I thought it might be helpful to list out some of the tasks that I've completed this year as a way of reflecting on how the game has developed. There have been a lot of little changes but the main pieces of work have been:-
- Race order - keeping track of the order of the cars. This is a pretty fundamental thing for a racing game
- Bug fixing - I've uncovered and fixed quite a lot of bugs and little issues throughout the year
- AI car pit stops - the AI cars can now decide when to make a pit stop, enter the pits, drive to their 'box', stop for the correct amount of time and then exit the pits. Adding this to the game is a significant piece of work and it now brings a strategic aspect to the racing.
- Car avoidance - I spent a lot (it feels like months and months) working on code to get the AI cars to avoid other cars. This is now working reasonably well. It may, like a lot of the game, need a bit more tweaking as I add more features and play test the game but it's functional for now.
- Defensive driving - the last task completed this year was to add code allowing AI drivers to make a decision to take a defensive line when being followed by another car.
Why is it taking so long?
There's a simple answer to this… Oversteer Racing is a hobby project for my spare time. A lot of things affect the amount of spare time I have and, on top of that, a lot of things affect how much energy I have in my spare time to work on the game. I'll be the first to admit that I haven't been able to put in as much time as I'd hoped this year... and I really can't promise that the situation will change for 2019. I'll do my best but hobby projects have to fit around other things.
One game dev blog I regularly read is the blog by Jake Birkett from Grey Alien Games. Early in 2018 Jake wrote a blog post called "You are spending too long making your game" - it's a great read (like all of Jake's blog posts) but it hit home a bit. I've been making Oversteer Racing for some time now and still have a long way to go... but it's taking too long. Obviously I'm not a full time game dev and that brings a whole host of challenges and, as should be clear, I'm not able to work on it full time or expect a return that matches the time put in. With that in mind I plan to start 2019 with a review of my plans for the game and to see what things I can cut from the initial release. There are definitely some nice to haves but I can always add these later so that I can get the game out as soon as I can given the constraints I have.