My name is André Klein Martins. I have developed a PC kitesurfing game called "Kiteboarding Pro."
I am a sworn translator, a former IKO kitesurf instructor, and game development has been a hobby for many years.
When I started kiteboarding, I wanted to play a kite game, but there were no titles available. So, I decided to create one myself.
"Kiteboarding Pro" is an old project that I started many years ago, around 2011. Throughout the years, I dropped it many times and eventually lost sight of it.
However, around April 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, I got back to the game again but decided that, this time, I was finally going to finish and release it.
Since then, I rewrote and put most of the systems in place, redesigned the models, textures, animations, and graphics, and worked on it continuously.
Physics and Mechanics
"Kiteboarding Pro" - the title is not yet closed - uses simplified kite physics to make it more "playable."
For example, going upwind is much easier, as you can take a much steeper angle. I made this to support the gameplay and flow of the game.
In order to bring more variation and diversity to the tricks, I abstained from fixed animations. As a result, the tricks in the game depend on the physics of the engine itself.
Therefore, if you perform a trick, it should look slightly different each time you do it, depending on how much momentum you build up after pressing a key.
The most challenging thing during development is the programming of parts of the game that I find boring, such as the user interface.
Also, it was important for me to always keep a good performance above 60 frames per second on my setup.
At some point, I decided that I wanted to have a huge map with several islands. So, I had to find ways to keep the performance up at all times.
Consequently, optimization is a challenge that is always in the back of my mind.
Wind and Water Simulation
How did I integrate wind and water variables? The wind range can be changed in the game.
The lightest breeze corresponds to something like 8 knots, and the strongest wind might be around 40+ knots.
The size of the kite changes according to the wind's strength. Furthermore, small kites are a lot more hectic than big ones.
In the beginning, for new players, it can be tricky to control the kite and navigate the board at the same time.
I addressed this issue by letting the player get used to the controls in light winds first, i.e., allowing the player much more time to react.
Eventually, kite control will become natural - as in real life - so that the player can focus on doing awesome tricks or completing mission objectives.
Regarding the water, up to this point, the difference in water conditions is just cosmetic.
This might change in the future, though - I plan to add waves at some point.
Arcade vs. Simulation
"Kiteboarding Pro" is closer to an arcade or semi-realistic game than to simulation, and there are several reasons for that.
First of all, making a simulation is quite hard.
If something is off, a kitesurfer will notice it immediately. Doing an arcade game gives you much more freedom in terms of configuration.
Semi-realistic game mechanics allow me to include way more playful objectives which would be entirely out of place in a simulation.
The second point has to do with the latter.
I want to make the game appealing not only to kitesurfers but also to gamers in general. In the end, this is a game, and it should be fun.
For the simulation aspect, I personally prefer to kite in real life.
I plan to release the game on Steam as an early access title at the end of the third or fourth quarter of 2021.
Future Improvements and Add-Ons
To make it an even better game and improve its overall feel, I'd like to make changes in the water conditions.
For now, it doesn't matter if it is 10 knots or 40 knots. The water is just flat. So, some kickers and choppy water would be neat.
Furthermore, I put a lot of emphasis on the wake style tricks, as it is my favorite kitesurfing discipline.
I guess old-school, hooked-in tricks could get a little more love, too.
Further down the road, I definitely want to implement at least some board-off variations.
But "Kiteboarding Pro" already has many features and options powered by interactive artificial intelligence.
You'll find variable wind conditions, ramps that give you an extra jump boost, and two core mechanics modes - hooked-in and unhooked riding.
There's also a big, exotic thematic map with several islands to explore in the Caribbean, physics-driven tricks, sliders, and other objects that can be grinded, like a high-tension power line.
Last but not least, you can explore a story mode with mission objectives to complete and a freeride mode to ride around and relax.
I've already developed extra map prototypes which will be added to the game in the future - an ice map, Portuguese beaches, a lake environment, etc.
Unfortunately, due to the game engine's limitations, it is not possible to release the kitesurfing game on video game consoles.
Words by André Klein Martins | Developer of "Kiteboarding Pro"