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Author Topic: Crazy story behind the 64-bit Windows Pinball  (Read 3526 times)

Paul Keith

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Crazy story behind the 64-bit Windows Pinball
« on: January 29, 2013, 12:53 AM »
From: http://www.instantfu...ball-and-how-to.html

When Windows 95 came out, one of the features of the new operating system was that it provided a great platform for gaming, and lots of developers were clamoring for a piece of the action. The game was originally developed by a game developing company called Cinematronics, who sold licensing rights of the game to Microsoft for inclusion in Microsoft Plus for Windows 95. For Cinematronics, a small software company then, it meant exposure to millions of Windows users and thousands of developers. The very next year Cinematronics was bought by Maxis, another game developing company, that eventually got acquired by Electronic Arts another year later.


    One of the things I did in Windows XP was port several millions of lines of code from 32-bit to 64-bit Windows so that we could ship Windows XP 64-bit Edition. But one of the programs that ran into trouble was Pinball. The 64-bit version of Pinball had a pretty nasty bug where the ball would simply pass through other objects like a ghost. In particular, when you started the game, the ball would be delivered to the launcher, and then it would slowly fall towards the bottom of the screen, through the plunger, and out the bottom of the table.

    Games tended to be really short.

    Two of us tried to debug the program to figure out what was going on, but given that this was code written several years earlier by an outside company, and that nobody at Microsoft ever understood how the code worked (much less still understood it), and that most of the code was completely uncommented, we simply couldn't figure out why the collision detector was not working. Heck, we couldn't even find the collision detector!

    We had several million lines of code still to port, so we couldn't afford to spend days studying the code trying to figure out what obscure floating point rounding error was causing collision detection to fail. We just made the executive decision right there to drop Pinball from the product.

I can't tell if this is good or bad news that Linux is lacking a game of this demand out of the box.  :P


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Re: Crazy story behind the 64-bit Windows Pinball
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 06:19 AM »
Humm, that site doesn't offer much more than Raymond's blog post, except screenshots and recommendations that are against the Windows EULA... and the "Windows 7 port" link (which has nothing whatsoever to do with "port") probably falls into to category of piracy :-)

Btw, if you're willing to violate the Windows EULA and grab the game files from an older version, you don't need to install the game - as I commented on the blog, you can simply copy the files off an XP CD and use Windows' EXPAND utility - you'll have to guess file extensions, though, but it's not rocket science.
- carpe noctem