Pinball simulation
Future Pinball

The new pinball emulation (developed by Christopher Leathley in 2004!) Future Pinball is found at
Future pinball webpage
You need Microsoft Windows XP (SP1 or above) or Vista running openGL 1.4 and DirectX8. Windows 98/ME/NT/2000 are not supported! FP is running on my systems with Win7 and Win 8 and 10 without problems.

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. Turning every vidoeoption to minimum 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 1000 FP pinsims (end 2016) I think FP can´t yet quite beat the physics of VP even if VP9 feels a bit too fast on several tables, but they are close and you will have fun playing both!

Balls going through walls seems to have been a problem at the beginning but 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 gates. 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 just play them in FP without many changes. It`s getting more complicated playing the tables. I can`t see or feel better physics, I was pretty satisfied with physics 1.0. It seems you use FP with an additional program and specially altered pinsim files to use these physics.

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
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 movable targets, plastics ... as well many options strongly depending on the programmers capabilities and software
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
several new versions of physics, I don`t really see the changes
nearly realistic; For my liking the VP9`s ballspeed seems on several tables too fast
VPX the changes to VP9 I haven`t really feeled
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) over 1 00
it seems new pinsims are done in FP
over 2250 (about half of it in the older version VP8)
new releases getting rare
number of conversions of real machines without roms
(starting before mid 70`s)
about 360
FP is catching up
over 500
there aren`t many tables missing so its usually updates for new VP-versions
number of conversions of real machines with roms (especially newer ones) 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 580 conversions, most in VP9. VP8 runs parallel to VP9 so you can play all tables wanted. Many conversions already exist, few are new of recent machines(latest pinsims usually updates for new VP-versions
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 + VPX 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. During the installation you have to accept the default folders or choose your own. Then its done pretty fast.
Starting a game, you have to choose your table within the VP-screen. After that you press start/play. The pinsim is loaded. 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
Very few pinsims (rather VPM) have faulty code so the pinsim can`t be played or even started. In VPM the rom might be missing, so look for it and copy zipped in the rom-folder.
Sometimes going through walls, fixed under VP9 the running through flipper of slow balls.
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. Some newer tables I have to play view F4, otherwise no counter is visible. A higher resolution isn`t possible with the graphiccard.
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 no problems here