(Topic ID: 52824)

Visiting with JPOP


By Drano

6 years ago



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  • 66 posts
  • 41 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 6 years ago by CaptainNeo
  • Topic is favorited by 6 Pinsiders

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There are 66 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
25
#1 6 years ago

Hey guys,
So, I had an impromptu trip to Chicago this week for business.
I immediately seized the opportunity and contacted John Popadiuk to see if I could sneak a peak into the studios of Zidware Inc to get a behind the scenes look at the development of Magic Girl and Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland (yes, Ben Heck's name is no longer part of the title).

As a buyer on RAZA I have had access to plenty of online updates on that project via a private blog, but John's willingness to let owners come down and visit in person is something that I'd hoped to take advantage of.

If you haven't heard of these projects or their details, John has asked all buyers to sign an NDA so, sorry, no pictures and I can't discuss actual game details. Heres a link to John's site. theres a bit of stuff on RAZA link, but be prepared to he dissapointed for lack of content. He's keeping the whole process pretty secret.

http://pinballinventor.org/games.html

Now, here's a quick overview of my impressions from this visit.

-The studio. It's a fair size but this is not a "manufacturing facility" in the grand sense. It's a mixed use office/commercial space that was outfitted from floor to ceiling with materials, prototyping tools, design sketches, models, proof of concept mechanisms being put through their paces and, of course, games in various stages of completion. Its a great space to build a boutique run of games... not an assembly line. i would love to work in a studio like this! I suggested that John post a large wide angle shot of the space because it really made me feel a lot more at ease as a buyer.

-Magic Girl! since I'm not a buyer on MG, I'm sure John had tucked away a few things I did not see any playfield materials, but I did see plenty of cabinets, mechanisms in progress and lots of drawings. John loosely described it as a prequel to Theater of Magic. A theme that goes back to an older time "A blend of magic and alchemy" were his exact words. The prototype cabinets I saw were fantastically built and you can tell that John and company are not sparing any expense.

-Artwork is phenomenal! No joke. Both games have THE best artwork I have ever seen on any pinball machine bar none. John's got a great team of artists and illustrators that are going to breath new life into this industry... I have no doubt. It's all hand drawn/coloured and its fantastic! The MG cabinet was gorgeous and John snuck in a lot of references to his BW heritage with many characters and objects from TOM, CV and TOTAN appearing in minor cameo roles in the art.

-John knows what he's doing (duh!) I saw racks and racks of parts all neatly categorized and labeled. All of his newly designed and fabricated proprietary parts were undergoing their own coding system and, after handling some of them, I have no fear about damage or longevity. This stuff is made to last... and every Zidware part carries their signature thunderbolt. Very nice, and very sharp... literally. His favourite line was "careful, you will bleed"
I also got a close look at the professionally made wiring harnesses being installed in MG. these are all being locally outsourced and it sounds like there is a great network of suppliers and professionals supporting John's efforts.
I saw tons of great exploration in materials and processes being employed into the all the games in general. It was cool to learn how they are engineering all of this and even trying to get UL approvals for everything... even the cleanliness and efficiency of the under-playfield wiring is important to them.

-Time. I think there was a massive learning curve here for the team. MG took months of development just to get the cabinet designed and realized.... now John says that process is a matter of weeks for RAZA and all future pins. John described the scope and size of the teams they had at BW back in the day and how quickly stuff could be prototyped and engineered. Obviously this is a totally different animal and the R&D time required is huge.

-And finally, Design! I did get to see a foamcore mockup of RAZA in progress. The game has a unique layout, new and never before seen features, re-imagined mechanisms from the past and its just chock full of fun. In fact, that's the one word I would use to define John's space and projects, FUN! A friend jokingly suggested I was going to meet Willy Wonka and I think it was a fitting description. I did feel like a kid in a candy factory

I know some customers are getting impatient, but I'm enjoying the process and only wish more could be revealed so that everyone could get as excited as the owner groups on both pins.
Some guys live close enough to pop by, others may get the occasional visit like me, but for most owners this will be a remote process. For them I can only say that the wait will definitely be worth it.

It may still be a few months before we see the first 3 prototype Magic Girl games... and who knows how long RAZA will stretch.... but I know everyone will be floored when these games hit the scene.
From what I can gauge at this early stage, they will be in a league of their own.
John had some other cool mini-projects in the studio which he will only reveal once completed, but there is a heap of creativity and drive in that space and John seems super driven. The man works 7 days a week!

So, I'll close by wishing John and his team good luck, and thanks again for your hospitality.
I look forward to the rest of the ride and hopefully I'll get to stop in again during expo in October!

Adriano

#2 6 years ago

Great story and details...thanks for sharing!

#3 6 years ago

Thanks for the writeup! Im in on RAZA but after very few if not zero updates lately and a already pushed back timeline im just gona try to forget about it for a year or so. I think the end date was waaaayyy off. I dont wana get cold feet and bail cause i know once its done it will be awesome!

edit: guess there is updates, but still going to forget about it for awhile and just be surprised!

#4 6 years ago

Thanks very much for that update Drano!!
I would love to visit John's studio someday.

#5 6 years ago

Great read Adriano ...Thanks for sharing your experience!

Mauro,
RAZA #67

#6 6 years ago

Drano suggested getting some good, albeit mysterious, panoramic photos up for people...we will work on that. Still have a few "super cool secrets" we are getting protection for, before we can show them...as they will be pinched. But all pinchers get a free "Pink Fairy" shirt! Jpop

#7 6 years ago

All should be on the blog, if you are not getting updates then you are not signed up?? Folks have to call me. We blog 2 times a week. Jpop

#8 6 years ago

Awesome. I know when we visited Zidware last time, the projects looked amazing. Melissa and I are planning on visiting again soon. John is working hard and he will be making some of the greatest games in the industry! New stuff for pinball, YEA!

#9 6 years ago

RAZA wont be worth the wait!
Now somebody PLEASE drop your spot so I can get in on it!
(Fingers remain crossed)
Great write-up Drano! Thanks.

#10 6 years ago

U can't have mine Andrew, but u r welcome to come play!

#11 6 years ago

john, what's the link for the blog?

-jon

#12 6 years ago

Thanks for great write up, Drano. I plan on trying to get another tour in December, if JPop lets me back in! With my visit and the blog I'm more excited than I've ever been to see the finished games.

RAZA #16

#13 6 years ago

Very cool
Thanks for the thread!

#14 6 years ago

...all tours now come with free blindfold and sack of Gold Nuggets gum! Jpop

#15 6 years ago

$10K by X-mas

#16 6 years ago

Thank you Drano. A very good write up in spite of NDA or no pictures.

Nice to read about the progress on these games.

LTG : )

#17 6 years ago
Quoted from LTG:

Thank you Drano. A very good write up in spite of NDA or no pictures.
Nice to read about the progress on these games.
LTG : )

Thanks!
And I felt very fortunate to even see a little bit of MG, considering I'm not a buyer.
John was very gracious.

Quoted from rai:

$10K by X-mas

Classic!
I actually did laugh out loud

#18 6 years ago
Quoted from Drano:

Artwork is phenomenal! No joke. Both games have THE best artwork I have ever seen on any pinball machine bar none.

That is quite a statement, Drano. Especially in the world of pinball, where great artwork is ubiquitous. I don't have any vested interest in these games, but I look forward to their release.

#19 6 years ago
Quoted from Honch:

That is quite a statement, Drano. Especially in the world of pinball, where great artwork is ubiquitous. I don't have any vested interest in these games, but I look forward to there release.

If there is one thing that I am absolutely sure about, it's the fact that the artwork on RAZA will be nothing short of phenomenal.

#20 6 years ago
Quoted from RobT:

If there is one thing that I am absolutely sure about, it's the fact that the artwork on RAZA will be nothing short of phenomenal.

I tend to agree with you, because I think JPOP creates some visually stunning games (IMHO).

#21 6 years ago
Quoted from Drano:

John seems super driven. The man works 7 days a week!

From what you've described (and you did a very good job of that) it sounds like it. I may have to put in a few extra days myself to be able to acquire one of these fine machines. Thanks for the write-up.

#22 6 years ago
Quoted from Drano:

A friend jokingly suggested I was going to meet Willy Wonka and I think it was a fitting description.

When I had my tour with JPOP I felt like the fat German kid that falls in the chocolate river.

Thanks for posting, Adriano.

Kim

#23 6 years ago

When I had my tour with JPOP I felt like the fat German kid that falls in the chocolate river.
Thanks for posting, Adriano.
Kim

Agustus Gloop

image.jpg

#24 6 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

When I had my tour with JPOP I felt like the fat German kid that falls in the chocolate river.Thanks for posting, Adriano.Kim

I thought *you were* the fat German kid who fell into the chocolate river??!??

--
Rob Anthony
Pinball Classics
http://LockWhenLit.com
Quality Board Work - In Home Service
borygard at gmail dot com

#25 6 years ago
Quoted from Mr68:

When I had my tour with JPOP I felt like the fat German kid that falls in the chocolate river.

When and if that Joker Poker ever gets here, I'm going to feel like Charlie.

#26 6 years ago

When I had my tour with JPOP I felt like the fat German kid that falls in the chocolate river.
Thanks for posting, Adriano.
Kim

I felt the same way when I visited but the sad reality hit me when the tour ended at the tshirt stand/souvenior shop. I had to get a 3xl Zidiware shirt and 3xl Zombie shirt. I was only a 2xl for Magic Girl but that no longer fits from last December. I did get Don's H Zombie shirt finally to him after a 6 month delay as I kept forgetting it but he has it now!

Buddy_Magic_Girl_(600x800).jpg 20130504_105031.jpg

#27 6 years ago

Great info, Drano!!

#28 6 years ago

Interesting thread.

#29 6 years ago

From the pics I've seen on the MG blog, the playfield and backglass art are going to be the best of his career so far.

17
#30 6 years ago

in fairness we have had more time to actually pencil, draw, create characters, re-draw, invent pinball detail and work with the color palete and molded parts. A new game look in many ways.

Dave Christiansen from Bally invented the concept that the linework has motion or is dynamically tied to the mechanical parts of the game. So he would draw a bolt, burst or whoosh in front of a slingshot or around a pop bumper or in a lane to add motion and dynamism from static art. We have a lot of that classic pinball art style which works well. The new pinball artists are not taught this, so in our case I mentor them to pass the tradition. And it has worked! Jpop

#31 6 years ago

If I were in the position to have 10k tied up for a few years, I would be in on this for sure. Great theme and designer. I can't wait to see what this beast is going to look like in the end, very exciting indeed. Props to those that have invested here, keeping these projects alive.

#32 6 years ago

Lot of promise here for sure. This is very exciting and I am glad that at least one close friend of mine is getting a jpop game. From piecing together the various stories of jpop tours, I would say that I am easily more excited about this venture than any of the other new pinball makers. Hopefully game three will be produced in much higher numbers.

Good luck to all involved!!

#33 6 years ago

I'm definitely looking forward to supporting JPOP on AIW when he does launch it.
My pinball "collecting" is near its end. I have mostly every game i really enjoy. Without any real urge to jump on the latest Stern and have to swap something out of my basement, I'm perfectly happy to take a joy ride with JPOP for a year or two and watch a game get developed.
Its a cool experience.

Quoted from Honch:

That is quite a statement, Drano. Especially in the world of pinball, where great artwork is ubiquitous. I don't have any vested interest in these games, but I look forward to their release.

Honch. I'm an artist and designer. By nature I don't throw around compliments and praise easily.
The art is simply RICH. There's no other way to describe it. The playfield and cabinet art are great on both games. I never use this word, but the mocked up color side of RAZA I saw was pretty "EPIC"

#34 6 years ago
Quoted from Drano:

Honch. I'm an artist and designer. By nature I don't throw around compliments and praise easily.
The art is simply RICH. There's no other way to describe it. The playfield and cabinet art are great on both games. I never use this word, but the mocked up color side of RAZA I saw was pretty "EPIC"

Sounds Awesome!! Thanks for the review.

#35 6 years ago
Quoted from jpop:

We have a lot of that classic pinball art style which works well. The new pinball artists are not taught this, so in our case I mentor them to pass the tradition. And it has worked! Jpop

The people are hungry for this! Look at the response to Metallica. Let's be honest here, Dirty Donny is just recyling styles from more talented artists (it's just the truth whatever you think of his work) but the hand drawn art is such a breath of fresh air compared to the photoshopped PR stills that it doesn't even matter much.

#36 6 years ago

I'm such a super hacker I managed to find the dev blogs with the googles. But my wordpress ID wasn't invited, so I couldn't actually see anything.

/sad panda

#37 6 years ago

wonderful.....just ask me for access and I will let you in...pop(at)zidware.com...Jpop

#38 6 years ago
Quoted from doughslingers:

I felt the same way when I visited but the sad reality hit me when the tour ended at the tshirt stand/souvenior shop. I had to get a 3xl Zidiware shirt and 3xl Zombie shirt. I was only a 2xl for Magic Girl but that no longer fits from last December. I did get Don's H Zombie shirt finally to him after a 6 month delay as I kept forgetting it but he has it now!

Shirt looks great Buddy! I'm going to meet you one day I promise!

#39 6 years ago
Quoted from hardware:

Shirt looks great Buddy! I'm going to meet you one day I promise!

I hope so! I am bummed we will miss each but I am going to Pittsburgh with two WOZ pins later this Summer.

#40 6 years ago

so when are the poll posts going to show up. What is better? metallica or Magic girl? Or the ....would you sell your AC/DC premium to get a Magic girl. Or WOZ vs. Magic girl. Start them up guys. Posts have been kinda light lately.

Personally, I can't wait to see this game released. I almost jumped on the bandwagon when it was first introduced. But i'm a firm believer in play before pay. Either way. I love Jpops designs and looks of most of his games. So I can't wait to see this one.

#41 6 years ago

well for me they are all good, as they are new pinball and have unique ideas....so you have to get them all... Jpop

#42 6 years ago

So what's the story with Ben Heck's name being taken off the ZA pin..

Is Ben out of the project?

Very curious ...

#43 6 years ago
Quoted from jpop:

well for me they are all good, as they are new pinball and have unique ideas....so you have to get them all... Jpop

But .. but, your two are low production runs that are already spoken for. So cruel.

#44 6 years ago
Quoted from jpop:

Dave Christiansen from Bally invented the concept that the linework has motion or is dynamically tied to the mechanical parts of the game. So he would draw a bolt, burst or whoosh in front of a slingshot or around a pop bumper or in a lane to add motion and dynamism from static art.

This is so crucial to great pinball art, yet so overlooked in most modern games. Let's bring Doug Watson back to pinball. He understood & applied the concept well. Not to mention, drew amazing backglasses.

#45 6 years ago
Quoted from Gerry:

So what's the story with Ben Heck's name being taken off the ZA pin..

Is Ben out of the project?

Here is my understanding:

-It was never "Ben's game". It was always "a Jpop game".

-Ben was the inspiration (as a evil scientist) and still remains

-Jpop asked for opinions on his site, almost everyone felt it was confusing to have Ben's name over the title, but no one had issues with him on the art.

-Name was changed to something more fitting.

1 month later
#46 6 years ago

Saw this earlier today.

Is it wrong that I actually got excited about a friggin' pop bumper!?

Zidware_pop_bumper.png

#47 6 years ago

Not at all.

Zombie #40.

#48 6 years ago

That's one sexy pop. I would love to retrofit a red version of that pop to my Taxi.

-Steve

#49 6 years ago

From what I can tell, you should be able to remove the whole pop bumper assembly from the bottom of the playfield as like on Party Zone. I really like that idea. I just hope the PB coils/switch wires have connectors on them so the whole assembly can easily be removed and serviced.

#50 6 years ago

Sweet lookin pop
RAZA #54

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