Space Dust Studios

Developer Blog

Category: Design

Space Dust Racers – Development Update – November 2014

We’re back with another update and some pretty screenshots for Space Dust Racers. Wait, don’t I mean Space Dust Racing?

Space Dust Racers – A New Hope Logo (plus a slight name change too!)

Space Dust Racers Logo

After much discussion within the team, we felt that while racing is part of Space Dust Racers (in between the mayhem and carnage), the game is more about getting together with some chums, choosing a character, then systematically attempting to explode, bump, BBQ and shark-missile them into oblivion while trying to survive at the same time. It’s deathmatch on wheels, hence the focus on characters over the act of racing itself.

The name change also tied in nicely with a planned re-design of the logo, featured above.

Thanks to Film Victoria

Thank You Film Victoria

We also wanted to say thanks to Film Victoria for their continued support of Space Dust Racers and Victorian Game Development in general. We couldn’t make this game without their help and we are super appreciative!

Development Update

We’re currently working on an exciting new level for Space Dust Racers, however earlier this month the team worked on adding various weather and times of day to the Clawtopia level. Below are screenshots showing the original tropical morning plus the new clear night and thunderstorm versions.

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Space Dust Racing (Unreal Engine 4) Arcade Vehicle Physics Tour

I’ve had a few people ask how we’re approaching our vehicle/car/kart/buggy physics (whatever you want to call them) for Space Dust Racing within Unreal Engine 4.

In this video I run through the general principles at a high level (no code, blueprints or formulas) to achieve our bouncy cartoon vehicle handling.

I start with a simple collision box, then add suspension, accelerating and braking, turning, traction, tweak the center of mass, add a visual mesh on top and finally show the end result.

The same principles can be used in any game engine with a physics component (Unity 3D, CryEngine etc). I hope you find it interesting!

Development Update – July 2014

Progress is continuing at a rapid rate with the gameplay, environment and vfx improving every day. Also – if you missed our last post showing early game-play footage, be sure to check it out here, but bear in mind the game looks a lot better now!

GAMEPLAY UPDATE

We took our Space Dust Racing milestone build to the IGDA Melbourne pitching night and got some great feedback. About 30 people wandered over and joined in the 4-player mayhem, and offered some great suggestions on things we could improve and their favourite elements.

SDS IGDA

Playing Space Dust Racing @ IGDA Melbourne meet, complete with scrappy piece of paper showing controls affixed to side of laptop

New features we’ve added include the ability to ram other vehicles off the track, auto-aiming laser sights for the turret gun, slow but sneaky homing on the smart missile, a passive shock shield which protects you from attacks and also acts as a melee weapon, and a more forgiving revision of the vehicle physics to ensure players remain in the game for longer. And thanks to Unreal Engine 4.3’s splines, we’ve added spline data for the race track, which has finally allowed us to create a silky smooth camera behaviour and easily give the AI racers some rudimentary knowledge of the track.

CLAWTOPIA

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Latest Clawtopia shot

Clawtopia is feeling more and more like the alien tropical island we imagined in the early concept art. Pops has been heading up the creation of the terrain sculpting, plant creation/placement and it is really coming to life. As final gameplay adjustments are made to track and obstacles, the remaining white-box assets will be replaced with final art and textured mesh.

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Plant concepts for Clawtopia

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The concepts above as fully realised assets

The vision for Clawtopia was that it should feel familiar but also alien, and that vibe is really starting to materialize. Obviously the enormous crashed flying saucer helps a bit!

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Crashed Saucer production drawing

HERMAN’S SKIFF

Clawtopia is Hermans’ home world, so unsurprisingly Herman will be the next Space Dust Racing character to be built. However… Grigs is first building out the geometry for his vehicle, which in keeping with his character is a fishy inspired hovering jet powered skiff (phew!). Several rounds of concepts were  created from which the final design was refined to fit similar proportions to Sarge’s tank – you can see the early progress below.

SDS Hermans Skiff

Concept / Ortho / Mesh creation process

Well… that’s it from us for this development update. Is there any part of the game you’d like us to talk about? Leave your thoughts below in the comments.

Space Dust Racing – First Look – Early Gameplay Footage

7 players, 5 locations & 2 months dev…

It has been crazy busy at Space Dust Central! We hit our first major milestone at the beginning of the month, and have been working hard toward our complete vertical slice. In keeping with our plan of open ongoing Space Dust Racing development, here’s some early gameplay footage.

This play-test footage from the 28th of June was recorded directly from the game with 7 players over 5 different locations (online multiplayer). Glen also recorded our Google Hangout audio stream which I overlaid on the footage. While it is still early days (just 2 months of dedicated development!), we’re really happy with how fun it is to play already. And it is totally fitting our end goal of couch racing chaos!

Screenshot 002 - 15 July 2014

We plan to have a larger general update shortly, though I’ve included a recent screenshot above as we’ve moved on since the footage was taken. As always, please post comments and we look forward to showing you more soon!

Development Update – June 2014

Space Dust Central has been super busy since our last blog post. The transition from Unity to UE4 is complete, models are being made, concepts scribbled, tech developed and gameplay implemented… and Beans has just continued being awesome.

Networking nirvana!

Just a few days ago, Michael stood up online multiplayer for Space Dust Racing. We’re able to create and join online matches, which all came together surprisingly painlessly thanks to the mature networking support in Unreal Engine. Despite our core gameplay focusing around couch co-op, we can already see the value in having an online multiplayer build so early in the development process. We can playtest remotely, and with Skype running in the background we’re finding this is great for brainstorming ideas while we race around the track.

My my… is that a shark missile!?

Yes indeed… mounted on a giant spring no less! Grigor and Pops have been building and animating our first batch of weapon models (there are more in the works). Obviously these are the raw mesh without texture, but it gives a good indication of where things are headed! Included is an orthographic projection of the Turret Gun in the top right, continuing on from the last blog post about art process.

Weapons

Our first batch of weapon models

“Clawtopia”

The setting for our first level is Herman’s home planet…

“Eons ago, Herman’s distant relatives (simple hermit crabs) were abducted from the “Hermit Hut” pet-store by aliens with a penchant for interstellar marine biology. On the return journey they crash landed on a tropical planet we now know as “Clawtopia”. The hermit crabs survived, and surrounded by the futuristic (and slightly oozy) wreckage, they quickly evolved into the highly advanced crustaceans that you see today. Herman is their champion.”

Below are some of the initial concept sketches – we wanted to get a cool contrast between tropical island and spacecraft wreckage, and also multiple terrain types within the one level. The actual track shape is different from what you see here – these images just show thematic direction.

Clawtopia concepts

Initial thematic concepts for Herman’s home planet

Sarge and Tank (a love story)

Continuing on from our last post, you can see the original tank concept sketch, and below it the final raw 3D model. A few things changed along the way – like the tracks have been fattened up considerably, and the side of the cockpit altered so you can really see Pops’ cool character animations.

On the right are concept paint-overs showing the skins we’ve decided to go with. Grigor is continuing work on the build of Sarge and his tank, so hopefully will have some images of the final product in the next post.

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Sarge and his tank – concept, model and paint-over

That’s it for this post! Thanks again for stopping by to check out the development of Space Dust Racing.

As always, if you’ve any comments or questions or thoughts, please post below! :)

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