AMH Debug 4-18-14

Have a few hours today to work on code. Starting to debug Wizard Mode, so it can ship with the game.

  • Improved timing for Demon Ball release. He sends all 4 balls at you simultaneously (or as close as I can get it)
  • Need to implement the “actual magnet ball trap check” for shot #2 of Demon Mode, like the start of Haunted Bar has.
  • Need to find reason display sometimes locks up while showing the score

AMH Debug 4-17-14

Had a fairly easy to film episode this week so I have time today to tweak more pinball code! Plan is to get Demon Mode in the game this weekend (yes, working Easter Sunday) in case the game shows up at any events in the near future, wink wink!

  • Continuing “Tilt Testing” – making sure no matter what mode is occuring, if a TILT occurs the game comes out of mode clean, and resets properly for the next ball.
  • Found glitch where Spooky Door might not close at beginning of War Fort mode (needs to be closed to hide the Confederate Gold!)
  • Improved timing of events during Theater Ghost’s play.
  • Rigged game so Spirit Guide won’t award an Extra Ball on Ball One (that’s just too generous!)
  • Changing TILT to give you 2 warnings, and the 3rd offense per ball triggers TILT.
  • Some modes with “Quick Restart” will have to be started over if you TILT during them, other modes where it’s not a programming issue will allow a quick restart of mode after TILT (as it would with a ball drain)
  • Allow Quick Restart after TILT: Theater, War Fort, Hotel, Prison.
  • No Quick Restart after TILT: Hospital, Haunted Bar (they modes with a timed Quick Restart after you lose a ball)
  • TILT acts like a drain + ball search: waits until all balls back in trough before continuing.
  • Found glitch where Hotel mode doesn’t properly end if you Tilt during Hotel Multiball.
  • Found glitch where new Scoop Eject animation sometimes erases flashing Camera Icon (scoop is used in some modes as a target)
  • Improving animation for Scoop Eject caused glitch where uncollected Tour Location icons would stay lit after mode ends (you fix a problem, create 2 more… ug)
  • Put a tourClear() function on each Ghost Mode end/fail, so Tour Location lights won’t interfere with combos / scoop indicators (rare, but Hotel mode showed it was possible)
  • Fixed positioning of “Total EVP Collected” numeral, it was in wrong position from back in the 2 bit shading days.
  • Fixed priority so First EVP Waveform video isn’t overridden by Boss Jackpot Value advance.
  • Found some videos during War Fort that prevented small numbers (such as Confederate Gold Timer) from being displayed. Changed attributes on videos to allow these numbers.
  • If multiball active, you can keep hitting War Fort ghost until down to one ball. Added prompt for “Hit Ghost for Jackpots” instead of “X hits to go” in this condition.
  • Improved synchronization of Ball Throw animation + ghost movement + ball release in War Fort mode.
  • Put in over-compensating kludge so that the War Fort / Bar ghost prompt animations won’t get overridden by continued pop bumper action (that’s been an issue FOREVER!)
  • Disabled tilt when ball is in shoot lane / trying to get a skill shot. Tilt won’t trigger until you’ve launched the ball, and either gotten / missed the skill shot (so nudge away?)
  • If Extra Ball lit when starting Photo Hunt, don’t use that shot as a Ghost Photo location.

Stuff to do yet:

  • Make it so ghost ONLY moves if you have a mode going. This way, you have to EARN getting him to move (also, saves wear & tear)
  • Connect Demon Mode dialog with the existing Wizard Mode
  • Make way for a player’s progress to be reset if they beat Wizard Mode and start over
  • Come up with a cool video mode (I don’t like video modes but other people do – whatever)

AMH Debug 4-15-14

We won “Best Custom Game” at Midwest Gaming Classic, yahoo!

Getting back to work on code, not going as full-bore as last week, still, stuff needs to get done!

The King and I
  • At the request of Steve Ritchie, added more sound / increased warning for the scoop kickout. Increased flasher amount, and added strobing the scoop lights to draw attention (so player can catch the ball)
  • A multiball earned and started during War Fort could continue on past end of mode.  Doesn’t break the game, but would allow the player to possibly start other modes with a multiball still active (not supposed to happen)
  • Fixed this bug by turning it into a “feature” Normally it takes 3 hits to defeat Army Ghost. If multiball active, you can hit him as many times as you want until you’re down to one ball, in which case final hit ends mode. This would allow for many more jackpots than mode currently provides. Strategic!
  • With hellavator up / jackpot lit, Call Button is now disabled until you collect jackpot (makes it easier to collect since you can’t miss and hit Call Button)
  • Added a prompt if you hit Call Button when it’s disabled “Collect Jackpot to Enable Call Button” Always tell players WHY they can’t do something / why it doesn’t work.
  • Found some states where ball will remain trapped if a Tilt occurs. Planning to debug those out next.



Now we’re really testing out the game! This is the first production game so some of the mechs behave differently from both my prototype game and the one on location.

  • Increase scoop flasher warning time. The new right scoop is FAST so players need more warning to catch it. This was a Steve Ritchie suggestion BTW.
  • Slings are far too strong. They make the ball far too wild and cause outline drains. I will reduce their power in code before our seminar at noon.
  • AV kernel needs a heartbeat watchdog, it did lock up a few times.
  • Extended sneeze guard behind ghost. There’s a barrier to keep the ball from getting trapped behind door, but we forgot to add it on this brand new game. It should also extend to the right a bit so balls can’t get trapped behind ghost.
  • Adjust timer so ball search occurs sooner.
  • Adjust timing on ball drain solenoids.
  • Look into why PWM for the hold coils works on my prototype game but not production one.
  • Make sure Chuck gets the good, self cleaning leaf switches.

AMH Debug 4-10-14

The last day to debug before MGC! We’re heading over Friday morning to get set up, so by the afternoon we can relax. Bring my tabletop Neo Geo mini arcade if anyone wants to buy it.

  • Made sure all timed modes award extra points for whatever seconds you had remaining on the shot.
  • Added a Super Jumps progressive combo on the right orbit jump shot – 500k advance in Theater Mode, 100k advance with no modes active. Spam that shot! (good luck)
  • Fixed glitch where Extra Ball light would be on after a mode ends if you collected it during a mode.
  • Added additional shift out for new GI lighting. This affected timing (since it’s always running) so adjusted timed light show on Multiball.
  • Added more lightning FX for the animated backbox. Will add more after MGC.
  • Fixed a bug where if ball didn’t trap successfully to start Haunted Bar the mode would get messed up. It now does a Dirty Pool detect, and if ball indeed trapped, starts mode. Else, targets go down so you can shoot it again to trap.

AMH Debug 4-9-14

We finished our episode project early, so I’ve got more time these last 2 days to code.

  • You can open a serial terminal and send commands to the pinHeck system. Improving command parser.
  • Felix is working on an Android tablet app that will allow remote debugging via Bluetooth. Will hopefully be able to have a small demo ready for MGC.
  • Did Bluetooth test – commands working. Need to make command system more verbose & garbage sensitive but good enough for now.
  • Still working on Match animation bug. Running through all animations to make sure it isn’t a file issue (NOTE-IT WAS)
  • FINALLY found match animation bug problem! My file system is fairly stripped down, can’t follow cluster chains for instance. Usually not an issue as we copy entire SD card at once. The folder containing the Match animations also has a lot of other stuff in there. As I added files, the total # of files in that folder went past 64. 64 filename @ 32 bytes per entry = 2048 which must be past a cluster limit for FAT32. Thus, my system got lost and couldn’t find files near the end. That was the only DMD folder with over 64 entries so probably why I haven’t run into this before.
  • Solution was to create a new folder (_DN) to hold the 10 match animations.
  • Added bubble sort to high score entry, so best score is entered first.
  • Added very conservative times to allow EEPROM to store high scores (EEPROM writes are slower than reads)
  • Improving timing for Prison Ghost mode start
  • Added Video Queue Kill on Prison Ghost ball locks to avoid lag video problem
  • Added “dead shot” sound when hitting already cleared Prison Ghost targets
  • Added more looping video prompts of how to beat Prison Ghost
  • Fixed glitch where a combo shot changing before collect would erase Tour Location Lights during modes
  • Found issue where multiball starting AND ending during stackable modes could cause wrong music to play.
  • Spirit Guide (Random Award) can be collected during some modes. Created “quickie” version of animation/sound for these occasions (mostly for flow, also because award would get cut off by other videos)

AMH Debug 4-8-14

It’s audio video day on Debug Week From Hell. I can only program so long as I must do laundry tonight, meaning I have to be home, awake, for at least 2 hours. Might take a Titanfall break.

  • Working on name entry bugs – transitions from name entry screen to Match screen back to attract mode.
  • Working on high score EEPROM write bug.
  • Speeding up time between last ball drain and name entry / Match animation.
  • EEPROM appears to be fine, it’s the final videos of a game / transition back to Attract Mode that is mucked up. Time to un-muck.
  • A gift to myself – I can go home as soon as I figure out this particular bug (since it’s the only game-breaking A/V locking-up one left)
  • Speeding up time between drain / next ball or player (bit of a blank there!)

AMH Debug 4-7-14

Need to get more sleep. Will try and goto sleep by 10 PM tonight. We’ll see.

  • Making sure Extra Ball being lit doesn’t negatively affect Spooky Door logic in any mode. EB can only be lit during some active modes, but it MIGHT be lit going into a mode, so we have to assume that could happen.
  • Making sure earning a Multiball during eligible modes doesn’t affect door logic.
  • Noticed that multiballs can be “carried out of” the Army Ghost mode. Not sure if that could break the game or not.
  • Maybe allow as many hits on Army Ghost as you want (instead of the usual 3) as long as you’ve got 2 balls or more? That could be cool.
  • Found glitch where Spirit Guide (Stroke of Luck shot) isn’t enabled after defeating Hotel Ghost. Glitch made me realize the spiritGuideEnable() function had a critical error where it could actually DISABLE spirit guide if you enabled when the player didn’t have one earned.
  • Found glitch where leftmost camera icon stays on after Hotel Ghost.  Think it might have something to do with active combos stored along with lamp state at start of mode…  Yup that was the problem.
  • Hotel Mode was the only mode that called storeLamps BEFORE comboKill, so we’re good to go now.
  • When MB is stacked with modes, you collect Jackpot in Hellavator. But also  need to be sure Jackpot Value can be advanced during other modes (not just plain vanilla MB)
  • Stacked MB jackpot increase with Ghost Euthanize mini-mode shot for Hospital Mode.
  • Fixing final glitches with Hospital Ghost Mode.
  • Fixed issue where Combo Shots timing out would erase blinking Tour Mode lights

AMH Debug 4-6-14

Turns out of you have a Windows 8 laptop with touchscreen, you can go back and forward in Chrome by dragging your finger left and right across the screen. That’s kinda cool.

  • Minion MB working well.
  • Hellavator MB working well. Fixed glitch where Minion Targets were erased on Hellavator MB start.
  • Improved end of mode code for Photo Hunt. If I have time, might re-stack it with Ghost Minion Mode.
  • When Hell MB is stacked with eligible modes, it needs a way to advance jackpot value. Going to look into it, “nice to have” not a bug…
  • Working on code to prevent Pop Bumper videos / number displays from overriding prompts when shooting up center shot (it leads to pops, so that’s the issue)