ATV Wild Ride 3D Will Be The First Racing Game For The Nintendo eShop
Platformers and puzzle games are available in abundance on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. Whether you pick up Mighty Switch Force, Mutant Mudds, Pushmo, Art of Balance Touch or a number of other games available, one doesn’t need to look far on the eShop to scratch the platformer or puzzle game itch.
Other genres are rather under-represented on the Nintendo eShop, however. Games like Liberation Maiden (shooter) and Crimson Shroud (RPG) help to diversify its library a little bit, but it would be nice if there were more variety.
ATV Wild Ride 3D, by Mutant Mudds developer, Renegade Kid, might help address the situation. ATV Wild Ride 3D is an upcoming racing game that will have 24 tracks to race on, multiple ATVs to choose from, and online multiplayer with worldwide leaderboards as well. We recently got in touch with Renegade Kid co-founder, Jools Watsham, to learn a little more about the game.
The previous ATV Wild Ride game was well-received, which was surprising since it was Renegade Kid’s first racing games, and you were more known for developing slower-paced shooters. Why do you think you succeeded at pulling off a racer?
Jools Watsham, Renegade Kid co-founder: Our focus was to create an arcade style racer for the DS; something a little different than Mario Kart, but still focused on fun as opposed to an accurate racing simulation. The console ATV racer, Pure, was a big inspiration for me. That game is so much fun. I thought if we could capture even an ounce of that energy in ATV Wild Ride, then we’d have an enjoyable handheld racer.
What’s new in ATV Wild Ride 3D? What can you do on the 3DS that you couldn’t on the Nintendo DS with the previous ATV Wild Ride game?
One of the big new additions to ATV Wild Ride 3D is online multiplayer and on-line ranking; to determine who is the best Wild Rider in the world. Online racing without ranking seems a little empty, so we’re hoping the worldwide ranking provides a sense of competition that brings players back to the game.
On the cosmetic side, we have spent a lot of time and effort overhauling, well, pretty much everything really including, higher resolution textures, real-time lighting and shadows, specular highlights, mip-mapping, suspension physics, new engine sounds and higher quality audio across the board.
And, it is in 3D of course, which looks fantastic!
A downloadable racing game on a portable isn’t something you see very often. What did you have to do differently in terms of development, since this is a download-only title, as opposed to retail?
We did not have to do anything to cater for the fact that this is a download-only title. ATV Wild Ride 3D is a “retail-quality” game that just happens to be available on the Nintendo eShop instead of on the shelf of your local game store.
On the Nintendo DS, you only had the D-pad to work with, whereas now you’ve got the Circle Pad, which is like an analog stick. What kind of changes did that lead to?
Well, due to the fact that we wanted to also support the +Control Pad on the 3DS in addition to the Circle Pad, we did not change much for the Circle Pad. It is really just a choice of personal comfort.
How do you design the AI for a game like ATV Wild Ride 3D and make sure that it’s challenging enough? Could you give an example of what kind of things the AI reacts to?
Yes, the AI is one of the most difficult things to create for a racing game. It was important for us to provide AI racers that can pose a challenge to the player so single-player modes are fun. I think if you’re not being challenged in a racing game, you’re not having fun.
For each race course we created a special “invisible” data course that lies on top of the geometry race course you see in the game. This aids the AI racers’ navigation. The data courses contain definable regions that communicate information to the AI racers such as, preloading zones and no nitro zones to help the AI perform seemingly intelligent and not going flying off the edge of a cliff in spectacular fashion.
Each ATV has a unique set of parameters that affect top speed, turn radius, and such. Adjusting these changes how well an ATV performs in terms of speed and effectiveness. In addition to these parameters being different for each ATV you choose to race with, AI racers are also adjusted in real-time based on the player’s position in an effort to keep the pack together.
Rubber-banding can be seen as a somewhat controversial method, however. Some games are very heavy-handed with this approach to the extent that you feel as though the game is “cheating”. We spent a lot of time to make it subtle and fair in our game.
Initially, ATV Wild Ride 3D was meant to be a retail game and you were looking for a publisher to pick it up. I believe Ignition’s name was attached to it at one point.
Yes, we were shopping the game around to various publishers in the hope that it would see a retail release. It is interesting how much has changed since that time for Renegade Kid and the industry as a whole. Markets such as the Nintendo eShop offer a legitimate avenue for independent developers to publish their own games, without the need of the traditional publishing partner.
Mutant Mudds really opened up our eyes to the potential of self-publishing our games. Once you get a taste of that independence, it is hard to go back to the traditional ways.
We are much happier releasing ATV Wild Ride 3D ourselves on the Nintendo eShop. It enables us to control every aspect, from the game content to PR. It also makes the quality of the game even more important to us. Each copy sold means something very special to us. Each dollar earned from the sale of our self-published games goes towards the development of our future games. That is both scary and exciting.
30fps or 60fps?
The gameplay and physics run at 60fps whereas the graphic display updates at 30fps.
How many players will the game support in online multplayer?
Up to 4 players can go head-to-head online.
The biggest successes on eShop tend to be games that have some sort of a social feature built in, like the level editor for Pushmo or the ability to share art in Colors! 3D. Have you considered the possibility of releasing a track editor for ATV Wild Ride 3D to help generate word of mouth among players?
A track editor would be awesome, but also a tremendous undertaking for us. It is not something currently in our plans.
You recently released Mutant Mudds on iOS. How has that been doing for you, and are you looking at developing games specifically for iOS in the future?
Mutant Mudds has performed well on the App Store. As it was a port of a game, our development cost was a lot lower than if it were a new game. I am not sure if developing a new game specifically for the iOS would be financially beneficial or not. But, I would love to design one for sure.
Can you say anything at all regarding your future projects?
We will have some new 3DS and Wii U goodness to reveal at PAX East in March.
ATV Wild Ride 3D doesn’t have a release date yet, but will be available on the Nintendo eShop in the near future. The game will be released in both North America and Europe.