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ModNation Racers: Redesigning Kart Racing

Mat Thomas's Avatar + Posted by Mat Thomas on Mar 19, 2010 // Game Designer, United Front Games

Hi Everyone,

Mat from UFG here to end your week on a high note with our latest trailer and a peek into some of the thought behind the sweet racing action we’ve built into ModNation Racers!

First and foremost when developing a racer, the key thing to outline is what the experience needs to be. As I have mentioned in my previous blog post, we worked through how we wanted the core driving experience to feel. Many development team members here at United Front Games have worked on several different racing games. Our focus is quite simple –- we wanted the handling to be tight and fun but allow the power of the PS3 to take kart handling to the next level with a more physical driving model. While we appreciate the simple arcade handling, we soon understood that if we were going to deliver the best race experience with our Track Studio tools, then we had to give the player a deeper handling model.

Drive Well & Get BOOST
While we developed our core handling model we also realized we needed to offer other race mechanics that were familiar with all types of racing fans, but offered something deeper than what we had seen previously in the genre. We decided to go with a player controlled boost meter, which in turn is filled by driving well.

Drifting
The major skill the player needs to perfect is the ability to drift – a staple for most kart racers. Our mechanic is simple in the sense that the better the drift, the more the player is rewarded with boost. We also added a few nuances, such as the longer you drift, the player will actually slowly speed up over time, which rewards the user with an overall better speed but comes with consequences too.

ModNation Racers Screenshot 29 ModNation Racers Screenshot Drift

At higher speeds, it is hard to avoid objects so maintaining the drift becomes a game in itself. The other key element with our drift is the ability to still steer and influence the direction of the drift. The player can do this with the basic steering controls, giving them full control over the drift. Finally, one of the coolest features with our drift is the ability to maintain the same drift even when the player jumps into the air. If the player drifts off a ramp, as long as they continue to hold the drift button, they will continue the drift when landing. This makes for some amazingly satisfying race moments on even the most challenging race tracks!

ModNation Racers Screenshot 28 ModNation Racers Screenshot Drafting

Some other race skills implemented in the game include drafting and air play. Drafting opponents is incredibly easy – simply drive in behind an opponent and try to maintain your position behind them. In addition to gaining a speed increase, the longer the player stays there, the more points they will accumulate. When a draft ends, those points are tallied and converted into boost. When in the air, the player will be rewarded in two ways. Firstly, the longer the player stays in the air, they will automatically be rewarded points and the larger jumps such as drops from launchers will give the player points. When the user lands, these points are tallied and then converted to boost.

ModNation Racers Screenshot 2 player ModNation Racers Screenshot new

When in the air, the player can also attempt spins. Using the right stick, the player can spin their vehicle. Every successful rotation will be rewarded with additional boost on the landing. The key thing to note however is that in order to be rewarded the player has to land the spin and face in the direction of travel. It is always fun to try and squeeze in one last spin to bag more points! What does the player do with all this boost when they have it? Well, obviously the player can simply press the L1 button and start boosting. The system is fully analogue meaning that the player can tap the boost for small bursts or hold it for long periods of sustained boosting. For some really hard advanced driving, players can try drifting and boosting at the same time!

We have created what I consider a racing experience that can appeal to everyone. You can pick up the game and enjoy the frantic gameplay but if you spend time with ModNation Racers you will become an expert by using all the strategies the systems bring. We feel very proud of the ModNation race experience and look forward to our fans playing it!

//Add Your Own

75 Comments   3 Replies

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51

+ SykoTech on March 19th, 2010 at 3:50 pm said:

Good stuff. Wasn’t interested at first, but this game’s got my attention.


52

+ wolfzero1 on March 19th, 2010 at 4:08 pm said:

does anybody know when Best Buy is going to have this for pre-order in their store? I’ve seen it available online but not in the store yet


53

+ ionicbluebird on March 19th, 2010 at 4:33 pm said:

Awesome looking game. The only worry I have is not being able to see enough of the track in split screen. I know a big part of the game is showing off your personaly designed karts and characters but I felt like I would be struggling to see what’s ahead of me while racing in splitscreen. Would it be possible to move the camera up a little bit… at least in horizontal splitscreen?

Just wanted to throw that out there… I missed the beta but I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on this game.

Also North Vancouver represent!


    Mat Thomas's Avatar

     

    + Mat Thomas on March 19th, 2010 at 5:06 pm said:

    Hi ionicbluebird,

    We allow the user to adjust the camera in splitscreen, so if the default camera is not to your taste you can pull this back to your liking.


54

+ Lolsa1 on March 19th, 2010 at 5:09 pm said:

I will preorder this game after I get GOW 3 first. I loved LBP and if this is anything like it it will be awesome.


55

+ scepterone on March 19th, 2010 at 5:26 pm said:

Does anyone know if there is going to be 4 player splitscreen/


56

+ PushinNshovinMe on March 19th, 2010 at 5:42 pm said:

@ scepterone, watch the video buddy!


57

+ Marauderxt on March 19th, 2010 at 9:44 pm said:

Ppease tell me you have fixed or are working on Loading TImes, They really kill this game.


58

+ jakinov on March 19th, 2010 at 10:02 pm said:

The game should get a BATTLE mode like Mario Kart where you are in a arena type level and you use items and stuff to beat other carts.


59

+ Helghast_Assault on March 19th, 2010 at 11:27 pm said:

looks great
hope it turns out to be like LBP quality = )


60

+ KiRiON on March 20th, 2010 at 3:41 am said:

I hope the framerate would be better as in beta. ingame custom music would be cool too


61

+ Subtenko on March 20th, 2010 at 9:46 am said:

WOW this is awesome! The “Play create share” concept always works out :D whats next, a shooter? sports games? PS eye games? fighting games? Bring em on!

Picking MNR out day1!


62

+ SHINSPIKES on March 20th, 2010 at 10:52 am said:

I’m extremely happy, yah are puttin some more advanced touches on the racing aspect alone. There are sooo many clones out there that play exactly the same. This sets it apart and makes it pretty deep for hardcore players, as well for casual. If yah got some more deeper gameplay hidden around the corner, its a huge welcome.


63

+ Kirkpad on March 20th, 2010 at 1:25 pm said:

After the BETA, I hope you guys have redesigned the community system as well. I am probably going to preorder, but don’t expect a single DLC purchase if the rating system is broken.


64

+ Leigard117 on March 20th, 2010 at 3:07 pm said:

if this has in game music i would get it..


65

+ grey_jeep on March 20th, 2010 at 3:24 pm said:

@Leigard117 This game does have a built in soundtrack. the trailers play some of the songs!


66

+ Mynor1 on March 20th, 2010 at 4:40 pm said:

You guys should add a battle mode if the game doesn’t already have one. Something like in crash team racing where the point is to kill your opponent with weapons. I don’t really care if you have to pay for it. Put it in as an add-on if the game doesn’t already come with it please.


67

+ MONEYISME on March 20th, 2010 at 4:51 pm said:

I cant find the PSP version on GameStop.ca. Any help??? PlayStation mods? Anyone?


68

+ RavageHeitaro on March 20th, 2010 at 8:56 pm said:

wow i’m really happy to see the changes, especially the controls. Honestly though, the announcement of 4 player splitscreen already convinced me that this is a day one buy :)


69

+ WhiteF8ng on March 20th, 2010 at 10:19 pm said:

Sick. Can’t wait to see what we all come up with…


70

+ TopBanana0769 on March 21st, 2010 at 8:45 am said:

Only a couple more months!


71

+ Chocolate_Dr4nK on March 21st, 2010 at 3:00 pm said:

This game looks amazing, i cant believe i missed the vip beta. Can you make a public beta for the people who missed out, or push the release date closer?!.


72

+ M7261998 on March 21st, 2010 at 4:02 pm said:

can’t wait to drive my kratos kart


73

+ Modboy96 on March 21st, 2010 at 6:49 pm said:

battle mode! battle mode! battle mode! please :)


74

+ Modboy96 on March 21st, 2010 at 6:50 pm said:

who els want’s battle mode

me


75

+ Modboy96 on March 23rd, 2010 at 6:20 am said:

please reply


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