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# Pole Position style of game

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Just something I have been trying to wrap my head around... I was trying to figure out how to make a game like Pole Position (or any other road game with the same perspective). Would it involve complicated math to create the road?

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4 hours ago, Brian's Man Cave said:

Just something I have been trying to wrap my head around... I was trying to figure out how to make a game like Pole Position (or any other road game with the same perspective). Would it involve complicated math to create the road?

It depends. In Antarctic Tales (a racing game in disguise), each stage is just a sequence of pre-defined segments.

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pre-defined segments?

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Yes, so those “segments” are a set of curves and straight lines with some scenery variations.

A distance counter with some pre-defined thresholds act as triggers for those segments to kick in.

When that happens:

- background graphics are redefined and animated a little differently

- inertia logic changes and starts affecting player movement differently

- obstacles on the track are animated differently to reflect the pattern of the track.

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2 hours ago, Brian's Man Cave said:

pre-defined segments?

I think he means that things like going straight and turning, are performed with dedicated pre-defined sequences that animate the graphics of each, and handle player input accordingly.  At any point in time, the game keeps track of the distance traveled, and calls the performs the appropriate sequence.

This, in contrast to something like a generalized game engine that turns, banks, swirls, and adjusts the physics in real-time, in reaction to the state of the world; like you would do in a modern computer.

16 hours ago, Brian's Man Cave said:

Just something I have been trying to wrap my head around... I was trying to figure out how to make a game like Pole Position (or any other road game with the same perspective). Would it involve complicated math to create the road?

Yes, it involves complicated math.  However -- and this applies to any game, on any platform -- you can fake it.  One way is like @cmadruga described from Antarctic Tales.  There are other ways to fake it, it just takes some clever thinking.

One way to avoid "complicated math" is to use brute force or pre-computed information that describes how the scene should look and behave, rather than model the behavior itself.  In other words, compare a traditionally key-frame animation cartoon versus a CGI world simulation.

Modelling the world in a simulation requires all those "complicated maths":  you need to apply physics, particle systems, materials rigidity, fluid dynamics, etc., and then put them in motion in order for them to interact with one another.

Key-frame animation, on the other hand -- and ignoring for the sake of illustration the painstaking work of drawing each frame by hand -- obviates all that stuff and instead focuses on the way things would look and act as a result of it.  Sure, it takes skill to make it look smooth and realistic, but it does not require math at all, just careful observation of the real world.

Like I said, you fake it.

For one example of this, and perhaps something that could apply to a game like Pole Position, take a look at the game Meteor Storm in Oscar's "Advanced" book.  It has a cockpit view of a pseudo-3D dog-fight.  The effect can give a sense of speed and movement without actually doing an actual 3D CGI simulation.

Another one that may give you some ideas is the Atari game Night Driver.

That one gives you a sense of speed, direction, and orientation by merely animating sticks on the side of the road.  If you observe the game in action, you will see that by just changing the relative position of those sticks, if gives you a sensation of banking and turning.  Some of the techniques from Meteor Storm may prove useful for that.

-dZ.

Edited by DZ-Jay

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