ManiaTrucks is a quite complicated combination of the fast-paced arcade and the slow and steady economical transport tycoon genre. Drive around in a selection of different trucks, deliver cargo, and avoid disasters. This game is probably the only one that I have been able to push into such a state that it is almost close to being finished.
I have been working on it since the middle of December 2019, when the idea came to mind. In around 2 weeks, the first plausible, prototype demo was released. It didn't end up too well, but it was just a showcase of what was to come, and at the time I thought that it might have potential.
With smaller and bigger breaks in between, the game has been developed steadily, getting fixes and updates quite frequently, as I thought I might be close to finishing something after quite a while.
And so, after around 6 months, it has reached quite a stop. The next build was meant to bring quite a good amount of stuff in (bug fixes, vehicles, extras, gameplay improvements), but that might not happen, I still have to decide upon whenever it's worth the price. Maybe it does? I highly doubt, but we will see...
The last version was kinda goofed with bugs, so here is a better version that was meant to be released. The game also includes a "Google Forms Feedback" menu option, so if you finished playing, make sure to visit that menu. https://gamejolt.com/games/maniatrucks/461299
The game has been once again improved in version 0.7.1. This version helps with teaching you the basics and to help first time players get a better understanding of the game. For a while, this version will probably be the last major one until 1.0, but smaller update versions will still be posted every week (mainly 0.8 and 0.9).
This game is a definite improvement since I last tested it. I legit believe that it's now becoming an actual game that you could enjoy. You guys have to try it out.
The tutorial is real neat. It's actually a pretty cool take on explaining the basic mechanics of the game.
The directional helpers are now the best thing for me. I think that now exploration is more balanced as you still have to find the cargo, but this time you at least know where to go. And thank God finally for the factory indications (what factory accepts what). As most game developers say: "The player shouldn't be figuring out WHERE to go, but HOW to get there."
Here's a couple of suggestions for further improvement. As I've pointed out, the game as it is right now gets too repetitive on a single level. What I'd recommend is to just remove the rounds entirely and focus on switching the environment.
Another thing that remains underrated is the environment hazards, which is partially why I mark the game as "not challenging enough". I think that if you emphasize more onto making the hazards a more important and main challenge, then I think it could be pretty fun and challenging. But so far they just seem like random comets from the sky. More hazards would be better.
The semi-truck was real cool. Although it glitches out a bit from time to time. Like, when you drive straight forward the trailer gets stuck on the back of the truck and goes a bit sideways to the truck.
When you finish a round the garage notification I think could still get lost. I know there's a reminder on the top right of the screen, but I still think some people will forget where they'd have to go. I'd suggest putting the text on the bottom of the screen. It could even blink (fade-in-out) to attract attention.
These are most of the stuff I am able to cover. I probably missed some. But keep going and I think you could actually make this game pretty fun and engaging.
Thanks for the feedback. Sadly, I'm starting to feel that the game is just way too easy on the normal difficulty, so I might be stepping everything down a notch, From Normal to Easy, from Hard to Normal, as I still want encourage people to go for harder difficulty levels. Maybe I should give them a 10% bonus every time they pick a harder difficulty? I don't want to dumb down the challenge of the game, neither lose its original identity, because the game was meant to be played like that: No helpers, just you and the level.
The disasters will be added, although I'm pretty much out of ideas for that. I have a few, but it's not much. It's also hard to balance them between fair and unfair.
The point of the game is to be engaging, not frustrating. Of course, that doesn't mean it has to be easy. But the challenge you want to imply is straight up boring and not rewarding. Keep that in mind when reading the rest of the post.
So far high scores are just plain integer values and nothing else. For me it was more fun to spend my credits on stuff rather than going for higher score. High scores don't mean anything in the game right now as there's no point of comparison. There's no global high scores to go after or any predefined ones. There's just no motivation to strive for any score if there's no point of comparison. Still though, I don't think I'd stick for long enough just for the high scores if the game is boring.
The disasters are what makes the game more fun and diverse. Even though the game has random generation, as of right now it just isn't enough to provide enough motivation for exploration or whatever.
Also, that's another point. You are saying that it's hard to balance them between fair and unfair, when the game itself is based on random generation. You can literally spawn in a room of cargo close to factories or cargo far away from the factories. Therefore this either unfairly gives you an advantage, or entirely fucks up your chance to get a better score.
That's why I am emphasizing on the word engaging and fun and not fair, hard or competitive. The game is not fair in the first place because of RNG and you want to nerf the only things that make it fun anyway.
As far as difficulty goes, you are also forgetting the part that you are the developer of the game and that's why it feels dumb easy for you. On the last round on the normal difficulty I survived with 5 seconds left on the clock considering I even had at least some experience playing anyway. As of right now, there's not enough motivation for me to go on hard difficulty.
But anyway, don't just take my word for it. I'm interested to know what other people think of this as well.
Hmm, the difficulty seems good then, glad to hear that! I wanted to make sure before changing, so it says as is. The sad part is since no one outside of my closest friend groups, (basically, the people who gave in the google forms questionnaire and who sent me quite a long feedback in PMs) no one wants to play the game, nor give it a chance, neither for the long or short run, and they just judge by the cover of the book. They throw away the chance the game could provide.
There was one guy who didn't play the game, because the GameJolt thumbnail wasn't the best, and that the game was over 100MB...? I don't know what to do with the game anymore, the poor thing died before it was born, there is no other word to describe it
I just played it and I have lots of things to say. I don't really plan on going through every point I have about the game.
-Game looks and feels way too retro for my liking but that's ok; -I didn't manage to complete the game on normal difficulty; -I had more fun drifting than looking for cargo; -Frame rate goes to town when I look at the map; -The map is too flat; -The ATTRACT thing is distracting because of the way it flickers ( I don't know why it says ATTRACT but ok); -The tutorial shouldn't dictate the player's pace but the other way around. By that I mean I should scroll the instructions instead of them showing like a timed power point presentation; -The hazard clock looks confusing because at first you don't know it's a hazard clock; -The three letter alias input is garbage (make it possible to use keyboard input for the letters); -The first person camera feels a bit jittery (I also found V to be a weird keybinding for camera swap); -Cargoes would be nice to go in the truck when being carried; -Would be nice if the camera doesn't clip through walls; -The last cargo is hard to find.
Overall... This game requires a lot more work but by nature it's just a casual game not to be taken too seriously so difficulty shouldn't be too high. On easier difficulties I suggest you make the cargoes easier to find with the help of a UI sensor or something.
Cool, thanks for trying it out! - Yeah, I'm still trying to optimize the game because it can get really bad at times. - The Training isn't actually Training, it just redirects you to the Attract Mode window. The Attracts Mode just tells you info about the game, the training isn't done yet. - The map is flat, but the game is tile-based and the wheel colliders don't really like bumps. - Well, the hazard clock is quite fun to find out that it causes shit to fall apart - Three letter alias is a 90's arcade game quirk. - I cant model the cargo into the truck, I thought about it, but its time consuming and complicated. - I thought about making the camera avoid walls somehow, we will see... - Well, the last is hard to find, but it's just as randomly placed as everything else on the level.
Are we devolving at this point? Am I going crazy? Fuck the quirks. It's an accessibility feature. Like, how hard is it to keep your feature, but to also allow for keyboard input? Is that how you are going to make people try your game by introducing counter-user-experience features?
Well, it doesn't really matter for now. I have made the game hidden, I feel way too shit right now. I'll make some updates later.
EDIT: Actually, it has no effect, since its only the website that hides it, not the links.
EDIT 2: Game is available, and I'll be making an update video in the next few days, explaining the current situation and the future of the game, the link will be up until then, and then...well, uncertain. I have been waiting for this for quite a while now.
bit late for this discussion probs but here's a quick rundown of pros and cons of the latest version of the game as of now, hopefully it can help with your progession
pros: -the presence of upgrades and multiple veichles is pretty cool and absolutely needs to be expanded upon if possible -i also like the fact that you gotta keep an eye to your fuel capacity, which btw could be upgraded if it wasn't already and i missed it -the presence of a tutorial is very welcome -the premise itself of the game has a lot of potential to allow the player freedom of approach, reminds me a bit of crazy taxy with extra steps
cons: -if tokens are to be converted from points and if points only serve to be converted to tokens, why have tokens in the first place and not just use points as currency and rename them as money? -the bombing needs to be reformed completely imo, you can barely get hit by it but at the same time its almost impossible to avoid it if a bomb falls on you. the way i'd do it is to make the bombs way bigger but also give the player a window of a few seconds to avoid it -the game itself is too easy as of now, you should probably add something to make the challenge not only to make a big score, but also to get out of the level in the first place -the aesthetic, and i don't mean to be rude in saying it, is very very lacking
i think there's a lot you need to work on, most of all the presentation, but i'd also still say i had a good time playing this version
- I plan to extend the upgrades with being able to configure some upgrades (For instance if you want a faster but weaker or a slow but stronger turbo, etc.). - Yes, better engines take less wear, and better turbos increase fuel efficiency. - Well, it just redirects you to the attract mode, I plan to make an interactable Training! - Crazy Taxi? Never thought I would hear about that game in a review, but its actually a rather good comparison!
- Well, scores will matter later on, as higher scores will unlock new vehicles (Only extras, also because high scores are very cool). - Yeah, getting hit is quite hard, but before it was made like that, the bombs almost always hit you. I will set them to not explode upon impact, so you have some time to take action avoiding them. - I Will be adding more disasters later on, and they will be quite a challenge, hopefully! - The visuals look bad because I can't make too good models :I But I tried to recreate a low poly style, something you would see on a PS1 since the very first version was much more PS1-looking (Vertex Inaccuracy, Pixelation, etc.).
Well, I was never good at presenting it, but yeah, the game is pretty fun. Thanks for the rundown
I plan to add this into 0.8.0: - The remaining 10-12 companies and their respective cargo (18-18 in total) - More disasters (windstorm, fog, tornado) and tweaking the current one. - Fast delivery bonus (already added, probably the simplest one on this list) - Removal of the Feedback (feedback period finished, was a letdown to some extent) and Contacts (No one even bat an eye on it) menu options - Being able to remove save files - Attract mode tweaking (Adding garage introduction, removing flashing "ATTRACT" text, is kinda annoying as well for me now lol)
Anything that cant make it into 0.8.0 will make it into 0.9.0...probably
EDIT: Also, how the hell is the game growing in views now? I don't get it, the GameJolt page gets like 10 views every day, it never got this much attention before...
EDIT2: Now we know the post highlight feature is manual...oof
Hmm, well, life keeps on giving bad news. I won't be able to post updates about ManiaTrucks for a while, I might even have to delay it, although I don't want to. Shit likes to hit the fan my way these past half a year, and this week was no different.
In the next 2 weeks, since school has ended and I have all the time in the world, Ill be working on finishing the game. Adding content, fixing bugs, and adding the final coat of polish and optimizations. After that, it's pretty much done, but I will release smaller fixes when necessary.
Just to make sure that the game isn't dead, I have been actively making changes and updates on the game, more specifically adding the last bits of content, but also reworking some stuff
Images: - Construction Site - Chemical Plant - Electronics Market - Nuclear Plant - New Wheel Management System for Vehicles! The wheels were really only just meshes that stayed, but now they move along with the wheel colliders and suspension! Just for that extra detail/realism! (Screenshot is from a test project, but the final code is a bit different so it doesn't glitch out!)
So yeah, the game isn't dead, just that I also want to have my summer break, and there's also other stuff, but no worries, its getting finished slowly. It's just that endgame sluggish-ness!
Now, what I also should consider changing: - Since you guys have been saying that keyboard input for names should be a thing, and there is NO FREAKING WAY this thing will run on mobile (yes, that's why the whole menu system was button-based, but after it ran at 10fps on my phone, I gave up on it), I have thought up a great little idea for the new name input system. It's sleek and keyboard-controlled! - Power said high scores are boring, and Nuska said tokens aren't worth much since its scores...Why don't we just have money/worth? Like a real trucking company? I actually have no idea why I didn't think about this earlier... - Thunder also said the framerate goes floooooooooosh when you look at a bigger chunk of a map. Its probably because of the overwhelming number of game objects, I suppose? I plan to release an update sometime after 1.0 that will address this issue by decreasing the number of game objects one map element is made up of. Luckily, ProBuilder can do such a thing! (Yes, that's what I mostly use, and yes, it's for prototyping but it fits the game well ok thanks)
Quick update: - Implemented keyboard-only name input (English Letters Only) - Implemented the new vehicle wheel manager. The wheel meshes now copy the transform of the wheel collider, giving the vehicles just that much more realism!
Hey there! Good news, I have started work on finalizing ManiaTrucks, and releasing it this summer sometime! Here are some of the mayor changes made: - Progression: Collect trophies by completing a given number of levels at a certain difficulty level. - Reward vehicles: Get cool vehicles to play with! A 3-wheeler truck, a rally car, and more whacky stuff! - Vehicle Setup: Change the characteristics of the truck, like the steering, the dampers, or the turbo! - Improved optimization: The game is set to run better, more on that a bit later. - Many bug fixes: Bugs noticed before have been, and still are being, hammered out!
Some smaller changes: - Keyboard-based name input in the Arcade Mode. - You can now delete a given savefile ingame without having to find the files themselves. - The game will be limited to 60FPS, to ensure that nothing breaks (just in case). - Badlands: There are certain tiles that are more slippery than the rest.
I have done some updates regarding optimization, as I have mentioned just a bit ago. Previously, I have read that some of you had issues running the game, and there were serious lag spikes and overall bad performance. I have been trying to fix it as well as I can, and I think I got a lot closer to having the game run at a better speed. Here are some of the results:
With the elimination of separate GameObject, here's a comparison of the Pine Tree from the Forest Biome:
Pine Tree Detail (All ProBuilder): 43 batches, 600-700FPS, 15 GameObjects Pine Tree Detail 2 (All ProBuilder, just meshes): 43 batches, 600-700FPS, 10 GameObjects Pine Tree Combined (Singular Mesh): 20 batches, ~1170FPS, 1 GameObject
From the Forest biome as well, the Coal Mine: 39 -> 20 Batches And finally, the Farm: 46 -> 26 Batches
The number of vertices usually stayed the same on one object, however, when actually playing the game, their number went down by a chunk as well!
Forest Biome Comparison: Unoptimized: ~1229 batches, 1.1 million vertices & tris, ~66FPS, ~11500 saved by batching (CPU: 15ms) Optimized: ~850 batches, 725k vertices & 374k tris, 66-120FPS, ~3501 saved by batching (CPU: 15ms) Alongside with a considerable comparison in the Render Thread: 4.5ms - 5.5ms VS 2ms - 3ms
From 50-60FPS, even down to 30FPS at worst, to 90FPS-120FPS!
I have also dropped the LOD Group that was on the detail objects, so there is no pop-in, although the performance cost of that is unknown, my guess is very minor! Other than that, I will probably also hugely optimize the companies as well, since those are still made up of several GameObjects.
There will be a bigger sacrifice to all this, however. There was an idea implemented back in the 2020 August Pre-Release build: Disasters. It wasn't a fully completed system, but as I went into it, there was just more and more trouble with it, so for the 1.0 release, this feature/system will be cut.
There is more background info I can't tell you about, since it's still a W.I.P., and that would spoil the fun, right? Anyways, ManiaTrucks will be released on GameJolt, and Itch.io as well, surprisingly! I heard it's a cool platform, tried it out, it's pretty good actually, so yes! I don't want to say an exact date yet, but this summer sometime!
EDIT: I'm quite optimistic as you can see since I just finished all my final exams, and we have no spoken exams lmao! I hope the test results are pretty good and nothing went wrong, but let's hope for the best. I will also release updates for my smaller projects, like SimpleJack and Prizmit, and also a very small test prototype that I might release as well.