June 22, 2012

The plot thickens

It's been a while. Way too long actually. But instead of coming with my usual lame excuses on the silence, I'll just get on with it. There's been a heap of interesting stuff to watch, not the least a few which will need some more time to reach its full potential. So the 0.8 release is still a way off, though hopefully we will have a release out before the year is over.

New version of XR591
As usual, we'll start with the more visual changes. Behold the new version of XR591 by our regular track guru samuncle. If you think it looks pretty much the same, that's correct; it will mainly be less resource-hungry and with a few other changes here and there. It's still a work in progress, but it will hopefully be ready to roll out alongside the 0.8 release.
 
Other tracks have been updated to support driving them in reverse, thanks to various community members, and Wardje (Ward Muylaert) has added support for driving Grand Prix tournaments in reverse as well. He also added the option to give up a normal and Time Trial races, but still get an estimated time with penalty time added. You will always end up last, but at least get a result. And now penalty time is only given if you accelerate while "Set" is shown, so any accidental acceleration during "Ready" will not penalize you.

Intro animation for story mode
When it comes to the story mode, work has been started on animating the intro cutscene. Indeed, the plot thickens! There is still quite a lot more to be done when it comes to cutscenes, but to drum up excitement I thought I'd post this screenshot. If there are any animation experts out there willing to help, please contact us - this would free up a lot of time for Auria that would go into making the game better in other ways.

A cannon-like teleporter has been in the works as well, where the goal is that a track designer may place a special object in a track, and karts when they reach that point will fly to the end point without any user interaction. This is also a work in progress, and may or may not be ready in time for 0.8.
Speaking of teleportation, I thought I'd quickly mention that in the Overworld you can now click on the map and you'll get teleported nearby that challenge orb. That'll save some driving back and forth.

More WIP work: demo mode, where after a certain amount of idle time AI will start to race, like you often see for games in real arcade machines. When this will be ready to be used as a default is left to be seen.
Also, there's been quite a bit of AI work done lately, with efforts to both bring the AI up to speed when it comes to the new skidding behavior, and also to make it more intelligent and avoid bad things while collecting good things. The latter part has been started by a new contributor, JskiJ, which we hope will help us further with giving the AI a much needed intelligence boost.

In other news, SuperTuxKart now has a default resolution of 1024x768 unless your screen is too small. Then it will revert back to 800x600. This decision was made due to the increasing challenge of keeping the interface small enough to fit 800x600 pixels, and also since most computers have screens capable of at least 1024x768.
Meanwhile, the game now supports Arabic, which will hopefully make the game more accessible to many people.

There's been a few other miscellaneous changes as well, but unless I am mistaken I've listed the highlights since last regular development update. Take care and as always, we welcome contributions both on a one-off and on a regular basis. :)

14 comments:

  1. Super ! I'm so excited

    I wait ....

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  2. It's looking good. I can't wait.

    I just hope that there will be an option to disable those damn rubber balls and parachutes - weapons that don't require skill to use (no aiming required) and ruin the gameplay.

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  3. Yes, I know about Time Trial - but it can be a bit dull without any weapons at all. What I want is a simple option screen which allows you to turn on or off the various weapons in Normal play. That way, if somebody hates a certain weapon (DAMN that rubber ball!), they can disable it. It should be quite easy to implement.

    If an option screen is too much, a text file with on/off flags for weapons would be fine too - ANYTHING that allows a player to disable the things that ruin the game for them.

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  4. You know, there already is such a textfile. From the root directory of STK, go into data/powerup.xml. At the end of the file, in the column "rubber", set them all to 0. But I really don't see what the problem is. We had the anvil before the rubber ball, which ultimately achieved the same, and I can't remember us getting complaints back then. But when we finally swapped it out with something more interesting and understandable, people suddenly decide that random events slowing down the leader is bad.

    I may get a bit too defensive, but seriously, the rubber ball and parachute are in for a reason. They make sure karts don't get too far apart (at least that's the intention), instead of the AI having tricks like in many similar games where the AI will get extra speed if behind or slow down if far ahead. Rubber ball and parachute is just another way of doing it, and frankly a more honest way since players know what happens. But I guess people who wants to win all the time don't want random events to occasionally spoil it for them.

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  5. It's not about "winning all the time". I play to beat my own records. The records - even for "Normal play" - are based on time. When I'm trying to break a record, it is extremely annoying to be doing great driving only to get hit with 4 rubber balls or 10 parachutes. Even getting hit by a couple of them means any attempt at a record is futile.

    I have no problem with AI players trying to hit me with weapons that I can use skill to avoid - but the rubber ball and parachutes are just unfair.

    Thanks for telling me about the powerup file! This will make the game much more fun for me. :)

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    1. I see your point.
      However, rubber balls are quite possible to avoid. Either you can shoot them down with bowling balls if available, or you can simply keep to the side of the road, and often the ball misses you. For very narrow tracks, keeping to the side may not always be possible. But in many tracks, they can easily be avoided that way. Parachutes however are not avoidable by itself, though you may quickly use the swatter weapon and thus remove the penalty almost completely.

      As you can see, the game is very configurable, with a lot of stuff in the XML files in the data directory. We prefer to get feedback instead of everyone customizing, and thanks for giving us something to chew on. But personally I don't think the game is primarily aimed at making records and driving for the sake of driving, and I think some randomness keeps the game interesting. It's such a rewarding feeling when everything seems to go against you, and you still manage to win! :)

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    2. you can also play without AI when trying to beat your record.

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  6. Yes, I've hit rubber balls with bowling balls & cupcakes and managed to swerve to avoid them a few times - but it is far too difficult.

    I wouldn't hate the rubber ball so much if it was easier to avoid. It seems more like a targeted "heat-seeking missile" than a rubber ball. The bowling ball doesn't change direction to aim at a player and neither should the rubber ball. It should follow the general direction of the leader, but not be so precise.

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    1. It's very hard to get the right balance, however. Personally I feel the rubber ball should hit its target most of the time, or it would be a pretty useless weapon, and I don't find it too hard to avoid in many cases. So it's hard to find something everyone will agree completely with, but if general consensus is that it's too powerful I'm sure it will be rebalanced. We would just need more people to give their opinions on the subject.

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  7. I usually hang all my hopes on the bouncing ball.

    What about in easy modes the ball will hit like a heat-seeking-misile on AIs but blunder around blindly if a controller controlled kart is going for first. In the middle mode it will hit both equally but not that easily. In the highest mode the bouncing ball will aim like it's life depended on it, AI or not.

    Signed: The Twins

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  8. I just compile the SVN on my mac with cmake; amazing. Although, it won't save my prefered resolution of 1280x800; it goes back to 800x600 every launch

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  9. A big thanks for this game which is as good, or besser than mario kart and FREE

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  10. Thanx for the advice on how to deactivate the rubber ball. I had the same issue: trying to beat my own records and always getting mad, because you just couldn't do a thing to defend from the rubber ball. At least not with skills.

    And thanx for this great free game!

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