kitesurfing game for everyone
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 first started kitesurfing I wanted to play a game of kite 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. Over the years I have let it down a few times and ended up losing sight of it.
However, around April 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, I returned to the game but decided that this time I was finally going to finish and release it.
Since then, I have rewritten and implemented most of the systems, redesigned models, textures, animations and graphics, and worked on them continuously.
Physics and mechanics
“Kiteboarding Pro” – the title is not yet closed – uses the simplified physics of the kite to make it more “playable”.
For example, going upwind is much easier because you can take a much steeper angle. I did this to support the gameplay and flow of the game.
In order to bring more variation and diversity to the figures, I refrained from fixed animations. As a result, the game’s tips depend on the physics of the engine itself.
Therefore, if you do a trick, it should look slightly different each time you do it, depending on how much momentum you create after pressing a key.
The hardest thing in development is programming parts of the game that I find boring, like the user interface.
Also, it was important for me to always keep a good performance above 60fps on my setup.
At one point I decided I wanted to have a huge map with multiple islands. So I had to find ways to maintain performance at all times.
Therefore, optimization is a challenge that always concerns me.
Wind and water simulation
How did I integrate the wind and water variables? The wind range can be changed in the game.
The lightest breeze is something like 8 knots, and the strongest wind could be around 40 knots and above.
The size of the kite changes depending on the force of the wind. In addition, small kites are much more choppy than large ones.
At first, for new players, it can be difficult to control the kite and navigate the board at the same time.
I solved this problem by letting the player get used to the light wind controls first, i.e. giving the player a lot more time to react.
Eventually, kite control will become natural – just like in real life – so the player can focus on awesome tricks or achieving mission goals.
As for water, so far the difference in water condition is only cosmetic.
That could change in the future, however – I plan to add waves at some point.
Arcade vs. Simulation
“Kiteboarding Pro” is more like an arcade or semi-realistic game than a simulation, and there are several reasons for this.
First of all, doing a simulation is quite difficult.
If something is wrong, a kitesurfer will notice it immediately. Making an arcade game gives you a lot more freedom in terms of configuration.
The semi-realistic game mechanics allow me to include much more playful objectives that would be completely irrelevant in a simulation.
The second point concerns the latter.
I want to make the game attractive not only for kitesurfers but also for players in general. At the end of the day, it’s 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 Q3 or Q4 2021.
Future improvements and add-ons
To make it an even better game and improve its overall feel, I would like to make some changes to the water conditions.
For now, it doesn’t matter if it’s 10 or 40 knots. The water is just plain. So a few kickers and rough water would be neat.
In addition, I put a lot of emphasis on wake style tricks, because it is my favorite kitesurfing discipline.
I guess the old-fashioned and hooked-up stuff could spark a little more love as well.
Further down the road, I absolutely want to implement at least a few board-off variations.
But “Kiteboarding Pro” already has a lot of features and options powered by interactive artificial intelligence.
You’ll find varying wind conditions, ramps that give you an extra boost, and two basic mechanic modes: hooked and unhooked driving.
There’s also a large exotic themed map with several islands to explore in the Caribbean, tips, cursors, and other physics-based items that can be crushed, like a high-voltage power line.
Finally, you can explore a story mode with mission objectives to complete and a freeride mode to ride and relax.
I have already developed prototypes of additional maps that will be added to the game in the future – an ice map, Portuguese beaches, lakeside environment, etc.
Unfortunately, due to game engine limitations, it is not possible to release the game of kitesurfing on video game consoles.
Words by André Klein Martins | Developer of “Kiteboarding Pro”