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Thread: Is TPA alone enough for you, or are you also buying into Zenís Williams app?

  1. #51
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    I've had a long standing bias against Zen because between '13 and '18, I'd only played their rather cartoonish looking sorcerer's lair and a bit with their Star Wars table which had the same outdated physics.

    By those standards, TPA was several steps ahead. It seems that TPA was optimized more for the small screen phones of the time, such as the iPhone 5.

    The resource gap between Zen and Farsight has to be huge. If so, why did their earlier efforts look so cartoonish? I suppose the competition from Farsight pushed them to actually utilize the resources they had on hand? If Farsight was manpower and resource challenged, then that only underscores what they were able to achieve in terms of both quality and quantity with TPA.

    If anything, I should be holding a grudge against TPA for making such entertaining games I became thoroughly addicted!


    Wow, the FX3 tables look absolutely stunning:

    Last edited by meanpinball; 03-28-2020 at 04:55 PM.

  2. #52
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    Farsight was doing pinball before Zen was even heard of.. PS2 days..

  3. #53
    Senior Member shogun00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shutyertrap View Post
    I believe PS4 users had and still do terrible sound issues that weren't there at the start but once introduced, never went away.
    They actually did fix this in late 2018.

    If you ever wonder just how different the audio is between TPA and Zen, load up Safe Cracker. It is such a noticeably dynamic difference between the two.
    Party Zone is a better example in my opinion.

  4. #54
    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanpinball View Post
    I've had a long standing bias against Zen because between '13 and '18, I'd only played their rather cartoonish looking sorcerer's lair and a bit with their Star Wars table which had the same outdated physics.

    By those standards, TPA was several steps ahead. It seems that TPA was optimized more for the small screen phones of the time, such as the iPhone 5.

    The resource gap between Zen and Farsight has to be huge. If so, why did their earlier efforts look so cartoonish? I suppose the competition from Farsight pushed them to actually utilize the resources they had on hand? If Farsight was manpower and resource challenged, then that only underscores what they were able to achieve in terms of both quality and quantity with TPA.
    You might wanna watch our latest podcast...

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  5. #55
    Senior Member Pete's Avatar
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    my broken down machine guess is Cactus Canyon, figure due to its expensive price tag and rarity they probably got a nice break on the cost. or maybe its heavy metal meltdown, the plastics on that one are allways cracked and broken.

  6. #56
    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    my broken down machine guess is Cactus Canyon, figure due to its expensive price tag and rarity they probably got a nice break on the cost. or maybe its heavy metal meltdown, the plastics on that one are allways cracked and broken.
    Cactus Canyon would be my guess too. They are super rare in Europe and those that do have them, won't part ways with 'em. FarSight jumped at the opportunity to buy one when they did, and paid through the nose for it too. If I'm not mistaken, they picked it up for something like 13k, more expensive than even the Medieval Madness machine they had to buy for a second time.
    I'm just sayin'

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  7. #57
    Senior Member Gorgar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shogun00 View Post
    They actually did fix this in late 2018.
    Yes, but I’m doing so, they introduced an even worse sound bug where the music doesn’t loop. So, after music (or for instance the black hole “dundundundundun” sound) plays through, you play through silence.

  8. #58
    Senior Member shogun00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorgar View Post
    Yes, but [by] doing so, they introduced an even worse sound bug where the music doesn’t loop. So, after music (or for instance the black hole “dundundundundun” sound) plays through, you play through silence.
    True, but it only affects the scripted tables. And the sound resets once you hit a switch.

    Personally, I find it as an improvement for Goin' Nuts.

  9. #59
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    I've tried to be as generous as possible in my assessment but ultimately the compromised physics of TPA is probably a deal breaker for anyone comparing the two brands at this point. This doesn't mean FX3 is perfect--it certainly isn't. It does mean however, that TPA physics is an ongoing distraction with most of their tables.

    Although they've done a good job of hiding it, the lack of variability and unpredictability in where shots go becomes impossible to ignore with extended gameplay.

    The flat, 2D appearance of the tables themselves is also uninspiring.

    I considered TPA to be a revelation when I first started with the app in 2013. FX3 is on another level, however.

    The only important question now is: can FX3 advance even further in providing an even more realistic simulation or will another company come along which can top zen?

  10. #60
    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Magic Pixel has done a nice job with their Zaccaria Pinball, making improvements along the way when you consider the initial release a few years back. Unfortunately they are hindered by being ridiculously small (4 employees) and in need of a surge of capitol so they could hire more and maybe grab the Gottlieb license. Zen also started off really small and kept reinvesting in itself. At or near launch of Xbox 360 and PS3, they pretty much had the market to themselves, especially by being download only. This put them in front of my face long before I knew a thing about FarSight's Gottlieb and Williams Hall of Fame discs. By the time TPA came out, Zen was already onto FX2 and Zen 2, pretty much on equal footing with FarSight other than it being real pinball vs fantasy.

    FarSight pulled ahead with a more true to pinball feel simply by having rubber that made the ball bounce as opposed to the leaden feel of Zen. Turns out that was a choice by Zen designers, and Deep was the lone voice asking for a bouncier feel. By the end of FX2, tables were being designed with that feel in mind and many older tables got retuned to mimic this more in FX3.

    Any new studio that would have a go has a lot of ground to cover just to even catch up with Zen. Pinball Wicked is the closest anyone has come to getting there, but they've yet to produce a second table and are still tweaking the first. To get the needed attention, someone would need to strike a deal with the likes of Jersey Jack, Spooky, or American Pinball, or be insanely good at original table design as well as having a fantastic pinball engine. I'd love for Zen to have some proper competition, but man that's a steep hill for any studio to try and climb now.
    I'm just sayin'

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  11. #61
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    My opinion on TPA changes depending on the table I play. On some tables, play is just far too easy and the ball too floaty. Ripley's Believe It or Not is both. It's almost frustrating since the ball almost never drains and you can rack up whatever score you want with a modest level of skill. The challenge is lost. Gameplay can go on almost indefinitely. The same is true for Banzai Run and Indy 500: all critical shots are too easy to make. Both Elvira tables are also far too easy.

    Other tables are far more difficult, such as STTNG. TPA has done an admirable job with this table, providing a lot of entertainment value and a relatively high level of difficulty, although again, there are certain shots that behave in all too predictable ways. Addam's Family is satisfying challenging. This may be their best simulation of them all. I rank FunHouse highly among TPA tables as well.

    What's frustrating is that even a recent release like Star Trek not only has the same problems with physics, it is even more pronounced. For example, the warp ramp shot is far too easy to make, and once the ball rounds the corner, it will continue on it's way upward, regardless of how slowly the ball is traveling.

    I've tried to be as lenient as possible in my appraisal of TPA, but their design philosophy seems to be to make most tables as easy as possible to play, which severely detracts from their realism.

  12. #62
    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    The philosophy of FarSight was to make the game enjoyable to the average-below average player. If you werenít getting your butt handed to you each and every time, youíd probably be more likely to buy more tables. To that end, all the ROM settings were set to the most generous settings available. Thatís why Ripleys spits out extra balls like candy. We pleaded with them from year one to add a difficulty setting, the closest they got was offering Pro versions that allowed you to configure operator settings yourself.

  13. #63
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    Are people satisfied with the rate of release by FX3? I suppose the higher quality of graphics and physics requires more development time.

  14. #64
    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    This is a longer gap than usual, but in the past when thereís been unusually long gaps itís almost always because they had something big brewing. FarSight was a slave to release schedules to the detriment of the game, Zen knows that once a pack is released all is forgiven, so take the time needed to make sure you get it right.

    In the podcast, Mel said one of the things they are working on is applying a Williams physics option to all existing Zen tables. That is a monumental task, one that will pay dividends down the road. Said they are also preparing field next gen consoles. Both those things tell me they are getting things set to make sure they are future proof and thinking long term. I always joked that despite their name, FarSight could barely foresee a month down the line.

  15. #65
    Senior Member WesReviews's Avatar
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    Still not on board with Zen until they start releasing tables that haven't been released before.

    So TPA is enough for me for now.

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