One of the puzzles on Vpin is getting the table to display correctly on the main screen. This is called POV on vpin, for Point of View.
Aetios, our virtual pinball expert, explained it all to us in a podcast dedicated to virtual pinball at the end of 2022, but this type of tutorial is still easier to apply if you have it right in front of you. So here’s a written version of his recommendations for optimum POV settings in VPX (Virtual Pinball version 10) software! It’s a personal opinion, to be adapted to your own tastes.
- 1 POV on vpin: the insoluble equation
- 2 Advanced settings for POV
- 3 The field of view
- 4 POV Pincab: keep your settings without overwriting the original ones
- 5 Tinker with your Vpin without consequence
POV on vpin: the insoluble equation
A 16:9 pincab but an original tabletop that isn’t
As a reminder, most vpin tables are reproductions of real pinball machines. The problem is this: most pincab screens are in 16:9 format. But a physical pinball machine doesn’t respect these proportions. It’s more like an 18:9 format.
Even if table designers make their best efforts to offer their tables with optimized default settings, the top is inevitably shrivelled in the direction of its height.
Make fit more than a playfield on a screen!
But that’s not all! A good virtual simulation also gives you the pinball machine’s apron, i.e. the metal part that hides the hole through which the balls are evacuated. You’ll also find the rules of the game.
The back panel is also modeled. This is the vertical edge at the bottom of the playfield, on which a scenery is rendered.
The sum of these constraints results in a table that looks as if it’s taken a sledgehammer to the top of its head. Round inserts turn into ovals, which is not in the best of taste.
POV on Vpin: you’ll have to make concessions
First suggestion: do without the apron and back panel. This will decompress your table lengthwise. It’s a trade-off you have to make table by table. Most of the time, the apron has no interactive elements. For the back panel, however, it depends on the pinball machine. There may be game indications such as inserts that cancel each other out. More often than not, however, the information is repeated elsewhere on the board.
Advanced settings for POV
Take your keyboard out of the coin door (You do have a keyboard, it’s compulsory, if only to add new tables), launch VPX and press the F6 key. Or, if the F6 key doesn’t work for you (oh my, these new compact keyboards), go to Table > Interactive Edit Table.
You’ll find yourself in front of the digital version of your beloved pinball machine, with these markings in the top left-hand corner.
The playfield inclination
Inclination is the first parameter to be corrected.
The higher the inclination value, the more the playfield inclines backwards. Above a value of 15, you get the feeling that the ball will roll towards the bottom of the playfied. Don’t exceed 6, as this should be your maximum.
POV on Vpin: X and Y axes
These axes don’t react the way mathematics dictates in a pincab context. The X-Offset axis moves the board from bottom to top, and the Y-Offset axis from left to right. Surprising, isn’t it?
Actually, it’s quite simple: a Vpin screen is preferably that of a computer monitor, or a TV set. So you’re not looking at it in the direction for which it was designed. This reverses the axes shown in Virtual Pinball X. And depending on how the screen is oriented in the box (bottom left or right), positive and negative values can also be inverted.
Nota bene: you don’t have this inversion if you’re playing on a PC, unless your screen is oriented in portrait mode, as we suggested in our ways to play pinball cheaper.
Let’s start again: leave the Y-Offset axis at 0, which means the table is centered horizontally. For the X-Offset axis, if you opt to make the apron disappear, you’ll change the value to show only the two triangular parts of the apron’s sides.
Change table proportions
If, as a result of optimization, the table’s proportions no longer coincide with those of your screen, play with the X-Scale and Y-Scale values to stretch/compress the table in height or width. Here too, the axes are reversed, for the same reasons explained above.
Don’t touch the layback too much
Layback modifies the viewing angle of 3D elements on the table. In concrete terms, if the layback value is too high, you’ll see the flippers a little to one side. The aim is to see the flippers only from above, and only the edges of their rubbers, not the part on which the ball hits.
So your reference point is simple: if you can only see the edge of the flippers rubbers, don’t touch anything else!
The field of view
The field of view gives “volume” to the table. Don’t push the value too far, otherwise you risk distorting the table. But you can accentuate the notion of depth, and thus get closer to the sensations experienced in front of the physical machine.
POV Pincab: keep your settings without overwriting the original ones
Once you’ve made your settings, don’t save your table as is, as you’ll overwrite the default settings without being able to retrieve them, unless you download the table again. However, it’s always useful to be able to go back to the original situation – you never know.
Go to file > export > POV, and retrieve a file named after your table with the .pov extension. Save it with an explicit name such as “TABLENAME- MYFAVORITEPOV”. Then, after loading the table, you can import the POV file of your choice to switch from one version to another.
Tinker with your Vpin without consequence
As long as you’re careful not to overwrite the original parameters, you can let your imagination run wild! And in the worst case, you can just reload the table and the problem is no longer a problem.
The virtual pinball is still a world of hardware and software tinkering, so keep this in mind. In any case, as soon as you want to add a new table, you find yourself back in the PC world of the 2000s, downloading software that scares the hell out of Windows antivirus software and files that don’t even have a recognized icon. So you might as well make the best of it!