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Cloud Prix Official Thread
Posted: 16 November 2012 05:38 PM
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Project Lead: John Swisshelm

Cloud Prix is a multiplayer racing game set on the clouds with magnet-like repel and grapple mechanics. Cloud Prix’s gameplay is inspired by physical racers Wave Race 64 and Jet Moto. It’s world is influenced by classic Miyazaki films Castle in the Sky, Porco Rosso, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. If you vote for Cloud Prix, our prototype goal is to build one full-featured cloud course playable in online races and a no-limit Freeride mode for practicing stunts solo or with friends.

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Posted: 18 November 2012 12:50 AM
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Welcome Cloud Prix racers!

Here’s a thread to talk about racin’ on the clouds, ask questions about Cloud Prix, and talk about your ideas and daydreams!


FAQ: - Ask questions below, and I’ll answer in the thread!

———————————————————-

1. What is Cloud Prix?

Cloud Prix is a 3D multiplayer racing game where you race on top of clouds. Not just over and through them, but on top of them, as if they were the tangible-cotton-candy-snow-puff-substance they appear to be.


2. If voted for, what will the Cloud Prix prototype be like?

We’ll focus on two things:
1.) making a great feeling racer with fast, dynamic physics that’s playable with other people over the net
2.) creating an awesome Miyazaki-esque dieselpunk world to set it in.

I think a good goal for an AF racing game prototype is one complete track and an endless Joyride mode where you can get used to the unique physics and just enjoy speeding along the cloudtops.


3. How is this different from other “air/hover race” games?

Because clouds and their apparent physical nature are at the forefront - this isn’t a flight game where clouds are either background candy or volumetric fog zones to obscure vision, this is about racing on top of a landscape that is impossible to touch in real life. Also, the magnetism mechanics will be really sweet - imagine the grapple from Jet Moto but always available. Also also, it’s Double Fine: humor, character, and joy will abound!


4. How will you guys and gals make this thing?

Cloud Prix will use Double Fine’s proprietary 3D engine “Buddha” - same engine that powered Brutal Legend, Stacking, Iron Brigade, et al. While the exact cloud implementation will be determined by our programming power and early tests, the goal is to replicate the feel of the surface of clouds, not on rendering them photo-realistically or having a realistic volumetric fog solution.

We’ll probably roll a custom physics solution that’s kind of like a super lightweight spring-mass model with sphere primitives that are connected by springs and change their position based on collisions with racecraft and wave-like forces we pass through them. We’ll also have to figure out some VFX awesomeness to render these clumps in a way that feels cloud-like, but again, the focus is on dreamlike awesomeness, what clouds appear to be rather than a full cloud sim.

I’ve requested 7 people for this project:
- myself wearing as many hats as will fit
- 2 badass programmers
- 1 vfx / tech artist
- 1 character modeler
- 1 concept artist
- 1 sound designer


5. Who the heck are you?

Hey! My name is John and I just joined Double Fine as a Game Designer a few months ago. I previously did scripting and melee combat at Naughty Dog on Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and before that I worked at EA’s Visceral Games on Dante’s Inferno and a few secret things. I love it at DF and am super stoked to be working with this great group of people on this amazing AF adventure!


6. Have you made a racing game in such a short time before?

In fact, I have! Back in college, I led a team of 3 to create a prototype called Lord of the Fjord - a viking boat racing game that you controlled with the Donkey Konga bongo drums. It was super fun to make and people were able to connect with it instantly. We only had about a month to complete it and having standard racing game logic let us focus our effort on the more difficult stuff - networking, physics, and art creation. You can see some screens of it here: http://www.swisshelm.com/games/lotf/index.html


7. Will there be stunts and tricks?

Yes! You’ll have full control over your racer’s orientation while jumping between clouds, allowing for rolls, flips, etc. Pull off a trick near a floating grandstand to win crowd support and gain a temporary speed boost.


8. Will there be multiple characters?

Yup! In Cloud Prix, you’ll get a selection of different awesome looking characters, each with a different set of starting stats (Top Speed, Acceleration, Handling) that represent a particular play style but you’ll be able to adjust those stats to turn any character into any of the archetypes.

This way, you’ll be able to quickly try out different play styles by selecting a character and using their default tuning, but if a particular character model connects with you, you can tune them to become any racer you see fit.

—-

Any questions for me? Daydreams about clouds? Inspiring pics? Links on crazy soft-body physics algorithms?
Fire away and I’ll see you in the sky!

[ Edited: 20 November 2012 12:29 PM by DF_John ]
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Posted: 19 November 2012 01:35 AM
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Now for some inspirational GAME videos!

Wave Race 64!

Jet Moto 3

[ Edited: 19 November 2012 01:58 AM by DF_John ]
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Posted: 19 November 2012 01:50 AM
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More inspirational videos!

Film / Animation

Laputa: Castle in the Sky


Porco Rosso


Cloud scenes in Aladdin (go to 1m 11s for cloud awesomeness)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kl4hJ4j48s&feature=youtu.be&t=1m11s


Last Exile

[ Edited: 19 November 2012 02:02 AM by DF_John ]
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Posted: 19 November 2012 05:20 PM
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to me wave race was all about the waves being another part of the puzzle of moving around.  Obviously clouds and waves are different, what about the ways it will feel to move around clouds.  If there are magnets will it be hovering or bouncing and will the cloud tracks have a lot of vertical movement or be mostly a horizontal track?  How would it be possible to make a full game with clouds as the background for the whole thing.  you know how wacky colorful racing games dont usually stay in the same spot the entire time.  What about inspiration from kirbys air ride as well as wave race.  or maybe the only way to make a good wacky racing game is to look at the fundamental differences between all nintendo racing games and see why they made each decision for the art style and all those other things to come up with why it makes sense to make something new and how that would be done without using any fundamental ideas from anything previous.  I’m only saying this because looking at all those Nintendo racing games, they made sure to differentiate their own games and make each of them based on different sets of fundamental rules that drove forward that games identity. anyways you got my vote.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 05:28 PM
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Thanks for the vote! smile

jasondesante - 19 November 2012 05:20 PM

to me wave race was all about the waves being another part of the puzzle of moving around.  Obviously clouds and waves are different, what about the ways it will feel to move around clouds. 

The physical feeling of riding on the waves make Wave Race an amazingly fun game to this day, and that’s a huge influence on Cloud Prix. We’re not going for wacky racer here - this won’t be a kart game that’s more about shooting power ups and activating turbo boosts than picking lines through a course.

The challenge in games like Wave Race and Jet Moto was navigating the course and adjusting as elements change. In Cloud Prix, the clouds will shift under and around your racer, requiring you to adjust your magnetic push and pull to compensate.

The magnet mechanic for acceleration is key here - if you jump off the crest of a cloud holding the Repel trigger, you’ll gain a lot of air but will lose speed as you move away from the cloud. You’ll gain speed again when your racer falls back to the cloud, but it isn’t the optimal way to take the jump.

A pro Cloud Prix racer would repel just until launching off the crest of the cloud, then use the Attract trigger to pull back towards the cloud, then Repeling again right before hitting the cloud.\

Basically, the closer you are to the surface of the cloud, the faster you can go, so skill comes into play keeping your craft skimming on the clouds’ surface.

If there are magnets will it be hovering or bouncing and will the cloud tracks have a lot of vertical movement or be mostly a horizontal track?

I imagine it will feel both hovery and bouncy, like Wave Race does - when you land, you get a nice bounce feeling, but on flat water you feel smooth hovering. The tracks will mostly be horizontal, with vertical leaps and climbs for variety and multiple path support.

How would it be possible to make a full game with clouds as the background for the whole thing.

There’s room for a ton of variety in a cloud-based racing game. You could race on billowing stacks of clouds on a blue day, or against the backdrop of feathery clouds on an amazing sunset over the ocean, on the contrail streaming off an airplane’s wing, over an active volcano, or on top of smokestacks generated by an Industrial Revolution city. That’s not even getting into crazier stuff like doing a lap around the eye of a hurricane!

[ Edited: 19 November 2012 05:46 PM by DF_John ]
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Posted: 19 November 2012 05:52 PM
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My first, and easiest vote! I love games that demonstrate good sense of movement, and the idea of bouncing between clouds and maintaining balance sounds so incredibly good to me. The influences are really exciting to hear especially the Miyazaki stuff.

The idea of bouncing around makes me curious about whether tricks would factor into it at all. The theoretical mechanics seem like they would allow for some pretty cool options for that kind of thing, especially considering movement side to side (as opposed to just balancing forward/backward). I flew in an airplane for the first time a few weeks ago (a small one at that), and something that stood out was how it would slightly rotate side to side like a swivel chair to keep balance. I can imagine riding the ‘bike with magnet for wheels’ vehicle from the pitch video, and thinking about how it would prepare to land/turn mid-air in similar ways, which seems like it could allow for some pretty interesting tricks.

I don’t know if I’m really expressing what I’m thinking very well, but regardless the project sounds awesome and I’d love to play it!

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Posted: 19 November 2012 06:01 PM
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Thanks for the vote and comments Buttonbasher!

Buttonbasher - 19 November 2012 05:52 PM

I can imagine riding the ‘bike with magnet for wheels’ vehicle from the pitch video, and thinking about how it would prepare to land/turn mid-air in similar ways, which seems like it could allow for some pretty interesting tricks

I’m totally with you there - while the exact mechanics for tricks will take some experimentation, I’d love to give players full control over their yaw, that side-to-side rotation you were talking about, as well as the ability to roll and pitch.

Jet Moto does this pretty well -  check out the end of this video.

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Posted: 19 November 2012 06:54 PM
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DF John S - 19 November 2012 06:01 PM

Thanks for the vote and comments Buttonbasher!

Buttonbasher - 19 November 2012 05:52 PM

I can imagine riding the ‘bike with magnet for wheels’ vehicle from the pitch video, and thinking about how it would prepare to land/turn mid-air in similar ways, which seems like it could allow for some pretty interesting tricks

I’m totally with you there - while the exact mechanics for tricks will take some experimentation, I’d love to give players full control over their yaw, that side-to-side rotation you were talking about, as well as the ability to roll and pitch.

Jet Moto does this pretty well -  check out the end of this video.

That video’s totally what I’m talking about! It makes me want to see Cloud Prix even more. Best of luck!

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Posted: 20 November 2012 01:53 AM
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Visceral alum. Holler.

I dig the idea because flight games—good, fun ones—are few and far between. The Miyazakiesque world is a big plus. What I loved about previous games of this sort (including the ones you mentioned) is being given a choice between different types of characters/vehicles, because each one controlled differently and made for a different experience. What do you foresee for the character selection/customization in this game?

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Posted: 20 November 2012 12:27 PM
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VicOfAges - 20 November 2012 01:53 AM

Visceral alum. Holler.

I dig the idea because flight games—good, fun ones—are few and far between. The Miyazakiesque world is a big plus. What I loved about previous games of this sort (including the ones you mentioned) is being given a choice between different types of characters/vehicles, because each one controlled differently and made for a different experience. What do you foresee for the character selection/customization in this game?

I love having an interesting selection of characters / vehicles in a racing game, but I dislike being locked into a particular character schema - ie, “this guy is big and huge and will always handle poorly, guess I can’t play as him, and this girl will never have a high top speed, so I guess I’ll pick Mr. Average Guy with Slighty Higher Top Speed. Again.”

So! What I’d like to see in Cloud Prix are a selection of different awesome looking characters, each with a different set of starting stats (Top Speed, Acceleration, Handling) that represent a particular play style but you’ll be able to adjust those stats to turn any character into any of the archetypes.

This way, you’ll be able to quickly try out different play styles by selecting a character and using their default tuning, but if a particular character model connects with you, you can tune them to become any racer you see fit.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 08:22 PM
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Love the concepts, but having a hard time envisioning the mechanics of the magnets and the clouds…?

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Posted: 24 November 2012 05:22 AM
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I really like this idea. Even if it doesn’t get picked don’t let the dream die.

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Posted: 25 November 2012 03:32 AM
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Zyll - 23 November 2012 08:22 PM

Love the concepts, but having a hard time envisioning the mechanics of the magnets and the clouds…?

Hmm, it kinda sounds like a Wipeout game in some instances but in other it doesnt.

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Posted: 25 November 2012 11:10 AM
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Zyll - 23 November 2012 08:22 PM

Love the concepts, but having a hard time envisioning the mechanics of the magnets and the clouds…?

The key fiction in Cloud Prix is that technology was invented that allows metal to attract to and repel from water as if both the metal and water were electro-magnets.

This would allow for some sweet hoverboats, but since clouds are made mostly of water vapor, this technology would also allow you to make a craft that can ride on top of clouds.

This is expressed through the game in a way that is similar to standard Gas / Break controls in a racing game. Only “Gas” in Cloud Prix is actually “Repel away from the clouds behind my craft” and “Break” means “Attract to the clouds directly infront of / underneath my craft”

Here’s an explanation through the power of MS Paint!

On a “flat” expanse of clouds, holding Repel pushes the craft forward and up. Gravity pulls it down again, so you’ll get a foward moving bobbing motion, similar to riding a jetski.
moving.jpg

If you hold Attract, you’ll slow down and eventually stop with your craft “stuck” to the cloud.
stopped.jpg

These mechanics make jumping between clouds awesome and skillful because you’ll need to Repel up and off one cloud:
repel.jpg

Then Attract yourself to the next cloud to maintain and build speed.
grapple.jpg

When you hit the next cloud, you’d better Repel again or you’ll slow down and stick to the cloud.

Lodium - 25 November 2012 03:32 AM

Hmm, it kinda sounds like a Wipeout game in some instances but in other it doesnt.

So! In some ways, it’s a lot like wipeout, other hover racers, but there are some nuanced differences. To go as fast as you can, you’ll need to switch between Attracting and Repeling, working with the bumps and waves in the clouds and with the flow of gravity.

Also - the “cloud magnets” are affected by the strongest nearby concentration of water, sod if there is a water barrel nearby and you Attract, you’ll pull your craft towards that instead of a cloud. So the course itself can allow interesting grapple opportunities.

Also also - if you are not Attracting or Repelling, or are not near any clouds, your craft plummets to the earth. There’s that!

[ Edited: 25 November 2012 11:31 AM by DF_John ]
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Posted: 26 November 2012 02:25 PM
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Sad this didn’t get support—loved the idea, and hope it finds its way!... 

Next time, use a Dick Dale soundtrack!

[ Edited: 26 November 2012 02:34 PM by jonathanfrisby ]
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Posted: 26 November 2012 07:17 PM
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Thanks everybody for your Cloud Prix support and feedback!

Man - Rocket Jockey, I forgot about that one! I think my PowerVR-enabled PC at the time barely ran it. Love the surf rock soundtrack - highly reminiscent of Jet Moto’s soundtrack too.

Anyways, this has been a crazy two months at Double Fine so far - I got to pitch a game, then helped polish BRAZEN. Super stoked to be working on an AF prototype for you over the next two weeks, and maybe Cloud Prix will rise like a phoenix in the future!

I mean *someone* has got to do racing on the clouds, right?

porcorosso.jpg

Be excellent to each other, party on dudes, and stay tuned!

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