This week the Wreckfest blog is all about game design. We’ll give you a glimpse on what we’re working on, and how those processes are approached.
What the game designer does is best explained in this wonderful blog post “The Door Problem” by Liz England, and we truly recommend you give it a read: click here to open the article.
As game designers try to know why, what and when everything happens in a game, and what the game is expected to do, one of Wreckfest’s biggest game design challenges is physics. Even without the difficulties of coding the physics engine in the first place, tuning the physics is an utterly complicated and convoluted process. We need to hone the balance between all the aspects of how the parts function – for example, car suspension has qualities that must be put into numeric values, like length, rigidity and such. Of these values eight are such that altering them produces a completely different driving experience. And we’re talking about suspension alone!
This is why tuning the physics requires an awful amount of testing by trial and error. That’s why there’s always someone sitting in our official test bench, playing a track, adjusting a slider, playing some more, adjusting another slider, and repeating that for weeks on end. Literally. Fortunately, this test of focus and patience is not a one-man job – we have several experts present who know how physics and cars work, and they constantly discuss how the game and physics feel and what needs to be done next.
And yes, there’s work to be done, like this video shows us.
While the physics team works their wonders on car handling, others focus on player progression. This is almost equally important, as it affects everything outside the track proper. The questions we face include how experience opens tech tree, how to purchase new items, will there be a crafting system and if so, what will it be like, and how various parts wear out and what effect durability has? All examples go much, much deeper than one sentence can deliver – e.g. durability contains questions like how fast will the parts wear out, what will their repair cost, will the maximum durability lower with each repair so that the player has to replace the part eventually, how will the part be replaced, and how will all this be presented to the player in a meaningful way that is not only informative and clear, but also cool and fun!
With all these, we’re finally settling on a model that should provide a system that is simple to use but complex within. The first iteration of the system is already in the build, but it needs a bit more work before we’re ready to show it to you. Let’s just say that we ourselves are pretty happy with it, so it’s probably going to be all right
That’s it for this week! And, as always, our dear friends and followers:
All righty! This is what’s bubbling under at Bugbear when the end of January comes closer.
The question you most likely want to be answered is: will the new build finally be launched this weekend?
Unfortunately no, it will not.
The decision boils down to essentially a very simple risk management choice:
Going public with a build with broken physics is foolish, and doing so with a game that entirely revolves around said physics would be sheer folly. In short, Wreckfest would be unplayable and unenjoyable. We know many of you would take the broken build as an opportunity to help us develop the physics, but thousands of other players wouldn’t. All they would see is a broken release that crippled their game, and there’d be no repairing the damage our credibility would take from that. That’s why we can’t launch the new build before it’s absolutely ready.
In theory, we could’ve gone and done a separate build for other features so we could have released those while physics were still under development. However, that would’ve created a plethora of problems we’d need to fix later on, and how many hours that’d taken is anyone’s guess. We didn’t want to go that way, so we stuck with a single build.
So, that’s why the new build isn’t out yet. Have patience, have faith :)
And how hard can getting the physics right might be, then, you ask? Well funny you should mention! Remember that small tool we had for helping us see when the tires lose their grip? Well, we kinda had to expand on that so it could meet our demands… Now witness the power of this fully armed and operational physics tool!
In other news, and these are much more on the “good news” variety of news, game feature design is well under way. We’re settling down on what kind of tech tree we’ll include in the game, what the character progression will be like, what kind of effects the condition of upgrade parts will have on car performance, what part the parts play in general, and so on. Interesting times, and there’s much, much more we’d like to say – but that’ll have to wait until next week’s blog, which will be all about new features that revolve around the career mode.
Oh, and we also had a table top ice hockey tournament. Hot pizza, cold drinks and slack jawed goofing off were just the perfect way to end this week.
Until next time, and, as always, stay safe.
- Team Bugbear
Happy New Year, all y’all!
So, it’s a brand new year, and we’re back from our holiday hiatus! We’re back on track (bad pun intended, hurr hurr) in creating new content in earnest, blasting full speed down the road (hurr hurr).
But, despite the next major build looming just right within our grasp, we’re not there yet. We’re tuning the physics engine like madmen, pounding away crazy amounts of time trying to hammer it into shape. As it stands while this is written, we’re still a bit off from that mark: yesterday cars could fling themselves into low Earth orbit after hitting a pebble, or do a full 720 backflip from the smallest bounce. Today, we’re down to doing only mad amount of big air and several consecutive barrel rolls, so there’s definite progress!
And, as soon as the physics of the driving experience itself are good enough, we’ll push the build out. This may take a few days, or a couple of weeks if we can’t immediately find what causes all these issues. We’re almost there. Almost. We can taste it.
But, nothing bad if not something good as well! Bugbear is happy to have one of our lost flock back, as Johannes joins us once more! Johannes is the fellow responsible for developing the ROMU engine deform mechanisms, and nobody knows the intricacies and gimmicks of deformation better than him. So, you can expect some stellar changes in the damage and deform mechanisms of Wreckfest! Us, we’re just happy that the man is back at Bugbear. Welcome home, Mr. J.
We have a lot more great news and good stuff brewing behind the scenes, but we’ll get to those later on, once we get the build ready to launch. For now, be safe, and do take care.
Oh, and a few new screenies, just because we can.
It’s been a while since we blogged last, and we’re sorry about the silence. But, we have indeed been quite busy developing Wreckfest to be all it can be, and we’ve made huge progress in these past months. Unfortunately, we couldn’t reach a build that would be releaseworthy before the holidays are upon us.
Allow us to go into detail:
We have introduced several features to our internal build, and all of them have made Wreckfest a better experience.
Disabling resets? You got it.
Changing cars and tracks in the lobby so you don’t have to quit every time you want to shuffle things up a bit? Yep, that’s in the game as well now.
AI cars in multiplayer races, both LAN and online, to create some extra havoc? Damn straight.
Class restrictions so that you can limit the power of the cars in the race? That’s there, too.
Server filters, so you can find the type of game and track you want? Yessirree bob, we deliver.
Improved tire physics? Looking good!
Improved suspension physics? Yes, well, there’s the rub
As it is, Wreckfest is absolutely taking several good sized leaps compared to what the previous build could and does offer, but we couldn’t nail the suspension physics down just yet. We’re really close, oh so close, but… Well, not close enough. Simply put, the cars can’t handle jumps or bounces very well, and even the slightest bump can launch your car into the air just like from a catapult. It’s like… It’s like driving a car with superballs instead of tires! If we released this new build now, we’d be introducing all kinds of sweet and cool features to the game while taking a big step backwards when it comes to actually driving the cars.
We can’t have that.
So, we will not release the new build in time for the holidays. We are really sorry about this, but them’s the breaks. The new build will see the light of day early next year, and we promise you, it’ll be worth the wait.
Enjoy the holidays all y’all, and, as always, stay safe.
As the holidays draw near, we thought it would be fun to show a glimpse of what Team Bugbear is working on. Well, part of it anyway – there are a lot of smaller items that we’re addressing while working on the bigger things, of course, but let’s go over the larger plans and discuss the details when the next build is ready
While you read on (and nod your head in a cool but asserting way that’s signaling that you dig what we’re doing), the main thing to keep in mind is that ALL OF THIS IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
We may encounter technical difficulties, run into bugs, discover imminent disasters just waiting to happen and so on, that push the release of these features back a bit. They’re still coming, but we can’t be 100% sure that all of these will make it to the next build, or even that the next build will indeed be ready for holidays. That being said, we’re working hard on it, and doing our best to accomplish all listed here.
First up, the function that’s probably been the Top 1 Desired Thing for many: the option to disable the Reset function. That’s right – set up a server, click on that toggle, and nobody on your server can use the Reset for any reason whatsoever. It’s not the perfect solution, as you can e.g. get fly off the road and land behind a wall, or get completely stuck on a ditch, but we’ll figure out a more elegant execution later on. The main thing is that finally you can eliminate reset griefers from your server.
Next, server filters. We plan to add several filters to the mix, so that players can freely seek certain tracks, game modes, car classes or ping rates. Your basic stuff, really, but all of it something that is certainly necessary for a decent multiplayer experience. What the final version of the filter list will be is different than the work-in-progress mockup screen below, but we’re sure you’ll get the gist of it
The servers will also be able to write up a custom greetings message for all joining players, so you’ll have nice, convenient way of laying down the rules anyone logging on to your server must obey, lest they face your wrath.
One of the new major functions is the ability to switch cars and tracks in the lobby. No more quitting the race so that you can choose a different car! No more logging off so you, as a host, can change the track. All of this can be done from lobby, and it should be an easy thing to pull off while the timer counts for the next race to start.
In addition to these, we’re busy developing the new tire physics for the engine. This will change a lot of things in the game, so we want to be happy with the results before we give it the green light. This, of all the features mentioned above, is most likely to be pushed back, but them’s the breaks – it’s being worked on, it’s going to be so cool, but it may not happen just yet
That’s it for now, folks! We’ll keep you appraised if and when there’ll be changes to the program. Next week we’ll talk about what the track team is working on and show you some environmental improvements as well, so do stay tuned, and come talk with us on our forums! We’re always happy to hear what you have to say
Be safe, and smile to a stranger today,
Time for a small update on what we’re working on.
Well, the first and foremost of future additions is reworked tire physics. It’s no small thing, for the tire physics affect every single thing in the gameplay – the way your car handles is tied to the tires, the crashes, slides, swerves,… Everything. Because it’s that big a deal to the overall experience, the tire physics need extra special attention, which is why this will take more than a few weeks to complete. Way more. There’s no time frame when we expect the job to be done, but we’ll get there
We’ve also sent away teams to scout real life locations for dirt track inspirations. Here’s a few pictures of the views and vistas we’ll be drawing from when designing and honing the tracks.
We’re also busy redesigning the menus while keeping an eye on what features we’ll have in the final product. We’re weighing carefully what kind of menu solution has the best flow from launching the game to launching a race while giving the players the easiest access to e.g. the Garage and social features, such as currently playing friends.
We are also working on several other things, obviously, but we’ll get back to them later on.
Enjoy the late autumn, folks! Stay happy, stay safe