Oversteer Racing: Dev blog #38 – The one where we stop the pushing

One of the key things I've been focussing on this month is the behaviour of the NPC cars when racing closely with other cars. To be honest they can get a bit fiesty under some circumstances but are a bit too passive in others. Getting the right balance so that going wheel to wheel is fun is tricky. I don't want it to appear that the NPC cars can be easily passed but, similarly, I don't want them to put you into the wall either. I think it's fair for them not to yield places easily and, if they have the better position for a corner, then the player will have to back out of a move or risk a collision. At times this can appear a little unfair to the player. You might go for an optimistic move but find the NPC will give up no ground and will take their usual line into the corner and the player has to avoid them. The NPCs do have a notion of "aggression" and I'd like some "drivers" to be found to be much harder racers that others. I'd like a situation whereby a player can approach an NPC and think "OK, I can dive up the inside here and they won't turn in" or "I need to work hard to pass this car because I know they will shut the door on me if they can so I'll have to get alongside before they'll give up the place".

This month I've done some work to improve how the cars race and that largely involved a lot of play testing and tweaking of settings to find a sweet spot. Some issues have been more obvious than others, for example, a car running into the back of another due to a tow and then pushing it along. Other situations require a bit more finesse and lots of fine-tuning such as how NPC cars detect cars that are close to them and how they react. I think the racing is better now than when I started this block of work but it'll still require some tweaks I expect.

Some of the other things I've worked on include the correct display of the lap counter for the player car. For some reason, I'd managed to overlook this and it wasn't updating properly and could also display the car as having completed more laps than were in the race. This is now fixed although I'm still using a very rudimentary user interface. I also worked on setting the correct starting position for cars on the grid. Cars can now be allocated a position and they will start from the correct grid slot.

Next month...

I want to start working on the start of the race. Specifically how the start is triggered.

About Kieren

Director of Mucky Creature Ltd. As it's a one-man games studio I suspect that also makes me lead developer, sound designer, lead artist, marketing director, community support officer etc etc...