Formula XD
Game Development Journal

Spring cleaning

15th April, 2017

Sorry, chaps, chapettes, I completely forgot to write last week’s entry. I shall write it here and now: “I fixed a lot of bugs.” Now that’s done, I can talk about what’s been improved this week.

For a very long time in development of Formula XD, I’ve wanted to give the game a very human touch, with verbal communication from your drivers and engineering staff, through newspaper stories after races, and so on.

Writing speech for all kinds of different situations is very time-consuming, but when each situation only has one possible line associated with it, repetitions will be quite frequent, and the player’s willing suspension of disbelief may be broken. I always intended to go back and add alternatives to each line, to keep things fresh for longer.

Anyway, this last week has been a bit of a waiting game, and having put together the most stable build I’ve had for a long time I didn’t want to charge in to add more features quite yet. So, for a nice change, I thought, why not go ahead and write that speech text, with three variations in total for each commonly-used line.

Holy cow, did I underestimate how much there was to do. It’s still not all done! I’m hoping to polish it off on Tuesday. The single most time-consuming part was probably the newspaper article generator. It takes all sorts of input about the winner, the player’s drivers, and other race details, and then sort of procedurally splices together a clumsy and formulaic but coherent bit of prose, with interviews and the opportunity for your drivers to flog your sponsor’s wares.

It’s quite probable that most people playing the game will never bother to read these, but it adds atmosphere, and it’s better than the bare-bones newspaper engine in the Codemasters F1 game I’ve got – which, no matter how the race went, obsessively reports on whether Michael Schumacher finished ahead of Nico Rosberg or not.

Codies, F1 2017 had better be better than that! Speaking of F1, did you see the Chinese Grand Prix last week? Well I liked it, anyway.

Happy Easter, everyone.

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