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Classic Games (Games) The Almighty Buck Games

What Pinball Looks Like When the Stakes Are High 133

Posted by timothy
from the more-fun-to-watch-than-poker dept.
siobHan writes "The PAPA World Pinball Championships recently concluded in Scott, PA (near Pittsburgh), as covered on Slashdot already. The organizers recorded full 1080p/60 HD video of the playfield during the final games, and have uploaded the entirety of the crucial deciding game, with commentary (direct link to just the video). The winner of this game received $10,000 for his skillful play."
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What Pinball Looks Like When the Stakes Are High

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  • by xororand (860319) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @08:00PM (#33406224)

    Pinball Fantasies is the best software pinball game that I've ever played. Stones'n'Bones kept me busy for weeks in all its 320x400 pixel glory, scrolling with silky smoothness on a 386 CPU, and awesome tracker music that never got old.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinball_Fantasies [wikipedia.org]

    Some brazilian guy is currently building a full size replica of the "Party Land" table. [flickr.com] It looks pretty good already!

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @08:13PM (#33406256) Homepage Journal

    Granted the time at the tournament would make it look good but if you average all the time spent getting there. The payoff is recognition amongst your peers more than monetary rewards.

  • Re:PC! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sho-gun (2440) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @10:10PM (#33406680)

    http://www.vpforums.org/ [vpforums.org] is the site you seek.

  • Re:Monitor (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 28, 2010 @10:11PM (#33406686)

    Um, because pinball games are vertical? Seriously if the orientation were different there would be a lot more complaint. Pinball isn't built for widescreen...

  • by Majik Sheff (930627) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @10:30PM (#33406754) Journal

    Granted Bally had some stinkers, but with a roster like this it's hard to back up your argument:

    The Addams Family
    Attack From Mars
    Cactus Canyon
    Champion Pub
    Cirqus Voltaire
    Safecracker
    Theatre of Magic
    The Twilight Zone

  • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Saturday August 28, 2010 @11:34PM (#33406988)
    If I had mod points left for today you would get one. I literally played this game so much that I developed blisters.
  • Re:Monitor (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Garble Snarky (715674) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @02:04AM (#33407350)
    A better question to ask is "why in the world would widescreen monitors be so prevalent when so much content is predominantly vertical?"
  • Re:tilt/bump (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PSXer (854386) <psxer@msfirefox.com> on Sunday August 29, 2010 @05:11AM (#33407818) Homepage

    Pinball machines give you a certain number of warnings when the sensor goes off before you actually lose your ball. Notice that the display says "danger" when he does it and it also seems to give an auditory warning, but I can't make out what it says.

  • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Sunday August 29, 2010 @07:44AM (#33408170)

    You know, thanks to the Source engine (and consequently Havoc physics) being available for making mods for free to anyone who owns a Source engine game, I'd wager that it could be used to make a pretty realistic pinball game with the built-in physics. I wonder why anyone hasn't done it yet. =|

  • by Chelloveck (14643) on Sunday August 29, 2010 @11:32AM (#33408958) Homepage

    I've always wondered what the technical difference is between a good pinball simulation and a bad one. The physics are pretty straightforward, so it really can't be sloppy calculations. Could it be resolution of dimensions or time? Or perhaps they precalculated a lot of stuff for precission? Why is it so hard to create a pinball game with physics that feel right?

    Because it's a very hard problem, much harder than physics in your typical shooter. Usually in a shooter you don't have to model physics at a very high level of detail. You can fake a lot of stuff -- bounding boxes for collisions can be fairly loose, the player will tolerate some degree of objects interpenetrating, the designer can tweak the amount objects bounce until it looks good, but isn't necessarily correct from a physics perspective.

    In order to make a pinball sim feel right, you have to have a pretty tight physics model. There's a lot of fairly complex geometry that has to be modeled at high resolution, including collision bounds. You have to worry about the elasticity of collisions, especially between the ball and the flippers. It should be possible for the player to do a live catch, where the kinetic energy from the ball is transferred to the flipper and the ball just stops and seems to hang there for a moment.

    Then there's the problem that the physics of a pinball machine don't always look right. I often see the ball do wacky things in a real machine that I'd never believe in a simulation. The live catch is one; it just looks wrong. Another is when the ball takes a wild bounce, goes airborne, and lands square on a wireform or ramp. It's possible, it happens in real pinball, and you can hardly question the accuracy of the physics in a real machine. But when you see something like this in a simulator you think, "Oh, yeah, like that's ever going to happen!" and you complain about the bogus physics engine doing impossible things.

    Finally you have the problem of player interaction with the machine. There's just no way to effectively model nudges and slap-saves, primarily because there's no real input device to sense them.

    Now I'm craving a game of pinball. Fortunately I have a couple machines in the basement and can satisfy that craving. :-)

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