Coins & Credits

Related Config File Sections
credits:

This How To guide explains how to setup your machine to take money and track credits. The MPF package contains a the code for a mode called credits, so all you have to do to use add some configs to your machine’s modes folder and sit back and get rich! The credits system has several features and options, including:

  • Configuration of different coin/price values per coin switch.
  • Tracking money and/or tokens.
  • Set price tiers (1 credit for 50 cents, 5 credits for 2 dollars, etc.)
  • Specify max credits and credit expiration times
  • Retain credits even when the machine is powered off
  • Get access to a “credits string” machine variable that will show the number of credits (or configurable free play text) for use on your display.
  • Flexible events you can use to show display items based on credits being added, insert coin messages, max credits reached, etc.

(A) Create your ‘credits’ mode folder

The credits mode works like any other mode in MPF. You’ll create a folder called credits in your machine’s modes folder, and that folder will contain subfolders config files, images, etc. So to begin, create a folder called <your_machine>/modes/credits. Then inside there, create another folder called config. Then inside there, create a file called credits.yaml. (So that file should be at <your_machine>/modes/credits/config/credits.yaml.)

(B) Configure options for the credits mode

Open up your machine config (<your_machine>/config/config.yaml). Next, add a section called credits:, and then under there, indent a few spaces (it doesn’t matter how many, 2 or 4 or whatever you prefer) and add a section called categories:. Your file should now look like this:

# in your machine wide config
switches:
    s_coin_left:
        number:
    s_service_coin:
        number:

credits:
    max_credits: 12
    free_play: False
    service_credits_switch: s_service_coin
    switches:
        - switch: s_coin_left
          type: money
          value: .25
    pricing_tiers:
        - price: .50
          credits: 1
        - price: 2
          credits: 5
    fractional_credit_expiration_time: 15m
    credit_expiration_time: 2h
    persist_credits_while_off_time: 1h
    free_play_string: FREE PLAY
    credits_string: CREDITS

Full details of what each of these settings does is outlined in the credits: of the configuration file reference, so check that out for details on anything not covered here. There are a few sections worth pointing out here though:

switches:

The switches section is how you map out the monetary values of credit switches in your machine. Notice that the sub-entries under switches are actually a list with the settings for switch, type, and value repeated multiple times. The switch: entry is the name of the switch (from your machine-wide switches: section) for the credit switch. Pretty simple. The value: entry represents the numeric value of how much is added whenever this switch is hit. Notice that there are no currency symbols here or anything. A value of .25 could be 0.25 dollars or 0.25 Euros or 0.25 Francs—it really doesn’t matter. The key is that it’s 0.25 of whatever monetary system you have. The type: entry specifies what type of currency is being deposited when that switch is hit. This doesn’t affect the actual behavior of MPF, rather it’s just used in as the column name and for totaling the earnings reports (so you can track “money” separate from “tokens”). You can enter whatever you want here: money, dollars, dinars, etc. You can mix & match these in the same machine if you have a machine that accepts tokens and quarters, for example. Note that the sample credits configuration file has three sets of entries for the credit switches. You just need one for each credit switch. It can be one or two or five - it doesn’t matter.

pricing_tiers:

The pricing_tiers: section is where you actually set your pricing by mapping how many of your monetary units you want to equate to a certain number of credits. The sample config is fairly common, with 0.50 currency resulting in 1 credit, with a price break at 2 that gives the player 5 credits instead of 4. (So basically they get one free credit if they put in enough money for 4 credits.) The most important thing to know here is that MPF always requires that 1 credit is used to start a game, and 1 credit is required to add an additional player to a game. So if you want to change the price of your game, you don’t change the number of credits per game, rather, you change the number of credits a certain amount of money is worth. The pricing tier discount processing is reset when Ball 2 starts. So if it costs $0.50 for one credit or $2 for 5 credits, if the player puts $0.50 in the machine and plays a game, if they wait until that game is over and deposit another $1.50, they’ll only get 3 more credits. You can have as many pricing_tiers as you want. The first one dictates how much a regular game costs and is required. If you don’t want any price breaks, then just add the first one.

service_credits_switch:

This is the name of a switch that’s used to add so-called “service credits” to the machine. This switch has a 1-to-1 ratio, meaning that one credit is added to the machine each time this switch is pressed. Notice that this line is commented out (with a # sign) by default, so if you want to use it, change the name of the switch to the name of the switch in your actual machine and remove the # character at the beginning of the line. Service credits are tracked separated in your earnings data file. If you don’t have a service credits switch, then just don’t add that setting.

(C) Add the credits mode to your list of modes

Now that you have some basic credits settings configured, you can add the credits mode to the list of modes that are used in your machine. To do this, add - credits to the modes: section in your machine-wide config, like this:

modes:
  - base
  - some_existing_mode
  - another_mode_you_might_have
  - bonus
  - credits

The order doesn’t matter here since the priority each mode runs at is configured in its own mode configuration file. All you’re doing now is configuring the credits mode as a mode that your machine will use. You might be wondering why your new credits.yaml mode configuration file doesn’t have a mode: section? That’s because the credits mode is built-in to MPF (in the mpf/modes/credits) folder, so when you add a credits folder to your own machine’s modes folder, MPF merges together the settings from the MPF modes folder and your modes folder. (It loads the MPF mode config first with baseline settings, and then it merges in your machine’s mode config which can override them.) If you look at the built-in credits mode’s config (at mpf/modes/credits/config/credits.yaml), you’ll see it has the following mode: section:

#! mode: credits
mode:
  code: mpf.modes.credits.code.credits.Credits
  priority: 1000010
  start_events: reset_complete
  game_mode: False
  stop_on_ball_end: False

First is that the priority of this mode is really high, 11000 by default. That’s because we want this mode to run “on top” of any other mode so any slides it puts on the display (like the message for new coins being inserts or the INSERT COINS message if the start button is pressed without enough credits) are displayed on top of the slides from any other mode that might be running. Also note that the credits mode starts when the machine_reset_phase_3 event is posted (which is done as part of the MPF startup process), and that there are no stop events. Basically we want the credits mode to start and never stop. Also note that stop_on_ball_end: is set to false, again because we don’t want this mode to ever stop. (Without that setting, MPF would stop the mode when the ball ends.)

(D) Create slides to show the credits when the player deposits money

Open up the credits mode’s config file that you just copied into your machine folder. It should be at <your_machine>/modes/credits/config/credits.yaml. Since this file is totally blank, add the required #config_version=5 to the top line. There are several credit-related things you need to show the player on your display. Here are some settings you can use as a starting point:

# in modes/credits/config/credits.yaml
# add some credits slides
slide_player:
    credits_added:
        credit_added_slide:
            expire: 2s
    not_enough_credits:
        not_enough_credits_slide:
            expire: 2s
    enabling_free_play:
        enabling_free_play_slide:
            expire: 2s
    enabling_credit_play:
        enabling_credit_play_slide:
            expire: 2s
    max_credits_reached:
        max_credits_reached_slide:
            expire: 2s
    player_added:
        player_added_slide:
            expire: 1s

slides:
    credit_added_slide:
        - type: text
          text: (machine|credits_string)
    not_enough_credits_slide:
        - type: text
          text: (machine|credits_string)
        - type: text
          text: INSERT COINS
    enabling_free_play_slide:
        - type: text
          text: ENABLING FREE PLAY
    enabling_credit_play_slide:
        - type: text
          text: ENABLING CREDIT PLAY
        - type: text
          text: (machine|credits_string)
    max_credits_reached_slide:
        - type: text
          text: MAX CREDITS REACHED
    player_added_slide:
        - type: text
          text: PLAYER ADDED
          font_size: 12
          color: white

sound_player:
    credits_added:
        credit_added_sound:
            action: play
            loops: 0
    not_enough_credits:
        need_more_money:
            action: play
            loops: 0
    player_added:
        player_added_sound:
            action: play
            loops: 0

There are several events that the credit module will post which you can use to trigger slides:

  • max_credits_reached – Posted once when the max number of credits is reached.
  • credits_added – Posted any time a credit or partial credit is added. Use it with machine variables (below) to show the values.
  • not_enough_credits – Posted when the player pushes start but there is not at least one credit to add a player. This could happen in attract mode or during the first ball of a game when it’s still possible to add players.
  • enabling_free_play – Posted when the machine is switched to free play mode. (In case you want to have a switch or something which changes it. Details below.)
  • enabling_credit_play – Posted when the machine is switched to credit (pay) mode.

(E) Adding credits information to game slides

Many of the display slides in a pinball machine display information about the number of credits on the machine. For example, the default score display slide will usually contain a message about how many credits are on the machine. This can be a challenge since the exact text you want to display will change based on whether or not the machine is on free play, and whether there are any fractions of credits on the machine or only whole credits. To handle this, MPF includes a machine variable called credits_string that is automatically updated to show the value of credits on the machine. If the machine is set to free play, or if you don’t have the credits mode enabled, the credit_string value is FREE PLAY. Otherwise it’s the word CREDIT followed by the number of credits (in fraction, not decimal, as is tradition with pinball machines). Note that you can override the text here with the free_play_string and credits_string configuration options. Remember that you can include machine variables in a text display element (in either a slide_player: or a show YAML file) like this:

- type: text
  text: "(machine|credits_string)"

And of course you can customize the font, position, and alignment of this display element like any display element. There are several other machine variables created too in case you want to get fancy with how they’re displayed in your particular machine. (We’ll use an example of 2 1/4 credits here):

  • credits_string – This is the fully generated string which is ready to use in your slides, including the word CREDITS (or FREE PLAY) from your settings above, as well as the whole number of credits and any fraction. In the example this would be CREDITS 2 1/4.
  • credits_value – This is just the numeric value of the credits, including the fraction (if there are any partial credits). For example, 2 1/4.
  • credits_whole_num – This is just the whole number of credits. Example: 2.
  • credits_numerator – This is just the numerator of the fraction of partial credits. Example: 1.
  • credits_denominator – This is just the denominator of the fraction of partial credits. Example: 4.

The denominator of the fraction in the credit_string is automatically calculated based on the smallest value coin switch and the price of your game. So 0.25 switches with a game price of 0.50 will use “2” as the denominator (for 1/2 credits). 0.25 switches with 0.75 game will use 3, etc. Remember that text elements with machine variables in slides automatically update themselves when the underlying variable changes. So you can use these in your attract mode DMD show, your score display, etc. See the slide_player: from the complete example below for details. You can also change a machine between credit mode and free play mode by posting events. (This is not common, but useful if you want to have a switch or something that changes the mode. The “real” way to set this will come later when we build the service mode.) These control events are:

  • enable_free_play – Puts the machine into free play mode
  • enable_credit_play – Puts the machine into credit play mode
  • toggle_credit_play – Toggles the machine between modes.

(F) Viewing Earnings

A tally of the earnings for your machine is available at <your_machine_folder>/data/earnings.yaml. Here’s an example:

money:
  count: 50
  total_value: 14.0
service_credit:
  count: 4
  total_value: 4
token:
  count: 1
  total_value: 1.0

Notice that there are sections in this file for each “type” of switch you configured. The sample configuration from the template file included type values of money and token which is why you see them here. If you changed those to something like dollars then you would see a dollars category here. The count is the total number of switch hits that contributed towards that count, and the total_value is the total numeric value based on the value of each switch. If you configured a service_credits_switch then you’ll also see a count of service credits. (The service credits count and total_value will always be the same since a service credit switch is always worth one credit.)

(G) Check out this complete credits config file

Here’s the complete credits config file from the Demo Man sample game. ( demo_man/modes/credits/config/credits.yaml):

This is an example:

# in your machine wide config
switches:
    s_coin_left:
        number:
    s_service_coin:
        number:

credits:
    max_credits: 12
    free_play: False
    service_credits_switch: s_service_coin
    switches:
        - switch: s_coin_left
          type: money
          value: .25
    pricing_tiers:
        - price: .50
          credits: 1
        - price: 2
          credits: 5
    fractional_credit_expiration_time: 15m
    credit_expiration_time: 2h
    persist_credits_while_off_time: 1h
    free_play_string: FREE PLAY
    credits_string: CREDITS

# in modes/attract/config/attract.yaml
# add credits string to your attract show
show_player:
    mode_attract_started:
        attract_display_loop
shows:
    attract_display_loop:
        - duration: 2s
          slides:
            press_start:
              target: dmd
              widgets:
              - type: Text
                text: PRESS START
              transition:
                 type: move_in
                 duration: 1s
                 direction: top
        - duration: 2s
          slides:
            credits_slide:
              target: dmd
              widgets:
              - type: text
                text: (machine|credits_string)
              transition:
                 type: move_in
                 duration: 1s
                 direction: bottom

# in modes/credits/config/credits.yaml
# add some credits slides
slide_player:
    credits_added:
        credit_added_slide:
            expire: 2s
    not_enough_credits:
        not_enough_credits_slide:
            expire: 2s
    enabling_free_play:
        enabling_free_play_slide:
            expire: 2s
    enabling_credit_play:
        enabling_credit_play_slide:
            expire: 2s
    max_credits_reached:
        max_credits_reached_slide:
            expire: 2s
    player_added:
        player_added_slide:
            expire: 1s

slides:
    credit_added_slide:
        - type: text
          text: (machine|credits_string)
    not_enough_credits_slide:
        - type: text
          text: (machine|credits_string)
        - type: text
          text: INSERT COINS
    enabling_free_play_slide:
        - type: text
          text: ENABLING FREE PLAY
    enabling_credit_play_slide:
        - type: text
          text: ENABLING CREDIT PLAY
        - type: text
          text: (machine|credits_string)
    max_credits_reached_slide:
        - type: text
          text: MAX CREDITS REACHED
    player_added_slide:
        - type: text
          text: PLAYER ADDED
          font_size: 12
          color: white

sound_player:
    credits_added:
        credit_added_sound:
            action: play
            loops: 0
    not_enough_credits:
        need_more_money:
            action: play
            loops: 0
    player_added:
        player_added_sound:
            action: play
            loops: 0

A game will always cost 1 credit per player. In this example, 50ct will give you 1 credit and $2 will give you 5 credits. When s_coin_left is hit 25ct are added (or 1/2 credit).

This mode will also play sounds and show slides when adding credits or players since both can happen before or during a game.

Related How To guides
How to design a game in MPF using Modes
Machine Variables
credit_units
credits_numerator
credits_string
credits_value
credits_whole_num
Related Events
credits_added
enabling_credit_play
enabling_free_play
max_credits_reached
not_enough_credits
player_added