‘Lightfield Hyper Edition’ Q&A: A Look Back At Development
When trippy scifi-racer Lightfield was launched on consoles final yr, I quite liked the game for its summary visuals and its vast open tracks. One factor was notably absent although, and that was a PC model. Now, with the sport’s Hyper Edition, you possibly can race your pals on the PC as properly.
I talked to Simon Wallner, co-founder of Lost within the Garden, about how the sport has been doing to date, why they went with a console model first, and the way the Austrian recreation dev scene is doing.
Tell me a little bit in regards to the growth of the unique Lightfield – what went proper, what might have been higher?
Overall, we’re fairly proud of the core mechanic of flying round freely and snapping to surfaces for an additional velocity enhance, the extent design, the visuals, and the audio. I believe it turned out to be a really distinctive recreation that may convey one thing new the racing recreation style.
On the opposite facet, one massive blind spot all through the event was that we centered an excessive amount of on the core and the freeform features of the sport, and too little on giving the gameplay some a lot wanted construction and course. We began out with the perfect that that’s it greatest to not put any synthetic boundaries on the gamers and that an excessive amount of construction and rigidity is dangerous. What we realized the onerous means was that this isn’t actually true and in addition an method extra appropriate to toys, and fewer so for “actual games”.
With the HYPER Edition we added all that lacking construction and added a full marketing campaign mode, an precise trick system and a pair different issues. The gameplay in its core remains to be somewhat freeform and unchanged, however it’s now embedded in a construction that gives the appropriate context.
PR can also be one of many issues that might have been higher. Being afraid of the big variety of Steam releases daily, we had been hoping that the struggle for visibility was fought rather less fiercely on consoles, since there are means much less video games coming on the market. In retrospect I might say that this additionally was not true and it proved fairly troublesome to compete with different titles for the participant’s consideration.
So what’s new within the Hyper version – other than the truth that the sport is accessible on Steam now?
The HYPER Edition is just about the definitive model of Lightfield that we truly needed to make from the beginning, however didn’t actually know till the discharge. We began out with a basic imaginative and prescient and course, but it surely actually is simply now that we perceive what it’s that we made.
This launch isn’t just a port, however a closely prolonged model of the unique recreation. We added a full single participant marketing campaign mode that basically highlights all of the completely different features of the sport (racing, parkour tips, exploration), we lastly added an entire trick system, and lots of extra options and tweaks. Another factor that we lastly added, and a function that was deliberate for a really very long time, is the photograph mode. Our visuals all the time have been one of many robust factors of Lightfield and gamers can lastly take these beautiful screenshots as properly.
Are there advantages of releasing on console first? Would you do this once more?
Since that is/was our debut recreation this query may be very onerous to reply decisively. One factor that we most likely benefited from was the added credibility of getting a console title and it most likely made it simpler to get the eye of some journalists and media retailers. We had been hoping that it might make it simpler to rise above the noise and to achieve gamers, however that nonetheless additionally proved fairly troublesome.
Now with all of the expertise from the primary launch and our observe report as a studio, the circumstances modified rather a lot. For each future undertaking we must decide every platform’s execs and cons to seek out the platforms that swimsuit the sport properly and to provide you with a method that leverages these platforms in an optimum means.
For anybody who can also be new developer, and who’s beginning their studio, I might say an important factor is to have a plan that goes properly past the primary launch and to possibly have a couple of choices alongside the best way. What are the issues you might be getting in return (in addition to cash) and the place are you able to be taught essentially the most, whereas nonetheless surviving financially.
The Hyper version encompasses a full rework of the unique recreation’s development system. You might unlock new tracks by simply enjoying the sport earlier than, now there are missions to finish and a way more conventional means of progressing by way of the sport. Wasn’t the unique system well-received?
The drawback with the unique system was that it was simply too little. It felt a bit indifferent from the remainder of the sport and it lacked immediacy and company. Also it didn’t enable us any technique to talk the sport to the gamers correctly. With the brand new Campaign Mode, we are able to a lot better deal with sure features of the gameplay, and to introduce the gamers to extra superior abilities like doing tips or displaying off our slow-mo mode.
The unique unlock system remains to be current nevertheless, and in case you don’t care in regards to the marketing campaign mode you possibly can nonetheless benefit from the recreation in all its freeform character. With all of the additions we tried to implement them not as an alternative of one thing however as a further technique to play the sport.
Let’s discuss in regards to the Austrian gamedev scene. Is there such a factor, a way of group, and is it a giant scene total?
The Austrian recreation dev scene has advanced fairly a bit over previous 10 and extra years. It is an extremely pleasant and welcoming group. It all began greater than 10 years in the past with the primary recreation dev talks and lectures on the subotron and now there are occasions nearly each week and an indie Slack with roughly 500 customers.
The scene consists of many hobbyists and college students, but in addition a couple of seasoned indie groups like Broken Rules (Old Man’s Journey), Kunabi Brothers (Blek and Frost) and midsize studios reminiscent of Mipumi (The Lion’s Song), to solely identify a couple of.
In the previous we helped set up greater than 15 recreation jams, and we’re additionally commonly instructing recreation dev associated programs at Universities in Austria. Pretty a lot each bigger University has recreation dev associated programs or perhaps a video games program now, and I consider that there’s a lot extra coming. I cant wait to see what the “next” era of Austrian devs will create!
What’s one thing you’re keen on in regards to the video games trade in the intervening time, and what would you prefer to see modified?
On our journey we met so many good and genuinely pleasant and useful individuals. It isn’t just the opposite indie devs, it’s also the person individuals at Sony, Microsoft and Steam, and naturally it’s also all of the gamers we’ve met and been in touch with. It actually looks like everybody is worked up about nice video games and about making nice video games.
What I needed to see modified is how rather more hit pushed the indie section seems to have turn into. It looks like we’re increasingly dropping the center floor of “doing ok” with a launch and it’s somewhat gross sales north of 1 million items or no gross sales in any respect.
What’s subsequent for Lost within the Garden?
I’d like to say trip, however there are nonetheless a couple of different initiatives we’re engaged on proper now, and we most likely have to repair a couple of to date undiscovered bugs as soon as the sport is launched.
As a studio we focus each on our personal video games and in addition on outdoors contract work. This helps us a little bit to forestall getting caught an excessive amount of in a single singular factor and helps us to look past our personal noses and to get some recent concepts. We nonetheless have plans for Lightfield , however I’m additionally positive that you will note some recreation initiatives from us sooner or later!
(Simon additionally wrote an extensive Gamasutra article in regards to the classes realized throughout Lightfield’s growth.)