Update – 02 January 2017

in Design, Dev blog, Update

Happy New Year!

 

Guess what? Sick again. I can’t get out more than 10min without catching a cold. In other news: I started doing some Level Design (finally) and although my 3D skills are pretty low the result is not that bad and I’m skilling up pretty fast.

I hope to finish all terrain modeling in the coming weeks, then some gameplay and physics coding, redoing (again) the ingame Interface and we’ll be ready to reveal the big changes we’re making to the game!

 

See you next week!

 

Devblog #8 – 3D Spaceships!

in Design, Dev blog, Update

Hi!

I take the opportunity of that new 3D spaceship model to make a quick devblog about the changes it cames with.

Let me introduce you to 3DEFAULT, our new test spaceship completely handmade by myself.

For those who just came onboard, Wheelless was in full 2D last year, and it was around June I found out about ProBuilder, making it easy for anyone to model something in 3D directly in Unity. Previous spaceships were in 2D, as pictured:

Wheelless - normals

So, after some testing, learning and die & retry, here it is, the first spaceship in full 3D!

As you can see in the video, I’ve modeled the Hull and the Armor separately so I can BURN IT when damaged.

After some considerations, the chassis might not be included in the final game as it wasn’t worth the time building it VS the time you’ll watch it in action.

Catching up with already included features from the 2D versions, I’ve made some animations for the exhausts vents for when you use an {active} equipment:

 

On the new stuffs side, I added two sets of active lights along with ‘burning’ animation for the thrusters:

Rear lights is enabled when you hit the Brakes button/key. The burn animation from the thrusters activates when you are moving.

 

When entering a dark area, you’ll need some lights for revealing the path in front of you: Headlights!

Headlights will automatically be enabled when entering a low luminosity area, or at night.

 

Obviously, all these features won’t be the same for each spaceship manufacturers. For example, alien style spaceships would have some bioluminescent organic lights, robots would have neons and humans some LED-like lights. Same with the read lights.

 

I’ve also updated the shields to a 3D model:

wheelless__3d-spaceship__shields

Gameplay wise, the Shield is exactly the same as described in the previous devblog, it is more of a graphical update than anything.

 

Finally, customised decals are easier than ever with the new materials settings I used for this version (vs the horrible multiple sprite layers nightmare from the 2D system), so color swap is a one-line code change!

wheelless__3d-spaceship__competitors


This is the first step toward new spaceships for the game. As you well know, the first one always takes the most time and effort, but as my 3D skills improves and more and more ship parts are created, more and more spaceship will come online.

We’re still concepting and revamping all the spaceships designs with the new 3D modeling in mind with Yuubae. Until we have locked up all designs, I still have to finish the main menu and have to start one final circuit to play seriously on, along with the last part of the Health System 2.0, aka damages states.

 

We’re nearer the Alpha 2.0 each week, so bear with me!


 

Also, special shoutout to the /r/NintendoSwitch subreddit for the nice feedback and comments about this project. I wouldn’t have dreamed for so much positiveness from randoms on the internet and that really warmed my heart!

 

So thank you all for reading my posts and following this project. Don’t forget you can join our discord channel and follow us on twitter!

 

See you next week!

Devblog #7 – HUD & Health System 2.0

in Design, Dev blog, Update

Hi! What? A design post? Are you sick? It was merely two months since the last one!

/s

 

Yep, game is building itself slowly but surely. I don’t know if you say that in english but in french it’s something we say. Anyway, let’s recap some of the progress I’ve blogged about if you skipped some posts:

Update

Lots of things happened (I mean, outside of the game), so it seems the development stagnates, but there are some behind the scene work we’ve done we can’t show you (well if you don’t want to be spoiled, or if you like game design stuffs… anyway, nothing consistant to show). Beside that, I took some time to design and build the new HUD in the same time as Health System 2.0 (since the two are connected).

Lots of new content, redesigned bars, animations and features~

Work on the campain has also started. Some systems involving dialogues and actual campain paths (since our campain has roughly 6 scenarios) are being built. We locked up one scenario and all the circuits ideas.

Oh yeah... I forgot I made this as a test dialogue...
Oh yeah… I forgot I made this as a test dialogue…

 

Also, I tried some 3D building. Not the best but I’ll improve over time and I’m sure the next one will be much better!

wheelless__spaceship3d

 

 

So what’s new on the HUD, and the Health System 2.0?

ALL OF IT.

If you’re not fond of reading text, you can watch a video I made specifically for this design post.

 

If you like reading, here we go:

 

But first, let me take a selfie let me show you the previous HUD we had in the alpha 1.0.1 release:

HUD in Alpha 1.0.1

Beside some graphical improvements and changes, such as the fuel bar disposition, health shape, numbers positions (times and your ship position in the race) and speed indicator, I made some new features (and updated the old one, like the close competitor arrows you can see in the middle).

New and shiny (and in editor)
New and shiny (and in editor)

Lap system

Numbers are overrated (saying this while there are numbers on my system hehe), laps are now counted as FLAGS.

Self explainatory; current lap in glowing white and completed laps turns blue~

wheelless__laps

Race INFORMATIONS

I made some improvements on the close competitor arrows that shows you who is closest to your spaceship. Like before, red is closest, green is “middle range”, then when it’s too far it fades out. Now you can customise how much arrows you want, if 3 is not enough. Or 12.

A new addition is the leader position indicator:

3 small arrows will follow the First, Second and Third competitor (or yourself) giving you a much clearer idea of who is leading the race.

Wheelless - leaders

EMERGENCY SYSTEM

This one is tied to the Health System 2.0 and the circuit. This is a simple message appearing on screen alerting when a terrain hazard is occuring. Like acid rain or radioactive storm or when your wife tells you to go get some milk or stuff.

Wheelless - Emergency system

ACTIVE EQUIPMENT GAUGE

The gauge shows up when you equip an {active} equipment. There is an icon inside the circle when you forgot what you equipped.

The gauge fills up when you push the key/button, glow white when your equipment is ready to be used, then it will slowly deplete, showing you the cooldown. There is also a clock animation in the circle.

Here: GONG equipment
Here: GONG equipment

Now onto HEALTH SYSTEM 2.0

Damage calculations has been refactored. There is now 3 types of damages:

  • Physical
  • Elemental or Constant
  • Situationnal

Thoses damages are applied to the first layer of protection your ship has, in this order: Shield > Armor > Hull.

Physical Damages

When you hit a competitor, the terrain (such as barriers and walls) and props (rocks, asteroids…), physical damages are applied to your spaceship. They can have some severe knockback, depending on your ship weight.

Elemental / Constant

Thoses damages are applied to you in some specifics areas only. When you cross a lava stream, or drive inside a storm, your ship will takes damage over time, unless you have a shield equipped.

The emergency system will tell you when such damages are coming to you.

HAIL STORM lowers your top speed
HAIL STORM lowers your top speed
Situationnal

The situationnal damages doesn’t necessarly mean health damage. It can also be stats damages. They are generaly applied once to you and you suffers from the effect for a short amount of time. It can be like slipping on a banana, you’ll lose control for a second, or being hit by a hack wave that inverse your controls for a while.

Wheeless - banana :^)

Now that you know more about damages, let’s see what can prevents them:

Shield

We’ve changed the shield formula. It has now up to 5 HP (depending on your equipment level), meaning that you can take up to 5 physical hit without being damaged, but then you’ll lose it, and the recharge time is relatively long.

The shield protects you from elemental damages
The shield protects you from elemental damages

Shield will prevent you to take any elemental/constant damage, but careful, for some weather or zones has a lot of debris and projectiles that can deactivate your shield!

Armor

The armor works just about as before. It will take damage instead of the hull until it breaks.

It is more resistant to physical damages than the hull, but is very vulnerable to elemental damages. Also, you can’t repair your armor during the race! So prepare your loadout before jumping in the void!

HULL

Hull takes 1:1 damages to either physical and elemental. It will break when under 20% of total health and you’ll be screwed if you takes more hits.

 

Health states

For more immersion and, well, logic, we’re making some health states involving particles effects and graphical changes during the race.

When your ship takes a lot of damage, it will start smoking. Breaking the armor or the hull will send some debris and sparkles, and can sometime explode. When your health is at a critical level, your ship will take fire, move uncontrollably and then ultimately explode, and that’s game over.

I’m wondering if it’ll be cool or creepy if the pilot is sent flying when the ship explode.

Note: sorry for lack of visual for this part, since spaceships are not built in 3D, those systems are not made yet. Bear with me, you’ll se when it’s done o/

 

Bonus

For testing purpose (concerning moslty elemental damages), I made a small test circuit including 4 biomes. Enjoy a little flybye of this puppy:

(and no, you’re not supposed to do this)

 

That’s it for this design post! I hope you enjoyed reading more about our game design (and/or the video).

Friendly reminder: you can join our discord for some chatting~

Again, you can follow us on twitter for more sneak peek and update on the project, and we’re still on IndieDB!

 

Thanks again, see you next time! <3

Devblog #6 – Equipments 2.0

in Design, Dev blog

Kept you waiting huh?

Hi! It’s been a while since the last devblog. Lots of things happened since (and not only development: family stuffs, administration, my cat need serious health cares, I was sick too, and many many time consuming things).

Today I’ll talk a little bit about the new Equipment System 2.0 teased previously. It is not done yet, and there is absolutly no interface making it unplayable right now, but the part I’ve done is working great and I’m confident about the new features added.

For thoses that don’t follow the small updates on the blog, this is a recap of what was done until now:

3D tweaks

I have revamped the spaceship scripts for a better and smoothier gameplay that work better in the new 3D environnments, I also added brake/backward movements for more controls and sense of driving.

I also added a camera control for zooming in/out and changing a little bit of the perspective for your eyes sweetness and fixed several controls issues for mouse, keyboard and gamepad that came with the new camera angles.

You can control the angle and the height of the camera
You can control the angle and the height of the camera

 

You can go backward and also store acceleration for a better start!
You can go backward and also store acceleration for a better start!

I added a respawn mechanic (for when a spaceship fall in a pit or off the tracks), and also started tweaking the AI behaviours. Right now the competitors are still a little dumb but at least they follow the tracks much more efficiently!

 

Textures and props

I made a pass on the textures and I think I got something. It’s definitely not final, but it’s a good step toward what I want it to be in the final game (well, until a game artist joins the project) (if) (maybe) (don’t count on it actually I’m too broke to get a professionnal artist).

Textures&Props
I tried myself on 3D rendering, and added some small details like 2D grass and stuff

EQUIPMENT SYSTEM 2.0

In the previous system (or current in the alpha 1.0.1 build), there was 6 pieces of equipments, each altering the ship stats or enabling a certain gameplay element (like the Shield or the Turbo). There was two to three differents equipments for each with various stats changes to equip, or you could go stock with nothing on your ship.

Alpha 1.0.1 menus for spaceship & equipments selection
Alpha 1.0.1 menus for spaceship & equipments selection

 

The issue with this system was balancing. I want the game to be balanced for every pieces of equipments and that every spaceship is equal to one another, the win/lose ratio should be only a matter of playstyle. So with this system it felt like either I had to make unlockable better equipments, ruining the balancing of the game, or make only one or two pieces of each, making the entire system useless.

I asked my fellow game designer friends about that and one design stood up during the conversation: skill trees! Nice in paper, but wasn’t really compatible with the game.

So I thought outside the box: why not simply cut off the current equipments and make something more object driven?

I cam up with two differents style of equipments: {Actives} and {Support}.

 

{Active} Equipments

{Actives} equipments are objects that can enable a certain gameplay feature, just like the Turbo in the current build.

The Turbo gauge in Alpha 1.0.1 changed to an equipment gauge. You can start filling the gauge with the [equipment] key ([space] by default). The filling time requirement depends on the equipment you have. Then, you let the key and the equipment is triggered. There is then a cooldown time before you can use your equipment again.

Each {Active} equipments have now 4 variables: two personnal variables (eg: Turbo has a MaxSpeed variable and a TurboTime one), and two general variables that are ChargeTime and CooldownTime.

I wanted to tie the races (in Free mode) and the Story mode, where you can unlock new equipments, spaceships and earn money; I thought it would be nice to have some sort of “Star” money you could spent on improve certains pieces of equipments.

example of the Turbo variables table and levels
Example mockup of the Turbo variables table and ‘star’ levels

Now I know, I said I wanted the entire game to be equal for every spaceship by not doing betters unlockable equipmens. But I feel that new system is much more rewarding concerning the Story mode and add a sense of achievement and improvement for the player. It also add a little bit of replayability and who knows, maybe you could discover new ways to play or enjoy the circuits with a more powerful piece of equipment!

I already started implementing some of the new gameplay changing equipments. Thoses are a few I’ve done, and more are down the line:

[TURBO] You already know it, it basically helps you go really fast for a short amounbt of time, but you cannot  control your spaceship during that boost!

Wheelless - Turbo

 

[SLINGSHOT] When you’re traveling in the side of a dangerous pit and that one red annoying spaceship you hate is blocking your way, smack it in the void!

Wheelless - Slingshot

 

[FLAMES] You’re so hot you are damaging your sourroundings and the one behind you!

Wheelless - Flames

 

[GONG] When you don’t want to share your personal space with others

Wheelless - Gong

 

There are more coming in the future. Stay tuned!

 

{Support} equipments

Previously we had the Shield and the Armor, and some stats changing equipments. I have combined them in one equipment type: the {Support} equipment.

They are passive objects that alter your stats, fuel and health. Some activate special features during specifics situations. Just like the {active} equiments, they have two main variables, but no chargeTime & CooldownTime since they are passive.

 

This is a non exhaustive list of the support (passive) equipments:

[ARMOR], gives you additionnal health. It breaks when it is too much damaged and you can’t get it back.

[SHIELD], protects you from the elements (weathers and others damaging hazards) and absorbs a certain amount of the physical damages.

[SPIKES], you are covered in a swarm of spikes, making much more damage to the competitors you touch.

[HOVER], you can hover over offroads parts of the circuit for a short amount of time.

[START BOOST], you are guaranteed a starting boost in the beggining of the race

Wheelless__PassiveEquipments
Some visuals of the passive {Support} equipments

 

The other part of the {Support} equipments are the stat changing:

[STATS], you can improve one stat over another. For example: improving the TOP SPEED will decrease the ACCELERATION.

[MASS], you can increase or decrease a little bit of your mass.

[BOOST], you can improve your boost speed

[FUEL], you can have more fuel stored in your ship, or improve the consumption rate per seconds.

 

Equipments slots

Now that we know what we can get in the races, how do we equip them?

It was also a tough question, but I finally found a system that can work: Slots.

Basically, each spaceship have a set amount of slots. There will be always one {Active} equipment (remember it is enabled with the [SPACE] key. I don’t want to over complicate things by adding multiple keys or ingame micromanagement).

The remaining slots are filled with {support} equipments. It’s up to you to build your perfect loadout! But keep in mind that every circuit is different, so if the Turbo may be a good idea for a circuit that have long straight lines, it could be a nightmare on a curved and slanted roads.

 

 

That’s it for today! In the next Devblog I will show you the progress on Health System 2.0. I didn’t do it first because it is tied with the {Support} equipments, and I wanted to finish that first. When all thoses systems are done, the AIs will get some love, then I’ll finish the basic circuit, textures, props and lighting pass and stuff, and we’ll be in the right track for the Alpha 2.0!

In the meantime, follow us on twitter and IndieDB!

Thank you for reading!

Devblog #5 – 3D Architecture!

in Design, Dev blog, Update

Hello everyone!

I hope you weren’t lost without me for those 3 weeks of silence :°

So, after a lot and lot of work, family issues and a Master memory helping, I’m finally back (to kick some tails)!

Obviously, nothing is finished yet. I just thought there was enough content to show you, and since the focus on this update was the 3D architecture and not the new circuit, I just went for it now and not after finishing it.

Also, disclaimer:

I’m not a 3D artist, I merely had a day or two of basic learning on Maya3D. I know the difference between vertex, edges and planes, I can extract and move stuffs… but that’s it! I have no 3D creative mind for this, and even less skill on texturing. I just try my best!

 

First of all, video:

Now, back to our architecture: what’s new?

 

New horisons

As I explained last time, the previous (2D) architecture was in a vertical plane in world units, meaning the “forward” showed ingame was actually “up”. First thing done was to convert all code and assets to face the actual forward (Z direction) and not up (Y direction).

Wheelless editor horizons

 

Now that we’re no longer limited to flat colliders, the ship “height” position calculations were no longer needed, and actually not wanted! Since we couldn’t have colliders on tracks and grounds, and there was some sort of elevations, we needed gravity; but with no collisions, ships would go through the ground and endlessly fall in despair. So, to bypass that problem, there was an heavy calculation that involved the splines around the circuit. And it was -definitely not- optimised. We lost an average of ~20 fps!

With the new 3D architecture, no need of splines approximations anymore. Since the tracks and grounds have 3D colliders, I just had to add a capsule collider on the spaceship and voilà! Everything works just fine.

Wheelless editor colliders

 

Which way to go?

Well, sort of? Now that there is real gravity affecting spaceships at all time, the forward speed was influenced by it, resulting in losing ~10% of total speed. Thanks for physics material, we could remove friction; that helped, but not totally fixed the problem.

What could we do more? Wait, we’re in 3D, we can do whatever we want! LETS PARTY

What I thought what could be interesting was to align the spaceship to normals (i.e.: align the object to the surface of the ground it is standing on). That way, since the movements of the spaceship is its relative forward, if it’s pointing 30% up, it will go 30% up!

Wheelless - normals

 

Now that we’ve freed up some fps, and that there is real walls and not flat stuff everywhere, we can do something I wanted to do since day one: lights!

I wanted to make really deep caves in pitch dark atmosphere, where only a little spotlight on your ship could show you the way, with little red positions lights on wings for spotting the others competitors. That’s now possible!

Well, possible after a lot of work and tweak on lights, since I have little experience on lighting and baking. But it’s coming!

Wheelless__PixelStadium-Ligh

 

Other cool stuffs

It’s not like it wasn’t possible in 2D, but I took advantage of the big update to sneak in some changes:

First of all (and that’s actually easier in 3D), when a ship will go beneath something (inside a building or a cave, under a bridge etc), the surface above will fade out so you can still see where you’re going.

Wheelless - underbridge

I also added a new gameplay mechanic that helps balancing the stats: spaceships will now bounce off others spaceships. Think Mario Kart 7 & 8 style, when Bowser rams into Toad, making him fly 10m away; we’ll do something like that, depending on ship mass.

Wheelless - ship bumpers

Also small thing but better in 3D: camera ‘cinematics’. Before the start of a race you’ll se some camera angles showcasing some circuits parts.

Wheelless camera cinematics

Oh yeah and I can also make cool details like that:

Cool pillar

 

 

What’s next

Next up is continuing work on the circuit and beggining implementation on the Health System 2.0, then we’ll follow with the Equipment System 2.0, some UI, new gameplay mechanics etc.

 

And for the team: Yuubae’s Master Memories is almost over, he’s made some new spaceship concepts and he will continue his work on the scenario soon.

Hillean is still stuck in the VR reality and Prox is idontknowactuallysorry.

 

Thank you for reading and visiting, don’t forget to follow us on twitter and make some views on IndieDB, and also on youtube~

 

See you next time I have something interesting to show meaning I think it will not be next week!

 

<3

Devblog #4 – Circuit, Architecture, Update

in Announcements, Design, Dev blog

Hi everyone! I hope you had a nice week!

Today I’m going to talk about our next circuit, make an announcement and explain what is going on behind the curtains of Unity a little bit.

ICE CIRCUIT (name TBD)

So, as you may have seen in the previous blog post, I showed a scan of a circuit concept that I drew some time ago. We’re gonna talk about it!

First of all a small description:

It’s a circuit on an cold planet, inside caves and over the sea. There are also some pillars and small structures from an ancient civilization.

ALPHA is set in spring, there is a waterfall that leads to a crystal cave that fills with water over time. The Tyranospace kindly build a bridge over the sea for your driving pleasure!

OMEGA is set during a snow storm. Everything but the sea froze, including the waterfall, and pillars have fallen, creating a new path inside the mountain. Ice makes you slip, and careful about the falling stalagtites!

Designing a circuit

Before locking down the semi-final design, we went back and forth on this circuit multiple times.

We started brainstorming about where we could make a circuit that is interesting and easily identifiable. The icy planet didn’t came up first or is not what we wanted the most; it is only one of the few we thought about that was the most worked out.

In the meantime, I was designing new gameplay systems. One of them is directly tied to the circuits: the Health System 2.0, more specifically the ambiant damages: there are zones where you takes some specifics damages, either to your health, stats or even creating some gameplay elements. That new feature motivated us to make the Alpha version a simple and straightforward circuit, and the Omega version more difficult, with a special gameplay mechanic (which is ambiant damage, along with others).

Back to our design: we had a set, we needed tracks! The first version was just a square with some basics ideas: here a cave, there some arches, then why not a huge stone whale before a tunnel? It was moslty ideas thrown at random, but enough for us to really start working on a real functionnal circuit.

That one was the first iteration taking into account the Alpha & Omega versions. It included a whale corpse exploited by machines.
That one was the first iteration taking into account the Alpha & Omega versions. It included a whale corpse exploited by machines.

A new perspective

Remember when I said that we’d work on a real art direction? Well, during some researches, I came across this. If you’re no developer: it’s a really, really easy and intuitive 3D tool for Unity (our engine). I got some Maya3D courses when I was in programming school, so there is no problem for me to build up some 3D assets. Better: it is actually a total problem solver!

You see, Unity can work either in 3D, or in a special flat version of the engine in 2D. Do you know what this little dude represents? LittleDude

Of course you do! (If not, it’s an icon representing general directions in a 3D environment. Where were you during math and physics class? :° )

Right now in Unity we work in a 2D environment. This is what our scene looks like, using the 2D editor:Wheelless__Editor2D

And this is a view of a normal (slightly tilted) 3D perspective using the main 3D editor of Unity:Wheelless__Editor3D

Notice the perspective gizmo in the top right corner: the green arrow (y) is UP, red (x) is RIGHT, blue (z) is FORWARD. As it is right now, our circuits are not ground-flat with a falling down camera as you would expect; but actually straight up vertical! The camera is facing forward! Gravity isn’t even real!

I have to admit, I always wanted to make 3D circuits (that’s why during early development, I switched from an full 2D orthographic camera to a perspective one, even adding some jumps and launchpads), but the tools that I had for building up circuits were only designed for a 2D use only (the current circuit, pictured above, use those tools. You can see that there are some limitations!).

That’s why the 3D tool is a relievement: I can finally make those 3D circuits, and a lot more: the perspective camera will have a real purpose, flappy spaceships is over, collisions will be much finer and logical, jumps and hovering will be no more faked, and the elevation! I can finally make a circuit 50 meters tall with propers junctions. You understand why I said it is a problem solver!

Back to the design pls

Right.

A couple hours before finding the new 3D tool, I was drawing what was initialy going to be the final concept for Ice Circuit:

I ditched the Whale corpse. It may be original at first, but not really in line with our way of thinking after all.

I started prototyping the Alpha version of Ice Circuit in semi-3D, and came up with something like this:

screenA

But it didn’t felt right. It was not really fun nor long enough. What it needed was… MORE HEIGHTS!

So I scribbled some ideas, and then I thought about you guys: maybe you would like to see more than tacky paper drawings. Maybe you would like to see, I dunno, an INTERACTIVE APP WITH ALL OUR CIRCUITS AND LOTS OF DISPLAY OPTIONS?

Click on this gif to open the app!
Click on this gif to open the app!

Well, it has limited options and only one circuit (obviously). But I will work on it from times to times, and I’ll let you know when there is more options or new circuits added on Twitter.

As you can see, Ice Circuit have a little evolved since the previous concept.

More heights with real slopes and cliffs! In the ALPHA version, water will fill over time inside the caves. In OMEGA, water will froze in the same caves as ALPHA, so the same path will result in different gameplay style!

And it’s now time for the announcement:

Bad and good news

Good news is, it will be AWESOME.

Bad news is, converting our current 2D architecture to a 3D one will takes weeks! Meaning it will push back the release of Alpha 2.0.

But it will be worth it!

Small update: what is everyone working on?

Well, Hillean & Prox are still missing in action (working), Yuubae is continuing work on the scenario and the factions/champions. I started to convert the engine today.

 

 

Until next time! Thanks for reading!

Devblog #2 – Ship stats

in Design, Dev blog

Hi!

For today I made a small video explaining the in depth gameplay for spaceships: stats.

What are thoses?

The spaceships in Wheelless uses the basics of the Unity engine physics called Rigidbody2D (because it’s 2D physics). But there wouldn’t be diversity with just mass and linear drag tweaking: that’s why we came up with differents stats.

Each stat is supposed to change a little bit of the gameplay without monopolizing it. It is also working together with the others stats: that’s the first step toward balance.

Note: We will not discuss health, armor and shield here because it will be adressed in another blog post.

 

We have currently six main gameplay changing stats:

  1. Top speed
  2. Acceleration
  3. Torque speed
  4. Handle
  5. Off road
  6. Fuel

And one secondary stat that manages every main stats and two hidden: Mass.

The ship stats looks like that in Unity
The ship stats looks like that in Unity

 

Mass

Mass is the weight of the spaceships. The heavier, the bullier! Mass also affect the boost power (aka the speed multiplier when boosting) and the fuel consumption (aka the fuel per seconds burned when boosting).

The medium mass unit is 50, and can differs by ~40, meaning a ship can be between 10 and 90 mass units.

Mass also changes (by really not much) every other stats.

 

Top Speed

Top speed is an arbitrary speed limit that spaceship can’t exceed at normal situations. We use the TopSpeed variable to calculate the boost speed, off-road speed, turbo speed etc.

The speed indicator on the HUD goes up to a total maximum top speed, which is the turbo speed. You only approach it when in turbo (obviously).

Wheelless__IngameScreenshot-SpeedIndicator-A

For the technical part, Unity don’t actually apply a forceshowed on the speed indicator to the object. If we’d do that, the ship won’t go any faster than a rolling potato! Why? Because of Mass and linear drag (which is by the way the Handle). You see, in engine, if you apply a force of 88 on an object weighting 50 MassUnit, and have a linear drag of say 1.25, you would go at a incredible 0,01408 m/s speed!

That’s why we have an intermediary variable, called linearSpeed, it manages the real in-engine speed. After all, 88 is only an arbitrary target number, nothing much!

Our calculations goes like that, in simple words:

XSpeed = ((TopSpeed /2) * Mass) * 100;
linearSpeed = XSpeed * Handle;

Now with an example:

/* Let's calculate the most balanced spaceship: */
[Mass = 50]
[TopSpeed = 45]
[Handle = 2.25]

//We'll do:
XSpeed = ((45 /2) * 50) * 100;
XSpeed = (22.5 * 50) * 100;
XSpeed = 1125 * 100;
XSpeed = 112500;

linearSpeed = 112500 * 2.25;
linearSpeed = 253125;

//Yep, in engine, our most balanced spaceship goes to a whopping 253125 units per seconds.

 

I hope I didn’t lost you there. Did I mentionned that I am firstly a programmer?

 

Acceleration

Acceleration came, in fact, in last. At the beggining, there was only top speed, torque and handle, and that was the handle, or linear drag, that controlled the pseudo-acceleration. But that wasn’t enough; the engine didn’t quite achieved to manage acceleration like I wanted (I needed the ship to lose some speed during turns, but they were recovering too fast!).

There is not much to say about it: it’s the time between 0 and the TopSpeed value. When you have an Acceleration of 2 and a Top Speed of 50, it will takes exactly 2 seconds (on an ideal terrain type) to reach 50 m/s.

For the technical part, Acceleration is working like a damper for the linearSpeed. Depending on which % we are of the acceleration (if we thrust during 1 sec with an Acceleration of 2, we would be at 50% at this exact moment), we will be at a % of our linearSpeed.

 

Torque Speed

Wheelless - torque demonstration

In Wheelless, the spaceships turns automatically toward the cursor at a certain speed. Unlike the TopSpeed, which is the linear speed, the torque, or angular speed, is not totally managed by the physics of Unity.

As Quaternions (the way Unity handles rotations) are really, really complicated, I’ll just say that the ship turns at a rate of some angle degrees amount per frames.

 

Handle

I know you were eager to know more about that little one.

Well, speaking of little, handle is litteraly the linear drag of the Rigidbody2D of Unity.

Yep.

Just a copy/paste of an arbitrary number.

In this tiny little box over there:

Handle-peekaboo
I’m not even sorry

 

Off Road

This one is also pretty simple. When your ship enter a certain area (called OffRoad Zones), it will lose a certain % of its speed, based partly by its Off Road value, and also by the terrain type under it. For instance, dirt will slow you down by 35% if you have a high Off Road value, or more than 50% if you have a bad Off Road value.

Offroad zones (here in green) are usually located near stripped bands
Offroad zones (here in green) are usually located near stripped bands

There is a lot more to talk about off roads, zones and terrain types, but that will also be in another blog post.

Fuel

The fuel is a certain amount that is used when boosting. When you are boosting, the fuel will go down by a certain amount per second, called consumptionRate. It is one of the hidden stat that changes with the mass of the ship. In a nutshell: you can use less fuel per seconds when you are lighter.

At the beggining of a race you start with an empty reservoir. You can only recharge your fuel bar by moving: it is explained in lore by intakes. Or something like that.

When you press the Boost key/button (assuming you have fuel left), you’ll boost at a certain speed* and burn your fuel at the consumption rate.

When you’re done, you will have a 1 second cooldown before the gauge start going up again, even if you’re moving.

 

*the boosting speed, also used on boost pad (without using any fuel in this case), is the second hidden stat affected by Mass. It is roughly 125% of your Top Speed.

 

Equipments

Equipments are another way to manipulate ship specs. BUT, I am currently reworking the equipment designs, so it will be much different than the current equipment system (as per the Alpha 1.0.1), but also a lot more balanced, enjoyable and pratical! I will also do a blog post when it’s ready.

 


Thank you so much for reading, I watch the visit counter on this site and on IndieDB & itch.io everyday. By the time that article is written, we had 29 followers on twitter, 11 followers on IndieDB, more than 1189 visits on IndieDB (75 on itch.io) and a total of 68 downloads on IndieDB (28 on itch.io). Thats a lot more than expected, and I’m really happy to see this project coming along.

See you next week for another blog post!

Devblog #1 – How we found our concept

in Design, Dev blog

It was dark and cold on a moonless night. I was enjoying some fruit juice on the balcony when I saw something.

Something disturbing.

Up in the sky, two dots of light, that I took for stars until now, started moving. They were bright as the sun and moved in arabesques until, at the exact moment I finished my drink, they charged right at me.

I braced for my life, but against all odds, the lights stopped. And I noticed there was something behind those lights: yes, it was a golf cart! And piloted by no more than two Allosauruses in cotton coats!

As I slowly backed up to my apartment, remembering the famous words of Pr. Alan Grant, they stopped right in front of me and made what I assumed was a smile.

“Hello Human”, the driver said.

“Take this. You will thank us later.”, he continued as he handed me a document.

 

By the time I understood what struck me, they were gone. On the first page of the document was written in claw writing:

“WHEELLESS”

I’m 99% sure it was exactly what happened.

 


 

Actually, the real story behind the concept of Wheelless is a little less romantic.

Extreme G was one of my first game when I was a kid, or at least one of the games that I played the most. But that one game didn’t motivated me to make Wheelless, it is more of a design and feel inspiration; in fact it was just a ‘random’ anime I watched back around september 2015: Space Dandy [S01 E07], when Dandy participates at the Magellan Grand Prix.

I found the concept really cool: a race in the void on millions of millions of kilometers, around entire planets, navigating in hyperspace, making tight turns around asteroids, drifting through a black hole!

Out of boredom I started prototyping a 2D Unity game similar to what I watched, with touch controls in mind (for Mobile devices). I even made a placeholder Dandy spaceship for testing!

Aloha_PlaceholderSpaceship

 

Of course back then, I didn’t thought about this project as a real thing, I just enjoyed working on a gameplay prototype solely for fun like the others one I made earlier (I made a 2D metroid, 3D metroid prime-like, 3D Zelda-like, Splatoon-like and some more prototypes during the previous years).

The prototype looked like poop back then
The prototype looked like poop back then

Well, as I worked on the prototype, I started doing some game design document works, plans for gameplay, level designs, campain ideas, etc. And before I really understood what happened, the project growed so much I just couldn’t stop where I was (it was just around november).

I worked on the hyperspace too. Will be in Alpha 2.0!
I worked on hyperspace too. Will be in Alpha 2.0!

At this moment I started talking about this project to my old pal Yuubae. We talked design for an entire night on the phone, and after this he joined me to do some spaceship & circuit designs and also a scenario for the campain (which at this time was only a text at the beggining and ending of an arcady campain, just like the one in Streetfighter), so I could concentrate more in the development and be less preocupated by designs. (Well, I still work the Game Design, just not the graphical designs).

There was some funny bugs (but most of them were not fun at all)
There was some funny bugs (but most of them were not fun at all)

And… that’s it!

No overthinking, no debates or brainstorms, no commercial or marketing plans: just a random anime that gave me inspiration, and too much time invested in the project to give up.

Yep, that’s doesn’t sound impressive at all. Actually, if you could take an advice from that story:

Don’t go blind in a project. At least make something out of what you loved as a kid, something that makes your eyes shine thinking about it!

 

 

So that was my first blog post, I thought you would want to know how we got here. Mainly because we’re filled with Determination!

Thank you for reading!