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Jurassic Park, Rom and Slamt1lt Mods 1.4
NOTE: This table uses Dynamic Flippers, Lighting and Shadow Maps that require use of BAM v1.4-254 (or later) to be installed which was released on May 25, 2019. It is very easy to upgrade. You can download the most current version at the following link. This installation file installs Future Pinball and BAM at the same time. If you have either Future Pinball or BAM already installed, you can still run it and it will bring everything up to date.
=== Version 1.4 ===
Some of the guys have experienced problems when the ball in play becomes trapped when it goes through the two pegs that hold the captive ball on Version 1.3. That is all I actually planned to fix but then I got some feedback on some other suggested changes. Of course, the solution is to move the two pegs closer together which I did on Version 1.4. ...But I ended up doing quite a bit more:
Slamt1lt suggested I add a nanoflasher to the spotlight that shines on the T. Rex model. It tried it and decided I liked it. I set it up so it turns on when you hit the kicker in front of the T. Rex.
He also suggested improving the ball guides for the shot that you can make where the ball goes through the lane just below the T. Rex from the upper flipper and loops around back to the upper flipper. I implemented this change as well. I deleted a peg that was located just below the kicker for the T. Rex so the shot should be a little easier to hit. Still yet, the shot is not what I would call easy but the ball does go around the loop very smoothly when you hit it.
When I was working on the ball guides, I noticed the base plate for the entrance to the plastic ramp was actually a section of ramp that was angled upward. This made transition of the ball to the ramp quite rough and it would occasionally launch the ball into the air. I deleted the old base plate and replaced it with the model of a plate that is not collidable (which means that the ball can pass through it like it was not there). The transition from the playfield to the ramp was still not smooth enough to suit me so I added a short ramp back but I carefully positioned it and adjusted the height so it is just right. I set the ramp to be transparent. You probably won't notice much change in appearance from Version 1.3. When I set up the dynamic flippers on Version 1.3, I had to set the strength of the flippers higher than normal but I was unable to determine the cause at the time. With the ramp performing smoothly, I was able to reduce the strength of the flippers to values similar to other tables and still traverse the ramps. These changes make the ramp perform quite well and I am sure you will notice an improvement from Version 1.3. Reducing the strength of the flippers should also make it less likely for the ball in play to go through the two pegs holding the captive ball.
When making the changes for this version, I happened to notice that there was a subroutine in the script that had never run. The reason is the name of a trigger on the playfield did not match its name in the script. The trigger adds some points when the ball hits the helicopter pad. I corrected the name and tested it to be sure it did not produce any errors when it runs. The points awarded are not make or break although the trigger does add a million points when you hit it during the "System Failure" mode.
TerryRed suggested I add some lighting under the slingshots. I set the table up like this originally and preferred to add some of Francisco's invisible flashers in the center of the table. I went back and tried moving the flashers back under the slingshots but noticed there was no improvement in the lighting of the slings so I left the tables as is.
I noticed that when the ball drops down from the plastic ramp to the left inlane, it would occasionally jump to the outlane so that the ball would drain. I added an invisible wall between the inlane and outlane to prevent this.
A new feature was added to BAM that allows us to change the background color of DMDs. I decided to try it on this version. It makes it so I can increase the amount of contrast on the DMD and make it easier to read. It is something I have wished I could do for a long time. I provided some directions in the script on how you can change or disable the code so it reverts back to the default. Look for "DMD BACKGROUND COLOR" near the beginning of the script. It may take you a little while to get used to it. If you don't like it, you should try making some adjustments to the color before disabling the code. I am interested in getting some feedback on how you like this and the setting you used if you made changes.
I changed the sounds/music that plays during the attract sequence on the Combined version. I like Slamt1lt's dino sound but was missing the music I added to Rom's version. ...So I set it up to alternate between the two each time you play the table.
The final change I made is to touch up the texture for the plastics. The texture was created from photographs of plastics from a real table which must have had some defects on the slingshots. I corrected the defects and filled in openings in the plastics that were made for screws that appeared as white circles on the texture.
I have really been having a blast playing this table. When I need to test changes, it provides a good excuse to play it. I don't think I can make this table perform much better than this version. Maybe someone in the future can make it perform better, but for now I think it is one of my best table mods, plus I spent quite a bit of time getting the physics just right.
=== Version 1.3 ===
I hadn't planned on updating this table JurassicPark until Djlunchbox started asking questions about it on the GoPinball.com forum. The table developed a significant stuttering problem that started being reported in 2016. Some folks call it stuttering while others call it lag time. These are different names for low frame rate which pretty much made the table unplayable. The cause of the problem was that the script used some executable commands which are scanned by Windows Defender real time protection and require a massive amount of system resources. Windows Defender ships with Windows 10 which was released in July 2015. The scan uses enough resources that it causes the low frame rate even on a high end PC. You can fix the problem by turning off real time protection but that is not very desirable. With Francisco's assistance, I changed the code so it removes the execute commands but performs the exact same functions.
I added custom physics and dynamic flippers to the table. Occasionally, some of the guys tell me that my physics plays too slow. You can make it play faster if you increase the table slope. I tried a slope of 7.5 temporarily and it played well although it is too fast for me. I watched videos of the real table on YouTube and I believe the existing physics match the real table pretty well.
There are several versions of the table. At first, I decided I would mod Slamt1lt's version but then I found a version modified by Rom that was almost hidden in the version 1.2 download. I couldn't decide which version I liked better so I modified both. I basically used what I liked best from both the version 1.2 downloads and Slamt1lt's version. I used the models that Rom created in both versions.
The table has an earthquake effect that that darkens the playfield and moves it around. It also moves the ball around making it more difficult to hit. There is also a sound effect. The effect normally runs for less than 2 seconds although it runs for nearly 6 seconds during multiball. Everyone that has worked on this table has tweaked the earthquake effect. Francisco set it up so it produces a significant effect on the ball. Slamt1lt reduced the affect on the ball and made the playfield stay stationary. Rom disabled the part of the simulation that affects the ball. I enabled it but provided a guide on the "Info" tab of this posting on how to disable it. I provided an option where you can adjust how much effect is produced on the ball. Look for "Earthquake" near the beginning of the script and follow the directions in the comments. You can press "E" when playing the table to run the simulation so you can test the changes you make. I think it is a pretty neat effect that was built by Polygame (AKA Steve Paradis) and you can now adjust it to your liking. It might be unavoidable for the ball to drain when the effect runs during multiball but it is not a concern because a new ball will be released after the ball drains.
Although the table has a high resolution (2048x4096) texture for the playfield, I noticed that is had a significant red tint that didn't seem right. I searched the internet and found several photographs of the table and selected 3 that I thought were representative of the actual table. I managed to change the color of playfield texture to match these photos. There were parts of the texture that had too much red but others did not so it represented a significant challenge but I think I succeeded.
I decided to make use of a new feature in BAM that allows me to adjust the lighting in the script. BAM has several modes for lighting for Day, Night and Dark Night modes but they had always been set up so that they can only be adjusted by the end user. Now these functions can be controlled in the script. I set this table up so you can press the "Special 2" key to cycle between the three light modes. I adjusted what I call the Day mode so it is slightly darker that the BAM default setting. The Night mode is the same as the BAM default. The Dark Night mode uses Slamt1lt's preferred settings which are slightly lighter than the BAM default. The setting that you select using the "Special 2" key is saved when you close the table so the same selection is loaded the next time you play the table. You can make changes to the Day, Night and Dark Night modes but when you exit and reload, the my setting will be reloaded. That is why I added the option for "End User Settings". You can enter your own settings when the "End User Settings" option is displayed and your settings will be saved the next time you load the table. Unfortunately if you press the "Special 2" key again to display another setting, your settings will be gone. For this reason, it is best to add your settings to the script which only takes about 5 minutes and only involves a copy and paste. I provided directions on how to do this on the "Info" tab of this posting. The option for "End User Settings" is quite dark and only intended to be used for your own settings. In fact, I only added it for you tweakers out there. I think most folks will like at least one of the other 3 lighting modes. I had some difficulty when adding this option because the DMD would continue playing animations instead of displaying the lighting options I added. Gimli added two lines of code to fix it.
I use flashers for general illumination (GI) but they are unaffected by BAM's lighting modes. I determined I needed 5 flashers on this table. Since the brightness of flashers cannot be controlled in the script, I added 3 flashers to each location with different levels of brightness, one for each BAM light mode. So when you press the "Special 2" key, you not only change the Day, Night and Dark Night modes, you also turn the correct flashers on and off to match the light mode.
I set up the HUD Toggle key so it cycles between three Heads Up Displays (HUDs) and the forth option turns the HUD off. When you cycle through the three HUDs, the Dot Matrix Display (DMD) increases in size. The overlay art changes also. The HUD that you select using the "HUD Toggle" key is saved when you close the table so the same selection is loaded the next time you play the table. Slamt1lt created 2 of the overlays and I created one of them. The original table only had one DMD that required 900 lines of code. I added 3 more DMDs on this version. In the old days, the only way we knew to add DMD is to duplicate the code for the other DMDs. That is really time consuming so I used a method posted here.
Slamt1lt added a nice game room on his version that I kept. On Rom's version, I added a different one that I think matches the theme better.
I went a little overboard with the table loading textures. I added 5 landscape and 5 portrait shaped textures that you can switch on the "Table Info" screen.
When I was adding the lighting modes, I noticed the "Special 1" key was already being used so I had to use the "Special 2" key. The reason is the "Special 1" key activates a "Smart Missile" on Rom's version of the table. On Slamt1lt's version, "Smart Missile" is activated by holding both flippers for 2 seconds. I posted the rules for the table on the "Rules" tab of this posting that describe the options for the "Smart Missile". The rules are for the real world table. I haven't compared the rules to make sure they are an exact match to our table but they seem pretty close.
I managed to play the table once and got a score of 1.7 billion points which approaches the high score overflow point of 2 billion. Since it is possible to exceed 2 billion, I added a code to fix high score overflow. I had to make some minor changes to the script to make it work and I tested it to make sure it will handle a score of 900 trillion.
I had been experiencing balls getting stuck in a little alcove formed by two bumpers and a gate. I noticed there was an invisible wall placed in front of a short sling where I think others tried to fix it. I ended up deleting the invisible wall and reshaping the sling. I have tested this quite a bit and so far no balls have gotten stuck in there. The ball may occasionally bounce around in there a bit more than you want but so far it has always come out in my testing.
The captive ball was extremely difficult to hit so I made some changes on to make it a little easier. On one occasion, I managed to hit the ball in play through the opening for the captive ball and ended up with two captive balls. To fix this, I replaced two rubber pegs with metal ones and deleted an invisible wall in front of the captive ball. In Sigma's set of rules (posted here under "Rules"), it is stated the captive ball is not difficult to hit the target. It also says that you might hit the captive ball and end up with the ball in the kicker for the T-Rex. I found both statements are true so I believe this function is true to the original table.
I did a few other things too like reshaping the apron and its texture to make it fit better on both versions. I added some new instruction cards on the apron. I added a few shadow maps that didn't really cast any shadows but they add some lighting that I like. I moved the dinosaurs around a bit so you can see them better and changed the color on one of them that didn't seem right. Rom's version of the table had no music that played during the attract sequence, so I added the music that I heard playing on videos of the real table I have watched. Gimli didn't like it very well so I found an alternate version of the same music from the movie that I set up to play. The texture for the backglass has an area built for the DMD that has a border around it. The border was a bit too wide on Rom's version, so I changed it so it fits now.
When I started thinking about whether I like Slam's or Rom's version of the table, I concluded I liked the music on Slam's version better but I preferred the game play on Rom's version. ...So I ended up creating a combined version. I suppose it was inevitable. I made a few changes to Slam's sounds. I noticed that Slam used the original music for the "Super Egg" and "System Failure" modes. I replaced both with some music from the movies that I thought was fitting. I made a few other smaller changes like adding the sounds of dinosaurs to the greeting when you press the coin in key. Then there was the humming sound of flying mosquitoes that drove me crazy so I replaced it. I also found a different sound effect for an earthquake that I used also.
So there are 3 downloads. One has Slamt1t's modified version, one is Rom's modified version and a combined version. Rom's version has the original sounds from the Data East table. Slamt1t's version uses music from the movies and other sounds. The combined version uses Rom's version of the table but uses Slamt1t's music and sounds although I made some changes that I previously discussed.
I included the files for the "rotated display" in the download for the combined version but you can actually use the files with any of the 3 versions. There is a screen shot of my "rotated display" in the list of images.
I have to admit that I stopped playing this table several years ago. I don't remember why but it was probably due to the color of the playfield not being quite right. The playfield and lighting look beautiful now even if I say so myself. I really enjoy playing it now. I am glad Djlunchbox encouraged me to fix it up. Hopefully, you will like it also.