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Creature from the Black Lagoon 2.1
*** Version 2.1 ***
The most visible change on this version are the cars above the K-I-S-S lane and on the apron. Back when I started the modification of Francisco's table, I thought about providing a version with the car mod. I decided against it because it wasn't practical to provide another version in addition to all the other versions. Then on version 2.0, Gimli made the mock pinball tables disappear on some of the room options. It made me think about the car mod and whether we could make the cars disappear. I thought I might be able to provide a version where all the versions have the car mod but anyone who does not want the car mod could just make them invisible. It turned out Gimli could make the cars invisible and so here is a new version with the car mod. He added a new menu item for the car mod which has an option where you can turn the cars off (or make them invisible). Gimli implemented the car mod a bit differently than Francisco by providing an animated option plus two other options for still cars. Like the other options on the menu, he set this option up so it saves your setting and uploads it the next time you load the table.
The main reason I wanted to create a new version is to fix a stuck ball problem. When the path to the Whirlpool opens up during multiball and Creature Feature, the ball would get stuck where the ramp makes a half circle turn. Oddly, I never experienced this problem until version 2.0. On version 2.1, I added some extra kickers on the half circle ramp to prevent the ball from getting stuck. While I was adding the kickers, I noticed some fit and finish issues on the half circle ramp. The half circle ramp was quite a bit wider in the center than at the entrance or exit and so I made it all the same width. I reshaped the plastic in the center of the half circle ramp which then required me to rework the texture for it.
One of the guys on the GoPinball forum noticed black streaks on the texture for the black lagoon pond in the center of the playfield (specifically the green leaves on the top and the fish on the bottom). He called it "z-fight" which occurs when two different textures are "fighting" each other. He suggested elevating the surface it was on but raising the surface somehow made it interfere with the hologram of the lagoon itself. I found a fix by adding the texture to an overlay instead of the surface. It worked.
Wild happened to find out about a change to BAM where you can add an XML file to the script. It is simple to do and saves the end user having to deal with an XML file. I verified this change was implemented back in 2013 (BAM v1.0-56). I may have read about the change at the time it was released but it was long before I ever started creating custom physics so I guess it never sunk in. Needless to say that I added the XML files for custom physics to the script. NOTE that none of the custom physics versions have XML files now. The XML files have been added to the script.
Gimli also found a minor script error that was fixed.
European users that have Windows 7 N were experiencing this table crashing because it uses swapable textures in the script. Windows 7 N is a special European version of Windows without the Windows Media Player. The crashing was due to a bug in Better Arcade Mode (BAM). The good news is that it has been fixed. Those of you who live in countries that are part of the European Economic Area, Croatia, or Switzerland and have Windows 7 N need to upgrade BAM to version v1.4-207 or later if you have not updated BAM since April 20, 2018. 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.
I have added another version of the table that has been created for use on a rotated display. This version will be of interest to you if the monitor on your PC can be rotated 90 degrees. I have added a screenshot of it that you can view on the "Images" tab of this posting. This version will not be useful on pinball cabinets or PCs which have a normal landscape orientation. I have been adding this version to all the tables I revise because I build it for myself and it is not difficult to publish it. This version of the table is only available with the Day option with partial room and custom physics. If you use this version, please provide some feedback. I would like to know if anyone is using it.
I don't anticipate making any new versions of this table unless there are bug fixes needed. I think the table is developed about as far as possible unless someone wants to add something like movie clips. I have really enjoyed working on this table and it was a learning experience as well. I would like to thank everyone that helped, especially Popotte who fixed a bug that no one else could figure out and of course Gimli who added so much like the car mod, multiplayer fix and a menu. This table has been something of a showcase for the new script additions that have been added with BAM. This is due entirely to Gimli who has always been the pioneer of new technology on pinball tables.
*** Version 2.0 ***
When I was mixing the new sound for this table on version 1.3, I never would have dreamed that this table would have progressed to this level. When I posted Version 1.6, I was very disappointed when we discovered the score wasn't being calculated correctly for more than one player. To my surprise and relief, Gimli offered to implement his multiplayer mod. Version 2.0 addresses all known bugs and multiplayer works! Gimli actually went far beyond fixing multiplayer and added some major new features as outlined below:
He created a Virtual Reality (VR) enhanced version that has no fewer than 12 swappable virtual game rooms. When you are wearing a VR headset, it is nice to have more than just black space around the table. On this version, you now have lots of choices of different game rooms. If you don't use VR, this version will work on any PC.
One of my favorite features is the new menu system that appears on the Dot Matrix Display (DMD). Gimli's menu system saves every setting when you make changes. Then when play the table the next time, all the settings are the same as you had them set. The settings do not revert back to the default setting when you close the table like a few other tables I have played.
Another nice feature are the save modes that Gimli has implemented on other tables. These modes make it so you can stop a game in progress and close the game. You can then open the game later and resume the same game. If you don't like reading manuals, I suggest you at least read the section on how to use the save modes.
When Gimli was working on this update, Ravarcade published a version of BAM that fixes the high score overflow. Gimli revised the script to use this update. ...So now the table is capable of handling 922 trillion points instead of 40 billion like we managed to implement on version 1.6.
Gimli added an easy method of entering your initials when you get a high score. He also added some script that makes this version work with older versions of BAM or no BAM at all. Unfortunately, some of the menu items will disappear if you use an old version or not use BAM at all so I recommend updating BAM if you haven't already.
Gimli also compared this table with Bally's published rules. He made quite a few minor changes. The most significant change is he added Super Creature Feature mode during Super Scoring Mode. Now for the first time, the Whirlpool opens up during Super Scoring Mode which starts after hitting the right ramp quite a few times. In past versions, Creature Feature mode simply awarded some points when you hit the ramp.
There is also a new plunger that allows better control of the ball when it is launched.
He added "P-A-I-D" lights to the backboard to make them more visible. The beginning of the script also lists the other changes made for Version 2.0.
Gibsmedat provided some higher resolution textures on Version 2.0.
I didn't make all that many changes on this version although I have never liked the textures on the mock pinball tables in the game rooms. The textures were grainy and didn't look very good. I created new higher resolution textures that I think look better. I watched videos of this table and noticed that the ball usually revolved 3 times in the Whirlpool but our table only made 2 revolutions. I implemented a change that makes the ball have 3 revolutions most of the time. I took the single table that Gimli created and created all the other versions from it that were posted. I did some more work on fixing the ball jumping out into the playfield as it exits the left in-lane. It now works the same as the right in-lane. Gibsmedat reported that the lights on the night version flickered when you use the manual camera during the attract sequence that I fixed. I also updated the documentation that goes with the table.
There was a point when we were finishing the table when it felt like I was playing this table for the first time. I have had a blast playing it. I hope all of you will enjoy playing this table as much as I have.