FAST Racing NEO is certainly set to be one of the year's biggest Wii U eShop releases. Shin'en Multimedia has established itself as a leading 'Nindie' developer capable of producing wonderful visuals and strong gameplay, while sci-fi racing is a genre that's been long-neglected on Nintendo hardware. Though Shin'en's game is very different from F-Zero, for example, the absence of high-quality competition for this style of racer could see the eShop release gain a lot of fans.
As we approach the December release this is the first part of a behind-the-scenes series in which we're given some extra glimpses of the game. In this entry the studio's Manfred Linzner talks about his favourite vehicle and gives an insight into some design approaches for the 'Alpine Trust' track.
Most of the other Shin'en guys prefer the heavier vehicles, but I usually go for the lightweights. It depends on the league but for the first league 'ZIRO INDUSTRIES' is just perfect for me.
It only has medium top speed but very high acceleration. The steering controls are pretty direct and agile.
If you know the track well you can have quite some advantage with it by cutting the curves sharply even while having a full boost.
As for my favourite track, I would say 'Alpine Trust'. It's located in a snow covered valley with lots of rocks and mountains along the track. It has limited sight because a heavy snow storm blasts through it. The track is quite twisted and there are a couple of dangerous jumps; icy stalagmites block the road sometimes. Be sure to spare some boost energy to crash them without getting slowed down!
There are always technical challenges when targeting great visuals and 60fps, and every track in FRN was made in a different fashion and needed other techniques.
For 'Alpine Trust' a big contribution was the procedural geometry (see image above). We had the vision of a very dense valley with thick forests along the track and dangerous rocks and mountains that could get in the way when you do jumps. Creating such a location by hand takes a lot of manpower. It also doesn't allow to modify anything later.
So we developed a set of procedural networks that created all this geometry when you load the level. The hardest work was to find the right formulas to create a natural and interesting look. We are pretty happy that we used that technique because otherwise it wouldn't have been possible.
Join us next week for another early look at some FAST Racing NEO details.