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Thread: Zen does it again - “Zen Pinball Party” for Apple Arcade

  1. #26
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    can't remember. Do we know if this is ZenFX engine or UnrealEngine? Any logos or such that pops up identifying it as such?

  2. #27
    Senior Member Pinballwiz45b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narc0lep5y View Post
    can't remember. Do we know if this is ZenFX engine or UnrealEngine? Any logos or such that pops up identifying it as such?
    Confirmed, Unreal Engine.

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    Senior Member Scared Stiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dok5555555 View Post
    I don't understand why they can't let you play the game in landscape. It's more comfortable for me to hold my ipdad that way and I like the more zoomed in view of the tables. The Williams app did the same thing, you could only play in portrait.
    I guess they decide this based on the kind of device. Because on my Apple TV it’s (by necessity) in landcape mode. So it’s not like the capability is not there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Narc0lep5y View Post
    can't remember. Do we know if this is ZenFX engine or UnrealEngine? Any logos or such that pops up identifying it as such?
    Definitely Unreal. Not only because of the logo on screen, but the fonts are different, the ball looks different, the lighting is improved a bit....it’s just nicer looking all the way around. Now if only the bugs were fixed. (See next post).

  4. #29
    Senior Member Scared Stiff's Avatar
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    UPDATE TIME:

    So this week Zen released un updated new version of the app to fix the crashing on Williams Pinball tables. So that’s the good news.

    But now the bad....they didn’t fix any of the other bugs and worse seem to have introduced some new ones that I was not encountering before:

    iPhone: Left flipper sometimes is unresponsive when using touch screen. I worked around this by using a game controller instead and can play fine that way.

    Apple TV: This version is an absolute mess now. First off, it’s not saving my star progress, table settings, or even my high scores. Everything got wiped out EXCEPT my progress in their pinball party season one event. Additionally, once in the game center achievement screen you cannot get out! I tried every single button and nothing works except getting out of the game completely and returning to the springboard/desktop. As such I cannot recommend the Apple TV version right now. Stick with the ios version which doesn’t seem to have these problems.

    On both version the problem remains of replays turning all the special Zen animation effects back on even if you turned them off. However, I did find a workaround for this problem. Just exit to the Pinball Party home screen and go back into the table and it will play without the effects (if you turned them offJ. The one exception remains that pesky missile on Attack From Mars multi-ball that always comes out no matter what.

    Really frustrating Zen. I don’t know how stuff gets released this way with obvious problems that I found right away. Shouldn’t happen.

  5. #30
    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    I'm happy that the app crash that was happening every single time I got multiball on ToM got fixed. I started playing with my DS4 controller on my iPhone (I had no idea I could do that!) and yep, there's no way to exit out of the achievements screen with the controller. I've never experienced the left flipper issue, so I'll have to make a mental note of that.

    I agree, that these very obvious problems shouldn't have existed. It's low hanging fruit that boggles the mind the internal QA folk missed. During the VERY brief beta I played (with launch version software, btw), within an hour of playtime I had a list I fired off to Zen of easily repeatable issues. The good news is some of those have already been taken care of now.
    I'm just sayin'

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  6. #31
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    It seems when we discuss pinball apps, that history is repeating itself; that the more things change, the more they remain the same.

  7. #32
    Senior Member Naildriver74's Avatar
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    It’s a shame it’s turned out like this. Most thought that Zen was our pinball savior. I spent 15 minutes with the beta and put it down not wanting to waist anymore time with what they thought was a good game.
    On a side note Mammoth Cave has found 8 miles of new cave. Time for another adventure

  8. #33
    Senior Member Gorgias32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naildriver74 View Post
    It’s a shame it’s turned out like this. Most thought that Zen was our pinball savior.
    It is a real shame how everything stands right now IMO. Zen came out of the gate strong with the Williams tables, fumbled the mobile app but then recovered. But then silence for over a year, and now everything new is coming out exclusive to a platform I don't have access to. And I expect to have to re-buy all of my content once the next version of PinballFX comes out, whenever that might be. Zen's marketing has really taken the wind out of the sails of digital pinball - you can see it in how this entire forum went from active and engaged, to basically a ghost town. Thank goodness for Magic Pixel keeping their franchise alive and vibrant.

  9. #34
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    Agree on the Magic Pixel reference, they are indeed cool devs/people

    Once Zen released PBFX3, I thought I'd never think back to the Farsight days with any fondness. However for all the warts that came with a dated product, lack of communication and bugs, they at least delivered for a long time and at regular intervals content that we loved. They brought Digital pinball to the masses. No offense to this forum, but we can see what a lack of releases does to the community, it just about kills it! After a promising start, IMHO this apathy is totally on Zen

  10. #35
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    They got Timmy's $$$ upfront to play his game and Epic has lost 9/10 in their hypocritical bs fight vs Apple, what did you expect? They will support Apple as much boss Tiimy allows it.

    Also you must not forget that there isn't such thing as "Zen AND community/fan-base", there never was. It always has been "Zen AND wherever $ blows from".
    Last edited by pinfan7; 09-16-2021 at 09:03 AM.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinfan7 View Post
    They got Timmy's $$$ upfront to play his game and Epic has lost 9/10 in their hypocritical bs fight vs Apple, what did you expect? They will support Apple as much boss Tiimy allows it.

    Also you must not forget that there isn't such thing as "Zen AND community/fan-base", there never was. It always has been "Zen AND wherever $ blows from".
    The trouble is Zen appeared to clearly get it, about putting together great models of real pinball tables. They not only made it look great, they made the pinball play even better... and no one thought that'd happen. I certainly didn't want to rebuy all those tables, but I just about have.

    So while the Pandemic definitely messed up production timelines, it seems that Zen has almost gone back to what they were before Williams. Hopefully they return to Williams.

  12. #37
    Senior Member Scared Stiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorgias32 View Post
    It is a real shame how everything stands right now IMO. Zen came out of the gate strong with the Williams tables, fumbled the mobile app but then recovered. But then silence for over a year, and now everything new is coming out exclusive to a platform I don't have access to. And I expect to have to re-buy all of my content once the next version of PinballFX comes out, whenever that might be. Zen's marketing has really taken the wind out of the sails of digital pinball - you can see it in how this entire forum went from active and engaged, to basically a ghost town. Thank goodness for Magic Pixel keeping their franchise alive and vibrant.
    Indeed. I wish Zen would understand that. They really didn’t handle things well. And putting things on plaforms that some in the existing community don’t even have access to is rather ridiculous. I mean really, does Zen expect every Android user in the pinball community to go out and buy an Apple device just to play their game on mobile now? I’m lucky in that I was already using Apple stuff, but I really feel for those that don’t. It shouldn’t be this way.

    Zen has gone from a company that released content on all major platforms at about the same time to jumping onto a few newer platforms instead, bailing on their fans in some sort of quest for $$$$. I get that everyone needs money, but was this really the only way to go about it?

  13. #38
    Senior Member Scared Stiff's Avatar
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    Wow. I just had quite the achievement on Attack From Mars. I got not only my highest score on Pinball Party, but my highest score EVER on ANY platform including the real life arcade! And saw and heard things I never had before. I guess I have never completed all the cities before. (I love pinball but yeah I’m kind of lame at it…lol.) I didn’t know you could attack Mars back! That was awesome. And I completed that mission too! I love this table but this was the first time I was good at it. And now in top 100 on leaderboard. Nice.


  14. #39
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    Scared Stiff,

    Great Stuff!

    Were you playing on the iPhone or an iPad or an Apple TV streaming box?

  15. #40
    Senior Member Scared Stiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vfpcoder View Post
    Scared Stiff,

    Great Stuff!

    Were you playing on the iPhone or an iPad or an Apple TV streaming box?
    On my phone with a game controller connected. That’s the only way I can really play currently as the Apple TV version is a real problem right now (outlined in earlier comments above) and touch control on my phone is unreliable for left flipper. But a game controller works like a champ thankfully.

  16. #41
    Senior Member Scared Stiff's Avatar
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    Aw geez...now I have come across another problem. So I noticed there was a new “one ball challenge” event for Theatre of Magic and I went to play it. After a few games it became clear that it wasn’t even saving my scores to the leaderboard. In fact, going into the leaderboard itself revealed that there was no leaderboard at all, only returning a red error message box saying “Warning no scores found”.

    Ugh. Come on Zen. Why can’t you sort things out and get it together? So frustrating. It feels like I am on a beta version with all these problems.

  17. #42
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    I don't know about the mobile versions, but the MacOS version of the app is a HUGE downgrade vs Pinball FX3 on Steam.

    Firstly, the rendering resolution is tied to the desktop scaling so on my 4K monitor with no scaling it tries to run at 4K which is hilarious.

    Worse still is even if I switched the scaling to 1080p or even go to low resolution mode 720p, I get 60fps but some tables stutter and the scaling causes shimmering graphics, particularly My Little Pony which the DMD stutters before you even launch the ball.

    I compared a few tables to the Steam version on my Ryzen 2500U laptop and its a night/day difference. The graphics just look a whole lot duller/flatter (lack of dynamic lighting?), its really stark on Attack from Mars for example. Now perhaps the M1 is just THAT weak for gaming, but I'm dubious as the 2500U is hardly a powerhouse either. I'd be very curious to see it on a Mac using a dedicated GPU to see if this is just a downgrade for the M1 specifically because the Switch version looks better than this.

    Perhaps the most frustrating thing is you can't even remap the controller to use the bumpers instead of triggers.

    I also just managed to accidentally open the Apple Arcade overlay over the game multiple times by pressing the left bumper, which left me locked out of the OS entirely as only the last one would close. Oh and that overlay cannot be controlled using the controller, even the achievements screen (which I only just stumbled onto). Good going Apple.
    Last edited by Alex Atkin UK; 09-27-2021 at 01:29 PM.

  18. #43
    Senior Member Scared Stiff's Avatar
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    Oh geez Zen. What is going on there? They started a new “100 flips” event today which instead turned out to be 100 balls. I gave up at the 70 mark when my hands started cramping up!

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    This is definitely a quick cash grab from Zen. The graphics quality is absolutely awful. Too bad about the lack of controller remapping as an option.

  20. #45
    Moderator shutyertrap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinballmonster View Post
    This is definitely a quick cash grab from Zen. The graphics quality is absolutely awful. Too bad about the lack of controller remapping as an option.
    Uh, quick cash grab?

    First, it’s part of the Apple Arcade subscription, where you also have access to hundreds of other full ad free games. Second, and Zen has made no bones about it, this is reaching out to an audience that might not otherwise pay attention to pinball. Based on ranking of Apple downloads and being tops on the store, seems mission successful. Lastly, please show a side by side comparison of this to previous mobile releases by Zen to show exactly how ‘awful’ these graphics are. I’m just trying to figure out your baseline.

    And yes, it does suck that you can’t remap the controller settings.

  21. #46
    Senior Member Scared Stiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinballmonster View Post
    This is definitely a quick cash grab from Zen. The graphics quality is absolutely awful. Too bad about the lack of controller remapping as an option.
    I have heard several mentions of graphics quality and I just don’t see the same problem. The graphics look great to me. Absolutely awful was Farsight’s TPA. Pinball Party both looks better and plays better physics wise. Now if only they could reign in the obvious bugs that should have been fixed before it was ever released!

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    The tables are definitely fun to play. I'm not sure why but the same tables are more enjoyable to play in PP than in Zen or Williams Pinball.

    The graphics are a huge step down unfortunately. The shadows, lighting, detail and reflections are all subpar compared to their 2018 to 2020 counterparts. PP is cartoonish. The only benefits are adjustable lighting and variable views rather than fixed views.

  23. #48
    Senior Member Scared Stiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinballmonster View Post
    The tables are definitely fun to play. I'm not sure why but the same tables are more enjoyable to play in PP than in Zen or Williams Pinball.

    The graphics are a huge step down unfortunately. The shadows, lighting, detail and reflections are all subpar compared to their 2018 to 2020 counterparts. PP is cartoonish. The only benefits are adjustable lighting and variable views rather than fixed views.
    Cartoonish? I just don’t agree with that at all. Not on the Williams tables. The lighting is better than what the Williams Pinball app had on ios. The fonts look better too. I think it’s fantastic. I stopped using the Williams app altogether now as I just can’t go back to something that I think both plays and looks worse. Just like I couldn’t go back to TPA after Williams Pinball came out.

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