AFM/MM Remake Flipper Delay


#1

I don’t usually read Pinside but was linked to an interesting discussion about flipper delay on the AFM and MM remakes. Someone discovered that there is a variable 1-5 ms delay between flipper button activation and the coil firing where the originals have no such delay.

Some people in the thread said they could tell there was a difference and that it was detrimental to their accuracy. Other people were adamant that 5ms is undetectable by humans and should have no effect on accuracy.

Personally I think all of the people talking about human reaction time being much slower than 5ms are missing the point. Raw reaction time isn’t what’s being discussed. If you have an interest in speedrunning or competitive video games in general, you might be aware of the idea of “frame perfect” moves that have to be executed precisely on the correct frame of a 30 frame per second game to work. That works out to be about a 33ms window, which people who are extremely good can do on a semi-consistent basis. You dont have to react in 33ms, you have to perform a simple predetermined action (press a button) within a 33ms interval. All that to say that it wouldn’t surprise me at all that people who play pinball at a high level would feel a difference in their play with a variable 1-5ms flipper delay.

Just seeing what other tournament players thought about this. Should these games be dropped from serious competitive play? Or is the delay too minor? At what point would a variable flipper delay like this become enough to warrant considering not using the game in major competitons?


#2

I really don’t like the flipper alignment on the remakes. I’ve been blaming my poor accuracy on that, but maybe the delay is a factor too. I just know I’ve never missed the AFM lock shot more consistently than I did on the remake at BSPO.

http://pinballvideos.com/v/1575


#3

The delay sucks, but compared to the weak/etc flippers you often see it’s not going to affect tournament’s choices.

At the end of the day I don’t think they make it unplayable or anything like that, the whole issue mostly came up because some people (demonstrably now) were adamant that the remakes don’t play like the originals, and a lot of people thought they were crazy.


#4

I definitely saw a difference in my shot making on the AFMrs I have playing in competition. Every time I thought I had it dialed, I’d miss. This never seemed to happen on originals that I’ve played especially after repeated play.

That being said, no way should these be pulled from competition. It’s just something you need to adjust for if that is really why you’re missing shots, and you’re not just off.


#5

I feel this every time I play an AFMR (not as much with MM). It was (is?) incredibly frustrating, but one way that I’ve made peace with it is to treat it like any other adjustment required by an individual machine. Sure, it’s not quite the same as adjusting to a TAF chair kickout, but I find that recognizing that I need to flip earlier helps my accuracy on the remake.

On a similar note, @timballs made some sort of visual (maybe it was on Facebook?) demonstrating the different shot angle on the remakes. I think about that when I’m adjusting my play on these games as well.


#6

Just seems crazy to me that 2 players could flip at the same time at the same ball travelling at the same speed, and one might miss while the other might make due to the variable delay.


#7

True, but in this case, you can’t adjust to the delay, because it varies from flip to flip. :rage:


#8

Even though the delay appears to have been proven pretty definitively and that it’s also variable, I really don’t think anyone could ever prove that is why one player makes a shot and why another isn’t.

That’s why I just shrug at this.

Another interesting thing to note is I don’t have this issue at all on MMR.


#9

I find it to be less of an issue on MMR because the shot I’m taking most often (castle) is wide enough that there’s greater margin for error.


#10

Isn’t that technically true about some physical kick-outs as well? :wink:


#11

I haven’t studied the remakes in any way, but I find the fact that a 1-5ms delay is perceptible impossible to believe.

I will say you can absolutely see a 40ms delay. Experimented with that on TSPP for a bit when we were worried about hitting all 5 flippers at once resetting the game.

But, 1-5ms is crazy, and the reason is every WPC game ever made. Service time on APPLE games’ flippers was every 4ms. No one says Williams games shoot like shit.

Whitestar, SAM, and JJP (NFI about Spike) games service flippers every ms. That makes things like tap passes easier (the MUCH HIGHER coil strength does not aid that, however), tip passes easier, probably other stuff too. Much easier than Wms games. But other than those extremely finely-timed moves, you are not going to notice a difference at that level.

Whatever’s going on with the remakes, it mostly likely has to do with whatever (bad) interpolation they’re doing translating game logic directives into hardware firings. Again, I have no knowledge of what’s inside or what they’re trying, but all you have to do is look at the blinking of the lights (variable brightness on “off” blinking lights) on their games to realize whatever they’re doing is stupid and wrong.

EDIT TO ADD: You’re always going to see some difference flip-to-flip because of zero cross unless you have an awesome power supply or lots of caps or something. Power has different strengths as it moves along the sine wave of difference from 0-point, so where you catch it on that waveform matters.


#12

In a hypothetical perfect pinball world :slight_smile:


#13

In post 9, the original poster says this:

The original has a transistor that energizers the coil. I would guess on the remake there is software emulation in the path which is much slower.

Manual clearly shows transistors for both power and hold circuits.


#14

He also made some mistakes in his initial testing (hold rather than power side). Not saying he’s wrong about the delay, but he clearly doesn’t have a full grasp of how the flipper circuits work.


#15

I’ve played 3 different AFMr’s and own an original AFM. They absolutely do not feel the same. I don’t know if it is due to this delay or the fact that the flippers seem flopped slightly lower out of the box. Steve Bowden and I had a long conversation about this standing out in front of Pocketeer one night. Particularly the orbit shots. They just felt weird and would rattle half way up when it felt like a good shot. I will also say I have played a MMR a lot in league and although different, MMR feels much closer to the original MM.


#16

The flippers definitely come flopped. It’s funny because on the remake I now find the right ramp easy to make when it was the hardest shot on the original, but I can’t hit the lock shot for shit. I’d be interested in the angles chart you mentioned @CFFLegs


#17

Idk if this will work and/or if it’s only viewable to FB friends but try this.


#18

Nah, it’s not public. Maybe @timballs can repost it here.


#19


#20

I think 5 ms is perceptible, but I think whether it is perceptible or not is less important than whether it makes a difference in where a shot goes or not.

My evidence for it being perceptible comes from dance games. Here’s an example:

The timing window for a fantastic is around 21 ms total. That means 10.5 ms before and 10.5 ms after the exact time when you should step to hit the arrow. If someone can do that repeatedly thousands of times in a row at a rate of 10-20 times per second I’d say they are probably at least somewhat aware of the difference that 5 ms makes.

The question then becomes whether 5 ms makes a difference in where a shot lands or not…