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Future Pinball Installation Program and Alternate Executables

Support File FP Future Pinball Installation Program and Alternate Executables 2022, July 26

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Installation Program

At one point in time, some folks had trouble downloading the Future Pinball installation program from https://futurepinball.com/ so I provided an alternate download location for the most current version that works with BAM. It is still attached here as the first download but you should use the 2in1 installer which installs Future Pinball and BAM as I discuss in my guide here:


Alternate Executables

The second download is not as useful as it once was. It contains all the versions of the alternate Future Pinball executables. The reason they were created was to change the default physics that is in the original executable. It was very inconvenient because you had to pair tables with an executable to have the correct physics. Ravarcade created Better Arcade Mode (BAM) in 2013. BAM managed the different versions of physics with different XML files instead of having to change executables. The alternate executables also incorporated other changes. These are the most popular changes:

1) Removal of Future Pinball's splash logo during table loading and the in-game watermark
2) Removal of the 800 objects limit
3) Better memory management

There are other methods of adding each of these features today. In fact, the pinball cabinet guys are not able to use some of the alternate executables because of an interface problem with their front end programs. I have a desktop PC that uses no front end programs and have not had any problem using any of the alternate executables. The following describe the other methods of addressing the above features:

1) There is a method for removing the watermark or splash screens that do not require using an alternate Future Pinball executable file. The in-game Future Pinball logo can be removed in BAM by opening the in-game BAM menu, usually by pressing the ` (key the left of the 1 key) or "Q" key. Then, arrow down to the "Addons" menu item and press "enter". Then, arrow down to "Hide FP logo" and right arrow to change it to "<On". By having this option turned on, you will have the logo appear for a few seconds and then it will disappear.

To remove the Future Pinball logo from the table loading screen, download the the third attachment to this topic (default.zip). Do not extract the ZIP file. Save the file as is to the following folder:

C:\Games\Future Pinball\BAM

2) BAM incorporated a change several years ago that allows you to exceed 800 objects. It only allowed you to insert objects from an option in the editor. You could not exceed 800 objects by copying an object from an existing object on the table and pasting it. The executable will do both but there is no need for it anymore. BAM version 1.5-351 changed it so you can copy and paste now. If you want to test it, my version of Twilight Zone has more than 800 objects.

Once a table developer has successfully saved more than 800 objects, the table will play on any version of Future Pinball. So those of you that never add objects to tables don't need to deal with this. I think this limit was originally set up to prevent resource problems on PCs. Today, the size of textures and models are a more limiting factor on PC resources than the number of objects.

3) Some of the alternate executables allow Future Pinball to have 4 gigabytes of virtual memory on 64 bit platforms (instead of only 2). The same thing can be accomplished but using the patch available here:


Ravarcade has also patched several memory leaks so that FP does not use as much memory as it once did so these memory tricks are not needed as much as they once were except on some of TerryRed's tables.

If you would like to use one of these executable files, you must first install the Future Pinball program. Then replace your existing Future Pinball.exe file in the C:\Games\Future Pinball folder with the new version. Keep the old one handy in case you don't like the changes so you can swap it back.

If using an alternate executable file, you will need to change the default physics in the executable by adding a default.xml file to your BAM folder. This allows you to have the benefits of the different features of the different executable files but change the default physics to what you prefer. I described how to add the default.xml file along with the directions on how to perform a full installation of BAM here:


I have included everything in the download that was included with the original posting of the executables. Several of the versions of physics have more files than just the Future Pinball executable file. Some of these files may make Future Pinball crash. For this reason, I recommend that you only use the Future Pinball executable and discard the other files. I am including everything for those of you that like to experiment but be warned that I have found that the opengl32.dll file that is in the Zed versions makes Future Pinball crash on my PC. You should note that the file name of some of the Future Pinball executables in the download have some identifying text at the end of the file name. You need to change these file names to Future Pinball.exe.

Review of the Versions of Alternate Executables

Versions 2.0 though 2.3


As far as I can tell from testing and review of the notes included in the downloads, these versions only change the physics. These are not likely to interest anyone although I did use them to generate the XML files that Ravarcade added to the BAM installation files.

Version 2.4

This is the first version that removed the Future Pinball watermark logo and also removed the splash start up screen. Of course, it changes the physics also. I have noticed that the text on the start up screen differs depending on the version. This version has the least amount of change from any of the versions. This is screenshot of the text at the bottom of the screen from this version:

2.4.png


Note that the screenshots here do not show the blue progress bar. For reasons unknown, Windows does how show it on a screenshot.

I see no other changes from review of the text file in the download and testing. It would stand to reason that this is the version that was changed the least since it is the first version to remove the watermark and splash. If you are going to try one of these alternate executables, this one would be the one I would try first if I used front end programs on a cabinet.

Version 2.5

This version removed the Future Pinball watermark logo and removed the splash start up screen. It also changes the physics. There is a file that can be run to make adjustments to Future Pinball's registry settings to add arcade lighting (but I don't recommend trying it). Version 2.5 Release 2 carries the arcade lighting a bit further as described below.

There are 2 executable files included in the download with no notes as to what is different. The only change I noticed is on the text on the start up screen. These screenshots show the differences:

From file Future Pinball.exe

2.5.png


From file Future Pinball (alt).exe

2.5 alt.png


I prefer the second one above. It shows the progress of what is being loaded. The display starts out by displaying "Processing Models", then it goes to "Processing Sounds and Music" then "Initiating Playfield Objects" then "Injecting Textures" then "Compiling Script" and finally "Processing Registry Entries". The last one usually goes by so fast that you don't see it although during a crash the progress bar usually stops at one of these points before it crashes. The text that is displayed at the point where the progress bar stops can help you identify why the table crashed and possibly aid in troubleshooting. If you use the original Future Pinball executable, these same progress reports are available on it also.

Version 2.5 Release 2

The download has two executables and the only difference I can tell between the two is that one has the splash and watermark and the other does not. The download has a text file (FP2.5R2.txt) that explains what was changed. It claims that the changes make tables load faster. I verified it is true but only by about 3 seconds on the table I tested. This is a screenshot of the text at the bottom of the start up screen of the one without the splash and watermark:

2.5-2.png


This is the only alternate executable that allows you to exceed adding 800 objects to a table but this feature is not needed anymore because BAM will exceed 800 objects. Once the table is saved with more than 800 objects, you can play the table on any version of Future Pinball. End users won't have any problem with the table unless they want to add more objects. Then they will either need to follow the BAM guidance above or use this executable.

One of the features is something I have never noticed before. It is a new option on the file pull down menu that is named, "Save for Arcade". I didn't understand what it did by reading the text file so I tried it. I found it adds the contents of the libraries into the table and saves the table as a new file. It makes the table file larger but you can expect that. I remember I changed a table once to add the libraries to a table and it was very time consuming. So you can use this option if you hate library files. The only time I have ever found library files to be useful is when I want to provide more than one version of music for a table. You can just have the user replace a library file and provide different music without having to do any coding.

An interesting change is the removal of the "Table Slope" limitation of 10. I tested this and found you can save a slope higher than 10 on a table and be able to play it on any version of Future Pinball. If you saved a slope higher than 10 and edit it on a different executable, you will have to enter a value of 10 or less (so don't edit it if you want it). I have worked on physics for a long time and have never needed to change the table slope to anything higher than a 9 so this option would probably be of limited usefulness to most folks.

An option was added for external calls. I don't anticipate anyone ever using this. Most folks use DOFLinx to drive the extra bells and whistles on pinball cabinets. I suspect the presence of this option may interfere with the workings of DOFLinx and other front end programs, so I think cabinet users should stay away from this executable.

One thing I hate on this executable is the removal of the option "Play With Debug F9". If you are a table developer, the debug mode helps to identify problems on the table. This removal makes it so you can't use it.

Version 2.5 Slamtilt Rubbers

This version has nearly the save physics as the previously mentioned version 2.5's. The only change is to three of the rubber settings. It removes the Future Pinball watermark logo and splash start up screen. I see no other changes from review of the text file in the download and testing. This is a screenshot of the text at the bottom of the start up screen:

2.5 Slam.png


Version 2.6

The download has two executables. One has the splash and watermark and the other does not. I see no other changes from review of the text file in the download and testing (except physics). The text on the start up screens for the version without the splash and watermark is the same as Version 2.5 Slamtilt Rubbers on the executable without the logo.

Version 2.7

This version removes the splash and watermark. I see no other changes from review of the text file in the download and testing (except physics). The text on the start up screens is the same as Version 2.5 Slamtilt Rubbers.

Zedpinball Physics v1.0 and v1.11

Both the v1.0 and v1.11 versions that have separate executables for 32 bit and what they identify as 64 bit versions. The "64 bit" version allow Future Pinball to have 4 gigabytes of virtual memory on 64 bit platforms (instead of only 2). At one time, I recommended using the version for 64 bit platforms. This helps to improve memory usage. I stopped using the Zed version because lights have a different glow pattern. I don't like the glow pattern as well as the other executables. I have found that since I stopped using the Zed versions I don't have memory problems probably because Ravarcade has patched several memory leaks. All of the Zed versions remove the splash and watermark. I have gotten feedback that guys that have pinball cabinets do have problems with their front end programs when using the Zed executable. The text on the bottom of the start up screens is the same as Version 2.5 Slamtilt Rubbers for all the Zed versions.

Conclusions

In conclusion, you will need to decide if you use the alternate executables or use the other methods I described near the beginning of this posting. I guess I am a little picky, I don't like having the Future Pinball in-game watermark logo appear and then fade out when using the BAM logo option. I tended to use Version 2.7 although I decided to switch to the version 2.5 alternate version in order to be able to monitor the table loading progress. Of course, I don't have a pinball cabinet with all the various front end programs which can have problems with these executables. I just use FP and BAM and don't have any problems using any of the alternate executables.

I used to use the Version 2.5 Release 2 when I edited tables that have more than 800 objects. I will stop using it now that BAM handles 800 objects. I will probably experiment a bit more with the "Save for Arcade" option on Release 2. I haven't noticed it until I wrote this.

TerryRed will tell you to not use any of these alternate executable files. Of course, he has an elaborate array of front end programs on his pinball cabinet and has had a bad experience with some of these alternate executable files.

George
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