01 August, 2013

On the Littlewing ball superb quality

Those who follow my blog know that I use to complain about the quality of the Farsight ball. In fact a simple glance at the comparison of the Littlewing and Farsight balls I presented in my "What is wrong with Farsight?" entry suffices to convince one that something is amiss with the choices of Farsight. However here I am not going to criticise Farsight but rather heap praise upon Littlewing.

The screenshot of the blog entry mentioned above was taken from Tristan. However Littlewing has produced another gem of a pinball based on their classic Crystal Caliburn. I decided thus to have a look at that game and I was amazed to find no less than four balls (but, of course, only one was used in the game). First we have the ball on the home screen

It looks gorgeous with the textured surface. (Some pinball simulations do use such a surface in order to convince the player that the ball does indeed roll. Who cares? I expect the pinball physics to be as accurate as possible but I do not like to be reminded of the details all the time).

The second is the options' ball

Here we remark something typical in Littlewing. There are reflections on the ball but they do not overdo it in realism. In fact if you look closely at the Tristan ball you'll remark that the reflection part is there just to give the illusion of motion and does not reflect the immediate surroundings. I call this way of cheating "pure genius". Fujita-san is one of the rare persons who understood that for a successful pinball simulation one must, from time to time, cheat a little bit with the laws of physics.

The third ball is the one in the scores' page

This is a monstrosity with Farsight-like reflections that would have made it unplayable, but of course it is there only for decorative purposes.

Finally we have the in-game ball

Notice the almost total absence of reflections. There is only a meniscus-like zone at the lower part which changes colour very slightly depending on the position on the table. That and the bright patch make the ball perfectly visible even on a table like Crystal Caliburn which is rather dark and heavily ornamented.

I would have really liked to have Fujita-san comment on his specific techniques, in particular on the subtle cheating. Well, who knows, perhaps I will manage some day to obtain an interview.


  1. I'm hoping LittleWing will remake all their tables for iOS and OSX. They're doing an excellent job so far.

  2. Even though I installed Lion, I haven't removed my Snow Leopard partition. All the tables are still available to me because of that. Actually, I don't use Lion except for those pinballs (such as Zen and Pinball Arcade) that require it. It just sucks too much, what with so many basic functions disabled. Hell, you can't even choose what sort of *search* you want to do anymore, in the search function. Java is disabled, and I need that for some functions. Rosetta is gone. I could go on.. it's a certifiable piece of trash, and apparently Mountain Lion and the new "Mavericks" one (do I hear cowboy music in the background?) are even worse..