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BlahCade 243: Retroplay Gets Us Talking About VPX

Jared Morgan Jared Morgan Follow Jul 11, 2022 · 5 mins read
BlahCade 243: Retroplay Gets Us Talking About VPX
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We usually stay clear of VPX discussions.

But we saw what Retroplay is doing with a new app in their cabinets that takes all the hassle out of installing VPX tables, so they work well. With this being a major frustration point for Chris and me, we decided to talk with them.

David Gilmore joins us for an in-depth discussion about the software and hardware solutions he has created to make pinball more accessible. We also discuss a great solution for pinheads who like to play in VR.

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Show notes

01:00 - What does RetroPlay do?

Dave shares his journey from working in his shed in the UK to establishing a business in Australia that ships worldwide.

He also shares what problem he’s trying to solve with the cabinets.

06:00 - Building in Austraila

Getting parts continues to be an ongoing issue, and Dave shares his challenges with obtaining parts for his orders.

There is a story here about how using creative ordering methods and manufacturing methods make getting machines out possible during global shutdowns.

11:00 - Kaizen manufacturing methods

Efficiency is key in manufacturing material things. Dave shares his experiment with the Kaizen manufacturing method to produce cabinets quickly.

There are some challenges to overcome with supply chain issues. Still, the method means you do everything you can to minimize waste, no matter what that wastage looks like.

16:40 - Cabinet design cues from real manufacturers

From buttons to tactile feedback, these cabinets are pretty loaded with stuff.

The machine’s brain is the PinScape board, which manages the control surfaces like buttons and the tilt functions. It also controls inputs to things like exciters and actuators used in the games.

We also go into the individual specs of the models available.

You have the option to buy a cabinet without the PC if you already have a good PC to throw into the cabinet. No hardware or software is locked or restricted, so upgrading the gear is easy.

32:00 - How does the software work?

Dave explains why the software exists and the problems it solves.

While installing the software through Baller Installer makes it much simpler, getting your head around how VPX works can take several months.

An installer can also help get around the issue of community assistance and help non-tech folks experience digital pinball without frustration.

You can install FX3 and other Steam software and link them to the pinball machine’s front-end.

39:30 - Pin Sim VR

Pinball in VR is the way to play for sure.

The Pin Sim VR is a self-contained pillar with outputs for monitors and the headset itself.

The system can also be a base station for all VR games, not just pinball.

While Dave hasn’t tested the system with AirLink, it should be possible.

All audio and callouts are fed through the headset. Mechanical sounds are fed through the exciters and transducers, which are positioned right near your hands.

53:00 - Cabinet art and the future of VPX

Dave describes how they have a selection of art available, or you can supply your own art and have it printed.

He also describes what is happening in the VPX space with Unity and Unreal 5. This change in graphics framework opens up huge opportunities for ray tracing and lighting in these digital pinball recreations. Also, how about the concept of the Meta Arcade, where you can browse a virtual arcade filled with simulated tables? And what about designing pinball tables in Augmented Reality (AR) Dave reckons this is going to become the norm.

60:00 - Guitar Pro has 9000 games!

The Guitar Pro cabinet is pretty sweet. There are 9000 tracks on the cabinet, and the controllers are solid.

Dave goes into the iterations he had to do with controller selection and how you can connect other instruments like electronic drums and DJ Hero peripherals.

He even wants to do a SingStar machine. Get the band together!

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Cabinet backbox art

If you want to make your digital pinball cabinet look amazing, why not use our free backglass images for your build.

Jared Morgan
Written by Jared Morgan Follow
Technical writer, product person, VR junkie.