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View Full Version : Trials 2 SE v1.08 - my problems, issues and suggestions



rlmergeuser
10-22-2008, 09:40 PM
I already posted this on the Steam-forums (http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=737883) but after finding this official board it seems like the more appropriate place.

I just purchases Trials 2 Second Edition and I'm not disappointed. While it can be incredibly frustrating at times (right now even the "Medium" levels feel insanely difficult and I have no idea if I will ever manage to get any other Achievement than "every bone broken") it still manages to be rather fun and I will mostly revisit it as a fun "coffee break"-game. Trials 2 seems to be best enjoyed in small portions, I guess.

But I do have a few issues with the game that are rather annoying and that make it less appealing and less polished than it could be.
I hope at least some of these will be addressed in future patches (and I really hope that there will still be some):


* Controller support in game menus

At first I thought my controller wasn't recognized or supported (XBox 360 controller) but it actually works in the game itself. But even when the game asks me to press any button to continue or when the only option I have is "close" (like in the tutorial levels) ... it will only accept mouse or basic keyboard input. Having to take of my hands of the controller all the time feels very unnecessary and frustrating.


* Key remapping or at least enhanced controller options

It looks like one of the most requested features in the Steam forum and understandably so.
Even if that won't happen, at least consider adding alternative control options to the Xbox 360 controller. It's a game that only knows digital input ... that's bad enough, but why, oh why does it only allow input from the left analog stick and the analog triggers in the back? Please also make the D-Pad a possible control option and maybe allow acceleration through the right analog stick and/or the buttons ... all currently remain unused anyways, you could just add this to the current key-mapping. I actually rather like the current key-setup of the XBox 360 controller but I would love to be able to switch to the D-Pad for maneuvers that require very quick left-right input.
Right now I have to switch to the keyboard for things like "switch-jumping" which keeps me juggling between three different means of input to control a game and its menus that normally should not require more than 5 buttons to play.


* Why does Trials 2 make it so hard to see which levels I finished and how well?

Either I'm blind and simply didn't see it or there is no good indication to see an overview of the levels that I finished and the ones that I mastered with 0 faults.
This is information that should be in the "track list" but simply isn't. The track list only shows my current leaderboard rank for each level and it doesn't even do so right away! Frequently my rank will only show up on the list after restarting the game. Please, please add this simple information to the track listing, it should be a rather minor and easy change.


* Trials doesn't always recognize when I finish a track!

This bug seems to be closely related to the leaderboard rank not showing up in the track list. Trials 2 frequently doesn't recognize that I actually finished a track until I completely restart the game. For example: I finished every single track I unlocked so far and it still wouldn't allow me to advance to the next "medium" track, telling me that I had to complete at least another one. My leaderboard rank was missing from some finished tracks in the tracklist as well but replaying those levels would only give me the message that I didn't improve on my previous result (because I didn't). Restarting Trials 2 would unlock multiple tracks and make the leaderboard rank show up correctly. This happened multiple times.


* Window in windowed mode doesn't remember its position

I like to play my casual games (and I consider Trials 2 one) on my left monitor while monitoring other things on the right. While Trial technically allows me to do so even when in fullscreen mode (which is great) I still prefer those games as windowed applications because it makes it easier and faster to switch to somewhere else.
Trials let's me do all that, which is great, but it won't for the life of me remember its windows position. The window is always created with leaving a gap of about 20 pixels on the left and top egde of my primary monitor and using 20 pixels on my right one as well. Every single time I have to correct this. http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_sad.gif

Please don't get the intention of this thread wrong, I'm not complaining, I rather like Trials 2, but there are some good reasons for looking forward to a new update.

sebastianaalton
10-23-2008, 09:02 AM
* Controller support in game menus

At first I thought my controller wasn't recognized or supported (XBox 360 controller) but it actually works in the game itself. But even when the game asks me to press any button to continue or when the only option I have is "close" (like in the tutorial levels) ... it will only accept mouse or basic keyboard input. Having to take of my hands of the controller all the time feels very unnecessary and frustrating.

* Key remapping or at least enhanced controller options

It looks like one of the most requested features in the Steam forum and understandably so.
Even if that won't happen, at least consider adding alternative control options to the Xbox 360 controller. It's a game that only knows digital input ... that's bad enough, but why, oh why does it only allow input from the left analog stick and the analog triggers in the back? Please also make the D-Pad a possible control option and maybe allow acceleration through the right analog stick and/or the buttons ... all currently remain unused anyways, you could just add this to the current key-mapping. I actually rather like the current key-setup of the XBox 360 controller but I would love to be able to switch to the D-Pad for maneuvers that require very quick left-right input.
Right now I have to switch to the keyboard for things like "switch-jumping" which keeps me juggling between three different means of input to control a game and its menus that normally should not require more than 5 buttons to play.

Originally the game did not support controllers at all, and controller support was added as an afterthough just before the release. This is why the controller support feels so unfinished. We all are very informed about this issue, but for Trials 2 it's too late to fix it without large modifications to the menu code.

Be assured that problems like this will not be present in the future Trials games. In a game that needs as much finger dexterity as Trials series does, allowing the user to control the game in a confortable way is a key issue for us in the future Trials games.



* Why does Trials 2 make it so hard to see which levels I finished and how well?

Either I'm blind and simply didn't see it or there is no good indication to see an overview of the levels that I finished and the ones that I mastered with 0 faults.
This is information that should be in the "track list" but simply isn't. The track list only shows my current leaderboard rank for each level and it doesn't even do so right away! Frequently my rank will only show up on the list after restarting the game. Please, please add this simple information to the track listing, it should be a rather minor and easy change.

* Trials doesn't always recognize when I finish a track!

This bug seems to be closely related to the leaderboard rank not showing up in the track list. Trials 2 frequently doesn't recognize that I actually finished a track until I completely restart the game. For example: I finished every single track I unlocked so far and it still wouldn't allow me to advance to the next "medium" track, telling me that I had to complete at least another one. My leaderboard rank was missing from some finished tracks in the tracklist as well but replaying those levels would only give me the message that I didn't improve on my previous result (because I didn't). Restarting Trials 2 would unlock multiple tracks and make the leaderboard rank show up correctly. This happened multiple times.

Track position update is delayed, because the server cannot recalculate position of 20000+ players every time a player passes a track. This is a design issue really. It would be much better to show your result of each track in the Your Stats screen (passed/not-passed, faults and time). This information could be updated immediately. Also a gold-bronze-silver rating for each track like in most racing games would help a lot to see where to improve.

Track unlock failure is a bug. It seems to happen if you are using a filter in the high score list screen ("team", "friends" or "country" instead of "personal).



* Window in windowed mode doesn't remember its position

I like to play my casual games (and I consider Trials 2 one) on my left monitor while monitoring other things on the right. While Trial technically allows me to do so even when in fullscreen mode (which is great) I still prefer those games as windowed applications because it makes it easier and faster to switch to somewhere else.
Trials let's me do all that, which is great, but it won't for the life of me remember its windows position. The window is always created with leaving a gap of about 20 pixels on the left and top egde of my primary monitor and using 20 pixels on my right one as well. Every single time I have to correct this. http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_sad.gif

Please don't get the intention of this thread wrong, I'm not complaining, I rather like Trials 2, but there are some good reasons for looking forward to a new update.

Our graphics engine was originally developed for console games, so PC windowed mode functionality is not implemented that well. Majority of console graphics engines ported to PC do not have any windowed mode at all. The windowed mode in the graphics engine is developed for debugging purposes, and was never intended to be used in a shipping product http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif

This issue has already been fixed in our new engine version, as we need to scale/maximize/etc our windows in our new editors and tools. It's very likely that our next PC game will support windowed mode much better than Trials 2.

rlmergeuser
10-23-2008, 09:49 AM
Hello sebbi,

thank you very much for your quick reply. I did not expect that every issue would be resolved but your reply almost sounds like hardly any of this will be fixed in the current Trials game.
Leaving this game practically unfinished and with some easy to resolve but very frustrating issues will make it less likely for me to purchase the "new Trials" game.

I do understand that some code changes may be too big and require too much work to be worth it, but simply saying: "Yeah, we know it sucks, but buy the next game, it will be better" feels like a slap in the face to someone that purchased your current game a few hours ago.


I do have some development background and while I don't know much about Trial 2's code base, there are some things that I consider rather easy and minor changes by any means:

* Offering key-remapping might be too much to ask for (although it really shouldn't be), but simply adding alternative control-options to the current XBox 360 controller-profile should not take more than a few minutes. After all, I know from experience that Xinput is ridiculously easy to program with.
Simply add the option to control left and right movements via the D-Pad and accelerate and brake via the X and the A button and voil?:
A tiny code-change that now offers users of the XBox 360 controller the option to use digital input as well as analog input and it doesn't affect any current control options in the slightest because all those buttons were not in use before anyways.

* I think I would almost be able to gnashingly live with the missing full controller support in the menus if it at least would accept controller input when there is only a single option to choose from. Like "press any key" or pressing the "A" button to close the instructions in the tutorial levels. And at least give us the option to pause the game and access the menu with a button on the controller (hardly any are in use anyways at the moment, so I suggest "Y" for example).

* I fully understand delaying track position update on the server and I have no problem with that.
But that makes it even more important to have a local/offline indicator to show what levels are finished and with how many faults. Just some basic information to the track list and be done with it, that can't really be that massive of a change, no matter how bad the current menu code is.
Just give the player some indication in the track list that he/she already finished a track and with how many faults (so: a small icon or a text-color change and an additional number to show information that Trials 2 SE already keeps track off ... how hard can that be?)

* Well, I do tremendously hope that the track-unlock-failure bug will be fixed in the current Trials game and not in future games only ...

* I did not request advanced window manipulation options but a simple fix to where the window is created. It shouldn't be too hard to tell the current engine not to create the window at 20,20 but simply at 0,0 instead. That would at least solve my problem.

sebastianaalton
10-23-2008, 11:29 AM
* Offering key-remapping might be too much to ask for (although it really shouldn't be), but simply adding alternative control-options to the current XBox 360 controller-profile should not take more than a few minutes. After all, I know from experience that Xinput is ridiculously easy to program with.

That's correct. Adding support for the digital d-pad and anternative digital button (A/X) configuration for the accelerate/brake on Xbox 360 controller would be easy to implement. Around half a day with proper testing (our engine is a multiplatform engine, so you cannot just add some xinput code in wrong place or the engine does not compile any more to all of the platforms). This is a good feature candidate for v1.09.

The reason why it was not implemented like this was the very limited resources we had. At the end of the project we had only 2 programmers associated for the project (graphics engine programmer and game logic/physics programmer). We had lots of other more important issues to fix (like crash bugs, network bugs and hardware compatiblity issues). We didn't spend much time to optimize the game for the Xbox 360 controller, as we though most of the players will be using keyboard. DirectInput controllers are more popular than Xbox 360 controllers and most DirectInput controllers have button configuration tools in their drivers (profiles for game control mapping). At that time this seemed to be a good place to save some time to get more important fixes implemented in time (project budget was limited).


* I think I would almost be able to gnashingly live with the missing full controller support in the menus if it at least would accept controller input when there is only a single option to choose from. Like "press any key" or pressing the "A" button to close the instructions in the tutorial levels. And at least give us the option to pause the game and access the menu with a button on the controller (hardly any are in use anyways at the moment, so I suggest "Y" for example).

* I fully understand delaying track position update on the server and I have no problem with that.
But that makes it even more important to have a local/offline indicator to show what levels are finished and with how many faults. Just some basic information to the track list and be done with it, that can't really be that massive of a change, no matter how bad the current menu code is.

Yes the menu code is bad... and the original menu programmer is no longer available. So it's a bit harder for us to fix menu issues in the patches. Most important menu issues have been already fixed in the patches. However new issues have also been introduced in the early patches. After v1.08 we decided that we are not implementing new features any more, as every new feature can cause a potential crash bug or a hardware compatibility issue on some computers (v1.05 and v1.06 patches caused problems for some players). It's most important to get the game as stable as possible. Releasing a patch that breaks the game on some computers would be catastrophic.


* Well, I do tremendously hope that the track-unlock-failure bug will be fixed in the current Trials game and not in future games only ...

This will be investigated and fixed for v1.09.

rlmergeuser
10-23-2008, 12:15 PM
Thank you, sebbbi.


That's correct. Adding support for the digital d-pad and anternative digital button (A/X) configuration for the accelerate/brake on Xbox 360 controller would be easy to implement. Around half a day with proper testing (our engine is a multiplatform engine, so you cannot just add some xinput code in wrong place or the engine does not compile any more to all of the platforms). This is a good feature candidate for v1.09.

Well, just add the code right where the other XInput code is, then. I'm not sure why you would want to add it anywhere else. http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_wink.gif
But I'm very, very glad that you are considering this important update for 1.09



DirectInput controllers are more popular than Xbox 360 controllers and most DirectInput controllers have button configuration tools in their drivers (profiles for game control mapping).

Well, my DirectInput devices universally didn't come with key-remapping tools either and while it is fair to say that DirectInput devices are still more popular Microsoft seems to do everything in their power (including every dirty trick in the book) to change that as quickly as possible. And from the sheer amount of XInput-only games coming out lately it seems like they are more than successful. If you like it or not, XInput is gaining in importance rapidly.


After v1.08 we decided that we are not implementing new features any more ...

I'm trying to be as empathetic as possible here, but that is still very sad to hear. Especially since it is quite obvious that Trials 2 SE has some note-able flaws that go beyond simple crash-bugs.
The gameplay itself is great and the above change to the Xbox controller options should at least make it "good enough" but the other issues are a breeding-ground for frustration and disappointment.

You're almost making it sound like I'm asking to get "Trials 3" for free when all I'm asking is for some really basic level stats. The only thing that I understand less than the fact that Trials 2 SE was actually released without giving the player a simple way of seeing witch level he/she finished is the fact that it hasn't been fixed yet and that it might not even ever be fixed.

I understand your desire to get this project behind you and fully move on to the next, more exciting and more lucrative project (i.e. Trials 3, I guess) but leaving a game basically incomplete might actually hurt you in the long run.

rlmergeuser
10-23-2008, 01:38 PM
Oh ... while you're at it, I just noticed that there is no equivalent for the "bail out" / space-button on the Xbox Controller ... would be nice to make that available on one of the remaining buttons (like Y or B). I know that's it's not really a vitally important button but it allows for some fun rag-doll action. http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif

QcChopper
10-25-2008, 05:53 AM
That was a nice read. If I may, even though I agree with this thread, I have to state these facts:

1: This game came a long way from the original Trials 2 (came out in Dec 2007) It was almost redone from scratch. Granted, it could use some polish in the menu aspect but the guys at Redlynx work with very limited ressources.

2: Trials 2 had 16.5 tracks, SE has 65

3: Price = 10$

4: The gameplay is tight, most flaws don't affect it.

5: Redlynx listens to their fans. Even if they cannot implement all the features they wish to this game, they take the time to listen to their fans on these dedicated forums and put up an IRC chan and a stats website.

So I agree with those fixes you requested, but to be fair, I never got more for my money anywhere else in 25 years of gaming, but as Trials 2 self-proclaimed #1 fan, I might be biased. Anyway, constructive criticism is always welcome, and it's been a while since I bugged my favorite devs for stuff, so I seize this opportunity to ask:

What's up with Inferno II and DeanoDaMan's track? It's not like I'll forget about it http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_rolleyes.gif