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Author Topic: PinBox  (Read 4552 times)

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Matt, GoC

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PinBox
« on: November 14, 2004, 08:30:06 pm »
Here I am, not even done with my upright and I'm already planning something else... am I alone in this?  Anyways, I decided I wanted a cabinet to play vertical games in.  I already have a stripped out cab that I could use, but I don't want (or have room for) another full sized cab in my tiny apartment.  I also like pinball games, so I decided to build a vertical cabinet that looks like a pinball machine.  Now I know what you're thinking, "Matt, how many pinball games are vertically oriented?"  I know there aren't many (Visual PinMAME can be centered on screen).  Therefore, I've decided to construct my own program that I can use to build tables.  The difference from Visual PinMAME will be that it will be an overhead view (the angle of the monitor will give it an angled view).  I also will take full advantage of the fact that the tables are virtual, and incorprorate gizmos and mechanics that a real pinball machine can only dream of (although I know there's nothing quite like the real thing).
Also planned is a small monitor or LCD in the backboard that will display all the usual pinball stuff, as well as videos and stuff.  I am an avid anime watcher and plan to do several tables around my favorites like Full Metal Panic!, Hellsing, Steel Angel Kurumi, RahXephon, Army of Darkness (not an anime, but cool nontheless), etc. and will use clips and sound effects from them.
Depending on how well I manage to stumble through the programming aspect of this I might release the program to the wild.
Here's a conceptual drawing of the "box".  I will have a pinball plunger to launch the balls, and 2 switchable joysticks and 8 buttons for overhead games like pacman, gunbird, etc.  Let me know what you think!

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2004, 09:48:21 pm »
Looks interesting. I am not much into pinball so I cannot comment on that, but it does seem like a good idea. As for the project planning, I am doing the same thing. I have already been tinkering with a vertical cab, one of the small sit down japanese cabs that just look so damn cool!

Good luck, Fred.

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2004, 11:20:34 pm »
Umm, what are you going to code this in? You don't sound too confident in your prgramming skills. Sounds like alot of work to put into one machine...unless you plan on marketing it as a commercial product.

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2004, 11:50:40 pm »
Umm, what are you going to code this in? You don't sound too confident in your prgramming skills. Sounds like alot of work to put into one machine...unless you plan on marketing it as a commercial product.



Ya!  Like Ray said...I cant believe you'd try something original. ;)

P.S.  I like the pinball mix, even if you just pull off a machine with a horizontal cab trimmed with pinball graphics.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2004, 11:52:14 pm by KrawDaddy »
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Matt, GoC

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2004, 12:17:35 am »
I call it a learning experience.  Programming is something I want to do and I figured what better way to learn?  This is a personal project and I'm not interested in money.  I'm not going to be building anytime soon, rather I announced this to gather ideas (input people!  I need INPUT!).  I am wondering if any pinball-owning BYOAC'rs could get me some detailed pictures of one of their machines, so I can somewhat realistically make this look like a pinball.  I don't much feel like making a fool of myself taking pictures in the local pizza joint.
As far as the pinball aspect of this goes, I really want to learn how to make fun games.  I figure that doing this will parallel the experience of creating a real arcade game at a game company.  Dorky sounding I know, but the experience I had building the GameOn! was one of the few project undertakings I've had that I've actually completed (mostly).  When I first laid eyes on the first MAME machine I found on the internet, it inspired me like nothing really has before.  Therefore, I figure by channeling ideas through this newfound hobby, I might actually complete a few projects for once and walk away with new skills.  Did you know that the GameOn! cabinet was the SECOND woodworking project I've ever done?  Now I'm confident enough in my skills to attempt another one.  I do things like this to gain knowledge and skills.  How many of you have known someone who is multi-talented and wished you could be too?  I believe this is a good way for me to better myself.  Geez, is this sounding like a motivational speech or what ;D?
As far as the language goes, I'm using a program called Jamagic.  It is designed around game creation and while rough around the edges, it should be sufficient enough to use.  I don't much like the thought of needing 70 some lines of code to make a window in C++ when I only need one in Jamagic.  I call this my "training wheel" program :P!

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2004, 01:28:42 am »
Cool project idea!  I don't own a pinball YET  ;D
but here are some links that I found helpful when doing research towards buying a machine:

http://www.shootagainpinball.com/pinball_links.html

http://flyers.cdyn.com/index.html

http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/~frenzy/pinlinks/index.html

That should be a good start, keep up posted as to your progress!  ARCADIAC!

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2004, 05:19:29 pm »
The closest thing I saw in Existing games is this one:
http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?letter=&game_id=755

It looks sorta kinda like your machine.  Cool Concept BTW.

A lot of people have used visual pinball for this.

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RayB

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2004, 06:56:54 pm »
You know what, even if coding your own software doesn't work out, there are several old-school Pinball games that would look just right on an arcade monitor.

Search for the old Epic pinball games.

~Ray B.
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Matt, GoC

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2004, 12:52:25 am »
You know what, even if coding your own software doesn't work out, there are several old-school Pinball games that would look just right on an arcade monitor.

Search for the old Epic pinball games.

~Ray B.

I've got a stack of floppies right by my knees that contain said games.  Found them at a dollar store.  Not quite sure it'd work on a vertical monitor though...  As far as the monitor goes, I'm shooting for a 20 some inch computer monitor to get the most detail.

Matt, GoC

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2004, 01:08:02 am »
The closest thing I saw in Existing games is this one:
http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?letter=&game_id=755

It looks sorta kinda like your machine.  Cool Concept BTW.

A lot of people have used visual pinball for this.



That's neat looking.  I'd try building my own real table if I was a bit more insane (I'll think about it again in a year to see how the sanity's sitting ;D)!  I saw a project on the examples page where a guy cut a pinball table in half and attached it to a cabinet.  I won't go that route but I thought this might be pretty cool.  I'd like to use PinMAME on this but the tables are at an angle, and so is the monitor.  Also PinMame isn't super frontend friendly.  I much like the true overhead pinball look, as it's easier to see what's going on.  I'm going to try to mock-up a table probably during thanksgiving vacation.  It may give a better idea.

-Matt

RayB

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2004, 10:20:22 am »
I used to want to design my own mechanical pinball table. I was gonna interface it with a Commodore 64 to handle the logic and score display... but alas that was in the days when I couldn't even afford a plank of wood.

Maybe it's time to revive that idea... !  ;D

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Matt, GoC

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2004, 01:29:39 pm »
I used to want to design my own mechanical pinball table. I was gonna interface it with a Commodore 64 to handle the logic and score display... but alas that was in the days when I couldn't even afford a plank of wood.

Maybe it's time to revive that idea... !  ;D



I dunno about using a C64 though...  You might want to upgrade that bad boy :D!

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2004, 04:02:09 pm »
Keep the c64 and incorporate it into the game.  Hitting the right combos clears memory and allows you to continue playing.  Run out of time and you use up your memory.  The pin tilts and you have to insert a 5 1/4 floppy and reload for an hour or so.

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2004, 04:29:51 pm »
Nope, THIS is the closest thing to what you are wanting to build.

http://www.klov.com/game_detail.php?game_id=9895

Also, you MIGHT be able to snag a pinball body for free, or nearly free. I have seen them go 2 for $1 at auction. Dead Bingo style pins are also dirt cheap, and would be good for this (they are gambling devices technically, and aren't fun removed from the money aspect of it, and very few people collect them).

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2004, 05:31:35 pm »
Paigeoliver, that's a very cool find. Man there has been every kind of game made.  Who would have thought they actually built one of those things?

I found a link to a software that can rotate the screen to landscape mode so you can run in vertical:

http://ie2.portrait.com/products/pivotpro.htm

I've been looking for that and a way to mirror image the monitor using software instead of hardware yoke changes.

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Matt, GoC

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2004, 01:08:24 am »
So somebody stole my idea 30 years ago... :'( oh well.  As far as rotation goes, any ATI card can do that just by messing with display properties.  I messed with that on my cab.  Was pretty funny too.

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2004, 01:54:18 am »
Dude, doing the mirror image in hardware is cake. Don't wuss out on a tiny little detail like swapping some monitor wires, not when it comes to a big project like this.

Although TECHNICALLY, if you are writing your own application then the monitor orientation doesn't matter at all, since you can just write it to display however you need it.
Acceptance of Zen philosophy is marred slightly by the nagging thought that if all things are interconnected, then all things must be in some way involved with Pauly Shore.

Matt, GoC

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2004, 12:24:15 pm »
Dude, doing the mirror image in hardware is cake. Don't wuss out on a tiny little detail like swapping some monitor wires, not when it comes to a big project like this.

Uh, I wasn't the one whe needed to mirror something.  And yes I can rotate my display in the game.  Also I'm going to be using a PC monitor if possible so that I can get a high resolution image for my tables.  I'm planning on a lot of details and animations on the table.  I'll have moving objects, items to collect by colliding with them, etc.  And I know I could get a wells gardner monitor that can do high rez but I'd rather not mess with that.

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2004, 12:59:29 pm »
Paige: His monitor would be vertical, while the old Epic PC pinball games we mentioned are horizontal...
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Matt, GoC

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Re:PinBox
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2004, 01:28:19 am »
Ah, decisions, decisions...
Make this a pinball machine with vertical MAME game support, or a pinball machine with vertical MAME game support and jukebox...
Decisions decisions...

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #20 on: November 23, 2004, 02:40:16 am »
Here's a remodeled picture of the PinBox:

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2005, 02:08:56 pm »
And in my age old habit of bringing posts back from the dead...

Was anything ever done on this project?

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2005, 04:11:12 pm »

Looks like a candy cab with an x-arcade controller....Is there something I'm missing here?
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Re: PinBox
« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2005, 02:10:03 am »

Looks like a candy cab with an x-arcade controller....Is there something I'm missing here?

no it doesnt. the idea here is that the monitor is sloped enough to compromise between playing arcade games and pinball games. ive never seen a candy cab with a monitor on such an angle...


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ChadTower

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2005, 10:10:22 am »
ive never seen a candy cab with a monitor on such an angle...



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Re: PinBox
« Reply #25 on: August 16, 2005, 02:19:12 am »
chad, i STILL havent seen one at that angle! the drawn picture to me implies an angle something less than 45 degrees, maybe 30-40. what angle is the monitor in YOUR picture?


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ChadTower

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #26 on: August 16, 2005, 07:35:54 am »

You're sniggling over an estimated 5 degrees.

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #27 on: August 16, 2005, 11:04:58 pm »
big difference! especially if i had the choice of riding a bike up a 10 degree incline or a 5 degree incline. of course thats not we're talking about, but even 5 degrees makes a big difference in the look of it. and i reckon it would probably be more than five anyway. lets ask the man himself! Matt?


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Re: PinBox
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2005, 11:32:55 am »
Protractors at dawn anyone?  :)

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2005, 12:36:24 pm »

I don't think you would want it at exactly the angle of a pin.  Incline it a bit more, since the real angle of a pin makes it hard to see the top of a three dimensional playfield, nevermind a two dimensional representation of a three dimensional playfield.  Factor in that physics don't matter here, and you have even more reason to incline it a bit more.

Not too much more, though, because then the simulated physics will seem too counterintuitive to feel natural.

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #30 on: August 17, 2005, 08:56:55 pm »
Heh, I have a Time Scanner video pinball cabinet and it uses a vertical 19" monitor. And it DOES feel kind of wrong, because of the near vertical orientation of the monitor.

Russ

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #31 on: August 18, 2005, 02:00:15 am »
The intent was to create a custom pinball game and then have the smaller screen between the speakers play videos when you hit something, much like the dot matrix displays of most newer pinball games playing an animation.

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #32 on: August 18, 2005, 10:44:45 am »

I may take some aspects of your design, actually, when I get around to building my own Visual Pinball cab in the future.  The concept is decent.

I'm thinking three monitors, actually.  One, tilted for the playfield, as I described above. One, for games with a DMD.  One, for displaying the backglass.  The DMD and backglass would probably be LCDs.

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #33 on: August 19, 2005, 12:23:05 am »
The only questions I have are how are you going to display the backglass? I mean, that's not a feature of VP now is it?

And you're going to need a monster sized LCD for that backglass too. about 26" or so wide. Neat idea though!

Russ

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Re: PinBox
« Reply #34 on: August 19, 2005, 11:51:40 am »

No, don't have to have a monster LCD.  Seeing as how obviously I'm not going to have a monitor the exact size of a playfield, it will very likely be smaller than a playfield.  That would mean that, to keep it to scale, the LCD for the backglass would be smaller as well.

It wouldn't be that big an issue to simply send a jpg to the LCD every time you launch a table.  If it's not a feature of the software now, assuming the software is open source, I could just add it.