December 21, 2009

Screenshot Time

Just some screenshots from our even more polished level, showing off the homing missile.

You will notice each car is covered with a speaker icon. This indicates they each have their own audio source, for playing sound effects. The Unity game engine gives pretty good 3D sound, so you will hear the explosions, gunshots and burning cars in stereo as you drive around. (Assuming you use headphones.)

December 20, 2009

Ghost in the Phone

After spending a lot more work on the menu system than anyone should be expected to handle, I finally took the time to implement the time-trial mode ghost cars.

As I had expected, it was a lot easier to implement than the AI cars. As a bonus, it also needed less than half of the CPU cycles to run it. The ghost cars are essentially keyframed animations recorded when you play. The keyframes and some meta data are serialized to a plain text ghost file format.

We all know how fun it is to race against a ghost of yourself or a friend. I have fond memories of I and my brother playing Moto Racer on my first PC. Naturally, we want to enable this competitive excitement in our game, even when you play a quick game on the bus. (Or if you don't have any friends.)

Anyway... Ghosts are uploaded to our server and shared with other player over the world. You race against your own best time, plus two downloaded ghosts. Whenever you beat the best one, it will be replaced by a new one, at least 0.3 seconds faster than your best time. This means you will always race against ghosts slightly better or worse than yourself.

The result is a great gaming experience! Even after playtesting this all day long the last few days, it's still hard to put the game down when you lost the race by a fraction of a pixel.

Another great thing is that when you drive alongside a ghost, you can easily spot the tiniest gain or loss as you cut corners along the race track, allowing you to perfect your driving technique.

December 14, 2009

Auto Crisis - News are spreading

We're happy to see that expectations for Auto Crisis are rising all around the world.

We have a fan page on Facebook and a Twitter feed.

Here are links to some of the articles where we've been mentioned (Google Translate may come in handy)

Touch Arcade

iPhone Italia 1
iPhone Italia 2
iPhone Italia 3
iPhone Sat



Locura iPhone



More screenshots:

Auto Crisis screenshot

Auto Crisis screenshot

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December 04, 2009

First news are out!

The first news articles about Auto Crisis are out, and it's covered by two major game blogs in Italy and Sweden!

iPhone Italia talks about the Auto Crisis (in Italian) Here is a Google-translated version.

Spelfeber in Sweden is excited about the game too. See translation.

December 02, 2009

Auto Crisis - Game Trailer

Vimeo link

Finally - here is our trailer for Auto Crisis!

We are getting close to the end and we're aiming for a Christmas release at the App Store. Get your iPhones and iPods ready!

Attention App reviewers! We can provide you with an AdHoc-copy of Auto Crisis if you send us your UDID.

November 11, 2009

Pick Your Color

The menu is getting closer to perfection. Here is how you choose car model and paint before the race. Auto Crisis is coming soon.

October 29, 2009

Home, Sweeet Homing Missile

Last week, I was tinkering with the homing missile. I didn't like the way it behaved. The problem was the turning radius. A larger radius would make it very difficult to hit the target, since the missile couldn't turn quickly enough. A smaller radius helped, but looked boring, because the missile would turn sharply in the beginning, then fly in a mostly straight line. Having the missile flying along a straight line also makes impossible to fire around corners.

The simple solution was to adjust the turning radius depending on the distance to the target. At a long distance, the missile will fly along a smooth arc. When it comes closer it will gradually turn quicker, following the target even through tight turns.

The shock wave of the explosion will throw all nearby cars around, making this weapon even more useful. Together with a massive sound effect, camera shake, particle effects for the smoke trail and explosion, firing the homing missile really gives you a sense of power.

October 27, 2009

Can you see the Ghosts?

We're very excited about the look and feel in Auto Crisis. We've been spending a lot of time tweaking everything, and we're getting closer to perfection.

Here are some of the things we like a lot:
  • The camera follows the car like a hot air balloon in a rubber band. Looks very nice.
  • Cars are made a bit larger to add to the cartoonish look.
  • The film grain and vignette makes a huge difference for a movie feeling.
  • The theme music by our composer Tony Palm is great! Listen to a cut down version here.

The game will offer two different modes:
1. Work your way to the top by beating the better AI opponents in each race. You will be able to use their cars and face even better opponents. Pick up powerups to shoot them down while you're racing.

2. Single player time attack. Best result can be stored online. It means that as you're playing, you'll see ghost cars showing your personal best, and results from other players.

Here are screenshots of the ghost drivers. What do you think?

October 24, 2009

Auto Crisis AI Opponent Screenshots

Update on our upcoming racing iPhone game Auto Crisis: We finally have the AI opponents working in an acceptable manner. The have a pretty nice pathfinding combined with basic obstacle avoidance. This means we actually have some engaging gameplay!

Unfortunately, the AI sometimes get stuck trying to drive though a wall. Kind of embarrassing... After some conferencing, we decided to just detect "stuck" AI:s and move them back on track as soon as they are outside the screen. Stupid fix, but so what? It works.

Dropbox Eats iPhone Apps For Breakfast

After literally spending hours of frustration trying to make Ad Hoc distribution work for my iPhone game, I realized that my problem was Dropbox. Appearantly, some of the data in the app bundle was mangled in the transfer, making it crash when loading.

Now don't missunderstand me; Dropbox is a great tool for sharing files when telecommuting or just syncing several computers. Here at Baraboom, we use it all the time. The simple solution was to zip the app before transferring it, and everything worked just fine.

What? Yes I do enjoy painting faces on coorporate logotypes.

October 13, 2009

Another data loss bug in OS X

We're developing on Apple's OS X Leopard 10.5.8, and we've found a another bug that causes files to disappear irreversably... It's easy to reproduce. Try this:

1. Copy a folder from a shared network folder
2. Create new files in the folder
3. In Finder, undo the latest action (which was to copy the folder)

The files you just saved are gone and can't be restored or found anywhere. Please prove us wrong. Not good anyway!

September 24, 2009

Auto Crisis beta screenshots

We're proud to announce some screenshots from the Beta version of Auto Crisis!
This is a build submitted to Unity Awards 2009.

It floats beautifully on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Heads up for the game in App Store in a not too distant future...

Texture Compression Artifacts

We are developing mainly for the iPhone/iPod touch, which use PVRTC texture compression. With the massive textures we use, we really need compression. The ground alone use 16 512x512 and 12 256x256 textures. On top of that, there are some 5 1024x1024 textures for the buildings and trees.

Unfortunately, line art (wich is basically what our ground textures are) gives pretty bad compression artifacts with PVRTC. Especially the borders of textures gets messed up, as you can see in the screenshot below.

There is clearly visible seam just behind the car, and another right after the house. You can also see some pink/green noise, particularly where the shadows of the trees fall on the road.

Without the compression, the ground looks absolutely smooth with crisp edges and no seams. I tried running the game without compression, but even with 16 bit textures, the game just wouldn't run smoothly.

It turns out the texture compression tool shipped with the SDK has a few options not accessible from inside Unity. I'd really like to play around with those, but it doesn't seem like there's any straight-forward way to actually use them anyway. Oh, well.

I guess we could get rid of the seams if we didn't use the last few pixels close to the texture border. We will probably try that in the final release. Right now, there are other, higher priority issues (like some actual gameplay) we need to deal with.

September 17, 2009

First Complete Level Baked and Running in Unity

After weeks of hard work we finally have a near-final level for testing and tweaking. All static geometry is textured/lightmapped from high-resolution textures.

We use Blender for all modeling and lightmapping, meaning we can bake very high quality lightmaps with soft shadows and ambient occlusion.

The ground is painted with Illustrator and Photoshop, while all other surfaces have a single color. This gives us a fresh, cartoonish air to the game, that fits well with the realistic lighting.

As you might tell from the screenshot, the car used a full physics setup with an individual wheel collider and suspension for each wheel. It seems we will need to scrap this, though, for performance reasons. Hopefully, we can recreate the same feeling (or better), using custom code.

September 16, 2009

First one

Our website is up, our first game is under way, and everyone is happy.

Games, design and programming for web and handheld devices.