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My Pinball State of the Union Address

Well, first off happy new year!

It's that time, where I update things and sprout off about subjects no one other than me care about, I try and do this every year since 1999, so lets get started shall we?

As much as 2020 truly sucked, it was one of the best years for pinball in a long time, and especially virtual pinball. So many remarkable things came out this year, we are all truly blessed. Some great fp stuff was released this last year, people made inroads in new developments, and others had a truly great year like Terryred and GeorgeH for new mods. From myself, fpxEngine and Jungle Girl came out, a true rarity considering it's me.

It was a good year in real pinball as well, with so many companies now producing. But now it's time to look forward, and I personally see some huge changes in the industry, and a even bigger change for both the fp and vpx communities. But we need to start on the one big bad thing first...

So it is with great sadness I see Stern take a huge misstep, with their new EULA agreement. I haven't been a huge fan of Stern lately, they have really lost their way with a few things, and have turned into a company controlled by their bean counters and stockholders. From our point of view as a community, it was only a matter of time before we have restrictions put on us, and this gives stern the legal right to do so. The days of everything being free in the pinball community are over. Still, a very bad move by Stern, people who spend or are likely to spend 10k on a machine certainly don't sound very happy.

Still 2021 is shaping up to be one hell of a year. We saw some pretty big announcements from Arcade1Up, and AtGames with their affordable pin table options late last year, and there was methoded somethings that I picked up and gave some thought to. We as creators and players will be front and center in the middle of a war between these 2 companies. AtGames Legend series (the newest version) is well built, affordable, and very flexible. The one thing that really perked up my ears was not only will people be able to play VP and FP games eventually (with a second computer) but also there is a Marketplace being setup for additional downloads to your Legend unit. There has also been talk that people within the VP community has been working with AtGames about all of this as well.

In other words, from what I have been able to suss out, AtGames is taking the business model that say Microsoft and Sony use for their video game consoles, offering games from independent studios available on their service for a fee available for downloading. Guess who the independent studios are for pinball? Us.

I would say this may have caught Arcade1Up by surprise, so I fully expect that they will make some big changes to their games (because the Legend pinball cab is just so much better for only about 50 dollars difference), add WiFi and come up with something similar to be able to compete. Both of these companies are going to sell a lot of these tables, maybe in the millions, and if the above is true, then the entire industry will completely change. The market presently is driven by the collector now, someone who can afford 10k for a table, but for the vast majority of us, we will never be able to afford a actual arcade table. Now suddenly EVERYONE will be able to afford a cabinet, both the cab projects from Arcade1Up and AtGames are under 600 us, in fact just a bit more than the 2 new gaming consoles just released. Everybody will be demanding new content, and they will be looking right at us as well for that. Why spend 10k on a table when you can spend a fraction of that for just as good content (except on a TV screen) with a virtual table?

The days of everything being free in the pinball community are over.

Can you blame anyone for wanting to be paid for their work? From my point of view, both Jungle Girl and fpxEngine took years of spare time developing. If a company approached me about the JG game, or what I have in development right now and I was confidant in that companies vision and ability to generate revenue (or at least buy me some cups of coffee) I would certainly give that some pretty serious thought. I'm sure that people like Slam or tii would be all over that, and certainly others. Still, we have to navigate through this when the time comes. I'm pretty sure things will get nasty, and the communities will have several "Mother of all shit storms", especially with holder licenses and the major companies being involved or enforcing their rights. If wht I said turns out to be true, these two companies could end up selling millions, and a concept like a Marketplace could be worth tens of millions yearly. Just ask Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo how well their Marketplaces worked out for them.

From my point of view, I've been through this song and dance before with the great Ultracade debacle and how it changed a lot of people when someone came around waving a huge amount of cash at them. I lost a lot of respect for them when they failed to stand up for the right thing to do, and as we all now know, the reward wasn't even worth all the damage it caused or the bad feelings. That company wasn't honest from the beginning, and I consider them to be thieves for what they did to me, and even worse to the other author involved. I'm pretty sure all of you old timers out there remember that (the true version, not the one being spread out by certain people), and I am certain we all agree that next time (if there is a next time that is) maybe things will be better. Don't sell your integrity for 11 bucks.

And finally. A new editor to be released sometime. Something badly needed, but alas, it appears to be so high end it is beyond my abilities. I hope there are enough people of that skill and knowledge level to support it with games, and I am sure the games will be fabulous. It will be so nice to be able to play the 200th version of The Addams family when it comes out, and a state of the art pinball editor with a up to date game and physics engine that is comparable to farsight and PinballFX is a real dream. I just hope people will be real careful about what they release.

Usually at the end, I talk about future projects with me.
JG I'm waiting on the chances to add voice overs. Doesn't look good though, so may have to resort to another method or just not have voices. The update is done otherwise, couple small bugs to fix. I think people will be very happy with it, the new flippers and custom physics changes really add a new dimension to the game play. If anyone from the other community tells you how much better vpx is and will always be better than FP, tell them about this game and then tell them to take their comments and shove them up their ass.

At the moment I'm working on a couple other tables, which neither are ready to show. Both originals, a "frankenpin" and the other one, I guess you can say I'm going to hell to visit a old friend.

Lets have a great year everyone!
 

Isaac Sauvage

Meep!
Site Supporters
Consultant
Interesting stuff, if rather gloomy.

I hadn't heard about the new EULA yet, but was able to labor through the first page of this discussion. I guess speaking optimistically, they're doing a CYA thing in case a partner / licensor became litigious over a machine owner streaming gameplay and inadvertently sharing IP. Evidently this is standard in the video game industry and Stern is just following suit here.

OTOH maybe they're up to more than just this, and Stern owners will need to be careful. For example, the idea that if you've modified your machine and you connect online, then Stern could potentially detect that and remotely brick your machine. Just... terrifying.

re: the new physical gameplay devices,
Do you really see these selling in the millions? US $600 isn't that much, but it's not that little either for something which is a pretty specialised accessory. Are there really that many dedicated virtual pinball players out there, because I would think most people are fairly satisfied with their current devices and game systems' ability to play pinball when they're in the mood. But maybe I'm wrong in that.

I could also see portions of the virtual community flaunting the system and sharing paid tables one way or another. From what I understand, something like that's been happening for a while now in the case of Stern's Spike and Spike 2 tables. Then again, that's a little different issue, so who knows.

re: new editor,
What new editor would that be? Sounds like you've already gotten a preview. It's also pretty hard for me to believe something like that would be above your capabilities, so I'm guessing you mean it as more of a time / commitment thing.

Voices on JG sounds like an awesome idea. Hope it happens.

Funny, I was thinking about giving sort of varient on a state of the site address. Not to try to speak for Jon or anything, but to share my thoughts on the site. It's been a pretty good year for us, but there's still an endless amount of things to work on, and we could always use more help. Hmm...
 
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shiva

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Yes I can see Arcade1Up doing a million pinball machines, they are sold everywhere and there are a lot of us old men who was bought up in the arcades playing pinball (and video games) that would love to have a "proper" machine at home. AtGames has sold out their initial run, but they don't have the resources Arcade1Up has, so no where as many sold, but they should do quite well. 32 inch 1080p monitor, roughly 90% actual size,Wifi, bluetooth, ArcadeNet®, can run your own games, leaderboards etc. Yes please... Very appealing, they just need to be able to produce enough games to supply the demand. It's cheap Chinese crap of course, but so far people have been reporting it works fine and very little issues. heavy though, thing weighs 100 pounds. Still, hell of a buy, really punches above it's weight level.

The new editor is that fancy vpx type upgrade using unity. Rav would know more about that one than I would.

Really hope to add voices to JG. Feel it's the final touch to a great game, though it's been difficult to get connected. I may have to construct my own using TTS and audacity, and just settle for a couple lines as it will take forever with me. Just played it (I love playing this game, which shouldn't surprise you as I make my games exactly how I like my games to play) and it just really kicked my ass. I will post a video up once I get my video player to actually work.
 

TerryRed

Pinball Master
Very cool update and summary of the last year!

For Stern.... honestly that EULA is more to cover their own butts in the wake of the other products coming out... and also for "YT and Twitch streamers" that may play tables like Led Zepplin etc and those IP holders getting miffed and somehow blaming Stern for streamers. Honestly nothing new there.

Yah, lots of new faces and talent showing up on FP and VP. Some really stunning new releases on both apps.

Ravarcade has truly changed FP and virtual pinball in some really fantastic ways with the last 1 or 2 years of updates. Some recent new features are complete game changers and allows FP to do things not seen before in digital pinball. The possibilities are amazing.

So of course I've been busy with PinEvent and major table updates trying to make use of these new BAM features where possible. PinEvent has definetly brought a new audience to FP now, and I get many ppl wanting much more as there are many great FP tables out there waiting for modern updates I think the results have shown what FP can do...but so much more can be done with the right amount of time dedicated.

Which brings me to this new year. I was planning my next PinEvent update... when unexpected to me... doing a minor BAM update to Retroflair BAM Edition has now turned into a MAJOR update to the point where this is now going to be a new complete table.... or dare I say the equivalent of multiple tables on one tablle...

RetroFlair 2 - "Epic Games and Tunez"

The new Tron mode alone is like a Tron pinball table on steroids. It's using BAM to the max! There will also be other game modes as well (6+ game modes so far) and they will all be updated. I also will announce another major game mode being added after Tron mode is mostly done. While the basic layout of the table is the same... there are many many changes and new additions I have planned.

I can't wait to show you guys what I have so far. When Tron is mostly done, I'll have a video preview.

Yes the new Editor is VPE "Visual Pinball Engine" in unity. The progress is looking great.... but yes it will be a long while before it's "release" ready and may end up being more high end and also require a big learning curve...especially if it ends up using C# for scripting.

I'm very heavily popping in my own suggestions etc to get them to hopefully get good support for original tables... but their initial focus is being able to import VPX tables and have a large portion of the work done.
 
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