Character balance and more

For discussion about Trine 2, released in December 2011 on Windows, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation Network and later on Linux and Wii U.
Ravenbar
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Character balance and more

Postby Ravenbar » Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:05 am

First I'd like to thank everyone at Frozenbyte for Trine 1, which I just finished. Very nice platformer, great controls, sound, music, graphics and more. PC version works and looks great, I especially appreciate the mouse handling.

I have a few questions: In the first game, the Thief's damage dealing felt a bit overpowered, often being better than the Knight even in close combat. Will the Thief be de-emphasized for fighting in Trine 2 and used more for long range shots?

2: Although most resolutions were supported in T1, there was some image squashing (loading/story screens, mouse cursor) in the 16:10 aspect ratio. Will this be fixed?

3: Are you testing for SLI/Crossfire compatibility and performance?

Looking forward to the sequel.

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fb_joel
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby fb_joel » Fri Mar 25, 2011 9:41 pm

We will definitely do something about the character balance, i.e. we want the Knight to see a bit more use.

As for the image squashing, I think some of that will remain, to be perfectly honest. The cursor we'll probably fix though (I sort of seem to remember that we would've fixed this in later patches for Trine 1 too but perhaps not).

We will test with SLI/CrossFire but frankly it's not a high priority (just a bit higher than it was with Trine 1, i.e. making sure everything works ok and at least doesn't take away from the performance). If there's a specific reason for this (e.g. if Trine 1 gave you some trouble), let me know and I can make sure that gets tested properly.
// Joel, Frozenbyte team

Ravenbar
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby Ravenbar » Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:44 am

Thanks for the reply. Good to hear about the characters. The image stuff was never more than what the Widescreen Gaming Forum calls a "blemish". Since the art is made for 16:9, it's less distorted than e.g. old games stretching from 4:3.

As for SLI, I don't use it right now but I'm planning on getting another 460. Couldn't really find any info on Trine 1 and SLI compatibility from Google searches.

One thing that I encountered in the first game was problems binding mouse thumb buttons, I tried to bind them to the Thief's arrow types and Knight's sword/mace but one button did nothing and the other activated the grappling hook instead. :P

Having several keybind profiles is great, though. Reminds me of how customizable PC games used to be.

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fb_joel
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby fb_joel » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:51 pm

Ah good. Trine should run reasonable well with multiple GPUs, although it is not optimized for that. There's been maybe a couple of issues for which disabling the other GPU has helped, but I'm guessing many more have had no trouble at all. And with Trine 2 we'll pay a little bit more focus on this.

Trine 2 should have better controls support as well, or rather, more possibilities available without the need for manually tinkering with the game files (most controlling issues can be solved in Trine too but they require a bit of tweaking here and there).
// Joel, Frozenbyte team

Malidictus
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby Malidictus » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:13 pm

Character balance is probably the one thing which concerned me in the original Trine. The Thief is able to swing AND fight AND fight at range to boot, so there's very little reason to use other characters outside of situations that specifically demand them. The Wizard can't fight (very well) and the Warrior is almost redundant.

To be honest, I'm not sure what one could do about this situation, short of drastically harming the Thief's archery. Giving her a melee penalty for shooting at enemies who are too close may be an option, or disallowing her from firing arrows unless she has a full draw may work, but I can't really say. One way or another, the Warrior really needs to be much more appealing. The little guy is fat and ugly, so he doesn't have much else going for him :)

lonelywolf
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby lonelywolf » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:42 pm

yea i hope you guys make the knight more usefull and magician, it was rarely i even used the knight.
I used the rouge about 80% of the game, she could jump high and she was fast and she had the hook thing, knight was clumpsy and very little usefull, magician was only good too lift thing and too move some object but that was rarely needed.
So try too make them all more usefull, try give the magician one offensive magic, becuase it was really annoying when the rouge and knight died and you only had too run becuase magician couldn't do anything.

but keep up the good work, loved the game.

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FB_Lauri
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby FB_Lauri » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:20 am

For Trine 2 we have added new abilities and uses for both Knight and the Wizard, which should hopefully balance the use of the characters a bit. We've also paid attention to have something to do for all characters in most situations, so multiplayer will also be fun.

Malidictus
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby Malidictus » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:52 pm

This is going to be completely unfeasible and more of an idle contemplation, but I keep wondering if stronger-defined and more exclusive roles won't make every character more important. I keep coming back to the Lost Vikings. You had one character who could fight (warrior AND archer), one character who could guard and only ONE character who could jump :)

With this in mind, I wonder what Trine would have been if the Warrior were the only character with any sort of weapons. The Thief could jump really high, swing on that grappling hook, be allowed to climb certain walls, hang on certain ropes, jump significantly higher and probably fit down small crawlspaces. Then you'd have one character for construction puzzles, one character for environment puzzles and one character for fighting, with potentially the ability to not get damaged by environmental hazards.

One large part of what made the original Trine's players so unwilling to use anyone but the Thief was that all three characters jumped at the same height, moved at the same speed and, save for the Wizard, could fight with roughly the same proficiency. While this does give the game that feel that you can solve any puzzle with every character in many ways, what this also results in is the ability to solve every puzzle with just one character and never need to use the others.

Now, again, I know Trine isn't trying to be the Lost Vikings and it's unfair to keep making the comparison. And, yes, I realise that what I'm saying is completely inapplicable this late in the development cycle. It just seemed like something interesting to bring up.

ZachCraft
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby ZachCraft » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:37 am

@ Mal

I've never played Lost Vikings, but could you enlighten me as to what you would do if your combat guy died?

Malidictus
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby Malidictus » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:10 pm

ZachCraft wrote:@ Mal

I've never played Lost Vikings, but could you enlighten me as to what you would do if your combat guy died?


I envision the same as what I did when that happened in the original Trine, which is go back to the last check point and resurrect him. Both the Lost Vikings and the Lost Vikings 2: Norse by Norsewest (yes, seriously) tended to end your level upon character death, and especially the original was very fond of sucker traps that caused a LOT of level restarts. I'm not saying that's what I want to see in Trine (even if it were a realistic request, which it isn't), but I AM saying that giving two characters direct and easy offensive capability naturally makes for a lot of overlap. It'd be like giving the Wizard that much-discussed fireball.

My reason for bringing this up is that while each character does have his or her own special skills, they are not special enough to the point where it matters most of the time. All three can jump, all three can fight, all three can solve puzzles. There are some instances where one is obviously better, but in most instances all characters can "cheat" through all puzzles, which just makes me feel like I'm cheating myself out of all the fun in the game. Some of the most fun experiences I've had have been when two of my three characters died and I was forced to play, say, half a level as just the Wizard, forced to tackle puzzles with him that would have been trivial with the Thief or fight battles that would have been elementary for the Warrior.

On the one hand, having many possible solutions to every problem is good, since you're never in a situation where there is only one "right" approach. On the other hand, this never makes anything I do feel like it mattered, because everything I do is the "correct" solution to the puzzle, to the point where the only wrong thing to do is to do nothing at all. A puzzle where every choice is correct is not a very satisfying puzzle, is all.

ZachCraft
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby ZachCraft » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:18 am

Well, the devs have said that the puzzles are much more difficult, so it's very possible that the solutions will be limited down to 1 or 2 of the heroes. However, I feel that such a thing like this could be annoying, especially if I'm a ways past the last checkpoint and have to backtrack.

Malidictus
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby Malidictus » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:57 pm

Annoying perhaps, I'll grant you this much, but they've already said they'll be making saving more "annoying" by reloading you from your last save point with enemies respawned and puzzles unsolved, rather than just shunting you back a bit with nary a walking time to show for it, so that part, at least, is already in motion.

Really, it depends on how malicious the puzzles are, in my eyes. Back to the Lost Vikings, that game was evil. The designers deliberately put in sucker traps that, if you didn't expect them, you would lose a character, put a character in a place he couldn't get out of, lose an important item forever and all manner of other jerk tactics, and the game was very frustrating for it. I don't envision FrozenByte as being the kind of malicious developers who would do such a thing. On the contrary, their puzzle design in the original Trine was actually very benevolent and accommodating, so I have no reason to believe that this will be any less true in Trine 2.

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FB_Lauri
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby FB_Lauri » Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:30 pm

Malidictus wrote:Annoying perhaps, I'll grant you this much, but they've already said they'll be making saving more "annoying" by reloading you from your last save point with enemies respawned and puzzles unsolved, rather than just shunting you back a bit with nary a walking time to show for it, so that part, at least, is already in motion.


In Trine 2 we are actually going to have very player-friendly saving system: if you lose one or two characters, you are free to continue with the remaining characters. If you lose all three, you go back to previous checkpoint but level progress is kept. Any time in the level you are also free to back to previous checkpoint, or even restart the level if you like (although the game never ever requires restarts as it's impossible to get you completelely stuck).

However, if player wished to quit, she can do that any time and the game is saved to the exact position just as it is. In other words, the "real" saving and loading is only used when player quits the game.

This also allows free backtracking of previous levels (in order to collect missed experience or just to have fun with unlocked late-game abilities in earlier levels). Naturally, we also support completely free game+ mode.

Malidictus wrote:Really, it depends on how malicious the puzzles are, in my eyes. Back to the Lost Vikings, that game was evil. The designers deliberately put in sucker traps that, if you didn't expect them, you would lose a character, put a character in a place he couldn't get out of, lose an important item forever and all manner of other jerk tactics, and the game was very frustrating for it. I don't envision FrozenByte as being the kind of malicious developers who would do such a thing. On the contrary, their puzzle design in the original Trine was actually very benevolent and accommodating, so I have no reason to believe that this will be any less true in Trine 2.


This is correct, we avoid using at all any cheap traps or other cheap deaths. We love our players, not hate them 8)

Malidictus
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby Malidictus » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:55 pm

FB_Lauri wrote:This is correct, we avoid using at all any cheap traps or other cheap deaths. We love our players, not hate them 8)


This is such a lost art in game design, even today. I still remember all those lovely old DOS games where it felt like the developers were intentionally trying to trick you into getting yourself killed over very silly things. Anyone remember the old Space Quest games? How about Rick Dangerous? Talk about developers hating players :)

I look forward to Trine 2. Aside from that one vial in the acid and that one vial in the lava where you had to jump and take damage, the original Trine was a very pleasant, forgiving game, so I have high hopes for its sequel.

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FB_Lauri
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby FB_Lauri » Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:32 am

Malidictus wrote: Aside from that one vial in the acid and that one vial in the lava where you had to jump and take damage, the original Trine was a very pleasant, forgiving game, so I have high hopes for its sequel.


And those were also unintentional from us, as the experience bottles were placed elsewhere but the placement was a bit poorly done and physics caused the bottles to drop to acid/lava :? We'll pay more attention to small details like this in Trine 2! :D

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Neolander
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Re: Character balance and more

Postby Neolander » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:03 am

Malidictus wrote:This is such a lost art in game design, even today. I still remember all those lovely old DOS games where it felt like the developers were intentionally trying to trick you into getting yourself killed over very silly things. Anyone remember the old Space Quest games? How about Rick Dangerous? Talk about developers hating players :)

Lost, really? Try I Wanna Be The Guy and I Wanna Be The Fangame :) Exit Path is a less violent example (you can complete the game relatively easily, even though it *does* want to kill you). I've heard that Super Meat Boy also followed this path a bit...


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