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How Much In The Future For FP?

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tiltjlp

PN co-founder
I’m sure to upset some folks, but Future Pinball isn’t what I had expected or hoped it would be. Now, I’m certain that I’m going to hear the usual chorus of “It’s still a work in progress” and “Give Black time, he’s still adding features” and maybe “But what about all the neat features, aren’t all those camera angles cool”. Well, to be honest, all of those frills don’t mean a thing, and I, for one, don’t care at all for cameras that follow the ball around the table. Black’s supposedly interested in Realism, but I’ve never seen any tables that scroll in R/L.

Yes, he has added some models, but a “one size fits all” approach simply doesn’t cut the mustard. Why should folks have to beg for More Variety after each new model has been added? But what disappoints me is that Black had said that a Flipperless Template was coming. So what did we get? A Ballyhoo style cabinet. I might be foolish, but last time I checked, a template isn’t a cabinet.

And so now ramps are on the horizon, and cheers are echoing right and left. But consider something, models can only be used in the Exact Form they were made, which means you will have to use them as they were modeled, period. If you need a ramp that curves this way, but the only ramp available to you curves that way, you’re out of luck. Black and lio are adding different sizes of some of the more basic and easier to make models, but do you really expect them to make an endless number of ramps? And yes, an endless number is what would be needed, since variety is the spice of life.

Now maybe I’m a bit impatient, and a Flipperless Template is still in the works, but I doubt it. And there’s no way Black didn’t know what I was talking about, since we did talk about it. I also asked for dropping walls, which I’m sure Black feels aren’t realistic, so he simply ignored my request, wouldn’t even acknowledge I had asked about them. And yes, I realize that Black isn’t charging for FP, which I guess is supposed to mean that we should be grateful for whatever he gives us, but I don’t completely agree. Black offered FP to us, we never asked for it, so it should be up to Black to listen to what we want, and if possible, give us what we want, if he expects us to continue using FP.

I would expect FP to be at least as flexible, if not more flexible, than VP. Why should I stop using VP if I’m not able to use FP to make the same tables I made in VP, only better? To me, that’s the sticking point. But no, all I can do is use FP to make Black’s vision of what pinball tables should be. So what if Black’s vision ignores any tables not made in the last 15-20 years? So what if I can’t make counter top games or trade stimulators since those aren’t “really” pinball? But if we expand our definition of Pinball to include “any coin-op device” we see exactly what VP offers.

Sure, FP tables might look a bit nicer, and that’s highly subjective, but right now, they play a lot worse. Plus I for one don’t plan to download a new “fixed” version of every FP table every time FP is updated. There are only a few tables I’d continue to download to be able to play as FP evolves. Either the average person using FP has fairly low standards, or they simply are giddy about their newest toy, because most of the tables so far simply aren’t near as perfect as the Glad Handers are saying.

Sure, since FP is new, most of the praise for the tables is a lot more eloquent than the “Looks great” cookie cutter comments you’ll see at vpf, but basically it’s pretty much the same old same old. And based on Black’s track record I don’t see him listening to the FP authors any more than he once listened to VP authors. Ask too often for too much and Black will simply turn a deaf ear to you. So it’s my guess that it’s pretty much a matter of except the crumbs Black tosses our way and be happy, and lavish him with praise, or he’ll pack it all in, just like he did once or twice before in the past.

Me, I’m fine with that, since I still use VP. I’ll wait and see if hopefully I’m wrong about Black this time. I really do hope that I’m way off base with this. 2 flexible pinball programs would be wonderful. A Future Pinball that is user and newbie friendly would be very welcome. I simply don’t see that happening. Partly because models are not flexible but mostly because Black has never been that flexible.
 

zerhino

Pinball Wizard
What I am worried about is that the fact that we seem to be the only ones not using fp. Since so many people are 'converting', it'll end up that only a couple people make vp tables.
In all honesty, I probably won't be using fp for awhile.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Well, actually I am working on a bagatelle recreation for FP, with Patrick's help when I get that far. And if I'm right about the progress of FP, at least some of the authors who have left VP will be returning. I still don't think it has to be an Either Or sort of thing, but so far it does seem that way. Well, even if FP were to have everything I want it to have, I've invested 4 years and have finally gotten to the point where I know what's what with VP, so I won't be abandoning it for sure.
 

shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Unlike everyone else at the FP forum, I'm not doing cartwheels down the middle of the road just because we have ramps. There's adjustable heights now (quoted as being amazing, even though VP does the same thing, just automatically) but I still doubt that FP is mature enough, or flexible enough for me to do a design the way I want it. It's a pinball editor, and it shouldn't dictate what I can and can't do with my design, and force me to do a design "FP's" way. In some ways, it's only slightly better than Pinball Builder.

Of course, the new version remains to be seen. I doubt it can do my present table project, due to the complex ramps, but maybe in a year or so it can. Who knows?

BTW, the reason people are doing FP is because it's easier to do very average layouts in FP than in VP that look better. If you do a complex layout though, VP is a lot better, as FP's limitations end up dictating the design, and you are forced to redesign your layout because of that. The thing is once people get use to the quality of the graphics in FP, then we will see that the designs themselves are no better than VP tables, they just look better is all.
 

kristian

Pinball Wizard
I don't see one single reason to use FP....except to check out the new tables....just out of curiosity. I think it plays lot worse than VP in every possible aspect.....and the recreations are not in the same level with VP's...not even the EM tables....!

Played Kurt's FP Eight Ball Champ with my friend's monster cpu....it's an amazing feat by the genius...Kurt...scripted "VPM" table.... but it's not even nearly as good as the VP version....absolutely NOTHING is better on the FP version. It's not Kurt's fault...or even the lack of emulation....but everything on FP feels like "toy"....you know what I mean...the tables don't look and feel like "real".

Of course a computer simulated pinball can never feel exactly "real"...but at least VP uses real graphics and Pinmame. I'm not even sure if there's any benefit of using prerendered objects and real 3D in pinball anyway....other than it's easy and convenient to create original tables that way.....I guess...

People who like FP....good for them. I have nothing negative to say about the program....and I hope it develops.....but as a VPM player I just don't see any reason to use it.
 

davidsss

Pinball Wizard
2 main things turn me off FP, both already mentioned: the tables don't look as realistic as VP tables as we use real pictures to make tables in VP; the lack of flexibility.

The lack of flexibility is the real clincher. I recently made a flipperless (World's Series) with a rotating turntable in the middle. From what I understand you can't do that in FP because there's no rotating turntable model in FP. In VP I just used drop walls to create an animation. The point is: I'm sure drop walls were not put in VP for this purpose, but the fact is I can use them to create an animation. That is the key to VP - we can use the various objects for purposes that weren't even thought of when VP was written and this gives it the flexibility to recreate playfield objects which are unusual. Another great example is using a ramp for the metal at the front of the table - this is not a ramp in real life, but making it a ramp makes it look really good; and VP is flexible enough to allow you to do tricks like this.

I haven't even looked at making tables for FP because I just can't see the point. Kurt is back making a VP table now and hopefully he will continue to make VP tables. I really can't see authors leaving VP for FP, some might make both, but to me VP is still ahead.

The other things I don't like in FP are the physics and the fact it doesn't interact with VPinMAME (I really don't understand this one - I would have made it interact with PinMAME as a first priority if I was designing a pinball simulator).

And if you really want to see how real a table can look in VP see Goittlieb's recreation of Spirit of 76 - nothing in FP comes close. Greywolf's VP tables are also brilliant as are PacDude's. Much better than anything in FP.

DS
 

bob

Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
I recreated 2 of my tables when FP first came out.... It was fun, they look great, but the Newton physics engine needs serious work before the ball is ever going to resemble real pinball. I enjoyed making my 2 tables and I enjoy loading Spidey up every now and then and playing it, but I haven't enjoyed any of the other tables that I've downloaded, they just don't feel right, there is no ball flow, hence there is no replayability and I rarely finished the first game. It is definately a pinball construction program and not an arcade game and the forum pretty much bears this out as there is only a couple of nonauthoring members who post. There are quite a few screennames at FPF that are involved in authoring that aren't recognizable from VPF, which shows that even though the 2 programs are very similar, they are very different and are attracting a new breed of author. It may be that FP is just much easier to make a good looking table with compared to VP where you have to spend an eternity learning how to make a decent looking table, but either way, IMO, there is new blood posting there and they feel like they are in on the ground floor and can contribute in a constructive way without feeling like an inferior table maker which I thought was the problem at VPF and why very few new authors released tables there.

I think Black has done a terrific job in creating a 3-D pinball evironment, but if he can't/won't make it more flexable, I just don't see it holding the attention of most authors as VP seemed to have done for a few years. I also feel we are only beta testing his product until he can get it working enough for someone to market it, which is alright with me as I have always felt he programmed for profit instead of fun.

I agree with Kristian that FP looks not real, but like a model or a toy, but I actually like that aspect of FP. I think the 3-D cabinet with full backbox views are awesome and the scrolling cameras are cool for creating the table, but I would never want to play with them turned on and if you downloaded either of my tables, you'll notice they won't scroll at any view by default as I force you to turn the scrolling back on.

With the purchase of my 1st ever 3-D graphics card I have rediscovered pc games. I love shooting games and car racing games and I have found a couple that have basicly made pinball boring, the thought of spending a hundred hours to make a new pinball table just doesn't seem possible for me anymore, but who knows, I might get the itch again, especially if one of these programs takes a giant step forward.

At the present time, if I click on a control point in VP, it shoots the control point off the screen to the right and my cursor jumps to the top right also. I remember reading about this somewhere, but I couldn't make a table if I wanted to without figuring out how to stop that from happening.

In Future pinball, if I load one of my 2 already made tables, the new models aren't listed or available in the editor, if I start a new table, then they are listed. This makes updating them too much work and I don't understand it. I'm like an old dog and I don't want, or is it as easy, to learn new tricks anymore. I'll wait until I read someone enthusiastically praising the new ball physics before I try updating or creating a new FP table.

Recap... FP and VP are very similar programs, but are words [EDIT] That was suppose to be "worlds" apart, but "words" kind of fits too, depending on the poster(s) [/EDIT] apart. If someone could combine the good stuff from each of them together and iron out the bugs, they would have a winner and then there would be many Ultra Foley's popping up and trying to make a buck off other peoples hard work. By the way, if you haven't noticed it yet, I think Ultracade is the worst thing to have happened to our communtiy yet, he makes those eBay sellers look like the good guys, IMO.
 

destruk

Pinball Wizard
Site Supporters
Just a minor adjustment there Tiltjlp - the ramps in future pinball are shapable, so they don't use set specific models anymore (I think it did use a decal for the early BK2000 table for it). Interestingly enough, the ramps in future pinball are all the same types as are already in vp, and "flat ramps" will be added to future pinball soon too. Aside from perhaps looking more like the real thing, the end purpose will be the same. Maybe at some point future pinball will have looping wire ramps - that would be an improvement, but for now it's still playing catch up.
 

JonPurpleHaze

Site Nudger
Staff member
Most of you seem to have no problems playing FP and it looks impressive, a lot of pinheads are in the same boat as me...Pinball Nirvana's poll:

Can You Play Future Pinball?
without gameplay slowdowns?
Yes 42%
No 57%
Current Leader : No
Close Date : Feb 01, 2006 - 12:05 AM
Votes : 26
 

destruk

Pinball Wizard
Site Supporters
Well, no support on windows 98, so those users all get to stick with VP. Now Black's going to remove support for windows 2000 - most likely adding 2000 to the check on installation. ie it could run but I don't want you to be able to use it.
What I think Black should really do, since you need a pricy super system to use future pinball to full effect, remove support entirely for single threaded 32 bit operating system and hardware platforms. Make it so the program will only work with a dualcore AMD chip and Windows Vista with 64-bit drivers, or a similarly powered Intel system.

Or of course - just allow people to use it who send him the monetary equivalent for purchased above system - about $1200 for a copy of his crap code simulator... :) God knows Future Pinball needs more power, and windows 2000 just can't provide enough clock ticks as windows XP does...uh huh.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
So ramps can be shaped in FP, that's good to hear. That makes me wonder if more flexibility isn't possible in FP? And if so, why is Black seemingly against giving us that flexibility? I agree with those who have equated FP as a toy. I already know what I can do with VP, so I see little if any incentive at least yet to focus much of my attention on FP.
 

kristian

Pinball Wizard
@Bob: I know the feeling of discovering new games...I've always been a game freak....I have played most (if not all) PC driving games.... adventure games.... online Quake.... Doom 3.... you name it. I love video games.

We even played Half-Life 2 through with my girlfriend just recently...great game...!

But I always return to VP and MAME because that was my youth.....it was the "roots" of everything. Getting deep into games like TZ and TOTAN is a real thrill... and making a new high score over my friend's scores... I have a childhood friend I knew from the arcades....now a 34-year old yuppie lawyer... who's completely NUTS about VP.....we have MAJOR high score competition going on in VP tables....we've had it like that since VP came out!

We have a "VP gaming weekend" two or three times a year in my summer cottage... No wives, no kids, no girlfriends... just some beer, junk food and games. It's fantastic!!! It's like being 16 again!!!

When you become an author you easily forget the first thing that brought you here...PLAYING the games. I try to avoid that...
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
My new mottos. Fuck FP. Fuck VP. Fuck Pinball. Fuck all that. Fuck it all, I've got to get on with the film show.
 

ArcAngel

Pinball Nudger
It's become obvious to some that FP is nothing more than a fancy re-code of VP as some of the same VP bugs have shown up in FP.

Given that, it's credibility is now shot to hell.

Sure - it looks nice, but if you don't have the machine to run it, why fool with it?

Black made the mistake to make it so graphics intensive that only the most powerful PC's can use it to its full effect. Peeps aren't willing to fork over the dough to upgrade just for one product, nor should they.

I don't see the support the fanboys see. If anything, interest in FP has dwindled a bit.

Sure, it may have had 17k downloads on the last update, but just where ARE these peeps? Certainly only about .005 percent may have registered on the FP forums, and probably .05 percent of them even tried to author a table, found out how "hard" it was and deleted it.

Right now I see the issue of not having ROM support as hurting FP in the long run. If FP was MEANT to be an EM emulator, fine - but I don't think it was.

Until FP gets ROM support, which I understand it never will - then FP will never live up to what it was hyped up to be, and will die a slow death.
 

kristian

Pinball Wizard
Pacdude said:
My new mottos. Fuck FP. Fuck VP. Fuck Pinball. Fuck all that. Fuck it all, I've got to get on with the film show.

Not now John!!!

PS: I didn't understand it... because I'm comfortably dumb!!! :twisted:
 

Anthias

Pinball Player
Interesting thread. Just thought I'd say something quickly.

Yes, FP has its problems, the biggest being its lack of flexibility. Personallly however, I look at that as a challenge. I actually enjoy trying to work around those limitations to get my tables feeling right. It's like a puzzle.

That being said, allthough I have not released anything VP recently, I will never abandon VP. I still have wips to do, and new tables to start in VP. Some are not possible in FP, some I want to get into VP from FP (I want to do a VP scheherezade for example) Fullmetal Alchemist is still coming - just I have been slow getting the layout tweaks how I want them.

I don't think it is sensible to abandon one for the other. Both simulators have an equal place on my system afaic. Yes, VP is more flexible and tried and tested and solid. FP is prettier with less effort. However, it is really no quicker to build in one or the other - the processes are verry similar, and both platforms provide something for the author to get enjoyment from.
 

Pinball_Ken

Out an' out pinhead!
bob said:
... At the present time, if I click on a control point in VP, it shoots the control point off the screen to the right and my cursor jumps to the top right also. I remember reading about this somewhere, but I couldn't make a table if I wanted to without figuring out how to stop that from happening ...

Yeah, Jive came up with the answer on that one. Turn off 'Snap To' ie uncheck the box, under Pointer Options for your mouse.

PK :D
 

Pinball_Ken

Out an' out pinhead!
I think I'll stop posting now. I've reached novelist, which is one of the things I do in real life!

I think one of the real problems I have with FP is that it seems so uninvolving. I'm just not drawn in as I am with VP. It may be the lack of a DMD and a later pinball to play. I just don't know. I'm not drawn in to produce a table even.

It's not a problem with motion. I get 200FPS, which I damp down to 75FPS with VSync on, so everything 'moves as it should'. Maybe everything is just too clean, too 'perfect' on a table.

Yeah, aiming is still an issue with FP, as with VP. So FP is not perfect in that respect. Plunging is better, but interaction with gates is poor, or maybe the tables I've played haven't been set up correctly.

I played about with it for a week, but I don't seem to have gone back to it again. That was a few weeks back. Ah, well.

I'll possibly return to it when ramps make an appearance!

PK :D
 

bob

Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
Pinball_Ken said:
bob said:
... At the present time, if I click on a control point in VP, it shoots the control point off the screen to the right and my cursor jumps to the top right also. I remember reading about this somewhere, but I couldn't make a table if I wanted to without figuring out how to stop that from happening ...

Yeah, Jive came up with the answer on that one. Turn off 'Snap To' ie uncheck the box, under Pointer Options for your mouse.

PK :D

Thank you very much PK!! That solved my problem! I got a new pc a couple of months ago and for the life of me, I couldn't figure that one out :wink: I remembered reading about it once, but I didn't have any troubles with FP, but after making a couple of tables with FP, I decided to wait until they work on the ball and flipper physics. That Newton guy has never even played a real pinball table, so he doesn't have a clue as to how flippers or anything else for that matter, reacts with the ball.

Thanks again for the help!
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Interesting how odd ball things can happen to computers and the VP editor. I've had a problem happen a few times and have never figured out the solution for it. Sometimes I'll hit Magnify when I don't want to, and I have yet to discover how to deactivate Magnify. Any help would be great.
 

Pinball_Ken

Out an' out pinhead!
tiltjlp said:
Interesting how odd ball things can happen to computers and the VP editor. I've had a problem happen a few times and have never figured out the solution for it. Sometimes I'll hit Magnify when I don't want to, and I have yet to discover how to deactivate Magnify. Any help would be great.

That's an easy one! Just hit Select.

Ever used the arrow to the right of Select?

PK :D
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Pinball_Ken said:
tiltjlp said:
Interesting how odd ball things can happen to computers and the VP editor. I've had a problem happen a few times and have never figured out the solution for it. Sometimes I'll hit Magnify when I don't want to, and I have yet to discover how to deactivate Magnify. Any help would be great.

That's an easy one! Just hit Select.

Ever used the arrow to the right of Select?

PK :D

Thanks, that should have been a no-brainer. And no, until right now I never did use that small arrow next to Select. That's why I'm still a newbie after 4 1/2 years. :p
 
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