Designing The Perfect Cone Wars Truck

Final visual with all customisation options on show.

By Max Scott-Slade, Game Design Director

How has our vision for truck design developed throughout prototyping Cone Wars? In this edition of the dev diary I’ll share our journey on how we designed the trucks to fit our ice cream-crazed mindset and where we want to head post-Greenlight.

Initial concept design

When creating a menacing ice cream truck, you’d think that the soft sell of a truck covered in rip-off childhood heroes playing a nostalgic jingle would be enough unchanged. But of course… we wanted to go further.

Commonalities of modern turf wars include loud jingles, overt signage, tricked out trucks and aggressive driving. Cone Wars is all about this peak hustle and a glaring sun beating down on a sweaty bundle of ice-cream obsessed human foot traffic.

These were our thoughts going into our first sketches.

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Driving in Cone Wars: simplifying 3D vehicle physics

By Hugo Scott-Slade, Technical Director

Another dimension of driving

When we built our 2D prototype for GDC, we knew driving was one of the key elements to the game’s feel. With no characters in the prototype, the personality had to come from the trucks and how each was controlled. The physics for the trucks were bespoke to the game so this meant we had a tremendous amount of control over the vehicle handling.

When we made the decision to take the game to 3D we knew that personality was just as important,but we quickly discovered this wasn’t a simple transition as the prototype was designed and tuned to be played topdown.
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Round up: concept development & prototyping

2015 was a massive year for Cone Wars. We went through rapid prototyping, concept testing at GDC and in some ways, went back to the drawing board to make a much better game.

Initial prototype and GDC

The first Cone Wars playable prototype was actually much more than a prototype as we wanted to dive-in and show the vision of what Cone Wars could be. After two months, we were so happy with the outcome that we took the game to GDC 2015 and showed it at a dedicated booth on the UKIE stand. Feedback from press and platform holders was awesome. But even though response was positive, it was important for us to hit as many players as possible for feedback. There were two key learnings we took away from GDC:

1. While co-operation and team play felt strong, it would have been an even better experience if the number of players in the game was higher.

2. Online multiplayer seemed a logical step and based on feedback, pulling the camera out from behind the truck into a third person perspective, felt like the perfect companion.

Prototype 2 and 3

After returning from GDC, we got stuck into development. Prototype 2 proved that our networking technology of choice was constantly changing, we couldn’t get the stable base platform we needed to focus on game code and it also lacked Steam networking support for our launch timeframe (all things we discovered as more documentation became available). Large open landscapes were tough to make feel alive and our low player count meant it often felt lonely being in the game world.

Unity had just released its new networking technology during the development of this second prototype so we experimented with game matchmaking — it felt incredible to play each other from different locations across London. The future of Cone Wars had to be online.

Prototype 3 began with superior knowledge of networking, we chose stable libraries and reduced the size of the game world and simplified the controls. It was beginning to feel like Cone Wars was heading back in the right direction.

What’s next

In the coming months we’re dialling up online multiplayer, vehicle physics and of course bringing you the creamiest of weapons.

Stay tuned for Summer 2016 when we launch Cone Wars to Steam!