Future Pinball layout progressing (but not done)

Last week I was on vacation so I spent a good amount of time working on a layout for Disaster using Future Pinball.  The goal is to get the layout pretty close so that I will only need to do a single white wood layout, and just do tweaks on that.  Joe had warned me that it was going to be difficult, and well, it has shown some interesting problems.

The one in particular is “stretching” the rubbers between two posts.  It seems like there should be some sort of a key to point to all the posts that the rubber is going around, and it should conform as a real rubber.  Instead, you constantly drag points on the rubber trying to get it to look approximately right, and if you are even slightly off, the ball bounces in a ludicrous way.  (Actually I’ve notice the ball bouncing in relatively strange ways off the bottom kicker which is probably due to the ball physics issues that everyone mentions).  Once you get the rubber in place, if you move the posts even slightly, you need to go back and redo the rubber from scratch.  It is very tedious.

It is kind of like everything in the Disaster process.  Learning a new program to get a little bit further along in the process and then quickly abandoning it and moving on to a new program to learn a new part.  After this, the only other major program that I think I need to learn is Blender, but I’m hoping to get somebody else to do the video stuff.

Right now, the “lanes” seem to be absurdly small.  The bumper sections seems to have no action.  I hate pinball machines where the bumpers immediately kick the ball out and there is no action.  The turns in the lanes also seem to be too tight.  I need to do more research to find out what the appropriate width of lanes should be.  I’m completely unwilling to show the current layout to people because I know that it can be improved significantly.

I’m now also starting to second guess the choice of Future Pinball.  I’ve already noticed the physics issues, and I hate the lagginess of the table.  The Visual Pinball tables that I have played seem to have a smoother feel.  Maybe this week I will try and convert over to Visual Pinball.  I was initially fearful of it because I didn’t know if I would need to fake up ROMs to run the table, but digging into it a little last week makes me feel that it is approximately the same as Future Pinball scripting.  The bummer will be trying to convert my lane measurements from Future Pinball millimeters, to Visual Pinball units.

Tonight is pinball night, so hopefully Mark and I will have  a breakthrough on his Flash machine.  I finished disassembling all the test PROM code, so we should now have a much better idea about where the test PROM is having issues.  Another night of staring at the logic analyzer.  It will also prove whether the PROM burner that I built from scratch is actually working.  Flash has been a big time sink with no real leaps forward in progress.  Truth be told, I’d rather be putting the parts back on Tropic Fun, but I feel beholden to Mark since I talked him into buying Flash.  Doh!

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