We brought the first screens and details of Codemasters Race Driver: Create and Race game last week, showing a glimpse of the simple but potentially quite fun track editor. GameSpot Australia managed to get some time with the game’s Lead Producer, Jamie Firth, to talk about some of the innovations that are, and aren’t, in the game:
GS AU: Are there any plans to give users the ability to upload their custom maps to a central server for others to download and time trial against?
JF: I can tell you that certainly won’t be available for this version of the game, but going forward, it’s certainly a direction we see it going in–a very community-orientated direction.
GS AU: The track-creation system seems to be easy to use. How much of the game development cycle has been dedicated to nailing this portion of the game?
JF: The track designer is very much our key feature for this title. It’s something we’ve been looking very carefully at from the beginning. We wanted to be able to generate these tracks as easily and simply as possible. To create a basic track, it’s simply a case of drawing a track on the touch screen, and then it’s ready, you can race. We developed it as we’ve gone. Certain things we didn’t think would be possible, but as we’ve gone through and experimented, we’ve actually found we could do things like racing the artificial intelligence on a track you’ve just created. At the beginning of development, we didn’t think that would be possible, but as we went through, we found that by encoding information inside track pieces and having the pieces look at what was coming next and interacting with the pieces it was adjacent to, we found we could actually train the AI to drive around the track against you. All racing games use a racing line to train the AI around the track, and they’ll have multiple lines they can move between if they should come off that. With the limitations of the DS in terms of how much processing you can do, that was always going to be really difficult.
Make sure you read the rest of the interview, where he calls the game a “grown up Mario Kart.”
Mad Tracks was finally released on Xbox Live just over a month ago (and then summarily patched), but it’s been available on the PC now for over a year. It seems the credit card exclusive purchasing scheme wasn’t working out for all gamers. So, to make buying the game easier, digital publisher Load Inc. is enabling gamers to pay via Pay Pal, and is even giving a 10% discount on the already cheap ($15) game for the first 100 purchasers to use the coupon code “Summer.”
Not a huge savings admittedly, but $1.50 is $1.50. You can make with the downloading at www.loadinc.net.
Pro-G dropped their (generally positive) opinions on FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage last week, and Eurogamer wasn’t far behind, posting up a very similar review, perhaps being a bit more harsh about a few glitches and problems, but ultimately slapping on the same 8/10 score:
Where Burnout has you racing through gleaming cityscapes and exotic global locations in a progression of increasingly shiny and improbable racing machines, FlatOut is all about ripping through rough tracks and hillbilly back-yards, weaving a trail of astonishing destruction in muddied, roaring old rustbuckets.
If you’re thinking, “well, that actually sounds like more fun” – you’re not wrong. Feature for feature, second for second, crash for crash; FlatOut is, quite simply, a better game than any of the recent incarnations of Burnout. It’s a gleeful, wanton rampage of a racing game, an orgy of vehicular destruction and high speed which makes Criterion’s well-loved series look sedate and old-fashioned.
There’s nothing we love more when it comes to modding than representations of … different racing series that give you a new sort of challenge when compared to the average formula or touring car mod. You know, like lawnmower racing, or giant-tired off-road buggies. So, in that spirit, check out the 2.0 relesae of the Truck Series Racing mod from modders Frank55 and Wardog. It features 36 trucks from marques like Mercedes, Freightliner, and Mack, all with engines putting out upwards of 4200 NM of torque (that’s 3,100 ft/lbs for the ‘Mericans, aka “hot damn!”). This new version also adds-on brake cooling, something the real pro trucks offer, and suspensions optimized for the new FFB Plugin. You can download it, where else, at rFactor Central.
If you haven’t decided whether DiRT is for you, this video review of the game from Gametrailers.com should help you make up your mind … or at the very least dazzle you with some very impressive graphics.
As we mentioned yesterday, FlatOut is hitting European stores today, and to celebrate that the game’s developer, Bugbear Entertainment, have produced a rather impact-filled launch trailer. You can check it out over at TeamXbox.
If you’ve spent any time online with Forza 2 you’ve probably noticed there’s no shortage of tournaments to compete in. But, they’re all lacking one thing: real prizes. You can win plenty of in-game cash, but nothing that’ll stuff your non-virtual wallet. That’s exactly what XLEAGUE.TV is hoping to address with their announcement that they’ll now be featuring Forza 2 tournaments. XLEAGUE.TV, a subscription-based online tournament service, will offer prizes of up to £1,000 for the best team of two drivers. Unfortunately, subscriptions are not free: tournaments are open to gold and platinum members, which will set you back either £4.49 or £7.99 depending on how much bling you want.
Also, apologies to our domestic readers; if you hadn’t guessed by the funny symbol in front of the numbers above, these tournaments are for Europeans only.
It’s not too often that we get to report about a racer for Nintendo’s DS handheld gaming system, but that’s exactly what we’ve got here from Codemasters with a special version of their Race Driver series that, amazingly, isn’t just another port! Called Race Driver: Create & Race, the game makes good use of the system’s touch-sensitive screen to enable gamers to create their own tracks. Circuits can either be pieced together by dropping templates onto a grid or gamers can just draw lines free-hand, then go for a fly-over or a test-drive.
It remains to be seen just how powerful this will be (chances are it won’t give Bob’s Track Builder a run for its money), for example whether you can add banking to an oval track or create Suzuka-esque crossover tracks. But, even if you can’t, making your own track then engaging in some four-player Wi-Fi racing should be a lot of fun … even if there are only 20 cars in the game. Look for this one in the third quarter of this year in America, Europe, and Australia (where, of course, the title will be prefixed with DTM Race Driver or V8 Supercars as appropriate).
Pro-G has published what we think is the first review online of FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage for the Xbox 360. Overall it’s a very positive write-up, loving the fun and the graphics, but not the difficulty so much:
FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage isn’t a clever game. It doesn’t try to wow you with layers of meaning and plot; it doesn’t feature visuals and sound that will have everyone declaring that video games should be treated as art; and it doesn’t feature motion capture work from A-list celebrities. BugBear’s latest arcade racer is simply a thrilling joyride of a game, complete with stunning next-gen visuals and plenty of game modes to get stuck into.
There’s not a whole lot to say about Ultimate Carnage other than it’s damn good fun, but it deserves to have more said about it than that. Although you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a brand-new title, it is largely the same as the multi-format release FlatOut 2 – albeit with numerous enhancements. The core to the game is the Career mode, in which you have three classes to work through, each containing numerous Cups and voluntary events. Finish third or above in a Cup and you’ll open up further events and earn money, while the voluntary events are useful for earning extra cash if you’re short a few hundred for that new car you’re after.
The question is, will anyone give this game the time of day given Forza 2 and DiRT are still fresh? The game should be hitting European stores tomorrow, Aussie stores in August, though amazingly there’s still no official word on a US release!
Gamespot has managed to get online with the upcoming NASCAR 08 and has posted up some impressions of the multiplayer aspects of the game. 12 racers are supported online, nothing compared to a lot of PC racing sims but it is a number that sets a new high-water mark for console racers. By the sounds there are plenty of options to run through when setting up a game, including which NASCAR series you want to select your vehicles from, which tracks, and which flag rules. Additionally, online races will give an abbreviated representation of an entire NASCAR event:
There’s three parts to online race events in NASCAR 08: practice, qualifying, and the actual race itself. The host of the race session can choose to skip any of these sections at any point but, to get a feel for the different tracks, we tried them all in each race event. Practice takes place with all cars on the track at the same time and, at a short track like Richmond, it can be a disaster, with cars quickly being reduced to twisted hunks of metal–though it did show off the extreme levels of damage the game’s racing engine is boasting. From there, it’s time to qualify–usually by taking two full laps of a course and counting your fastest lap. The difference is that though everyone is qualifying at the same time, you’ll only see your car on the track during your qualifying run, a nice touch that helps keep the race moving. Qualifying results are updated in real time as you make your way through your laps.