Good job on getting this project that far. I tried it, and liked some things, but some other things need to be improved, and some bugs fixed. Note that i could only try the first race with only the first vehicle.
I liked the Wipeout-like vehicles. Given the choice i’ll always go for a landspeeder rather than a car, so i’m ok with that. They were really slow however. I know it’s the beginning, but even for a start, it’s slow. The keyboard control is also painful to me when it comes to curve : it seems it would be much better to control the turning of the vehicles with the mouse (which is used in the menus anyway), so that you can control how hard you turn. Right now with the keyboard, it’s very hard to get the timing to curve, even after some practice, and the ship often goes wild.
About turning, 90 degrees curves (the first race only has those) are tough when there’s no drifting system or anything to help here, it looks (from the models) that other race tracks have more sensible curves, but i couldn’t play them.
Another problem is the AI, that makes the races a bit boring : it always drives the same way, right in the center of the road, and never fails anything, and has same max speed as the player, so what happens is that either the players tries to follow after his first fuck-up and can never hope to catch up, or he doesn’t fail and manages to catch up to the AI vehicle through “cheating” at the curves, going a bit outside of the road to reduce the distance to go. This shouldn’t even be possible, and is not in many car games i’ve seen (including the Wipeouts). I’m not sure if making it a necessary mechanics to win was on purpose, but it doesn’t seem good to me. Also, i can never be sure whether i’m still on tracks or not (or if there’s a way to know, i missed it).
After getting that i had to “cheat”, i could finally beat the first race, and then no unlock happened, all i could do was restart that race. This is most probably a bug, if not it should be made more obvious how you unlock stuff (and why lock everything? i’m ok with the unlocking principle, but only one race and one vehicle to start with is cheap).
Maybe controls are listed and can be configured somewhere, if so i missed it, and had to guess by trial and error how you change the view (nice option!), how you use powerups, and i’m still wondering if there’s not some important, game changing command that i missed. A little frame with a list of controls could pop up on the first race or something.
A word about the art : that was probably not your main focus while making the game, but it’s overall still very placeholder’ish for now. It wouldn’t cost much to have better models for the ships, nicer decor elements, and so on.
I liked the bloom on powerups, really nice effect. I like how there’s a skybox, music and 3D sound, a main menu, options menus (clicking on changing screen resolution and some other things in there crashes the game, by the way), all these little things that help a tech demo to become a game, and it’s obvious you’ve put a lot of work in that game project. Still, i wouldn’t call it pretty much finished yet.
I think the biggest improvement to make would be to add physics to your game. Right now, bumping another vehicle, colliding into a tree does… nothing, you just stop, or slow down, but none of the usual consequences of such impacts. Adding some Bullet would greatly improve the general feel of your game. I’m aware that would imply rewriting a lot of the current code, but if you can afford it, it will be well worth it.
To sum up : add physics, smooth mouse control, more interesting / challenging AI, and improve the artwork little by little (or get an artist to join you).