I talked about this a bit in the Deadpool thread, but the current mish-mash of tourney settings is very confusing. There are 3 different service menu items with “Competition” in the title. No one knows what “Competition Mode” specifically changes on each game. “Install Competition” doesn’t even change what you want–it leaves EBs on in all the Stern games I’ve tried it on. So nothing works as a one-step tourney option, and you have to fish through settings regardless.
The Stern changelists even get it wrong. The Iron Maiden changelist says
‘SECRET SKILLSHOTS’ - defaults to YES, turn to NO to disable all secret skill shots (defaults to NO in competition mode)
but this is in Competition Install, not Competition Mode. How are users supposed to get this right if the docs are wrong? The past few tourneys I’ve been in with Iron Maiden has had people flailing to figure out if the secret skill shots are on, because how is anyone supposed to know what anything does?
Maybe a little extreme, but: “Competition Mode” shouldn’t even be a setting. Instead, rename this to “Random Features: On/Off”, or more preferably, turn all of the miscellaneous things that Competition Mode changes into individual settings. For example, a specific Mystery Award setting that can be set to Random or Fixed.
Then make “Install Competition” what it should be: the only necessary action for usual tourney settings. Make it turn EBs off and change all of the settings that “Competition Mode” would set. (I agree with @Theguyoverthere that Competition settings should leave the game as close to normal as possible.)
Yes, Player Competition tends to be on by default on Spike. (Another thing for TDs to worry about: turn this off during tourneys to avoid people accidentally triggering it when reading scores!) This should be renamed to something like “Hold Flippers For Competition Mode: On/Off”.
Add help text that clearly describe which each setting does on screen. Yes, this adds more text to localize. But we have LCD real estate now. No need to have users decode H.A.A.B.P.T.B. A.A.B. AUTOFIRE TIMER (an actual setting from AC/DC!). Maybe this is the only change that’s really needed.
Pipe dream: Allow a way to save a “custom” install, if there are some funny settings that people like to use in tournament.
Of course, all is IMHO, and all said with complete empathy for pinball developers. UI is hard. I know a lot of these settings are historic, but I think you can just look at these threads for evidence that it’s confusing.