March 15, 2012 7:00 AM | Lewie Procter
Crashtastic is the upcoming vehicle construction based physics puzzle game from Mark Smith, and it's looking a bit special.
I caught up with Mark to find out about his plans for release, and get a few more details about how Crashtastic will play.
Could you tell me about your background in making games?
I've been programming probably since the age of ten. One of the first things you want to do is start making games. Little games, nothing serious, maybe start with Pac-Man and go from there. That's pretty much my experience, I taught myself to program little games. When I got older, I went to college, and got a degree in computer engineering. At the time I was really more interested in hardware design than software development. I did the startup thing for a while after college, and then started working on mods. At the time it was Quake 2 & 3. After working on a couple of other projects that didn't end up going anywhere, I put game development aside. I waited a couple of years before getting the urge and kicking off a new project, which is this one, Crashtastic.
Can you talk a bit about the tech in the game?
The game has actually been in development for about three years, when I first started development of the game, I had written 2D engines in the past, but I hadn't written a 3D engine, so I decided I'd go ahead and write my own 3D engine for the game. After a while a lot of interesting things in the industry started happening. Mobile, PSN, XBLA, Mac, and Linux gaming started popping up as interesting ways for developers to make money, and more and more engines were becoming available with indie friendly licenses. So seeing the complexities of building my own engine, I mean there's so many things involved in putting your own engine together: Input, Sound, graphics, cross platform support. Eventually I got to the point where I was spending more time working on the engine than the game, so I decided that I would port the game over to a different engine. I looked at a variety of different engines, and what I ended up chosing was Unity, so I've been on Unity now for over a year.
What we've seen so far is that you put the car together, then you press a button, and it goes however you set it up to be. Is there going to be any direct input too?
It's a combination of both, there are some levels where you will not be able to control the vehicle, but there are going to be plenty of levels where you do. I have a piece that you can connect to the vehicles called "Steerable wheels", and this allows you to turn the vehicle.
Crashtastic has Youtube recording built into the game, what's the thinking there?
I think that one of the most exciting things about gaming these days, particularly if you look at games like Minecraft, is the things that people share. Both as a developer and as a gamer, it's one of the things that I'm excited about the most: I want to see what people build with this game. It's pretty unlimited, right now I don't have a limit on the number of pieces you can use. I think it's a cool idea for people to share with their friends and other people what they did, and how they did it.
How much thought are you putting into their being an ideal solution for each level, or is it more open ended?
It's totally open ended. I just want people to have fun, I think it's fun to create things, it's fun to watch what happens when things get destroyed. I want to create scenarios for the player to have fun.
You're gearing up to an alpha release. What kind of content will be in there, and what still needs to be done?
Right now there's about 12 to 14 levels in the game, and that's what the alpha will ship with. These are a lot of the beginning levels, the editor, the Youtube interface, and the online records system. I haven't finalised the exact number of levels or pieces that you'll be able to connect to the vehicles, as I have a few ideas for things I'm going to try out before the game releases, but it's pretty close to what you'll see from the finished game, with quite a few more levels in the final version.
You can follow Crashtastic's development over at the game's website.