Hold Flipper for Status Update 3

The finest in American engineering and pinball amusements.

Been kind of slow lately (could the recession be catching up to me?) so I’ve made a lot of progress on Bill Paxton Pinball. Features now include:

  • Up to 4 players per game – Modes are shared between players so it’s a race to see who can activate the big point bonus first.
  • High score save – Saved in the unused top half of EEPROM so it’s there forever, unless specifically wiped or of course beaten.
  • Animation – Using a separate program from the main kernel, Windows bitmaps are pre-loaded off SD onto the EEPROM for faster access during play.
  • Non-buggy sound playback – Sounds can interrupt each other without chance of lockup, thanks to a system of flags that properly closes any playing file before opening a new one.

In some sad news, there will come a point where updates on BPP come to a stop as the unit nears completion and I’ll want to keep its final look a secret until the reveal. This will probably happen when I put the main artwork on the playfield. However the goal still is to have this done in time for the Midwest Gaming Classic 2010 in Milwaukee Wisconsin, so it’s playable at our booth.

Again, this is being done as a personal “fun” project and is not for resale, however if you’d like your own custom pinball made I would be willing to discuss ideas. I may create a “kit” of the circuitry when it’s all said and done.

More info and video after the break!

Currently programmed modes are:

  • Aliens Mode – Clear the 4 drop targets to enter Aliens mode. An LED display fills with a pair of 99’s to represent the bullets in the Marine’s rifles, and they start to randomly fire off. Re-clear the drop targets before they reach 00 00 to receive the amount X 1,000 as a bonus (up to 9,999,000). Upon clearing it you get an “overtime” mode, where every target on the board makes Aliens gun sound and decrements what’s left on the bullet count. Clear the drop targets again to get that bonus again, until the ball drains or bullets run out.
  • Big Love Mode – Multiball. Get a ball in each of the 3 “wife locks” and wedding music plays, then all 3 balls shoot out and it’s on! Terminates any active mode, but new modes may be started from within multiball. New ball locks during multiball are kicked out unless it’s the last ball left.
  • Frailty – Fairly simple, each pop bumper hit makes an axe sound and is a “demon kill”. Get 3 or more in rapid succession and the number of kills is display along with a scream.
  • Apollo 13 – Progressive shot mode. Hit either of a pair of targets to advance the Apollo 13 on its ill-fated journey. A series of lights on the final board will log the path on a trajectory diagram. On the 6th step/hit you return home and are awarded a bonus. Mode then repeats.
  • Fish Heads / Hamm’s – On the next board revision there are 2 sets of targets that can only be hit by ricocheting off the drop targets (not as hard as it sounds). These collect your Fish Heads and Hamm’s drank for a bonus at the end of the ball.

Still proposed / unprogrammed modes:

  • True Lies Mode – Since it’s from Paxton’s perspective, will probably involve trying to sleep with Jamie Lee Curtis. A model 1959 Corvette shouldn’t be hard to find, so that’ll probably be on there somewhere. True Lies was Paxton’s finest role so I’ve got to make it good.
  • Twister – There was already a Twister pinball so this will be limited to a “twister shaped” ramp and perhaps a toy cow or Dodge Ram placed akimbo on it.
  • Titanic – Go up the ramp and into the wrecked “Titanic Maze” trying to find the diamond. Depending on which exit you take it lights up 1 or 2 segments on the diamond jewel on the playfield. Light all 5 for a huge bonus and some kind of overtime / wizard mode I haven’t thought of yet.

Missing Stuff:

  • Weird Science Mode – There are quotes from it but Paxton’ character wasn’t in it all that much. It’s apparently one of Paxton’s least favorite roles so I won’t put too much of it in. I did notice while revisiting the film that Sean Williams Scott basically ripped off the character of “Chet” for his “Stifler” in American Pie. I will say though that “Weird Science” is the “most 80’s” 80’s movie ever made.
  • Predator 2 – Paxton’s in it a good deal and plays a doorknob cop, but EVERY line of his dialog sounds looped, it’s really weird. So I opted out.
  • Next of Kin, One False Move, A Simple Plan – These are all great movies but don’t really have any “t-shirt lines” in them, so to speak. I may try to represent them another way. Also if you haven’t seen Next of Kin, check it out. Done in 1989 it has a redneck Liam Neeson, a super young Ben Stiller, the non-Baldwin brother Baldwin from Serenity, a really young Helen Hunt and probably some others I’m forgetting.
  • Tombstone – Again, Paxton doesn’t do a lot in this movie, besides die, but I put some graphics of the gang on the playfield just as an excuse to get Sam Ellliot on there. Man, now I wanna make “Roadhouse” pinball – imagine how cool that would be!

Recent videos:

10 thoughts on “Hold Flipper for Status Update 3”

  1. Awesome to see it coming together more and more. I can’t wait to try it out at the MGC this year 🙂

  2. Been following this via youtube. It’s a blast. Perhaps Jebus and the godlings will permit me the miracle of going to MGC and I’ll get to play this thing.

  3. Just did some math, I have 12kB left on the Propeller to finish this project (out of 32k).

    That may not sound like a lot, but more than half of the compiled data are audio/video routines. The kernel itself + game modes is about 4k.

    So I can probably get in 3 more game modes + light control (which I can’t really program until the final board). Should be OK, but I’m already optimizing whenever I can so I don’t “hit the wall”.

    Trying to reduce the audio buffers as much as I can without them “breaking”. 50 longs each is pushing it, 75 is better if I have the space in the end.

    One thing I do is super-simple filename logging. A set of “launch quotes” for Aliens mode are recopied on the SD card as XA.wav, XB.wav, etc. This way the player just has to change 1 letter to select a filename, instead of a bunch of clunky “if thens”.

    Better to waste space on the SD cards (2 gigs each) than the Propeller EEPROM.

  4. BP – or as he’s constantly referenced to in these parts: “Fort Worth’s Own Bill Paxton.”

    The way he is revered, you’d think we didn’t have such luminaries as Dan Blocker, Van Cliburn, and The Toadies to take credit for.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.