Pinball simulation
Future Pinball

The new pinball emulation (developed by Christopher Leathley in 2004!) Future Pinball is found at
Future pinball webpage
You need at least Microsoft Windows XP - win10 running open GL >=1.4 and >=DirectX8. Windows 98/ME/NT/2000 are not supported! FP is running on my systems since Win7 to 10 without problems.

If your looking for news, a forum or new tables there is one way: PinSim DB

What seems to be the difference or the benefit to the "old" Visual Pinball/VPM? Is FP really the better pinball emulation?
What are the ressources needed to play FP. Next paragraph tells about my impressions with FP.

FP as well as VP allows you to create pinball tables with your own layout and rules just as you like or to rebuild real machines. FP gives you (more) prefabricated tableparts for modelling at hand. The brilliance of the graphics is astonishing but to enjoy this you need a highly efficient graphic-card. Scripting is necessary for determining the tablerules etc. Altogether I just did some scripting for one VP table a long time ago. Doing layout would be more my favorite. But no time and few abilities with the necessary skills.

My first encounter with FP was a bit disappointing because of a Geforce MX 440. Unchecking every vidoe option to minimum/off still didn`t lead to a proper ballspeed. Well another graphiccard (a Geforce 6200 - I know it´s not one of the latest models, but who wants to invest in one of the latest and still expensive card just for one game that needs some more videopower?) at hand that was installed instantly. Well, videooptions to minimum and there was quite proper performance and ballspeed combined with absolutely brilliant graphics. With actual low budget cards there should be few problems.

After playing over 1.100 FP pinsims (2019) I think FP has catched up on physics to VP. VP 9.x often feels a bit too fast, on early VP10 this seems a problem on most tables at least with my hardware. 10.6 plays "normal" again.

Balls going through walls seems to have been a problem at the beginning of FP and when shot hard the ball may jump high up and gets stuck somewhere behind plastics or other objects. Slow balls may stick at horizontal rubbers or spinners. When pushing the plunger the ball may be stopped several times by the gate of the "plungerlane". On some tables ramps seem unaccessible only every x-th ball will really go up all the way. What really gets me mad are some of the slingshots. Surely different with each table, but once "captured" in the slingshots, some of them shoot the ball pretty certain into the outlanes draining. Perhaps it´s too long ago I played real machines but in my eyes this isn´t normal. As a cruel testing object try out Sheherazade.
Another thing is the aiming. I think it is more inaccurate than in VP !? The feeling is that the ball very often won`t go where you intended/aimed to. Espescially when trying to shoot with the tip of the flippers.

In 2014 new versions with different/better? physics were developed. I think it is rather a mess having so many variations. I was quite satisfied with physics1.0 (instead of 2.5, 2.6 ...DOF (_Linx)). So several tables crashed after loading and "Getting ready to play" or started with "Pinball meditation error". I had BAM (better Arcade mode) installed but I guess wrong. In 2020 I used a package for installing FP+BAM (backup your tables ..!) or only BAM. Developed and hosted at BAM webpage After I installed and copied the xml files in my FP table folder to the XML-folder of BAM (mostly in C:/Future pinball/BAM/XML), hey almost all of them worked! Be a bit patient when first you see the table only bl/w, guess depending on your hardware, I had to wait up to 40sec for start. With "Q" you can changes things like brightness and day/night balance (I doon`t like tables beeing dark) or with key "c" you may change the camera view. Test for yourself! The graphical capabilities of FP have grown enormously.

Still I tend to VP for the better playing. But decide for yourself!
Here you find some links for more infos and some download-sites.

FP and VP in comparision

Features Future Pinball Visual Pinball 8+9 and VPinMame
hardware/system needed XP, Win7, Win8+10 without problems; not natively on Mac yet (parallels might work or win on bootcamp), Linux seems to work with the Wine compatibility layer on some versions XP, Win7, Win8+10 without problems; not natively on Mac yet (parallels might work or win on bootcamp), Linux seems to be working fine with Wine
graphics brilliant look with every table, more and more specialities as moving targets, plastics ... as well many options strongly depending on the programmers capabilities and software, in VPX very good graphics whilst many tables are in "night mode" I don`t like. I want to see where ramps + targets are !
programming seems very similar (Visual Basic !?). I`m not fit in programming so have a look at the "inside" for yourself
physics nearly realistic; I have the feeling, that the aiming is a bit more tricky nearly realistic; For my liking the VP9+10`s (early versions) ballspeed seems on several tables unnaturally fast. 10.6 is ok
size of file/download usually from 5- to 40 MB, some about 130MB normally about 3-30 MB but 100MB is possible depending on the graphical work
number of new tables (do-it-yourself) (12/2019) over 740
it seems new pinsims are done in FP
over 1190 (whereas 900 in old VP8)
new releases getting rare
number of conversions of real machines without roms
(starting before mid 70`s) (12/2019)
about 400
FP is catching up
over 700
most are done in VP8 (>390) lots on VP9 (120), VP10 is catching up with about 210. Of course many tables exist in every version
number of conversions of real machines with roms (especially newer ones) (12/2019) Few exist. I don`t know if the work of the rom is done by a program or add-in! Otherwise they seem to be made without roms (tables without videogames). My feeling several of them (Addams Family, Tales from the Crypt) play worse than the VP/VPM conversions over 560 conversions, most in VP8 (>490)/ VP9 (>330)/ VP10 (>290) many in several versions but running parallel
needed ressources especially high graphic power needed (support of hardware acceleration)
Fps=rendering frames per second should be well over 30
almost playable with every hardware, under VP9 you should have as well enough graphic power
starting Easy Installation. After starting FP you choose your table. It`ll takes some seconds to load. Then press play and the table will be initialised. Depending on the size of the tablefile it may take up to a minute! The faster your system and graphic the faster the whole loading. FP may crash when loading a table. Starting FP again and the table will be loaded normally. It may be due to poor hardware configuration. Easy with VP Installer 10.6 that has everything necessary.
Starting VP by picking your table and press start/play. VPM tables might take several seconds. In VPM you restart with key F3 pretty fast.
bugs At start or in game you may get the "meditation error" massage. Usually some fpl.file delivered with the table-file (.fpt) isn`t in the correct library.
Might go through walls, sometimes at slow speed getting stuck on rubbers and spinners. Worst: Some slingshots that kick the ball pretty frequently into the outlanes. Aiming with flippers seems to be more unprecise / unnatural
Not starting tables are rare with a correct installation.
Sometimes going through walls, fixed under VP9 the running through flipper of slow balls. Few tables seem to have no display/counter, I can`t say why.
counter visibility Depending on the author where he puts the counter, (otherwise with key "tab" = screen moves up to backbox during game!) else try the key left of key #1 to see a counter; in FP displays of several pinsims are not visible (at least with my resolution and fixed view), it might work with the view changed with keys F7, F3 or F4 visibly left or right from upper table area or where the programmer put it. VP 10 recreations come with backglasses needed for cabinets and some desktop tables without own counter. In VPM you can move the displa and enlarge it with F5.
tableview several views possible, most scrolling besides the keys F7 or F4/F3. I get mad when everything is in motion View, usually from up ahead with a certain inclination, by default by the programmer
music and sound shouldn`t be a problem, meanwhile I play many tables without sound

02/2020