Suomalainen Trials HD oli viime vuoden suurimpia hittejä Xbox Live Arcade -palvelussa. Pelin menestyminen toi mahdollisuuksia myös sen laajentamiseen, minkä myötä kaksi nuorta brittimiestä – Lee Rowlands ja Henry Tofts – viettivät Suomessa kuukauden rakentaen pelin laajennusta.
eDomen julkaisemassa matkapäiväkirjassa suomalaista elämää ja pelintekoa on tarkkailtu kuukauden. Juttusarjan viidennessä ja viimeisessä osassa tehdään lopultakin kunnon kiertoajelu Helsingin ihmeitä hämmästelemässä sekä tehdään rakennetuista kentistä selvää jälkeä.
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
Perjantaina vietettiin virkistyspäivää ja koko firma, brittivahvistukset mukaan lukien lähti mikroautoilemaan sekä myöhemmin kaupungille. Pinteistä huolimatta brittikaksikko saapui lauantaina jälleen toimistolle, nyt hiomaan yhteistyönä toteutettavaa medium -vaikeustason rataa. Toimitusjohtajan lapset testaavat ja innostuvat Leen kotonaan Englannissa tekemistä custom -radoista. Sunnuntai alkaa leppoisasti Leen paikallisen ystävän esitellessä Helsingin kauniimpia kasvoja ja päättyy toimistolla puolen yön aikoihin viimeisten DLC -ratojen parissa. Maanantaina alkaa kaksikon viimeinen viikko Helsingissä, Henryllä flugtag -skillgamen pelattavuutta parannellen ja Henryllä 1 Bit Trip -kentän taustoja asetellen. Kenttien testaaminen vie paljon aikaa. Tiistaina Lee toivoo- ja saa – Antilta liekinheittimen sekä kranaatin.
09/10/09 – Friday
9.00am – 2.00am
Vrooooom, I crossed the finish line a respectable last place in Go Karting. Safest driving award goes to me. Great day out with all the team at RedLynx and nice to unwind a bit in preparation for next weeks testing marathon. Lee and I have been given another map to build ready for Monday as one of the maps isn’t playing so well so it got scrapped. I have some decoration designs I want to try out.
A long day today. The wind still needs adjusting to make it feel natural and provide a good driving line, but otherwise I like the build. I then began some work on a new ‘Where’s the Sky’ track as the existing one by Zagu is broken. It needs to be full of technical and fast jumps. Needs to be done by Monday!
A company meeting started at 1.30pm. Then we all went go-karting!
After getting into our racing gear, we got to set best times over 10 laps.
The control and feel of the kart is awesome. Very fun and easy to power slide. So, so very tiring though. My hands, arms and back ached so much! Only 10 minutes until we then had a 12 lap race. By now I was exhausted, but I still managed to post my fastest lap! Took some time to recover!
We then went to a venue called 24 Basement. RedLynx had hired it for us, complete with loads of food and drink. Great fun and such a good, friendly atmosphere. Tried reindeer meat which was actually pretty nice!
After some hilariously bad karaoke, Trials HD was loaded up. I got to play an unreleased demo version of it which is totally awesome! Very, very cool! I did well and got to the finals.
Then Sebbi chose a new track to play, one which he said he likes. My Shady Complex was put on for everyone to set a best time on. Cool to see my track getting played by every member of staff!
After much playing of the new skill games, we moved on to a night club called Bakers. Nice enough inside and we had champagne.
I’m really going to miss the place, the job and especially the people at RedLynx.
10/10/09 – Saturday
10.30am – 8.00pm
Started work on the new track Antti wants in good shape for Monday. Most of the time I start off with a decoration idea, check to see if it works then make the level from there. This track Lee and I are co-working on will be a medium difficulty track with great flow and jumps since it is meant to be ‘where’s the grounds’ sister/brother. Decided it would be good for both of us to make a general driving line with jumps and good flow then bring the two ideas together since it’s not really possible to both make a track on one machine.
Saturday. My body aches so much from the go-karting. I have a huge bruise on my back from the hard seat! Worth it though.
Went into work to try and get this new track done. Managed to get a full racing line complete which is fast and has many points to get perfect landings for improved times. Without Antti’s feedback, however, it is difficult to know if is good enough. I like its flow. I just need to tweak it a little and decorate it for effect. Then I think it will be a good effort worthy of inclusion.
Tero came into work with his kids and they chose to play some of my custom tracks on the boardroom 360. Great to see my tracks grab the attention of all that play them
11/10/09 – Sunday
5.00pm – 12.00pm
Yawn, sleepy but it has been a productive day. Most days I have been browsing RedLynx forums and checking threads about DLC and what users are wanting from it. They represent a minority in the greater population of Trials HD players but a fair regular few would like to see more hard/extreme tracks in the game. I put forward the views I found and the medium track I was building has now become an extra map and is now a hard, smooth jumps track. The track is called Cups of Death and will require perfect throttle and weight control in order to finish at the fastest time. I have a very difficult section at the end of it currently but it may get removed for something that works better, will show it to Antti and the team tomorrow and get there much needed feedback.
Went to meet Harri, an old room mate from Japan, in Helsinki centre today. Haven’t seen him in over five years so it was good to catch up. He hasn’t changed much but seems happier. He showed us some of the sights of Helsinki we had missed such as some churches and the harbour.
It was a nicer side of Helsinki and how I expect a European capital to look. Had a great pizza too! So many shops closed on a Sunday though.
Went into work at about 5pm. Continued with my new track and decorated it totally. It probably looks a little too cluttered in places and needs some work on the lighting. I’ll do that tomorrow as we left at midnight! I hope Antti is happy with it.
12/10/09 – Monday
9.15am – 7.30pm
It is easy to make something difficult but very tricky to do it in a way that doesn’t kill the rider through no fault of the player. As a result of this the section I had built is gone for something that works better in relation to the flow of the rest of the track. Both Jorma and Sebbi are very good at the game in terms of play testing and breaking sections. Jorma has bunny hopping hands and Sebbi plays like he is literally on the bike. This sort of testing changes the way a section might look or the position of a plank an inch closer to the left or right to prevent a crazy shortcut. Antti is also a great help since he always has a clear vision of what the overall flow and look to the maps should be.
The start of our final weekLShowed Antti my new track I’d been working on over the weekend. Went down well and only needed minor modifications. As the track looked very similar all the way through, Antti suggested that I alter the all wood driving line at the half way point and change it to metal. This was a difficult alteration to do as the wooden ramp plates and metal ramp plates are not the same size, so I effectively had to rebuild the second half of the track! Also, a gradual alteration in the colour of the background lights would help the sense of progression through the track. I got it completed by early afternoon. Sebbi and Jorma seemed to like it too.
I went back to try and fix 1 Bit Trip. Spent hours filling scenery blocks back in. I then spent time repairing some physics objects and hiding other construction elements. Although this track has proved to be a headache, I think it’s close to total completion. I hope it signifies the different styles the DLC provides and features in screenshots in reviews!
13/10/09 – Tuesday
9.00am – 8.00pm
Testing of maps is fully underway now. Today I have devoted my time to the flugtag height jump skill game. There were a lot of frame rate issues with this particular track and it was damn hard to get very high. To overcome this I added a load more afterburners at the start and thinned them out the higher you get. The frame rate was simple to solve and just required the level to have lights that don’t generate shadows. The boosts are also done in such a way that you can carry on flying as long as there are boosts to collect, so if you nosedive you can loop the loop and get back your height.
I have gone back to all the tracks I worked on earlier in the month to fix any frame rate issues, bumps in the driving line and any strange physics based things going on. Tomorrow I think I will begin finishing off target hunter 2 and checking over down the stairs for any possible holes.
1 Bit Trip finally seems to be working. No lag and all the physics objects are behaving properly. There are still some minor visual issues which can’t be fixed unfortunately.
I fixed bits of Down the Mines and Shady Complex. Very minor visual alterations. I now need to focus on Dangerous Ride and Speedway tomorrow. Decoration is needed on the many sparse areas.
Space Station has had to be altered. The hidden faster ending had to go. The area is still there as a silly Easter Egg, but no finish target to hit.
Antti was boasting that he had all kinds of cool things stashed away in his cupboard.
I asked him to produce a grenade. He disappeared from the office, shortly to return with a fake German WW2 grenade! As a joke, I then asked for a flame thrower. Yes, he managed to cobble one together! I stopped short of asking for a tank or bazooka!
We need to think of some track names, track descriptions and platinum medal texts. We had a list of all DLC tracks printed out and spent the evening coming up with funny text for nearly all of them. Most won’t be used I’m sure, but some a cool and may make it.
Lee ja Henry tapaavat keskiviikkona lounaalla Eurogamerin edustajan ja antavat vinkkejä hyvän radan tekemiseen. Torstaina Henry viimeistelee skill game -kenttänsä Flug Tagin ja Target Hunterin. Lee taas puolestaan hioo Speedwayn ja Dangerous Riden dekoraatioita. Puoliltapäivin Tero tarjoaa pojille historiallisen Helsinki -kierroken opastuksen kera. Kierrokseen kuuluu luonnollisesti myös visiitti stadionin torniin. Illalla Eurogamer julkaisee videon, jossa on Henryn ja Leen tekemiä user-trackeja. Perjantaina koitti poikien toistaiseksi viimeinen työpäivä Suomessa ja tunnelmat ovat haikeat.
14/10/09 – Wednesday
9.00am – 8.00pm
The Cups of Death track might have a name change to Wheels of Misfortune, which sounds a bit more relevant. A lot of the track descriptions and praise for platinum medals still remains to be done as they are currently placeholders. Lee and I have been given the text scripts so we can provide some of our own ideas for the messages, should be fun over a pint of Koff.
Had a brief amount of time fixing Dangerous Ride. The lag was still a big problem so adding wall blocks and removing car models from various areas of the track seemed to boost the frame rate.
The rep from Eurogamer came into the office today. He asked us for some Trials Editor tips for their readers. I said that using plenty of checkpoints is important as people can quickly tire of having to retry a difficult section repeatedly. Also, decoration can really bring your track to life and make it stand out from the crowd.
Then, Antti, Tero, the Eurogamer rep, Henry and I went to a fancy restaurant in Helsinki centre.
We had actually walked past it on Sunday with Harri and had admired the building. The food was good. The conversation covered all types of games and led to what titles we were looking forward to in the future.
15/10/09 – Thursday
9.00am – 9.00pm
Added lights to the new target hunter mode and half a days worth of further testing and refinement to Flug Tag. The rocket car is handling very well now and various frame rate issues at certain points of the level have been ironed out by deleting stuff like unnecessary effects and lights. The rocket car itself has gone through quite a few changes due to code and build updates. I think I will do a tutorial in the future about how to make the car for the community so that others can implement it into their own custom tracks. There is nothing developer only about the car, users will be able to make the same thing or something different.
Lee and I were given a tour of Helsinki by Tero today. He has an uncanny skill at giving tour guides and a great historical knowledge of Finland and its people dating back to the 18th century. The door is broken on his car though. Lee claims I broke it but that’s all lies, Tero has trapped many important visitors in that car, we were just another one of its victims.
Finland has had a large mix of Russian and Swedish influences over the centuries and as a result its architecture is different across the city of Helsinki. Emphasis is made on the merge of nature into all things. Reindeer and moose meat is a common food source in nearly every restaurant I have been in. It tastes pretty good! We were shown the Olympic Stadium and taken to the very top of its vantage point overlooking all of Helsinki. Got some nice pics.
Last day for us tomorrow, it has all been a whirlwind of activity and loads of fun. Can’t thank RedLynx enough.
Still tidying my tracks up and altering very minor parts to improve the look or flow, i.e.- no unnecessary bumps on the racing line and filling bare areas with decoration.
I need to decorate Dangerous Ride and Pro Speedway and will spend some time juggling decoration on them tomorrow!
We went out at about midday. Tero took Henry and I around Helsinki to show us various areas we hadn’t seen. His car tried to trap us inside by refusing to let the passenger door open, but we prevailed and escaped its clutches!
We went to the Olympic stadium and saw an awesome, if very cold, tower top view of Helsinki.
Got to try a traditional Finnish meat pasty. Warm mincemeat in a donut type casing. Very tasty, especially so as it was so cold outside.
We took a ferry to an island called Suomenlinnalippu.
The architectural style here was very different to that of Helsinki, with brightly coloured wooden houses, not unlike certain American towns I’ve seen.
Some very nice scenery also and Tero is a wealth of information when it comes to Finnish history! He should give tours as he’d make a fortune ;)
After a steak meal at a nice island restaurant we headed back to the office. Antti had trapped Ville in his corner behind propped up wrestling mats!
The video containing our user tracks went on Eurogamer tonight! Gained comments almost instantly and the messages began pouring into our Gamertags! I hope some developers see it too and get in contact!
16/10/09 – Friday
9.00am – 7.00pm
‘Cry’ last day today for us. Our time here has been loads of fun and a great experience. From the perspective of a gamer and a huge fan of Trials HD and gaming in general not enough is said about just how much work and dedication goes into making a game. Making games is an amazing job but there are a lot of qualities needed in your character to be able to get through the development cycle in one piece. There are low and high days but it’s just about getting on with it and having fun at the same time and it will really show in the final product.
Last board meeting for us and picture taking was an absolute must! We said our thanks to the team at RedLynx and thanked them for placing such trust and confidence in us from start to finish. Players from the communities that get hired by the company of the game they love are rarely heard about, often in whispers and rumours. In writing this journal I hope it gives an insight into the inner workings of the games industry and how you too can go about getting into it.
Start of our final day at RedLynxLContinued to decorate Dangerous Ride. Still has areas which look a little empty, but it’s certainly better than it was.
Moved on to Pro Speedway and added lots of far background scenery to give the impression of skyscrapers. Using the large concrete blocks works pretty well for this and the silhouettes of them looming in the fog look cool.
In the Friday company get together, Tero thanked us for all our work and hoped we had enjoyed the experience. Group photos were taken and gifts handed out. I think I’ll wait until home to open mine up.
The rest of the day was spent decorating Down the Mines. Only minor additional details were needed to flesh out some areas.
It’s strange to think that all the tracks are pretty much complete. There will always be parts I think could be improved visually, but you have to stop at some point.
And so, our jolly jaunt to Finland comes to an end. It’s been an amazing experience and such an enjoyable time.
I’m really going to miss everyone and the work we did. I hope what we produced for RedLynx is of good quality and I look forward to playing the DLC in the future. If RedLynx ever decides to make more DLC or a sequel, I would be very honoured to work on it.
Henry Tofts & Lee Rowland