Improving On Old Tricks And Making Racing Games Feel Fresh
2022.06.27 by COCOS

As one of the most classic game categories, racing games have long been solidified as an exciting and fun experience. But the current market also lacks the continuous output of high-quality new experiences in this genre. How do you "run" the old track to make it fresh? 

"The Car God Project" is one of the few new racing products recently released. Based on multiplayer racing, the game integrates collecting cars, racing modifications, and other gameplay, including props, challenge cups, and different interesting game modes, allowing players who like racing games to experience the thrill of racing on their mobile phones. At the same time, collecting cool racing cars can also give a sense of achievement.

"The Car God Project" was developed by Rezer Games. It is currently launched first as a WeChat mini-game version for testing and tuning, and the app version will be launched in the future. From "Ant Evolution 3D", "Captain, You Don't Wave" to "The Car God Project," Rezer Games has developed several popular games using Cocos Creator and has also accumulated its own set of experience in 3D project development.

We talked to the R&D team about creating "The Car God Project"!

Rezer Games: For this project, we aimed at the racing category, where high-quality products have been scarce in the past two years. Initially, it was positioned in the "mid-core and hardcore racing category" to evaluate the R&D cycle—a total of two programmers, one planner, four artists, and the QA team. Before the project's launch, we conducted technical research and painting style attempts for more than a month, hoping to explore the limits of the performance and effect of the racing category on an HTML5 platform.

Cocos: Car racing is a mature category with a relatively solid core experience. As a new product, what aspects have the game innovated?

Rezer Games: On the one hand, we seek breakthroughs in artistic expression. "The Car God Project" chooses a cartoon style, and the toon material that comes with Cocos Creator has met most of our needs (this is great!); the track design adopts exaggerated expression techniques, with many complex ups and downs. The terrain and the addition of paragliders make the racing experience of the game quite different from most traditional racing products.

On the other hand, we try to lower the entry barriers for non-racing players. The game provides the function of automatic assisted driving in the game and adds the concept of stunt action points. The player's game income depends not only on the ranking but also on the performance of stunt actions, enabling non-racing players to get rewards in different ways. This design is a bit close to the idea of ​​​​a parkour game.

At the same time, we have incorporated various gameplays such as racing, props, collection, and obstacle avoidance into the cup competition, changing the unchanging game rhythm of racing games and better reducing the fatigue caused by having repetitive game content.

C: The game uses Cocos Creator 3.4.2 for research and development. What are the criteria for technical selection?

Rezor Games: There are three main considerations for choosing Cocos Creator. First, Cocos Creator supports full-platform release, which is very important. It can reduce a lot of manual access costs in subsequent multi-channel releases. The technical support and forum activity are relatively good. If there is something you don't understand or encounter a bug, you can get feedback in time. Third, we pay more attention to the screen performance of the game and its desired effect.

From "Ant Evolution 3D" to "The Car God Project," the team has developed various 3D games with Cocos Creator. Can you share with us the team's research and development experience or experience in 3D projects in the past few years?

The popular ant survival simulation game "Ant Evolution 3D"

Rezer Games: The earliest use of Cocos' 3D engine started with some small projects. When we developed "Ant Evolution 3D", we felt that the Cocos Creator at that time could already meet the project's needs, so we chose it as the R&D engine. From the final rendering of the game, it can be seen that the early version of Cocos Creator has been remarkable in terms of image performance and engine stability.

In "The Car God Project," we considered the physics system and screen performance of v3.4.2. This version has been greatly improved from lighting to performance, and the supported functions such as AssetBundle are also very needed by this project. To a certain extent, it ensures the smooth progress of development.

C: From a technical point of view, what does the team think is the most important factor affecting the game experience of racing products? How did the "The Car God Project" work?

Rezer Games: I think there are two aspects:

  1. The loading speed of the game. The Car God Project files are enormous and fragmented, so AssetBundle is our first choice. According to the scene or dependency, we classify different resources, use AssetBundle for zip packaging, and then dynamically load according to different usage environments so players can enter the game as quickly as possible and reduce startup loss.
  2. Frame rate. Racing games have high requirements for frame rate stability. Our team has also conducted many tests and technical selections for runtime performance to ensure the frame rate stability of the game on different devices.

C: The car drifting and crashing effects in "Car God Project" are very exciting. How are these aspects achieved?

Rezer Games: At first, we used mesh colliders on the ground and bound box collisions on the car, but the results were not very good, and there were some jitters. After trying, we finally adopted the ray detection method for calibration to realize the real somatosensory of the interaction, such as the racing car leaping to the ground and hitting the wall.

The drifting feeling of the racing car is calculated manually, without the use of accurate physics simulation, because the car in racing games is not a complete real-world simulation (for example, many racing cars in racing games will not roll over), so it is probably the manual calculation of the speed and Centripetal force, combined with gravitational acceleration + leap speed + acceleration and deceleration of various external factors + inclination and movement of the body, to achieve the pleasure of drifting.

What technical difficulties have you encountered? How is it solved?

Rezer Games: I think the difficulty lies in the design of AI and the support for the complexity of road conditions. In terms of AI, we don't want AI to look stupid. So we need to create multi-speed AI behaviors, and we must analyze and make decisions in real-time on the track according to road conditions—the technical complexity and planning difficulty in this regard are relatively high.

Regarding road conditions, we have designed basic roads and some shortcuts, so calculating the real-time battle ranking of players who take shortcuts is the main difficulty. Our approach is to add Check Points to the track to judge behaviors such as passing through checkpoints and the distance from the next checkpoint to obtain real-time rankings. After testing, the results obtained by this scheme are relatively accurate.

C: The game considers high-quality picture performance and a smooth running experience on a mini-game platform. What experience can you share with me in terms of performance optimization?

Rezer Games: The main optimization directions of "The Car God Project" include texture size, model LOD, control of the number of view cones, audio frequency, etc. For low-end models, logic scripts will reduce operations and adopt strategies such as changing space for time. In terms of physics, steps and probes will be reduced without affecting the results to ensure that the game can run smoothly on low-end machines.

C: Will a mobile game version of "Project Car God" be in the future? What other optimizations will be made?

Rezer Games: Yes. We are currently conducting analysis and optimization based on the data management of the mini game version and will launch the native platform in the future. The native platform will have better hardware environment support, allowing us to achieve more and more exquisite image quality and effect performance, and accommodate more players to compete on the same screen. At the same time, the original version plans to adjust the racing feel, etc., to meet the needs of racing players who pursue drifting and challenge themselves.

Some products of Rezer game "Created with Cocos"

The current team of Rezer Games was established in 2019 and is positioned to develop cross-platform products. And as the team insists: "We are optimistic about the future development space of the mini game ecological environment, but at the same time, we also strictly require the quality of our products to meet the requirements of the native mobile game market." In the past two years, the Rezor team has launched more than a dozen high-quality products such as "Ant Evolution 3D", "Captain You Don't Wave," and "Commander of Shocking Soldiers," have achieved good results in mini game and native platforms, and have gained the support of many players.

Cocos Creator's excellent cross-platform capabilities and small package size allow games to be quickly released to mainstream platforms such as Web, iOS, Android, HarmonyOS, Windows, and Mac. The customizability, embeddability, and accessibility features will also be significantly reduced. We hope Cocos Creator can help more developers focus on content creation and realize their creative ideas!