Fly your racing pod through the desert and the other racers !
Everytime you die, the game adds a new racer.
To win, just do one lap... if you can !
Xbox controller is advised but not required.
December 5th, 2017
Made for Ludum Dare #40
Theme : "The more you have, the worse it is"
The game isn't really finished, there is no SFX or music.
I didn't have much time after the jam, so I wasn't able to test other games.
That's why there are no results (not enough votes).
After the end of the jam I did some balancing, texturing and I added some menus (pause, options, difficulty).
In November 2017, I worked as a volunteer for Games Made In France. It’s a stand in the Paris Games Week where multiple French game developers can show their games to the public. As a volunteer, my job was to help demo a game from the studio Atomic Raccoon (I also helped with other stuff, but this isn’t really relevant here). This studio was developing a game named Tube (now named Stay Safe): a die & retry racing-platformer. When a month later it was time for the next Ludum Dare Game Jam, this made me want to make a racing game.
The theme of the jam was “The more you have, the worse it is”. I didn’t really care about the theme, I just wanted to make a racing game and see what I could do. I wanted to create something like the podrace in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. I wanted to use Houdini for the terrain as I knew it could look really nice (I planned on learning it on the fly, which turned out to be a really bad Idea).
I started with the 3D modeling and texturing of the pod (like I did for Dunkirk). I didn’t want to do something that looked that the Star Wars pod… In the end it looked like the Star Wars X Wing fighter (my inspiration was actually a Star Trek fighter).
I started pretty late in the day (around 11AM), so I was done with the fighter at around 3PM.
It was now time to start Unity and code the controller. Unlike Dunkirk, here my goal was to focus mainly on gameplay. I wanted to make a physic based hovering pod (which is not an easy task).
To do that, I put four points (thrusters) on the pod, facing the ground, where car wheels would be. The two points from the front of the aircraft were closer from each other (this was more adequate with the triangular shape of the pod). It took me a lot of time to fix the different bugs that would prevent the pod to hover nicely above the ground. Here’s a video where you can see it not staying at a stable height above the ground and starting to jump like dolphin.
One of the ways to fix this was to make the back thrusters push harder when they were close to the ground. This led to some interesting game mechanic I’ll talk more about later.
When testing some HUD, I found out that adding some outline with my custom glowing text shader, it would create this cool neon like effect. In this video you can also see that I put a camera when the player dies.
I hadn’t found a gameplay mechanic that would fit the theme yet, so I started making the terrain with Houdini. This was a HUGE lost of time, as I had to learn how to get the software’s heightmaps to Unity, only to find out that there was not enough precision in the colors to get a good enough terrain. After loosing a day of work (out of the two remaining), I decided to just export the terrain as a mesh and get it into Unity. I make a shader to emulate Unity’s terrain layered textures. I wasn’t happy as the terrain didn’t even look that good compared to some test terrain. The worst part is that I knew I shouldn’t learn or try to use a new software during a game jam, as this is a common mistake.
Anyway, the last day of the jam I had to go to school. In addition to not getting anything out of the Sunday, I didn’t do much during the Monday either. When I got home I worked on the game mechanic that was related to the theme: every time you crashed, you would restart, and a clone of your pod would follow the exact same trajectory as you (this was just a simple array recording the player’s path).
A couple of hours before submitting the game, I added a spacialized HUD with the weird but nice neon look. I also added some VFX and played the game to record other racers (otherwise it would look empty and maybe too easy?).
I think I submitted the game only a few minutes before the deadline. The game didn’t have any menus, sounds or music, and it was too difficult.
During lunch break, I discoverd a nice game mechanic I accidentally made. So, if you go really fast, it’s better to tilt your pod a bit, this makes the nose of the aircraft go up. Because you’re going so fast, the aircrast is pushed towards the ground (otherwise you would start flying and loose control), thanks to the back thrusters pushing up harder than the front ones, you have very few chances of accidentally touching the ground, allowing you to go very fast safely. I was very happy to discover this as it was the kind of thing I wanted to create with this game.
In the days following the release, I did a few updates to add menus, difficulty settings (while keeping the vanilla one of course), and adding some pod skins (they had now different colors and sponsors). It looked a bit more like a futuristic NASCAR race (which I liked).
Oh, and because the race was so long, the player just had to reach the finish line to win (I should’ve make a smaller map).
This project made me realize how important sound was to a game. Obviously, it taught me that learning a new software on the fly was a VERY bad idea (aka loosing 33% of your development time). Finally, making this game during a school term was very hard, I had to juggle between homework, school projects and this (which was exhausting).
To end on a positive note, I’m proud of the physic-based gameplay and the UI (which I mostly made after the submission).