Weekly Report #8

Team Bugbear News

This week’s blog opens our design philosophy and the lengths we go to so we can deliver that vision to our players.

The focus is on physics, and what we’re doing with all that jazz.

 

As a company, Bugbear is committed to making delightful car games. Not only do we strive towards excellent entertainment factor, we want our games to last for years. With Wreckfest, we really let our ambition run rampant, because we don’t want to create just another run of the mill action racing.

Often cars in games have only a few discernable factors, like acceleration, top speed and turning speed. That’s it. They’re really simple creatures, and this usually results in each new car being just plain superior to what you previously had, because of those overly simplified characteristics.

We don’t want to do that. We want our cars to be the main characters of Wreckfest. We want each and every car to be their own person, with their own quirks, strengths and hiccups. To accomplish this, our cars can’t only just feel different, but actually be different.

 

This feat requires some true magic under the hood. In order to give the cars enough personality, we need to have enough variables in handling and behavior so you could really spot those differences. This, of course, means amping up the physics engine, and to be honest, we’re going out of our way to do this right.

Each car has a huge number characteristics that define how it functions. The values given for the car’s frame affect how it turns, lulls, nods and bends in any given circumstance. In Wreckfest, the suspension portion of the car, meaning springs, sway bars and so on, is just a small part of the whole, but that alone contains over sixty different values. Each of those values affect directly how the car behaves, and each value needs a bucketload of tuning so you can get that feel of the car just right. The suspension is both a treat for sore eyes, as the cars bounce on their springs realistically, but also an important part of modeling car handling to the tee.

The tires of the car get a lot of love as well. They’re actually a perfect example of our attention to detail.  For example, the surface of the tire is divided into small segments. Each segment has several layers: our physics modeling takes into account the rigidity of the tire’s surface, the elasticity of the rubber mixture, and shock absorbance of the layers beneath. Not only that, we monitor things like friction and how the tire heats up – and how that heat changes the various characteristics! In short, our tires behave differently when they’re warm, and they have enough values to handle simulating any surface conditions we want.

 

Despite all this hyping up of how detailed we are with our physics modeling, the main goal, however, is not because we want to be a simulator. No. We need our physics modeling to have this much detail because we want the cars to behave like they’re supposed to when you’re sliding. We want that feel when the car remains in your precise control even when you’re drifting like crazy. That feel when your steel horse bucks and whines under you, but you, you remain in control. You can’t do that without digging deep into physics. So, we dug deep.

 

This is why it’s taking so long to get the next build ready for launch.

This is also why we think it’s worth the wait.

 

-Team Bugbear