‘Pinball Labs’ to Bring Accurate Pinball Simulator to VR, Kickstarter Now Live

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That pinball-playing street gang you joined for protection as a kid (‘The Pinball Wizards’, duh) have laughed at you your whole life. Why? You never owned your very own pinball machine! Ok. The premise is bad, but the pinball machine creation tool that Pinball Labs wants to provide pinball enthusiasts is good. Oh so good.

Catering to both pinball gamers and the cabinet maker community (both virtual and real world), the creators behind Pinball Labs want to develop a software suite that will include a simulator, pinball machine editor, and its own API that will allow for connectivity to hardware or emulators—that means hooking up your very own self-made, virtual pinball machine to real world buttons, solenoids, and other unique pinbally bits to your heart’s content.

All the drag-and-drop assets you need to create your ideal pinball table, including pop-bumpers, plungers, lights, spinners—everything you’d find on your standard pinball machine—will come with Pinball Labs.

See Also: First Look: Inside Oculus ‘Arcade’ Beta – New Tech Brings Back Games of a Bygone Era

An Unreal engine-built alpha VR demo is currently available—albeit with the guts of the machine hanging out—but it gives you a good idea of Pinball Labs’ physics and the atmosphere that they intend to create. A revised demo is slated for Q1 of 2016, with the final release coming in Q4 of 2016.

pinball labs alpha vr

The team is targeting for release on the consumer Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, as well as traditional monitors.

Support ‘Pinball Labs’ Kickstarter

Provided the campaign pushes past its $18,500 funding goal, the developers could be eyeing multiplayer support with voice chat, a device workshop incorporating physics-based parts (springs, switches, solenoids, etc.) and a number of other prospective mini-projects to fill out the platform.

Basic Reward Tiers

  • Pledge $20 or more ADEPT – Early Backer – A digital download of the final game + Your name on our supporters page and in the in-game credits.
  • Pledge $35 or more MASTER – Early Beta access + A digital download of the final game + All previous rewards.
  • Pledge $45 or more WIZARD – Access to frequent builds during development + A digital download of the final game + All previous rewards.

We aren’t pinball freaks by nature, not any more than the occasional trip to Red Robyn’s would suggest, so if you’re interested, or know someone who’s interested in building pinball machines, there’s a lot more technical explanations available on the Kickstarter itself.

  • Thomas Kadlec

    Hi guys, I’m the developer of Pinball Labs and I’m really excited about this project! If you have any questions let me know below.

    • brandon9271

      This could be great with augmented reality as well! With something like CastAR. Imagine a pinball cabinet with the playfield covered in retro reflective material that you could change at will to any pin you wanted. That would be soooo cool :) VR will be awesome too though

      • Thomas Kadlec

        I actually sent them an email yesterday. I agree it seems like this would work great on CastAR.

        • brandon9271

          Awesome. I’d probably buy CastAR just for this!

  • Michael van Oosten

    Would be great if there would be some kind of visual pinball integration so all those already great pinball mame tables could be reused somehow!

    • Thomas Kadlec

      I’m making the data file formats open and easy to work with, the tables will be defined by a main .JSON file, scripting will be done with javascript. jpg/png for images, .ogg for sound and .fbx for models. I’m hoping that will pave the way for conversion tools that can at least do partial conversions of existing tables.

      • Michael van Oosten

        OK, but pinmame is there to emulate the original pinball roms. So would really benefit if the tables could work with the roms so that the playfield can interact with the roms to recreate 1-1 replicas. That’s the power of visual pinball currently.

        • Thomas Kadlec

          Pinball Labs will also support PinMAME through it’s API and the Pinball Event Protocol. Here’s a work in progress video showing that.

          Visual Pinball is a great app developed by some great people but it’s built on some aging technology. I don’t think it will ever have support for things like VR, stereoscopic 3D and head/eye tracking on pinball cabs.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sny4825aDsk