Developing a casual racing simulator – Raceground

I’m car enthusiast and I just love the mechanical side, speed and sound of performance cars. I’ve been playing idea of building racing sim for over ten years! During that time, I’ve accumulated quite lot of experience in software development and have done many failed attempts too at games.

For the past two months, I’ve been building a custom game engine and ground work for the car game, and I have good feeling for this one, a casual racing sim which I’ve decided to call “Raceground” for now.

Goals for the car game

I have set couple goals for the game what it should be about.

  • Great audio and engine sounds.
    • I’ve actually prototyped with synthesized engine sounds that feel and sound promising to me!
    • For me, the sounds are 50% of the sim experience.
  • Fun and engaging tyre physics.
    • I’m not a physicist, so not going to target hyper-realism, but still trying to achieve plausible simulation.
    • Drift through corners and do epic burnouts!
  • Tweakable and tunable cars.
    • I feel that some of the best feelings come when getting the tune / tweak right for the car and blasting down the track!
    • Create RWD-Mini with 500hp turbo engine? Let’s do it!
  • Dynamic environment and atmosphere.
    • Set any time and weather.
  • Modding support.
    • Modding is huge in car / racing sim scene.
    • Give editor and tools for the community to tweak and add everything!
  • Great community.
    • Positive and enthusiastic community thrives!
  • Fast download and epic performance.
    • Although, I have fast internet, computer and plenty of disk space, I don’t like huge downloads and stuttering games.

Currently, I work on the game as side project along side my full-time job and with other life commitments, so the progress is quite slow. I hope to get some kind of early access release to be done at the end of this year, which could provide some funding to move to full-time development mode for the game.

Custom game engine?

At the beginning, I also evaluated both Unity and Unreal Engine for this project. I actually started prototyping the game using Unity at the beginning. Although those engines have many many upsides, they aren’t good fit for my project in my opinion. Mainly it comes down to these five things why I won’t go with Unity or Unreal:

  1. I just like building game engines.
  2.  Size / bloat of the development environment.
    • I still use laptop from 2013 which works fine as secondary development machine, but running Unity or Unreal just won’t work with that.
  3. Easy and unrestricted modding support.
    • Both Unreal and Unity supports modding, but you have to go trough the hoops for proper low-level modding support.
  4.  Performance and compatibility with older hardware.
    • I still use my old laptop from 2013 with integrated graphics card. I wan’t that to be the min spec’ed machine that can run the game 60FPS at low settings.
  5. Long-term stability
    • It’s gonna take a while to build the game. I don’t want the game engine to take direction I don’t see any value or future.

Btw, you can read some general thoughts about custom game engines in my previous blog post.

To the next post!