Apex Racing League: We're making a new top-down racing game

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blastawaythewall
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Apex Racing League: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by blastawaythewall »

Hi guys, hope you’re all doing well.

My brother Alberto and I (my name is Carlos Mastretta, hi ;)) have been working on a project that I believe you’ll like. We have played GeneRally for more than 11 years, and some time ago started thinking about developing our own top-down racing game. The concept is beginning to take shape and I think it’s the right time to start talking about it and listening to thoughts and opinions, especially from other GR players.

This project is not an attempt to build a sequel to GR, but there are some elements that will feel immediately familiar and that, in my opinion, are what make GR a great driving and racing game. These are the driving, which in GR feels really well with simple keyboard inputs; the racing, which is straightforward with no gimmicks or weapons, and the variety, with hundreds of different cars and tracks giving us a ton of different game experiences.

So we will work around these principles but the game will have its own character. These are some of the main characteristics and features:

Camera. The camera is fixed to the player’s car and follows it around the track. This will allow us to build tracks of any length.

Controls. You will be able to drive with your keyboard or a gamepad, with no advantage of one over the other. This is already implemented and working.

Detailed physics. The physics system is complete and it feels fantastic. The driving experience is fun, flowing and predictable. It has a working suspension that gives vehicles proper behavior on jumps, bumps and kerbs, so rally and off road racing are really going to shine. I will post the first piece of gameplay footage pretty soon, after we apply the physics system to our first finished car models (single seater, rally car, trophy truck).

Detailed cars and environments. We have an art concept that should look very cool once put together. At the bottom of this post you’ll see some images of our first three cars, which show the artistic intention of the game. We will make a big effort in the next two months to build the visuals of the game as this should help us attract public to the project, hopefully get featured on a few websites and get the ball rolling.

Online multiplayer. This feature, I believe, is essential for a modern racing game. Difficult to develop but can make all the difference. What we’ve done so far is making sure that the game’s design, architecture and features are compatible with networking.

Offline racing with AI, practice and qualifying sessions and maybe split screen multiplayer, if driving on a divided screen turns out comfortable enough.

Car and driver customization. We have a pretty good idea of how the customization tools will work. Custom colors will be shown online.

So these are the very basics of our project. We already have a name, will be called Apex Racing League. The website is getting built but meanwhile you can follow its progress on our Facebook page: facebook.com/apexracingleaguegame . I can post updates here as well if that’s OK.

Many thanks for taking a look. Questions and ideas are very welcome.
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Gzehoo
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Gzehoo »

blastawaythewall wrote:These are the driving, which in GR feels really well with simple keyboard inputs; the racing, which is straightforward with no gimmicks or weapons, and the variety, with hundreds of different cars and tracks giving us a ton of different game experiences.
That's what I definitely like in GeneRally and in other racing games.

I'll be following your fanpage for more progress, for the 1st view on cars, they look really good.
I'd say more maybe after watching any video from your game ;)
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by RudyOosterndijk »

Just to put everything into perspective: We have the official GeneRally 2 (hopefully still work in progress), then we have another yet unannounced game that may call itself a 'spiritual successor'. And this is another promising top-down racing game. Oh yeah, future looks so bright! :mwahaha:
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Lorenzo »

Surely it's not a major issue, but "Apex Racing League" sound soo pretentious to me, "Apex" or something equally short and catchy could reflect the straightforward spirit of the game (for which you aim) much better.

There's not much we can say by now, but these cars look ridiculously detailed for this kind of game and I'm quite worried about how moddable your project will finally be. You know, simplicity in this matter is imho the greatest strength of GR (much more than in terms of steering, there are games actually where steering is even simpler) but I don't see much of straightforwardness here; it looks that making a car of that quality would take hours. Remembering that 'hundreds of different cars and tracks' you mentioned were made by 'average' community members who didn't have any special skills - only because of being provided with a simple editing tools they were able to craft something decent - I'm also curious to see if you will be able achieve such openness and moddability, which absolutely is a key condition for a successful game. I'm waiting for some screens that will help judge whether my worries are justified or not.
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by blastawaythewall »

Thanks for the replies. We're working on getting the rally car ready and make the first gameplay video.

@Lorenzo Thanks for the insights. We wanted a short name actually but the words we tried were not available. Then we tried Apex Motorsport but Turn 10 released Forza Motorsport: Apex, so we came up with the current name. I do like it a lot, though! Maybe a bit long but pretentious?

Being able to make cars and tracks was the base for the longevity of GR. This game will be built around online multiplayer, which is not too compatible with modding. Take a look at successful multiplayer games like Rocket League, iRacing or even Mario Kart. Modding is not supported but you can play online almost permanently. The game needs to be organized and necessarily limited in order to achieve that. Games like rFactor or Assetto Corsa have great support for modding but you often find ghost towns when you go online.

Maybe we could develop a tool for track making, with a host of user-generated tracks made available every month for online racing. We'll study different possibilities to do this in the future. Cars are definitely not going to be moddable, again with a view to achieve the best possible online racing experience.
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Rendy »

Sounds like another top-down title I could dig at! Looking good now! :bg:
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Buka »

blastawaythewall wrote:My brother Alberto and I (my name is Carlos Mastretta, hi ;))...
I remember racing with Alberto Mastretta, and you must be Mastrecar?
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Crowella »

Going to follow this closely. I really like the look of the cars in that "remote control/micro machines" appearance. :)

I think a lot of us will want customisable cars and tracks but if your aim is to implement online play, can completely understand the controlled approach.
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by blastawaythewall »

First gameplay video is here: https://youtu.be/HfqSS6egijI

This is a very early preview that only shows the physics and general feel of the game. You'll notice the world is very empty but there's already a few things going on like particles (smoke, sparks when chassis hits the ground), a few sounds (engine, skidding, impacts), and some UI.

There's a lot to do on all sorts of fronts to get to a point where it starts to look like a racing game, but the base feels very well. Now that we have a complete pipeline for cars we will start to work on visuals.

@Buka Mastrecar is my cousin. We still get together and do a 10 race GR championship once a month. With 4 players we get some input issues, the cars stop responding for some reason if we only use two keyboards so we end up connecting one keyboard, two xbox controllers and an arcade stick to get the game going.
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Buka »

blastawaythewall wrote:First gameplay video is here: https://youtu.be/HfqSS6egijI
It looks very-very nice so far. :bg:
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Marco »

:iagree: So far it looks great. Although you won't gonna make moddable content, it'll still gonna be a great game nonetheless :bg:

BTW: are you planning to release an early access, something like a demo, so we could test the physics and other aspects ourselves? :yummy:
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Hormous »

Thanks for the exclusivity you are giving us to follow the first steps of your project. From the video this new game seems to be very interesting. I'm curious to see what will be the look of the scenery since those cones are very big while the cars seems to be built on chibi style. (why the Polo has written VOST in the front?)
In my opinion it should be nice to have moddable tracks, but it's your choice. Let's see for the next news. :bg:
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by blastawaythewall »

Thanks a lot, I'm glad you like it so far.

@marinator Yes, definitely. It will need to be a serious and polished build since that would effectively be the first time we distribute the game, and first impressions are everything in games. So we just need to think and decide on how to go about it and when to do it.

@Horrormous No problem mate. GR and this community have given us many hours of fun so sharing material here first was a must.

We have a good general idea for the look of tracks and objects, but most probably will require tuning to make everything fit together. We'll start by deciding on the range of sizes for tracks and go from there. Cones are oversized indeed. As the camera moves away from the car when you accelerate it becomes more difficult to react to objects, especially when driving at high speeds, so some objects will need to be oversized in relation to cars. Cones are probably a bit too big right now though. Vost is just a fictional brand for that particular rally car, which is inspired in the VW Polo.

User generated tracks is something we will look into, not immediately but just after finishing the first version.

What do you guys like better, modern LMP cars or Group C cars? Eventually we'll build both but we'll decide between the two for a first endurance machine. And man what a heartbreak for Toyota on sunday. I hope they don't rage-quit... love their presence in racing.
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by puttz »

Group C, modern LMP cars are ugly... :scared:
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Marco »

blastawaythewall wrote:modern LMP cars or Group C cars?
Group C, definitely :D

BTW: Just a dump thought:
You and James and Co. should join forces :D
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by RobertRacer »

I don't find the modern LMP cars for ugly, they're nice (only the colors could be better :hide: ), but I think the old Group C cars should have priority. ;)


BTW, will this game have realistic bike physics (in GR the bikes are leaning, like cars, to the outside of a corner, not to the inside :hide: )?
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Rendy »

On the topic of Gr. C vs Modern LMP, I'd take Group C as well, but I do love the Modern LMP too...
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by blastawaythewall »

@RobertRacer that would require a complete alternative physics model. It would be interesting definitely, although to be honest I don't quite imagine how it would/should feel. Later in the week I will fire up GTA and drive the bikes around for a while to try to picture them driven from a top-down perspective.

We have started to work on a Group C car, you'll guess how it'll look like if you see the screenshot of the wheels ;)

We're also starting to build a universal set of trackside objects, as well as surface textures for asphalt, dirt, sand and snow. They'll have some nice effects thanks to normal maps and a shader that will make them react to light and time of day. The cars will detect different types of surface and behave accordingly just like in GR. I'm quite excited about rallycross.

Cars now have a working clutch so it's possible to rev the car up while clutch is depressed.
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Marco »

My guess it's gonna be Porsche 962 perhaps :scratch: ?

I have a few questions/clarifications:
1: So as I understood from your last post there will be day-night cycles? 'Couse it would be really cool.
2: Will there be weather conditions? Fo example fog, rain, storm etc.? It's not a suggestion, I just want to know if it would be technically possible. But if not it's fine.
3: Also about the clutch. Will the cars (sounds) be like in GR, linear (with no shifts), or something like semi/fully automatic gears (with shifting noise or something other like that)?
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by blastawaythewall »

962 ;) with a few changes of course since we don't have a budget for licencing so we can only say it will be inspired in it.

We are working on a day-night cycle for long races! It's early days and we are not 100% sure of it yet as it takes a lot of graphic memory. One possibility is having races with fixed time at different hours, eg fixed at noon, fixed at sunset or fixed at night, which wouldn't be too bad but our target is definitely having dynamic time. There are a few different tricks to try.

Dynamic weather is possible but not easy so we'll leave it for post release. The complex part here is making it feel well in varying conditions like a drying track. Making rain look good is a challenge as well. Fog though is something we can include immediately. It'll give tracks a bit of a Knockhill look.

We'll start with single-speed cars and give them the best possible sound. It'll use three different samples, idle/low speed/high speed, a random backfire effect when you take your finger off the throttle, and specific sound set for each car. It'll be a pretty good system to start with, but after releasing we'll definitely do more work on this area to try and make them sound as sick as possible, perhaps even including gears if we manage to make them sound well enough.

Quick GR question, does anyone happen to have a 1968 F1 carset for GR? It was called something like 'Winged F1 cars'. Had the Lotus 49b in it.
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Re: We're making a new top-down racing game

Post by Elharter »

Hi blastawaythewall,

what is the current state of your project? It looks REALLY great! Nice 3d-Modelling....

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Re: Apex Racing League: We're making a new top-down racing g

Post by blastawaythewall »

@Elharter Thanks a lot mate. The current state... I guess we could call it pre-alpha but it's more like pre-prototype. The first post will give you a good idea, and since then we've made some progress, mainly on visuals and applying the physics model to all cars, including behavior on off-road surfaces. Currently we're doing heavy work on textures, normal maps and lighting. In less than a month we'll be able to make a video that shows different track environments and a few different cars running. We're going for a look of simple trackside objects, with simple materials, and very detailed grounds (asphalt, dirt, snow, sand). It seems to work well.

Group C car is finished :) We haven't worked on liveries yet but I'm stoked with it even in full white.
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Re: Apex Racing League: We're making a new top-down racing g

Post by Marcinho »

I am waiting for alpha or demo.
Sorry for my English :D
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Re: Apex Racing League: We're making a new top-down racing g

Post by puttz »

Will we have the ability to either color or paint our own cars?

Edit: Hopefully there will be an opportunity for some alpha testing ;)
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Re: Apex Racing League: We're making a new top-down racing g

Post by Elharter »

Good job! Well done! Im excited... im awaiting a alpha too...
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