For anyone following our progress here's an update on what we've done since last week when we started moving Roadclub to Steam. I'll try to make this a weekly report if there is anything to add on the previous week.
Fixed bugs and improvements
Working on at the moment
That's it! Hopefully it proves we're working hard to get this game on Steam ASAP!
Until next time!
It's hard to describe the feeling you get when the bomb drops in your inbox, especially for us. Imagine checking your email and seeing this new message: “Congratulations, Roadclub - Top-down club racing has been Greenlit!”. A moment of pure bliss (WE COULD BE ON FRICKIN' STEAM GUYS!!!), followed by the realisation that hard work is in our future to meet the demands of our future fans.
OK, so honest mode on: I'm here to tell you a little bit about our plans and hopefully not make you too disappointed. If that sounds bad, don’t worry, we WILL try to release the game on Steam, pretty soon, in 2015. Just setting the proper expectation levels here.
So I wanted to take this opportunity to give you some more background about us and the game which hopefully explains the situation bit.
About Solid Core
Hi, my name is Benny Samuelsson. Me and my friend Ralf Öhlund created Solid Core in 2003 to put a team name on our creations. We’re just two ol’ student buddies from Sweden making cool stuff in our spare time. We both work full-time at day jobs and no AAA resources are anywhere to be seen but hopefully releasing a Steam game could help with that some day!
Things have changed a lot in both my life and even more for Ralf (he had a kid not that many months ago). We started Roadclub as a hobby project after we met in a swedish college and co-developed it with a few really cool online friends between 2003 and 2008. During that time we also started working full-time to get our lives started, which is why, in addition to the insane scope for a first project, it took almost seven years (!!!) to complete Roadclub the first time. That’s Alan Wake territory right there. (Love Alan Wake to death by the way, no disrespect, good things take time!).
The Game: Roadclub
The truth is this game is getting pretty old. We finished the standalone PC version in late 2008 and submitted it to Steam Greenlight in 2012. This means the game is coming up on 6 years since it’s original release this autumn. Which, you know, is like a hundred in game years.
We built the game in C++ and also created our own graphics engine, physics engine, car physics engine, menu systems and in-game tools around Directx 8 and later converted the entire game to Directx 9 before release. You unity guys have no IDEA how easy you have it nowadays :)
Project status right now
So, a few days ago we tried to figure out how to best use the opportunity provided by being Greenlit on Steam. We had a long skype meeting, during which Ralf found the codebase and amazingly got the game started in a virtual machine running Windows XP and Visual Studio .NET 2003. That’s impressive for 12 year old code we haven’t seen since the middle ages, even if it was running in a similar environment as the good old days. After it was built and exported to a real machine it was already running as it was on Windows 7. After that we upgraded the project to Visual Studio 2013 without too much hazzle. And in the days since we have fixed bugs and integrated Steam in the game.
So we are looking pretty good and could release the game pretty soon when the legal stuff is taken care of. But we won’t just throw it out there. We want to at least make it a proper re-release.
How will we improve the game before it’s released on Steam?
You've had some great suggestions over the years in the comments on Steam Greenlight and we’ve received some feedback from players in the past as well in addition to our own ideas. We will do our best to take those to heart and balance that with what little resources we have. If you want to help out, let us know!
We aim for a release not too in the future where we will revisit things we now realize wasn’t as great as we thought back then. We will make it a better version of itself that you’ll enjoy and that we can be proud of.
This might disappoint some of you, but in reality this means more of an upgraded re-release rather than a full remaster that’s so popular these days. We simply cannot make this a pristine 2015 title with what we’ve got. Hopefully that is still enough for many of you. We still think Roadclub is a unique game that brings something new to Steam and we think that is enough to merit a purchase for a low price and your support means we could make new awesome games!
So here’s what we think. Please note that none of these things are promised yet. They are things we think could be improved and that would make this a better game. We have not decided exactly what will be included in the Steam version, please vote on your favorite features in the comments below and it could influence our priorities.
YES. Steam overlay integration. Basic Steam integration shouldn’t be a problem. It’s already almost complete.
VERY LIKELY. Achievements. You know you want them. Got any suggestions for cool achievements?
VERY LIKELY. Wide-screen resolution support. The old game only supports 800x600 resolution. We aim to at least support a widescreen resolution. Hopefully add more options.
LIKELY. Improved user experience. The menus are kinda noisy and some improved paths could provide a better flow in the game as well as some polish on position and context of many UI elements. Faster, easier to drive cars would make it more fun. Some features no one uses that clutters the game may be removed for a better overall experience.
LIKELY. Improved art. We will try to work with an artist to improve at least the UI of the game which is what looks the worst these days.
LIKELY. More balanced cars. We will look at balancing out or maybe even delete some of the extreme cars that you’re just not gonna use because they are let’s say kind of unperformant.
LIKELY. New music. A couple of new songs could be a nice addition. I think the music is a big part of a classic racing game and vital to the success of games like Death Rally.
LIKELY. New tracks. Some of the old ones aren’t that great and the included tools makes it pretty easy to add a few new ones to the mix.
UNLIKELY. Cloud save. We can’t promise we can get our save systems to work with Steam yet. Would of course like to have this if it is possible.
SADLY NO. Guns, powerups, ramps, crazy loop de loops. There are other games that are doing those things better than we could in our timeframe. Roadclub is about realistic division racing. And nice music. And other cool stuff you’ll realize when you play it.
EVEN MORE SADLY NO. Any kind of multiplayer. I know you guys want it. We do too! We’d need tons of resources and do a complete rewrite of the entire game to get this going. It’s just not possible without a budget and quitting our jobs.
What happens next?
We’ll start to get things running properly on our modern machines and have a look at the Steam integration and take it from there!
To get a chance to show off your work on the best PC game platform in the world is an awesome honor. But we also realize it’s a damn hard challenge to dive back into the old code and make the game as great as you guys demand, while not having that much time or resources on our hands. We’ll do our best and hope you’ll like it. After all there are so few good 2D racers available on Steam.
Let us know what you think a game with these improvements would be worth to you! If you feel like what we propose is not enough for any price, maybe we shouldn't waste anyone’s time or money. But if we see some interest on Greenlight, as we’ve already had for the old game, we hope for your support and encouragement to get this done!
Either way we at least hope you feel we've been honest about the scope of the project from the start.
Thanks for your support!
/Benny and Ralf
2D top-down racer remastered and created by Benny and Ralf at Solid Core Games. The game was originally released in late 2008.