FAST Friends Newsletter: April 2022
Hello FAST Friends!
March was a busy month for us, culminating with Aaron and me (Brian) attending Texas Pinball Festival 2022 from March 25-27. We had a talk and several big announcements which make up the bulk of what we'll cover in this month's newsletter.
The highlight of our month was attending TPF 2022 and giving our talk called "Indie Pinball Developers: Inquire Within". You can watch the replay video of our talk on Twitch via this link. (The full talk is about 50 minutes long.)
In our talk, we laid out our vision for the custom, indie, and homebrew pinball markets, as well as our product and platform strategy for the year. We quickly reviewed our current FAST Modern Platform and then introduced the FAST Retro Platform and the FAST Expansion Bus. We also talked about new controllers, new boards, commercial support for the Mission Pinball Framework, and introduced our upcoming FAST developer program.
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Announcing the FAST Retro Platform
One of our big announcements at TPF was the official introduction of the FAST Retro Platform. This platform is lets you replace your original MPU in a Bally/Williams System 11, WPC-89, or WPC-95 with a FAST Retro Platform controller. The FAST Retro controller contains the original "1.0" game ROMs and can run the original code just like an original board can. However, it also has the ability to run "2.0" or modern game code—whether that's something you buy (like in the case of FunHouse Rudy's Nightmare from Pedretti Gaming) or whether it's something you write yourself (using the Mission Pinball Framework or whatever game framework and/or language you want). More technical details are available at docs.fastpinball.com/retro.
The FAST Retro Controllers also integrate with the new FAST Expansion Bus components . . .
Announcing the FAST Expansion Bus
Another big announcement from us is the upcoming FAST Expansion Bus. One of the traditional challenges for pinball mod makers has been how to make the mods interactive with the running game in a pinball machine. Traditional techniques have involved clamping on to drivers, lamps, or switches in order to try to figure out what's happening, or to tap into the audio command bus, or to sniff and scrape the display bus.
At FAST Pinball, we decided to flip this model and go right to the source. If a FAST Retro Controller is running the original emulated game code, then that controller has a "birds eye" view of everything that's happening in the game. So we decided to put an RJ-45 expansion port on all our retro controllers which mod makers can plug-in to in order to see a live feed of events happening in the pinball machine.
This provides a standard and professional interface for mod makers that lets them create mods with more interactivity than has been possible in the past! Full details of the FAST Expansion Bus will be released in the coming months. In the meantime, you can read the latest technical documentation on the FAST Expansion Bus at docs.fastpinball.com/expansion.
Seattle Pinball Garage
Last month I wrote that I was in the process of setting up a workshop in Seattle known as the Seattle Pinball Garage. A lot of progress has been made in the past month, though I'm not quite done setting it up yet. (TPF and all this month's announcements have kept us busy!) I'm hoping to get the garage shop finished up in the next few weeks, and then we'll be able to start recording how-to videos and broadcasting podcasts and live streams from here. Happy Pinballing Everyone!
Brian, Aaron, Dave, & Eli FAST Pinball
Documentation Feedback? Requests? Confused?
Hi! I'm Brian, and I'm responsible for the documentation at FAST Pinball. If you have any feedback, requests, corrections, ideas, or any other thoughts about this documentation, please let me know! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
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