Time to get excited. TRAIL BOSS is nearly here! This exciting new game from the makers of Pumped BMX has been in development for some time, but is now very close to release. The official release date is 27th August for iOS.
Q&A with Adam Hunt
Trail Boss BMX Game Developer
– Trail Boss is looking amazing. How has the project been?
Thanks man! It’s been pretty long to be honest, haha. It’s almost 3 years since Pumped 3 came out, so yeah, this one has taken a while. I’ve renovated a house and had another kid, so life has been pretty busy in general, but also Trail Boss is a pretty massive game in comparison to any of the Pumped games.
At the beginning of the project just figuring out the core mechanic took a while: the physics has to walk this weird line between realistic and arcade, so jumps are all driven by physics but you can also transfer as far as you want and you’ll still make the same distance, if that makes sense? So I tried a few different approaches for that and faking that a few different ways, and then in the end wrote custom physics. That was the first hurdle.
“You’ve got single takeoffs to multiple landings, multiple takeoffs to single landings, berms, lines that fork and rejoin, berms between sets…”
And then after that the level designs are WAY more involved than Pumped. You’ve got single takeoffs to multiple landings, multiple takeoffs to single landings, berms, lines that fork and rejoin, berms between sets – all of that stuff is super tech to design. Don’t get me wrong, it’s way easier to move a landing a foot backwards digitally than in real life, haha, but yeah designing the levels has taken way longer than Pumped.
And then finally just the art side of things – each level is in its own unique environment and needs decorating individually which is just… a shit load of work.
So… yeah. It’s taken a long time, but for a good reason, haha!
– What have been the most recent challenges?
Oh man. Errr. I had a silly one recently where if you crashed while doing an Indian Air the ragdoll would just totally bug out – that was an interesting one! At this stage it’s all the edge cases really – ‘if you skid at the wrong time and hold the wrong button just as you’re taking off this weird thing happens’ type stuff. Which is hopefully what bug testing finds!
Those are the easy ones, the ones where it’s kind of obvious what the problem is and you therefore know where to look to fix it. I’ve had a couple where the solution isn’t immediately obvious. For example, the screen would just randomly go black after you’ve been playing for a while, and it didn’t happen very often. My initial thought was that it was a problem with Unity (the game engine I use) and I’d just ignore it and hope they would fix whatever it was in an update. Then as time went on I kept hearing about it from testers and finally had to accept it was my problem, but I had NO idea what the hell was going on. Those are the tricky ones! I found that one eventually, but it was pretty stressful.
It’s a bit boring, but just in case anyone is vaguely interested: that one was essentially due to a ‘divide by zero’ bug where very occasionally the camera position (and other things) would get corrupted by a function I use to smooth out bumps in position / rotation etc. Fun!