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 Post subject: Using BAM as a Future Pinball Calibration Tool
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:36 pm
Posts: 2851
Location: Ontario, Canada
"Let's get physical, physical, I wanna get physical,let's get into physical"
- Olivia Newton John :lol:

Okay, let me be another lost soul who falls into the Rabbit Hole of Future Pinball Physics.
blue, Monnezzas, Slamt1lt, BlackPhoenix, Zedonius, Skinooe, and more recently George have heard the sirens alluring call. So I am not alone.

Some time ago, I suggested trying a playfield overlay template as standardized and objective guide for flipper calibration.

I had given up on the idea, until I just realized the new version of BAM lends itself perfectly to what I had in mind.

By using minplayfield function , I can toggle on and off playfield overlays that serve as guides for calibration. I have in mind 6 overlays , each pointing to a different playfield vector and I can toggle on each one independently or all at once.

And further more, I can set up numerous hidden kickers to shoot balls from all angles
at different points on each flipper

Through BAM scripting of Custom Balls also, I can adjust ball mass on the fly.

I am going through the nuances of the xml files. Perhaps, in future, BAM menu could allow, on the fly changes in some of the xml coordinates.

If so, I can foresee a very thorough going , on the fly , real time , FP calibration tool. :shock:

to be continued.....


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Last edited by Gimli on Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:58 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Using BAM as a Future Pinball Calibration Tool
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 10:49 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:36 pm
Posts: 2851
Location: Ontario, Canada
I realize that the whole physics endeavor is a can of worms, but from what I've read,
if we can focus on pet peaves first, then perhaps we can make some inroads, into a simple
and reproducible approach

Pet peaves:

1."Floaty Ball"
2.Flipper accuracy
3.All the rest ( game speed, response to all other surfaces)

1.Floaty Ball: Should be dealt with first.
This can be addressed, with ball mass, table slope etc...

2.Flipper Accuracy:
a. Table Editor specific items: Flipper Model (zed or not), Elasticity, Flipper Strength,
Flipper Angle, Length of swing..

b.Xml specific : Ball mass, density, size, rotational forces, omega, behave as rectangle
kinnetic/potential friction, gravity etc....

3.All the rest ( If you fix 1 and 2.... then this is not as important to me)
This will be up to table authors when they design tables to tweak all the bumpers and ramps and pegs etc... etc... etc...


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 Post subject: Re: Using BAM as a Future Pinball Calibration Tool
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:12 pm
Posts: 2511
Location: Arkansas, USA
I'm interested in this. I'd be happy to eliminate my role as a creator of custom physics. I agree that I hate tables where the ball floats. The old "Sci-Fi Classic" is a really neat table although the ball does nothing but float (which is understandable for the very first table built for FP). I usually try to get the ball speed to a point just above floating. Another pet peeve for me, is having physics that are just too fast. I like Slant1lt's latest version of Robocop, although the physics are so fast that hitting targets end up being more of a function of luck than skill. Flipper accuracy is a little trickier for me so a tool like you suggest would help, which mostly involves adjusting start angle and swing of the flippers.

If you want to know the truth, I have an XML file that I always start with when I create custom physics. It has basic characteristics that I like. Then I actually only change 5 parameters so the ball and the flippers have the characteristics I want. These are the settings for the ball, mass, gravity and damping. The other settings are for the flippers, mass and omega. I very rarely change the other settings. The XML file I start with is the same one that I created for the Oblivion table, link below:

http://www.pinsimdb.org/pinball/table-2 ... om_physics

Of course, you can't create custom physics without changing the "Strength" settings of the various objects on the table, like flippers, slingshots, plungers, kickers etc. There are times when I have to change every object on the table that has a strength setting and a few others where I didn't change any of the strength settings.

George


Last edited by GeorgeH on Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Using BAM as a Future Pinball Calibration Tool
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:36 pm
Posts: 2851
Location: Ontario, Canada
Doing tweaks of existing tables
Is great George

its easy enough to make a video demonstrating before and after tweak of flipper shots tracking The grid template

having a real time tweaker woud be awesome
Instead of constantly reloading the table


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 Post subject: Re: Using BAM as a Future Pinball Calibration Tool
 Post Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 3:16 am 
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Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 11:13 pm
Posts: 415
Location: Abbotsford
Just a reminder that the arcade tables had flipper angles themselves that were adjusted on a table by table basis based on the coil system, and the layout to get more "natural" flow. If you look closely on some pf images, there was a "adjustment" hole for operators to set the proper angle if they needed to change the flipper assembly, to get the correct angle. (Especially with Williams) You also had the technology at the time, for example, Williams used a "small coil" system till Gorgar, then they went with a large coil starting with firepower, as well as a few years later with lightning flippers.

Even wpc games had variations on the flippers and the hardware used.

Late EM/Early Solid state bally had a angle of 122 degree's, more modern ones are pretty close to 115 degrees, the problem within FP that the angles are set wrong in the exe code physics, I have found that 116-118 is far closer to early SS than 122.

The reason I mention this is quite a few authors have never played the actual game in real life, and always get the flippers "off". If we can get at least a good set of generic angles from this great. I still think the double flippers idea is the best way so far, but if this works just as well, I would support it with my template and BAM support when the time comes.

This calibration idea sounds very useful, I use a shot map myself, but I have found I need to do a new shot map for each table. I attached one I found here so people know what I am talking about. The orange circle is ball size btw. They are color coded for ball going up from the flippers, and when the ball goes down for flow shots.


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 Post subject: Re: Using BAM as a Future Pinball Calibration Tool
 Post Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:18 am 
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Thanks blue!
How do you make a shot map?


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 Post subject: Re: Using BAM as a Future Pinball Calibration Tool
 Post Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 11:13 pm
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Location: Abbotsford
In Photoshop. Just do a very basic design, blueprint it, load in Photoshop, and draw the lines of where the ball comes off the flipper, and the return of the ball and where it lanes. The looping shot from High speed is a prime example. It's a base guide of where I want the ball to goto, and to return from.

I use the lines to set the actual ball flow from top to bottom as well. This way I can set up combo shots, not have the ball collide with objects I don't want it too, and helps in setting the proper angles for brackets etc. It also helps in avoiding drain shots

You can do the same in FP like Gimli has shown. Take a ramp object, set the width (about 42 with the modern games, 52 for old EM games) put the bottom right at the flipper, and then set the top to the ball path you want to travel up, (and down to the flippers)

Simple trick really, really can make a difference in how your game plays. I mod 90 percent of the games I download because the play of a ball isn't "shaped", and a simple 5 minute job really can make a huge difference in gameplay.

I found this, the paragon shotmap. Basic but a good example of how it was set up. If you follow the lines, and know the tricks to playing it, you can see it was laid out to play exactly that way. The line just above the target bank avoids the actual targets, and sets up the angle to go to the two kickers. The line from the waterfall bonus just happens to line up so it can hit the tip of the left flipper etc. There really is a art to actual pinball design. :)

Another tip is to take a wire, and use it as a guide for lining up flippers etc. A lot of tables have one flipper higher than the other, and again can make a difference as FP is very sensitive to that. It is a lot easier to use than ramps, but of course you have to delete them. The wall object works great as well, you can set them to .01 height

Study the pf images of the actual games, you will notice there are set ways and tricks in the design. Using High Speed as a example, If you draw lines from both flippers like I described to one of the loop lanes, you will see how the angles are set up perfectly from both flippers to receive the ball, and coming down as well as the ball hits the exact spot on the receiving flipper to do a combo shot, without hitting the slings etc.
I found this, the paragon shotmap. Basic but a good example of how it was set up. If you follow the lines, and know the tricks to playing it, you can see it was laid out to play exactly that way. The line just above the target bank avoids the actual targets, and sets up the angle to go to the two kickers. The line from the waterfall bonus just happens to line up perfectly with the tip of the left flipper etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Using BAM as a Future Pinball Calibration Tool
 Post Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:55 pm 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
thanks blue for the tips!

Are your tweaks all managed thru the table editor
Or have you also explored the xml files


i wonder what the bare minimum is.

Is it possible to zero all the conspiring forces
Apart from gravity and
linear redirects by the flippers

For example remove friction , rotation and spin and random material forces from the equation
And then buid up from there

In the xml there are actually only a few things to play with

Omega is for flipper rotation speed
And it may or may not be the same as flipper strength

Then there is moe for either automatic (internal newton) flipper or treat as a rectangle

And finally flipper mass

Then there are some ball settings
Playfield friction settings
Object settings
And materials


i wonder if the xml can receive even more parameters then are seen in these files


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 Post subject: Re: Using BAM as a Future Pinball Calibration Tool
 Post Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 10:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 01, 2012 11:13 pm
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Location: Abbotsford
The limitations are due to the fact that the developer only put those in, and nothing else. Newton at the time wasn't a mature physics engine, but I would suspect that a lot of the things you have mentioned are at least capable with the newest version of Newton. BUT, since the developer abandoned development 6 years ago, there has been no real development since, so we got what we got. On top of it, due to legal issues at that time, FP comes with a lot of security code to prevent problems with adding things like VPinMAME, which is understandable, but also is responsible for the problems getting things fixed or even added. He would be held legally responsible as the sole developer, not the people who would be getting him in trouble.

There's history behind all of this, it's too much to explain here.

Still, FP is now Abandonware, and after all this time, even I would now support someone taking over development and bring FP up to date, fix some things, and adding support to both the latest version of Newton and OpenGL. This requires some pretty serious skill though, and I would at least investigate using the physics from VPX, as it is open source, and there are not a lot of physics code to remove from FP to replace the physics.

(And why not, I couldn't help but notice that VPX has a lot of things and ideas used first in FP, and lets be honest, wouldn't it be nice to just have one exe and say BAM folded into one, with full support for every fpt table so they can be easily rebalanced, and avoid the mess that VP has become)

Flippers are a pain. I used my own method, two flippers per side, with the "base" flipper set weaker than the "main" flipper, a dropable wall to hold the ball steady and prevent the "salmon" effect that the tips of the flipper have where the ball shoots far off to the side, and shaped physics with a constraining wall to get some degree of control.

The next table I do will have a xml file, as it will be using the zed physics package and playable in BAM, but the xml's themselves will be modified based on the "era" of that table.

Quote:
Is it possible to zero all the conspiring forces
Apart from gravity and
linear redirects by the flippers

My flipper setup in Playboy does that somewhat. It uses a wall instead of the flipper for the ball to roll down, seems to make a bit of a difference and overrides a lot the variation of speed that the ball comes off the flipper. I suspect it has the exact same problem as the bumpers, instead of a 5 percent variation built in, Black accidentally put it as 50 percent. And then refused to admit it was a error on his part (Anyone that knows him well enough know exactly what I am talking about, brilliant brilliant man, but so anal and pig headed STUBBORN) ;)

The random thing (I'm pretty sure there is a random factor in the flipper code) may be when the ball is actually hit by the flipper, as well as the speed of the shot. Adding a second invisible flipper for the "base" shots really helps, far more realistic and prevents the "Ball is shot out of a cannon effect" This is pretty fussy to set up, it has to be set perfectly. It's great for backhand and post to post transfers, which makes me think what if we added a third flipper for the tip?

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 Post subject: Re: Using BAM as a Future Pinball Calibration Tool
 Post Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:28 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:12 pm
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Location: Arkansas, USA
Blue,

I have noticed that many tables have the same angle and swing for both main flippers. I deviated from this somewhat when I set them up on the Genesis table. What are your thoughts about having both main flippers set to be the same.

George


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