22 August, 2016

Eight Ball Deluxe

When I received the FarSight newsletter I could not believe my eyes. The new table of the Season Six was one of the greatest classics, a table we have been, for years, waiting for, the fabulous Eight Ball Deluxe.

Eight Ball Deluxe has already existed as a simulation. In fact it was one of the first that existed for the Mac. Produced by Amtex with code by Littlewing, it was a superb digital pinball and one which sadly LIttlewing could not port to newer machines because in the meantime Amtex had gone out of business. I wrote about all this in an old post.

The FarSight version of Eight Ball is graphically gorgeous. Still I find that the realistic table reconstruction and the 3D view is somewhat more difficult to deal with compared to Littlewing's top-down view. To tell the truth I had forgotten that Eight Ball is not an easy game. Or perhaps this is due to the FarSight physics. I find aiming for the bonus-multiplier or the 8-ball lanes rather hard. And then there are those pesky outlanes which give you the impression that they are magnet-equipped in order to suck the ball.

Still I have one major critique concerning FarSight's implementation. Eight Ball Deluxe is an old table and could profit from a five-ball game. Unfortunately FarSight offers a fixed three-ball one. Of course, this does not mean one cannot enjoy playing this great pinball but a five-ball game would increase the pleasure. For me at least Eight Ball will be my favourite pinball over the next months. (And now that Eight Ball is here I will be crossing my fingers for Royal Flush).

08 August, 2016

The blog is four years old

Yes, already four years but I am really, really disappointed. Last year I was more than happy with the milestone of 19000 page views up from 10000 the year before and 3000 during the first year. And where do we stand now? A measly 25500 page views. That's fewer than the 9000 of the third year and even slightly below the 7000 of the second one. 

What did happen? I don't really know. I am posting at the blog with the same regularity: roughly one post per week. I keep abreast of current events in the pinball simulation world and report timely on them. From time to time I publish something more technical, whenever there is sufficient material for this. Analysing the views of my various posts there is no discernible pattern. The only recent post with an exceptional number of views is my tribute to Pat Lawlor. So the only hypothesis I can formulate is that people are less and less interested in digital pinballs. The (very) bad quality of pinballs available in the App Store is probably contributing to this. But there you have it. My blog is attracting fewer people now.

What does this mean for the existence of the blog? I cannot make long-term predictions but one thing is for sure, the blog continues unchanged for the next year. Next August we will see if the downturn is permanent or if this year's performance was just a glitch.

03 August, 2016

Silver Castle Timeshock

Some time ago (in fact, it's already almost two years) I wrote a post on a dutch team who were trying to create a Timeshock table. Not a simulation, a real-life pinball! This was possible because all pinballs of the Pro Pinball line are realistic to the point that one can imagine that they are digital recreations of real pinballs.  So the reverse, going from the simulation to the real pinball, looked feasible to the audacious members of Castle Silver company.

I had forgotten about this project and I was reminded by a recent post in the Pro Pinball forum that was giving a link to Timeshock wallpapers produced by the Castle Silver team. They are really gorgeous. 

So I looked around, fearing that the project would have been abandoned. Fortunately my fears were ungrounded. Although the initial Silver Castle web page does not exist anymore the facebook page is still alive and contains a recent (June 15th) announcement of the team.

They explain that while project has been delayed somewhat (due to a limited pool of resources) it is still on track. The team has been expanded to include a pinball specialist (Dennis Nordman) who is tweaking the table so as to optimise the gameplay. 

The aim of the Silver Castle team is to have a running prototype hopefully ready for the Pinball Expo 2016 in October and in any case before the end of the year. I will keep an eye open and will report here when there are some news.

01 August, 2016

Big Hurt by FarSight

I am always criticising FarSight (and justifiably so) for their sloppiness in execution. With their rhythm of one new table per month they are not allowing themselves the necessary time for the correction of small bugs which carry on, version after version. On the other hand were it not for FarSight I would have trouble keeping this blog alive. By being able to write about a new table every month I can keep blogging without the stress of "what next?".

This month's table is a baseball themed one: Big Hurt. I will say it immediately: I don't give a damn about baseball. I grew up in a country and living in another where baseball is non-existent and I find baseball not to my taste: too static with just some frantic spurts of action. So, the table has zero added value for me. That said, it is not a bad game. I liked particularly the fact that one can easily obtain multiballs. Another positive point is the dark colour of the lower part of the table: by choosing a bright coloured ball one can play in optimal conditions.

Will I be returning to Big Hurt? Probably not. The FarSight collection contains now many great games and there will always be something more attractive to choose. On the other hand if you are a baseball fan you may perhaps like the game. Who knows?