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Gaming Hacks by Simon Carless

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Create and Play Pinball Tables

Design your own virtual pinball table.

It makes a lot of sense that people can play classic arcade games by taking the code and writing hardware emulators. It’s easy to emulate computing machines, but how about pinball machines? How do you emulate physical objects?

You’ll need a decent construction kit to set up ramps, bumpers, flippers, and ball physics, much like the classic EA ’80s title Pinball Construction Set by Bill Budge. Fortunately, the Pinball Construction Set for the ’00s is here, in the form of Randy Davis’s freeware Visual Pinball.

Visual Pinball Overview

Download the latest Tech Beta of Visual Pinball from the official site (http://www.randydavis.com/vp/download.htm). Unfortunately, it’s a Windows-only program. More unfortunately, you also need the latest versions of DirectX, Windows Script (available with Internet Explorer 5.01 or above, Windows 98/ME, or Windows 2000/XP), and also Windows Media Player to install the audio runtimes.

Some versions of the game were limited betas, so if you grab one of those, it’ll say that your time is up, and you can’t play. However, the author decided to take away this limited-time status, so just hunt around on sites such as VPForums (http://www.vpforums.com/) for an executable without the time limit. This is perfectly legitimate and creator-approved, not a time-crack of any kind.

After installing the program, run it. Because it’s really a construction kit into which you can load games, you’ll see that ...

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