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Week #17 Report

Hello again!

This week’s blog is an unconventional one, as we’re not as much talking about what we’re up to as much as we are inviting you to be a part of our decision making process.

To be more specific, we’re unsure what to do with the demolition derby aspect of the game. We feel it’s not getting the love that Wreckfest’s racing is getting. The physics modeling and the detail we’re putting into the various upgrade parts are top notch, and with that kind of depth, we could pave way for a more simulationistic approach – realistic car handling, terrain behavior and physics modeling would definitely all allow us to create a demolition racing where the emphasis is on the word “racing”. In effect, that would mean that trading paint would not be as important as driving clean would be, even if dangerous driving and the inevitable crashes would clearly be a big part of the game.

However, we don’t want to make a pure simulator. We do want Wreckfest to have that depth that realistic physics will give us, there’s no question of that, but we don’t want to wade too deep into those waters. This leaves us kind of in a lurch – we’re making a game where crashes look and feel good, but they inevitably cause you to fall further from the lead, which is not always the desired effect.  We see this becoming a problem when we’re designing and creating content: tracks and routes are invariably more fun when we’re focusing on full on racing and not full contact banger racing. Plain demolition derby arenas, on the other hand, get boring after a while, because there’s not enough to see and do.

So, we’re currently hunting for ways to perk up the ”banger” part of the races. So far we’ve come up with a score modeling system where you gain points from collisions as well as being  a fast driver, but we’re unsure if that would be enough. We’re wondering if we should broaden the “demolition racing” section of the game towards becoming a category of its own, which would, in effect, create two main branches of hitting the road: the other branch is aimed for clean racing and the other is for dirty driving.

However, we are not yet set on this, as it is a problematic road, even if it could be fruitful in the end. Do we create tracks that work on one branch but not the other, like straight stretches of road where you have to gun for the other end, quickly turn around, and head back, and weave amidst your rivals that are behind you? These would be pretty boring, if not downright annoying when playing clean – tracks that aim for maximum chaos become painful to drive if you’re trying to avoid damage. On the other hand, tracks that are designed to be all about speed are simply frustrating when driving a slower moving vehicle designed for ramming. This would leave us with tracks that take a lot of work to complete that would be fun with only one of the main two play styles, if not outright restricted to just that one branch.

Nonetheless, we want to pose a question to you all: what would you like to see? Would you like to see a game where we have both clean racing and dirty racing treated equally? How would you create a new track? To suit both styles of play, or just the other? What style of track would your dream track be, and what kind of game modes would you like to see on that track? (Provided they’re realistic – we’re not making CTF on top of a skyscraper with exploding bomb cars no matter how much you want that to happen ;) )

Feel free to give us references, if e.g. you have fond memories of a game where a certain map worked especially well with one specific game mode.

 

As a disclaimer: this kind of blog doesn’t mean we’re deadlocked with the game! It means we’re giving you an opportunity to tell us what you would like to see in the game, and let that influence what we’re doing.  Help us design Wreckfest to be all it can be :)

 

That’s it for today!

And, as always, stay safe all y’all.

 

-Team Bugbear

 

Week #16 Report

Hey there!

 

This blog post is all about the physics update. In short, we’re still wrestling with it.

 

We sincerely apologize for the delay – we did correctly estimate how long it would take to make the building blocks to get the first 90% of the update ready, but those final ten percent have proven to be quite difficult to lock into place. Before that final magic happens, we cannot launch the next build, as the cars wouldn’t behave properly. In fact, not even close: they’d fly all over the place, or topple over in the first corner, or do the bouncy-bouncy in true lowrider style. If we would release a build like that, Wreckfest would be completely unplayable, and that would be worse than anything. So, we’ll have to stick to it and keep working.

 

Why is it so difficult to get the final pieces together, then? Well, the physics update is a quagmire of variables. Every value we change affects everything else, so it’s as much about trial and error as it is about knowing what to do. This is why we can’t give an estimated time of arrival – it might be a week, it might be a month. We’re truly sorry that we can’t be more specific than that.

 

To showcase how the cars behave, here’s a handful of B-reel screenshots. Note that the last three are all taken in the first 50 meters of the race. That should give you an idea how truly broken it can get when you try to find the right physics values :)

(Of course, it’s very rarely that bad even when we try something drastic, so don’t worry, we’re showing these pics just because they’re funny, not because they represent the actual state of the game.)

physicsgalore1  physicsgalore3 physicsgalore2

physicsgalore4

Week #15 Report

Hello again!

 

As the launch of our newest build draws nearer (but isn’t yet here, sorry to say), one thing that has been wished of us has been a recap of what all will be in the next iteration of Wreckfest. So, this week’s blog will be a very special Cheesy Clip Show episode, meaning we’ll go over stuff we’ve talked about in our previous blogs and on both our own and Steam forums! Yay!

 

First and foremost, the upcoming update will bring a mighty upgrade to physics modeling! What that means is that we’ll increase the resolution of how much depth our physics can handle. It is a bit like comparing a 32” FullHD picture TV, which is fine and dandy and quite sufficient to your everyday needs, to a brand new 56” widescreen with 4k support: you’re bound to notice differences here and there, but most of the magic lies in the level of detail your display can now support.

That’s the same way with our physics modeling. We’re increasing the number of different values by roughly 50% — for example, suspension alone, meaning springs and sway bars and such, holds over sixty variables, and suspension is just a small part of the overall physics modeling of a single car! Tires, on the other hand, go as far as measuring surface rigidity, rubber mixture and shock absorbance in addition to friction and heating up.

You can read about changes in physics in this blog: http://nextcargame.com/weekly-report-8/

 

Second, the update will introduce two new game modes, Elimination and Team Race.

Elimination is a merciless mode where the last player is weeded out. When this happens depends on settings, so it can be after a full lap, or every 20-60 seconds. Regardless of such details, Elimination becomes not a race of who crosses the finishing line first, but who is the last one to burn? This means all you really need to worry about is that you aren’t the last driver when the axe swings, and to accomplish that, dirty tricks are par for course. Better them than you, right?

Team Race allows up to four teams to race for victory that doesn’t come from merely being fast, but also from being furious. Your team gets points from top positions and swiftest laps, but also from damaging and wrecking opponents. This means that even if you lose your chances of being in the first five to finish, you can still rack up points by clobbering your foes off the road! This mode supports tactics really well, since each player can play a different role in the mayhem.

Read more here: http://nextcargame.com/weekly-report-9/

 

We’re also introducing more robust methods of maintaining your server, like the ability to change cars, tracks, and car upgrades in the lobby. This means that the host won’t have to quit the whole race just to change to the next track. Class restrictions also make their debut, meaning you can limit what kind of powerhouses your server will allow, and resets can now be disabled altogether. Driving backwards is severely limited, too, so there’ll be less griefers to ruin your races. Oh, and AI cars can be added to the mix, meaning you can do a full 24-car race even if you’re just gaming with a few friends.

From player’s point of view, server filters that help you find just that specific type of game you want will make life easier.

You can read more here: http://nextcargame.com/week-48-report/

 

In addition to these, we’re working on a lot of good stuff, like new tracks, new cars, new menus, career progression and such, but since these will make appearance later on, and not necessarily in the next build, we won’t go into detail here. But, if you’d like to know more, do visit our blog and read about it all: http://nextcargame.com/blog/

 

As a final note, a completely new feature!

Confirmed just mere hours ago today (that is, April 10th), we have functional dedicated servers.

That’s right, folks! Dedicated servers will make their way to Wreckfest! We’ll make a bigger post of this next week when we have something to also show and not just tell, for at this point, our dedicated server support is at so early stages that we can’t grab a screenshot of it! Not even of a command line on our internal use command console :D

But, next week, we’ll have something to show. Stay tuned.

 

 

That’s it for this week!

Stay safe all y’all!

 

 

-Team Bugbear

Road Rumble, a new game mode for Wreckfest!

And now, something completely different.

Ever since we announced Wreckfest, players have wanted a game mode where they can go crazy.

You asked for it, we deliver.

 

Bugbear proudly presents a new game mode for Wreckfest:

ROAD RUMBLE

a game mode of automatic weapons and boundless love, steel armor and sweet stunts!

 

In Road Rumble, players get to arm their cars with different weapons, slap on some solid steel to ward off those pesky bullets, and turn demolition derbies into total annihilation. No more Mr. Nice Driver!

Road Rumble will support both team mayhem and full deathmatch playstyles, but additional choices will become available down the road.

 

Note that the style of the cars depicted may change – this is a mock-up screenshot, and won’t necessarily represent the final look of Road Rumble.

We also made a quick trailer you can watch here. Again, don’t expect anything special at this point, but since you’ve wanted to see for yourselves what we’ve been working on, this is one of those things. Road Rumble will have more bells and whistles later on :)

 

road_rumble

Weekly Report #13

All right, time for another weekly blog!

This week we’ll talk about how we approach designing menus, and how complicated it can get. This is topical, as we’re currently designing brand new menus for Wreckfest, and you’ll get to see them soon enough :)

 

The first step of the process is to recall this mantra: “Form follows function.” This means we want to have menus that look good, yes, but most of all are easy to use.

To get the ball rolling, we talk. A lot. What do we want is not as important as what we need? To map out what these needs are, the artists and game designers gather up – the designers explain what kind of flow they have in mind, and the artists pitch their ideas to the designers. This means a lot of meetings, and often quite a bit of arguing, critique and pondering. It sounds rougher than it really is, for most of it is really good natured! Plus, if you can’t back your ideas up with proof and/or solid points, it’s probably not that good an idea :)

This process is repeated over and over again, as it’s important to give everyone a chance to mull things over, and to spot mistakes and fallacies in their proposals. After all, this is just the very first stage, so even if the “core loop”, meaning the very basic game flow, and all the major menu items are already known, it’s easy to miss some crucial detail.
Once the basic frames are in place, the artists create a grey box prototype. No bells and whistles, no graphics, no nothing – just the basic functionality, so we can spot if this design really works.

Concept Art for Bright Garage, created to play with the idea of what the in-game garage could look like if it was in an old brick building with huge windows.

Concept Art for Bright Garage, created to play with the idea of what the in-game garage could look like if it was in an old brick building with huge windows.

Concept Art for Dark Garage, created to play with the idea of what the in-game garage could look like if it was in a basement. The style didn't fit, so the concept was dropped early on.

Concept Art for Dark Garage, created to play with the idea of what the garage could look like if it was in a basement. The style didn’t fit, so the concept was dropped early on.

 

When the result is good to go, we move on to the next stage: finding that right feel for the menus. For this, references are the key. What games got that right atmosphere we’re after? What newspapers have the right way of displaying information? What movies work that light and shadow magic just the way we like it? This can go as detailed as need be, e.g. we spot a game that has that 0.5 second fadeout with each menu click that looks real cool!

This is all references, mind you. It doesn’t mean copying others’ work 1:1! It means we gather inspiration from things we like, and build from that. Imitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flattery :)

We have a huge in-house reference library for just this purpose, so our artists don’t have to hit Google all the time, but can add items to the library that look sweet whenever they come across them, and then just check the library when the need arises. It makes the whole process a lot smoother, and allows for much faster prototype construction.

We also create tapestries of different reference materials to give us a sort of “mood board” that is not about particular details, but rather about the overall feel you get when you glance at it.

A snapshot of reference library

A snapshot of reference library

A mood board

A mood board

 

 

The third step is creating a more finalized version of our menu prototype. At this point we already know what the menu flow will be, and what the style will be. This stage is all about detail. We hit Photoshop like nobody’s business and delve on minor changes of font size, line thickness and color/light gradient. We create as “final” version as we can, and check that it all looks good.

 

Fourth stage is motion design. Because menus are rarely just static, we do a mock-up so people get the idea of what our new menus will look like in action. This requires some 3D sorcery as well as placing lights and objects in the mock-up environment, and often this means improvising solutions as all the necessary bits and pieces are not in the game yet.

 

The fifth and final stage of the design process is proof of concept. So, we have menu design that’s all the way up to how it will look, and we have a motion mock-up to give an idea what it’ll look like when you’re actually using the menus. If both look successful, we create a playable prototype: a collage of grey boxes that link to each other, but even if they look really rough, you can use them like you’d use the final thing. This stage shows if the whole design really, truly works or if (or, rather, where) it needs some more tuning.

 

Once we have the proof of concept prototype in place, too, we can start the hard part: actually creating the menus. We’ll go over that stage at a later date :)

 

 

Thanks for reading our weekly blog!

As always, stay safe, people.

 

- Team Bugbear

Weekly Report #11

Hello again!

 

This week we’ll talk about creating cars – where do we start, where do we go from there, what to look out for, and how long it all takes? For Wreckfest, existing cars took about two months to complete – per car. Yes, it really takes that long!

 

It all begins by, obviously, figuring out what type of car do we want? A sedan? A truck? After we settle on e.g. a muscle car, we dig deeper: what type and style of this particular car type do we want? An olden goldie, or a more modern one? European, American or what? After this part of the process we have an idea of what kind of car we’re looking for, so we can start looking for reference material from their real world counterparts, up to and including blueprints of real cars.

Next up is the basic modeling of the car: modeling the car body without paying too much detail to panel curvatures, specific details and so on. These very basic models have all the obvious parts in place: four tires, bumpers, headlights and all that jazz, and about in the right places, too. It’ll look clunky as heck, but that’s okay, as we’re mostly interested about the overall feel of the car, and not so much of any specific details.

Once everything is modeled and in their right places, we create several variations of the car with different grills, lights and light configurations. The body of the car itself remains untouched, but it’s the small details that give the car that look you come to love, so it pays to create a few variants to be sure that this is what we want. Again, it’s not as much about creating finalized models as it is about giving the car several discernible feels, as all this helps us figure out what would work for this car and what doesn’t.

 

Once the prototype is ready, we start working on it in earnest. We start tuning curves, adding panels, modeling specific parts like axles and upholstery. Basically every detail will be added at this point – yes, it’ll often be just a rough semblance of what it’ll end up looking, but all parts will be put in place. For example, detailing the drivetrain means that if you flip the car and focus your view on the axles, you will see the brake shoes, springs, suspension parts, bolts, nuts and so on.

Despite the detail, we don’t actually animate that many of these parts, simply because it wouldn’t be cost efficient for the drain it would have on the engine. We totally could, though :)

 

The last stage is finalizing the car. At this point we know exactly what we want. The rest is polish, more polish, and then some more polish. We put all those nice curves in place. Get that geometry in place to the tee. Make sure that everything is in its place, and it’s all smooth and sweet. This will also help in creating smoother shading, which gives the car that golden touch. This final stage takes agonizingly long, as it’s all about the detail, and there’s always something that you could do some more work on.

After this stage is done, after everything is neat and tidy, we can start working on the textures… but that’s a whole other blog entry for a later date :)

 

Also, lately we’ve turned our demands on every detail to eleven, but we’d rather let the results speak for themselves than talk about what we will do. Let’s just say that, for example, everything is now modeled to the tenth of an inch. No, we’re not kidding. We figured that if we’re going to ramp up our physics and tracks, our cars should live up to that level of detail, too. Sweet, huh?

 

That’s it for this week!

As always, stay safe, all y’all :)

 

 

-Team Bugbear

 

(Note: while you can spot that one of these cars is indeed American Muscle 2, the blue car is a model that was abandoned, so don’t take its appearance as anything else as serving as an example :) )

protocar1 protocar2