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Leo Wanker e-interview

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Since I'm swamped with projects, I'll be editing and posting my e-interviews with VP members, rather than turning them into profiles. Find out the Mr Wanker isn't nearly the stiff-backed fellow some of us thought he was. It's also in the Reviews section.

1 When did you play your first game of pinball, and what game was it, if you remember? Your first game of VP/VPM?

I honestly can't remember the fist time I played pinball or what table it was, but I remember always hassling Mum for 20c to play the pinnies. I guess Alien Encounter (or whatever it was called) was my first play of VP. However the first VP table I ever downloaded would have to be "8Ball Pool" by Gerson Agena from his old Digital Bumper site.

2 When did you discover VP? Do you prefer VP or VPM tables? Are there any types of tables you don’t care for, and which era do you enjoy best, such as 20s-40s commercial coin-op, bagatelle, Ems, SS, modern VPM.

Well, in fact, I discovered VP twice. Once I ran into it by accident, dowloaded and tried it, but when I saw the coding needed to make the tables work I thought "Oh No!!", and promptly removed it. But then I was surfing the net and came across the site mentioned in the last answe,r (Digital Bumper) and when I saw the classics that were being made using VP, my passions were inflamed and I thought to myself that I had to be a part of this no matter what. VP was promptly re-installed.

I like both VP and VPM tables, but if I was to pick I'd say VP because EM's are my favorite tables. 60's to the late 70's would have to be pinballs GOLDEN era from my perspective. There are not words enough to describe the joy these tables have given me in my youth. I'm sorry John, but I don’t have much interest in flipperless tables. I prefer flippered EM's but, probably my favorite real table would have to be FirePower.

3 If you are an author, do you work along, or with partners? Which of your tables is your favorite, and why? Which of your tables do you feel is your best?

I mostly work alone but, have done tables with quite a few others. Duglis, Robair and Joe Entropy to name a few. Wow, I have never considered which of the tables I have done is my favorite. I guess I would have to say my first ever EM re-creation, Magic Circle, holds a special place in my heart for 2 reasons. First, it proved to me that I was capable enough to code up one of these classics, and second, it was a table that I used to own for real. It's looking dated now, however, I am planning an update in the near future. My best?? From a gfx stand point I would say Universe. From a coding stand point I would say On Beam. On Beam was one tough sucker to get the rules right.

4 Do you agree or disagree that Originals are the future of VP? What is your favorite VPF forum, and why?

It depends on a personal viewpoint I believe. I personally have lots of EM's to do and I can't see me running out for quite some time yet, and for those who don't know I am also part of Black's Future Pinball Team so, that is part of the future of computer pinball if all goes wel,l and I guess that because Future Pinball will be shareware it will depend on originals to begin with. I don't really have a favorite part of the forums.

5 What are your best table making skills? What if anything is the hardest part of table making for you?

I feel I have all around competency at all the skills involved with table making. I am learning new stuff all the time. I am good at GFX but not a patch on guys like Starman, Scapino or Bendigo. I have resonable coding skills but, not in the league of Pacdude, Black or LTA. The most difficult part of table re-creation for me is Character re-drawing. I am hopeless at that. Bendigo seems to have a great knack for re-drawing any characters on playfields but, not me. I have to resort to crop and tidy up tactics for my playfields. Geometric objects and the such I have no problem with.

6 Do you have any hints or tips for making tables that would be helpful to other authors? What do you feel is most important in table making, garphics, layout, playability, added sounds, or something else?

I have more hints and tip than I have time to type them. All aspects of re-creation are as important to each other IMHO. You see, when I started doing re-creations I did not know how to code VB, although I had a little basic coding experience. I did not know one end of a gfx program from another. Once I understood the syntax of the commands that the coding requires the rest sort of fell into place.

However the gfx was another thing altogether. I originally didn't do complete re-draws of the tables I did. I was entirely reliant on finding good quality, almost straight playfield pics to work from. This would have remained the same if not for one table that I desperately wanted to do, but couldn't find any decent enough pics. That table was Alpine Club. After a long time searching, I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to do this table I would have to re-draw it. My re-creation of Sweet Hearts was my first tentative steps towards what was to become my first totally re-drawn table, Alpine Club. I have learned much since then. To all potential authors, have a go at it. I knew nothing when I started and I've got this far so, there is no reason why you can't too. It just takes a bit of time.

7 What kind of computer set-up do you have? Are you a computer whiz or a computer nerd?

I currently have:
AMD Athlon XP2600
512 333Mhz DDR
GeForce FX5700 256Meg
40 GIG and 20 GIG HDs
and a big arsed Hitachi Accuvue 21" monitor.
I am a qualified Computer technician

8 Where do you live? How old are you? What kind of work do you do? Describe yourself. What are you hobbies and interests other than VP/VPM? Is there any other personal stuff you’re willing to share with me?

I live in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. I am a part time house husband / computer tech / volunteer computer tech (2 days a week) for a local charity, "PC's for Kids". I am 42, I am 178cm (5' 10")/ 96 Kg (210lbs. aprox), solid built, and I am developing "middle aged spead" (a gut) *sigh*, so, I swim regularly to keep it at bay. I am married to Pauline and have 2 sons, Aaron 10 and Bradley 9. I am into Aussie rules football, soccer, cricket (all of which I've played in my youth) , F1 motor racing, and WWE wrestling.

9 What are some of your favorite VP/VPM tables done by someone other than you? Why?

FirePower by Greywolf (at first) and then by Pacdude. My all time favorite real table is almost the perfect conversion. I'd hate to know how much money I've stuffed into the coin slot of that machine over my lifetime. Fireball, the EM one not the SS by Pacdude. This was (is) a great EM re-creation.
Rollerdisco by Eala although a SS, it is a wonderful re-creation WITHOUT the use of VPM as it captures the very "feel" of the real table. Those above are only a few of the MANY wonderful tables in my collection (hundreds in there).

10 Do you, and how often do you play real pins? What are some of your favorites? Any that you’re really good on that you simply don’t enjoy playing?

NO WHERE NEAR AS MUCH AS I'D LIKE TO. They are VERY hard to find these days in my neck of the woods. Favorites?? wow tough choice...
EM's:
Alpine Club
Toledo
Magic Circle (used to own)
North Star (used to own)
Magic City
Travel Time
Lots more....
SS's:
FirePower
Twilight Zone
RollerDisco
Stellar Wars
Time Warp (not the banana flippers though)
Memory Lane
Space Invaders
Centaur
Many more....
If I was good at a table, I enjoyed them. If I were to pick tables I disliked, I would have to say most Gottliebs from the 80's on. IMO they lost their "magic" with the advent of the "solid state" era. Their games (to me) never felt the same again.

11 Any advice for a new VPF member? Better yet, any advice for old, seasoned VPF members? Do you think there are too many VP forums? Do you visit any other than VPF?

Focus on pinball NOT forum politics. Politics suck no matter what. The next time you feel that the forums are not being run right, remember: You can't please everybody. A person who tries is a fool destined to fail. Too many VP forums?? No I don't think so. Visit other than VPF? Not often.

12 Who, if anyone, do you consider to be the movers and shakers in the VP community, or the superstars, and why? Is there one Author whose work you always download, even without seeing the SS or knowing anything other than the name of the table?

Don't really have an opinion on "movers or shakers" but, anyone who takes the time to make and share a table with the community is a superstar in my eyes. Be that table good or bad. On second thoughts there are 2 guys that I have much admiration for: Krellan and LUVTHATAPEX. Both of these guys have gone out of their way to provide me with great quality table pics to work from. I'd hate to think where I'd be without their magic cameras.

I should also give thanks to the testing team from IR Pinball as they help me get the best from my re-creations. This includes Dougie (Duglis)and Steveir for it was those two who allowed me to join IRP all those years ago, and it was the best thing I could have done at the time. I always download Pacdudes tables. Despite his "history", there is no denying his talent for VPM table recreations. Kristians tables. I am not a fan of the "decal" style of table building but, Kristian does it too well to miss out on some great tables. Scapino: Nothing more needs to be said. Of course I have all of the IRP teams tables and of special note to the quality of Bendigo's tables.

13 Is there anything else you’d like to add? It doesn’t have to be about VP. Maybe a secret dream, or a joke, this is your last chance?

errrr.... Nothing comes to mind...

14 Has running VPF been as difficult as you expected?

I'll presume you mean IRP. I have never, until recently, had much to do with the day to day running of the IRP website. This was, for the most part, done by Danz and JonPurpleHaze but, due to JPH being offline for awhile and Danz being VERY busy with work I have had to take over updating the site. It's been fun so far.

NOTE: Actually, that last question was a leftover from an e-interview with someone else. Which just shows that you can learn interest- ing things even by accident. tiltjlp
 

bob

Add-a-ball specialist
Site Supporters
Leon Spalding is one of VP's VIP's, his tables are always top notch and his work has continued to improve to where I never miss a Leo Wanker release. I think it would be really cool to play some real EM's with Leo, I think we'd be best of buds in no time.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Hey Bob, I have two bagatelle if you ever make it to Cincinnati and want to go head-to-head. Why, I'd even treat you to some White Castles. And yeah, Leon sounds lile a nice enough fellow. I just wish we didn't have to yank his chain to get him to visit and post here once in a while.

John
 
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