The team is now back on deck in NZ after a great trip thanks to our old school, The Academy of Interactive Entertainment. If you’re in the US or Australia and want to get into the games industry, have a look at www.aie.edu.au or www.theaie.us
We got to meet up with Killrob, Der Bayer and Pyrlix and have some excellent design meetings, as well as checking out Rob’s work (Particle Accelerator!) and a quick drive around the Nurburgring
Left to right, front row: Robert (Killrob), Caswal (Zeussy), Andrew (Daffyflyer).
Back Row: Roland (Pyrlix), Martin (Der Bayer)
So! Now we’re all back to work, what are we working on?
Well, the next step on the car designer is to tie together all the remaining car stats and get some Car Design Scenarios implemented. Rob has a bit of a chat about that in the video below.
As well as that we’re working on a few other smaller things like a couple of extra car bodies, mid engine configurations and some general bug fixing and polish.
We often get questions like “Why haven’t you done V6s yet?” which I agree from the outside looks kind of strange that we’d have gone so long without releasing any new engine types or anything. I thought I’d give a quick explanation of why we do things in the order which we do.
The main reason is that It’s better for the overall quality of the finished game to tackle the hard problems first “How do the stats work”, “How does suspension tuning work”, “How do factories work” etc. And then once we’ve got a solid framework of the game in place, it’s an easy task to come back and add more content (engines, cosmetic choices, chassis types etc.)
Design choices in those aspects may also mean reworking previous engine work too, so it’s better to get the “Design” stuff out of the way before adding too much more “Content”
The other reason is that we will most likely be moving to the Unity game engine. The engine we’re currently working on was the best possible solution at the time we first started Automation, but that was many years ago now, and Unity has improved immensely to the point where we’d be stupid to stay with our current outdated in-house engine which is very hard to maintain and slow to develop with.
At this point the few months of converting to a new game engine will be earned back very quickly in how much easier and more powerful Unity is. It’ll allow us a much quicker and easier work flow, a much nicer UI, better performance, and better graphics all around.
However, doing lots more engine types before moving to Unity would just make even more things we need to go and rework for Unity later, creating senseless extra work.
I know this may be somewhat frustrating, particularly if engine design is the only aspect of Automation you’re interested in, but I think it’s best for the quality of the final product.
The Steam release IS still coming later this year.
Our next major project/update will be lots more polish and bug fixing for Steam as well as Steamworks integration/Achievements etc. Also we’ll be doing a more complete set of video tutorials and manual documentation to make sure we have a nice high quality & easy to learn game for our first foray into Steam sales