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The Same Old Same Old

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
When I returned to the VP scene, I hoped, but didn’t really expect, to see some positive changes. Well, I guess VP Land isn’t any worse off than when I left, but most of the things that were problems still remain. The Free Forums are no longer, which I’m sure pleases some folks no end. And while I didn’t appreciate some of the conduct of a number of the more vocal and vulgar members, it gave a lot of people a place to let off some steam. And once the name calling had settled down, and Marv was banned, VPFF wasn’t nearly as evil a place as a few folks felt.

I always figured that if you didn’t approve of VPFF, the wisest thing to do was to ignore it, and not visit, knowing it would make your blood boil. So now as least some of those member who were banned from VPF have returned, and the earth hasn’t stood still, and there are even more members who register only so they can download VPM tables. And what is so wrong with that, there is no requirement that anyone take an active role in the forums and post. But if you do decide to post, please say something in your posts, rather than the same one line “glad-handing†empty comments some folks churn out. Maybe VPF should remove the post count statistic, since “saying nothing†really shouldn’t ever be acknowledged or rewarded.

I have noticed a few new authors, Furio in particular, who I’m glad to see doing first rate work. But on the other hand, one person still is churning out flipperless tables without making any improvements to the playfield, and sadly, is using altered script from another authors older tables. The borrowed script comes from a few of Druadic’s earlier tables, which is only one of several reasons Will has left VP for a while. But of course one constant that has remained is the excellent work by the IRPinball team, so all is not lost.

But what disappoints me the most is that seemingly half of the posts at VPF are in the Outlanes, and have nothing to do with anything akin to pinball. Oh well, at least I don’t have to read the chatter. But one thing that is missing, which should be, is meaningful and thoughtful replies to WIP posts. Sure, many WIPs simply are showing you what the author is working on, and don’t ask for input and suggestions. But those WIPs that do ask for advice or opinions receive very few replies, and most of those are not helpful in the least. “Looks great, can’t wait to play it†doesn’t help the author improve his work, only feeding the ego of the poster. Nearly 9,500 post, so what?

A few things did surprise me. PacDude back at VPF. And as long winded as ever . . . but most of what he says I agree with. If only he could learn to be concise. It was good to see that shiva has returned to mind the store at the best developers site ever, what a shame that shivaSite is so underused. VP Originals is up and running, and promises to be a good place to snag originals. And lastly, thanks to JonPurpleHaze for keeping TMOF alive, and arising from its ashes with Flipperless.com. It’s a shame that no one visits any more. Hopefully this opinion piece and others which will follow will liven things up a bit, and bring folks back. So there you have it, my first look at the plight of the VP scene. Agree or not, let me know. Especially if you don’t agree, since a little friendly debate is always good for what ails you.

tiltjlp
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
And you're telling me that was concise? :D

I guess you missed a lot tiltjp. VPFF is gone because Alex no longer has any interest in running it and because it lost it's purpose for the most part. With VPF almost acting normal again (the entire old staff is gone save AJ himself) and pretty much all accounts restored (save Nicky's), there wasn't much pinball posting going on there. But then there's not that much at VPF either. One problem is that Randy is long gone and seemingly never to return. XP SP2 is causing crashes and so between the two, some have given up on VP. Most are just too lazy to open the editor, though. Frontends make it easy for people to pretend there is NO editor even. They think it's just like Mame. Run the games the developers make and leave again.

As for me, I resolved the VPF situation some time ago with Apocalypse in a "neither side admits wroing doing" type resolution, although he's not too crazy about me personally these days, it seems. He's no longer on the staff at VPF either, though. Since VPFF was no longer getting exclusive releases, most people stopped bothering to go there for pinball (only Kristian was really left posting there and even he started posting at Shivasite and eventually at VPF again, leaving VPFF with no real purpose anymore. Nicky more or less gave up on VP ages ago.)

On the bright side, the VPM team has two more new members (TomB and Oliver). TomB has resolved many dip switch issues with Williams System3-7 games and Oliver figured out most of Baby Pac-Man's remaining issues. It's a good thing since most of the other VPM people have little time to try and track down bugs like that, I take it. But VPM authors are in short supply these days. Kurt has been working on Cirqus Voltaire for ages so we haven't heard a lot from him and Kristian has been too busy. I think there are a few new authors working on things in the background, though. I've talked to a few. They may come up with something in time. Tab seems busy, though and I'm always working on something. I just released a high resolution plunger system (uses a trigger that can be synced to any visual including VP's own plunger) as part of VBS V3.15 (I've pretty much taken over updating the VBS files at the moment). That might be useful to you for some flipperless tables if adapted to work stand-alone.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Now that was concise

Concise doesn't mean short, merely to the point. And thanks for giving the information about the demise of VPFF. Sad to say, I agree pretty much with your assessment of VPF, and I don't see it improving more than it already has.

One thing both JPH and I am proud of here is that nobody has ever had a post edited, and as far as I know, none of our censored words filters have been used. Mostly because I was very specific when I made up the list of disallowed words.

And yes, there does seem to be fewer authors of all sorts, and I think part of the reason is lack of feedback and encouragement. Although I'm mostly into flipperless and EMs, I appreciate the fine work you do, and feel that folks who DL and play your tables should take the time and effort to let you know what they think. Every good release should have a fair share of positive comments, and every WIP asking for input should have even more suggestions made in response.

To the ? "Is VP Dead?, I would have to say no, but the majority of folks who aren't authors are doing their worst to try and drain much of our enthusiam from VP. And you make a good point about the role that Front Ends has unexpectedly played in that respect.

John
 

StevOz

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
There have been some positive changes for example staff guidelines for VPF...

http://www.vpforums.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=28523&highlight=moderator+guidelines

Originally posted by The Loafer
Bonjour,

As I promised so long ago, here are the staff guidelines. These presently pertain to our dealings when moderating the forums. I don't particularly see a need to start posting procedures on how we use vbulletin, and if I recall, this IS the type of info people wondered about.

You'll note there is a difference in one area as compared to how we've dealt with in the past: locking a thread for 24 hours when discussions get out of hand. This has been recommended a couple of times in the past, most recently (I believe) by StevOz. It's a good idea and therefore should be, and has been, implemented.

The staff is not perfect. We are human, and sometimes we make mistakes. If we act contrary to these guidelines, it's sometimes because of a mistake, and not some new obscene attempt to kangaroo court an issue. If you feel we are acting outside our own self imposed rules, it's perfectly ok to bring it to our attention, but realize there may be circumstances that demanded it; thus I'd ask that you question us in a respectful manner. If you've done so, as I've stated to all of you time and time again, I personally guarantee you will receive a response to the question.

Enjoy,

VPForums Staff Guidelines

The following guidelines apply evenly to all staff members, irrelevant of the position of said staff member (ie: Admin, SuperMod or Moderator)


Standards of conduct for all staff:

- Be professional at all times
- Be courteous
- Be friendly
- Be helpful
- Above all, be patient!

Moderating a thread:

Things to consider:
True, this forum is about Pinball and not about free speech. However consider it is not about robots playing pinball. Humans are fallible creatures who need to express themselves. Sometimes, in doing so, members will sometimes go farther than our guidelines permit. Consider that all members are from different social and geographical backgrounds and therefore express themselves in various ways that may not comply with our “family friendly†site, or even with your own standards. That does not make these members evil. Some get caught up in the moment; others do not understand our guidelines. It is our job to educate these members when the line is crossed, and not just punish. If said action continues, then of course appropriate D/A action is acceptable. Please consider this when issuing PM’s, warnings and D/A’s.

When encountering a thread that breaks our guidelines:

There are several possible options on our part, each dependent on the severity of the content of the posts/thread. For all options, do not delete the post/thread! Explanation noted below.

- Edit the post accordingly and add a comment within the post explaining the edit, identifying yourself in the process. Remember that although editing the post in question adds your name and date in the post, if the member re-edits it, the post will not signify you had edited it as it reflects the author and time of the last edit. Notify the rest of the staff of said edit by posting a thread in the staff forum.

- Threads requiring action: Whenever possible, provide a warning in a thread to “settle down†if discussion becomes too heated. I say “whenever possible†because with porn, warez, etc., there is no hesitation; the thread/post in question must be moved to the staff forums, with the relevant warning issued and communicated. However, if you are unsure of the legalities of a particular thread, don’t hesitate to move it to the Staff Archive and inform the staff to look into it. It’s always better to be safe then sorry. When doing so, please do not forget to inform the relevant author of the thread movement, explaining we’re looking into it and if possible, will move the thread back ASAP, as long as it does not pose a threat to our forums.

- For threads that do not settle down, give 2 more warnings, edit and communicate if appropriate. If this persists, lock the thread for a period of 24 hours, include a last post explaining the reasons why you are doing so and that it will be re-opened if all concerned cool down, and of course communicate this to the rest of the staff via a message in the staff forums. If when reopening the thread things escalate further, then close the thread again indicating it is closed until further notice and under review by the admins. The admins will determine if the thread is moved to the staff forums or if through efforts on all parties can be reopened with an understanding that discussions will be civil.

- Typically, a thread is not moved to the archives unless its expired (no activity for 3 months) or due to the thread starter posting an inappropriate subject/comment (moved to staff archive). As well, an unacceptable post within a valid thread will usually receive an edit instead of removal of the said valid thread. However, if a condition occurs that does validate the removal of the thread even though the thread owner did not err in any way, please communicate the thread move to the author in question.

Though AJs attitude or complete lack of it is always a worry, it is his site, maybe to some extent, though he takes donations and one thing it will never be is his community. His total lack of trust and the fact that he has noone in place to backup the place, when the server crashes he is the only one that can reset it, a rather weak chain of command.

As for VPFF, yeah I'm not so happy that it was abandoned, still that was the way the majority went, so that's that, though I feel it only bought about change for the better.

As far as post counts anywhere, they mean nothing, never will.

As for posts to releases, a bit more feedback would be nice and even the thank you and that is nice comments are welcome. Still more thoughtful replies would be better. Then again certain tables are always going to be more popular later day recreation are always going to be more popular. Simple fact is there are more around that actually grew up playing these and often this is it for them and also they would often not rather speak up about such things as errors in the emulation as they feel unqualified.

Also we all have our own bias towards the tables of our prefered era, strueth I made a table and damn it is good, still most seem to miss the point, plays great, a real challenge with real rules, yet the lack of feedback was staggering.

Basically all things can and do change, somethings change more slowly then you or I or the man on the ground might like. None the less my glass is half full and I shall push for those changes come what may, till the brim overflows!
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
some good points Steve

Yes, I agree that VPF has improved a lot, but my biggest gripe is that AJ feels there is a need for so much moderating. And to me staff guidelines are a joke. As you know, since you are on staff here, we have almost no staff guidelines, and rather than moderating, we watch.

Here, coomon sense and respect are pretty much the rule of thumb, and there haven't been any problems. Of course we don't have a zillion members like VPF does, but then again, only 3% of their members ever post. And as anyone can see, here you don't even have to register in order to post.

tiltjlp
 
G

Guest

Guest
Stevoz: Blazing trail was a nice table. I only thought the girl could have done with not having the tables top lanes cut through her :)

I think its a shame that so many of the so few authors are so busy outside of VP these days. New authors are allways welcome, but attracting them in the first place seems to be getting harder. Places change, people can too, but a community wobbles on in its own strange way. I find I'm not as active outside VPO anymore because of a variety of factors, so I miss a lot of the stuff thats going on. Thats fine by me if I miss the garbage but still get the pinball :D
 

Anthias

Pinball Player
That guest was me BTW, I think I took too long. Falling asleep at teh keyboard I guess, and it timed out or something :) Titljlp: Thats the magic of this place :) its allways been a pleasant place to spend some time, when it was TMOF, and now as flipperless.com.
 

StevOz

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Sorry John, going to go off topic a bit here, but Anthias just gave me some feedback on my table so I'm going to reply to it.

Ahhh....the top lanes, well actually I designed the table not the graphics, I have zero experience with graphics, strueth I don't even know how to use MS paint, I just found what images I could that best fit the theme then used irfanview to modify them as best I could. I designed the table first then the script and rules, then pasted on the graphics. I figured the silhoueuette graphic of the cowgirl was the best option. So there ya go, not sure I could have done it better any other way. I must have searched through a thousand google images to compose the final graphics. Anyhows the apron, lower sling graphics are from and arcade game flyer, The Cowboys of Moo Mesa, it's in MAME, great game actually, the upper plastic and top arch are from a native American Indian textile. The bumpers, spinners and target graphics were actually icons from a western theme package. The main playfield is by the artist Marco Almera, the piece is called Space Cowgirl, you should checkout some of his art, fantastic stuff. ;)

http://www.marcoalmera.com/

Oh and all the sounds were ripped from a couple of UK fruit machine roms using MFME 1.1 (Multiple Fruit Machine Emulator), the roms - Blazing Trails and Magnificant 7s.

Though my biggest achievement was in the scripting and layout, creating a realistic and complex rule set with four players, multiball, hold bonus, hold multipliers, specials and a few other tricks.

As for the Magic, well a true magician never reveals his secrets....damn I blew that gig! :roll:
 

StevOz

Administrator
Staff member
Site Supporters
Back on topic it seems both VPF and shivasite are down again and this time it looks worse then ever, I'm getting messages I've not encountered before. Just as well we have Flipperless and VP Originals on different servers.
 
G

Guest

Guest
VPF is bogging down big time lately for reasons unknown (it affects Shivasite too because they're on the same server). AJ not being around is a BIG problem. Not only is he the only one that can reset it, but I've been trying to get a slot for Fireball Classic for like 2 weeks now. He's said he checks his e-mail every night, but that is clearly not the case. It seems that he goes away on business trips or something a lot and while he can't help that, he could give someone like Lio or The Loafter power to add slots and fix crashes, etc.

As for feedback, my feeling is there is a lack of interest in general for pinball these days. Someone said it's probably because I've been picking older tables and hardly anyone one really wanted Fireball. I don't know. I think Sorcerer is a pretty cool table and not that old (1985), yet half the replies in the WIP thread at VPF are about the two OTHER tables already out there. Thus, the other trend I'm starting to notice from an author's viewpoint (happened with Road Show, Firepower and now Sorcerer) is that an author of a previous version of that table will pop out of the woodwork all of a sudden and go on about how accurate their table is and that they'll probably update it again soon for graphics or whatever right in my WIP thread (in Firepower's case, it got pretty nasty as well). It's like they've had YEARS in some cases to update their tables if they were unhappy with them. So why is it when I come along to make a new table, they suddenly appear? (in Road Show's case, Jamin came out of nowhere; we hadn't seen him in ages). Of course, I have YET to see one of these "updates" actually materialize, but it just reminds me of blowing smoke on a log filled with ants and watching the colony come pouring out when they feel their house is threatened or in danger. In Fireball Classic's case, Apocalypse supposedly has this photo-perfect rendition of the game in a VPM table, but chose to not release it to the public (sort of the anti-thesis to that scenerio). If it had been released, I probably wouldn't have made a new table. In the case of Sorcerer, I didn't realize Shiva's version looked so much better than the one I've got here (the Krellan/Joxer table), but even so I've got the materials now so I'm making the table.

If people want to discuss Shiva's version of Sorcerer, fine. Make a new thread about it. I see no need to hijack my WIP thread in the process. I posted a pretty cool looking 2nd screenshot and one person said "looks good as always" (which I see like a million times over in general and might as well have come out of a box of fortune cookies). Otherwise, it's gone largely ignored. That never happened in the past with other tables (some of those WIP threads were gigantic). So, I tend to think interest is waning since the visual quality of my tables is better than ever, IMO.

In general, most tables have been done already, so if we're ever going to get improved tables, someone has to either update an existing table or create a new one. I hate to think that trend would happen to others. New authors might get scared off or something.
 
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Guest

Guest
Yeah PD, I did over 30 solid state graphics remakes. I'm proud of the quality but they never got much recognition, except maybe the most famous ones like Alien Poker and Black Knight. Well, nothing compared to your modern table recreations anyway.

I don't really care. I wanted to do them because I love to play them myself. If you want more hype and more replies from leeches, just post a new screenshot of Cactus Canyon and you'll see...

And in my opinion, you're wasting your talents with old tables. Sorcerer is cool though. But nobody can recreate modern machines like you do.

Kristian
 
G

Guest

Guest
And John, nice to see you back. I totally agree with you, moderation and post editing in pinball forums is unnecessary in 99% of the cases.

Then there are people like Shiva who have done lots of good for VP but they never forget to mention how much they work, how much they suffer or how bad the community has begun. Yeah, sure it's horrible to see one swear word or little argument every two months.

Nothing against Shiva but I'm personally sick and tired of all that complaining. I haven't donated money - but like PD I have devoted thousands of hours for public vp work as well but I have nothing to complain or whine, I have *enjoyed* it all. It has been my hobby and people owe me NOTHING.

If people have a temper tantrum (like Shockman recently) why make a big deal about it? It's normal, everyone gets those every now and then. What do people want? Some flavorless, watered-down community where everyone always agree with eachother (especially with the staff) and where everything is always "superb", "fantastic" or "perfect"?

Remember how it was 2 years ago? There was no room for anything else than "the one and only complete truth". If you disagreed with the moderators and this "complete truth" you got banned right away.

Thank God it has all changed for better, thanks to Loafer (and Apocalypse and Destruk who got the ball rolling). It doesn't look that bad, we have new authors coming all the time. Like Rob for example. I'm anxious to see his tables.
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
I'm not saying I'm not having fun, Kristian. But I thought we were talking about the community in general here and the community used to be a lot more active in terms of pinball discussion in general. And while these so-called "leeches" (I don't think they're a leech if they have something to say) may not always have the best comments in the world, I do like to know that there are people enjoying my work. I suppose at least Shivasite has a download counter so I can see if anyone's trying the tables out. But like any athlete does better when the crowd is cheering them on, I have more fun when I know others are enjoying the game, so to speak.

As for old versus new tables, I've played games like Creature From The Black Lagoon a hundred times for real. Right now I'm having fun making tables I never got to play for real and they just happen to be from the 1980's. Since you're a big '80s fan, I thought you'd appreciate games like Firepower and Sorcerer. Maybe Fireball Classic wasn't your cup of tea, but I thought EM fans would like that one and I wanted to make it to see how an EM style game would play if I made it instead of these "slow" EMs out there (Fireball being one of the fastest, if not the fastest EM ever made and Fireball Classic just being a solid state version with more lights, '80s sound and the same layout). Phoenixx still wants me to make Vector and I thought you did too. Have you changed your mind?

In any case, I don't really see where I'm "wasting my talents" making older games. It's letting me concentrate on improving table objects, new things like high resolution plungers, etc. and graphics effects instead of spending most of my time concentrating on how to get such and such whiz-bang toy to work. These types of improvements will benefit all future tables and many updates to older ones, so I don't think they're a waste of time. I mean did Emkaah waste his time on Space Shuttle because it's a mid '80s game? I don't think so. I think it's pretty darn cool, personally. I never got to play that one for real either (there was one at the hotel wherre I first played TAF, but it was broken, unfortunately).
 
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Guest

Guest
No, I don't mean you're wasting your time with the older tables. I just think there were decent versions of Sorcerer and FB Classic out already. But not Vector. It's a disgrace there's not a decent version of that BEAUTIFUL table available.

I'd do it, but programming the speed shot and other stuff are beyond my abilities and I know you'd make that table justice. It's one of the most beautiful tables there is.

Generally all of the solid state tables aren't that great. Just the Williams ones that I've tackled already (with others) and few Bally tables like Flash Gordon and yes... Vector. I've been playing much more the new tables lately, mainly because there are still real tables available around here. Often I just think "ahh what if PD did a recreation of this one..." :) I just played No Good Go'Fers last summer and it's a fun table, just like Cactus Canyon and Demolition Man.

I could help finding stuff for those tables, I definitely want PD-versions of them rather than 3rd remake of some not-that-great ss table. You know, I really PLAY those recreations, not just collect them. Sorcerer is great table though, just like Firepower. And your remake is one of the best-ever, I've played it for hours and hours. You do what you really enjoy doing of course, it's the most important thing.

PS: I got fantastic pictures of Space Station (Williams late 80's) from Rob. Would you be interested in that or should I start redoing the graphics for Destruk's existing version? It's too bad my schedule is that busy now, it should get easier soon.
 

PacDude

Pinball Wizard
I don't know. I want to get this one done before I decide on the next one to do. Next will probably either be finish Cactus Canyon or start a new table. I've got images for The Transporter, Bad Cats, Truck Stop, King Pin and Champion Pub.

Actually, I'd like to finish Breakshot, but Gravitar has yet to post the manual for it that he says he scanned.
 
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Guest

Guest
Great tables. There's a decent (Lio's) version of Bad Cats already though.

Truck Stop & Champion Pub sound interesting. Never played or seen those.
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
Hey there Kristen!

It's good to be back, but I do get tired of all the temper tantrums. And a little disagreement and friendly debate is what gives life to a forum. We haven't edited a single post and probably never will. If something really bad would get posted, I'd ask the posted to edit the post before I'd do it myself. But the only thing I would eevr consider editing would be nasty flames and attacks, or vulgarity, and I have word censors in place to block the worst vulgar language.

BTW, PacDude, you might want to mark the Remember Me button, so you don't have to log in every time you visit. That way you only have to log in about every two weeks, when the markers get reset. Otherwise most of my posts would be as a Guest.
 
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Guest

Guest
Loafer here:

Tiltjlp, you've been gone a long time, so you may not realize it, but there's very little post moderating happening at VPF for over a year now. I know first impressions are everything, but don't let that thread be in indication that we scourge the forums looking for evil doers posters. That is simply not the case, and I think pretty much everyone here will attest to this.

Several times, there was a need because of forum policy and guidelines to moderate, but a quick pm to the author asking for them to edit their post usually does the the trick. This was sorta done when I read shock's and Leo's posts, right in the thread. Unfortunately, I could not log on for several days to follow up on this, and boom, we have what we have.

My two canadian cents. Lot's of truth discussed here about the problems with VPforums. But moderations ain't one of them imho.
 

Furio

Pinball Wizard
Site Supporters
tiltjlp said:
.....
I have noticed a few new authors, Furio in particular, who I’m glad to see doing first rate work.
.....
tiltjlp

I am an author of pinball with flippers.
I have realized ""Watch my line (Gottlieb 1951)" for friendship in the comparisons of JonPurpleHaze.
Jon had lost from little time a beloved friend.
And it received in an other Forum a hard and amazing attack.
I have intentional therefore to demonstrate he that persons exist who appreciate its job.
I thank for the esteem words.
Saluti dall'Italia Furio
 

tiltjlp

PN co-founder
First impressions

Yes Loaf, I'm sure that the thread we're referring to isn't the norm, and I can see that VPF has made great strides in that area. I really wasn't trying to show VPF in a bad light, merely show the differences between here and there. And of course we have a lot less traffic, but we also have a lot fewer rules.

Given the fact that, if I'm correct about this, that AJ still is the final say at VPF, I think, given all the rules, that you and your staff are doing a very good job. I just like our way of doing things a bit better, very few rules which are very lightly applied. And many of the comment I made in regard to VPF and rules also applies to shivaSite, where I once was an ADMIN, and am sort of an honorary staff member.

I think that you, Destruk, and a few others, have vastly improved VPF, now if only AJ would either take an active, ongoing role, or deligate more authority, which he may have without me being aware, but I would really be surprised if he had.

And lastly, keep in mind that one of my goals in starting my "tiltjlp speaks out" forum and writing this opinion pieces was to foster friendly and calm discussion and debate. It looks, at least between you and I, that I have succeeded.

tiltjlp
 
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