What's In Stock? A stock car racing game

I’ve begun work on my new game What’s In Stock?

After doing some “consulting” work on other projects, I decided to start my own.

I’ve been a casual fan of stock car racing for several years now, and still find it to be intriguing, from its appeal, to the criticisms made about it, to the criticisms that really should be made about it. Flawed products intrigue me, and it has a lot of flaws. However, it also has a lot of great stories and personalities, as well as the most exciting moments (for good and bad) of any sport.

In addition, I feel sports games have really abandoned meaningful career modes, making meaningful choices that impact your career. Fortunately, this is an aspect that CYOA games can handle pretty well, and since I’ve always been a fan of simulation games, why not take a stab at it?

Full disclosure: I’ve never dabbled in being a race car driver. I don’t know much about cars. Most of my knowledge comes from documentaries and observations from watching races and breakdowns, as well as some articles on the more tedious aspects. In addition, I feel choices should matter, that all of them should represent a tradeoff of some kind. Because of those combined factors, attributes may not work exactly how you might expect.

One last point: the great stories span decades, and I don’t think it’s an accident that NASCAR used to be more popular than it is now. Because of that, I did alter the timeline a bit. For example, the game begins at a time where the races are nationally televised, and the “minor” league racing exists, yet Talladega has not yet been built. Fans of NASCAR may not only recognize that is impossible, but also probably know why I want that reveal in-game. Also, while I hope this will be obvious while playing, I will be tweaking some famous situations to give the players a bit more agency in what happens and make the storyline more coherent.

In it, you play a stock car driver starting a career in the minor series, looking to get noticed. The main character starts between 16 and 26, and the game will progress through the entire career.

This is meant to be a career simulation style CYOA.

I just hit 10k words, most of it very similar code, but there is a complete playthrough of the rookie season so far. I still need to finish one of the paths as well as do the huge write-up of options after the rookie season based on performance. Still a few thousand words left to completely finish the chapter.

However, I wanted to see what kinds of seasons players have first, so I decided to post as is to get some data and feedback.

To play the demo, go here: https://dashingdon.com/play/kckolbe/whats-in-stock/mygame/

Please let me know what you think, but let me know how old you started, and your points at the end of your first season.

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Sorry if anyone just crashed, I just fixed an error

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This topic has earned me 3 separate badges now, all from 0 replies. Not sure how I feel about it.

Just to update folks on current work: right now I am spamming seasons and recording average scores with different ages and “optimization” levels to see where to expect finishes to be, so that when I write up the season recap (the one there now is just a placeholder), the text will make sense.

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Hey Kevin, It’s a nice read but it felt a little bland and text dump a couple times. Though the age implication is a great idea.

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Thanks for the feedback! Reading through it so many times, I think the “problem” is that at this point there’s only one other “character” (the veteran driver on the part time team), and his major scene isn’t even written yet.

As for the other drivers/owners, I haven’t really decided which personalities to put in which roles, leaving the bland experience you describe. Eventually, there will be memorable moments, mainly those adapted from NASCAR history, but I’m trying to hold off on those until the MC’s situation is more clear. The starting age helps set up what kind of career (and legacy) the MC has.

Unfortunately, that level of variety and customization means there will be a lot of bland moments and text dumps, as a career can hit 40 years, so “random events” will be a large portion of the finished product, but big moments and big personalities will appear…promise.

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Hardcore lurker, but I love racing so I’ll just say this is a really cool idea that I’ll be watching with great interest.

I started as a 19yo with the backmarker team, and ended up with 1066 points. Assuming this is the Latford system, with a 12 race season that’s roughly a 25th place average which seems accurate.

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Thanks! This is a huge confidence boost.

And 1066 is an unlucky season for 19. I did 100 tests at 16 with no upgrades except charisma, and averaged 1054, but there was a lot of variation. You can currently “cheat” and re-run the final score by going to the stats page and back. The method I used was a very simple 5-200 per race, with 5 points for 40th and 200 for first, no bonuses. At the moment, it’s impossible to finish last in a race if you have any driving ability, so that still needs to be ironed out.

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Great concept! Definitely very front heavy with the info dump, might be a way to organically introduce it Ex. A mentor type npc.
Cant wait for more. Till then boogity boogity lets go racing!

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The team choice does have a lot of text, and I could make some of it optional by moving it to a third option asking for advice, but not sure what else I could trim.

I have to admit that this was not a criticism I expected, as I was worried about the opposite.

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Hey Kevin!

First up, CONGRATS!! Awesome start, and I really like the idea of being able to follow a racer’s career from start to finish.

What I loved
As you know I’m a big fan of how much detail (and thought) you put into mechanics, and I’m absolutely pumped for this! I already have high-hopes for how the stats and choices will matter in the game, and though the demo was relatively short, I thought it gave a good preview of the scene of car racing in general, which I had no prior knowledge in.

I actually really enjoyed knowing how I did in various races - and was absurdly happy when I scored a Top 5 finish, and had also enjoyed toggling the possible ages / choice of the size of my team to see how that would affect things.

Just some quick feedback
As other folks have mentioned, I think the start could do with more action and/or character introduction, if only just to ease people into the game a bit more before going into the technicalities. For example, it would be awesome if the prologue could cut into an individual race, and describe it immersively, and then use it to ask a couple of questions about the player’s team, age, and so on. Of course, dialogue/encounters with some of the main characters would help to hook people in too.

All in all
I’m excited about what you’ve got here. I think converting the technical details into more of a “story/narrative” format, would help massively in bringing in more folks who might not be super interested in stock car racing/ making the game more accessible!

Best of luck!

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Thanks! I’m really glad you played it!

Initially, the high risk pass scene and the bump or not scene were part of the prologue to just establish those sliders, which do affect some behind the scenes at first, and will trigger special events in the future. However, I ended up moving them to specific races for balance reasons because I found I was “overtesting” certain attributes (right now the distribution is almost perfect).

There have been some consistencies in the feedback so far, though, and I have an idea that might help address them. Here goes.

THE PROPOSAL:
Instead of choosing a team, the player is put directly on the part time team.
Pro: Will cut two pages of text before the first race, allowing for a more balanced pace.
Will force the MC to interact with a specific NPC that is only briefly mentioned so far (the veteran driver you share a car with). This is a character I intend to come back to in the future anyways, so might not be a bad idea. The remaining scene for chapter one was going to feature him, so that would make some readers happy to have more character interaction, but that leads to…

Con: It wouldn’t hold up. Sure, in the short term, I can have a few interesting characters, but the vast amount of choices means either writing so many characters that they all blend together, or railroading certain chars to be where the MC is, which takes away some of the impact of making career choices. After all, this WILL be more career sim with story elements than story with sim elements. I just don’t write interactions well enough.

Thoughts? Not just for you, obviously, but definitely want to hear yours.

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I think the more “zoomed out” perspective of a career sim can be balanced with short, immersive “zoomed in” scenes of individual races - and starting with a scene with direct action (verbs, dialogue) would definitely help to hook readers and set the scene and help people imagine what stock car racing looks/feels like.

I think the closest I can think of in terms of this approach would be The Parenting Sinulator, where years pass with the child growing up but it’s centred around a collection of moments /scenes - e.g. an early birthday party, the child getting obsessed with computer games, etc.

Lastly, I think this sort of game would definitely be more suited to several key characters - dont know enough about car racing but off the top of my head, a rival might work, the veteran fellow who could later serve as a mentor(?), a mechanic(?? I dont know) etc. Essentially, people the MC would have lots of interaction with throughout their careers?

Of course, take everything with a pinch of salt! Just some early ideas to help with brainstorming. All the best!! :slight_smile:

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I can help with that part.

Rivals can and will absolutely work in this because every race car driver has a rival or two. Dale Earnhardt had Jeff Gordon, Rusty Wallace and Terry Labonte back in the 80s and 90s and it was all a great rivalry that fans still talks about to this day.

Mentor type character can help a reader learn about the racing world and the terms. Jeff Gordon who I mentioned was a 4 time champion ended up mentoring Jimmie Johnson in the ending of his championship winning ways who ended up winning more races and 7 championships than Jeff did.

Mechanic probably should be changed to crew chief since the crew chief is primarily the person that the driver talks to in order to get the car in top racing shape. And they’re also the ones who keeps the driver aware of who’s ahead or behind and if there’s a big wreck coming up ahead of you.

I would also suggest some interactions with the team owner since they’re the big boss and they often interact with all of their drivers. They’re also the ones who decides who gets to be hired on or fired from the team for any reason.

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@bored92 @burninglights I think introducing a rival early isn’t a bad idea. I had been planning on holding off on that until season 2, so as not to throw too much at the player, but a quick introduction wouldn’t hurt.

I guess if we are comparing to other games, I really wanted a more in-depth version of the Super Star Soccer Striker but not quite as in-depth as Extreme Ball (still WIP), as that one is likely going to be a multi-game career, which I just didn’t want to do.

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A quick introduction could be something like a driver crashing into you and you get angry over that because it took you out of the race because of their stupidity and do a post race interview where you rip them apart for it. Another good rival moment that happens later in a career could be similar to what Dale Earnhardt did to Terry Labonte at Bristol where Earnhardt purposefully spun out Labonte to win the race and infamously said in the post race interview on why he did it “I just wanted to rattle his cage.”

Edited: you could say I’m quite knowledgeable about how old NASCAR worked but don’t ask me about the modern times or how economics works for the team though. I stopped watching NASCAR in the 2010s because of rules taking away the excitment.

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I also used to be interested in stock car racing but now I am not that much interest in stock car racing as I used to be.

That is going in the quote book, thanks!

I have a small collection of NASCAR quotes to introduce certain scenes.

Lol i remember when “rub’ns racing”.

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Okay…did a re-write of Chapter One, giving a small taste of racing before diving into char creation. The new word count is just 8,600…LESS than it used to be. This is because rather than choose the full time or part time, you are automatically put on the part time team. So despite the lower word count, the amount of playthrough content has not decreased at all, actually went up slightly. You now have a better idea how you finished the season and what kind of options you will have for your second year.

I need to add an interaction scene still, but let me know what you think!

ch1v2 line 141: Invalid expression at char 10, expected NUMBER, STRING, VAR or PARENTHETICAL, was: OPERATOR [%]
this shows up every time i select the option.

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