PS4 Defy gravity & blast along ceilings at 700mph in arcade racer GRIP: Combat Racing, out 6th November

Martok

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The PS4 racer’s principal programmer details the game’s custom physics engine and competitive play ahead of this winter’s launch

Hi everyone, my name is Rob Baker and I’m the principal programmer on GRIP: Combat Racing, which means I’m responsible for producing all of the code for the game.

After starting work on the game back in 2014 we’re really excited to share today, after all this time, that GRIP will be released on PlayStation 4 on 6th November.

It’s been a painstaking development with difficult problems to solve. Making a game that pits vehicles against each other at over 700mph is a challenge even with cars that keep their wheels firmly on the road… but in GRIP you can drive on walls, ceilings or anything else you can get your tyres to.

Here’s three of the biggest challenges we’ve faced and how we’ve look to overcome them!

1. Dramatic downforce


Downforce in GRIP is a huge factor and is used to make the game’s signature gameplay a reality. All of the physics used to move the vehicles in game is custom-code written by us for the game itself.

At the speeds we’re dealing with, a realistic vehicle simply wouldn’t be drivable so we’ve had to do a huge amount of work to create a fun, playable game while still keeping it a believable and engaging driving experience.

Your downforce or GRIP in game is related to speed but disregards the shape and aerodynamics of the vehicle. One thing we learnt very early is that predictable handling was really important, so we’ve tried to as far as possible disregard aerodynamics in favour of better vehicle handling.

This simple calculation is then scaled even further by the vehicle’s orientation to walls or ceilings, with ceilings providing the most grip – enough to overcome gravity.

It was important not to use too much downforce all of the time, and rather the right amount at the right moment, because the more the suspension springs are compressed the more unwieldy the vehicle handling becomes.

2. Balancing competitive gameplay


We’ve put a lot of time into balancing the gameplay in GRIP, having worked on several combat racers in years gone by, including Rollcage (a title from which GRIP draws inspiration), I’m all too familiar with getting hit and left behind on the start line.

GRIP has within the game 9 power-ups, each of which has been carefully considered and balanced to be devastating but not race ending, from exploding darts to Hydra missile systems the game offers great variety and even the ability for savvy racers to super-charge their arsenal and deliver a race changing blow.

On top of the weapons system, the three vehicle classes have been carefully balanced and we’ve implemented a system we call catch-up assist. This is a configurable race option which goes beyond just rubber banding the AI, catch-up assist subtly changes the forces on the vehicles based on position, helping to keep the racing pack tight for maximum carnage.

If you’re a fan of the purely balanced experience this can be switched off (and even used to filter for online games) but for us this gets left on for maximum fun.

3. Working as a satellite studio


Working as a satellite studio with individual team members based right around the world has definitely made for an interesting game development, with level designers, programmers, artists and other project team members spread right around the world we’ve had to work hard to bring the team together and even harder to keep development running smoothly.

I myself, am based in remote Indonesia, on a small island just off the most northerly tip of Sulawesi. Working off local power generators and almost entirely over a 4G phone connection with the waves lashing in around us… we’ve seen practically everything including island-wide power cuts, intense tropical thunderstorms, nearby volcanic eruptions and even the odd earth tremor – but we’ve always kept focussed. Nothing was stopping us getting this game out.

The game has been created in Unreal Engine 4, a massive departure from native programming for the original PlayStation this alongside PhysX has enabled us to create what we hope you’ll agree is a stunning game, taking full advantage of the PS4 and PS4 Pro.

We’re entering the final stages of development but we’re pleased to confirm that the game will support HDR on both platforms along with a number of other optimisations for PS4 Pro – with a target of 60fps gameplay for launch.

Source: Defy gravity and blast along ceilings at 700mph in arcade racer GRIP: Combat Racing, out on PS4 6th November
 

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Announcement trailer from March:


Apparently GRIP: Combat Racer was inspired by the Rollcage game that I remember playing on the original PlayStation. I think I had Rollcage: Stage II but the original Rollcage was also on the PS1.
 

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So GRIP is out and it seems that Eurogamer isn't a fan of the game going by the review:

Grip: Combat Racing review - unrefined tribute to cult racer Rollcage

However going by the comments, many disagree with various aspects of the review, though comments do seem to be coming from those who remember and played Rollcage.

Though it does sound like if you were a fan of Rollcage then you'll love GRIP and it you don't remember or never played Rollcage then GRIP may do nothing for you.
 

zoob

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So GRIP is out and it seems that Eurogamer isn't a fan of the game going by the review:

Grip: Combat Racing review - unrefined tribute to cult racer Rollcage

However going by the comments, many disagree with various aspects of the review, though comments do seem to be coming from those who remember and played Rollcage.

Though it does sound like if you were a fan of Rollcage then you'll love GRIP and it you don't remember or never played Rollcage then GRIP may do nothing for you.
I'd say that was a fair comment.
It's not for the hand-Holding crew.
 

Martok

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GRIP: Combat Racing adds anti-gravity AirBlades in new free update, out now
Plus, Rollcage creator Christopher Gibbs looks back at the ‘90s heyday of combat racers


GRIP launched late in 2018, and has already seen massive updates, with new tracks and new modes being introduced. This morning, the team have flipped the racer upside down once more, with a game changing update in the introduction of AirBlades – brand new anti-gravity (think WipeOut!) changing the fundamental elements of gameplay, mechanics and physics, all in one surprise free update!

Inspired by Rollcage, GRIP was one of the few success stories from a number of racers in recent years. A return to the hardcore combat scene of the ’90s, bristling with heavy weapons and packing ferocious speed, the game is an intense, sensory feast. Now spoiler alert, I’m not involved in the development, but my friends and people who worked on Rollcage are. GRIP’s launch brought back great memories on a game I’m proud of, so I thought what better place to share them than here on PS Blog!

https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47752103192_6e24807a16_c.jpg

The genesis of the idea we focused on, was making the fastest racing game ever seen on PS1. At first, I remember receiving a lot of push-back over the achievability of this, as it was technically very ambitious. But the lead coder, Stephen Bennett, was one of the most impressive coders we’d hired. He had developed Blast Chamber and I had seen how much performance he was getting from his engine. He was confident in getting all that speed and polygon destruction from a humble PS1!

Someone suggested we try allowing the cars to flip over and keep racing. The team loved the idea and put it into the prototype. It worked brilliantly and since launch, went on to become a bit of a cult hit, finding its home in bedrooms, dorms and forums.








I would give shout-outs to Stuart Tilley, Dave Perryman, Stephen Bennett, Andrew Wright, Tony Heap / Richard Priest / Rob James – artists who really drove the look of the Rollcage. And of course, there was Rob Baker. A man who did sterling work on the PC version and mastering the multiplayer network gameplay.

When I first saw GRIP, I immediately recognized it as something that could have come straight out of Rollcage – the cars are unmistakable – the upside-down driving has never been done (to my knowledge) in another game – and the futuristic landscapes were reminiscent too.

I often hear people say GRIP is Rollcage 3 and I totally understand why they say that – it absolutely is!





The footage I’ve seen nails the original vision of speed and intensity – I love it. I will admit to initially having a strange feeling of ‘Oh wait, what is someone doing copying Rollcage like that… that was my game.. how can someone do that?!’ I had an emotional investment in Rollcage. But as soon I discovered it was created by Rob Baker, and had involvement from some other ex-ATD folk, I was totally supportive of it. I thought, wow, good for them – they deserved so much more credit back then!

And so, even though I have zero involvement in GRIP, I still feel a personal attachment to it because of the shared history – and feel quietly proud of being part of the ‘origin story’ for GRIP, plus now seeing this update, it’s like Rollcage and WipeOut had a baby!







Source:
 

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It's pretty tricky!
 
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