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  • Developing Speed Limit: 0-60 In Two Years

    [04.01.21]
    - Igor Kolar

  • Run!

    Because we wanted you to start from a stand still, yet still have this sensation of speed when you start the game, the first stage just had to be a train. A train, in which "something so fantastic happens to the protagonist that we simply had to make a game about it". For the gameplay we looked heavily at Metal Slug, one of the finer examples of shooters, both visually and in shear, enjoyable gameplay.

    We tailored the first level to roughly the same length of their first stage, but our baddies are a lot more dangerous. If you don't believe me, try playing Metal Slug 1 again, and see how many enemies actually attack you on the first level. We were shocked too! The conga line of soldiers was an idea that came out of the prototype stage 1, when people would move either very cautiously or sometimes not at all, so we gave them something to run from. So, the levels are all designed to reward you for either going fast, or doing things with a little more skill.

    Mind the Gap

    Two perhaps most notable inspirations for this level came from the 2013 movie Wolverine, and the styling behind Mirror's Edge. This was the first stage that we actually worked on, because it seemed like it would be the easiest to prototype and to ‘understand' in terms of mechanics. There are so many levels, and so many games where the boss is a helicopter you have to shoot down.

    We had a design rule for the first two stages: whatever is off-plane from the action, doesn't get affected.

    Therefore, you never see any bystanders get hurt (or care about what's going on for that matter), and you can't shoot down the helicopter. And that's also why you *can* shoot the baddies rappelling down from it.

    The problem with working on a game like this is that you know something new is around the corner, and so getting to the end of this level was very exciting for us, because the quick and seamless transition between gameplays was a big part of our pitch.

    Without the transitions, everyone's perception was that Speed Limit was a collection of different games entirely. Incidentally, we couldn't find a publisher before this element was completed. Every transition was different, and every time we had to resort to reinventing how we go about things; even going so far as animating a 3D plane for our Artist Jurica to draw over, to interpret its shape in pixel form better.

    Gunnit & Autodämmerung

    The car stage takes a lot of inspirations from, obviously GTA, but also Spy Hunter, and this one great Flash game Freeway Fury. I think our lead programmer Vanja Karanovic outdid himself with getting the right balance between realistic and believable-but-also-fun physics for the vehicles here.

    Full Throttle

    I was a big fan of the 1996 Road Rash. Despite its flaws overall, I found the motorcycle stage of Bart's Virtual Nightmare to be fun too, at least back in the day. At one point we were looking closer to Road Rash for gameplay mechanics, but it ended up being a stretch of how it would fit with the rest of the game.

    Having our character fight by kicking and/or punching seemed like giving him too much competency.

    Also, riders get up and walk it off after being knocked off the bike in Road Rash, and we just couldn't have crashing be so benign. So we ‘settled' for a good, input friendly, feel of the motorcycle you'd just like to drive, enough danger from oncoming traffic, and then have enemies just spice things up. Shooters and racing games done from this perspective usually, I feel, give a very poor sense of distance. One game that stood out when doing research for this stage though was Black Viper for the Amiga.

    Not having had an Amiga myself, I never heard of it before, but to me it seemed to come closest to a good perspective and easily judged distance. Our newest programmer at the time, Karlo Koscal stood up to that challenge, apart from jumping in mid-production, and the result to me feels like the best of the 2D behind-the-rider gameplay.

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