THE BIG LEBOWSKI
Report date: 27th September, 2014
Development of The Big Lebowski has been kept relatively low-key by the Dutch Pinball team, with just a few pictures of playfield components and a promotional video or two.
But today the team are holding a launch party at the appropriately-named Grand Cafe Lebowski in Utrecht in the Netherlands. Naturally, Pinball News was invited, so first thing this morning we boarded a plane for Amsterdam, got the train to Utrecht, and here we are to bring you all the details of the launch.
The scheduled start time for the event was 8pm and it was slated to last two hours.
There are two prototype machines here which were covered with rugs until the scheduled time when they were unveiled to the excited audience.
The games were not playable but were pretty much complete hardware-wise. They were running on a Windows platform but the Python implementation will shortly be ported over to Linux for the production version. This should, according to the team, be a relatively simple process and will improve boot times and reduce complexity.
It's important to stress that these are prototype machines and a number of other changes will be made before the enter production, but it is planned to have the final version at the Dutch Pinball Open at the start of November.
We were not able to show any pictures of the machines until the scheduled unveiling at 9pm, but we can now bring you all these pictures of the game.
The display is a custom size, with full HD horizontal resolution (1920 pixels) but a reduced height of around 640 pixels height. The team have chosen to replicate the look of a dot matrix display by mapping the images onto a circular dot pattern. They have done some nice anti-aliasing to make sure the animations are smooth.
So let's move onto the playfield.
So let's take a tour of the playfield, starting down at the flippers.
The game has three top rollover lanes labelled M-A-U and after passing between the two pop bumpers modelled after the brassiere Julianne Moore wears in one of The Dude's fantasy scenes.
The rug is a moveable barrier which move backwards to reveal more of the rug as the shot is repeatedly hit. Unrolling the rug really pulls the room together and starts one of the modes featured below.
Curiously, the ingredients for a white Russian are all there alongside the four standup targets, but these include Kahlua which is a trademarked coffee liqueur. The insert text will be changed before production so it becomes more generic.
The glass is also just tall enough to ensure there is no room for an air-ball to squeeze between the rim and the playfield glass.
The garage door on the right can swing open like the sniper hideout on 24 to reveal a car on the back of the door and block the shot to start the bowling feature.
Almost the entire playfield artwork is vector-based original art from the Dutch Pinball team, with the faces above just about the only pixel-based artwork. Vector-based elements can be enlarge or reduced in size, and rotated without the image quality degrading like it can with bitmaps.
Here's a video of the game showing the attract mode and looking around the playfield, the display and inside the backbox.
Now we can bring you this exclusive video of display animations from the game, including the backgrounds for each ball, the bonus count, the game over animation, and the music played during each ball.
That concludes our coverage of the The Big Lebowski launch party in Utrecht.
You can see further coverage from Jonathan Joosten who was also taking pictures and video of the night's party, so check out his report on the Pinball Magazine site.
© Pinball News 2014