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Thread: A question on game physics to developers

  1. #1
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    Default A question on game physics to developers

    Does game physics have random component?

    Or maybe flipper reaction time is a bit random? Or maybe flipper hit strength is a bit random?

    I have a problem with hitting Monument orbit on El Dorado table with ball trapped on right flipper.
    Not the problem like I constantly hitting it the very same way and the ball ends way to the left or way to the right.

    But I have a strong feeling, that sometimes considerably late hit sends ball to the right of the Monument orbit (it may even side-hit airplane ramp),
    and sometimes considerably early hit (way-way-way-way more early then hit described in previous example) sends the ball to the left of the monument orbit (to the idol).

    Both times we have trapped hit, so the the hit should be considerably repeatable. And of course both times at the beginning of the hit the ball is completely still.

    I may be exaggerating things, but my feeling is pretty strong.
    Is there a deliberate feature of randomness of some kind in game physics?
    Is the ball symmetrical? Or are those stains on it not just fancy graphics, but actual surfaces with different physical properties?
    Is there deliberate random lag in flipper reaction (either on press or on release)?

    Of course I can always blame for it if not myself, than my hardware, which is pretty moderate. Controls are XBOX360 wired gamepad in USB hole.
    Could it be PC, performance-related lags?

  2. #2

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    Not a Zen developer of course, but I think I can answer this. Things like the ball shooting out of kickers and gobble holes definitely have a random strength on them. I think the flippers are always the same strength, but being off by even a few milliseconds will put the ball inches off in either direction. I can hit my shots pretty consistently and some of my Steam friends have insanely high scores, which makes me think they can hit their shots even more consistently.

    Do you have this problem with real life pinball or other simulators?

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    I don't have real pinball or other simulators anywhere near me.

    Though I have a chance to play Stern's batman recently a bit - didn't experience that problem (precision feel was much stronger than in Pinball FX2), but I did not now the table well and didn't try to do same shots over and over again.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yan View Post
    I don't have real pinball or other simulators anywhere near me.

    Though I have a chance to play Stern's batman recently a bit - didn't experience that problem (precision feel was much stronger than in Pinball FX2), but I did not now the table well and didn't try to do same shots over and over again.
    One thing that I will try to do is watch the background art of the game closely when I hit a shot that lands where I want it. Then, I can memorize that exact pixel location, rather than just trying to estimate the position of the ball on the flipper itself. That way you are focusing on a specific pixel location, rather than a general area on the flipper. It makes me a lot more accurate, maybe it will help you too.

    If my description is not clear, take a look at this image:

    UHDE3bd.jpg

    Now, when the left edge of the pinball hits either of those two example spots hit the flipper. See exactly where the ball lands and make adjustments to find a spot in the art the works for you, like one of the little diamonds to the left or right of the spots that I marked. Now you can find the exact pixel location for every shot you could ever want. I typically only learn three spots, top center, and easy shots on the left and right side. From their I can estimate anything else fairly accurately. Beware! If you change your camera angle, you will have to relearn your spots.

    This will do more than just teach you the perfect spots to shoot from. NFL quarterbacks do this sort of thing as well. Instead of looking at a receiver and passing to them as a whole person, they will focus on an exact spot, like the left upper edge of a number on their jersey, and aim for that. Just thinking with more focus makes them more accurate.

    Please let me know if this helps you or if you need me to explain further.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by rooter; 06-10-2013 at 08:35 PM. Reason: elaborated

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    I don't know about lag in flippers but when it comes to randomness I find pbfx2 is not random at all. As soon as I hit a shot to start a mission or game mode, the ball goes directly to an outlane or center drains . Super frustrating. I have played real pinball for a long time people and never had so many outlane and center drains. It's almost as if it knows you have done something good now time to screw you. Star Wars ep5 is the worst offender in my opinion. But thats virtual pinball for you. It will never match a true mechanical pinball machine no matter what anyone thinks.

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    Senior Member LeanderL's Avatar
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    Sounds like you get too nervous as soon as a mission begins. I had such problems too but not anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeanderL View Post
    Sounds like you get too nervous as soon as a mission begins. I had such problems too but not anymore.
    Nothing to get nervous about. Just crappy luck on pc pinball. Ball usually never comes back to me. I hit the shot and it finds it's way out without ever being playable. It's not all the time but way too often for my liking. It's just that a real machine does not know where the ball is on the playfield unless it hits a switch. In a virtual pin the computer always knows where the ball is and I think it is programmed to bite you in the ass and send the ball out. Maybe I'm just the most unlucky dude out there!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunfielder View Post
    I don't know about lag in flippers but when it comes to randomness I find pbfx2 is not random at all. As soon as I hit a shot to start a mission or game mode, the ball goes directly to an outlane or center drains . Super frustrating. I have played real pinball for a long time people and never had so many outlane and center drains. It's almost as if it knows you have done something good now time to screw you. Star Wars ep5 is the worst offender in my opinion. But thats virtual pinball for you. It will never match a true mechanical pinball machine no matter what anyone thinks.
    You must be doing something wrong if you are losing balls immediately after starting missions in SW ep V. See my videos.

    https://forum.zenstudios.com/showthr...-V-Video-Guide

    Real machines are much worse with house balls and random drains. The kick outs are much more random and unpredictable and slingshots are outlane magnets. My advice is to always keep the kickbacks and/or ball save active to help mitigate unlucky bounces.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunfielder View Post
    Nothing to get nervous about. Just crappy luck on pc pinball. Ball usually never comes back to me. I hit the shot and it finds it's way out without ever being playable. It's not all the time but way too often for my liking. It's just that a real machine does not know where the ball is on the playfield unless it hits a switch. In a virtual pin the computer always knows where the ball is and I think it is programmed to bite you in the ass and send the ball out. Maybe I'm just the most unlucky dude out there!!!
    Where's the motive? We don't get your quarters!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solitude View Post
    Where's the motive? We don't get your quarters!
    I bought the game didn't I . So yes you got my quarters!!
    I am probably just having a bad run of luck. There's always next time

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunfielder View Post
    I don't know about lag in flippers but when it comes to randomness I find pbfx2 is not random at all. As soon as I hit a shot to start a mission or game mode, the ball goes directly to an outlane or center drains . Super frustrating. I have played real pinball for a long time people and never had so many outlane and center drains. It's almost as if it knows you have done something good now time to screw you. Star Wars ep5 is the worst offender in my opinion. But thats virtual pinball for you. It will never match a true mechanical pinball machine no matter what anyone thinks.
    I don't think this is anything I have ever experienced. In fact, usually when you start a game mode, the ball saver turns on. The outlanes aren't much of a problem either, if you are paying attention to lighting the letters in them recharging your kickbacks.

    I don't know why anyone would compare Pinball FX2 to real Pinball. One is a video game with super heroes flying around and shooting god damn lasers. Both are fun. I don't know why anyone takes the time to complain about it, when they could be playing pinball instead.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Roo5676's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunfielder View Post
    I don't know about lag in flippers but when it comes to randomness I find pbfx2 is not random at all. As soon as I hit a shot to start a mission or game mode, the ball goes directly to an outlane or center drains . Super frustrating. I have played real pinball for a long time people and never had so many outlane and center drains. It's almost as if it knows you have done something good now time to screw you. Star Wars ep5 is the worst offender in my opinion. But thats virtual pinball for you. It will never match a true mechanical pinball machine no matter what anyone thinks.
    Actually, when you make the shots you are aiming for, it will pretty much never drain. Now when you miss a shot and it bounces off the edge of a ramp or something, that's when you can get unpredictable bounces and potential drains. That's your penalty for missing.

    In real pinball, this often applies to getting the ball halfway up a ramp as well, but in over 120 hours of play on PBFX2 I've noticed even that is very rare. Every table seems carefully designed to avoid these potentially frustrating situations the vast majority of the time. An example would be the princess ramp on Epic Quest. Whenever I hit a weak shot that doesn't make it all the way up I'm always worried about a straight-down-the-middle drain, but it almost never happens. Like seriously maybe twice in over 20 hours and I probably still could have saved them with a nudge had I been quick enough. Much, much less than on many real tables I've played.

    Now if you're talking about shots that sort of require a ricochet, sometimes you just have to find the safest strategy. For example, when hitting the gate to try to get to the mission hole on Hulk, I've found it's safer to use backhanded shots from the right flipper than regular shots from the left flipper. You get a softer, more consistently controllable rebound.

    But given the way the tables are set up with weaker slingshots and flippers that are closer together, I find it hard to believe you "have played real pinball for a long time people and never had so many outlane and center drains".

    Edit: The one situation I've found where the table does something "unfair" is the kickbacks on Hulk, particularly the right one. They will sometimes kick back right to the other outlane, even twice in a row sometimes (one to the other and back). I've seen other people mention this also. Perhaps these can be tweaked a little, but I definitely don't think the tables are designed to do anything malicious or to stray from the physics engine in order to cheat you or anything like that.
    Last edited by Roo5676; 06-12-2013 at 08:13 PM.

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