Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track editor

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Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track editor

Postby tpkth » Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:17 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm Mathieu Hector one of the 2 fellas currently working on Super Pilot.

The pitch is simple: F-Zero meets Super Mario Maker. On PC :)

"Another one..." you must be thinking. Fair enough, let me explain our approach.

As big F-Zero fans we could never find any game close to F-Zero's gameplay. Most recent AR games use "realistic" physics, which means they use forces and frictions and gravity in order to compute the ships moving. That gives you a very Wipeout gameplay: lots of inertia and sliding, and a slower pace compared to F-Zero. That also makes it very hard to simulate loops and twists like in F-Zero GX. Don't get me wrong, I love Wipeout, I'm just trying to pinpoint the differences :D

So here is what we did: we opened Unity3D, got rid of the native physics simulation, and built our own system based on bezier splines. After a few months of development we can finally do twists, loops, and all kind of crazy things you could imagine with a 3D spline. All of this at very high speeds while keeping reactive controls (well this is subjective, so I hope you agree when you play it).

The 2nd pillar of the game is the track editor. Since we are a tiny team of 2, we knew from the beginning we wouldn't have the man-power to design lots of good tracks by ourselves. So instead we thought we should let players create the tracks they want, they'll be more creative than us anyway! And let provide the tools to share, browse, vote, curate... usermade tracks, so that the game keeps offering new challenges over and over. That's the Super Mario Maker part.

And here we are! The game development is far from being over, but we decided to release a demo (the 2nd one actually) in order to get early feedback about the controls of the ship and the track editor.

This is the moment I stop chattering about the game and start showing some stuff.

Here is our first trailer:

youtu.be/VhXD3LpEjtc
(actually this was my first video editing ever so feedback on the trailer itself is welcomed)

And here is the the demo page on itch.io:
https://dopagames.itch.io/superpilot

Thanks for reading!
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby Ghegs » Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:23 pm

Hi there, welcome to the forums!

I was very positively surprised when I played the game. Despite being "only" version 0.1 you already have a base for really cool stuff. And the track editor is really promising! I played around with it a bit, and it seems very intuitive and user-friendly, even when using a pad.

A few thoughts/notes:

  • The graphics are lovely, in kind of a slightly-cute way.
  • The AI is simple to beat even on Hard difficulty. Props for being able to have 51 ships on the track at the same time though, that should get interesting when the AI steps up.
  • On the Time Attack results screen I'd like to see the individual lap times. And it'd be nice to have an option to change vehicle/track and exit right there, rather than having to restart the race and hit the pause menu.
  • Can I share the Time Attack Ghosts in some way? Very cool that those are saved even for user-made tracks.
  • Holding a lean button down increases your speed a bit, so the best tactic is hold one down constantly.
  • Booboo has a higher top speed than Vultur, despite their stats showing they're the same.
  • In the track editor it'd be nice to have basic camera controls, to get a better view of what I'm building.

Overall I'm very impressed with what you've made so far, and I'm definitely looking forward to more. Will you be aiming for a commercial release on Steam/itch.io/elsewhere?

I'd love to run a competition with the game. I could make my own track, share it to the participants, and they could send me their ghosts to check. Come to think of it, being able to load multiple ghosts and race against all of them would be pretty sweet.
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby tpkth » Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:06 pm

Thank you so much for your feedback!

The AI is simple to beat even on Hard difficulty. Props for being able to have 51 ships on the track at the same time though, that should get interesting when the AI steps up.

Wow I'm impressed, most people can't beat the Hard AI except me :)
This is definitively something we need to improve. Right now the AI is very basic, it just goes forward and doesn't care much about other ships. Later we plan on making AIs aware of other ships, avoid, push, and so on. We are also thinking about a rubber band system in order to maintain a consistent level of challenge from the beginning till the end of a race.

On the Time Attack results screen I'd like to see the individual lap times. And it'd be nice to have an option to change vehicle/track and exit right there, rather than having to restart the race and hit the pause menu.

Good point. Will do!

Can I share the Time Attack Ghosts in some way? Very cool that those are saved even for user-made tracks.

Not yet. It would definitely be a great addition.

Holding a lean button down increases your speed a bit, so the best tactic is hold one down constantly.

Do you think it's a good or a bad thing? This is a side effect of the way the ship behave. It would be easy to fix but I like seeing people find their own little trick to get better results, and since the difference in speed isn't that big, I don't know.

Booboo has a higher top speed than Vultur, despite their stats showing they're the same.

Good catch, thank you!

In the track editor it'd be nice to have basic camera controls, to get a better view of what I'm building.

It's in the pipeline already :)

Will you be aiming for a commercial release on Steam/itch.io/elsewhere?

Yes! We definitely want to push this project and make a commercial release, on PC at first, then we will see.

I'd love to run a competition with the game. I could make my own track, share it to the participants, and they could send me their ghosts to check. Come to think of it, being able to load multiple ghosts and race against all of them would be pretty sweet.

Good ideas. In Time Attack mode we'd like to add leaderboards and let you download other players' ghosts. We need to check the viability of such options though, because everything players share will cost us hosting and bandwidth money.
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby Ghegs » Wed Oct 05, 2016 1:45 pm

tpkth wrote:We are also thinking about a rubber band system in order to maintain a consistent level of challenge from the beginning till the end of a race.


Just don't make the rubberbanding too Mario Kart-like, that's just not fun. ;)

Holding a lean button down increases your speed a bit, so the best tactic is hold one down constantly.

Do you think it's a good or a bad thing? This is a side effect of the way the ship behave. It would be easy to fix but I like seeing people find their own little trick to get better results, and since the difference in speed isn't that big, I don't know.


I do think a game like this should have some advanced tricks, to really entice people to master them and push their results to the limit. But I'm not sure if just holding down RT for the duration of the race is very interesting. It might also be good to introduce a bit more complexity to "normal" driving. At the moment you don't lose any speed when cornering (and leaning just increases it) as long as you don't hit anything, so it's a tad simplistic.

On the flipside, I think F-Zero GX went too far with snaking. I just didn't find it fun at all, more like painful and controller-destroying. It's tough to find the sweet spot.

Will you be aiming for a commercial release on Steam/itch.io/elsewhere?

Yes! We definitely want to push this project and make a commercial release, on PC at first, then we will see.


Is a Kickstarter or Steam Early Access in the plans?

In Time Attack mode we'd like to add leaderboards and let you download other players' ghosts. We need to check the viability of such options though, because everything players share will cost us hosting and bandwidth money.


Those would be great. I'm big on time attacking myself and racing against other people's ghosts can keep me busy for a long time. Even if you decide that the features are just not viable, I hope you'll include some way to share ghosts (import/export them in-game, or just copy the files directly). That way fans can share their ghosts between themselves and on sites like this, for example.

In fact, I promise that if you release a new version of the game that allows this, I'll run a time attack competition right here in the forums on a track I'll make myself. That might give you some interesting data as well.
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby tpkth » Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:36 pm

About Rubberbanding:
Yeah I'm not a big fan of rubberbanding either especialy when it's obvious and you feel you get cheated. Actually good rubberbanding should be invisible for the player. I'm pretty sure lots of game do it and we don't notice it, because it's well balanced. So maybe I should have kept it a secret haha :)
More seriously I always thought we shouldn't do it because we want to make a game purely based on performance and skill. But I watched a lot of players play and too often they feel like they are racing alone. Rubberbanding is a good way to fix this. But maybe we can find other solutions. We will see!

About holding Lean and Tricks:
Makes perfect sense, thanks for the insight.
I made a quick prototype the other day with some kind of easy-to-execute snaking, it was pretty fun actually. I like the idea of potentially allowing unlimited speed, the only limit being the player's skills. The question I'm asking myself is, should it be some kind of hidden trick like in F-Zero GX (I'm not even sure the devs did it on purpose, looks more like a cool bug to me) or should it included as a core feature like the Drift Boost in Mario Kart. Like you said, it's tough to find the sweet spot!

About Kickstarter or Steam Early Access:
We will announce more pretty soon :)

About Sharing Ghosts:
Yes it should be easy to exchange ghosts files directly.

Thanks again for your feedback!
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby Ghegs » Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:04 pm

tpkth wrote:The question I'm asking myself is, should it be some kind of hidden trick like in F-Zero GX (I'm not even sure the devs did it on purpose, looks more like a cool bug to me)


According to this old article it was intentional - though whether that means it was planned and built-in from the start, or just a "happy accident" that they decided to keep is a different matter altogether.

The latter wouldn't be a surprise, some of the most important advanced techniques in games are the results of bugs that the developers didn't catch, didn't bother fixing or decided to embrace instead. The Initial D v2/v3 arcade game has Eraser, Street Fighter II gave birth to Cancels which became a staple in the genre, and so on.

Keep us posted on the progress, I'm looking forward to the next version (and hopefully the start of a competition ;) ).
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby nasty_wolverine » Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:47 am

Hello,

tested this out, and i must say, good job.

Some feedback apart from what Ghegs already pointed out.

- Inertia, i dont really no how to explain this. something going that fast (and i am guessing a heavy) shouldnt respond that fast to turns and to crashes. i would guess play some wipeout to see what i am trying to say.

- the feel of speed. the camera remains constant when speeding up or boosting. you need to do dolly zoom a bit when speeding up and a little bit more when boosting to give a sense of speed. maybe blur the peripheral stuff a bit ( donot blur track right in the center). burnout series does this well.

- controls, why no dpad? and maybe add side dash? if you do make it rechargeable so you cant button mash to use it.
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby Meuhric » Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:50 pm

Hi!

I'm Emeric, the other guy working on Super Pilot.

First of all, thanks for playing the demo and sending feedback! This is very helpful.

Just wanted to say a few words on those last points:

- Inertia: actually we kinda like it this way. :) It still needs some work of course, but the lack of inertia is intentional. The feedback we've received so far clearly shows two schools of thought about that: it's pretty much the good old "F-Zero vs Wipe Out" debate, where one goes for super tight, reactive controls, and the other plays with inertia and "realistic" physics - we're definitely going for the former.

- Good point, we do need a global effect like a radial blur for speed, especially for the first-person view where there is no visual feedback for the boost. The camera does change focal when you go faster, but I guess it could be stronger.

- The side dash is a great idea! We've got lots of comments about the lack of any means to take opponents down, this would be a great way to do that.
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby nasty_wolverine » Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:43 am

Meuhric wrote:- Inertia: actually we kinda like it this way. :) It still needs some work of course, but the lack of inertia is intentional. The feedback we've received so far clearly shows two schools of thought about that: it's pretty much the good old "F-Zero vs Wipe Out" debate, where one goes for super tight, reactive controls, and the other plays with inertia and "realistic" physics - we're definitely going for the former.


i guess there could be middle ground worth looking into?

Meuhric wrote:- Good point, we do need a global effect like a radial blur for speed, especially for the first-person view where there is no visual feedback for the boost. The camera does change focal when you go faster, but I guess it could be stronger.

you need to change focal length and bring the camera closer and lower for the effect. add a radial blur on top and it could look magnificent.

Meuhric wrote:- The side dash is a great idea! We've got lots of comments about the lack of any means to take opponents down, this would be a great way to do that.


i didnt meant as a way to take down opponents, but to weave between them at high speeds.
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby Meuhric » Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:30 pm

Hey guys,

I'd just like to mention we just put the game up on Steam Greenlight! Please consider voting if you like what we're doing. :)

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=782827998

Also, note that it comes with a new version of the demo. There are mostly bug fixes, and tweaks to the editor flow that hopefully will make it a little easier to use.

So again, any comments or suggestions are welcome!

Thanks!

Emeric
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby Ghegs » Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:51 pm

You got my vote. You shouldn't have any troubles getting the game through.
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby Meuhric » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:26 pm

Thanks a lot! Our stats are looking good so far, but we'll see how it goes once we get out of the "recent submissions" section. ;)
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby tpkth » Wed Nov 23, 2016 9:08 pm

Hi there,

Just to let you know that we've just released a new demo (v0.3) which includes tubes, pipes, boost pads, better AI and 5 new tracks!

Still available for free on itch.io:
https://dopagames.itch.io/superpilot

Here is the complete changelist:
  • 5 completely new tracks
  • Reviewed the handling to give a better sense of weight
  • Support for track curvature, ie tubes and tunnels
  • Support for boost pads
  • Support for different track widths
  • Improved editor interface and features
  • Memory and performance optimizations
  • Improved AI behavior
We also got greenlit a few weeks ago, thanks again for your support :)
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby Ghegs » Mon Nov 28, 2016 7:14 pm

Nice, you seem to be making good progress. :)
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Re: Super Pilot: Futuristic arcade racing game with track ed

Postby d123456 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:57 am

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