What is your opinion on custom pinball software?

I would like to hear some opinions on custom software.

For the sake of the debate, lets focus on

  1. Changes to improve games for (high level) competition usage.

  2. Only well throught out and subtle changes. No runaway absurdities.

  3. The TD that uses custom software does everything to inform the competitors of how this game differs from factory.

  4. Only games long out of production.

Are you cool with changes to older games? Or is it problematic because people play by instinct from 100s of plays over the years.

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I just want a periodic state save feature!!

Remove Slam Tilt? If it is for high level tournaments then I assume a normal Tilt is enough. Maybe even add a Tilt through preventer. A simple on DMD timer for 20 seconds after a player tilts before next player can plunge and the tilt is reactivated?

Just hate to see DQs through those kind of situations.

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Its rare, if ever, i’ve seen custom edited code that was necessary. Most everything I have seen has changed something based on personal preference.

I mean, what does it mean to “improve” a game for competition? One mans improvement is another mans trash…

Also, there is always the very real chance of introducing new bugs.


Valid point indeed.

I guess nothing is hard facts. I generally see three areas where games may have issues regarding competition usage: Random elements, repeated one shot strategy and straight out bugs.

It is not the same as saying that games having skewed features are not fun to play. And it is not the same as saying it is not skillful play to be able to hit a shot consistantly.

Shallow strategy is a pretty weak argument for changing game software imo.

I agree. Being able to repeat lucrative shots over and over is a distinct skill, same as nudging, stacking, etc. It might be boring, but we’re talking about competitions here.

IMO the Data East Star Wars update may be the exception to the rule. Not to threadjack, but I’d be interested in the opinions of the update and if it make SW a tournament worthy game. Sure, you can still center ramp all day but it’s not the way to score anymore.

I think it would be interesting to see an A division player handle one that was set up pretty brutally.

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Modifications to games (for competition and in general) is a quite common thing now. Surely, a specific mod will not be seen as an overall improvement by any and every player. I have certainly scratched my head over adjustments seen in competitions here and there. And more so over decoration, funny lights etc.

I guess we can divide mods into three catagories. Hardware mods, software mods and feature adjustments.

Hardware mods: The PZ at INDISC last year or the famous fat-yellow or good ol’ lightning flippers.

The feature adjustment of disabling the claw on DM certainly changes that game. And puts Demolition time into play.

Some mods are used by some TD’s but not by others. And some mods have become some what of a default. I think it is important to remember that TD’s have the choice to do or leave it. Are software mods seen differently?

Let’s have a hypothetical scenario.

You walk up to a tournament and find Star Trek Next Gen to be in the bank. Prior to kick off the TD mentions, that this game is having a soft mod so the video mode only pays a 10th of what it does factory.

How would an approach like this be seen? And how does it compare towards other means of altering how STTNG plays. Like making the right ramp much harder to shoot (again to aim at the video mode). Or disabling the kick back. Compare ment as methods - and not STTNG balancing specifically.

apples and oranges.

imo, making a game more difficult in various physical ways =/= to modifying the game’s software.
Same for enabling or disabling factory programmed features and adjustments.

Think of the viewers though. Nobody wants to watch someone shoot the center ramp on DE Star Wars for 3 hours.

Star wars didn’t need a custom rom for that. Set the flippers shallow and add yellow post rubbers to the ramp eliminates repetitive shooting. The rest of the game still sucks so I doubt people are gonna watch it anyways…

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