Full Tilt! Pinball

Full Tilt! Pinball (codenamed Maelstrom), is a pinball simulation game written by Cinematronics and distributed by Maxis, for Windows 3.1x, 95, and for Mac OS 7 and higher.[1] It was released in 1995. It includes three Pinball tables, "Space Cadet" (Space themed, obviously), "Skullduggery" (Pirate Themed), and "Dragon's Keep" (Medieval Themed). A port of the "Space Cadet" table was included first in the Microsoft Plus! extension for Windows 95, under the name "3D Pinball for Windows: Space Cadet". The manual for Full Tilt! Pinball even mentions this.[1] The version of the table included in Plus! later became a feature in Windows NT 4.0 and later (excluding 98) and was removed in Windows Vista build 5098.[2] The Plus! edition was created, as Cinematronics/Maxis licensed the code for the Space Cadet table to Microsoft to create "3D Pinball Space Cadet" as part of the Plus! Pack promotion to gain exposure for the two companies.[3]

Microsoft release[edit | edit source]

3D Pinball for Windows - Space Cadet
Component of Microsoft Windows
3D Pinball Icon .png
MicrosoftPlus-RTM-Pinball.png
Introduced inMicrosoft Plus! 95
Last included inWindows Vista build 5048
Replaced byChess Titans (supposed)

The Microsoft release has several differences:

  • Usually, Full Tilt! Pinball tables load a video intro (INTRO.AVI), that shows the Cinematronics and Full Tilt! logo. Microsoft's version simply uses an image that is a resource in the executable as a splash screen.
  • It has a hidden test mode with several features to test gameplay.
  • The Maxis version has three soundtracks per game, stored in the "MDS" MIDI format. There is a "Standard" soundtrack that loops during regular gameplay, a "challenge" track, and a "game over/winner" track. In Microsoft's version, there is only a single file (PINBALL.MID) that is the standard theme looped over 8 minutes. PINBALL2.MID is included with every copy, but is a data file.
  • The Maxis version's tables can be rendered up to 1024x768 resolution. Microsoft's single table only renders the table (not even renders, for both versions of the software, it is pre-rendered) at 640x480. Maxis/Cinematronics acknowledges this as a selling point for the software, on the jewel case artwork.[1]
  • The Windows XP version (and final update to the Microsoft version of the table), sports a new icon to keep up with the Luna theme.[4][5][6]
  • The "counter" graphics between the two versions are slightly different. The Full Tilt! version has a 3D render of a space scene, while Microsoft's has a "cartoon" of a "Space Cadet" (possibly in reference to "Duck Dodgers", a Looney Tunes short about Daffy Duck and Porky Pig as astronauts, with Porky as the "Cadet").

Full Tilt! Pinball was originally written in "significant amounts of x86 assembly language". It was implied that Microsoft managed to create native ports of "3D Pinball for Windows" for Windows on other platforms (DEC Alpha, ARC MIPS, PReP PPC), that they successfully ported it to a cross-compilable language such as C,[7] which was finally confirmed by retired Windows NT developer Dave Plummer in August 2021, the programmer who built such cross-platform builds.[8]

Microsoft claimed it did not include the program in Windows Vista due to them being unable to successfully create a 64-bit version (reasons cited including Microsoft developers having trouble with rounding floating point integers that were used in the collision detection engine[2] during development with the original version of the game as well a problems with floating point math and the collision detection,[7]), however these problems appear to mostly pertain to the original release of Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for Itanium processors, as a native 64-bit version of Pinball for both Itanium and x64 systems was shipped with both Version 2003 of the 64-Bit Edition and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, respectively.[9] It is possible Chen's article was referring to Itanium-related porting issues and confused it with Windows Vista-related development, though. The game, in both its x86 and x64 forms; does remain playable on later versions of Windows when the files are carried over (albeit with some minor graphical issues), which is also present on the final development build bundling it, build 5048.

Builds[edit | edit source]

Beta (Maelstrom)[edit | edit source]

Preview[edit | edit source]

RTM[edit | edit source]

Leaked build RTM

References[edit | edit source]