BlahCade #147: And the WMS License Goes To… Zen Studios!

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for as Bally and Williams digital pinball fans!

The announcement of who has worldwide digital rights to WMS has landed!

Gratulálunk to Zen Studios!

This show is jam packed full of facts about the launch announcement and is the companion guide to what is a massive podcast.

But first, we’ll forgive Steam listeners for ignoring us totally and immediately downloading and experiencing the Zen Studios Public Beta of Williams Pinball Volume 1.

Accessing the Williams Pinball Beta

  1. Find Pinball FX3 in your Steam library.
  2. Right click on Pinball FX3 side-menu item in your Steam library and select Properties.
  3. Find the Betas tab and click on it.
  4. In the drop-down menu select williams_pinball_beta.
  5. Your game will switch to this different version. You might have to restart your Steam client to complete the process.
  6. Click Play.

After you’ve picked your jaw off the ground and put your eyeballs back in their sockets, come back and listen to what we reckon about it all. The download link to the show is right here for you.

And if you aren’t on Steam, never fear! This post will allow you to live vicariously through those on Steam with the largest pictorial post in the history of the BlahCade Pinball Podcast.

All the official Zen press assets that relate to what we’ve been talking about are here for you to see, plus some original BlahCade Pinball Podcast images prepared just for the show.


The Announcement in a Nutshell

Zen Studios today announced it is bringing tables from the world-renowned Williams and Bally pinball collection to digital game stores.

Introducing Pinball FX3 Williams Pinball Volume 1

This global agreement grants Zen the digital rights to the full Williams and Bally pinball library, with the initial 2018 releases including Fish Tales, Junk Yard, Medieval Madness® and The Getaway® High Speed® II — all of which are now available in public beta form through Pinball FX3 on Steam.

Podcast Start

  • 00:15 — Intro and Freakout!
  • 03:15 — Fish Tales
  • 03:45 — Medieval Madness
  • 04:20 — The Getaway: High Speed 2
  • 04:40 — Junk Yard

Official Announcement Trailer

06:25 — Zen’s Announcement Video (with potential table spoilers)

Official Announcement from Zen Studios on YouTube
  • 08:25 — The pinball manuals in the video
  • 09:15 — First impressions of Alpha Build (not Public Beta)
  • 10:00 — Integrated into the Zen Pinball FX3 Platform
Fully integrated into the FX3 Game Package.
  • 10:35 — Custom Williams Tournaments!

Graphics and Room Environment

  • 12:35 — Graphics are razor sharp.
Actual Game Engine Shot of The Getaway
Actual Game Engine Shot of Junk Yard. Look at that blueprint!
Freeze Frame of Table Flyover for Junk Yard. Yep, it actually looks this good in-game.
  • 16:00 — A moment of recognition for Farsight Studios, as the outgoing stewards of Digital Pinball.
  • 16:55 — Junkyard clear plastics
Top is Pinball Arcade. Bottom is Williams Pinball.
  • 19:30 — About the room ambient lighting. Barcade-perfect.
Fish Tales for Pinball FX3 Williams Pinball
Room ambience is Arcade Pub Perfect

Physics and Game Feel

  • 21:35 — What happens when you first press Start?
  • 23:35 — No moon physics. No lead ball. Nothing like you’ve ever played before.
  • 26:40 — Ball spin? You bet!
  • 29:45 — No pre-determined paths defined for balls. Everything is physics-driven.
  • 30:35 — Don’t believe us? Try this physics test on Getaway…
The Getaway: High Speed 2 for Pinball FX3 Williams Pinball
  • 32:05 — Medieval Madness has no catapult vacuum wire-form.
Medieval Madness for Pinball FX3 Williams Pinball
  • 35:10 — Flipper rake in Zen vs TPA.
Fish Tales: Zen vs TPA
The Getaway: Zen vs TPA
Junk Yard: Zen vs TPA
Medieval Madness: Zen vs TPA
  • 36:55 — Tournament Config Settings: Could this be IFPA worthy?
  • 39:45 — Don’t freak out about Tournament brutality: ease into it.
  • 41:00 — Leaderboards keep you coming back in Tourney mode.
  • 41:55 — The 8th View: DMD and Playfield combined.
  • 42:45 — Portrait mode is in there already, and it’s pretty good.
  • 44:10 — Multiplayer features are so well integrated.
  • 46:20 — Fun table facts are there, but they are different to TPA.
  • 47:10 — Nod to Farsight: the Zen table instructions pale in comparison to TPA detail.

What’s Next?

  • 49:15 — What’s next: Interview with Mel Kirk from Zen Studios.
  • 49:45 — Risky business: this venture is somewhat of a gamble.
  • 51:30 — Will there be bad blood with the TPA User Base?
  • 54:45 — What are some likely questions Zen should expect?
  • 58:00 — Follow-up comments to Official Announcement video table clues.
  • 61:45 — Open invitation to visit the studios in Budapest.
From Disassembly to Design.
Junk Yard Bits and Pieces
  • 64:45 — Next Week: Speculation Time!
  • 68:30 — Time to get onto Steam. This is it!