The Flare Path on Volo Airsport

I had a chat with Tim Stone of Rock Paper Shotgun this week, which ended up in a lovely article about Volo Airsport and Becoming‘s wingsuit game. We talked about the next things on the todo list, the overal direction for the game, and some key inspirations.

It’s been a good reminder to blog more. Thanks, Tim!

Here’s some bits that didn’t make the final cut, but which might still be interesting:

RPS: Did you have any flight sim design experience before embarking on Volo?

Me: I did not have any flight sim design or game development experience to start with. Going with Volo as my first project was ill-advised in hindsight, and seeing it through is still a fool’s errand in a lot of ways. I’m happy to do it, though! I yearn for this particular flavour of game, and few others seem interested in making it.

RPS: What, specifically, inspired the project?

Me: Wingsuit basejumping exploded in popularity around 2010, mainly because cheap head-mounted cameras resulted in lots point-of-view Youtube footage. I stumbled upon videos from Phoenix Fly around then, and I remember stammering, agasp and aloud: “Y- you can do that with just your body and some fabric?” The sport looked at once elegant and clumsy, equal parts thrilling and serene. I was surprised no one was building a game around it.

That sparked memories left by Pilot Wings 64 and SSX Snowboarding, among other games. Easily disregarded as ‘arcade’ games, I tend to view these games as impressionistic, opinionated simulations. I am fascinated by complex systems, but I don’t want Volo Airsport to become a dry simulation experience. Seeing how these games carefully choose, accentuate and exaggerate what they simulate is useful. I’d also be disappointed if I couldn’t work some Shadow of the Colossus and Dark Souls influences in there! (I’ve not noticed this before, but all those games are Japanese. That probably says something.)

Chat in the Forums

I haven’t streamed anything on Twitch yet this week, my apologies.

We now have a discussion forum though! Come chat about the game, share screenshots and videos, and gently nudge me about making new builds.

I went to Indievelopment on Monday. The event wasn’t as interesting as last year (it was heavily geared towards students this time around, and talks had less oomph), but I had a good time with friends nonetheless. Drinks and discussions on ludology make for a good evening!

I spend an afternoon doing a code review for the work Frank has been doing. As mentioned last time, he has worked on the new GUI system and some other parts of the game. His style of programming is very different from what I’m used to (functional, as opposed to my mostly imperative approach), and we’re learning to find a middle ground.

The heartbleed bug in OpenSSL also prompted us to perform some updates on our servers, and to actually force blog administration to use HTTPS. I feel just a little bit more secure now.

Anyway, that finally lets me back at actual game development. Let’s code!

Development Updates

A quick update for today!

You can now catch me working on the game live regularly on Twitch.TV. I’m also more active on social media these days, so follow the m_zandvliet & voloairsport twitters for more immediate updates and streaming announcements. I even set up one of those things!

I have a couple of in-depth posts queued up that will outline both the more immediate and far-off plans I have for the game. Look for them this week!

The Aurora Wager V4 (And What’s Next?)

Download The Aurora Wager V4



  • Split-screen multiplayer support (just technically though, no real gameplay changes yet)
  • In-game graphics and input configuration screens
  • Overhauled wind field system (smoother, more variation, some interesting anomalies, less prone to crashing the physics engine)
  • Overhauled wind graphics (More particles, longer trails, wider range, optimized performance)
  • Linux version now comes with both 32-bit and 64-bit binaries

Continue reading

Site Update

I finally updated the site to the latest, fixed version of WordPress. Welcome back to hyperlinks and media embeds! I also organized the header so downloads for both Aurora and Volo are now easier to find. Those download pages will always point to the files you need.

Below all posts you will now find that Disqus is used to handle all our discourse. If you’re wondering where all the old comments have gone: They’re still here, just hidden. I’ll try and import them into Disqus in the next week.

I’ve set up a Feedback and Feature Request Page using Uservoice. I’m using their free plan just to see if I like it, and it only supports The Aurora Wager right now. The idea is that you can submit ideas for both games, or vote on existing ones. Popular ideas bubble to the top, and if we like an idea enough we can commit to putting it into the game. Keep in mind that this is just an experiment for now, but if you have some feedback for us please take a look there! It also has a knowledge base on which I posted a guide on reporting crashes and bugs)

An avid Aurora Wager player called Sam created a Wikia page for The Aurora Wager, check it out!

In typical Tinus fashion The Aurora Wager V4 took longer to create than promised, but it’s pretty much done. Some highlights:

  • Split-screen multiplayer support (just technically though, no real gameplay changes yet)
  • In-game graphics and control configuration screens
  • Improved wind field system (more variation, anomalies, less prone to crashing)
  • Improved wind graphics (More, longer trails, optimized performance)
  • Fixes to grappling hook physics
  • Flag now rotates with wind direction
  • Fuel amount per canister cut in half

Look for it this week! (Yes, definitely.)

After V4 is out I’m back on Volo Airsport for a bit. It needs love, and I have love to give.

Oculus Rift

I received my Rift developer kit this weekend! I’ve played around with it a bit, and have started adapting the code for integration into Volo and Aurora. First impressions: moments of intense wonder mixed with moments of intense seasickness. I’m excited, but there’s lots and lots of caveats. More detailed post coming next week!