1. #1
    UbiPhobos's Avatar Community Manager
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    Trials Garage Update #5: Trials, PC & You: A look back at Trials games on PC

    Welcome back to the Trials Garage, riders. This month we’re looking at Trials on PC. While our roots as a series are on the PC, Trials really matured into its current form largely on consoles. As always, here in the Garage, we want to examine how we might improve but to do that we’ll start by taking a look back.



    This time we’re going way back, all the way to the beginning. Trials began about 17 years ago on PC as a series of browser based game on Miniclip. These early versions of Trials used basic directional controls on the keyboard and featured some pretty bouncy bike physics. A Google search might find you some sites where you can still play these but in 2010 they were collected into the free PC title Trials Legends. You can download the installer for that right here.



    After the success of the browser based Trials games we created our first full-fledged Trials game, the beginning of what we might call the modern age of Trials. Trials 2 Second Edition was also a PC only title that introduces the 2.5D style gameplay that would go on to define Trials games to this day. While it was possible to play Trials 2 SE with a controller it was still designed for keyboard play so controller inputs were digital, either on or off. This is something we’ll discuss a bit more after we make the jump to consoles.



    After these early PC games the then independent Redlynx was contacted by Microsoft about bringing Trials to the Xbox Live Arcade. We worked with Microsoft to created two Trials games for the Xbox, Trials HD & Trials Evolution. Trials HD retained the warehouse setting of Trials 2 SE but added the possibility for players to create their own tracks which has remained one of the foundations for Trials games that have come since.



    Trials Evolution was a huge leap forward for the series making big improvements and introducing new features that really opened up the possibilities of what Trials could be. Track Central and both local & online multiplayer made their debut in Trials Evo. The introduction of curved driving lines and the vast open environment created a stark contrast to the dark straight warehouse tracks from Trials HD & Trials 2 SE. And finally the revamped editor gave an incredible amount of control to track builders allowing their creativity to run wild.



    The jump to console also introduced analogue inputs which allowed for much more precise control over the bike and rider. In the early PC titles control was digital. This meant, for example, that when you pressed gas it would immediately go from off to fully on. Analogue inputs gave us some range in between off and on. On the Xbox controller gas can be controlled by the right trigger which can be pressed only partially resulting in only partial power output from the engine. While some players can excel using a keyboard for most top players this throttle control is a very important skill for passing extreme and ninja tracks.


    Shortly before the launch of Trials Evolution Redlynx was acquired by Ubisoft. This new partnership brought with it many new opportunities for Redlynx & Trials to grow. With Trials Fusion still in the early stages of development we had a chance in the meantime to bring Trials back to its roots on PC with Trials Evolution Gold Edition. While we were very excited to bring the content of Trials Evolution & HD to our PC fans, porting the game proved to be a challenge. During the original development of Trials Evo the game was only intended to be released on Xbox 360 and therefore many aspects were optimized specifically for the Xbox 360 hardware. Because of this the game had problems working with certain PC components. Most notably some players experienced graphical issues depending on how their GPU handled data processing. While workarounds and fixes were found this was understandably frustrating for players whose PC specs were above the minimum requirements.



    Another challenge was the editor. From the start the editor was designed to be used with a controller and converting it to mouse and keyboard resulted in controls that did not feel intuitive to PC players used to tools designed for use on a PC.

    Finally that brings us to Trials Fusion. Fusion was the first Trials game we developed from start to finish as a Ubisoft studio and the first time we developed a Trials game for multiple platforms at once. Working this way helped us to avoid issues like the ones caused by optimizing for the Xbox 360 hardware however Trials evolved so much during it’s time as a console only title that making a perfect PC version remained a challenge. Editor controls are one of the most noticeable areas. Efforts were made to improve the editor experience on PC but some players felt these changes were not an improvement and preferred Evo Gold’s editor controls.



    Fusion did make some big progress for the series on PC as well. The introduction of cross-platform Track Central allowed the smaller PC community to access all of the great custom content being created on consoles. Our presence on PC also allowed us to do our first beta for Trials when we tested the online multiplayer prior to its launch. These are both things we’d very much like to leverage further in the future.

    We want to continue improving the Trials experience on PC and one thing that really helps is hearing from our PC Trials players. What’s your experience been and what would improve it for you? Sound off in the comments and of course take a moment to fill out this month’s survey.



    Finally this month we have not one but two special guests on the Trials Garage Radio Podcast. First up we are speaking with Producer Oleksandr Shvyrlo. As a lifelong PC gamer and member of Ubisoft internal PC community Oleksandr is an important part of our efforts to improve Trials on PC. Earlier this year he took part in a PC community workshop at BlueByte studios in Germany to look at what we can do to improve the experience for PC gamers across all of Ubisoft’s games. Also at that workshop was notorious PC Trials player Blubbi who has made a name for himself in the Trials community by absolutely crushing Trials tracks up to and including ninja tracks using his keyboard instead of a controller. Shogun sat down with them both to discuss their history with PC games and what they think can improve the Trials experience on PC.



    That’s our Trials Garage update for this month, riders. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on Trials and PC. Until next month, we’ll see you on the leaderboards.
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  2. #2
    VEGASTRASH's Avatar Senior Member
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    This has been up for a week...why is nobody commenting? Come on bros.
    The garage was started in April, it's only December. Why the lack of enthusiasm?
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  3. #3
    Originally Posted by VEGASTRASH Go to original post
    This has been up for a week...why is nobody commenting? Come on bros.
    The garage was started in April, it's only December. Why the lack of enthusiasm?
    Who are you and what have you done with VegasTrash?
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  4. #4
    This has been up for a week...why is nobody commenting?
    I started with Fusion on PS4. I've never played Trials on PC or any other console. So, er... No comment.
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  5. #5
    Really looking forward to the next Trials installment for PC. The main thing I’d like to see added is better matchmaking/servers for online multiplayer and also cross platform (similar to rocket league) multiplayer + leaderboards if possible. I like using lower graphical settings so I’m glad Alex talked about keeping those game tweak options open. Thanks for keeping everyone posted and nice podcast as always!
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  6. #6
    onesimpleclik's Avatar Member
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    Originally Posted by VEGASTRASH Go to original post
    This has been up for a week...why is nobody commenting? Come on bros.
    The garage was started in April, it's only December. Why the lack of enthusiasm?
    I sold my Xbox last month & bought a PS4, left Trials & my enthusiasm behind. I just stopped caring whether or not we'll actually receive a proper successor to Fusion.
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  7. #7
    I wish I'd seen this sooner, but I'll throw my 2 cents in, better late than never. For context, I've played both PC and console Fusion, and Evo on 360. I can complete up to and including lvl 3 ninjas, just to shape where my approach is coming from.

    I feel that PC has a number of issues: Input, visuals, track central and community isolation.

    I started Fusion on PC, and when I switched to console, I found console a more satisfying experience. The rumble on the xbox one controller feels better on xbox than pc. For some reason, pc just feels more 'floaty', even though I'm sure the issues lie on Microsoft's windows implementation of the controller software, not RL's.

    PCs should run Trials better. I have no knowledge of how Trials physics are implemented, but Trials runs at a locked 60fps on my pc even with vsync disabled. If you could decouple the physics and input tick from the framerate, then PC would be the definitive place to play Trials. Running at 100-200fps on a 144 or 244hz monitor, Trials would just be like visual butter. That said, I think they're deliberately locked currently, so that framedrops don't affect leaderboard times or introduce a period of lost user input.

    And that's the other part. Visuals. A 1080ti can drive Trials effortlessly, it would be great if the artstyle was designed in a way that runs and looks good on x1/ps4, but really can pop on PC. You have the horsepower, and talented artists on your team, let them take advantage of it. I'm sure this would possibly have some impact on Track Central tracks, but it's definitely something worth investigating.

    Track central is kind of a mess, but you guys likely know that. It's hard to find things, there's no way to organise your favorited tracks, and the search feature is not elegant.

    The other part is isolation. The playerbase is just smaller. I want to see the tracks by their original creator, not 'FusionCommunity'. My friends list is wayy shorter on pc, so I never feel like I'm competing with anyone, even though plenty of them play on other devices.

    In addition, the top times on the leaderboards you can view on PC leave out players like Slik or Shayne or PEQZ from xbox. Leaderboards really need to be global, so we feel part of the same community, especially with ninja tracks. I know this means you'd have to look at doing it through UPlay, and introduces concurrency issues, like what to do when players want to play on PC and console? A possible solution is a global account - when players play on different devices, they have a centralized account that you can play on each platform. This would make for a much more cohesive experience for the community, and make your programmers tear their hair out.

    Essentially, Trials could benefit from leveraging the things that PC's excel at, and from making the community feel global, rather than fractured by the choice of device that the user plays on.
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  8. #8
    TeriXeri's Avatar Senior Member
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    I never owned an XBOX, but have been fascinated ever since Trials Evolution videos came to Youtube.

    Seeing Evo Gold come to PC was a great thing, even if it wasn't a 100% xbox experience (No DLC / HD tracks with Evo Bikes), it was a great start for me to get into this genre.

    For Fusion I also only built strictly on PC.

    I do hope Usernames will carry over for Trials Rising, instead of a generic name.

    Also multiplayer on PC been very inactive, after the initial hype.

    I hope that Trials Rising has more incentive for Multiplayer and Multiplayer/Supercross building. (Track building competitions excluded, cause those have been awesome)

    I know we have Acorns as rewards in Fusion, but right now we got Tournaments as well for Acorns, which can be played Solo, anytime they are up. and don't require active players to start, compared to a Season.

    Maybe have some Ghosts near your rank/time/skill act as filler if no player can be found, would be better then finding no players at all. AI could also work if possible. I know it's not true "multiplayer" then, and ghosts already are available for non-supercross.

    Of course a better solution would be cross-platform multiplayer but I imagine this is also the most complex.

    Multiplayer certainly is the most fun with full matches.
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