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ModNation Monday: XP Races Remedied and UFG Insights

Scott Nielsen's Avatar + Posted by Scott Nielsen on Aug 09, 2010 //

ModNation_Mondays

Greetings from Vancouver, Canada! My name is Scott Nielsen, a producer at UFG and I’m happy to report some good news.

Last week an issue was introduced with the release of Title Update 1.02 that affected XP Races and XP Series resulting in situations where players were unable to load into the respective XP Races. This issue has been addressed in Title Update 1.03 which we are currently scheduled to release during our regular maintenance window tomorrow morning (Tuesday, August 10th).

I’d also like to take a moment to try and provide some insight into our game and hopefully some clarity surrounding the load times in ModNation Racers. This is a subject that both our fans and the team are very sensitive about and we want to assure you that a lot of work has been done in order to address these issues. We have made some significant strides to improving the user experience in ModNation Racers with the release of the Title Update.

Custom Creations means A LOT of Data
As you know, ModNation Racers can’t be compared to most racing games as it lets you create your own experience. That means we have races where each Mod and Kart are all different. Each of these creations are made up of hundreds of individual textures that are fed into our compositing system to create the final creation. As there are up to 12 players in a race, each with a Mod and Kart, we need to do this 24 times for a single race. That’s a lot of data!

Making Tracks
In regular racing games, track data is packed onto the disc for loading, but ModNation is not a regular game. One of our focuses on ModNation Racers was to make it incredibly quick and easy to share your tracks online. To enable this, we store tracks as blueprints for rebuilding, which are very small on disc. To build a track in the code, we have to first load up this blueprint, then we need to generate all of the additional data for the track and then start compositing. Both these steps are not simple, but they are necessary to bring our tracks to life.

So as you can see, there were a lot of tradeoffs involved in creating a game that allows creating and sharing. We tried to strike the best balance we could between all of the competing priorities. Creativity is so important to us, and the ModNation community, that we didn’t want to sacrifice the amazing flexibility that we have made available.

Breaking Down Load Time Improvements
It’s important to note that we made a number of significant changes to the game flow in order to improve the user experience in ModNation Racers. We focused our efforts on making improvements to high-impact areas of the game; specifically when doing Career Races and Online Races. In fact, the biggest improvements you will see are when doing multiple Career Races or Online Races.

You should see a reduction in time when loading from Career Central into a Race, plus significant improvements when returning from a Career Race to Career Central. What used to be around 30 seconds now takes about 6 or 7 seconds. Online Racing sees very similar benefits when returning from a race to the Gameroom. Changes made to the flow of XP Races have significantly reduced load times when returning to the Gameroom from an XP Race. What makes this great now is that when you find a group of people that you are enjoying XP Racing with, you are able to stay matched with them as opposed to returning to the ModSpot and having to get matched into another XP Race with different people.

We’re confident these changes provide a more positive user experience for the ModNation community. With a game like ModNation Racers, we thrive on the strength of our community and we want to do everything to make sure you have a great time with our game.

A big thanks from all of us here at UFG for supporting our game!

//Add Your Own

131 Comments   16 Replies

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1

+ Sacred_Shadow13 on August 9th, 2010 at 8:33 pm said:

hmm sounds good


2

+ Mist_Shark on August 9th, 2010 at 8:35 pm said:

Any DLC this week?


3

+ KanataSD on August 9th, 2010 at 8:36 pm said:

Vancouver rocks!


4

+ SarshelYam on August 9th, 2010 at 8:36 pm said:

I didn’t have much of a problem with the load times in the first place considering I had my head wrapped well enough around the fact that there’s a ton of data exchange going on here, but thanks for fleshing out the reality of the situation.

Man…I am not tired of this one bit, but I can’t help and wonder what MNR2 would be like:

1) Addition of boats?
2) Addition of bikes/motorcycles?
3) Aerial courses (ie. planes)?

I mean after all. ModNation Racers is a very carefully chosen name that doesn’t bind the series to simply being a Kart racer.


5

+ ryno415 on August 9th, 2010 at 8:36 pm said:

That sounds great. Any new DLC this week?


6

+ ryno415 on August 9th, 2010 at 8:38 pm said:

Please?


7

+ ZAC_DESTROYS_ALL on August 9th, 2010 at 8:45 pm said:

I am a really big fan and love Modnation.I do not see much problems with load times. but dlc production is to slow for only having a mod and kart every two weeks with only six new parts.great job in fixing the seat that was killing me. my mind would boggle what is it show me i want to know… it’s a bucket common.give me like a banana or something. you should make a snow track dlc or a release the box kart.anyways great game 5/5*


8

+ Expy on August 9th, 2010 at 8:46 pm said:

Thanks a lot for keeping us updated and for providing such great support for your game. I will continue to create some new mods, carts, and tracks in your awesome game! Thanks UFG!


    Scott Nielsen's Avatar

     

    + Scott Nielsen on August 10th, 2010 at 9:22 am said:

    Thanks Expy. Everyone @ UFG appreciates your kind words. Keep the creations coming!


9

+ rera121989 on August 9th, 2010 at 8:46 pm said:

This Much Effort is Appreciated. Enjoy the game just as it is.


10

+ twistedfloyd on August 9th, 2010 at 8:47 pm said:

Sounds good guys! Way to go! I love the way single XP races are set up now! Great change!


11

+ SPOOKULA209 on August 9th, 2010 at 8:47 pm said:

been playing this a lot again since the 1.02 patch, nice to be able to play xp races with friends. great job with the game, been having lots of fun with it


12

+ VintageOctopus on August 9th, 2010 at 8:47 pm said:

This game has never given me much to complain about- Even before the patch. I think you guys are doing a wonderful job at UFG, and the load times are just fine for me. The only thing I think we could use is just some more theme DLC… Although I remember someone saying that it was coming, so I’ll just have to wait and see about that. Anyway, thanks for the update!


13

+ DZORMAGEN on August 9th, 2010 at 8:49 pm said:

I’m sorry, but am I the only one that does not think the Career is improved as far as “Casual” difficulty goes? The AI still cheats like H3LL! What are you guys doing about fixing career mode? The first few races you can tell it got a lot easier, but once you hit the later races, the AI cheats again (with getting hit by a million weapons etc.).!


    Scott Nielsen's Avatar

     

    + Scott Nielsen on August 10th, 2010 at 9:26 am said:

    The Casual setting is definitely more forgiving than the previous tuning, especially early on as you mention. This was validated through testing and focus groups. The game still needs to present a challenge towards the end of the Career…get out in front, manage your boost meter effectively and use your shield wisely.


14

+ Argetlam350 on August 9th, 2010 at 8:51 pm said:

The AI can’t cheat they just save their weapons up for level three then shoot them which so happens to pretty much be at the same time. They just follow the rules that are given to them nothing more DZORMAGEN.


15

+ fuzzyclutter on August 9th, 2010 at 8:51 pm said:

cool … somebody explains it … i tried to tell em its a great time to get a soda, or a bathroom break . Im afraid some are still waiting for the magic fairy dust solution though .


16

+ DZORMAGEN on August 9th, 2010 at 8:55 pm said:

P.S. I should like to add though, I want to thank guys at UFG. You guys are still doing an amazing job in keeping us gamers updated. And still working hard to keep improving this game. You guys didn’t forget about us (gamers, and consumers) after the game got released (which lots of devs. in this industry do). I do have to thank you for that! Keep up the great work, and keep tweaking this game for the better! It is almost there!!


17

+ ScreamAimFire999 on August 9th, 2010 at 8:56 pm said:

Thank you very much UFG. I really appreciate this. Don’t take that constant complaining you guys get. Especially from the Playstation Forums. Just constructive criticism.


    Scott Nielsen's Avatar

     

    + Scott Nielsen on August 10th, 2010 at 9:27 am said:

    We appreciate the feedback and comments. Keep ‘em coming!


18

+ finaler on August 9th, 2010 at 8:57 pm said:

Sounds good :)


19

+ Benjamininja on August 9th, 2010 at 9:00 pm said:

I appreciate the improved load times, and really love this new tactic of sending you back to the game room instead of all the way to the modspot after group races. It’s made for a really great experience.

One thing I’m really looking for: more themes! I realize that a different mechanic (like boats or planes, as an above commenter suggested) are a difficult process, and I’m not even expecting them. What I would like to see is some additional settings and props for track creators; a scifi/space theme, snow theme, maybe something more urban, or a house theme (imagine racing through indoor levels of Katamari Damacy games.)

Are there any plans for that kind of stuff in the near future?


20

+ jrnoz on August 9th, 2010 at 9:01 pm said:

i have fun with the game. i appriciate wat u guys do and i REALLY appriciate that update. it got me back into the game!
(devestator challenges -_- have u guys actually tried to do those before the update?!!!!!)


21

+ Edd on August 9th, 2010 at 9:01 pm said:

Thank you guys so much for just keeping in touch and explaining the situation, we all really like it when devs take the time to do this. Even if it isn’t necessarily good news we do like to know what is going on and why. I wish more developers would take the time to do this; it really shows that you guys care about your product. Thanks again.


22

+ TheAlbraskan on August 9th, 2010 at 9:05 pm said:

I pretty much have to say I had nothing much to complain about ModNation Racers before the patch like VintageOctopus said. I just adapted to the load times well, but it’s still great that you guys at UFG stuck to your word on working on that issue. Do you guys think of adding more than just Mod, Kart, and Track DLC, like different game modes like the ones in ModNation Racers PSP? Or maybe a “Death Race” type of game mode? E.G. a race where if players are hit too many times by weapons, they’re out of the race and the last player left wins?


23

+ spunnups on August 9th, 2010 at 9:08 pm said:

You don’t have to explain yourselves to me. I bought the game day 1 and played through it all. The game is amazing. My only thing that I wish that could be added is more weapon types. Other than that, the game is a 10. It’s the LBP of racing.


24

+ Axecution on August 9th, 2010 at 9:13 pm said:

I’ve never really minded the load times to be honest. o.o

I kinda feel like playing it right now actually. lol. I haven’t played since i beat it a little after it came out. >.>
So. Im going to go do that. :D


25

+ B-Real206 on August 9th, 2010 at 9:16 pm said:

Keep up the good work guys! I’m slowly but surely unlocking everything. Awesome game keep the support coming.


26

+ xcube on August 9th, 2010 at 9:26 pm said:

So, I this the fastest load times possible? is there any room left for significant improvement (-10sec)?

Thanks


27

+ wobbleSPLAT on August 9th, 2010 at 9:29 pm said:

wow its late! but yes, like everyone else said, thanks. where are the top custom creations like other weeks?


28

+ tacm123 on August 9th, 2010 at 9:35 pm said:

loooove the game bro, forget about all the haters the load times arent that bad, the only one that a little long is the first load when booting up the game… nd i love how fast you made it to join a next xp race, nd the career mode


29

+ Enforcer_X on August 9th, 2010 at 9:36 pm said:

The game is GREAT!
Thanks for this explanation and insight I think it’s important to us.
Now, back to playing!


30

+ phinnv8 on August 9th, 2010 at 9:44 pm said:

When I played the game there were 3 major issues I had for it that left me scratching my head wishing they were in it knowing it would have gotten much better reviews…

1) The load times were terrible. This is somewhat improved, and I hope it gets more tweaks over time. It doesn’t surprise me you removed some areas to speed them up.
2) The career mode difficulty.
3) The lack of a Vs. mode against friends like MK has.

You’ve done a lot already to address these issues and I hope you learn from it in the future. Releasing a half-done product ends up only hurting you in the end. That been said, I’m glad I bought Modnation Racers and recommend it to friends.


31

+ kylexla2 on August 9th, 2010 at 9:53 pm said:

how bout you guys make an installation data to the harddrive instead of a blue ray disk. as we all know game loads more faster from the hard drive then it is to a cd i.e. 3d dot game heroes


32

+ glitched18x on August 9th, 2010 at 9:54 pm said:

I am from Vancouver and have been doing Modnation Mondays all the time with my friends :)


33

+ DrBingogh on August 9th, 2010 at 10:09 pm said:

Load times are much better but were never intolerable. The new casual difficulty was a welcome addition too! Thanks for all your work!


34

+ jimfear on August 9th, 2010 at 10:15 pm said:

this game is a failure… even with the casual difficulty its still hard to beat the really cheap A.I


35

+ ck2875 on August 9th, 2010 at 10:16 pm said:

LOL after checking Google Reader like 50 times today, the post is finally up and the only two things I cared about (Hot Lap Tracks & Mods of the Week) didn’t get posted. Back to racing…


36

+ solsamurai on August 9th, 2010 at 10:16 pm said:

load times never bothered me. thanks for all the hard work UFG!


37

+ Axecution on August 9th, 2010 at 10:21 pm said:

lmao@people complaining about the difficulty. I had no problem beating the single player and getting Gold’s on almost everything in the first week or two.

There were times when it was incredibly frustrating getting bombarded with weapons right in front of the finish, but retrying just meant that i got to play more. lol.

Maybe you all just suck at games? >.>


38

+ markcusd on August 9th, 2010 at 10:32 pm said:

@Axecution You’re an idiot. No one said the game was hard, we said the AI was cheap. Which it is. EVERY single reviewer mentioned this. Cheap is not the same as difficult.


39

+ markcusd on August 9th, 2010 at 10:39 pm said:

To the developers: you should have given this explanation before the game released and saved people from wasting their money on it. Some sites like Kotaku.com are reporting INCREASED load time post patch.


40

+ EmperorLawlight on August 9th, 2010 at 10:41 pm said:

According to IGN, the load times are still pretty bad. GiantBomb said that the load times (before patching) were some of the worse they’ve ever seen. So, I would say that the load times is a big issue.


41

+ wolverinevsx23 on August 9th, 2010 at 11:00 pm said:

Is anything going to be done about the default tracks and veto system? Seriously each time when your in a lobby a different track should load up. At times I played the same track 5+ times in a row, and can’t really rely on other people vetoing it. Why is it the last 20 seconds you can’t veto? Can that be changed at all?


42

+ wolverinevsx23 on August 9th, 2010 at 11:01 pm said:

Will there ever be a double or triple XP night/weekend?


43

+ maverick34jjv on August 9th, 2010 at 11:03 pm said:

Yea I hate when my friends complain about loading times. I tell them everything you explained but they’re dorks…

Please release some new race themes like Artic, graveyard/spooky , theme park, and a special LBP theme.ALL FREEE!!!

That should keep them from complaining :)

In that Theme Park theme tracks can perform inversions like a roller coaster!!!


44

+ jacob-813 on August 9th, 2010 at 11:09 pm said:

Yea!!! A new update. I just got back from vacation so a lot of thongs have changed for the better. Can’t wait to update it. Is the 250000 create points been fixed yet? I heard it was going to be changed to 2500.


    Scott Nielsen's Avatar

     

    + Scott Nielsen on August 10th, 2010 at 9:41 am said:

    The actual number (250K) hasn’t changed in order to achieve the Trophy, however, we have tweaked the formula and you will now earn Create XP much, much faster. Try it out!


45

+ AnthonyTonyMagic on August 10th, 2010 at 1:24 am said:

I’ve been gaming since 48k RAM was hi-tech, and we loaded games from audio cassette. The kids that are complaining about loading times have never experienced truly long loading times.

Waiting half a minute for a custom level to load is no problem at all, and the complaints are more of a sign of the current generation’s complete lack of patience, rather than any problems on UFG’s part.

The only problem that I had before was that some loads seemed to take away from the flow of the game. Since the update, that has all been sorted.

In other words, thanks UFG.


46

+ AnthonyTonyMagic on August 10th, 2010 at 1:26 am said:

@maverick34jjv

“Artic, graveyard/spooky , theme park”

Those would be great additions to MNR. Please consider this… UFG


47

+ OveReAction on August 10th, 2010 at 1:30 am said:

And remember Russell, remove Region-lock!

@43 It already changed. The Create XP system has tweaked 20x the number of XPs each downloaded, raced and viewed.


48

+ JohnnyMaxwell on August 10th, 2010 at 1:40 am said:

Why is the “casual” game mode not really casual??? It’s awesomely hard to beat all the races in career mode. I’m stuck in tier 2 of the career and the game is dead for me because it’s so hard.

I’m a casual player, not a hardcore player.


49

+ Tecnoboy1 on August 10th, 2010 at 1:47 am said:

I feel online, if you put up the track description loading into XP or casual race It would pass the time as you could read something like in LBP, That had long loading times but didn’t suffer thanks to, DESCRIPTIONS TO READ!!

Also, extend how long comments and descriptions could be, you get big block comment boxes and all you get to write is a relatively small amount of characters.


50

+ WhiteF8ng on August 10th, 2010 at 1:52 am said:

Now was it so hard to say that IN THE BEGINNING? This would’ve stopped a lot of complaining.

Anyhow, what about future DLC besides mods and karts? I don’t care when it’s coming just will there be any?


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