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LEVEL UP in Trailer creation

by Philipp Schäfer

Another round for a trailer talk. Along with a new iteration of our core game – which brings its quality to a whole new level – we are working on a new website and a new trailer since we left St. Petersburg. This sounds like a lot of work (or even too much) and be reassured, it really is. Luckily we are a team of more than one person and we already have fixed working times and – best of all – defined working spaces. What is the benefit thereof? You can divide and distribute the tasks more easily and the communication is less of a pain. And most importantly: you actually have free time in your free time.
But let’s get back to the topic: the new trailer.

Until now I always said, build extra levels and program extra scenes for a trailer. And I can only underline this statement this time again. You need a clear structure in your trailer – something which is rarely achieved by using only in-game scenes. But why? Because in a trailer you have much less time to make people understand your gameplay and your game in general. Something they can learn in a game in the course of five levels, must be achieved with a demo of one level and with a trailer of only two minutes. How can this work? Simply by the fact the player does not need to play, but must “only” watch and understand what you are telling him. So you need to squeeze everything together into a couple of small scenes and after all use some nice in-game sequences as decoration. Many game relevant things only need to be applied in a small scale: after all you do need a learning curve in the trailer. You need drama. You need differences. And most of all you need pretty pictures. Don’t forget that some tricky in-game riddles for example might look boring in a trailer where there is no riddle to solve for the watcher.

Trailer

Many of the things you need to do are learned through practice. So start simple and use similar things often that suite your game. As an example: cuts. If we don’t fade, we simply cut … and even this simple technique reveals some new art and wisdom every time you use it.

In the end: in the best case you already have someone in your team with the necessary skills. Otherwise you might be able to hire someone, if you have the money. It can be best to work together with an external professional to achieve a high learning curve and to be sure not to release something bad.