White wood layout started

Well this week was vacation for Mark, so no pinball night.  Next week is vacation for me, so well, no pinball night again.  I ordered the parts to populate the boards from Mouser, but it turns out that they won’t be showing up until tomorrow.  There is no way that I can cut out and populate the boards in that short amount of time, so programming the solenoid drivers isn’t going to happen next week.  (That code should also only take me a couple of days to write since I have already written most of the base code.)  There are also some high voltage components when switching the 110 VAC to 50 VDC that I want to have a ‘scope to check out.  I want to see if I start drawing a large amount of current to kick the two flipper solenoids at the same time if I’m going to get a sag of the voltage.  I have two bulk caps to discharge when the AC bridge is not producing high enough voltage, but it is still something that I want to see some traces.

This means that next week is going to be working on getting the layout done for the white wood version of Disaster.  I’m thinking Future Pinball has the shallowest learning curve to see if the basic layout will work.  I tried a couple months back but quickly found out that I wouldn’t be able to just toss down some bumpers and things without actually trying to learn more about the program.

One of the main sections of the game has four bumpers in a diamond configuration.  When I threw these down using the standard size parameters, it took up too much of the playfield.  Maybe I can make them a little smaller, or maybe the default isn’t the correct size.  I have an Olympic Hockey machine that has four bumpers in the top center of the playfield, so I’m pretty sure that it should fit.  I just didn’t have enough time to read the documentation to learn the program.  Hopefully, next week when I’m on vacation I can spend some time on it.

Future Pinball seems like a good way to try out the layout without doing twenty revs of physical white boards.  I don’t mind tweaking a the playfield slightly, but I don’t want to have to rip up the whole playfield and do it from scratch.  If it works well there, then I will move onto actually trying to do a real layout with a piece of plywood to see how it is using real physical things.

We’ll see how easy it is to learn Future Pinball.  I can’t imagine that it is too difficult since it is based on Visual Basic.  (Haven’t programmed in that since, ooohhh, maybe 10 or 20 years ago.)

2 responses to “White wood layout started

  1. Future pinball is a huge learning curve. I’ve tried multiple times to learn it but get discouraged. Like anything, sometimes it’s easier to take something existing and modify it. Take a simple early EM or early solid state, and start moving things around. I learned right away that things like multiple flippers require you to attach commands to control them (otherwise they are dummy objects as far as the program is concerned)

    • It is that or visual pinball. Looking at the two choices it seems like future pinball is a little easier. I put a kick out hole in the playfield, and every time the ball went in there, I had to reset because I couldn’t figure out how to get it to kick the solenoid. The other issue I had was adding a rubber between two posts. I sat and tweaked it for about 20 minutes to the the tensioned part of the rubber straight. Otherwise, it would bounce the ball at weird angles. Oh yeah, the last thing is that future pinball seems to have a big lag. It could be that my graphics card isn’t heavy enough or my computer is too old, but I push one of the flipper buttons, and it is literally 100 or 200 ms later that the flipper actually kicks. The ball also seems to skip like my computer just can’t keep up. I’m hoping this won’t be a problem on a simpler table (I was using the Medieval Madness table to compare it to a real pinball game.)

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