Downhill racer is a mountain biking game I was developing as a solo project. I released a prototype demo in 2016. As a real life downhill enthusiast, I wanted the game to be as realistic as possible whilst still remaining accessible and fun to play. I was inspired heavily by the MX vs ATV series and it’s blend of simulation and arcade handling.
While working on this project, I was able to develop my knowledge in bicycle dynamics and physics simulation. My design used PID controllers to balance the bike towards a target lean angle; this skill was carried forward into Hurtworld for its motorbike simulation.
I also learnt about procedural animation and blending physics with animation. Downhill racer uses PuppetMaster from the Unity Asset Store to create an active ragdoll for the rider. I wrote some custom PID controllers to act as motors to keep a few bones in position. I then wrote some custom sensors to kick off a crash if the bones drifted too far from the target position and/or orientation, lastly the hands and feet were then attached to the bike via pivot joints. The target animation pose is derived by blending base poses together based on input and current bike state.
This gave the game a nice sense of real-time responsiveness.
While I modelled and rigged the bike myself, the rider was generated in Adobe Fuse (now discontinued) and most of the environment art and audio was from the Unity Asset Store. I sculpted the track using real mountain height data as the base. Track building was one of my biggest challenges for this project and, if I return to this project I will be putting more investment into track building tech.
I ceased working on this project when taking a fulltime role at Bankroll Studios in 2016 and although I would like to return to it one day, with the release of Descenders, Lonely Mountains: Downhill and the upcoming Rider’s Republic suggests a potential oversaturation of the market.