Dev Diary – November 2023

Welcome back to our monthly appointment! The year is coming to a close and finally Downtown Club is seeing some light after being under the cover for all this time. Today I have some early gameplay videos to show!

Minami Snap losing it during an hot lap attempt!

What’s up?

November has been an eventful month for sure. You know that kind of situation where different bad news arrive day after day, and you can do absolutely nothing but take the blows, and pause whatever you are doing? There, that was my November. It’s been tiring, on top of an already exhausting year. I’m trying to stay positive so that’s all I want to talk about for this topic. Still, even in such a bad time, I can say I worked on DTC quite more than the previous months. I’m on a mission.

On a different note, in case you missed it- during November we enabled a free trial for Neodori Infinity on Quest! This uses Meta’s “Try before You Buy” feature and will give you 20 minutes of playtime for free to decide if the game is up your alley or not. Give it a go!

DTC enters Alpha!

On November 25th, Downtown Club finally entered the “internal” Alpha stage with version 0.7.0! This happened with a couple weeks of delay but I’m glad I managed by the end of the month. This version has limited functionality, but it’s looking much more like a polished, finished product now. I gave access to this version to a few close people and collaborators so I can get early feedback from people I trust, and things are moving smoothly so far. At the moment the live version is already at 0.7.2: now that the core of the game is running as expected, I am able to push updates more frequently than before.

Have a look at some gameplay footage recorded on Quest 3! Please note the music has been temporarily disabled as me and the composers are finalising all the copyright paperwork. Also I only later noticed I recorded these at 30fps/5mbps instead of 60fps/20mbps… Better luck next time I guess!

Visual updates

You might have noticed from the videos above that visuals have been upgraded a bit since the last post.

The 3D artist working on DTC has been in as many predicaments as me this year, but after much back and forth we have the final car interiors for the three hatchbacks available at launch:

Minami Snap
Leroux Griffe3
Autovalk Brema

Also the Downtown environment got a few extra details thanks to additional crowd, banners, and some lovely god-ray effects at sunset:

Spectators gather everywhere in the city.
The city is bursting with people!
The sunlight leaks through the buildings at sunset.

Current state and next steps

We did more than just work on the graphics during November, while preparing for the Alpha version launch. Car physics has been tuned further, we added kerbs to racetracks, certain UI and menus have been updated, shifter interaction has been improved, and in general we did a lot of changes everywhere to make the current version as solid as possible, even if it’s just an Alpha.

In the following days I’ll make adjustments based on all the feedback I already received, then I can proceed to add whatever it’s left to arrive at a solid Beta version. I think it’s pretty clear by now the game won’t be ready for Christmas, but I believe this is looking like an early 2024 release now. Especially once I sort out how to match opponent AI with the new game physics, things will go much smoother.

Wrapping up

Yesterday Facebook reminded me that it’s been 4 years since I’ve shown V-Speedway to my friends for the first time ever, just one month before I made it publicly available on SideQuest. Check this out:

We’ve come a long way, right? It’s incredible to see how much this project evolved, from a blocky and dull prototype to a semi-realistic and polished racing game with quality visuals ad gameplay. Looking back, I would have done a number of very different choices, but I’m pretty happy about what I built so far.

Anyways, Christmas is coming and the year is about to end! While I still want to spend a good amount of time working on DTC before the year is over, I’m also looking to stay with friends and family more than in the previous months. It’s time for holidays and I really need to relax, let the pressure off, and spend time on other things than Downtown Club. See you soon for the greetings!

Danjel Ricci “SkyArcher”