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Balancing Control and Combat in Wheels of Destruction

Peter Porai-Koshits's Avatar + Posted by Peter Porai-Koshits on Mar 08, 2012 // Lead Designer




That perfect balance of smooth vehicle control and weapon mastery was always our most difficult and most important task. It's so easy to do them separately: Here's your car control – drive wherever you want; here's your weapon control – fire at will. However, putting them together is a bit of a puzzle.

At the beginning, our weapons were at a fixed crux to always shoot forward as the car moves. As a result, you could either shoot while at a standstill, or shoot in every direction, when rotating the car or chasing someone. Everything became a merry-go-round where ‘A’ chased ‘B’ and shot at him, while ‘B’ was chasing ‘C’ who in turn was chasing ‘A’.

We knew we needed another approach. The tried-and-true approach is the have the left stick control the vehicle and the right stick control the camera and the direction of weapon fire.

This immediately resulted in lower game speed. It's rather difficult to drive somewhere while watching from the side, or backwards. You’re driving into a wall within seconds. Ultimately, everyone ends up standing in their own corner, shooting at everyone. After you kill an enemy, you get a chance to move somewhere else, until you meet some other opponent.

So I asked our development team to implement some non-standard controls I came up with. From the second our mechanic was being drafted, we knew it’d find that sweet spot we were looking for. The triggers handle the gas and brakes, and the left stick controls the aiming and steering. The cars can only turn so fast, but the gun will track along with the camera and snap onto enemies with aim assist. To help influence the handling, players must drift, jump and boost.

This mechanic is fresh and takes some getting used to, but we fully expect the gamers to get the hang out of it. In the office, it took us only about 20 minutes for it to feel as natural as such genres as twin stick shooters and FPS games feel to us now. It became intrinsic to the experience.

In all our game trailers, all the cars are controlled by real players; there is no extra animation there. Check the Scout at 0:35 in the trailer above -- the blue Scout rushes ahead and follows the enemy with his machine gun, firing all the time. There is no auto-aim; it's a player who drives by intuition with a control scheme that fits the needs of those in a crush-or-be-crushed deathmatch. That's your typical Wheels of Destruction encounter.

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11 Comments   1 Reply

1

+ madecrazy on March 8th, 2012 at 6:38 am said:

Looks like a twisted metal copy


2

+ ptuck874 on March 8th, 2012 at 8:07 am said:

if you get the online better than twisted metal’s f’ed up multi-player, I would defiantly take a look at this :)


3

+ Explosio5 on March 8th, 2012 at 9:26 am said:

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love demolition racing games!


4

+ Eternal-CMO on March 8th, 2012 at 11:13 am said:

@madecrazy It’s a part of the same genre, car combat, as TM if that’s what you mean. Otherwise, it looks nothing like Twisted Metal.

It could be a decent game, but I’d have to try the game play out for myself to be sure. Hope they put out a demo.


5

+ Miggy11 on March 8th, 2012 at 12:06 pm said:

Twisted Metal is the king of car-combat. Only one game has ever come close to dethroning it and that was Rogue Trip, which was made by almost all of the same developers.


6

+ Matrix_Lion on March 8th, 2012 at 12:33 pm said:

I’m going to give this game a shot. I like what I’ve seen so far. I really like the TRON lights on the car.


7

+ devilmosh on March 8th, 2012 at 2:48 pm said:

@Miggy11 Right, because there can only be one game in every genre, right?

Each video looks sweeter and sweeter! I love the clock in this one – gives a steampunk touch to it.


8

+ marlyt on March 8th, 2012 at 5:30 pm said:

Definitely getting this. Looks like Starhawk/Tron car combat. Very cool. Release date please.


    Peter Porai-Koshits's Avatar

     

    + Peter Porai-Koshits on March 12th, 2012 at 9:12 am said:

    Stay tuned, we’re getting ready to announce the release date later this week


9

+ sbattu on March 9th, 2012 at 1:31 am said:

nice


10

+ sbattu on March 9th, 2012 at 3:08 am said:

Nice


11

+ xXtheicon67Xx on March 10th, 2012 at 7:33 pm said:

this is twisted metal but in a kids way cause twisted metal got bad words blood and gore


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