September 2018 - November 2018

Chris Schickler - Developer

     Made with Unreal Engine 4, Tropical Boost is a racing game with a randomly generating track. I wanted to experiment with random generation and vehicles physics, as this was intended to be the groundwork for something bigger. That project ended up going in a completely different direction, but It was still fun making Tropical Boost! This project was less about making a game, and more about experimenting with the features of Unreal.

Playing with Random Generation

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     When I first came up with the idea for this game, I knew I wanted to have an endless track. The most interesting way to make the game fresh every time is to use random generation. Thus, I made a bunch of different ramps, wrote some blueprints, and got it going.

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Modeling the Car

     I grabbed a car I modeled a year prior and tried shaping it up. I felt a small bond to the vehicle, it was my first car attempt and I find it to be sleek and edgy. While I couldn't perfect the edge flow, I cleaned it up enough to make it a valid asset for use in a game engine. I was also working on Sword of the Dead City during this time, so I didn't have the time to rework it as much as I would have liked to.

Rigging the Car

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     An enormous problem had occurred with getting my car to move in Unreal Engine 4. I spent day after day posting on EPIC forums as well as Reddit for assistance to no avail. It was not until I came to a YouTube video with less than 100 views, describing how to fix a major problem with exporting cars from Maya. Basically, even though FBX files can be exported out of Maya with Z as the up axis, it does not read in the same logic that Unreal does. By default, Maya reads models with a World relative orientation, while Unreal reads it as an Object relative orientation. Once that option is switched, all the mesh pivots must be rotated so that the blue arrow (Z) is the arrow up, as show above. The vehicle also does not need to be rigged. This fixes a crooked collision box for the wheels in Unreal and gets your vehicle moving.

The Test Build

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     With the second build I created tiles that only moved forward, ending the issue of overlap. I figured since the game only moves in one direction, I could lock the camera in place and give the player a more cinematic feel. The game has started taking influence from its theme, as the player gains turbo boost power by driving over geysers on the track. There is a constant hurricane brewing around the player, and light comes in and out of the clouds. The player may also drive through ammo pickups, that will in the next build will allow you to shoot obstacles and debris. I added dynamic time of day to keep things interesting.

The Prototype

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     In this build I introduced explosive barrels and finalized the piece. However, this was never intended to be made into an actual game. I created this project to practice working with vehicles and car physics in Unreal.