Indie Spotlight: Next Car Game – Wreckfest

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As you know we here at Running With Scissors are big fans of Stainless Game’s Carmageddon. We are excited by the news that it will be coming out in to Steam Early Access in approximately a months time. It looks like it’s going to be a real smash. Being huge fans of Carmageddon leads us to another Indie Developer by the name of Bugbear Entertainment. They are working on their next car game called oddly enough Next Car Game. Right now it is available in Early Access and comes with a currently exclusive bonus area called the Sneak Peak for all the Early Access supporters.
Next Car Game breaks out of the standard car game mold by having over the top soft body damage physics. It makes it a total laugh riot to see just how smashed your car can get and still manage to keep going. Down to one wheel in a cube? Go for it, maybe you can still win. Pounded, twisted, accordioned or shredded so bad its hard to tell front from the back, with luck you can still limp along. Just to be downright nasty since now you probably have no chance of winning, you can at least ram other cars to stop them from winning. You just have to be careful you don’t get wiped out yourself by flying tires or slammed or squashed by other vehicles. The speed the vehicles travel really launches them high when they get hit and it is fun just to watch them sailing and spinning through the air then coming down with a spectacular crash. Another thing it does quite well is addressing something that has always bothered me about car games. In most games, smashing a ton of metal in to a concrete divider tends to do a lot of damage to the car, but usually the divider doesn’t even have a scratch on it once your car is scraped off it. In Next Car Game the environment can be damaged which can actually be a lot of fun to do even though you know you are kind of messing over your chances of winning the race. There is nothing quite as satisfying as knocking a fellow racer into a sign that says “Screw ’em.” There is more than just races on various surfaces and locations though, there is also the demolition derby mode. The demolition derby basically pits you to a no-holds-barred free for all where you attempt to destroy all of your competition before they can do the very same to you. I do have a slight complaint here but I think I can counter that with a compliment as well. I was in rather good shape and the counter said there was only one car other than my own left. I scanned around the ring looking for it but I could only see flaming scraps and debris around. I couldn’t find another operational car. After spending at least 10 minutes searching for it I decided I would start ramming the healthier looking ones to see if it was still alive so I could finish it off and win. Eventually I wrecked myself so I have no idea if it was just a bug or one of the NPC drivers was playing possum. These kinds of things have to be expected in a Pre-Alpha Early Access Game so I am sure Bugbear will address this before the final game is released. Now I don’t like to close a paragraph on a negative note (unless it is funny) so I will have to say this. Even though it is still pre-alpha and the AI may still be a little wonky and seemingly unable to reset itself if it gets stuck (which may or may not actually be just realism) the AI doesn’t seem to favor beating on you versus another AI controlled car. A lot of games I played with bots seem to be geared towards killing the player first before targeting other AI to the point it gives up golden targets of opportunity just to hunt down the player. In Next Car Game the AI actually doesn’t seem to have this bias and seems to be just as likely to target another AI car to smash in to as it is to targeting the player. I think this ads a bit to the game and makes it a lot less frustrating and even more playable.

Right now it is a pretty functional racer game that lets you have the satisfaction of destroying your opponents rather than winning the race fairly. There isn’t a lot of variety in what you can do or what kind of actions you can take while playing the game yet though. Basically there are a handful of races you can play forwards or backwards and the demolition derby. So far there is only a couple of cars to select from, one of which has its engine in the rear so tends to be a rather good choice in the demolition derby. All that will be fixed in time of course, but until then, there is actually a much more entertaining thing to do.

The Sneak Peak. It’s really quite fun and is the part of the game I must have enjoyed playing the most without even realizing it. Once I had a really good feeling for the game and decided it was time to work on this post I took a casual look at the hours played on Steam. Turns out I spent twice as much time playing in the Sneak peak than I did in the actual game! It’s basically a playground where almost all the toys will destroy your car. Use your car to play basketball by driving up a ramp? Okay why not! Sure the inside of the hoop is a grinder that trashes your car, but just making the basket is fun. Fan of the Price is Right? Play PLINKO with your car. Watch out though as you will be leaving all kinds of parts behind at every peg you hit.  Like to recreate Hollywood movies? Jump you car through a plane’s turbine engine! Or just get silly and play chicken with the hammer or spider. Hint… this isn’t your ordinary dusty corner spider! So very much to do! So many ways to be trashed. It might not sound like much, but it is ridiculously fun. It’s not quite clear if this is exclusive to the Early Access owners or if it will be open to all after the release so I would definitely pick it up now just to be safe. Hopefully an editor will be available so we can make our own playgrounds.

Check out this awesome preview of the Sneak Peak Playground!

 

Quote from: Store Page

About the Game
Next Car Game is a new demolition derby themed racing game with soft-body damage modeling, sophisticated driving dynamics and in-depth vehicle upgrading, featuring both demolition derbies and more traditional track races. It’s all about fun, breakneck racing and over-the-top crashes.

Expect epic crashes and tight, neck-to-neck fights over the finish line on run-down racing tracks. Expect proper demolition derbies. Expect brand new ways for metal to bend and the signature once-in-the-lifetime moments that can be achieved only with true-to-life physics simulation.

It’s a motorsport, but not just any motorsport. It’s a motorsport with attitude.

Unique Racing Experience
First and foremost, we’re building a FUN racing game with PERSONALITY. It’s all about the stuff that really matters: varied tracks, cool cars, and the defining once-in-the-lifetime moments that can be achieved only with true-to-life physics simulation. If you’re familiar with our previous games, you already know what we’re aiming at: exhilarating racing action with sophisticated physics and damage modeling, only this time we’re upping the ante on almost every front. This is the game we envisioned way back in the early 2000s, only re-imagined for today’s technology and gaming standards.

Awesome Cars
The cars are old, cheap, banged up, patched together, rusty… just awesome! In short, our cars ooze with STYLE. You won’t find anything like them in other racing games. We’ve got variety, as well: everyone loves the old American heavy-hitters from the muscle car era, but we’re not neglecting the fun little European and Asian cars from the long-gone decades either. The best part is that you’ll be taking them apart and building them back up again in your garage; the career is as much about your garage and your project cars as it is about racing.

Exciting Engine
Our in-house ROMU engine is a hell-bent beast that’s precision-engineered for high-speed, breakneck racing. We have also already implemented fully deformable soft body car damage, meaning that the cars will react to damage in a very tangible, convincing way. While we’re focused on action, motorsport authenticity is not forgotten, either. To that end our engine is simulating vehicle dynamics in a very sophisticated fashion. Rolling resistances, casters and slip angles are definitely not ancient Greek to us, and you as the player will be the one benefiting from our expertise.

EARLY ACCESS FEATURES
The first Early Access release contains two playable cars and three tracks, showcasing both white-knuckle track racing and explosive demolition derby action with 24 cars that will give you taste of things to come. During the coming months we’re going to give the game a lot of polish as well as implement many new exciting features, and all Early Access supporters have a unique opportunity to get involved in the development of the title!

We’ve also giving a playable Technology Sneak Peek 2.0 to all our Early Access supporters. The sneak peek features a playground that we use internally to test various features various like car damage and environment destruction. Version 2.0 includes new destructive machinery, more dynamic stuff to blow up, spectacular stunts and an awesome physics cannon that we use to play with our physics engine. With the physics cannon you too will now have a chance to cause mayhem to heart’s content by launching missiles, throwing stuff around and destroying the environment as well as the cars!

  • A playable Technology Sneak Peek 2.0. Have fun in the physics playground!
  • Three cars, American Muscle, European Hatchback and American Sedan, each with unique handling traits.
  • Three race tracks including Figure 8 and one derby stadium, both tarmac and gravel surfaces.
  • Race and derby game modes with up to (!) 24 cars, all with spectacular dynamic damage.
  • Soft-body car damage physics system that doesn’t need a super computer.
  • Dynamic content that reacts realistically – fences and billboards break down, tires fly around.
  • Different types of engines, transmission and other upgrade parts to test the effect of upgrades.
  • Player garage.

UPCOMING FEATURES
Next Car Game is currently in early Pre-Alpha stage, and the Early Access version is going to serve as a basis on which we will continue building the game based on your feedback on what works and what doesn’t. Throughout the Early Access phase we’re going to gradually add more content and new features to the game, with some of the most important key features planned being:

  • Improved car damage and handling.
  • More cars, each with different stylings and performance.
  • More race tracks and derby stadiums with varying surfaces.
  • More dynamic content on the tracks.
  • Highly configurable multiplayer with a variety of modes.
  • Extensive player garage and car upgrading system.
  • In-game classifieds to buy and sell cars and parts.
  • Streamlined and polished user interface.
  • Improved graphics quality and performance.

We currently estimate that the title should reach a feature-complete state in 2014, with all key features implemented. Please note that all features mentioned here may be altered or removed during the development of the title if deemed necessary.