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XENON 16square slider puzzle

Ike Savage

Froggy like robot
Staff member
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It's wide open as far as flipper settings in Box2D. Basic bouncing off the flipper ... anything else is programmed. Flippers are not the hardest part in a pinball simulation in my opinion, but the most important. Rolling along slopes and curves smoothly is the hard part.
really? i would tend to think the reverse. i.e., rolling along slopes AFAIK is mostly a matter of friction, while simulating a flipper is much harder because you're trying to simulate the way that one object (steel ball bearing) is interacting with another material (thin strip of rubber) that is interacting or not interacting with a second material (hard plastic) depending on the amount of force involved. so very many ways to go wrong in that equation. add in the fact that you're supposed to simulate a strong solenoid that's involved in 'active' ball-on-flipper hits and its partner... a weak solenoid that's supposed to only function as a holding agent, but in fact gets involved with less-common active ball interactions as well.

15 years later and pro pinball is the only simulation that comes close to putting all of that together.


In my opinion programs like VP for example has poor flipper physics and way too many settings. Physics settings is an oxymoron. Physics are a law. Pick a flipper strength, and speed. That should be it. Then simulate real world physics, not unreal physics like scatter angle, oblique correction and that kind of stuff that is just an adventure in how unrealistic you can make your game.
well, i assume those are there mainly to make up for the fact that the basic emulator still leaves out critical physics equations from the simulation. so then, better to patch a leaky roof and make the best of it than do nothing at all. especially when a better-quality roof is not forthcoming...

i'm not sure if the video is still up, but around a month ago i hit the farsight website and they had this very cool video that autoplays on the main page... takes you through a tour of everything they do, interviews different people, and one of the guys even admits that it's basically his 9-to-5 gig to artificially tweak physics settings, strongly implying that if the basic simulation was more accurate in its physics, he might be out of a job or re-assigned. :D

seriously... check out their video if you get a chance. it's like 15 minutes or something. they're a likeable group IMO and they also discuss the living hell that is patent and copyright licensing.... something i personally had little idea was so painful and difficult to deal with.
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
How did you get from a slider frame image all the way to Japan?

My point was not that it is easy, but that any work that is not strictly sticking to one realistic physic model is going to have problems. Patching a roof just builds up material that is not needed, unless the patch actually covers the hole. And if you can't walk on the room without creating new holes, you need someone that can. Oblique corrections does not add, it subtracts, or at best shifts. Scatter angles does not enhance physics, it takes physics out of the equation. If physics are well but you find too much repetition, that is one thing, but to add it because the physics model only allows a relative few possible outcomes, and is still unpredictable is work that equates to driving a nail in a coffin.

On one point you eluded to, Yes. I think that in time there will be general physics engines in a general game dev. kit that will do pinball far better than VP.

I watched that video a few weeks back. I think he is overstating things. It is the kind of effort that is required though. From what I read though, the releases don't live up to the hype, and bugs go unfixed.
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
Tinkered with it some more. Again working on the Windows manipulation instead of the game, though I did increase the range of the color change of the frame, as it was stopping at still purple on it's way to blue, and made the scramble better by making sure that the blocks would not reverse a move it just made, which most of them already would not do.

I made the borderless Window move only happen when dragged from the top left corner, with the mouse inset as to not loose focus as the mouse was able to move faster than the window, and the sizing with the mouse wheel is from the center instead of the top left.

I added an .ini to hold the size and position, set defaults that are not the native size, and ensured that the game would not depend on the .ini or _savegame files to run, but that they when created and existing would override the defaults.
 

sleepy

Pinball Wizard
Site Supporters
I was looking at the NES last week and tiling is the name for storing all of the backgrounds and sprites data in an order of separate Tiles, but in the NES it was the use of Mappers to either repeat a smaller extended scrolling backdrop or to swap out current backgrounds and expired sprites to create extended scrolling views and/or new sprites.
They call it Tiling when the images are broken up in Pattern Tiles and this was done in the order of use in order to increase access speed, else the images would have been stored in a normal sequential manner same as a picture file, while Mappers were used to assemble whole screens when they extend beyond a single static background, to map out a new memory page of extended backgrounds and sprites.

I could be wrong, but it appears that Mapper 0 is used for one static background while Mappers 1, 2. 3. etc. is used for 1 swap, 2 swaps, 3 swaps, etc. due to the limited memory page size.

As for image clipping for slide puzzles, in M$ and C/C++/C#/VB you might be able to automate the process using the picclip.dll or .ocx, that is if your game editor allows for declaring Resources. Then simply declare picclip.

http://www.vbforums.com/showthread.php?502056-2005-How-to-use-PicClip
 

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Ike Savage

Froggy like robot
Staff member
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How did you get from a slider frame image all the way to Japan?
i went to a bar after a workout and obviously was not holding together too well afterwards. yikes.

My point was not that it is easy, but that any work that is not strictly sticking to one realistic physic model is going to have problems. Patching a roof just builds up material that is not needed, unless the patch actually covers the hole. And if you can't walk on the room without creating new holes, you need someone that can. Oblique corrections does not add, it subtracts, or at best shifts. Scatter angles does not enhance physics, it takes physics out of the equation. If physics are well but you find too much repetition, that is one thing, but to add it because the physics model only allows a relative few possible outcomes, and is still unpredictable is work that equates to driving a nail in a coffin.
that makes perfect sense to me, limited understanding of physics and all. but it does seem to come down to common-sense issues in the end.

I watched that video a few weeks back. I think he is overstating things. It is the kind of effort that is required though. From what I read though, the releases don't live up to the hype, and bugs go unfixed.
it does seem to me that farsight is so focused on adding tables (and hence, salable table packs) that they don't spend nearly enough time fixing bugs and improving each simulation. and their choice of tables has been pretty solid, but has also been a little on the weird side: for example, why bother securing the licensing rights to elvira and the party monsters when you can offer the vastly better pin, scared stiff? why choose harley davidson from the list of modern sterns-- there's far better-known and more classic modern sterns to choose from? why bother with a mediocre table like gorgar when there are so many superior SS tables out there?

i was leaning towards buying several of their table packs early on, but the more i play the games, the less realistic and enjoyable they become. their flippers, slingshots and ball flow seem fine at first and then get exposed the more you play the games. even VP holds up better in that regard IMO.
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
I don't presume to know the reasons they choose the one they do over other pinball tables, but I suspect procurement. Gorgar for example may have been an easy buy from whoever owns the rights to it. It was a fully original Williams if I'm not mistaken and there would be only one hoop to jump through, where many of the titles were licensed to the pinball companies and even if they put an ok on using their ip, which for all practical purposes is only a layout, maybe some graphics and sound, you still need licence, just as they did back then from possibly any combination of book authors, music studios, movie studios, TV studios, voice actors, graphic artists, anyone that licensed portions of the work.

I agree about scared stiff being a better pin than elvira and the party monsters. Same manufacturer too.
 

Ike Savage

Froggy like robot
Staff member
Site Supporters
yea; makes sense. that's exactly the kind of thing the guy was saying in the video.

besides the things you mentioned about gorgar, i noticed that they made kind of a big deal about it being the first pinball with voice. can't help but wonder if they got a little over-impressed with that one historic aspect when there were plenty of better in-house original games to choose from. it was a big deal way back when... it's pretty trivial in this day and age IMO.

another thing that's been disappointing is that there are very few options for the simulation. you can't reduce the graphics detail to better run on slower systems, can't 'soften' or 'sharpen' the physics (even just changing the slope slightly would help), can't even black out the background if you find the 3D simulated environment annoying. the nudge directions are also reversed for some reason, making slap shots in particular extremely awkward...
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
A better table that Gorgar, say Sorcerer, may be a problem because it would showcase your physics, the good and the bad. And a table like Sorcerer requires good flipper physics.
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
coming soon,

New,

- a difficultly setting. If the window is shown, so is the difficulty setting (to the right of the window caption). The number and letter tiles, and anything added along that line is EASY. The pictures are intermediate, and the new puzzles are hard. Not only hard because the patterns produce similar looking tiles, but you can not auto solve them, and they are shuffled every time they are selected, and you will probably have little idea of what pattern they will make until you match a couple. (you will never see them in the correct order unless you do put them in it).

-the frame can cycle through tones of more colors and no longer shift from one color to another but through the shades of a single color. Press SHIFT to cycle forward through one base color (red,blue,yellow,green,orange,and white), then cursors left and right to adjust the tone. All colors reduce to a pewter color (silver, grey, whatever you want to call it) and max out to that color more solid color ( a bit of texture remains).
 

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Shockman

appropriate at this time
Slide_6

Download in the first post.

I like the alpha transparency in GM 8. There is just one object that is the frame, and just one image (a b&w texture). There is no color under it to actually blend to. I just basically say pretend that this color is under and fade this much. It's more of a colorizing of the object. This would be sweet in VP, if it's ever ready for such extravagant features. I would rather have table nudging and more flipper resolution.

Not that some Windows controls have changed and a corner means the frame, not the image, from the corner of the image to the corner of the frame (used on the bottom left and top left. I don't want to embellish the frame with icons, but I might make a toggle for some simple embossments (a HUD).

There is just one set of tiles (the objects) with one sprite each. Each sprites has 10 frames. If I did not freeze them they would be animating through all the puzzles.
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
The constant shuffle of the hard puzzles is annoying. So I made it to where if it is already shuffled it will not shuffle again. It needs fully tested though.
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
Slide_7

Updated (first post)

Do not move it to where you have an old _savegame file.

The new puzzles have the empty space at the upper right (you can tell by auto-solve, or just cycling through them when they are not mixed up)

I will update the docs and screenshots later.
 

Shockman

appropriate at this time
I had both Sgt. Bilko and Secret Squirrel mixed up. All is sorted now and updated. Note the order of the characters. This is the order that the program will recognized as solved. It is possible to put the characters together correctly but have them out of place.
 
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  • @ Ike Savage:
    where is the unapprove option, anyway? is that a super mod thing or something from the admin panel?
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  • @ Ike Savage:
    oh wait, I see it
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  • @ JonPurpleHaze:
    true, but they could also be invisible to users and perhaps allow the category to be removed
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    Don't know, do know that if you delete a category all files would also be removed so that's bad,
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  • @ Ike Savage:
    seems like we discussed it in some length at one point and came up with the current arrangement, but I don't have a strong opinion on that stuff. the one thing I do like is that I can clear out weaker tables from the main section without deleting them
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    Sounds fine to me Ike, can't disagree with ya!
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    is it that you want to declutter more of the resources section?
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    also, just to be clear-- the issue with "unapprove" is that you don't know if the table actually gets deleted from the server, right? AFAIK I have no way of seeing where the tables actually lie on the server, so it's something I can't test effectively
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    Can we get back to the subdomain folders/files, the uploads.pinballnirvana.com folder is where uploads would need to be, just wondering what might need to be deleted..
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    do you mind a phone call? probably easier to discuss, save some wear and tear on my hands, too
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    Um, so, Hi!. What did I miss? (he says as though he ducked to the toilet while the adds were on...)
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  • @ AnonTet:
    Hi guys, I«m asking here as it might have a quicker response. How can I check the ball size used by authors in FP? or at least the default size if anyone knows. Thanks
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  • @ Gimli:
    Most FP authors use the default size and don't know how to use BAM to alter it.
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  • @ Gimli:
    I think it may be 13.8 though
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  • @ AnonTet:
    Thanks. But while I've waited I've looked at a ring around a ramp in LotR that's 26mm so i figure the ball being 24mm. A bit short of real life ball size if that's so.
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  • @ AnonTet:
    of course I could've used my brains earlier and create a table with some carefully spaced guides and check that the ball is in fact 27mm in diameter. Peeking at fp.exe and bam.dll and there's no way to change this. you can set the colour and the id to track it though (but that's known)
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  • @ Gimli:
    With Bam custom ball coding you can create balls of any size...see my titorial
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    @ Gimli: https://pinballnirvana.com/forums/index.php?threads/bam-feature-how-to-guides.19601/post-120547 +1
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