Tail of the Dragon

Tail of the Dragon is (c) 2012 Tail of the Dragon, LLC All Rights Reserved

I make no claims of ownership to the Tail of the Dragon IP, I only claim ownership of the table design and custom assemblies used on this table.

I am providing the designs for this table for FREE, I have no desire to make and sell this table for any form of monetary gain unless I receive written permission from the Tail of the Dragon IP owners to do so.

I will re-theme this table if requested by the IP owners.

That being said… On to the design!


Tail of the Dragon VPT (as of 6/7/2012)
Rules (as of 6/7/2012)
Visual Pinball 9 (needed to play the VPT file)

TotD – Cutting a new playfield

I started cutting the updated playfield layout tonight. I’ll be chronicling it both here as well as via a couple of YouTube videos.

I’m only showing bits and pieces of the process in the videos because it’ll take a good 6->10 hours to properly cut. I spent about 1.5 hours on it tonight, and Thursday and Friday I expect to do about the same.

The YouTube video can be seen here:

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:


Here are some pictures of the process so far.

Tail of the Dragon – Alternate Music

I’ve been in the musical mood lately. I’ve decided to add alternate music and soundFX to Tail of the Dragon. Typically, when you start a game, the music/sound will default to traditional chimes. If you hold down the left flipper button and press start, however, the game will use the alternate music and soundFX.

I want the alternate music and sound to be mid-80s-ish, similar to system 11 stuff. I don’t have all the fancy Yamaha generating plugins, but I do have enough generators to be “close enough”. The following tracks, like Fairyland Tales, are work in progress.

Plunger BGM:

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Main table BGM during gameplay:

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Tail of the Dragon – Lamp Matrix and Game Debug Mode Video

I got my P-ROC on Wednesday! I have a lot of work to do to finish getting the table components hooked up. The most complex thing to do is hook up the lamp matrix. This thing has 63 lamps on the playfield alone! The backbox has another 16 or so.

I spent Wends and Thurs soldering over 200 components- diodes, wires, and sockets. When I finished, the table danced with joy :)

The video below shows the current status of the table. I show off the Attract mode light show as well as talk about some of the software’s debugging features I wrote.

The game is running on a custom C++ engine I built that wraps LibProc up into a few nice set of helper classes that handle more advanced functionality for lamps, switches, solenoids, and timers. The engine also has a fully scale-able GameFeature class that can be used for things as simple as 1 target being hit to complex multi-tier modes that are often found in modern pinball machines.

The entire program runs on a very light weight SDL application and uses OpenAL and OpenGL for audio and sound.

I hope to have the switches and solenoids hooked up by Sunday night. I’m really exited to finally play this game for real!

Tail of the Dragon – Added diodes to the controlled lamp sockets

This evening was a fun, I added ~60 diodes to the playfield’s lamp sockets. Best of all, I chronicled all 2 hours of it live via Ustream! I don’t know how to embed Ustream videos yet, so swing on over to my channel and check them out.


Tomorrow I’m going to take care of the ~20 switchs live as well.

Tail of the Dragon – GI Added

I really wanted to vacuum form a ramp today, but mother nature had other plans. Due to the rain, I switched gears back to TotD.

I ordered a P-Roc kit yesterday. I can’t wait to get it! There’s lots to do before the kit comes. For one, I need to wire everything up (Minus end connectors) so I can hook the P-Roc into the game as soon as it comes.

I started this task with the GI. It seemed simple enough since it isn’t actually controlled. It took about 2 hours to solder all the sockets together. I was lucky too as everything worked fine the first try! :D

There seems to be some dark spots on the right side of the playfield. I’m going to remedy that issue tomorrow.

I’m also going to start the long task of soldering diodes to all the controlled lamps and switches tomorrow if the weather is still too bleck for vac forming. I can’t wait! …

Tail of the Dragon – Added sockets and “Plastics”

Another package arrived yesterday. I spent a little time today adding the remaining GI sockets and controlled lamp sockets to the bottom of the playfield. I also added paper-plastics, the special insert, white rubbers, and managed to fit the diverter assembly within the bounds of the cab :D

It turns out I never designed an extra ball feature, so that insert in-between the flippers actually isn’t used. Silly me :)

I have enough wire for the GI sockets. I’ll probably hook those up later this week.

Tail of the Dragon – More White Wood Work

One of my 3 packages arrived yesterday- the package with the remaining inserts!

I added the last inserts, sanded everything down semi-level, and gave it a couple coats of spray clear-coat sealer. I didn’t clear coat the playfield so it would look nice, I did it more so to help lock in the inserts. The clear coat did darken the wood quite a bit though which looks nice imo :)

Today I cut most of the GI holes, and populated the playfield as much as I could. I’m waiting for a couple more items to arrive… possibly Monday? but a good chunk of the playfield is done. The top of the playfiled is almost completely built.

All that’s left on the top-side of the playfield is the left ramp, the inlane gate, one wire guide (I need to create it because it’s not in stock anywhere :( ), and the paper mock-up plastic set.

On a side note: I did have the diverter assembly installed, but it wouldn’t fit where I needed it to. I need to juggle some parts around to find a better placement for it.

This thing’s looking more and more like an actual pinball table every day :D

Tail of the Dragon – Started Building It…

I have the layout completed to the point I need to make a foam core to test shots and finish the new left ramp design. The past couple days I started building the foam core… wait… that’s not a foam core //O_o\\

This table is dead simple compared to most modern pins. So simple, infact, I either had or bought most of the objects I needed. I bought the spinner and the target bank for modeling, and I basically had everything else already. Instead of making a foam core model I decided to go for broke and build an actual white wood. Normally I would never do this, but the shots are simple enough that I’m fairly confident in my design.

The new ramp’s footprint and basic design are done, but the jump angle and switch height still need to be defined. Those two things cannot be properly simulated in a 3d model. I need to build prototype models of those!

I ran out of inserts, and I didn’t have the correct 1 1/8th bit for the rollover switches, but other then that I go much of it built. In addition to those things, I’m missing the following items (which I plan on getting over he next couple weeks):

  • 2x single drop target assemblies
  • 1x kicker assembly (may not add this… I may just add a wire behind that rubber)
  • 60x controlled lamp sockets
  • 30x GI sockets (dunno if there’ll be 30 yet, I may only add 20. I rather buy more then less)
  • 14x 3/4″ round inserts
  • 2x ball gates
  • Misc metal and wood for various custom bits
  • Plexiglass for plastics
  • A couple more wire colours

That may seem like a lot but it really isn’t comparatively. I also used black rubbers right now instead of white rubbers. I Need to buy a box of white rubbers in general… I’m all out.

Oh, I should get a P-Roc kit at some point.