Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 4th: Your Right To Play Racing Games Like GeneRally

How was your guys' July the 4th?  Did you exercise your right to ignite a bunch of explosives in public places?  Me, I exercised my right to eat a big FIVE GUYS burger, fries, and large drink all in one sitting.  "Haha, fat Americans," well I'm not fat so STFU.  I wonder if Five Guys will be legal in 5-10 years.  Same thing with fireworks.  You never know so until then, keep on rocking.

Anyway, I want to keep this quick as possible.  So I'm looking at more little racing games and I come across another game that greatly resembles my Super Sprint remake and it's called GeneRally.  GeneRally?  Does it have anything to do with genetics/natural selection?  No, shut up and take a look:

Unlike Super Sprint, this is an actual 3-D racing game with incredibly simple textures and geometry.  Not bad--it looks nice and clean.  The camera is fixed in the same place so all the action takes place on the same screen so you can call it a 3D Super Sprint if you like.  There's a multitude of car models (F1 cars, drag racers, sedans, go-kart, monster trucks, etc.) and tracks to choose from as well as other "sim" options like the ability to adjust damage, fuel consumption, and tire wear (yes, that means pit stops like Indy Heat).  Oh, and you can configure your own keyboard input and screen resolution.

By the way, there's a track editor too.  You can create "big" tracks (cars are very small) or "small" tracks (cars are very large) though the camera is always stationary.

You know, I might as well get this out of the way now and that is I never once tried to "emulate" GeneRally or any other arcade racers while working on Super Sprint.  As a matter of fact, GeneRally was really an afterthought until I decided to give it a spin recently.  I like the game a lot but the handling is a bit stiff compared to my Super Sprint, it's really hard to see which direction to go, and the AI is quite unforgiving.  Plus there's only six cars max and there's no "Arcade" mode of sorts--you're just picking a bunch of options and it takes a while to prepare the races you like.

What is this?  A racing game for ants???

But I cannot criticize the game since it looks damn good.  It was made in about 2003 (the old menus give it away) and was only recently updated in 2011.  You can download the game free off of their website.  It already has 200,000+ downloads so it's obviously a big deal.  There's message boards dedicated to the game too.

Like I said, working on Super Sprint, the only two games I believe I tried to emulate was the original Super Sprint arcade game and Virtua Racing (the drift physics/visual effects in particular).  But because my game is being released in 2012, of course it's going to look like crap.  But I really don't care because A. it's a "student" game that I'm trying to learn from, B. I like the old-school arcade style, and C. it'll still be unique and unlike any other racing game out there.  Indie games like Minecraft and Fez were deliberately made to look retro/pixelated so what's the big deal with Super Sprint?  Really, I'm doing the best I can on Super Sprint regardless of what other people do and I have confidence that it'll be good.

While I've slightly stalled on Super Sprint lately, I'm sort of at a crossroads on what to add next.  I have plenty of options, though some of them don't make sense other than that they're just cool and interesting.  16-car Super Sprint was kind of the same thing--it's ridiculous but I had to try.  Whatever new features I do add I plan not to intrude on the core experience if you simply don't want them there.  Here's some things I came up with:

* Fix online multiplayer, add dedicated servers, get up to 8 players online (very difficult).
* Add more car and track choices (sensible if I had some good sprite artists on the job).
* Add banked turns, jumps, sliding doors (can be done but it'll take a while).
* Add helicopters (also doable but not high on my priority list).
* Add manual transmission or a handbrake for Sega style drifting (know how to do it but adding a 4th key would be pushing it).
* Add rolling starts and mandatory pit stops (overkill and maybe just for fun).

Right now I plan on improving the AI just a bit more (add some raycasting so they can detect objects in front of them and act accordingly--go after wrenches and dodge oil slicks) and fixing a few sprite things and I'm done with Version 1.2.  I also added drafting/slipstream ability.  Oh, but you'll find out more about that later.  Adios.

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