| Devlog #1 |
In my last devlog I talked about building out the base of the project and some of my motivations behind it. Since then I’ve continued to build out the first level (LATC) & have been working on prototyping different gameplay systems as well as tweaking vehicle physics.
Watch the video version of this devlog on my YouTube channel!
I’ve had a daily Twitter thread going since July 13th when I officially started working on the three driving games I'm building:
I am planning to keep this thread going while these games are still in development; connect with me on Twitter & follow my journey!
Let’s talk about the good first: I’ve been working on LATC and it’s coming together as a really interesting map. The scale worries I’ve been facing have been whittled down a little as I’ve added more detail into the map. While the center campus is still the main focus, the entire map has been growing in scale as I’ve filled out the edges with more buildings & background city meshes. I’ve started adding grind splines around the level and even some ramps to the rooftops. Verticality is going to be a big gameplay feature and I want the rooftops to offer just as much of an interesting experience as driving along the street; but that also means making them easily accessible.
I’ve also been working on some gameplay mechanics, mainly tying the different tricks & events together for the combo system. Currently the tricks you perform output to the screen (flip/roll/grind/etc.) and give you a boost reward + add to a combo timer which I included for prototyping early on. There’s still a lot of tweaking to be done but the first pass will be to remove the timer and use boost to keep the player in combo as long as they’re boosting/performing tricks. The combo result will then tie into awards in the other gameplay systems as they continue to develop.
Grind splines and rooftop ramps!
Delivery gameplay prototyping!
The vehicle feels even better to drive around in the map. There’s some issues with collisions on the current model and I need to ensure it auto-flips back on its wheels after landing wrong but it’s fun and that’s what I’ve been focusing on. After getting some feedback I updated the center of gravity and pivot point so now the vehicle physics feel a little bit more natural during jumps and flips. Additionally I’ve lowered the overall speed slightly and tweaked the physics so that the vehicle has more air time & boost now flips/rotates the vehicle faster in-air. I think there’s more tweaking to do in terms of handling and making the controls smoother but it’s improving and I really enjoy playing it.
The thing is that I was initially putting off working on some of the things I figured would be harder - like tracking pawn’s in-air trick rotations or getting AI traffic working (not to mention multiplayer) - but all of those things have been relatively painless to prototype into the project. What I think has really been happening is I’ve been dragging my feet behind the fun vehicle base I have and hoping that it would magically mold itself into a complete game. Once I have a clear vision of something the work to get there is no big deal, but if I don’t have a goal I’m working towards then it feels like I’m building something completely worthless. If I wanted to just build another throwaway prototype to put up on itch I could’ve stopped a month ago, but I want to see this game finished: I just need to be able to see the finish line.
While I’m enjoying doing some level design, I’m not a visual artist (of any kind) and that shows. I have a pretty clear picture of what I want in my head stylistically but I’m having a tough time reconciling my lack of skill with my current vision. Just applying some shaders on base textures is not doing it for me anymore; I’m going to have to spend some time doing tutorials and creating some smaller test scenes to really get the hang of crafting that more stylized look I’m going for. I’m shooting eventually for an eye catching, more simple visual style that looks good in motion instead of having to make very detailed finely textured & lit city scenes.
Beginning to add detail to LATC.
The map feels like it's coming together!
Unsure of the final direction, I’m still equally unsure about a name. I don’t care what most people say about not choosing a name early on, it’s something I do for most of my projects and I’m getting tired of ‘Untitled Driving Game’. Giving a project a real name that I believe represents it helps me feel more connected with the project. I don’t have an issue with changing the name down the line either, I just want to come up with a name that suits the project and gives me the ability to start marketing it a little bit more. This is kind of a chicken and egg scenario with the project’s goal though: I could name it something generic and just stick with that but I prefer to have something that better represents the game overall.
Good question. I feel like I’m on the edge of figuring out the core singleplayer gameplay loop. I know the elements I want to bring together, it’s just a matter of doing it in a way that I’m comfortable with & that actually feels fun. Since I’m still pointing towards #UntitledDrivingGame being a multiplayer capable title, I am going to create a test project to figure out pawn replication and what I need to rework to add it into the main project. With those two in mind, the main goal before the next devlog (a month-ish) is to have a fully playable round/mission/non-free roam mode.
Additionally I need to ‘complete’ LATC - just in terms of smoothing out issues with the landscape and adding more things like ramps and grind splines for roof transfers - so that there’s a fully playable map. I’ve started adding AI vehicles and defining traffic patterns as well and will continue to tweak their behavior and interactions with the player. LATC currently consists of mostly BSP geometry so I need to convert the majority to static meshes for performance reasons (it’s all still temporary for blockout).
Thanks for reading! Make sure to follow me on Twitter to stay up to date with my work & watch #UntitledDrivingGame evolve!