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Please help make this game possible! Road Rash-style gameplay, with next-gen graphics, physics, and online play.
Created by

DarkSeas Games

4,409 backers pledged $173,803 to help bring this project to life.

Quick Progress Update

4 likes

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!

13 likes

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

11 likes

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

14 likes

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

Road Redemption - new and improved

19 likes

We think we've improved Road Redemption a lot since we first released on Steam Early Access on Sept 18. To summarize the major changes we've made since then:

  • performance is much better
  • a new campaign+ mode has been added
  • levels flow together better
  • instructions on abilities and mission objectives are clearer
  • important bugs have been fixed
  • Missions have been tweaked a lot to remove frustration while simultaneously making the game more challenging.  

If you haven't played the game in awhile, I suggest you give it another go.  Some folks on Steam have played it for over 50 hours!   

Thank you all for your feedback on the last update.  Although lots of people had different, and sometimes opposing, suggestions of where to take the game, there were some things that people seemed to agree on:

  • Better reactions to collisions: currently it's a binary system where if you hit an object at the correct angle and speed, you get launched from your bike.  Anything less, and you barely react.  Clearly we're missing some middle ground here.
  • The ability to select (and customize) bikes and characters.  We're working on this.
  • You can still shoot guns even when they're flying through the air after you crash.  We haven't fixed this bug because we think it's funny.  We'll get to it eventually.
  • It's too easy to exploit the jump jets once you get good at them.  They should use fuel similar to nitro.
  • It's too easy to dominate with guns, once you get good at them
  • The police missions are still a little vague as to what the goal is and when you've accomplished it
  • The game still crashes for certain people (mostly people with 32 bit operating systems).  Basically this is the Unity engine running out of RAM.  If you haven't experienced this yet, then you probably never will.  It seems to be really system-dependent.  We're working on it.
  • Some of you wanted to give the player more of a choice as to where he goes next.  This might be something we do, but it's not a priority at the moment.
  • Car rain leads to too many unavoidable crashes.  We're working on fixing this so you'll always have time to react to a plummeting car.
  • It's too easy to max out the skill tree, at the moment
  • A few of you said that aiming with the gun is too hard.  We're not sure how to address this.  I imagine a lot of the people who said this ended up getting accustomed to the guns and now think they're overpowered.  We mostly test on gamepads, and we don't think the guns are that difficult to use, at all.  I think the way they're currently implemented presents the player with a nice learning curve.  I mean you're trying to aim while moving at 200mph.  Shouldn't that be somewhat difficult to do?  
  • Online multiplayer.  We're working on it.
  • Some of you didn't like the rogue-like elements of the game.  I encourage you to stick with it as that element is probably not going to majorly change.  We think Rogue-likes are fun.  They add a lot of tension (a lot is at stake if you die) without getting repetitive (the missions are different every time you play).  What will change, and has been changing, are unavoidable hits.  Those really don't belong in a Roguelike and we're working to remove scenarios where you can die through no fault of your own.   
  • One of you pirated the game because he didn't have a Steam account and didn't want to make one.  Pirating Early Access games is generally not a good idea because they're constantly in flux.  The version he downloaded was 3 or 4 updates out of date and had far worse performance than the current Steam version.  We have no qualms with releasing a DRM-free version, but since we're currently updating the game 2-3 times per week, coordinating those updates would be a logistical nightmare.  Steam makes updating incredibly easy for us, allowing us to spend more of our time actually improving the game.  That's the ONLY reason we haven't released an official non-Steam version of the game.  It has nothing to do with a desire for copy protection or anything like that.    

-Ian Fisch