[UE4][VR] An Open World Race Game

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Sebvhe greentooth

You can play the game for free by going to our facebook page and click on "play this game" on the banner.
I might share another link if people don't want to use facebook.
Of course this is fully VR compatible, so if you have an Oculus Rift have fun !

Here is a little gameplay video :


Hey guys,

I decided to finally start something that was maturing in my mind for a while. I want to make an openworld VR race game.

The game consists of an open world island you could pace freely in a futuristic racing pod/spaceship (just like f-zero, wipeout or sw racer).
Whenever you get to specific points it starts a race that requires you to connect waypoints in order to make the lap(s).
This is the basic gameplay I "must" have.
On top of that I may add some features like AI, weapons, customisation ... That will depend on how well I am dealing with blueprints/basic gameplay.
The game will not only support the Oculus Rift, it will be designed for. Think this way, instead of making a regular game compatible with VR I'll be making a VR game compatible with regular monitors).
This induce a lot of things, in the gameplay, the level design, the content creation and overall optimisation.
I have a deadline for this, June 2015.
This thread will be mostly about art creation, since this is the field I'll get the most feedback here.


I tried to list all the constraint I may encounter (and I'm certainly missing most of them) :
- I need to run at 75fps in stereoscopy, this will require A LOT of optimisation and concessions on the content.
- normalmaps behave very badly in VR (they look extremely fake, especially when the object is close and parallax between your eyes becomes more obvious). This will require dense geometry and/or parallax mapping, at least for LOD0-1.
- How to deal with foliage shading ? For now it sucks pretty badly in UE4 from what I've heard (hopefully this will get fixed in time). Since I mainly worked with UE3 and only tried UE4 for a few hours (I'll purchase it in the upcoming days) I'd gladly make this in CryEngine but I need Blueprint coding to make a game, I'm no programmer. also, VR is a pain in CryEngine right now.
- How to deal with instances/drawcall ? This is not my first huge map but I mainly made maps for my portfolio, thus according much more importance to the eye-candy than optimisation.
I'm an environment artist, or at least it is what I want to apply for and most of my work will be about environment. But I will face fields I don't know much and I take this as an opportunity to improve a lot of other skills than pure environment art.
These are all the skills I expect to learn at least a bit from this project.
- My concepting skills, if reproducing a concept in 3d is fairly easy, inventing your own ship, pilot and overall background is something I never experienced.
- My 2D skills, even if it's not a "kill me right now" level, it may be my weakest point as an artist.
- Gameplay, level design and coding, let's face it those fields are completly obscure to me.
- PBR and UE4, I almost never experienced those (was still using UDK last month).
- Hardsurface, I'm mostly about organic stuff, I almost never did any HS stuff.
- Character creation, I made one game ready character ... almost two years ago.
-maybe this thread will improve my english too.
Still this will be a lot of fun I'm sure, and a huge challenge for me.

So let's get our hands dirty, I started designing basic silhouettes for my ship. I must admit I have about no knowledge in Sci-Fi design, this is something that never really piqued my curiosity before, every feedbacks, references, links will be most welcomed.
All my ships have their engine ahead of the cockpit, this is something I decided even before starting concepting. I want the player to have a visual feedback (and not only HUD feedback) of their engines burning or beeing damaged.
I think I'll be going for a mix between 6-7-10 and 12. They seem to be the most intersting shapes so far.

As for the character I already made 5 attempts at a basic idea.
An armour like B doesn't work at all, I'm making a pilot, not a warrior, I think I'll go for something really light for the suit. I especially like C and D, the idea is to have the character really plugged into the seat by tubes.
On side note, on the D character I added a harness (I think it's called like that), I really like it (reminds me of Luke pilot) however I have no idea what it's purpose is, can someone help me out in my ignorence here ?

I also already started working on the landscape, as said before it will be an island, the map (including underwater areas) will be 16km² (4km x 4km) - 6.18mi²/3953 acres or I don't know what other fancy units you americans use -
I made a first pass in WorldMachine, that will soon be tweaked.

Since I will work alone, I'm hugely relying on your feedback to improve this project !
Much more to come soon !

- OK, going to buy UE4 now -


  • urgaffel
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    urgaffel polycounter lvl 12
    That sounds really ambitious, but also like it could be really cool. Best of luck!
  • Hawaii
    It seems to me that there is quite a lot of hills and mountains, and for pod racing it doesn't seem to fit. Maybe because I'm only picturing the Star Wars pods... Otherwise you have nice designs here. Which kind of flora will be here on your island ? I mean is it gonna be a pinewood forest, a jungle or a desert ?
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth

    Worked on the island a lot more.
    I'm much happier with the result than previously, still some tweaks to do but maybe I'll wait to see how it looks in UE4.

    Water is a paintover for the moment

    As for the pod, I tried a more detailled sketch, mainly based on silhouette 12. There are still only the major shapes, when I'll be fine with the global shape I'll try to add details and to break the symmetry a bit :)
    I might also consider adding small vertical/oblique wings to break the horizontal look.

    : Thanks man, it will be by far my biggest project ever, but I really feel I can achieve it !

    : Pod racing could fit mountains I believe, it would add a lot of verticality, both in the gameplay and graphics (imagine jumping from the cliffs for instance). But I also plan to add some tubes that can work as roads, plus, they can make you travel underwater, in the sky or inside the mountain (I would like to add a grotto with some lava inside the mountain)
    My references for my map are island such as Aleutian, Kuril, Faroes and Tristan da cunha.
    However, those island don't have much vegetation, and I'm still lacking references for the flora at the moment.

    Any feedback will be much welcomed ! :)
  • Hawaii
    New island looks really great, still there's practically no lowlands, I believe it is something that could be fun to be in the middle of, but I'm taking your note about verticality and it can be great. Pod design is nice, but aren't the two wings a bit far away from each other, if you really want to see what's going on there, as you play. I guess you'll try and adjust that depending on the camera position and FOV, so nothing to worry about right now.
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth
    Hey guys,

    It's been a while since I last posted on this thread ! But I certainly haven't gave up the project yet. :)
    I'm not working completely alone on this anymore, a fellow programmer is working on the ship's movement, the races integration and possibly an upcoming multiplayer when the basic gameplay features will be okay.

    Here is a video of the latest build.
    Still no real gameplay, but this will come in a matter of weeks.


    I have remade the island several times as I learned new things and improved my workflow. Each time bigger and bigger, since I really wanted the pod to go fast. Now the map is 256km², 16times bigger than what I started with :poly124:
    I honestly have no clue on how I'm going to be able to fill all that space. But since the map is composed of islands, I'm going to focus on the big one, leaving the other unaccessible if I don't get the time to fill them.
    This is really about making the art as quickly as possible, the same goes for the placement of the assets on the map. Unfortunately, I don't see any other method in UE4 than foliage mode to populate my world quickly, and I find that for now it isn't that efficient, it's quiet buggy at times and causes lots of crashes.
    I'm also implementing a day & night system, though I might not keep it, because of time and performance restrictions, focusing on the dynamic wheater instead.
    For now the dynamic weather is only at the very begining, there are storms that form randomly at times. The idea is that they are magnetic storms causing the dashboard to become unusable during the time you're under the storm.
    I want to have more dynamic events like that one in the future.

    I'm also working on another ship. The one you saw in the video was created back in september from the sketches in the previous post and after many testings I figured out it didn't really fit the gameplay. It is way too big, causing the sensation of speed to be a lot diminished and in the cockpit you have a pretty bad visibility.
    So I'm working on another one, that will suit the game better, here is the blocking I currently have ( the red parts are the upcoming customisables sections) :


    I was always testing the blocking with the oculus Rift in order to feel what the player will see in the cockpit, and doing so back and forth I came up with something that looked great frome the inside. Now it's time to make it look good from the outside.
    The idea behind this ship is that the wings aren't dependant from the cockpit. This will make the player hover from the engine in the same way podracers do in StarWars. The difference is that when you put on the TurboBoost (still need to find a good name for it) the wings will slide and connect the cabin, increasing the speed but reducing steering, and, disabling weapons for the time.
    Since the wings are sliding you can also see the top of the wings in Boost mode, thus allowing you to actually see fire coming out of your engine if you kept the boost on for too long.
    Still a lot to do in the ship ; customisable parts, destruction system, the sliding of the wings, the dashboard and HUD, putting a character in it and making the whole thing work.

    here are some screenshots of what I already made.
    As always, any feedback is much welcomed ! :)

  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth
    Hey, little update !

    I'm actually filling a part the map with various assets. For now I'm only focusing on one biome.
    Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I'm just going to show a few screenshots :)

  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth

    Here is a little gameplay video we did last week. I'm now working on a radio tower system. A bit like in Ubisoft's games, you need to get to a radio tower in order to unlock nearby races.


    We also started a Facebook page to keep people up to date about the game. while this thread is mainly focused on the art part, by following our Facebook page you could have a glimpse at the gameplay and programming side.
  • CraigSnedeker
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    CraigSnedeker polycounter lvl 3
    This is looking great so far!
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth
    @ CraigSnedeker : Thanks a lot man :)

    I just finished the radio tower, here is a little turntable. When you go through the blue light, you unlock the nearby races. The tower is 16k tris and use a 1024² texture. There is also a LOD of 560tris using a 256² map.

  • creamsodaser
    its interesting to see how this develops.

    the best racing games have a few environmet elements that make them feel fast, like f-zero gx crates and forza horizon very specificaly placed trees and "stakes" i wonder if you guys will need to break the nature with something artificial just to bring that sense of speed.
  • Kel-Shaded
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    Kel-Shaded polycounter lvl 5
    Interesting point cream,
    that said drawing the camera back as you accelerate and camera shake when approaching max speed would go a very long way
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth
    Thank you for the feedback guys :)

    Yes we will have artificial structures, like futuristic roads at some point. The contrast between articial structures and natural environment will definitely enhance the sense of scale and speed.
    Morevoer, it should help breaking the generic and repetitive look of the map.
    As for the camera, we will first focus on the Oculus Rift which cannot shake or move.
    However as you said drawing the camera back or shaking it doesn't take much time and could add a lot when played on a regular monitor.
  • Protar
    I think this has a lot of potential. Will this be a race game only? Or will there be some kind of weaponry involved? : ) I hope you guys continue on developing, it looks awesome already! Keept it up! =)
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth
    Weapons are definitely considered. It just depends on the time we have, first wewant to be sure that the racing side of the game is okay before adding other features !
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth
    I did a few try with the Oculus Rift. Performance was a big hit, the game was running at around 50fps on my gtx670. However after a few optimisation and building the lighting I'm able to run between 90-130fps in the editor.
    It's funny how you seem to move ten times faster with the Rift, when compared to regular monitor :)
    I'm not experiencing any dizziness, but I'm definitely not a good guinea pig for this, even crappy demos don't make me sick at all :poly124:

    Building the lighting also improved a lot the landscape.

    However, building the lighting took more than 2hours in preview. Furthermore, the map which was 35Mb, is now 1.7Gb. I don't really know how to improve this (and the level is far from finished). Maybe digging into level streaming might help.
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth
    It's been a long time since I last posted. I did progress quiet a lot lately.

    First I finished the ship model and texturing, I have yet to integrate and animate it, I'm quiet happy to see how it turned out. Can't wait to test it with the Oculus Rift :)

    Next I changed a lot of things on the environment.
    Having only natural features wasn't working, I had to add lots of infrastructures to help you reckognizing the place where you are. I decided to divide the map in 3 areas with an unique landmark for each of them : An island on a lake and a crashed plane - A shipyard - and a power plant.
    Each area will have one tower which will unlock the races in the respectives areas.
    By the way I also remade the tower which wasn't working well, too much people saw it as a purely aesthetic asset instead of an actual gameplay element.


    I did struggle a lot to get realistic water in unreal. Getting believable reflections on a translucent material was so difficult I decided to fake translucency on an opaque material.

    As always feedbacks are much welcomed :)
  • Ged
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    Ged greentooth
    good progress, nice seat, some of the rocks look out of scale, like mossy small rocks that are bigger than a tree? must be pretty interesting to play on an oculus though :) the ship model seems more toy like with the depth of field and large scratches on it, maybe get some recognisable scale cues in there as well eg doors or fog lights or engines etc?
  • Grubber
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    Grubber polycounter lvl 8
    I really like the ship, would love to spin it around :)
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth
    Thanks guys ! Means a lot :)

    @Ged : I admit I made the small rocks a little bit bigger than they should be, otherwise it would be too small to be worth doing them. However I don't find it that disturbing, is it really ?
    As for the ship, you're totally right. I'm in a hurry, I didn't spend time doing scale cues. I hope I can afford a second pass on the textures soon.
  • Ged
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    Ged greentooth
    dont get me wrong it is quite pretty to look at and its not too out of scale but it is noticable to me, especially the scenery around the crashed plane because the plane gives me a sense of scale. Depends what kind of art style you want, it seems somewhere inbetween realistic and stylized at the moment which could be confusing for the player?
  • yongheWang
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    yongheWang polycounter lvl 5
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth
    Hey guys, little update.

    I've been working a lot on filling the map, this is almost done now. I'm also very busy polishing some effect such as the rain.
    Here are the pics, I might come up with a video soon aswell


    The rain effect was so much fun to do, plus it worked way better than I first expected. Rain on the window is speed and orientation dependant


    it seems somewhere inbetween realistic and stylized at the moment which could be confusing for the player?
    Well, that's exactly what I aimed for :). I mean not for the confusing part of course. I hope people won't find it too confusing.
  • TangledTris
    The art for the game looks great! However, from watching the videos the racing gameplay seems a bit basic. I noticed that the way the ship turns seems really awkward, as even going hundreds of km an hour it can almost turn on a dime. In most games the vehicle will slide/drift when turning at high speeds, which is more realistic and can give players an incentive to use the breaks at some points. Even though the map looks awesome, if the core gameplay isn't very entertaining then the game won't be very fun.
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth
    Thank you for your feedback !
    I completely agree with you, remember that the last video is almost 5 months old. We have been working on a drifting feature that will be finished very soon, I'll post a video as soon as it is working fine.
  • TheQiwiMan
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    TheQiwiMan polycounter lvl 7
    Looks awesome! Keep up the great work! :D
  • aegean
    I'd by this - especially for the Ocullus
  • Sebvhe
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    Sebvhe greentooth
    I'm finally done with this project ! It took me almost a year !

    You can play the game for free by going to our facebook page and click on "play this game" on the banner.
    I might share another link if people don't want to use facebook.
    Of course this is fully VR compatible, so if you have an Oculus Rift have fun !

    Here is a little gameplay video :


    I also had the opportunity to 3D print and paint the ship, here is how it looks like
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