Ghostbusters Pinball | Jeremy Packer & Dwight Sullivan | Stories from the Midwest Gaming Classic


– For the next panel, we
were very lucky to have three of the main people behind the design of the new Ghostbusters pinball machine from Stern Pinball come to join us. Designer John Trudeau and software engineer Dwight Sullivan were joined for the first
time publicly, I believe, by Jeremy Packer, who did the art for this particular machine. You’re going to get to see and
hear about how this machine came together into the incredible
masterpiece that it is. (upbeat techno music) – [Moderator] Alright,
we’re gonna get going here. How many of you have played the new Ghostbusters pinball game? Probably a good solid third of you. Okay, now by round of applause, how many think it’s awesome? (applause and cheers) Alright, these gentlemen
are here to talk about it and they’re gonna take
your questions on it. – Yeah, pretty much this’ll be a Q&A. We can run over the very genesis of the whole idea. It was something that I had liked for a long, long time, and it was one of those
magic things, I think, that we were just lucky
enough to get teamed up here to generate ideas. (audience talking) Yeah, we can. And furthermore, (chuckles) I’m accompanied here by Dwight Sullivan, he’s our lead programmer on the game, and Jeremy Packer, a.k.a. Zombie Yeti. He’s our artist on the game. (applause) Thank you guys for being here. Yeah, we’re just pretty much going to have a nice little Q&A here. Let’s start it off, anybody? Nobody wants to talk about it? – [Man] I have a question and a follow-up to start off.
– Yeah, man, go. – [Man] Did you use any of
the actors from the movies, their voices, in the game? – Yes we did, we used Ernie Hudson. We did a lot of audio outtakes from the movie soundtrack itself. You want the mic? – No, I was going to move the chair. – We got somebody else? Okay. There was Ernie. He was the one selling it. He was very, very interested
in doing it for the game. I worked with him on
Congo before at Williams, and we had a good time then, and he still has his Congo
and he’s looking forward to getting a Ghostbusters, I’m sure. – [Man] Okay, and the
follow-up to that is, a lot of the times these actors will get their own personal
version of the game where they record custom voice dubs. Did he do any of that? – I don’t know about customized. – No, I think is the answer. (laughter) – [Man] Short and sweet.
– Yeah. So Ernie and I, going into the studio, I don’t think he did any
special features for himself. – Not for himself. I thought I got rid of it. – [Moderator] Your questions. I see you, I’ll come back. – Give us a mic, there you go. – [Man] Good afternoon
and thank you very much for joining us. The question to you is, how early on in the process did you decide on the direction of the artwork and bring Jeremy on board, in terms of, did you make the decision early on to use the comic, hand-drawn style artwork, as opposed to the standard
Photoshop-type movie assets, or was that later in the process? Can you kind of describe how that whole event came about? – Yeah, our art director, Greg Ferris, he’s around here somewhere. There he is. He says, “I got this guy, see.” I go, “You know a guy?” Yeah, he knows a guy that does just gangbusters artwork. And he showed me some samples and I said, “That’s pretty cool.” I said, “What else could he do?” He said, “Wait.” And I guess he gave you some ideas to sketch up for us. – Yeah, sort of. The way it worked from my end was, and I promised I would do a shout-out, Dennis Nordman actually took me to meet Ray ’cause he said I needed to talk to him. And when I got there, I was so enamored with the fact that Greg looks like Martin Sheen that…
(laughter) Sorry, he doesn’t like
that joke but I won’t stop. Basically, it’s one of
those things where we met. We talked a little bit and a couple weeks went by and
we had sort of kept in touch. And at one point, he said, “well, I might
have something for ya. “Could you do an ink
sketch of Bill Murray?” And at that point, I emailed him back and I used some colorful language and I said, “It better be Ghostbusters.” And thankfully, it was. And so I did a few sketches of likenesses of different actors and
things of that sort. I don’t know, probably a week went by and they called me back, so I guess that was okay. – Okay. – [Man] I gotta ask you about LCDs. It became the home run. It just seemed like it would have been perfectly suited to have
to make the transition to an LCD, why didn’t you guys do it or wait ’til the… What’s going on with that? – We weren’t ready to pull
the trigger on it yet. That’s basically it. Putting an LCD in the game is huge as far as investment time, engineers, artists, animations, and it’s not easy to do. We weren’t 100%, and this
game definitely deserved 100%. So I’d rather have the dot matrix in there and getting our black and
white artwork on the screen, so to speak. But there is an LCD in it. Between the LE and the Premium. It’s only about this big. (laughter) – Yeah, we’re moving toward
LCD as fast as we can. And we wanna do it right. Ghostbusters needed to be out now, and it wasn’t time for it. But I think the dots on
Ghostbusters is awesome. So I don’t think it’s missing that much. – [Man] Do you know of any specific plans for an LCD game coming in the future? – Yes.
– Yeah. (laughter) The official answer, right? Jody said it on some
podcast some place that 2016, we’re gonna do an LCD game. And we’re still on track for that. – Thank you. – [Man] Was the timing of
doing Ghostbusters this year tied in at all to the
female Ghostbusters movie that’s coming out later this year? And if that’s the case, could you do like a scene of that
movie on this machine? – No and no. No really, it’s totally a coincidence. I had wanted to do Ghostbusters for years, and it finally just came up. I don’t know if that was a part of the motivation
to get the license, and I’m not the person
to answer that question, but I was just very happy
to see that they did it. And as far as I’m concerned,
it’s just a coincidence that the reboot, so to speak,
is happening this year. – [Man] Second question,
in playing the game, there are these unique for lack of a better term,
plugs, with little standoffs in the bottom corners of the outlands. – Yes, they are. – [Man] Can you tell
us what those are for? – No.
(laughter) But I can tell you that it’s a possible mod. Okay, and we want to make all the machines available to the mod. – [Man] I know in about
a month there’s gonna be a bunch of launch parties where people are able to
play the games themselves, and I know the big question
which no one can answer that is, when are they going to get
to see the Premium and the LE with the special features? Do you know if it’s gonna
be ready to be played at those launch parties, a Premium or LE? And the second part of that question is, when will we get a video
or be able to see it? – Probably not anytime within the next month or so. Right now, the Pros are
coming down the line and they’re concentrating on that. And polishing up the LE, pretty much. It’s gonna come. We’ve got a few examples
that went down the line on a trial basis, and everything
seemed to go pretty well. You wanted to say something? – I can imagine that. I’m working on the LE now. And I can imagine that show that you won’t be able to hold back, that within a few days, a week or two, that he’ll be in my office filming something, sneak
little preview videos of stuff. And so I think within
the next week or two, you’ll see videos. – [Man] How far along does it go? – We released 1.0 a few days ago– – These games reflect, the
Pro’s chipped in there. – I’m pretty proud of it. 1.0, I would call it complete. The game has wizard
modes, the game, it’s fun, it has wizard modes, it has… Everything has dots,
everything has counts. It’s as complete as it needs to be. If you’ve never changed the code, I don’t think you would ever complain. Now, if there’s bugs, I’m gonna fix the bugs. I will make new releases as soon as I can. Yesterday, I was working
on a game and modes button that I don’t wanna talk about. (laughter) It took me all day. – [Man] I have a question about the code. I notice on the game, you have
the color-changing inserts with Sudden Shot And you also
have the No Ghost sensors. Is there a possibility, how on some modes, making the shot, the specific shot you’re
looking for is always positive. Is there a possibility to make it so, if you don’t make the shot you want, it’s gonna be a more negative forge when you’re trying to accomplish? – Yeah, that’s a whole design philosophy that you’re touching on
that I’m kind of against. Sometimes I do it, but
most of the time I don’t. And I don’t know, maybe John’s different. Most of the time, I don’t like, like, “Shoot, I didn’t
mean to make that shot, “I didn’t want to make that shot.” I don’t want to penalize
a person for making a shot that they didn’t want to make. – Yeah, I hate penalizing the player. Because he just doesn’t get the reward, he gets his penalty. – Yeah, you want to make
everything positive. You want to bring that
negative up to a zero or a small positive. And like, the really
cool thing is over here, and the weak cool thing is over here. And if you shot the weak cool thing, you’re still cool, but
you’re not as cool as– – You’re not way cool. – Yeah, but it’s never negative. That’s a philosophy that I belong to. – [Man] John, you mentioned it. You had this desire to make
the Ghostbusters prior. That is, kinda go through
the whole process of what your conception was, back
when you desired to do it, and helped with what you have now. – That’s tough. The idea for the play field, some of the ideas on there, I had in my bank of ideas, pretty much. The LE and the Premium
reflect more of those ideas than the Pro does. But the Pro came out so good, and we were so happy with
the way that it plays. It was like, it’s complete enough. It’s really a fun game. And I enjoy playing the Pro. But the LE and the Premium
have a couple little features. I’ve got a, like I mentioned
before, the LCD screen, which projects a virtual image on the game that you’re looking through what they call is a one-way or two-way mirror,
I’m not sure what you call it. But the image appears
to be on the play field, and it’s animated. It’s a ghost, things moving around. And yes, he’s going to be a special ghost. And probably worth
substantial more points. The other feature was
the subterranean ramp. And that idea I had kicking
around for quite some time. And I said, “This is the
perfect game to do it on.” And due to its cost,
it’s not just the ramp. Also covering off what happens if the ball gets stuck down there. We can’t have that, so we
have a way of getting it out. And actually, we have a way of
storing the balls down there so we’ll have a real ball
lock, instead of virtual. And it came together real fast after that. The layout was very easy
for me to go through. And I’m just ecstatic, the way it came out and the reception has been fantastic. I’ve got one happy camper here. Actually, three happy campers. Thanks. – [Man] Is there anything
that you wanted to put in the game that you could not? – Yeah, that was those little plugs, that someone was talking about earlier. Yeah, those kinda had to
go by the wayside for now. But we didn’t give up on them totally. – [Man] Round three here. Can you describe the
process, the situation as, where you decided what
elements from the first movie and what elements from the second movie you were gonna use in the storytelling, in the theme, in the art, et cetera? Seems to be very heavily
weighted towards the first movie. Was that a conscious decision? – Yes, it was. The first movie dealt with all the magic. I think they tried to recapture it, in my humble opinion, in the second movie, and didn’t quite do it
as well as the first one. There’s a real negative vibration you get from the second movie, I
get from the second movie. The Vigo character is pretty evil, whereas the bad things in the first movie are still funny. Simon’s funny, Stay Puft is funny, and even Gozer, the ultimate evil, doesn’t have a real, I don’t know, a personality
that you could really hate, like Vigo, where you could. So I brought a few things in. We’ve got the pink river slime. What else we got in there? – Scoleri Brothers.
– Oh yeah. The Scoleri Brothers, they
were probably the highlight for me on the second movie. You use the judge’s chamber,
that was cool stuff. – [Man] Is this the
first time you’ve worked with a license? And, how did you… Would you still choose that license, as they’re infamously imposing? – I’ve worked with licenses in the past, just not on something quite of this scale. So I was familiar with… For the most part, I was gonna
have to make concessions. But that was okay. That’s kinda what I do, I mean, that’s what we all do is, you make concessions all the time. So it’s like problem-solving
and as you go, there are new problems and
then you just solve them. I will say that for me personally, even considering the scope, Sony was really great
throughout this entire process. They were very supportive. Greg was fantastic, as far as our directors go. I rank him up in the top two. (laughter)
No, he’s number one. He was great, he was great. Creative people tend to
occasionally get uncreative, and he was really good at
keeping me in the creative zone and he never said no to anything, which was probably because he just didn’t want to hear me talk, but it worked to our benefit. So overall, it was great,
it was a great experience. It went really quick, even
considering the size of it, and it was smooth sailing. But across the board, I was
a huge Ghostbusters fan. All these guys were. So the energy was high throughout. And I think it shows. – [Woman] Thank you very much. – [Man] Would you want this turn again? – Absolutely not, not a chance. (laughter) I might. What I said… Actually, I told my wife
after it finally came out, I said, “The best thing
I could possibly do “is probably never do another pin again.” That’d be kinda good, right? ‘Cause then I– – Life after winning the Superbowl. – ‘Cause then I can’t fail. Yeah, expectations would be
high the second time around. There’s discussions of it, I guess. Maybe, something like that. Do you want me to tell you what it is? (laughter)
– Yeah. – I can, but… – [Man] Has the topper changed at all from the first time they saw it on the– – Yeah, it’s gotten
cleaned up a little bit. That was the prototype, yeah. – [Man] As a collector, the whole LE idea bugs the heck out of me. They sell out in a day, or a few hours for
people who know about it. Why bother at this point? Why not just call it an SE? Make as many as demand warrants, and do exactly the same thing, exactly the same Pro, Premium, LE, SE, whatever. A lot of companies
that, they make products that they call LEs, that
everyone knows are not. Why continue down this road? Doesn’t make any sense. – Marketing is not our strong suit, but I’ll attempt to give you an answer. The LE is just that,
it’s a limited edition. They’re gonna make 500 whether the game is a big hit or not. And that’s all there are. If you want a game with
all those features on it, get the Premium. ‘Cause it’s basically
pretty much the same game. It’s got different cabinet,
little different artwork, but the game is there. The game is the same. So the LE is just for that, it’s for the people that can get it, and get in the orders early. This one was an exception
because it still leaks that we’re coming out of
this like, months before we were set to announce it. And it was kind of just a
laughing matter at some point. Said, “Boy, did they get that one wrong,” or “Boy, did they get that one right.” We’re still looking to see where some of those pictures came from. But that’s basically it. LE is the LE. I think what they did with this one, by limiting it to 500,
it was a good number. I think that those people with the LEs will have a nice investment. – [Woman] Which one’s which? – Sorry it’s not the
answer you wanna hear. (chuckles) – I’ll add one thing,
from an art perspective. ‘Cause I… I understand where you’re
coming from, obviously. I’m a longtime collector of
many things, so I get it. For me personally, from what I try to do, from
the art perspective is, I’m trying to make sure that
nobody felt short-changed. So you can look at all
three packages and go, “Okay well, those are okay.” And for the most part,
I don’t think anybody likes uranium, I’m told. Was it you? I don’t know. So I figured an LE, yeah, it’d be really great. Nobody wants that. But apparently, they do, because
it’s an LE, I don’t know. Actually, I like that one. I think, at the end of the day, the benefits to be had, coming from the outside in, as this was my first experience in the big boy world of pinball. I can say that what I saw, again, problems arise and we have to solve them. And sometimes, that means you have to cut some features out because of certain areas, and that leaves them for the other. But yeah, I’m following you. – [Man] I think the people
that are buying two of them and pose for a game demo… The idea that the investment, the way that you’re describing it, it’s a fake investment. The investment is the
game, and the quality, and everything that you guys produced. The limited number, it just, it boggles my mind. And I have a Kiss LE. Don’t come in and stab me. I’m not philosophically opposed to having a special edition or a LE. The idea of something
selling out without it really being available to people, I gotta say, it’s wrong. And plus, you guys are
leaving money on the table. You’re giving it to people
that didn’t work on the game, that don’t work for Stern. If it is a fast win, if it does double in value, whatever, which it probably won’t. – Triple. (audience members talking) – I understand what you’re saying. You have to realize that Louie anticipated all the leaks that came out. If nothing had happened on
the day that it was announced, and nobody knew about it, everybody has the same chance. This was totally leaked, totally wrong. Not only does it kill what you’re saying, this limited edition’s already sold, it kills the game before it. For me, Game of Thrones is a great game. Did it affect its sales? I would probably guess yes. I’m not saying it did, but it’s my personal guess. And I think that’s wrong. That’s why we don’t
want to announce a game until it’s ready to go. And these leaks, I guess
we’re still investigating where they came from. (laughs)
(audience members talking) We have the tightest security. Basically, that’s what it comes down to. – [Man] Being a 30-year-old license, you got into projects for
dealing with likenesses, and then also, will there
be an estate involved, since Harold just passed away? – What was the first part about licenses? – [Man] Being a 30-year-old license– – Oh, the license. Doesn’t seem to be a problem. No, they were more than
willing to talk to us. And they were happy
that we were interested, even though they knew
the new movie was coming. And the second part was? – [Man] I’ve heard parts
of your stories about artists having to deal
with likeness approval, with that being 30 years’ difference between the actors then and now, were they involved in that? And again, Harold’s passed away, did you deal with an estate in that? – Greg, would you like to come up? You have to run it by each of the actors. – And estates.
– And estates. But for the most part, again, Sony was very supportive. And especially with the
style that I approach with was not meant to be dead-ringer likenesses. And I think that actually
was for our benefit. Yeah, they had to approve everything. And actually, they were all… Some harder to get ahold of than others, but they were all very… I think Greg probably talked about this. I think Sony helped quite a bit obviously facilitate that communication. – [Man] Were there any
changes that you had to make? – Absolutely not, everything
was exactly as we wanted. (laughter) No, there were very few. As a matter of fact, most of the changes, and I don’t know what I’m not
supposed to talk about, so I won’t talk about everything, but there were very few. And some of them were textual. Like small, very small changes. In particular, Can I talk about the libraries? Yeah, New York Public Library. Apparently, that’s trademarked. So you can’t say New York Public Library, even though it’s on the
front of the door, whatever. So it became Public Library, which I think we put it together. – Statue of Liberty.
– Statue of Liberty, we had to take out. But for the most part,
as far as likenesses go, there was, I think, only one that says… You guys will know the
one I’m talking about. The one that said, “Make their face look less puffy.” (laughter) But, having said that, my style was Puffy Face, so
I thought, “What, really?” But that was it. Honestly, there were not many, and you guys can go ask Greg later and maybe he’ll tell you otherwise. We didn’t get a lot of
changes, which is good. Oh yeah, and less paint. It’s less… (chuckles) – Positive feedback from
the people that are involved is always a great thing to work with. Makes our job a whole lot easier. – [Man] Hi, actually this
is a question for Dwight. Can you talk a little
bit about the Premium and some of the differences
as far as the prop work, like the magnetic slings, stuff like that? – Sure. All the differences between
the Premium and the Pro are all physical. But I can speak to them, if you want. Because I’m currently
implementing them like, tomorrow. So there’s, let’s see, there’s the ramp that goes underneath. The main difference is,
it can lock three balls. So now, storage facility multi-ball now flips to a ball lock screen. It locks the ball and
kicks that other ball, puts it in play. Or it comes down, and the disk goes down and back up. Though some were changes, but it’s still very, very cool. Like, every single time the
ball goes down and back up, then I smile, I can’t stop myself. There’s the magnetic slings. The magnetic slings, we worked on… So we worked on, two January’s ago, for just a little while, and we got them to the point where, “Wow, that has to go in the game “and it’s perfect in this game.” And then we shelved it. ‘Cause we developed the Pro first. A lot of people don’t understand. The LE is designed first, but the Pro is developed first. So for months, I had the Pro in my room. I’m working on Pro code. Pro code, Pro fun, is very
important to all of us. So now, I’m working on the magnets again for a while. And we got them again working
like, a couple weeks ago. And again, they were like,
“Wow, that’s pretty awesome.” – These are not your daddy’s slings. – Yeah, that’s not your daddy’s slings. That was what we were saying. And we were bringing everybody
in my office that day when I got them back working
again a couple days ago. And yeah, these are not
your daddy’s slings. They don’t do what you expect. Sometimes they do really
weird, cool things. And you just gotta wait and see. So that’s two, what else? We have the Ecto Goggles. Ecto Goggles is Pinball 2000 shrunk down to one shot and when you’re looking at it… Like when you look at it when it’s not on, like, turn the game off, you see the magic. You’re seeing, underneath that hood there’s a hell’s green screen, and your brain tells you how it works. But when you’re playing, and you’re looking at the shot where your ball’s gonna go, you see a ghost, you see
Slimer floating there and you’re hitting him and
he melts into the ground, and that’s awesome. What else we got? We got slings, we got… Oh, we’ve got the Slimer. The Slimer Vac himself
moves left and right. He’s very, very cool on the Pro. I’m pleasantly, I love him on the Pro. And he’s even cooler on the Premium. On the Premium, he comes down, he comes out in the city,
he’s above the city. And he comes down out of the city and he moves back and forth. And you’re like game for him, and he moves out of your way, and then he comes back. He’s a lot of fun. – He can block your shots.
– Yeah, he can block the ramp, and he can block the spinner, and then he can go all the
way up to the firehouse in the back, so where he’s like, “Ha ha, you can’t get me,”
and then he comes back. – [Man] I have a question
about the magnetic slings, if you don’t mind.
– Sure. – I don’t know if you… All of us who have played
or owned a Jungle Lord have enjoyed the thought of actually almost flippering the ball
with those two magnets that you have, again, the
magnets they’ve built up. The game would control
the ball and actually give you two extra flippers
that you didn’t expect. Is there a possibility in the
Pro to have a special mode to have the ghosts controlling the ball, the Scoleri Brothers,
or something like that, where we can actually control them and that way we have a little
bit of extra fun with it? – Are you asking if the
player will control the ball using the magnets, or will
the ghosts control the ball? Because the ghosts controlling the ball is what the game does. The player controlling the
ball, I hadn’t even thought of. – Yeah, there’s always a possibility. – [Man] Go find a Jungle Lord and play it. (audience laughter) – Part of the problem is
just where the magnets are and where the slings are, there’s not a lot of control. It’s not like a magnet right up against… Right inside a lane or something where some are gonna give
you much more control. The slings are pretty random
what they do, sometimes. So I don’t know if that’s
feasible, but yeah, I think I’m gonna try it out,
now that you’ve said that. (upbeat techno music)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *