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Eric

adding strategy to racing games

7 posts in this topic

For my racing game-in-progress, I''d like to add some elements of strategy. For my purposes, let''s define strategy as anything that requires planning/thinking ahead. For example, between races, the player spends cash earned from the last race. He can develop new technologies for engines, weapons, etc. (a la StarCraft) and then buy the actual engines, weapons, etc (This idea of upgrading is certainly not new -- I was thinking of RPM Racing for SNES, myself). Does anyone have other ideas for adding strategy to a racing game? I was also thinking of giving the racer the ability to build things during the race (maybe sentry guns a la Quake I TF), though it''s pretty illogical for any type of racing vehicle to have such an ability.
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You could maybe add somekind of spy-feature, so the player could get information about what the other players are doing with their cars. And maybe some sabotage-feature to even the odds a bit...

/Mr K
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You''re leaving out what has become and image associated with racing- the drive to get a good corporate sponsor. Most racing games I''ve seen just place that as part of your paint job. What if you had to do things to earn the respect of better sponsors? You know, maybe have post-race press conferences where the driver would answer questions and it would affect his/her reputation. Even a bad racer can make great money if he has charisma.

On the same subject, something that I think would be interesting to see in a racing game would be the racing circuits that limit how much money can be spent on a car. These were created to give people who didn''t have the money, esp. women, a chance to compete fairly. This would place a lot more thinking on the player. Rather than just buying the best of everything, you would have to weigh the value of good tires vs. good acceleration, etc.
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Mr K, the spy-feature could be do-able. Just to clarify, though, I''d like to hear ideas for *any* type of new strategy element, not just more ideas related the the upgrade process.

Truckhunter, I''ve thought about sponsors before, but I couldn''t really see how to implement them. Your idea of maintaining a sort-of popularity rating is probably just the thing I doubt I''ll do press-conferences, though -- the upgrade process already creates a lot of down-time between races. Perhaps there will be certain "cheap" maneuvers you can pull during the race that could hurt your popularity, or crowd-pleasing maneuvers that increase it.
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What kind of racing game are we talking about here?
F1 or more Carmageddon?

Sponsors are actually not that hard to implement, it''s just a case of how well you do/how popular you are which can be defined by the number of kills you make (you did mention guns in your posts) and how many races you win.
The higher your popularity/success rate the better the sponsors that approach you each season. Get a good tyre sponsor and you don''t have to buy tyres next season but you''re stuck with driving on their tyres for the next x races and their tyres might not be the best. That''s long term strategy vs short term pay off.
You could also try and pay off other drivers to lose to add to the sabotage idea.

A better idea of the plot might give us better ideas of how to expand the game design

Mike
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Here are some screenshots from a previous version of the game. You''ll noticed the vehicles are hovercrafts, and the terrain is quite "hilly".

enemy acquired, about to fire homing missile
getting a little air

As you can see, the terrain in the old version is pre-rendered and the perspective is basically isometric.
The new version I''m working on will not be isometric -- the camera will follow behind the player''s craft, and terrain will be rendered as polygons in real-time.

MikeD, there''s not a whole lot of plot. The racing will basically be a circuit, with a winner declared at the end. The game is, by necessity, set in the future, and maybe some tracks will be on other planets (think Star Wars Racer).

I think sponsorships are a great idea to expand the upgrade process. I''d like to hear other ideas, particulary ways to use strategy during the actual race (as opposed to just speeding towards the finish line and shooting people in your way).
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Well you could incorporate the whole formula 1 fuel strategy idea. How much do you fill up at the start of the race? How heavy are you? How much will this slow you down? How often will you have to take a pit stop.
Perhaps the same for damage, if you''re damaged you can stop for repair which will cost you time but might speed you up enough to win the race.

Strategy is only any good if it''s a long race though.

MikeD
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The game looks good Eric. When I think strategy games, I think about games which allow the player to somehow be able to make some sort of simple model in his head about the game to predict future events and make decisions upon these predictions. For racing games, lets examine kind of user inputs and outcomes (just brainstorming here)

User Inputs
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- speed input may determine fuel consumption (fuel prices?)
- speed input and duration may deteriorate performance of vehicle for future races (maintainence?)
- weapons usage may cause weapons to degrade (maintainence?)
- using weapons too early and running out of ammo
- turning? hmmm... perhaps different paths in the track to win
- purchase of equipment may effect what the other racers purchases in the future?
- your pit team salaries determine their performance?
- member of your pit team retires, management of team (oh no I said management)

Outcome of Race
- order of finish of race determines cash prize
- cash prize amount does not remain constant--i.e. if the player gets a big cash prize in a hard race, easy race less cash prize.
- your fan base in the crowd? perhaps determines how well you can maintain your ego or something of that nature

Future Races
- a look ahead into the future race tracks with what might be available, track lengths, something happens so that certain AI racers can''t make it to the next race, cancelations of races (uncertainty injection), etc.

I don''t know if these ideas mean a whole lot. But I hope it helps some.

-Nick

"... you act as if stupidity were a virtue."
-- Flight of the Phoenix
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