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Keeping track of where all the balls are at any given time is a big part of a pinball. There are four components that make up MPF’s ball tracking and management system:
- The Ball Controller, which is a core MPF module that manages everything.
- Individual Ball Devices (troughs, locks, etc.) which track how many balls they’re currently holding, request new balls, eject balls, etc.
- The Playfields device which is a special type of ball device that tracks how many balls are loose on the playfield at any given time.
- Individual Diverters which are integral in routing balls to devices that request them.
These four components are active at all times—regardless of whether or not a game is in progress. In other words, if MPF is running, it’s tracking balls.
Note that tracking the number of balls on a playfield is somewhat complex. See the How MPF tracks the number of balls on a playfield guide for important details about how this works in MPF.