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Ace Racers SP (6axis newtonian navigation practice)


tsmspace
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I've posted here before I think, but have reached a new point in development and want to share my latest features. It took a lot longer than I thought to figure out some things with the physics engine to make gameplay smooth, it was buggy sometimes having to do with my Unity setup options. There's more as well,, my lighting, still more physics I'm sure, and my render pipeline knowledge. 

Presently to start with the cons,,, there are no settings, the player can do nothing for settings EXCEPT controls config, which uses rewired so is actually very powerful. Any controls are certainly supported unless rewired actually doesn't know about it. I think basically any pop-known retro anything or experimental anything should work fine. But,, there's no sound in the game (put on some music) , there's no way to control the graphics settings, there's nothing like that. 

Gameplay features you certainly will expect but will not find: a lap timer, any timing anything. It says racing in the name,, but actually that's not the purpose of the game at first. I do hope to learn how to include all of this functionality,, but the original design intent for the game was to make a sort of "navigation practice playground".

All of the features I've managed to figure out are aimed at making it possible for the player to explore every angle of close quarters navigation. The best way to imagine the objective,, is to imagine that you purchased an RC toy (quadcopter, car, or something like that) and wanted to play with it. You can use your imagination to be racing, just cruising around, or tackling a particular obstacle. 

The primary features I'm so proud of are: THe player has two modes of play. There is the newtonian thruster craft (two types at present, a lunar lander style and space vehicle style) , and then there is the warp craft. The warp craft has high power and high friction, meaning it "defies physics". It moves like any video-game. It doesn't have gravity, it stays put while no input is given, and it can move very quickly as well,, so that the player can quickly get around the environment to place obstacles. THe primary function of the warpship is to place objects to then fly around with the drones. Most of the objects are hoops of a few types, but there are some ordinary obstacles as well,, blocks or shipping containers or a few other things to set the mood. 

The player can save and load their "levels", and then they can also navigate to the appdata folder to share the files if they can navigate the windows explorer hierarchy. So, there is a way to share your builds and fly others, but it's not built into the game yet. I would like to figure out an import/export system but haven't stumbled across a tutorial so will need to figure that one out separately,, it may not happen right away. 

Now the player can also organize course orders. To organize a course order, while in the warpship they can hit a button to "build race", and then they can move the warpship through the hoops in the order they want the course. The course is limited to infinite laps at present,, so once finished, the player can then toggle to the drone, hit the "race" button,, and then in turn each hoop will have a field showing them when to fly through it, and which direction to fly through it. Once the final hoop is flown through, the first one lights back up again. These course orders are also saved with the same save button, although only one course order can be saved at a time,, so a new savename must be used if the player wants multiple course-orders on a given set of object placements. Also,, these course orders are saved as a separate file,, so in order to share them, the player must share both the .crs file of that name, and the .rys file of that name,, if the .crs file is missing the game will not load the placements at all,, and if the .rys is missing it will load the placements, but no course order. 

There are a lot of options for rings to place. This is to help create scene diversity. Even in open space, simply by using a different set of rings, the player can enjoy a large variety of textures. The idea here, is that these hoops might irl be inflatable, and so can be decorated any way the race fashion would be that day. There are a few scenes that are lowpoly, and some hoops that are lowpoly, so although some hoops and scenes demand more performance from the computer, a thrifty player on a lower performance platform could still play the game, as long as they knew what to avoid. 

NOW INCLUDED are dockable weights!! I am very happy with the dockable weights. THe space vehicle also has ordinary dockports to dock to, but both vehicles have a weight that they can dock to, and lug around. These weights are attached to the playership via a unity "fixed joint", meaning that while docked to them, the thrust applied to the center of mass of the playership is NOT applied to the center of mass of the weight, which dramatically impacts the handling of the craft! rotation is changed a lot, but lateral acceleration results in a pendulum rotation which can be very useful with only a short bit of practice. THese dockports and weights can also be made checkpoints just like the rings,, by moving into their dock-field while in the build-race mode, and pressing the dock button. So,, the player can make a course that includes a dockport, docking to a weight, the weights themselves have optional bays they can be inserted or placed onto during a race (which is also a checkpoint),,, and the hoops themselves can be made to require a weight to checkpoint,, so it is possible to require the player to pick up a certain weight, and have it for a few hoops, and then deposit it at a certain place. ,,, It does take some planning to make this run smoothly with an infinite laps race, though,, you will need to move around the course multiple times in one "racebuild" in order to have the weight end up where it started if you want it to be there when the checkpoint calls for it. I have some examples of this posted. 

The game is free, and it's on itch.io so if you are familiar with itch you can feel safe! Unfortunately, I don't have lots of skills,,, which means that when I post updates you will need to redownload the game,, but for now I feel that if you got stuck with the present version you would be satisfied. Overall I think I've worked out any kinks that should mean that the game is playable. Of course there's a lot I don't know,, but I can play it and do everything I'm hoping to do so I feel that another player shouldn't run into any problems (like rings demanding you go the opposite direction that you programmed them for, for example). 

Ace Racers SP by tsmspace (itch.io)


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Pinback
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Posted by: @tsmspace

NOW INCLUDED are dockable weights!! I am very happy with the dockable weights. THe space vehicle also has ordinary dockports to dock to, but both vehicles have a weight that they can dock to, and lug around. These weights are attached to the playership via a unity "fixed joint", meaning that while docked to them, the thrust applied to the center of mass of the playership is NOT applied to the center of mass of the weight, which dramatically impacts the handling of the craft! rotation is changed a lot, but lateral acceleration results in a pendulum rotation which can be very useful with only a short bit of practice. THese dockports and weights can also be made checkpoints just like the rings,, by moving into their dock-field while in the build-race mode, and pressing the dock button. So,, the player can make a course that includes a dockport, docking to a weight, the weights themselves have optional bays they can be inserted or placed onto during a race (which is also a checkpoint),,, and the hoops themselves can be made to require a weight to checkpoint,, so it is possible to require the player to pick up a certain weight, and have it for a few hoops, and then deposit it at a certain place. ,,, It does take some planning to make this run smoothly with an infinite laps race, though,, you will need to move around the course multiple times in one "racebuild" in order to have the weight end up where it started if you want it to be there when the checkpoint calls for it. I have some examples of this posted. 

 

 

you know that dockable weights reminds me of the old 8 bit game Thrust, might be somthing to look at if you wanted to add some thing to the races.

Nice work Tsmspace 😎 

 

This post was modified 8 months ago by Pinback

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tsmspace
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@pinback well I would like to add some sort of fuel mechanism at some point,, but I have no plans for shooting. That looks familiar in a very foggy kind of way. The weight on a rope,, I will wait and see if I get that sort of inspiration. My present imagined future plans are built more on ways of making docking challenges (like making docking with a big weight something that takes as much alignment as without,, where presently docking the weight to a bay is very easy) 

 

Not to change the subject ,,, but there is this one thing. I've spent a little bit of time trying to imagine the best way to capture objects (like spacejunk). For me,, the solution I thought would require being able to not have the object spinning. The object being spinning makes everything just so much harder. Tiny objects maybe not, but larger objects definitely. I imagined using a very fine line that would somehow snag onto the object and stick to it,, then as the object rotated, it would spindle up the line a little bit until the capturing vehicle could then begin thrusting against the string tension. IN this way,, despinning an object would be a little bit like reeling in a fish,,, and if it failed to have enough line or propellent to finish, at least next time it would be less spinny.   ,, that would be something that I thought would be really fun to include,, but maybe beyond me. . . you would need to control the tension on the line, and the counter-thrust in order to reduce the spin. Too little of each and you would be pulled onto the object,, too much and you would break the line. 


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Nice idea a bit like the grappling hook from Enterprise.


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tsmspace
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@pinback  and a fishing reel like nintendo wii


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tsmspace
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Just some updates ... there's a rotation assist system that uses the thrust. (I do hope to eventually make a nice PID system that the player can adjust to preference) ,,, I guess the system I am using presently is a rudimentary form of a "d" controller. a full PID system isn't necessary for basic rotation assist, but there are other things that might be nice that would be done best with a tuneable PID controller,, such as a self-stabilization mode for the lunar lander style vehicle, and the option to control it with "self level" mode similar to how quadcopters can be flown in self level, or rate mode. It's imaginable to program the loader (and drone) to use lateral thrust to obtain rotation stabilization while docked to freight as well,, once a proper PID controller is established,,, but this is all quite a bit of new material for me, so I'm sure it will be something that may not happen, and if it does will take some time. 

edit I did end up figuring out an easy way to have stabilization also use translation thrust to stabilize rotation while docked to freight,, There remains no velocity stabilization ,, although now that my rotation stabilization is working for freight, I am interested to see how that would play out,, as stabilizing velocity while docked to freight would result in quite a bit of induced rotation. I imagine the result would often be that the ship/frieght system would end up rotating to be facing in reverse and when the stabilization was complete,, it would be pointed where it was coming from. 

There's a bunch of stuff just for "game" ,, there's music now, music volume control in the pause menu and main menu, The player can select the race types :: infinite laps, infinite laps with weights reset on lap, line race (one time through), number of laps, number of laps with weights reset on lap.  -- counter types are start on first checkpoint, start on reset after countdown, manual timer, and no timer.  The save system will also save these settings,, so the save system will save all of the placed objects,, the race order, and the race type and timer settings. 

the save system now lists the saves as buttons that if pressed fill the text for the save or load input field with the savename. (of course new savenames must be typed) 

There are 2 player placeable cameras, which can be used for fun or to fly with. 

 

This post was modified 7 months ago by tsmspace

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tsmspace
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I would just like to post that I have made a steam listing for the game. It is still free and will be available on Nov 30th if all goes well! 

 

https://store.steampowered.com/app/2685150/Ace_Racers_SP/


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