I've been chipping away at a kids game for a while and am looking for ways to make the racing AI more competitive. I believe it's a matter of slowing down if they're too far ahead of the player or speeding up if they're too far behind, and while they're in the "zone" around the player they're "competitive".
I'm using waypoints to drive the racers, I guess I could check distance from each racer to the player every so often, but it's a mobile game so performance is an issue.
In the game you're racing animals rather than vehicles, and the player's animal grows stronger over time. The animals have a strength and agility attribute which determine it's speed and maxCarryWeight. So I can't just set the opponent's speeds equal to the player or there's no sense of "progression".
One idea to improve the dynamics of the races is to add powerups and hazards. So far I've made 2 powerups, one is a speedboost for a few seconds, the other is a jump that can send you over terrain or somewhere as a shortcut.
I'm obviously looking at the old mario kart games for ideas with powerups and racetrack design, but aside from some mechanics the game's are much different.
The basic idea of the game was to be a "combat-less" rpg of sorts, you can tame then ride 30 different animals. You can ride around a somewhat open world with 5 village/towns. At each town you can enter (for a fee) whatever contest is happening there, right now I only have a few courses that are like steeplechase or "cross country" type races with jumps. I was thinking of adding barrel racing, sprint racing, and whatever else I can think of that use the simple mechanics of "go" and "turn/steer". You can also accept jobs to haul resources to another town, the amount based off your maxCarryWeight.
Some quest ideas I had were finding a missing animal, retrieving an item, guiding a lost animal home before dark, scouting/investigate, anyone have any other ideas that involve steering and driving an animal?
Here's some of the prototype:
This is a little prototype "task generator" that's easy to swap out the icons/messages for a variety of tasks, one use is an npc might ask you to help assemble a few items, the farmer might ask you to feed an animal the right food, when you find a treasure chest you might have to try a combination of key turns to try to open it.
Another idea I threw together, but it's too much work for the time being, was to let the player buy building deeds, throw it on the ground and touch it to create the building at that spot, let the player position it, then confirm placement and destroy the deed, save the coordinates and rotation of the building to an xml file that's read each time the game starts to recreate the placements:
Would be a lot of work to make dozens of buildings, but would sure make an excellent gold sink to keep the player making money to build their dream farm or whatever.
I also thought about at each town/village letting a player buy land which they can keep animals at, or which unlocks new wild animals on that land for the player to tame and then ride.
Any feedback appreciated. I've been disabled for half of last year and couldn't work on anything. I'm trying to get back into this but have to take oxycodone and nerve pain meds to function and they kill creativity.