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Foreword:

After many attempts and failures, I realized what my biggest problem is: And that was not only choosing the right project, but also working with the right person, without whom I would never have been able to realize this project.  

The main goal of this project is NOT to invent a new game idea that will be realized, but to make the most of an existing project! And there are many ways to beautify and polish a normal game when considered. And here lies the whole secret! Be warned, because this is where you can do everything wrong too!


Step #1: Choosing a game!

The truth is, almost every game package in the unity asset store can be a working candidate to make a better version out of it. It should contain the complete process of a fully playable game, from a main menu till the game over screen, to at least one kind of upgrade feature, such as changing avatars or buying new items. That helps a lot to keep the focus on the main things that need to be changed, to finally make the game at least more attractive and eventually more playable.

We, for example have chosen the X-Racer Package from the Unity asset store. The package was about $70 and is a fully working and ready to publish mobile game with a small integrated shop, in where you can buy avatars of your spaceship with your earned in-game currency/points.

As I mentioned before, the goal is not to create a complete new game! The idea is to polish the game in such a way that one would think that a big company has done it, who planned and worked out the game from the beginning.  Therefore, we will add new ideas and innovations to the game in order to achieve something new.

So, let's ask ourselves what are the key components to change a game from the outer shell? Graphics, Sound, Gameplay & Story, right?

Let’s say you have changed all the audiovisuals but it’s still the same game, right? So what’s missing? What can we do to make the game more appealing?  Let’s analyze the current game state from the aspects of gameplay and its substance.


Current state of the existing gameplay and elements:

X-Racer is a simple and complete endless runner game. The goal is to come as far without crashing into any obstacles. Liike the famous iOS and Android smartphone titles Subway Surfers, Temple Run or Sonic Dash.
It plays well and it has already two Items implemented. One is to get faster for a certain time and the other to rise your score points. Hm, not really versatile, but no matter!

Now, there are many ways to make the original game more appealing and attractive.

But hey, what is the most thing people want and you’ll find it in almost any japanese game out there? Characters and their interactions that show “our everyday problems”! So, I added a character to the main menu screen. Our game plays in a fictional World, so imagine the problem that our pilot has by the by the following image:


The Development of Tonbo-X

When it comes to developing a game, it mostly starts with a small idea of the core game concept that is first prototyped before it gets polished further. Inventing something incomparable is definitely the biggest challenge and usually far more time-consuming.

But what if we take an existing game package as a base construct, that contains a simple game from the main menu to a small shop etc., with the plan to change this modest game to a complete new triple-A title?

We are curious about what we will achieve and are happy to share with you the working process where we turn a “wooden boat” into a beautiful “luxus cruiser”


Yes, our main protagonist is facing an explosion while he is about to enter his spaceship! A emotional beginning, that points you right into the action. Now, imagine a film sequence, how the pilot enters the ship to dock off and escape, meanwhile the reactor/spacestation behind him explodes! :) Doesn’t sound this better, than just a simple, stupid PLAY-Button that points you right into the action, without why, and who? See?! With such a characterization any simple game can be enhanced and at the same time made more interesting. After the spaceship has docked off, we will start a audio-conversation in the sense of a radio transmission, with the pilot and his “companion”, let’s say a “general”, who is a good friend of the main protagonist etc.

Exactly here we can put alot of ideas, a good story, nice dialogs where we can show the relation between the pilot and his friends. We could also put his family “on the phone” if we want, to make certain scenes or moments more important. What we need is finally the touch of the real life! =)

In the end that’s what we added to make the game way more interesting:

Technical changes:


Modifing the spawn manager
The original spawn manager is a crazy thing! Actually, the ship simply stands almost static on its 0,0,0 position and the author of the X-Racer moves the world towards the player ship. The spaceship only rotates/rolls in its X-Axis a bit, to pretend the players left right movements. Crazy right? Imagine, each time the player moves in a left/right direction (X Axis) the world gets moved toward the spaceship, instead of vice versa. We thought 1st that we can’t use this kind of approach, since it isn’t really performance wise. Imagine all the objects can’t be marked as static, which excludes any batching process. We didn’t want to turn the system around to save us unnecessary time and effort.

What we changed was:

The picture below  shows the changes in a simple way:

Enhancing the player controller with dynamic camera rotations/movements based on the user input (L/R)

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to be continued....