Maybe It's Not The Payouts


Yeah that’s what I was getting at, well said.

Often pinball commentary is less enjoyable when it goes like this:

“So we’re playing Williams Flash, what are the player’s going to be shooting for?”

“lol, I’ve never played this before - erm… Um… Looks like you want to shoot that center bank. I think”

“Oh wait, weird, why is top player such and such shooting for that small spot target on the left, thats weird, must have been a missed shot”

“Oh now they are shooting the spinner - weird”

… zzzzz


It’s always a team in the successful broadcast booth.

You have people behind the scenes feeding them relevant stats and updates…

You have researchers and prep teams doing background and filler pieces…

The broadcasters are all researched on the game and relevant principles…

You don’t need all world champs in the booth… nearly every makeup is the play by play… the color commentator… and often a third color type to play off the other commentary. Point being, it’s a mesh of different types to satisfy the different needs. But a good dynamic if when those pieces mesh together… and doing that takes time and practice. I applaud the organizers for trying different people from different mixes… but some have just been awful. The practice runs to try people out may need some more effort… or at least watch more tape on them.


One mistake I see in a lot of streams is the commentators not following the chat. If the commentators don’t know the game, someone in the chat usually does. Acknowledging the chat folks also helps connect the viewers with the stream. Makes us feel like we’re almost there. If I’m watching a stream and the commentators are ignoring the chat, I’m far less inclined to comment.

The commentators are often someone we know. We want to help you guys (and gals), but if you don’t look at the chat, we can’t help.


In my experience with streaming, the chat is typically on a delay, meaning that by the time a caster sees the helpful comment, there’s still been a healthy 30 seconds of “hmmm, uh, idk, let’s see what they go for.” As someone who would rather play off of the chat, that’s always bugged me, but it might be why some broadcasts don’t engage.


How long is the delay, would you guess?

Maybe in cases where there is a third commentator, their main role should be to follow chat.


I have been at several tournaments that had the stream on at the bar. It is long enough that when you drain, you can comfortably walk to the bar, look up and relive it.


In Vegas this year, I got knocked out of Women’s Champs, walked into the next room en route to a defeat cigarette, and got to watch myself get eliminated all over again :sob::sob:


I don’t think the chat that the commentators see has any lag. It’s not the same as pulling up the stream and watching it live. Could be wrong though.


It’s not that there’s lag in the chat delivery, but the path of camera -> computer -> twitch -> spectator -> typing the comment -> twitch -> chat log… it takes a while.


Okay yeah that makes sense. Well it’s definitely not long enough that having someone keeping an eye on chat wouldn’t benefit the stream experience.


You’re absolutely right, interacting with the viewers is a great part of streaming.


I’m partially guilty of this. But on that front, I’ll usually lead another commentator into explaining the game a little, even if I do know the rules simply because the rules knowledge is nice to go over, even if it’s brief. I also found a lot of value listening to those discussions when I was first starting to play competitively.

With that said, there is really nothing worse than:

“Uhhh, yeah. So he shot it up the right ramp again, let’s see what happens here. Did that activate the multib- no so it’s going to have to be the left - oh and he drained. On to the next game!”


this might be the number one thing that would make watching competitive pinball more compelling to me. However, it’s such an incredibly daunting task. I mean, the situation you are describing is incredibly easy and simplistic by comparison. he basically developed a UI on top of an existing game. But pinball has thousands of different games, none of which can digitally communicate with a UI overlay.

you know what would be kind of revolutionary? if the major manufacturers could get together and develop a standard API for third party apps to interact with their games, for the exact purpose of allowing a competition overlay like this for streaming or TV. I mean, just a service to request basic data from the game via bluetooth or wifi: number of players, current ball, score, current jackpot value for each player, etc, all the data about the game that could then be consumed and used by an overlay or other application to generate fancy Score Bars and other graphics and stats.

(and of course it could easily have countless other awesome applications as well cough iScored cough :wink: )


Creating a static visual map/feature guide, like Gottliebs have on some instruction cards, where it’s a wireframe of the play field, with features labeled by number and a legend to explain what each feature does would go a long way towards ease of understanding, imo.


It would be great if there were one of these for each machine, like can be found in the Theatre of Magic Manual. Would it be feasible to add a field to the OPDB for a vector graphic? Of course then it needs to be populated…

OPDB: Open Pinball Database