Years before I visited Indonesia on a surf trip, I saw videos of the wave at Nias where surfers were speeding through long bottom turns and schwacking good hard turns off the lip, 3 or more hits on every wave. When I got my chance to go there, I thought, “I want to do that.” After getting there, on the trip of a lifetime, and surfing there for a few days, I was doing the turns just like the surfers were doing in the videos. It was insane. But actually, what I found was that I preferred doing a hard turn under the lip and pulling in for a tube ride instead. Wouldn’t it be great to have a video game where you could surf how you like in these different ways?
When making The Endless Summer Surfing Challenge I wanted to recreate that kind of real life surfing feeling in the game. Controls could be simple, but the surfing should be a simulation the way surfing is in real life, and allow for a wide variety of surfing styles.
After experimenting with different surfing models, a simplistic approach, using only left and right turning, while letting water physics do its thing, provided the most realistic surfing feeling and freedom of surfing expression.
The mechanics are simple. Small left and right turns let you pump for speed, while big turns let you keep speed, sharp turns like cutbacks and tail slides slow you down, just as would be expected in real life. Interaction with the wave is where the physics take effect and realism is achieved. Get onto a flat area and you will slow down, but the steepness of a wave will make the board go faster. This forces you to surf and read the wave the same as you do in real life surfing.
Best of all, you can surf using only two buttons. Catch the wave (yes you have to line up, paddle and catch it), press a button to stand up, turn and ride the wave. Once up and surfing, you only need to use the left and right buttons to do carving turns, bottom turns, swooping cutbacks, and to pump for speed.
Of course if you want to surf at the level in the Nias story, you will need a way to turn sharper, smack the lip harder, as well as launch airs. All of this is accomplished using only one other button. If you are going sideways hold the button and you will cutback sharper. If you are going vertical and want to slide the tail, hold the button. When you get speed and want to launch an air, hold the button. The longer you hold it the more the effect.
Why the same button for all these moves? The reason is that it makes the surfing more about reading the wave, rather than about memorizing button presses. When you ride a wave you need to know if the wave is steep enough to do an air or slide the tail, or if the wave is slow you need to know to cutback or extend your bottom turn, if the wave is running off, pump for speed or do a carving turn. After a little practice and familiarity with a spot you may even get to know when you can slash under the lip and pull into a tube ride.
There are a couple of other buttons to use while surfing and paddling, but they are more straightforward and somewhat less often used. There is a stall button, which slows you while surfing for speed control mainly for tube rides, a bail button to jump off your board, and a duck dive button to get through waves. And finally the often used “cheat” button that will return you to a great spot to take off. You will wish you had that one in real life.
Testimonial Story From A Happy Early Adopter
I’ve been surfing about two years now and though I feel I am pretty average in ability, I have an occasional moment of surfing glory on a good day. I consider myself a casual gamer and tried The Endless Summer Surfing Challenge surfing video game for the first time last week. I found it to be a little bit tricky to learn, and moved on to the challenge levels a little too early. After returning to the tutorial level and becoming familiar with the wave catching and turning, I got how the surfing works in the game and moved on to give the challenge levels another try.
Now I am able to use the wave and pump for speed, do cutbacks and I got really good at “schwacks” which is what they call off the lips in the game. My plan is to get really good at surfing before I invite my friends to play two player contests with me.