In 1978, a unique machine started showing up in arcades all around the world. With its distinctive gameplay and state of the art vector graphics projected over a raster display, it quickly became a major hit. In 1979 more quarters were dropped in the coin boxes of Byte Driver than all of that year’s other machines put together.
Sadly, the combination display was notoriously failure prone and arcade operators found their upkeep difficult. By 1981 the last known Byte Driver machine went offline. Since then the whole craze has been largely forgotten.
What is Byte Driver anyway?
Byte Driver combines a classic driving game with a bottom up shooter. Your car runs on energy. Using weapons and bumping into things will cost you energy. Energy and weapons are obtained by hacking the vehicles around you. You’ll have to stay alert, because the sharply twisting road and countless enemy vehicles will be trying to stop you from reaching your ultimate goal. Run out of energy, and you die.
If you're thinking this sounds like “a hard game”, you're right. Byte Driver is designed to push your reflexes to the limit. You'll be competing with drivers from around the world for the top spots on the leaderboards. The best drivers will even be able to earn a physical patch* commemorating their achievement.
But Don't Stress!
If you're thinking you can't do it, that's where you’re wrong. Vector Hat knows not all players like to be punished by their games, and that's why there will be a No Stress Mode where your energy never depletes. You just want to take a nice relaxing drive through the countryside, see the sights, blow up some cars in a stress free environment? No problem!
You can play the demo on itch.io right now. Please do! It shows the driving and hacking system at work and explores the look of the simulated vector graphics screen. I’m currently working on the beginnings of the weapons and combat systems. I’ll be rolling out a demo of those systems shortly after this campaign.
What’s Left To Do?
That's a good question. I have some more: How many weapons are the right amount? How many enemy vehicles? How do you win? These are just some of the questions we'll be looking to answer on the way from a fun driving demo to a full game. I'll be counting on your feedback to help me figure it out. I'm up for trying anything.
Is this really an old game? Isn't it fun to wonder? I don't want to spoil it for you, but if you REALLY want to know check out the project FAQ. :)
Sounds and Music
I'm replicating the beeps, boops, snarls, and booms from the arcade and pairing it with brand new synthwave soundtrack from the time traveling oddball Rainbow Kitten. Give it a listen!
For Your Home Computer System
We want to bring the arcade experience to your home PC. We don’t know what operating system you use, and we’re not going to make a big deal about it. Byte Driver will run on PC, Linux, and Mac from day one. The demo already does.
Backers at any level will get Byte Driver on Steam and Itch.io just as soon as it's ready - before the official release. You can keep them both or give one to a friend or sell the extra on ebay or whatever you want. They're yours! You can even give them both away if you want!
Join the Pit Crew you'll get access to the Vector Hat discord where I'll be hanging out whenever I'm working on the game or the music. We’ll talk about life. I’ll play the songs I’m working on for you over voice chat. It’ll be weird and great! You'll also get regular builds of the game as it progresses towards its final form, and I'll be counting on your feedback to shape the game.
The Vector Hat 2-Pack will add in a copy of Vector Hat's first game R-COIL on Steam or Itch.io. Here's the fun part - whether this campaign succeeds or fails (in which case you'll be charged nothing) you'll get R-COIL as soon as it ends. You can't lose!
Get the Car Stereo Upgrade and you’ll add a digital copy of Rainbow Kitten's delicious synthwave soundtrack for Byte Driver just as soon as it’s done. It's perfect listening for when you're cruising in your car or time machine.
Go for the High Score and your name will be included in the game's default high score table. Your score will be based on the amount (to the penny) that you pledge, so aim high! You’ll also get a limited edition Byte Driver Pit Crew patch. They'll only be available through this campaign. It will look great on your denim jacket or trucker hat!
Meet the Vector Hat Team
It's me, Mike T!
I have been making games on my own as Vector Hat for the last couple of years. R-COIL was the first Vector Hat release. Byte Driver will be the second. I've also done a few smaller games for game jams. All of these are available on itch.io
I'm a Senior Engineer at Schell Games where I have worked for over 10 years. In that time I've worked on tons of titles including Enemy Mind, Orion Trail, and I Expect You to Die.
I've also done the music and sound effects for R-COIL, Orion Trail, & Enemy Mind. I’ve also also done lots of non-game related weirdo-electronic music as Rainbow Kitten.
I've been playing games since the early 80's. All of my happiest memories are in arcades.
Why This Campaign?
Simple. To raise money. That's right; making and selling a game costs money! I've spent countless hours working on this in the middle of the night, and I'll spend countless more before it's done. I'm not going to try to put a dollar value on that time, but surely it's worth something.
Also I’m using a computer that was.. ahem.. rescued from the garbage and it’s getting pretty old. I can’t really afford to replace it so if it dies before the game is complete the game dies with it. Raising this money would protect us all from that.
So, you've seen the game and the rewards. If you're still reading this, you probably saw something that you liked! Now's your chance to get the game and to help me get Byte Driver finished up and released.
It's all up to you.
Risks and challenges
I have lots of experience getting these kind of things done on time, and the demo is already playable and fun, so I feel good about there being a larger game that can be built on top of that. The biggest risk is that that takes longer than anyone expects.
I'll certainly be open and honest with you throughout the development process. If there are any delays or course corrections, you'll know about it, you'll know why, and you’ll be able to talk to me about it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)