Virtual Pinball Project


One project several of Forbes Road CTC's students have been working on is designing, building and programming  a "virtual" pinball machine. This prototype will be programmed to play like classic pinball machines of the past.
The objective of this project is to have students from several different programs (Computer Networking and Security, Information Technology, Multimedia, Electrical Technology and Building Construction, Machine Tool, Advertising Design) collaborate through each phase of the project, from concept, design, engineering, construction, programming and testing. The students will then display and discuss with younger students the project and the skills needed to accomplish the task, as part of career fairs and career exploration.
Visual Pinball and PinMame were used as the backend software that will run the virtual pinball machine. Visual Pinball is a freeware video game engine for pinball tables and similar games. The software is composed of an editor and a simulator. The editor uses Microsoft VBScript for user programming and the game itself is written in C++.  
PinMAME (Pinball Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is used for emulating CPUs and the connected ROMs used in modern pinball tables, as opposed to tables with solid-state electronics/electro-mechanical mechanisms that contain no ROMs or advanced ICs in their hardware design.


Project Leaders Kahlil Johnson and Skyler McLeod working on a pinball table

PinMame rendition of DMD for Bally's Attack From Mars

Currently the team has seven working tables on the backend. Work is about to be started on the frontend software which will control the user interface.

After completing a working prototype, Forbes Road was awarded with a Great Idea Grant to create two full size virtual pinball machines.

Students are now focusing on taking the prototype to the next level thanks to the Great Idea Grant.
As shown at the left, two of our top students (Wesley Lewis and Kahlil Johnson) unbox one of the virtual pinball cabinets. Our Machine Tools Technology class now has this one in order to draw up the blueprints for the second one using a program called AutoCad.
After this step is completed those blueprints will be used by the Building Construction class to replicate another full size pinball cabinet. While waiting for the blueprints to be made, the large screen flat panel TV's were delivered. These screens will be used as the playfield and backglass for our machine.