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Glossary of Terminology for Future Pinball and BAM

GeorgeH

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Staff member
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Dynamic Flippers

Dynamic Flippers are what we are calling an enhancement to BAM that makes flippers perform better. This modification of BAM has actually 3 different factors for flippers.

1) The geometry of the default flipper on Future Pinball is not quite right near the tip plus a single ball hit on the flippers registers as two hits so hitting the ball there can lead to inconsistent results. The fix is to add some code to the script. There is nothing for the table developer to do other than add the code to the script.

2) Ravarcade set up the flippers so any parameter can be changed at different points along the flipper. A setting of 0 is set to the base of the flipper and 1.2 is the number assigned to the tip. The midpoint of the flipper would be 0.8. Gimli created some code that made the omega (strength of the flipper) ramped linearly based on the numbers. Then I revised it to what we use today. It is set up so the omega is higher at the base of the flipper and lower at the tip. So it the omega is set to be 30 at the tip and 50 at the base, the omega at the midpoint of the flipper would be 40.

3) The final aspect of the change is the setting of the flipper elasticity has been enhanced. It is most noticeable when the ball hits a stationary flipper. The amount of bounce can be controlled in several ways. Ravarcade wrote this section of the code himself. There is a recently addressed issue where the ball would sink through the flippers. The fix requires a change to the flipper section of the XML file used for physics of the table. This change required new values that everyone was using for the settings in the script. I developed new values in the response to this posting.

Unfortunately, Dynamic Flippers must be manually added to a table but it is worth it. Most of the recently updated tables use Dynamic Flippers. You should try some of them.
 
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GeorgeH

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Staff member
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Shadow Maps

A shadow map is simply baking a shadow into a texture. It is useful because it produces less process on the user computer than other methods that might be used. What you end up seeing is an image of the shadows composed over the rest of the playfield texture. BAM records the shadows as simple black and white images. You might think the shadows are painted by the table developer or created by the default Future Pinball program but they are calculated by BAM.

The image below shows the right slingshot of Bally's Star Trek table by Slamt1lt:

Star Trek ULTIMATE Pro 1.044.png


You can see shadows from the two posts on the far right and left. There are two shadows from the two metallic strips. Because of the location of the two bulbs, the kicker arm has some very short shadows that are barely visible under the slingshot. I think that Slamt1lt positioned the two bulbs directly behind the metallic strips so they would cast nice shadows.

The image below shows two top views of the right sling shot and a section of the shadow maps for each of the two bulbs. Image 1 shows the slingshot without any shadow maps. Image 2 shows a portion of the shadow map for the upper bulb and Image 3 is the shadow map for the lower bulb. Image 4 is a top view of the same slingshot shown above with the shadow maps and is basically a combination of the first three images.

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
Image 4
Shadow Maps.png
.
On this version of the image, I overlaid the top plastic on top of the two shadow maps at the approximate location of the slingshot (the alignment is close but not perfect).

Shadow Maps2.png


I cropped the shadow map images so you can compare the slingshots with the shadows easily. The actual shadow maps actually extend out to show the whole playfield. The table developer can change several parameters for how bright the shadow is, how far the shadow extends and a few other things.

Unfortunately, the shadows are not always as visible on some tables as they are on this one. It is because some playfield textures have much more contrast and use even more colors that reduce our perception of the shadows. In fact, even on this table you can see the shadows are more obvious on the red areas of the playfield than they are on the blue area with white spots.

You can see that the shadow maps produce quite a bit of light in addition to the shadows. I sometimes use shadow maps to improve lighting even if the shadows don't show up very well.
 
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GeorgeH

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Staff member
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Bump Maps

Bump Maps add the appearance of a 3D texture to a model. Although the texture is faked, it can be very convincing. The screenshots below are of the model of the moon on the "Apollo 13" table. The screenshot below on the left shows the model of the moon with no texture applied at all. It is completely smooth except for the seam in the middle which I think the original table developer added to make it look like the real Sega table. The center screenshot shows the moon as the model exists on the original table. It has a texture applied to it that is called a "color map". The screenshot on the right is the exact same model with a bump map added. Bump maps are composed of a "color map" and a "normal map". The "color map" is the same texture used on the center screenshot. A "normal map" is created by a program and is calculated from the "color map". Then, BAM combines the "normal map" and the "color map" to produce the effect shown on the right screen shot below.

Gimli wrote a guide on how to create a bump map here:


1593398903115.png
 
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