Meet Jerard! He works with instructor Andrew (we know Andrew!) as part of Game-U’s Accelerate program. Andrew and Jerard recently tackled a new development project – a Project Spark racing game. Since Jerard’s a fan of horse races, this game is right up his alley!

Project Spark allows student game developers to create functional, highly customizable 3D games by combining the Biome, Paint, Sculpt, and Prop tools with drag-and-drop Kode tiles. Jerard and Andrew started with the Paint tool to give the blank game environment (the “world”) a summer meadow texture. Then, dialing back the scope of the paintbrush a little, Jerard selected a path-like texture to create a large circular racetrack. Finally, a third texture marks the end of the course.

Now it’s time for Kode to work its magic. With Andrew’s help, Jerard “koded” a game timer that tracks how long it takes the player to finish a lap of the race course. Until the computer detects the finish line texture, a new number variable (called Game Timer) is set to the continually-increasing default variable of Game Time, which is built into Project Spark and tracks the length of game play. Jerard then koded his Game Timer variable to display, in racing style, from minutes to milliseconds, in extra-large font at the center top of the screen. But wait! Couldn’t Jerard just add Kode to display Game Time rather than create a whole new variable? Sure, he could, but not if he wants to stop the timer when the player crosses the finish line! The built-in variable, remember, tracks time the whole length of a play session – and a play session doesn’t necessarily end because the player finished the race course. Jerard can’t stop the built-in variable from obeying its code, but he can create his own variable which will stop sharing Game Time’s information when he tells it to. Cool workaround, Jerard!

Once Andrew and Jerard finished the game timer, they gave the player a special wolf to ride (the race track’s long enough that the player needs a four-legged friend to help him!), and koded some special effects to display when the two friends finish the race. Fireworks explode in a suddenly dark sky to celebrate their victory!

Your racing game is off to an awesome start, Jerard. Thanks for sharing, and stay in touch. We’re excited to see your game take shape. Build away!

Accelerate, Andrew, game design, game-u, Jerard, Kode, Project Spark, racing game, special FX