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Buggyz : A fast moving retro slot racing game set in the future!

edited January 2014 in General Posts: 398

Well, i've been working on this for the last few months and thought i'd stick it out there to get a bit of feedback from you lovely Codea guys (and er..girls if there are any!)

Basically, its a simple slot-racing premise, but with a distinctly retro sci-fi feel. Think 'The Jetsons' meets 'Scalextric' and you get the idea.

I wont bore everyone with the in's and out's - but if anyones vaguely interested I'm trying to document the whole process as I go along in a fun way on my development blog - from initial concept, game-design, game-art/graphics and ultimately, the App Store, marketing, rejection, nervous breakdown.. bla bla bla..

I think a 'blog' kind of serves a few useful purposes - firstly, i'm quite disorganised so it keeps me on track and also, I think whilst there are lots of coding examples/tuts on here, it would be nice for newbies to see how a game project can be created start to finish - warts and all!

Hey, it might even inspire someone starting out to do something similar.. Its been great fun so far!

I'm currently at Version 2 of my prototype, although the blog and examples are bit back-level of where i'm actually at. All placeholder stuff and simple game-mechanics so far..but its getting there....

Movie :

Screenshot :

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0jcurmxqfhtmt7j/Buggies_Proto_v2_small.jpg

Blog :

http://buggyz3d.tumblr.com/

Feel free to follow the game development blog on Tumblr...

Thank you. (blush)

p.s. Let me know if you have any questions!

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Comments

  • IgnatzIgnatz Mod
    edited January 2014 Posts: 5,396

    @andymac3d - Nice game, I like the cartoon effects, and especially the camera tracking.

    I gave you a shout out here
    http://coolcodea.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/145-game-development-blog/

  • Posts: 398

    @Ignatz - thank you kind sir!

    p.s. I'm going to put some links up at some point re: Codea/Lua etc.. and will certainly link back to your fine site. ;-)

  • edited January 2014 Posts: 139

    @andymac3d oh wow man that is really awesome!!

    Looks so cool and super impressive!

    I have one request? Would you consider renaming to Buggys or Buggies? It really irks me to see games ending in z when it's not right, yeah I know that probably appeals to the kiddies but I'm an adult, I love the look of your game. Just saying, if I spotted it in the App Store called Buggyz, I'd skip it on principle, it it was Buggys/Buggies I would not.

    Of course the decision is only yours, just thought I'd mention it. I'm going to follow that blog, thanks for doing it!

    I'd like to vote 'yes' for a qualifying lap before the race. :)

  • Posts: 1,595

    @andymac3d is this what you used the bezier / cubic hermite spline for? I’m pretty sure it was you who showed me the hermite spline integration you made, I’m assuming it’s the track designer for this?

  • Posts: 398

    @Luatee - yup, spot on and well remembered! I had to write a fair bit of code up front to handle Beziers before I could do anything vaguely interesting regarding the game. The blog explains this in a bit more detail.

    I've written a basic track editor that I'll integrate into the game at some point - although for speed, I currently plot them in Maya and export the control points (via Python) as a set of vec2's that my Bezier class can read and then I replot them in the game.

    @Tyson - interesting point! I think Buggyz may end up being a working title - it hadn't occurred to me the name could be an issue as i simply wanted something short and snappy I guess, but I'll certainly look into it. Does anyone else have any thoughts on the name?

  • IgnatzIgnatz Mod
    Posts: 5,396

    @andymac3D - I think the word Slot works better than Buggy, but maybe it's over used. It's just this game reminds me of slot car racing (I still remember Scalextrix).

  • edited January 2014 Posts: 1,595

    @andymac3d Thought so ;) Nailed it haha, this looks amazing now bet it took a fair bit, track editor in 2D shouldn’t be hard at all, do you plan to add a 3D view to it? Also I’m not sure how hard it would be to create bridges then you could make real complex maps without the overlaps everywhere, obviously you want one or two to slow things down! Also I’m curious about your bezier class, what functionality does it entail? Can you do the basic 4 point/3 point without the continuous spline plotting?

  • Jmv38Jmv38 Mod
    edited January 2014 Posts: 3,295

    @amdymac3d nice! I like the smoothness of the whole thing. The "from high above" view may limit the player immersion though, hence the adrenaline. Have you considered making a zoom closer to the car so the player feels more implied?

  • IgnatzIgnatz Mod
    Posts: 5,396

    @andymac3d @Jmv38 - in my flying project, I offer three views, one from the cockpit, one just behind, and one like you have, above and behind.

    I agree that an in car view would be quite exciting...

  • Posts: 725

    @andymac3d very nice - some interesting links on yor blog too.

  • Posts: 2,042

    Very nice! Love the look of it. For the name, I think Buggyz is better simply for branding purposes.

  • I also love the look of it. I do think some people will be put off by Buggyz, but if your screenshots look as good as the video, that will distract people from the name!

    As for game play, the AI looks like it is working well already. I guess there need to be several methods for a player to do better/fall back, i.e. speed up on the straights/go too fast round a bend?

  • Posts: 372

    Looks interesting....reminds me of the race track I had when I was younger. Like Luatee said bridges would make it even better.

  • edited January 2014 Posts: 398

    @Luatee - My Bezier lib is quite robust now and handles unlimited control points (rather than just 4!), parameter and arc-length positioning along a curve, closest point on a curve from another point in space and the ability to draw them in multiple styles etc.. I will eventually put it up on CC once I've ironed out some of the bugs and tidied it up a bit as there are still a few remaining 'issues'!

    @Ignatz & @Jmv38 - I've tested a number of camera views so far and this one seems to work the best, although admittedly I think we can be a tad closer.
    I think the player really needs to get a handle of the potential 'jeopardy' ahead and a higher PoV seems to help this. Also, its been interesting testing it on a smaller iPhone screen, which does give a much different game playing 'experience' than the iPad - the higher PoV really does help in this case.

    @West - thank you! I'm going to add lots of links to useful game-dev and game-design articles on the blog as I go along - so stay tooned!

    @time_trial & @JakAttak - I do have a list of other potential names other than Buggyz - so i may 'test' them out at some point. From reading other iOS app dev blogs, its interesting how much the combination of 'name and icon' on the App Store really does affect sales - the game may be utter shit, but as long as the Icon looks cool it seems to have a massive effect. Never judge a book by its cover eh? :-/

    @time_trial - Thanks! The basic AI does seem to work quite well and even their 'dumb' steering can present quite a challenge to negotiate. I think its often easy to over engineer an AI system and there are a few games that seem to use 'dumb' as an inherent game-play element (e.g. Pixel Junks Racers - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PixelJunk_Racers).
    I've got some ideas how to make them more intelligent, at the very least to mount some sort of challenge on later tracks.

    Once again, thank you to everyone on here whose commented so far. It really helps!

    :-D

  • IgnatzIgnatz Mod
    edited January 2014 Posts: 5,396

    @andymac3d - if you want to add a background, like a retro cityscape or something, I have code for creating a "skydome" that gives you a 360 degree wraparound image.

    Example here: http://twolivesleft.com/Codea/Talk/discussion/comment/34982

  • Posts: 418

    @andymac3d How'd you transfer the the 3D model from that modeling program to (I assume) Codea?

  • IgnatzIgnatz Mod
    Posts: 5,396

    @Goatboy76 - he wrote a script outside of Codea to do it

    I've written Codea code that can load, read and draw a 3D model (in OBJ format)

    http://twolivesleft.com/Codea/Talk/discussion/4200/how-to-import-fully-3d-objects-final-post/p1

  • Posts: 1,595

    @andymac3d you've encouraged me to redo my Bézier class, I hope to see yours on CC soon so I can compare! Your class sounds quite versatile, I want achieve something like this for splinerider and get it looking good and performing faster!

  • edited January 2014 Posts: 398

    @Ignatz - thanks for this, much appreciated! Although, I've already written some code to handle a background/skydome - I will take a look at yours and compare approaches etc.. ;-)

    p.s. I've designed a whole bunch of 'themed' backdrops (inc. retro cityscape!) which I'll put in the next version!

    @Luatee - sounds great! Let me know if you need any pointers. The main thrust of mine is speed and trying to compute as much as possible in advance of the main 'Draw' loop. Fortunately my curves don't change shape during the game which makes things somewhat easier and faster to compute.

    I'll CC it at somepoint once I've cleaned it up and worked through my current 'to do' list. ;-)

  • Great job. Very interesting blog. First time i have looked at tumblr...strange it does not seem to have a date associated to each entry- or did i miss something?

  • Posts: 725

    It has a time relative to now (e.g. 6 hours ago, 2 days ago, etc)

  • edited January 2014 Posts: 398

    @piinthesky - thanks! As @West says - the date-stamp is relative to the current time, but i think you'll need to roll over the blog post for it to drop down. You can see all the posts by going to the 'Archive' button on the left. :-)

  • Posts: 418

    @Ignatz Ok. Im not going to touch anything 3D for a loonnnnnnnggggg time.

  • Posts: 725

    @andymac3d you asked the question: What do people feel about the name Buggyz ? On your blog, but don't see anywhere to respond so I'll post here instead.

    I too am not so keen on Buggyz as a name - the z is very 80's,90's rather than the era of the graphical style your going for. Also, I associate buggy with dune buggy in a vehicular sense (bouncy) whereas yours are much more elegant and glidey, but with a bubble or pod element. I get the sense that the cars are weaving through a futuristic cityscape, so something that sums that up would be good...but I'm struggling to think so something suitable.

    Air cars? Hover racers? Aeromobiles? Levi-cars? Meh...

    Sorry - that's not been much help

  • Posts: 1,595

    Pod racer, Scalevitrix, Space race, The long and winding road? I agree the name could be refurbished but it’s probably just a concept name anyway?

  • Posts: 398

    @West - apologies for not being able to post a reply (seems that functionality has been temporarily disabled on the blog for some reason - will look into it!).

    I had a long think about the feedback regarding the name last night - and I think you've nailed it in your post regarding why it doesnt work. (i'm starting to dislike it as much as everyone else now!).

    Going back a few months when I started writing the game, I did like the idea that it would have certain elements of track cycling in the Velodrome e.g. some tactical components regarding not getting boxed in, a frantic final lap, lycra(?!) etc.. So i scribbled in my sketchbook the words 'Hoverdrome' - does this strike a chord?

    I do like the word 'hover' in there somewhere as it kind of is reminiscent of the retro-futurist 1950's vibe of the game.

    Any other suggestions? Might open this up as a competition and a prize for the winning name. ;-)

    p.s. I did chuckle to myself last night, as I've been quite nervous about showing people up to now - really lovely feedback about the graphics/game etc.. but the name sucks! lol ;-)

  • edited January 2014 Posts: 41

    Reminds me of a vintage Spacely Sprockets design. Rorry Rorge - Couldn't resist. On second thought it might be more of a Cogswell Cogs design. Either way it is nicely retro looking. Astrodrome.

  • IgnatzIgnatz Mod
    Posts: 5,396

    @andymac3d - maybe the word "magna" fits well in the name, because back when we were lads, one of the big sci fi themes was transport by magnetic levitation, and maybe that's how those slots create the hover effect.

  • edited January 2014 Posts: 398

    All good ideas! Keep 'em coming!

    @Ignatz - yes! I like the 'magna' or 'magneto' name.. :-)

    @Pops - Astrodrome? I like that one - instantly transports me back to the 50's!

    p.s. @West - the blog 'issue' is now fixed.

  • Posts: 725

    How about drawing inspiration from car models from that era? Pacer, skylark, majestic...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:1950s_automobiles

  • IgnatzIgnatz Mod
    Posts: 5,396

    @andymac3d - lol, a magnetic version of your game from back in the day

  • Posts: 2,820

    Very nice!

  • Posts: 139

    How about a free copy of the game to the person that thinks up the winning name.

    Lol, joke ;)

    It's really hard to come up with a cool name, I love your game and it reminds me of several things. 1: futuristic cartoon the jetsons, 2: TCR (total control racing) of the 80's where you could switch lanes.

    As for names, I suck at names like I suck at coding but I'll toss a couple in, just for a laugh.

    Magrace
    Slotglide
    Podracer
    Laneracer
    Hoverpod

  • Posts: 398

    @Ignatz - that's pretty neat! The car looks like its escaped from a Monopoly game. I think their 'follow camera' code needs a bit of work :-/

    @Tyson - I was thinking more a holiday to the Bahamas - but if your happy with a copy of the game that's absolutely fine :-D. I really like your names - Podracer would get Mr Lucas and his minions onto me, Hoverpod works really well ;-)

    @West - nice link.. Think i'll incorporate elements of this somewhere.

    Right - better get back to coding Proto v3!

  • Posts: 398

    It's been a bit of a while since I posted an update to Buggyz. So, I thought I'd post a few screenshots and vids as we head toward the next phase of its development. (These are a bit back level from where I'm current at, but this should give you the gist!)

    Progress has been steady but not as fast as I'd like due to work commitments and other projects, but a tend to do a bit every few days and it's almost at the point I'm happy to finally beta test.

    Thanks to the feedback on here (@Ignatz et.al) and to some of the regulars who tend to lurk on the dev-blog (especially @West ) who've been really supportive!

    Core gameplay is almost there and I've now got most of the themed zone/tracks worked out - just need some time to finish and update the graphics as a lot of what you currently see is still 'placeholder' stuff..

    Anyway, enough of my idle chit chat, here's a few things to have a look at and I've got another cool update next month..

    Buggyz Prototype 2.5:

    Screenshot:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/tu1acyaybehguut/2014-06-07 01.14.20.png

    Video:

    Dev-blog:

    http://buggyz3d.tumblr.com

    Twitter:

    @Buggyz_Game

    Thanks chaps and let me know if you've got any questions or constructive feedback!

    Oh yes, it's all written in Codea! :-D

  • Posts: 135

    Looks great, especially the cool cartoon effects, I'm really excited to see the final product!

  • Posts: 239

    @andymac3d I like its cartoon style's

  • Posts: 2,820

    Looking great, as usual. I've been loosely following the development blog, but never got around to making an account and actually following it. (I'll make that number of followers 4, right now.)
    My only suggestion right now is to make a touch down state for the left and right buttons. Other than that, looks great!

  • Posts: 2,042

    Excellent stuff. Like @Zoyt, I've check in on the blog a few times but don't actually have an account to follow.

  • IgnatzIgnatz Mod
    Posts: 5,396

    @andymac3d - it looks really great.

    I found the background buildings just a little distracting, and I wonder if you shouldn't just fade them back a little during the race (although they look very nice). See what other people think...

    A technical point - the inside track will have the shortest distance, and the outside track the longest, because the direction is always clockwise. I'm not sure if this matters, depending on how you've programmed it.

  • Jmv38Jmv38 Mod
    edited August 2014 Posts: 3,295

    I had a look at your blog: nice to read your recent summary of thoughts about your project. It is a bit scary to see how long it is, and i understand you really need support from followers to keep going on.

  • edited August 2014 Posts: 398

    Thanks for your support and feedback everyone (nice tweet by @Simeon on the TLL feed as well!)

    @Jmv38 - I think the blog (and more recently Twitter) has helped keep a bit of focus, especially during times I've been busy with other projects and work stuff (of which there is a lot!). I tend to go in bursts of activity on this project, with perhaps not much happening for a week or so and then ill blitz a few things against my to-do list. Above all, I guess the temptation to just 'bash something out' and move on is huge - but I really want to push Codea as far as I can and make a quality game - hence, the protracted development time to get it just right. I'll get there in the end I'm sure. ;-)

    @Ignatz - yes, you're right about the background. The 'short track' really doesn't help things as you can quickly do a full circuit in about 15-20 seconds... Which means you make a full 360 degree sweep of the backround quite quickly. I have a few thoughts on this - some are to do with cosmetically 'knocking it back' as you suggested. The other is 'gearing' it - so the background doesn't move as fast relative to the where your looking. I think there's a few retro racing games that used this to good effect without it looking odd.

    As far as the competitive advantage on inside/outside lanes -there is currently none! This a conscious decision and is based on the parametric nature of how I've implemented my Beziers... However, each lane will have on the next version colour coded 'slow' and 'fast' zones to give extra strategic points to avoid or hit that modulate speed. Also, additional jeopardy is from hitting a curve too fast and you fly off - which works pretty well and gives another angle to make sure the player monitors their speed. Without this, the game is too easy as you just need to keep on full throttle throughout!

    I'm genuinely interested in anyone else's observations on racing games in general - especially AI and win strategies. To be honest, I think this is a bit easier with slot racing games as the steering behaviour is less important and it really boils down to the relative positions on the track and speed.

    @Zoyt - yes, the controls are still under development. I really want to simplify these further. One thing that's changed is not having a 'thrust/accel' button - this is now a 'brake'. I found you spend most of the time accelerating, so there was no advantage to having this as a redundant control (and knackering your finger in the process as it was always held down!).. The 'brake' works much better. I'll probably put the left/right lane change buttons on each size of the screen in the end.

    Anyway, thanks for everyone's interest! Keep following the blog and I'll try and post things more regularly as progress starts speeding up over the coming months! :-D

  • edited August 2014 Posts: 1,595

    @andymac3d Good to see you back here again. As I said before this is brilliant and an amazing example of Codea's capabilities, but I have just one suggestion. Try approaching the yaw angle of the camera to the cars angle as for me it looks quite rigid how it is now.

  • Posts: 398

    @Luatee - thanks! Back on here after a bit of a break - will chip in a bit more frequently as well! Ps. Your comment re:yaw angle is noted ;-)

  • Posts: 35

    Grieta work! I am impressed by content already made. Keep going on it!

  • Posts: 398

    @Ignatz - thanks for these. I'm familiar with the Gamasutra one (rubber-banding and stuff)... But not the second article which was hugely insightful!

    I think racing-game AI is hugely interesting and quite hard to get right for these reasons. Certainly it's more obvious than most genres whether you are either winning or not and how to make the games still fun if you're way behind the leader with no chance of catching up.

    I think I've still got a bit of work to do to alleviate these problems as it's still relatively easy to pull away from the other Buggyz after a few laps and hold the lead position. I really want it to be a bit more like a track cycling race, where the last lap is a lot more of a close (but exciting!) finish and more to do with positioning and tactics than simply raw speed. I have a few ideas for this - so let's see. ;-)

  • Posts: 1,595

    @andymac3d One idea to make it harder would be to have a left to right joystick bar like this (couldn't find an image so have a text example):

    <----O---->
    

    You drag the circle in the middle left to right to match the turning angle of the buggy, if it's not accurate then the buggy slows down allowing the computer to catch up. You could make it its own game mode too.

  • Posts: 167

    Where is a link to the code for this game? It sounds really interesting and I really want to play it

  • Posts: 113

    I really like the look of the game and am sure it will be a very polished release to the App Store. I'm interested in your analogy of a track cycling race, something I watch a bit of on TV.

    The key to cycling track races where there are other riders is to conserve energy when you need to and expend it at the right times. In a race where the first across the line wins (known as a scratch race), then mostly having the energy at the end is the best tactic. This isn't just a case of saving energy but not damaging your muscles too much before then. This could transfer to Buggyz as having a number of turbo boosts to use, possibly damaging tyres or your engine if you use the turbo too often or do not draft behind other buggies enough.

    Equally important is to actually use your energy! If you save it to the end and can't spend it before the finish, it will be too late to catch up.

    The other type of group race on a track is a points race, where riders sprint for points every x laps, with 1st place getting 5 points, 2nd 3 points, and so on. Riders get double points on the last lap, and gain 20 points if they lap the main field (not just any one rider, but the main bunch of riders). Perhaps this would offer a different game mode to extend playability?

    Apologies if you know this already about track racing.

    Based on your earlier post about the player only braking and not choosing to accelerate by holding a button, this doesn't translate to cycling where all movement is a choice to expend effort. Perhaps a halfway solution could be if the player presses no button then their buggy moves at a moderate speed, but they brake for corners and to avoid crashes if they use a turbo boost?

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