17 March 2011

Some new ideas for the racing genre - by Alberto Alarcon

      Posted 03/16/11 06:13:00 am  

Let´s talk about some ideas i have in my mind about how to improve the experience in racing games. I have two main ideas that can be included as an extra to the design of any racing game but i think they are not strong enought to create a game around them.

The first one is the use of modern smartphones to continue with the gaming experience after turning off your game system. Let me explain it...

There is a lot of racing games who include a "career mode" in wich you can start from the base of the sport and try to climb to the top. Several of these game also include a virtual PDA where you recive the info about the progress of your carrer, job offers... This option improves the inmersion, but why stuck to a virtual PDA?.

Almost everybody owns a selfphone today, and it is quite easy to develop an aplication on most operative systems. Imagine being at work at 10:00 and then recive an message to your aplication confirming you have just signed with the leading team for the next season. It will be a nice work journey after that.

The second idea i have in mind is more oriented to the PS3/PSP combo and very usable in a title of the kind of "Gran Turismo". It is based on the concept introduced in the game "Invizimals" of the spanish developer Novarama.

In this title, player is challenged to capture invisible animals equiped with his PSP and the camera gadget. We can easily extend this concept to a racing game. Why don´t hunt cars?. It will be a trully adventure trying to catch Sebastien Loeb DS3 WRC on the start line of a special stage and after enjoying the day at the races, arrive home, turn on your PS3 and play with this new car you have just "hunted". Amazing!.

Introducing this idea in your game is not as easy as the first one, first of all because you need a license to make it interesting to the public. What will be the thrill of hunting false cars?, none at all. Other aspect is that if you invest on a license you want people to use the car you paid for, and a lot of people will not ever see a DS3 WRC live. In front of that you can make the player pay virtual earned money for the car, or get it free by "hunting" it on the streets.

Also it will be very dificult to implement an automatic picture car shape detection algorithm. Even i think it will be more practical to send the picture to the server an get the car asigned by an admin. This leads to have an employe watching pictures all the day... This two topics make this idea almost unusable for indie developers but I throw it just in case some studio read it and find it interesting.

This is all by now, i hope you enjoyed reading the article and found it interesting. Thanks for reading. See you soon.

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