Thursday, June 28, 2012

FreeWPC installation

Been busy a few hours this week installing FreeWPC.

The P-ROC system got a lot of attention last year as the way to make new rules for existing pinball machines, but you have to buy special hardware for it.

The FreeWPC project exists longer but is less known. It's a way to create your own rom and make new rules for a WPC pinball machine (and soon maybe other brands and models too..) but no extra hardware is needed.. what is created is a valid wpc rom file that you can burn on an eprom and install in your WPC cpu.

Unfortunately it's not easy to do.. I've been following this project for 2 to 3 years now, was interested but never put any real time in it. Once I've tried to install it, but didn't succeed. I did read some manuals/some lines of code, but didn't continue.

Last year someone took the time to create a good installation manualn documenting all the steps needed to setup the whole system. I'm almost finished, then I'll validate this setup by trying to compile a new rom and test it in pinmame/visual pinball.

If that works well, I'll try to program new rules myself. Already have one game in mind for which I've spent time what new and improved rules it should have.

If anyone has experience with assembly, C, programming embedded systems, .. and wants to create new gamerules for WPC games, please join the google discussion group about freewpc and have a look..


Update: managed to get everything installed this weekend. Was able to compile the Corvette rom and test this in pinmame / visual pinball.
Next step is to declare the machine layout of the new game. Then just compile an 'empty' rom for it, without any rules defined. Just try to compile and get it working. Then develop further, try to learn the freewpc instructions and try to add things.. little steps, one by one..
My goal is to always create a new rom with just one part in it, ie light a few lamps. Then shoot a pinball, do 1 effect when it hits a specific target, ..  and when all simple parts are done then try to put it all together.
We'll see how far I get..