The Bat City Open 2019


If you have a car, drive to Bender Bar & Grill on the south side.
Or make the obligatory trip to Pinballz to play the game of “Find a pin that’s working in fully playable condition” Just bring quarters, so you don’t get screwed by their 3 tokens for a $1 price policy.


That’s exactly what DJ and I did today - a great call and a bunch of games you don’t get to see often!


Finals streaming now at !


Did something happen on Lexi Lightspeed during the finals? I didn’t see anything come up in the stream.


lexy happened during the finals…

for the third year in a row.


In the semi-final round during Colin’s turn (I think ball 3) the left flipper did not respond on more than one occasion, causing loss of multi-ball.
On the Space City Pinball Twitch channel it’s about the 2 h 55 m Mark.

We tested it and could not repeat it. Changed it the flipper mech completely in case it was a flipper mech problem. (Yay modular design!)

It was ruled a minor malfunction, play on.


The fix time was so ridiculously short - I was impressed to see it as easy as “just pop out a flipper mech from another P3 and hot swap it.” Yay modular design indeed!


I talked with Gerry, he saw what happened, and is already working on a firmware fix for this issue.
But I’m super happy finals players are picking this game to play.


Just want to say a very general THANK YOU! to everyone that came out and played and/or helped me out over the weekend. After I take another nap or two today I have a very long list of people to thank for making some of my life much easier over the weekend and helping the event run smoothly.


Can you hot swap? I thought it needed to be a cold swap, but the instructions might be overly cautious. It is certainly not recommended to resolder a switch with the game on, but I have certainly seen it mid game.


Yes, the flipper mech’s can be hot swapped, playfield modules is a big NO on hot swapping. I did it once, and made things go bang…:man_facepalming:


It was a weird malfunction: only during Lights Out Multiball 2nd phase, BOTH the R and the L flipper would intermittently not flip with a button press. The first time I noticed it, I shouted something out. The second time (different flippper), I announced it again, at which point a TD began observing the game over my shoulder (vs watching the playfield cam display on a TV). The third time, it cost me my 2nd to last ball of said MB, observed by the TD, and much to my chagrin in the moment, I believe the correct ruling was made: minor malfunction causing loss of MB — no compensation or ruling of Catastrophic malfunction.

It definitely wasn’t a flipper mech issue, as the flippers behaved normally during single ball play, as well as during Agent MB, and (albeit no-hold, as designed) during Shooting Range MB. @FunWithBonus replicated the exact same non-flipping flipper error during Lights Out during post-tournament play.

I’m confident that @gstellenberg will address the firmware issue, as well as the other issue experienced during a prior round of finals that was fixed by the techs: the lock mech losing track of # of balls in play.


It was also weird that the flipper issue seemed to only arise during my Lights Out MB, as @ScoutPilgrim didn’t seem to have any of the issue during his absolute clinic on how to play Lights Out.


Dang, Colin. Sorry to hear you were bit by the LOMB issue a few times. It’s a known issue with a fix going through our QA cycles now, but it requires a firmware update. Firmware updates go through a lot more testing and need to have a nearly bulletproof update process. So far testing has shown the issue to be fully resolved; so we’re optimistic we can distribute it soon.

As you noticed, it only happens in LOMB. It’s due to 4 seemingly unrelated things all happening at the same time and exposing a corner case issue in the firmware.

Can you please link me to video of the other issue you mentioned (the lock mech losing track of the ball count) or have somebody send me details? We’ve had zero reports of such a failure since our first release of the game, and your mention of it above is the first I’ve heard of it. Video would be obviously be best so we can see the whole sequence of events.

  • Gerry


I think that issue was caused by the exit gate on the ship getting stuck half way down and two balls getting in to the ship which caused the ship to stick. Then ball search kicked out two additional balls while we were freeing the stuck balls.
We threw the game out, power cycled the machine and could not replicate again.
The machine did not lose track if any balls again that I was made aware of.
Unfortunately the game was not being streamed at that time.


I like Dick’s suggestion to disable ball search if the coin door is open. We’ll add that as a framework option (so it applies to all games on the platform).


Also, that would have been really good to know before using it in a high-level tourney.
For everyone else that has access to a Lexy, I would exclude it from tournament play until the firmware fix is released in a future code update.

@gstellenberg you may want to also consider some rules modifications to Lights Out Multiball, as it currently represents a significant unbalanced scoring opportunity relative to other modes and multiballs, that can be exploited by a relatively easy L orbit shot, with a relatively low probability risk of dangerous feed from the pops. Some ideas:

  1. Don’t allow Lights Out qualification progress during Agent MB. And/or…
  2. Use the far left pop-up Wall section to block access to the L orbit during LOMB phase 2 after X # of jackpots, and force the player to shoot the pops directly, or requalify access to the L orbit via some other sequence of shots.

The game has very good strategic scoring/sequencing choices based on match status, with good risk/reward decisions. Also, numerous players were impressed by the new LCD screen backbox that made the scoreboard visible to all, with the dynamic artwork based on game state.


I don’t necessarily disagree, but the bug’s been there for quite a while, and we haven’t had a single report of it from the Buffalo Billiard machine. Given that LL-EE is used in leagues there and gets a large amount of play, we assumed that that machine had different timing parameters that the other machines it’s happened on. Given the nature of the issue, that’s a possibility. So it’s not a black and white thing. It could possibly have been pulled before the finals after a report of it happening in a previous match, but we had a mixup in communications and thought it was a separate/unrelated issue.

We feel pretty good about LOMB scoring. With playfield multipliers, a really good score in LOMB is usually 2-4million, a really good score in AgentMB is 2-4million, a really good score from insta-killing a few aliens is 2-4million, and a couple of well played modes gets you 2-4 million too. Sure, every now and then somebody blows up one or more of those scores, but it’s rare.

LOMB requires you to hit the dangerous standup targets. Yes, you can get them in Agent MB, but to make AgentMB worth your while, you’re risking hitting both banks of side targets a bunch of times (to lock a fair number of balls). So the risk is starting LOMB. The reward is your chance for big points.

That said, I appreciate the constructive feedback, and I’m happy to continue the discussion and let you convince me to change it!

Thanks for the note about the backbox LCD. That’s good to hear. Tournament play was a big driver for the addition of that display, but it makes such a huge difference for the machine, I think it’s a must-have for all P3s.

  • Gerry


I was unaware of such a bug existed that caused the flippers to not actuate when you pressed the flippers – had I known, I would have excluded Lexy from high level tournament play. Without question. Having a known possibility to not be able to flip the flippers in all game states is a very black and white thing.

I’d guess that less than 5% of players that will play Lexy on location will be capable of even reaching LOMB, let alone stage 2. So I’m not surprised you didn’t hear about any issues. In the match I participated in BCO, players 1 & 2 did not have the issue with LOMB flippers. But the situation persisted during LOMB in the very next single-player game that Steve Bowden played post-tournament.

Point taken about the score balancing, but during BCO, high level players were able to gain FAR more points from LOMB than Agent MB or any other mode.


Well I guess everything is very black and white with the benefit of hindsight. Given the nature of the issue that I fully understand (and understood) and the fact that it wasn’t reported on a machine used commonly in league play by good players and probably even you a few times in the last 6 months (?), I don’t think it’s such an obvious conclusion. I’ve personally played that machine probably 30 times since the last software update, reaching LOMB maybe 50% of the time, and the issue never happened to me. Regardless, I’m sorry it happened to you during the tournament, and we’re fixing it permanently. It’s my fault… both that the issue even exists (I wrote the code for the game AND for the FPGA) and that I didn’t tell Jesse about it being a potential problem.

Honestly, yours is the first request we’ve gotten about LOMB scoring, and it’s been in the tournament each of the last 3 years, as well as in leagues and other tournaments around the country. I’m curious to know what was different this year. Were people just choosing to go for LOMB instead of the other high point value objectives? That’s not the strategy I would choose if I were playing.

The more common complaint is that you can only start LOMB in the same ball you light it. If you drain, it’s gone. That’s something we’ve considered adding an operator setting for, but I personally love it. If you see it lit, forget anything else you’re doing, and shoot the scoop. If you light it during Agent MB, you’ve got even more choices to make.

  • Gerry