Bongfish Interactive has released its Windows version of
Stoked Rider, a snowboarding game, and plans to offer a Mac version sometime this summer.
“A cool game for hot weather,” joked company spokesman Klaus Hufnagel at this week’s E3 Expo in Los Angeles.
Using a cel-shaded animation technique that mixes realistic looking terrain with animated-looking characters, Stoked Rider lets you take to the slopes of a mythical mountain range that’s inspired by Alaskan scenery. It’s a “freeriding” game, which means there’s no courses to complete, like there is in many console-based snowboarding games. Instead, the ultimate goal is to reach the summit. You do that by gradually earning better equipment, access to helicopters that can take you farther up the mountainside, new clothing and gear like better backpacks and helmets, and more.
Some of these objects, like equipment, are distributed randomly on the mountainside — you’ll see an icon nearby indicating their availability. Others are given to you in reward for having a good run, or for performing particularly great tricks.
Stoked Rider was licensed using Tommy Brunner’s name — Brunner is well-known in the world of professional snowboarding. Bongfish suffered a setback this past April when Brunner died in an avalanche in Canada during a film and photoshoot, but the company is trekking onward, fulfilling their promise to Mac OS X and Linux gamers to produce versions of the game for their platform.
The massive amount of terrain — 64 square kilometers in all — could make the game’s file size balloon, but Bongfish had conceived from the start that Stoked Rider would be distributed electronically. So the company developed a technique to procedurally generate the terrain the first time you play, which keeps the entire game down to the range of 50MB.
Even though the Windows version is already out in the world, Bongfish told
that their hope was to continue to develop the game over time with new capabilities. Multiplayer competitive play is something they’re presently working on, for example. It’ll take a different tack that direct head-to-head play, however: Instead, players will be attempting to outdo each other on runs over the same terrain — emphasizing speed and vertical drop.
Stoked Rider uses Ageia’s PhysX engine to control some effects; Bongfish confirmed that the absence of Ageia’s physics processing units (PPUs) on the Mac won’t diminish the game terribly, although it will reduce some effects, such as avalanches that are set off when your rider passes loosely packed snow.