So what is Wave Break I hear you ask. It’s a question I had to ask myself because it’s a game I only heard of a few days ago. But surprisingly it was shown off a year ago! I’ve no idea how this slipped under the radar for me but now that I know about it, I just had to find out more.
As soon as I saw the start of the trailer I thought, is this a new Wave Race game? Nintendo aren’t making one so why couldn’t this be it. But it soon became evident that it was not. Not that it’s a bad thing at all, because it’s got skateboarding mechanics on boats, along with weapons and cute characters all wrapped up in a 80’s Miami style package. Think Wave Race meets Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater meets GTA Vice City. This is surely a recipe for success, right? It at least looks that way but as I haven’t had a chance to test for myself I reached out to one of the programmers behind this game to let us hear a little more about what you can expect from it.
Thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions, first off would you like to introduce yourself to the readers and tell us what exactly Wave Break is.
Hey. My name is Coty Getzelman, I’m the lead engineer on Wave Break. Our game Wave Break is a modern return to the extreme sports genre. It’s a skateBOATing game with tons of tricks, explosion, and cold-blooded murder.
You said that you studied how the waves worked in Wave Race 64 to help with making this game, could you explain what you did?
When I first started prototyping Wave Break, I really just wanted an excuse to work on GPU accelerated water simulation. I spent a lot of time reading both older and newer research papers on the topic and implemented quite a few of them. However, a lot of these methods were still too slow for real time applications at the ocean-scale I wanted for our game. So, I was thinking about how some older games got away with such convincing results, for the time. Wave Race 64, of course, was first to come to mind. I played through it again while taking some notes about various nuances of the water and gameplay. It’s pretty obvious after playing it that they aren’t really doing anything crazy, it’s really just a big interconnected spring system. Thinking about it, most shallow fluid algorithms really do just boil down to a simple spring system, when actually implemented. So, I took a crack at it and did just that.
Wave Break takes it a step further than just a big interconnected spring system, of course. Lots of tech has progressed over the last two decades! The simulation includes foam creation and diffusion, wind generation, two way rigidbody coupling (players that move fast in the water will create waves, which other players can ramp off of), very complex visuals such as real time reflections, real time caustics, and even volumetric shadows. My favorite visual effect is how, in certain areas, the waves will refract light onto walls.
Wave Break was originally going to PC only, isn’t that right? What made you come to the decision to bring the game to consoles and is there any reason why you are launching on Stadia first over the other consoles on the market?
We definitely originally wanted the game to run everywhere possible. We started development on PC because it is basically friction-free development. You can get a lot done because of faster iteration times. Unfortunately it became clear that we were not going to be able to finish the game with the limited independent funding our studio has, so we looked for outside sources of income. Funktronic Labs is pretty good about staying independent, because we usually do contract work in-between our creative titles. Wave Break has had the longest development cycle of any of our products so far, so we’ve been pitching it to publishers and platforms for additional funding. Google gave us a very generous deal that will allow us to finish the game and bring it to every platform we originally wanted to, with some bonus content!
As mentioned on your site the console ports are ‘coming soon’ and I’m looking forward to playing this on the Nintendo Switch when it releases. But are there any firm announcement dates or is it still in the works?
We can’t say exactly when yet, just that the game is coming out first on Stadia and soon everywhere else. We’re hoping to do a simultaneous release for PC and consoles, but it’s a very difficult challenge to do that, as each platform has its own challenges to overcome. We will try out best!
Will the versions of the game vary from platform to platform or will they all be receiving the same treatment when rolled out?
I’m definitely going to try my damndest to get every update on every platform as soon as possible.
Will there be cross platform play?
Unfortunately, no. We’re using APIs per-platform to connect peer-to-peer and using each platform’s forms of relay servers, so cross-platform isn’t really on the radar.
As a collector (as are a lot of my readers) I have to ask, will there be a physical version of the game available when it does come to consoles?
That would be great! I’ll need to talk it over with the team.
It looks like everything is customizable, the characters, boats and weapons, are there any plans for custom maps in the future?
I’ve been wanting to do a level editor since day 1, it’s on my personal wishlist to get one out if possible.
I believe we’ve seen clips or pictures of 4 of the maps, how many maps are available in total?
Wave Break will be launching with 4 (large!) maps. We’re going to be making more after the game launches, which will be released as updates to the game.
(I clarified this after the interview and they will indeed be FREE updates not DLC).
From the clips I’ve seen the multiplayer is split vertically, is there an option to split the screen horizontally instead?
I had not really thought about it, haha. If this is a personal request, I’ll see if I can get the UI working in a way that is comfortable with horizontal layouts, too. My personal favorite layout is something I recently implemented: multi-monitor split-screen. If you have a multi-monitor setup: put the game into exclusive fullscreen mode and it will try to match the number of players to the number of monitors you have. You need a beefy PC to run this, but it feels very cool!
If you want to play the game before anyone else, be sure to look for it on Stadia when it releases this summer. You can also wishlist the game on Steam here.
For a game that started off life as a boat VR driving game it definitely has developed into something completely different! With 3 or 4 game modes from the get go, a single player campaign with levels unique to that mode. Couch multiplayer or online multiplayer experiences you’ll have plenty of content to keep you occupied when the game launches later this year!