Radiopatrullen: History

Developing this game was a nightmare. I brought it on myself when a guy from the Swedish radio network Radio City contacted me about creating a Java game for an ad campaign. The theme would be radio and Toyota cars. He suggested something simple first -- a "Breakout" clone. Unfortunately, I considered that beneath my dignity as a serious game developer (to no small extent because there simply isn't any logical connection between Breakout and cars/radio) and wanted something that would be both unique and a challenging project. I should have kept my mouth shut.

We agreed on a game concept derived from the classic Rally X. In our case, the player would drive a Radio City company car, collecting certain items and bonus objects, while avoiding hitting pedestrians and other cars. It sounded simple enough. If I kept the graphics slightly primitive and cartoony, I figured, it shouldn't take long and I budgeted 60 work hours for the project. After all, I'd done a 4-way scrolling top view before, in Urbanoids.

I'm not sure where things went wrong. The game has lots of cool stuff in it (even hints of artificial intelligence when other cars stop at crossings and honk at slow pedestrians), but somehow it't not all that fun to play. Controlling the car at high speeds is way too difficult and downright annoying at times. I guess part of the problem was that I insisted early on to try a "realistic" approach to the car and the streets. The car had to turn smoothly and actually rotate instead of just flipping 90 degrees when you turned the wheel. That eventually led to a whole bunch of feature requests (at one point there was an airplane dragging an ad banner across the screen during the ambulance sequence, but I have mercifully excluded it from the version I keep on my site) and many awkward technical solutions.

I stopped keeping count of my work hours towards the end, but I think I went at least 100% over budget. The result definitely wasn't worth all the trouble.