Game Mechanics Racing Game Environments

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Snail Man

Guest
I've been working on a simple car racing game on and (mostly) off for about a year now. It has a number of "worlds", each representing a different type of environment, and each one introduces a new gameplay mechanic. I planned to have 8 worlds with 4 tracks each totaling up to a very decent 32 levels, but I ran out of ideas for worlds after 5, and I'm coming up short both for new environments, and new gameplay mechanics for them to introduce. Because of this I thought I'd ask the GMC for suggestions and ideas for additional gameplay mechanics and environments.

To get an idea for the type of mechanics I'm talking about, here's a list of the environments/mechanics I've already made
World 1
Enviroment: City
Mechanic: Speed Boost pads, which boost cars in a certain direction when hit

World 2
Environment: Mountains/Snowy
Mechanic: Ice that severely impairs handling when driven on

World 3
Environment: Cave
Mechanic: Rivers that influence the car's movement, making them go faster when driving with the current, and slower driving against it.

World 4
Environment: Desert
Mechanic: Mud, which severely slows cars that hit it

World 5
Environment: Forest
Mechanic: Mushrooms, that bounce cars away violently when hit

Also to get a very rough idea of the basic gameplay style, here are a couple of massive GIFs I took of the gameplay in the first and second worlds
World 1

World 2

So if anyone has ideas/suggestions for new mechanics/environments, that would be a great help!

Update: I've gotten all the mechanics I need, and almost all of the environments, so I can narrow this down to a single question:
What is an environment where there would be moving solid obstacles, and what would those obstacles be?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
World 6: Space. Certain pads reverse gravity when you drive over them, making you drive on the ceiling (with left/right controls being reversed because the camera doesn't rotate to match your new direction). Driving off the ceiling causes you to fall down again.

World 7: River. Some parts of the track are floating chunks of wood that will carry you along to the left or right as you drive over them. You could also feature them as obstacles in a section where you go along a river in the opposite direction; these would push you backwards if you didn't avoid them in time.

World 8: Sky. Certain "boost rings" gives your car wings for a limited time when you drive through them, and they're located in mid-air as well as on the ground. Boost rings makes your car hover a bit over the ground, letting you ignore terrain effects like ice, rivers and mud - if you run out of wing power in the middle of a flying session because you missed a boost ring, you will fall behind considerably. Flying also considerably lowers your slow-down rate when you let go of the throttle, and it impacts your controls as well, though not as bad as ice would do. In some sections, it might be more beneficial to ignore the boost rings of a flying section and take the harder but faster ground route instead.
 
S

Snail Man

Guest
Those are all really good suggestions. Your world 6 suggestion is very interesting because it would also allow me to do something you didn't explicitly mention in your suggestion, which is have simultaneous alternate routes: That is, have optional flip pads that lead to another track on the ceiling that mirrors the one on the floor with a few key differences.

Your suggestion for world 7 sounds fun to play, but considering that I already have a basic river mechanic, it seems like it would be kind of a one-off. HOWEVER, I really like the idea of moving solid obstacles, and I'm currently trying to figure out another environment in which those could be implemented. (Too bad I already have a city world, or I could have players trying to dodge in and out of traffic, a-la Moonview Highway from Mario Kart)

However, there is an issue with your world 8 suggestion to do with how the game is coded; that is, at this time, the 3D-ness of it is purly cosmetic. I actually use box2d for the collisions, which makes for very dynamic and realistic collisions, but it definitely makes it difficult to integrate actual 3D gameplay into the game, which would make flying very difficult to add.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
Well, I'm thinking flying would basically be a static addition to your Z-value, so you still can only move in two dimensions (AKA turn left and right, not raise or lower your altitude), you're just above the obstacles so you'll ignore them in collisions. I guess you should also ignore other CARS when flying, which shouldn't be too hard either, depending on how you've coded collisions... I'm thinking just changing the collision group might do the trick, but since I'm not you...
 
S

Snail Man

Guest
@Yal
That is true, but in that case, it would be very similar to my proposed implementation of your space suggestion, in that there are two "layers" that can be switched between. It's still a good suggestion of course, but I think they are similar enough that I'd have to choose one or the other (I'm actually leaning more towards the flying one now, as it is more versatile, and I could more effectively use it in later worlds)

@Aleksandar Gavrilovic
I have considered doing something like that (I think that was the original concept for the cave world), but unfortunately it's very hard to make view-only obstacles such as this because the AI players cannot be affected by them directly. At best, I'd have to code a second set of slightly stupider AI to mimic not being able to see as well, but in addition to this being a great deal of extra work, I also like to be able to use a new mechanic in later worlds as well, and this is very specifically bound to only one environment.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
Another idea... how about stuff that gets stuck on your car and makes it slower and turn worse, but will fall off if you hit something? Just bumping into a wall a bunch of times would rid you of it, but you could also bump into another car to make some of it carry over, giving them trouble as well as giving you a smaller bump penalty than hitting a wall. (I'm thinking something like snow, mud or small animals like starfish for an underwater area or something).

You'd get a certain amount of these things from hitting a "dispenser" obstacle, and they'd stick visually to the outside of the car and affect its stats using an interpolation table from zero to 'max' effects depending on how many you were carrying; bumping would remove a certain number, unless you bumped into a car which would transfer, say, 80% and remove the rest.
 
S

Snail Man

Guest
I like it! Not sure what it could be, as you said (Sea creatures was my first choice, but that wouldn't carry over well, into later worlds), but the idea adds a lot of strategy that I hadn't thought about before. I'll look into how I could go about implementing this...
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
You could have different objects that matches the theme of each world but all behave the same? (Preferably all the dispenser obstacles should be similar enough that you can tell their purpose the first time you see one as well)
 
S

Snail Man

Guest
It's an option, but it would be a challenge making them visually similar enough to be identifiable across worlds. I might go with mud, then change the texture of the mud I already have in the desert to "quicksand" or something similar.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
You could always invent some sort of starfish/bug mascot monster and use the same across all worlds once it's introduced? But I guess mud is fine too, it's pretty easy to understand at least.
 
S

Snail Man

Guest
Yeah. Thus far, I've tried to keep the graphics and style of the game very simple (only partially because I can't draw/code anything complicated), so while a goofy looking cling-on monster would be cool, it wouldn't really fit with the bare-bones style I've got right now.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
You can actually make surprisingly good car 3D models using paths. If you make paths for a bunch of X/Z sections (aka cut-silhouettes) of the car and then just bind them together with triangles at different left/right values... I've used this approach for my 3D racing engine (you get the code if you buy it, but just looking at the cars in the free demo might give you an idea for how to do it) and it basically lets you draw the cars' models instead of having to math them.
 
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BobMorate

Guest
Pretty sure you will have already thought of this, but how about a jungle-based world with a lot of hard obstacles around? Like rocks, trees, and such.
 
S

Snail Man

Guest
I've considered it, but it seems slightly too similar to my existing forest environment, which has mushroom obstacles that you have to avoid.
 
ok i'll try something more...

haunted house - ghosts are running around and when you hit them you are confused or slower (directions are reversed for you or something)
the great pyramid - you are driving in an ancient pyramid and it's like a maze... you don't know which way is faster etc. maybe a pseudo-randomly generated maze?
portal world - the track consists of many portals that transport you from A to B, making it also maze-like and hard to figure out
mozart's dream - the roads sway with the rhythm of the music
...
 
S

Snail Man

Guest
Hmm. All good ideas for racing game tracks in general, but I'm afraid they don't really fit with the vibe/mechanics that well (or they're too similar to mechanics already suggested/implemented)

Haunted house: As stated earlier in this thread, I do like the idea of moving obstacles, but the actual effects leave something to be desired. If I used control reversal, that wouldn't affect the AI players, making it unfair for the player. If I used the slowing effect, it would be effectively the same as Yal's dynamic mud suggestion above.

Great Pyramid: This environment is actually a really nice idea, and it would fit very well after the desert world, but the suggested mechanic doesn't really work beyond that specific world, and I like slowly building up each world by layering all the different mechanics of the previous worlds. Also procedural generation would be a lot of work to pull off, especially with the AI.
However, I might use this in conjunction with Yal's sticky mud, just changing the mud to scarabs to make it more visually interesting.

Portal World: I actually seriously considered this one long before this thread was created, but ultimately, I decided it would be too disconcerting to have the cars randomly jumping around all the time. The tracks in this game are pretty short, usually taking less than 30 seconds to lap, so portals would get annoying pretty quickly.

Mozarts Dream: Again, a really cool idea, but the way I have tracks implemented now, there's no way to make them move. I also can't tell you how thoroughly this would screw up the AI players.

Buuuuut... These are all really good suggestions! I now have 3 good mechanic ideas (Wings, Sticky Mud/Scarabs, some moving solid obstacle), as well as environments for 2 of them (Wings->sky, Scarabs -> Pyramid), so now I can refine my question down to one thing:

What is an environment where there would be moving solid obstacles, and what would those obstacles be?
 
Some ideas for environments and moving solid obstacles:
-Jungle temple and Indiana Jones style boulders.
-Futuristic city and robots/heavy vehicles.
-Arctic ocean (drive on water for fun) and icebergs.
-African savannah and elephants.
-Rings of Saturn(or another planet) or some kind of rendition of the Milky Way and asteroids.
 

Yal

GMC Memer
GMC Elder
How about pirate ships that has big treasure chests that moves around? It would be a no-brainer to combine this with the water hazards as well.

And you could always do something similar to the Behemoth enemies in Cave Story for your savannah elephants.
upload_2016-6-21_22-52-34.png
 
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