View Full Version : Ever wanted to design your own pinball machine?

27-12-10, 07:30

Please forgive me if this is an old idea. I teach Game Programming at Newport University in South Wales. In an attempt to enthuse the students on the need to understand hardware issues - they often just want to make games, rather like an F1 driver not wanting to understand how the car works! - I would like to set them a REAL challenge that embraces hardware directy. Namely, I would like them to have a go at creating a "whitewood" prototype pinball machine. Ideally, for this I'd like to source an old pinball machine shell in the UK. It doesn't have to be in working condition, in fact definitely not working, but ideally would include the flippers, plunger, and mechanical elements, such as decent legs in a sturdy chassis with intact glass if possible. If any bumpers, lights, drop targets, etc, could be reused/recycled they will be, but we'd mostly be using replacement parts according to the student designs, within a limited budget.

We'd be looking at students designing replacement fields and solid state electrics/electronics and, therefore, be creating several physical prototype playing fields, which would be compatible with one CPU with bespoke software to handle game responses to player input. Clearly, I am not looking for a machine that could/should be refurbished; I guess it's a bit like not wanting to destroy an arcade cab to make it MAME. So, is there a "beyond all hope" pinball machine taking up space in your collection?

My guess would be that this would be an ongoing 2-3 year project, but any donator would have first refusal on purchase, and the price would be set at "cost recovery" so we could pursue future projects. We'd also be willing to see the donator as "client", so if you have ever had that really great idea for a pinball machine, we'd welcome your input. NOTE: No licensed/registered/trade marked elements would be allowed, but we do have an excellent Art School, and their students would also be involved in the project.

Please remember, we don't want to butcher a machine that deserves to be refurbished, and reserve the right to refuse machines that shouldn't be dismantled, as we cannot guarantee that a shell could be returned in its original state. If you have such a machine, we could probably arrange to make a pickup. I hope that you, like me, see this as an exciting project. Let's not let Stern in the USA be the only place left designing pinball machines...

Doctor Mike Reddy
Univesity of Wales, Newport
P.S. Have also posted this request on Jamma+ and the ukpinball Yahoo group