Pelintekoa Suomessa ulkomaalaissilmin osa 2: Helsinki on kuin City17

26.04.2010 15:30 | Jukka O. Kauppinen

Suomalainen Trials HD oli viime vuoden suurimpia hittejä Xbox Live Arcade -palvelussa. Peli äänestettiin niin vuoden 2009 parhaaksi Xbox Live Arcade -peliksi että vuoden 2009 parhaaksi suomipeliksi.

Brittikaksikko Lee Rowlands ja Henry Tofts viettivät Suomessa kuukauden askarrellen peliin uusia ratoja. eDome julkaisee kaksikon upean matkapäiväkirjan, jossa suomalaista elämää ja pelintekoa tarkkaillaan kuukauden ajan kulttuurishokkien värittämän hauskanpidon kautta.

Trials-päiväkirja julkaistaan englanninkielisenä. Jokaisen osan alussa on Red Lynxin Antti Ilvessuon lyhyt suomenkielinen alustus.


Journey to Finland!

Lee Rowland & Henry Tofts

This journal was written by Lee Rowland and Henry Tofts about their time in Finland. It consists solely of their own thoughts and impressions of their experience in Finland, and was not edited in any way by anyone at RedLynx. We thought you would enjoy their feelings and insights into what it feels like to visit and work in Finland for the first time, and how we do things here. – Antti / Red Lynx

Osa 1:Pelintekoa Suomessa ulkomaalaissilmin osa 1: Trials HD ja Henryn ja Leen elämysmatka

Osa 3: Pelintekoa Suomessa ulkomaalaissilmin osa 3: lätkää ja pelintekemistä

Osa 4: Pelintekoa Suomessa ulkomaalaissilmin osa 4: harhailua kantakaupungissa, painottomuutta metsästämässä

Osa 5: Pelintekoa Suomessa ulkomaalaissilmin osa 5: mikroautoilua ja urakan päätös


Keskiviikkona Henry aloittaa uuden Ring of Fire -radan parissa. Lee taas puolestaan luo ympäristöä Jorman speedway -rataa varten. Torstaina Henry ja Lee toimittavat devaajille listan objekteista, joita he haluaisivat nähdä editorissa. Perjantaina Henrylle ojennetaan Trials -ratasuunnittelukisasta voittamansa palkinnot ja Lee viimeistelee speedway -rataa. Pojat myös tutustuvat perinteiseen perjantaipullaan. Lauantaina molemmat suuntaavat Helsingin keskustaan, joka kuulemma muistuttaa Half Life 2:sta tuttua City17:ää. Pojat ostavat muumikaupasta tuliaisia ja kokeilevat salmiakkia.

Sunnuntai kuluu enenrgiajuomia litkien ja hotellihuoneessa suomenkielistä Nalle Puhia tuijotellessa. Rahat uhkaavat loppua jo alkuunsa Suomen hintatasosta johtuen. Maanantaina Henry saa design -apua Ring of Fire -kentässään ja kehittelee height jump -skill gamea. Lee puolestaan alkaa tehdä omaa retrokenttäänsä, jonka olisi tarkoitus saada näyttämään 2D:ltä. Viikko jatkuu kyseisten kenttien hiomisella ja Lee saa keskiviikkona oman achievementtinsa peliin.


16-09-09 – Wednesday
9.00am – 6.00pm



The rain today let us know its presence as soon as we stepped outside our hotel, (knew I packed that coat for a reason) no snow yet though. Final stages to the junkyard track now.

Started work on a new ring of fire track today. It’s going to be wicked sick. Carved out the general path today, which took around five hours. It’s going to be a 100 ring of fire track. There will be a secret super ring but I won’t reveal where. Leaderboards though will be pretty interesting. Going to sleep to dream on how I will hide it but still lots to do first



Finally finished my first track. I don’t like the easy short cut at the end, but it may get removed in testing as it doesn’t always work.

Started my second track. A fast ‘speedway’ track by Jorma. Again, it is just a racing line with no decoration or support objects on the line. It has a very simple look to it so will be hard to decorate and still retain this smooth feel. Antti says it’s easy to place objects on a racing line, perhaps even easier to create an extreme difficulty track. Medium is quite hard though as you need to provide an optimal driving line which has a complete set of ‘sweet’ jumps for those players perfect enough to hit them all. Those top players will keep playing until they have the top time on the leader boards. However, it shouldn’t penalise the less skilled player too much and allow them to continue through pretty much all the track without too much hindrance. If they want to improve their time, they can once they understand how the track works. Checkpoints are also important too, with every obstacle having a checkpoint at the start of it and another after. This then allows the player to attempt each one without frustration. Having two or three difficult stunts tied to just one checkpoint is not a good thing, no matter how good you personally may  be at it in testing! .

Had a mess about creating a Monster Truck in the background of the track. Hopefully I can get to put it in a future track now Antti has seen it is possible and fun.

Went to see Inglorious Basterds with Jorma and Sebbi. Good movie, although no English subtitles for the extensive French, German and Italian dialogue! GCSE languages helped a little!

Saw the centre of Helsinki and used a Finnish train for the first time. Trains are much like British ones and the city centre felt much like Leeds in the UK. Very quiet though for a capital city. Jorma said that only 500,000 people live here. Food is still so expensive! About £9 for a tiny individual Pizza Hut pizza! Crappy weak UK Pound!


17-09-09 – Thursday
9.00am – 6.30pm



Trials HD is the number one most played game this summer and currently number one in the Xbox Arcade charts. Lee and I handed in our giant list of game objects we would like to see added into the game. A lot of these ideas look like they will be added in before the DLC release! These new objects will make nice new decoration and interesting challenges. Felt in a large way that we were representing the huge user creation community in bringing forward these object ideas for the editor. You won’t be disappointed.

The guys at RedLynx are fantastic and Sebbi has to be one of the most cheerful programmers I have ever met. He was also responsible for the Inferno 2 extreme track. I was ready to curse his name but he is too nice. Loaded our custom maps onto RedLynx’s retail Xbox 360 in the board room so that we could talk to them about how we created them and our inspiration for ideas.



Carried on with the track. Built a cool looking suspension bridge in the background. Although you don’t ride on it, it does look good.

Made a list of objects we would like to see added to the editor. Sebbi and Antti discussed what was possible and we now have a confirmed list of new stuff to come! We’re to thank (or blame) for some of this stuff!

It’s certainly a good thing that Antti keeps checking on my progress on the track. The feedback and suggestions help a lot. Lots of large open spaces make it hard to decorate though. I guess that’s the theme of it though; fast and clean. Should be finished by tomorrow evening and then I can hopefully start on my own crazy ideas on Monday.

Some new ideas for tracks came up. Hopefully they’ll get implemented while we’re here.

In a bizarre ‘Antti’ moment, it was very funny to see Antti walking around with the Canadian flag on as a cape. One a few flags in the office. Great to feel so welcome and relaxed. Only been here 4 days but feel comfortable and the days fly by. Can’t wait to see people playing the new tracks or using the new objects in the editor!


18-09-09 – Friday
9.00am – 6.00pm



My dream job as far as I can remember has always been to work in the games industry. Feels surreal and exciting at the same time. It’s the first job I have had where I am not looking at what time of the day it is. Time has no meaning in a games office besides obvious deadlines to be met. Trying not to think about the final outcome of the DLC, just keeping my head down and being myself (usually ends up with some crazy ideas) plus working hard to the best of my abilities.

I was presented my winning goodies in front of the team today for coming first place in the Trials map competition held a few weeks pre-Finland. I got a hoodie and a cool Trials HD flag. Ring of fire map I have almost finished, just needs a bit more decoration. Lee and I are thinking of heading into Helsinki capital tomorrow.



Continued to work on the ‘speedway’ track. A new feature which will allow me to ‘colour’ areas may get added. Track is pretty much finished now. Will go back to it in testing.

On Fridays, RedLynx get together to have coffee, Danish, etc and hang out in the board room. Sort of to relax and wind down for the weekend. Henry and I were once again introduced to all and to say a few words. Everyone is great to work with and all seem enthusiastic and enjoy what they’re doing.

I get to start a new track on Monday. This will be all my own work and is influenced by my ‘8 Bit Trip’ custom track. Sketching out ideas over the weekend. It will play like a retro platform game with distinct areas to progress through with various obstacles. Hopefully it will play and feel very different to every other track in the game and will be memorable.

Turns out the reason why the guy says ‘No Mustard on my Bike’ at the Trials HD start up is simply because he doesn’t like mustard! Either on his sandwich or anything else! Simple explanation!


19-09-09 – Saturday



Capital reminds me of City 17 setting from Half-Life, albeit without the combine soldiers and a sense of doom and gloom. A lot of fashion shops and bar plus restaurants. Found a Moomin shop today for gifts to get my girlfriend back home. Asked Antti at RedLynx what is traditionally Finnish over here to buy as a souvenir. He said Salmiakki, which is Finnish version of the word licorice (Antti is obsessed with the stuff). Will definitely get some bags of the stuff this evening from the “local K-Mart”.

Nice to have a couple of days to ourselves to take it all in and rest our computer eyes, plus it gives me time to plan my next track.



First day off. Got up a little later and went into Helsinki centre. Lots of large buildings of differing architectural style. They all don’t seem to match however, but very nicely designed. Shop fronts are very discreet and not prominent. You have to hunt for a lot of them.

Looked around at various shops. Games are expensive here. Even up to 70 Euros for a 360 game! Found a Moomin shop. Seems Finland is famous for Moomins and Liquorice (Salmiakki)! Liquorice sweets are given with meals as a teeth cleanser. Different flavours like vanilla, pineapple dull the strong taste.

Saw quite a few museums but not ventured inside yet. Picasso exhibition on at the moment which seems popular. Want to find the harbour or port for next time. The air doesn’t feel like sea air though. Very strange centre. Although it is big, it doesn’t have the epic-ness of other capital cities like Tokyo or London. Nice not to have huge crowds though, but also a little underwhelming. Feels a little like City 17 in Half Life 2 but after the occupation obviously ;)


20-09-09 – Sunday



Struggling to understand why Finland is so expensive. The pound sterling is horrendous versus the Euro at the moment. At time of writing it is currently around 1 euro 10 a pound. So everything costs double and then some. A burger can cost anywhere between 8 pound to 15 pound.

We did some exploring around the surrounding area close to where our hotel is situated looking for food and perhaps some inspiration the team at RedLynx must have gotten from Helsinki. The city and here in Pasila is like one giant skateboarding park with ramps and hand rails and huge pedestrian walkways.

Going to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the hotel and probably watch Winnie the Pooh in Finnish. Oh and tried Battery, its like Red Bull and that Rockstar energy drink mixed together.



Sunday in Helsinki. Been here a week now. Breakfast was the busiest I’ve seen and was difficult to find a seat. Coffee and milk in short supply! I need my morning caffeine fix!

Supermarkets don’t open until 12pm on Sundays so we sat in the lobby until then. We still can’t quite believe that we’re here and what an opportunity it is! Would actually rather be in the office right now than sat in the lobby doing nothing!

Went in the only supermarket we could find that was open. It was packed with customers and no cashiers. Same as the UK! Liquorice is in everything it seems! Chocolate bars, chewing gum, drinks, ice cream! Kind of interesting to see so many in a nation eating the same snack. Quite an acquired taste in the UK but I must try some various types and bring some home.

Relaxed for the rest of the day watching TV and sketching track ideas. Lots of English and USA shows and not dubbed. Really looking forward to getting back to work on Monday. Money getting a little short already as everything is so expensive still. Need to find some good and cheap places to eat at night and weekends.


21-09-09 – Monday
9.00am – 6.00pm



Back to work hooray

I can understand the importance of a senior designer or creative director to help motivate you and say what still needs doing in a level. The ring of fire map was a good example of this where you’re sick of looking at burning rings of fire and testing sections repeatedly. It becomes difficult to see anything else. This sort of creation process is not something you know it’s an area you learn. I completed the ring of fire map today though and I am sure it will be the talk of forums and YouTube videos. Strangely everyone was looking shell shocked today and Lee well he is the office Zombie.

I have been put on a new skill game mode today based on an idea I had for a custom map a while back where you can fly a plane. The challenge was developing the idea into a height jump skill game mode in which the plane works every time and the rider has some degree of control over it. The idea has progressed into a ‘Red bull flugtag flying esque’ design, which is a just load of fun. Hope everyone enjoys it.



Start of second week. Glad to get back to work. Breakfast back to the quiet version again.

Had a final ride of my track Started my own 8-Bit Trip themed track today. Very simplistic looking but extremely distinct and a nightmare to construct physics objects with! I hope it works out as planned. Basic layout is going well with some fun obstacles. I tested various objects to use on the driving line but many which had depth to them or are solid affect the look of the track and destroy the illusion of a 2D looking level. This has meant that it has to be built from flat metal plates and your rider drives along the edge of them. This poses many problems when using physics objects however, as they usually need a more solid structure to work perfectly. I need to look at how I can hide these more complex items behind the driving line. The volcano is fun and raises a smile on everyone who sees it. I have a few more ideas I want to implement tomorrow. Looks like it will be a late finish. That doesn’t bother me though as I’m happy to make the tracks.


22-09-09 – Tuesday
9.00am – 8.00pm



Trials now has a rocket car / plane!. There was no way this plane was not going to have a rocket attached to it. The turbines generate a lot of power and so if the object you attach them too is lighter than the force then you can imagine it’s a bit like letting go of a party balloon full of air. So the challenge was designing a plane that locks the rider within, can be controlled when boosting and is perfectly balanced. I did physics at school and university but this was a classic case of a days work the old fashioned way via trial and error. Error of course crashing into the ground repeatedly.

The end result is now pretty amazing and as a joke it’s down as a height jump ‘use paddles’…. ha what paddles. Getting the max height of around 235 metres will be very challenging even for the pros at this skill game. Our great leader Antti has been great in gradually releasing the leash on our imaginations. It’s RedLynx’s game and I am honoured just to be here but they are truly making us feel part of the team.



On with the ‘4 Bit Track’ (it lost the other 4 Bits over night it seems). Decided to delete the crushers and other piston bits as the just don’t trigger properly. Added some smoother to play bits instead and essentially got the whole driving line complete. Needs some refining but it’s good overall.

Spoke to Sebbi about the achievements and difficulty of bits in the original release. Seems the Marathon achievement wasn’t meant to include the Hard and Extreme tracks in the tournament. This is getting altered in the patch and will also affect the difficulty of obtaining the achievement. Looks like it won’t be only the robots that can get it now!

Sebbi is creating a new Hill Climb level. Will have uphill jumps as seen in Inferno 2! Oh no! Much swearing to accompany it I presume.

I was told that I will be doing the ‘Ride the Ball’ level next. Hopefully I start it tomorrow. Will be nearly all fast downhill and very difficult. Not slow like the original.


23-09-09 – Wednesday
9.00am – 7.00pm



Finished the height jump map today at last. New build of the DLC was installed on the servers also with some of the new objects including a ventilator shaft and half pipe metal plate! Sepi the guy who does the modelling has done a great job. The micro donkey fits inside the vents!

A video of mine and Lee’s best bits from our custom tracks was put together today by Zagu for demo purposes. Very excited. I have been given a new track idea to work on, which will involve the machinery achievement. Sketching ideas this evening. It will be complex but I had an idea a while back for a Davinci inspired track that will fit this perfectly. The level will be comprised mainly of wood.

Been invited to go to an ice hockey game tomorrow, never been to one before but they are mad about it in Finland. Can’t wait!



Almost finished the 4 Bit Trip track now. I got to name it after my custom track. Some cool little physics based parts and the entire level looks so simple but was a pain to create. So difficult to make it look flat but still include moving objects.

Will start my fourth track tomorrow. It’s to be my insane Monster truck level! Also, this track contains one of the three new achievements! My very own achievement!!

Going to see an ice hockey game tomorrow night with Jorma. Should be good and certainly something new.


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Pelintekoa Suomessa ulkomaalaissilmin osa 1: TrialsHD ja Henryn ja Leen elämysmatka
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