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Please help make this game possible!  Road Rash-style gameplay, with next-gen graphics, physics, and online play.
Please help make this game possible! Road Rash-style gameplay, with next-gen graphics, physics, and online play.
4,409 backers pledged $173,803 to help bring this project to life.

Road Redemption Lack of Recent Updates

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Hey guys.  So Road Redemption's PC version hasn't been updated since July.  While this isn't a very long time to go between updates for an average game, we try to update more frequently.  

So why no updates for over a month?  

Basically, there was a problem in the Unity 5.0 engine that's causing (infrequent) crashes.  We didn't want to release another update until the issue was fixed, because whenever we release an update, it inevitably leads to an uptick in new players and an uptick in existing players.  We didn't want to expose more people to the crash.

This Unity 5.0 crash is a well-documented problem, as you can see here.  It only affects games that use Unity's wheel colliders, and the more wheels a vehicle has, it seems, the less likely it is to happen.  To my knowledge, we're the only Unity PC game that features motorcycles, meaning this crash is not likely to happen at all in games that aren't Road Redemption, and even we only very rarely see it.  After dozens of hours of testing, we've only been able to get it to happen once in our office, but multiplied over tens of thousands of players, that's a lot of crashes. 

I want to emphasize the fact that we're not trying to denigrate the Unity team here.  Compared to literally every other game engine I've ever used (4-5), Unity's engine upgrades have been the smoothest and bug-free.  Unity 5.0 was a huge physics overhaul, and the wheel colliders underwent the biggest transformation of all the physics objects.  The Unity team has been very responsive since we brought this issue to their attention, and we've worked together to fix it.  

It looks as if the crash has been fixed in the latest unity patch, so we're planning to roll out another update very soon.

Planned features for the next Road Redemption update:

  • Better animations for driving while holding a gun
  • Animations for drawing and holstering weapons 
  • New enemies
  • Overhauled AI to make enemies more aggressive
  • Overhauled difficulty balancing
  • A new system to encourage players to attempt to beat every single mission, rather than just crawl to the finish line.
  • A new "quick race" mode, where you can choose from individual race missions outside of the main campaign
  • Vastly improved crash physics
  • ...and much more!

What about online multiplayer?

We're working on it!  In fact, we've beefed up our dedicated multiplayer staff last month, so progress is happening at twice the speed it has been.  

What about console versions?

We're working on these too.  The biggest issues with consoles right now are performance optimizations.  Consoles are cheaper than PC's for good reason, and what runs well on a mid-range gaming PC, can run very poorly on a console, especially things that are CPU-heavy, like physics.  Road Redemption has a lot of physics.

What about the Linux version?

A linux/SteamOS version is coming very soon.  Maybe in the next update.

What are your thoughts on Virtual Reality?

Kindof a tangent, but ok.  I think motion sickness issues will make this a very limited technology.  You simply can't make a FPS in VR without making a large part of your audience want to throw up.  Look up the vestibular system and its connection to the occiptal lobe of your brain if you want to understand why.

Sure you can make 3rd person games with limited camera movement.  You can make games where you sit still and control a turret.  You can make any type of game that doesn't require you to move much, really.  But based on the lack of success of 3d TVs and the 3DS, I'd say that the average consumer isn't willing to strap on a headset just to make his gaming experience more immersive, if it means he's unable to play the genres he actually likes.  

But maybe first person melee combat games could be the thing that makes VR a success.  With VR's stereoscopic effect and wide field of view, this genre could finally take off.  These types of games also don't necessarily require quick linear or angular acceleration, so motion sickness will be minimized.  If VR has a chance of becoming mainstream, I think it's first person melee combat games that are gonna make it happen.  

What are your thoughts on gaming today?

Not really Road Redemption related, but ok.  

I'd like more games to offer you the ability to skip the on-rails scripted story mode entirely.  I want to be able to play through Far Cry 4, get all the upgrades, and just play the base invasion missions.  I want to be able to play through all of the Witcher 3's monster hunts without having to have 3 billion inane conversations first. 

With very very rare exception, videogame linear story segments suck.  Videogame writing sucks.  Videogame cutscene direction and blocking sucks, and quite often videogame acting sucks too.   Does it suck compared to a highschool play?  No.  It's competent.  But it sucks relative to most TV and movies, which is the standard it ought to be held to.  

In this age of unlimited entertainment options at our fingertips, watching a videogame cutscene means that I'm not watching Rick and Morty or Whiplash or Birdman or reading The Martian on your kindle, or enjoying one of the thousands of great movies, tv shows, and books that this world has to offer.  So when a game like The Witcher 3 makes me watch a boring cutscene just to get to the thing it does well (its gameplay), it's detracting from my entertainment and wasting my time.  

What's the solution to this problem?  I'd say cut down on noninteractive cutscenes, because no one is ever going to make them a real priority: not game developers, not publishers, and not even game reviewers.  Unless your game is entirely story driven (like a TellTale game), reviewers will always forgive lackluster cutscenes if the gameplay is good.  

So there's my rant on that.  

Road Redemption update coming soon.

-Ian Fisch

Quick Progress Update

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In December 2014, we decided to upgrade Road Redemption's game engine from Unity 4 to Unity 5, assuming it would be a rocky road, and it certainly has been.  But we're nearing the light at the end of the tunnel (the tunnel is at the end of the rocky road, naturally).  We should have a major update out in the next 2 weeks. 

Why did we upgrade to Unity 5.0, if it was such a clusterfrack?

Performance, for one thing.  Unity 4 used a very old version of Physx for its physics calculations.  It didn't make use of multi-threading for physics, meaning all physics calculations happened on a single CPU core.  This is the main reason Road Redemption had much better performance on Intel CPUs than on AMD CPU's.  Intel chips are much better at single-threaded processes. 

Unity 5.0 uses a much newer version of Physx that takes advantage of multiple cores, meaning physics calculations are much faster for everyone. 

As you may know, Road Redemption is one of the most physics-intensive Unity games in existence.  All cars, bikes, ragdolls, etc, that you see are physics objects.  We set out to make races that were filled to the brim with cars and riders, and we weren't willing to compromise. 

Yes we have plenty of optimizations in our code to reduce the physics load (cars and ragdolls that are offscreen essentially shut down and their physics are "estimated" by much simpler code, for example), but when you have 20 bikes weaving through a sea of bouncing vehicles, there's no getting around the need for raw physics performance. 

So PC, Mac and Linux (coming soon) versions will see big physics improvements, and for consoles, the increased physics performance was basically a necessity.  One of the reasons that consoles are so cheap, compared to PC's, is they tend to skimp in the CPU department (Who needs complicated AI and physics when your game can look pretty instead, right?)  So in order to get this thing to run on PS4 and Xbox One, upgrading to to Unity 5.0 was the only option. 

Another reason for the Unity 5 upgrade is graphics.  I'm not an art expert, but the game looks a lot better now.  With Unity 4, we used multiple different "shaders" for different types of objects.  The terrain had a shader, the bikes had a different shader, the riders had a different shader, etc.  The problem was that they all responded to light a little bit differently.  We could tweak them all so they'd look good together for a certain lighting condition, but the moment we tried to change to sunset, or nighttime, it started to look very strange.  Our band-aid was to actually swap out certain textures when we changed lighting conditions, but even that still looked pretty bad.

Unity 5 does a lot of nice graphics stuff that I'm not totally knowledgeable on, but one thing in particular that it has is "one shader to rule them all" called the "standard shader".  This one shader can mimic skin, glass, metal, wood, etc.  So now every object in the game uses this same shader, and when we tweak the lighting, they all respond in the same way.  

Basically the game looks better than it ever could on Unity 4. 

So what went wrong?

The main thing that's caused so much headaches is that Unity 5's fancy multi-core physics engine does a lot of things differently from Unity 4.  Basically anything with wheels needs to be completely rethought. 

So we spent weeks getting bikes and cars back to where they were previously.  The new version of Physx was never made with motorcycles in mind, meaning we came across strange Physx bugs that no one had ever thought to test for.  Here's an example:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtu7pIQerks

Also, to make use of Unity 5's magnificent "standard shader", our art team had to tweak every 3d model in the game.  So that wasn't exactly a quick process.

So where are we at?

We're currently about 2 weeks away from a brand new build.  In addition to the performance and graphical upgrades, expect to see new environments, enhanced versions of old environments (way more shortcuts), new weapons (stun baton!), improved AI, a better system for dealing with newly-acquired weapons, better stability, and more. 

Backer feedback

One thing I want to thank you guys for is all of the feedback we've received.  Kickstarter (and Early Access, to an extent) has completely changed game development.  When I hear things like "we want you to tell us what you want to see in our game" I tend to roll my eyes, but it's no exaggeration to say that Road Redemption has been almost completely shaped by your feedback. 

I've worked for gaming studios big and small, and, in general playtesters are brought in somewhat late in the process, and the groups tend to be fewer than a dozen people.  Since we developers are usually in the room with them, their experience can't help but be unduly influenced by us looking over their shoulders.  We didn't really know how people would respond to the game once it was out in the world (teams tend to know if their game is great or sucks, but the inbetween area is harder to predict).  Basically we'd just cross our fingers and hope that people liked it. 

Being able to get the feedback from thousands of people, many of it brutally, maliciously honest has been incredibly valuable.  Had we just let Road Redemption cook in our studio for a couple years and then released the final product, the game would be entirely different (worse) than what it is now.  We'd end up going to the comments sections of the negative web reviews and writing stuff like "you people just don't understand!"

So having you guys helping mold the game into what it is (and what it will be) has been immeasurably valuable.  All of your feedback has made a better Road Rash successor for the thousands (millions hopefully) of people who will eventually commit their time to playing Road Redemption.  Just wanted to say thanks. 

-Ian Fisch

Road Redemption online multiplayer design!

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If you haven't played the Steam version of Road Redemption in awhile, we recommend giving it another go.  

We improve it more and more each month, and we think it's at a point where it's living up to our original vision.  

We're now working on expanding the single player game, porting to consoles, and adding online multiplayer.

To that end, here's our high-level internal design document for the online multiplayer portion of Road Redemption.  We've been working on this mode for a while now, but there's still a good amount of flexibility in what the end product could look like.  

Everything in this document is tentative and subject to change:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LWU41VzdbQPptwjcxpl3F1GvrfQwKJ6b1WfnbEDAt6U/edit?usp=sharing

Please comment below or place your comments on the document itself.  Your feedback is greatly appreciated.  Thank you.

Shovel Knight in Road Redemption

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Today we'll be releasing another Road Redemption update that, in addition to fixing some minor bugs, will allow you to play as Shovel Knight and ride a custom blue Shovel Knight Chopper.

To celebrate this addition, we've created a little Shovel Knight-centric trailer:

If you haven't played the game that Shovel Knight comes from (also called Shovel Knight), and you like platformers or 2d action games, you ought to give it a shot.  

http://store.steampowered.com/app/250760/

It's really a great game.  It's the kind of game that actually lives up to the rose-tinted memories we have of playing NES, which, of course, means it's actually far better than those games ever were.  I'll take Shovel Knight over Megaman any day.  Blasphemy?  Prove me wrong Capcom.  Prove me wrong.  

Shovel Knight was also a kickstarted project, so a lot of you have probably played it AND funded it.  So I guess we owe you a double thank you.  

More Road Redemption updates are coming soon.  If you haven't played the game in a while, we're improving things every week.  Performance is probably 1000% better than when we launched, load times are 50% faster, and it's generally more fun.  We added a bike and character selection last week that we think is a pretty cool addition.  

We're still working hard on porting to Mac, Linux, Wii U and others.  

We're also doing a lot of online multiplayer testing.  Making a game where players move hundreds of miles per hour AND that focuses on melee combat is pretty much the perfect storm of what you DON'T want when programming for latency.  Nevertheless, it's our goal to make sure online play is smooth and input-delay free.  We're confident that we'll achieve this goal.

If you haven't received your Steam key, and you're entitled to one, send us an email at pr@darkseasinteractive.com and we'll try to get it resolved.    

Merry everything!

-Ian Fisch

Road Redemption: Bike Shop, Boss Battles, Online Multiplayer, and other updates

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We hope you guys are enjoying Road Redemption.  We've averaged about 2 updates per week since we launched on Steam Early Access.  If you haven't played the game in a while, you might want to give it a whirl to see all of the improvements both in content and performance.

Bike and Rider Selection:

Many of you have inquired about the ability to change/upgrade your bike.  This is something we've been planning for awhile, and you should see it in the game in the next couple of weeks.

Bike and Character Select Alpha Version
Bike and Character Select Alpha Version

The above image shows a very rudimentary version of what you'll see in Road Redemption at the beginning of every playthrough.  You'll be able to select both your bike and a costume from this menu. 

Bikes all have unique attributes, as you can see, which make them all feel very different in game.  You're not a true Road Redemption master until you've finished Campaign+ on the 300mph low grip bike. 

Various costumes will also give the player unique upgrades.  For instance, a particular costume may increase your critical chance percentage, luck, durability, etc. 

Online Multiplayer:

Online multiplayer is one of our highest priorities right now.  We're pretty confident in our latency compensation algorithms at the moment (the biggest challenge for any multiplayer game).  For reasons, I won't go into here, Road Redemption represents one of the most challenging situations for online multiplayer coding: it's primarily about melee combat and players can change positions by 100 meters in a single second.   Nevertheless, we think we've come up with a good system that won't require any input delay the way some racing games do.

The first iteration of Road Redemption online multiplayer is going to focus exclusively on team races, unless you all feel like that's the wrong direction to go.  So it's one gang vs another; whichever gang has the best aggregate race position at the end of the race wins.  Weapon availability and selection will be adjustable by whoever creates the match. 

Despite our progress, there's still a lot of work left to do on the multiplayer side, but we're as excited as many of you are about it.  

Boss Battles:

For a while our inclination was to create gigantic grandiose boss battles for the game.  We thought about creating huge helicopters that would drop missiles from the sky, huge military tanks the size of a house that you'd have to defeat with sticky boms, etc. 

In the end, we realized that a lot of boss battles in videogames are gigantic because that's what tradition dictates.  Does a boss who's the size of a house really make sense in a 3d environment?  More importantly, is it really fun to fight a big-ass boss who's greatest challenge is figuring out which parts of it can hurt you and which parts of it you can hurt?  I happen to think not. 

My favorite boss battles are the intimate encounters with enemies that are roughly the size of the player.  I'm talking about the lightsaber battles in Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight or Shadow Link in Legend of Zelda 2.  I'm talking about bosses that really require you to have mastered the core combat that the game is based on - a true test of your abilities.

So we're working on bosses now who are incredibly powerful bikers.  They have huge healthbars, take off immense amounts of damage, and perform moves that are normally reserved for players such as grabs, headslams, and disarms.  They will be true tests of your skill at the game's main combat systems.  Expect to see these new boss battles capping off each of the game's main territories.  

One More Thing

Let us know what you think of the game.  Your feedback is always treasured.  Also, expect to see this guy in the game very soon:

Shovel Redemption
Shovel Redemption