Thursday, April 6, 2023

Bambulab free upgrade

Great news earlier this week, bambulab decided to give all P1P owners a free upgrade.  The camera and led strip are now included to new orders and people who bought it earlier get a voucher code to order it from the online shop.

I know what to install tonight!

Monday, February 20, 2023

BambuLabs P1P ordered

I had my 3D printer for over 7 years now.
Didn't use it often, should have used it more.
It was a Davinci 1.1plus. Not cheap, but easy to use. It came assembled, had nice options: fully enclosed, a glass bed and a camera.
Disadvantage was that it uses xyzprinting own filament, which had a chip in it. Unless you hacked it, you were limited to their cartridges with filament. Not a problem unless you really started to print a lot.
I didn't print much, always used the ABS filament. 
I mainly used it for prototyping objects. Didn't want to spend hours printing objects to ship to other people, and start a shop with pinball mods. 
I just design something I like or need for myself, and make it available for others on shapeways.  here's an overview of what I have made of pinball mods.

After not using it for a long time, a few months ago I started making new pinball mods. And instead of white or black abs, I am working on a mod for Attack From Mars that requires transparent filament.
So I had ordered some yellow transparent PLA. It didn't work great though, the printer doesn't handle it well. The pla often broke, and print quality wasn't what I wanted to do with it.

Worst of all: after about a dozen prints the nozzle got blocked. 
It seems other people also have the same problem: the DaVinci 1.0/1.1 seems to work great with abs but if you switch to pla (which it can handle) it blocks. Filament doesn't load well, it doesn't get through. 
A new printer head is 100€, very expensive. 
And whilst trying to clean the head I shorted something.. serious.. So that was the unfortunate end of my first printer.

I had doubts if I should buy a new one. 
On one hand the printer sat here for a few years almost unused. 
On the other hand I recently started using it again and I enjoyed designing 3d models and printing things. Even if you don't use it often, it's useful to have a 3D printer in the house.
What I did not enjoy: spending a lot of time on trial and error: prints that didn't come out well, or when I tried making parts in two different materials that should be glued together, the sizes just didn't match.

Looking around what to buy. There are many options for 3D printers, from €250 to €2500.. 
As I don't use it much and would only use PLA, a basic printer should do..
then I saw the Geeetech printers and other printers with multiple heads. Those look nice, as I'm working on mods that use different colors of filament. Printing it in different filaments at once would be an upgrade, as I wouldn't need to paint it anymore.
The disadvantage seems to be that most of the cheap printers that offer this are cheap printers. The multiple colors are a nice gimmick but the overal print quality is less, and they require a lot of time to tune and adjust things. Which I don't want to do.

And some of the cheap printers are models that are already 4 years on the market or even older. I had my doubts on the quality they would give, if it would be much better than the old printer I had.

Looking at what is new on the market and offers great quality (hopefully!) I came across the Bumbalabs P1P. It looks to be the latest hottest thing. Either it's a lot of promotion or it's indeed a bit of a game changer. I'm not sure, we'll see: I just ordered one. 
It should ship from Germany in a few days.
I hope that it's great and gives me a better experience and quality than my old 3D printer !
It's not the cheapest, but if it's really as fast as they say and it keeps me happy for many years it'll be worth it.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Ben Heck teases new title

Some important news was made public on Spookys latest podcast : Spooky teams up with Ben Heck and CGC to make a new pinball machine.

Ben Heck has worked together with Spooky in the past and had plans to design a new game, but due to the success of TNA (and then the run of Alice Cooper and now the insta-sell out of Rick and Morty), Bens game just didn't fit into Spookys production planning.
So having Ben design his game in cooperation with Spooky, but outsourcing assembly to CGC (who already have a lot of experience assembling pinball machines) solves this problem.

There's some speculation about what the new theme will be. Not Godzilla, as that license was taken by Stern. I wonder if someone at Stern now regrets the decision of not letting Spooky get that license. It looks like the license they did get (Rick and Morty) is much more successful, and now Ben getting his new game (and helping CGC get more business), must somewhat cost Stern in sales.

Another company who won't be happy with this announcement must be Deeproot. Ben had worked together with John Popaduik in the past - the title they've shown in preview RAZA (Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland) started out as 'Ben Hecks Zombie Adventureland', almost 10 years ago when Ben worked together with John.. A whole era later, and John and what's left of that design is now at Deeproot pinball and they'll have a big release event planned within less than 30 days.

It's probably no coincidence Ben now starts to tease his new design.. as this will take a bit of thunder away of DR. People have limited pinball funds, and need to make decisions.. but something available now or wait and hold that money for something that's being teased and might be a lot better.. do you buy DR's RAZA zombie game that was hot 8 years ago but the interest in zombie games is over (and Stern made the excellent The Walking Dead game to fill up the gap when no other zombie pinball machine existed), based on a design Ben was involved but which was reworked and watered down (I remember something about Ben having plans for a rotating mini playfield) ?  or do you wait for the newest, hottest brand new design by Ben which may be a lot better and do have exciting new mechanisms ?  I'm sure some people will wait and see what Ben and CGC releases before they make a decision on what to buy..

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Receiving and unpacking a nib Spooky pinball machine

New article about how to set up a new spooky pinball machine.

I have some old articles in the pinball 101 section about opening a game, removing the glass, and so on.. this is a new article about setting up a new in box Spooky pinball machine.
It's especially for all those that are new to pinball and fortunate enough to buy a brand new game as their first machine.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Spooky released Rick and Morty

The biggest news of this week (and maybe of the whole month or even this year) is that Spooky pinball announced Rick and Morty as theme for their next game. And all 750 available games sold out in less than a day.

This is amazing and congratulations to Spooky for having such a successful launch.

This demand is in big contrast to their previous games - of their first games they made only 250 and these sold out (but prices for used games dropped, so there's not much more demand), Alice Cooper is this week finishing its production run of 500 but there are still a few available.. TNA, Scott Danesi's previous game, also had a run of over 500 machines (around 550 if I remember correct). So a run of 750 machines, the largest ever for Spooky, of which the presales sell out so fast, was really  unexpected.

Spooky did learn from the Alice Cooper release and didn't make the same mistakes. Whilst ACNC is an excellent game (and I am very happy to have one), the comments weren't very positive. It was shown with early code at shows, people could only play 1 ball to keep waiting lines short.. so the general impression was that there were bricked shots and it wasn't fun.

The ACNC playfield layout is quite difficult (all shots are tight),  you need to put a few games on it until growns on you. You really need to learn the shots and be able to an start a mode, before you enjoy how great the game is. If you miss a shot, the ball will often just bounce around a bit and eventually drain.. so lots of people couldn't learn the game and kept in thinking the early code was all that was in (a major release is still planned). Btw I intend to post a review of acnc soon.
Team Spooky would also tell people that ACNC wasn't for everyone and one should play it before ordering. Production was delayed (due to the success of TNA), only the last months production got up to speed and games went out to the public and people got to know this machine well.. People were selling their pre-order spot because they lost interest, life changed, .. All things that didn't give ACNC a good impression.

So now, Rick and Morty. Totally different approach. It was kept as a secret, Scott Danesi's next game had as working title Haunted House Party. Last week Spooky announced the theme, and people were excited as it's a popular show. Production will also start very soon, the first games will go to customers fast.

Some pictures were teased (bottom of playfield) and soon more pictures and video clips followed. At the same time Spooky launched their Fang Club and pre-order was open.

With the previous games, existing Spooky customers had first option to buy a new release.
By now Spookys number of customers had gotten too large, so they couldn't keep this offer anymore. Therefor they started a club. Members are now able to pre-order a new game 2 weeks earlier before the regular public can order. Seems demand was much higher than expected, as hundreds of people joined the fan club just to order the Rick and Morty pinball machine, and it never got open to non-members (except for those who buy trough a dealer).

I have to admit I was not overly excited when the game was released. I am truly amazed by the huge demand.

OK Spooky is the popular manufacturer of the moment (and they deserve it - for example their customer support is great). Scott is also 'one of us', a pinball enthousiast who showed his home made game - and when demand became strong enough it went in production. And the rest of the team behind this title are also good, known people. So there is a lot of trust that they will deliver something good. That part I understand.

But still.. getting more than 750 people excited enough to pre-order, just by showing pictures and a few short video clips ?
FOMO must be strong nowadays.. (I have to admit I also ordered my ACNC as soon as it was released as I really wanted it, just based on the theme).

I guess Rick and Morty just isn't my cup of tea..
I know the show but I'm not a fan, I haven't watched a lot of episodes.

TNA also wasn't my thing - whilst gameplay may be challenging, for that kind of money I want more value. I appreciate what Scott created - and I'm very happy that in todays environment he can get his games produced and people want something different that they don't get with other manufacturers.

I'm more of the opinion that if I want a game that looks and plays like an older game, I'll just buy a cheap older game. If I spend a lot, I want it to have all bells and whistles and new things and as much as possible on it.
My Pinball Champ 82 is next to my Dialed In, and to be honest at the moment I enjoy PC82 more than DI. But that machine with the simple but addictive gameplay was also only a fraction of the cost of the complex machine with three screens and rgb lights and more complex mechanisms.

My very first impression after seeing the R&M teaser pictures, was that it's a cross between some 1980ies Gottlieb games and Data East Time Machine. It may be more complex, I hadn't studied everything in detail. But if I want to play that, then I'll buy these games (and have a few $1000 over).
I know I'm exagurating a bit - you can't really compare Rick and Morty to Time Machine (I hope.. ;) rules are very important, and you can't compare the gameplay and rulesheet of current games with a Data East of 1988.. but still, I want more physical value..

So I just don't get where all the excitement comes from, is it just the theme ? Am I really not the demographic for this game ? It doesn't matter, seems team Spooky has a winner in their hands and that's what matters.