Monday, November 8, 2010

Driving Techniques In Silas

When I started developing Silas I wanted the movement to be fast and tight. I also wanted to add some unique features like strafing to the kart genre.

My first attempt at movement was using physics. At the time I would simply use wheel constraints and the such to make a kart. This did not work due to the fact that the kart did not handle well enough under great speeds. And I also didn't like how colliding with another player would completely throw you off in a race.

My second attempt was still by using physics, but using forces to guide it. This really sucked though since it felt like a frictionless game and it was even harder to control. Eventually I realized I had to hard-code everything.

So a few years into development, here I was completely coding the movement from scratch. This worked quite well, first I put in the basics, then the hill movement, then the suspension and jumping. The suspension and how jumps worked was actually the hardest and gave me the most trouble. But after many months or work I got it down nearly perfect. It was fast, frantic and tight. This is exactly what I needed.

I would say the most inspiration came from a couple of titles, Mario Kart DS and the original Unreal Tournament. As I always thought these games had really tight movement.

Here are some movement features that make Silas different:

- There are two powerslide levels, blue and purple. Blue takes less time and is less powerful whearas purple is very powerful but hard to get.
- You can strafe easily
- By powersliding and hitting the brake you can turn very sharply
- There are things called jump-pads which launch you in the air
- Two types of ground turbo boosts
- Certain sections of the air have gravity modifiers

Here are some classic kart staples that are in Silas:

- Each character has it's own weight/acceleration/top speed/powersliding/weapons ratio
- You can go forward, backward, turn, powerslide, and hit ramps with ease
- Torque on hills
- Independent suspension on the wheels, which will spring the kart up depending on how high of a jump it has
- Hitting a wall will slow you down a bit and bounce you off
- Hitting another character will help or hurt you more depending on the weight ratio

Here is a youtube video showcasing the movement:

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to let me know what you think. I aim to make Silas one of the best PC games around, so please help support it by tracking, spreading the word, and pre-ordering!

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