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Thread: Visual Pinball thoughts

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    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Visual Pinball thoughts

    After all these years, I finally began exploring VPX tables. I'm not sure what took me so long. I'm really impressed with the sheer volume of tables, and the rare tables people have meticulously recreated. I've been inspired to being recreating some tables myself. I'm not keen on the vintage Windows95 interface, but it works.

    One question I have for those of you who have been using VPX for a while: is it always so wonky? It seems like a crap shoot as to which tables will function and which won't. What I run into a lot is a problem where a table asks me if I have permission to run it, and then it crashes. I don't seem to have any way to check the "Yes" button before things crash. Another frequent issue is that a table will load (usually one of the more recent ones) but there will be no way to start a game. I can insert coins, but there doesn't appear to be any way to press "Start". The usual mapped keys do nothing.

    That said, the tables that do work are wonderful! I mean, heck, I can play OXO, one of my favorite obscure tables! And they do have my all-time favorite, Comet, but unfortunately that's one of the tables that won't start. At any rate, I think I'm going to have a lot to keep me occupied for a while....

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    Senior Member trash80's Avatar
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    Many of the tables will have install and usage instructions at the location you downloaded them from. Also, every table 'script' file can be opened within VPX, and this is where you may find some additional control or option information. Since each table is different and each author goes about recreating the table in a unique way, I can only ever give assistance on a table/author/ and version basis. Regarding Comet, it works just fine if you have the latest VPX which is 10.6.x and make sure you are using the Comet table for VPX and not an old one that is for 8 or 9.2 I won't paste links here but you can just google Comet VPX and the table you want should be the first result.

    About permissions, I highly recommend you use a program called SetDMD to "install and update" all your table roms. Also, you will find much more help over at the vpforums and vpinball sites than here. Good luck.

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    Hi and welcome aboard the VPX gravy train, where the hobby keeps giving and giving.

    #1 - Although the editor and creating tables can be a wonky experience, I never have crashes playing the tables so if you are experiences crashes, that's likely because you have components missing.

    #2 - components missing?

    Well yeah, it depends if you are playing on a single screen desktop, on a multi-screen pc, on a pincab with real DMD and contactors, shaker motors, mech motors, real plunger and nudging etc. So let's assume you are playing on a desktop in a landscape orientation.

    A) the first thing you need to do is install Visual Pinball X via the all-in-one installer. This will install VP8, VP9, VP9 physmod and VPX (10). It will also automatically install VPM (Vpinmame, the emulator portion that talks to the roms), UltraDMD (for those few tables that have a custom DMD since they are not emulated pins) and db2S, which allows you to put a backglass on a second monitor. There are other programs that may be needed. For example, you may need to install the PUP player for those tables that use PUP packs. PUP (PinUp player) tables allows video on the backglass like modern Jersey Jack and Stern Pins. Some older tables have some really fun PUP packs that elevate the table. I really like the Attack from Mars PUP pack and for more modern stuff, the guy who designed the PUP pack for tron is a brilliant man! (Terry, Terry, Terry LOL).

    B) Secondly, You can't mix and match the tables with the different VP exe's. VPX exe runs .VPX tables. VP992 runs MOST .VPT tables. The exception here is those pins that have in the table name "physmod" then you need to use the VP9 physmod exe to run those.

    *** if you have a fairly modern PC and are just starting out, skip VP8, VP9 and VPPhysmod tables for now and concentrate on VPX, which at last count had I think 800 or so tables done (eheh). 99.9% of the VPX tables are better than the same existing tables in earlier versions of the simulators. Worry about exceptions or about really good VP9/physmod tables that you should play later down the road when you have a good grasp on everything.

    C) the 3rd thing is something you need to realize: Installing the "all-in-one installer" does not give you the various tables, the roms needed for those using emulation, the db2s backglasses if you are using a 2nd monitor t display the backglasses, etc.

    D) this is a free hobby program and like many such independently created software, there's not a lot of hand holding by the software itself. However what there is, is a fantastic community that helps when it can, ESPECIALLY for those able to help themselves a bit. What I mean by that is put the time in to learn and you will end up with an enriching experience and fantastic pins to play. Wait for others to do everything for you and it will be frustrating and people will stop giving a **** if you don't seem to give a ****

    Some good advice above by trash80. Also google is your friend, as well as youtube. Aside from the pinball forums, there are several youtube videos showing how to install and play Visual pinball tables.

    Enjoy the adventure, it's something else.
    Last edited by The loafer; 05-12-2020 at 12:17 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Thank you both for the advice! I just didn't know if I was missing something simple. I've been impressed with the tables I've played so far; just the sheer variety is amazing. And I look forward to contributing some as time goes on.

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    Senior Member Rayder's Avatar
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    I really need to get back into VP. I have an old version 8 with over 700 tables that mostly still work in Win10 after a down-and-dirty copy/paste from Win7, sans many fonts that were needed for the scoreboards.

    Checked out some YT vids and things appear to have improved since my ancient version, but it's kind of hard to really tell unless I play the tables myself. The one thing that kept me from updating was the time it takes to get everything setup and collected in it, not to mention the standard versus dual screen version stuff got confusing. Time is something I'm kind of short on these days, so I gave up on it back then. Last time I tried, they were just getting into VP9, however long ago that was.

    I'll have to go to VPforums and see if my old login still works, LOL....doubt it. ...... Heh....just checked, it IS still there. Who'd a thunk it! I'll have to start a new collection soon. Ugh! But it comes back to having the time......sigh.

    So, is VPX a vast improvement over VP8? I mean, would it really be worth my time to re-collect all those tables (in standard single screen desktop mode) and get everything working in the latest version? Have the physics really improved much over VP8 to be worth it?

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    Senior Member trash80's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayder View Post
    So, is VPX a vast improvement over VP8? I mean, would it really be worth my time to re-collect all those tables (in standard single screen desktop mode) and get everything working in the latest version? Have the physics really improved much over VP8 to be worth it?
    Yes.

  7. #7
    Moderator Jeff Strong's Avatar
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    The loafer is the man when it comes to VP. He helped me a ton in the past. Looks like trash80 knows his stuff too so it seems that you're in good hands here.

    Enjoy!

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    VPX doesn't require separate tables for Fullscreen or desktop, single table does both as long as the table author entered the POV settings for both. and if they didn't? no big deal, launch the table via F6 (camera) and set up your preferred camera view yourself (just don't forget to save afterwards). Sometimes some excellent authors use a portrait view for fullscreen so for those using pincabs, we have to readjust the camera view to support landscape fullscreen but we can always import/export camera views from other tables too. VPX is much more configurable now, so although it can seem daunting at first, it's easy peachy for someone who wants to just play once you've done the initial setup, made easy via the "all-in-on" installable.

    I think there are still some cool VP8/9 tables but really start with VPX and once you've got those tables sorted out to your hearts content, then try the older ones. You may find the flipper physics are not so good after playing with VPX but there are still some tables worth playing for sure. Thankfully most heavy hitters are now ported to VPX with better versions so there is less and less reasons to load the older tables, nostalgia aside. Still a few good ones though, I'm looking at you Scarface VP9!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Strong View Post
    The loafer is the man when it comes to VP. He helped me a ton in the past. Looks like trash80 knows his stuff too so it seems that you're in good hands here.

    Enjoy!
    Always glad to help and spread the religion lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayder View Post
    I really need to get back into VP. I have an old version 8 with over 700 tables that mostly still work in Win10 after a down-and-dirty copy/paste from Win7, sans many fonts that were needed for the scoreboards.

    Checked out some YT vids and things appear to have improved since my ancient version, but it's kind of hard to really tell unless I play the tables myself. The one thing that kept me from updating was the time it takes to get everything setup and collected in it, not to mention the standard versus dual screen version stuff got confusing. Time is something I'm kind of short on these days, so I gave up on it back then. Last time I tried, they were just getting into VP9, however long ago that was.
    One of the reasons I stick with Nintendo Switch now is I just can't stand installations no more. Some people find joy repairing their physical machines, other don't mind updating and debugging their PC setups. Maybe I'm too old and lazy, I don't know. And yes, there is time spent on collecting, fixing, updating. Only thing I miss are some amazing tables in Future Pinball(!), which I probably won't see again.
    Last edited by Dan; 05-18-2020 at 03:03 PM.

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    Dragged home an old, but beefy computer from work (solid motherboard, lots of watts, Xeon processor) to get this going on my AtGames Pinball machine. Put in a better video card (1660 Super OC, was a Firepro7900). Hooked up an old LCD monitor for the backglass, I don't have the VIBS card (for the AtGames Legend Pinball) and really I think this is better. It is bigger, brighter... just better, other than not right on top of the pinball chassis. But being a separate thing, it makes it easier to use as a real monitor as well while DL'ing stuff.

    Got VPX up and running. Someone put together Pro Football. While the graphics are clearly software rendering (it doesn't look remotely real), I am beyond overjoyed at being able to play this machine. It really is one of my favorites (which is saying something as I've only played the machine once). There appear to be ALOT of vintage tables available. And a lot of not vintage, but those require ROMs which complicates the matter. I found a Family Guy pin, and the rendering is pretty sweet... but can't find the ROM for it. Found Monopoly, and that will play, but the ROM does have any game sounds (the machine makes noise) and no music.

    So far I have working:

    Big Shot (looks awesome and real, but plays slow)
    Eight Ball Deluxe (looks like a computer emulation)
    Rocky and Bullwinkle (the image is a bit narrower, but this was one main reason to get the VPX set up, daughter loves that table)
    Pro Football (this thing is a drain fest, gotta see if I can manage that, but I love everything about the table)

    Almost working:
    Monopoly (but the games sounds and music aren't there, I've tried a couple sources, same result. DMD graphics works just fine.)

    ROM'ing about:
    Circus Voltaire
    Family Guy (one of my favs)
    Monster Bash

  12. #12
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    While playing “Monopoly” try pressing the 8 and 9 buttons to control the volume ..

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    Thanks, that did the trick. Some tables seem to be much quieter than others.

    Discovered Batter's Up, a baseball version of Pro Football. Awesome!

    So, pretty much have all I want.

    Monopoly, Scared Stiff, Family Guy, Pro Football, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Incredible Hulk, Attack From Mars, and quite a few older tables. I'm also liking Indy 500 too.

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    The 8/9 trick adjust the R0M volume. You can see how to adjust the volume for certain tables here:

    https://www.vpforums.org/index.php?app=tutorials&cat=9

    VPForums and VPUniverse are really the main places to go for all the files you'll need.

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    Up to about 80 tables now. Found a couple pretty cool originals, Mickey Mouse and Scooby Doo. I wish downloading was less clicky, but I get why it is set up that way.

    The Tee'd Off table looks very good. Not quite 100% realistic, but magnitudes better than the TPA render! ST TNG also looks so much better too.
    Last edited by yespage; 06-01-2022 at 09:46 AM.

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    One thing occurred to me, with the AtGames Legend pinball table. I had completely forgotten that the exciters don't work on Visual Pinball. Been having so much fun being able to play these tables, that it was non-factor. Sure, it'd be nice, but right now, I'm so uberly content.

    Installed and got PinballY loaded up for a simple front end. A bit of slogging to download all the media files individually, but it was worth it. PinballY does help assist with that.

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    i have a 27" 4K mini playfield cab with 4 exciters and I can't play without them. It's subtle at first, but once you get it going right, it's so good that you definitely notice when it's not there. I don't even want to play Fx3 tables until I have it working there too. But it's just another thing to set up and VPX (especially with the baller installer) works so well that I've spent all my time tweaking each VPX table. There's a new table or an update just about every week. And I've had this thing up and running for the better part of a year now. It's definitely something that s well worth the "relatively" low upgrade costs.

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    I don't doubt that. Having the exciters upgraded on the AtGames table was huge for those Zaccaria tables! It really does take it to a whole different level.

    Regardless, in all the excitement of playing high quality tables that I hadn't played virtually before, I managed to completely forgot about the exciters and what they bring to the virtual experience. I downloaded the Farfalla table and even without the exciters, that version is notably better visually than the Steam and Switch versions I purchased. If I could get the exciters to work with Visual Pinball on the AtGames machine, that'd be awesome piled on top of awesome.

  19. #19
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    I did some googling and it looks like you might be able to use the stock exciters via OTG mode in other apps including FX# and VPX. I don't know the full details on how but it looks like it's got some functionality in there. But this is the virtual pinball cabinet life. Play a little and then find a new thing and then learn how to set it up and adjust it and play a little more. Rinse. Repeat. As long as you have fun doing it, it's a great hobby.

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