Take a look at earlier installments on the heredity system of Hero Generations, traffic systems of Cities: Skylines, and the plant-growing mechanics of Grow Home.
Game Style Deep Dive is a continuous Gamasutra series with the goal of shedding light on particular style features or mechanics within a video game, in order to show how seemingly easy, basic style choices arent actually that basic at all.
Likewise, go into our ever-growing Deep Dive archive for developer-minded features on whatever from Amnesias sanity meter to Alien: Isolations save system.
Who: Dave Hagewood, Founder and President, Psyonix
In in between dealing with these video games we did our best to launch original content, including the cult struck Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle Cars for PS3 in 2008. Years later, after we had actually grown in size, we released a completely upgraded version called Rocket League, which brings us to where we are now!
I began as a specialist for Epic Games working on a mod I designed for Unreal Tournament 2003. That mod eventually became “Onslaught” for Unreal Tournament 2004. After that, I grew Psyonix into a studio specializing in Unreal Engine technology and we worked behind-the-scenes on a lot of leading games consisting of: Gears of War, X-Com: Enemy Unknown, and Mass Effect 3. Ultimately we were worked with as the primary designer for Square Enixs Legacy of Kain-themed free-too-play game, Nosgoth.
What: Rocket flying in Rocket League
In our PlayStation 4 and PC video game, Rocket League, gamers manage cars and trucks capable of both double-jumping and increasing; most sophisticated players learn to control our physics design and “fly” by skillfully integrating the 2 abilities. While we established this mechanic nearly by accident while developing Rocket Leagues predecessor, Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, we love the way it adds depth to the games ability curve and ensured to include it while developing Rocket League.
All this work was done before we even decided to attempt automobile combat in SARPBC; it was when we were experimenting with barrier course-type gameplay, where you d try to jump over long valleys and drive up ramps and see if you might make it previous specific areas. While we were playtesting those courses, we began realizing that players might utilize the dive mechanic and the air control to pitch up, and then if they activated the increase at that point, we discovered they might use the momentum from the dive to just rocket off in whatever direction they pleased. You might literally fly straight up, if you desired.
Then we chose we desired an actual player-controllable increase. We never considered it in regards to being a “rocket booster”– we considered it as being a pure “max speed” increase or an increase of velocity, like nitro.
The story of its style begins during SARPBCs development, where we began with a car that can leap that had a great deal of air control. We were attempting to determine how to broaden on this idea and, considering that great deals of video games have turbo boosters or pads you roll over that boost you forward, we tried some things like that.
Personally, Ive always been a fan of real-world physics in video games; rather than faking things behind the scenes, I choose to keep the physics simulation as pure as possible. We actually simply applied a force to the back of the car, since the vehicle is also a physics object, to create this turbo boost. We created these pickups you might drive over that would fill you full of “boost” fuel that would permit you to go faster.
Why: Because theres absolutely nothing like it
After that, I grew Psyonix into a studio specializing in Unreal Engine technology and we worked behind-the-scenes on a lot of leading games consisting of: Gears of War, X-Com: Enemy Unknown, and Mass Effect 3. Personally, Ive constantly been a fan of real-world physics in games; rather than fabricating things behind the scenes, I choose to keep the physics simulation as pure as possible. You have to discover how to finesse it, and that was truly cool for the obstacle course video game we were originally trying to produce.
Looking back, we call this game style technique “following the fun”– trying to figure out what instructions we can turn in thats really going to make this video game more enjoyable, and what instructions to avoid turning in so we dont make it less fun. In retrospect, even some of the more obvious turns we believed we d make, things like “we need to have weapons” or “we have to have grappling hooks” or whatever, we wound up preventing because throughout development we realized they didnt actually make the video game more enjoyable to play.
Later, when we carried on to vehicle combat, we kept it due to the fact that it was such a cool concept. We were attempting to find out ways to fly through the air and shoot each other, and truthfully, that was one of the factors we even explored with other video game modes. The verticality that the rocket boost afforded us included an extra dimension to the game that we didnt wish to get rid of. It made the video game feel really unique, and we wished to accept that..
We fell in love with rocket improving since its an intriguing mechanic: its not automatically going to work every time, and it does need a little bit of player skill to manage. If youre flying over the ball and you want to stop yourself with a rocket boost, you have to get rid of that momentum– you cant just hit a button and fly off in a different instructions. You need to find out how to finesse it, which was truly cool for the barrier course game we were originally attempting to produce.
Results: Following the fun.
As a result, we literally drove advancement towards where the enjoyable was, till we wound up with the soccer mode that now forms the core of Rocket League. Rocket jumping is a vital mechanic to that mode because it affords gamers room to grow their maneuvering skills and outmaneuver other gamers. I believe thats a huge part of why the video game has the durability that it does.
We like cars and trucks that can jump. We understand theyre fun to play with. Even in the earliest phases of development, it was just fun to drive around the map, and thats when we understood that we understood we were on to something.
Due to the fact that it was so much more emerging than other games that weve worked on, Designing Rocket Leagues rocket-boosting mechanic was an interesting procedure;. Generally, we begin with a really concrete strategy of what you desire to do, but in this case we actually started with just a really simple mechanic: cars that jump.
We were attempting to figure out ways to fly through the air and shoot each other, and truthfully, that was one of the reasons we even experimented with other game modes. The verticality that the rocket boost managed us included an extra dimension to the game that we didnt want to get rid of.
With something like the grappling hook, gamers would default to the same relocations every time; but with rocket leaping, this pure physics-based propulsion system enabled a scaling of skill that made the game feel pleasing to master.
We in fact had another mechanic that was like an energy grappling hook you might fire, strike a ceiling and swing around the map. That was type of cool and kind of insane, but it felt super-limited in contrast to the rocket increase. The boost provided players the room to end up being so skilled at something that they really felt like they had earned the right to manage these crazy advanced aerial maneuvers. It developed “wow” moments where players would state, “Oh my god, I cant believe you simply did that!”.