Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Research Pt.1

It’s been a few days but I finally have an update for the research I have accumulated. I’ve played games, I’ve watched films and have also found a new favourite place, being the Marina in Swansea. I have a direction I want to follow and a few books I want to look up and he only trouble is I have a fair few questions to ask Richard Morgan (creator!!) which isn’t trouble really, more so curiosity :p
The games I’ve played so far are:

·         Fallout 3
·         Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit
·         MotoGP 10/11
·         Wipeout HD
·         Dirt3
·         Motorstorm Pacific Rift

With more detail and analysing looking into Dirt3 and Motorstorm. Firstly points on Motorstorm, being quite arcadey, I noticed when we were given the brief seeing some mechanics that I recognised from this game. 

1/ In particular the engine *not game engine but the HUD that shows and engine gauge in the game* and a feature that allows for a boost to acceleration, there is a limited amount of ‘boost’ that can be used before it overheats and explodes the engine if used too much, it also has a cooldown so it can be used many times and there is also a water feature that if you drive through water then the ‘boost’ bar will decrease rapidly thereby making it possible to use more frequently.

2/ Of the four zones that you can compete in, the Fire Zone is the one that to me has most relevance to “Much Haste to Igford”. Though all the zones have water running through them, the Fire Zone has water stations similar to that of what will be included in “Much Haste to Igford”, they are situated in different places around the course, some on route and some that are in alternate routes providing risk factors.
Looking at the level design itself, there are a multitude of terrains and different routes to use with different vehicles making it more immersive and chaotic. Terrains are all on different levels and heights but all work around a lap system rather than a rally A to B, this makes them quite repetitive as the game goes on. 

The next game I looked at in some depth was Dirt3, being a simulation may not have too much relevance but it’s a game with massive variety.

One thing I noticed was that tracks that were lap based tended to get more repetitive and boring to play during the end of the game because of the sheer quantity you had to go around. However the A to B type levels were thoroughly enjoyable, I got a sense that I was going somewhere which is what I imagine is wanted in “Much Haste to Igford”. Also there tended to be a lot of hairpins and areas that had mini bumps that would act as ramps and send you off course quickly if you didn’t keep on your toes.

I also played a bit of Fallout 3, I know it's an RPG but the desolate wasteland could be of some value for areas maybe around the industrial sites?! At this stage I don't want to write nothing out for certain, and some of the power suits in game are quite steampunkish in design ...but we don't get to touch character design :( sad times.

Among other research I also watched “Steamboy”, a film based around the use of steam as a fuel source, which is at the heart of steampunk. There wasn’t too much to take from it but it’s based in the industrial revolution era and the scenery has lead me onto look up some other major things that I really want to put into my level. Glass being a huge element, I was fascinated by the London Glass Exhibition structure and was thinking how awesome it would be just to drive through it. There were also some really interesting places like train stations and terraced houses as well as a scene that had a road next to a railway line (multi routes). And from the research I did earlier was thinking about creating a level that had a few different routes to take to keep it fresh and replay friendly. AND ANOTHER thing I want to look at is chapels/churches and Town Halls as they tended to be quite central to the community back in Victorian times amongst the Towns folk!!

It is notable to mention that this isn’t all the research I will be doing, when they become available to me i.e. when I go home and have a chance to dig them out of the attic I will be playing/researching :p Road Rash 3, Diddy Kong Racing, Mario Kart and Micro Machines. I have also downloaded TrackMania Nations Forever, which you can create your own levels, if anything just to get a feel for how long a minute and a half/ 2 minutes is like behind a wheel really. I’m also planning on going to the library tomorrow and borrowing every Victorian/Industrial Revolution book that is available to me!! 

In the mean time I will be doing some preliminary drawing of things I fancy, also when the weather is more forgiving I will be going down to the Marina to take pictures of all the nice brickwork, old lampposts, buildings and there are a few nice tug boats that might be nice for a port feature!! I'm also working on a questionnaire as to what makes a good racing game in peoples opinions. 

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