Progress 6/20/2014

Haven’t had the time to do an update lately, so here it is.  Started by adding two new categories to the blog.  The first one is Pinball Framework which marks the entries about the Pinball Framework.  I went back and marked the last two posts, but probably won’t mark earlier ones.

So I added a couple more things to the Pinball Framework.  The new additions include image chaining, added ability to set player score display positions, support for non-HD aspect ratios, and new GUI for debugging cards.

Joe asked if the background image could be changed by making a call.  I one upped the request and added in support for image chaining, so now a group of images can be shown on the backglass with a wait in between each image.  At the end of the chain, the chain can be repeated to show the images again.  Chaining simplifies the programming of the backglass images since it happens independently of rules processing.

Player score positions were previous automatically located by the software which only worked for a single layout of the backglass.  Now the displays are located by picking the center point of the display, and the number of pixels for the height of the characters.  This gives much more flexibility.  While in that section of code, support was added for non-HD aspect ratio displays which is needed for the backpack pinball machine.

Last thing I added was a new GUI for displaying the state of the card inputs.  Previously there was a python script that needed to be configured for the card that was being tested.  The new GUI auto discovers the cards attached, and populates them in the GUI.  It then polls each of cards getting the input status.  It also supports kicking an individual solenoid.  A good general debugging tool which might end up being easier for other people to use.  It is located at PinBrdGui in the Google code repository.

While talking to Joe, he also mentioned he wasn’t sure he understood the wiring.  I wrote up a quick diagram of the necessary wiring and how it simplifies the required wiring.  Here’s the quick diagram.  Each of the driver boards support up to eight solenoids, but I only threw four down because I didn’t want the diagram to get too busy.

BoardWiring

Now the next new category.  It is called Sharp Shooter 2.  I picked up an old racked out Sharp Shooter 2 playfield and a cabinet for it to go in.  Designed by Roger Sharpe who is one of the gods of pinball.  I hope I can make him proud.  So I was taking an old Camelot playfield and driving that with the driver cards.  There was always a nagging feeling that the project would be finished and the machine would be a dog to play.  Got the SS2 playfield for a good price and it should be a better playing machine than Camelot.

SS2 was originally a Z80 processor based machine.  It was produced by Game Plan which truth be told, I didn’t even know was the name of a pinball manufacturer.  Some information can be found on the internet, but I can’t really figure out the rules, and even so, I’m doubting they were very deep.  So I’m going to drive the playfield with new driver/input cards and add an LCD for a backglass/scoring.  The original playfield was driven with 24 volts.   I’m going to use 48V but make the solenoid pulses short.

Here’s a few quick pictures at the beginning of the project.

SS2Playfield SS2BackPlayfield

There is a set of eleven inserts, so I need at least eleven modes.  Here’s what’s currently in the notebook in no particular order:

  1. Sharp Shooter – some shooter inserts are lit red, some are lit white, if all white are knocked down reset with new group of red and white.  First red hit ends mode.
  2. Hustle & Jive – turn off tilt bob, fill all six upper lanes without allowing flippers to rotate the inlane lights.
  3. Sniper – can only hit blinking shooter target, then next one lights, etc.  Get five to complete mode.
  4. Target practice – blink random pop, then random shooter, then random inlane, spinner orbit, finish with kickout hole.
  5. Check hideouts – must get two standup targets within 60 seconds.
  6. Call the posse – spinner lane ten spins, then kickout hole, starts two ball multiball.
  7. Bar fight – hit each bumper ten times, each time a bumper is hit, it lights for 10% more time.  At ten hits it is constantly on.
  8. Ride for help – 5 orbits, then sink kickout and get two ball multiball.
  9. Sharpe Attack – Get five shooter individual targets, no cradling allowed (reconfigure flippers for no hold)
  10. Killem all – drop all shooter targets three times, sixty sec to drop bank, resets when bank finished
  11. Track the bandits – collect all lanes (can use flippers to rotate), knock down all shooter targets after all lanes collected.

That’s the current thoughts.  I’ll start by simply rewiring the bottom of the playfield for the new driver/input cards.

 

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2 responses to “Progress 6/20/2014

  1. sharpshooter is a pretty good layout considering how short lived gameplan was. It’s amazing how simple (low wires) early solid state pinball was. The bottom of my Stern memory lane looks very similiar. I suppose going from mechanical relays to digital, they didn’t know at the time what to do with all that extra space until a bit later.

    Camelot looks horribly boring, probably better you got a decent layout to modify. Not that camelot couldn’t be modified, I think you’d have a tougher time trying to work around what’s already there.

    • Strangely enough, the thing that drew me to it was that it wasn’t a pure fan layout…and it was designed by Roger Sharpe! Since I am not going to be modifying any of the mechanicals, what I see is what I get. The rules will be completely rewritten, but the actual layout itself is not going to change. I’m hoping to eventually update the artwork, but that is going to be way down the line. I now have enough parts to drive the playfield, so it is just taking a couple of weeks to redo the wiring.

      Yeah, Camelot looked like it was going to be dull, so all those parts are going to go into the backpack pinball machine. Fantastic re-use of parts and everybody is happy.

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