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BlahCade 208: Zen’s Mel Kirk Holiday 2020 Q and A

Jared Morgan Jared Morgan Follow Nov 01, 2020 · 4 mins read
BlahCade 208: Zen’s Mel Kirk Holiday 2020 Q and A
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Mel Kirk joins us for a retrospective on 2020 and a tantalizing preview of what’s coming up next

Right on the heels of #207, we set up an interview with Mel Kirk, COO of Zen Studios, to take us through how 2020 shook down from a studio perspective.

Of course, we couldn’t resist asking him all the burning questions you have about the Arcade 1UP Marvel Pinball cabinet. Luckily for us, Mel practically answered every single question for you.

Mel Kirk standing in front of his Arcade 1Up cab

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BlahCade Podcast - Zen's Mel Kirk Holiday 2020 Q&A

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Show notes

01:30 — EULA clarification

It turns out that the EULA is there to protect us as users so that the licensors don’t come down on us hard if we screw up. And yes it is also there to protect Zen for companies that don’t go through official channels.

The Arcade Factory is a licensed partner building the large-scale Dave ’n’ Buster’s redemption cabinets and there are others also doing it right. AtGames does not currently hold such a license at the time of recording.

04:50 — Volume 6 challenges

The original release date for Volume 6 was quarter-four 2019. It’s now Q4 2020. So, yep there was a little bit of slippage. 😛 The alpha-numeric titles were by far the hardest pinball-related thing the studio has done. Ever. The good news is that the team has a huge amount of lessons learned so expect the development to be a bit faster in the future.

09:40 — Mandalorian table

We can expect it in the first quarter of 2021. There are some other secrets and surprises with the Mandalorian table which you’ll find out at another time.

Where does this put Zen with restarting original development? There is an original three-pack in the works which you’ll most likely see the first quarter of 2021.

The good news is that the new original tables will definitely have the Williams physics applied to them. Basically, expect everything coming out from now to have the new physics.

15:00 — Arcade 1UP Marvel Pinball cabinet

Mel went into exceptional detail about the cabinet, and how Arcade 1Up engineered an upgradeable, future-proofed machine.

The tables are running at 60FPS at 720p. This was deliberate to get the FPS at the desired speed. The build is a high-end custom Android build unique to these tables. The Williams table will not have any Zen visual effects applied so it will feel more like the original tables.

All Williams tables will have the latest pro physics by default. All tables are uncensored due to a lack of rating limitations on physical products.

You can also turn off the ball-trails, and pop-up scores, and other animated features. The camera has been customized for the 30 tables which will make a difference to the presentation of the games. One bit of news is that you can turn off the solenoids if you find them too noisy or want to play the cabinet at night.

41:00 — What is happening at 2021

Expect some very big news later this year about what to expect in 2021 (and 2022).

There isn’t a lot Mel can say but you can just tell that he is incredibly excited about the next few years.

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Jared Morgan
Written by Jared Morgan Follow
Technical writer, product person, VR junkie.