Oculus Rift Virtual Pinball Cabinet Mod!

Our virtual reality correspondent Jeremy Williams is also a huge pinball enthusiast. So when he first played Pinball FX 2 VR on the Oculus Rift, he knew he had to build a custom cabinet to play the game. Here’s his “PinSim”, a cabinet controller to play VR pinball with tactile controls and even an acclerometer-based nudge system!

Comments (28)

28 thoughts on “Oculus Rift Virtual Pinball Cabinet Mod!

  1. Yeah, HAD will be all over that, it’s right up their alley (no pun intended). Creative use of the accelerometer, too! 🙂 Well done!

  2. VR just became more interesting. I had hoped to see this first with Pinball Arcade, however after seeing Mars and thinking about the animated toys and dimensional details in the playfields of Pinball FX, i can see that too would be fantastic.

    I can’t wait for the plans. I’m certain to build one of these for my own!

    Great job Jeremy, and agree, this will change pricing for the premium pins that are available on Pinball Arcade. That’s turnabout since you could argue that it also drove up prices for some time as it legitimized and exposed some of the pins outside of the top 20.

  3. I would add a coin slot for quarters as the start button. You can then collect a little cash from your friends who will be dying to play and finance your future VR Pinball purchases.

  4. I love how Jeremy is talking and norm is pretty much checked out because he’s sucked into the playing of the game. If that doesn’t tell you how immersive the experience is, nothing will.

    This is super high on my radar. I got into pinball about a year and a half ago (via pinball arcade, then full of Virtual Pinball, then finally actual machines – turns out not nearly as good in reality as I am on the computer screen ;). But immediately saw the potential of VR and put the hobby on hold for the last year as I figured VR would take it to the whole next level.

    While Pinball FX and The Pinball Arcade are nice, they definitely have their issues (mostly re: the physics simulation). There are other Virtual/Computer pinball offerings (Visual Pinball 10 (VPX) open source, but technically not actual 3d, so probably not great for VR) that give a better experience, but they don’t really seem as immediately ripe for VR.

    There was actually a Kickstarter recently (“Pinball labs”) that unfortunately didn’t quite make it’s goal, which is a shame as VR support was a key component (I think there was a demo version released for for DK2) of it. It was supposed to combine the best of both worlds (fully 3d (UE4) so great vr, a realistic physics library so it played close to the real thing) and additionally full editor support so you could make (or re-create) your own tables. I was really dissapointed to see this not take off, as with VR I could imagine pinball enjoying an even larger Renaissance. Forget the small innovations some are trying with the LCDs or modular playfields, with full 3d VR all sorts of interesting things become possible.

    Either way, even if this never comes to fruition, for $100 and a 2 day build I’d still be super happy with just Pinball FX and, god willing, TPA.

  5. What a great idea, Jeremy! I’m far from getting into virtual reality but this looks amazing! This is going to be the next birthday present for a friend of mine. Maybe I’ll customize it specially for him.

    I just wondered if it has the same feel of weight as a real cabinet? Some players (like me) nudge it with their knee and I think the PinSim might fall over.

    I have two EM pinballs and I love the ‘feedback’ from the flipper-solenoids. They make the cabinet move a tiny bit. Maybe include 2 dummy ones and augment the realism…

  6. I love the concept Jeremy. I would like to apply that button/controller idea to a control panel for space sims. What did you end up using to emulate the xbox controller? I have a prototype all wired up mounted to a foamcore panel all dressed up with nowhere to go. By the way the pinball legs are a nice touch.

  7. Fantastic idea and build Jeremy! I can see a whole bunch of people digging out the tools do do a similar build. Has Adam seen this yet? Guaranteed he’d be all over it for a one day build. As Redadder says above, does it have the same feel of weight as a traditional table?

  8. SWEET!!!

    Very cool Jeremy!

    Question: Is your lack of interest in producing these a result of your experience with the Game Frame ?

  9. Thanks guys!

    I’m not interested in doing kits because it’s a time sink if done right and I don’t have the time to sink right now.

    No, Adam has been out of town. He’d be an amazing person to work with but he’s also extremely busy.

    I used x360ce (https://github.com/x360ce/x360ce)

    Yeah, a real game is ~250 pounds. This is like 20 pounds. I think making it out of wood will add some heft, but if you really want to lock it down you’d want to screw the legs into some plywood that you also stand on. I’m not an aggressive nudger, so it works for me. I also thought about adding solenoids or relays for the flipper feedback. It would be cool but I don’t know if I want to go that deep.

  10. This is excellent. Pinball looks like a natural fit for VR, and this controller seals the deal. I’ll definitely be looking for your build guide, Jeremy. Thanks!

  11. Xinput works very much like the USB HID gamepads, but is actually a vendor specific device. I think they did that because of some of the restrictions in the HID specification (USB is a crime against engineers). Someone has already reprogrammed a Teensy LC to fake being a 360 controller, you can read about it at http://www.zlittell.com/2015/07/fightstick/

  12. Thanks for the link! I’ll try to implement this today. I couldn’t find any mention of this solution on the PJRC forum, and it didn’t turn on for me on Google. I bow to you superior Fu.

  13. On the podcast you suggested some near field hall or infrared sensors for the Plunger. What about a linear poti as used in sound mixing hardware?

  14. I haven’t used them before but you might be able to track the plunger using a magnetic based pot, such the MagnetoPot (http://www.spectrasymbol.com/potentiometer/magnetopots ). The only thing you would need to attach to the plunger is a magnet.

    It would be cool if they added support for tracking the cabinet position by attaching the touch controllers to the cabinet and then position the cabinet in VR based on the positions of the controllers.

  15. hey I want to suggest he makes his cabinet more like an arcade console so as to be able to play other games besides pinball. I love pinball and really want to try this, but I think just by adding a few buttons it can be used for just about any game it already has the joy stick.

  16. Amazing development!!

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