State of things thus far
First, a brief introduction. My name is Matt and I am the game designer and programmer for GRITS Racing. My partner in this venture is Brooks and he is doing all the art but, more importantly, it is pretty much all his fault that I got hooked into this project. So, all that credit goes to him. What happened was that, last July, Brooks put out a question to the local game dev group asking if anyone wanted to coop on a Switch game. I was wrapping up a small test game on the PICO-8, Landing Party of Legend, and was beginning to look for more IT contract work when I threw a pitch back at Brooks for a single-screen racing game with a new mayhem model. For some reason he agreed to help me with it. But, that's the kind of guy he is. Always willing to be helpful. We need more people like that.
Thus, in September of last year, after cancelling all prospects for real work, I started work on "code name: SSRacer" full time while Brooks worked part time on it. I've been "all in" on this for about 8 months now.
The original game design called for two levels of what I called "mayhem models" to be built. Mayhem Model 1 (MM1) represented the basic core engine of the game (and also the minimum viable product [MVP], more or less). As unique as MM1 was, however, I felt that Mayhem Model 2 (MM2) is what would really separate this game from all that came before it, and is also what should also provide replay value to a wider audience. (And then there is also MM1.B, but that's another story.... Actually, all MM1.B is, is the definition of A.I. cars and their personalities.)
MM1 is pretty much complete even though there is still much to do in areas of polish and tweaking. In other words, we have a playable game at the moment which is proving to be fairly engrossing already. I like it as is and we tend to get sucked into putting in too many laps during testing... but I know it needs more... I want more.
What has been built so far:
- 2D physics cars that are as close to sim-like as I can get them (within reason for 2D)*
- Wheel joints that break according to forces from collisions
- Pit lane to repair/replace wheels
- Four-wheel-drive, four-wheel-steering cars to allow maneuvering on 1-to-4 wheels
- Two-wheel-steering at medium and high speed to improve handling
- Permanent skid marks and other dirt marks!!!!**
- Lot of physics-driven debris and other objects on the track
- Driver that jump out of the car, after losing the last wheel, to run and fetch another car
- Physics-driven energy shields to protect the drivers on foot, hurt the hitting car, and to keep this game family friendly
- An "eject wheels" button was added late to the game design to keep the game pace up for players too frustrated with losing wheels
- Natural appearance of oil hazards from abandoned cars breaking apart
- "Bubba Awards" to recognize player other than the champion
- Save game/awards image to file for sharing
* I would love to talk more about the physics behind the cars but I also don't want to give too much away about them so as to keep the copycat cloners at bay. All I am willing to say is that I've put a ton of work into them to make them feel as real as possible -- and they feel really really good. Then, after that, I cheated on some of the coefficients a bit to make them more accessible to novices. This is, after all, a party game first and a racing game second.
** The skid mark generation was a huge challenge to do well (attached is a photo of me working on it)... but an absolute requirement... and another feature to help keep the copycat cloners at bay.
To-do list before early release
What is missing from MM1:
- Le Mans starts (added to the game design in Oct 2017)
What else is definitely missing before early release:
- At least 4 tracks for Championship mode (we only have the one overly-basic test track thus far)
- GRITS Hockey (details when you see it)
- More SFX
What else is maybe missing before early release:
- Some basics of MM2 in Championship mode
- A basic version of Endurance mode
- 8 to 12 tracks with basic art
- Basic collision dirt
- Basic voice overs
- Basic menu art
- Custom name entry in menus
- Controller setup menu
- Title music
- Share game/awards image directly to Facebook, Twitter, etc.
To-do list before final release
- MM1.B - the A.I. cars
- MM2 (details secret until built and tested)
- Full version of Endurance mode
- In-game animations such as wheel flop, car entry/exit, and new car
- Loose car panels (basic)
- Physics tweaking of secondary objects (basic currently)
- Even more SFX and VOs
- Driver oil footprints
- More than 12 tracks??? (probably not)
- More damage art
- Final track art
- Final menu art
- Novice controls???
Planned downloadable content (depending on interest)
- Multi-screen tracks and other niche tracks
Tabled ideas for version 1.1+ or 2.0 or Who knows?
- Nighttime racing
- Other secret things
All the above is more or less as I can remember it at the moment. I'm sure I forgot stuff.
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