TREK AMA – Q1 2015
TREK AMA – Q1 2015
01 – Whats the name of the new game ? (PhatPlanet)
(David | Director) We haven’t confirmed that publicly yet. For now you can call it Project SkyFly.
02 – You keep mentioning new titles (plural) that you are working on. We know about the new game so what is this other title you keep referring to? (PhatPlanet)
(David | Director) We have Project SkyFly and Project Rigel. Rigel is contingent on virtual reality tech and we are currently eye balling Valve Vive for hardware support.
03 – I noticed the new creature ‘Kruger’ is for your ‘next next’ title in 2017??? (PhatPlanet)
(David | Director) The Kruger is currently slated to release in the title scheduled for a 2015 release. In fact here is some teaser footage:
04 – Because you RV what do you do for transportation when you get to a new area? (PhatPlanet)
(David | Director) We tow a car and have bicycles with us.
04 – Will we see some of the rich background story unfold in official 2nd title? (Raupi)
(David | Director) Yes you will.
05 – It’s been awhile since the last Play with Devs tournament, don’t you think? (Raupi)
(David | Director) We can expect to see some more events soon – closer to when we wrap up pre-production on the new title.
06 – How many developers are you at Trek Industries? (Raupi)
(David | Director) We are hovering around the 15 mark. This is larger as I typically like to keep it at around 10 but the new project had the demand for it.
07 – Are you planning to drive your RV over to remote developers so you can boss them around more effectively?” (Raupi)
(David | Director) Only when they deserve it – and Chris is up first.
08 – The four new maps look really nice (Version 3.0) – Is there any chance you all will be doing a video of the Devs playing them before release? (Stitch Scout)
(Evan | Level Designer) Yes! Of course!
09 – Since you moved into a RV, what happened to your studio and the other developers that worked in it? (pet_dinosaur)
(David | Director) I’ve never setup a physical studio as I always found it to be an excess of overhead cost in every which way. The team that is assembled at Trek Industries is an extremely capable and talented team and they are more than adequate in developing a full game production remotely across the globe. It also allows everyone to remain near their families, friends and allows us to all experience life a bit more when compared to a 9-5 locked job.
10 – In the future, will there be a way for us to still play Orion: Dino Beatdown to play just 4 fun? (The Pitstop Christian)
(Chris | Programmer) Unfortunately no, while it would be silly and fun, it would also be painful and sad. It would also be painfully difficult to pinpoint a good build that wasn’t really crashy.
11 – Will the 2015 title for certain be released in 2015? (eman2002826)
(David | Director) We may use an Early Access release method for the Steam platform.
(Chris | Programmer) If things go well there should be some kind of release towards the back end of 2015.
12 – Will the 2015 title be released on Xbox one? (eman2002826)
(David | Director) It is currently targeting it and we are in discussion with Microsoft. Console releases are currently scheduled for a 2016 release.
13 – Will all 5 custom creatures be in the 2015 title? (eman2002826)
(David | Director) Yes – and room for more based on fan support / demand.
14 – Will any maps from ‘ORION: Prelude’ return in the 2015 title? (eman2002826)
(Evan | Level Designer) In Spirit? Yes. In form? No.
15 – Which Dinosaurs will return for the 2015 title? (eman2002826)
(David | Director) We have confirmed only a few so far: Compy, Raptor, T-Rex, Pteranodon. This title is expected to feature more Dinosaurs than ‘ORION: Prelude’ throughout its life cycle. If there is a specific dinosaur that you’d like to see return or be added please let us know by sending an email to ideas(at)trek-industries(dot)com. In addition, we are including custom creatures for the very first time.
16 – What is the approximate price for the 2015 title? (eman2002826)
(David | Director) Nothing has been decided.
17 – What is the meaning of life? (Paladin B.)
(David | Director) To live – be active both mentally and physically, go to some new location you’ve never seen and learn something you don’t already know.
(Francesca | Producer) Love and happiness.
(Chris | Programmer) To love and be loved. That and to kill dinosaurs in video games.
(Evan | Level Designer) I would say the “meaning of life” is to discover whatever your life means to you and how to make the most of it.
(Adam | Media) The meaning of life is pie.
(Jack | Testing) The accumulation, preservation and passing on of knowledge for both present and future generations of humanity.
(Arthur | 3D Art) I live in the digital world full of monsters, imagination, and creation of all the life that has been in my mind since the age of 10, and is stull thriving today.
(Shaun | 3D Art) To do something with it.
(Scott | Animation) Meaning of Life is to be a part of furthering the human race in one way or another. It definitely helps to enjoy doing it as well.
18 – From what I’ve played of Prelude, I haven’t seen much of a story implemented for the Orion series yet. Will future games work on developing a story, or will the focus remain in multiplayer? (Blunderhorse)
(David | Director) The intention with ‘ORION: Prelude’ was to bring the glory days of 90’s retro FPS and to marry it with modern mechanics in one, crazy cohesive package. Other games in the Orion IP have other focuses including lore and story, something that our new title currently in development leans towards.
19 – Can you guys up the amount of players and AI to a server or is the limit there because the game cant handle it. (Numbah12345)
(Chris | Programmer) The limit is there more from a gameplay standpoint. We could add more players, but 5 seems to be the sweet spot right now. Also, adding more players would require more dinosaurs to spawn to keep it balanced, which would intern drop some more frames.
20 – Got any suggestions for someone with a game design in mind, but no experience with coding or programming? (Shela Monster)
(David | Director) Come up with a great game design and do what you can to flesh out the idea. Then get artwork to represent some of the features/characters/locations as this helps attract and explain the overall scope/idea of the project to potential new hires and business partners who have a harder time imagining it from words on paper.
(Francesca | Producer) I would say hop online and try to find some people that DO know how to do the things you need and get them to help you out!
(Chris | Programmer) The more detailed and thought out you can make your ideas the better. Even if you have to make stick figures in MS Paint, getting your ideas across to others clearly and cleanly can go a long way. Also, the will to never give up can go a long way.
(Shaun | 3D Art) Sadly there are no actual shortcuts to game development and video games need programming to work, even UE4’s blueprints (a visual scripting tool) requires some learning and experience to use properly. So approach your idea from a different angle, maybe try making it work as a tabletop game. Video game development usually requires a variety of skills, and the total development time & costs can be too much for some people.
So why not try making your idea work as a board game first, which requires less skills in things like programming, sound, animation, VFX, etc. If it HAS to be a video game then find a team of people with the skills you need, or get to learning how to do those things yourself.
(Evan | Level Designer) Programming and game design don’t have to be one-in-the-same. In fact, at most development studios, those are different roles entirely. Game design, fundamentally, can just be ideation of the game as non-physical entity; whereas, programming, art, sound, and other facets of game development are the physical interpretations of a game’s design.
My suggestion would be to flesh out your idea, explore everything it may encompass, and design the game you would love to play. Then, take that idea, that design, and develop it into a full-blown game. How you do this. . .is up to you. It may be that the best course of action is to teach yourself a few new skills. Or, perhaps it may be that you find some friends or other people willing to help transform your idea into a reality.
(Adam | Media) Everything that you need to know to get started is on Google and YouTube. Watch as many tutorials as you can and learn how to use software. And there are many forums out there dedicated to recruiting developers if you decide to start your own games development company.
(Jack | Testing) Having others teach you is one way to learn, as is briefly running a tutorial on the ‘basics’. Self-experimentation is a fun alternative! Most of my experience from formerly working on modifications in the Freespace Community came from teaching myself. When it comes to coding and programming, don’t be afraid to dive right in and experiment! If you don’t end up breaking the engine you’re working in, you might learn some nifty tricks or discover an unexpected but fun surprise in the process.
(Arthur | 3D Art) Take classes. Maybe do some mods for free. Get some tutorials and make your own small scripts and designs using the most popular engines.
(Scott | Animation) My suggestion is to really tear apart games to see what makes them work well or badly. Pay close attention while playing and figure out why they made the decisions they did. Also dabble in game engines like UE4 or Unity, you will be using them at some point and it’s best to know as much as you can beforehand.
21 – What tools does the team use? I am a programmer myself and strive to be a game developer. I know UE4 is in use. Other helpful tools from anything like texturing to audio I’m curious about. (Ashton B.)
(David | Director) I have to have a little bit of everything installed much like Chris as we work with a variety of types of content. For day-to-day use I use Photoshop for documents and design, Microsoft Office and Google Drive for business and documents, Gmail for communications, Skype for communications, meetings and file transfers and Dropbox for content storage and team sharing.
(Chris | Programmer) Personally I use Visual Studio for the programming side of things, SVN, perforce, github and Dropbox to store, backup and share files. We also use Skype for all of our meetings and weird conversations about burgers.
(Evan | Level Designer) Personally, as a level designer, most of my work is done in the Unreal Engine Editor. In the editor I blockout, define, refine, flesh-out, and optimize levels. Although, before I get in the editor, I do a bit of work in a sketchbook; drawing literal level designs as I form and refine different ideas.
I also, along with the rest of the development team, make use of a file repository software called “Tortoise SVN”. This software allows me to literally add content I create to the game, and update it.
(Adam | Media) I mainly use Sony Vegas to edit videos, and occasionally After effects.
(Jack | Testing) I like having versatility and ease of access when it comes to developing. For texturing or effects, I’ve previously gotten by on the Open Source programs Paint.Net and GIMP. Neither one hurts the wallet and are highly modular thanks to community plugins, so you’ll have a lot of power at your disposal. For audio work, you certainly can’t go wrong with Audacity. It might be a little daunting at first but it gets the job down once you work out the kinks.
(Shaun | 3D Art) Being an artist on the team I actually use a bunch of tools. At Trek we use UE4 as the game engine but to make the art for the project I use Maya & Zbrush for modeling, and Substance Designer, Quixel suite, Photoshop for textures. There are other programs out there too as well as loads of plugins for those programs that people have made to make things easier and faster. Each program has its strengths so what I choose to use entirely depends on the task.
(Arthur | 3D Art) Unreal engine and Unity really are the top dogs I feel, if you want a quick preview of an asset or design in a 3D world. Marmoset Toolbag is hard to beat. Other than that, again see what is popular and get comfortable with the software.
(Scott | Animation) I’ve been using Maya mainly for this project. In the past I’ve used 3dsmax, motionbuilder, photoshop, after effects, and many different game engines.
22 – What are Trek Industries goals? Is it money? Or do you strive to communicate to the fans and deliver a great game? (Ashton B.)
(David | Director) Making awesome games through interaction and support of the community. Then to use the revenue to continue funding new games and also invest / donate into smart sectors that help better the world in which we all share together. This includes but is not limited to the promotion and support of clean energy and the conservation of historical and natural lands to ensure future generations are able to enjoy just as much as we have if not more.
(Francesca | Producer) Trek Industries is so huge and always working on SO many things. As far as the game goes, I think you can tell by giving away Prelude for 99 cents that we’re not in it for the money. We genuinely love what we do and want to deliver the best game possible while communicating with our fans to make sure that it’s the game that they WANT to be playing.
23 – What keeps you guys motivated to keep making games? Do you ever feel tired of it? (Ashton B.)
(David | Director) I love constantly changing problems and obstacles because otherwise I’d become very bored very fast. My imagination is pretty over the top and the idea of seeing those ideas come to life is what keeps me motivated.
(Francesca | Producer) The Fans! Knowing that there are people that love playing our game makes us want to make more fun and exciting games!
(Chris | Programmer) What keeps me motivated is just a love for logic problems and playing games with friends. As with any job there are definite highs and lows. The best way to get out of a low and back to being extra motivated is to see what others on the team are doing. When someone shows a screenshot of what they’re working on, or I get a new dinosaur to import into game it can be like Christmas. If I was working on a project by myself, I’d go insane.
(Evan | Level Designer) I love making games. It really is as simple as that. Creating games is really its own motivation and reward. The iterative nature of game development allows me visualize my progress every step of the way and be excited by it. I could compare it to building a Lego set: the more the set comes together, the more exciting it is to keep building it and finish.
(Adam | Media) I guess it would be the amazing community that we have. There’s a lot of people out there who give amazing feedback to us, which especially means a lot to us after all the hard work that goes into everything we do.
(Jack | Testing) One of the things that has kept motivated is the satisfaction that results from any completed chapter of a game’s or modification’s development cycle. When I work on or produce anything, be it a report, a code table or a graphic, I look forward to that feeling that comes from the end result; having someone see my work and going ‘Wooooow! HE made THIS? Or ‘HE was part of THAT?’ before a big ‘That is absolutely fantastic!’ If there’s going to be at least one person who appreciates or is mesmerized by all that hard work at the end of the day, then that is good enough for me and I will commit as much effort as possible to get the job done.
(Arthur | 3D Art) My pure love for design and bringing my imagination to life through games and film keep me wanting to make art and seeing it all come to a polished moving product. I get burnt out off and on of course.
Sketching, movies, themeparks, documentaries, and nature trips all keep me fresh and wanting to go back. The most important I would say though, is do some art projects for yourself. You have to keep yourself happy and in the creative zone since you always do not work on things you love. You have to keep personal projects on the back burner all the time.
(Shaun | 3D Art) I’m always motivated to make games. Sometimes I loose my motivation for a specific task so I move on and start working on something else until I feel more emotionally rejuvenated to get back on the main task.
One way to keep yourself from burning out is to have planned break periods, I follow a pattern of working 2 hours then take a 15 min break before going back to work. I keep to that schedule as much as possible and it keeps me focused and motivated. Music also helps, some kind of beat to work to, or to keep me from getting too stressed out.
(Scott | Animation) What keeps me motivated is new and varied projects and characters to animate. It really burns me out when I have to animate the same character/creature type over and over, like nothing ever changes. I love being challenged by interesting creatures and figuring out how they would move and work if they existed in real life.
24 – What is your most favorite thing when it comes to game development? (Ashton B.)
(David | Director) I love pre-production. It’s super creative and super collaborative. I am addicted to it. The window between your last game wrapping up and the new one starting is a very weird nebula of ideas and paperwork all over the place. While chaotic and intense, I love to play with all the design elements, throwing all sorts of ideas around and really nailing out the artwork and conceptual stage of everything and then filtering it into a singular game design and pushing forward with that.
(Francesca | Producer) I personally love the whole creative process when a new game is about to start and you get to see artwork and new creatures start to come in, it’s sooo cool to start building up the game in your head and how everything is going to look and flow.
(Chris | Programmer) My favorite thing is the feeling I get when I’ve been trying to fix a bug or weird issue for days and finally have a breakthrough. It’s like a complete 180 in feelings.
(Evan | Level Designer) Creating games allows me to not only be creative, but allows me to share my creativity in a way that myself and other people can interact with. That is really just amazing to me, and it is even more so when someone enjoys what I’ve created.
(Adam | Media) The feeling of creating something awesome, there’s no better feeling.
(Jack | Testing) I believe my favorite part of game development is watching how the game, or any aspect of it, transforms overtime until it finally reaches the endgame; the point you want it to reach. Everything comes from small beginnings no matter if it’s a 3D model, a level or a full orchestral soundtrack. It might not be perfect from the get go and you may end up going through a lot of trial and error.
In the process however, it is like you are creating your own photo book of memories on top of the desired product. It gives you something you can look back upon, feel proud of and learn lessons from which you can aspire to go even further on for the next big thing.
(Arthur | 3D Art) My favorite thing about game development is how over the years as an artist, the tools have become so free form. By that I mean now you can focus on design and the art side of it while not worrying about the technical side as much. Where thinking too much about how something is done can sometimes get in the way of the creative process.
So, I am very grateful for the advancement in technology that allows me to simply create what I need to. I see this only improving over the years. It is a great time to be a designer in the digital age period.
(Scott | Animation) My favorite thing is play-testing the game I’m working on and really seeing it come together nicely. There’s nothing like being very proud of your work and the work of your team to make something that is beautiful and fun to play.
25 – Any Texas trips planned? (Christian W.)
(David | Director) Yes but not entirely sure when. The schedule is always changing and also dictated by weather.
(Francesca | Producer) Hopefully next year we’ll head out West for some wild adventures!!
26 – How difficult is it to program such games? (Leonard K.)
(Chris | Programmer) There is a steep learning curve, but once you get over it and learn all of the tools it becomes a little better. The most difficult part is figuring out bugs that make no sense and keeping sane.
27 – How long does it take to to make a game like ‘ORION: Prelude’? (Leonard K.)
(David | Director) We have spent the better part of a decade focusing development on this title. Three of these five years were spent freely supporting it. We hope to receive enough community support on “Project SkyFly” to treat it similar where it takes 1 or 2 years to develop and then we would be able to continue growing and expanding that experience based on community and developer input.
(Chris | Programmer) The first 90ish percent of a game goes fairly fast, it’s the last bit of polishing and balancing that can take months or years.
28 – Do you ever have problems while programming / developing?” (Leonard K.)
(Chris | Programmer) The main problems I’ve faced while developing are staying focused when everything seems to be breaking and whenever we would update our engine [on ‘ORION: Prelude’] to the latest UE3 build, things could get a little tedious.