August 2022 development roundup

Welcome back everyone! I’ve just opened this blog to post news and relevant development updates that were mostly confined to Discord, SideQuest or within the in-game newsfeed before. The aim is to post periodically each month, or whenever there are important announcements to share.

Testing driver models at the Downtown Club…

What’s up?

Despite the silence and some problems life is throwing at us, we are alive and well and so is Downtown Club. There is a lot going on behind the curtains and the game is still worked on almost daily. Covid and major heatwaves are making this hard at times, but plans for the game have not changed. I’m still working full time on the game, and I’m being helped by a part time graphic artist friend.

Downtown Club

Let’s get this out of the way first: there is no update or change to the current release date for DTC: a generic 2022. It’s clear that the game is running late compared to original plans because I greatly underestimated the effort needed, but I’m also taking my time to deliver something valuable and future-proof. With that I mean the codebase of the game has to be ready for adding new content and features quickly, without having to rewrite large parts of the code, so I can easily work on updates once the game is out.

Right now DTC is undergoing an almost total remake of the two maps/environments. This is down to a bunch of things:

  • The current road layout of the “Downtown” map is way too cramped and unrealistic.
  • The whole “Downtown” map is arranged in a way that wastes GPU performance.
  • My previous workflow for creating maps was very complex and time consuming, and I recently found a much faster and highly efficient workflow.
  • The graphic artist is helping making new new map objects.

Choosing to recycle and expand upon the original “Classic” track layout from V-Speedway, just for the sake of the legacy, is the main culprit of the first two points. The problem became clear to me months ago, but reworking a map entirely sounded like a huge loss of time. Still, after thinking about it throughly and finding this improved workflow, I decided it was the right thing to do. After all, entirely reworking a map after releasing the game had pretty bad implications…

The rest is going quite smoothly luckily. The in-game shop and unlock system is ready and tournaments are being worked on. We also have a good amount of special car paints and a new driver model with different skins for the helmet, suit and gloves. Engine sounds have been finally updated too- nothing like triple-A games, but they sound nice. And we have a special environment for an unannounced feature coming up after the release.

There’s still plenty to work on, but we are getting there. We will show something more once we reach a better completion state.

A glance at the new “Downtown” road layout.

V-Speedway

As you might know already, V-Speedway is complete and will not receive further updates, except for bug fixes if critical issues come up. Some of you have been asking me to add some major features to it, but the development focus right now is only on DTC. There’s no going back!

Yet, I’m working on V-Speedway every now and then because I’m porting it to Pico Neo 3 and iQiyi devices to reach a much broader audience- and DTC too will be available there later on.

Despite the Quest version of V-Speedway was finished in March 2022, porting it to other platforms revealed to be a really long process with lots of interruptions: I’m still submitting new builds to this day, and every time I have to do that, it means I have to pause working on DTC. I believe we finally reached the very last steps though, so I hope to have news soon about the Pico and iQiyi release. The game will be mostly identical on these two platforms, except for one or two features less due to language and platform limitations.

Downtown Club car lineup.

Wrapping up

Soon enough it will be three years since I started developing for VR: the V-Speedway project began in September 2019 and was first released on January 2020. A ton of stuff happened since then to me, to the world, to the VR world, and to this project. The latter changed shape various times, and despite taking much more development time than I hoped for, it’s moving in the right direction and it shows no signs of stopping. I hope you’ll stick together in this ride, it will be worth it.

Danjel Ricci “SkyArcher”