Comments and questions about Trine

For discussion about Trine, firstly released in 2009 for Windows and on PlayStation Network.
olivehehe_03
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Comments and questions about Trine

Postby olivehehe_03 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:36 am

First of all, to get it all out of the way, downloaded the demo yesterday and thought it was awesome. Got a mate to join in with another controller and had an awesome time with it. The platforming elements are great, there's just enough running and jumping to please anyone, and I love physics based puzzles (always have) and these ones seem to be balanced just right, there's enough direction so players aren't getting stuck, but there's still enough room for experimentation for someone who wants to try it differently, especially for someone who wants to get all the green experience potions and other secrets. The different characters are perfect as well, in most other games that offer different characters/classes, there always ends up being 1 stand out class that just works better or easier than all the rest, but not in this case. The Thief, the Warrior and the Mage all have their own play styles and tactics, and each one of them is great fun to play and you never feel like you were stuck with an inferior character. The RPG elements in the game (although not explored to a great extent in the demo) seem to have a great deal of potential in the combat as well as the platforming and puzzle aspects. It's going to be great to see how that plays out once the full game is released. All this shows that there's still developers out there who have the guts to take on a new IP on a new platform and actually have the time, dedication and skill to make it a really great game.

One other thing I want to comment on as well, and that's the multiplayer. I remember a time (not too long ago) where multiplayer gaming meant 4 mates sitting on the couch 3 feet away from the biggest TV they owned playing their favourite shooter in 4 player splitscreen. Now I'm sure everyone has noticed those days seem to be long gone, nowdays multiplayer is sitting in a room on your own, playing against 15 different people half a world away and it's become a far too disconnected experience. I think it's really damn good to see that I'm not the only one that remembers that multiplayer used to be local, and to be honest, that was the biggest selling point for Trine for me.

Now that all that is out of the way, there's just a few questions I want to ask.

1) Playing the game with two people, we were able to swap our character whenever we chose by using the one left over. Will it be possible to change your character when playing with 3 people or does everyone just play with the one they are assigned?

2) Playing through the demo, there were quite a few items (treasure chests, and alot of experience potions) that were out of the way and required a bit of effort to find. Will there be other rewards for exploration and how much is a player likely to miss if they don't look around?

3) The level from the demo seemed to be taken from fairly early in the game. How does the game change (in terms of difficulty and appearance) as you progress through the game? Do the puzzles remain mostly the same (although disguised behind seemingly complicated scenery) or do things require more thought and more cooperation as you progress?

4) Will we get to see any huge, totally awesome boss guys?


I'm a bit of a developer/designer myself, so theres a few questions, not necessarily related to gameplay that I'm curious about :D

5) Was the decision to leave online and LAN multiplayer out of the final version based on time and technical constraints or was it a design decision with the idea that local would provide the best experience for the game and that online may detract from that?

6) What are you doing (besides extra difficulties) to extend replayability?

7) What was the biggest technical challenge you experienced while making the game?

8 ) As a developer with limited experience on the PS3 (and the 360 as well I suppose), is the Playstation 3 really as hard to develop for as some other developers are making it seem? Why/why not?

9) What are some of the things you've learned while making Trine that you would be able to apply to another game?

10) How difficult was it to design the levels so they can be completed by one player, yet still offer a challenge for 3? Are there certain parts of a level that 2 or 3 players will be able to reach that 1 will not (similar to some areas of Little Big Planet)?

11) Does Trine use the same engine as Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds Survivor? What technical improvements since then are your programmers/artists bragging about the most?

12) Has the game turned out anything like the original design?

13) I don't picture you being a huge studio, how many people have worked on Trine and how long has it taken from start to finish?

14) Was there anything significant cut from the game to meet deadlines? If so, what would you bring back if you had another 6 months to work on it?

15) As I mentioned, I'm an independant programmer and designer (just a fancy way to say unemployed hobbyist looking for a career in the industry). How did you and some of your team members start out and how did they get into professional development?


Man, that turned into a bit of an interrogation, guess I got a bit carried away. :shock: It would be really awesome if I got an answer to even a few of those.

One last thing (I mean it, I swear), performance on the PC is great. With all the options on their highest settings (AA and vsync are off though) at 1920x1200 resolution the game runs perfectly smooth on my Dell XPS M1730 with Intel Core2Duo [email protected], 2GB RAM, 2xNvidia 8800M GTX in SLi.

EDIT: Man, I should never say "one last thing". Is the game being released on a retail disc for the consoles or is it a downloadable title? I never seem to have found anything specifying one way or the other...

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FB_Lauri
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Re: Comments and questions about Trine

Postby FB_Lauri » Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:37 am

First of all, thank you very much for your comments!

olivehehe_03 wrote:1) Playing the game with two people, we were able to swap our character whenever we chose by using the one left over. Will it be possible to change your character when playing with 3 people or does everyone just play with the one they are assigned?


In 3 player co-op, you are able to switch characters thru the inventory menu (with the same character change buttons as in in-game)

olivehehe_03 wrote:2) Playing through the demo, there were quite a few items (treasure chests, and alot of experience potions) that were out of the way and required a bit of effort to find. Will there be other rewards for exploration and how much is a player likely to miss if they don't look around?


The full game has 750 experience potions, out of half are found from levels and half from enemies. The some of the level ones are so hard to find our testers had to cheat and see from the level editor, but after they checked, they realized the experience placement is logical and for example nothing is hidden behind visuals, only in well-hidden places :D

Each level has also two extra secret chests which have items. These chests are usually very well hidden, and I've seen a few testers complete the game with finding only 1 or 2 items (out of 26). However, if you look for them, you should find a lot more as their placement is very logical.

One last thing with the collectibles is the unlock system, which means anyone can return to previous levels with all the abilities they have gained and look for the missing experience and the missing secret items. Once they find them, they can continue from where they are and the items they found by returning are unlocked to their latest progression aswell. I find this very fun feature specially if you are looking for the xp and the items :)

olivehehe_03 wrote:3) The level from the demo seemed to be taken from fairly early in the game. How does the game change (in terms of difficulty and appearance) as you progress through the game? Do the puzzles remain mostly the same (although disguised behind seemingly complicated scenery) or do things require more thought and more cooperation as you progress?


The demo is first two levels. The real challenges start around level 4 or 5, with all the way scaling up but still maintaining the flow. And the boss level .. well let's say, it has been challenging for everyone in our dev team also :wink:

The puzzles are unique-ish, meaning same kind of mechanic is used only a few times in the entire game, and each level has it's own touch. However, all puzzles support "the million ways" to solve them. :)

Solid co-op helps solving puzzles, so if you are stuck, you can use a friend to solve it. Co-op has it's own set of tricks which are not possible when playing solo, but none of the puzzles require co-op.

olivehehe_03 wrote:4) Will we get to see any huge, totally awesome boss guys?


Yes. :D

olivehehe_03 wrote:5) Was the decision to leave online and LAN multiplayer out of the final version based on time and technical constraints or was it a design decision with the idea that local would provide the best experience for the game and that online may detract from that?


Lack of time and money, which resulted to strong focus on doing a great single+local co-op instead of wasting all resources on online. Like I've stated elsewhere, without this decision we would not have Trine as it stands now. :)

olivehehe_03 wrote:6) What are you doing (besides extra difficulties) to extend replayability?


Collectibles (xp, items) which work as unlockables explained above, co-op play, "the million ways" to solve one puzzle, trophies/achievements to name a few :)

olivehehe_03 wrote:7) What was the biggest technical challenge you experienced while making the game?


PS3 is not the easiest to get run smoothly something what looks like Trine does 8) . Our programmers are true masters of their profession, luckily.

olivehehe_03 wrote:8 ) As a developer with limited experience on the PS3 (and the 360 as well I suppose), is the Playstation 3 really as hard to develop for as some other developers are making it seem? Why/why not?


Yes and not. We got Trine running on PS3 fairly fast, but then optimizing it to run smoothly, well that involved some real work too :D

olivehehe_03 wrote:9) What are some of the things you've learned while making Trine that you would be able to apply to another game?


In short, as a project Trine was a disaster (well, not completely), but we feel as a game and in terms of quality and gamer experience it's something we are going to create again :)

olivehehe_03 wrote:10) How difficult was it to design the levels so they can be completed by one player, yet still offer a challenge for 3? Are there certain parts of a level that 2 or 3 players will be able to reach that 1 will not (similar to some areas of Little Big Planet)?


All areas are reachable by one player, but some of them may be so evil so they might require being the guy who designed the level, or a friend :wink:

The level design itself involved a lot of iteration, testing, and tweaking.

olivehehe_03 wrote:11) Does Trine use the same engine as Shadowgrounds and Shadowgrounds Survivor? What technical improvements since then are your programmers/artists bragging about the most?


Improved SG/SGS engine, yes (same on PS3 also). I'll let the programmers do the bragging, but I'd guess PS3 engine is one they would name.

olivehehe_03 wrote:12) Has the game turned out anything like the original design?


The original design was totally re-designed (by a different guy than the original) some 16 months ago. After that, it's been designing until the game was completed :D (but I must say some things final game has was foreseen an year ago!)

olivehehe_03 wrote:13) I don't picture you being a huge studio, how many people have worked on Trine and how long has it taken from start to finish?


Around 30-40 people have worked on development of Trine, out of which 20 are our studio employees.

olivehehe_03 wrote:14) Was there anything significant cut from the game to meet deadlines? If so, what would you bring back if you had another 6 months to work on it?


Yes, a lot of cuts. Now I see that they only "polished the gem". So, I'd rather add any of those missing features to a sequel, if there's coming any. 8)

olivehehe_03 wrote:15) As I mentioned, I'm an independant programmer and designer (just a fancy way to say unemployed hobbyist looking for a career in the industry). How did you and some of your team members start out and how did they get into professional development?


We have started all as hobbyists, and in fact, out of all of 40+ employees Frozenbyte has had, only one had previous game industry experience. Our studio founders have worked now 8 years in the industry and most of our employees have also worked 3-6 years with us. Before the professional career, everyone had done their own thing as a hobby for very long time, say 5+ years. Nowadays a lot of our new employees come from schools which specialize to games (and games only), so they have a bit different background than our founding members. Back when we founded Frozenbyte in 2001 there was no other way getting game industry job than founding a company, but nowadays there are so many companies getting employed is an option :D

olivehehe_03 wrote:EDIT: Man, I should never say "one last thing". Is the game being released on a retail disc for the consoles or is it a downloadable title? I never seem to have found anything specifying one way or the other...


Trine PS3 will be released thru PSN, so it's a downloadable title.

Thanks again for all the questions and the comments!

SirDrago
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Re: Comments and questions about Trine

Postby SirDrago » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:03 pm

FB_Lauri wrote:PS3 is not the easiest to get run smoothly something what looks like Trine does 8) . Our programmers are true masters of their profession, luckily.


Hehe yeah and you must be better then Valve because they said a few times in the past that the PS3 is too complicated for them.....

Cba015
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Re: Comments and questions about Trine

Postby Cba015 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 5:10 pm

Will the other levels be longer/bigger than the second one or just harder to beat?

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FB_Lauri
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Re: Comments and questions about Trine

Postby FB_Lauri » Sun Jun 28, 2009 5:19 pm

Cba015 wrote:Will the other levels be longer/bigger than the second one or just harder to beat?


The second level is definitely not the longest level we have, and all levels after that include more challenges in both in terms of enemies and puzzles. However, puzzles are not mainly "just harder", but each level usually introduces something new, physics-based fun, which utilizes the character abilities a bit diffrent way. :D

DarkJee
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Re: Comments and questions about Trine

Postby DarkJee » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:39 pm

I have another worry too, the fact that you can wall jump, you can do a second jump in mid air if you are on a wall. I think that its cool, but it also make easy to bypass a lot of puzzle you have to do in the second level. Maybe if you could explain or.. I don't know, thats cool but thats a lot more easier. I don't think a heavy armored Knight can actually do this =P

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FB_Lauri
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Re: Comments and questions about Trine

Postby FB_Lauri » Mon Jun 29, 2009 2:46 am

DarkJee wrote:I have another worry too, the fact that you can wall jump, you can do a second jump in mid air if you are on a wall. I think that its cool, but it also make easy to bypass a lot of puzzle you have to do in the second level. Maybe if you could explain or.. I don't know, thats cool but thats a lot more easier. I don't think a heavy armored Knight can actually do this =P


The so-called wall jump is implemented as a "failsafe" function, allowing a character to do second jump with 1/3 of normal jump height.

While the second level can be solved by using this only (as it's so easy level), in latter levels wall jump is not enough to solve actual puzzles, but it's only function is to save a bit too short jumps. Real puzzles will require real solution, but there's still tons of solutions to choose from :D

DarkJee
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Re: Comments and questions about Trine

Postby DarkJee » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:23 am

FB_Lauri wrote:The so-called wall jump is implemented as a "failsafe" function, allowing a character to do second jump with 1/3 of normal jump height.

While the second level can be solved by using this only (as it's so easy level), in latter levels wall jump is not enough to solve actual puzzles, but it's only function is to save a bit too short jumps. Real puzzles will require real solution, but there's still tons of solutions to choose from :D


Ok, happy to hear this, because if we could solve most of the puzzle in Trine with wall-jump, that would be very sad!

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FB_Lauri
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Re: Comments and questions about Trine

Postby FB_Lauri » Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:28 am

DarkJee wrote:
FB_Lauri wrote:The so-called wall jump is implemented as a "failsafe" function, allowing a character to do second jump with 1/3 of normal jump height.

While the second level can be solved by using this only (as it's so easy level), in latter levels wall jump is not enough to solve actual puzzles, but it's only function is to save a bit too short jumps. Real puzzles will require real solution, but there's still tons of solutions to choose from :D


Ok, happy to hear this, because if we could solve most of the puzzle in Trine with wall-jump, that would be very sad!


With Trine design, we have paid great attention to prevent solutions which would always work to any puzzle (for example, levitating object you were standing on was disabled for this reason). However, I can't make any promises as Trine allows many clever solutions and it already seems people are very inventive with the freedom :D

DarkJee
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Re: Comments and questions about Trine

Postby DarkJee » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:45 pm

FB_Lauri wrote:With Trine design, we have paid great attention to prevent solutions which would always work to any puzzle (for example, levitating object you were standing on was disabled for this reason). However, I can't make any promises as Trine allows many clever solutions and it already seems people are very inventive with the freedom :D


Yes but for that, the little bug that you can move when you are levitating objects, you can glitch it so you can levitate the object that you will stand on by moving on it really slowly


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