Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

The quest for one developer to revive F-ZERO in glory

It’s been 17 years for F-ZERO fans. Nintendo’s evil and fast future race series screamed and stopped with the release of Japan’s only F-ZERO Climax in 2004. Since then, fans have been hungry for new F-ZERO content. Nintendo only offers small distributions of the series through games such as Nintendo Land and Mario Kart 8.

However, F-ZERO fans are looking forward to the next indie project, much like the dormant series. The new game, titled Aero GPX, seems to recreate the incredible speed, momentary decision-making, and memorable personality that once loved F-ZERO so much. IGN has given AeroGPX creator Aaron McDevitt inspiration for creating a love letter to F-ZERO, changes that longtime fans of the series can expect, and racers like F-ZERO stand out in this genre. I talked about why I am.

McDevitt has been remodeling the game for years, but Aero GPX is his first real crack in creating the game from scratch. He says he was inspired by F-ZERO because he feels differently than any other racer on the market.

“I’ve been playing F-ZERO games ever since the Nintendo 64 F-ZERO X,” says McDevitt. “Like everyone at the time, I realized that the F-ZERO X only had a different execution speed. It’s unheard of to lock 60 fps on the Nintendo 64, a technical never seen on a console. Pushed the limits. Before that. “

Its focus on high-tech solutions has always been in F-ZERO. Since SNES, the original game used a texture mapping solution called Mode 7 to simulate 3D graphics. This wasn’t possible with the console. The game itself is a series known for its high-speed, weightless racing, relentless tracks, and the cast of impressive characters fixed by Captain Falcon, who became much more familiar with his appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series. It was started.

Compared to other Nintendo series and many other racing games in general, F-ZERO leans towards hardcore. F-ZERO X was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1998 and introduced the concept of Tide Health and Boost Meter to the series. If you want to get a speed boost, you have to sacrifice some of the vehicle’s integrity. It is a highly leveraged risk reward system that benefits brave people and punishes reckless ones.

AeroGPX screenshot

McDavid says AeroGPX is most similar to F-ZERO X, but he hasn’t set out to create a simple F-ZERO clone. Aero GPX seems to be designed as an evolution of the F-ZERO GX and F-ZERO GX, the last home video game console entries in the franchise released on the GameCube nearly 20 years ago. One of the major changes in Aero GPX is directly related to its risk compensation system.

“F-ZERO’s unified health-enhancing energy system feels like part of the iconography of the game and its franchise. I don’t want to rip it directly,” says McDevitt. “I would like to find another way to sell the same experience and the same type of decision and twist towards Aero GPX to get the same feeling, but that’s another way.”

In the current build of Aero GPX, the health meter and boost meter are separated. This is a deviation from the established formula. Instead, whenever the opportunity to refill the meter is reached, it is necessary to quickly decide whether to regain health to maintain the vehicle or refill the boost meter to proceed faster.

Its decision-making requirements are only part of what makes F-ZERO and thus Aero GPX, and are more demanding than what some racing game players are accustomed to. There is nothing to rescue, the AI ​​competition is fierce, and even once off course you will die and you will have to start the race from the beginning.

McDevitt says that this hardcore property is part of F-ZERO’s DNA, especially in a way that F-ZERO rewards accuracy for capturing with AeroGPX.

“F-ZERO basically wants you to deceive death in order to go faster. Not only do you interact with other racers and use your own health pool to get out of the race, but also the health pool. Use it to boost and move forward, “says McDevitt. “There are also rewards for how the traction and handling system works, and the movement of the analog control sticks, which gives us very subtle nuances. This is something that hasn’t been achieved in other games yet and reacts instantly to player input. I feel like … “

McDevitt, on the other hand, is also working on improving the more technical aspects of the genre, implementing hardcore operations and strategies that benefit players who are willing to spend their time and effort. Some of these features have been implemented for a larger focus on air movement through a tube of air called a slipstream, a nod to speed up, and someone who wants to hit the highest speed possible. Mechanism is included.

However, just because a game can be technically difficult doesn’t mean that McDevitt is writing it with everyone in mind.

“Accessibility is a big pillar of my design,” says McDevitt. “We are planning a lot of accessibility features, such as autopilot assistance. We want to make this a game that everyone can experience comfortably. The difficulty of Super Hard Master Tier in Career Mode and the players you need. I’ll have a Grand Prix for. That challenge. I still want to have it, but I’ll do my best to make it an accessible game that can be played by as many people as possible. “

Do not give up hope for the revival of F-ZERO

McDevitt has been working on games for some time, but there’s still a long way to go. He says he wants to include 30 unique characters and vehicles in the game to match the style and tone of F-ZERO, develop trucks and campaign.

“I take it once a day, but I would like to take it out at the end of next year or early. [2023]”I’ve completed most of the structure, and the physics of the game and all the basic programming is pretty stoned. Now it’s time to move on to the content and design stages. It’s not easy. It’s still a tough job, but it’s like what I’ve done before. It’s still a lot of work and will take some time, but I’m the next stage in this development. I think we can do it a little faster. “

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