Ask me anything
Well, there goes another Ludum Dare. I’ve noticed a trend; every game jam I complete, the next day I feel incredible. Even with the accumulative 10 hours of sleep I got over the weekend, it somehow isn’t a problem. Almost like I came back from camping but with a different kind of leftover stench.
Now that Highway 00101 is out, I wanted to reflect a bit on it’s conception, development, and execution. The team consisted of just my friend / roommate John Park and myself. Since we work late, we didn’t really stat throwing ideas out until ~9pm. After 2 hours of debating, getting worked up, and beer we agreed that the game should consist of 1 button. Examples proving this could be fun were the GAMMA IV 1 button games and countless iOS games (Canabalt, Gauge, Jet Pack Joy Ride). What’s more minimalist that 1 button? Well, there’s 0 buttons but I didn’t want to defend that idea lol.
Art inspirations we liked were pop pieces with minimalist executions such as Daft Punk’s Electroma, Drive, and Kavinsky. The 3d models were made “polygonal” and exposed geometry because it was quick, got the point across, and kinda popular right now! It served a lot of our purposes. The pallet was from Kavinsky’s music videos and Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan Mars issues.
The concept of the mechanics came to me while we were driving home. There’s a game my mother and I used to play were on the highway, you’d simply try and avoid using the breaks. By predicting traffic ahead of you and either accelerate, decelerate (by not pressing the gas pedal), and merge, a small and economically efficient game was made (it was also a way to save gas and our brakes lol). This combined with the fact that driving can be a very unwinding and relaxing experience gave the game a purpose.
The text displayed is reflective of the driver’s thoughts. As they drive, they actually progress through the Kübler-Ross stages of depression. The stage, dependent on the distance the player drove, progresses and the difficulty (spawning rate and speeds applied to Ai Cars) reflect that stage. In the end, the player’s monologue reflects and finishes the Acceptance stage. Bit of a positive ending.
The audio, well the audio is just cool! We wanted a Kavinsky-like track and have the world react to it. The pyramids spawned will change their scale based on the Bass level in the song. I created my first seamless-loop script that was smart enough to know when to loop and when to progress the track. I was super pleased with it and had the game DJ for me while I ate my meals, haha
As we play tested, two things were wanted: merging and “something else.” Since the logic was already created for the AI cars, I gave the player the ability to merge. With only hours left and a fraction of my strength remaining, I asked what would be an easy and yet fun addition to add with minimal bugs? Ramps was what I decided on. The logic for spawning things was already created, so with a quick copy / paste and rename, a basic scaled cube added something a bit more exciting for the impatient player.
While this game was meant to be a very low key (almost relaxing) game, I buckled in fear thinking of players who just wanted to go fast would find this too simple.
In the end, I’m happy the damn thing runs! The fact that people are playing it makes me ecstatic and the positive comments are getting me all emotional inside. I feel like I’m watching a Pixar movie with all these warm feelings in me. Anyway, thank you all for any amount of time you donated to our work. Most of all, thank you for making great games and being such incredible people. It’s events like these that restore my faith in humanity.
A link to our game for convenience - Highway 00101
“Like it was with Dustforce, it is of utmost importance that we make design decisions based solely on making the game better, not on making it sell more.”
"Sounds like you guys need to ‘Clear Everything,’ ‘Subtract’ the negativity and ‘Add’ some perspective."
Dante: Does anyone want to try this weed? It’s called the Brown Bomber.
Alex: Why is it called that?
Dante: Because when you smoke it you get so stoned that you shit your pants! Hahahaha!
Jeff: Uh, I don’t wanna do that.
Barry: Yeah, I already shit my pants this month.