Author Topic: Custom Controller - with 16 colour DMD output for Stern/Williams  (Read 2863 times)

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Offline Finny

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Imagine writing your own game rules!

Customised machines are just another step closer...

See links:

http://www.pinballcontrollers.com

http://www.pinballnews.com/learn/p-roc/index.html

« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 08:29:56 PM by swinks »

Offline ajlaird

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This should be great for pinball!

It does make a homebrew machine that much easier to develop.

Offline pinnies4me

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This was the direction Nug and I intended to take a few years back ,although the real world got in the way of actually getting something off the ground. Might take a look at their system for NPC 002..
“If you wanna escape, go up to a pinball machine. There’s a magic button on the front that makes the whole universe disappear.”

Offline Strangeways

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That was some interesting reading. Lots of info and it certainly opens the door for future developments. I think Gerry is a member here so hopefully he will chime in and contribute (time permitting).

I think Nug will be really interested in this system - maybe it will bring him out of hibernation  @@^

Thanks for posting the links Finny
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Offline Finny

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Although this solution is perfect for new game development you can also write new rules for existing machines.

OK, so your not a coder... there is a forum for programers who share the new source code similar to the pin-mame community, sounds and dot's etc... written in an open source format for all to share. Say there is a new game version for Addams with deeper rules, enhanced sound and dots... Just down load the version for free from the forum and load up.

Don't like the rules? change them yourself... Change or enhance Dot animations to 16 shades... Flash those new LED's faster... Resample or enhance the audio in higher resolution... Just to name a few of the many possibilities. Mod's to a new level!

About time the frigin CPU monopoly has been broken. !*!

I think this is an unbelievable development in pinball which will take it to the next level. ^^^

Offline gstellenberg

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Hey guys!  Yes, I am a member here, and I peruse the forums every now and then.  Thanks for starting this thread Finny!

Interest in the P-ROC is starting to gain some momemtum, and it's really exciting for me to watch it progress.  If anybody has any questions about how it works or how it can be used, I'll do my best to answers them.

Also, please let me know if there is any functionality you wish it had or other things you wish it could do.

FYI - I'm currently designing a custom driver board for use in homebrew machines.  The purpose is to give people a way to build a custom machine without requiring a WPC or Stern donor.  By allowing users to supply their own DC power, they can choose which voltages they need and implement them in their machine as they desire rather than being dependent on a large multi-output transformer.  If you have any specific requests for the driver board, I'm all ears.  I'm tracking my thoughts and plans here.

With the availability of the P-ROC and a driver board my hope is that people won't need to struggle with coming up with a control system for their custom machines.  Rather, they can concentrate on the machine theme, artwork, rules, etc.  Some will still prefer to design their own control systems, but many others will not.

- Gerry

Offline Strangeways

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So the P-ROC is a piece of hardware that simply replaces the existing CPU & Driverboard in a WPC, and allows you to control the playfield with a set of NEW rules that the you define ? However, it is not a direct replacement for an existing board that will run the original code - like an Altek does for Bally/Stern SS machines.

But what I think is really cool is that if you owned an Addams Family, and someone wrote a NEW code for the game - you could simply download that code into your machine (as long as you have a P-ROC in your Addams).

Hope I got this right - This is how I read it and I think it is an awesome development !
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Offline gstellenberg

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So the P-ROC is a piece of hardware that simply replaces the existing CPU & Driverboard in a WPC, and allows you to control the playfield with a set of NEW rules that the you define ? However, it is not a direct replacement for an existing board that will run the original code - like an Altek does for Bally/Stern SS machines.

That's generally it... just a couple of clarifications:

The P-ROC only replaces the CPU board (not the driver board).  It is compatible with existing WPC and later generation Stern driver boards; so you can just replace the CPU board in those machines to begin playing with custom code.

The game code doesn't actually run on the P-ROC.  Rather, it runs on a computer connected to the P-ROC via USB.  I imagine that we'll get everything running on small single board computers in the future so that the 'computer' will actually just be a little board in the backbox.

You're correct in that the P-ROC won't run original game code (neither will the computer attached to the P-ROC).  Everything must be custom.  That said, one P-ROC customer is looking into the possibility of driving the P-ROC from vPinMAME.  If that works, it will be possible to run unmodified original game code on your machine through a P-ROC.

But what I think is really cool is that if you owned an Addams Family, and someone wrote a NEW code for the game - you could simply download that code into your machine (as long as you have a P-ROC in your Addams).

Yep, I hope that we'll someday have an online repository of custom game software.  When you power up your machine, you could choose which software version you wanted to run.  If the progress we're making with our custom JD software effort is any indication, it'll be quite possible for people to create and run commercial quality game software on their machines.

- Gerry
« Last Edit: March 06, 2010, 12:25:18 PM by gstellenberg »

Offline FreePlay

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WOW!! This is a deam come true - being able to make up my own ruleset etc etc. I think CV will be the first to get the treatment as it has so many toys & possibilities which I feel could be better implemented in to the game 
My only decision now is do I get the P-ROC as is or do I wait till the next version with the PC incorparated? ... any idea on how long till its incorporated??

Well done Gerry & Adam, I feel this is big news in the pinball community and can't wait to get involved #*# #*# $&&

Offline gstellenberg

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Hi FreePlay,

I share your opinion on CV.  The machine is spectacular, but the rules leave a bit to be desired.  Writing custom rules for that machine would be a lot of fun!

Sorry, there are no plans to pull PC functionality into the P-ROC.  Single board computers continue to increase in performance and decrease in price.  So I'd recommend doing your custom app development with an external PC or laptop and then transitioning to a small single board computer when you're happy with the functionality.

- Gerry

Offline Marty Machine

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Nicely done Gerry,

I'd certainly like to see an embedded cpu on the P-roc board......

The thought of still needing to run a pc is a weaker link we could all do without ;-)

just my 2c.
Marty.

Offline Finny

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Nicely done Gerry,

I'd certainly like to see an embedded cpu on the P-roc board......

The thought of still needing to run a pc is a weaker link we could all do without ;-)

just my 2c.
Marty.

I'll do some snooping around for a compact cheep PC solution like the stand alone modules used for digital signage and kiosks.

Also, check this out:
  DMD driven by P-ROC... Awesome!

Offline narf

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finny i got a hp p3 mini pc

about size of a shoebox is this what  your talking about  !@#

Offline Finny

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This is one example of a cheep PC module.

http://www.aaeon.com/PD_Products_Detail_DCCAA0A1DF3344B7BB_3FE0053B953B46CC88_A199E1D9B0AD4DC19B_TW_UTF-8.html#

Correct me if I'm wrong Gerry, but the stock Williams CPU can do around 30 instructions or cycles per second and the P-ROC can do 400 cps not to mention more frames per sec on the DMD as well.

Imagine a P-ROC driven CFTBL with a mini LCD hooked under the playfield with the creature swimming around when required via the game software. Just one of the possible applications P-ROC could deliver...
« Last Edit: March 10, 2010, 10:19:20 PM by Finny »

Offline gstellenberg

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Finny, I believe WPC systems drive the DMD at about 15fps (I think I read that somewhere).  The P-ROC's DMD timing is completely configurable, but we typically configure it to physically run at 60fps and feed it it frames at 30fps.  Regarding raw operating horsepower, a P-ROC based system is determined by the amount of horsepower in the PC you connect to it.  The software I'm running right now achieves a run-loop cycle rate of about 400 cycles per second.  All that's really necessary to process switch events in a timely matter (and to keep up with the DMD updates) is about 30fps. 

The stock WPC CPU runs at a fixed timing interval due to the 0-cross circuit; so you comparing apples to oranges.  The CPU operating speed doesn't matter too much.  Pinball code isn't very complex or demanding.  Of course, WPC systems use pre-drawn DMD animations.  If you want to fully render complex animations on your P-ROC-based DMD, you'll need more horsepower than a WPC CPU. ;)

- Gerry