Pinball FX – New Engine Update+ Bug Fixes Guide

Pinball FX – New Engine Update+ Bug Fixes  Guide 1 -
Pinball FX – New Engine Update+ Bug Fixes Guide 1 -

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Pinball FX has recently transitioned to Unreal, resulting in updated mechanics for several older tables.


Pinball FX, codenamed FX4, is a new chapter and reboot of Zen Studios’ Pinball FX series. It was launched in Early Access on March 31, 2022, with a full console launch on February 16, 2023. What motivated the switch from FX3 in 2017?nd April 13, 2023. Pinball FX has various tables, ranging from those seen on FX2 and FX3 to brand-new designs and third-party IP.

New Engine

Start by exploring the history of the Pinball FX series: it first hit Xbox 360 in 2007, with FX2 following in late 2010. From past iterations alone, one can easily guess how old the FX3 engine may be; technology rapidly evolving today makes it hard for Zen to keep pace with upgrades and implementation of new features; Pinball FX3 was finally released on PS4 and Windows in September 2017, approximately 4 years since FX2 made its way over here from Xbox 360, or 7 since FX2 originally debuted here on consoles.

Every year, Zen has consistently released 10+ tables; 2019 saw them slowing down due to the 5-month gap between Volume 4 and Universal Monsters. By 2020, however, only 6 volumes and a teaser for Mandalorian with no FX3 logo had been produced compared with 9 monthly cycles for new original releases in 2019. Given this pattern of development and production by Zen, they must have changed engines before 2019 (probably within this 5-month window) or later.

Compare the content released between FX2 and FX3, and it becomes evident. With Unreal 4 now enabling Zen to produce tables faster and more consistently; also, previously, most of their team was dedicated to optimizing and fixing issues within a custom engine; now these resources have been freed up so Zen can focus on optimizing and fixing issues across the board.
FX in Unreal also unlocks more potential in graphic capabilities such as Ray Tracing and HDR, provided their graphics cards can provide enough power to do so.

No FX3 -> FX Transfers

This news was known since March 2021, when they announced the 1-year exclusivity deal. Hear me out:

Unlike most other games, table transfers aren’t as simple as tying assets from one game to another, even if they look the same on different engines. Know that most of these tables are licensed, so even they have a say as to what Zen can do with their property.

Pinball FX2 players were fortunate to get table transfers from FX2 to FX3. This transfer process remained on the same engine, and the physics between the two mainly remained the same, up until Williams.

Around 5:00 in the podcast below, Mel mentioned how some licensors wouldn’t allow transfers again, implying those from FX2. Anyone who says “no” in this process, it’s out of Zen’s hands, and things got messy for Zen to deal with, especially regarding the imperfect transfer process on Steam. More info on the Discounts section.

Pinball Arcade didn’t allow purchase transfers on consoles when hopping from PS3 to PS4, and people were not happy about repurchasing tables there. Unlike Zen in this case, the differences between PS3 and PS4 weren’t all that many. Would the Farsight devs have done the same thing as Zen if there was a “Pinball Arcade 2”? Most likely. – []

On the same topic, when Pinball Arcade was released on the Switch in early 2018, it was pulled after a few hours on launch day, because third parties did not approve. 60+ Bally/Williams tables were missing upon its return. – []

Given these, it’s safe to say that no third-party licenses are guaranteed for a transfer.

TPA vs. FX3, on No Transfers:

Pinball Arcade, DX9-style lighting to DX11:

  • Same engine (in-house)
  • Same UI
  • Same audio
  • Similar textures
  • Same physics
  • New lighting

We were fortunate to get DX11 as an upgrade on Steam but at the cost of downloading two builds at once.

Pinball FX3 to Pinball FX (4):

  • Different engine (in-house to Unreal)
  • Different UI (harkens more back to the FX2 days)
  • Same audio (improvements on the ROMs in progress)
  • Similar textures
  • Different physics (sans Williams, as a baseline)
  • Similar (or newer) lighting


Why Repurchase?

Zen’s reasoning for the upgrade isn’t clear as it is on their FAQ page. The change to Unreal is one of the reasons, but let’s dive deeper:

Updated graphics are certainly a debate. The tables look different in Unreal; however, you’ll need a keen eye to tell the differences between FX3 and FX. Even Zen admitted that their art team had done a spectacular job making the tables on FX3 look amazing. Going over to FX was going to be a challenge for them in this regard, but the new graphical features that Unreal provides are one of the big reasons. Some graphical improvements can be attributed to features like HDR and ray-tracing for higher-end builds. Others can be relegated to things like particle effects and the ease of access for the new UI, but all of these aspects can be further worked on for optimization.

The other big reason is physics. All of the pre-Williams catalogs that Zen released over the years have received the physics that are found on Williams, as well as Zen’s newest originals. These tables were built with the legacy physics model in mind, and it’s not as simple as tacking on a new model. You have new flipper tricks and a completely different ball that changes the feel of the games entirely. Shots need re-tuned, and unnatural elements need to accommodate for the new model. We have a completely different ball game, as a result.

See “New Physics” for further details.

Bug Fixes

No game ever releases perfectly on day 1. Zen’s released an unusual number of tables within the console and Steam launches- new and legacy tables. Given the issues on hand, it’s clear they were crunched on time and had to get these tables working as best as possible.

That said, remember how often FX3 bugs were fixed. If a team of 60 struggled to get alphanumerics working on FX3, I wonder how efficient that engine was with fixing bugs. Couple this with Zen working on Unreal simultaneously — FX3’s lifespan was cut short. With Zen changing to Unreal, bug fixes can be made more swiftly and efficiently in future patches.

Remember also the physics issues that are present on some legacy Zen originals. If the new physics were applied on FX3, there’d be as many unhappy campers there. No more legacy physics, untuned shots and return feeds, untuned kickbacks, and most leaderboard scores reset/archived.

Zen changing engines is the best-case scenario. FX3 remains completely functional as it is.

How many bugs were fixed?


Early Access Pinball FX Fixes – []

Pinball FX – Unofficial 1.0 Changelog – []

Pinball FX Steam Launch – []

The list below shows how many FX3 carryover issues are now resolved in FX:

Williams FX3 Issues, Resolved in FX – []

How many more bugs exist?

Your reports help make the game better long-term. We’re only a few months in on Steam, and 2 months more on consoles, so Zen still has work to do. For a main idea of the list of issues:

Master List – Pinball FX – []

Will they fix more bugs than before?

Absolutely. Playstation got a patch in early May 2023 with fixes for some of the tables released in April.


Tables are already getting discounted through the Weekly Sales. 33% on legacy tables and 15% on new releases may not be enough, especially considering the total DLC cost is below $400. If you purchased a majority of FX3 tables before FX, that number is an illusion.

Bundle Discounts

Consider Williams Volume 1, for example 3 tables for $10, commonly. Here on Steam, Zen’s built bundles in a way such that you can repurchase FX3 tables for half the cost if you own that respective pack. – []

If you own FX3 Volume 1, you can get FX Volume 1 for $5 using that bundle. What’s even better, is any discounts that take place will stack multiplicatively. If a legacy pack is 33% off on a weekly sale, the discounted price is around $3.30. Not bad for roughly $1/table. Pay attention to the Weekly and Seasonal sales for these opportunities.

While new tables are considerably more expensive, the legacy bundles soften the blow, and not everything must be repurchased immediately. If one owns all the FX3 tables, the total cost of repurchases goes down to about $150, or less, if you want to wait for even greater discounts.

Every new table is between $5-10 each, without discounts. Budget accordingly; this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Bundle Discounts: New vs. Returning Player

The legacy bundles on Steam are theoretically cheaper for new players than those returning, which is an unusual case. Consider this example:

  • Unowned FX3 & FX packs: $9.99
  • Owned FX3 only/repurchase for FX: $4.99 + X for previous ownership

This is a case where a new player can get an FX3 pack for free. Sounds good on paper, but here’s where the double-edged sword comes into play. If only FX gets discounted for 33%, the overall effective discount is slashed in half.

  • Unowned FX3 & FX (33% off) packs: $8.34
  • FX pack (33% off) – $6.70
  • Owned FX3/repurchase for FX: $3.33 + X for previous ownership

If one is a newer player, consider how you spend your money carefully. If FX is solely what you’re after, given FX3’s state as a finished product, the Legacy Bundles might not be worth getting.

Returning FX2 Players:

Unfortunately, FX2 users who transferred to FX3 currently suffer from an issue where not every Steam DLC was read successfully, denying access to the bundle discount. This includes the following:

  • Marvel Vengeance & Virtue
  • Marvel Legends
  • Marvel Heavy Hitters (averted if claimed through the Care Package in 2020)
  • Marvel Cinematic
  • Star Wars: Unsung Heroes
  • The Walking Dead (not planned at this time)
  • Zen Medieval
  • Zen Sci-Fi

Using Marvel Season 1 as an example, “Vengeance and Virtue” and “Marvel Legends” suffer. Suppose all 3 packs are 50% off individually. One can get the Marvel Original Legacy bundle separately, then get Season 1 for that extra benefit. The total cost here is $2.50 + $4 + $4 = $10.50 total.

From here, your best bet is to wait for a discount to that level or more, if Zen’s unable (or unwilling, at worst) to fix this. On the other hand, the Collections bundles for FX (a 20% discount & can stack) can help alleviate this, especially during any major sales that take place. Ensure that all Legacy Bundles are purchased in that set before purchasing the remaining affected ones.

New Physics

On FX3, every table uses the Legacy physics model as a base, even on the Williams tables. FX2 uses the same physics model, likewise, and very little changes were made between the two games.

On Pinball FX, a new set of physics was introduced. No two pinball games feel exactly the same way, and that applies with identical machines with different conditions. Empire Strikes Back, here, feels way different than how it was on FX3. Expect a completely new ball game for every table released before Williams Volume 1 in 2018.

The new physics features are as follows, on ALL tables – [] :

Yeah, you read that right. – []  Tap passing. If it’s any indicator, and assuming Zen refines flipper movements for future releases, early solid states like Paragon and Eight Ball Deluxe will be FUN.

New UI & Differences

The New UI in the PFX main lobby is designed to be more streamlined and flexible, harkening back to the FX2 days.

The ideal case is loading a table immediately from starting Pinball FX. There’s an immense amount of load time on the splash screen, unless you play in Offline Mode. Hopefully, this will be improved for future patches.

Pinball FX2: Table select -> Single Player. 2 steps.

Pinball FX - New Engine Update+ Bug Fixes Guide - New UI & Differences - DB1C9B4

Pros: Launch a table within a few steps; main menu is immediate access to table list.

Downside: As more games were added, the table icons continuously got smaller, and it was getting more difficult to tell which one was which. Categories could have solved this, given consoles, but adds another step.

Pinball FX3: Single Player -> Table select -> Single Player/Challenges -> Game Mode (-> Arcade/Tournament Williams). 4-5 steps.

Pinball FX - New Engine Update+ Bug Fixes Guide - New UI & Differences - 65557FC

Pros: Tables are now in categories and are more readable.

Downside: Introduces many more steps than needed to launch a table. If wanting to access Settings, Matchup, or Tournaments, among other options, one must back out entirely to the main menu. Tables can also be hidden based on said category.

Pinball FX Unreal: (My Tables, first time ->) Table select -> (Game Mode ->) Play. 2-4 steps.

Pinball FX - New Engine Update+ Bug Fixes Guide - New UI & Differences - 5C91D85

Pros: Table categories can now be filtered based on preferences. All game modes are now listed instead of split into two sections. Players now have access to the tabs up top, and can select at will.

Downside: Font sizes are small, and “My Tables” has to be selected upon PFX launch. A future update can mitigate this. Leaderboards can be better positioned when selecting a table/game mode.

New Tables

The full list of tables can be found here. – []


  • Swords of Fury
  • Bride of Pin*Bot
  • World Cup Soccer
  • Addams Family
  • Twilight Zone
  • Whirlwind

Zen Originals:

  • Curse of the Mummy
  • Pinball Noir
  • Sky Pirates
  • Grimm Tales
  • Wrath of the Elder Gods
  • A Samurai’s Vengeance
  • Verne’s Mysterious Island


  • Star Wars: Classic Collectibles
  • Star Wars: Mandalorian
  • World War Z
  • My Little Pony
  • Dreamworks’ Dragons
  • Dreamworks’ Trolls
  • Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda
  • Snoopy
  • Garfield
  • Homeworld
  • Borderlands
  • Brothers In Arms
  • Crypt of the NecroDancer
  • Godzilla
  • Kong
  • Godzilla Vs. Kong


WMS Censorship

Short version: GONE.

Long version: FX3 on consoles suffered from forced censorship with no way to turn it off. Zen already got in trouble with the ESRB once with a placeholder asset on Infinite Minigolf for the Switch. They couldn’t afford to make that mistake twice, hence the censorship. I imagine it’s also not cheap or simple to change the ratings like that.

Given these, the Williams library would be missing some great titles that were included in Pinball Arcade. These include but are not limited to:

Bram Stoker’s Dracula — Blood (turned to green slime on Monster Bash)

Jack*Bot — Simulated Gambling (Poker Night removed on Champion Pub)

STTNG — Riker’s Poker (Poker Night removed on Champion Pub)

Both Elvira games — Suggestive Themes (art alterations on MANY tables)

Cactus Canyon — Alcohol/Beer (Champion Pub soda, once again)

WHO dunnit — Roulette/Mystery Slots (Poker Night removed on Champion Pub)

With the new “T” rating, the doors are opened for unaltered tables, where applicable. For example, the alterations of the vehicles on Creature are out of respect for dealers like Chevrolet. Likewise with Party Zone’s omission of Purple Haze.

Cabinet Mode

You no longer need a code for access to cabinet features!

Orientation for Portrait Mode is now in the Settings section. Click the cog in the upper right corner, go into Settings, and tab into Video.

Freezy’s DMD Extensions is officially supported, unlike Pinball FX3’s reading-by-memory method. The neat thing here, is that alphanumeric displays and video displays from the newest originals are fully supported. You can go here for more information. – []

The rest of the options function similarly to how FX3 is, for resizing and placing the DMD/Video display and the backglass. Both can be activated or deactivated in the main hub.

All backglass images as of now require the .png extension. All images also require a table number, which is found here: – []

“Instant mode/table start:

This feature is currently WIP, we will share news when it will arrive. We hope the UI will provide a smooth cabinet experience.”

Possible Roadmap / What do we know?

Of the 108 existing tables, 29 of them are brand new and 79 returned from FX3. Given previous patches, Pinball FX will get more bug fixes than ever before, even in Early Access.

Previously, Portal and Walking Dead weren’t confirmed to leap. Remastered content is still a work in progress, given the March Update and the April episode of Pinball Bites. Bethesda, FOX, Aliens, and 9 Zen Originals remain missing but should make an eventual return.

24 new tables are planned for 2023, plus one (not on the list) that has not been seen in a long time. – []  One is teased on the back wall from Pinball Bites. So far, Pinball FX has seen 10 new releases in 2023.

3 of those new tables, not counting Addams Family, are WMS heavy-hitters. Twilight Zone is one of them. That leaves two heavy hitters, and 12 remaining unknowns.

There is a dedicated team for cabinet mode. Look for new and improved features on that front in the future.

Pinball Pass will be cross-commerce at a later date. We’ll see what happens when July rolls around for Nintendo Switch.

Steam Deck is currently not supported, but it runs and Zen is looking to optimize for that platform. The Switch version should help in this regard as well.

Questions / Feedback?

Any further questions, or anything that I might have missed, do not hesitate to reach out or discuss in the comments. If you have additional feedback you’d like to provide to Zen, this is a great opportunity to share directly to them: – []

Feel free to email directly to Zen support if you have any further questions.

Big thanks to MBeeching for the proofreading and minor edits.

Thank you for reading the Pinball FX – New Engine Update+ Bug Fixes Guide, and we sincerely hope that you found them to be of use. We encourage you to report any mistakes or ideas for enhancements in the section below, and we will fix them as quickly as possible. Today, I send you my very best wishes. This post was motivated by the work of creator and author Matt Beeching, Pinballwiz45b If you liked this post, be sure to bookmark us so you can easily find more of our great material in the future.

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