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Vincere is a competitive chariot racing game, where players must lean in their chariot and pull on the reins to overcome the opponent beside them.
Gamasutra sat down with the developers at Red Planet Games to talk about the materials they used to create a chariot controller, striving to figure out what elements of chariot racing could be tied to inputs, and the difficulties they dealt with as they created Vincere.
My name is Baris, or as many address me: Peace. I am the programmer of this project. The team was composed of 1st-year Game Design students when we made the game. At that point, all of us had worked on a single shoot 'em up genre game in class. Also, some of us had joined a game jam or two by that point.
A chariot controller
We constructed our controller in a way that the player has the ability to pull on real horse reins with resistance and use their body for pressure on the floor which, because of how the booth and the game are constructed, are treated as inputs.
On the tools used to create Vincere
We used Unity for the game engine. Our artists were using Photoshop, and we used GitHub for version control.
The boxes containing our mechanisms and the chariots are made from plywood that's been painted and lined with some decorative shiny wallpaper. All of the electronics and arcade buttons are connected by wires to an IPAC, and we use bungee cords to simulate resistance in the reins.
What aspects of racing could be replicated with inputs
We wanted this racing experience to be as immersive and exciting as possible, so we narrowed down the most important parts of chariot racing that we could replicate as inputs. One of them was using horse reins for steering and the other was our use of balance boards for "leaning in your chariot" to help turns. This rewards players for getting immersed in the game and moving their bodies together with the in-game characters.
Building the experience
The idea of the game came first, for us. Then, the real reins just seemed natural. Later, though, when we were still working on and adding onto the game, we figured we could enhance the whole experience and challenge the players' coordination with the balance boards as well.
The challenges they faced in creating Vincere
The most difficult part was probably the scope and passion for the project and the size of our original team, which sadly led us to crunching. Art-wise, both of the artists weren't too familiar with top-down graphics, which made that part quite the challenge. For the programming part, since I had never made a racing game before, I had to come up with new solutions for different problems almost every other day, which was fun, to be honest. The most challenging part would have to be the fact that despite having limited time, I was the only programmer for the game.
On the competitive element
Most of us love competing and feeling that adrenaline rush while racing or playing any other competitive game. It always brings smiles, laughs, and excitement. Our goal was to replicate that. We think we achieved that with our theme and our implementation of it while keeping the game a "classic" racing game with speed boosts and obstacles etc.