Pinball FX (4) is EPIC Exclusive and Unreal Engine

Xanija

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May 29, 2013
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Just in case you didn’t recognise: No one will forbid your opinion here. But this doesn’t include personal attacks. And it doesn’t mean anyone has to agree with your opinion.
 

shutyertrap

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Mar 14, 2012
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He's been banned for a month. If he wants to come back then and play nice with others, great. If not, perma-ban on the way.
 

jaredmorgs

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May 8, 2012
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I'm pretty sure that ODB123 is actually vpalmer.

Based on his phrasing and antagonistic behaviour, the pattern fits.
 

Rayder

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Mar 21, 2014
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All I can say is that I'm only buying their re-creations of actual real-life tables, not any of their fake tables. I own all of everything for FX3 and the fake tables just don't do it for me, I feel like I wasted money on those fako's. Only the IRL table re-creations interest me. I don't mean to sound harsh, but if it's not a table that exists in real life, then it's just trash I don't care about.

Just like that one Dr. Who table in TPA, or the tables in Zaccaria collection beyond the ones that actually existed......if they never ACTUALLY existed, then they're not what I want. I want REAL LIFE tables, even the ancient obscure crusty ones. The fako's (yes, yes, call them "original" if you insist) are NOT what I want.

I can't stress this enough.

Visual Pinball IS an option, but unless I can just get a pack of hundreds of tables that exist IRL in one big download, then I don't have the time required to set all that up. I already did that back in VP6 when I didn't have a real job that eats up all my time like I do now. And I'd like a more stable quality level than what VP can offer. VP's quality is all over the place.

I'm no pinball wizard, but I do enjoy playing the pins of my youth (i'm 53) that you can't find anywhere anymore.

I know that's a lot to ask, what with licensing and all that, but I want what I want.
 

Jeff Strong

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Feb 19, 2012
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Someone said they won't make another account just to play pinball. Well, it takes all of 30 seconds, so I don't understand the logic there. I remember when Steam first launched, some of my friends were hesitant to embrace the concept, and look at it now. I personally don't care what storefront they release on. I'm currently playing on Xbox Game Pass subscription on PC more than anything because the value is insane (they just recently added all the Bethesda and EA stuff too), so I just go where the deals are. Speaking of which, I really like how Epic gives away a free game every month. I've racked up quite a library of really great titles. I know it's bait, but it works and I love it. Sure, I'd prefer Steam, but even though I've been there since the beginning, I'm not exclusively loyal to Steam because otherwise I'd be missing out on a lot of good stuff elsewhere.
 
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jaredmorgs

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May 8, 2012
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Speaking of which, I really like how Epic gives away a free game every month. I've racked up quite a library of really great titles. I know it's bait, but it works and I love it. Sure, I'd prefer Steam, but even though I've been there since the beginning, I'm not exclusively loyal to Steam because otherwise I'd be missing out on a lot of good stuff elsewhere.

They just gave away Creature in the Well yesterday. That's a $40 title here on Aussie Steam!

I'm mostly gaming on the Quest 2 at the moment. But I'll come back to PC at some point. When I do I'll have a library of titles waiting for me.

I just went and added CftW to my Steam launcher so it appears there. Easy peasy.
 
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Narc0lep5y

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Feb 21, 2015
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It's not about the account or another store front. It's not even some weird loyalty to Steam. Although there are those who feel that way too. Steam just has quality of life features whereas EGS is a barebones game sales front. One huge feature has a huge impact to me and anyone who has multiple PC's (like a pincab and a gaming PC).

I use a family account on Steam to play on multiple machines, my pinball cabinet and gaming PC. I have another Steam account just for the pincab and install titles via family sharing and as long as I'm not playing it at the same time on my main gaming PC the library is shared across both accounts. It works for FX3, FX2, Black Flaggers or any other Steam title. Not for non steam titles that you just add to the front end though. Family sharing is not on Epic, so I'd need to either log in on my Epic account back and forth on both machines and undergo the 2 factor authorization back and forth too, or create another account just for that machine which means i couldn't play on my main gaming machine without being stuck in the same loop or buy it twice. Steam also has an offline mode for its front end (better for pincab) and Epic supposedly has a kind of unofficial work around for offline, but I've read that it doesn't do well with DLC and that's kind of a huge issue on a product where DLC is such a large portion of the product.

The other quality of life features missing from the EGS, aren't huge for FX, unless they decide to put a table editor in it, then we'll really miss the Steam Workshop. Other things like no shopping cart, no gift cards, no buying a second copy of a game to gift to a friend, aren't really key for FX but they contribute to the whole store front preference evaluation what you want to support as a consumer.

The Epic store was also the victim of a data breach in late 2018, and unlike retailers like Best Buy or Target or publishers like Sony, as far as I know, there was no credit monitoring service offered as a result. Again personal preference, but i wouldn't store any payment information with them. If i had to i think I'd use a gift card, but they don't have those, so (as I've now learned) PayPal is the best option.

There's a whole level of how the good-for-publishers-bad-for-consumer model works, but I just don't have it in me to type it up right now. I've got a book already going here. It's a personal preference like anything though and it's not the only reason i haven't bought from EGS, but it's part of it. They all add up.

But the direct game play impact of EGS vs Steam affects everyone. Those I will go over.

Epic does not have the same installed base of users as Steam. It's growing because of these deals but mostly because of Fortnite and free giveaways. Steam currently has about double the number of active users, but they are also playing multiple games and game genres. Only 37% of the total sales on Epic are to third parties. Meaning over 60% of those users are playing/buying Fortnite (or Shadow Complex but really just Fortnite).

When you've got a feature like Pinball Royale or enhanced social features, those are heavily dependent on players actually playing. We should all want the maximum number of users on Steam, consoles and Epic all playing to keep queues speedy and not be a graveyard experience. Do we think the much younger Fortnite crowd is going to stop playing Fortnite to play Pinball FX or Pinball Royale?

If not, that means to expand the player base on FX, the user experience will rely heavily on pulling as many of the Steam users over to Epic (it matter less from a financial perspective for the publisher, because Zen is already getting their money whether it sells or not and that's one of the problems with this exclusive model thing). Based on the strong feelings already out there, we know that's already an uphill battle and there's a percentage (including me) that just wont do it. And that keeps the player base lower.

Maybe you can get some pincab VPX users to jump over with Unreal Engine. But without something significantly bigger and better than the cabinet options in FX3, they're not going to jump right in either. And if the player base isn't there at launch will they stick around for a year until the Steam launch? With such a DLC heavy game, even if you treat it as a stop gap to play until Steam gets it, will you be able to move those table packs you bought back to Steam? I'd assume no, but let Zen answer that one. But either way, a year from now, users will be splintered across both ecosystems with neither holding enough which weakens the whole product. Pinball is way too niche to segregate the market like this.

Oh and these are just the issues with the Epic store, I've said nothing about how the number of users who are upset over the re-buying of tables will impact the player base too and that extends to all of the platforms. Or how even if everything is multi platform, the consoles don't have the same installed base either because PS5 and Xbox haven't sold enough yet and they aren't building it for the more mature PS4 and Xbox One platforms.

I'm actually pretty sympathetic to charging for re-mastered tables to a degree, I just think the Zen originals aren't worth buying, much less re-buying and physics wont matter there anyway. I think Zen will find that out too. They've said that it's the number one requested feature, but I think the people making the requests are just wanting to actually get value out of the tables they already own.

And then there's stuff like This
 

Alex Atkin UK

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Sep 26, 2012
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I just think the Zen originals aren't worth buying, much less re-buying and physics wont matter there anyway. I think Zen will find that out too. They've said that it's the number one requested feature, but I think the people making the requests are just wanting to actually get value out of the tables they already own.

That I think is a VERY good point they are missing.

I honestly can't imagine the changes being transformative enough to be worth buying again (considering I've already bought them several times over seeing as I have tables across Xbox, Playstation, Steam, Windows, Switch).

The key feature for me will be the real-world tables, if they can make them look and feel more realistic. Raytracing perhaps? Although I agree with other commentors that frame-rate is kinda top priority, because 60fps will never feel realistic. The FX3 tables that don't glitch at higher frame rates feel night/day better already.
 

Narc0lep5y

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Feb 21, 2015
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I did see on the Reddit thread that ray tracing was on their wish / dev list. How far they get through their wish list is another story. At this point I wouldn’t make any purchases based on a future wish list. All of those newer fx3 players who bought Zen originals based on their pro physics wish list being the best example.
 

shutyertrap

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Mar 14, 2012
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I agree, never make a purchase based on promises to come, always make it based on what is in front of you.

There's still a lot of time between now and release (we suspect at the latest August, but no earlier than June) and that means lots of the nitty gritty details and final specs are a ways from being locked. As much as Zen wants to avoid feature creep, I think pressuring them to have things like 120fps at launch is essential for convincing people to make the leap.

Also Narc0lep5y, I really appreciated your very level headed counter argument to Epic Game Store, as you brought up a lot of very valid points especially regarding 'quality of life' features. Truly some good discussion points I know neither I nor Jared had thought of.
 

Crazy Newt

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Dec 2, 2012
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On the brighter side, I am excited that digital pinball in a mainstream format will continue to exist and advance. The consoles and mobile devices have much larger markets to consider, and while there are strings attached when developing for these, at least the platforms are relatively stable compared to the the Wild West that makes up PC gaming rigs. It doesn't seem like the Steam/Epic situation is the highest priority for measured success. I hope it all works out and brings about more pinball goodness that I can enjoy. I truly enjoy the current William's collection of tables in Pinball FX3, especially on my PC. I'm happy that a new version will be released that I will be able to continue playing on a PC.
 

shutyertrap

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Mar 14, 2012
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On the brighter side, I am excited that digital pinball in a mainstream format will continue to exist and advance.

Exactly. People worried that focusing resources on the 3/4 cabs was to the detriment of tables being released, but look at how people are clamoring to buy them. Zen had 2 choices essentially with graphics engines, Unity or Unreal. Apparently they used Unity for the Williams mobile app, while they used Unreal for Operencia, Dread Nautical, and Castle Storm 2. Whenever you use a 3rd party engine, you are going to have to pay a licensing fee for it. That of course factors in with all the other license you have to pay with these pinball tables. I have heard with Unreal a studio can use it without licensing fees (or greatly reduced) if it sells under a certain threshold. I don't know if signing the exclusivity deal is part of that too or not. Point being, Zen very well could have looked at all the fees they'd be having to pay with each DLC download, what they'd need in return to turn a profit (because this IS a business), and seen that to do so would cost the consumer more. So you go with the option that ensures the future of your studio best.

Not that FarSight doesn't exist anymore, but did anyone really expect they'd drop off the face of the pinball map after losing the Williams license? Pinball Wicked was supposed to be a collection of tables, yet they've been stuck on Black Flaggers for years. Pro Pinball had so much going for it, but couldn't keep their doors open. I want Zen to succeed with their 10 year plan for the future, I'm glad they are not willing to rest on their laurels. If all goes well, this moment of unrest in the community will be but a blip and mostly forgotten. If it all goes sideways, well we'll know that moment too.
 

Narc0lep5y

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Feb 21, 2015
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I didn't post anything from this clearly biased subreddit (but it's existence also kind of confirms there's a problem) because the name of the sub - "F**kEpic"

If that doesn't offend you and you want way more detail with links, on why it's not just an installer, feel free to peruse the 2020 FAQ with tons of links if you want. I think some are a stretch but some are valid.

Link
 

Narc0lep5y

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Feb 21, 2015
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Zen had 2 choices essentially with graphics engines, Unity or Unreal.

Not just those two. Amazon Lumberyard which sprang from buying CryEngine are both also out there.

Probably the two highest profile projects that Lumberyard is currently being used in are Star Citizen (alpha) and New World (also in alpha).

Per the link

Amazon Lumberyard
Free. Powerful. Fully Customizable.

We believe game developers deserve another choice. That’s why we’re building Lumberyard: a game engine with no royalties or seat fees, frictionless integration with Twitch and AWS, plus much more on the horizon.
 

trash80

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Dec 14, 2018
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Not just those two. Amazon Lumberyard which sprang from buying CryEngine are both also out there.

Probably the two highest profile projects that Lumberyard is currently being used in are Star Citizen (alpha) and New World (also in alpha).

Per the link

Lumberyard is not currently a viable choice for a studio with milestones and deadlines to meet. Unity and Unreal are really the only off the shelf multi-platform 3D engines that provide the necessary developer base, resource library and active support that a professional studio requires for success.
 
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shutyertrap

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Also Unreal and Unity are fully supported by Oculus for the Quest 2, which I'm sure also factored in.
 

Jeff Strong

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Feb 19, 2012
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Also Narc0lep5y, I really appreciated your very level headed counter argument to Epic Game Store, as you brought up a lot of very valid points especially regarding 'quality of life' features. Truly some good discussion points I know neither I nor Jared had thought of.

Agreed. That was very well said. Definitely some good food for thought.
 

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