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All that glitters isn't peace and calm

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PN co-founder
So it seems I’m not the only one who feels that the so-called VP Community doesn’t always fuction as a community. When Hakyoku Seiken recently released the bonus material for his 8 Ball Remix, he included some fairly blunt but honest comments that might upset some folks. The thing of it is folks, it ecohes a lot of what I’ve been saying all along. Maybe Haky and I are both wrong, but I’m sure there are others who feel the same way. All too often there is an elitist attitude in the VP community, which simply doesn’t foster the help and cooperation that most of us would like to see. Here is what Haky had to say.

The reason this has been included with the table is because I want to help out those who want to/do make tables who have a hard time finding resources. It seems that unless you happen to be some super high profile author (for one reason or another), it's VERY hard coming by decent images to use. In a kind of catch 22, without good images to work with, your product is less polished looking ... but people won't waste their time helping you if they think you can't or won’t make a decent looking table.

I'm hoping that this will kind of help along some budding authors in some way or another. If this really IS a VP COMMUNITY, we should start acting like it ... share those images folks! Shivasite has a repository setup so that it doesn't take but a few clicks to share your quality images so that ALL of the tables in the community will gradually get better instead of the same few people constantly being the only ones with the resources to put together a halfway decent product because they're the only ones that people are helping out. If it weren't for Scapino and Plumb, EBR would look pretty damn sad ...

So let's help each other out. Share your ideas, photos, textures, tutorials, anything! Why complain about how 'bad tables look' when you're doing nothing to improve the situation? You don't have to make the table, but if you have resources someone else needs so THEY can make the table and you hold out, you might as well be making the table look bad FOR them. But of course, what do I know, right? I don't have 60 million tables under my belt to prove I know what I'm doing. EBR was what I did WITHOUT your help.

The above is my own opinion that I do not expect everyone agree with. Take it for what it is ... an angry rant from someone who sees only a handful of authors getting images, info, sound, etc. they need for their work while many other starving authors are left to their own devices. if this offended you, there's probably a reason for that.

There you have it folks, someone else who doesn’t see our VP community through rose-colored glasses. Someone else who isn’t afraid to say exactly what he feels is the problem. I edited and toned down Haky’s comments at his request, but I have to appluad him for saying what all too few of us are willing to admit, we aren’t nearly as supportive as we tell ourselves we are. Maybe on the surface everyone talks nice and acts friendly, but Haky and I both see a lot of people who simply ignore the majority of members, be them authors, newbies, other VP sites, what have you.

Sure, there’s no rule that says you have to help anyone, so why put yourself out? Because if we really are a community, we need to begin acting like one. We proved that we can be helpful and considerate when maf discussed a deep personal problem he is struggling with. We proved it when BJ said he was leaving VP. So if we can rise to the ocassion when one of our cyber-friends is having a personal problem, why is it that we can’t be caring and helpful all the time?

Maybe it’s human nature to be selfish and uncaring. Maybe we simply don’t have the time to look for images, sounds, or what have you. On the other hand, time and again, bit by bit, I’ve been given bagatelle and flipperless images. But only three or four folks have shared these with me. What I don’t understand is why more folks aren’t willing to share their time. Fewer and fewer folks offer any real help, and it’s always the same few who offer help with scripting or image enhancement. I hear a lot of offers, but most of it ends up being empty promises.

Those of you who do come through, I commend you for your willingness to become involved. And even if you don’t feel the way both Haky and I do doesn’t mean there aren’t those kinds of problems, only that you haven’t encountered them. There are others who agree with Haky and me, they just haven’t made their opinions public. But I have had a number of PMs and e-mails in support for my views. So maybe if we can discuss these issues, we can at least agree to disagree, or even make more people aware of the problem, and willing to get involved. So, what’s your take on all of this? Isn't it time to stop sugar-coating life in VP, and admit that things aren't as nice and friendly once we scratch away the thin layer of hype?

John & Haky


Perfectionist Bastard
I think I alluded to something similar over at ShivaSite.

Now I don't usually go after VPM tables to rebuild. I did, for a while, but the quality and/or availability of source material usually proved to be a problem, so I didn't bother. And I wasn't even looking to rebuild all that much.

Firepower was my exception, just because I really liked that machine. Stellar Wars got an update which looks reasonable so far, and I have a version of Flash that I did an aesthetic update to but won't release (I ran it by Stein, he likes his version better and requested that I don't release it). This is all right, because the only thing I changed there was the lights.

But I remember asking for MONTHS, if sporadically, here, there, asking for source material for Firepower. Nobody is forthcoming to me.

Then one day out of the blue, lo! but what should appear?

Another VPM of Firepower, with some serious top-notch source material.

Where was this stuff when I was asking?

My comment on ShivaSite was that some authors seem to get source material practically THROWN at them to do a table, while others have perform the inet equivalent of going panhandling, dumpster-diving or sewer-crawling to get anything.

Can I be blunt?

This attitdude sucks in this regard, often hard enough to draw a big square rock through a rope.

As has been pointed out, it's a big catch-22. Them what gots, gets, while them what doesn't, don't.

I've been thus far very fortunate in my quest to recreate some of the EMs (I've only done one, but the quest is very large). Gottlieb (Jay Philips) has recreated many, and he does very well. If people cared about EMs and Non-VPM recreations the way they seem to about the VPM recreations, Gottlieb and several others would be held in the same deific regard that most of the VP community hold the VPM recreators in.

To be honest, I'm just as glad to see that most of the warez-kidz are going after the VPM stuff; it leaves me and other authors to do their work for people who appreciate real pinball.

Maybe to some of you I may seem "elitist" for having gone to the trouble to make EMs sound/look like EMs or to point out that "that sound is not quite right" or "that font is not quite right." Get over it. I'm not elitist, though I am proud of my work. I'm a musician, and my dad used to do financial printing; hence, I am wont to be observant of aural and visual detail (I remember being overjoyed, for example, to have located Franklin Gothic in a book of typefaces at age 10 and noting that, "Hey, that's the same typeface used by some pinball machines).

[Incidentally, if anyone can find me a near perfect match for the font used on the mid-70s Bally star bumper caps saying, i.e., "1000 POINTS WHEN LIT", I would be very appreciative.]

In light of the non-cooperation, if there is anything that someone thinks I happen to have that they would like that I have NOT already posted, please feel free to contact me. My source art collection is limited (hence my rant), so I probably have less quality material than you could garner from some other member of the community. If I get anything worthwhile, I will POST it. I leave my tables unlocked, and my scripting engines are always available (if, on occasion, somewhat flawed -- fear not, updates happen as soon as I am aware of problems!).

And my rant is done, pretty much. But I've been tired of the elitism which pervades VP for quite some time now; perhaps I should have left well enough alone and let John and Hakyoku Seiken's complaint(s) stand, but I felt the need to add my voice to the cause. Forgive me if my eloquence is lacking this time.


PN co-founder
I appreciate you adding your voice to ours, the more folks who speak up make it harder for the rest of the so-called community to brush us aside as troublemakers. I think there are a fair number of people who probably wish now that I hadn't returned, but when I did I promised myself I would work to improve the community, and my only tool is my words.

The lack of resources that you and Haky mention won't improve unless someone does something about it. JPH has started, by adding almost every image of every released table in our gallery. And slowly, I plan to scan and add as many flipperless and EM images as possible. I've added already, and many more will soon be added, as time permits. Not every image will be perfect, but at least we'll have a place to begin.

I have always been somewhat of a rebel, and now that a few others are willing to step forward and agree with me, it'll only help make my voice a bit stronger, a bit louder. Everything isn't rosy, like some VPF apologist would have you believe. And if and when I see something I think is wrong, I'm going to say so. I'm not trying to cause problems, but rather I'm trying to cure that ails the VP community, so that it can really become a community. In the 3 1/2 years I've been around, things have steadily gone downhill, and it's time that direction changed.



Pinball Nudger
I'd just like to add that it's not just the VP community that is holding back on resources, but the entire pinball community at large. While the IPDB is great, it too could see some much better contributions. For instance, I was handed off some very high res and detailed photos of Miss-O which make the few pics of it at IPDB look piss poor by comparison. Destruk mentioned to me that resources aren't limited to just images and sounds but manuals as well since you can't well make an accurate simulation of something when you have no idea how the real one works to begin with and I agree with that 100%. I know for a fact that many VP players DO have universally useful pinball artifacts, if not several tables sitting in their own living space that they've probably never even taken a camera, scanner or microphone to and never will. VP is only a small part of the entire pinball enthusiast collective and I'm sure the leet crews are happening upon pics like I have at regular intervals that should've been at IPDB to begin with. VP itself when dealing with recreations is nothing more than a virtual copy of the real deal, requiring everything except physical space to operate like the real deal...it's kind of like a virtual model of what the real thing would be like based on digital artifacts of machines long out of production....sadly, these are the EASIEST artifacts to come by when it comes to pinball, simulated or otherwise...yet...most of it avaible is not worth while and only wet your apetite at best, rather than satisfy it.

With reguards to vp specific items, I personally understand that not everyone has the patience to create great graphics or the skill and precision to redraw a playfield from a photo of a table that's been through a huricane, etc. Again, it's not just about that. Offering resources in this respect is great, but it extends to things like scripting help, theories and ideas, and general information sharing, not the hoarding of it for yourself so that you look better than everyone, which some people do on a regular basis.

Something else I'd like to add as well, if you use ANYTHING I've provided or released, I don't give a damn if you give me credit or not. I've seen some fellas raise a stink about crediting sources for material used and to me, it's just a bunch of cock swinging, if you ask me. I personally do give credit to people that have helped me, but only because they are so few and far between. However, I ask for nothing like that in return. Unless you keep an active notepad listing with everyone's names and what they contributed (like I do!) there's literally no way to remember it all. It is polite and respectful to do such things, but to raise a stink because someone forgot to put your name in big bold letters in a table info for using a stinkin' ball image or something else miniscule you made is just ridiculous.

By the way, tilt, I can sum up what's wrong with the community at large in 3 letters...but do I really need to spell it out? ;)

Again, this ranting only applies to those people who are guilty. If you feel offended by it, good. It's time you got as pissed as some of us 'other guys' have been for a while now. :)


PN co-founder
Thanks Haky and Greywolf for posting over here. It's my opinon that the reason very few folks have responed over at VPF is that the one's who Haky and I were aimig for what that thread, and the problem, to die. But if everyone who agreed posted here, then it can't be swept under the rug.

There's more things besides selfishness and a lack of cooperation that needs to be addressed, but if they are addressed at VPF they are either shrugged off, or the vocal few over there try to bully me into silence, although I've shown that won't work. And the problem isn't only at VPF, it's just that it's more evident there, since those elite members seldom leave VPF.

I invite anyone from any of the five forums to came here and say their peace. If we could openly discuss and debate what I and a lot of others see as problems, maybe we can finally begin to act like a community. Just because I don't agree with someone who feels they are important doesn't make me wrong.

While I've seldom gotten help the majority of the times I asked, I have been helped by a few people who don't always agree with me, and that shows that there is hope. Bob has helped me more times than I can remember, with code fixes, a coin/ball image, and explaining how hidden walls can be used to lower or shorten pins. Leon Splading sent me a large assortmeent of high quality images for flipperless tables, which I plan on making use of before too much longer. And Panda has done the same.

So it isn't that NO ONE helps, it's that very few help. Now if a small handful of folks are willing to help, and in some cases someone they don't see eye-to-eye with, why can't others help? Maybe they want to be begged. Maybe they want a bigger fuss made over the fact that they helped. Like Haky said, he doen't care if he gets credit or not, and neither do I. I help a lot of folks, simply because I want to see the quality of VP work improve. If I was a glory hound, I'd do nothing but crurn out table with Patrick, my partner. But I'm interested in helping when and how I can, which is why I continue to update my Bagatelle Starter Kit two years after I first released it.



Pinball Wizard
Site Supporters
I have no idea how to motivate people to help out. I have a cdrw drive again, so I could run off another copy of my pictures and manuals to mail out again, but it's the same stuff that's been distributed before. Most of the good material is already in use with existing table releases - so having the original source images isn't going to instantly make your work better than what is already available.
Most of the existing authors read RGP, and seek out owners who are willing to follow through and provide the necessary material, and yeah it's tough to get, but it's the most hassle-free way to get it done.
As far as I know, the 'hoarding' issue is only prevalent with 3 or 4 different people. Most will share what they have if asked for it. When you look at it that way, I don't see this as the big problem you're making it out to be. I mean we can't make anyone do something they don't want to do - and in that light I'm happy so many have helped that have.


PN co-founder
Some very good points you've made Destruk. A lot of the time it's simply a matter of asking the right people for help. And sad to say that all too often it's always the same few who do help. How if we could get more folks to be as helpful and willing to share as you are, most of our problems would be solved.

Another part of the problem is that with older EMs and flipperless, a lot of times there simply isn't much material available, especially on rules and gameplay. That's one of the nice things about doing bagatelle, they all basically function the same way, only the point values of the cups change, along with waht few rules there are.

And another good point you make is about RPG, which I have to admit I seldom visit. So I guess it's really a matter of looking for what we need, and not being shy about asking for it. Good first post there Brian.



Pinball Nudger
Hi guy's, Great forum and web site you have here...

As you know I havn't been around much lately but I still check out the forums from time to time, work has prevented me from getting too involved in pinball but still enjoy playing VP tables when I can...

As it seems to me the community you speak about is more about the vibe and atmosphere which when pleasant and positive brings the best out of people and the resources and offerings would be more abundant.

I have been in and around the VP forum for the last couple of years and there is always complaining and negativity which doesn't paint a good picture for new comers or inspire offerings from others, I bet there are a lot of creative, resoucefull people that visit the forums but do not make them selves known either..

Unfotunatley forums and online communities are a very hard and often awkward to shape into the ideal peace and happiness ( hippie talk ) that the majority desire, there is always going to be the trouble makers etc.

Even creating posts like this in it's very self can be harmfull in the sense that if anything said by myself or another member can be taken so differently and sensitivity levels also vary...

Basically what I am trying to say is pick up the vibe and atmosphere, boycott negative and baiting posts and don't be thin skinned while parking your ego's outside. :)

BTW, this is a total generalisation and not directed at any individual whatsoever...

Long Live Pinball...

Cheers: Brettski...


Visual pinball and the tables are free.
There are enough people doing war for money, glory or power. There is no reason to do the same for free!

I just remark that the 8 balls remix is one the rarely tables with lights not entirely black where there are off. Very good .


PN co-founder
Thanks for your comments Brettski, I didn't realize you were old enough to even know Hippie Talk, much less use it. And the only problem with not pointing out things that you feel need improving is that then things will never improve. Obviously there are people who agree with my comments, and that indicates that there might be a problem. I'm not implying that this issue will ruin VP, only that things can always be better. And if issues are simply ignored, things can also get much worse.



Pinball Nudger
There's ignorance and there's acceptance. Ignorance hurts more in the long run wheras acceptance, it's known and it's opportunity to be corrected is much higher.

Doesn't mean it will be corrected, but I'd rather it not be ignored because it 'doesn't concern you'.

When I wrote those comments (that were much more colorful) for EBR, I was trying to imply that getting resources is not an equal opportunity. If you're new or unknown, it's like pulling teeth. You can ask for the same thing for a year and never get one reply while someone who is known just mentions it in passing and will have every resource avaiable to them within a week, much of those resources having not been published through any internet outlet previously. Where's the equality in that? It's not that you have to admit that everyone's skills are equal like some communist country and everyone gets paid the same whether they're a cook or a doctor. But in the US everyone has the CHANCE to become a doctor or some other position of high reguard. It would be nice if everyone was given the chance to create the table of their dreams instead of a table that does the best it can with what it's got.

For this reason alone, I don't lock my tables (I've learned the most from unlocked tables), and even provide my resources to anyone who wants them because previous people doing the same (all 5 of them) is what made me into (what I feel) a decent table maker. I'm not the best but without those few resources floating around that have helped me, I'd probably still be trying to figure out things like how to get 2 ramps to connect without a ball falling through or any other small pitfall that new authors face. It's not about the established guys getting what they want easier. It's about fostering new talent in general. I like the guys that are making tables now, but I'd love to see fresh faces and without people having a true open forum for such things as resources, the fresh faces don't do anything but play tables instead of make them.

Again, it's my own opinion. I don't expect people to agree. I've been in a minority since I came into the VP scene so I'm not expecting some huge change anytime, if ever. I just hope some people will listen. Even releasing one image is better than releasing nothing at all, even if you think no one can use it for anything. You never know, some of us 'dumpster divers' will find your trash to be utter gold.


PN co-founder
Very well said Haky. That's why I took my own copy of Pinball Compendium 1, cut it up, and am scanning it and uploading the images to our Image Gallery. The images are both flipperless and early EMs, so their appeal might be limited, but at least they are available for anyone who wants them. So far I've uploaded 75 of them, and there are close to 200 more to come, as time allows. And then I'll do the same with Trade Stimulators and Counter Top games. Mayne no one really is interested, but then, maybe it's just that resources haven't been available. Either way, at least I feel I'm helping preserve a part of pinball history. If a few more old tables get made in the process, all the better.


Pinball Nudger
This is quite an interesting topic.
And it's quite an eye-opener to me.

The only time I requested materials from the VPF community,
I had a pretty good response. That was about 3 years ago.. so.. who knows?

If things have happenned as you say Haky, that's pretty disappointing.

I don't know how you will improve the situation though.

If people aren't sending you things because they "don't want to/can't be bothered",
then I'm not sure what you can say to convince them to change their behaviour.

The only possible cure (which I'm not seriously suggesting)
would be to have someone at VPF/PN/Shiva who is the "requests guru".

Whenever author X, Y or Z needs something, they PM the requests guru,
who then says "Someone needs a Playfield for XYZ.. can anyone help?"

That would overcome your problem, as the author's identity is seperated from the request.

But as I said - it's not a serious suggestion.


PN co-founder
Interesting idea Staypuft, a Requests Coordinator. Now if only we could find someone who haven't ruffled too many feathers over the years. The perfect person from my view point would be the Baker Man, TheManFromPOST. But I wonder if he'd be willing to put up with all the headaches. Besides, it would only work if every author used such a system when they needed images.



Pinball Nudger
I'm not saying that you won't get help at all...it's that either a) on person will help you and only have very little at all, but they do help regaurdless or b) you have to raise a stink and then you'll get a tiny bit of help after a year or so. I've only asked for images a total of 3 times now. First was High Speed (still waiting on that one after about a year now. I wouldn't take a handout from PD if my life depended on it), second was Eight Ball, which I didn't get any help for a while until I posted a near final screenshot. Then old requests I'd sent at the start of the project suddenly got answered, but 3 of them were 'I don't have them, ask xxx guy' and I'd ask xxxguy who'd say, 'Don't look at me, ask yyyguy'. Definately timelier than High Speed, but considering I had to specifically ask people to get responses with my forum post being pretty damn near ignored on the subject (which, again, it's a popular game so why are pics so hard to come by?). This last time, I feel I've gotten extremely lucky. I've got 15 megs of pics from one person and another (a brand new user according to their joined-date) has said they've got the machine I'm recreating in their general vacinity they've got access to and will take any pictures I ask them to. After a year and a half, someone with a camera is being nice, and genuinely helpful.

I know for a fact certain authors never have to worry about such things. Again, if they happen to cough and it *sounds* like they said the name of a pin, they'd drown in photos while other authors are sitting there trying to make the best they can of a tyny 400x600 shot they found on IPDB because the people who own the machine don't give a flying flip about them or their lack of rep.

Like i said, pics for recreations is only one piece of the whole pie. These pics should be going to IPDB. People also seem to think that they've got nothing to offer, but if you own a machine, you can help either a) the person who wants to recreate it, b) someone like me who's got no friggin idea how a pinball machine works or what half the parts look like (I'm always having to model and draw from memory or bad photos), c) with real feedback...you have the machine, tell someone making it what's not right (though, watch out...some people believe they are never wrong).

I don't know what else to add. I've seriously been thinking of just dropping VP for the last month or so. This coupled with people being beyond the law at VPF because of what they do 'for the site hits', I'm tired of everything...if it wasn't for the individual who volunteered (in 2 places to make sure I got the message), I probably would have by now , especially after garbage that was posted about me last night.


PN co-founder
I sure hope you don't end up leaving VP Haky. I reaaly like your style, and besides, you're a fighter, and we sure need more troops. Maybe it's becuase I'm older than dirt, but I tend to ignore most of what is said to/about me that I don't agree with. My attitude is that if I don't stick up for what I believe is right, then all those bozos I have been debating for 3 1/2 years will win. And come hell or high water I ain't letting them ever win. My personal motto is I might not always be right but I'm Never wrong. There are a few people in VP that have me so peeved that if they all of a sudden agreed with me I would change my POV so we wouldn't be on the same side.

John :oldman


Pinball Nudger
HakyokuSeiken said:
This coupled with people being beyond the law at VPF because of what they do 'for the site hits', I'm tired of everything...

Well, Haky, I certainly don't moderate that way,
and I've NEVER seen a staff discussion where such things
were even hinted at.

If you have problems with a post at VPF, report it,
and we'll look at it.

I have reprimanded many of the "popular authors" when I felt
they had gone too far... and they are people on *both* sides of the usual VP arguments....
some of them people I consider my "vp friends"..
and nothing's harder than moderating against a 'friend'.
But that's what you have to do.

I'm sorry your impression is otherwise, but that's the truth.

(Obviously I can't give you any details, as we don't discuss
any reprimands, except with the person involved.)


PN co-founder
While I do feel that there are a chosen few who can do no wrong at VPF, I can say that Mr Marshmallow is fair. He and I are VP pals and he's always getting on my case when I take pot shots at folks. I wish he'd go on vacation because there are a few people who I really would like to unload on.



Pinball Nudger
tiltjlp said:
While I do feel that there are a chosen few who can do no wrong at VPF, I can say that Mr Marshmallow is fair. He and I are VP pals and he's always getting on my case when I take pot shots at folks. I wish he'd go on vacation because there are a few people who I really would like to unload on.


Well Tilt.... what happenned?

I went away for a whole 3 weeks... and you didn't do anything.

oh well............


appropriate at this time
"This coupled with people being beyond the law at VPF..."

"Well, Haky, I certainly don't moderate that way,"


Edited most out. I did not notice how old this thread is.


PN co-founder
Shockman said:
"This coupled with people being beyond the law at VPF..."

"Well, Haky, I certainly don't moderate that way,"


Edited most out. I did not notice how old this thread is.

Hey, it doesn't matter how old a thread is. If you have something to add, get it off your chest son.

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