Game Design Document

The Elevator Pitch

The future is here, the future is fast, the future is destructible.

The world is in disarray and common media is dead. A new form televised racing is on the rise, vintage vehicles packed with revolutionary technology hit speeds upto 1000KHM around hastily prepared tracks. Players must compete for fame and cash in the racing cup, the more races you win, the more money you have and the faster you go, if you survive that is.

Overview

The game will have a sci-fi theme , set 100 years in the future the world is in disarray after a nuclear war, humanity has survived but the world is a desolate and destroyed place. Global media has transformed into a lawless business and from this a new and dangerous sport is emerging. With speeds up to 1000KMH in car bodies that where designed to do 100KHM destruction is certain. The player is asked to compete in various races around the world to earn points in a racing cup, the winner of the cup does not receive money as currency has no value but instead fights for the chance to have a place on the one team that is sponsored by the state and therefore has access to global world supplies.

Project Description

This project is being carried out for a FMP University project, the idea is to create a sci-fi racing game with AI opponents and destruction mechanics. The project should take around nine months to complete and will require primarily programming skills to complete, but 3D modeling skills will be needed as well.

Targeted platforms

The game will be created for the PC platform using a publicly available game engine such as Unreal, Unity or the Crysis Engine. Although currently I do not have all of the skills required to create this game, I am confident that I can research and solve any problems that will come my way within these game engines.

Team

The team is constructed solely of one member Rory Scanlan, he will be carrying out all jobs from programming to 3D modeling to market research. As the sole develop Rory is also responsible for keeping the project on track and ensuring that is completed in a timely manor.

Influences (Brief)

For an in depth explanation of all the influences please see the ‘Inspirational and Reference Games’ post.

FZero Racing – FZero was first released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System(SNES), with fast paced racing this game was a first of its kind. It utilized a new rendering engine which allowed not only 3D objects to be emulated but also a high frame rate. This ultimately meant that FZero had the fastest and smoothest game of any racing game created for the SNES.

Wipeout – The Wipeout series was first released on PlayStation one, much like FZero Wipeout brought new graphics and even smoother game play to the table. Not only did Wipeout utilize the new hardware of the PlayStation it also added new mechanics to the game, such as weapons or maybe even more importantly  the addition of fast paced licensed music which sets the tone through out the game.

Fast Neo Racing – Fast Neo Racing added new mechanics to the Wipeout and FZero model, with jumps added to the track, faster vehicles, cylinder shaped tracks.

What sets this game apart?

The use of vintage vehicles with sci-fi technology is a theme that has not been explored in this genre before. The desolate world is another theme that is yet to be explored within this genre. These unique themes will help the game stand out in the competitive genre of racing games. 

A destruction system will also be implemented, the destruction system will mean that the players car is damaged when they crash. For instance body parts could be torn off or dented, revealing the sci-fi technology below. Although destruction systems have been implemented into racing games before, a destruction system is yet to be implemented into a fast paced sci-fi racing game.

Story (Detailed)

The world is ravage by war, Russia and America are no more. The worlds media is destroyed, but from the ashes rises a new and dangerous sport, velocity racing. These racing league expects their competitors to recycle and because of this vintage car bodies are enforced. However, the technology driving these cars is in no way vintage, the latest anti-gravity and jet propulsion pushes them to speed of upto 1000KMH.

You the character an ex formula one driver has been asked to compete in this league, this will bring fame and money and with no other prospects on the horizon you snatch up this chance.

Gameplay (Detailed)

The player will first choose between three racing teams, each team has its own vehicle which in tern has its own properties such as top speed, acceleration, handling and looks. Each team also has its own money policies, for example the team with the ‘fastest’ car will give the least amount of money towards upgrades, while the slowest team may offer more money towards upgrades.

The player will be asked to compete in a racing league, the league is made up of  multiple races in which they player competes. The first five winners of each race earn points towards the league and at the end of all the races a final winner of the cup is chosen. If the player wins the cup, they are given access to a new racing team which was not accessible before and they can complete the cup again. However if the player does not win the cup, they must attempt complete it again with their existing racing team.

At the end of each race the player is given an amount of money towards upgrades, the first five places will be given 50k, 35k, 25k, 15, 10k and 5k respectively. If they player collects enough money they can upgrade their vehicle between races, by choosing from a preset of three upgrades.

Each upgrade will change a different aspect of the vehicle, aerodynamics, horse power and ground grip. Each aspect of upgrading will have three levels, so if the player unlocks level one aerodynamic upgrades they can then access level two, provided they have enough money.

Core Gameplay Mechanics (Brief)

– Fast Paced Racing is the main mechanic of this game, with speeds up to 1000 kilometers per hour.

– Environment and Vehicle destruction,  non-static environment and vehicle that break up on collision..

– Tunnel Boosters, these tunnels have lower air pressure which allows vehicles to travel faster.

– Jumping, vehicles can boost themselves into the air to dodge obstacles or jump up walls.

-A ‘viewing’ or ‘pit’ area where the player can walk around his vehicle and inspect it closely.

Core Gameplay Mechanics (Detailed)

– Driving

The main fundamental mechanic in this game is the ability to control the vehicle, the player feel must as if they are controlling a racing machine. The vehicle should be extremely fast in acceleration and top speed. The vehicle should not however feel like a car to drive, because the vehicle is hovering and does not have wheels.

A custom script will be written to ‘simulate’ the car physics. The script will control how the handle’s in terms of cornering, speed and hovering. This script will also contain the main controls for the player.The player should be able to control the vehicle either through the keyboard and mouse or through a game controller.

– Destruction

The game will contain a vehicle destruction system, when the player crashes parts of the car should be visually damaged. Body parts should become dented or even fall of the vehicle. If a part of the body is damaged it will reveal vital parts of the vehicle below, if the player continues to crash then the vehicle’s internals will be damaged causing the car to slow down or veer off course.

Once again a custom script will be attached to the car, this script when a collision is detected will first take in the direction and strength of the collision and then use that data to deform the body of the vehicle. If a certain ‘damage’ value is reached then the body part may become detached from the vehicle, at that point a different method is used when a collision is detected. This method will damage the cars internals, slowing it down or causing steering issues.

– Tunnel Boosters

Long tunnels containing lower air pressure allow the vehicles to travel faster then outside of the tunnel. Essentially these tunnels act like boosters along the track, however the player will need to steer carefully to stay within the middle of the tunnel and not damage their car.

In programming terms these tunnels will use a collide to detect when a car is inside the tunnel, the script attached to the tunnel essentially will lower the drag or raise the power of the vehicle enabling it to travel faster when inside the tunnel.

– Jumping

Each vehicle is capable of vectoring its thrust downwards, enabling the vehicle to jump. Some tracks will have areas where the vehicle needs to jump a gap or ‘climb’ a wall, in these cases the vehicles jump feature will be needed.

If the vehicle is within a certain distance of the floor it will be able to jump, by applying a large force from below or adjusting the Y position of the vehicle. Once the vehicle passes this certain distance it will no longer be able to jump, but instead can only apply a small force to slow itself down when falling. In this way the player will not be able to fly of into the sky.

Monetization model (Brief/Document)

– <Monetization Type> (Premium, Paid Alpha/Beta/Final, Ad Driven, Micro-transactions, Subscription, etc.)

– <Link to Monetization Document>

(How do you plan to monetize the game?)

Project Scope

Cost

The game currently has no funding and therefore needs to be created as cheaply as possible, many game development programs such as Maya offer a free one year student trail which can be used to develop the game. However, these student licenses come with many stipulations as to how the game may be sold therefore if the game is made public licenses for these software will need to be purchased by the studio or the studio will have to switch to another program that does not have license stipulations.

One example of this is Autodesk Maya’s student certificate which does not allow you to sell work created with the student license. Maya’s license is around £170 per month, which is simply out of the studio scope. In this case a program like Blender will have to be used as primary 3D application, as it does not have license stipulations.

The studio has already purchased the ‘Quixel Suite’ texturing software, this cost $70. Although this was expensive it will save the studio many hours later in the texturing process and will yield more stunning results.

With all this taken into consideration, the total cost of the creating the game looks to be around £100, the bulk of this is taken up by the purchasing of the Quixel Suite, however the time saving factors make the purchase justifiable.

Time/Schedule

Deadline : 05/05/2017

The deadline for this project is the 5th of May 2017, which gives me around seven months to complete the project. The studio will divide these seven months into three phases, design, development and testing. During the design phase the studio will focus on designing the various aspects of the game while researching programs which could potentially be useful in developing the game. The development stage will involve creating the game, by this time the studio will have chosen the specific programs it wishes to use. 3D modeling, texturing and programming will all be undertaken. Eventually all of these aspects will be brought together in the chosen game engine to create a prototype or first version of the game. Finally the testing phase will involve extensive testing of the game looking for bugs in the programming or improving the visuals through further polishing of the 3D assets.

Inspirational and Reference Games

Inspirational Games

FZezo

The FZero franchise released there first title ‘FZero’ on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System(SNES) iin 1990. The final game in the franchise as far as we know was released in 2004 entitled ‘Climax’.

FZero revolutionized racing games of the 90’s, FZero utilized a bran new image rendering technique known as ‘Mode 7’. Mode 7 allowed the game to rotate, scale and move images in a way that could never be done before. By utilizing this technology to its full, the FZero developers managed to create a 3D looking environment with 2D assets, not only was FZero one of the best looking game for its time but also the smoothest(In terms of frame rate). As well as a smooth frame rate FZero also offered some of the fastest racing(In terms of vehicle speed), the use of Mode 7 to create a combination of fast racing, smooth frame rates and stunning visuals was an instant hit.

Although the first few versions of FZero where massive hits and sold in there millions, the franchises sales gradually dropped off with the final game FZero Climax making less than 10,000 sales. This is because the FZero franchise failed to bring anything new to the market in the later versions. FZero begun by focusing heavily on Mode 7 to bring fresh and innovative game play, however in the later versions this innovation became stale and FZero was considered to be yet another everyday racing game.

Positives Of FZero

  • The franchise begun by bringing a new technology to the market, which allowed FZero to stand out from the crowd.
  • Much focus was put on the driving model of the game, so that the hover craft felt good to fly and not like a standard car.
  • Innovative visual style and story, FZero’s developers moved away from the norm of racing and took it further by taking it into the future and creating a realistic and believable back story.
  • Smooth 3D graphics, which had never been utilized by a racing game before.

Negatives of FZero

  • No car customization, although the player could choose from four vehicles there was no way to customize those vehicles to the players liking.
  • Very Simple Physics, although the vehicle physics where enjoyable they where not realistic.
  • Simple crash simulation, the car simple ‘bounces’ away from the direction of the crash.
  • No destruction model for environment or cars, the cars simply have a health bar. When the bar is depleted the car explodes.

 

Wipeout

Wipeout took the concept of FZero and pushed it further. Wipeout much like FZero had stunning graphics for the day, it was released on the PlayStation 1 in 1995 which at the time was brand new. The PlayStation 1 platform not only provided stunning graphics but also smooth game play, something the fans of FZero proved essential for any modern day racing game. Wipeout also brought new mechanics to the concept, the most obvious of these is the addition of weapons which can be collected as the player races around the track and can be used to overtake or temporarily kill the opponents. Wipeout also added elevation and jumps to the track, although hills and bumps may seem trivial there addition to the game adds another layer of belief and difficulty.

Wipeout much like FZero revolutionized the racing genre, with stunning fluid graphics, fast paced game play, challenging game play and a believable back story. Wipeout also made use of licensed background music which gives the player a sense of excitement and tension, something that had not be used in racing games at the time. However unlike the FZero franchise the Wipeout franchise went on to produce eight successful games, although with varying degrees of success all where successful in there own right. Eventually the developers of Wipeout where moved onto other racing projects by Sony namely ‘Formula 1’, however that fact remains that the combination of sci-fi graphics, fast paced game play and licensed music was and still is a big hit with racing fans.

Positives of Wipeout

  • The franchise launched on a bran new platform for the day, allowing them to utilize smooth graphics while also keeping stunning visuals.
  • Wipeout brought new mechanics to the old FZero concept, such as weapons and track elevations.
  • Each version of Wipeout brought new graphics, tracks, vehicles and ultimately game play.
  • Licensed Music from current music artist, music is fast paced and intense to match the game and set the scene for the player.

Negatives of Wipeout

  • Wipeout did not have a damage/destruction model. The cars simple exploded on contact with a weapon.
  • Limited Vesicle Customization
  • No Online/Multiplayer Mode

 

Fast Neo Racing

Fast Neo Racing is the latest adaptation of the FZero and Wipeout model, released on the Wii U Fast Neo Racing made use of the revolutionary controls of the console. Fast Neo Racing along with the new controls brought forward the idea of cylinder tracks instead of a flat plane, another bran new mechanic which had not be explored before. Another mechanic Fast Neo Racing adds is the ability to jump and be boosted into the air.

Reference Games With Damage/Destruction Models.

A collection of vehicle damage models which can be analysed in an attempt to understand some of the programming that is driving it, so that I can better understand what damage models can be implemented into a fast paced optimized game with multiple vehicles.

BeamNG Drive

BeamNG.drive is a realistic, immersive driving game offering near-limitless possibilities. Our soft-body physics engine simulates every component of a vehicle in real time, resulting in realistic, dynamic behavior. – http://blog.beamng.com/

BeamNG offers some of the most realistic and spectacular vehicle crashes of any game, however BeamNG uses nodes, beams and connections on each individual component of the car which is very processor heavy and may not be useful in a complete game.

As we optimize our game and computer technology improves, the amount of vehicles which can be simultaneously simulated at a smooth framerate will increase. Right now you can run 4 to 6 cars at one time on a high end quad-core processor. Each vehicle has around 400 nodes and 4000 beams, all being simulated 2000 times per second. We hope to expand the number of simultaneous vehicles possible to at least 8 with a mid-range processor. – http://blog.beamng.com/

Moreover this method would be very complex and probably not complete-able in the time frame I have.

Next Car Game Tech Demo/Wreckfest

Did you love the over-the-top, reckless racing action of the FlatOut series? Or the ferocious wrecking fests of the classic demolition derby games? So did we! – http://www.wreckfestgame.com/wreckfest/

From analyzing these videos I believe that Wreckfest is using one base model for the chassis vehicle which has secondary parts attached such as the doors and through simulated joints which can break when a force over a certain amount is applied to them. These secondary parts and the chassis are also deformed when a crash takes place. Finally Wreckfest also makes heavy use of particle systems while spawning ‘debris’ objects at the point of the crash.

Formula 1 Series

From looking at videos of the Formula 1 games I believe that the game uses one non deform-able mesh for the car body which has secondary parts attached such as the wheels and wings, these parts are once again attached through simulated joints that break when a force over a certain amount is applied to them. Damaged parts in the Formula 1 series do not deform but instead detach or break into multiple pieces. The game once again uses particle systems to create a debris effect when a crash takes place.

Live For Speed

Live for Speed seems to use another system again. Live For Speed seems to use one single mesh that is deformed upon a crash to the shape of the object it has collided with. No particle systems are used, this may be one of the simplest systems but also gives some of the least spectacular results.

Grand Theft Auto Series

WatchDogs

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑