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The Rob046 interview is a must-read

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
I have just posted an interview with Rob046, a young man who is on the staff at shivaSite, and the author of Big Ben. But more than that, he has turned his life around, from one with little positive to look forward to, to where he is now on the Dean's List at college. I've done about two dozen profiles and interviews, but none so meaningful and inspiring as this one. I strongly urge everyone in the VP community to read about Rob046. He is a remarkable fellow.

Read it here: (go to post #5, below)
http://pinballnirvana.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=34

John
 
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penguin66

Pinball Wizard
Wow! Color me impressed. I thought Rob046 seemed like a nice guy, and now I'm convinced he's an outstanding person. I consider myself lucky to be able to hear about and share some of the same interests as such inspiring people!
 

DLWood

Pinball Nudger
Yeah, color me impressed too. Rob is a super nice guy. And one thing you can always count on with Rob is that he is extremely helpful to everyone in VP circles. We both came into VP at the same time and he put an extrodinary amount of effort helping me install plugins (and getting them to work) and providing me with a tremendous amount of tables (Sphere's mostly) that I didn't have access to.

It's hard to believe what Rob has accomplished in such a short amount of time. Thanks to you Rob!!!!
 

elton

Pinball Wizard
A refreshingly honest account of one's life thus far.

Well done Rob046 for rising back to the top. Life's a lot better there!

Best wishes.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
For those who haven't read Rob's interview yet, I'm reposting it here. Next up is Starman. I'm down to a dozen interviews, so if you'd be willing to answer my ?s, e me at zifbib@peoplepc.com.

.

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

The first game I remember playing was either Cyclone or Hurricane. Must have been sometime in the late 80’s. I don't remember very clearly because I was pretty young but I think it was Cyclone. I played it in a hotel while we were on a vacation somewhere. I remember asking my mom constantly for more quarters.

The first VP or VPM game I played was Theatre of Magic. This was a table that I had played so much over the span of a few years and I was anxious to see how well it was recreated and I ended up liking it. All of the first tables I downloaded were from that era.


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.

I discovered VP in February of 2004. I ended up liking tables from just about every era that I didn't like or care about before. I usually play anything older than 1960. I play a lot of originals as well. The tables I enjoy most are starting to be from the 1979-1990 era. Lately, I’ve been more into VPM mostly because of the great work done by the VPM team with the amazing recent updates and obstacles they have overcome.


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 am a new author. I don’t mind having other people involved with my tables. For example, my recent Middle Earth table(that might be out by the time this interview is)included the help of many people. PD, Destruk, Scapino, and Luvthatapex all have had small roles in creating the table. They helped with pieces of code that I had trouble with and other stuff. Kristian and dlwood also helped with testing the table. That all worked out pretty well. I do like to do much of the work myself but having other people help out a little is just fine by me. Then I can get opinions about things that I might not think about myself. I still think it’s best to figure out everything you can on your own. That way, you can actually understand what you are doing instead of just knowing what to do. But if you are stuck, I think it’s a good idea to ask for help. Big Ben was my first table, it turned out well considering I had little experience. Middle Earth is definitely my favorite, although there isn’t much to choose from. It contains everything I have learned up until this point. I learned so much from it and it will make future tables much easier. I have a few other tables that are in progress. So you’ll be seeing much more from me soon.


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

I don't think that Originals have to be the future of VP but I don't think that would necessarily be a bad thing if they were. When I realized what could be done with some of the more poorly made VPM tables, I felt that they still have a lot of potential to help the community grow. But there will always be those people who like originals, so there will always be a place for them. I have almost 2 gigs worth of originals myself. I think every kind of table is the future of VP. Different people like different things. I think it’s the program itself is the future of VP. And that’s looking good now that Randy has been around to fix some things.

Before I updated this interview, which was done a few months ago, I actually said that I had faith that something would be done to fix VP. And it’s actually happened now, I am grateful for that.

I don’t think I have a favorite forum. I visit both shivasite and VPF on a regular basis. I go around to the smaller sites every now and then as well. Both Pinball Nirvana and VPO. Each site has something different to offer. Depends on what you like or what you are looking for. I like a little of everything so I go all over the place.


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

My best skills right now are mainly with graphics. Being able to manipulate and touch up images as well as knowing how to apply them correctly and accurately. I'm also getting better at tweaking both game play and fixing layouts so that they more accurately reflect real game play. I go so far as to contact owners for tips, or contact owners who also play VPM, which is most ideal. My goal is to make them look and play as accurately as possible. I don't know if I can ever get one to be perfect, but I will do what I can with the limitations of VP. But those limitations themselves can be stretched pretty far and manipulated. I have been able to come up with some tricks and ideas of my own to make things look or work the way I want them to. So much is possible. You can even use VP glitches to your advantage.

I’m still not too great at scripting, although I'm getting much better at that with every day that passes. However, I'm not trying to master everything about scripting either. There is already plenty of work I can do I realize that as time passes, working with graphics and the editor will become more important since so many tables are already scripted. But I’m working on the aspects of scripting that will be beneficial to how I make tables. Everything else about scripting will come in time.


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 went from knowing absolutely nothing about building tables to what I know now in about 4 or 5 months. Not because I'm the most talented person in the world but because there is a lot of people who have helped me and answered my questions. The biggest tip I could give to someone is to ask questions and be patient. You only get better by practice and trial and error. There is probably days of work that I have lost because I ended up not doing it right. But then again, I won't have that problem the next time I try to do the same thing either.

You should learn as you go and focus on one thing at a time. Trying to learn everything at once can be very overwhelming. I started by doing something as simple as changing a ball image, but you got to start somewhere. So I’m proof that you can build tables even if you know absolutely nothing about it, you just need to be patient and be willing to put some time into it. I still have a lot to learn. But there is nothing like finishing a project. It feels good to create something, whether it is a pinball table or painting a picture.

As far as what I think is important for a table. I honestly think that you need all of the parts of it to be good. Not just one thing like graphics or sound. It’s the combination of everything that makes or breaks a table for me, not just one thing.


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

I know nothing about computers other than what I have learned through toying with VP, which actually ends up being more than what the average person would know. I've never had much interest in computers, although that is changing some. Just pinball and sports! It’s kind of a weird mix. I'm running a dell that is a few years old now with XP home. I'm happy with it even though it's pretty average. I recently upgraded from 128 to 512 of RAM and added a 256 MB nvidia geforce graphics card.


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 am 25 years old and I live in western Pennsylvania. I am currently a HDFS (Human Development and Family Studies) major at Penn State University. Until last year at this time, I had spent the previous 8 years of my life as an I.V. heroin addict who never even finished high school, which makes my success in college even sweeter. I’m not always so open and revealing about that, but I have nothing to lose sharing it with anybody who might be reading this. After all, you stay pretty anonymous in these forums. And I wasn’t just an occasional user. I was the worst of the worst. I was the walking scum of the earth. Nobody trusted me and I had no relationships other than what I had with drugs. It was my past that led me to pursue a degree in a field related to my past to counsel others who are going through similar problems. It turns out that I’m a deans list student, which surprises everyone that knows me, including myself. All the trials and tribulations of the life I had lived really make me appreciate what I have today. I am also much more tolerant of things in life that used to upset me. I do feel that whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

I have hobbies other than VP that include being involved with and watching sports, reading, writing, being in the outdoors, and meeting women. I love women! I always try to be a ladies man but pinball doesn't always turn them on as some of us might of found out. So I just keep it to myself mostly. Pinball is often my personal time. The recent ladies I've had in my life don't really appreciate me spending time with pinball or on the computer. They hate when pinball gets more attention than they do. I've been on a break from my recent girlfriend, now all of this table work getting done! It’s best that I take a break from any relationship stuff, it’s better for me anyhow and can be quite distracting. I’m sure I’ll change my mind soon though, I always do. I have a lot of stuff on my plate and it gets hard to balance it out. VP and real pinball are always a nice escape. Almost like a meditation in a way. There are things more precious to me than pinball that always must take first priority. That can be easier said than done though. Pinball is just a fun thing that I like to do when I have time, and even sometimes when I don’t.


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

I really enjoy all of Scapino's tables. I like all of PD's tables as well, and all of the work Kristian has done. I really like the work he did on Alien Poker especially. Other tables I like are Space Shuttle by Emkaah, Scapino's Fathom, PD's Funhouse and Addams Family, Luvthatapex's Magic Castle, and just about anything really. This list could go on and I just picked a few off the top of my head without even thinking about it. I like them simply because I have fun playing them. They lead me to believe that any table can be made into a great recreation. There are even some tables that might not look very good but they are still a lot of fun.


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?

It's not very often that I get to play any real tables anymore. Theatre of Magic and Funhouse are two of my favorite ones that I've played. Recently, I've played Stern's Roller Coaster Tycoon and High Speed 2. I actually set the high score on both machines the first time I played them! And I heard they had been sitting in that particular acade for quite some time. I was pretty happy about that. I was never really extremely good at real pinballs but I honestly think that playing VP has made me better at real pinball. I never really played a pinball that I didn't really like. Some other real tables that I’ve enjoyed are Grand Slam(bally), Blackout, Gold Ball, Mata Hari, WhiteWater, Genie, Kings of Steel, and High Roller Casino. All of those I just mentioned were ones that I was lucky enough to play at a convention. There was so many others I liked too.


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?

I think that new VPF members shouldn't be afraid to get involved. I think it can be very rewarding to give to the community and give yourself a chance to enjoy different tables and era's that you haven't played before. I guarantee that you will end up liking something that you didn't think you would like.

As for people who have been around the forums, I think the atmosphere has been pretty good lately. I just don’t like the arguments over petty things and the arguments over things that won’t get resolved anyhow. For the most part, the forums seem to be getting better. There are always new people around now, and they always seem to get help and advice from people who have been around for a while. That’s the way it should be.


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?

They know who they are. PD (PacDude) and Destruk are probably the major ones. Everything they work on usually has a pretty big impact on the community and they put a lot of time and effort into their projects and ideas.

I usually download every table that comes out. I like the different tables that all the authors create. Everyone does a good job although their styles might be different.


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!

I'm done! I'm starting to burn out. I'm sure I revealed enough about myself and my thoughts. I’m starting to get sick of hearing about myself!

.

Thanks for revealing things from your past in the hope that it might help someone else. That is a sign of real class, and I’m sure that you’ll help inspire folks in ways you never imagined. I’m proud to know you, College. --John / tiltjlp
 
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Isaac Sauvage

Meep!
Site Supporters
Consultant
This was a dated, but still pretty interesting interview from back in the day. It lacked formatting, so I've touched it up a bit to make it easier to process.

@rob046 was a major table author and modder, and already one of the best at the time of the interview. He produced a slew of tables, yet we only have him credited with three at the moment. (I'll have to get our hard-working team of monkey-admins on the case!)

Also interesting how back in 2005 he was a 25yo guy in college, which would now make him a 41yo in early middle age, presumably with a long, prosperous career already behind him.

I do see he visited here a scant three years ago, so maybe we'll hear from him again one day.
 
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