July 2016

Updates Going Forward

  • GeneRally
  • GeneRally 2

Today we’d like to give a little information about clarifying our expectations and plans for updates going forward.

First of to those of you who’ve commented about how this is an unacceptably long period of time without an update: maybe you’re right. We don’t necessarily agree that we “owe” any updates to anyone, but we’ll admit we’ve somewhat shot ourselves in the foot with this and waited for something we’d consider interesting enough to blog about, rather than something you’d consider interesting enough for us to blog about.

Whilst we’ve tried to convey in the past that progress on GR2 is both inconsistent and slow, we’re aware that large periods of time where nothing is said is less-than-helpful. To be honest with you, the previous blog post was somewhat out of frustration at all the negativity and constant questioning of our characters over what is, ultimately, a video game. Of course, the Internet affords people the anonymity to be pretty hurtful with little-to-no recourse, but at the end of the day, sat at the other end of your comments, are two human beings who, above all, just want to make a fun racing game. There’s a lot more we could say about this, but we’re not sure it’d do much good – ultimately, all we’re asking on this point is that you, by all means, stay critical of our development process, time between updates, speed of development – but try not to turn those things into character judgements: as those are, for us, incredibly demotivating.

We’re going to try and post a bit more frequently regarding what’s going on (disclaimer: there are lots of valid intervals between “daily” and “once every 1.5 years”). For starters, we’re rarely working in parallel at this stage of the project, as much of what we’re working on is dependent upon other features and implementations provided by the other person. For a recent example, James recently rewrote our track loading to provide some improved fidelity on our height maps and to reduce the memory footprint, as well as ported our entire project across to Unity 5 – these tasks had to be completed before Markku was able to implement his suspension and AI updates to improve handling and provide AI that can also race well off-road, as the change in height map fidelity significantly affected the way the cars behaved. (On the plus side, the car physics feel better now than they ever have done, and most of the little annoyances folks reported from the KS demo are well and truly gone.)

Something that exaggerates this development time yet further is simply the time we each, individually have available to commit to the project. If I have a few hours a week, but a rewrite of a major system takes 30 hours, it’s going to be at least 2-3 months before I’m done, and Markku can pick up work again. Whilst this is very much a completely-inefficient way to develop on a broader scale, given how little free time we have available on exactly the same dates, and exactly the same times, makes it a far more viable approach than attempting to pick the odd days we can work together in parallel. Features that, in a full-time work environment might take a couple of weeks are taking us 6-8 months – but I think we’re approaching the end of the list of things we need to accomplish in this way, after which we’ll be able to move on working on things that aren’t dependent upon each other, which will help us to work a lot more quickly. Of course, some will be thinking at this point: “but project X took only Y months and that was much more straightforward” – and that’s no-doubt true, but we’re only able to work to the time-scale afforded to us by our own available time.

For those hoping for a commitment to a testing phase, release date or otherwise for GR2: we simply can’t commit to those at this point in time – but we are getting closer (see below).

Going forward, we can’t promise that development updates will be large, or even particularly interesting, but we will attempt to keep you updated to some degree or other on what’s going on. In between work and family, it’s often hard for us to find the motivation to spend what little development time we have on making a blog post instead, but as many of you have pointed out, they don’t all need to be essays…