Lyman's reply about AFM, with my commentary

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Clive Jones

oläst,
28 feb. 1999 03:00:001999-02-28
till
In article <19990228011755...@ng-fz1.aol.com>, Boag1
<bo...@aol.com> writes
>Well, folks, I told you I'd tell you what he wrote about, so here goes. Let me
>preface the whole thing by saying that the letter he sent was well-written and
>not in the least bit a flame. He did take issue with one part of my claim, and
>I'll get to that. But he was kind enough to respond to the whole thing, so I
>can't see why I shouldn't pass on what he said.
>

It's bad netiquette to release private e-mail to the group without (in
this case) Lyman's okaying it. Some things said are meant to remain
'unseen' from the group.

Whilst it's not my place to speak on behalf of Lyman, you should at
least get clearance to forward a private e-mail from the person(s) and
state that you've been given the go-ahead to do so.

BTW, Lyman's decision is more than likely based on more conclusive
evidence than a single 'opinion'. :)

Clive


Boag1

oläst,
28 feb. 1999 03:00:001999-02-28
till
Sheesh. 40 lashes for me. Since I've never done that before, I won't do that
again. My apologies to Lyman and anyone else taken aback, as you're right, I
didn't seek permission. My point was to share his views on the subject, and I
should have asked him if that was o.k. I didn't think about it in that
respect, Clive. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. And really, I wasn't
aware of the faux pas, so I'd appreciate leniency here (also the fact that it
was written at 1am). I'll send Lyman an apology.

Regarding Lyman's decision...yes, obviously he based his decision on what he
thought was best for the game. I disagree. But then, we can all agree to
disagree without being disagreeable, now can't we?

Aron
rec.games.video.marketplace

Kim

oläst,
28 feb. 1999 03:00:001999-02-28
till
>Regarding Lyman's decision...yes, obviously he based his decision on what
>he
>thought was best for the game.

Speculating, I suspect that part of Lyman's decision making on this had to do
with revenue. Operator revenue.

If there is a ball saver on the Stroke of Luck kick out, it seems to me that
you open the opportunity for the game to never end. Needless to say this would
NOT be in the interest of the Operators.

You have state bad design in your opinion. Would you consider manufacturing
defect instead? The DESIGN is that the ball goes to the left flipper. The
defect is that the ball sometimes goes straight down the middle. If the
machines you have played have the scoop misaligned WHEN MANUFACTURED, then yes,
the ball will go down the middle. There is no operator readjustment of this
(you'd have to remount the scoop in new holes, which due to the minor
adjustment need is difficult.)

Similarly, if the kicker is weak it might send the ball to the center instead
of the left flipper, although my experiences have been that the scoop angle is
the major factor not the kicker strenghth.

In ALL of your posts you make no concession to manufacturing defects. It is
always a design flaw in your opinion, and THAT is where I think most would
disagree.

Kim Brennan (k...@aol.com)
Duo 2300c, PB 2400, VW Fox Wagon GL, Corrado SLC, Vanagon GL Syncro
http://members.aol.com/kim
Duo Info Page: http://members.aol.com/kim/computer/duo
?'s should include "Duo" in subject, else they'll be deleted unread.

Boag1

oläst,
28 feb. 1999 03:00:001999-02-28
till
O.K., manufacturing defect may be the more appropriate term tto use, at least
by your definition. I still don't think it's a good idea to make a scoop that
shoots out so close to the center drain...it just begs for the problem to
occur. As I've said, the same thing happens in MB, too, and more people have
experienced that problem than have experienced the SoL problem in AFM.
Manufacturing defect? I guess I can buy that.

But then, that raises a new question, doesn't it? What would be the definition
of bad playfield design? What qualities exhibit poor design, and what is
considered great design? There HAVE to be some criteria, otherwise, terms like
playfield design and manufacturing defect get confused by people. Simple "I
like it/I don't like it" just doesn't qualify...there needs to be some hard
reasons to call a playfield bad.

Any suggestions?

Aron
rec.games.video.marketplace

Elden

oläst,
28 feb. 1999 03:00:001999-02-28
till
Boag1 wrote:

> Well, folks, I told you I'd tell you what he wrote about, so here goes. Let me
> preface the whole thing by saying that the letter he sent was well-written

I'm sure he is thankful for your approval of his writing skills.

> and
> not in the least bit a flame.

Though he did use the term "ridiculous" in regard of your suggestions.

> >Aron, you need to dig deeper into your brain cells to remember exactly
> >what you were complaining about. The problem (specifically) you had
> >with the AFM at Gala North was the draininess of the center shot. You
> >requested a brief ball saver whenever the center area was hit.
>
> >As with all requests, no matter how ridiculous they may seem at first,
>
>
> My belief is that AFM suffers from bad design. I'm not the majority opinion,
> nor the most popular opinion, by far. But my opinion stands, if only because
> my experience bears it out. I call AFM a bad game when asked about it. Others
> call it fabulous. Have I ever said they were wrong? Think now. I've said
> that I DISAGREE, but I've never called someone WRONG for saying that they think
> AFM is great. EVERYONE is entitled to their own opinion, of games, of people,
> of everything.

The problem is that most people are confident enough to state their opinion... and
let it die, knowing it is just an opinion... subjective and in most cases,
"unprovable".
You, by contrast, suffer from misconception that the more you repeat your
opinion... the more valid it becomes. Many participants in ng's develop bouts of
this type of behavior and it
can be cured by simply saying to yourself "others over here...in the long run...
really
DON'T CARE that much about my opinion".
This helps cure the obsessive need to keep repeating... and repeating... and
repeating
an opinion ad nauseum.

>
> Now, let's all just take a deep breath and let the whole thing die a nice,
> quiet death, shall we?

Ahhh if only we could practice what we preach.

>
>
> Aron (with my thanks to Lyman for his unsolicited response)
> rec.games.video.marketplace

The Korn

oläst,
28 feb. 1999 03:00:001999-02-28
till

There's already a gold standard by which to judge playfields, and it's
really the ONLY standard which matters:

If the pinball (which includes the playfield!) makes money, it's a
good design.

If the pinball doesn't make money, it's a bad design.

(BTW, AFM would be considered a good design with that philosophy.
Hehehehehe.)


Boag1

oläst,
28 feb. 1999 03:00:001999-02-28
till
Good one Vince. I enjoyed that. And I needed to laugh after this whole thing.
Thanks.

But seriously, anyone else have a different definition?

Aron
rec.games.video.marketplace

Pete Russell

oläst,
28 feb. 1999 03:00:001999-02-28
till

>
>But then, that raises a new question, doesn't it? What would be the
definition
>of bad playfield design? What qualities exhibit poor design, and what is
>considered great design?

>Any suggestions?

Excluding the profitability this question is all opinion... and mine would
be that a bad playfield does not let you see the ball I think that seeing
the ball bounce from object to object is what makes pinball fun for me,
never knowing which direction it will take due to spin and different angles
and trying to prolong this by the use of flippers and gentle knudging ;-) .
this is the main reason I prefer older machines with wide open playfields
and drop targets and strong pop bumpers not the wimpy things in todays
machines that are so bad they usually hide them under something. Ramble,
ramble, ramble.....

Flame suit on

Pete

Boag1

oläst,
28 feb. 1999 03:00:001999-02-28
till
Well, folks, I told you I'd tell you what he wrote about, so here goes. Let me
preface the whole thing by saying that the letter he sent was well-written and
not in the least bit a flame. He did take issue with one part of my claim, and
I'll get to that. But he was kind enough to respond to the whole thing, so I
can't see why I shouldn't pass on what he said.

>Aron, you need to dig deeper into your brain cells to remember exactly


>what you were complaining about. The problem (specifically) you had
>with the AFM at Gala North was the draininess of the center shot. You
>requested a brief ball saver whenever the center area was hit.

>As with all requests, no matter how ridiculous they may seem at first,

>my job is to evaluate the request and make a decision that is best for
>the players and operators. Your request was evaluated and the
>"problem" was addressed. It need not concern you what was done to
>address the "problem", you must simply believe me when I say that the
>"problem" was addressed.

I told Lyman that, yes, I did talk to him about the draininess of the center
shot. And I could have SWORN that I told him about the SoL scoop draining (I
thought that he was standing there while it happened when perhaps it was
someone else). I apologized if that was the case. Bear in mind that this
happened 4 years ago, and my memory isn't PERFECT. I thought I talked to him
about this...I may have been mistaken.

>The ball saver on the kickout from SOL was evaluated. It was not
>evaluated based on a request by you, because you did not request it.
>However, other people did. I evaluated this and decided, in the best
>interests of the game, that a ball saver on the SOL kickout NOT be put
>into the software.

This addressed the same issue. Obviously it was considered, not included. I
disagree with the idea of not having it included. His reasoning is sound, but
my reasoning is sound as well:

>The
>best example of which is Star Trek 25th. One of the revs. of their
>software for this game included a ball saver for the right side
>kickout if the ball went into the trough without hitting a switch. I
>stood and watched a person play this game with this software, and
>every time the ball kicked out from this area, the player did a
>drop-catch and let the ball drain. Every time, the ball was saved and
>kicked back out into the bumper area.

>Needless to say, within DAYS of releasing the "BALL SAVER" code for
>Star Trek 25th, they released another rev. that did not have this
>feature. And that is the way the software stayed for the rest of
>production for that game.

An example he cited to show why a BST at the kickout of SoL was a BAD idea.
This is an example of abuse by the player, though. And to me, pinball is
neither challenging nor fun when I exploit a "weakness," if you will. I
understand that there are people who WILL abuse such a thing, and Lyman and
crew have to compensate for that. But, being that I'm not one of those folks,
I don't have to like this. I also think that bang-backs are wrong, and
generally, I think that BSTs are inappropriate, except for non-controlled
autoplunges and crossover kick outs such as the SoL hole and MB's scoop. While
I understand the REASON for the BST's absence, it doesn't mean I have to like
it. And I STILL think that it should have been an operator-adjustable BST a la
ToM's trunk BST. To me, it's the only fair thing to do...to include it,
anyway. It should be the OPERATOR's option.

>The ball saver on the kickout from SOL was evaluated. It was not
>evaluated based on a request by you, because you did not request it.
>However, other people did. I evaluated this and decided, in the best
>interests of the game, that a ball saver on the SOL kickout NOT be put
>into the software.

>Why did I make this decision? Lots of reasons. The main reason was
>that good players would find a way to exploit it. Ball dribbles into
>the back of the popper. Ball kicks out. Player drop catches the ball
>and lets it drain. Ball saver kicks in, and lauches the ball into the
>bumpers again, giving the ball a chance to dribble into the back of
>the SOL kickout again. Repeat.

I believe that the SoL BST was evaluated and tossed out. I disagree with the
decision, and therefore you have my opinion. Reasons for tossing it were legit
from the programmer's side of things, but from my POV, I think it needed to be
there.

>Everyone has their likes and dislikes. Our job is to design the best
>games we can (for both player and operator), and to provide decent
>entertainment for the largest possible audience. We cannot please
>everyone, nor will we ever. That's just the way things are in this
>business. I do not take it personally when people do not like the
>games I have worked on because of this simple fact. But at the same
>time, I don't think the majority of the people (youself included) give
>pinball designers and programmers enough credit for making the best
>decisions they can, given the amount of time we have to get a game
>ready for production. A lot of thought, trial, and error goes into
>every pinball game that goes out of our doors, and in this case, I
>stand by my decision.

>Lyman.

Here's what I've been saying all along: we all have our likes and dislikes,
and we all have our reasons for them. I believe the AFM team pleased the
majority of the audience...I just happen to be one of the ones who wasn't
pleased with this one. I agreed that I don't know all of what goes into
producing a pin because I only see the finished or near-finished product. but
I'm still entitled to believe what I do based on the experiences I've had with
this pin. I told Lyman about a friend who used to work on their AFM ALL the
time: he never could get the SoL scoop to keep from shooting out down the
middle. Changing the VUK, cleaning, ensuring proper leveling, adjusting the
metal...nothing helped. That the majority of AFM's I've played have the same
problem is my definition of bad design.

My belief is that AFM suffers from bad design. I'm not the majority opinion,
nor the most popular opinion, by far. But my opinion stands, if only because
my experience bears it out. I call AFM a bad game when asked about it. Others
call it fabulous. Have I ever said they were wrong? Think now. I've said
that I DISAGREE, but I've never called someone WRONG for saying that they think
AFM is great. EVERYONE is entitled to their own opinion, of games, of people,
of everything.

Now, let's all just take a deep breath and let the whole thing die a nice,
quiet death, shall we?

Aron (with my thanks to Lyman for his unsolicited response)
rec.games.video.marketplace

Boag1

oläst,
1 mars 1999 03:00:001999-03-01
till
No flames here. It is all opinion I guess, once profitability is excluded.
Besides, there were Popeyes that made money...does that make the playfield
good?

I stick to my original assessments.

Aron
rec.games.video.marketplace

Jeremy Wilson

oläst,
1 mars 1999 03:00:001999-03-01
till
In article <19990228091513...@ng21.aol.com>, bo...@aol.com says...

>Regarding Lyman's decision...yes, obviously he based his decision on what he
>thought was best for the game. I disagree.

Hmm.

He's an accomplished pinball programmer with a number of very popular games to
his credit, as well as being a spectacular player in his own right.

You're a random boob off the street.

Who's opinion would I trust more?

--
xe...@inforamp.net - Jeremy Wilson - Modern Pinball Game Collector
Wonder what's inside my wallet? http://www.inforamp.net/~xeno/wallet


Carl Witthoft

oläst,
1 mars 1999 03:00:001999-03-01
till
While mixing bytes into the filestructure called
<7begpc$4cn$2...@usenet43.supernews.com>, the light of reason befell
xe...@inforamp.net (Jeremy Wilson) who thus proposed:

->In article <19990228091513...@ng21.aol.com>, bo...@aol.com says...
->>Regarding Lyman's decision...yes, obviously he based his decision on what he
->>thought was best for the game. I disagree.
->
->Hmm.
->
->He's an accomplished pinball programmer with a number of very popular
games to
->his credit, as well as being a spectacular player in his own right.
->
->You're a random boob off the street.
->
->Who's opinion would I trust more?
->

Jeremy,
Just shut the hell up, OK? Boag stated his opinion reasonably calmly,
and pointed out where he disagrees w/ Sheats. He has every right to a
differing opinion, just as I (who never made JV) have a right to disagree
with coaching decisions made by the Bruins' staff.
And more to the point, somehow Boag and Lyman managed to converse without
heaping abuse on each other. When are YOU going to get the message?
--
Carl Witthoft c...@world.std.com ca...@aoainc.com http://world.std.com/~cgw
Got any old pinball machines for sale?

Carl Witthoft

oläst,
1 mars 1999 03:00:001999-03-01
till
While mixing bytes into the filestructure called
<7bcnjo$a92$1...@news.ncal.verio.com>, the light of reason befell "Pete
Russell" <sagev...@oakweb.com> who thus proposed:

->>
->>But then, that raises a new question, doesn't it? What would be the
->definition
->>of bad playfield design? What qualities exhibit poor design, and what is
->>considered great design?
->
->>Any suggestions?
->
->Excluding the profitability this question is all opinion... and mine would
->be that a bad playfield does not let you see the ball I think that seeing
->the ball bounce from object to object is what makes pinball fun for me,

I would present the heart ramp in BOP as an example of bad design. A weak
shot fails to make it up the ramp (which is fine) and rolls STDM (which is
bad design).

Ryan Avery

oläst,
1 mars 1999 03:00:001999-03-01
till
Carl Witthoft wrote:

> I would present the heart ramp in BOP as an example of bad design. A weak
> shot fails to make it up the ramp (which is fine) and rolls STDM (which is
> bad design).

Personally, I still wouldn't put a ramp such as that one into the category of
bad design. All machines go through a rigorous beta testing before they are
released, and I feel that if the designers felt like it was a problem, they
would change or alter it. Ramps like that, to me, add to the strategy of the
game. Sure, I do prefer Popaduik's (sp?) nifty ball-save features (magnasave on
ToM and WCS, the shooting stars on TOTAN, the midway ramp exit on ToM, and the
altered outlanes on CV, to name a few), but if they aren't there, it doesn't
bother me. I feel that it takes the same purpose as a ball saver - it works most
of the time to prevent bad ball drains, but don't rely on it. Try playing a Sega
game after becoming used to WMS ball-saver leeway...heh. It's frustrating, to
say the least. I just try to not rely on nifty ball-saving feaures, if there are
any, in favor of old fashioned strategy. My point? There really is none, except
that I think that all designs can be reasonably classified as opinions. You'll
never get everyone's approval or everyone's disapproval (but that's just
statistics)...

Back to the original topic - AFM. Personally, I have never played a game that
has had problems with the SoL scoop. However, I consider myself lucky that I
live so close to some very good pinball arcades. I can definately see how
annoying it would be if the SoL scoop was shooting SDTM. Part of the reason that
this happens is definately because the scoop shoots to the opposite flipper,
rather than the same flipper like TAF or TZ (same thing w/ MB - shooting to the
opposite flipper). Oh well...


--
Ryan Avery
gro...@concentric.net
ICQ# 17490198

awhi...@laserscope.com

oläst,
2 mars 1999 03:00:001999-03-02
till
In article <19990228011755...@ng-fz1.aol.com>,
bo...@aol.com (Boag1) wrote:
<bunch snipped>

My $.25 as an operator (of TWO AFM's) The draining from the SOL is caused by
wearing where the ball rests. After the ball drops into the scoop a bazillion
times it hammers out the "ring" area of the scoop. Since the ball is no
longer resting correctly the kick out is not consistent. I have one game with
this problem. 5% of the time the ball gets kicked STDM from the SOL. My
other game NEVER sends the ball STDM. FWIW this game has the "new and
improved" weldment since the original broke.

Think about when this problem started to bug you and how many plays the
offending game has on it.

And yes, I'll be replacing the weldment on the offending game.
/Alan

> >The ball saver on the kickout from SOL was evaluated. It was not
> >evaluated based on a request by you, because you did not request it.
> >However, other people did. I evaluated this and decided, in the best
> >interests of the game, that a ball saver on the SOL kickout NOT be put
> >into the software.
>
> >Why did I make this decision? Lots of reasons. The main reason was
> >that good players would find a way to exploit it. Ball dribbles into
> >the back of the popper. Ball kicks out. Player drop catches the ball
> >and lets it drain. Ball saver kicks in, and lauches the ball into the
> >bumpers again, giving the ball a chance to dribble into the back of
> >the SOL kickout again. Repeat.

> I told Lyman about a friend who used to work on their AFM ALL the


> time: he never could get the SoL scoop to keep from shooting out down the
> middle. Changing the VUK, cleaning, ensuring proper leveling, adjusting the
> metal...nothing helped. That the majority of AFM's I've played have the same
> problem is my definition of bad design.

-----------== Posted via Deja News, The Discussion Network ==----------
http://www.dejanews.com/ Search, Read, Discuss, or Start Your Own

AFL JoeyS

oläst,
2 mars 1999 03:00:001999-03-02
till
Ryan Avery <gro...@concentric.net> writes:

>Back to the original topic - AFM. Personally, I have never played a game
>that has had problems with the SoL scoop. However, I consider myself
>lucky that I live so close to some very good pinball arcades. I can
>definately see how annoying it would be if the SoL scoop was shooting
>SDTM. Part of the reason that this happens is definately because the
>scoop shoots to the opposite flipper, rather than the same flipper like
>TAF or TZ (same thing w/ MB - shooting to the opposite flipper).

I'm still not sure about that. As (my housemate) Kim noted in an earlier
message in this thread, the slot machine on my TZ is more likely to send a ball
SDTM [not too often... just at inconvenient times, like when LITZ is lit on
ball 3 :-) ] than the SoL scoop on my AFM [never]. Not exactly sure what
causes it... perhaps a slightly misaligned coil or sticky plunger.

And as I commented in an earlier message, I've seen MM's eject a ball from the
moat and watched the ball float SDTM. Again -- whether because of
mis-levelling, weird spin on the kickout, whatever -- it CAN happen.

I guess the only REAL solution would be to have ALL ball ejects feed directly
to the flippers via habitrails... but that would get old after awhile, wouldn't
it?

--Joe


Beagle

oläst,
3 mars 1999 03:00:001999-03-03
till
Jeremy Wilson wrote:
>He's an accomplished pinball programmer with a
>number of very popular games to his credit, as

>well as being a spectacular player in his own right.
>
>You're a random boob off the street.
>
>Who's opinion would I trust more?


Well, would you trust someone who was designing pinballs at a time
when the entire industry is going down the toilet?

(BTW, just played AFM for the first time last night. It seemed fun.)

I suppose you apply this logic to movies as well, "Well, 'Deep Impact'
was created by an accomplished team of people with a number of very
popular films to their credit..." - Yeah, but it still sucked.

I've only been reading rgp for a little while, and you're the only
person who seems to come across as a nasty content-free zone. Boag1,
on the other hand, seems to be a valued contributor who was kind
enough to send me some useful email when I asked questions.

--
Thomas Beagle
tho...@sapphire.co.nz


Jeremy Wilson

oläst,
3 mars 1999 03:00:001999-03-03
till
In article <92041048...@news.iconz.co.nz>, tho...@sapphire.co.nz says...

>Well, would you trust someone who was designing pinballs at a time
>when the entire industry is going down the toilet?

Yes, because the engineers and programmers are not to blame for the decline of
pinball - it is the operators, distributors and the marketing departments of
both companies who are to blame.

>I suppose you apply this logic to movies as well, "Well, 'Deep Impact'
>was created by an accomplished team of people with a number of very
>popular films to their credit..." - Yeah, but it still sucked.

We're not discussing whether AFM sucks or not here, we're discussing the
reasons why certain design decisions were made and who is more qualified to
make them.

Lyman, as someone with a proven track record, and Brian Eddy, also with a
proven track record and many years of pinball design and programming between
the two of them, probably know more about making pinball machines than Boag
does, who has *zero* years of design experience and *zero* years of programming
experience when it comes to pinball.

Most pinball players, and Boag is not exception, have *no idea* about the
reasons for various design decisions, nor do they understand the process
involved in the production of a machine.

A design team's job is to make a game that people want to play, over and over,
in hopes of generating lots of revenue for the person who is operating the
machine. Some of their restrictions include production time, parts cost,
physical playfield restrictions, repairability and durability. Also, a game
has to provide a certain ROI, and that is directly related to game time.

They could have added a 1-second ball saver to the Stroke of Luck kickout,
sure. But then that would effect something else - some other aspect of the
design - perhaps, as it seems to be the case, it opens up a loophole for
cheating. Or it effects something else, something none of us as mere players
can directly see in the final product.

The point is, people like Lyman *earn their living* making these games. And,
as far as I'm concerned, they are much better at it than I am, or anyone else
is in this group, especially blowhards like Boag who think they know better
than *the desgn team*.

Pinball is complicated. Try building one from scratch sometime, and you'll
see. Frankly, I think it's a miracle that they can produce these games at all
in the time they're given.

>I've only been reading rgp for a little while, and you're the only
>person who seems to come across as a nasty content-free zone. Boag1,
>on the other hand, seems to be a valued contributor who was kind
>enough to send me some useful email when I asked questions.

Boag is as content-free as I am, perhaps moreso. He's just nicer. Doesn't
make him smarter or more correct than me.

Elden

oläst,
3 mars 1999 03:00:001999-03-03
till
Jeremy Wilson wrote:

> >I've only been reading rgp for a little while, and you're the only
> >person who seems to come across as a nasty content-free zone. Boag1,
> >on the other hand, seems to be a valued contributor who was kind
> >enough to send me some useful email when I asked questions.
>
> Boag is as content-free as I am, perhaps moreso. He's just nicer. Doesn't
> make him smarter or more correct than me.
>
>

Holy smokes... I never thought I would see a competition for who could be
the most "content free" ;-)
Die evil thread, die!!

-E

--
*CURRENT COLLECTION* (mint as possible)
-Funhouse, Addams Family, Creature From The Black Lagoon,
Junkyard, Medieval Madness and Monster Bash-

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