Friday, December 3rd, 2021

“Aero GPX” is the vision of a man who reborn “F-ZERO”, which may switch

Image: Aaron McDavid

It’s been almost 20 years since I got a new one F-ZERO Game, this For real Must be a crime or something. Still, if Nintendo doesn’t intend to build a new F-ZERO, you’ll probably have to look elsewhere. For example, solo developer Aaron McDevitt currently summarizes F-ZERO style racers under the following names: Aero GPX, And it certainly looks like it can be built on the good work seen in the franchise’s N64 iteration, F-ZERO X..

I wanted to learn a little more about the game, so I had a quick chat with McDevitt.

Nintendo Life: What do you like about F-ZERO?

Aaron McDavid: Well, basically everything! If F-ZERO chooses a particular aspect to nail, it’s the pure responsiveness of the control. The F-ZERO X and GX respond almost instantly to player input. When the player has finesse on an analog stick, even the most basic act of turning the machine feels momentarily. I did my best to push it further with AeroGPX. This is to make the vehicle feel like it is actually “controlling” like a character, rather than “driving” it. I hope it makes sense!

What made you decide to create Aero GPX?

I was bouncing multiple project files and thought, “Hey, let’s recreate the anti-gravity physics of the F-ZERO game.” After starting work, there was “Eureka!” The moment things are clicked. I started seeing the possibilities in it. The prototype was comfortable and technically started to work smoothly. Of course, my love for anti-gravity racers also helped me roll the ball.

You mentioned that the game focuses on flight and deep mechanics. Can you elaborate on that?

An important part of Aero GPX’s truck design is an aerial wind tunnel called a “slipstream.” Slipstream can flow in all directions, adding an important aerial element to AeroGPX gameplay. I wanted to add it to the anti-gravity racing sandbox with my spin, but the slipstream was an absolute explosion to design. Pilots can also use a new advanced mechanic called a “drill dive” to dive in and out of them and gain momentum. There, commit to a downward angle and dive for speed. That is the “deep mechanics” part of my design goal. Introduce mechanics to learn the mechanics that allow players to express themselves and push the boundaries. I’m doing my best to make the game enjoyable for players of all skill levels, but I would like to incorporate a special mechanism to reward players who want to optimize the game and push it to the limit.

Which aspect of the game are you most proud of?

So far, I’m most proud of the shaders I’ve created for my machine. To be honest, this is just an application of some simple mathematical and modeling techniques that have existed for decades. I found a very unique presentation method that gives the Aero GPX machine a very unique aesthetic. I basically worked on the shader for a month and found that it represented an elusive picture in my mind of what I wanted the machine to look like.

Is there anyone else involved in the development of Aero GPX?

yet! So far, it was myself.

You also said that you intend to embody the game so that you don’t get too close to F-ZERO. How would you propose this?

Most of this happens when you start working on the final track of the game during the design phase. It uses both AeroGPX health and boost resources. In F-ZERO, everything happens under one resource. I maintain the risk and reward elements by having separate replenishment zones that are always parallel and force players to choose between health replenishment or boost. We are also planning a number of truck design mechanics and techniques that will make the Aero GPX feel like yours. Especially when mixing slipstream and some other important twists in the anti-gravity racing sandbox I planned!

What is the release timeline? Do you think this could eventually find a way to Switch?

There is no timeline yet. Basically all development tools and game backends are complete. From this point on, I’ll be mainly working on track design, art, and content. This can take longer or shorter than the progress up to this point. It’s the first game I’ve made. But I’m working on it every day and will definitely release AeroGPX in the end. I also hope that someday, starting with the switch, AeroGPX will be on the console.