‘Back On The Road’…get it? Because you jog on the road in the game
I started working on Urban Jogging back in the summer of 2016, Undead Blackout was stuck in the Steam Greenlight limbo and so I thought it might be nice to work on a quick little mobile game. I had gotten the idea while jogging down Holloway Road while attempting not to run into the numerous pedestrians going about their day and actually quite enjoying the challenge of darting between them. Because I am stupid, I thought this game would be super simple to make and not take up all that much time. I am sure you can guess how that turned out. Anyway, once Undead Blackout made it through Greenlight that took up all my attention and so Urban Jogging sat there in a poor state, playable but nowhere near the game I had originally envisioned. So it is with a great deal of satisfaction that I can say the game is back and much, much closer to my original plans. It is actually…quite fun. Furthermore, it doesn’t slow down to 15 frames per second every time there are more than four people on screen.
While the core concept of the game remains the same, there have been a lot of changes under the hood. The player no longer automatically runs forward, that is all left up to the player now. Perhaps the biggest change though is not the controls but the freedom to run on the pavement or on the roads, the problem is that there are now a load of cars to contend with and they will definitely not be stopping if you get in their way. The game also looks a hell of a lot nicer thanks to the fancy new cel-shaded art style. When picturing this game I was definitely getting a Jet Set Radio vibe, in fact when discussing the music I simply said “Go listen to the Jet Set Radio soundtrack and do something like that. The game also runs (yes, pun) so much better thanks to me using PolyPixel Simply Poly City pack to create Urbantown rather than using hugely inefficient pre-built static meshes that are actually only good for blocking out a level. The difference in package size is pretty phenomenal.> This relaunch also marks the debut of Urban Jogging on PC with its release on GameJolt. As discussed here, releasing our mobile games simultaneously on PC is a crucial part of our business strategy moving forward. Similarly to Galactic Defence Squadron, getting this set-up for PC has been super easy thanks to the lovely Unreal Engine.
Urban Jogging will receive no more major updates beyond bug fixes and Unreal Engine 4 updates in order to keep it as up-to-date as possible. I am happy with the state of the game now and can leave it alone in order to focus on new projects. The totally rebuilt Urban Jogging is available now on Android and PC and will be coming to iOS once I manage to actually get it approved.
FULL LIST OF CHANGES
ALL FOUR TRACKS ENTIRELY REBUILT The four tracks now feature multiple branching routes, much better building models (thanks to SimplePoly’s city pack), and more dangers in terms of trees, lamp posts, traffic cones. The new buildings are also much better optimised than what was there before so the game runs much more smoothly.
CARS ADDED TO ROADS Yes the quiet roads of Urbantown have been brought to life with the addition of cars. Obviously, if you get hit by a car then that ends your jog, but being able to run on the roads adds a new level of strategy to the game. Stay safe on the pavements or beat your time with a potentially dangerous sprint across the road? The cars have been built with super basic AI in the sense they have absolutely no AI. At each corner is a collision box that states, Turn Right, Turn Left, etc. The cars only know to move forward. Very basic but the effect is the same.
ALL NEW CONTROLS ADDED The auto-running feature is gone, when and where you move is entirely controlled by the left joystick now. This gives the player loads more control and allows them to more easily sidestep some of the obstacles in the level. This also means the ‘Sharp Turn’ buttons have been removed from the mobile version of the game.
UPGRADED TO UNREAL ENGINE 4.19.0 Naturally this in itself brings a whole host of improvements in the optimisation of the game, however, it has thrown up an issue with the iOS versions as UE4 no longer supports Arm7 based phones and I cannot upload a version of the game that means previous users will no longer be able to play the game. As not many people bought the game I have decided to just create a new listing in the store. The Appstore is just the worst.
INCREASED FRAME RATE Multiple optimisations have meant that the game now runs better than ever on mobile and of course PC. There are larger levels with more pedestrians and cars and yet the game runs more smoothly than before. This is down to better-optimised objects in the game and better set up of blueprints on my side.
NEW CEL SHADED STYLE The cel-shaded style I always imagined the game should have has finally been implemented on PC and mobile. I wanted the game to look and sound like Jet Set Radio and we are not far off now.