Greetings readers of Oversteer and welcome to the very first instalment of the Oversteer Game Development Diary.
Now, I say diary but I can’t promise I will be updating this overly regularly, as I do have to spend the bulk of my time building the actual game.
Right, the beginnings. In 2008, I unfortunately met our editor Damien when I was lucky enough to land a job at NZ Driver Magazine. Sadly, Damien was in need of friends and I agreed to pretend to be one of them, in return for a small fee. I have been stuck with him since.
Anyhoo, while Damien continued on in the land of automotive journalism (and I have to admit, he’s pretty good at what he does), I decided to change tack and follow what had been a dream of mine since I was a wee tyke – creating video games.
In 2009 I discovered a neat little piece of software named GameSalad, which allowed me to create my first ever video game without a single line of code! Max Vector, a Commodore/Atari-inspired shooter was a relative success on iPhone and I had the bug.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one with a bug, the software I was using was glitchy to say the least and just didn’t allow me to do what I wanted to do. I wanted to make bigger, better games. I had to bite the bullet. I had to learn to “gasp” PROGRAM A COMPUTER.
So, in 2011 I studied Interactive Gaming at Media Design School and picked up the skills I needed in C/C++ programming to be able to write 3D games from the ground up! Of course, coding from scratch takes a very long time and with my math skills that are about as polished as the moon, I decided on developing within the Unity 3D game development environment.
Step forward to 2013 and I have commercially released five titles, four of which were built with Unity. I haven’t exactly had a “big hit” yet but for the Oversteer game I have put my researching skills into overdrive and for the first time in my life, designed the game properly with design documents! Oh, how I have grown up.
Seeing as I love cars and racing games are my favourite genre (two out of my previous five games are racers), for my latest game I decided to make a racing simulator. It seemed natural to involve Damien and his silly hair. I’m making a racing game, he has a site about cars. Thus, Oversteer, The Game was born.
I can’t tell you too much about the play mechanics at this stage, as the secret sauce must remain secret until I am closer to publishing. What I can tell you is that Oversteer is a realistic simulation, rather than an arcade racer and it is penned for release in May 2014.
The game will initially feature a roster of over twenty cars, with more cars being added regularly via updates.
Oversteer is designed for mobile phones and tablets first and foremost. The stages will be short and sweet, a real “pick up and play” approach that will mean that if you have a spare minute while in the Doctor’s waiting room, or a whole hour lying in bed, ignoring the wife/hubby, you can play as little or as much as you like.
The game will be (this is the best part) FREE! Yes, I do need to pay the bills, so there will be micro transactions available, but rest assured, the entire game will be available to play free of charge, from beginning to end. The IAP (in App Purchasing) will cater for more hardcore players and will be avoidable for tightwads. You know who you are!
So, what goes into making a racing game? Well, a hell of a lot. I have had to teach myself 3D modelling so as to build the cars and environments. Whilst there are loads of “off the shelf” options that certainly suit the game, I am trying to use “home made” visuals when and where I can. All of the cars will be modelled from scratch, though I am using a healthy amount of environment and prop models from Unity’s amazing asset store… hell, that’s what they’re for!
Each and every car will be a fantasy design “allegedly”closely related to a real world vehicle, akin to the approach found within the Grand Theft Auto series.
I have taken care with the selection to make sure there’s not one boring model in the game. Really, who wants to drift a Mazda 2? Okay, drifting anything is fun, but you know what I mean.
Right, on to the actual diary part. This last week I have been learning how to model 3D objects in Blender. I chose Blender as my tool of choice because… well, it’s free. It also turns out that it’s incredibly powerful and easy to use! Bonus!
The first car to undergo the virtual clay treatment is the Toyama Runner GT. No prizes for guessing on what real world car it is “allegedly” based.
Here are a couple of WIP shots of said car. I haven’t begun texturing or adding details such as wipers, mirrors and general touch ups.
This little Toyama sports 130bhp, sprints from 0-100 in 8.6 seconds and hits the 400m mark in a little over 16 seconds. Don’t worry, as you progress through the game, the cars get a LOT faster.
The game is shaping up really nicely and the physics are spot on, thanks to an incredible vehicle physics package that I am using called UnityCar.
Well, that’s all for now. My next entry won’t be such a massive rant but I will have more pretty pictures for you to look at.
Merry Christmas, New Zealand!