PC Gamer
Why I Love

In Why I Love, PC Gamer writers pick an aspect of PC gaming that they love and write about why it's brilliant. Today, we get into the swing, as Phil explains his love of grappling hooks.

If you go back through the Why I Love articles I've written to date—stealth on shipsTF2's Scout or playing Chinese-style opera in Audiosurf—all have, to a greater or lesser extent, been about systems or experiences that change how you traverse through a level. The Scout can double-jump. Ship-based stealth levels are tighter and more claustrophobic than their inevitable "big warehouse" counterpart. Monkey Bee has one of the most distinct middle-sections I've yet to see emerge from Audiosurf's level generator.

A satisfying traversal system isn't the only thing I look for in a game, but it is one of a few broad areas that define my taste. If I can move around a game in interesting ways, then I will probably like it. I like Prototype—a game in which you can run up, and leap off, and glide over buildings—even though a part of me suspects that it's really a bit rubbish. I'm a somewhat overweight guy in his thirties. Sometimes it's nice to tell gravity to go and do one.

There's another traversal tool that I consistently love in games: the grappling hook. My appreciation for good grappling hooks—and good here doesn't mean realistic—started with the original version of Worms. Friends and I would play multiplayer matches with a very specific set of rules: no turn timer, unlimited girders, and unrestricted access to the grappling hook (or "ninja rope," as it's called in-game). You can use the ninja rope multiple times per turn, and we gave ourselves unlimited time to make our way across the map. With these rules, a worm can travel from one side to the other—their turn ending only if they take fall damage.

That's where the girders came in. We'd place them above the level, both to protect our own guys from air strikes and to have more surfaces to grapple on to. Worms' rope mechanics are, in essence, bizarre. They're also consistent in their implementation, which led us to a great understanding of their potential. With some effort, it's possible to swing 180 degrees and beyond—eventually landing on top of the platform the worm is swinging from. The trick is to extend the rope fully, smack into a solid surface, and then retract. That maximises the speed boost from bouncing off the wall, and, with luck, propels the worm up and around. 

To anyone but those directly involved in the match, this was an unspeakably tedious spectacle. To us, it was thrilling.

Subsequent Worms games enforced turn times, essentially ruining my enjoyment of them. But a few other 2D games feature that same spirit of exploitable traversal. Trine is, intentionally or not, all about this. One of its three characters is a Thief, and her grappling hook allows for a similarly awkward battle against physics. Here, you can even grapple onto one surface, break off and re-attach to another, all while still in mid-swing. You can, on select levels, chain these swings—at times resulting in long, unbroken stretches of undulation. 

Used properly, it can be a graceful tool. But both Trine games also contain a secret hidden mini-game for grappling hook aficionados. This game is called "can I use the Thief to complete this section, even though it was obviously designed for the Wizard?" Often, the answer is yes.

At this point, I should probably point to another 2D grappling hook game—one designed entirely around swinging as the main method of level traversal. It's called Floating Point, it's free, and it was made by PC Gamer's former section editor Tom Francis. It's a more sedate grapple-space to move through, and rare in that its freedom of movement is the idea rather than an exploitable quirk in the engine. If you're here because you like grappling hooks, then it's relevant to your interests.

In three-dimensions, the grappling hook is a less sure-fire hit. Too often, it's restricted—kept to specific grapple-points in order to stop the player breaking the level in ridiculous ways. Most recently, you can see this in Far Cry 4. You have a grappling hook! You can jump from the rope and re-attach it to another point before hitting the ground! You can only do this at specifically marked points around the map. I'd like you to imagine a sort of anti-exclamation mark, and place it on the end of that last sentence.

Some games are better at it this than others, and they tend to be the ones that are more open about their freedom of movement. Arkham City's Grapnel Gun combos satisfyingly with the glide. You can't swing, but you can shoot it to build speed across the map—using it to all but fly. And then there's Just Cause 2, or Let's Do Fun Shit With A Grappling Hook: The Game. You can attach onto a plane, or to cars, or to an explosive barrel that is shooting vertically into the air. You can use it in conjunction with a parachute to create a free-form system of movement more distinct and enjoyable than any of the game's vehicles.

Maybe that's another reason why grappling hooks, specifically, are one of my favourite methods of traversal. They're inherently ridiculous. There is no way to put an unrestricted grappling hook in a game and still have it be a serious tool, because it's either inherently exploitable or inherently unrealistic. It is a jointly a tool for motion and a tool for fun. 

Case in point: the 3D version of Bionic Commando. It had a grappling hook as its central gimmick, and yet its story still felt the need for a Serious Emotional Payload. How was that done? With the late-game reveal that your bionic grapple-arm was also your wife. Your wife, who was used to create a strong emotional bond with the robo-limb.

That is dumb. But that is what happens when you try to inject emotional pathos into a game with a grappling hook—it throws off your sense of what's appropriate. At some point, a developer must have questioned whether wife-in-a-robo-arm was good storytelling. I suspect they saw their hero swinging care-free through a city and lost all sense of perspective. "Yes," this hypothetical employee thought, "it makes total sense that this bionic commando's arm is his wife."

It didn't, though. It was stupid. That's why grappling hooks can never be serious. Not true, freeform, use-'em-wherever-you-like grappling hooks. They're silly and fun—a tool for engaging with, perfecting, and enjoying the feeling of motion. They are, in practice and philosophy, the opposite of a wife in an arm.

More grappling hooks; less wives in robot arms. That feels like a strange place to end things, but also like good words to live by.

PC Gamer

Back in September, Frozenbyte released the Trine 2 editor into public beta. Since then, a number of community-created maps have made their way onto the game's Steam Workshop page. Those maps are now highlighted in a new trailer for the game.

Trine 2 is a protagonist-switching platformer in which you shift between three characters—a wizard, a knight and a thief—all trapped in the same body. More accurately, it's a protagonist-switching platformer in which you try to break the physics engine by doing improbable things with the thief's grappling hook.

It's good, and I'm glad the release of the editor has spurred the community in making new stuff for the game.

Community Announcements - MarjutFB
Last month we released our Editor on Steam, which made possible for users to create and share levels to Trine. There are editors available to both Trine Enchanted Edition and Trine 2: Complete Story.

And now, there are a lot of great community made maps on the Steam Workshop, which is awesome! So, go check them out if you haven't already. We also made a video to highlight some of our moments playing the custom maps, check out the short trailer below. Special thanks to the players who made the levels!

http://youtu.be/eCDESwyVV6o
If you can't figure out how to download or enable mods, you can find the instructions from our Wiki as well as other tips about custom levels.

Hopefully we'll see new amazing custom levels in the future too! :)

Note also that Trine 2 and Trine are also on nice -85% sale on Steam, if you or your friends still don't own them.
Community Announcements - RiikkaFB
We are now officially releasing the Trine Editors on Steam for Windows. We also patched some minor gameplay issues.

Some of you have already gotten a chance to try the editors through the Steam Beta, but now they are out for everyone to try! We have released two separate editors that each come bundled with their respective game; Trine Enchanted Edition and Trine 2. Even though the Editors look quite similar, they do have some differences - so if you have questions, please remember to specify which editor you are using. :)



The Editors may take a while to learn how to use, so they might not be for everyone - but do give them a try and see if you are up for it! The Editors are very diverse tools that allow you to edit existing maps, create whole new maps and share your creations with others through the Steam Workshop. We're really excited to see what you guys can come up with!

Check out the "How to Get Started" section below for useful tips and links on how to help you get going. :) We'll also be happy to answer editor-related questions; you can email those to our Support, post your questions to our blog or in the Steam Community Discussions (links below).

One last note: since the Editors are now officially released, it's recommended that those who were participating in the Beta now opt out of it to ensure they'll get all the latest updates. This is easy to do by right-clicking the games in your Steam Library, choosing Properties and navigating to the BETAS tab. The option to opt out of beta programs should be available in the drop-down menu. Remember to do this for both games.



To celebrate the official release of the editors for Trine Enchanted Edition and Trine 2, both games are free on Steam this weekend 16th-19th of October. The games are freely available for everyone to install and play through their Steam Library for the duration of this weekend - so remember to tell all your friends who've always wanted to try the Trine games, but have not done so yet! Since we are now officially releasing the Trine Editors for Windows, you'll get to try them for free as well. :)

The games are also available for purchase for a juicy sale, 80% off until Monday 20th! Both Trine games support both local and online co-op for up to three people*, so gather your friends and have fun with Trine!
*NOTE: Trine 2: Complete Story is available for Windows, Mac and Linux and has full local and online co-op support. Trine Enchanted Edition is currently only available for Windows (Mac and Linux versions are being developed), so the Mac version of Trine does not support online co-op (but does have a local co-op option!) and the Linux version of Trine is not yet available through Steam.



Frozenbyte Editors: How to Get Started
Please read before trying out the editors!

That should be enough talk for a while, right? We hope you enjoy the free weekend and have fun playing and experimenting with the editors. Don't hesitate to ask any question either here, by email or in the Steam Community (links above). Have a great and Trine-filled weekend! :)
Announcement - Valve
Check out Steam's first Free Weekend Weekend which will feature 10 games that you play for free starting Thursday, 16 October at 10am PT through Sunday, 19 October at 1pm PT: Free Weekend Weekend

The following games will be discounted for purchase as well as playable for free: Payday 2, Company of Heroes 2, Awesomenauts, Trine 2, Blade Symphony, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Don't Starve, Grid 2, Killing Floor, Injustice: Gods Among Us.


Free games will be available to play until Sunday, October 19th at 1pm Pacific, but games will be discounted through Monday, 20 October at 10am Pacific.










PC Gamer

If for some reason you budget your video game spending by the weekend, then here's good news: you can spend that money on something else. May I suggest: nicer food. A new pair of shoes. A trip to the nearest theme park. 

The reason is, Steam is making ten games free this weekend as part of its aptly titled Free Weekend promotions. The games include Company of Heroes 2, XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Grid 2. You'll have over 48 hours to play them, as they unlock 10am Pacific time on Thursday, October 16. After that you'll need to pay for them, with the promise of substantial discounts.

Here's the list:

Awesomenauts Blade Symphony Company of Heroes 2 Don't Starve Grid 2 Injustice Killing Floor Payday 2 Trine 2 XCOM: Enemy Unknown

It's a good week for free games: GOG.com is giving away Alien versus Predator Classic this week as part of a GOG Galaxy test run.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Who knew scorpions were so complex?

If someone could kindly make a Trine 2 level that’s a big huge grappling hook playground with daring leaps and grand fairytale vistas, I’d be much obliged. Developers Frozenbyte have released public beta versions of the level editors for both its magical puzzle-platformers, you see, but I’m oh so horribly busy this week. They let folks create new levels, edit existing ones, and put together their own multi-level campaigns. A string of grappling hook playgrounds, perhaps.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Colourful, charater-switching platformer Trine has some more magic up its sleeve. It, and its equally colourful, equally character-switching sequel, can now be manipulated and moulded thanks to developer Frozenbyte's official editor. The tools have been released into public beta, available for anyone to download and attempt to understand.

"So did we make an easy-to-use version for everyone to enjoy? The answer to that is... not really," explains Frozenbyte in

their release post. "Instead we've opened a wiki page at

www.frozenbyte.com/wiki and provided some very basic instructions on how to use our editor."

The upside of its complexity is that tinkerers will be able to edit existing maps, or create entirely new ones. I never anticipated a Trine mod scene, but hopefully people will take to the flexibility of the editor. New Trine levels would be no bad thing. To download the Trine 2 and Trine: Enhanced Edition editors,

head here.

Missed out on the Trines?

Jon Blyth's review of the sequel explains what makes the luscious platform-puzzler so compelling.
PC Gamer
Trine Editor 2


Colourful, charater-switching platformer Trine has some more magic up its sleeve. It, and its equally colourful, equally character-switching sequel, can now be manipulated and moulded thanks to developer Frozenbyte's official editor. The tools have been released into public beta, available for anyone to download and attempt to understand.

"So did we make an easy-to-use version for everyone to enjoy? The answer to that is... not really," explains Fozenbyte in their release post. "Instead we ve opened a wiki page at www.frozenbyte.com/wiki and provided some very basic instructions on how to use our editor."

The upside of its complexity is that tinkerers will be able to edit existing maps, or create entirely new ones. I never anticipated a Trine mod scene, but hopefully people will take to the flexibility of the editor. New Trine levels would be no bad thing. To download the Trine 2 and Trine: Enhanced Edition editors, head here.

Missed out on the Trines? Jon Blyth's review of the sequel explains what makes the luscious platform-puzzler so compelling.
Community Announcements - RiikkaFB


You read correctly! Many people have asked for our Editors for quite a while and we've always wanted to fulfil that wish. We're getting really close now, as we're now launching both Trine Enchanted Edition and Trine 2 editor BETAs on Steam!

There are two different editors, and a different Beta for both of them. Even though the editors look alike, there are some differences, which is why we have created separate forum discussions for both of them. Please direct your questions and possible issue reports to the relevant forum discussion. You can also contact us by email: support[at]frozenbyte[dot]com. Also pay attention to which discussion you are posting to; the editors have some differences, so make sure to post in the correct discussion or clearly mention the editor version in your email.
Trine Enchanted Edition editor forum discussion
Trine 2 editor forum discussion
More information at our wiki page

Note that the editors are pretty difficult to use if you don't know what you're doing, and there's very little documentation or tooltips - this is actually one of the reasons we've held off releasing the editors to the public before. There still aren't very thorough instructions, but we have opened a wiki page (linked above) and provided some very basic instructions on how to use our editors. It's an open wiki after you've registered, so anyone can edit and post information, and we hope that people will start to share their knowledge with everyone. We'll also be updating the wiki ourselves and tracking that all the instructions are correct and up-to-date.

The Frozenbyte Editor is a very diverse tool. This is what we use to make games like Trine and Trine 2, and it’s based entirely on our own technology. You can edit existing maps, make new maps and do all kinds of things with it. If this sounds like fun, go a head and play and experiment!

Note: Both public editors are still in BETA stage, so you're likely to run into some issues. We appreciate feedback and bug reports (direct those to the linked forum discussions above). Just remember to give as detailed a description of your issue as possible and also include the Beta's version number in your report.




How to Launch the Editors

Launching the Beta requires owning the relevant game (Trine Enchanted Edition or Trine 2) on Steam for Windows.
The below instructions are for the Trine 2 editor. Click here for instructions for the Trine Enchanted Edition editor.

BETA branch name: editor_beta
BETA branch description: Editor BETA
BETA branch password: FrozenbyteEditorT2

1. Download Trine 2 from Steam

2. Open your Steam Library


3. Right-click Trine 2 and choose Properties


4. Navigate to the BETAS tab


5. Enter the following password to the access code field: FrozenbyteEditorT2
If the code doesn't work, try to restart your Steam client.



6. Make sure you have the editor_beta chosen from the upper "Select the beta you would like to opt into:" menu and then close the window


7. Open up the Properties window for Trine 2 again, and select the "LOCAL FILES" tab, then click "BROWSE LOCAL FILES"


8. Run editor_initialize.exe


9. Install "Microsoft .NET Framework 4" and "Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 Redistributable" packages when prompted

10. Select path for editor installation (for example: "C:\Trine2Editor")

From now on you can run the editor directly from editor.exe

When the BETA is over or when you want to opt out of the BETA, you can navigate back to the BETAS tab in the Properties and opt out of the beta from the drop down menu


Please see more detailed instructions for the editors at: http://frozenbyte.com/wiki/

Important Information
  • System requirements
  • The BETA save files do not work with the current release version, so you will lose all progress you have achieved during the BETA if you opt out of it before the actual release. Progress you have made before you entered the BETA should not be affected.
  • Beta branch will enable patch 2.11 as well and the patch is not online multiplayer compatible with official released Trine Enchanted Edition v2.10
  • Once the Editor BETA ends, patch 2.11 will be released to Steam users and some DRM free stores
  • Editor is only for Windows and only for Steam users due to Steam Workshop requirement
  • Remember to mention the Beta's version number when submitting bug/issue reports. Also mention which editor you are using (Trine Enchanted Edition or Trine 2) to avoid confusion, as there are some differences between the editors.


More Information:
  • Editor wiki
  • See the forum discussions for Trine Enchanted Edition and Trine 2 editors for known issues, changelogs.
  • Please direct your questions and possible issue reports to the relevant forum discussion.


Thank you all for your continued support! We hope you enjoy the BETA. :)
...

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