Updated Earthshaker custom competition ROM

The patch has been removed.


What ES needs is for everyone’s jackpots to start at the same value. I know you can shoot the drop target bank to change the jackpot value, but it’s pretty common for someone to step up with a 2 mil or 2.5 mil jackpot ready to go, while another player gets completely boned with 500 k or 1 mil and has to do a lot of dangerous work to try to increase it, or collect it and try to get another one. Getting >1 jackpot in a game would help potentially balance things, but that’s easier said than done for most players.

I’ve been on the lucky and unlucky sides of this lack of balance in different tournaments, and it always sucks.

Blimey! Somebody ought to do their homework. :unamused:

Are you saying there’s a way to balance the starting jackpot thing? My impression, and I’ve asked around, is that there isn’t. Or maybe this feature is already in your tournament ROM.

Either way, it would be more useful for you to provide this info than talk about the lack of homework I’ve done.

I was completly unware of there being an issue of carry over JP on Earthshaker. Whoops.

(I thought I was the someone you were talking about, but I guess not.)

You’re correct in that the big competition problem that everyone talks about is that you can repeat the right ramp all day for big, safe points.

I don’t hear a lot of people talking about the jackpot problem, but I really don’t like playing ES in competition because of it.

More info:
The jackpot value goes from 500K to 1 million to 1.5 million to 1.5 million + EB (EB can be disabled) to 2 million to 2.5 million, then back around to 500K. So it carries over, but not always in a positive way. It changes value when you plunge a ball, I think. Or lock a ball maybe. Something like that. Not always avoidable.

I’d say another issue is that the side ramp spots a number in the progress toward MB.

I’ve seen way more players play 5 -> side ramp -> 5 -> side ramp all day than I’ve seen center ramp all day.

IMO the game is just too boring to play from a competition standpoint.

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Equally interesting. An initial thought is, well, what about Whirlwind then. I guess the dangerous return from a side ramp shot on Whirlwind makes all the difference.

Plus the ES side ramp is generally easier to hit.

Separately, one can cure the “center ramp all day” issue by installing a hop on the left flipper.

Overall I’d be worried about using this in competition with such a significant scoring change. Players used to Earthshaker will need to rethink the way they play the game, which is both good and bad. But a player unaware of the change will be particularly affected. This is different to me than putting big yellow rubbers on the ramp or a hop, because you may not even know how the game is changed until you start to play it.

In any case, thanks for working on these! I think in almost every case these are significant improvements, some that save games from being cast on the competitive junk heap.


This is awesome! How are you making the changes?

I have an Earthshaker (and a Whirlwind…and Pinbot…) - I love the system 11 games but most of them are unbalanced for tournaments. I have roms that limit Pinbot to 100K solar values. I find this to be unsatisfying. :slightly_smiling:

As for Earthshaker, I like your idea of nerfing the ramp. I think posting the change on the machine is all that needs to be done if it were to be used in a tournament. I also agree with the others who say the jackpot is unbalancing. It starts off 1 mil when powering up, and advances up every time a new ball starts. Hitting all 3 drop targets also advances the value, up to 2.5 mil then it cycles back to 500K+ special. Unfortunately, this carries player-to-player, game-to-game. It would be great if each player had it start at 1 million (or 500K) and it kept each player’s state individually. Or, if that’s too difficult have it reset each ball to 1 million…

Optionally, the right side ramp should not spot targets toward multiball. The captive ball shouldn’t, either, though I suppose that’s more risky… I suppose then the random Match-Up award would then become a problem…sigh… :slightly_smiling:


I dunno, like bowen said, the center ramp grape can be fixed in physical ways. Its really about setup of the machine more than the code imo.

And shooting 5-to-side-ramp is a major skill. Why would anyone want to nerf that? Insanity.


Cause it’s F’n BORING, not saying its not a skill, but it’s like watching paint dry to play.

I don’t think I’m insane. Well, OK, perhaps. A little.

I personally don’t like having to physically modify something that severely impacts game play (introducing flipper hop for example, which impacts more than just the one shot you’re trying to nerf). I also think more options are generally better than fewer, so if a TD wants to introduce flipper hop in his/her tournament, more power to them…I won’t like it but it isn’t my decision to make. If one would rather drastically reduce the scoring of the shot to make it unappealing, that’s great too. Putting a notice on the game that scoring has been reduced or changed would be appropriate here.

I feel the same way about the side ramp. I agree it’s a skill and I probably wouldn’t change it, but I’d like the option if I felt it were appropriate.


If the game is set up tight, fast, bouncy and with sensitive slings/open outlanes blah blah, the center ramp isn’t a gimmie and the 5-side ramp isn’t easy either. If your getting bored I really think you should consider the physical setup and dialed-ness of the game your on, because its just not playing as difficult as it could.

I’ll agree with you though that the game is no fun. But for me, its just because I think its crap for other reasosns :smiley:

This may be a good reason not to use Earthshaker in a competitive final. One can make the 5 -> ramp more difficult by the kicker strength or the wall to the left; I’ve played Earthshaker where there was no hope of a 5 -> ramp and you had to start going 6 -> ramp or drop targets -> ramp, it was interesting.

I loved Earthshaker when it came out, was one of the first pinball games I really felt good at. True that in the end it’s somewhat one-dimensional. Captive Ball All Day :wink:

Thanks, Kevin.

Well, it’s pitch. Clearly not perfecting the game by any means. As mentioned by a few here, it lacks tweaking in other areas of the rules as well.

Personally I like all modifications in terms of perfecting and balancing the way games play (decor items not so much). I’ve been heavily into pinball repair and fine adjustments for some years now. Paying much interest into it. So much so, it has actually taken the better of me at tournaments. Being upset when games are having flaws and other self harming stuff like that. :hushed:

Decisively adding flipper hop is not my cup of tea. For Earthshaker if the side ramp combo is too easy, I would guard the saucer shot better. And perhaps make the roll pass more difficult using bouncy flipper rubber.

Regarding the game spotting a zone on the side ramp. That is, to the best of my believe, a game design decision to have a more stable and more tempting game (for location play). The game will still be playable with switches having problems registrating. And players will feel progress = more fun game. Alternative progress possible with lamps out etc.

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I used to really like the game until I watched Jorgan and Zach go 5 -> side ramp for about an hour during the IFPA finals in Germany. I hadn’t seen that strategy before that, and never wanted to play ES again after watching it :smiley:

Then I ran into it during the Swedish Open last year, did the exact same thing, it worked, but I didn’t have fun while doing it.

There are lots of ways to nerf the game physically, but to me that does not a good tournament game make. Games should be fun to play with varying strategies, ES isn’t that. But it could be by making players shoot the entire PF to achieve something while at the same time removing the center ramp all day.

IMO if you have to make the game play like crap to make it playable from a tournament perspective, just don’t use it

It’s just not a good tournament game no matter what you do to it. Agree 100% with Cayle if something takes skill then it should remain no matter how boring the “viewers” find it. The viewers aren’t the ones competing for $$$ so of course it will be boring for them just as poker is boring for me to watch because it’s not my money. Now issues like timing out modes which require no skill then I would agree.

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I’m talking about they players, I know I was as bored playing it in Sweden as I was watching it in Germany :smiley: