Interstate '82 Design Changes

Local Ditch > Interstate '76 > Articles > Zach Norman I '82 Post

During the development of Interstate '82, the team behind the game opened up a forum to communicate directly with the Interstate community. The Interstate '82 Initiative, as it was christened, was a place to share ideas, discuss the upcoming I '82, and of course, hype people up to by the game. At this point in time, there had been a lot of negativity about Interstate '82's simplified combat structure. Game director Zach Normal expresses his justifications below:

The single player game was too hard, the interface was cumbersome at best, the missions were confusing at times and yes the damage system was too detailed to be very useful (this is not my opinion, this comes from a ton of player feedback compiled in the months just after code release).

Now, I liked the damage system so I kept most of it in tact. The only changes are that Armor and CR are combined into one value and facings are gone.

We did this for three reasons;
1) to prevent a car from turning red with one shot from a flamer
2) to make an enemy car's status indicator mean something, and in the case of I'82
3) to give the driver, in a game where you must choose when to exit the car, some kind of idea when to exit the car before it blows up. In i'76 you have no real idea when you are going to die (or how close you are to death).

This aspect of the game has its good and its bad points in my opinion. The good points are as mentioned above, however the bad points are things such as, when rammed, you are hit hard and all your status indicator drops dramatically. At least in I76, the damage was mostly confined to the chassis, with external armor unaffected.

The problems mentioned above were cited over and over by players like yourselves and beta testers too.

We are making the game more fun.
We are making the game more intuitive.
Please trust us.

Enclosed is a bit of the damage design section of the I'82 design document:

"Damage System After weighing the player feedback, we found the dual configuration of armor and chassis reinforcement in I'76 was slightly redundant and unnecessarily cumbersome to the user base (most pollees never even changed stock A/CR values, much less knew that they could. The quad-sided system caused a great deal of confusion as translation issues arised from a single bar on screen representation - CS was bombarded with calls concerning damage bugs due to unkillable "red" cars. We've therefore decided to simplify and consolidate in I'82. Armor and chassis reinforcement will be combined and represented to the player as "armor."

In addition to a single value for armor, there is also a value for "internal defensive damage value." (The stuff that soaks damage after the armor is gone.)

This is not to say that individual part damage indicators are gone, they are not.
As a result, all cars have a finite total DDV per chassis (Defensive Damage Value) which is directly related to the SUM of both "Armor" and "Internal" DDV.

The damage system interface will contain one "damage bar" which indicates the total remaining DDV for the vehicle. Weapon AND Collision attacks are applied first to "Armor" and THEN to "Internal" once armor is depleted in a linear fashion. (Damage zones no longer exist per se.) All damage is applied in the same way to first one then the other.

The main difference between internal and armor DDV (besides interface) is that only after the first "point" of Internal DDV is removed can "Parts" begin to malfunction.

* Note: Although a car's damage bar is divided 50/50 visually, the amount of damage that the armor side can take does not decrease at the same rate for all cars. Each chassis size has a standard amount of armor that it is equipped with, but the user may customize the car to carry more armor by adding armor mounts. (see Shell Design below) The more armor a car is equipped with, the slower the armor will decrease (and the height the weight, slower the accel, etc.). The bottom line is that the amount of armor is not the same on all cars even though the visual representation of the bar is the same size.

Malfunction and you: Once a vehicle's "Armor" DDV is depleted malfunctions may start to occur. A malfunction is considered to be a performance degradation and associated Audio as applied to a vehicles "Parts" (i.e. engine, transmission, brakes, and suspension). Malfunctions coincide with damage events, i.e. they happen as a hit occurs and while DDV is lowered. During the deterioration of the "Internal" DDV an algorithm will determine the potential for malfunction (i.e. engine, transmission, brakes, and suspension).

The lower the "Internal" DDV the greater chance of parts malfunctioning.
Engine, transmission, brakes, and suspension, hereafter "parts", will be represented in the V-pit Damage Indicator by dummy lights. Once a vehicle Damage Indicator enters yellow (the armor's DDV will be < 0), the potential for malfunctions occurs.

"Parts" will have 5 Levels Of Malfunction, or LOMs, pristine = 4 through inoperative = 0. Each LOM will be represented by a unique rate of flash of the corresponding dummy light in the V-pit's "Damage Indicator". The more severe the damage to the part the faster the dummy light flashes. When a part is at LOM 0 (inoperative) the red dummy light will stay lit constantly."

In other words most players want a new damage system. I am trying my hardest to give it to them without destroying or degrading the spirit of the original design, a design I myself created. My job, as I interpret it, is to give the most possible fun to the greatest number of people.


I am confident you, readers of the I82 initiative board, will have as much if not more fun with I'82 than you did with I'76.