My name is Juan Sanchez, a game developer, like many others out there, following his passion for making video games. Together with a couple of friends we form a very, very small studio we call Depth First Games. I’d like to tell you about my experience with our most recent game creation. We call it Rally Copters.
At the beginning of 2012 there was a contest called “Flash in a Flash” where developers made something that targeted the Flash platform in a short timeframe (about a two week period). I’m an artist by trade but have always been interested in the technical side of things. I wanted to challenge myself and discover if this was something I could do, so I jumped right in.
At the time, I was having a lot of fun playing time trial games and a few multiplayer games that featured flying vehicles. I wanted to see if I could bottle all that fun I was having into its own game. I came up with the idea of a side-scroller helicopter time-trial race. I wanted the controls to be a balance between realistic physic and fun arcade, Something that could be relatively easy to learn and have fun with, but also include a degree of skill to master.
Experimentation began. I remember how excited I was in the evenings, after my day job, to get to work on this project. I do have to admit it was challenging indeed. Lots of trial and error, happiness, and frustrations all rolled up together. It was an intense two-week emotional rollercoaster.
Before I knew it, the submission deadline came creepin upon me. Threatening to leave me behind if I didn't submit in time. I cleaned up the project the best I could, created a build, packed it up and sent it on its way. Then I never heard from it again. Obviously I didn't win anything in that contest, but I’d like to think that experience really helped push myself to be a stronger game developer.
Some time passed after working and completing other projects with my friends. I decided to dust-off that old helicopter project. As soon as I opened it in Unity I felt inspired again, but this time I was better equipped, more confident of my C# skills. Once again I dove right in. I began improving what was already there. I showed the improved version to my buddies and suddenly we were all involved in creating this game.
The basic concept of the game remained the same, side-scroller helicopter time-trial race filled with obstacles that require skillful piloting to master, but with fresh ideas bounced between us the game continued to grow.
One of the more interesting features is something we called Flip-Doge. When the helicopter changes direction, or flips around, there is a small amount of time when it appears to phase out or temporarily decompose. During this very short time the helicopter is untouchable and is able to pass through obstacles. It's quite exciting when you're flying around obstacle as fast as you can and suddenly a well timed Flip-Dodge saves you from an imminent crash.
Another notable feature is the leaderboard integration. Upon finishing each course, a set of bonuses is tallied along with your run time to formulate a final time. That final time is then awarded a medal. That sounds pretty standard, however we wanted to try something more than that. All medals are awarded based on the best times recorded on the leaderboards for each course. So every time somebody posts a new time record to the board, the time requirements to earn, for example a gold medal, could change.
There are 27 unique courses filled with challenging obstacles. A set of rings acting as checkpoints that must be hit in sequence direct the flow of every course. The challenge is to navigate the course as fast as you can, hitting all checkpoints before crossing the finish line.
The look of the game was something that evolved from the need to maintain simplicity in order for a hand full of guys, working mostly part time on this project, to able to finish in a reasonable amount of time. It also took some experimentation, but ultimately we gravitated towards this abstract and vibrant computer-world look.
The game is now available on the American Playstation market. Very soon to be released in Europe as well.
We also would like a PC version released through Steam. We have already begun the Greenlight process so hopefully that can happen soon as well. If your interested please support us on Greenlight.
I’d like to finish by saying it has been fun working on this game. Many features didn't make it to the current build, but if we gain enough support we would love to add some of those at no extra charge. Among them a level editor so you guys can create and share your own courses and a ghost feature so players can pick someone from the leaderboard, load a ghost of that user’s recorded run and try to beat them.