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Jason Carr

9.10-beta-1 Released

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Hey all, the first 9.10 beta is here with the following:

  • New Feature: You can now specify platform-specific default images for boxes, 3D boxes, carts, and 3D carts. Do this under Tools > Manage Platforms in LaunchBox and add images under the respective categories. Then refresh your game images and any games with missing images will use the default images that you've specified.
     
  • Improvement: New Japanese translation thanks to @k_kutsugi

The last thing to implement from the poll is proper pinball support, which I'm currently working on. I'm rather new to pinball emulation so it's taking me a while to get everything going, but the plan is to get that in for the 9.10 release, and then we'll put out a new poll after 9.10. If anyone has any hints or tips or walkthroughs on the various pinball solutions, let me know.

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This is awesome! Would it be possible to add an option to show the game's name in the center of the box/cartridge, at least for the 2D versions? It would help a lot in BigBox.

Here's an example:

Example.png

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Jason are you looking at implementing support to more easily import and launch tables or full fledged cabinet support with multiple monitors and DMD displays? I'm guessing the former but just wanted to clarify. I built a pincab a couple years ago and have a little know-how so I might be able to answer some questions.

Currently the major players in the pinball front end game are Pinup Popper and Pinball X. There is an offshoot of PinballX called PinballY. HyperPin is still around I think but not as prevalent as it used to be. Those are good to look into to see how they have things set up. 

Probably the best advice I can give you is to be very careful when adding media to the pinball database as those pinball guys are pretty protective of their work and will not hesitate to badmouth anyone they think are stealing their work or not giving credit where it is due. Its a lot different ball game (literally) than emulators. 

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2 hours ago, Omen said:

This is awesome! Would it be possible to add an option to show the game's name in the center of the box/cartridge, at least for the 2D versions? It would help a lot in BigBox.

Here's an example:

Example.png

This isn't in the current plans for this release, but that could change depending on feedback.

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5 minutes ago, JaysArcade said:

Jason are you looking at implementing support to more easily import and launch tables or full fledged cabinet support with multiple monitors and DMD displays? I'm guessing the former but just wanted to clarify. I built a pincab a couple years ago and have a little know-how so I might be able to answer some questions.

I think first off, imports and launching are the goals. Unfortunately I think I'd need an actual cabinet to go for full-fledged cabinet support, so at this point that's not likely to happen. I can definitely use your help though. :)

6 minutes ago, JaysArcade said:

Probably the best advice I can give you is to be very careful when adding media to the pinball database as those pinball guys are pretty protective of their work and will not hesitate to badmouth anyone they think are stealing their work or not giving credit where it is due. Its a lot different ball game (literally) than emulators.  

You mean the actual creators of the media (companies that create the tables) or the folks just ripping the artwork? I very much appreciate the work that the community does scanning and removing backgrounds and such, but I have to admit that I find it ridiculous for someone to demand credit for ripping an image that isn't theirs to begin with.

If the community is likely to have a hissy fit though over ripped images, then perhaps this might not be a hurdle worth jumping... :/

Obviously, we need images in order for this to work at all.

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It looks like EmuMovies has pinball artwork, so for starters we can just recommend that people use EmuMovies. We just won't worry about it on the LaunchBox Games Database if people are gonna have problems with it. @circo to the rescue. Again. ;)

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2 minutes ago, Jason Carr said:

You mean the actual creators of the media (companies that create the tables) or the folks just ripping the artwork? I very much appreciate the work that the community does scanning and removing backgrounds and such, but I have to admit that I find it ridiculous for someone to demand credit for ripping an image that isn't theirs to begin with.

Yeah some of it is pretty silly to me too and there are a lot of big egos, but a lot of tables are original creations. Check out the Stranger Things VPX table. Its a complete virtual table that somebody created from scratch. There is not a real table in existence. A lot more creative work goes into these things than you would imagine at first glance. 

I'm really a relative newcomer to a lot of the pinball stuff, but I know some people that have been in the game a long time that could possible give a better perspective. It might not hurt for you to seek out some opinions from the pinball community. I know for a long time I wanted to share the pinball media assets I've collected, but over time I've decided its probably not in my best interest to do so. I could put you in touch with some people if you'd like to have an off-line discussion on how you could proceed? I don't want to be the guy that turns you off to doing anything with pinball because I think it would be amazing. But I also don't want to see the Launchbox brand to get bad mouthed by the pinball community either, as I have witnessed them do with Pinball X with the media sharing stuff. Man, talk about biting the hand that feeds you. PBX was the only major player in town for a while and those guys would bash it to no end. Seemed crazy to me.

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4 minutes ago, Jason Carr said:

It looks like EmuMovies has pinball artwork, so for starters we can just recommend that people use EmuMovies. We just won't worry about it on the LaunchBox Games Database if people are gonna have problems with it. @circo to the rescue. Again. ;)

Or maybe have some kind of verification process of who uploads what to the pinball database. Not sure how easy that would be to manage.

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Alright, so the more I dive into pinball, the more problems I find, unfortunately. It makes sense that artwork would be more sensitive if someone created the entire table (that has to be a ton of work), even if the artwork was ripped from a movie or TV show, etc., so yeah, I can see that being a nightmare.

I also spoke with @circo, and while EmuMovies does have some media available for download on the website, it isn't available in the download app or for searching via the API. Apparently pinball does not do well with consistent file names, so that's part of the problem there. So this can of worms seems to be getting worse and worse.

Furthermore, I hear that the best approach for pinball these days is Pinball FX and Pinball Arcade, which are paid solutions, but there's certainly nothing wrong with that. But they have their own interfaces, so all you would need to do is just add them as games directly. So perhaps this isn't a path worth taking...

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In Pinball FX, you can't launch individual tables unless you have unlocked table support via Zen Pinball's support. Pinball Arcade is even harder to work with. Future pinball is not supported any longer but still has a bit of a following. Visual Pinball X (10), is really where all the table creators are spending their time these days. 

I hope you don't completely abandon the cause. Maybe some more voices will chime in that can give a different perspective.

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1 minute ago, JaysArcade said:

In Pinball FX, you can't launch individual tables unless you have unlocked table support via Zen Pinball's support. Pinball Arcade is even harder to work with. Future pinball is not supported any longer but still has a bit of a following. Visual Pinball X (10), is really where all the table creators are spending their time these days. 

I hope you don't completely abandon the cause. Maybe some more voices will chime in that can give a different perspective.

Yeah, from what I hear Pinball FX and Pinball Arcade do not work well with frontends at all, but I feel like if you're gonna go pinball, you might as well let them create an immersive experience inside their own apps. It sounds like they're dropping support for actual pinball tables though, but it's not like we're going to be able to support that any time soon anyways.

The thing is, the item on the poll was "proper support for pinball". But I'm not even sure "proper" support is possible currently, at least in the way that emulated games work in LaunchBox. It seems like it would be a lot of manual work for the end user no matter what we do.

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Wow! I've on and off been trying to figure out how to get all those digital pinball machines to play on something as simple as a PC, but from all the talk I seen above about this just seems to frustrate me further on getting things to work right without needing to build some sort of cabinet with multiple screens and all that while some just bash away when all should be played and appreciated in the name of fun. I truly hope @Jason Carr and others can make things possible as far as pinball goes without such a tangle against making all of gaming so much easier so we can get right to the fun of things as it belongs in the first place. In all honesty I just wanna play 3 digitized versions of some machines even though I'm such a fan of pinball stuff. If some wanna get all mouthy about it because they want credit for their work, the best I can think of is having them listed as a Developer to whichever machine they worked on making digital so everyone can know exactly who worked hard on it.

I don't know much of this on a deeper and detailed scale of things..but as a gamer and artist all the way around I really think some need to lighten up and just have fun

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The image feature via the LB DB is a big time saving advantage for people setting up a system. EMUMovies doesn't have much on Pinball side. I screenshot the backglass and tables for all ~730 Future Pinball tables (free to donate to LB!) because it is such a mishmash of media out there (and I wanted a BG image on my second monitor). As JaysArcade mentioned, some super custom/original tables (but we are not talking copying the tables themselves) or some unique designs (have seen some for FX3 BG) might trigger weirdness. But if stick to the "basics": clear logo, table screenshot (full and/or desktop), backglass screenshot from the table, and adverts/flyers (that don't apply to originals) these are hardly unique images. We also have chunks of pinball media in Download section. If someone was going to get tweaked out, I would have suspected the full on zip files would be the trigger.

On the setup side (desktop, not cabinet), except for The Pinball Arcade where you have to use a free third-party launcher for direct table launching, the others you can all launch directly in LB via command line now. Although it is a bit of web hunt to get the commands setup (i.e., drop downs sort of like what was done for RA cores might be useful for the commands). 

To me the challenge with pinball is mostly in the DB side/edit field menu. You can have a huge number of tables that are similar but "different" and DB fields not quite how pinball does things. To me it is similar to "region" media or MAME clone media. Not having the major pinball platforms and just "Pinball" in the DB also creates collisions of similar tables from name perspective media wise. For example, Back to the Future table:

  1. Back to the Future (Data East 1990) - Future Pinball, replication of real table
  2. Back to the Future - The Pinball (Original 2013) - Future Pinball - Original table, much different than DE version.
  3. Back to the Future (FX3 2017) - Pinball FX3 - Doesn't look anything like the others (typically customized "backglass" since no native one in this game as example).  FX2 version that is basically similar design wise although see different docklets and backglass "recreations" between the two.
  4. Back to the Future (Data East 1990) - Visual Pinball, replication similar to FP.

That doesn't get into the "Ultimate" versions and mods particularly with VP and FP.  Some of that can be resolved through the "additional app" feature but from media side would still need to tag them or you would get media that doesn't match your version/platform.  Rant /off!  Appreciate you taking time to look at the pinball side of things. 

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What i've been hoping (and requesting) for a very long time 😁 @Jason Carrthank you very much for adding this much-requested feature! Really appreciate it

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Excelent!, we are very happy with this!!! I know i'm gonna make default images for every platfom, and later upload them in downloads section

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34 minutes ago, sundogak said:

The image feature via the LB DB is a big time saving advantage for people setting up a system. EMUMovies doesn't have much on Pinball side. I screenshot the backglass and tables for all ~730 Future Pinball tables (free to donate to LB!) because it is such a mishmash of media out there (and I wanted a BG image on my second monitor). As JaysArcade mentioned, some super custom/original tables (but we are not talking copying the tables themselves) or some unique designs (have seen some for FX3 BG) might trigger weirdness. But if stick to the "basics": clear logo, table screenshot (full and/or desktop), backglass screenshot from the table, and adverts/flyers (that don't apply to originals) these are hardly unique images. We also have chunks of pinball media in Download section. If someone was going to get tweaked out, I would have suspected the full on zip files would be the trigger.

On the setup side (desktop, not cabinet), except for The Pinball Arcade where you have to use a free third-party launcher for direct table launching, the others you can all launch directly in LB via command line now. Although it is a bit of web hunt to get the commands setup (i.e., drop downs sort of like what was done for RA cores might be useful for the commands). 

To me the challenge with pinball is mostly in the DB side/edit field menu. You can have a huge number of tables that are similar but "different" and DB fields not quite how pinball does things. To me it is similar to "region" media or MAME clone media. Not having the major pinball platforms and just "Pinball" in the DB also creates collisions of similar tables from name perspective media wise. For example, Back to the Future table:

  1. Back to the Future (Data East 1990) - Future Pinball, replication of real table
  2. Back to the Future - The Pinball (Original 2013) - Future Pinball - Original table, much different than DE version.
  3. Back to the Future (FX3 2017) - Pinball FX3 - Doesn't look anything like the others (typically customized "backglass" since no native one in this game as example).  FX2 version that is basically similar design wise although see different docklets and backglass "recreations" between the two.
  4. Back to the Future (Data East 1990) - Visual Pinball, replication similar to FP.

That doesn't get into the "Ultimate" versions and mods particularly with VP and FP.  Some of that can be resolved through the "additional app" feature but from media side would still need to tag them or you would get media that doesn't match your version/platform.  Rant /off!  Appreciate you taking time to look at the pinball side of things. 

Sounds like there definitely needs to be a way for it to tell all that in the Version section as well as often we happen to have things like that where a PC Game, Arcade Game, or even a Commodore Game has the same name, yet ends up giving the wrong Art and Details with it. I still hope it all gets figured out to where things can be easier for everyone with a simple drop and Import without much issue. I wanna still be able to tell people that LaunchBox is the program that plays anything..even Digital Pinball Machines in all forms.

With that being said..do we happen to have a section for all things digital pinball within the forum? Hoping to maybe at least get some of these machines running while we wait in hopes it can get situated on the LaunchBox side of things in lessening the headache I'm already having with it

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I like the default image idea!

Can you please add default images for "cart - back" and "fanart cart - back", since those usually look the same for all games it's a good idea to just have the same default image for all titles of a platform.

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4 hours ago, Jason Carr said:

The thing is, the item on the poll was "proper support for pinball". But I'm not even sure "proper" support is possible currently, at least in the way that emulated games work in LaunchBox. It seems like it would be a lot of manual work for the end user no matter what we do

Well, after considering everything else, I think for "proper" support, you need to consider separating all the different pinball platforms in the database. I get the feeling you'd like to group everything together, like the Arcade platform for example, but these pinball simulators are all very different from each other and have different ROMs and requirements. But, some of the platforms have the same games. For instance, there is a different version of Medevial Madness for VP X, VP 9, FP, and PB FX 3. How do you lump them all into the same pinball platform? You are the expert here with this kind of stuff and I trust you'd come up with something that works good, but if it were me, I'd think of these as different consoles that each need their own treatment.

As for images. I hear these guys saying they are willing to screen grab everything and that is cool. What happens when the one guy grabs a pack of wheels (clear logos - the pinball guys call them wheels) from one of the pinball sites that someone has spent hours to create and decide to upload those? Look up Tarcisio style wheels and you'll see a special stylized wheel set. This dude probably doesn't want to share these everywhere so he might get pissed if someone were to share them here. Then again he might be OK with it if someone got his permission. Who knows?

If you found a way around the shared image issue, there is still the "proper" support issue for Backglass images, DMD images, Playfield images, etc. You can sort of get around it now by putting these in different categories like the playfield would be Screenshot - Gameplay, the Backglass can be Marquee and the DMD could be, well not sure where that goes. It would be super helpful to have entries in the database for these, assuming you work out the other issues and go forward with this.

I do hope you can figure something out. Virtual Pinball can be a deep rabbit hole, but I think if you were to stick to basics, you could come up with something that works well in Launchbox. As it is now, we can do just about anything we want in Launchbox as far as adding Tables. It's just not as straightforward as adding an emulator game. Think 'ease of use' and you'll probably narrow down what you could do to make things better. Let me know if you need help testing anything or you have ideas you want to ping off me. I'll try to help if I can.

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I've been using Pinball FX3 and had created a separated platform for it. I had some issues initially with launch options simply not working from the LaunchBox, but it got magically fixed after a few updates.

I haven't tested this in the recent version (v9.0+), but last time tested it, command-line parameters were not working properly for individual games. The Williams tables on Pinball FX3 pretty much need "-class" parameter to launch in classic mode while you don't want that in most of the game's original tables. Other than that, it's been working without a problem.

For VP X, I just had to run the table.

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For Pinball my humble opinion is that only VPX is worth.

Download the VPX tables you want + the roms

Use PBXRecorder to create the artwork (pics,videos etc) from your own tables (because the online artwork is rubbish)

Up until now I am using PinballX (and I will try PinballY) as a frontend. I do use Launchbox as well but the latter lacks the rotate functionality and I need to rotate the monitor to select the table and then rotate again to play.

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