Latest Updates

Weeks 37 and 38, Here We Go!

All right, what’s going on this week?

Well, to be honest, we could just clone last week’s post about what we’re doing and go with that, as it’s mostly all about testing the next build. As it is, Build #6 will come out either for the next weekend or right after, depending on how sure (and cocky) we feel about its online stability. Friday may indeed be iffy, since if the build proves out to be buggy and requires a hotfix, we can’t do it until Monday, which would leave you with a crippled game over the weekend. So, we’ll see, we’ll see.

In any case, when the build is out, we’ll be collating bug reports and possibly applying a hotfix as quickly as possible. So, that’ll be weeks 37 and 38.

 

The thing here that requires most of our attention is getting the online functionality just right. That is an enormous task. We know that we’re not there, not by far, but we’re still happy that we finally have a working online functionality in the first place! At the moment, though, the best we – and you – can hope for is that the game won’t crash or lag out every time you hit the dirt. That’s why we’re testing so much this week – to squash all the bugs and remove all the snags we possibly can, so you can enjoy Build #6 as fully as possible, and it’ll only get better from here :)

 

As for new tracks,… We’re still working on new routes, but it is very unlikely that they’ll be in such state that we want to push them out. Except one: Speedway, an oval racing road with a figure 8 track in the middle. So, you’ll be getting two for one here. Not a bad deal, huh?

 

Continuing with the good news, the new car, the European coupe we named Genk is indeed in this build. The time to unleash that beast is nigh!

 

One addition is worth mentioning here: field of vision. We’re adding a slider for an angle change – our default is 60 degree FoV, and you’ll be able to change it by additional 30 degrees. Test it out, as your field of vision has a surprising effect on how you perceive your speed and surroundings. (Enlarging the FoV will cause distortion on the edges of the screen, but this is just the first step.)

 

Stay tuned, good folks, and have fun :)

 

-Jori Virtanen, game designer, Bugbear Entertainment

What’s Up for Week 36?

Hey all y’all!

 

Another week is starting off here at Bugbear. A lot of effort is now being put into pushing out the next build – if all goes well, Build #6 should see the light of day early next week. However, like always, this is subject to change – if we hit a serious snag, we may need to delay the launch so we can fix the issue. That’s a better solution than releasing a crippled game, right?

In any case, Build #6 is almost here :)

 

So, what are we working on, then?

First, definitely the best news we can have: online racing is finally here! The network code seems stable enough to withstand internal testing, but we need to put it through its paces some more before we can be certain it’ll hold up. That being said, it will crash, and it flail, and it will lag, and otherwise give you a hard time, but such is the nature of a work in progress :)

 

Next up is a new car, which, again, should work well enough to be included in the next batch, but we can’t make any definite promises. It may be wise to push this beauty into Build #7, but we’ll see. In any case, the newest baby is modeled after a famous European coupe, and it sure is pretty as a picture! Of course, that’s before it’s been through a few laps of some serious demolition derby :P

It’s also been noted that the car appears to be almost too shiny to be a banger. Yep, this is true – the rust and other finishing touches to the appearance will come later on.

 

The level artists are busy making a few new tracks for us, namely an oval track, a Figure 8 track, and a new Gravel Pit track! However, it’s unlikely that any of these will make it for Build #6, for there’s lots and lots to be done before these babies can hatch.

Be that as it may, here’s a few pictures of how the Gravel Pit looks like from the modelers’ end, just to give you a glimpse behind the scenes, and how the track almost seems like a juryrigged apparatus of bubblegum and wire under a paper thin veneer of polished facade. Also a shot of the new Figure 8 track from the bird’s-eye view gives an inkling of what the future promises.

 

As a small but certainly welcome addition, we also added a new automatic camera view for reversing, so you can see where  – or at whom – you’re reversing without having to hold a key down to look back. Yeah, we’re kind and merciful that way. Let us know what you think of it, especially if you think it could be better (and how).

 

In addition to this, we’ll be planning, scheming, fabricating, contriving, devising and outlining a whole lot of gimmicks and features we’ll work on later down the road. We’re gaining more and more focus, day by day, and a seriously huge chunk of that is because of our fans. Thank you, a million times, for your constructive feedback. Keep it coming, we’re most certainly listening.

 

Stay tuned, folks, good things ahead, and if you’ve a mind to share with us what you think, pop by on the forums :)

 

-Jori Virtanen, game designer, Bugbear Entertainment

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Update #5 2014-07-03

(tl;dr – Build updated! New car, new track, LAN support)

 

And here we go! The new and much-awaited build of Next Car Game is finally out there.

What does this mean in the end? Well, it all boils down to why it took so long between the updates in the first place: we upgraded the game’s engine. In its old iteration, we weren’t sure that the engine could handle all the features we want to include in the game, so, to play it safe, we took the long route and fixed the engine. In essence, we tore it apart. We cut off clumsy clusters of code, with each cut paving way for a more streamlined and more robust iteration of the engine.

It was a lot of work.

As it’s our own engine, we had a pretty good idea how long it would take, but in the end, the amount of effort it took was much more than even we ourselves had anticipated. But, it did pay off in the end. Now we can be certain that the engine can withstand all the nifty we have planned.

The bad news is that, despite the work we’ve already put in, the engine is still far from finished. It’s a rickety contraption that’s bound to buckle and crash and sway and stagger, so expect Next Car Game to give you a constant supply of trouble.

 

And now the good news.

 

Next Car Game will soon run more smoothly, thanks to the new engine. What is now purring under the hood will also power a more complex, more detailed and more all around awesome damage model, meaning that all kinds of things can break, bend and tear in your motorized steel bullet. What you now see in this build is just the beginning.

We have also added a second American muscle car to the mix! This baby is difficult to handle, but the power it commands is definitely something to be reckoned with. Again, this is just the beginning – we have many more cars lined up, but one banger at a time, folks, one banger at a time ;)

We have also included a very early prototype of a new track! And take note of the word “prototype” — it lacks pretty much all the nice bells and whistles, meaning that it’s our ugly duckling, but we thought it’d be cool to show you how the track looks and feels like before it’s finished. This new sand pit course should provide you with clever ways to swerve, careen and crash, but what makes the track special is that we’ve done something we have never tried before: the surface of the road has “noise” and it affects your handling! The surface noise simulates the uneven surface of the road, affecting the suspension of your car and giving the steering some sweet, sweet feedback effects. We hope you like it.

 

As a cherry on top…

Ladies and gentlemen, Motor City madmen and crazy girls of Crash Country…

Next Car Game now supports LAN gaming!

Yes, that’s right. After getting so much requests and wishes and messages hoping that the game would support local area network gaming, we went and did just that. After all, we’re doing this game for our fans, to whom we owe a great deal more than just a car game. We owe you all our honest friendship, our sincere love, and our utmost respect.

The LAN feature supports 12 players at a time, and while a real deal online mode is still missing, this is an important step towards that goal.

 

But please, do remember that Next Car Game is still ways off from being a final product. It will crash. It will stutter. It will not work the way you want it to, and it will piss you off. And if you’re LANing your heart out, expect lag, especially if your server isn’t robust and you want to keep all graphics settings to the max. But, as said, it’s a work in progress, and we’re working real hard on making it a better game, one line of code at a time.

You can be of great help and immense importance to us by giving us some solid feedback. Feel free to be direct, and no need to be nice, but be detailed in what’s bugging you. That’s the best way for us to know what’s wrong with our game, as that’s how we’ll know what we need to address next.

 

Thanks for your time, and for your support, good folks!

Enjoy :)

 

-Jori Virtanen, game designer, Bugbear Entertainment Ltd.

 

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Our Driving Force

We at Bugbear Entertainment are proud of what we do. We keep the bar high, and we keep our aim even higher. Often it takes a ridiculous amount of work to get something just right, and at times, you bang your head against the wall over and over again and still don’t find the right way. Sometimes you can’t make any progress at all without some good tools to get you going.

Take our driving physics, for example. When we hone how the cars behave on a gravel road we want it to feel just right, all the way down to the point where you can actually taste the sand in your mouth. In order to get there we need a good wheel and pedals to go with it so we can really determine if what we’re doing has that much needed magic in it.

We got a massive steering wheel package from Fanatec a couple of weeks ago. Their new Universal Hub lets you use your own wheel rim of whatever form, flavor or color you want to. Can you imagine the possibilities in a game like Next Car Game? Not only that, but Fanatec were also kind enough to hook us up with their new ClubSport Handbrake that will transform anyone into one of the Scandinavian rally masters. When you pimp this baby out with quality pedals and a sturdy shifter, you’re starting to approach that perfect feel of driving for real.

To put it mildly, this setup feels absolutely awesome! Fanatec’s massive wheel base gives a real kick in force feedback effects – you really have to put your back into it when you want your car to stay on the road in a tight curve. The pedals got just the perfect amount of resistance under your feet, and both the stick and handbrake work like a dream.

We love it.

After we got the whole setup assembled, half of our team had lined up to try it out. We’ve spent a ludicrous amount of hours in that leather seat, all of us, just enjoying the ride. We goofed off with all kinds of customizations for fun and giggles, and ended up creating a video about it. Despite the tongue in cheek approach the video clearly has, that’s pretty much how we roll here, and we ain’t ashamed of it either.

Watch the video below, and check out FANATEC.COM for the availability of the Universal Hub and the ClubSport Handbrake.

Slow News Month

He-hey, kids!

Yes, it’s been a long time since our last News update. Guess what? This ain’t a proper one either!

Well, no, that’s not completely true. We have bucketloads of stuff we would want to share with you, but before anything else happens, we need to do something Big and Important first. And that mysterious something is…

A major engine uphaul.

That’s right, folks! We’re currently updating NCG to a completely overhauled engine that will totally rock your collective socks off and dazzle you with all kinds of sweet, sweet performance magic! But, getting the engine ready for release takes a whole lot of work.
At the moment the process is well on its way, but as it currently is, the uphauled engine runs slower than the previous one! You can probably understand why we want to optimize it more before letting all y’all play with it. I mean, no matter how awesome we say the boosted engine will be, it still wouldn’t be all that impressive if this thing, full of spiffy thingamagummits and sparkly thingamajigs and swanky thingamabobs, hiccuped on the field of glory like an old steel horse wheezing its last breath. So, we want (and will) tweak it more, and then some more, and when it’s properly polished and runs like a Mustang just broken in, we’ll release it and let you go nuts. It won’t be that long, but it won’t be just yet, either. Sorry!

But there is something I can talk to you about: a dirt race track that’s currently in development. What you’re looking at is its prototype version — clips from real photos that are glued together to create a semblance of what we’re aiming for. The end result may be drastically different, but I figured you lot might enjoy this glimpse behind the scenes of the track creation process.

- Jori Virtanen, your friendly neighborhood game designer

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Update #4 2014-04-25

A new update containing a number of hot fixes and other improvements is now available!

Changelog:
* Added support for one additional DirectInput device.
* Input bindings are reset for all users to avoid weird issues.
* Reset and reverse camera can be now mapped to different inputs.
* Handling no longer gets locked to right with certain gamepads.
* Replay no longer exhibits black screen in some cases.
* Steering wheel input is now disabled in photo mode.
* Force feedback is now disabled in replay mode.
* Improvements to the sandpit track.
* Fixed an issue with car controls.

Enjoy, and don’t forget to give feedback!