The time has come! Tomorrow, “Trail Boss“, the next game in the Pumped BMX series from Adam Hunt drops on iOS and Android! We’ve been anxiously awaiting this one since the first hints that the game was coming well over a year ago. The game might resemble the previous Pumped BMX games, but this BMX game is a complete rebuild from the ground up to make it 3D and give the game a whole different look from the past games! With the release coming tomorrow, we figured we better get ahold of Adam Hunt, the games developer, to get the low down on this new BMX game that’s bound to keep you guys glued to your phones for the next few weeks and months! Check out what this game is all about below!
The Trail Boss game is dropping August 27th. Can you tell us a little bit about when this project originally started for you and why it took a little longer than other Pumped BMX games in the past?
Yeah, sure. After I finished Pumped BMX 3 I was honestly kind of sick of it – I’d been making essentially the same game for 5 years and I’d had enough! I played around with doing something totally different, maybe snowboarding or not even a sports game, but kept coming back to this idea of ‘3D Pumped’. It felt different enough to be interesting to work on, but similar enough to be something fans of Pumped would be into.
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Once I decided I was going to give it a go, I had to figure out how it was actually going to work! And that turned out to be a pretty long process. I tried loads of different stuff, starting with really just making ‘3D Pumped’, pumping mechanic included. That SUCKED. It’s basically impossible to time your landings when you’re following the player from behind. Then I tried loads of other techniques, tweaking the formula until I finally ended up with the weird physics / not physics blend that Trail Boss is today!
So that took a while. And then just the scale of the game took way longer than planned. Each level is way more complicated than any Pumped level. The level design takes ages, then each level has to be custom filled with trees, rocks, etc etc. It’s a big game, and I definitely underestimated the amount of work it was going to take. Overall it’s taken a year longer than planned, haha!
This game is based around the original Pumped BMX style, but it’s actually completely different, right? Can you tell us a little bit about what makes Trail Boss different from the Pumped BMX games?
Yeah exactly, the original idea was ‘Pumped but in 3D’, but it definitely morphed into its own thing, which was basically why it’s called Trail Boss and not ‘Pumped BMX 4’! As I said, there’s no pumping, it doesn’t work in 3D – you need the Pumped side-on camera angle to be able to time your landings properly. You can also steer, so you’ll find yourself carving around berms and doing big transfers between lines! The controls are also totally different to allow for steering, and with that comes a spin / flip system which feels way more ‘direct’ than holding a spin button. Honestly I’d say the biggest similarity is that it’s a BMX and you have to do some tricks to complete challenges!
Clearly there were a lot of details to work out with the new style and movements! What would you say was the hardest part to get right for this game? How long did that take as far as overall production time?
Yeah, the physics and controls were definitely the two things that took the longest to get right. I was still dialing them in after a year, maybe even a year and half! Aside from that stuff, getting all the terrain around the jumps dialled was very labour intensive. So basically for each level I designed the course without any ground – the jumps are just hovering in the air to start with. Once the level design is final, or nearly final, I have to sort of sculpt a terrain around the jumps, which takes a while! With Pumped once I got the core mechanics working the actual content production stuff didn’t take that long, but with Trail Boss the content production was a huge chunk of work.
Now that the game is wrapped up, can you tell us what some of your favorite features are for the game that weren’t available in the past?
My personal favourite is the spins – you just swipe to spin, it so simple and it just works. I love a good elegant solution, haha. Aside from that I also love the skids, they’re awesome fun to do.
The previous Pumped BMX games have pretty extensive maps. How many did you build out for Trail Boss? Do you have a personal favorite map?
There are 40 levels in Trail Boss, so not quite as many as Pumped, but each level has way more re-playability. Some of the levels are these super technical, transfers-all-over-the-place levels where you sort of need to learn your way through. Those levels are my favourite, I love playing around with new transfers and different lines. I’m still finding new lines today!
Did you add in some new tricks as well that you couldn’t do in the previous games? I would assume there was actually some tricky work that went into just getting things like turning on the berms dialed in?
Skids are probably the big one to be honest. But yeah, the turning round berms was really fiddly. The move from basically 2D physics to 3D physics was a lot harder than I expected, and there was a lot of learning involved at every step of the way. I’m still not 100% happy with how turning works, but 99% of the time I think it feels right. There’s a little room for improvement there if I make Trail Boss 2, haha!
I know you have worked with different Pro riders in the past games, and I believe Liam Eltham and Dan Lacey have helped out a fair amount with testing and helping to make it as dialed as possible. Did you have any assistance from any guys this time around?
Yeah, Lima has helped again with this one. He’s been playing it since the early days giving feedback on the controls, and then level designs, and then doing shit loads of testing over the last couple of months! I’ve also had help testing from a slightly wider group of beta testers this time around – special shout out to Mark Taylor of Clay Division / Sheet trails, and Matt Dalley for the massive amounts of testing they’ve done too!
With Trail Boss, how many games does this make for the Pumped BMX series between phone apps and console? I feel like it’s 5 or 6 now? I would assume you never imagined it turning into this when you started the first game?
There’s Pumped 1,2,3,+,Pro, and now Trail Boss. So yeah, 6 games, haha. That’s absolutely insane to me! Pumped 1 was a game I made in my evenings and weekends whilst working full time, and now in less than 2 years I’ll have been making games for a decade. Mental!
The Pumped BMX series is apart of Yeah Us! Games, which I would assume is the parent brand for your games. Do you have any non-BMX style games in the works? I feel like you might have some fans that would be down to play anything you make.
Man, I’ve got so many game ideas! I really want to make a snowboarding game at some point. A MTB game. Maybe another Pumped game. A non-sports game! Maybe a Trail Boss sequel! There’s loads I want to do, it’s just a matter of time really, games take a long time to make and there’s only one of me. I’ve toyed with the idea of hiring people, but video games is a very risky business and staying small is a good way of keeping the risk low. Which is a very boring answer, but I’ve got kids to feed and mortgage to pay, haha.
Having said that, I’m toying with the idea of doing something really small next as a sort of palate cleanser before the next bike game. So we’ll see!
Trail Boss is available Tuesday, August 27th. Can you tell us where people can download the game when it drops and what the price is?
So it’s going to be out on iOS and Android. You can pre-order on iOS now, just search ‘Trail Boss’ on the App Store. The price is £3.99, and I think that actually translates to $3.99 too these days. Thanks Brexit.
I’m hoping to get it on consoles too at some point – I might even try and do it myself!
Probably something you’re a bit used to by now, but I saw a comment about somebody talking about downloading the game for free. Care to share what went into making this game a reality? The amount of time has to be unreal!
Haha, oh yeah the Instagram comments? Yeah, I’m not stupid I know people download games for free. I used to do it when I was younger. But don’t boast about it to my face, y’know? It’s not big and it’s not clever, you just come across like a total dick, haha.
So yeah, it’s 3 years of my life. Paying for all the software you need to make a game. Paying for all the hardware, test devices etc. Paying artists, sound guys, animators, testers. It’s well over $100,000 just for that stuff, and that’s not including my salary. Games don’t appear out of thin air.
What’s next for the Pumped BMX series or other BMX games? I recall there being a rumor of a possible street version? Maybe a park version? Any hints at what you might be interested in?
I’d love to make a street game at some point, but it wouldn’t be a Pumped game, I’d call it something different. I might make another Pumped game at some point, it all depends how Trail Boss does to be honest. What would you like to play next? Haha.
How can people keep up with you and your future projects?
Instagram (@pumpedbmx) seems to be the media of choice. I’ll be honest, I’m not a big social media guy, so I just ramp it up when I have something to promote, haha. But yeah, if there’s anything going on instagram will be where I’ll definitely post it!