Drift Stage Development Update + News & Announcements
Greetings Drift Stage fans & backers. We'd like to post a re-cap update on the last couple months of development, as we ended up changing our release plans for the alpha fairly abruptly, which in turn caused some confusion.
The alpha builds we released at the end of last year had lot of unfinished and experimental game play mechanics and code. Despite this, we still received tons of useful input and bug tests from the games community, across our entire social media network & forum.
Our original plan for these alpha updates was to keep pushing small fixes over the course of January to April, addressing issues as they were discovered. But it soon became apparent that major re-writes were needed in order for certain elements to work, such as the collision coding, drifting/driving tweaks & transmission mechanics, as well as things like sound design + handling and many other considerations.
Making these major changes proved successful, but the side effects were breaking a lot of features that were already working with the old code. Car implementation, ghost replays, tail lights, and a host of other parts of the game needed to be re-written and debugged with the new code, causing a lot of delays.
Optional motion blur is a minor new feature, as well as refactored tire smoke based on velocity.
So, whens the next build for backers?
When its debugged, and tested by every member of team. We've been working on this version since January, and were originally targeting a Feb/March release, so its pretty well along now in terms of development compared to Mundane Fox.
As of now, the games collisions are functional and working mostly as intended. They will need to be debugged and tested/tweaked before we can call them "final", but they now allow the player to "grind" along the surface of guard rails, shooting trails of sparks out behind them.
Getting to this point took a lot of time and trial and error. Each car has its own collision box now, as well as one for each individual wheel.These changes let the cars interact with the environment in far more dynamic ways.
While not a planned gameplay feature, jumps are now possible too. This might lead to some cool track creator features later on.
Manual and Automatic are now selectable before starting a race. This was one of the most requested features in the initial alpha builds, so getting it implemented was a top priority. Reverse gear is also functional again as well.
With the collisions functional, the physics engine closer to completion, and both manual and automatic options implemented, work has begun on local split screen multiplayer.
Local multiplayer car select screen.
Of course, there's still some kinks to work out, but its exciting to see this game mode taking shape, and we hope to get this out to backers as soon as possible.
New Car Unveiled:
The Grid is a heavy hitter, designed to be in the same class as the Venturo. With 12 cars on the roster so far, Drift Stage is sure to have something for everyone.
More on cars..
While technically not a new car, the Keizai model received a complete over-haul, with a new model and texture in order to bring it in line with the other cars quality.
The Keizai LX may even make an appearance as a alternate skin, or a separate unlockable, leaving the possibility for variations of other cars.
Having multiple playable tracks, functional physics, collisions, and local multiplayer should allow us to push for a Q3 2016 steam early access release of a basic, alpha version of the game. We believe this is the best possible route to take given the games current state of development, and the demand from backers & fans for more Drift Stage. Having the game on steam would also allow us to take advantage of their built in community and update features, making announcements and bug reports much easier.
It should be noted this schedule is subject to change based on a lot of factors, as we've had issues keeping on our initial release estimates for builds in the past, we are very cautious about posting our internal release windows.
What needs to be done before that can happen?
Our main priority as of this update is to finish and deliver a new alpha to backers, but after that's been tested and released, wave 2 of our development plan will come into play.
As of now, only the test track has been playable, but conversion of the Eventide Overpass track to the new road geometry has begun, as well as work on an entirely new track.
If you have any suggestions for track course layouts, or themes, feel free to post them in this thread.
Before any of these tracks can be fully implemented, the game needs a car select screen. After many months of conception and discussions by the team, this mockup was decided on to be used as a basis for the single player track select.
Moving the selection to a different track on the menu will result in the sky box and background props changing to coincide with the current selected tracks theme, as well as displaying relevant info on the track. The location and globe map are subject to change, but the 2D course layout will still be a prominent part of the menu.
Multiplayer will have a similar type of menu for track selection, but a slightly different layout and GUI to accommodate the 4 cars.
The New Track
For Drift Stage's next full course track, we decided to go with an underwater themed course. This type of level is a common trope in early 3D arcade racers, and we wanted Drift Stage to share in the tradition.
As of now, the track is about 50% complete, and still needs lots of detail scenery models made and the course finalized, but based on how cool it looks at this stage, the final product should be pretty amazing.
The main inspirations for this track were of course arcade racers, as mentioned above, but there's also a ton of influence from games like Ecco the Dolphin and Super Mario 64 (Dire Dire Docks). Myrone has also crafted a new, unique song for this stage, which captures its look and feel, but that's for another time...
Since Drift Stage's launch back in late 2014, the game has used a logo originally intended only as a place holder. While this graphic has become somewhat iconic, and holds a special place among the community and our team, the has come to retire it.
Drift Stage Pre-Alpha Logo 2014- 2016; If you own merchandise with this logo, officially consider yourself an "OG" Drift Stage fan.
Taking into account the prominent styling cues from the original logo in order to maintain the same recognizability, the new drift Stage logo incorporating new motifs to bring it in line with the games current state of development and art style.
The new logo design also allows for more color and stroke variations, aiding in legibility on screen and in print.
In response to demand from our community, a limited run of vinyl stickers of this new logo will be available on the Drift Stage Store on 4/20/2016. All proceeds will go towards the games development, or more stickers/other cool stuff.
Ghost Ramp Collaboration
If you haven't kept up with our Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook updates, you may have missed our collaboration with Ghost Ramp on a limited edition car shaped vinyl, featuring remastered versions of Exclusive Coupe. and the Drift Stage Theme.
500 copies were pressed and all sold out the week they came in from the factory, so keep an eye out for a 2nd edition repress if you missed out.
As part of this release, we also produced a 6 color screen printed long sleeve shirt. This shirt is the LAST piece of Drift Stage merchandise that will feature the original logo, and only a small amount remain from the last pressing HERE. (In select sizes)
Partnering with Ghost Ramp has allowed us to produce extremely high quality merchandise that we otherwise couldn't do on our budget, and we plan to continue putting out special edition runs of clothing and soundtracks for as long as they sell. Plans for a full Drift Stage soundtrack vinyl album are in the works as well.
The next collaboration with Ghost Ramp, which has already begun pressing, is a 2nd picture disc vinyl single, this time featuring remastered Myrone tracks 'Applied Dynamics' and 'Touge Run' on a Keizai shaped vinyl! A tee and tank top shirt featuring the cover art is also in the works, so look out for announcements on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.
Speaking of Hugh Myrone, he recently released two new tracks from the game.
That's it for this update! The whole team is working hard to bring backers a new build stuffed with features and revisions all based on your feedback from this past winters alpha testing, so watch those inboxes for a release announcement!