This past week was spent tweaking numbers, and getting gravity, hovercar, bumper, and other associated systems working well together–by the end of the week, the game was truly beginning to look like a racer. We spent a good deal of time further adjusting the numbers controlling the functionality of the car. Specifically, we paid close attention to vertical damping–essentially the suspension of the car–and ended up making it less stiff, so that the car might navigate bumpy or uneven terrain and track transitions more smoothly. Additionally, we increased the height of the thrusters off the ground, as well as the force they are capable of putting out–again, these changes were made to give the car more play and controllability when navigating difficult terrain or track pieces. Finally, we ended up slightly decreasing the speed of the cars, so as to aid in both collision detection and player control.
A new feature of the gravity system was also implemented, and now allows gravity to be preemptively linearly interpolated to the gravity of the upcoming section. Essentially, this causes the car to transition to the different gravity of an upcoming area, allowing it to be prepared when the change occurs. This feature was added specifically to aid in the navigation of especially gravity-intensive sections, such as loop-de-loops and aileron rolls, as well as counteract the fact that the car is moving a high speed, and must rapidly adjust to changes in gravity. As a result, gravity transitions are far smoother, and players very rarely lose control at high speeds.
A final, and much needed system that was added was the bumper system. Essentially, the bumper system is made up of volumes along the edge of the track, which nudge cars towards the center of the track piece if they get far off course, as well as points them in the correct direction in the case of a crash. Essentially, this system is a way of helping keep players from flying off the tracking, an aid system for less skilled players, and a navigation system to always keep players racing in the correct direction.