Craving for a different type of racing game to satisfy your need for speed in 2021? IndieBloom have you covered, unleashing Perfect Lap.
Created by the multi-talented, London-based UX, UI and game designer, Tim Wightman. Perfect Lap is a WIP (work in progress) mobile racing game, described by Tim as ‘Simply put, is a love letter to classic arcade games of past’.
If you ever played the cel-shaded racing games such as Auto Modellista and Cel Damage back on the PlayStation 2, GameCube or Xbox many years ago, Perfect Lap will bring back many pleasant, cartoony memories, that will be eventually brought to life on your mobile.
Why mobile first?
The main aim of the mobile version, was to actually be a simplified version of the game, not just in terms of scope or graphics, but in its execution.
This means that the user would boot up their phone, boot the game up, and within a few seconds be ready to play.
If you also enjoyed and were fond of the gameplay mechanics, UI and UX from defining car videogames such as the Gran Turismo series, wipE′out″, guidebooks, car magazines or gaming artbooks, all these elements were studied and analysed as explained throughout Tim’s blog. Mobile racing titles such as Asphalt 8, Real Racing 3 and Hovercraft: Takedown, the Need For Speed series (2015 and 2016 in particular), Forza Horizon 4, Project Gotham Racing and the OutRun series were also carefully analysed.
When asked out of being a UX, UI and game designer, which he prefers most and why, Tim states, ‘Most likely UX’. Explaining that ‘They all overlap quite heavily and often (e.g. data informed design)’. Plus, ‘UX has the most application not just in gaming, but in general. For that reason I prefer UX design.’ Adding, ‘Game design is the most fun for me but I will always be about application over everything else’. This may change however, if he ever does other genres.
Aside from video games and cars, Tim’s influences and inspirations may actually shock you, cars aren’t that big of an influence to him. Science fiction (especially of the cyberpunk type) affected him far more. The reasons being, is he simply loves the styling and look of the world. ‘It was high tech and grungy all at once, stylish and yet so ugly.’
While outside of racing games and Jet Set Radio (‘It’s unbelievably stylish and it is just simply cool‘), his other favourite games include being an avid Ninja Gaiden player for years, Tekken 6 to Tekken 7 (used to compete), along with being a very big fan of Shinobi, Onimusha and Nioh. In general, Tim values games that require high levels of awareness and reaction. With this he also loves games that make you look cool, by simply being good at them. Praising Doom Eternal as his favourite game of the last 10 years for this reason.
Need for speed
Thanks to Colin McRae, Tim was more of a Subaru Impreza person. But his favourite car models are between the Mk1 Mazda Miata, Mk1 Honda NSX, or the Viper GTS. In his own words, Tim explains, ‘MK1 Miata is the epitome of a fun, small sized car to me. The NSX was showcased by my favourite driver ever (Senna) and they both have flip lights. The Viper GTS is my favourite race car of all time.’ All iconic cars made even more popular due to videogames.
Making the game
Perfect Lap has been worked on for around 2 to 3 years, where Tim had actually completed major parts of it, then redone it entirely. Hence the title.
During the process, the most pleasing situation so far for him has been mastering the lighting, improving the textures and cel shaded look of the cars. This was to really go for a ‘Live action anime that was inside of a magazine feel’.
As an independent creator, the most satisfying thing making Perfect Lap has been the sense of speed, and maintaining it at a smooth 60fps. Tim further explains that the main aim is to make it run at 120fps for the PC version. Though it’s difficult to maintain that sort of solid frame rate and smooth response. When he makes it work, it means so much.
All this, however, brings challenges. For Tim he simply states, it’s been AI, and collision. Full stop. We can imagine this.
Any plans to release Perfect Lap on next-gen consoles you may wonder? Tim hopes that if he somehow gets a dev kit and the funds for a PS5/Xbox Series X he would LOVE to do it.
All in a day
Describing a typical working day, Tim explains that he works on AI, refining the car handling, working bit by bit on the track and then implementing some of the menus. He further adds, that he doesn’t really have a typical day per se, as he currently has to do everything. ‘Not that this is a bad thing, mind you.’
Giving advice to his past self when starting Perfect Lap, he states-
Just keep going. Don’t let the world around you, or the situations around you stop you from going. Don’t let lack of money stop you. Don’t let lack of anything stop you.
People are out there, and if they see that you want to make something of yourself, they will help you. The world, as much as it might feel that way isn’t out to get you. It never was. This isn’t just advice to my past self, this is also advice to those whom are suffering from imposter syndrome, mental health issues, or just lack of self esteem. Join a Discord, talk with people, follow artists, programmer Instagram pages, and get to talking.
We’re all human, and we’ve all dealt with these issues. You’re not alone.
True words indeed.
During 2020 COVID has impacted Tim in many ways. He nearly lost his sister to it, while sadly losing a friend. The woman (@Voxie) whom does his art for Perfect Lap and is also responsible for the mascot character had caught it too. He goes on to say that COVID cost him his job and affected him in every way possible. ‘I’m still here though, and so is my family, my followers and my projects’. Ending on a high note, he adds, ‘So, is it really all that bad?’
What does the future hold for Perfect Lap? Tim wants to have the game finished enough for early access by the end of 2021. With early access, some of the car models will be placeholders, so that some original cars can be modelled (some are already in concept art stage, like the game’s version of the Toyota Supra). While he’d actually love to hire a texture artist to overhaul/upgrade the visuals to the level he desires. Plus he’d like to hire someone, since he does not have the time at this stage. Overall, the aim is to unveil the game to the world and to ‘Keep improving it, and improving it.’
Tune into Tim’s journey through his Behance page, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube channel, along with his personal blog showcasing the development work of Perfect Lap. Which are always an in-depth, interesting read. Perfect Lap can certainly fill up that void for petrolheads. Many thanks once again to Tim taking the time out to enthusiastically answer our questions. As always, IndieBloom stays in first place for bringing you up to speed with all the latest indies.