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Oski
09-29-2011, 08:15 PM
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Trials Evolution
Reckless Revolution!
Trials HD, the finnish superhit of the Xbox Live Arcade, continues – or to say it better, evolves. RedLynx, whose headquarters are located in Helsinki, promises that Trials Evolution will be a lot more than just a Trials HD 2.

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Caption:
One size fits all! While riding with three other riders, it’s good to stand out. The clothes and bike can be customized with a wide range of choices, which offer change in the looks of the player. The owners of the more expensive equipment have presumably played the game a lot and are probably good.

Caption:
Code faster, or else!!! There’s an essential wrestling mat in RedLynx’ office.

The finnish gamestudio RedLynx has in it’s 11 years developed close to a hundred games, but the last two years the studio has been ”the Trials HD –developer” for most gamers. The series, which is based on physics-based trials-riding, has enjoyed some success in the PC-front, but moving to the Xbox and ending up as a part of Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade –summercampaign brought the game and it’s developers a lot of publicity. Ultimately Trials HD was an excellent game, that didn’t fail to get noticed. The rest was, as they say, history.

Nowadays the sales of Trials HD with it’s DLC are around 2 million. After the successful sales, favorable reviews and numerous awards, few were suprised when they heard that along with the DLC, RedLynx was planning for a sequel. The first taste of Trials Evolution was at this years E3-expo, in the form of a very tantalizing trailer, which only showed proper in-game footage for a few seconds. Because of the huge popularity it’s clear, that Trials Evolution is an important title for RedLynx, as well as Microsoft and the whole Xbox Live Arcade.

As we arrive at RedLynx HQ on an August day, the studio’s co-founder and the executive producer of Trials Evolution Antti Ilvessuo describes the game to be after it’s name an evolution in every part of the game. Therefore Trials HD 2 didn’t feel like a properly descriptive name for the newest game in the series. The developers trust in their own work, and for a reason. The familiarly simple and extremely addicting base has stayed, but around that has been built one of the most ambitious up-coming downloadable games.

Bring some color to life

Trials HD has the reputation of a challenging game. The first obstacle courses that you beat with a motorcycle are fast and easy, but as the tracks unlocked they stopped the progression of many players. Trials Evolution aproaches this from a slightly different angle, but it doesn’t ruin the challenges common in Trials-games. There are enough of challenges for all players, from easy and speedy...

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...pastime –tracks to harder-than-the-prequel obstacles, where the shifting of the bike and the correct uses of gas require professional precision.

The game itself has a familiar feel. To get better at beating obstacles you simply have to play and practice, so competing in your friendslist’s leaderboards is just a product of your work. The tracks of Evolution include new challenges and more visual experiences, as the riding line can now include curves instead of just being a straight line. There’s a bunch of completely new surprises, like rising water obstacles, which make you hurry and with floating objects bring some different physics.

Visually Trials Evolution and Trials HD are like day and night. Stepping out from the dark and almost identical warehouses out to the sun does wonders to the looks of the game, since every one of the 60 tracks in the game now has it’s own visual theme and story. In the place of warehouses A, B and C is now everything from a rollercoaster to a warzone to a traditional obstacle course, which with their loads of detail are admittedly more easily and vividly rememberable which makes playing the game more pleasant.

RedLynx’ humoristic grip ensures, that you never know beforehand what the next track will be like. The absolute high light of the test session was the track Mind Bender, which’s physics’ laws breaking nature you have to experience yourself, because it really tries to get into the head of the player. The most pertinent description is the dream-cities from Inception, where you have to always be alert.

There was plenty of creative craziness put into the tracks and brand new Skill Games -challenges we tested. You will not see the old Trials HD –favorites in Evolution, but Ilvessuo expects the fans to make them with the improved track editor. Minigame-like challenges are again made with tongue-in-cheek, since inter alia the players get to steer an UFO, with which you have to land succesfully in multiple locations. In the Ball of Steel –challenge the players have to balance a huge stone ball on a cup attached to the bike – just to list a few.

The most anticipated update in Trials Evolution is unquestionably multiplayer, which flashed in the trailer. In the battles over Xbox Live or on the same console you get to drive side-by-side with 3 other players. Each player stays on their own track, so it’s the pure joy of riding against each other without collisions with the other players. There are 12 tracks full of jumps and obstacles designed just for multiplayer, which are…

Caption:
”When I got a message from RedLynx asking if I wanted to go and make tracks for Trials HD DLC, I couldn’t believe it. I thought he was a janitor or something, it couldn’t be true.”

–Lee, who joked about the weather in Finland, about his draft into a track designer

”At the studio there’s a good atmosphere and we easily adapted to the team. Now none of the trackmakers have any kind of coding career, but they’re just trackmakers, who sit all day in front of the Xbox designing tracks.”

-Konsta about the life of a track designer.

From a gamer to a designer

In the last few years the communities of games have grown to be a way to get to work in the gaming industry. The creations of gamers are at best equal to the visions of the developers, so in the best cases the most enthusiastic fans have ended up working for the game studio. This has happened with RedLynx and Trials, too.

We interviewed Trials Evolution’s track designers Lee Rowland and Konsta Kontunen, both of which ended up in the studio through the community. Both of their stories are very similar.

Lee bumped into a RedLynx employee while playing the game and asked him to check out his tracks. After a moment he got a message asking him to go develop tracks for Trials HD’s DLC. Konsta got noticed in the studio with his skillful riding. He remembers getting #1 in the World Leaderboards. At some point Antti Ilvessuo contacted him and Konsta showed him his tracks.

Lee, who is originally from the UK, didn’t have big problems getting used to the new working envinonment in Finland. Both have been happy with their jobs, and according to Konsta, most days they just sit in front of the Xbox360 and design tracks. Designing is teamwork, small details are worked on together.

Not the most traditional, or the most probable way to get into the industry, seems to be what they both think.

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Caption:
The life of a coder. In this kind of environment is made a finnish hit-game.

Caption:
Marble Trials HD. Almost anything can be made in the new track editor of Trials Evolution. Here’s a scary view of a Marble Madness –style marble rolling game in the editor.


…made for pure fun without bigger problems.

Multiplayer preserves the fun and pulchritudinous nature of Trials. Even though there are 4 players on their own tracks on the screen, the game is still fun, clean and hectic. As you may expect, falling down always cause bursts of laughter and the finishes cause excited yells. Knocks grow the personality, and evenafter the most painful falls the riders spawn back on the track when the last player crosses the next checkpoint. This way the races stay exciting all the way to the finish line, even though it creates a small role for luck.

If you want to test your skills against others on slightly harder tracks, you can play any of the in-game tracks in multiplayer on the same driving line. This way other players are visible as ghosts, so there are no collisions to ruin your run. In other words the competition has the same mental grip as riding against a ghost.

Racing spirit is big in the world of Trials Evolution. The game has precise leaderboards (including the overall play-time!) and saves the best times for ghost-runs, so the best of the best can show you your place. This time around the best times of your friends are visible on the track as arrows, which give a better picture of where you have to improve to compete with your friends’ best times.

It isn’t unclear, that in Trials Evolution there are loads of things to get excited about. The now more easily approachable game still offers fun an challenging pastime in a more versatile environment and expands the concept to the arenas of multiplayer. One significant addition is the bigger and better track editor. The amount of content in Trials Evolution and RedLynx’ more diverse vision of the series raises the bar for downloadable games once again.

The roll of motorcycles is expected to fill livingrooms this year.


The king of its own gameworld

One of the most interesting features in Trials HD was the super-versatile editor. Like the game, your tracks were limited to be in a warehouse, so the outside environments of Trials Evolution bring five times more possibilities. The whole game is located in one huge area, which is freely modifiable to fit your own creations.

In the versatile Pro Editor you can make everything you see in the pre-made track and Skill Games –challenges. Even the folks at the studio use the editor to build the content of the game: It’s like programming without any programming skills.

At it’s simplest you just make a line in the large environment, and the track is basically done. Of course the track gets a lot more enjoyable if you fill it with ingenious obstacles and other challenges. There’s a massive amount of hings to adjust, and objects to use, and with the tools you can even create completely new games in the style of Little Big Planet 2. The developers have for fun created Pac-Man and other classic games, which you will not see in the final product. If the full tool feels too scary with it’s infinite things to adjust, there’s a simpler editor for beginners.

The things that will spark the most conversations is probably the fact that you now have to pass your tracks before you can upload them to the games’ servers and share them with the world. It’s understandable, that RedLynx wants to stop broken tracks from being published, but can every editor pass their own challenging tracks?

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Trials HD’s story of success
We interview the executive prouducer of RedLynx, Antti Ilvessuo

Trials HD has been a huge and well-earned success. The quality of the game is high, but what things do you think affected the fact that Trials HD became such a big success?

The game itself and riding the bike is fun. The driving is purely dependant on your own skill, and not that your opponent has grinded, leveled up and therefore has a huge advantage. The player controls the bike the whole way and gets better as he plays, and skill don’t disappear just like that. You can take a break from the game and go to your friends house and – whoops! You’re still a good rider!

The track editor that comes with the game is exactly the same that we used to make the tracks, which affects it also. On Youtube there are about 7000 videos of Trials, even though getting videos from the Xbox to Youtube takes time and effort.

What has Trials HD’s success enabled you and the next game in the Trials-series?

More good quality games. And spesifically games that have been polished until they’re perfect.

One of the hardest part of developing Trials-like games, where the game mechanics and a spesific kind of simplicity have an important role, is bringing in new features while keeping the starting level low. How did you approach making a sequel while keeping the charm and approachability of the original game from getting lost under all the new features?

It would’ve been easy to just go and add 30 different adjustable bikes that you could trade with others. Or 50 different environments or something like that.

We thought that the basic idea is to preserve the fun of the core game. It’s enough to have only a few polished bikes – that’d all be on the same line –, excellent playability, modifiably environments and the familiar editor.

The game is now outdoors, which enables loads of new things. Multiplayer and the free world-wide sharing of user-created tracks are good new features that don’t change the fact that the core game is still brilliant, fun and the center of everything.

JoeRegular
09-29-2011, 09:06 PM
Oski...I love you http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_eek.gif

Oski
09-29-2011, 09:08 PM
Oski...I love you http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_eek.gif
http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_razz.gif

JoeRegular
09-29-2011, 09:17 PM
Ok...who's Konsta, I knew the Katamari/Akatsuki story...what's Konsta's gamertag? Maybe I should've tried making tracks a while ago http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif

Oski
09-29-2011, 09:23 PM
Ok...who's Konsta, I knew the Katamari/Akatsuki story...what's Konsta's gamertag? Maybe I should've tried making tracks a while ago http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif
pahapertti, of course http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_razz.gif

JoeRegular
09-29-2011, 09:37 PM
Aha! I think the Paha story was before my time on the forums, Thanks again Oski http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_e_smile.gif

While I'm getting answers to questions, here's another one mate. How come you got to play Evo a while back in the RL offices? Is Anba your favourite uncle, did you dress up as Jorma and sneak in...or was that a wind up that went right over my head http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif

RetiredRonin
09-29-2011, 09:39 PM
If anyone from Redlynx is listening, I would totally be down for moving to Finland and creating tracks.

I am not joking. http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_e_smile.gif

@Joe - Osko did, basically, a work study for Redlynx. That's how I understand it anyways.

Oski
09-29-2011, 09:44 PM
Aha! I think the Paha story was before my time on the forums, Thanks again Oski http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_e_smile.gif

While I'm getting answers to questions, here's another one mate. How come you got to play Evo a while back in the RL offices? Is Anba your favourite uncle, did you dress up as Jorma and sneak in...or was that a wind up that went right over my head http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif
I just went to work there http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_e_smile.gif

JoeRegular
09-29-2011, 09:51 PM
And again thanks for the answer...that's very, very cool http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_e_biggrin.gif

xMotionSickness
09-30-2011, 04:00 PM
That was a great read. Thanks Oski for taking the time to translate that article. http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_e_biggrin.gif

RedLynxANBA
09-30-2011, 04:48 PM
Aha! I think the Paha story was before my time on the forums, Thanks again Oski http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_e_smile.gif

While I'm getting answers to questions, here's another one mate. How come you got to play Evo a while back in the RL offices? Is Anba your favourite uncle, did you dress up as Jorma and sneak in...or was that a wind up that went right over my head http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif
I just went to work there http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_e_smile.gif

Thats true.

"I could come there to work"

He did not even ask. http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_e_smile.gif

JoeRegular
09-30-2011, 05:09 PM
http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif

RetiredRonin
09-30-2011, 05:49 PM
Is that really all it takes?!

Hey ANBA, I could come there and work.

*fingers crossed*

Nytmair
09-30-2011, 07:49 PM
Hey ANBA, I could come there and work.

Jarr3tt88
09-30-2011, 08:52 PM
Hey ANBA, I could come there and work.

RetiredRonin
09-30-2011, 09:02 PM
Dammit people! Why you gotta waste my flavor?

Oski
09-30-2011, 09:12 PM
Wild workers appear!

ANBA uses [hire].

It's not very effective...

johnsalis
09-30-2011, 10:51 PM
Well if they're giving us all the tools and features that go along with building tracks, then we all will pretty much "work" for Redlynx when Evo releases. (minus the pay... and wrestling matches) http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_razz.gif

rlmergeuser
09-30-2011, 11:52 PM
Wild workers appear!

ANBA uses [hire].

It's not very effective...

http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif http://forum.redlynx.com/forum/images/smilies/icon_lol.gif