We take some time with Glowfish Interactive to talk about their upcoming action adventure Trifox, which was inspired “by the golden age of 3D platformers”. It’s a twin stick game though, so expect a lot more combat and weapons than you might expect from the colorful visuals. There’s a demo out on Steam if you want to try it yourself, but here are a few insights into the development process.
How did you come up with Trifox?
The game evolved over a long period of time into its current form. We started out with an original prototype that had a much more traditional fantasy theme and a focus on the main elements (earth, wind, fire, water), but we always knew we wanted to give it a somewhat different spin and a setting more in line with those classic platformers from the PS1 and N64 era. So we moved away from a more human character, prototyped some abilities that in turn inspired the different playstyles and so forth. It was a natural but evolving process.
Games that are a big inspiration are games like the Crash Bandicoot games, Spyro, Mario, Ratchet & Clank, you know, the obvious ones but we also draw a lot of inspiration from movies such as Indiana Jones and perhaps some less obvious games. The main thing that we take away from them is the feeling that you get from them and then we try to mold that into something that fits within our world and gameplay.
What sets the game apart from similar games in the genre?
For starters we aren’t dealing with hellspawn or post apocalyptic cyborgs. Instead we went a more colourful route. Besides that we are also bringing certain types of gameplay that will be familiar for a lot of people but then with a slight twist.
You can for instance go and deploy the Engineer’s gadgets on walls and add vertical gameplay, something that often isn’t present in similar types of games. We also mix things up in terms of what the player is presented with inside of the environments. Gameplay variation is something that we always try to achieve.
What did the creative process look like on Trifox?
The art style is actually something that we had from the start, even before the project began.
It was a technique that we had tested a number of times before during some gamejams and that allowed us to generate content quickly while still looking good – something that was key given that at the time we were only a team of 2, now 3.
What’s the team like?
For the past couple of years it was mainly a 2 man team working on the game between contract work with the occasional help of an intern, but for the past year or so we have been able to upgrade to a 3 man team and shift to work on the game fulltime thanks to the support of Cronos Interactive!
All 3 developers have different backgrounds in terms of game development but we all at one point went to Digital Arts and Entertainment, a game development education located in Belgium.
We also want to give a shoutout to Niels van der Leest and his Game Audio Squad. Niels and his team are taking care of our music and audio needs as one of the few things that we can’t do in house.
Have you run into any interesting challenges so far?
Making an ambitious game with very limited resources, a small team and juggling between contract work and working on the game has probably been the biggest challenge so far. It all comes down to time really. Of course there are some technical hurdles from time to time but those are always solvable in one way or the other.
Did the global events of 2020 affect you?
It did slow us down perhaps a little bit. But we have always been a rather flexible team. And this is also where past experience has come into play. Coming from the HL2 modding scene, everything was done with a remote office setup, so we went back to that workflow.
During the official working hours we basically all sit inside of our discord “virtual office” voice channel. So it’s almost as if you are sitting in the same office, just with quite some distance between us. If there is an issue, or we need to discuss something we can just speak and address the issue right there and then. We try to stay away from text communication as much as possible as that always leads to miscommunication and takes you away from working anyway.
So far it has been rather effective. As to where we are in development we are heading deep into the content development part of the game. All core systems are in the game and fully functional and we are now fully focused on making levels, fun gameplay interactions and so forth.
When the game releases, what do you hope people will take away from the experience?
We hope that they will have an amazing time with the game, experiment with the different abilities and loadouts and be reminded of those old classics but this time in a different type of experience.