Ubisoft's Starlink: Battle for Atlas successfully captures the feel and fun of playing with toy spaceships, and at the 2019 Game Developers Conference this month you'll get the chance to see exactly how the Starlink team pulled it off!
In his talk on "Starship Physics and Controls that Feel Real: Bringing the Toys of Starlink to Digital Life" (part of the GDC 2019 Programming track of talks) Ubisoft Toronto's Michael Wasilewski will walk you through how the team brought the digital ships of Starlink to life, and made them feel like toy spaceships.
According to Wasilewski, the tricky bit with highly configurable vehicles is tackling the ensuing combinatorial explosion of tuning that comes from each part affecting the outcome. He'll show you how the Starlink team wound up relaxing the coupling between physics and gameplay to create more interesting environmental impacts, and dig into the nitty-gritty details of making digital ships that "feel" like physical toys a child might play with.
It's an intriguing talk, and you can expect to walk away an understanding of how small sets of reusable behaviors can define how a vehicle handles and looks on screen while keeping tuning from design under control. You'll also see how the techniques for impactful environmental collisions and subsequent recoveries used in Starlink can be applied to other games with vehicles, so make time in your schedule to check it out!
Further details on this talk and many more are available now on the GDC 2019 Session Scheduler. There you can begin to lay out your GDC 2019, which takes place March 18th through the 22nd at the (newly renovated!) Moscone Center in San Francisco.
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