Category Archives: Medieval Madness Remake! (MMR)

MMR Update 9/8/14

Here is the update for Monday 9/8/14

  • Weekly conference calls between PPS, Chicago Gaming, and Stern mgmt to review key status, planning, and any issues to prepare for game production, including scheduling, last details, MMR line status, game status, etc.
  • Transformer issue that had caused some consternation has been resolved! Issue was how spec was interpreted by Tranformer company and was fixed and no longer an issue.
  • Game has passed FCC and CE !
    FCC          CE
  • UL certification testing is in process for MMR, which involves various communication back and forth about the game, and a battery of tests in various labs to insure that the game is ‘safe’. UL is pretty standard for large commercial/home electronic/mechanical devices and something that all major pinball manufacturers certify with.
    UL
  • Additional Pilot games are being built now at Chicago Gaming as well as at Stern – one or more of those games will be deployed at one or more test ‘sites’ very soon.
  •  We are wating as you are for the MMR Overview Video that should have been released featuring Roger Sharpe. The video exists and is going thru some minor edits to include additional feature description. We are all anxious for it and this is being done at Chicago Gaming so as soon as it’s available we will post it here!
  • Just going thru final stages of getting everything ready to turn on, so once we get UL clearance, then we will figure out scheduling with Stern who is able to put MMR either on the main line or a newly developed secondary line based on production scheduling – which will ensure that MMR’s will be able to keep rolling regardless of the introduction of any new Stern games.

We will update periodically and certainly the closer we get the more we will update

MMR Pre-Production Game! Real Game, Real Production Parts 8/9/14

The first pre-production game has been built last week with more coming each week! This milestone is a game using real production (newly produced, procured, verified, and tested), and ready for production. This means that pending the last stages to sign off for the production we are clear in terms of parts.

Additionally, most all production parts are have been received, with just a handful of stragglers which do not impact the timeline!

Here are some shots of the MMR LE. It was subject to some playing and commenting by Roger Sharpe over the weekend, and we will be having a video of the play as well as a short interview with Roger sometime next week.

Enjoy … note … click on pictures to get the large sizes!!!

Left and Right Profile:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Front View

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Playfield:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Backbox:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Under Playfield View (Dark and Regular Light)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Inside Bottom

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Again … these are pictures from the MMR Pre-Production game which was constructed from new production parts. Another game done now, and more building next week.

Medieval Madness Remake Status Aug 13, 2014

Hi everyone … we recognize that we are past due for an update and we apologize for that.  PPS needed a detailed review of the status from our partners and we now have that.

First the not so great news – the ship date of the game has slipped to mid-October. The primary issue was with the original transformer — the initial part was not received as specified and testing uncovered the issue which has been addressed.  We just received what we hope to be the final transformerr pending a couple days of testing.  Unfortunately that stalled the progress thru UL testing which will now move forward next week, assuming all is OK with the transformer.

So now the update on the progress and the next steps:

  • Production quantities of most all parts have been received and are sitting in inventory.
  • The first pre-production game is up and running built from all new production parts – validating that the parts are correct and ready for the production line.  One additional unit will be complete next week. Stern will start building pre-production games next week for manufacturing preparedness. This is an important step – pictures of this game are available and a video soon will be available next week.
  • There are no parts issues, we are tuning some cosmetics but nothing that has any issue impacting the overall timeline.
  • The overall electronics system is complete and the software is ready.
  • We will be putting 1-2 games on test in the next 2-3 weeks somewhere in Chicago (tbd); the proto games have been played extensively.
  • UL testing will continue next week with the final transformer – confidence is high in that much of the preliminary work and any recommendations received thus far have already been incorporated into the game.
  • Assembly options have been upgraded at Stern which includes the ability to build MMR’s on either the main line or a secondary line – this ensures that MMR’s will be coming thru without major assembly delays.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pre-Production MMR Game (click to expand … more coming next post)

Stern is working with Chicago Gaming on a daily basis finalizing the assembly processes, as well as receiving parts for the game. Final preparations for the build are happening now, and we expect the line to be starting up during the last couple of weeks in Sept.

So, while the delay is disappointing, we are more confident in the update on the progress and the plan, and feel that all parties are focused on this timeline. Of course, unexpected things can come up and if so we will update. Preparing a game for a mainline manufacturing process requires that everything be ready and integrated into Mfg systems, which puts a strain on everyone, but we are well over the hump which will result in games being delivered at the fastest pace possible.

We thank everyone for their support in the project and their understanding that there are always bumps in the road! Please look to updates on MMR blog (http://www.planetarypinball.com/category/mmr/) as well as customer communications from your resellers. Everyone on the team from PPS, Chicago Gaming, and Stern believe you will love the game and we are doing everything to meet expectations that you have for a high quality, well ‘re-‘ made classic game!

rick@planetarypinball.com

MMR Update – Plaque, Shaker Test, Config Screens

Medieval Madness Remake – Update 8/13/2014

(NOTE: you can click on any picture to make larger if there is a larger version)

This quick update is about some elements of the MMR which people have been asking about, so here are is a quick up  date on a few topics!

MMR Limited Edition Plaque:

The LE “Plaque” … all LE owners will have a special plaque indicating the # of the game (from 1 to 1000). Here is the artwork for the LE plaque – we won’t say where the plaque is, how big or small it is, just that LE owners will have them with their game.

MMR-Plaque

This plaque will signify that you have a limited edition game and the game number is either pre-defined (for an additional fee) or assigned as the games are built.

Main LED Board “Shake Test”!

There has been some concern about the MMR “Main Board” under the playfield potentially failing due to the vibration and so we put it to the test! Strapped a Shaker Motor at HIGH speed fastened the light board (hooked up to a MMR controller) to a piece of wood …

After 250 hours, the board is completely fine, working no issues and the test was stopped. Somewhere in the middle, the only socketed chip got a little loose (which is now wire strapped on) but no board issues whatsoever! So imagine this running 250 hours as opposed to running games of MMR! We are pretty confident in this board. We did have a couple shaker motors burn seize up in the process as they are not meant to be run continuously for days on end.

MMR Utility Screens

MMR has some additional configuration screens, which are additional items which can be configured. Some items are due to the new electronics of the package, and some are to add some features that we felt were deserved:

Configuration Screen #1 – MMR Configuration

MMR-Config1

This screen has several functions:

#1) Display Color – you can set and save your display color to ANY color can can be configured as RGB settings! Create custom colors, whatever you like – the little square is the color that the display will be (as single color for initial release).

#2) Incandescent Emulation – LED’s are normally very fast on and off, which creates a different effect in a game. Traditional incandescent lights have actually a ramp-up of the light and a ramp-down which gives a ‘smoother’ effect. With this configuration option you can adjust to a few settings a range of how the LEDs will behave visually!

#3) Flipper Strength – You will be able to easily adjust the flipper strength (coils) with this setting.

#4) Popper Strength – You will be able to set popper strength as well independently of other settings.

#5) Catapult Strength – You will be able to set catapult strength independently as well.

Configuration Screen #2 – Shaker

MMR-Config2

This screen is for the Shaker Motor which did not exist on the original version of the game and is standard on the MMR LE and an add-in option for the MMR Std.

#1) You will be able to set the shaker motor strength (including off!) which will allow you to enjoy various levels of shaker motor effects, so you can turn them to the environment that you are in at the time.

#2) Shaker motor test- ability to test the shaker motor to insure all is in working order!

Configuration Screen #3 – Virtual DIP Switches (Country Setting)

In the original game on the myriad of boards in the backbox (which have been replaced by very little), there were some DIP switches which were used for country setting … well, given that these switches no longer exist, but the functionality that they provided does, we put them in a handy configuration screen. This also makes it a lot easier, as the only way to change these switches was to open up the backbox of the game and change them … No Longer on MMR.

MMR-Config3

The DIP switch settings will specify a particular country setting for the game. We will include the specifics in the MMR documentation.

MMR Update – Turning the corner to Mfg! 6/30/14

MMR Update 6/30/14

Here’s the latest update for MMR, we are now having regular status calls with Chicago Gaming Co (CGC) and Stern Pinball Inc (SPI) around the details of MMR. Dates are a function of 3 things:

  • Parts fit/form – despite taking a lot of time to insure all parts are correct, there are also a couple of instances where parts have come in with some re-work needed, as well as in one or two cases where the blueprint was not the latest – some small number of parts still coming in for first article fitting. Fitting of each and every part (verify against blueprint, verify against original part, and fit into machine and test) can take from an hour up (900 parts) … obviously for high volume manufacturing every part needs to be spot on.
  • UL/CE testing – this is a required pseudo government agency to insure that the product is safety and certification tested. Testing takes weeks with any iterations required adding time. UL so far is positive and has been reviewed by SPI and preliminary by UL, but UL formal testing is ongoing, so there is always a risk in this process.
  • Scheduling – we are putting MMR into the main Stern Pinball Inc (SPI) assembly line, so we need to be scheduled in such that MMR is ready and SPI line is ready.

Note that everyone is headsdown on keeping to a schedule and a date – and things can move based on any of the above major factors and a number of minor issues. But we are working to these objectives and we are very very close and resources have been allocated to the assembly, time slots allocated in the SPI line, as well as all parts ordered, most in, and some stragglers coming in every day.

All of the primary parties (Chicago Gaming, Stern Pinball, and Planetary Pinball) are working hard to drive the scheule and lock in the build date. As of right now, the following is planned:

  • Build pre-production games now at CGC and SPI, and then more thru the 2nd week of July which will be the ‘test’ to insure we are ready to put on the line and go. Any build or parts or assembly issues will need to be quickly addressed!
  • Main line game production set to begin last few days of July, and that will occur in 3-4 different assembly slots to insure that we have the proper pace of game, as well as track parts / supply chain availability. Expected 100+/week rate of assembly, and will span over several months. Exact slots after the initial 2 batches to be determined based on how the initial games roll off the line, as well as to pace the shipping logistics, etc. SPI also uses the line to build their games, so we will be switching based on the scheduling of the various SPI game builds and MMR progress.

So, we are in the millions of $ of parts ordered/received and are moving ahead with the build and release of the game! We have CGC and SPI very focused on doing what they need to do to move the game thru assembly, and we will next be working with the resellers to finalize the orders, shipping details, etc.

At this point, we will also be notifying customers that the deposits will become formally ‘hard’ on July 10, so that we have time to handle the logistics of setting up fulfillment of the game to the customers, so we really need to know exactly who those customers are, how many are going where, etc. We will be providing resellers with all of the information that we will need for each game. The trim option will be addressed in assembly by making the games in ‘batches’ of

Note that due to the trim option (gold, black, stainless/zinc), this creates some complexity for manufacturing and it has been decided that the games will be built in groups of a certain quantity by trim color to avoid any mixups or confusion, and that will then translate to batches of specific trim color games going out in waves. The exact quantities and how they are batched will be determined as we get the specifics of the orders in the next couple of weeks (hence the July 10 ‘hard’ deposit date, etc).

We are excited that we are at the final stages of getting the MMR and we are now all hands to focus on the assembly, final test, and fulfillment stage of the project. We will be providing updates as well as working with the resellers on the logistics site of fulfillment and will update on that as we get confirmation of exact orders, option details, etc.

thanks, rick@planetarypinball.com

MMR: Planetary Pinball, Chicago Gaming and Stern Pinball announce Specialty Manufacturing Arrangement

Final
5-14-14 

Planetary Pinball, Chicago Gaming and Stern Pinball announce Specialty Manufacturing Arrangement 

CHICAGO, IL – MAY 14, 2014 – Planetary Pinball Supply (“PPS”), Chicago Gaming Company (“CGC”) and Stern Pinball, Inc. (“SPI”), today announced a specialty manufacturing arrangement pursuant to which SPI will make its manufacturing facility available to PPS and CGC to assemble their remake of the Medieval Madness (“MMR”) pinball game. 

CGC, which has a long-standing business relationship with SPI, will assemble the game for PPS in SPI’s factory using SPI’s factory labor and production line assets. The game will be assembled with parts supplied by CGC which consist of original WMS specification parts combined with the new electronics and lighting systems designed by CGC. Final prep, packaging and shipment will be from CGC facility in Cicero, IL. 

“We think this arrangement provides the best solution to insure the timely delivery of a high quality game for our customers who wish to own this legendary title” said Rick Bartlett, President of PPS. 

“We have a long-standing relationship with SPI and its high capacity manufacturing operation will allow us to complete the MMR games in a timely fashion,” added Doug Duba, President of CGC. 

“We’re looking forward to helping PPS and CGC exceed the expectations of Medieval Madness pinball enthusiasts,” said Gary Stern, President of SPI. 

### 

All trademarks and product names are the property of their respective companies.

MMR: FAQ – Specialty Manufacturing Arrangement with Stern Pinball Inc.

ANNOUNCEMENT FAQ: Planetary Pinball, Chicago Gaming and Stern Pinball announce Specialty Manufacturing Arrangement (5/14/14) 

Q: What is the announcement?
A: The announcement is that Chicago Gaming Co (CGC) and Planetary Pinball Supply, Inc.(PPS) will be using the Stern Pinball, Inc (SPI) factory to assemble the Playfield and Cabinet assemblies for Medieval Madness Remake, using both original spec WEG (Williams Electronic Games, Inc.) Medieval Madness parts and newly-designed CGC parts (electronics and lighting systems).  SPI will make its manufacturing facility and factory labor available to PPS and CGC.

Q: Why would you do this as I thought CGC was making the game?
A: CGC is ‘making the game’ for PPS and, as such, they have designed, prototyped and tested the game.  CGC retains responsibility for the BOM (bill of materials), overall QA responsibility for the game, as well as packaging and shipping. What is happening is that rather than build a pinball production line, we will be using SPI’s. SPI has a high capacity line and manufacturing operation. 

Q:  If you were picking a pinball manufacturer – why not pick JJP since you already have a relationship with them?
A: A number of reasons go into this – first we have a relationship with SPI as well and SPI has been doing contract manufacturing for many years, and is geared up for it whereas JJP is very focused on producing its own games (WOZ, etc). Additionally, the logistics between CGC and SPI already exist – trucks move back and forth between the companies daily, as well as the finishing up at CGC would not be able to happen if the game were assembled in New Jersey. There is a lot of sub-assembly that is being done both at CGC as well as with suppliers in the Chicago area, so this is another consideration. 

Q; Why would Stern Pinball do this – helping out a ‘competitor’?
A: MMR is going to be built one way or another and SPI believes MMR fits into their contract manufacturing line of business, which helps keep its factory busy during breaks  between Stern-branded games.  Additionally, there is a reduction in market uncertainty by insuring the game comes out sooner than later, which helps everyone. 

Q: What does this do to the schedule?
A: The great news is it firms up the schedule as SPI can build upwards of 200 games/week on its line and this will allow MMR’s to be scheduled to be assembled in one or more builds, which will help ensure that we will finish the LE’s before the end of the year – so it basically allows us to get a lot more games out in a much shorter period of time with a different ramp up.  The initial games will slip a few weeks to get everything setup to run. Everything assumes of course the timely delivery of all quality parts needed to assemble the game from CGC.

Q: Does this change the plan for Pre-Production games?
A: The pre-production games will now be assembled at the SPI factory, to give the production line a warmup for starting the overall assembly of the first run. The pre-production gets pushed out a few weeks. 

Q: What about the quality – are you sacrificing quality by going with Stern Pinball?
A: The quality of a game is a function of many factors including parts selection, design, as well as build quality. For the MMR, the assembly is using OUR set of parts and OUR design. As for build quality, the objective is to have the same build quality as the original Medieval Madness. Additionally, we will incorporate CGC Quality Control people into the SPI line to address and escalate any build issues. Finally, SPI itself has major initiatives focused on improving build quality, which will benefit us.  

Conversely, there is a learning curve and a ramp up of building a new manufacturing line – there are people to hire, train, etc, and lots of design and working to get ‘things right’. Additionally, from all of our cumulative manufacturing experience, we all know that a new assembly facility would have ‘bumps in the road’. We chose this path to help avoid those bumps which would translate to delays that we could not predict and thus more uncertainty and delay in customers getting their games at the level of quality that they expect. Also, if you do not keep an assembly line running then you have issues with people not having work in-between, retraining … and potentially quality issues popping up from time to time. SPI’s assembly line does not have these issues and they can handle the capacity of the MMR games.

 Q: When did this decision get made – have you been keeping us in the dark?
A: The decision was brought up in earnest in March, and we had initial discussions, including a list of concerns that we wanted addressed (many of the concerns that are being answered in this FAQ). We had some additional discussion between CGC/PPS/SPI management and PPS/CGC came to a decision in early May that this would be the best path for the customer. 

Q: Does this mean Stern Pinball will be building all of the PPS/CGC games?
A: This decision is for MMR, that is the focus. There have been no discussions with SPI about building any more games. We will deliver MMR first, and then consider what the market tells us and proceed based on that.  

Q: Why wouldn’t Stern Pinball just sabotage the game or the dates, etc?
A: SPI has a strong reputation and the industry is very small. Additionally, this supports SPI’s business in terms of contract manufacturing (assembly), and our customers are in many cases SPI’s customers and visa-versa – the pinball community is a very tight space, and any negatives like this would not serve SPI. CGC has an ongoing business relationship with SPI, providing Cabinets and Playfields for SPI games, so there is a strong business and industry relationship there. PPS has always been on respectful terms with SPI (and we are the exclusive provider of Gary Stern’s personal Jelly Belly stash!). In the end, the market players are embracing the ‘coompetition model’ – where players can both ‘compete’ but also ‘cooperate’ at the same time – a refreshing option in this case which we believe will benefit all of our customers