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#notGDC with a 10 year old game, 3 years in the making

A topic by gustavolsson created 99 days ago Views: 126
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Hello everyone,

I'm Gustav and I made a kart-racing game called Seaside Racing nearly 10 years ago at the end of high-school. I had made games since I was a kid but never finished anything big and this was my "re-invent the wheel" project that I swore to finish. I made my own physics engine, graphics, 3d models (in my own 3d model format with exporters for Blender), textures and even sound effects (the kart engine sound is me trying to sound like a car). The game took 2 years to make, the first year in my spare time after school and the second year at home while trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

Finally, I released the game on Xbox Live Indie Games in 2010, right before leaving home for university. The week after release, I remember sitting up in the middle of the night playing the game with people on the other side of the world (the game sold enough for a critical mass of online players in the U.S. only, and I'm from Sweden), hearing them shout, laugh and curse the game over the wire. It didn't matter if they liked or hated the game, the fact that they were playing was overwhelming. Those nights made all the hard work worth it. (If you want to get an idea of what it was like, look at the videos of the game other people have uploaded here)

One night I got into a game with maybe 6 other players, we were racing on Hills (the game only has 3 maps) and everything went well until the bend onto the grass fields. Suddenly, all other players made a tight 90 degree turn towards the cliffs at the far side of the fields. I remember thinking, "I made this game, there is nothing there to see, why is everyone going there?". One after the other the other players hit the cliff wall of the edge of the map, bounced, pitched up and then drove straight up the wall! Someone must have explored the map looking for short-cuts and realized that one could drive over the mountains, something I had not planned at all, and then this secret must have spread to the other online players. I love this kind of emergent multiplayer behavior and this is something I want to explore more if I get to make another big game some day.

I started university and almost forgot about the game. Sometimes I would get an email from someone who enjoyed the game and I would get the same unreal feeling I had when playing the game after release. It's really cool to be able to make something that someone on the other side of the world can experience. I have a few games that I played as a kid that I'll always remember (Triplane Turmoil, Elasto Mania and many more) and it's strange to think that someone had a similar experience working on them as well.

One really nice memory from this time was a movie night at the dormitory I was living at while at university. Towards the end of the evening, I set up my Xbox to show off the game. After playing a few races in split-screen, someone joined the game over the Internet. I didn't think anyone played the game anymore so I was surprised. Then a few more players joined and we started racing while listening to the voice chat (we didn't have a headset ourselves). After a while someone said that they recognized my nickname and "Maybe he is the CREATOR?!". To verify that it was me they sent an email via my website and I replied straight away. That resulted in something along the lines of "OH MY GOD IT IS THE CREATOR! THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!". It turned out that a group of friends from Indiana used to play the game a lot and they showed me many exploits that they had found over the years. After that evening, I got the nickname "the creator" at the dorm :)

I kept getting emails about the game every other month and not only from the Indiana guys. At first, people wanted new content and then, as the Xbox 360 began to get obsolete, people started asking for a PC port. Last summer (after yet another nice email) I finally decided to port the game to Windows, macOS and Linux. It took about 7 months of part-time work since I had to re-implement the networking backend that Microsoft used to provide with XNA and Xbox Live, create my own avatars, optimize the game and redo the input system. After a lot of hard work, the re-mastered version of the game is now available here on Itch!

As you've probably heard many times, releasing a game with no marketing effort is bad. I want to stress that it's bad even if you don't care about money. You probably want people to play it (even if it's just a silly, pretty bad, game like this one!) and that wont happen either. After about a week of bad download numbers (compared to the initial Xbox release), I made the game free-to-play. Let's hope that brings some new players to the game :)