[Feedback] Amazing Curves Racing

Discussion in 'Feedback Requests' started by John Schultz, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. John Schultz

    John Schultz New Member

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    Hi,

    I'm developing an online game called Amazing Curves Racing. It features real-time tessellated curves (no visible polygons for roads, walls, etc.), direct high-quality physics on the bicubic surfaces (smooth driving), bicubic displacement maps (to make the ground bumpy when needed), real-time, interactive car setup (springs, shocks, tires, etc.), and a networked physics engine that hides lag and jitter from 0 to 300+ms (including constant car to car contact, object stacking, etc.).

    Since this is a solo project, I'm trying to keep the art content manageable (simple tracks+cars), and am currently working on new gameplay variants. The current demo shows a simple racing game against basic AI drivers (single player). The demo also allows for players to set up a server and host 2-24 player online games, with up to 64 cars (non-player cars controlled by AI).

    ScreenShots
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Demo
    http://www.brightland.com/ac/Demo/InstallAC.exe

    High-quality h.264 Video
    http://files.filefront.com/ACR_300msmov/;5378546;;/fileinfo.html

    Main Game Page
    http://www.brightland.com/ac/

    PR / Game tech-info
    http://www.brightland.com/ac/Media/ACR_PR2.htm

    Planned Development Direction
    http://www.brightland.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/nph-YaBB.pl?num=1155351853

    Any feedback is appreciated!

    Thanks,

    John
     
  2. bignobody

    Indie Author

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    Hi John!

    I remember you from the Flipcode days. Your help was invaluable when I was trying to get the tunnel race part of Shlongg working (you're in the in game thank-you list ;) ).

    I can't try it now as I'm at my day job, but I'll give it a go this weekend.

    Regards,
     
  3. John Schultz

    John Schultz New Member

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    Hey Steven,

    Good to see you released your game- how's it doing? Flipcode brings back memories (now @ GameDev.net).
     
  4. bignobody

    Indie Author

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    Wow! You've really done an incredible job with Amazing Curves!

    I only played in Solo mode (didn't want to publicly embarass myself with my crappy driving) but I was very impressed!

    When I first read the PR information I was thinking "this is all impressive from an academic point of view, but is it really necessary for a game?"

    Until I played it. Now, Racing games aren't really the genre of games I usually play, but I have to say that it has the most "natural" driving feel out of all the simulations I've played. So clearly all that sciency stuff certainly shows ;)

    Rather than continue telling you how great it is (all the more so for being done by one person), I'll give you my contructive feedback:

    1) I hate that I cannot alt+tab away from it once it's running. I'm sure I won't be the only one ;)

    2) The "In Car" view needs a proper GUI. Right now the reflections and glimpses of the tires turning around the speedometer is distracting.

    3) I'd kill for a track display (and my position on it) on a HUD somewhere. I'm sure my driving would be a lot better.

    4) I assume the "fly" button is just for the beta versions? :D

    5) On lower resolutions the camera had a bit of a "fish-eye" look for me.

    Oh, and I love that you have the ability to shoot. I don't think it would take a lot to make a "3D Spyhunter" with this. It would also be a good excuse to run some exciting numbers through your simulation (oil-slicks under the tires, etc.)

    On the whole, incredibly impressive work.


    As for my own game, well, as I put it in another thread, excluding breaking even financially I got everything I wanted out of the experience so I don't have too much to complain about. I really should focus more on marketing it, but am finding it difficult to motivate myself in that area... But I'll get there!

    Anyway, good luck with Amazing Curves. I think it has amazing potential!

    Regards,
     
  5. John Schultz

    John Schultz New Member

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    Every time I start a PR document, I say to myself, "Now keep it simple and short", and it ends up being technical and long. I spent so much time on the tech that it's hard to keep simple and short. The other issue is that a racing game is very simple in terms of game play: do laps, get lap times, try to win. Not much to talk about. As noted, I'm working on expanding game play styles (shooting, triggers, platforms, physical object interaction that affects game outcome, etc.).

    As for the driving model: one of my initial goals was to create the most realistic driving game ever. Every simulator-game I had played was way harder than driving a real car. Long story short, the current driving model is (IMO) the most realistic I have seen, while at the same time relatively easy to drive. I have just added anti-lock brakes and traction control, further improving driving ease, especially when driving a high-horsepower, lightweight car setup.

    Another challenge was coming up with a control system that supports keyboard, joystick, and steering wheel (with force feedback) that was easy to drive, without driving aids or fake physics. Unlike consoles, PC games must be fun/playable with keyboard; something of a challenge for physics-based driving games (simulators). I'm a bit surprised (and happy) that keyboard control was a problem that could be solved: keyboard driving at high speed, even will all driving aides turned off is fun and (relatively) easy, while not sacraficing the highly-realistic, physical feel.

    Hmm... ALT+TAB support is built in. I'll look into it as a bug report: what video card + OS? ALT-H also hides the game and mutes the audio; ideal for work, phone calls, wife/gf, etc. ;)

    Yeah, it uses basic OpenGL for rendering, though the reflections should not be too much of a distraction as they don't move while in the car. Regarding the tires being visible: will be fixed.

    Another popular request: I will add a GPS style track display.

    As noted, flying is going away, though jump thrusting will stay (some levels will require jump thrusting). A key game design requirement is easy play with keyboard; flying is too complicated with keyboard, as is switching between driving and flying controls (also hard with Steering Wheel controller).

    I can add a FOV slider to the real-time setup dialog. A wider FOV gives improved high speed motion perception, and gives a better view of the track+environment. A narrow FOV is useful when the GFX engine can't handle complex scenes, but tends to compress everything, making motion appear slower, and limiting ability to see up/around corners. I test on 1920x1200 (wide aspect), 1280x1024 (typical aspect, high res), and 640x480 resolutions (for making videos).

    I'm currently going in the direction of simple weapons to affect racing outcome, in the same theme as so-called 'karting' games such as Mario Kart, except with simulation quality physics, curved terrain, and platform-style elements (jump thrusting requred to complete laps). The other design challenge is keeping everything playable for online play, another area where I spent a great deal of tech time (lag free networked physics).

    Thanks! It's been many years of hard work. Now it's time to tweak and wrap up game play (for a version 1.0 retail release), do marketing, etc. Interestingly, while there have been thousands of demo downloads, not much feedback (perhaps mostly developer downloads; haven't posted/marketed game info on gaming websites yet, not much in the way of gameplay (beyond simple racing))...

    It's good to create your own game and finish it. Marketing is very important; not hard (compared to game development), but takes time and tenacity.

    Thanks for the feedback, especially the constructive feedback; it's very helpful in determining where to spend limited development resources!

    John
     
  6. Surrealix

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    I'll echo what's been said - very impressive work.

    There were so many things I really liked about this game. One of the first things I noticed was the music, which fit the idea of the game very nicely. The very fluid tracks made for really nice driving, and of course it was very easy to control with a joystick.

    It was basically impossible to control the car in flight mode though, and my joystick supports rotational movement. Reading this thread again though it looks like it's only a beta thing, which is cool :)

    Unfortunatley there were no network games running (although I'm not surprised). There are all too few high-speed racing games for PC, let alone multiplayer ones.

    I certainly enjoyed it, albiet the lack of a course map, quite dated/simple graphics (ie, for the courses), and the 1st place flag flapping in front of the camera (when in 3rd person view) did detract from it slightly.
     
  7. John Schultz

    John Schultz New Member

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    Thanks Philip! Hey, Christchurch NZ- was just there on a Backroads walking trip with my wife; amazing country!

    Flight mode is going away, though I'll keep it for internal use, as it's useful for flying around the map for testing and inspection.

    I'll set up a server so that network play can be tested after the next beta release. If anyone would like to test before then (for example, the 'lag free networked physics' claim), PM or email me and I'll fire it up.

    A Track Map is coming for the next release. The graphics engine dates back to 1999 (the code was used for a web 3D engine called R4D). After the 1.0 retail release, I plan to rewrite the graphics engine using shaders (my last 'shader' coding was back in the Amiga and DOS days, where everything was in C and asm ;) ). I can turn off the leader flag when in 3rd person view (or make it an option), though I found it cool to watch the flag being snatched back and forth between 1st and 2nd place during close races. I'll see what I can do...
     
  8. John Schultz

    John Schultz New Member

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    Internet Game Server Online

    Just got a blurb up on (BlackHole Motorsports); I've fired up an internet server so that online play can be tested. Feedback from network play, such as ping times (press F2 in game), network object interaction (should appear local, up to around 300ms), is appreciated.
     

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