DevBlog #8 – It’s been a while

It’s been a while since the last Development Blog, but a huge amount of progress has been made, and some great things have happened.

Steam – We’ve been on Greenlight, and been Greenlit!

In the time since our last post, we’ve both been on Greenlight¬†and have been Greenlit. We did this in under a month, something which I’m super happy with and excited about.

This campaign was launched following a small dialogue I had with some of the guys at Steam regarding Steam Direct and whether it was worth launching onto Greenlight, their answer was straight up yes, and so we jumped in.

I was checking the Greenlight page as I did every day to see the number of votes and if there were any new comments. I then noticed the huge green banner at the top:

This was great to see, and a huge thanks to everyone who voted for us.

Steam – Getting everything ready

Setting up the store page, accompanying store art, and several other things took a few days to get setup. Collecting some screenshots which really show off the game is an important step, and something I’m definitely taking my time with.

The Store Page is up here, and will be built upon and added to over the next couple of weeks.

The Game – What’s been happening

For those of you who are either subscribed to the sub-reddit or are active on our Discord, you will have been seeing various images and gfys of gameplay, and even seen some of the future work-in-progress stuff. I’m trying to keep the development as open as possible, as I think keeping the community in the loop is an extremely important process.

One of the major implementations since last time was the Demolition Derby, and by god do I love it. It’s fun, fast-paced and lives up to the expectations I had of it. Bugs definitely need to be fixed, but it’s coming along great.

Initially, car’s would not despawn, so after a few minutes you would end up with scenes like this:

However, car’s now de-spawn after around 5 seconds, allowing for more longer play sessions.

Customisation has taken huge leaps forward, and I’m super proud of how it all works and has come together:

(That has been taken from an older build, colour options now fall under the “Customisation Nodes” system rather than the menu to the top right.

The game has also had many bugs fixed, and has moved over to a proper versioning system now. Which brings us on nicely to the next topic of dicussion.

The Alpha, and what follows

The Open Alpha is coming soon, I have been saying that for a while now, and I don’t like to be ambiguous, but I can say for definite you guys will be able to play something soon. Whatever that may be.

I’ve had several discussions with people on Discord with regards to Alphas, even considering Early Access. I have stated many times my reluctance to utilise Early Access, the stigma around it is something which I do not wish to attract, however it’s an extremely useful tool, and could help me build up the game with feedback from the community implemented at every stage. This will be fully decided towards the end of the alpha, but nothing is set in stone yet.

One of the most functioning aspects of the game currently would be the Demolition Derby, so it’s likely that the first Alpha you guys get will contain the Demolition Derby, customisation, several vehicles and the free mode to be able to explore two tracks as well as get used to handling of the cars. The AI is due for a huge re-write, which is why the Race mode will likely not be included in the early builds you guys receive. Another important aspect to note is the Multiplayer. I’ve had many many issues recently, largely due to my early implementations of the system, back when I wasn’t 100% sure on how UNet’s system functioned. So this is likely something which will not be included in the initial builds, but will definitely be included in the future.

I’ve developed a small roadmap for the game’s future, and this includes the early access idea, but again nothing has been decided in regards to that.

The future

Most of the next couple of weeks will be the start of implementing the new AI and networking system in order to try and get the improvements ready for the Alpha’s. More DevBlog’s will be written as well, I’ve had an extremely busy time recently and haven’t been able to find the time to give this blog justice.

As always, thanks for reading!

DevBlog #7 – Alphas, prototypes and a whole lot more

These past few weeks have been extremely busy, and great progress has been made. Work has begun on more of the customisation aspects, vehicle destruction and plenty of improvements and optimisations. We’re also closing in on the Open Alpha which will be discussed later.

Outside of this, a load of behind the scenes thing’s have been done, as well as a bunch of admin work. This game making thing ain’t easy you know ūüėČ

Bringing everything together

Customisation

Customisation is taking centre stage, as I want to be able to show off that as soon as possible. It’s coming along to say the least, and I’m excited to show off how thing’s are being achieved.

To begin with, I decided to build up the system for the wheels, and the storage of all the car “mods” which is done using JSON. We have a “mods.json” file which for now contains a single wheel, but comes out as such:

{
    "wheels": {
        "wheel_basic": {
            "display": "Basic wheel",
            "description": "Standard rally tires - fun for all ages",
            "prefab": "Cars/Wheels/wheel_basic"
        }
    }
}
That should be all self-explanatory, with the display being the display name, so what’s shown on the customisation screen. Followed by a brief description and a path to the prefab to load.
This is going to be expanded soon, with the wheel slip values and stuff. But for now this is the foundation I’m going to be building off of. This ties into an extra configuration set of variables on the car configuration, see below:
    "allowed_mods": ["wheel_basic"],
    "defaults": {
        "wheel": "wheel_basic"
    }

Here we can see what is considered an “allowed” mod. Basically an array of all the mod class names, and it will only allow you to choose modifications from that list. Defaults is fairly self explanatory, and is simply the class name of what wheel is used by default.

In the game directory, there will be a file called “profile.json”. This will contain player name, car of choice and also your modifications for each car. Easily editable outside the game, so even better.

Using JSON.NET, this is de-serialised into a bunch of dictionaries of objects, and allows me to poll any information at any point. I’ve used this system with games in the past, and in experience it works great!

The profile

Mentioned above, we have the core player profile. This will be refined later on, but is the central file for all things specific to your player, separate from the options file. This will help down the line with split-screen/local multiplayer.

Here will be stored your modification preferences for cars and any other things which are relevant to your player. I wan’t to keep it as open as possible for people to tinker with, so they can dive right in and change the game to how they’d like it.

Vehicle destruction

Recently I’ve been developing a basic model of soft-body physics for Project Taurus, it’s in early stages, but it’s coming along:

Work begins on destruction

This was created by clicking on parts of the mesh, it then moves the nearest vertex 1 block in in the direction of the click. This is to demonstrate directional collisions, so a hit from an off angle will be different  than head on etc.

This needs a huge amount of work, and won’t be at a decent stage for a while, but I’m super excited to be able to show off where I have got to so far with it. A few issues to overcome applying it to cars but after that we should be away with it.

The Open Alpha

So this is a awesome announcement (albeit a little bit late on the blog) is that we’re having an Open Alpha within the next few months. It’ll be a great opportunity to show off the game to the community, and also help raise awareness of the game. More details are to follow, but you can sign up for it here.

I’m super excited to give you guys the ability to play, and hopefully you’ll like it.

The future

Huge amount of admin things to do, features to implement, models to make. Loads of work to be done, so I’ll be extremely busy over the next few weeks getting things nailed down. I may have to cut back on the blog-writing to make larger, more content-filled posts¬†which have far better things to show off.

Thanks for reading!