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Demolition Time by Cardona

Discussion in 'Projects & Mods' started by mwong168, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. mwong168

    mwong168 Administrator
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    I just received a new ROM chip from Dave Astill from James Cardona on pinside who has been working on re-writing Demolition Man code for the past 12 months and is planning to put out a 1.0 official release soon. There are a few other testers right now who are reporting any bugs/glitches as well as feedback on his new rule set.

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    Installation was easy and only had to swap one chip and we are good to go!

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    Only tried it for 10 mins just now and I see some new animations, sound effects and even a video mode! Can't wait to try it some more and find out if James is cool with me posting out some of the notes on the rules he sent out to the testing group as well as some game play video. If anyone wants to come by and give Demolition Time a try shoot me a PM. I already sent Vengeance an invite and looking forward to him ripping this apart and/or possibly even make some suggestions on his infamous Risk vs. Reward approach of game play.
     
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  2. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a cool mod-what platform did he do this on? It's not a full on PROC replacement like CCC...full on reverse engineer?
     
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  3. DRANO

    DRANO Well-Known Member

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    FreeWPC
     
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  4. mwong168

    mwong168 Administrator
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    No P-ROC or computer was used at all for Demolition Time (aka DT) and the author James Cardona used FreeWPC. The WPC engine itself has been coded open source and then multiple programmers have worked on it over the years, although, the majority of the engine has been written by Brian Dominy. The stock DM uses a 27c040 512kbit ROM chip where as DT uses a 27c080 1Mbit ROM chip. All that is needed is a ROM swap and no jumper changes as you can see in my first post above.

    Here is the justification James used for rewriting the DM rules and in general what he is trying to accomplish:
    1) DM has unbalanced scoring in its features, such that, certain features score more points, and therefore score-oriented players will only do those. This leads to a game that is very limited. Basically, multiball scores the most by a large margin, so the only reason to go for the claw is to hit lock freeze, which locks all the balls and instantly enables multiball.
    2) DM has no movie animations in the game.
    3) DM has 7 modes of which 2 are pretty lame (lock freeze and prison break) so really only 5 which ranks this game as shallow for me. It does have 1 wizard mode and 4 multiball modes.
    4) DM does not support a shaker motor.
    5) DM has no video modes.


    Having listed all these faults, James can also say that DM has a pretty solid playfield layout with a nice combination of stop-n-go play and also good flow, depending on how the player wants to play it. It is a wide-body game that uses the extra space wisely, having 3 flippers and 4 ramps. Some have complained about the eyeball and carchase shots being dead space on the playfield, but that is a minor
    complaint and James actually like those since they can be deadly shots to take. Also DM has excellent body and playfield artwork (cannot say the same about the translate).

    GOALS - With the above in mind, James' aim is to:
    1) Add movie animations to game displays
    2) Eliminate/change the 2 weak modes so that we have 7 decent, full bodied modes
    3) Balance the scoring among all modes and multiballs
    4) Create 3 wizard modes total
    5) Create 3 video modes total
    6) Add shaker motor support
    7) Maybe some other things


    In summary, this is a game that plays very well and would be tremendously improved by fixing the software. Since the theme is an old 90’s movie that certainly isn’t a classic, the machines can be had fairly cheaply also. Finally, there were over 7000 of these made so fixing the code will benefit a larger number of people. Some other games James is considering are TOM, TOTAN and once DT is done NGG will probably be next.

    I've spoken to James and got his permission to post up a bit more information he has shared with me and the small group of testers. I even encouraged him to join here so he could get some feedback and interaction for those who come over and play DT. He is pretty excited and looking forward to some interaction with Adam and had a good laugh at my Risk vs. Reward comment. He said there is no ball save off the car crash or eyeball which makes those shots more dangerous. As a result the point values are increased which makes explode in particular worth going for if you want points.

    Anyways, I spent a good hour playing it this evening and I am very impressed so far and how different the game plays now. Here are some pics I was able to snag of the three new video modes.

    Video Mode #1 - Kaboom!

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    Bombs are dropped from the top and must be caught by the player using a bucket. If all are caught then the player advances to the next level the next time this video mode is collected. Each level is faster and / or throws more bombs.

    Video Mode #2 - Simon Says

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    Similar to the "Simon" kids game, a successive series of buttons pushes on the top handles are lit up and the player must repeat the sequence in the same order.

    Video Mode #3 - Shooter

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    This is similar to wolf shot on BSD, a horde of little dudes run down from the top of the screen at the player and they must be shot quickly before they reach the bottom.

    Don't worry guys, James has not turned DM into a video game! Video mode is only enabled by shooting the required number of combos; 5, 15, 25, etc. Once enabled it can be obtained at the retina scan saucer or top popper. The type of video mode started appears to go in the sequence above and repeats itself second time around. If there is one you do not like it can be disabled in feature menu or hit the top buttons on the handle to skip.

    Anyways, stay tuned for more pics and videos guys.

    Enjoy!
     
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  5. bstock

    bstock Active Member

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    Software improvement like this are great to see! With the prices of new games rising so quickly, this is a great way for some of us to get a "new" game. Software flaws are certainly the major shortcoming of a lot of really great games. I hope this movement continues and some of these potentially great platforms are transformed into excellent, well balanced games.
     
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  6. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Well-Known Member

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    That's awesome-I had no idea that a project like this existed. FreeWPC eh...I'll have to check that out.
     
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  7. Vengeance

    Vengeance Well-Known Member

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    There was nothing wrong with Demoman to begin with IMO.

    Lock Freeze is severely overpowered yes, but there is a very simple solution to that, disable the claw.

    Now you only get to use lock freeze once, the ball never stops, and it adds an entirely new layer onto the game, where reaching the Wizard mode is actually something you want to do and multiballs are extremely hard to achieve.

    Not once have I played Demoman and thought to myself, you what's missing, video games :FP:
     
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  8. tom_454

    tom_454 Member

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    Great to hear. I received the code from James a few weeks ago but haven't had time to look into having it burned onto a chip. I was just getting ready to see if Dave had the chipss available to use. Good to see that he has. I guess I will have to get in touch with him ASAP.

    I love DM as it is (oddly enough it is one of my favourite games at home) but I am looking forward to trying it with some new rules.
     
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  9. JAMESCARDONA

    JAMESCARDONA New Member

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    Hi all,
    just joined PBRev because of this thread as I was unaware of it before. Some comments on what I have done here:

    Any or all video modes can be disabled in feature menu. I know there are all kinds and levels of players out there so I wanted to do something for everyone. The simon sez mode is more for little kids so I think that most of you "pinball pros" will have it disabled. The other 2 are more fast paced and quick so shouldn't distract from the flow too much but if you want you can disable them also.

    The shaker motor support, for me, is awesome. I know it is gimmicky but I personnally really like it. I was planning on building and selling shakers since no one seems to make them at a reasonable price, but I contacted planetary pinball and they said they would be making RS compatible shakers for the new MM. since they will be drop in replacements for RS they should also work for DM since that is what I am using. They told me to expect them to cost "about $100" which is a lot cheaper than I would have charged.

    By the way, this code is still in beta, so any suggestions you give will help me to make this game even better.

    One of my concerns was truly balancing the scoring. I find that when one feature has the most points then that is all people go for which instantly makes the game shallow, no matter how many modes it has. (this is why I removed lock freeze and replaced it with standup frenzy.)
    Balancing the scoring is a lot harder than it sounds though. I tried to take into account how difficult the shot was and in turn how many of those shots might be typically made before a drain etc, then tried to calculate a point value based on that. The net effect "should" be that more difficult shots / higher drain risk shots are worth more points. I am still not certain that this is perfect though.

    The code still has a few bugs that I am working out but I am hoping to be done soon. After that I will be rewriting the code for NGG. After NGG, maybe T2 or Totan.
    Jim
     
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  10. spiroagnew

    spiroagnew Well-Known Member
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    Nice to see that there are still some new ideas being brought forth in this hobby. Even nicer to see that it's from someone who seems to have a passion and a keen eye for the hobby.

    Even though I don't own a Demonan, thanks for all the work you put into this. Keep'em coming. Lots of games out there that need a "fix".
     
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  11. DRANO

    DRANO Well-Known Member

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    Well done James.
    We saw the game at expo and looking forward to trying it at Mike's place a little more.

    Just wondering how long an endeavour like this takes and how much (if any) of the existing programming can be accessed and used?
    Are you planning to tackle any other games in future? I know a lot of guys would love to see games like TOTAN and TOM really come into their own with a more robust rule-set.
     
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  12. superjackpot

    superjackpot Active Member

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    Don't mean to knock the innovative programming efforts and attempts in general for all new things in pinball, honest, but I would agree with Adam that DM is not in need of a rewrite. Surely there are other WPC games out there that need this more.

    A refresh of an older game does give you something new, but similar to how I do NOT like having different gameplay/rulesets within any given newer Pro/Prem/LE Stern (e.g. Tron), two variations of DM give me that same meh feeling. I'd rather see a retheme than a reprogram.

    Doesn't mean you shouldn't do this to your DM - your game is yours... but I wouldn't touch my DM, if I still had it :roll:
     
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  13. Slam_Tilt

    Slam_Tilt Member

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    TOM is one pin that is in desperate need of adding more code. Especially Wizard mode.
     
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  14. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Well-Known Member

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    Given that it's a "fair use" kind of project, working NGG up with some Caddyshack based modes could be fun.
     
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  15. Menace

    Menace Well-Known Member
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    I'm wondering if DM was picked simply because it's the game the programmer owned, and used this game to "cut his teeth on" so to speak? While I can see your point that there are other games that would benefit greatly from a re-rwite over DM, it could simply be a matter of what game the guy had at his disposal.

    Either way, it's a fantastic effort.

    D
     
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  16. DRANO

    DRANO Well-Known Member

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    Or it was just the game he was passionate about. I don't think the idea of the game "needing" anything enters into it.
    After all, he's doing it for himself, not the rest of us. If DM owners find it cool or benefit, all the better.
     
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  17. mwong168

    mwong168 Administrator
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    I believe James is done and calling this the "final" version of Demolition Time. He just posted a new video here:

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xcJF_MhrAFE[/youtube]
     
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  18. mwong168

    mwong168 Administrator
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    Demo Time Rev History
    01/10/2014 last release on 12/09/2013
    rev beta – 0.95 file name: dman_sji_10240_95.rom

    burn using a 27C080 chip (1meg)

    changes since rev 0.91:
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Lowered claw magnet hold power. This was causing ball to not drop sometimes unless claw was shaken or moved a bit. Was set at 100%, changed to 62%.

    Changed the way single player game scores are displayed to match multiplayer games.

    Speed up gunfire sound on shoot again animation.

    Some modes (Huxley, demotime, explode, carchase) always started at beginning of the game as not enabled, thus not taking into account that the user may have set the required number of shots to zero in feature menu.

    Changed code to check and see how many shots away at player start.

    Added vertical line between status and scores and moved status display around a bit to allow for more info.

    Added info display to status area to tell which modes are available to be started for (E)xplode, (C)hase, (V)ideo mode, (H)uxley, (F)back in the fridge. The letter will appear on the top line of the left hand side if the player is one shot away from starting that mode.

    Fixed problem where MB modes would not add more balls to playfield if MB was already running. For example if player started a 2 ball MB (fortress) and a 2 ball MB was already running (such as chase or explode) then no additional balls were added. Now the additional balls are added.

    Changed DMD display effects for the following modes to incorporate the new style right side status display: Explode, car chase, prison break, capture simon, superjets, fortress, cryoprison, museum, wasteland, back in the fridge, Huxley, demo time and acmag. Frenzy is the only one that remains unchanged as I was too lazy to redraw all the dots.

    Some players complained of balls not firing from top or bottom poppers after a mode start. I could not get this to repeat after testing it heavily on my machine.

    Lowered eject sol power (retina scan saucer). This was causing ball to sometimes fall into outlane. Even though there was a ball save to detect this it was not optimal.

    Power was 75% at 66ms originally. Changed it to 37% at 33ms.

    Fixed problem with claw start where if claw mode was stacked and claw was reshot before first claw service expired then the ball would lie on elevator indefinitely. This was fixed as follows:

    If claw modes are stacked and left inlane is hit and claw is not yet done resetting, then the diverter will not open. Left inlane must be hit after claw is reset in order to reopen diverter.

    Added ability to get past the first rom page of sounds in the sound test menu. Now the user can see all of the sounds in the game and what their mapping id is. (Why would anyone need to do this? I dunno but it’s there.)

    Fixed problem in solenoid test menu where it was displaying the flippers. Sometimes the game would crash here for unknown reasons. A similar problem existed in the flasher test menu. Both were fixed.

    Deleted the dim GI feature option from feature menu.

    Fixed problem with rapid multiple ball drains where trough recount was sometimes not lowering the live ball count and sometimes single ball play or bonus would not trigger until ball search reset the ball count. Now instead of decrementing the live balls count by one on a trough event, the live balls count is set to max balls minus trough count (we can do this since there is no ball lock).

    Changed the way BITF calls end_ball after the last ball drain to make it more reliable. Now it continually checks the trough until it is full then calls end_ball. This should help if the balls on the playfield take an excessively long time to drain.

    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=S85pLCJo9vI[/youtube]
     
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  19. flyer666

    flyer666 Member

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    Makes me want to buy one....

    Cool :D :D
     
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  20. mwong168

    mwong168 Administrator
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    It's a great game and can't wait to have Dave Astill burn me a new copy of the code tomorrow when I head up to Blue to go snowboarding for the day.
     
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