Dev Diary – July 2023

Welcome back to another dev diary! The hottest month of the year so far was a tough one, but we still have some updated city and car interior pics to show here.

Sunset on the highway ring.

What’s up?

Summer is hitting strong here in Italy and the past weeks have been unbearable for me. Unfortunately this is the time of the year where I feel less productive at all: I am unable to concentrate when it’s too hot, my house doesn’t have air conditioning and standard fans can only do so much to keep me fresh. I took a whole week off with my partner during the hottest days, as we had planned a small trip plus various events and meets. Working on my own means I get to choose my days off and lately I’m more inclined about having random days off every now and than, rather than whole weeks/months off once or twice a year.

This month I also went watching some live motorsport in Rome, which ironically is something that I barely get to do despite I enjoy it a lot: Formula-E round 14, and Rally di Roma Capitale, two wildly different events featuring wildly different cars. It’s great to watch motorsports live, you get to see the cars pushed to their limits, see how they move and listen to how they sound, and it’s a whole different thing compared to watching races on a screen! The Rally event was also free to attend, so I had no reasons to miss it.

Updated car interiors

The artist finished the latest and final iteration of the car interiors for the Minami Snap, the first of the three hot hatch cars available at launch in DTC. Check it out!

Minami Snap interiors, dashboard view.
Minami Snap interiors, seat view.

Even if the core design of the interiors didn’t change too much since the one in the 2022 preview video, there are many improvements both on the workflow and on the final look, which is arguably cleaner and sleeker. I believe the cars and the interiors look unique enough in style, that you can say at first glance “Yes, this is indeed from Downtown Club”. Updated interiors of other two cars will follow up soon.

The current level of detail might not be as much a real car, but I believe we found a sweet spot between quality, performance, and authoring time. I’m very happy with how the game is looking right now.

Updated Downtown scene

I made some final changes to the first map, the so called “Downtown”, to accomodate for more gameplay opportunities both now and in the future, such as two large parking areas and a set of wider streets; the changes are visible in the final map below!

Final road network of the Downtown map. Greyed out roads are tunnels!

The parkings especially will be the best places to stop and chill in Free Ride once multiplayer is out, but I wanted the map to be as complete as possible from the start to avoid changing after players get accustomed to it. The road network in the current state is final and only certain decorative elements are left, but honestly I can’t wait to conclude this part because it’s the longest ever I’ve been away from writing code and it’s starting to feel like a rabbit hole. I believe the next few maps will be less complex than this one, but we’ll keep the visual quality on par with it.

This long parking goes below the highway ring.
Wider roads have two lanes and parking spots on each side.

Development hell

I am still working on the exact list of features for the game launch and on the roadmap for the future, but that’s not ready yet. I know it’s frustrating for you players as much as it is for us working on the game, but I believe I’m in full development hell phase: check the video below for a very good explanation of what it is and how it feels, it does a better job at it than I can possibly do.

Despite the obvious steps forward, I still cannot see the finish line right now- I know I’m proceeding towards it, but as long as I can’t see the finish, there’s no way to tell how much distance is left. This situation will come to an end at some point, but the only sensible thing to do now is to continue moving forward.

Wrapping up

That’s all for this month. Sometimes I feel like I’m developing this game riding on the edge of burnout, and I’m doing my best to avoid that. I’m sure once the development hell phase is over, things will start to go smoother and look brighter than they do now. Until next time!

Danjel Ricci “SkyArcher”