Game Dev Adventures!

Game Projects I: Week 4 — Prototypes Begin!

This week we began work on the prototype. The game I am working on is Ragwheel, a racing game. Our thesis question is, “How can you maintain a head to head racing feeling with multiple paths?”

It was interesting because we had the basis of racing games that we could pull from that we needed to set up, but there are very interesting art, engineering, and design challenges that will probably take us through the entire prototype to really nail down:

  1. Track design: this is a multiple paths question. Do we have multiple endings, do we add in obstacles, should parts of the track be random, how do we do randomness well?
  2. Ghosts: these represent the relative position of your opponents if they had chosen the same path as you. The issues here are: what kind of interactions do the ghosts have with the players, how does the jumping (if you lock onto a player’s ghost for so long and then they or you take a shorter or longer path, both cars get jumped) work, are ghosts fun, what paths do we put them on, how do we calculate where they should go, etc.
  3. Flip turns: these literally, or figuratively?, flip you to the underside of the track. Their purpose is an interesting way to create multiple paths. The challenges here are how to design the track with flip turns, how to manage gravity (especially during the flip), what to do about car’s momentum and speed during and after a flip (and other physics considerations), how a flip is triggered, what about cars that don’t want to flip, what kind of flips are there, do we animate the flip turns or do it real time?

It took us practically the entire day on Tuesday to get far enough along for me to feel like I knew where we should start. As flip turns don’t answer the question of the thesis but are just an extension of how we can create multiple paths, and where we weren’t even sure if the ghosts would be fun, I pitched making a really simple 2D track with no flip turns (because of all the aforementioned issues with those), to test whether or not the ghosts were feasible and fun. The team agreed and we started on that. Flip turns then took a third priority to ghosts, and just getting a basic racing game down with a 2D multiple paths track became our first sprint and what we worked on for the week.

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