It's coming. Slowly. Rust Racers is a big game, a lot bigger than we initially planned. We were talking about going into closed alpha back in April, that was optimistic. So what's missing? When can we play it? What justified delaying it?
During the first half of this year we didn't really have much of a backend going. During the summer we refactored and reworked the upgrade system and how we manage 'assets' in the game. I'll write a more detailed blog post about our backend system in the future. The version we originally wanted to use for alpha testing abilities and networking did things wrong and ran a lot slower than it had to. For debug purposes, the game naively loaded most upgrades into memory on startup making the game very sluggish and once we had the framework in place for treating any ownable, modifiable, tradeable or spawnable as an abstract object that can be asynchonously loaded into memory when needed it was trivial to move all data to our backend service.
When the game deals with an asset it comes in two primary formats, the raw backend structure which contains ALL data for things like display name, flavour text, price, rarity, key value data, context mappings and asset type specific values that helps the game understand what type of asset this is. The second format is a slimmed down object limited to the gameplay critical data such as reference paths to models, materials, soundbanks, visual effects etc. With all dynamic data living in our backend we can now modify large parts of how the game works, feels and looks without authoring massive client updates.
Cross-Platform Persistent Data
Current look of the login / signup system. By the time the game is released you will be able to link a variety of your other game/platform accounts to your Rust Racers account to make login and cross-platform persistence less awkward and more seamless.
The main reason we wanted this system in place before going into alpha is so we can give you unique rewards for helping us test and it will allow you to distinguish yourself from people who aren't as cool ;) If you sign up during the alpha you keep your account after release including all the alpha & beta rewards. And these rewards will work on all supported platforms regardless of where you got them. The second reason is, this had to be done sooner or later anyway, we might as well get it right for when we start involving people.
While our goal is to make a fun game, we also want to make sure that playing it is rewarding outside of the hectic and chaos filled momemts of destruction. To give you goals to work towards and things to collect and unlock we needed the Asset Management and Data Persistence.
We wanna show that there's a bit more depth to the game than just 'bumper cars online' and it has proven to be a lot of work to get everything to a state that resembles what we are envisioning.
So when Alpha?
Current state of vehicle physics online. The "last" thing that needs a big rework is the Base Gamemode and its' supporting systems. Working with the new tools for managing assets, vehicles and players it became obvious that this needs to be done better for reasons too many to list here but this time around we know the requirements and pitfalls. It shouldn't take long, how hard can it be?* * famous last words