Supercross 2XL – the iPhone game
There is a game for iPhone’s that we all have here at Supercross.com, and we really like. As a matter of fact, it’s the best supercross game we’ve ever seen. We talked with former Supercross & Motocross Factory racer Stephane Roncada, who is part of the team that created the game … watch the video of it below!
How did the idea for the 2XL Supercross game come about?
Stephane: I have always wanted to play a great motorcycle racing game on a mobile device. When we first heard about Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, we looked at their capabilities and knew that we could create a very fun and high quality dirt bike racing game. The iPhone is a perfect platform for portable games, and being able to have a Supercross game in the palm of my hand was too tempting not to go for it!
How long ago did you start thinking about the 2XL Supercross game?
Stephane: We started thinking about making 2XL Supercross back in October 2008, when we finished our Xbox 360 off-road racer “BAJA: Edge Of Control”. The market for iPhone games was becoming bigger by the day, and the idea of completing a new game in under five months was very inviting. But, I have been thinking about something like this for years and until the iPhone came out, there really wasn’t any other device fast enough to run a portable game like 2XL Supercross.
What goes into making a game like this?
Stephane: We had a big advantage before we even started working on this game. We wrote the game engine for “BAJA: Edge Of Control” from the ground up, which allowed us to use it for 2XL Supercross. Of course, our Xbox 360 game engine had to be ported over to the iPhone, and optimized to run at peak performance on the new device. But having a great game engine running was a big step forward! It took a long time to port the engine to the iPhone, but it would have taken us three times longer to write a new one from scratch.
While the programmers were working on porting the engine to the iPhone and iPod Touch, the artists were prototyping new tracks and objects for the game. The weird thing was that we really didn’t know for sure how many objects the iPhone was capable of rendering. The first two months of the process felt like we were driving blind. I mean we didn’t have anything running on the new device yet and we were making and testing all the art on the PC. The very first time I saw the game prototype running on the iPhone, I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders! A few days later, the game engine was finally ported over to the iPhone and ready to put to the test. We already had a few tracks to play with and some objects and stadiums to dress them up.
Now that the engine was running on the phone, it was time for second phase; making everything look good at a high frame rate! The way you create things such as track side objects and textures is very different on the iPhone. It’s a small screen compared to a 55″ TV, and textures just don’t look the same. I know I had to dramatically change the way I textured tracks and objects, as well as how everything in the scene was lit, from the stadium lights. There was a lot of trial and error, and in the end I am very happy with the final result!
The next important aspect of the game was game-play … it doesn’t matter how good a game looks, if the game-play sucks, then no one will have fun playing it. The biggest challenge with the iPhone was figuring out how to make a dirt bike racing game fun to play without a joystick. Do we tilt the phone to turn or use an on screen joystick? Why not both? How do we make both control schemes easy to pick-up and play, and still fully capable?
There were a lot of questions, and a lot of work ahead of us. Thanks to the iPhone’s accelerometer, we were able to allow players to play the game by tilting the phone. It turned out to be very fun and rewarding, while still being easy to pick-up and play for new players. You can customize the steering and tilting sensitivity, as well as the tilt dead zone, to make the controls perfect for you. You can also pre-load the suspension before a jump to get more air by quickly flicking the phone forward, and pull off crazy back-flips by flicking it backwards right before you take-off. I love the tilt controls, they are so much fun to play with once you’re familiar with them! The different on-screen joystick controls are also tons of fun to play with, so there’s something for pretty much everyone.
The final step involved fine tuning the tracks, textures and lighting. We made sure that there was a wide range of tracks, from very easy to very hard, for everyone to enjoy. The later tracks in the game are more life-like and more technical then the first few, which makes them much more challenging. They are my favorites : )
What specifically is your involvement with the game and the company?
Stephane: I was fully involved in the creation process from the very beginning. I created many of the tracks, stadiums and all the track side objects, such as hay bales, towers, start gate, etc. I was also in charge of the textures of all of these objects, as well as creating the rider gear and bike graphics. I was also involved in the rider animation process, and helped develop and tune the bike’s physics and controls.
What is really cool about this game?
Stephane: I love the fact that it almost looks like a Playstation 2 game running on a cell phone! But the really cool part is how fun the game is racing against very competitive AI riders. I love ripping around a Supercross track by tilting the phone to control my bike, flicking it to pre-load and jump huge rhythm sections, hearing the great sound coming out of my 2 or 4 stroke, and throwing back-flips over huge jumps. I mean, what is cooler then being able to race a few laps around gnarly Supercross tracks wherever you are, whenever you want? Knowing that I have a Supercross game waiting for me in my pocket, and going with me everywhere does it for me … that’s the coolest part!
You can get the game now in Apple’s iTunes Store!
And watch the game video right here!