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Old 09-18-2017, 05:47 AM
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Default Pinball Creator, and my part in it's downfall

(My apologies to Spike Mulligan)

So, took the plunge, installed Unity, and purchased just today Pinball Creator. I decided to do a daily (sort of) report on what I have found, my impressions, things that could be better etc. I should mention I have no clue how to use Unity, the editor, the scripting language, or anything else related to Unity or the Pinball Creator asset, in other words, just like everyone else here.

These posts will go on for as long as I don't walk away frustrated, they are my opinions only, and may or may not be daily. I will just take some time, write down the things I am doing and learning, and post them up here.

So... day one below...
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:47 AM
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- Purchase was painless, but you would think they would tell you how to download the asset once you pay for it. Maybe everyone else on the planet is psychic and they automatically knew, but my first time, so, I didn't. I just googled it. You have to do it through unity itself using the asset store tab. Seems to work fine, I guess it's a unity thing. Unity also installs Visual Studio 2017, which may not be a good thing as Unity uses this as a script editor. (s-l-o-w)

- Downloading it was a tiny bit confusing, I had to keep telling it to import stuff etc. It also decided my public document folder was the place to put everything, which you really do not want.

- Keys have to be changed, as apparently the latest version of Unity has problems with the CTRL keys, I would put that info at the top of the pdf, so people notice it. Of course, maybe the next release, they could just change the defaults to the way everyone who uses VP and FP knows. Sure make it a lot comfortable for everyone. very tough to shake the table with the s and / keys, even from the shift as flippers, so I set them to FP/VP defaults. This way, I don't sprain my fingers trying to reach the nudge keys. Oh, no "special" keys as some games have 2 buttons per side? Is there a global setting for this?

- Looks a bit confusing, but takes time to learn. Tried out the first demo, it works fine. Not a big fan of the designs, but kind of nifty the first time you see it. Alas, I think by VP/FP standards, this would be one of those games where people play once or twice and then never play it again. I remember the first releases of VP, with the 2 games, (one of which was a very simple version of the arcade game High Speed) was a perfect example, as it was a very decent game that played well and was simple to figure out. As nice as the two demo games were to look at, they just were not that fun to play, some design no-no's in there, and lacked polish in the game play. Even a simple design like Bally's EightBall (1977) would be better, not just for playing, but also for people to tear apart and see how the program works bit by bit. They played like a decent flash game would, I think they were built by people who didn't play a lot of the arcade games. Bumpers were weak, the ball went very wild a few places, some flow errors, stuff like that. The physics needed adjusting for certain, so not rating the physics yet till I learn a lot more. They seemed good though, but haven't done things like flipper flicks etc but for the most part, the set physics are serviceable.

- The general appearance was very cartoonish, not very realistic. Some of the models needed replacing, very basic and just didn't look very nice. The animations were real good, but I can't help but wonder about using your own stock, like models etc. They use materials as well, this I never liked as it made things far more complex than we are all use to. I guess it has it's advantages. looking into that is way down the road, but I miss the stock FP/VP models already.

- Didn't see it in the manual, should be a "Pinball creators for Dummies" section right at the top that gives all the vital info for absolute beginners to use. Things like key settings, it was only when I went into the settings that I noticed the camera views. Personally, I like the FP method, with a view assigned to one of the F keys. Maybe a video made available? Global settings would be real good with this, but have to read the manual first.

- Can't help but notice, but the common names are very goofy compared to what we are use to. "Life" may be balls per game as a example, in fact appears to be a lot of things that are named weird. The devs are french, but still, maybe get english speaking people to go over this, as there are some pretty weird names even for objects. A "apron" is actually called a "Manual Board" (WTF?) etc. Some of them are kind of funny, but still, commercial program, should be a lot more polished.

- Alright, I changed the keys for the flippers, they worked fine in the editor, (you have to save it though in editor mode only) yet when I built the game to run as a exe, the keys were back to the default and used the ctrl keys and not the shift keys. The newest version of Unity has this bug. Hmmm... Oh, just found a major no-no a big bug with the flippers. If you do a key press, and then release the key, it's fine. BUT, if you press and hold the left flipper key, and then press and hold the right flipper key, when you release the left flipper key it still stays up. When you finally release the right key, then BOTH flippers will go down.

- I can see a problem with materials/meshs etc. When you click on the (very very tiny) icon to change say a material, everything is presented as one big listing, and not sorted by folder. For instance, the "playfield" material had about 7 or so files all named playfield, same with the models etc. Being able to view and use through the editor child folders would be a great idea. Think about it, FP and it's library files are exactly like that, after all these years, I have to have literally thousands of these files all lumped together in one listing. Try finding just that one file sometimes....

- Okay, so it's very different how this is laid out compared to VP and FP. It seems like a lot just from first impressions, maybe too overwhelming to a person with no experience with code, and the main source screen is so geek ware it's not funny. Looks like days/weeks/months/years of watching videos just to get a basic understanding of Unity is in order, then days/weeks/months/years of reading the manual as well, though it looks very good. Add to that days/weeks/months/years to learn scripting, and Houston, we have a problem. A lot of people who will try this have never used Unity, so they will be pretty lost very fast, it's a bit overwhelming as soon as you see it, and the vast majority will just give up as it requires a huge investment of time and the ability to learn some pretty high end complex stuff. Once you do, (if you have that patience to learn that is) I can see some big advantages to this way. Man, I thought VP10 was over complicated...

- So, first impressions. Not as impressed as I thought I would be. This should have been a lot better, if not easier to use at the very least. You can see the biggest flaw straight off, the fact it uses Unity as the editor and not a custom GUI like FP and VP. The first thing was when I loaded the first demo, I couldn't find it, apparently the view was from outer space, so it took quite a while to click down to a view able state. That really goofy setup to change views sure didn't help matters, I actually had to search to find out how to adjust the view in the editor, in fact, I will have to Google constantly because it's Unity. It's a great program, it's used by high end commercial games, but that's the thing. All we need is a top down view, not to the side or the bottom or any of the massive amount of things used for other games. I can see a lot of people getting frustrated with that bloody camera, in fact, Unity lost it's focus a couple times so I was jumped back to a outer space view.

VP and FP are far better and a hell of a lot easier to use, and those are freeware. This is a PAID program, and you expect it to be more customized considering the price. A proper front end editor is a absolute must just so the average person can use it. Unity is just way overkill as a editor, and well, 99.95 % of the entire population of this planet don't even know what a basic html tag is, they will more than likely walk away from this just from the investment of time it will take to just be able to use it. All people want is a simple editor, say drag and drop, that is easy to learn, and easy to use. This program needs a custom front end that was designed for just one thing, and that is to make pinball tables, and not anything else. Other people who have this already have learned Unity, but it's one of the most complex programs out there, I just installed it yesterday for the first time, and already had to search the internet several times to learn basic things. If I am building a huge open world FPS, sure I would use Unity, but for a pinball table? Nope, can't see too many people with that kind of time to learn, especially since there are alternatives out there that do the same job far easier. (And consider how complex VPX has become, that is saying something)

Still, as people already know, I never give up that easily, especially as I just paid 40 freaking dollars for it, so I will continue to work with this. I suspect some of my questions will be answered reading and going through the documentations (which is massive BTW) so as the days go on, I will be learning all the things needed. Going step by step, I figure it will take a month or so, there is virtually no community, so trial and error, a lot of reading, and more than a few swear words. see what Day 2 brings. Time to read that manual, work through it step by step, and start learning how to use this program.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:51 PM
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interesting. i guess it's not surprising that there'd be some commercial pinball-producing software to come along every few years. last one i remember seeing in stores was probably in the mid-aughts.

Q1: so anyway, will this allow you to produce stand-alone apps?

Q2: can it output for any unity platform, like android, windows, etc?

i've played plenty of unity stuff on android and have enjoyed it. on the window-side browser side, sometimes unity apps have been a bit of a memory hog, to say the least. for example: this fairly simple roguelike can hit about a gig of RAM use in chrome once it gets going:
https://chilly-durango.itch.io/tiny-frontier-saga

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Old 09-18-2017, 08:27 PM
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Yes to both actually. It does build a very nice front end, you select which tables you want to include. You can also build a exe for multiple formats, android, apple etc. In fact there is a special design mode for mobile, that simplifies everything so it's playable. If it wasn't for the fact it defaults to the ctrl keys (the flippers just don't work sometimes, the devs said it's a Unity bug, but I guess they didn't notice the exe still uses the ctrl keys no matter what) it's a pretty nice feature. Just click the icon, select the table, play. A simple version of TPA in fact.

The lack of info is the problem. No website, no community. you expect a lot better for a commercial program. It also should be a lot more polished for the amount of time spent as well. Unit3d is a prime example, even if it's vaporware now. (I would be so upset if I gave those two money) But maybe this will continue to mature. A custom editor is a must though, if they want this to be even usable by the average person, and not the small group of people with those kind of extremely high end skills.

using the Unity editor defeats the entire purpose of "easy to use". I loaded in the first tutorial for unity, a bunch of videos. They told me how easy it was to do a sample game, then in the second video expected me to type in a whole bunch of script written in C++. Yeap, real easy for nearly every person on the planet...

Still, tonight going through the first section of the documentation. It was a lot to go through, and a bit confusing as it's french to english, so it may be a reading day. Just a couple hours though, I have Jungle Girl to do as well.
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:27 AM
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Day 2

So, lets start shall we....

- First off, the manual references things I have no clue what the hell they are talking about. Sure I will figure it out myself soon enough.

- And the first tutorial. It's called Tuto for some reason, but, oh well. The first thing it does is tell you how to find it and load it in. Okay, you get a blank table template to start.

- Now it tells you to drop prefabs, a game manager, DMD, parts etc. It took a while to figure it out, had a problem with a couple things, but that's because I'm stupid. It works at least... bloody flipper keys though...

- Well, that was a simple fix... changed the flipper keys to Z and / and now the flippers both work fine the way they are suppose to. hmmm.... Now if I can figure out how to make a stand alone exe using those keys, we can have playable examples.

- Considering I've been doing this for 2 1/2 hours, haven't got a lot accomplished, but then doing other things as well, like the shivaArchives, answering messages. i posted on their forum, maybe a dev will show up, and answer a couple questions.

- Now thinking about it, the reason I am so slow at the start is because I am not use to the way PC does stuff, it's very different than what we all know and are use to for nearly 20 years (for me at least) Once I got the concept, and the basic idea of how to use things then it's pretty easy so far, any problems would be more on me than anything, because it is so different.

I think the issues we all would have would be using unity itself. I can see the same problem with Pinball Creator as we all have with VP and FP, it's the amount of time and knowledge we would need to be able to use it. Unity is pretty high end stuff, far more complex than say even Blender, and there are only a handful of people with the general overall knowledge to use VP and FP, like scripting/models etc, and this is a whole different kettle of fish here.

Still, we can use our own models, it appears that you can attach scripts to things, there are preset "mission" that you can just drop into your table that creates objects/lights/code so that is a very cool thing. If there were enough people to create them, and share them, quite a few people would be more apt to create their own tables as opposed to VP or FP if they take the time to learn the basics. That's a good thing in my book.

- next is a overview on prefabs. These are the built in parts included with PC. Pretty straightforward, though the naming of some of these parts get very strange. You kind of have to do a double take, pegs and posts are called blockers etc. Really, there is standard pinball terminology that everyone knows, what is called a Kicker is in fact looks to be a drop target, stuff like that. I can see this being very confusing to people explaining things, you tell him to place a kicker somewhere, and nearly everyone will think it's the "hole" when it's actually a drop target you are referring too. There is a brief overview of each prefab, which is very handy- pretty simple

- Next is a tips section by the looks of it. It's very brief to the point it's kind of unneeded, but there are tips Assets to load in. There's a lot to designing a decent table, lots of tricks and things you can do ( and not do) that can make a decent game. In fact, just to write a proper primer would be a lot larger than the tutorials here.

The tips I am going to start now, just to get the hang of things. From my initial point of view, I feel it would be better to do a set of tutorials, and just add more features as you go along, or even take the first tutorial and expand it with more and more things gradually. There are more tutorial tables included, but I am following the instructions step by step here.

- Step 1 : ball circulation 1 - " Ball circulation is really important. The more smooth is the ball circulation the more fun is the pinball. Example Tips_1a (Project -> Asset -> Scenes -> Tips -> Tips_1a)"
I believe they mean Ball Flow and how it interacts with the design. As a designer, ball flow is very important, you as the designer decide how you want the game to play, and the most important thing to remember is it is just as important to design and shape your game play for when the ball COMES DOWN as it is for when the ball goes up from the flippers.

One of the things I mentioned about the demo tables is the lack of flow, and usually when the ball is going down, as it would strike a object and causes a weird bounce or shoots out suddenly into the center. There is a art to design, it's taken the companies nearly 90 years to work out the tricks to making a table play great, but the biggest mistake I see with others tables is they don't consider what happens when the ball is going downward.

We have all seen it, the best example was high Speed done a long time ago. We all know that long looping shot, it is now one of the most common shots in pinball, you shoot the ball, it goes up one side, follows the top, then comes back down the other side, and hits the flipper at the right position so you can time it perfectly and do it again. In that VP version, the designer (who more than likely never played the actual game) decided to have a post stick out, so when the ball would come down, it just hit that post and careened into the center, and promptly drained.

- to expand on this, the example table was blank, with a couple lines above. I believe this was to show ball direction from the flippers, but I have something that I use. I did this for a FP game, (image attached) and it was based around the physics and the natural shots coming off the flippers and their angles. But as you can see there are lines as well that show the opposite, how I want the ball to behave when it goes downward, and where exactly I want the ball to hit the flippers.

It may be a bit messy, but should be easy to understand, these established not only the ball lines, but also the lines of the design for the ball to follow, so the ball doesn't hit say the top of the slingshots going down that line, but instead misses the top and hits the flippers instead. The angles are done as well to avoid drain shots, nothing more annoying than having a great looping shot only for the ball to drain in the middle every time.

- Apparently I was wrong, the tips examples are shaped prefabs for the initial shot from the plunger, as well as guides at the top or other smaller things.

I think I will stop here for today. Not a lot of time, and I sort of went off on a couple things about design, so I will start next time with Step 2 : choose your missions
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Old 09-20-2017, 03:05 AM
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IN PROGRESS

So, it appears that maybe the demos do not save with the flipper settings, but the template does, and I know that people here at the very least want a playable example before they consider purchasing this, so....

Rather than continue to work on the tutorials, I just decided to do a table example now, and struggle with any issues. This just uses the prebuilt stuff, set missions, and a very quick layout. Still, since I have no clue really (I'm just winging it) it may be pretty bad, but like FP and VP, it takes time to learn. First impressions... I'm figuring it out, at least the basic ideas. It is very different than FP, no where user friendly with how you move things in Unity (real pain in the ass in fact, but something you will get use to) but I can see with use that you can build working games pretty quickly, especially if you just use the pre sets and "missions".

In fact, to make it as hard as possible, I decided to not even read the tutorial, just put stuff up, see what it is, and use what I like. see how much that takes, just to have a general idea for the average person who hides under a rock as soon as you mention scripting to him. The idea of this product is to allow people to just build their own gamewithout any experience in scripting after all, and the vast majority will not even bother with instructions, and just try and start building.

Having a break, about a hour, already changed things, but so far so good, though I may have used a couple things that were not what I wanted. Be back later to update...
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:48 AM
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And a very quick, and badly done sample table
This is a self exe, and is for standalone play. You do not need Unity or Pinball creator to play this, just click the icon. Included is a exported file as a zip

NOTES:
- Use the Z and / keys for the flippers
- S,L,Spacebar for nudging
- C adjusts view, I recommend 3

NOTE: This was done with only a few hours of learning unity and Pinball Creator from scratch. This is only a example and I never even studied unity or PC, so take this with a grain of salt when you play it. This program, and Unity itself, is far more capable in experienced hands, and certainly not by someone who didn't even read the manual. There are mistakes in this package, there are bugs, this just uses the stock items with no modification.

This uses stock prefab parts and stock missions. The only changes are rotating and resizing the models. There are more than likely bugs, and it appears the 5 target bank mission may be erratic. Drop all 5 targets to light right loop. Make the loop 3 times completes the mission, and resets the target bank.

COMMENTS: Well, this should give you a general idea. Things need polish, some of the physics need tweaked, but not to bad. You have to take in account this is a pretty new program, it took years for VP to get the way it is, and there is no reason to not think that this program with the incredible power of the Unity engine behind it couldn't be as good, or even better than VP.

As it stands, there are limitations, especially with the set amount of stock for rebuild pieces. A lot of the missions can be replaced as well, but like VP and FP, there are a lot of things better and a lot of things worse. At the moment, and to be honest, this is not a program for people who don't know how to model or script, there just isn't enough out there to give the variety needed, there are limitations, but that is also a community thing, and that needs to be built up. VP took a while, so will this.

This design itself was limited to these restrictions, and some things just didn't even work, and like FP and VP using it has it's quirks and is finicky. Unity itself is pretty bad for building pinball games, just not suitable really, but it can be done. Given time and experience, I could build this game in a fraction of the time, take maybe 4 hours, but don't forget, this is prescripted, all the proper code is included with each part you build. You can also of course add your own code, but that is the biggest thing with Pinball Creator over say Visual Pinball or Future Pinball.

From my personal experience with this, it took a while to figure out things, and I rebuilt the table once I learned new things. There are a lot of things I really wished were included, like blueprints and the way we build tables in FP, which is customized for that purpose. Still, there are some really great ideas, that are far superior to VP, like prefabs, scripts and graphics can be attached, some control ideas are very nifty handling multiple objects without screwing up other objects etc.

Here's the link to the download. My apologies to the new people, this requires sign-up to the site due to the excessive spam bots floating around now days. Everything on this site is free

http://www.pinballnirvana.com/forums...o=file&id=5312
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Old 09-21-2017, 09:41 PM
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Interesting! And some quick notes:


- It certainly LOOKS nice and legit at first glance. I probably would have thought it was FP.

- Funny how the input options are set up for general videogames, not for PB specifically. But I guess you were saying this project was a fork?

- My modest little 2ghz CPU is once again struggling to run this one, the same way it does with the more complex VP and FP stuff. I think I may be able to work with this if I play it in 800x600, Low Quality mode. Oh well, it's a start.

- I wish these guys included some user options. Redefining the side nudge keys would be nice, as would blacking out the bacground to coax a little more speed, etc.

- Hard to get a feel for the physics right now, which are pretty all-important indeed.

Q: since so much coding is apparently involved, do you get the sense that outside apps can be invoked, as with VP?
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:16 AM
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Forgot about your hamster powered computer Nic.

You can turn on and off stuff in the editor, next time I will have a look and see. This is a true model simulation, dynamic lighting and shadows, all the high end stuff
I saw the inputs, had to laugh at that. I'm pretty sure the devs will include the ability to change inputs and the amount of balls in a menu.

Physics are okay. Better than stock FP, not as good as VP. A lot of this is polishing the settings, some of the numbers are just wrong there, but then, that's expected as well. Pinball is the most complicated game to reproduce with a computer, the amount of math is large enough to fill a entire textbook. The big problem with this is collisions, they are not right, and I had 2 game breaking bugs. It may be something in my computer, so I am checking that first with Malwarebytes etc, but still shouldn't make that big of a difference.

With FP, Black switched off com objects, just to make sure VPinMAME could not be used with FP. So you lost a lot of internal Windows things, like text to speech etc as well as external stuff. I very much doubt Unity or the PC devs did that, so I suspect you can use external programs. The script can be either C++ AND Javascript, and since unity has built in support for all formats (apple, linux, android etc) that can allow for a lot of possibilities there.

Actually, didn't code anything in that. All the presets usually have code attached to it to run it. Pretty nice huh, don't you wish that one was included with VP and FP. Oh that's right "coding is easy, it only takes 2 years to learn, you can do it bunkie"
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Old 09-23-2017, 02:42 AM
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Not a day to do things in Unity/PC, as site stuff, clean up/ weekend, though maybe when I get home. Instead some random thoughts, some things that I noticed when doing the sample table, and dissecting the design after "sleeping on it"

I loaded a new copy of the screenshot, this is the top down view, which should make explaining things easier. I will start off with mentioning the things I missed the most from FP that would have made building/finishing this table easier and better.

- I really missed Surfaces/walls/rubbers. In FP, you can create these objects directly in the FP editor, and reshape them right there. As you can tell, there are no plastics in certain spots, and though I am sure it is very easy to create them in Unity, a feature like this built right into Pinball Creator would be great, and a hell of a lot easier.

- I found some of the objects to be very strange compared to it's real life counterparts. The Bumpers, if you look closely, I made a lot bigger, as they were half the size and looked like someone had dropped a ten ton weight on them. As reference, The height of plastics at the very top in real arcade tables is 32 mm, Bumpers from floor to the very top of the cap is 45 mm, and the scale, or surface area is also a lot larger. You can say this about a lot of the objects, I think the cabinet itself is a little too thin. Is there a actual reference for the sizes of the tables and the objects? The ball is 25mm in diameter in FP

- Speaking about the ball, the one thing I did miss is putting the cursor over a blank part of the playfield, holding down the Ctrl key, and getting a little red dashed outline of the ball dimension so you can space your objects correctly (I used a light object in CP it looked close enough to the actual size of the ball)

- I believe I am going to really miss down the road a blueprint feature that creates a image of the table design. If you are a member of this site, and seen the new Jungle Girl post I just put up, that was starting with the blueprint of the actual built table, and I used it as the main reference to build the graphics and wood etc.

- I found several game breaking bugs, at least with my computer. It may be the Nvidia drivers (seems to be a problem with Unity) or Malware/anti-Virus, but had problems with ramps over bumpers and holes not actually kicking the ball out. I will do a video of this shortly, these were all doing prefab sets, when a ball is on a ramp and it starts going over a bumper, the bumper activates and the ball starts acting like it's being hit by the bumper. Even raising the ramp it still happens. The hole the ball goes in, sinks very slowly, rises very slowly then just does that, sink/rise/sink etc. These are the stock set prebuilt routines

- had some problems with those drop targets actually working as intended. Sometimes they just didn't light up at the start of the ball. Sounds like a simple script error.

- If people notice, I dragged the plastics sets to the side (I also have edges and horseshoes as well, just turned off) as it makes it a lot easier to work with for scale and fitting the parts together. Still, there are some overlaps that I tried to hide as much as possible. The image previews, especially the various ramp designs, are pretty hard to figure out because of the side views as opposed to top down view.

- Physics... This is the big one for everyone here. Some things were just not right, or set wrong. The flippers were good, way better than stock FP, but the force of the flipper doesn't change. So even a slight flick of pressing the button of the flipper can send the ball off at a high speed. This is something that a lot of other programs do, it was only recently that people in the VP community figured out, that flippers get faster as the flippers rotate upwards till they reach their maximum speed at roughly 80% of the swing, before the flipper speed slows down slightly till it reaches the end of it's rotation. It's a new feature in VPX (VP10) called EDS. I couldn't do some of the flipper tricks like you can with real tables, and this may be the reason why. The flippers themselves were not to bad with other things. Minor adjustments really.

And now the things I really liked...
- the ability to just drag entire presets into a table and have it work first go is amazing. You can even do this with a DMD, and it works. Brilliant. You need more of them, but just that concept alone. Thousands of hours saved from having to script things. If this takes off, and people do more of these, I can see this as a viable consumer product. The Pinball Construction Set sold millions back in 1980, because it was that damn easy to use.

- I really like the way this is from some usability factors. The easiest way to explain this to FP/VP users is you have unlimited folders, and unlimited layers. If you use photoshop, it's pretty much the exact way you handle layers and group folders. It's far easier to select a group of objects than FP, and you are less likely to change things you don't realize.

- Compared to FP, the way the ball "tracks" along certain objects was far better. Edges were really smooth, far better than FP, where the ball could fly off at weird angles. I haven't tried a across playfield plunger shot, like from High Speed, but overall, the physics are a lot better stock than FP.

- It's really something that with so little time, you can build a table that looks like this in hours, and not weeks/months like FP/VP. More please...

A brief discussion on the actual design

In retrospect, this should be a bit better. There should be 3 inline targets instead of two, a custom shaped ramp instead of the stock one, and it would have been helpful if I remembered to put scoring in the inlanes and outlanes (whoops...) It's alright, as mention before, found some bugs. In my computer, if the ball drops from the exit point of the ramp, it also triggers the slingshot from the slings as well. That may be the collision is set too high, like the bumpers. It's not a bad design considering it was done by the seat of my pants, and just using stock objects, certainly seen a lot worse, seen a lot better as well. with a few hours of polish, and more knowledge of how to do it, not a bad little table for what it is.

It is the weekend here, but once my other things are done, I will start doing some simple videos that show you some things, and also, as I am starting to watch the Unity videos, pass them on as related to just the pinball aspect. The controls are very intimating when you first see them, but there are some pretty cool features if you watch the Unity made videos and they really serve a purpose once you understand what they do. The biggest problem I see now is the actual game field size in comparison to the actual size of the tables within the game field. It does make things a little frustrating to control. The field is H-U-G-E, so if there is a way to shorten it or make it far smaller so it fits the table and the gameroom around the table, please let me know. If not, double clicking the game object you wish to focus on, or pressing the F key works very well.

One of the things that struck me is something the devs might consider. A few simple instructions on basic Unity controls and use in the tutorial itself. Though the pinball Creator is pretty easy, the real learning curve for everyone that wishes to use this program is Unity itself. We are all pretty much lost at the very beginning, and some simple tips on using unity and a basic guide that we can follow would be very helpful, like changing views, what some of those icons at the top for movement actually do, or especially how to turn on and off the gizmos, as they severely restrict the top down view. The more comfortable we are, the faster we learn, and by my experience, it took a bit of time to work things out before I found the training videos (only today, you wouldn't believe just how many tutorials there is). A lot of people would just get frustrated and impatient, but the group of tutorials I finally found (Thanks Unity for not pointing them out at the very beginning) appear to give all the basic answers anyone new would ask. Maybe the devs could add those links to the videos, give non-unity users a heads up and gets them started a lot faster.

next up, re-watching the control video a few times, doing it in the editor a few times, then making a video to show movement and other things. I also intend to do a video of the first tutorial as well, so maybe just combine them.
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Old 09-27-2017, 07:13 PM
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I was able to try out the table. Thanks Shiva for the sample! I noticed a few hits on slingshots that don't get registered, usually the 3 or 4 hit when the ball "ping-pongs" between the two slingshots. This was a quick test and I hope to try out a few more tests later.

thanks again!
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Old 09-28-2017, 12:00 AM
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Cool
It does appear there is something in my computer affecting things here, so still searching.
I will make a exe of the 2 playable demos. This should give a far better idea, as they were done by people who know what they are doing.

I have to fix this problem with collisions, and the hole problem I have, so starting to remove a lot of programs to see which one is doing it, or if it is a Nvidia thing.

In the meanwhile, I do have a couple projects to start getting finished, most notably Jungle Girl. There's a good table to do in Unity once it's finished as well come to think about it.
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Old 09-28-2017, 11:23 PM
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I came across this thread and forum when doing a google search for how to implement a pinball plunger in unity. I bought the Pinball Creator asset this past week two. However I have a couple years programming experience and am trying to make something more modular - in other words I want Pinball Creator content in my own code, and not vice versa. I can't say it's not well documented, because it is, but I think it's a little hard to take in at once. It's also a little hard to piece together in this modular fashion; probably much easier to just start with one of their boilerplates.
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Old 09-29-2017, 05:27 AM
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I think that was the general idea, to have people do the modular idea from the start. One of the biggest hurdles is the scripting, so having presets is very appealing to the average person. Of the say 100,000 people here in the VP/FP community, there's what, only 30 or so people able to do tables.

Even so, I can see a few of those people not using Pinball creator, as we use VBScript, and not C++, and those are completely different languages, and that's a lot of learning and studying before they can create anything from scratch. Pinball Creator needs more prefabs and preset code to appeal to more people here, and with other things like models and stuff, well, we are spoiled now. Of course, Visual Pinball has been around 18 years, Future Pinball about 10 years, so we have learned a lot over time.

My personal knowledge with Unity is zero, and there are maybe a handful of people that have even used unity with their pinball tables. A couple did a product called Unit3D, but they have completely disappeared off the map for nearly 2 years. The only person that can help with a plunger is shaderbytes, who did Elvis and Tommy in unity (Both really excellent by the way, I wish he did a editor) but I am not sure if he's active now or a member here, but I believe he's posted at GoPinball. if you can get in touch with him, he should be able to help you.
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Old 09-29-2017, 08:46 PM
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Shiva - Just to give a small reply on scripting -- In my initial reading of Unity its C#, not C++. The difference is important because there are converters that can convert VB to C#.

This of course doesn't change the event handling difference that VBScript with the specific VP/FP provides.

The C#-VB-C# converters are more helpful for language constructs and can be beneficial when learning the language differences.

What might be more interesting is learning Unity Script if it is closer to VBScript. I don't know anything about Unity Script though (yet).

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Old 09-29-2017, 09:24 PM
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Thanks, not sure Why C++ is set in my mind. To many C's I guess :/
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Old 10-01-2017, 08:09 PM
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I can't thank you enough for these detailed posts shiva! I've been debating whether to buy the pinball creator assets for days and this has really helped. My background is similar to yours in that I have zero experience using Unity but I am a pretty competent coder in Javascript and other languages so I'm hopeful it'll be easy enough to pick up.

I have a home-built virtual pinball cabinet. What I want to do is move away from using Visual Pinball and play some tables I create on it. I actually want to try to make a recreation of a classic table ultimately.

Can I please ask a few questions?

1). Can you create an executable for Linux/Windows/Mac that would just launch straight to the table without the need for a silly menu system? This would let me use something like PinballX or HyperPin to launch my table.

2). Can the DMD be resized or (even better) moved to a second monitor?

3). Can you choose/fix the camera to optimise for playing on a portrait 1080p monitor as the playfield?

Once again shiva, bravo for the detailed posts and please keep them coming!
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Old 10-01-2017, 11:48 PM
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Thanks, but, I have 1 week more experience than you, so I have no idea what the answers are to your questions.
I'm pretty sure the answer would be yes to all 3 though, seem very reasonable, pretty sure Unity has multi monitor support. I'm seeing camera icons, and there are spaces for more preset positions as well. Not sure about the menu though.
I'm actually very busy the next little while, personal issues, and I am working on my own original game in my spare time, but will try and squeeze some more time to continue with the next installment with this. Glad you are enjoying them, it's been fun writing them for me.
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Old 10-03-2017, 02:38 AM
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I went ahead and bought the PC package and will try to understand this whole Unity thing as well. Off and on timing though.

Ok how the heck do you "download the PC package" anyway? Ok, I think I've finally figured that out.

Anyway to increase the font of this environment? Crazy. Makes me feel way old.

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Old 10-03-2017, 05:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmrmax View Post
I went ahead and bought the PC package and will try to understand this whole Unity thing as well. Off and on timing though.

Ok how the heck do you "download the PC package" anyway? Ok, I think I've finally figured that out.

Anyway to increase the font of this environment? Crazy. Makes me feel way old.
You know, I had trouble with that as well. Think I will update the FAQ, when I bought it, I didn't know you had to download your purchase through my copy of unity, and not through the web.

Someone else here just bought it as well, so maybe everyone here can do their own thread with their experiences. The lack of community is the problem here more than anything, but as you know, I can fix that one... The Devs I guess didn't know just how serious we all take our pinball.

Apparently, the scripts were Javascript, but Unity itself will be dropping it and going to just C now. Hey, we all get to learn a new programming language, how fun is that one? Still, look how old VBScript is, so I guess it's time to move away from the dark ages.
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Old 10-03-2017, 06:23 AM
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Hi all. New to Pinball Nirvana (although loving it - great resource) and have just purchased Pinball Creator.

Like shiva, I've no experience with Unity at all but am a reasonably proficient programmer so I'm just ploughing through some tutorials to get up to speed.

One thing that's worrying me about the Pinball Creator asset is that (as mentioned) its written in Javascript which has been dumped by Unity (as of last month). I've left a message on the Unity asset store forum (seemingly the only way to contact the developer) asking if he/she is going to port the asset to C#. If not then I'm not going to bother with it as I don't want to go through the pain of learning this system only for it to stop working in 6 months...
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:40 AM
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JavaScript has just been depreciated, right? I'm pretty sure they will port it over. It's a newer asset after all, and though a pain, far more likely than a lot of the older assets available for sale. It was rather sudden that Unity did this, but there has has to be some lead time as I expect their asset store creators wouldn't be too pleased.

From our point of view, since none of us know anything about Javascript, it's just as easy to learn C# as it is to learn Javascript if you are starting out, and far better to learn just the one language instead of learning one and then having to relearn another one down the road. The one nice thing is we all learn a language that is used extensively in professional game software, nice skill set to have.

I don't know if the Javascript is in the main code, or if it's just the script portion for the prefabs and objects. We use VBScript for VP and FP, which is ancient and was out of date 10 years ago, but that is just used to script our games.
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:25 PM
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Looks like itís all JavaScript. Emailed the developer who said they are working on porting it to C#. Hoping to be done in 2-3 months. Annoying but not a deal breaker.
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:35 PM
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okay then, guess that means more study and watching videos. Still, you would want a program that is up to date, and the devs are on the ball, unlike other editors we all know *cough* FP *cough*
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Old 10-04-2017, 11:05 AM
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Good to see other people getting involved! I haven't developed in years, and have my own gaming projects going on, but I am willing to play test if possible.

Main constraint on my end is that I'm not planning on upgrading my guinea pig-powered laptop for some time since there's nothing else I'm running that requires it at this time. So that brings me to a Q, Paul--

Did you get a chance to look in to dev-end settings that could help people with older machines? I think you mentioned some settings like that in the #9 post of this thread. For example, maybe for your test releases you could include a low-end table version for folks in my boat.

As of this time, on the user end, I can't do anything more than drastically reduce resolution (and maybe one other related setting IIRC) in order to get a decent FPS. This would probably be a deal breaker for a "real" table, i.e. not a simple test table.
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Old 10-05-2017, 12:27 AM
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guinea pig-powered laptop? I thought it was a hamster powered laptop? Boy, you really are behind the times, my hamster powered computer died 5 years ago. (Heh, legendary the problems I had on it)

Alas no. maybe as we are getting a couple more people who are more knowledgeable, maybe they can answer.

As you know Nic, I have a lot on my plate at this moment, personal stuff, that I am dealing with, and now someone in our apartment building bought in a old mattress, so we all have been sprayed for bed bugs today. Means a lot of cleanup and and every stick of laundry has to be done. Nasty little buggers, but not a bad infection.

I noticed some settings by accident. Maybe if I remember, I will give it a shot. Oh, there are special mobile versions as well that reduce the hit. Maybe that will do, once I learn how to do them.
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Old 10-05-2017, 02:22 AM
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Try this Nic. get another computer, it was a pain trying to figure out the manual with this one, one of the things I think does need to be done is to re translate the manual, as some of the things assume you know what the hell they are talking about, and there seems to be missing pictures for the examples, which didn't make it any easier.

http://www.pinballnirvana.com/forums...o=file&id=5320

Stripped as much as I could figure out from the manual at least. Sure runs faster on my computer. The ball image I guess disappeared, but oh well....
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Old 10-09-2017, 03:39 PM
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Dear lord, I sincerely hope I never have to deal with bedbugs. My condolences. *shudder*

"Guinea pigs" was a reference to my FB avatar, of course. :P

Anyway, thanks for the mock up. I did get pulled in to a big apartment-related project this past week and haven't checked the table out, yet. ( No ball, you say? D: )

This also makes me wonder if there's something I can do to speed up Unity apps in general. They sure run terribly in Chrome, anyway, which sucks because there's actually a lot of nice content coming out these days. I don't understand why they've done such a poor job in the area of user settings, especially after being around for 12 years now.
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:01 PM
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Have to search things up on settings, as it may be a conflict with Nvidia. Still have my game breaking bugs, but 99% sure it's something in my computer. Very shortly, I will have to update my Bios, as mine is out of date because of all the changes in Win10.

Yeah, bedbugs are nasty little buggers. We are okay so far, but we still have to do everything. There's been a major infection up here in Canada, all over the damn place. Even 5 star hotels have had problems, so just have to deal with it is all.

Oh Happy Turkey Day Canada!
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Old 10-23-2017, 08:05 AM
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This is my first time post though I think I registered in 2016 which is when I started my cab. I bought the asset when it first came out and had the demo table running with no problems. I got sidetracked doing a 1200 sq ft basement remodel which I just completed and had the final inspection approved (whew!) The reason I started a cab was to add it to the game room section of the basement. We also have a stick hockey table and a Multicade.

Anyway, I need a new project this Fall/Winter and will revisit Pinball Creator. I think I will like C# since I liked programming in Java years ago. I am a recreational programmer. I had college courses in FORTRAN, Pascal and C. One of my sons has a CS degree and does programming at a major regional bank and can help me in a pinch

I have to see if I Unity is still installed on one of our laptops? If not, I will get everything set back up this week and run the asset again. And go from there.....

Could be a fun project?

Nice to see other people interested.

For an excellent example of what Unity can do is look at Pinball Wicked on Steam. It is gorgeous. The devs make a big mistake pricing the table for what is essentially betaware. That's another story.
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