Trials and error

Trials and error
Michael French

By Michael French

September 28th 2009 at 9:38AM

Trials HD studio discusses its forward journey and the traps it wants to avoid

Following on from part one of Develop’s exclusive interview with Trials HD developer RedLynx, we sit down with company CEO Tero Virtala to discuss the future of the Finnish studio.

(PS: Casualgaming.biz has now opened a competition where you could win a new copy of Trials HD. Find out more here.)

With Monster Trucks Nitro, you released the game on iPhone, Flash, PC and Mac. In contrast, Trials HD has remained a single format title. Having experienced both, how do you now feel about multi and single format releases?
We are a multiplatform developer, and we like to make games for many platforms.  However, the most important thing for us is to make games that people think are great.

We do aim to make games that have the potential to work on a number of platforms, but they all have to reach a certain benchmark of quality. The most important thing is for a title to is to work well on its own platform, and only in very rare cases can that be done by porting a game. 

Each platform is different; they each have their strengths and limitations.  In most cases, to fully utilize their strengths, and even turn the limitations into new opportunities, a simple port is not enough.

Monster Trucks Nitro was a smaller game, and very casual game.  It had an almost simultaneous launch across its platforms and worked well.  What’s important, however, was that the games were not ports of each other – each platform had something that the game could fit into.

With Trials HD, the opportunity to enter into the biggest online console channel opened up for us. The platform allowed the game’s content to expand significantly, while allowing new social features as well as a level editor and sharing.

Of course, as a platform, there was a basis for big commercial success, but only if the game was good enough would that work. That’s why focus was in that case put solely into developing an XBLA game, and making it as good as possible.

Will you continue to focus largely on physics racers moving forward, or are you looking to new genres?
It’s true that, recently, quite a lot of our games have been physics-driven racers. However, we do not want to constrain ourselves to certain genre. 

We love to try to innovate, and proto new game ideas, and we like developing games for different platforms. We would be limiting ourselves quite a lot if we would focus only on one genre.

For us, we think that our multi-genre and multiplatform approach will turn out to be really successful long-term. 

Our team is rather small, but I’m confident that we have a strong combined knowledge on making good solid games across a number of platforms, and through many genres.

We’ve created about 100 games now in a huge variety of genres; Pathway to Glory and Reset Generation for Nokia N-gage, Warhammer for PSP and NDS, Trials for PC and XBLA, DrawRace for iPhone…small web-games, interactive TV-games, PC-games…

In fact, our next PC-game is going to be a new type of sports-related casual game, and the game after that is going to be a physics-based iPhone game, with no racing and no vehicles.

Of course we will be returning to racing titles as well. Realistic physics-systems – like in Trials – provide huge opportunities to renew number of game genres

Tell us more about RedLynx’s experience with creating an XBLA game. What challenges did the platform present?
Well, there actually weren’t any major challenges. To be honest we’ve made bigger projects for mobile devices as well as PSP and NDS, so developing larger games was not such a new thing to us.

Of course there always is new things to learn, things you have to trial and error – but again, nothing major.

We found the Xbox 360 tools to be very well-made, so they’re definitely useful for XBLA newcomers like ourselves. The support we needed from Microsoft, and the Trials community, was met.