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Pinbuilder Homepage


What is PinBuilder

    Pinbuilder is a project I started waaaaay back when I was 16 (1986). It was my name for the hardware platform I designed and I was going to implement in building my own pinball machine that would eventually get me a job at Williams. I spent lots of time at the arcades back then, and played lots of Pharaoh, Jungle Lord, Solar Fire and Firepower II. Our two arcades were both test locations for Williams, Bally and Gottlieb. I sat down and decided to design a hardware platform to put into a pinball machine. I designed it from my experience with a Heathkit 6800 programming kit and implementd what I thought was a first.. ROM paging. Well, after seeing that my design was almost identical to Williams Level 9 platform and finding out that paging had been around awhile, I thought I would dig around with some Firepower II ROM's and see what made these cool machines tick.

    So, in my youthful copious spare time, I hand disassembled the code for a Firepower II using a Commodore 64 to dump the ROM images, and a Intel 286 PC running wordstar to document it all. After DASMing it and not getting too far in understanding it, it sat around for 10 years until recently when I started poking around again. I really wanted to build my own game someday so I figured I would work with and try to equal the games I grew up loving so much... those Williams level 7 based games. :-)

    So to make a long story short, here is all the info I have collected and documented on Williams Level 7 OS. The info here does not include any Williams source code but does describe how to interface with it to create your own game ROM. While creating one of these beasties is no easy task, it is pretty cool stuff.

    Some Notes...

    • Level 7 Pinball Machines (and most others) were written in Assembly Language. Nothing higher, maybe some macros but that is all. So, learn to love it! The bit is your friend!
    • The development platform used by the Williams team was called PERC (Pinball Executive Resource Control), created by Larry DeMar.
    • This takes lots of time... plan on at least 50-500 hours to get it done and tweaked.
    • You will probably want to own a Level 7 game so you can test out your code or alternatively use PinMAME
    This is all a work-in-progress so I will be adding and elaborating as time goes on. If you have questions, email me.
Here is what I have so far...

Current Progress:

  • The macro assembler is done and works well. It is able to deal with all the WMS macros correctly.
  • I have the entire Level 7 code compilable and 100% commented. I cannot distribute this due to Williams Copyrights.
  • I will put up some example code in the future.

    Game Registration Page

    If you intend on creating a new game with pinbuilder and building your own pinball machine, let me know about it and I will include any info you have to share here. View the Current Game List

    Any helpful info would be appreciated. I suppose that since WMS quit making pins now, they shouldn't care about level 7 anymore at all?? If anybody who worked on Level 7 games or other has any fun stories or details of system architecture, please let me know.


    Email Jess

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