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slippifishi

What am I doing wrong?

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So I have been really excited by some of the work carried out in this forum and the amazing things that are now going on with my pindmd3, to the extent that I want to have a go at an altcolor project myself. To understand the basics, I started work on Star Trek TNG, as the ROM dump is already available elsewhere on this site. Having read through and practised cb3's excellent tutorial on the use of Pin2DMD Editor (looking forward to part 6/keyframing dynamic scenes!), I have created a very simple project where I have done some very simple work on the first few hundred frames of teh attract sequence - the star trek logo, basically.

But i'm obviously doing something wrong, and have been tearing my hair out for a few days trying again and again but to no avail. Everything looks OK in the editor, the colours seem OK, and I am able to export the .pal and .vni files successfully. But when I transfer these to the cab I notice two problems:

  • The DMD is showing everything in greyscale/shades of white (ie. I don't see my updated pallette)
  • My colour changes don't seem to be taking effect (ie. I don't see "shades" of white where I have used different colours in the editor - star trek titles are blue vs the next generation subtitle is orange, but on my display they are both the same shade of solid/bright white)

I have had a look at the project XML file, and one thing that does confuse me and is not covered in any tutorials I can find, is the duration field(s) - there is a duration field for time in milliseconds and/or frames, but not sure what impact this has, if any. Any suggestions on where I might be going wrong, or how I might debug/identify the cause.

For what it is worth ,I have attached my project files; to save attachment size I have neglected to add the source dump, but it is available here at VPU (see below). I hasten to add that I am confident my pinDMD3 is working correctly with the latest freezy DLL, other projects from this site are working fine, it's just my own one giving me problems :(

I would love to get this working, and while I am no artist, I would hope I could at least get the ball rolling on adding some more polish to this already excellent game :)

sttng_l7.zip

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Thank you for your help malenko - I do, I have have tried with a single replace keyframe (at frame 7); admittedly this is a very simple frame with no a lot going on (a star field), so...

...when that didn't work I tried adding a second keyframe a little further along in the animation when there is "more going on" and the actual logo itself displays, the exact frame # escapes me but lets say its about 30 i think, in case the earlier frame was not being detected or the hash conflicts with other frames somewhere.

I think I understand the keyframing side of things (for static scenes at least), I wonder if I am using the editor wrong? I will also add that I have tried reducing the number of pallettes from the default 8 down to a single pallette with my chosen colours, but everything is still greyscale when I run it. It's not even all the same shade of white, and that leads me to suspect I'm doing something wrong with the palette selection, but I can't work it out!

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I just had a look on your project. If you watch the preview image on the right when selected the first keyframe you triggered, you will see that the image is black. I added a keyframe 3 frames later and selected the second plane. I can not test it here as I do not have the table installed, but maybe give that a try...

sttng_l7.xml

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Thanks for your help! OK I think I understand what you are saying, and had a go adding a new key frame a few frames later and using plane 2, but this doesn't seem to have had any effect/made any change. Incidentally, the keyframe I thought I selected at frame 7 definitely has content - it certainly has a hash value for plane 1 (though none for other planes).

image.thumb.png.22e26f3c829a0a535dc4af52fd043cda.png

I'm confused as to where my DMD is getting all the shades of white from! I tried swapping my pin2dmd.pal file for another random one (I cant remember exactly which, Jurassic Park maybe?!) and STTNG runs using the JP colours from that *.pal file, though again there are no signs of any shading difference in line with my changes defined in the TNGIntro scene shown above. Additionally, I removed the project files completely from the altcolor folder and confirmed that the PinMAME default colours are set to red and they aren't coming from there - it's like there is a fall back pallette somewhere and it is using that? Or perhaps NO pallette information is being set and just a brightness value being used, which explains the "shades" of white I see?

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That sounds strange... maybe I could help you if I am able to install the table tomorrow... I just did a new project for that scene. To be sure that this issue is not caused by a broken project, please try again with the attached project files. Maybe the problem is caused by a broken palette or something like that...

sttng_l7_new.ani

sttng_l7_new.xml

pin2dmd.pal

pin2dmd.vni

Do other colorizations like AFM or MM work correct? Be sure you have the latest freezy´s installed and running correctly on your system and your table uses the right rom...

Edited by NetzZWerg

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That's fantastic thank you, and I am now making some progress.

The pin2dmd pal & vni files you supplied do not work as you provided them - I get a broken yellow/orange pallette across the board. But when I tweaked the path to the gzip file in the project XML and re-exported myself, the new pal & vni files work and I see the scene coloured as expected! I also notice the vni file you included is approx 8MB, but the one generated when I export the same project myself comes in around 300KB - I literally have changed nothing other than the path to the gzip?! I believe I am using latest PIN2DMD Editer v2.5.0.3, so perhaps a version mismatch explains that? Maybe I am overthinking this :D

It is getting late for me now, but I will try making some additional changes/few extra scenes to your version of the project tomorrow and see if these continue to render as intended.

Thank you again for your help; I am literally foaming at the mouth in anticipation for your TOTAN release ;) :D

EDIT: And yes, I am running latest Freezy DLL and all the other projects available here work in glorious technicolor - I am in awe of what I am seeing and hence why I want to get involved! :D 

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I see what is different here; your project scenes use Color Mask mode, whereas I was under the impression from CB3s tutorial that I should use Replace mode for colouring non-dynamic scenes such as these? I really must switch off now so my cab is turned off and I can't try and experiment more this evening, but have I misunderstood the meaning of this feature?

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You are able to switch between the modes as often as you need to have a good workflow. It is right that for non dynamic content you should use the replacement mode, in my original project I sent to you I also used it. The dcs soundsystem scene is a 1 frame scene, so we could use both modes . As soon as you assign a scene to a keyframe it will use the mode, the scene is ACTUALLY using. You will see the symbol for replacement or color mask in front of the keyframe. This is my way of colorizing static scenes in short:

First I cut out the scene I want to colorize. I leave it in CM mode and colorize every 3rd frame (the clear ones, leaving out the "dirty inbetween frames" like I call them). I use the copy and paste or paste over feature of the editor to do this faster. After that I change the scene to replacement mode and copy the colorized frames 1 back and 1 forward, so I will have 3 frames of the same image. Depending on the scene I can now add some details in RM mode and add the keyframe to trigger the scene.

This is just my way of working, hope it will give you a better understanding of the workflow.

Thanks for the drink,

Cheers :-)

 

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OK for the record I have returned to this today, and having created a fresh project using the one you supplied as a guide, everything is now working as expected; I have created new scenes and have even successfully experimented with detection masks and everything is working, for the most part, as I want. I really don't know what I was doing wrong with that first project, but either way the ball is rolling I guess so thank you again for your help. I think I will concentrate on non-dynamic scenes for now and get used to using the editor and switching between modes to accomplish the desired result and come back to the dynamic scenes later. My sessions in the editor seem to end with an (unexplained) crash more often than not, so I guess I need to get used to saving early and saving often - is the editor this unstable for everyone? I haven't looked into the cause just yet, and with frequent saving I can work around it for now.

One last question, please tell me if you know there is a shortcut key for next/prev frame, and if so, please tell me what that shortcut key is!? :) 

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First I can confirm the random crashes of the editor, they occur since I am working with the editor too. Thats why I also save after every small step, remembering some frustrating situations :-)

When it comes to editor bugs, let me tell you some more to be aware of:

1. If you rename a palette, do NOT hit enter, click the rename button instead. If you hit enter, you will get a java script error and the new palette will be found in the last slot with still the wrong name. (Also remember to hit the pal button for the scene to assign the palette to your scene.)

2. Never use the frame slider after you colorized a scene. This will delete all your colorization on that frame and you will have to do it again! Instead you have to click the one step forward/backward to save your colorized frame. Sadly there is no shortcut for moving forward or backward, so you will have to use the mouse.

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Hello again! I have been making some really good progress (I think), working out the best selection of scenes and key frames and finding optimal ways to apply the same colour mask to multiple key frames. I'd attach a few gifs but when I try and use teh export feature i'm left with pure black gifs :S

image.png.f77cffc2403b613f329c92288aea57a0.pngimage.png.ee28c6019ab4ae9523c4e32d928781ae.png

One thing still puzzling me though, is in relation to key frame selection and their hashes. Consider the following frames from TNG:

image.png.376ae6106ec4d67d202dd9f886a49c31.png

Above is frame 1 (4346 in the source, if you  care). It has one plane, and a hash of AF5455B2

image.png.73ea0a7c14cc8dcf59a7a2b368b4cfc1.png

Above is frame 2 (4349 in the source). It is essentially the reverse of the above frame, dots that were on are now off and vice versa. It has two planes, the second of which is AF5455B2. If I select the second plane, it shows me the opposite of what I see in the main display:

image.png.4d674d38d1053fb627a738490a06d2f2.png

Can anyone give me any clues what these planes represent? Why do some frames have multiple planes, and other frames only one? Assuming I set up a key frame using the hash AF5455B2 in the first screenshot, surely this would be picked up and applied again by the latter frame as it has the same hash (albeit on a different plane), so any palette or frame switch I tried to apply to hash 6F1DB3A6 would be overridden? Or would it? In the event multiple planes exist for a frame, and key frames exist for both plane hashes, which one wins? I guess I really don't understand what these planes represent - there are no "layers" of colour on my DMD, so where do these planes come from?

I appreciate any guidance anyone might be able to give!

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Hello, me again I'm afraid, with more plane questions. I'm still not sure I understand why there are multiple planes - the DMD is only displaying one plane, so how can there be two planes? Or should I think of planes as "layers" like in photoshop, and what I see on the DMD display is actually the combined effect of all four planes? I apologise for my ignorance with respect to this, I am well out of my depth in terms of understanding the actual DMD hardware/firmware/interfaces, I just love playing pinball and my DMD was fitted to my cab by a professional :D 

Putting that aside, a much more pressing and annoying question is: why some frames don't have any hash? I don't want to keep pasting examples, but in the TNG source there are a few frames relating to the startup of Qs Challenge, and none of these frames - which I was anticipating using as my key frame for starting my own colouring - have hashes; it's not until a significant part of the intro animation has played that a hash becomes available. How, if possible, can I get around this? For the record, the frames in question in the TNG source start at 39541 and a hash isn't available for selection until frame 39596 - am I simply unable to customise those 55 intervening frames? If so, "what a pity" as Q would say when you drain...

edit: nevermind about the hashes; I think this is another bug in the UI, the frame hash labels don't always update when I expect them to/don't always reflect what is in the preview window 

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1 hour ago, slippifishi said:

what I see on the DMD display is actually the combined effect of all four planes?

correct ! 

When I select frame 39541 it has 07EC7671 as hash which is a good starting point for the animation. I don´t understand why you have no hash selectable.

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9 hours ago, slippifishi said:

edit: nevermind about the hashes; I think this is another bug in the UI, the frame hash labels don't always update when I expect them to/don't always reflect what is in the preview window 

You need to check and uncheck the Mask checkbox to get the correct values. I reported the bug to steve.

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I am also fighting with the hash problems, sometimes there are different hashes showing up after I check and uncheck the mask checkbox... also the real pin export does not seem to work right anymore (tested for totan and taf). I already reported these problems to Steve too, I hope he will find a solution for this.

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On 7.10.2018 at 6:39 AM, lucky1 said:

You need to check and uncheck the Mask checkbox to get the correct values. I reported the bug to steve.

 

On 4.10.2018 at 8:02 PM, NetzZWerg said:

1. If you rename a palette, do NOT hit enter, click the rename button instead. If you hit enter, you will get a java script error and the new palette will be found in the last slot with still the wrong name. (Also remember to hit the pal button for the scene to assign the palette to your scene.)

2. Never use the frame slider after you colorized a scene. This will delete all your colorization on that frame and you will have to do it again! Instead you have to click the one step forward/backward to save your colorized frame. Sadly there is no shortcut for moving forward or backward, so you will have to use the mouse.

Should be fixed in the latest version

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Do you still get a error when hitting enter in the palette name field ? I sent you a PM to send me a copy of the precise error description.
I could reproduce the D-Mask problem an this got fixed by Steve. If you still have problems you might do something different.

 

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