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NEW HACK: Data East STAR WARS pinball with added Timed Ball Save feature
05-05-2012, 11:20 AM
Post: #1
NEW HACK: Data East STAR WARS pinball with added Timed Ball Save feature
One thing sorely missing from DE STAR WARS is a Ball Save feature.

Believe it or not, there is one actually programmed into the game... but... it is turned off when the ball hits ANY switch. Therefore, Ball Save is immediately turned off every time. There is even an animation shown of Han Solo frozen in carbonite and Darth Vader says "Freeze!" then the ball is auto-launched back into play. But again, no one ever sees this because it is immediately turned off when the ball is launched.

I have disassembled the code and reverse-engineered how it works. I could have easily made it so instead of one switch hit turning off Ball Save, it could be something like 10 switch hits... but that would be no fun and not practical. Instead, I have edited it so now there is a ten second timer during which Timed Ball Save is active.

You'll also see that the insert in the middle of the playfield were Luke and Vader's light sabers are crossed will flash while Timed Ball Save is active.

Now that I have finished this first challenge... I am looking for suggestions on some rule tweaks. As is often stated, the ramp shot is way overpowered. I am considering making it so the ramp shot will not ever randomly give Force Awards and maybe will not spot the letters in STAR WARS. I am wide open to any rule balancing and score tweaking ideas you might have. Please reply with any suggestions. Let's take this already fun pinball machine to the next level! Once I feel it is complete, I will share the ROM file for all to enjoy.

Here is a link to a video of Timed Ball Save being demonstrated:

http://www.dkpinball.com/DKWP/?page_id=230

Thanks,
Chad
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05-05-2012, 11:47 PM
Post: #2
RE: NEW HACK: Data East STAR WARS pinball with added Timed Ball Save feature
Great find!!!!
Way to go!
Nice to see some games are corrected/tweaked to get better.
Good to see you've found your way here. Wink
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05-07-2012, 08:50 AM
Post: #3
RE: NEW HACK: Data East STAR WARS pinball with added Timed Ball Save feature
Great work Chad! This must have taken you a lot of time to figure out! I've been working on WPC code off and on for several years and don't yet feel like I'm able to freely change game rules. In my case it's because I've only focused on generic non game-specific things.

Keep up the great work and I hope you can do all DE games eventually. Lots of potential for a JP upgrade too I bet.
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05-11-2012, 08:15 AM
Post: #4
RE: NEW HACK: Data East STAR WARS pinball with added Timed Ball Save feature
This is great for SW.
I have to agree JP is a very fun game. I have had it here twice but the unbalanced scoring just kills it after you have had it awhile.
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05-11-2012, 04:57 PM
Post: #5
RE: NEW HACK: Data East STAR WARS pinball with added Timed Ball Save feature
I'd definitely be interested in hacking a Jurassic Park! Problem is that I don't have one. If someone lent me one (I am in Chicago suburbs) then I could dig into that. I'd give it back to you with nicely tuned/balanced scoring. Smile

Here is my latest updates for Star Wars:

1) 10 second ball save implemented.
2) Ramp will no longer Collect Force Awards. You must now collect them via the Force Scoop.
3) Ramp bonus score awards are reduced to 10% of original value.
4) Starting Jackpot value changed from 10 million to 25 million. This makes the Jackpots in Tri-Ball the most valuable shots in the game. This is how it should be. Since you really have to earn this (advance the moons, shoot the DS trough, start tri-ball which complicates things as now there are balls blocking and deflecting your shots, shoot death star target, then shoot the ramp for Jackpot, and then shoot the Death Star trough again for Double Jackpot). I think Double Jackpot (minimum 50 million now) should be the highest award overall. This needs to be the money shot. Nothing in the game should trump it.
5) Combo shot has gone from 1 million to 15 million. Super Combo has gone from 5 million to 10 million. Giving a total of 25 million.
6) The 'S' in 'Star Wars' is no longer spotted at the beginning of the ball. Just plunging the ball will spot a letter as it goes around the loop anyways.
7) The ability to light Extra Ball via the ramp shot has been set at 18 shots permanently. It will not adjust over time. The default value was 5 shots and would adjust over time and eventually bug out and not work at all.
8 ) The ramp shot will now Light Force Award in a normalized manner every 5 ramp shots. Meaning, on ramp shot 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc. It used to be on shot 4, 8, 10, 14, 18, 20, 24, 28, 30, etc.
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05-11-2012, 10:13 PM
Post: #6
RE: NEW HACK: Data East STAR WARS pinball with added Timed Ball Save feature
Very nice!
Good to see some games still get fixed.
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05-17-2012, 12:47 AM (This post was last modified: 05-17-2012 12:48 AM by ViolatedBird.)
Post: #7
RE: NEW HACK: Data East STAR WARS pinball with added Timed Ball Save feature
(05-11-2012 04:57 PM)ChadH Wrote:  7) The ability to light Extra Ball via the ramp shot has been set at 18 shots permanently. It will not adjust over time. The default value was 5 shots and would adjust over time and eventually bug out and not work at all.
8 ) The ramp shot will now Light Force Award in a normalized manner every 5 ramp shots. Meaning, on ramp shot 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc. It used to be on shot 4, 8, 10, 14, 18, 20, 24, 28, 30, etc.
Nice!

A few questions:

7) How exactly would the 5 shot Extra Ball adjust over time? What was the original algorithm behind the increase in required number of shots? Would the increasing shot value carry over between games until overflow?

Why did you pick 18, specifically?

8) The original progression seems odd. Is it that they'd implemented a +4, +4, +2 progression that loops as a bug? It would have seemed to make sense if the first two increases were +4 while shot 3 and above increased by +2.
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11-14-2012, 01:32 PM
Post: #8
RE: NEW HACK: Data East STAR WARS pinball with added Timed Ball Save feature
I think this pin will be really increase is fun and value, if we can put the star wars music in it instead of the music that it has right now.

anyone as an idea on how to do this.

I just have an occasion to buy a star wars pin and I would like to do this hack
(change the music for the original star wars music)

please note that changing the music for the terminator 2 pin, shall be very good too
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11-23-2012, 06:26 PM
Post: #9
RE: NEW HACK: Data East STAR WARS pinball with added Timed Ball Save feature
(05-05-2012 11:20 AM)ChadH Wrote:  Now that I have finished this first challenge... I am looking for suggestions on some rule tweaks.

Thank you for doing all the reverse-engineering for the Star Wars pinball ROM.

One tweak that I would like to see has to do with the code to pop the ball out of the hole. By default, the game attempts to pop the pinball out of the hole 6 times. If it fails all 6 times, then it gives up and stops popping forever. I'm assuming because it decides that the switch is faulty and ignores its input and tries to save the solenoid by not repeatedly activating it. However, it also doesn't ever go into ball search mode, so the ball says down there until the machine is power cycled.

I'm not sure the best way to fix the issue, but I have some suggestions on what can help. They are:
- Have a slightly higher delay between switch activation (at the bottom of the hole) and kick-out attempt. I think one of the reasons why it fails (other than a weak solenoid) is that it doesn't let the ball settle before launching it out. When I power cycle the game, it always pops out on the first attempt.
- Switch the functionality to attempt to pop the ball 6 times, then wait and try again for 6 times before finally giving up.
- Don't disable ball search mode when the switch at the bottom of the hole is marked faulty.

I'm not sure if anyone else has ever hit this issue.

Thanks.
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