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Zen Pinball 2 on Mac: Review and Screenshots (SL and FI tables)

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  • Zen Pinball 2 on Mac: Review and Screenshots (SL and FI tables)

    http://imgur.com/a/fwT4e#0http:// First time using a photo sharing website so I hope this link works.

    I made a few screenshots of ZP2 running on my 2007 17" Macbook pro (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT 256 MB) running Mountain Lion. For comparison, this machine is 1 year younger than my 60 GB ps3 (bought in 2006).

    It runs fairly smoothly with "enhanced" video setting running at 60 fps as long as it is the only application running. It is unplayable if I have my mail app, firefox, and MS Word open at the same time or if I have a VM running. I think the graphics are comparable to the PS3, though the lighting effects on the PS3 seem to be much better. For example, the upper playfield on the Fear Itself table seems much darker to me. Overall I'm a bit disappointed at the graphics/lightig of the Zen Pinball 2 app compared to the marvel game on the PS3. I was expecting better graphics with ZP2, but it barely seems to be on par with the marvel ps3 version.

    The keyboard mapping could also use some work. It would be optimal if you could map to any key. As it stands now, the keyboard mappings for nudging are awkward. I would prefer the left and right nudge to be the keys right next to the flipper keys. I wouldn't mind using the option (a.k.a. alt) keys for left and right nudging but I have no right alt key (it is a secondary "enter" key on my keyboard layout). My ideal layout would be :

    left shift=left flipper
    right shift=right flipper
    z=left nudge
    /=right nudge
    left option (alt)=up nudge
    return=launcher

    In regards to the launcher, I guess it is difficult to program analog launcher to a keyboard key. As it stands now, it is very difficult to make skillshots because the launch plunger moves too fast when you hold down the launch key. Either figure a way to make a new control scheme for small adjustments for launching the ball or slow down the movement of the plunger when holding down the launch key.

    Hopefully extra features can be implemented soon. As it stands now, there are no leaderboards/Hero/friends scores etc. Also, there are no multiplayer/tournament features. Hopefully we can get these features soon, especially since Game Center has been released with Mountain Lion.

    Overall, it is still fun to play ZP2 on the Mac. However, the graphics and lighting are disappointing for a new ZP 2 game as well as the lack of features and poor keyboard layout for nudging. I was hoping to make this my primary platform for pinball gaming (with the iPad as backup for portable gaming). As crackervizzo noted, this was a "soft" launch. But as it stands now, I don't think I will be purchasing any more tables for the Mac until these issues are fixed/optimized with future updates.

  • #2
    I have to backtrack on some of my remarks above. When I installed the new operating system, Mountain Lion, it reset to the default energy saving settings which reduces the brightness of the screen when on battery power. That is why the game looked so dark on my screen. The lighting effects seem to be the same as the ps3. I was able to install the game on my wife's new 15" MBP and the performance is much better and the table is much brighter. I think my screen has started dimming with age. But on her computer it looks a little too bright on the lower playfied. The ball looks washed out a bit with some halo effects. But if you have a newer Mac, the performance and graphics are on par with the ps3 version. I think newer computers could benefit with some higher res graphics without degrading performance, particularly the Sorcerer's Lair table.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by surf1der View Post
      I have to backtrack on some of my remarks above. When I installed the new operating system, Mountain Lion, it reset to the default energy saving settings which reduces the brightness of the screen when on battery power. That is why the game looked so dark on my screen. The lighting effects seem to be the same as the ps3. I was able to install the game on my wife's new 15" MBP and the performance is much better and the table is much brighter. I think my screen has started dimming with age. But on her computer it looks a little too bright on the lower playfied. The ball looks washed out a bit with some halo effects. But if you have a newer Mac, the performance and graphics are on par with the ps3 version. I think newer computers could benefit with some higher res graphics without degrading performance, particularly the Sorcerer's Lair table.
      Thanks for the clarification and thorough review! I will make sure the team sees this

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      • #4
        No problem. I think the graphic issues are minor. I have some minor performance issues with my older machine but there is not much I can do about that until my machine dies and I get a new one. Luckily (unfortunately?), my macs seem to last a long time.

        I think the main issues are leaderboards and more customization for keyboard mapping. But with Game Center now out, I think both those issues can be resolved fairly quickly. I will definitely be buying more tables when they come out. And I am sure I can get a cheap copy of win 8 when it comes out so I can dual boot my machine and play some fx2 exclusive tables too! Barbie, do you happen to know if FX2 plans to be a day 1 launch with Windows 8?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by surf1der View Post
          No problem. I think the graphic issues are minor. I have some minor performance issues with my older machine but there is not much I can do about that until my machine dies and I get a new one. Luckily (unfortunately?), my macs seem to last a long time.

          I think the main issues are leaderboards and more customization for keyboard mapping. But with Game Center now out, I think both those issues can be resolved fairly quickly. I will definitely be buying more tables when they come out. And I am sure I can get a cheap copy of win 8 when it comes out so I can dual boot my machine and play some fx2 exclusive tables too! Barbie, do you happen to know if FX2 plans to be a day 1 launch with Windows 8?
          I'm not sure, it seemed like that was the plan at first, but we should know more details once we get closer to the Win8 launch this fall.

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          • #6
            Im just wondering - you mention that the graphics are on par with the PS3 version of ZP2. How have you been able to compare, I thought the PS3 version hadnt been released yet?

            I would sooner stick to mac / keyboard myself but if the PS3 version is going to be better than this mac version (which I was told by the developers on this forum) then I might have to bite the bullet and use my PS3, which isnt as enjoyable tbh.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dave_mac View Post
              Im just wondering - you mention that the graphics are on par with the PS3 version of ZP2. How have you been able to compare, I thought the PS3 version hadnt been released yet?
              He's comparing the graphics with the PS3 versions of Marvel Pinball and Zen Pinball. He didn't say anything about the PS3 version of ZP2.

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              • #8
                Its a bit worrying that the new version of zp (zp2) on mac looks worse than the old version (zp1) of the game on ps3 then!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by dave_mac View Post
                  Its a bit worrying that the new version of zp (zp2) on mac looks worse than the old version (zp1) of the game on ps3 then!
                  Doesn't look like that to me. Although, I don't have the original ZP, but I've played the demo on and off. It looks pretty dang nice on the Mac to me.

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                  • #10
                    I was comparing the Mac ZP 2 to the marvel version on the ps3 (for the fear itself table). It isn't easy to make a definitive comparison between the two because one I play on a 55 inch hi def HDTV and the other is on 15/17 inch laptop screen. ZP2 on the mac does not look worse to me. I just mentioned the lighting on the lower play field is bright which seems to make the ball reflect a lot of light. Although I think SL did look better when I played it on windows 8 cp versus on the Mac. I am not positive on that though. It could be directx/direct draw versus OpenGL. I don't know much about that stuff.

                    zp2 on the Mac is lacking features right now and I think that is the biggest thing holding it back. Well that and the lack of tables. But it takes time to port the tables. I am still surprised at the "soft launch" approach. I don't think it has been featured at all in the Mac app store. I doubt Microsoft will allow the soft launch approach for the windows 8 version of the game. Though I'm not sure if the certification process for "Xbox live for windows 8" will be the same as for the xbox console. By the way, Microsoft calling their gaming platform for windows 8 cp, "xbox live," is really confusing. I hope they change the name before the final release of win 8.
                    Last edited by surf1der; 08-03-2012, 10:43 PM.

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