Wednesday October 23, 2013

New features, new lighting, new modes, new FUN!

Jersey Jack Pinball has just released a software update to their The Wizard of Oz pinball machine, replacing the former software version 1.21 with the brand new v1.22. Although this sounds like a minor update, the added content is anything but minor – representing 3 new Crystal Ball modes, 2 new Munchkinland modes including a brand new multiball, significant improvements to several other modes, plus a whole slew of bug fixes and other changes. All told, this update includes over 230 new files!

Of note, as of this moment the update has been released as a “delta” (see our tutorial on delta updates), however if you have an unusually slow USB stick the update may fail to apply, requiring you to restore to the last full install, v1.18. JJP will be addressing this issue later today (Wednesday), so if you don’t absolutely need to update this instant, you might want to wait.

For now (you know there will be more coming!) I've whipped up a quick video with the attract mode lightshow, including the new choreography for the JJP logo itself (starting just after the one minute mark).

The changelog for this version is included below:

Posted by Daniel Tonks on 10/23 at 12:30 AM
Saturday September 21, 2013

Winning: best game ever! Losing: audio recording flub.

After yesterday’s gameplay video showing JJP’s The Wizard of Oz running v1.21 software, I decided to see if I could improve my audio capture quality by recording directly from the game’s line level output... and during my initial test, ended up having my best-ever game of WOZ at 295,917 points (and yes, that’s with my extra ball problem fixed). The only problem: audio didn’t come out at all good! Seems I was using a cable with a bad connector, and my recording ended up being horribly clipped (while not actually overloading the capture device). That’ll teach me to rely on VU meters without grabbing a pair of headphones to double-check!

I’ve salvaged the track as best I can (mostly by mixing it with the “live” recording I also made), but will only post the most interesting part of the 16-minute game: which is about two-thirds of Ball 3, where I stack more modes and multiballs than I ever have on WOZ!

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Posted by Daniel Tonks on 9/21 at 8:35 AM
Friday September 20, 2013

And I use the term “gameplay” loosely, since my gameplay tends to suck!

While I certainly enjoy pinball, I’m not a particularly good player... which is why I always said I’d never post footage of my gameplay. But, since The Wizard of Oz software v1.21 actually seems to be a much bigger update than at first blush, I decided to try anyways. Watch as I flail away, missing important shots and hitting useless ones... oh well, at least you can see a couple new videos and cool lighting effects!

A few notes about this video:

  1. The game was played in a completely dark room. And I do mean dark! I did this mostly because I was interested in capturing the screen and the colors of the lighting effects as best I could, but it made the ball rather hard to see (for me playing as well!). Next time, I’ll try to have a bit of ambient lighting.
  2. This is quite literally my first full game on the new code, and the extra ball setting was far, far too generous (I enabled the 4 point-based levels, forgetting how low and closely set together the default values are). Rest assured this has been corrected!
  3. I’ve chopped out a few of the more boring parts... and even then it’s still 11 minutes long!

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Posted by Daniel Tonks on 9/20 at 9:56 AM
Thursday September 19, 2013

Learn how to update the software on The Wizard of Oz in 3 minutes!

Yesterday evening, JJP released a long-awaited update for The Wizard of Oz. The new version 1.21 (download here) replaces the former version 1.18, and is what’s known as a “Delta Update”. This means that instead of having to download an almost 4 gigabyte image of the game’s entire file system, the Delta file only includes content that’s new or changed. In this case, that’s about 114 megabytes of goodies – which although still significant, will be a heck of a lot quicker to download than the equivalent of an entire DVD!

Since the process of installing a Delta Update will be new for the vast majority of WOZ owners (it was for me!), I’ve created a quick 3-minute tutorial documenting everything from downloading the update, decompressing it in the proper way on a USB stick, and finally performing the update procedure on the machine.

You’ll find the video below, and after the break I’ve also attached the list of changes in v1.21!

Posted by Daniel Tonks on 9/19 at 9:29 AM
Saturday August 24, 2013

Over-sensitive switches can trigger unexpected behavior.

Pinplay Photo #52
At the beginning of a game, it’s traditional for a pinball machine to wait for you to plunge the ball at your leisure. I mean, that’s why the manual plunger and skill shots are there in the first place, right? However, some WOZ owners have reported that their game frequently auto-launches balls, without giving them the chance to do so manually. While this can indeed be the result of a physical issue that we’ll be discussing in this post, first make sure that what you’re seeing isn’t actually normal behavior.

As of the current game software (version 1.18), The Wizard of Oz should wait for you to launch the ball at the beginning of new balls (Ball 1, Ball 2, Ball 3), as well as on extra balls. However if you lock a ball, it’s completely normal for the game to auto-launch the replacement.

On a standard 3-ball game, expect only three chances to plunge the ball yourself (plus extra balls).

Now that we’ve cleared that up, if you feel your game is still launching balls when it shouldn’t be, then the most likely culprit is an oversensitive switch. Essentially, if any switch on the playfield changes state while a ball’s in the shooter lane (and this could be purely from the vibrations of serving that ball), then the game figures there’s already another ball in play and automatically empties the lane.

On my game these unexpected launches occurred infrequently, but enough to be mildly annoying. I figured the problem was likely some switch somewhere... but how could I find out which of the 113 switches in the game was the culprit?

Pinplay Photo #53
Posted by Daniel Tonks on 8/24 at 8:17 AM
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My WOZ machine had that random issue of failing to load a ball when I needed to. I dreaded and dreaded because I couldn't find anyone in Kelowna to fix it. I did so much research t- that's how I know it's a common problem, and finally I found an...
This looks so incredible. I'd pay $20 to play on this table for 2 minutes right now!
Thanks for the inspiration,