Thanks a lot for sharing! It's hard to find useful info on lighting.
Wow, that's great. Have to try this out!
Wow beautiful environment. Very thorough and detailed. But I think there are a few images that are not showing up (error?). Is that just me? Interested in seeing those other pictures...
Everybody knows and loves Trine. This co-op mix of different genres debuted in 2009 thanks to the brave studio Frozenbyte (Shadowgrounds & Shadowgrounds: Survivor). The game enjoyed international success and Trine 2 was no exception. Trine series sales surpassed 7 million copies. The third part of the franchise is coming in 2015.
Trine 3 is already available in Steam Early Access and the game is looking stunning already. We’ve talked with Kai Tuovinen – Frozenbyte Marketing Manager – and discussed this new release strategy and the technology behind the amazing title.
About Trine 3
We started off with making Trine 3 as a 2D sidescroller just like its predecessors. But when you’ve got people who’ve worked on Trine in one way or another for 9 years, it can get a bit tiresome. So at one point our artists had made a 3D pitch video that showed movement into the depth, and boy did it feel new and invigorating!
We had a series of meetings that lasted a few weeks, discussing the challenges (which were many, but we don’t shy away from those!) and we ended up going for full 3D gameplay. It all happened quite rapidly, but it totally boosted our internal morale for even the most seasoned Trine developers.
Our main goals were to make the game playable in 3D, and that meant redesigning all the characters from the ground-up, while keeping their signature abilities and characteristics “intact”. We wanted to have a wizard who can use boxes and be able to levitate things, and we wanted a Thief who can use a grappling hook and shoot arrows, and a Knight who can fight, smash things and fly around with his shield. Getting those to work really well in 3D is our biggest feature, and something we hope to iron out to the fullest during Early Access.
Tools and Assets
We use our own engine to run things, and our own editor for all the level design. The only outside additions to our engine are PhysX for physics and Wwise for audio. Our artists use a variety of tools, including Modo, Maya, Zbrush and 3D Coat for modelling/texturing, Softimage for animation, and of course Photoshop.
The actual asset implementation into the game is done with our own internal tools. For those interested (who own Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power on Steam), you can take a look at the public version of the editor on Steam, it’s quite similar to our development version with a few minor differences. You can launch from a button on the launcher used for the actual game.
Early Access Testing
Of course there’s always a worry about showing something unfinished to the public – but we like to polish everything we release even in Early Access as much as we can manage, so the worries are perhaps not as big. The change to 3D gameplay was quite huge, so we wanted to get some early feedback from users on how it’s working for them and how we can improve everything.
I think Early Access will help us make a better game, as the players have already caught an immense number of bugs and given us a lot of suggestions and things to think about.
A big challenge for us has been the optimization of the game – 3D has made it quite a bit more demanding on hardware, so it’s good that we’re getting info from a wide range of devices from different users. There’s also been a few strange glitches that have only appeared on certain hardware or certain combinations (like a weird screen flicker issue which took a few days to figure out). Overall, we’ve had a very positive start and we’ll continue to update the content and making the game run smoother throughout the Early Access period. The end-result will hopefully speak for itself!
We’re currently a company of 76 employees, and the team working on Trine 3 is about 60 people. So it’s a very big project for us and keeping the production on track is a load of work for our producers, who also tackle a number of other projects at the same time.
Our main problems with Trine 3 have been related to the 3D transition, and how the gameplay with different characters works with the added dimension – especially the Wizard and Thief have had their share of design iterations which in turn have presented challenges to level design and enemy design. On a production of this scale, everything affects something.
Promoting And Financing Trine 3
We’ve had good success with the Trine series on a variety of platforms, it’s been on nearly all possible (big) consoles like Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Wii U (with the exception of Xbox One), as well as Win/Mac/Linux and Android, so there’s a good number of people who’ve bought the game. The revenue from different versions of the game have given us the necessary financing, but it’s been a while since we’ve done a full new game release, so the money from the previous Trine games is slowing down of course. Everything we get from the Early Access is going to be used for Trine 3 development as well.
Promoting the Trine series has been easier throughout the years, as the sequels have given us an existing fan base to work with. For new IP’s, promotion is a lot more difficult and requires thinking outside the box. It’s never easy. Some of our local friends have had lots of trouble getting noticed by the gamers and press, and they’re not doing anything wrong, it’s just the fact that they have to fight with so many other games and established companies and brands.