Tilt settings -- tight tilts vs. less warnings in tournaments/locations


My local arcade/TD insists on settings that confuse me. On a day-to-day basis, he has the modern games set to 1 tilt warning with a fair-to-fairly-tight tilt. For tournaments, since there’s a high score competition that runs on a monthly basis, he doesn’t want to physically adjust the tilt bob, so he turns the warnings off entirely to ‘tighten’ the tilt.

I don’t understand why he does things this way.

I understand why fewer warnings = tighter tilt. But why leave it on 1 warning all the time? I’d much rather the games go from 3 warnings with a tight tilt on a daily basis to 1 warning in the tournament, or whatever.

Ideas? Ideas on how to get him to change it?

(There’s also a tendency to set up the software suuper hard in his tournaments too: modes not lit, and two sets of green targets per lock on star trek, scarecrow disabled on batman: dark knight, in general the ‘extra hard’ settings.)

Sounds like a good idea to me, although two warning normal and one (or none) for tournaments would be ideal.

I don’t set any of my route games for three warning. That’s charity for some guys. See if you can get him to 2/ 1 or 0. If the tilts are consistent, that’s half the battle. I set tilts depending on how the game plays. I don’t try to get them all about the same. If you can’t get him to bend at all, see if he’ll consider increasing ball saver time slightly.

To get him to change it, give him a backhand across the face.

OK, maybe that won’t work…

I really don’t understand why ops (and in some case, tournament directors) opt for extremely tight tilts that can be triggered by a sneeze. You are talking half the skill out of the game if you can’t slap it, nudge or, or even shake it a little bit at the outlanes.

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Ballsaver? We don’t get those. No ballsave, no tilt warnings, extra hard software settings. The games are in really good shape, though :slightly_smiling:

Why do you like no-tilt-warnings in tournaments?

On WOZ I implemented the ability to set per-game warnings, which is actually the default (2 warnings/game). Especially for location play, I think this is the way to go. Not sure if Stern has followed suit yet or not.

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IMO - factory tilt warnings and all factory settings except for ball save on most games. Adjust the tilt bob and outlane posts as necessary. Most importantly, any changes made need to be labeled with a post-it on the backbox.

I agree. Some players are better nudgers, some better shooters and some better controllers etc. Setting all the tilts tight and without warnings takes that skill out of the game and essentially takes the players who have that skill as their best skill out of the tournament. IMO, a great tournament will have a variety of games that will favor a variety of skills.

A[quote=“DHS, post:1, topic:1116”]
…sandman disabled on batman: dark knight

Do you mean Scarecrow? Sandman is Spiderman I think.

Indeed. OP edited to hide my shame.

@KCB: Can you elucidate reasons for those opinions?

I understand the Op’s preference for not adjusting the physical setup of the game between tournaments and the rest of time, especially considering that there’s a long-term high-score comp every month. I just… zero warnings is a kick in the teeth.

No shame, just wanted to make sure before I commented.

Scarecrow is one of the coolest toys in pinball and disabling it might even be making the game a little easier. It’s not worth a ton points wise and if you’re attempting to play a 5X joker multiball, the crane often just gets in the way and makes getting those huge super jackpots more difficult. The reason I sometimes choose to play the two together is for an additional add-a-ball through starting whichever of the two multiballs isn’t running but I’ve never felt like doing so has improved my scores, only my ball times.

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I don’t like no warnings. I was trying to get you to stop thinking about 3 warning, which is way too generous IMO.

Making a game harder with feature adjustments or the installs menu is lame. Ideally you want to make only physical changes (pitch, outlane posts, tilt, etc). The idea is that anybody can walk up to the game and immediately know how to play it. Like they’re playing a slightly harder version than the game they play every week back at Crazy Bob’s.

How the game is set up depends on who will be competing on it. If it’s a small tourney, you can make small adjustments. If it’s A division at PAPA, you make bigger adjustments. Tilt setting are the same way. The more/ better players involved, the tighter the tilt needs to be.

This operator sounds like he’s doing as little as possible to both keep the games earning daily and keep them available for tournaments. Just so we’re clear here though, besides decreasing tilt warnings, are the ball savers turned off at all times, or just for tournaments? Also, what area are you in?

Setting feature settings to hard or extra hard can pretty much ruin some games. FGY comes to mind. And as mentioned, disabling the scarecrow likely makes the game easier. Yeah, it sounds like your operator needs help.

I’m in greater Tokyo. The TD is also the ‘Pinball Instructor’, a full-time employee, of the arcade in question.

The reason I was suggesting three is so he could make the game as tight as he wants them to be in tournaments while having a warning without having to physically adjust the games for the rest of the time. He’s completely unwilling to adjust the physical setup of the games for tournaments due to the long-running high-score competition.

The every-day settings tend to be pretty generous on the software, though he fiddles with things to make the regulars adjust their strategy from time-to-time: right now, Cirqus Voltaire has Strike-an-Arc on two ramps for the first one. The ball save time is often quite long: I can usually light album on AC/DC before it runs out. The exception is the replay scores, which are very high (half-a-billion on ST, 190k on Wizard!), and the extra ball settings (e.g. Warp 9.9). I’m not sure why they even bother to have a replay score at that point.

The tournament settings are extra-hard, generally.

I told him that turning off scarecrow was a bad idea for the mentioned reasons. He didn’t buy it.

The current lineup, in tournament mode:

ST: Modes extra-hard to light (not lit at start of game/ball, must shoot mode start to light mode, shoot again to start. (it’s not even blinking until you shoot it, terrible setting.) Klingon two sets of lights per lock. Vengeance factory. One shot to light galactic away team. No ball save, no tilt warnings.

AC/DC: 4 banks for album (+3/multiball). 8 ramps for jam (+4 or 5?). 8 loops for tour (+??). 6 song requests to change song. No ball save, no tilt warnings.

CV: 10 ramps for strike-an-arc. Side show unlit at start of game. Ball save on, but short. The highwire ramp feeds the slings in a pretty evil way, so I didn’t see anyone get highwire. No tilt warnings.

TOM: Trunk disabled. The left loop never makes it all the way around, and never has. I missed watching him adjust settings on this one, and I just shoot left-loop-all-day, so shrug. Short ball save (minimum time), no tilt warnings.

Catacomb: factory? No extra balls.

Wizard!: Factory? I’m not even sure what adjustments there are. The feed from the flags is/was more-evil than any other wizard! I’ve played, but I’m not sure that’s deliberate. 3 balls/game.

The outlanes are usually middle or upper holes where available. Rubber always very new, playfields clean, steeper than most locations but not crazy. Tilts are tighter than you’d see on location most places, and no tilt warnings.

Some of these settings (like Star Trek) seem ridiculous. That TD must really want super low game time and do not mind super frustrated players.

A TD may tune the games any way he wants to. But what really bothers me, is when TD’s do not care to mention it when game setups are not factory (or close to). The tournaments to me locally are usually a low set number of plays per machine (seems to be standard in Europe). And with the new IFPA rule set of 2015 the formats changed from like best of two games to every game counts. It really sucks when games act up due to misalinement or unusual configuration.

As for tilt adjustment.

I do not see any point is removing tilt warnings completely. Being able to feel the machine and play it to the limit is an integral part of pinball as a skill game. And makes for a fair competition. So please find other means of adjusting the game for the wanted difficulty/game time.

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No offense meant by this question, but are there really that many world class players in the Tokyo area? I’ve only been to one world class tournament, but what you’ve described is machines set up much harder than Pinburgh.

I can’t imagine those games are much fun for newbies. That doesn’t sound like a good strategy for the long term health of the operation.

You might not have any other options, but I can tell you that games set like that in my area would drive players to other venues (even the really good players).


No tilt warnings on modern pins is brutal – and silly imho. That’s too bad to hear about that location, because I thoroughly enjoyed the one evening I got to spend there with the TD and a couple of other local regular players. He seemed like a reasonable guy, but I wasn’t there for a tourney.

Yeah, Neverland is nice, and the TD is nice. I’m not sure why he’s running tournaments this way, hence the topic of this thread.

Oh: @heyrocker reminded me in the other thread. When Radical! was on location here it was setup to stage the flippers the wrong way 'round. I asked about it, and he said it was deliberate to prevent people from using staged flippers to collect jackpots.

@ryanwanger: There’s a couple. The tournament crowd here is, as you might predict, mostly a few old-guard types of varying skill levels, with very, very few newbies. How you design tournaments to attract new players without letting the old guard play for an hour is another topic entirely (and an interesting one…)

Sure. Tilt warnings are part of the game. The point of having a tight tilt is to decrease ball times by making you unable to nudge hard enough to save balls that are almost certainly doomed. Tilt warnings allow players to figure out where the tilt limit is and adapt, allowing them to nudge at all. Without warnings you have no clue where the tilt is and as a result you can expect to throw away one ball per game figuring that out. That’s just stupid. Make the tilt tight to decrease ball times but at least let players “know” where it is by leaving tilt warnings on. Of course, not all games have tilt warnings (i.e. most early-SS games and prior). I think that’s a shame, but in those cases it’s OK since the games shipped that way.

Setting anything to non-factory settings is usually pretty bogus. Players have to vastly adjust their strategy in a way that they normally don’t get to practice, and as Phishrace said earlier the idea is not to just make games blind luck or soul-crushingly hard but to just reward players who are accurate and punish players who rely on large slides and long ball saves (consequently decreasing the length of the tournament massively). Games are usually also not balanced very well in anything but default factory settings (and as we all know, even then not so much).

Tilt bob settings are “visible” changes - IF you leave tilt warnings on. Otherwise all bets are off. All other changes should be marked so that players can anticipate what is going to happen when they hit a shot; otherwise you might as well just flip a coin since clearly there’s no interest in having a skillful game.

IMO (again, IMO) your operator is crazy. No players ANYWHERE in the world consistently have hour long games on even factory setting machines. Even half an hour is a stretch. Games are usually over in 15 minutes or less, even on factory settings. I can understand turning off ball saves and maybe removing outlane post rubbers if necessary. Usually in Seattle (home of 6.5 of the top 100 players in the world) games at tournaments are never adjusted outside of those boundaries and we get on just fine. I saw that you mentioned that the operator flat out refuses to physically modify games. That’s just lazy; in fact amusingly it probably takes MORE time to go through the operator menu and set up whatever looney-tunes settings they use than it does to pull post rubbers and tighten the tilt bob a bit.

I’m pretty sad to hear that Neverland does stuff like this. It seems like a cool spot from what I’ve heard and seen from folks I know who play there. Hopefully you can talk some sense into them regarding this, although I’d imagine they’re pretty set in their ways. Say hi to Sho for me if you see him! :smiley:


Thanks @KCB. I agree with what you’ve said, and I am glad that’s true. Neverland is good about marking all the software changes to the games for tournaments, less so on a daily basis (AC/DC was on 2 song requests to light song change for a month, it was !@#ing weird.)

Do you happen to know Sho’s surname? I had a quick look at the IFPA Japan rankings and couldn’t figure out who would go by ‘Sho’ overseas. Since I came to Japan, I hardly know anybody’s forename.