• Many thanks to Ian Longstaff for his lovely table roundups, posted on YT. And here is... WEEK SEVEN!

    Also, here's our browser games collection, for those who are playful.
  • Google Translate to French or Other Languages Click on the link and a new tab will open with this page translated into French.
    Click on the "To:" pull down option to select a different language. Users will not be logged in on the new Google tab.

Earthshaker WIP

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
Hi all. I hope this message board is more friendly than certain other ones have become.

Here is the latest screenie of my Earthshaker WIP table.
 

StevOz

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Welcome PacDude and MrHide, that looks rather stunning I must say.

Rest assured this place is friendly and moderated, no flames from anyone will be tolerated.

Any actions taken by the staff will be posted.
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
I have Earthshaker running now (still need to do the building effects) and I've found what appears to be a Vpinmame bug. The first time I run the table everything is fine. If I exit the table and run it again I lose all my music and about half the sound effects. This does not seem to affect other games, even other System 11 games like Whirlwind (they still sound fine). I don't get my music back agian until I reboot. The cycle then starts all over again. It does this on my table and the older Earthshaker tables. Deleting the NVRam file did not help. It affects both romsets (if it goes out on one it goes out on the other too).

Does anyone else have this problem on the existing Earthshaker tables? Or is it just my setup? Could it be some kind of bug in Vpinmame? It kind of sucks not having music/sound and/or having to reboot every time....
 

StevOz

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
If I exit the table then reload it from the HD some sounds vanish, so long as i have it in memory, all sounds are there. Then if I exit VP, then reload VP they return, very strange.

Athlon 1333, GF2MX400 32MB, W98se.

With YieldTime = 1 which works best on my system for all VPM, without the yieldtime statement I sometimes get a little static.
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
Was the falling building effect not on all Earthshakers? The rulesheet I have here doesn't even mention it. Is it supposed to fall when you complete a building? Does it fall in stages? (I see one solenoid for it, but two position switches). I'll probably try to get it to work later today, but it'd be useful to know how it behaves ahead of time.

I surmise that the California/Nevads bit actually moves apart on the real machine (I've never played a real one). The gameplay is fine here and the ball falling into the shelter looks cool (animated), but the states moving apart isn't animated (yet). I'm not sure if I can animate it without resorting to large BMP playfields (so I can use transparency for a top mapped image). I'll have to think about that one a bit.

The reel flasher effects look pretty when they cycle fast, but they tend to stay on longer in Earthshaker than RoadShow and it looks kind of fake when one stays turned on solid too long. Roadshow pulses them which makes it more believeable. Plus red and blue just don't have as much color bandwidth to light them up as believeably using the tools I've been using before.

I dunno. I don't want to rush the table, but I can't help but think maybe I shouldn't have started 3 tables at once since it kind of makes me want to hurry and move on to the next one....
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
Since the forums load the picture every time the thread is viewed I figured I better delete the older screenshots. It seems a little overly complex to add and delete attachments here, though. It seems like it would be better to just have the full panel with the editor than have to load it up all over again. I also miss the "quick" reply option and the "auto return" to the thread after posting. Minor things, though.

I've got the building light reels added now. I need to make it show the building drop next and get some kind of lights on the backbox. Unfortunately, my backbox resolution kind of sucks and I haven't found a better photo yet, so I might have to use conventional lights and text boxes to do its lights (it's blurry even at 1600x1200).

Edit: I used two sets of lights instead for the backbox lights. I think it looks pretty convincing....

Edit2: I've added new apron images and adjusted the lighting on the apron cards and the backbox color lights. Plus I've adjusted the building light reels so they look correct at both 1600x1200 and 1024x768 (amazing how things like that can be off from each other due to decimal points at varying resolutions).
 

Jive

Inserted Coin
Awesome!!!
Can't wait to play it! :)

Hmmm... I'm pretty sure that you have discovered a secret on table's editing (like the way to place decalls exactly at the correct place without doing many tries). Otherwise, I fail to understand how you may have time to do so much perfect tables, graphically talking.
I'm absolutely amazed, and I'm very serious. :shock:

I sincerely regret your bad days on the other place... I wish you a good time here. :hotsun:
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
Well it seems I forgot about a fundamental problem with reels and drop walls. Namely, they make drop walls invisible. I guess I should have did a test first, but I thought if I set the reels to be transparent when the building was to fall, I could then use drop walls to make the building fall and it'd be seamless. Well the problem is when I made the reels transparent, I could see right through the building where the numbers would be. This pretty much kills that idea. Likewise, VP lights won't appear on drop walls so I can't use regular lights.

The only other thing I can think of is to use multiple drop walls, but trying to align them to the numbers would be a nightmare plus the table would slow to a crawl with 9 drop walls changing constantly.

Frankly, I'm not sure how I can make the building drop at this point without an obvious visual glitch.
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
Jive said:
Awesome!!!
Can't wait to play it! :)

Hmmm... I'm pretty sure that you have discovered a secret on table's editing (like the way to place decalls exactly at the correct place without doing many tries). Otherwise, I fail to understand how you may have time to do so much perfect tables, graphically talking.

No secrets, just lots of starting the table, exiting and adjusting. You get faster with practice. Plus you can get some ballpark ideas pretty quickly based on the real image size. The "auto width" tool with decals makes keeping their aspect ratios correct a lot easier too.

In any case, I said it's easier to make new tables than "mod" someone else's mistakes and I wasn't kidding. I don't have to look for mistakes, problems and things that could be "improved" (that alone means countless revisions with mods IMO) because I already know I have to make everything. So that saves an entire part of the process.

Plus some things like scripting are overrated by some, IMO. Writing a VP script is not exactly rocket science. I write most table scripts in less than 6 hours. That's about how long it took me to make Earthshaker's script INCLUDING the time to make and adjust 3 separate vertical ramp animations.

Plus my engineering background makes me a good troubleshooter. Tackling logic problems is my specialty. I find a problem where there is no direct solution and I invent one. This is the very reason you have fully working magnetic accelerators in Getaway and No Fear, working vertical ramps in Twilight Zone, Judge Dredd, Cactus Jack and now Earthshaker, accurate playing magnets in TAF and TZ, fully animated realistic looking heads and jet bumpers in RoadShow, beacons with lights shining on the background walls in High Speed and Getaway, translucent plastic ramps in No Fear, Cactus Jack, Whirlwind and now Earthshaker, etc. without reinventing the wheel in the process. It just takes a little creative thinking and a lot of trial and error and you usually accomplish whatever it is using the tools that are available to you.

For example, I could add realistic looking flashers to IJ in probably less than an hour now that I have the reels already made in general for flashers (it's easy to adjust their color hue in an image editor). I plan to go back and add them to High Speed pretty soon since they looked so pretty for real. I'll probably eventually add them to TAF and TZ. Earthshaker's flashers definitely look a lot nicer than the "pop bumper" effect used on older tables. I haven't even added any playfield lighting effects and the light show still looks pretty cool.

In any case, if you want to learn more about decal based graphic enhancements, I'm sure Kristian is the man to talk to. It seems to be his specialty.

Just imagine how much more work I could have gotten done if I weren't arguing with flamers over at VPFF half the time....
 

bob

Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
Pacdude said:
Just imagine how much more work I could have gotten done if I weren't arguing with flamers over at VPFF half the time....

All "work" and no "say" makes Pac a dull boy \:D/
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
Upon further investigation (remember I never played the real one that I recall), it seems the whole building drop feature was only on prototype machines. There is no "official" support in the production roms for it (the prototype roms are "PA-1" if anyone can find them so we can get them added to Vpinmame).

However, upon investigation, I think the production roms do still send the proper signals to the switches and solenoid (they're just marked "unused" now, but I have the numbers for them here). Unfortunately, it seems the game expects a certain opto-switch "patten" when the building moves up and down if it's working correctly and so far the one post on Usenet I read where someone tried to figure it out back in 1994 (they wanted to add the feature to their own production machine) couldn't despite having access to the prototype rom for a short time (he knew the guy who bought a prototype machine). The "building test" for it (that will tell you if it's working correctly) is only in the prototype machines. However, at least I have some information now on how the building should behave (some of it anyway).

Given the problems I'm having getting it to display correctly, I doubt it will appear in the first release anyway, but it's a fun little challenge. I've already worked out how I might be able to get it to display correctly despite the problems I mentioned (with a little ingenuity and constructing new reels). So I guess I have something to play around with. I love these little challenges. It's more fun than making the table itself in some respects.

As for the other things left to do on the table, it's pretty much just a matter of redoing the playfield lighting and adding GI support and maybe trying to get some kind of visual support for the idea of the states splitting apart (that could prove difficult too without using a giant file sucking BMP sized playfield for transparency reasons). The game is fully functional otherwise.
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
Bill Ung is the guy who had the theory on the building switch sequence back in December 1994 (I just wrote him since he claims to have the PA-1 prototype roms; hopefully he'll respond). He couldn't figure the sequence out to make the building function correctly, but he did provide valuable clues from the building test mode that the prototype roms have (the test mode has been removed in the LA-3 roms, even though the game still sends the building move signals, etc.).

I set up a moving building with drop walls (no lights) just to try and get it working. I verified what his results showed to not work. However, knowing what the game should do and observing the building movements, I figured out the correct sequence in less than 20 minutes. :D :D :D

Darn. I thought this was going to be a real challenge. In any case, I have a perfectly functioning dropping building version of Earthshaker here now (but the lights don't work on the building, so I'll have to try the idea I had last night instead to try and get it to both move and light up and still look right.
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
More good news

I've successfully contacted Bill Ung and he's sent me 3 new sets of Earthshaker roms and a prototype sound rom. I now have:

Prototype American Release 1 (PA-1)
Production American Release 1 (LA-1)
Production German Release 3 (LG-3)
Prototype Release 1 Sound Rom U4 (U4-P1)

I plan to get these out to the Vpinmame team so they can be included in a future Vpinmame (hopefully the next release).
 

Mrhide

Pinball Nudger
Great news pac. and nice to see you going out for that "extra mile"

Whirwind, funhouse, Adams, TZ, Road show now Earthshaker...

What's next ?
Banzai run or No Good Gofers ? ;)
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
After these three (and other than fixing up TAF, TZ and others to use reel flashers and larger views, etc. at some point) I was thinking of doing Twister, but I can't find a good playfield image. So I might look at Taxi, CFTBL or Scared Stiff. I really haven't decided. That's at least a few weeks off, maybe even two months (as I soon won't have as much time to work on the current pins. I have to go back to work next week).
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
The building now drops AND the lights work (even while moving). Now if I can just get the fault to animate (despite sitting behind and overlapping the building reel), I'll have everything animated. The dropping building can be disabled with an F6 menu option now as well.
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
Here's the latest preview picture showing the new optional backglass based backdrop I made. The only major things left are to attempt to animate the fault and add the GI effects. The release will probably be on hold until the new Vpinmame comes out (which will hopefully have support for the new roms I obtained so I can add menu support for them).
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
It took some doing (my first attempt produced the dreaded ATI glitch from having too many reel frames; I thought of another way of handling the overlap, though and it looks fine now), but I now have a working fault animation in addition to the moving building with lights. I've also added some more playfield work around a few of the plastics and added a post to the left saucer area. It looks much better now.

I didn't think this table would compare to RoadShow a week ago, but I find I'm really starting to enjoy it now that it looking and playing a lot more like the real one. The moving building and fault combo looks pretty sweet, especially considering it almost has no right to work in VP. The table looks a LOT sharper at 1600x1200 too. Just about everything is readable (the drop targets images are about the only things that look even slightly blurry).

I just played a pretty good game where I started multiball like 3 times plus a couple of quick multiballs and scored around 9 Million points. It played smooth as ice. The shaker effect looks even cooler on Earthshaker, especially when the building falls to it (being Earthquake themed), but it's a little hard to play with it on because unlike RoadShow, it stays on all during multiball. I've set an option that will disable the screen shaking, but keeps the quaking motor sound.

All that's really left to do now is install the GI Effects and maybe attempt to block off the overlap area at the corners of the building with a ball image like I talked about above. I think everything else is now complete (save waiting for the new Vpinmame to add support for the new roms sets I obtained).
 

bob

Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
I'm looking forward to playing this table O:)

Also, if the forums is hard to read you can change it in your profile under Board Language: just chose "sub silver" that's what I use :drinking:
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
I just keep finding new things to add to Earthshaker (that keep delaying me from finishing the GI stuff) ranging from repainting the "arrow" pointing to the spinner through the jet bumpers shot to adding reel-based flashers for under the right ramp and to the right of the building (so all flashers are present in the game). I grabbed a sound sample of the fault moving from that mpeg movie of it that's on the Net and added that as well.
 
General chit-chat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
    There are no messages in the chat. Be the first one to say Hi!
    Top