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Author Topic: Mimic's Sister - name TBD  (Read 1027 times)

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Laythe

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Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« on: June 30, 2018, 11:54:57 pm »
So, Gingerballs made me realize I need to build a vpin.  Thanks, Malenko.

Mimic is slick and I'm happy with it - but as a stand-up machine, with the basic joystick and buttons, it doesn't do driving games well.

I'm on a budget.  I have a small house.

So I got to thinking.

A full size vpin needs a burly computer with a good 3D vidcard, and a huge monitor for a playfield in portrait, and a big footprint.
A driving cab, or sim pit, needs a burly computer with a good 3D vidcard and a huge monitor for a front window in landscape, and a big footprint.

If those were the same, it could save me a fair chunk of money and a lot of square feet of floorspace.   

We had a thread here a little while back bemoaning the death of innovation, and I object to that.

Mimic is every upright cab I need, horizontal or vertical, and does a great job at that.  Could one other thing cover the rest?

(I've got a wager with NotThatJennifer regarding what the overall reception here to the idea will be - we'll see who's right.)


So, I've got this idea.  I'm gathering parts toward building it.  Figure I'll show you all, and see what you think.  It doesn't have a name yet.  Lots of renders coming up.  No sawdust yet.

When you're playing the thing like a pinball machine, it looks like this.



It's mostly a vpin machine, except for a 2" tall deck with rails on the sides of it that you can walk on, off to the right.  Three monitors, 16:10 backglass, 4:3 sideways DMD, 16:9 42" TV playfield, nothing crazy.

Yet.

From the side, it looks like this.



Everything that isn't very vpin-like stows between the legs.  You don't end up with a full height pinball cabinet, but I think the shapes still suggest the right silhouette pretty well.  But that's just, like, my opinion, man, I know.



There's clearance behind it to still get to my crawlspace, that's the door behind the backbox.  But that sharply limits the max depth the thing can have front-to-back.



So, this is the basic idea of the thing, in it's stowed / vpin position.

But.

It's motorized.  There's a 8" throw linear actuator under that playfield, on a bell crank.  The axle is rotated 3' counterclockwise and inclined 3', and the monitor is mounted to that axle rotated 3' clockwise and inclined an additional 3', so in this mode, it's 6' inclined, but when the axle rotates 90 degrees on the actuator under it, and when the other motor pushes the seat back 50" and the midstage arm back 24"...  well, this happens.



(The sequencing of the motors and safeties is done by the host PC.  I plan to use an Ultimarc Ultimate IO to check positional limit switch inputs and drive relays to run the actuators.)

Once it's out in driving mode, the front-end I'll write will switch from giving the menu on the backglass, to giving the menu on the main screen, and it's a sim pit.  Heights and reaches to seat, screen and controls are pretty close to other racing games I've measured.  The seat will be adjustable fore-aft independent of everything else. 



There's plenty of room to get into it, unlike some racing cabs and my first stab at a sim-pit a few decades ago.

When you're behind the controls, should look something like:



There's gotta be some relays to flip the audio from the backbox speakers left-right, to the newly exposed speakers in the front and back cabinet boxes, to keep stereo positioning working right.  But the PC can fire that relay while it's doing the transform sequence in either direction, I figure.


Anyway, this is what I'm thinking.  This is to be the thing that does everything Mimic can't do well - Afterburner, Hard Drivin', Outrun, SF Rush, Daytona USA, Star Wars, some flight sims, and a selection of maybe twenty vpin tables. 

I have not gone deep into the weeds on how all the bearings and actuators and so on work in this post, because I figure there's no point going into all that if the initial reaction to the design as a whole turns out to be "Dear god what is that unholy thing".   ;D


Opinions?

Nephasth

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2018, 12:16:16 am »
%Bartop

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2018, 12:21:34 am »
Ambitious. :cheers:

Heh, yeah.  True that.   :cheers:

yotsuya

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2018, 02:40:13 am »
If anyone can pull it off, itíll be you,my friend - but I think itíll be in Pinball Mode 90% of the time.

You just need to buy a dedicated Hard Driving!!! That was my favorite memory of ZapCon 2018!
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2018, 07:09:32 am »
That would be so cool! Looking forward to seeing this build!

Mike A

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2018, 08:01:09 am »
I don't think it will be worth all of the effort. First off, I have played a bunch of vpins. They just don't feel right. There are some really nice looking machines on this forum, maybe the play experience is better with them. The only ones I have played have been at the MGC.
I have no doubt that you can pull this off, but it doesn't look like you are saving any floor space by tucking the driving right underneath. There is still part of the frame on the floor when the seat is tucked underneath.
Go get a Hard Drivin' cab. You freakin' rule that game.

All that being said, if you do this, it has to make the classic transformers sound when it transforms back and forth.

Zapcon 2019. Be there. I didn't really get a chance to talk to you.

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2018, 12:27:31 pm »
Thanks, yotsuya and barrymossel. 

(Yots:  I did actually find a local Race Drivin', but if I'd gotten it, I'd never have a vpin or Outrun.  I think I can get everything but the FFB and shifter lockout working well in emulation.)

I have no doubt that you can pull this off, but it doesn't look like you are saving any floor space by tucking the driving right underneath. There is still part of the frame on the floor when the seat is tucked underneath.

My thinking on the frame on the floor is that it still counts as floor to me - I can walk on it, so it's walkway.  Some drafts had the chair on carpet-capable wheels, to avoid that frame existing - but knowing me, that'd mean I'd stack other crap in the way of it deploying and then either not be able to deploy it or crash it. 

That frame is kind of the equivalent of diagonal yellow stripes painted on a robotic factory floor, to me.  "Hey dummy this is the exclusionary zone."

All that being said, if you do this, it has to make the classic transformers sound when it transforms back and forth.

Yes!  This is required.  Randomly, either that, or the sound of a pit crew with air ratchets, or the Six Million Dollar Man noise.  The front-end will do this.   ;D

Zapcon 2019. Be there. I didn't really get a chance to talk to you.

I don't think I'm likely on 2019, though to be fair I didn't think I was likely on 2018 either.  I wouldn't be surprised if I made it back someday though, if the BYOAC horde keeps going.

rablack97

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2018, 04:41:13 pm »
Having went through the process of building a vpin.  The puprose is to get it as close as possible to the real thing.  I will tell you this now, your playfield section will have to be waaayyyyy deeper than that, which will kill your rotating function.

Trust me when i tell you, every inch in the playfield section is utilized with parts, and it will be super heavy, not to mention the amount of wiring that will have to feed into the backbox from the playfield.

With a VPIN i've learned its all or you're building a piece of crap.  Half ass full size vpins are a waste of time actually.  Turning a TV putting a monitor on top and putting buttons on the side and front is not a vpin to me its a a big ass tate machine laying on its back.

So think long and hard about combining the two, you need easy access to the backglass and the table at all times as stated they are high maint and constantly evolving.  So IMHO i would go either or, or seperate the two.
   

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pbj

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2018, 05:16:54 pm »
The hobby has moved on from vpins. 

yotsuya

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2018, 05:21:24 pm »
Having went through the process of building a vpin.  The puprose is to get it as close as possible to the real thing.  I will tell you this now, your playfield section will have to be waaayyyyy deeper than that, which will kill your rotating function.

Trust me when i tell you, every inch in the playfield section is utilized with parts, and it will be super heavy, not to mention the amount of wiring that will have to feed into the backbox from the playfield.

With a VPIN i've learned its all or you're building a piece of crap.  Half ass full size vpins are a waste of time actually.  Turning a TV putting a monitor on top and putting buttons on the side and front is not a vpin to me its a a big ass tate machine laying on its back.

So think long and hard about combining the two, you need easy access to the backglass and the table at all times as stated they are high maint and constantly evolving.  So IMHO i would go either or, or seperate the two.

I had a good talk about these with Rodney when he was here. You might want to pick his brain Laythe.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2018, 06:38:16 pm »
The hobby has moved on from vpins.
I'm pretty sure the world moved on from arcade games.   :dunno

If I were concerned by trends, I'd add some monitors for watching myself stream on Twitch.  But I'm not.


...  I will tell you this now, your playfield section will have to be waaayyyyy deeper than that, which will kill your rotating function.  Trust me when i tell you, every inch in the playfield section is utilized with parts, and it will be super heavy, not to mention the amount of wiring that will have to feed into the backbox from the playfield.

Thanks for the info!  I checked out your thread on The Grid.

I'm thinking the playfield box needs to contain the TV, the leaf-switch flipper buttons, left and right flipper solenoids housed behind the buttons, and a counterweight on the back side of the axle - since I'm looking at a 22lb force actuator, I'd want the CG pretty close to the axle.  Probably also some cooling fans, the TV could use the help in that orientation - though those may be able to reside on the lower back frame.

What parts am I missing that need to be in the playfield section?


As it may be relevant to what ISN'T up there:

The PC would be riding behind the shifter, under the flightstick, in that arm segment.  The encoder boards, power supplies, various relays for solenoid, motor and audio control, and the audio amplifier would reside in two stationary project boxes beneath the left side of the moving playfield, attached to the front and back frames.  That way I'm only pulling one moving USB line from the stationary encoder, instead of pulling the whole button wiring harness for all 12-odd buttons when the arm moves. 

The backbox contains two monitors - DMD is a portrait-turned 4:3 LCD sunk mostly down into the backbox neck...  two speakers, and probably a fan or two venting out slots in the top back.

My hope is that I can minimize constant service once it's Done.  I'll have to tweak leaf switches for sure, and replace microswitches when they die, but after I buttoned up Mimic I haven't had to keep messing with it... much.


Anyway, if there's playfield guts I'm not accounting for, this would be an excellent time to learn about them!   :D

rablack97

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2018, 08:48:03 pm »
The hobby has moved on from vpins.
I'm pretty sure the world moved on from arcade games.   :dunno

If I were concerned by trends, I'd add some monitors for watching myself stream on Twitch.  But I'm not.



A few things Laythe, you need to determine your toy limits based on how interactive you want your vpin to be, the more you have the more realistic it gets.

You have solenoids (up to 10), knockers, blowers, shakers, gear motors, these are powered by 5v, 12v 24v psu's. I also have a sub in my cab, a large fan for ventilation.

If you want to keep the backglass a proportionate, i would recommend doing a pin2dmd for your dmd, if your not going to worry too much about topper videos etc.

I also wouldn't recommend going lower than an I5 and gtx960 for your video card, gtx970 is good card that has been proved to work well with 4k tv's if that is the route you want to go for your playfield, 1050's and 1080 work well too if you can source these at a good price.

You also might look into BAM and an xboxone kinect if you want a headtracking 3d effect on your Future Pinball tables.

Think of your lighting as well, flashers, strobes, addressable led effects.

You will also need to consider which frontend you will use, the top ones in use today if Pinball X and Pinup Popper.  When i say high maintenance I also mean time spent in the software.  There is a lot too it and you will find yourself deeply engrossed in all of the cool stuff vpins can do these days.

My build logs sucks, cause i grow tired real easy and get lazy about posting.  I would follow Terry Reds build for a more in depth look at what all goes into a VPIN, his is pimped out to the max. Mine is too, but he did a way better job documenting his and i followed his as a guide.

I just want you to be clear on what all is possible, cause when you start building these things you dont end of just throwing a few buttons on it, and the more you find out about them the more complex your project will get.  Your wiring will have to be pretty solid, will all of these twists and turns, cause the wiring in a vpin is pretty in depth.

Let me know if you have anymore questions.

   

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yotsuya

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2018, 09:34:11 pm »
The hobby has moved on from vpins.
I'm pretty sure the world moved on from arcade games.   :dunno

If I were concerned by trends, I'd add some monitors for watching myself stream on Twitch.  But I'm not.

***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

Mike A

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2018, 10:21:20 pm »
You need a bunch of subwoofers aimed straight at your junk too.

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2018, 10:38:14 pm »
Thanks, rablack97!  Food for thought.

I've got a plan for the front end; I'll be writing one from scratch for my cabinet.  (That said, I'm surprised to see how poorly behaved VPX is in that regard - wow, you really have to force-kill it to close the editor window after playing despite starting it with command line switches?  Sheesh.)

pin2dmd looks great, and I'm tempted, but I've already got a couple of LCD monitors this size in my spare parts to put the DMD on.  Tried it out, it feels good enough for me, and I like that it can also do sixteen segment displays.  Does turn out to matter which way I rotate these LCDs though - they've got a strong side and a weak side on viewing angle, but I can put the weak side toward the wall, problem solved.

I managed to score all three displays - backglass, playfield, and DMD - for free out of my and my friends parts heaps... and I still think this is gonna be a $1500 project. 

I'll look through Terry Red's Pinkadia build log again, thanks for the tip.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2018, 09:31:55 am »
So, Gingerballs made me realize I need to build a vpin.  Thanks, Malenko.

Honored to be mentioned!

You can use (my) Pin2DMD colorizations with an LCD now, freezy updated his DLL. I just started coloring TMNT, and I'm redrawing everything (just like SF2)
http://vpuniverse.com/forums/topic/3616-tmnt/


The concept looks really cool and if anyone can actually pull it off, its you.
No matter one's station in life, the Dance of Death unites us all.

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2018, 03:40:04 am »
Minor update:  I've started making metal chips, if not sawdust yet.

I realized that my whole front cabinet box is going to be about 1 3/8" deep (interior space) - and being about 20" wide and 14" tall at that depth, that slot was going to be a pain to service any failed switches or whatnot in.  So, real coin door time just to give me an easy way back in.

1 3/8" behind the coin door doesn't say working coin mechs.  It's enough space to stash the pinball service button array, for a small touch of authenticity.  But I really like the feel of those re-purposed rectangular poker buttons as coin buttons, so I did the surgery necessary to mount them in place of the normal coin mechs and returns. 

I picked up a widebody Williams lockdown bar, 25" wide, so that's going to set one of my major dimensions.

Basically just wanted to say I've hit the "yeah I'm really doing this" stage.  Pictures to follow as it progresses.

Mike A

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2018, 06:26:46 am »
Looking forward to this one.

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2018, 09:17:28 am »
I don't have a horse in this race - I do admire the effort on the drawings  (Sketchup?)
Good luck!
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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2018, 09:35:20 am »
The drawings look like they could be in an updated "Money for Nothing" video.

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2018, 10:58:56 am »
I don't have a horse in this race - I do admire the effort on the drawings  (Sketchup?)
Good luck!

Thanks!

3DS Max R5.  One of my other hats is a game developer, and I own a personal copy.  It's not really a CAD package, precisely - but I can force it to act enough like one for my purposes. 

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #21 on: Yesterday at 03:30:23 pm »
I start projects like this in chaos.  I collect parts, I work on whatever catches my eye.

There's so much to do, and most of it doesn't depend on some specific order of operations that it doesn't really matter, as long as work gets done.

I do however want to be sure this is going to work before I get too far, so, I lean stuff up in a mock-up.



That isn't the real backglass monitor, it's just one I had around the house.  That is the real DMD monitor - I've got an identical pair of them so a replacement spare is on hand.  This TV ended up being spare, so I initially designed the whole cabinet around it.

25" wide Williams widebody lockdown bar, because I didn't want to fabricate one, and it's a big point of human interface with the vpin.

2" square 1/8" thick aluminum legs, because I am really concerned about the rigidity of the structure - a traditional pinball cab or vpin is a closed box, and I'm making something far less solid by effectively cutting away like 2.5 of the 4 solid sides.  I've got plans to sink them into the corners such that they kind of look like the traditional pinball leg L channels on the outside at the top when it's all done.)

4x 4" speakers and a 25-watt amp on the right.  Power control relay on the floor on the left.  Ipac Ultimate IO in the cardboard box. 

Having stacked most of the parts up, I wanted to see it run to know if this would satisfy me.



It's alive!  It worked, but the spare TV wasn't cutting it for a playfield.  Black level wasn't great, you could see it dithering, and the brightness or gamma would sometimes change of it's own volition despite turning everything off in the OSD menus.   So I found a deal on a 46" NEC commercial signage panel and ordered it.

It's nice.  Much better display, and I love that equal 3/4" wide bezel on all four sides.  Having the TV display slightly offset in pinball mode was irritating my OCD.



Additionally, the NEC has cooling fans and adjustable thermal profiles in it, being commercial signage - and it'll report it's internal temperature from three sensors in the onscreen display if you request it.  That could be very handy while running it in an orientation the engineers never intended.

The PC is going to be controlling the motorized rotation/transformation by way of relays and limit switches attached to the Ultimate IO.  The frontend is going to have to be bespoke - I want a menu on the backglass that lays pinball games out left-right, choice via flipper buttons, selection via start or launch or coin - and the far right option to be "Cockpit Games".   When you hit that, it'll slide the chair out, slide the dashboard out, rotate the playfield, move the game selection menu onto the playfield-now-windshield panel, and select from a list of driving/flying/space games via the flightstick or wheel or shifter paddles, with the far right option being "Pinball Games" to return to the first mode...

That's... not Hyperspin.   ;D 

So, I'm writing my own FE again.  I figure I'll use the DMD panel for status messages and make them look like a DMD - so, here's an early shot.



The frontend works as far as displaying the appropriate menus on the appropriate panels and starting some games, though it's still far from done.  It's far enough to confirm to me that it will work, though, and that's what the early stages of this look like for me - take each experimental part far enough along that I'm certain it's viable, before I get too deep.

Next up:  Coin door.

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #22 on: Yesterday at 03:53:58 pm »
My front box is about 2 1/2" deep - it's only as deep front to back as a lockdown bar is.  Internal space is about 1 3/8", which is just enough to contain a 4" speaker, the backs of the buttons, and a pinball 4-button service bracket.  Thinking about how wide it is, and how tall, getting inside it to work on anything was increasingly unappealing. 

So, I'm going coin door this time, for the sake of having a big access hatch.  I picked up one of the "mame" coin doors from twisted quarter, because there's absolutely no way I have room for coin mechs or anything like that behind it anyway. 

What I got appears to be a real coin door with a lot of plastic blankers to neuter it.  Cool, works for me.  Here's how it arrived:



I wanted to be able to fit decased poker buttons into the coin slot area, because I love how those look and feel on Mimic.  They'll fit, but, doing so requires some careful carving.  There's not a lot left of the chute insert once you get there.



The poker buttons are taller and narrower than what was there, so I've got a gap on the right I'll need to fill - I'll probably use epoxy clay for that and paint it all black. 

I cut both chutes to look like the one on the right, test mounted the switches, and discovered - heh, one, I'd removed so much of the plastic chute housing that there wasn't much for the button nut to grab on, and two, the chutes are tapered, so the nut isn't square to the coin door, it's got a downward tilt. 

So, some work on the door was necessary to have something solid to mount to.  Here's the rough initial fabrication.



This unruly array of aluminum bars, fender washers and spacers picks up all the mounting screws in the upper coin door, and makes something solid for the button nuts to grab.  It's quite solid, though not pretty yet.

From the side, you can see the results of the chute housing angle better.  I cut pockets in the upper bar to tune the angle more precisely.  I'll paint all this stuff black before final assembly, at the very least.



The result, as viewed from the front, is something I'm very happy with the look and feel of. 



I've still got gaps on the right side to fill and blend, but, yessssss.  This is what I was going for, and that will do nicely.

Having gotten that assembled, I immediately wanted to see it lit up and working, so I started working on part of one of the wiring harnesses.



But, I ran out of time to work on it before getting it all lit up.  Next time. 

That's where it all sits for now.  It'll probably take quite a few months for me to finish this thing, but it will get done.  I waited until I was completely done with Mimic to post anything about it here so I wouldn't keep people waiting, but this time I'm posting about it as I go.


(I've also been bouncing names around.  I vetoed "Cockpit & pinBalls".  Current lead candidate is perhaps "Shapeshifter".)

rave0035

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #23 on: Today at 12:49:35 pm »
(I've also been bouncing names around.  I vetoed "Cockpit & pinBalls".  Current lead candidate is perhaps "Shapeshifter".)

PinWheels
Bumper/Car
Tilt n' Roll!
Pinballs and Pinstripes
Paddles and Pedals

...too on the nose?
You can't truly know how something works until you've ruined it by taking it apart.

markc74

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #24 on: Today at 01:13:54 pm »
As long as you don't steal my 'FLiP' name we're cool  :cheers:

Laythe

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #25 on: Today at 02:12:10 pm »
As long as you don't steal my 'FLiP' name we're cool  :cheers:

Hehehe.  Arright, it's a deal.  I cede the *ip namespace, you've earned it. :lol

Malenko

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Re: Mimic's Sister - name TBD
« Reply #26 on: Today at 02:22:14 pm »
Drain and Chicane
Pop Bumper Cars
Silver Ball Drifter
Flipper Pass

No matter one's station in life, the Dance of Death unites us all.

  
 

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