The Elephant in the room

For discussion about Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power, released in 2015 for Windows, Mac and Linux. Is also available for PlayStation 4.
xpo777
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:06 am

The Elephant in the room

Postby xpo777 » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:13 pm

So I've excitedly started Trine 3 yesterday since it's official release (bought it during Early Access but didn't play). Having tons of fun, the 3D movement system is refreshing and with a little bit of playing I've found myself naturally adjusting to the new movement dimension. Artwork,music and VO is masterful as always and a joy to the eyes and ears. I like the world map approach very much, even if it is basically a playable menu it just adds some nice interaction. Now let's come to my content length impression that I've got. After starting the game the first thing I did was walk around the world map. I was checking all the major Chapter points and the smaller challenge levels. I got the impression that this must be the first layer of the world map - seeing as there where where only a few major chapters. Nevertheless I eagerly started playing and was enjoying the chapters and mini-chapters very much until i came to the last chapter. I really imagined that after that mission there has to be more since Steam showed the current session was 5 hours running (with a 30 min break) and then it ended.

I really had a fun time playing and i absolutely adore the Trine Series (I've played 88 hours of Trine 2, 42 on T1, 100% Achievements on both). But i can not get over the fact that this game was too short. I can empathize with buyers which expected more from a 20$/€ purchase and I myself feel somewhat let-down by this release (but only in terms of game length - the rest is top-notch for me).

I can not understand or make a motive why Frozenbyte releases Trine 3 with this amount of content. Was it the jump to real 3D movement ? The levels require tons of amounts of additional workload and playtesting. Or maybe the idea was around that the Editor and Steam Workshop would provide additional content ? Maybe more episodes in the future per DLC ?

I don't know but it will be interesting to see for sure...

This is my personal honest opinion from me and I hope I did not break any rules by posting this. English is not my native language and i hope my comment is coherent enough. I would be interested in anybody's opinion as well. Seeing as there are negative Steam reviews rolling in by the hour.

Thanks for reading
xpo777

Zybex
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:02 am

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby Zybex » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:11 pm

Nnnnoooo! :(
This is very bad news for me. I waited so long and now you're saying this. I really hope DLCs are on the way, and will show up soon.

Anyone here can tell how much levels I've got left if I finished the ones available on early access? (Including the recent addition, a month ago or so)
The final version deleted the progress of early access version, so I'm not even where I was in EA, but I plan to play a longer session this evening.



BUG REPORT:
I had to unplug my steering wheel (and all other USB devices, but I think the wheel was the cause) because the Launcher didn't allow me to change settings. It just blinked and after 0,1s it launched the game instead of waiting for me to click "launch game". I checked if my space and enter didn't block on the keyboard but no. Unpluggin everything beside keyboard and mouse solved the problem. (changing the launcher.exe copy file name to trine3-64.exe just gave me unstoppable loop ;) ) I wish there was additional option in the launcher to use high AA without postprocess AA. I entered the config file, but the settings were different to what i used previously. Where should I disable postprocess AA?

mystvearn
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:12 am

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby mystvearn » Fri Aug 21, 2015 6:04 pm

I have this on my Steam wishlist. Lucky I did not buy it yet.

Here are more reviews from other gamers:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/319910/

I can see the reviews giving lower scores since most of the positive reviews were the pre-released version. Hopes Frozenbyte address this issue.

Zybex
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:02 am

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby Zybex » Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:58 pm

I just walked around the scene with level selection, and answered my own question by that.
There's indeed shockingly few full-scale levels, almost nothing if someone finished the early access ones :( .
Oh well. Co-op will offer replayability, and I keep my fingers crossed for tons of great DLCs with new levels. :)


Frozenbyte
I would have advice for you. You made a mistake here with pricing. You discount your previous Trine games too often and too much. It's a matter of perception. People see T2 for 2$ and compare it to the T3. It's sending the wrong message and it penalizes your fans who already own T1 and T2. For newcomers, Trineology is a great deal. For old fans, 3-5 hours of gameplay for 20$ is... not that great.
In terms of quality and fun amounts - I understand why you priced it like that. T3 in summary, offers more value (game time to price ratio) than many so called "hits" and much more games are around T3 time-cost ratio. So it's not some kind of a disaster or something.
After seeing so many people commenting "I would buy it (T1 or T2) even if it was for the price of AAA games like Call of Duty" - I understand.
After seeing many people misinterpreting the genre ("it's a side scrolling game -so-> it's a cheap indie game") I understand why you priced T1 and T2 too low. I understand that T1 and T2 offered the quality of full-price games and you were selling for far less.

Instead of quickly going for the huge discount sales, I think you should offer a slightly lower price at the beginning but then refrain from making people accustomed that Trine series games are the games that you buy for 3$ not so long after the release.
Lower at the start, higher after 6 months or a year. This way you should earn similar amounts of money, but also praise from buyers and lots of new fans of Frozenbyte. :)


mystvearn
If you live in countries where 20$ equals 5-10x more work to gain, I can understand the price is too high for you, but look around for a good price in key-resellers sites like greenmangaming etc.
Even GOG.COM has T3 for 15$ instead of 20 like Steam does:
http://www.gog.com/game/trine_3_the_artifacts_of_power
And if it's still too much, and you're outraged by the price and have strong will to not buy T3 ever, then you could buy a key on the sites like G2A.com or auctions, but I would really ask you not to do this, since this way far less (if any) money goes to Frozenbyte, and additionally you can buy a key bought by using stolen money and that could result in steam account ban.
Anyway - choose the lesser evil. Frozenbyte was one of the last two gamer-respecting developers in the world, from my point of view. Now CD Project RED (my "own" studio, since I'm Polish :/ ) changed it's ways and went from "We love gamers" to "f..k gamers, we love corporations and big money".
Frozenbyte is the last one in my book. Last one that really deserve to be respected and deserve being paid for what they brought to gaming world.
That's why even being allergic to "DLC scheme" myself, I will gladly pay for any DLC for T3 that will show up in the future and be happy with it as long as those will be new levels with new assets, not some levels glued together 100% with assets from T3. That would be over my line, but I would still love Frozenbyte. They would have to "go 100% evil" like CDPR to loose my respect, and I don't think they will. Unless credits for T3 includes 1/3 people that worked in Frozenbyte in T1 and T2 times, I think it's impossible. They're really good guys, making games that are unique and rare. And they release optimized games that run 100% perfect in 3D. They're unique themselves. :)

atronach
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:21 pm

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby atronach » Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:49 pm

I believe the length of the game should not relate to the price. The game is underpriced.
Every scene has so rich details that you have to stop and soak it. People who are just rushing through the game are missing all of this.

Zybex
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:02 am

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby Zybex » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:34 am

And we have the answers:
http://www.dsogaming.com/news/trine-3-the-artifacts-of-power-cost-5-4-million-is-short-because-developers-run-out-of-money/




astronach

It all depends on how much you earn. It's different if you work an hour for it and if you work a day or more. It's even bigger gap if you consider how much money people earning low have left to spend on non-basic things. I mean how much they got left after they pay for the house, food, etc. If big corporations use IP to detect the place from which a given person connects to the internet, the best way to deal with it would be use this for something good - like localised prices. It could be done, at least in the countries that have language unique, so no richer kids bypass the block and buy this cheaper one. For example a chineese version of Trine wouldn't be useful for Europeans.
It's ridiculous that I've got friends who need to spend absolutely ZERO (not even a can of coca-cola) besides the most-needed things for A MONTH OR TWO just to buy Windows, and twice as much if that Windows version is not to be gimped (like the non-switchable auto-updates in W10).
Meanwhile they offer the same Windows for 5$ in China.... because people there earn less.
All that said - 15 Euros for T3 (GOG.COM) is a good price even for the poorest gamers (noone that has a PC capable of running T3 is starving ;) ). But I'm speaking about whole game pricing.

atronach
Posts: 29
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:21 pm

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby atronach » Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:05 pm

Zybex wrote:And we have the answers:
http://www.dsogaming.com/news/trine-3-the-artifacts-of-power-cost-5-4-million-is-short-because-developers-run-out-of-money/

It all depends on how much you earn. It's different if you work an hour for it and if you work a day or more. It's even bigger gap if you consider how much money people earning low have left to spend on non-basic things.


Yeah, monetary system is complex across the world and the gap between rich and poor people is getting bigger and bigger.


I hope Frozenbyte could earn the money for themselves, partners and for the next game.What about to Kickstart the game?
Could there get that amount of money?

xpo777
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:06 am

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby xpo777 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:03 am



Wow. It really hurts to say this but now that I know that they've run out of money: It would have been nice if they where upfront about this. At least let potential customers know that they won't get a full story. Spoiler:The Ending of the game is just so abrupt and doesn't explain anything. You never see Sarek again, you fight the plant monster and get the Trine back together and... that's it. Nothing else is really explained. Still hope that we get a DLC that at least finishes the story properly. But this time i will wait for reviews instead. Never thought i had to be careful with Frozenbyte games...
Last edited by xpo777 on Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Zybex
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:02 am

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby Zybex » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:58 pm

xpo777
Some people treat the story seriously and might encounter spoilers in your post. Please edit it and add some warning.
Personally I don't care. Story was never important to me, since I'm adult and the voice of narrator doesn't fit with the reading style in my country (so it doesn't bring back memories from the childhood when I was listening to them), but some people say it's the best part of Trine.


About the Frozenbyte.
I'm really worried since 2 years, actually. They promised two big games at E3 2013 (or was that 2014? I think it was 2013). The non-Trine game never showed up, the Splot was delayed, the T3 was delayed and now this case of 15mln being not enough for T3. That's many times more than T1 cost. T3 is 3D, but T1 and T2 also had tons of detail, so I don't see how T3 could mean 10x more work compared to T2. I'm not an expert though in this matters, far from it.
I just hope it's not the typical issue:
more money needed -> investor with big money steps it -> investor wants too big control over the project and ruins the atmosphere in the studio -> work and workers suffer.
I know Frozenbyte is independent but it's still possible. I really want to hear it's not the case.

xpo777
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:06 am

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby xpo777 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:43 pm

@Zybex - added spoiler warning.

I can imagine moving to three-axis movement is a big jump in complexity. Not only in terms of level design (they are two completely different approaches) but everything involved in it changes: combat, new mechanics (like the rope), puzzles and other things. While it still maintains the Trine feel these things had to be developed and tested first. I can somewhat see why they would need to reduce the content down a notch or two. However, my problem is that they stated AFTER the release of Trine 3 that in fact it was a reduced content version because they ran out of funds while I was disappointed over the lackluster ending & content length. It just leaves a bad taste.

Zybex
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:02 am

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby Zybex » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:06 pm

Hard to disagree, but I'd rather see Frozenbyte occasionally do slightly bad things, instead of always be the best consumer-friendly company out there, but then go bankrupt. As I said - lesser evil.
I do hope that's a one time case, and won't happen again.


The thing I don't understand is why there's no 2D-only levels with old T2 mechanics. Doesn't make sense. I was sure there will be some. Even if none were found in Early Access. I still expected to see them. It could be a win-win:
- missed mechanics would be welcomed (rope swinging, arrow shooting = great fun on a gamepad)
- cheaper to make
- makes the whole game longer

In Ratchet&Clank, a fully (unlike T3) 3D game, there were 2D levels and it turned out to be a great thing. Jak&Daxter series also showed that combining different sub-genres makes the game more interesting (if done properly, of course).

Instead of the mini-levels in T3, I would prefer to see 2,5D levels.

stonerichard
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:20 am

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby stonerichard » Mon Sep 21, 2015 1:46 am

I am just concern of what you have said earlier zybex "Hard to disagree, but I'd rather see Frozenbyte occasionally do slightly bad things, instead of always be the best consumer-friendly company out there, but then go bankrupt. As I said - lesser evil.
I do hope that's a one time case, and won't happen again." Whjat is was so happen with their company? What was going on?
Are there any alternative to prevent the problem?

Zybex
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:02 am

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby Zybex » Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:32 am

stonerichard

I have no idea what happened/happens at Frozenbyte besides what is available in the threads here, the interviews etc.
What happened is Frozenbyte run out of money and had to cut the game, and they didn't know how to tell this bad news to gamers, so they didn't say anything, therefore hiding the fact that the game is short. I don't think it's so short that not worth the money I spent on it, but it caused a backlash in media and on the Steam page. Lots of angry/disappointed people.
Overall for me it's a bigger downer to see Frozenbyte struggle to turn a protif on this game, since it may influence other projects and surely Trine 4 (which is unlikely now :( ) than it is for me that the game is short, but the thing is, Frozenbyte guys were the best of the best in terms of gamer-friendly companies. I always praised them for that anywhere I spoke/wrote about games. It's a nasty stain on their so far superb image.
Some people made a bad decission, innocent people at Frozenbyte suffered, gamers received short game, future FB's games sales will now be lower than they would be if FB was still loved as it was. I hope THIS won't happen ever again.
Even that PR guy admitted they've learned on their mistakes, so I just wish we'll see a great Trine 4 someday, despite them saying it's probably end of the Trine series if sales are low. :(

And all that could be avoided simply by better communication with gamers and game journalists/reviewers. Heck, it could be even (IMHO) much better if someone asked here if we'd like to have 2D levels mixed with 3D ones. If 3D is so much work and money I think it would be better to have 3 2D levels like in T2 instead of one 3D level. Game would be longer. Gamers wouldn't be so angry at the game lenght, and also wouldn't miss 2D mechanics so much. At least I miss them and I saw a few other people posting about it. They were fun, and going in 3D has its advantages, but it also made some parts of the mechanics worse since you cannot have the same steering in 2D and 3D, if you're still using the same joypad.

JasperD
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:55 am

Re: The Elephant in the room

Postby JasperD » Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:41 am

I am really a bit annoyed with all the haters and some of the replies here.
Most of you spend $ 20 easily on a night of drinks, a McDonald meal or movie including drinks & snacks.

Yet here is a beautiful, interactive adventure on a level of quality that far surpasses any other game in it's genre.
Frozenbyte is one of the few independent developers that manages to deliver results on this level.

Yes, I too want the game to be longer. And if I'd had to pay $ 40 for Trine3 at double it's length, I'd gladly do so.
But, tell me, which game offers better value for $ 20 and is at a similar level?

When I have to pay $ 60 for a five hour campaign in a CoD game or $ 20 for Trine 3, the 'enjoyment per $' is much higher with Trine 3. And for me, that's what counts.

FrozenByte - considering the huge share of fans, the awesome engine and art standards (in both graphics and music) you've built, I sincerely hope you dont' give up on Trine and will perhaps kickstart the next game. I'm for sure to contribute.


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