GRITS Racing - puddle

Features or content? That is a tough question at times when choosing what to work on next. This time, I chose features since many features that should make this game more attractive are still missing. At long last, you can finally enter your own driver names. Most of the Western European accent characters are also supported (use the X and Y buttons to change the keyboard key). Names are saved for later easy selection. 100 names can be stored. Saved names can be deleted with a tool found under the Game Options menu.

This was also a significant hurdle in the way of getting to the leaderboards feature. I suspect I'll get to the leaderboards next as it is pretty important to those solo players. Still so much to do.

I had hoped to get to name entry sooner but it was no small amount of work to do it right. Building menu features in Unity is a lot more work than just about any other tool. Building menu features for the player punch-in windows is even more work since you lose what little help Unity gives you when building UI for simultaneous players and you have to build the event and focus system yourself. I had a good foundation in place from the early punch-in windows... but it was still maybe 60 hours of work. Time like that is hard to find in a world where you are desperate for work but somehow not cool enough to be hired by anybody anymore.

New features:
  • Name selection and new name entry and storage.
GRITS Racing - puddle

With 6 of the planned 24 tracks now built (well, prototyped) it seemed time to start fiddling with Endurance Racing mode so players can select their favorite track and hit it harder. This is not really Endurance Racing as planned but it is sorta close. The biggest missing feature is the yellow-flag one. Currently, Endurance Racing is just a single-track championship run with more laps. The yellow-flag feature is intended to take that one step further by pausing the race every 10 laps or so to allow one of the trailing players to change up the rules with the usual Wacky Wodifier selection. Working out how to reconcile such changes mid-race, however, will take some time. Thus, I chose not to wait for that before allowing entry into this mode. (Besides, the menu work alone to get this working was a big enough lift [UI work in Unity is about 100x more work than it should be... and why we don't have better menus yet].)

A quick A.I. cheat was also added to Endurance Racing until I have time to build the real solution (whatever that may be). A.I. cars cannot (under most circumstances) lose more than 2 wheels in enduro mode. This is to help keep them relevant longer. Considering the A.I. smarts that still need to be built, this doesn't feel like much of a cheat yet.

It's tempting to call this a bigger update than I am calling it, but I don't want to call it bigger until I have time to build more interest into Endurance Racing.

  • Wandle track redux with traffic cones replacing many of the large tires
  • A lot of menu code refactored under the hood (it all looks the same)
  • Endurance Racing pre-apha introduced
GRITS Racing - puddle

This update doesn't bring much many will care about but it brings something important for us: It allows us to the check the "full controller support" box in Steam for better exposure. Previously, Unity's default game launcher window was disqualifying this tag because it requires a keyboard or mouse to navigate. Thus, I finally added in-game screen and graphics settings to the Game Options menu and set the Unity launcher to only appear on request. (If you are running on Mac and it is already set to appear from before this update, you can turn if off yourself with this checkbox in that window: [x] Only show this dialog if the option key is down.)

Our massive Linux community will also be happy to be caught up on updates (namely, the new Italian Mini Prix track).

This also puts us in a better position for when the Atari VCS finally launches. While console builds do not need graphics options like this, it is not yet clear how we may first launch on the Atari because they are being annoyingly quiet in communicating with developers. So, if we can only run on the Atari through side loading, well, we're now set for a keyboard/mouse-free experience there (after install, I hope).

New features:
  • Screen and graphics options added to the Game Options menu.
  • Rewired updated to v1.1.29.4. As far as GRITS Racing is concerned, this adds support for the Stadia controller, and some other minor fixes to a few other controllers.
GRITS Racing - puddle

On the heals of the last release which brought a small but fundamental change, here comes another small but fundamental change. I have kicked the AI NPC cars out of the race when you are playing with several friends. After all, playing against friends should be about playing against friends and not the AI. And, well, it seems 6 cars is chaotic enough, which makes 12 cars just plain absurd. This also allowed me to find a simple solution to the AI UI problem: the AI now have trucks with the usual lap counters (I had not done this previously because space is reserved for only 8 players here). This also has the nice side effect that single-player mode feels more interactive. AIs are still limited to 1 car each. Anyhow, here's the rundown of when AI cars will appear:

1-2 players = 4 AI cars
3 players = 3 AI cars
4 players = 2 AI cars
5 players = 1 AI car
6-8 players = 0 AI cars

The more aggressive AI personalities are eliminated first.

0.3.5 changes:
  • Player count vs AI count changes.
  • Trucks and lap counting for AIs added.
  • Checkered flag added on win.
GRITS Racing - puddle

The Rosa Camuna mini GP track is finally ready for testing (loosely based on a minified Monza). It was a long haul in part due to some awesome tool writing to make this and future tracks easier to build. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do. Certainly not a beginner's track (you can't full throttle all of it; and be careful with the funky grip on the concrete banking). You'll currently find it at track 6 in an 8-track lineup.

This release also brings a big change to a basic mechanic: max speeds. I noticed many players were very happy with the max speed of the fat-tire car setup. Well, that setup is 17% slower than the base setup. Thus, I did some testing that I should have done long ago to see just how slow I could tolerate the max speed and still feel fast and dangerous. To skip the long story of the deep look I took at things, I landed at cutting the base max speed 15% from 200 kph to 170 kph (124 mph to 106 mph). Conversely, I increased the max speed for the big-tire setups. I didn't dig into the gearbox, so the torques should be the same as before. I think this saner pace is a good move for the majority of players and is pretty close to final, if not final.

Now, don't worry, speed freaks. I then added a new wacky wodifier for a higher speed limit for all tire setups. This wod increases the max speed 18% which kicks that 170 kph back up to 200.6 kph (just a smidge faster than the original setup). I currently call the wod "Speed limit for pros."

Summary of changes wrapped up in this release:

Version 0.3.2:
  • Some small AI tweaks including new behavior in the pit lane.
  • Other minor changes such as curbs fixed.
Version 0.3.3:
  • New track: Rosa Camuna
  • New object type: traffic cones
Version 0.3.4:
  • Max speed redux.
  • New Wacky Wodifier: Speed limit for pros
  • New Leader Lamifier: Greasier car seat
  • Wods listbox now scrollable... no thanks to Unity's crazy UI tools!
  • Changed 4-track screenshot layout to a quad instead of a vertical strip.

Linux should see a new build shortly, after I make a few more changes in this current hard push.
Nov 16, 2019
GRITS Racing - puddle
Admittedly, GRITS Racing is a small fish in a big pond... so... time to find out what it is like to be a small fish in a much smaller pond. Thus, I took the plunge to run and release a build for Linux. It was a bit of trouble -- and perhaps a waste of time -- but not that bad as most tools were ready to go for Linux. Also, this paves the way for building for the Atari VCS when it arrives. More on the Linux build further down.

0.3.1 updates:
  • Wwise plugin updated from 2018.1.6 to 2018.1.10 to fix a bug in the Linux build.
Windows and Mac will likely not see a build of version 0.3.1 since I see nothing else in the plugin update that would affect the game much on those platforms.

In other news (for my November update) I hope to start work on a new track soon even though my new job is sucking a lot out of me with their insanely-complex proprietary tools they build their simulator with. We'll see. I also see I need to move the game towards "full controller support" sooner than previously prioritized so I can jump on the new "Remote Play on TV" tag in Steam. To do this, I need to expand the options menu to include settings currently handled by Unity's launcher.

Steam tagged GRITS Racing for their new "Remote Play Together" feature but I haven't tested it yet. But, for those asking for online multiplayer support, maybe this will work well enough for now.

Regarding the Linux build, here's the excerpt from our readme:

A Linux build has just been added to the OS offering. Future Linux support is not guaranteed. Currently, 64-bit Ubuntu 18.04 with Nvidia drivers is the only supported configuration, and is not yet considered a high priority. At time of release, the Linux build has only been tested on Linux Mint 19.2 64-bit (Ubuntu 18.04 base). This was on a pretty outdated mid-2010 Mac Mini with a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo and a GeForce 320M and performance was good with the "Faster (2x AA)" game option (8x AA was too slow).

OpenGL 3.2 or later is required. This would roughly include Nvidia since 2006 (GeForce 8), AMD since 2006 (Radeon HD 2000), and Intel since 2012 (HD 4000/IvyBridge). Good luck with drivers other than Nvidia.

The SLD2 library must be installed if not already. Hint:

sudo apt install libsdl2-2.0-0

The Unity Launcher may require other libraries such as libcanberra-gtk-?. If having trouble, launch from the command line to see any messages.
Sep 25, 2019
GRITS Racing - puddle

Version 0.3.0 doesn't add much that will be noticeable over the last 0.2.x version -- it is more of a wrap to all the 0.2.x edits. That said, there was still a ton of hard work behind this update. Most of that was on those barely-noticeable shadows. The shadow controllers were rebuilt, and then rebuilt again, until I found the right setup for optimal performance with shadows on both static and dynamic objects as well as optimal track editing. Thus, just about every object was updated (and updated again) even if not significantly so.

New features:
  • All objects (of any significant height) now have a shadow (of one sort or another). This adds a tiiiiiny bit more depth to the track. Sometimes I think it works well... and sometimes I think it is silly looking and not worth the effort. We'll see where it goes from here.
  • The larger/wider wheels now show the smoke and dust they generate (only the standard wheels were doing this correctly before). The wheel shadow for the larger wheels was also on the wrong layer. Not sure why these things weren't fixed much sooner. I suspect I had noticed it during smoke/dust development, and then forgotten in some rush to publish. But, I really can't remember. Regardless, I can't believe it took me this long to notice and fix the smoke/dust problem.
  • Many, many, other minor tweaks and sprite updates not worth listing.
GRITS Racing - puddle

  • The drag chute has finally received the attention to detail that pretty much everything else has. This isn't final polish yet, but at least it is more than the quick test feature that it used to be. There is new art and the chute inflates with motion. The collider on the chute has finally been enabled after resolving most scenarios where the chute might get stuck on the wrong side of the track barriers. This can still happen through no direct fault of the driver, but the precise scenario is extremely rare and, thus, dubbed part of the chaos of the game (don't get rear-ended while diagonally backed into a wall). Anyhow, the chute can now get tangled on some objects such as other cars -- but this feature has been made to also be fairly forgiving and should untangle fairly easily.
GRITS Racing - puddle

New features:
  • New Wacky Wodifier: Greased car seats. This is my new favorite wod. It's for those who think the drivers are a little too glued to their seats considering these jalopies have no seat belts. I'm tempted to make this the only race mode and cancel all the other wods. I won't... I don't think... well, not anytime soon.
  • Wandle track (the figure-8) has been made a bit easier by moving the barrier tires 2 meters further back from the race line.
  • Some sprite updates and tweaks.
GRITS Racing - puddle
Some cleanup of things missed in all the work of the last release.

  • Pedestrian cursor was being drawn on the wrong layer.
Other minor sprite tweaks.

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