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edwardb

Member Since 30 Jul 2004
Offline Last Active Nov 12 2018 04:40 pm
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#322316 Fruit Machines Inside Out: Compensation

Posted by edwardb on 12 November 2018 - 04:00 pm

Totally off topic, but you would not believe what I saw the other day when visiting what is now Barcrest in Manchester. They still have portfolios full of the original pencil sketches of games we know and love from back in the day. Saw the concept art for Psycho Cash Beast, Frenzy, Battle Axe and 100s more besides. Absolute works of art.

 

There were loads more from game that never made it to production. Honestly, I was like a kid in a sweet shop. Amazing stuff.

 

I'll ask nicely and see if I can get a pic of one, can't see why they'd object too much.

 

I wish someone would do an exhibition of fruit machine art. Everyone will have seen it, but probably never thought there's some very skilled people behind it all.




#322315 Fruit Machines Inside Out: Compensation

Posted by edwardb on 12 November 2018 - 03:53 pm

Hi Edward I have a few Global questions if you have a spare 2mins.
Can you explain how pots accumulate for Cashpot version vs rapid pot version settings... sounds obvious but I'm wondering what it means in numbers for the player?
Also do you know much about Global Stealth tech? Why it wasn't around for long and what it was based on?
I'm a fan of old global clubbers but there's not much documentation about them any where on the internet.
Thanks

 

Hi

 

Sorry for slow reply! Busy busy at work...

 

Global's club machine were written by a guy called Mark Bishop (aka. Bish Bosh) who has since left the industry. He was a top bloke and did some great games.

 

Stealth technology was quite outdated and expensive to make, and to be blunt, you were far better using hardware made in huge quantities by the likes of Maygay (as we did with Epoch, when I was at Global) as all the service side of life was much easier with a big manufacturer behind you. I would have to ask one of the old guys from Global but have a feeling it was a 680x series board, along the lines of Scorpion 2 which I think they based it off. I could be wrong - I only ever saw one board. It was all Maygay or Heber hardware when I was there.

 

As for cashpots, I think all it did was stick a higher % in the pots (and therefore, lower % to the main game compensators) so the pots dropped quicker. Not much I can help on there, sorry!

 

Ed




#320393 This site is lacking upload more Dutch Fruit Machines

Posted by edwardb on 04 September 2018 - 10:01 am

Thanks Geddy! If you have the ROMs for the Mazooma games I would appreciate it - I would love to play my old games again.

Cashanova was a fun one to program; I was about 19 at the time, and still new to programming. The game has a trail, and has to hit a pre-determined win value. The game would try lots of combination of trail moves, before deciding on a final sequence of moves. Quite a hard thing to code.




#320297 This site is lacking upload more Dutch Fruit Machines

Posted by edwardb on 30 August 2018 - 08:40 am

I did a couple of Dutch games at Mazooma; Double Top, Cashanova and Valhalla - I would love to see those again. I'll see if I have the ROMs anywhere but I doubt it. Nearly 20 years ago!




#320026 Fruit Machines Inside Out: Compensation

Posted by edwardb on 21 August 2018 - 03:38 pm

We did it at Mazooma around mid 2000. A couple of guys who used it left in 2002 so it probably stopped then. For other manufacturers, I have no idea. Wouldn't surprise me if Red did it until they disappeared.

 

I'm 99.9% sure it never made it on to our club machines for exactly the reason you mention. Pub machines were the big sellers, and that's where the focus went.




#320022 Fruit Machines Inside Out: Compensation

Posted by edwardb on 21 August 2018 - 03:13 pm

I would still very much like to know more about Anti-Stats mode and any other information which would be beneficial for an emulation scene to understand.

 

Hi, not much I can add to what I said previously. We knew from site data a rough number of each coin type you'd expect for a busy pub, and so from that you can work out how many £1s vs 10p or 20p etc you'd expect in a given time frame.

What we did was simply not divert any money to the streak compensators until we'd see another non-£1 coin go in, so you'd never get a streak, and that's one of the main things you want to know - how often does it streak, and for how much?

We also mangled hold after losing nudges and other "cheats" to just make the game play poorly. We tracked how often this happened on site - and we got our numbers pretty spot on because it was very rare.

 

Everyone stuck the change from a pint in, so lots of 20p, 50p etc coins went in, so it never happened on site really.

 

I know Red Gaming did it too, we logged a machine for days on end with only £1 coins and it played like a proverbial. 

 

Hope that's useful.




#319778 WIP - Spooky Hollow

Posted by edwardb on 08 August 2018 - 01:07 pm

I've got a Hungarian game or three that I did which could be put on the emulator - I don't have the time (or patience) myself to do them, so might need some help............all Epoch




#319746 WIP - Spooky Hollow

Posted by edwardb on 07 August 2018 - 07:30 am

I was at Global when we did this. I'l have a rifle through my flyers and see if I can find anything.




#319243 Fruit Machines Inside Out: Manufacturing

Posted by edwardb on 17 July 2018 - 10:04 am

Yeah I think Shades are still around, and Wave Design in South Wales. I used to use Wave to print art for my own export games when I was freelance. Good bunch of guys.




#319162 Fruit Machines Inside Out: Manufacturing

Posted by edwardb on 10 July 2018 - 03:46 pm

Hi All

 

I thought I'd write some info about the manufacturing process of AWP machines. Obviously, this differed by manufacturer but you might find it interesting to know how machines were made, how some companies different in production methods and some of the cock ups that were made.

 

Cabinets

------------

 

Carcass cabinets used to be made in-house at most companies until the late 1990s/early 2000s. Barcrest, Maygay and Bell Fruit all had "cab shops" where CNC routers would cut cabinet parts from sheets of MDF or chipboard, which were then bolted together to make the bare carcass. Later, companies such as Cabinet Developments ("cabdev") or Postern Cabinet Co started to take over as running a cab shop was a cost that could be done without.

Cabinets and all the tooling that goes into making them is VERY expensive (in the hundreds of thousands), and so changes to cabinets designs were not frequent. Modifications to payout systems to combat fraud were fairly common, and some necessitate a change in cabinet design to amend coin routing, to stop rodding etc.
 

A fun fact is that BFM used to use their CNC routers overnight to make kitchen cabinets for MFI back in the 90s. Might as well earn some money from your machinery when it's not needed.

 

Wiring & Vac Forms

---------------------------

All the big companies made the majority of wiring harnesses in-house until the late 90s. Barcrest and Bell Fruit used to hand-wire lampboards (the plastic vacuum formed panels behind the glass) using a machine that would illuminate a sequence of lamps, and the operators would follow with a wire and insertion tool, and then crimp the wire, put it in the plug and do the next lamp row/column.

 

For complex games with lots of multicoloured lamps this was a pain, and a laborious process, so it eventually got outsourced too.

 

It wasn't uncommon to have mistakes where pins on a plug were misplaced, and so the wrong lamps lit, and you would have to go through and figure out which ones were wrong and change them over.

 

MPUs/PCBs

-----------------

 

With the exception of Barcrest (until MPU5 days) all companies outsourced MPU manufacture. I think Maygay might have done some in house but PCB pick & place machines are very expensive. Far easier to get someone else to do it.

 

A fun fact is that Heber, based near Stroud (Glos) who made MPUs used in many of the smaller & foreign manufacturer's machines, also designed custom hardware for some of the bigger manufacturers. They did a video board for Barcrest. They also make shower and washing machine controllers. Good bunch of guys, always like seeing them.

 

Reels & Buttons

---------------------

 

Reels and buttons were almost exclusively supplied by Gamesman and Starpoint. They would arrive in large boxes, and someone would have the fun job of fitting reel strips and inserting button decals. 

Barcrest (I think) used to make their own reel assemblies in the MPU4 days, before moving to off the shelf reels.

 

Glass

-------

 

I started when screen printing was dying off. The artists would send a file (over an ISDN line, or often a CD sent via post!) to the print company who would produce a test batch of 5 glasses, normally. It wasn't uncommon to see them being "off register" - that is, with one of the 4 colours (CMYK) being slightly off and the art looking smudged as a result. 

 

One of the funniest things I saw was the Hi Lo reel aperture being filled with a solid red - should be clear/transparent - which resulted in all glasses being scrapped. Bang goes a few hundred quid.

 

BFM used to print their own glasses in-house, but they stopped in the mid 90s as digital printing took off. No more 4 colour seps, just a large format inkjet printer, which printed to a film which was then stuck to the glass. A black backing was added to stop light bleeding out.

 

Glasses arrives on pallets and were built up into the finished doors, complete with gas struts and lampboard, ready to be hung on the cabinet.

 

 

Production

--------------

 

Barcrest and Maygay had their "flow line" - akin to a car factory, where a carcass cabinet was put on the line at one end, and operatives would fit parts as it rolled down the line, leaving a finished machine at the end. This was efficient, they could manage 2k/3k machines a month with ease.

 

Bell Fruit used to make everything on "stills" - literally a box on which the machine sat, and then one person would build up an entire machine. Not as efficient but often better quality.

 

During busy periods it was not uncommon to have the factory working 24/7 on three shifts, and sods law you would have a hit machine in the UK at the same time as you had a hit machine in say Holland or Germany, resulting in a high demand for machines. UK normally got priority.

 

Conversely lean periods meant people sat around doing nothing, so a lot of factory staff were temps, which meant that quality could be hit and miss until they were trained up properly.

 

Final Inspection

---------------------

 

At Mazooma, we took delivery of machines to our offices in Newark, where we would inspect each machine and correct faults. I will never forget my first big seller, Sinbad 2000 for Germany, where we had an initial small production run of 300 machines, arranged in two long rows the length of the warehouse, all with their front door open - like a guard of honour. As an 18/19 year old that was pretty cool to see.

 

We would install the software, and then power up each machine in turn (or 8 at a time if you were good!) and just check it fired up. Reel faults and cable snags were common. We checked they spun to the correct position and we would set the real-time clock. You would then run a few coins through it, ensuring the hopper and coin mech worked, and checked the mechanical meters were OK, before doing a RAM reset, switching it off and bagging it up for trucking to site.

 

Machines were loaded on a wagon and off to wherever.

 

Though I was a developer I always liked getting my hands dirty in whatever needed doing - every day was a school day and it set you apart from those who wouldn't get their hands dirty.

 

I think I've covered everything but as always, feel free to ask any questions!

 

 




#309862 Fruit Machines Inside Out: Compensation

Posted by edwardb on 18 October 2017 - 12:26 pm

So a lot of work has gone in to it, and I would love to get to know the machine inside-out now, also from a software perspective. I'm already stepping through code in MFME (want to make a proper emulation if I ever get to that), but I get stuck on the VDAI-prompt, and the corresponding input (coin alarm on SC4) should be high to get past that. It does not seem to be mapped to a button in MFME so that's my first problem.

 

 

Ah the VDAI stuff....yes this was fun. I will look again at this. I'm fairly sure there was a way to disable it. In the bottom of the cabinet there is a connector for a VDAI-drucker (printer) where the attendant can connect and print out data, cash in, cash out....etc.

 

I will see what I can find, but this might take a few days!

 

I think I have the manual for the game too, I will check. The GSM stuff was a way for us to download data from the machine. Every time the machine was switched on, if a GSM modem was fitted, it would call a PC in our office and download about 3kb of data. Obviously this was only used for testing a new machine only, because travelling to and from Germany each day is quite expensive :)
We had some problems with that system, and sometimes the modem would not disconnect....and we get a very big telecom bill..................

 

You can access other menus to view data by pressing the Halten 1 (left) Halten 3 and START when the machine is switched on. Press until you see "RELEASE BUTTONS" and then press the GREEN test button on the Scorp. 4, then turn the refill key (under the button panel). Then you can view the secret menu. This is also how you clear NVR, you need to press halten 1, 2 and 3 in sequence, I think. It is a long time ago!

 

The Ruckgabe was part of the German regulations, and there is no way to disable it. It stops at 50 Euros/DM. The games were designed to use tokens instead of cash, but you can re-program the coin acceptor "teach token mode" and use a Euro coin as a "token" - maybe 1 Euro (for 100 credits).

 

I will see what else I can find for you....but it is nearly 18 years ago :)

 

Best Regards




#309576 Fruit Machines Inside Out: Design & Development

Posted by edwardb on 10 October 2017 - 02:32 pm

Bit OT but pushers are actually quite a remarkable bit of engineering. They stick to their payout % like glue. 

 

The % is set by adjusting the metal "flaps" on the sides of the bed and the screws that poke up in the middle, which build the pile of coins. There are often two channels, left and right, that coins fall off and disappear forever (into the cashbox) and you can adjust how "open" those are, and therefore how many coins fall off into the box.

 

Simple but effective. When we did the AWP/pushers at Mazooma, the pushers were bang on % within £100 of throughput. No chance of that with an AWP!




#309573 Fruit Machines Inside Out: Compensation

Posted by edwardb on 10 October 2017 - 02:23 pm

Hi Jochem!

 

Ah, BRIX - I was the programmer of that game....well, some parts of that game, anyway. I did Cashanova, Sinbad 2000, Monopoly and Broker Street for Germany when I was at Mazooma. Many fun times visiting Germany to the arcades...mostly to the Reeperbahn in Hamburg :)

 

Anyway, to answer your questions. you can use the "SETTINGS MENUE". Put DIP 16 (on the Scorpion main board) to the ON position, and switch on the machine with the top door open. The machine should start up as normal but then it will enter the settings menu.....

 

MfG




#309227 Fruit Machines Inside Out: Design & Development

Posted by edwardb on 02 October 2017 - 09:57 am

Club machines were a much smaller part; sales were not a volume anywhere near the number of pub machines for obvious reasons.

 

BFG were of course the best at club machines, really, and had a small team who pretty much just did those. Global built most of their business on club machines for a long time. You might sell 100 to 500 of a particular model.

 

A lot of clubs were just conversions of AWP machines, and compensated in a similar way although (more often than not) with a lot more compensators for multiple streaks and other prizes.

 

The "quirks" you mention were more often than not put in on purpose, i.e. the machine has already decided your maximum win, and will just engineer a way to not let you exceed that. Non max-win controlled games would do it on a random chance, but of course, if you got a large win, the compensator tightens up and the machine will just take the money back eventually.....

 

I never coded one, personally, although (at Mazooma at least) most of the lads who did AWPs also did the occasional club machine.

 

If you never noticed, Club Pacman was just Crazy Fruits - BFG gave us the code for it and we cloned it....




#308563 Fruit Machines Inside Out: Design & Development

Posted by edwardb on 12 September 2017 - 07:49 am

When I get a bit of time, I'll upload some more game code and fun stuff - just got a lot on right now!