(Retrospective October 2015)
October was a busy month for VSC updates, so here are some of the highlights for you!
Car variants: We finished adding the three variants for each of our core Formula and Sports cars. Single, dual, and triple colour options were created. The player will be able to set the colours to anything he/she likes within the custom colour picker in the VSC Garage.
Motor and Gear icons: We also found some time to update the old motor and gear icons within the game menu to better represent the type of gears being used for the inline, anglewinder, and sidewinder chassis, and the number of teeth on the gears. The motors are now also colour coded based on the increasing RPM capability using a nicer generic motor image.
Barriers: As I'm sure you are aware, slot cars have the tendency to come off the track just like the real racing cars do :) In this way, what is a track without cool looking barriers? These were implemented with full Physics collision even while the car was still in it's slot, so they made a real difference on some of the tighter corners in keeping the cars on the track. They are completely procedural so no manual placement is required within the track editor.
PraGames combination mark: We already had our PraGames symbol/icon but we also wanted to add to it a word mark, the result would be a combination mark (Symbol/Icon + Word Mark). We settled on the font and made the final bespoke character and kerning changes, plus a little bit of the golden rule, and viola – we had it :) So, for VSC we added some slot car racing flavour with the addition of a nice track background and some drop shadow. It all scales nicely. Hopefully we can get around to creating it also in vector format when we find some time. A nice place to help you figure out what kind of logo type might work for you is here: http://www.nodinx.com/5-basic-types-of-logos/
Car Logos: Since we had some really nice AO on the cars and we had finalised the PraGames and VSC 2d logos, and since the reveal video was getting even closer to its deadline, we had to solve a problem with the logos on the cars. Our initial approach was to burn the logos into the AO texture itself, but as you can see in the first image that resulted in something quite ugly in close up. So we took a deep breath and committed ourselves to adding the technology for a further RGBA logo texture to be added to the chassis of the car. We were very short of time, but the end result was most pleasing and worth the effort.
Reworked HUD: As we were starting to do some initial VSC in-game recordings for the reveal trailer, we were playing VSC more and more, and it became apparent that the HUD was not as clear to read as it could be. Although we had yet to decide on the basic colour of the main menu text, which was orange at the time, we felt that the HUD text was best shown as white with a drop shadow, no matter what text colour we ended up going with for the main menu text. We also removed the grey background since the white text really didn’t need it. This resulted in more screen real estate for the player in game. We also shifted the Standings window to the centre on the left side for more clarity. Standings can be toggled on/off in game in any case.
Player level: VSC now has a player level indicator, this ranges from the first level of beginner to Ace being the fifth level. These levels are indicative of how much in-game racing experience you have achieved and the skill and vehicle class level of AI you will face when automatic AI matching has been enabled.
Experience and Coin: In October VSC also received full implementation of Experience and Coin acquisition. As promised right from the beginning, experience will unlock certain items within the VSC store and coins will allow you to buy them. The more you race the more experience you get. The more you win, the more coins you get, pretty simply really. The details of how exp and coin are given out will be outlined later on once we have finished the balancing of the game.
Windowed mode: Many of us like to play in windowed mode, for whatever reason. VSC supports this :) and we just fixed a bug that was annoying us. Since in windowed mode it was possible to incorrectly set your aspect ration while trying to make the window larger or smaller, and while VSC was trying to be helpful in remembering the window size upon restart – this didn’t reset the aspect ratio. We have fixed VSC to maintain the correct aspect ratio upon resizing, and it remembers your newly set size.
Compressed textures: VSC now uses proprietary compression for all textures. HDD storage size and video memory has been at least halved, we hope to collate some solid data soon and post the results, but for now we are very pleased with the results.
Texture Aliasing: To complement the texture compression VSC now also makes use of texture aliasing whereby every texture loaded within VSC is checked for it's duplicate, regardless of whether or not the name is the same. If a texture is found to be the same as another it is only loaded into the video memory once and is reused in all instances where it is required. This has so far offered a further 20% reduction in required video memory.
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