This week I've been working on a 3d mockup environment for a new project. It is going to be a car game. I can't tell you that much about it yet though.
The game does feature big jumps, they are actually a big part of the game. These jumps should be easy, spectacular and inviting for the player to take. The player should be able to just drive on a ramp, perform the jump and land almost perfectly on the other end without much of trouble to continue driving. It was my job to test several jump setups using the mockup to see what kind of distances, heights and speeds we should use. We also wanted the jumps not to be too low in height, it should look spectacular!
The first step I took was to gather information of what we already got. I already had a test version of the game with the main physics up and running, so I could check how the car behaves on the mockup. I knew that our car has a certain speed at the moment of jumping, behaves in a certain way in the air and while landing. I was not able to change the car speeds/handling for this test. I started by just setting up a simple jump over an imaginary river or cliff. I used big numbers to quickly test what works and what doesn't. For example, the first jump I made was planned to be 10 meters in length. This jump felt way to short, I instantly jumped over the landing zone. Therefor I increased the length by, easy numbers, 10 meters. So now I had a jump of 20 meters in length.
This was already more like it, but still a bit to short. Most of the time I still landed to far over the landing zone, so the distance wasn't far enough and I increased it by another 10 meters. This did the trick and I was now able to land pretty much perfect in the planned landing zone. However I wasn't pleased by the height of the jump, it wasn't high enough. I started tweaking the ramp, to get more height out of it. First I tried 'straight' ramps, not curved. This worked fairly well but gave a harsh ' bump' while driving on the ramp when it got steeper. Curved ramps was the solution, and gave the car a smooth ride into the air.
Now the jump was looking good and it felt 'big'. However changing the height of the jump also influences the jump distance. I reduced the jump length by 5 meters, and reduced the angle of the ramp slighty which gave a perfect jump with good height. The hard part is to give the player enough air time to enjoy the view as well as making the jump not to short in length. I hope to be able to tell you more about this game soon, it is going to be a pretty interesting project :)!