Visual Pinball News


Introduction
News
Screenshots
Downloads
Reference
Feedback
Forum

Old News

  • 2/8/01
    • There have been some major problems with this server recently.  Downloads are really slow, pages are really slow.  I have sent mail to tech support and they are aware of the problem.  I apologize for any inconvenience.
    • For downloads, I am trying out a temporary mirror site.  Right now it only has English full version as a test.  The bandwidth and connection are limited, but it should be better than what this server puts out (less than 1K a second) currently.  there are some other possibilities for mirror sites in the works.
    • I updated the tables page with some new screenshots for Eight Ball Deluxe, Appetite for Pinball, and Monte Carlo.

 

  • 2/7/01
    • Spend quite a bit of time working on the file format in the last couple days.  By itself it's not a very exciting feature, but having that backbone in there will allow for some cool stuff in the future (like verifying that a table hasn't changed when getting a high score, allowing a universal high score table with no cheating.)
    • I think that is the last feature for dogfood3.  Now it is just figuring out what it needs to polish it off.

 

  • 2/5/01
    • Updated the tables pages with Eight Ball Deluxe, Monte Carlo, and Appetite for Pinball.
    • Is it just me, or does this page take absolutely forever to download?  I think my ISP is screwing up their servers while trying to upgrade them.

 

  • 2/4/01
    • It was a busy week last week, so I didn't get much VP coding done at all.  I've started to get back to it today; beginning to wrap up dogfood3.  Plus I finished The Longest Journey, so I'll have more time in general.  There are a couple more big things to explore, but it's coming along.

 

  • 1/31/01
    • A new Spanish version is available with a fix for a crash when you put a decal on the table.  Get in on the download page.
    • Updated the tables page with a new version of The Addam's Family.
    • It's been about a week for the current poll, so I put a new poll up (look in the left column.)
 
  • 1/29/01
    • Updated tables page with a screenshot for Bomb Squad and a new version of Eight Ball Pool.
    • There have been some problems with using www.visualpinball.com today as I have tried to get it to display visualpinball instead of randydavis with URL masking, but it really didn't work at all.  Sorry for any inconvenience. 

 

  • 1/28/01
    • Updated tables page with Bomb Squad.  I got a blank table form as well, so if you tried to submit your table and it is not there, please try again.
    • I am working hard on cutting out the exact feature list for dogfood3.  I am trimming some of the stuff I wanted to do so people can start using the features that are done sooner.  It's always a difficult task to decide what gets put off for awhile.

 

  • 1/26/01
    • Updated the tables page with The Addams Family.  I wasn't sure whether to file it under T or A, but since it is so classically referred to as TAF, I decided T.

 

  • 1/25/01
    • I got ball shadows going.  It's quite a bit of processing power for a subtle effect, but I'm hoping it will make tables feel more alive.  It's pretty cool to have a ball go overhead on a wire ramp and see the shadow on the playfield.
    • I'm looking into the XAudio mp3 library for music instead of the MS wma library.  There is more control over the streaming, so perhaps it will be an end to the pauses and jerkiness.  It also looks faster in general.  I don't know about those claims that wma file sizes are smaller for the same level of quality though.  We'll have to see.
    • I have calculated that if I proceed doing documentation at my current rate, it will be complete approximately 1 million years after the sun explodes.  Therefore I am working on a new angle to the problem.  More bulletins as events warrant.

 

  • 1/23/01
    • Updated tables page with Fireball and Eight Ball Pool
    • My ISP seems to be having problems being really slow today.  I got some mail that they were upgrading their stuff, so that might be it.  If you are having problems, try again later.

 

  • 1/22/01 - Later that same day
    • I'm playing around with free stuff on the web.  Vote in the new VP Poll - look down and to the left.

 

  • 1/22/01
    • Updated the tables page with the latest submissions: Boris and Bubble Bobble.
    • I went snowboarding for the first time this past Saturday.  I am still pretty sore.  I did manage to get some VP work done though.  I got flipper and slingshot strength in, so older mechanics can be more accurately portrayed.

 

  • 1/19/01
    • The German version is now available for download from the download page!  SUPER KRAFT!  I don't know what that means but it's something PinBot says on German settings, and it sounds cool.

 

  • 1/18/01
    • The Spanish version of Visual Pinball is now available!  Get it on the download page.
    • The German version will be available as soon as I stop screwing up the install file.
    • The table submission form is now active!  Use this form to send in tables that you want listed on the tables page.  I had started to enter some tables from the forum on my own, but then I decided it would be much easier if the table creators bundled all of the information together for me.  So if you have a table you want listed, please fill out this form.

 

  • 1/17/01
    • I am plunging off the deep end - I am finally making use of my ISP's FrontPage extensions, where I can simply push the 'Make It Go' button and have everything uploaded and set up for me.  Amazingly, nothing broke in the process (or so it seems.)
    • Having that in place, it will allow me to create a submission form for tables, because I have realized I am way to lazy to catalog things myself.  Look for that soon.
    • All this came about because I was looking at geocities and realizing that I can just create dummy accounts there, and get 25 megs of free online space a pop.  So there no longer seems to be an issue with hosting tables besides the bookkeeping, which as I have stated, I am notoriously bad at.

 

  • 1/16/01
    • Yet another update to dogfood2.  The only change in this one is a fix to a bug where you can't type into the find dialog in the script editor.
    • The Spanish and German version are getting closer and closer to being ready.  I just want to make sure all the important stuff (like asking you to save a file) is translated correctly to avoid disasters.
    • Got some nice features done in the last few days.  Flipper rubber is in, and kickers now draw as actual holes in the ground instead of just dark circles.
 
  • 1/13/01
    • In my endless quest to keep everybody on their toes, I have updated dogfood2 yet again (download page).  It's build 1313, so you know it's probably going to work.  This new one should:
      • Solve the problems for people who had no problems in the first dogfood, but problems in the second.
      • It should no longer ever crash after failing to create any kind of buffer while playing.  It should report an error message, followed by an error code, and then just return to the editor.  If you get an error, please jot down the error code, because it is useful for figuring out what is wrong.
      • There are some new debug features for people who were getting terrible performance/hangs ever after checking "Check Blit Status".  Here is the new deal:  Create a file called c:\debug3.txt and restart VP.  If that doesn't work, try debug4.txt.  There are pretty much hack fixes but they might do the job for now.
      • COM objects in script will now be released correctly when the table closes (WPCMAME).

       

    • For those of you having problems with the new dogfood version, and want the old version in case they don't have a copy, you can get it at www.visualpinball.com/files/vpdogfoodold.zip

     

  • 1/12/01
    • There was a pretty bad bug in the new dogfood where VP would randomly crash after a script error.  Redownload the dogfood for the fix.  Sorry about that - I should have caught this.

     

  • 1/11/01
    • The new dogfood release is out!  Get it now from the download page.
    • A have started making the tables page.  I will start adding the tables posted in the forums soon.
    • A couple more notes (be sure to read the ones below, as well.)
      • People running at screen resolution (takes up the whole screen), will need to press Esc to end the game (or press Alt-F4).  There is no longer a close box on the window for full screen.
      • For fans of Wild West, you will need to download a new version to solve a problem with the plunger gate (conveniently, it is available on the tables page.)
      • The new download is much smaller (4.8M) than the old ones.  How did I accomplish this?  The windows installer includes a 1.4 meg file for use on NT4, but since VP doesn't run under NT4, it didn't make a lot of sense to include it.  I'm 99.9% certain it won't matter to anyone, but if it ends up causing problems, let me know.
      • Top Speed has been updated, with the rules almost finished (now extra ball and hold bonus work.)  Also, it has been outfitted with lots of decals.

     

  • 1/10/01
    • The new release is done.  Let me furrow my brow dramatically for a while longer, and then it should be out either tonight or tomorrow.  Assuming nothing catches on fire, the Spanish and German versions will follow shortly.
    • IMPORTANT things to know about the new release, if you are upgrading:
      • The question asked when you close a table that has changes is the OPPOSITE of the previous one.  It is now "Would you like to save changes?".
      • People using Win2K having performance problems, there is now an option under Video Options called "Check Blit Status".  By default, it will be off for you.  Try turning it on.  This is the equivalent of creating the file c:\debug2.txt in the current version.  (That will also still work for now).

     

  • 1/8/01
    • Meant to do this yesterday:  A new screenshot of Top Speed with text decals.
    • Plus I added to the list of fixes in the new release.  See list below.

     

  • 1/7/01
    • Can the people who are having trouble changing colors send me what OS version they are running?  I forgot to check this because I assumed it was Win98, but it works on my Win98 SE, so I can't be positive that my fix is correct.
    • It appears like a new dogfood release is coming soon.  This new release will include the following:
      • A fix to the annoying color bug that turns things black or invisible.
      • Walls can appear with their image in the editor, for easier placing of lights and such.  (This can slow things down though - turn it off for faster editing.)
      • Much improved decals.  Now anti-aliased text can be written directly onto the table and lights.  Image decals are anti-aliased too.
      • Gates fire the hit event.
      • Gates are drawn correctly on higher surfaces.
      • Images appear in the options panel right away after importing them.
      • Changing an image causes it to change in the editor right away.
      • Changed the clearance on ramps to a more realistic value.
      • A Spanish version
      • A German version
      • Can no longer delete the last 3 control points of a wall/light, or the last 2 of a ramp.
      • Pressing 'Esc' while playing brings up an options panel similar to every other game (except with less options right now.)  Playing at screen resolution will no longer give the window a title bar - only 'Esc' will let you exit.
      • Added some more key accelerators to the menu, plus an Insert menu and hot keys for each object type.  There is a lot of work which can still be done in this area - as you can tell I'm the kind of guy that uses the mouse for everything.
      • Some other stuff that I can't remember right now.
    • I am going to try to get together a page to download all the user tables that people have posted on the forum.  My ISP only gives me 45 megs, so for future expansion I will probably link with my server at home, which is on DSL.  It could be that since I can control that settings on that server, that I can make VP downloadable without corruption too.

 

  • 1/4/01
    • Update:  I have made a FAQ which is on the reference page.
    • Well, VP has gotten some links to it, and I have been getting somewhat overwhelmed with e-mail. I am trying my best to answer everything in a timely manner, and to make a FAQ about what I have discovered. If I seem rushed in my responses, please don't be offended.
    • Over the past few days, I have been reworking decals. It took a bit longer than I wanted it to, and the options panel is a bit complex, but it looks really good. You can now place anti-aliased text over lights just by choosing a font and typing it in. Image decals are also anti-aliased, and can either be stretched or set to preserve their aspect ratio.

     

  • 1/2/01
    • Happy New Year!
    • A small FAQ on the reports I have received from people trying to download:
      • Q) When I try to download, I don't get the whole zip file.
        A) The one time I saw this, the problem was hard drive space.  When downloading, the partition (usually C:) that has the Temp folder must have at least enough space to hold the file (6.19 Megs.)  If this is the case with your drive, free up some space (recommended) or change the location of your Temp folder (not recommended except for advanced users.)  If anybody knows any other reason this might be happening or how to solve it, please let me know.
      • Q) I'm having video problems, or I get errors about buffers when trying to play.
        A) If you are seeing some objects missing or being drawn wrong, try downloading the dogfood build, there is an important fix in it which will solve some problems.  This is a verified fix for people with voodoo3 cards.
        If you continue having problems, please send me mail or post to the forum with your operating system, video card, color depth, and any other system specs you can think of.  That way I can at least try to group together the people who are having problems and try to figure out what is causing it.
      • Q) I can't get music to work.
        A) Right now, Alien Reactor is the only table with music.  So don't bother trying to get it to work with Top Speed or Wild West.

       

  • 12/30/00
    • As you can if you've been here before, I have given the site a slightly new look.  This new sexy layout will make people take one glance and say, "I've gotta get me some of that!"

     

  • 12/28/00
    • I added an option in the dogfood download section to only get the new exe.  This will be a much faster download.

     

  • 12/27/00
    • I have added a new section to the download page, called the Dogfood build.  As it states, this is a version which contains the latest bug fixes and features.  However, it hasn't been thoroughly tested, just given the once-over.  Edible, but not quite fit for human consumption.  If you are having problems and want to see if the latest build fixes it, get this version.  Here are some of the things the new dogfood build has:
      • Ability to change table size
      • Non-square scaling; scaling and translating of multiple selected objects.
      • Z-buffer fix that may solve some of the video problems people are having
      • Code size no longer limited to 32K.
      • Fixed a few memory leaks.
      • Closing game window and returning to editor is now much faster.

       

  • 12/24/00
    • Merry Christmas, everybody!  If I had thought ahead I would have made a Christmas-themed table to put in the beta, but I'm not even close to being that organized.
    • For those of you who are having various problems with the video in VP, I have found a bug that may explain it.  Even better, fixing it improves frame rate.  Since I do not have a machine that repros a problem, I can't tell if this is a fix for people or not.  Let me know the results of using the VisualPinballPR version (see the forum).

     

  • 12/20/00

     

  • 12/19/00
    • The tech beta is here!  Go download it from the download page.
    • The tech beta includes two tables, Top Speed and Alien Reactor.  Both are of playable, but unfinished quality.
    • If the game is running slowly or choppy, try turning off the music under Preferences/Audio Options.  Of course, this will only affect tables that have music on them (Alien Reactor).

     

  • 12/18/00
    • Well, I has promised to get a version out before Christmas, and that deadline is fast approaching.  I've got a pretty good build, and barring anything else I'll probably release it in a day or so.

     

  • 12/14/00
    • I posted a new screenshot of the table I am working on, Alien Reactor.  Don't worry, it has already been pointed out to me that I am a crappy artist.  There are some cool special effects involved, though.  I will attempt to do better than just using Paint Shop Pro's built in textures.
    • I fixed several major performance bugs last night - I was quite proud of myself.  Now it no longer takes 30 seconds to load up Alien Reactor on my a P300.

     

  • 12/12/00
    • Oh man oh man how I hate writing documentation.  But that's how dedicated I am.  I've been sitting here, writing the help file.  Granted, every 8 seconds I take a half-hour break, but that easily beats my normal documentation/goof-off ratio.
    • I have updated the download page to show the system components necessary to run VP.  These include things that many people probably already have, but others may need.  Right now the list is DirectX 7, Windows Script 5.5, and Windows Audio runtime.

     

  • 12/08/00
    • The music engine is in.  I have been arguing back and forth with my music dude, Jerry Rice, about music formats.  For now what we have is simple but elegant.  Now I must flog Jerry to get him to actually write the music.
    • The font embedding is turning out to be a lot harder than it seemed.  The fonts that come with the beta will probably just be installed as any usual font file, and I'll see what I can do after that.
    • With the music and fonts out of the way, there really isn't anything standing between me and releasing a tech demo, besides how much content (or lack thereof), I want to be in it.

     

  • 12/05/00
    • I'm having lots of problems sending e-mail from this account.  It seems that approximately every 2.7 seconds the proxy server dies and the firewall blocks me from sending anything.  If you have sent me e-mail, I should get back to you within 24 hours.  If not, please send me more mail and yell at me.  Maybe this is somebody's subtle way of telling me not to send pinball e-mail at work.  More likely the proxy server just sucks.

     

  • 12/04/00
    • The road towards beta is going pretty well.  I'm trying to get music in, but we'll see if that makes the cut.  Multi-select is in, as well as a cleaner installation.  I'm not sure if there will be any fully-done solid tables in the first release, but there will be at least a couple tables showing off different concepts and tricks.
    • The big things left for beta are font embedding, so tables can use fonts that the user does not have installed, and more content/tutorials, although that is a very open-ended request.

     

  • 11/30/00
    • FYI, the tabs on the left that will actually take you someplace useful right now are Introduction and Screenshots.

     

  • 11/29/00
    • This site is now live.  I am looking for talented people to join the team and create a fantastic out-of-the-box experience for people using Visual Pinball.  Most important are 2D artists and sound designers.  Also needed are technical writers and web site designers (because as you can tell my web sites aren't very exciting looking.)  Send mail to VisualPinball@RandyDavis.com if you are interested.
    • Obviously this site does not have a lot of content yet.  Only one table shown in the screenshots - a remake of the Williams classic High Speed (renamed Top Speed).  That only goes to stress that I need people to help out.