How come I don't see much data-mining for pinball?


#1

This is a thought that’s been brewing in my head but came to the forefront upon the release of the 3DS game Pokémon Sun and Moon. The Pokémon games are known among its fans for being quick on the data-mining. They data-mined the demo and discovered all of the new Pokémon. They then data-mined the game, and the day after it came out, all of the hidden mechanics were discovered, as well as exact numerical values for almost everything in the game.

As an example, the data-miners discovered that Raikou, Entei, and Suicune get new Hidden Abilities, Inner Focus, even though 1) Raikou, Entei, and Suicune are currently not available in Pokémon Sun and Moon, and 2) They have never been released in a way that allows use of their Hidden Abilities. In other words, there is no way anyone who plays the games normally would know these Hidden Abilities exist.

So that led me to wonder: How come I don’t see the same level of data-mining effort for pinball? I’m seeing people always wondering how many points A is worth, or what triggers B, or what the odds are that the random award will give you C. Surely it should be comparatively easy to data-mine a pinball game and determine everything hidden, since the code is a lot smaller and not encrypted the way a Pokémon game is, but currently, everyone except Farsight Studios is figuring everything out by trial and error. Surely, there must be at least one person out there examining the code for pinball machines and reporting what they discover.


#2

Cuz data mining isn’t fun and playing pinball is!

Think I can give a half-decent explanation though.

Also there’s not a lot of “hidden” stuff in pinball code… wizard mode names are printed on inserts. multiballs are announced in feature matrices. I can’t think of a pinball game where something was later revealed or discovered in it that it would have made sense to discover earlier.

There was some data mining done for the Ghostbusters pinball machine. Bowen posted about the puzzle that appears in Tobin’s Spirit Guide. Players played it the “correct” way and got all the letters and numbers together. However the puzzle was solved by looking at the order the letters appeared in the code only. It wasn’t clear that the puzzle could have been solved in any other way from what I remember.

There’s also the much more important exploits that players have only found by play-testing that couldn’t have been found through data mining. 1. Keith Elwin finding the HotK hurry-up bug prior to the PAPA event. 2. Players (Cayle?) finding out that you can start multiball on Sopranos prior to validating the playfield. 3. Dead head value increasing by 25k without a limit. Probably more examples here too. It’s not that there’s a lot of “oh that’s how that works!” stuff in pinball but “oh I see what’s going on” when you play it.

Also the fact that pinball does not purely require intricate game knowledge to win. I don’t have a perfect memory so I just keep a compressed ruleset in my head for most games. I don’t remember the difference between clock millions and the other clock mode on Twilight Zone but I know that I’m not going to aim for that target regardless. I’m sure you could find a much more optimal way to play most modes and multiballs in pinball but execution is much more difficult at that point.

Also, it’s not data mining but players can also just take the glass off.


#3

Congo mineshaft pls k thx bai


#4

Also casino run please

In all seriousness there are some areas that could get looked at deeper, but if every game of pinball became a STTNG video mode fest it’d get old after a while


#5

Do you mean that there are fewer things in pinball that would truly optimize competitive play if all of the variables and hidden mechanics and such were known? (I’m the sort of person who gets more out of a game if I knew everything about its mechanics and behavior inside and out, but I’m guessing there’s little to gain from that compared to the existing knowledge base. Still, it would be an interesting read for me to see a list, of, say, the percentages of random awards in Family Guy under all conditions.)

Of course, with the video game examples, the most dedicated fans tend to be young nerds, and there are enough of them that there can be enough programming experts to have a concentrated data-mining effort.

Thanks for the detailed reply though. It definitely makes a lot of sense that there wouldn’t be quite as much to look for in the first place.

Well, Pokémon games, fighting games, and many other video games have all been data-mined to an absurd extent, and I do not know of any video game whose competitive scene has suffered because of it.

But no matter how you cut it, if you’re playing a Pokémon game and you don’t know how many Effort Points each Power Item provides but your opponent does, or you’re playing a BlazBlue game and you don’t know the extent of Rachel’s Sword Iris hitboxes but your opponent does, or if you’re playing Splatoon and you don’t know the exact maximum range of the E-Liter 3K but your opponent does, or if you’re playing League of Legends and you don’t know about Heimerdinger’s robots’ maneuverability but your opponent does, you’re going to have a rough time.


#6

…which is why I love pinball, not those games.


#7

Random no matter what. Awards get better/worse depending on recent gameplay, which even if you mined out the exact percentages things came up, things (think extra balls, specials) would either blank-out or be respun based on recent history, and there’s pretty much no way you will ever know that without factory resetting before each game.

In general such things are TYPICALLY not subject to randomness during competitive play (tournament mode). At least, they’re not SUPPOSED to be. For example, HRC is as random as possible out of tournament mode, and literally the least random game possible in tournament mode to the point that every game plays exactly the same.


#8

I wouldn’t mind knowing how mystery prizes pay out for some of the games that use rubber band technology like MM or AFM.


#9

I bet if there’s anyone that knows any of this stuff it’s@BMU


#10

Any unsolved pinball mysteries still out there? Indy 500 bonus calculation? lol


#11

Family Guy pity Lard?


#12

Start of ball 3 with ~9M or less points? You get pity Lard.


#13

That’s not the case. @FunWithBonus had a game at the most recent Pinburgh where he had a lower score than one of his opponents and he did not get the pity Lard while his opponent did. I’ve heard some people say it is likely play time based, but I haven’t heard anything definitive on it.


#14

Start 1 mode or less, 89 switches or less, game time of under 147 seconds, no more than 2 Crazy Chris levels achieved, no more than 1 completion of Fart bank targets, can’t spell more than “PINBA” in Stewie Pinball.


#15

GB: any of the side “champion” scores.


#16

TWD Crossbow champion


#17

Really? That’s crazytown.


#18

[quote=“omo, post:6, topic:2227, full:true”]…which is why I love pinball, not those games.
[/quote]

Pinball has its fair share of hidden rules and mechanics too though. It’s pretty obvious someone who comes up to a machine knowing all the rules will have a tremendous advantage over someone who doesn’t know any of the rules and must piece together what the playfield shows. If you’re playing AC/DC and you don’t know how the Song Jackpot is calculated but your opponent does, you’re going to have a rough time.

[quote=“keefer, post:7, topic:2227, full:true”]In general such things are TYPICALLY not subject to randomness during competitive play (tournament mode). At least, they’re not SUPPOSED to be. For example, HRC is as random as possible out of tournament mode, and literally the least random game possible in tournament mode to the point that every game plays exactly the same.
[/quote]

Well, what I mean is complete and comprehensive knowledge of the rules of the machine, including information that cannot be determined simply by playing it (or at least not determined quickly or easily).

I thought that there might be a lot of that in pinball, since anything from Addams Family and onward cannot possibly explain all of the rules at a glance.

[quote=“pinwizj, post:14, topic:2227, full:true”]Start 1 mode or less, 89 switches or less, game time of under 147 seconds, no more than 2 Crazy Chris levels achieved, no more than 1 completion of Fart bank targets, can’t spell more than “PINBA” in Stewie Pinball.
[/quote]

That’s incredible. Now THAT is the sort of information I like to see reported out of data-mining.


#19

This is either true and the most ridiculous rule ever, or false and a great parody. Either way: points! :slight_smile:


#20

[quote=“joe, post:19, topic:2227, full:true”]This is either true and the most ridiculous rule ever, or false and a great parody. Either way: points! :slight_smile:
[/quote]

I’ve seen plenty of rules in other, non-pinball games that are that complicated or more, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it were actually the case. (Most are cases of accounting for every possibility though. I don’t normally see this many conditions that must be met for one simple, straightforward thing to happen.)

Case in point: Villager’s “Pocket” attack from Super Smash Bros. 4. This is a move that allows Villager to store almost any projectile and dropped item in the game in his or her pocket, which the Villager can then use as his or her own. Naturally, this means it comes with a long list of exceptions, special cases, loopholes (some closed, some not), and unconventional uses.

If anyone follows the comics series Hunter X Hunter though, some characters’ powers are quite complicated in nature. There is one character who can steal powers from other characters, but he has to fulfill four conditions. (He has to see the subject’s powers used, the subject has to name and explain those powers, the subject has to put his or her right hand on a special book he has, and the above three must be done within 24 hours or he can never steal a power from that subject again.)