The latest game from Jersey jack pinball his Guns and Roses not in this lifetime.
And I got to tell you it is by far the most technically advanced pinball machine I’ve ever seen or played.
So I had to talk to Game Designer Eric Minear and lead programmer Keith Johnson about the game.
How it came together.
what it was like working with Slash.
Slash is credited as co designer on this game, because that dude loves pinball and was involved in every step of the way.
Let’s talk to Eric and Keith.
Find out more.
Very early on like day one of the project, I got to have a Skype call with Slash.>> Talk about his.
His concepts for the game and what he was thinking and what he wanted and pretty much everyday since then Slash and I have been in contact.
The dude is hardcore pinball and so into making this game the best thing it could possibly be.
He wanted it to be a concert experience And so with that in mind I started sketching out some design aspects of having the stage and having the jumbo tron behind it and having the lights, the moving lights and looking at the way they did this once in a lifetime tour that is very special like hexagonal panels with their lightings so I got that in the back.
But then the integration of actually getting it to be like a concert is really where he brought it to shine.
The basic point of the game is to play some football, get to the point where he could hear a song and then have his socks blown off by everything that the team managed to do.
All the video integration or the light integration shaker integration, even camera integration so it looks like you’re kind of on stage with everyone.
It’s a it’s a really powerful experience, I think and clearly something that’s never been seen in a pinball before.
Obviously, it’s not easy to pull that off, how does all that kind of work together so that is credited as a co designer of this game because of how much influence he had.
And I’m very proud to have given him that title of CO designer, because he absolutely earned it.
When we were asking, like, you know?
Formulating how to make this the perfect concert experience.
I asked him, you know?
What can we do for videos like what do you guys have as far as video content from your concert?
And so like two weeks went by and a couple hard drives showed up to the office.
It was, I don’t even remember at this point six terabytes worth of concert footage.
So full High Definition three hour long concerts and I think we had 18 different concerts to choose from.
We also got permission to use.
All of the animation footage that they generated for their concerts so everything that plays on the screens while you’re there in the concert or while you’re waiting for them to come on stage you know 1000s and 1000s of dollars worth of animation time.
Animation work was given to us as part of this project as well.
I play a lot of pinball, I’m very fluent with the medium, but there’s a lot of stuff in this game that I just had not seen before.
The thing that pops out right away is definitely the sort of sensitive playfield spots where the switches are activated with touch sensors almost I remember the first time I just put my finger over that sensor.
I’m just like, no what is going on right here.
I just I didn’t understand how this was happening.
It really is.
Is quite amazing you talk a little bit about how that works, how its implemented and any challenges that kinda came along with implementing that.
There are a lot of challenges implementing those sensors.
They use a unique optical technology that transmits and receives a specific wavelength.
of infrared light doesn’t get screwed up by sunlight.
There’s there’s definitely complications on some other sensors in other games that have tried to use this sort of technology.
Where if you play next to an open window or over a skylight or something like that, it could it could **** with your sensors.
Or even just using an incandescent flashlight,
So lots of design challenges there.
But as a game designer, I always want to be able to sense the ball in the least playfield real estate impactful way possible.
So being able to basically do it all inside a single insert that the ball rolls over is kind of a dream come true.
When the ball rolls over this space not only does it light up the space, but it detects that the ball is there so we had to develop hours and hours days.
Weeks worth of code time, firmware integration to get these sensors online and communicate over our communications bus underneath the playfield.
Talk a little bit about some of the other toys that are scattered around on this play field because I got to know how a pair of drumsticks.
Found their way into that right ramp.
One of the things that I absolutely pride myself on as a game designer is theme integration.
Looking at other pinball machines you see wire forms right where the ball just rolls down between two wires and drumsticks are big straight pieces that a ball can roll down between so I sat with my mechanical engineering team.
I sketched up, you know, okay, if we make a bracket this way that holds from underneath screws into the wood, we can get a ball to roll over this.
And the extra icing on top is that for the Collector’s Edition games, we actually got Frank for air, who is the drummer for Guns and Roses to sign Every one of the thunder chuckers, which is his brand of sticks from Vader sign every one of those sticks for the Collector’s Edition game,
This game and the RGB LEDs and the overall light show that goes on where all these individually controlled little LEDs.
I mean how does that all work together in a way that Really completes this package.
That is, I mean you are entranced by this thing.
It is absolutely fascinating to look at.
Every song we had our audio guy, beat map the entire song and there’s 21 songs in the game.
And that comes out to just under two full hours of music.
So we’re basically taking the time to choreograph every single light to every single beat for two hours of music 120 beats per minute.
You look at the the Bluetooth connection ability where,, there is a way to kind of get sound from the game wirelessly through that interface.
There’s Wi Fi in this game.
There’s scoreboard integration, which is,, a kind of virtual leaderboard.
Where do we go from here with this type of game?
We’ve had headphone jacks on the game, since pretty much day one, but those are awkward.
Everyone’s got Bluetooth whether it’s earbuds or headphones or whatever nowadays.
So getting that kind of support to get the game or modern was definitely Important to us, I mean, you get a little bit of lag with a Bluetooth but it’s not so bad that she knows that.
The most important thing by far is the internet connectivity updating.
Cuz before it was, it involves downloading stuff and put it onto a stick and sometimes make it a bootable USB stick and You know, to a lot of people that’s kinda kind of a big hassle.
We are the first company to really have fully internet connected downloadable updates for pinball machines.
And I just touched on the the scoreboard integration.
I mean, that’s something that, especially in 2020, when people couldn’t play pinball together.
And think that was something that helped bring back a little bit of community and being able to challenge your friends and play against each other, right?
There’s three trim versions of GNR and they are available as they are made, and I’ve talked to a couple of people who are like, “How do I get one of these games?” I know they’re starting to become a little tought to find but They’re still coming out right?
Right now we’re making collecters additions and standards, laminate editions will be available for a long time.
Erick and Kiff thank you guys so much, I appreciate your generosity, sending out the game, and we’ll talk to you guys soon.
Thank you David
Thank you Jeff.