the moment, since the game has trouble counting balls as well if the drain doesn't function properly.

1) Top playfield with some lights active. I really enjoy just starting the game, seeing everything light up and playing a game. Even if it's not programmatically finished (by far) it's still very enjoyable! Shortly after this pic thou - Mr B's arm fell off... Will need to fix that.

I've noticed that programming the rules aren't all that trivial - even for an experienced programmer there's a lot to consider, especially when breaking it down to simple parts. Take a function that should raise the up-post when doing a left loop. How should we define a left loop? During single player it's easy, but during multiball it gets tougher since you can't simply compare it to the last switch and determine the direction from that. Well, it's somewhat doable by having a rule set that ignores faraway or unrelated switches etc, but still it's something that I've underestimated. I've also noticed that keeping track of all features and modes to prevent them from interfering with each other is rather cumbersome. But at least this can be improved upon without doing any major "surgery" - just open the front door and plug in the USB-cable. 

Furthermore - I really wished I didn't place the electronics under the pinball table... When the time comes for upgrades other than actual programming, such as music, sound or videos, it's a rather big operation compared to just removing the translite on a regular machine... But done is done and now I've tested that. Won't do that again!

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