Frozenbyte has messed up again?

For discussion about Trine, firstly released in 2009 for Windows and on PlayStation Network.
greyze1
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Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby greyze1 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:30 pm

So i've had a good look at this new game "Trine" and I really cant wait to get my hands on it, not only does it look great in general, its Co-op!

But then I saw the problem, just like in the previous Shadowgrounds games.

Shadowgrounds had a great co-op experience put in, but to gain access to that experience it was very poorly designed. To play Co-op you needed to use 1 computer with control pads! I found it ridiculous on why they done this old fashioned method instead of making the game online, so we can simply pop onto a server or create one and enjoy with our friends, where its cheaper because we all don't have to fork out cash for control pads, and also we all find the keyboard/mouse much more enjoyable.

I only played Shadowgrounds co-op with a friend once when I borrowed a PC360 controller, I never bought one because back then, they cost over £30 each.

So thats my issue with Trine, you have once again made a good game but then spoiled the co-op completely by making it offline play. Its 2009 now, everyone uses online play... your pretty much the "only" developer that is using this old method, and are forcing people to go out and spend extra money on control pads just to play with their friends.

I saw in a previous post here that the reason why this game is so expensive is because alot of effort has gone into this game and it can be classed as a Retail game, but the fact you haven't moved to online play even though this method has been out for well over 10 years now.

I also actually find it quite baffling on why you haven't gone for online play either. Of course you would have to put more money into the game if it went online, but then SOO much more people would buy it... It appears that to get the most experience out of this game.. spend £20+ on the game itself, then £20 for extra control pads, £30 for wireless (360 controllers). If this game did get popular, people would be spending a crapload of money on control pads than the tiny amount you would had to put in for online play.

greyze1
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby greyze1 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:36 pm

Re-reading my post I seem to have gone on a bit of a rant there.. sorry about that.

Though my point still stands that its ridiculous to pay this much money for this game which its strongest point is co-op, and we have to pay more money on control pads which we hate and makes the game even more restrictive to play!

I'd really like someone to explain to me why this is "reasonable/fair".

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FB_Lauri
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby FB_Lauri » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:50 pm

I'll quote myself from another discussion a few topics below:

FB_Lauri wrote:We understand this and would also love to have online co-op, but that's something technology-wise what would cost and delay the game way too much if aimed for release date. For us, it's been a tough decision and we have understood we will lose players since this, but for a small studio doing it's first PS3 title it would just been too great risk to do everything at once.

From our point of view, sure we could implemented the online co-op at the first place, but most likely it would have cost so much time and effort that all other parts of the game would sucked. And if we would had a sucky game with online co-op, no-one would have ever paid interest to it and Trine would only been another no-good title vanishing among the hundreds of other titles.

Now, by sacrifying the online features from the launch we are able to deliver a very good single player title, which still has same system 3 player co-op. I understand this only makes you even more sad, but I still have to say Trine's single system co-op rocks and has been super fun in our every tests, among with the single player experience.


To add to myself, while I understand people see Trine as co-op only game, it's made as a single player game, later it's been shifted to PS3 (where local co-op is still "accepted"), and then again made to PC without sacking any features, not even the useless local co-op.

We would like to think that local co-op is just additional fun to a solid single player game. However, I agree that with online features Trine would be a lot better, but with it we really had to pick between "Crappy game with online" or "Solid game without online, with everyone hating us" :?

rmarx
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby rmarx » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:58 pm

I think it is about time people stopped complaining about the lack of online co-op for Trine. It is clear that those complaining about it the most have little experience with programming a game themselves. Networked options have indeed risen to the level of being "standard" in a game, but there are several issues that need to be taken into account for this particular game.

Frozenbyte is NOT EA or any other big game studio, has NO (or little) experience in making networked play (especially for this type of game), the game is incredibly complicated internally (mostly because of the physics), ... . Furthermore, online co-op would not just require sending the player positions and game data to the other players, it would also require a good voice-communication system to be built in (because, seriously, it wouldn't be playable without). And even though they could rely on steam for that on PC, they also have versions for PS3, XBOX and retail for PC. Implementing a good and robust audio-communication system is also a very difficult subject, even if you could use existing libraries (been there, done that).

And while it is true these issues are not so huge if you consider that it would only have to deal with 3 players at a time, they would still take up a lot of time, money and more importantly : TESTING, something Frozenbyte might not have access to. Also keep in mind that they are promising to bring out patches in the near future to help solve gamepad issues etc. They really care about this game and want people to enjoy it as much as possible. If enough people buy this game, i'm sure an online-patch will be on the table soon enough in their next meeting.

So in conclusion : if you want to compare Trine to other games, which DO support online possibilities, please try to keep in mind the size of the studio that made them, their resources and experience in making that kind of game, extra side-requirements (like voice communication) and the price you pay for these games (because yeah... trine is going for $30, I don't believe there is any game that brings this kind of graphics and interaction ONLINE for less then $50, which for me is already way to high for any video game).

Also : steam is really good at lowering the price of their products on certain days/weekends... I'm sure if you wait around you can pick it up for $20 or less (and hopefully a ton of other players out there who think the same way you do about the online co-op)

greyze1
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby greyze1 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:06 pm

rmarx wrote:online co-op would not just require sending the player positions and game data to the other players, it would also require a good voice-communication system to be built in (because, seriously, it wouldn't be playable without). And even though they could rely on steam for that on PC, they also have versions for PS3, XBOX and retail for PC. Implementing a good and robust audio-communication system is also a very difficult subject, even if you could use existing libraries (been there, done that).


Well of course online co-op would be difficult and money costing to make, but this kind of plunge is for the greater good. Though you kinda hanged your self on the communications subject.

Alot of online games don't have any voice communication abilities at all. And a good reason for that is because on each platform the game is being made available on has its own communication already. Steam has a full and free communication system, Frozenbyte would have absolutely nothing to do with it because its built right into steam. On steam you can communicate with 1 or multiple people at once at any time in any game. Even if you didn't want to use steam you can always use Teamspeak or Ventrilo where there are tons of free servers to join for communication, and lets not forget the 100s of other bits of software that can be used, such as Skype or even MSN Messenger.

The PS3 has its own system built in too which is completely free to use at any time the ps3 is on. So for voice communication and budget, your statement is useless because Frozenbyte has no control over any of the voice comms platforms I have just mentioned, they are there ready to use and free. And this is what alot of games do today, they save budget by not implementing that kind of system into their games because its readily available elsewhere for free. Hell you should take a poke around today's games "with" voice communication built in, such as the VALVe games or World of Warcraft. They may have their own Voice comms built into it, but almost no one uses them at all because everyone simply prefers the 3rd party sources that have always been there freely.

rmarx wrote:Also : steam is really good at lowering the price of their products on certain days/weekends... I'm sure if you wait around you can pick it up for $20 or less (and hopefully a ton of other players out there who think the same way you do about the online co-op)


Actually Steam does not control the prices set, they are done by the publisher of the game.. Though I guess they will lower the price a little eventually because the current price is intense for missing out such an important feature.

Now while I agree with the above post and your post slightly Rmarx. Budget is important of course, but the conclusion that you have come to (not implementing online/budget issues) is very serious. People don't have a set of 360 controllers for their PC readily available.. Frozenbyte is pretty much the only company that has made games for Offline multiplayer. I guarantee the people interested in this game will be put off it because of the offline play, people are not prepared to spend this much money on a game when they have to put out even more on control pads.
And the whole idea in general is very restrictive. If it were online, people would simply load up the game and have the immediate opportunity to play with 1000+s of people across the globe right at the comfort of their own home, ANY time of day/night.

People have to leave their house and go somewhere else to play it, How about the people that live far away? too hazardous to get there? How about people with no friends, and only have the online community? (WoW, Steam games etc) The amount of money a person has to spend for the equipment, and the effort they have to go through just to play co-op (if its actually possible for them) just lets down the game bigtime.

I know budget seems to be their problem.. But I think if they gone the extra mile this game would have been would have been at the top. Yes they "can" release online co-op in a patch, but they didn't do it for Shadowgrounds which is what people desperately wanted, so that already lowers peoples expectations. I think people also would prefer online co-op being there first, and any bug fixing that they missed can be done in a patch.

Its being marketed to platforms that are online based only.. Steam and PSN, yet requires offline co-op. Sorry for my sucky language skills but I hope you understand what i'm trying to say.

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fb_joel
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby fb_joel » Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:24 pm

It's not a question of us not being able to create network code etc, we are fully capable of that. It's not hard as such. The problem is that our whole engine code, the very underlying components of the game engine, was not built with network code in mind. That's what makes the huge difference. For example, if a developer uses some off-the-shelf game engine (Unreal, Trinigy, whatever), then adding online is not a problem because all the difficult technical stuff is already handled by the engine. But that's not the case for us, and this is why it's probably hard for a lot of people to understand the situation. I myself aren't a programmer either but obviously I've heard about the problems for so many years that it makes total sense to me why we haven't been able to include online in our games so far. The thing is, small games are able to do online because they are small - in many cases the whole code is written from scratch for that one game. Big AAA retail games on the other hand use game engines that already have these features, or they have a multimillion budget to do it on their own. We have fallen in-between these two categories, we use our old engine stuff which helps bring down the costs of the games, but at the same time it has restrictions like this.

The actual "features" that are required by online, such as voice communications, lobbies etc, are peanuts compared to the real work of rewriting all of the game engine code.

Basically it comes down to the fact that we've never had the financial freedom to decide "hey, let's put all our programmers to work on the network code for 6 months". It takes a lot of money, and if we had done that, we would not have a great singleplayer game. And we have our own quality standards to hold on to, so we couldn't muster ourselves to mentally do something like a crappy singleplayer game with online multiplayer, even if it would have made more money (which is very likely, we know that).

It is frustrating to us too. We hope Trine becomes successful enough that it gives us this financial freedom to finally do online (whether it'd be a sequel, a new game, a pay-for add-on or a free patch, or a combination like a sequel with online + patch for the original, that's not a decision we can make now).

And ultimately if somebody thinks Trine, as it is now, is not worth the price (now or in the future when it's at a lower price), then we respect the decision of not buying the game. It is everyone's own choice and it should be based on what that person thinks about the game's value for money (based on the demo or other features).

I hope this makes it a bit clearer.
// Joel, Frozenbyte team

DarkJee
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby DarkJee » Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:31 pm

I must remind you, greyze1, that Forzenbyte is an Indie development team. A really small portion of indie devs have online features. Big games companies are rich like you would never see, they spend millions dollar on making 1 game.

I'll show you an exemple: Mount & Blade, its true that its based on single player, but their game was so popular that with the benefit, they are developping an expansion right now that will add online multiplayer mode.

It's not a little plaisure job to create a online mode, thats really complex

bibi
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby bibi » Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:54 pm

DarkJee wrote:I must remind you, greyze1, that Forzenbyte is an Indie development team.


I must remind you DarkJee that Frozenbyte does not like people referring to it as an Indie developer :wink:

on a side note, i think its great and really appreciated that the developers post a lot of honest comments here, especially laurie. if this game should be really successfull im sure they will be too good for us in the future to post here, once they play with the big boys :mrgreen:

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FB_Lauri
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby FB_Lauri » Sun Jun 28, 2009 5:12 pm

bibi wrote:
DarkJee wrote:I must remind you, greyze1, that Forzenbyte is an Indie development team.


I must remind you DarkJee that Frozenbyte does not like people referring to it as an Indie developer :wink:

on a side note, i think its great and really appreciated that the developers post a lot of honest comments here, especially laurie. if this game should be really successfull im sure they will be too good for us in the future to post here, once they play with the big boys :mrgreen:


I don't mind the indie label, only the negative side of it (on Steam or even here someone said we can't charge $30 since we are not enough established on market etc. :? ). While we like to keep our community posted and try to even support players who have problems we still are a company with 8 year history and 20+ employees, which usually doesn't qualify to "indie". But other hand, we are Trine's "publisher" in Steam, meaning there are no-one in-between, which is maybe closer indie, but again, Trine has also a PS3 version which does have a publisher, usually something what indies definitely don't have. :P

So, maybe it's so confusing even we don't know :D

werpu
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby werpu » Sun Jun 28, 2009 5:16 pm

Btw. guys nobody hates you because of not doing network code because you did not want to sacrifice the gameplay experience due to bugdet constraints. Btw. I really look forward to a very good gaming experience and my hope is you guys will get the success you obviously deserve with this game!

DarkJee
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby DarkJee » Sun Jun 28, 2009 6:02 pm

bibi wrote:
DarkJee wrote:I must remind you, greyze1, that Forzenbyte is an Indie development team.


I must remind you DarkJee that Frozenbyte does not like people referring to it as an Indie developer :wink:


I know, but I was refering to indie games because they are not as rich as big companies. I know that Frozenbyte is big for indie title, but I think they still are kind of indie, and thats not bad, I prefer indie to big companies.

But well...

(I agree with werpu too)

project_demon
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby project_demon » Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:21 pm

FB_Lauri wrote:I'll quote myself from another discussion a few topics below:

FB_Lauri wrote:We understand this and would also love to have online co-op, but that's something technology-wise what would cost and delay the game way too much if aimed for release date. For us, it's been a tough decision and we have understood we will lose players since this, but for a small studio doing it's first PS3 title it would just been too great risk to do everything at once.

From our point of view, sure we could implemented the online co-op at the first place, but most likely it would have cost so much time and effort that all other parts of the game would sucked. And if we would had a sucky game with online co-op, no-one would have ever paid interest to it and Trine would only been another no-good title vanishing among the hundreds of other titles.

Now, by sacrifying the online features from the launch we are able to deliver a very good single player title, which still has same system 3 player co-op. I understand this only makes you even more sad, but I still have to say Trine's single system co-op rocks and has been super fun in our every tests, among with the single player experience.


To add to myself, while I understand people see Trine as co-op only game, it's made as a single player game, later it's been shifted to PS3 (where local co-op is still "accepted"), and then again made to PC without sacking any features, not even the useless local co-op.

We would like to think that local co-op is just additional fun to a solid single player game. However, I agree that with online features Trine would be a lot better, but with it we really had to pick between "Crappy game with online" or "Solid game without online, with everyone hating us" :?


I played the demo and i loved it. But I'll be honest, i almost never buy single player games due to their low lifespan (in general, there are exceptions). I would like to know what happens after i finish the single player game (and i play on the hardest possible difficulty right from the start so playing the game again on an increased difficulty means little to me). Is there a level editor available for people to create their own levels? If yes can they share it with others on the net?
In general, multiplayer extends the life of a game by quite a significant amount, and that amount is even further increased and perhaps reaching an unlimited level if you release a world editor with the game. The latter would allow people to create more and more content without any costs for you as developers. There are working proofs of how user created content greatly extends the life of a game and keep attracting new players. For example, let's be honest here, Warcraft 3 would have died a long time ago if it wasn't for custom maps (DOTA anyone ?). Half-Life 2 has many mods which once again, would attract people to buy a source based game to be able to play them.

My suggestion is, if the price is to remain the same ($40) a world editor is what i expect. Otherwise the game would die out pretty quick, and I as a costumer (and perhaps many like myself), don't like to buy games that die out quickly. That might sound pretty harsh, but that's the truth. You have a great product, please do release a world editor (and online play if possible) and this game would be amazing. I don't know if anyone has ever played Fantastic Contraption, but it has a similar concept to Trine, take a look at what the developers did to try and extend the life of their game.

greyze1
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Re: Frozenbyte has messed up again?

Postby greyze1 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:42 pm

Well I am very disappointed about the lack of online play because it would have benefited me massively and the masses out there. But at least you have come and replyed with honest answers. I guess ill have to leave the game for a while until odds are in my favor.

I hope your game earns enough money for an online expansion or an SDK, goodluck and thanks for the replys.


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