Transition to 2D Vehicles — Why and How

Tin­kerTech Derby is a pretty fan­tas­tic con­cept, but we ran into a snag. We encoun­tered severe per­for­mance issues because we were try­ing to use 3D physics engines writ­ten in Javascript for a real-time online mul­ti­player game. Not nearly enough com­put­ers are capa­ble of run­ning that game as it was with any latency present. We decided that, if we were to con­tinue with the orig­i­nal premise of the game—and we really want to, because it’s really cool!—we would have to drop the third dimen­sion to our physics sim­u­la­tion. For­tu­nately, the 2D game­play is still very fun, and the core idea remains strong.

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Mak Mendel­son

Mak is an artist at Gra­di­ent Stu­dios. He stud­ied fine arts and then elec­tronic arts, focus­ing in char­ac­ter design. He really enjoys think­ing about var­i­ous game mechan­ics and how they work together, mix­ing and match­ing to cre­ate new ones that might one day end up in an actual game.

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Dealing with Modular Design

Our Demo­li­tion Derby game is mod­u­lar. Each mod­ule is a low poly­gon mesh, and a player assem­bles these mod­ules to cre­ate a wheel-based vehi­cle. These vehi­cles are then used to com­bat other play­ers’ vehi­cles in a sim­u­lated physics envi­ron­ment. Vic­tory is deter­mined by break­ing apart the mod­ules of the opponent’s vehi­cle before they yours.

Con­tinue read­ing

Mak Mendel­son

Mak is an artist at Gra­di­ent Stu­dios. He stud­ied fine arts and then elec­tronic arts, focus­ing in char­ac­ter design. He really enjoys think­ing about var­i­ous game mechan­ics and how they work together, mix­ing and match­ing to cre­ate new ones that might one day end up in an actual game.

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Vehicle Editor Prototype

Tin­kerTech Derby can be summed from its two parts, an edi­tor and a game. For a look at the game check out our pre­vi­ous arti­cle. Since then, with the last two months we built a work­ing sys­tem that shows our main ideas for the editor.

Inspired by the voxel painter exam­ple for three.js, you click on parts to attach a new one to it. Since the car always starts out with one part, a Core, this works well. You can add and remove freely except for the Core which instead can be replaced with alternates.

Most cars can be made in a minute or two. Adding spe­cific body and color adds a few more min­utes. Every vehi­cle in the fol­low­ing sped-up video was made in three to five minutes.

Z God­dard

Z, a fan of hats and danc­ing to bad music, devel­ops games and code in Unity3D and WebGL. Always look­ing at new tech­nolo­gies for games, he has big dreams for Go.

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TinkerTech More Hopeful on New Chromebook

There has been some recent news about Google’s new Chrome­book, Sam­sung Series 5 550. Being a game devel­oper with a great inter­est in browser gam­ing, I think that the Chrome­book is a pretty cool idea. We have been test­ing our work with the ear­lier mod­els, the Series 5 500 and the test model, Cr-48, but many peo­ple, myself included, have found that the per­for­mance of these machines is less than desirable.

Test­ing our cur­rent builds of Tin­kerTech Derby on a Sam­sung Series 5 500, we have deter­mined that the game is, in fact, playable. And when I say playable, what I really mean is that it func­tions, not that you would actu­ally enjoy the expe­ri­ence. We have a lot of work to do before it’s at a point where peo­ple can expect to play the game with their friends on these machines.

Accord­ing to a look at the new device on hexus.net, the 550 model is more than twice as fast as its pre­de­ces­sor in run­ning the V8 bench­mark. That is a pretty excit­ing jump! With a video review from The Verge includ­ing a very small snip­pet show­ing Bas­tion being played @3:10, gam­ing on these devices is start­ing to look exciting!

Z God­dard

Z, a fan of hats and danc­ing to bad music, devel­ops games and code in Unity3D and WebGL. Always look­ing at new tech­nolo­gies for games, he has big dreams for Go.

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TinkerTech: Derby Pre-Alpha Demo Video

We are hard at work test­ing cloud ser­vices to deter­mine how best to get peo­ple bash­ing vehi­cles together in their browser. For now, Tin­kerTech is only playable on local net­works. So while we opti­mize our code and nail down our server infra­struc­ture, I wanted to get a video out to those of you who didn’t get to stop by our PAX East booth.

Par­don our mess, as the vast major­ity of our work is going into the back-end of this game. Expect more from us aes­thet­i­cally in the future. If you have any sug­ges­tions or other thoughts, please post in the comments.

For a longer descrip­tion of the game, please read our blog post about our visit to PAX East 2012.

I also want to say thank you to Shamus Young for post­ing about us on his blog. We greatly appre­ci­ate the kind words and friendly comments.

 

Trevor Sayre

Trevor is a licensed sky­diver and lover of bicy­cles. When not out and about, he works as an Inter­ac­tion Designer seek­ing good design and usabil­ity above all else.

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TinkerTech: Derby at PAX East 2012

TinekrTech: Derby - Laser Battle

TinekrTech: Derby — Laser Battle

Last week­end was PAX East 2012, a con­sumer gam­ing show hosted by Penny Arcade. We just returned from host­ing a booth where we showed off our lat­est build of Tin­ker Tech: Derby. We set up four con­nected Chrome sta­tions where play­ers used pre-built cars to smash and blast each other into piles of blocks while dri­ving to sur­vive. This was a very early pre-alpha ver­sion, so many fea­tures have yet to be imple­mented, and we were wrestling bugs all week­end. We are cur­rently hard at work to refine the game and release a beta by the end of the year.

If you didn’t get to visit our booth and play the game, we have put up a short video of sam­ple game­play.

Gradient Studios at PAX East 2012

Gra­di­ent Stu­dios at PAX East 2012

Tin­kerTech will be a game about con­struc­tion and destruc­tion. Play­ers will be given an ini­tial set of blocks to build vehi­cles. These vehi­cles will then be pit­ted against each other in var­i­ous events includ­ing: demo­li­tion derby, rac­ing, and other arena chal­lenges. The blocks of the cars each serve a dif­fer­ent func­tion includ­ing: weight, armor, weaponry, and oth­ers. The real-time physics engine will affect the han­dling of the vehi­cles and the tum­bling of the blocks as they are knocked off and vehi­cles reduced to rubble.

We look for­ward to shar­ing more infor­ma­tion about this game as we con­tinue to work on it. Keep an eye on our blog for updates.

TinkerTech: Derby - Vehicle Crash

Tin­kerTech: Derby — Vehi­cle Crash

FAQ

When will it be out?

We are plan­ning for a Beta test­ing phase by the end of 2012. There is also dis­cus­sion about early Alpha access.

What plat­forms will be supported?

Chrome and Fire­fox are our pri­mary tar­gets. The game is devel­oped using HTML5 (Open Web Tech­nolo­gies), mean­ing there are no down­loads or plu­g­ins out­side of sim­ply hav­ing the lat­est ver­sion of Chrome or Firefox.

Will there be a level editor?

There are plans for a level edi­tor, but there will not be one ini­tially. We are focus­ing on the vehi­cle edi­tor and core game­play before we move on to other features.

Trevor Sayre

Trevor is a licensed sky­diver and lover of bicy­cles. When not out and about, he works as an Inter­ac­tion Designer seek­ing good design and usabil­ity above all else.

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