Loved gdsim, still play it from time to time, so excited to see whatever you'll cook up!
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Interesting prototype, but no gameplay :(
Also I didn't get what exactly is supposed to be procedurally generated. I was under the impression there was an infinite procedurally generated city at first
Rally like the driving physics and level design. Very nice made and no bugs in my playthrough. Would love to see this evolve into something. But idk if simply adding more levels would be that interesting. Currently it reminds me of various arcade modes in ps2 era racing games (like coffee brake in gran turismo).
No problem! I was glad to be helpful! I think you got an awesome roadmap for further development. I'll mention a couple things that aren't quite "lore friendly", but I've got very minor gamedev experience, and I think those things should be up to you to make for better gameplay:
I think you could easily get lost in the city designing though, as I mentioned, it's hard to design a proper soviet city for driving. I wouldn't go the traditional route on that, maybe longer stretches of road connected by intersections or something (my summer car-like Rural to city marshrutka?). I think as soon as you can overview a part of the city from one location the illusion starts falling apart, given the repetitive design of their irl counterparts and the impossibility of implementing subtle differences of various landmarks like buildings in a game. Putting down landmarks just for the sake of the player finding his way around isn't the best solution either, imo, they should be pretty humble, convenience stores, schools, hostitals, factories etc. I can't think of any well implemented soviet city for driving, but you could look into "Bright Lights of Svetlov" for design references, but it's interior focused. Another one that comes to mind is the GTA Criminal Russia mod for san andreas, while the mod itself is considered bottom of the barrel by many, I think it got a couple city design elements right, given it's major limitations.
Real Marshrutkas still, mostly, followed bus routes, which did have bus stops. It's tough to say exactly, but I think bus stops were still the major hubs for boarding passengers. More people got in on bus stops than left, But you'll have to see what works gameplay wise, I'd still leave the occasional bus stop in. The first and last stop of the route usually were bus stops and had a couple marshrutkas of the same number lined up waiting to go.
The multiple choice questions from passengers is actually a great idea, as irl passengers did often ask were an address is or where to get off. Especially hilarious situations ensued when passengers asked the driver to tell them when they had to get off for a certain place and the driver completely forgot, but idk if that's a think worth implementing early on. Another question the driver got asked by boarding passengers is if there are any sitting spots left, the answer was always yes no matter what lol.
Russian marshrutkas of that era had no documents to check, as every fare was strictly cash only, but maybe there were in other countries. Some post 200(?) marshrutkas had the ability for an electronic fare card, but that's beside the point. I think a multitasking cash taking and change giving mechanic while driving would be better suited, if you want to leave some document checking mechanism in, I think checking if a passenger is too intoxicated and refusing them the ride would be more realistic (it was a common occurence irl, but ruckus ensured either way lol). There were some rules for who had a right for a free fare (I think disabled, elderly and kids), given they show the appropriate documents, but that was never honored. The sign it the last picture I posted even mocks that fact, listing some absurdities like Tom Cruise, Nobel Prize winners and Matrix agents as having the right for a free fare. Only free fares for kids that were obviously pre-school were honored, and even that was inconsistent in the early 90s.
Anyway, I guess you can say I'm a 90s marshrutka connoisseur😂, but the 90s marshrutka experience was truly something you wouldn't be able to see anywhere nowadays given the absurdities and surrealness of it.
There aren't really many English resources (and even Russian or other eastern language ones are rare) documenting the marshurka phenomenon. But here are some I found on google that might be helpful:
It's a very good idea, but very janky currently. As far as I see, there aren't any penalties for crashing, which is a bummer, the document checking doesn't always work, a map with the route (but definitely not a minimap! maybe something accessible like the phone?) is desperately needed, too.
Love the crazy traffic and how it drives. The artstyle of the cars is great. Would like the marshrutka to also behave more erratically, maybe a jumpier suspension? Currently it's too easy to drive max speed and avoid traffic imo.
I really like the setting, the semi-surrealness gives genuine vibes, if perfected, I think this could be one of the better implemented post-ussr driving oriented maps, as it doesn't feel empty like many other post-soviet driving games. (City car driving comes to mind, it's really hard to design a lively post soviet city for driving) You could achieve similar day effects with heavy rain or snow and a lot of greyness.
Some thoughts about a period-correct Russian irl experience: The multitasking while driving thing with a phone is a necessity for any real marshrutka driver, but checking documents stationary while people enter? No way, that has to be done while driving, in addition to collecting payment and giving out change to the correct passenger, just like in a real marshrutka. You have to be fast enough to outcompete the other drivers on the same line, so they won't nag the passengers before you, you can't be wasting time like that. Speaking of passengers, they can demand a stop pretty much anywhere and, usually, too late to stop safely. Also, depending on the marshrutka model, the passenger door (operated by passengers on a classic Gazelle Marshrutka) can jam or break, so the driver either has to scream so the passengers will close it carefully, or, forgetting to do so, get out and fix it. The shouted phrase "don't slam the door" was an integral part of the marshrutka experience and became a big meme, given the absurdity. There was also a meme about payments, as there were often passengers refusing to pay, leading to confrontations with the driver. Most marshrutkas had "funny" non-payment caution, or even threat, signs. Also there has to be a "boss" on the end of the line that collects payment and fines you if you are too slow or something (but that's more of a game economy question) and other marshrutkas with drivers you have beef with.
Here's an old photo that sums the marshrutka multitasking pretty well:
About the door closing: (the text reads: don't slam the door; someone, likely the driver, seems to be fixing it)
A couple of typical warning signs in a marshrutka: (Translated from left to right:
A stop somewhere here will be somewhere there; Please ask the driver to stop, not your neighboring passenger; The driver isn't an octopus, he won't give change to everyone; Scream loader, there's a chance we'll stop; Lost my temper, will be back in 5 minutes; amusement ride: 20 minutes of fear and you're home; The more people, the softer the ride (Marshrutkas had leaf spring suspensions, and were often overcrowded); Complaints can be filed in the next car; Please ask for stops early and loudly
There also often were extended joke pricelists posted, would be interesting to see some of the more common features gamified:
Translated: Driver answers a question 10r; Correctly answers question 20r; Answers stupid question 50r; Stop here 50r; Real talk with driver 500r; Drive the marshrutka yourself 1000r; Change course 1000r; Give a thoughtful look - free; For people wit no humor 1r = 1$
Listed is who has the right for a free fare, squared red is Tom Cruise, after that there's a joke pricelist
Anyway, there are a lot of quirks and details that could make a marshrutka game experience genuine, and if you need any more input of how they worked irl I'd be happy to share more.
I think you're going for an "experience" simulator and not for just another bus simulator, which I think could turn out very interesting.
Really looking for further development, I've always dreamt about a 90s marshrutka simulator!
Actually a betteralternative to windows built in keyboard mouse accessability thing. Would love to see the ability for a left click and drag. Also got locked out of my pc after clicking the windows key in the extreme lower left position, so more failsafes would be greatly appreciated. Also reminds me nostalgically of various win xp era desktop tools and games. Rating 5 starts in the hopes for updates!
Nice game, there aren't many of this kind with semi-realistic physics. Also really loving the bumps and how the cars behave on them. Adaptive difficulty is also a very welcome thing.
Hopefully there will be some kind of goal added, a rouguelike reach destination with car upgrades maybe?