Time Scale Increase to 150%

I've been fighting with the idea of increasing the speed of the game to reflect that it is a arcade-like top-down racer. The reason *why* I have been fighting with the idea is that I like the realistic speed and the fact that you can control your power slides and you feel the car behaving like you would expect it to.

But. This is after all an arcade-like top-down racer and normally they would play faster than real life. So finally I took the plunge and set the time scale to 150% and my initial reaction was that I disliked it. Then I played a lap. And another one. I began to think, is the reason *why* I dislike it because I am so used to normal time scale? And then, I started to enjoy playing at the new speed. It had a different, more arcade-like, charm to it.

So, now I am torn. Do I set the speed to 150%? Or keep it at 100%? Or do I offer two game modes so you can pick what you prefer? But if I offer two modes, that would reduce the numbers of online players for match making based on your preference of time scale. Do I split the difference at 125%? But if I do that... what about those who prefer the realism?

I also opted to go back to the most basic of engine sounds - the pitch shifting method (option 1 in my previous post). It is by far the easiest to implement and I think I will keep that for the duration of early development and then revisit the topic later on.

Time Scale at 150% (Note, lap timing and car damage is temporarily disabled)

Time Scale at 100% (old video)

What do you think? I would love to hear your opinion!


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I think 125% speed will satisfy noone.

  • It's not realistic, so it won't satisfy those that want realism.
  • It's not fast enough to increase the frequency of gameplay decision for those looking for a more arcade feeling.

I think listing the game speed on the online game list would work fine. Like that, you could let the host select whichever speed (100%, 200%, or even 50%*), then players could select see this in the game list and jump into those that they are okay playing. Over time some of them will be more popular than others. So what? Everyone is happy.

*Yes, I am not crazy. 50% speed could make sense on a game mode where you would have many other things to do, like aiming and shooting weapons Mad Max style, dropping and avoiding oil pools, throwing dynamite and avoiding it. It would give it a more tactical depth that would be too much at higher or even normal speed. You could even have the game run at normal speed, then automatically slow down, bullet-time-like, when one of this events occur, to give the other players time of reaction. Just throwing some ideas on the table here...

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Good points - thanks for your comment! I think I agree with you that the in between may become the "worst of both worlds" rather than the "best of both worlds". I will have to keep the number of options low, especially if the number of concurrent players aren't that many but as you say - it'll be easy to see which one is more popular and if there are enough players I may as well keep the modes.

Funny you should mention 50% because today I recorded a slow motion video where I ran it at 25% and it had a certain charm to it (see after the pile up where I drive normally): 

You can really try to hit the apex and perfect the lines and if I were to add the "dirty" racing mode it would probably be quite fun an tactical as an alternative. 

Great stuff! Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

I should probably include some comments and feedback discussions from the YouTube video here for reference:

  • Comment:
    It feel less like a simulation, more like a game.
    Now imagine 3-4 more cars at the same time, each controlled by a player and bumping each other to reach the goal, pick power ups, or something. Sounds like fun! :D Any idea what the greater game will be? Super Off Road-like? Mad Max/Death race-like? Mario Kart-like? Totally different?
    • Imphenzia: 
      Hi, excellent - thanks for the feedback! Yes, it is more of a game at a higher speed - I'm not sure about the strain it puts on the multiplayer implementation since things have to be updated more frequently across the network and physics with collisions over network will be a challenge to say the least - still, I think it's worth pursuing it!
      About the greater game: At the moment I'm thinking up to 8 players that race 5-minute races on various circuits. A budget will allow the player to upgrade parts of the car to three different levels, e.g. Tires (grip), Rear Wing (rear grip), Engine Tuning (slight performance boost), Turbo or Supercharger (bigger performance boost) but also items such as weight reduction and the durability of the car (e.g. increase the chassis to make it less likely that you lose parts during heavy landings / collisions etc.). I also want to throw in the aspect that you can improve the pit crew performance so they can run instead of walk, change tires faster, and things like that. I have already animated the pit crew for the tasks of wheel replacement and attaching new body panels =) More on that in a future devlog update. I am also considering a "dirty" race mode where you can add unconventional upgrades inspired by the old Super Cars 2 game on the Amiga. This would need to be a stretch goal, but it would be easy to add ability of a "fixer-guy" as a passenger with a weapon that can try to take out nearby opponents, mines, oil slicks, and stuff of that nature. The interest and fun vs. keeping it clean and strictly racing is something I have to investigate.
    • Comment:
      Do not increase the speed of the entire simulation.
      Instead, increase the speed of the car and the pull of gravity by the same factor. That is, if the car moved at 100 m/s before, make it move at 150 m/s now. If gravity acceleration was 9.8 m/s2, make it be 14.7 m/s2. Also the car maneuverability. In general, multiply all numbers times 1.5. This should be just a number defined once, then you can have the same game tick simulation rate, and the same network refresh rate. Tire drag also, and the car's acceleration and deceleration ratings.
    • Imphenzia: 
      I tried to increase it by multiplying parameters but problem comes to grip and slip calculations and even if I tried to increase the grip by an equivalent (or even an excessive amount). I will keep investigating.
  • Comment: 
    1. Seems like more fun because more things going on in same period of time relatively normal speed settings.
    2. Better if you consider multiplayer because it's a racing conditions so high speed is expected.
    3. About what worse. Look how easy you overcome obstacles, what is their point than? What's the point to stay on pavement if you can just brutaly move over anything. My suggestion is to make 115-120% out of speed. Also consider to encourage driver to stay on pavement but make them use drifting technique on turns by making controlling left/right not so responsive on higher speed. So they will have to choose either they reducing speed on turning and loosing their valuable seconds or they try to drift on high speed.
    • Imphenzia:
      Thanks, excellent feedback!
      1. I would have to agree. 2. I have to agree here too with reservation of multiplayer network traffic challenge as mentioned in my comment to David. 3. I will implement mechanics to prevent you from taking shortcuts or over-jumping jumps forcing you to break etc. Fences, walls will be put in place and it will also be more slippery and grass and less traction on sand. You will lose body panels if you over-jump the jumps which will cost you time and $ in the pits. There will also be checkpoints that you have to clear to ensure a complete lap. Finally, some jumps will have a bridge crossing the landing so if you jump past the landing you will smack into a wall mid-air =) So stuff like that should prevent cheating and shortcuts. At the same time I will add nifty shortcuts that require some skills, e.g. a narrow bridge that is easy to fall off or a train track shortcut where you risk meeting an oncoming train. That's the idea at least!

Pitch shifting is super easy to implement, lightweight, and it sounds very well when done correctly. I see you improved it a lot already, well done! I love it :) With enough samples and good transitions of pitch/volume you can go really deep as you can see.

About the game speed it is a tough question. It really depends on the feel you want to give to your game. As long as it's consistent it should be fine. It also depends if you want to make the game for casual players (probably more audience) or if you want to make it more of a simulation (less audience, but is it really about the numbers?).

Maybe a good "in between" would be to just make two vehicules, one that has to play more with the drifts but is faster, and the other that is easier to control but has a lower max speed. In that way you can play with both styles and the game is still balanced. It's nothing new, kind of unoriginal, but that's also because it just works.

Thanks. Yes Pitch shifting is easiest and I'm actually using only one loop rather than crossfading (although that is how I would normally go about it). Recording the engine-under-load loops is a bit of a pain if you want to do the full deal as you need to have the car seamlessly looping at top rev for 5-10 seconds without moving too fast to introduce too much wind noise. When I did my recordings I had to keep it in first gear, apply brakes, find a quiet road that sloped upwards and I tried to keep the rev steady at 6000+ RPM. That's the beauty with the acceleration ramp recordings - they are much easier to obtain and I think the size is smaller which is a bonus. But regardless, with it being an arcade-like looking game I would probably lean towards using the single loop (as in the video showing the time scale) to match the low-poly look of the game.

Yes, the game speed is tricky. I will simply have to play test and gather feedback and determine to go for sim-speed, fast-speed, or cater for both groups of players. I hate choices yet I always end up having to make them somehow :)

I plan to add support to extend with as many vehicles as possible. I will make them as downloadable asset bundles so a car will come with its unique model, sound effects, handling, and part upgrades. I plan to allow the upgrade of the car so people that prefer grip over drift can simply invest in grip-increasing upgrades whereas those that prefer styling or performance upgrades can choose that. I think I will base match making based on how upgraded a car is so if you have a low end car with a massive turbo you will get matched with cars that have a much higher spec originally. I think that way it would look more fun too with different car models and everyone can race their favorites.

Thanks for your feedback, it's very valuable to me!