We speak to Vivien, the solo dev behind CRYENGINE Indie Game of the Year 2020 nominee Racing Glider, who shares some awesome indie game dev tips.
Our CRYENGINE Indie Game of the Year 2020 awards are open for voting now, which means it’s your chance to pick the winner from our shortlist and win some swag. The nominees are ColdSide, Racing Glider, and Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, and you can vote by heading to the forum. Leave a comment about your nomination, and you’ll also be in with a chance of winning a voucher to spend on merch at the Crytek store. If you haven’t played all the games on the shortlist, stay tuned to our social media channels for a chance to win a free game key.
Today, we’re focusing on Racing Glider, a new take on the racing game classics like Wipeout, where you speed across rally-inspired tracks through a range of gorgeous environments. We spoke to the game’s creator Vivien about their game dev journey so far. Find out why “putting a thousand ideas into a game doesn't make it better” in an interview packed with inspiring tips for any indie developer.
Hey Vivien! Congratulations on your nomination!
Thank you! I am thrilled to be amongst such great company. When I first started using CRYENGINE on my own in my bedroom, I couldn't have imagined it would come to this ten years later. It encourages me to continue to create even better games!
Your first creation, Rolling Sun, is a very different kind of game to Racing Glider. Why did you choose CRYENGINE, and why did you decide to make a puzzle game
Rolling Sun was my first real game creation experience, so I did many things by intuition. At that time, I was using CRYENGINE for fun and discovery. One evening I was having fun rolling a ball in the sandbox. I assigned it classic spin controls, then a jump, and found it fun to control it. It reminded me of some classics like Monkey Ball and others. I began to imagine a universe, a story, an identity. The project went through several stages, and then after a complete overhaul of the universe and the scenario, it became Rolling Sun.
What did you learn during the process of creating Rolling Sun?
A lot! Everything from creating a 3D model designed for video games to understanding how to use most of the CRYENGINE tools. But most of all, I learned that making a video game on your own takes time, work, and organization. It requires designing your game on paper, and I also really refined my notion of what a good game design is.
What inspired you to change genres from the puzzle play of Rolling Sun to racing?
It’s in my nature to want to try my hand at several genres. I think I wanted to pilot a ship in the style of the old F-zero and Wipeout games. It made me want to create one. Then I said to myself that I could make a game that seemed viable and doable on my own. And I must say that a common thread in my games lies in the environments, the sets, and the universes. Just like Rolling Sun, Racing Glider is a game where the tracks and the surroundings are important. Environments will be even more important in my next game, which I am preparing for now.
I am ambitious about the quality of my finished games. On the other hand, I am moving towards games that are more focused on precise gameplay. I believe that for a solo developer like myself, having too many ambitions in the game design can be a huge trap. I am very excited to begin my new project. The creation and game design processes seem much clearer to me with experience, and I want to do even better!
Racing Glider has a great soundtrack. Can you tell us a bit about it?
It is an original composition conceived for Racing Glider, created by a friend who was kind enough to work on the music for the game. All the songs were designed by him. I am delighted with the soundtrack, and a lot of people seem to like it. It was easy to integrate into the game.
What tools helped you to create Racing Glider?
I mostly used the FlowGraph to create and program the physics and handling of my vehicles. In combination with the Vehicle / Character Editor, it is an incredibly powerful nodal programming tool.
There was also a lot of landscape to create. Some are based on heightmaps from other software, but I still used the CRYENGINE Terrain Editor to refine the playing area and make my tracks, amongst other things.
How do you look back at your development journey so far?
The path is certainly not over, and that's good. But it is already a dream come true. The child inside of me wanted to create games, and the adult did too. Of course, there is still a lot of work to do. I don't think I've made a game that I'm truly proud of yet. I hope it will be the next one!
I learned a lot of things. Primarily, the importance of passion in what you do. It's more important than anything else, I think. Without passion, it's as if the game has no soul. Then, quite frankly, I think I mostly learned a lot from my mistakes. The more time passes, the more I realize that I got too lost on my previous projects. I lacked organization and rigor also. I came to understand the importance of having a well-designed game design focused on basic gameplay action, like shoot, dodge, or jump. Of course, you have to embellish once you have the basics, but I believe that you need to have a simple, precise, and consistent game design on paper when you develop games on your own. Apart from that, I admit that I left a lot of space for my imagination during the project. And while this can be a good thing, it dramatically affects the organization and consistency of the work.
It seems to me that the mistake we often make when we embark on creation is wanting to do too much, adding too many gameplay elements to our game. Putting a thousand ideas into a game doesn't make it better. Finally, my new project will be the most straightforward game design of my creations, and I think it will also be the most effective. If there is one thing that I have learned, it is this: always focus development on the game's essence. Stay as consistent as possible to the basic idea.
What are your plans for the future?
Well, I have a new project which I believe in and which fascinates me. I won't say too much for now, but I can talk about it a little bit. It is a game of constant flight where the sensations of freedom and contemplation will be omnipresent. The gameplay is incredibly simple to learn and can be demanding, depending on your play style. If you like flying in an open world with a magical and original setting, you will find happiness in this game. I will reveal more in a few months!
Thank you, Vivien! We look forward to hearing about your new project in the coming months!
If you want to check out the game, but aren't ready to buy, yet, you can tune in tomorrow, Friday, January 27th, 2021 at 6 pm GMT+1, right here on our Twitch channel, where our new CRYENGINE Evangelist Roman Perezogin is going to race trough the beautiful environments of Racing Glider, with a special guest! Not sure what game to vote for? Tune in and get an idea of the game that will make your decision easier! And if you tune in you even have a chance to win the game on Steam.
You can ask questions, pick up tips and tricks, and more by joining our community and the CRYENGINE development team over on our official CRYENGINE Discord channel. If you find a bug in the engine, please report it directly on GitHub, which helps us to process the issue quickly and efficiently. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, where we host a range of content, including tutorials covering all aspects of the engine and game design.
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