KÄRA TITTARE // DEAR VIEWERS
Welcome to the reader interview with Redlynx
, developer of Trials 2: Second Edition
But first some words in Swedish.
(some words in Swedish)
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Läsarintervjun, där ni fick chansen att ställa era frågor direkt till Redlynx, kommer här. Dom 10 bästa frågorna fick en licensnyckel till spelet. Det blev till slut 11 frågor. Det var två från samma person. Och, nä, han fick inte två nycklar.
Vi kör intervjun på engelska, så att Redlynx kan få fler hits och spelet nå en ny, större, publik. INTERVJU // INTERVIEW1. What kind of plans do you have for the future? Are we going to see a Trials 3? Or are you thinking about taking your ideas in an another direction and try something new?
In longer term, Trials game does provide number of larger expansion opportunities.
In Trials 2 Second Edition the simple controls enable the game to be extremely easy to pick up and start playing. Player needs to spend minimal time trying to learn the controls. However, when those simple controls are connected to a very realistic physics model, then you have a basis for continuous development. With that, the game is actually impossible to ever master to perfection. This is a game of developing your skills – not the skills of your virtual avatar, or game character – but your skills. And that game of skill development never ends, there is no upper limit.
However, when thinking about the possible future direction, it is too early to comment . We have been extremely happy and taken with the positive feedback Trials 2 Second Edition has gained. At the moment we are still fully focused on making sure that every buyer of the Trials 2 Second Edition is more than extremely pleased, by focusing on the tasks at hand. In order to take the game to next levels, this game needs to sell enough in order to provide funds to develop the next in the series. Even though our heart says that of course we would like to develop the game further, the harsh economic reality has to be taken into account as well. So we now do all we can to convince gamers that this game is definitely worth buying, and through this, we hope to be able to get into the next Trials games as well.2. Many probably remembers Elastomania when playing Trials. But where did you get the idea and inspiration for creating the trial-series?
The original inspiration actually dates back a long way, all the way to the very early years of the company, 2002. Back then, we could not forecast what all the different types of games we could be doing in the years to come. However, it was clear that underlying technology is a key building block of any game development. We concluded that if we created the basic physics extremely well in each of our games, we would simultaneously be building a very versatile basis. A basis that would enable us to do multi-faceted, and very different types of games. As the years have passed, and the technology has evolved, it has also offered more freedom to design very different types of games, instead of having to focus on a single genre.
One of the initial game ideas back then, was a motorcycle riding game, which would be extremely simple to control, yet would offer endless development opportunities. That is when we decided, that instead of typical trigger keys (seen quite a lot in bike games, etc), that activate a trick or outcome, we would go more towards real life physics. More towards a model, in which the centers-of-gravity of the rider, bike, and a combination thereof decide how the bike behaves when “ridden”. Effectively this was the start of the first small Trials web game. Even though the game has evolved immensely since then (to Trials 2 Second Edition), the core idea behind the game has remained. 3. Will we experience more possibilities in the future for the user/player to edit small parts in Trials 2: Second Edition of the character and the motocross? For example, letting us change the clothes on the character and the color on the motocross.
Good points. As referred to in the first question, a game of developing skills never ends. The basis for the game has been done very systematically, and it is true that in relation to new opportunities, we have just scratched the surface.
However, we are currently really strongly focusing on making sure that the buyers of this game definitely feel like they get real value for money. We spend time listening to the communities feedback (which in addition to being fun to spend time with nice people, also provides short-and long-term development ideas, quite often strengthening our own ideas, at times bringing some really good new ideas) , being active in the community, making new downloadable tracks that people get at times (5 new tracks already published). This is the focus now, but sure, we will see major development in the future. What that exactly is, let’s see. 4. What's the secret recipe to a successful game? Big guns, boobs or just kickass gameplay?
Kick ass gameplay! And definitely, do not underestimate the power of squirrels (the full game reveals the truth).
In Trials 2 Second Edition, when you simplify enough, then what you are left with at the heart of this game – most importantly - are simple control keys combined with real-life-like physics. With this logic, the aim has been to polish the playability to absolute perfection, with simple controls (accelerate, break, lean forward, and lean backward). The logic is that when you really control the rider, and thus the bike, the result is both challenges and limitless opportunities for the player.
In general, we feel that many games nowadays have far too many controls. Disappointingly, what most of these extra controls bring in, is just more difficulty in learning how to play the game.
This we decided, “would never happen in Trials”.5. There are many different suppliers of services for digitally distributed games, like Valve/Steam, Gametap, Direct2Drive and others, but you are selling Trials 2 by yourself instead. Is that a deliberate choice, or there any difficulties to get a game such as yours on that kind of services? Are there any future plans to try (or try again) to put the game on, for example, Steam?
Yes, we wish that Trials 2 Second Edition will one day also be in selected good distribution networks. In the past, we have developed big games, but primarily for big game publishers. Trials 2 Second Edition is first larger scale own PC-game that we publish. We have published a number of smaller-scale PC-games, but distribution channels for smaller games are different to what they are in bigger PC games. In that sense, we are faced with a new task, building all those distributor relationships. In order to build those relationships, one needs to convince distributors to spend the time and money into the relationship, that still is not going to bring them a steady flow and high number of new games every year (something that big game companies can provide). The best way to convince distributors, is to have a great game that is ready, which gamers clearly like, and which has good reviews. This is more convincing than any official marketing. A great game says more than million words.6. After playing through all of the demos maps I see that you have a high potential, are you planning on producing bigger projects to multiple platforms?
One of our key principles as a company has been that we will not focus on one single platform, but we aim to be capable of creating games to any “channel” that reaches the gamers. Without that, a lot of good ideas would be left unutilized. If all that is done right, then naturally it opens up new multi-platform… and cross-platform opportunities.
We have during the years done a lot of games for different platforms; PC, web, mobile phones, interactive TV, NDS and PSP. In that sense, the answer is yes, we plan on producing also bigger projects, and already have completed some. It is however good to emphasize, that the priority number one is to get to develop extremely good games. As you see from the full version of Trials 2 Second Edition, with all its online features, close to 50 tracks, new downloadable free tracks, etc, that the game does not need to be gigantic, in order to provide huge gameplay experience and limitless gameplay-time. 7. Are you going to release downloadable track packs, or is the game not prepared for this? This would seem to be a good idea both for the PC version and any possible future console versions of the game, adding value to the game with each new download that's made available.
This is very good point. And you actually read our minds. You posted this question before we had announced it, and just last week, we provided the buyers of the Full version, with 5 new tracks, in addition to the “old” 40 tracks. And yes. More will come. 8. Piracy is obviously a big problem in PC-gaming and must be a real pain to deal with as a developer for the platform. What measures have you taken to counter it and how has it affected your games? Also, what do you think the future holds in regards to this problem?
We see piracy as something that has existed from the inception of this industry, and most likely will exist in the future – it is a grey area of any digital entertainment industry. On one had, piracy is a challenge, but on the other hand it is not: The world is not black and white. In most things, which enable something unintentional or negative, a problem, a limitation – there are typically also new hidden opportunities, if seen from a different perspective. Piracy is no exception, and most likely has some underlying mechanisms, that could also be used to support sales. A logical step has been to utilize these same piracy networks as ways to deliver free demos, spread the word, introduce big games – and bring out the aspects that gamers are missing when only playing the cracked version. Piracy should not be made too easy, it should not provide full experience – but it should also be seen as a strong wave to be utilized.
How we have tackled Piracy in Trials 2 Second Edition, is that the game is basically an online game. All our community features, track high scores, replays, ghost racing, global ranking, downloadable extra tracks etc are handled by our game server. If you do not have a legal, unique license serial key, the server does not allow the game to log on. This combination seems to be working very well for us. If you want to be part of the community (and enjoy the best parts of the gaming, access all the online & community features etc) you have to buy the game.
At the moment it seems like multiplayer, online elements are in general a big wave that will provide a lot of new stuff for game loving audiences. And at the same time it provides a means to prevent access with cracked versions. 9. Where did you find inspiration for the level design, and what was your main criteria when creating them? Did you have any set ideas for how they should look?
Good question. We had a target, which was a bit abstract. The levels, tracks, the environment needed to realistic enough, yet still provide riding opportunities you would not that often find in real life. It needed to provide certain familiarity as an environment, but also to be a logical base for exciting, skillful, dangerous riding. Due to the realistic links we wanted to maintain, it should also be an environment, where you could think someone spending hours and hours of time. We had a look on number of potential places, and as a result, the environment is a combination with elements from abandoned industrial halls/warehouses, skateboarding & bmx biking halls and from related scenes.
From gameplay point of view, tracks needed to be different, from tutorial to extremely hard, with selected, different game modes, etc. There had to be inch-by-inch skillful riding, and speed and danger as well. Actually we had a lot of ideas, and decided to use some good ones. Some are still waiting to be utilized, and while developing, we got a lot of new ideas. Most likely buyers of the game will also see many of these “still-hidden” ideas on the downloadable free extra tracks we publish every now and then for the community. 10. You are obviously very keen on ingame-physics. On the one hand, there is the ragdoll physics, which is quite realistic. On the other hand there is the absolutely absurd bike-handling that acts like it is in low gravity. How did you come up with these physics-choices? Was it just a tradeoff from "real" to "goofy" physics to make the game more fun to play? How do you look at people going for absolute realism physics-wise?
Well observed. There is an important point here. As a starting point, realistic physics is typically the base we take. However, we always bear in mind, that purely 100% realistic is not necessarily the funniest basis for a great game. So, as a basis for the game we took the realistic physics from our world. And e.g. the control mechanics follow the real world physics quite accurately. However, there are some points, in which we…altered the reality. Made some modifications, to ensure even better playability.
As an example, you can flip the bike in the air in a manner you would not exactly be able to do in real life. That provides a basis for many tricks, and when some of the tracks are rather hard and special, you as a player need the “flipping” opportunity to balance the landing etc. We get more and better playability, and even more opportunities for game design. As another example, when you fall down with the bike (eg after a big jump), the bike does not fall like a stone, with huge gravity (realistically accelerating speed), like it would in real life – that gives the player more time to react, etc. In general, a good part in the gaming industry is, that you can always innovate and create new games.
Where to get good ideas – everywhere. Our real life is a very good source of ideas: A good idea may be simpler than one would think of. When thinking about controls and playability, one idea is to go for realistic physics, and it has been good road for us. Some might find good solutions even from absolute realism physics-wise. However, in everything, where someone is absolute and definite to the last point, and only sticks on one opinion…he/she has very little room for tailoring, polishing, etc. For us that absolute realism would narrow our alternatives a bit too much. Games are digital entertainment, so in our eyes one should have some freedom for the magic tricks this allows, even though the base would be realistic. 11. Finnish games and physics have much in common (Flatout, Stair Dismount, Trials 2, Max Payne 2). Why do you think that is? Do Finns enjoy people falling and getting hurt?
Hahahahaaa... LOL… excellent observation in the form of question. The best of the best. And we mean it. And the last question is a conclusion, that might depict our whole culture and nation, but no one has realized that. There is probably some scientist making a life-long study on this, and eventually he might win the Nobel-prize, just to find out that Hurvilo came up with the same conclusion years before. When that happens you will hopefully mention that you understood the point when you played RedLynx Trials 2 Second Edition!
Actually, there might be something deeper in that, that we haven’t even thought about. As you list, many really good Finnish games have these elements. It may well mirror something in us, that we do not even realize.
For sure, everyone of us mirrors the behavior taught to us – by our culture, our grandparents, parents, friends, national TV shows we watch, books we read, etc. So the big question most likely is that where does this combination of humour & physical hurting come from? Out from the blue sky, it might be that one way to live with, cope with problems, continuous risks, etc in any culture, is humour. Turning the beast into a funny thing. Finland was still a bit over 100 years ago one of the poorest countries in Europe. Before that, even poorer. And when the country was underdeveloped, and poor, and climate is cold as you know, life most likely was far from easy. You had to face risk, danger, things we would nowadays see as very dark sides of life – maybe that started to develop a base for very sarcastic humor. It is easier to handle the negative things, if you can see some humor in them? Then when Finland became independent (1917) and continued to develop fast, we soon faced war against Russia, fortunately survived, but since then lived on the edge. We were part of the western world as a western democracy, but still all the time shadowed by the big and unpredictable bear, the Soviet Union. Especially in public media, people had to be very careful how international issues were commented. Especially from mass medias (TV, etc) we saw, that everyone had quite clear opinions, but they had to be careful on how to express them. The sarcastic nature of Finns was probably even further developed. That might have just fed more the nature of finding funny aspects on every critical and dangerous path.
Or it might be that all the above is not of relevance. And the mere reason is that stumbling, and falling and hurting ones self is just sometimes quite funny. Just look at the popular TV show Jackass. Or the hard-core one, from Finnish crew Dudesons
, now airing in number of countries.
A popular competition among Finnish men in Vappu (Första Maj / Vappen) starts by someone yelling: “The first one on top of that building is the last one in hospital !!” That speaks for itself!SLUT // END