This week was spent by having a few meetings within the university and discussing what achievements we had researched from racing games; I researched Burnout Paradise, Need for Speed: Carbon, and Race Driver: GRID. (All the information I collected was from http://TrueAchievements.org, and my own personal play through of the games).

Above is a table of the achievements I found, in addition I tried to make them varied, so I wasn’t picking the same type of achievements for each game.
Using this research I came up with 10 achievements which I believe would work well into our project proposal, and covering all achievement types for our testing, but I felt that what I came up with was very random, even though it was based on research into current racing games with achievements. We still didn’t know exactly what we were testing, and why.

This week we also decided to conduct some engine testing; the engines I tested were: Hammer, UDK, Unity, and Trackmania. I created a testing schedule and results:

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Engine testing schedule

Hammer (Source SDK)

My thoughts: I don’t believe we could create a fun racing game, with achievements, in Source SDK. I believe that even if we tried, we would struggle to be able to have working cars, and then racing them.
Implement achievements? 
Not easily; need to be creating our project for Steamworks to do this. In addition, they wouldn’t be overlays, they would count as steam achievements, but Valve has to approve everything.
Implementing racing design: 
I couldn’t find much in the way of creating a racing game within Hammer. The only tutorial I found was done in Counterstrike, and I believe we would want to use a more updated version of Source.
Tutorials: 
http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Logic_achievement (This says that we can’t add achievements, unless it is done through ‘Steamworks’ (http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Steamworks)), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1FwwpIEZJ4 (Video of someone creating a race map for Counter Strike).

UT3/UDK

My thoughts: Personally, I believe this is the best and most efficient engine for what we need. We can create overlay achievements (and collect them using variables), and we can create a race track with cars in this engine. I haven’t tested it for too long, but I believe this engine is a strong contender for our project to be created in.
Implement achievements? 
Yes!
Implementing racing design: 
According to the ‘Design3’ tutorial, kismet and matinees are used frequently, the terrain feature would make for a good off-road track, and some C++ will need to be used to implement some of the racing/car features.
Tutorials: 
http://www.design3.com/udk/intermediate/udk-racing-game-level-design,http://www.design3.com/udk/intermediate/udk-racing-game-level-design/item/1352-chapter-1-introduction

Unity

My thoughts: Simple art style; we would need to create a lot of art assets to import into Unity, such as cars (maybe too simplistic for our project, and we would have to do a lot of scripting work).
Implement achievements? Can be done using an overlay, and then we can create a piece of code which counts and collects the achievement data of each player. These can be analysed after the game has been played.
Implementing racing design: Can be done with the code used in unity; although implementing ai on other cars could prove to be difficult. We could create the track in 3DS Max, but we’re not artists.
Tutorials: http://www.unity3dstudent.com/ (Many different tutorials that could help make up a small/short racing game) http://unity3d.com/support/resources/tutorials/car-tutorial.html(Useful, and shows it can look pretty!).

Trackmania

My thoughts: You can only create tracks, and we wouldn’t be able to have an open-world section. An overlay can probably be created, but it would be a lot of scripting, and then manually adding it to the Track mania files. As we are not programmers, I believe we should not use this for our levels.

Implement achievements? No
Implementing racing design: 
There is no computer AI, there is only a ghosting-system (previous time shown as a ghost on the track). There is also no collision between the ghost and the playable vehicle.

Conclusion
Overall, from my testing I believe that the most viable engine for us to work in is UDK/UT3 or Unity. Achievement overlays can be added into each, and both will be able to gather achievement data through the use of either Kismet or scripting.
From Reece’s feedback, I also believe that creating a racing game in the Crytek engine is do-able too.

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GO TO WEEK 7 – Receiving our literature results, and preparing for the first milestone.

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