Incomplete game releases

strong text[quote=“FEZ, post:24, topic:6393”]
Yes. I’m just pointing out a fact here: I just don’t have the time and interest to learn the rules of every games that’s coming out, since I want to learn the games in detail and it takes time. A lot of time.
Fact is it takes time. Opinion is how much time. I would argue that for me personally it doesn’t. I’ll gladly share some tips of how I think and absorb the information if that’s what you desire.

Humans can be whatever they want. That’s why we are great. It’s what we choose to do. We all have other interests and priorities but here on a pinball forum we talk pinball, not other obligations. I think the theme in your posts isn’t how to fix it, but how you don’t have the time or desire to do it.

They haven’t gone away and are still thriving as ever. I have access to way more than I ever had years ago. Just need to look in the right places.

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I meant to quote this is my last post too. I agree, I don’t think it’s that hard.

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I feel you on the GCs. And I get what you’re saying, because if I don’t enjoy something, I don’t continue doing it. Maybe classic pins are more to your liking? I say this because the trend of putting out somewhat incomplete code and waiting for community input and feedback is standard across the gaming industry now. Not just pinball. Do you enjoy classic pins?

Also, there’s nothing wrong with waiting for 1.0.

I’ve gotten used to having to wait for 1.0 code on a lot of the recent Sterns, and honestly… unless the code starts out in really poor shape like Batman ‘66’s launch code, I find it fun to see how the code evolves over time and I always try and provide feedback if I can. Sword of Rage was still fun before 1.0 and the feedback helped improve that game quite a bit. Seems to be a bit more blatant with Lonnie’s coded titles, but he isn’t in charge of every game and they still shoot well regardless. Even games by American Pinball like Oktoberfest and the upcoming Hot Wheels City aren’t completely finalized yet, there’s tons of feedback I could give them.

In a way, releasing games in an incomplete status is similar to what Williams & Data East did in the 90s with test locations (at a time before social media, of course). They’d put out games like Johnny Mnemonic or Tales from the Crypt on location in the Chicago area with prototype rules and code, and take feedback from players in the area. The different here is that ANYONE can access this code, not just people at a specific location, so it can lead to a lot more feedback.

It really depends on the amount of commitment you want to put in the hobby. I just started doing tournaments this year after about two or three years of casual play, and as someone who works on the rules documents here constantly, I know basically everything I’m doing on every game. But many people don’t have that time, and I completely get where OP is coming from.

When I play on location with people who are into pinball, I often let them know about changes that were put into games they like. This is how I got a lot of people to start using the Smart Missile selection on our Jurassic Park.

There is a wiki and posts about code releases here: List of games with their current code number Wiki

Old links die, because Stern removes older downloads when new ones appear (for some reason), but all code updates from any company these days comes with a detailed change log…one that includes the changes in each and every previous update.

Read the change logs that already exist. It’s not clear to me that there is some easier/better solution than that (unless what you’re asking for is to be told how to change your strategy based on the updates).

You can sign up for code update notifications from Stern and you will get an email anytime something new drops. Read the log they send you.


To add more: yes, keeping up with code is work. Either you care enough to do it (and the mechanisms exist already for that), or you don’t care enough to do it. Feeling either way is totally valid.

If you can’t stand code updates, and achieving and maintaining GC’s is of utmost importance…then you’re right, you should probably hold off playing games for 2-3 years until after they are released. Also, you’ll want to make sure you’re only supporting locations that actually update to the latest code…and locations that don’t reset GC’s.

By the way, Stern games no longer reset high scores and GCs by default when new code is installed (however I believe that factory default settings will reset high scores every 3000 plays).


It’s that simple. Put in the work and get rewarded.

It took a lot of time learning Iron Maiden and I read every single post (at that time, more than 500? 600? 1000?, at that time - one year ago) in the rule sheet thread before I even started to play it “seriously” :grimacing: That’s just reading about the rule sheet. One one game.

I read (more or less) every post on Deadpool and kept track of the software updates, changes and even submitted a bug report that was fixed. Imagine doing that with every single game that’s released. From all manufacturers. That will take a lot of time. :slight_smile: I sort of got “burnt out” from just these two games and the rules keep changing.

I’m willing to spend time creating a “system” on how to keep track of software updates, rule changes etc. But I won’t spend time administrating it (perhaps one or two games), but I can code updates to the existing “system”. That’s one desire to fix my problem.

I think this is a way bigger problem in Sweden than in other countries. Unfortunately, the stranglehold from facebook on people in Sweden is strong. To say the least. A site like this would never work over here.

Yes. I enojy playing pinball, a lot, on a few selected games. But I don’t enjoy getting good GCs deleted, relearning rules/strategies, spending (too much) time reading release notes etc. I don’t play console or video games really and didn’t know that it’s the “standard” to release incomplete game, but I am aware of updates.

I prefer the WMS 90s games. But I’m done with most of them. I’ve played them, a lot. They are fun to play occasionally, but I prefer new (1.0!) games in general. Classic games (before ~1989) is not my cup of tea since the rules are usually way to simple. I like the (deep-ish) strategy elements in pinball.

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Yes. I will wait until the games are “stable”. A 1.0-release is a good starting point for me. I guess there will be a 1000, or so, rule sheet-posts to read at that point. :face_with_monocle: But I don’t mind (going into the JP-thread soon).

That’s good to hear! If there are some major overhauls of the scoring I can see why the GCs would be deleted. But from what I’ve seen the last year in software releases I think the GCs should stand.


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Screenshot 2020-03-11 at 18.11.56

Isn’t that called the patch notes? Also isn’t that the same thing as learning them? Reading the changes?

I have not read it front to back. I have read the wiki, seen the way most top players attack it and then I’m able to find my own way. Maybe you could try something similar and then watch videos for the best way.

This part is where maybe I don’t understand. What do you mean wouldn’t work? We arent strictly limited to only USA. That’s why it’s called the World Wide Web? The only difference is population. Facebook is just as popular here as it is over there. I don’t even have a Facebook myself, this is the only form of social media you’ll see me on.

I guess it’s “release notes” / “read me”? I read every Deadpool, Iron Maiden and a few Total Nuclear Annihilation-“read me”, but I just can’t keep up doing this for every single game. Not even the STERN games. A way of resolving this “issue” (with me spending too much time) is to not (try to) learn the games inside out, but that’s the way I like to play.

The videos are ok for the basics. I’ve watched way too many of them. But it’s mostly tournament matches and (obviously) there are different strategies involved when you play in Tournament Mode. Especially on Iron Maiden.

Offtopic, but still… You have to take language in account here too. Having a Swedish (only allowing posts in Swedish, and possibly Norwegian and Danish) website/forum is so much more limited than doing it in english.

Congratulations to not having a facebook-account! :slight_smile: I have one now (it was one of them fake-accounts that turned real, due to some obilgations), but I will probably delete it soon. It’s a waste of time, for the most part. Personally, I hope facebook will be gone as soon as possible.

Alright this is where I am misunderstanding. In a perfect world, resources and time aside, what are you proposing will fix this and help you? This whole website thing.

Tournaments are the best way to learn. It’s popular in all of esports and I’m sure regular sports do it as well. Tournament mode doesn’t change so much that you can’t follow, a few minor changes like skill shots and taking away randomness. Which isn’t really a factor more of an equalizer. Modes score the same.

Sure, but you also have to travel less for a community and that’s mostly a population thing. It’s almost impossible to compare because of the sheer difference in numbers.

We live in the most connected age. If you need me, you’ll find me.

The website is one idea. I’m out of other ideas at the moment. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has this problem with rule changes etc. I’ve heard and seen some complaints regarding this (also positive words, of course, regarding updates).

In a perfect world the games would be released, with a complete, balanced set of rules. But that’s not gonna happen, I guess. Having this information in a structured way on a website (rather than reading “read me”-files, forum-threads etc.) could help a lot of people in pinball? Even the manufacturers perhaps? However, I would have to limit the scope of this, a lot, if I would do it myself. I have plenty of other programming projects going. :expressionless:

Well, I don’t learn the games while playing Tournament matches really. I won’t try to discover new strategies in a tournament match. I just play it safe.

Tournament mode changes a lot, on some games. A simple example is Attack from Mars: I would never ever shoot the saucer on purpose in Tournament mode. It’s a waste of …shots… since I’m not going for Rule the Universe and there are not many points to be had. If it happens (it has happened in Tournament mode for me) by chance, fine, but that’s not what I’m going for. Other games are more complex, and some are just the same. To me, that is.

If it helps, I’ve been trying to cut down to the key points of patches while also discussing the changes they may include. If I don’t get to some update, it’s likely a bugfix/minor change patch and won’t impact play heavily.


Which requires testing from all types of players. Some who play multiball better, some who are flow players, some who can find exploits etc. Think of the pre code as beta. I think code before it finished is ok.

Right that’s what I’m asking. What is a better way than read me? How else would you like this information? A flow chart like this?

We are speaking of different things. I thought you meant tournament mode or competition install which changes settings in the game. In attack from Mars the 3rd reward is always Strobe, never multiball etc. Iron Maiden install changes so the skill shots are disabled and the modes always start the same.

So you mean as a style of play which yes is different. Playing for a tournament and playing for fun are different approaches which I agree with. There’s lots of videos on YouTube of people getting to wizard modes so the information is there.

Great stuff! This is what I’m looking for.

Would you be interested in maintaining a part of a website (“Pin City”) with a section for code updates etc.? I would code it and you and I could discuss what features/functions would be needed. It feels like something I could do i 3-4 days of work. There will be …other things… on the site as well.