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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

51

+ Kromat83 on August 10th, 2010 at 2:28 am said:

Ramone, when will we see Track DLC ( props, themes, loops, etc. )?, there have been enough Mod and Kart DLC, maybe give us something different in the future, we would appreciate it, thanks.


52

+ moriarty1975 on August 10th, 2010 at 2:40 am said:

Patch is out now, 23mb.

Might see some track DLC when they get the preorder DLC out of the way.


53

+ SgtRufus on August 10th, 2010 at 2:52 am said:

I can’t bring myself to buy this game for one simple reason….same issue that plaques almost every cart-style racer. Cheating AI that finds a way to make you lose at the last second. I’ve read countless horror stories of getting pummelled by multiple missiles right before you cross the finish or competitors magically zooming by you at the last second. This is even after the ‘casual’ difficulty level was introduced. Sorry, but I can’t deal with BS like that. Why can’t developers let players keep their lead in games like this?


54

+ Huuuze on August 10th, 2010 at 3:19 am said:

How do you respond to the article on Kotaku that the blogger’s load times (with supporting video) actually take LONGER in some instances?

http://kotaku.com/5606519/modnation-racers-patch-made-my-load-times-longer


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    + Scott Nielsen on August 10th, 2010 at 9:55 am said:

    Comparisons being done on load times need to be done so in the same environment. Comparing offline load times to online load times is not a valid test as there are too many variables introduced that can affect timing. I guarantee you this was tested rigorously at both UFG & Sony before releasing the Title Update and there are definitely improvements to the flow and loading times post-Title Update.


55

+ xiked on August 10th, 2010 at 4:01 am said:

Fantastic info Scott!! Great that you cleared up the fuss so ppl know what it all takes to get everything working!


56

+ GGod0 on August 10th, 2010 at 4:11 am said:

Don’t really care about XP races now that i get crap loads of create xp.

And i was one of the ones that roflstomped career before “casual” SLIGHTLY made it easier.

But in all seriousness have a tournament race, contest or something that gives the winners DLC codes of their choice from the pre-order bonuses.


57

+ Agate800 on August 10th, 2010 at 4:16 am said:

Great game although I still think it’s skewed too much in favour of the creator and not the racer. 50 xp for winning a race and 500xp for a series is not enough considering you have to be in and playing to get raceXP where as createXp you can just kick back and watch it rack up.


58

+ andreopalomino on August 10th, 2010 at 4:30 am said:

The last update did a great job reducing the load times but, more important, giving us an easy way to navigate through the game. I really enjoy the game and the continuous effort to improve our experience and the Modnation community.


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    + Scott Nielsen on August 10th, 2010 at 9:56 am said:

    Thanks andreopalomino!


59

+ Kluzot on August 10th, 2010 at 4:40 am said:

Hi !

Me too, I think UFG killed the fun. It easier to earn Xp with D4D than Xp Race.
Today, the play, create, share doesn’t exists for MNR in my mind.
I’m still playing for the platinium, but you can be sure, i’ll sell my game after I get it.
I have a lot of idea to do a huge improvements on the racing experience, but all you want is a lot of creations. So, you win.


60

+ spaque99 on August 10th, 2010 at 4:51 am said:

I thought the load times were really annoying, but kinda got used to it. I just downloaded the 1.02 patch yesterday and honestly did not see much difference. I don’t believe I have seen any loads less than 10 secs. I will definitely continue playing and checking that, but the load times made it hard to keep the interest of many people playing locally, which is something I wanted to do…

This was a great patch though, lots of improvements to the flows and other stuff. Keep up the good work.


61

+ Axe99 on August 10th, 2010 at 4:58 am said:

I’ve really enjoyed MNR, played a whole heap of it, but I’m not going to give UFG a free pass on the load times. At the moment, even after the patch, the actual result of the current nature of the game design is that 20-30% of your time in the game is spent in loading screens, with nothing to do – no chat, no mini-game, just sit there and watch the time go by. I find it _very_ hard to defend that from any angle. At the very least, they could have put together some kind of mini-game (2D race tracks or something?) to do while loading?

For instance, would it be possible for MNR2 or other sequels to allow custom rooms to ‘queue’ tracks, so that new tracks download while the previous race is finishing, or people are going back to the gameroom? There are all sorts of ways to design the game that reduce the ratio of load time to game time, but at the moment it’s a very one-dimensional approach that, for 75% of the people on my friends list that got it, wore them down over time such that there’s only a few ‘hardcore’ amongst us left playing now.


62

+ OmegaThousand on August 10th, 2010 at 5:54 am said:

Hi, I love this game and everything it has to offer….
But if the loading times is a great concern, I believe this problem can be fixed if more data of the disc is installed on the ps3 hard drive. I mean critical parts of information. The bluray disc reading speed is 2x, it’ll never be faster than reading from de hard drive, so if a patch says the game to install from the BR disc some more data, it would be able to help a lot.
Thanks I hope you guys answer this.
Regards, OmegaThousand


63

+ TUSTIN1 on August 10th, 2010 at 6:04 am said:

I appreciate all the improvements that have been made but there’s one thing about XP races that really needs to be addressed.

The same damn track coming up over and over and over and over again. I know you can veto, but getting everyone to do so isn’t always easy. You can switch to another game but within a race or two it happens there as well.

Can you not simply make it so that the same track isn’t able to come up twice in a row? Would seem to be a very easy fix to a very annoying problem…


64

+ AwRy108 on August 10th, 2010 at 6:22 am said:

Thanks for putting the effort into making the loading times as short as possible. Anyone with a functional brain in their head can see why your game might have longer load times than a normal kart racers; but, unfortunately, the Internet has given a voice to millions of people who refuse to use their brains. People b*tch about the texture pop-in commonly seen with Unreal Engine software, but then the complain about loading screen. *SIGH*

ModNation is an astounding achievement in innovation, especially for a genre that Nintendo has let go completely stale. Please don’t let the random internet “d-bags” and biased critics discourage UFG from continuing to make quality products.


65

+ AwRy108 on August 10th, 2010 at 6:26 am said:

^OmegaThousand:

Nearly all of the game is already installed to the HDD–the majority of the loading is a result of all the custom content (as opposed to the static content found in most games) and network data. Also, HDD install don’t eliminate loading times, they just shorten them.


66

+ wolfzero1 on August 10th, 2010 at 6:44 am said:

thanks for the explanation on the load times, even though I didn’t really see any difference after downloading v1.02 last week. also thanks for getting a fix for the XP race problem, hopefully it has been fixed since I’ve been avoiding playing online.


67

+ Squirtbot on August 10th, 2010 at 6:53 am said:

I was very excited to start playing this game again with the addition of the new patch. I’m mostly into just playing the career mode and creating mods, not too big on the online racing… since other players are just too good. But, I still got spanked in the career mode even with the new “casual” setting!

All I want to do is get all the pieces and mods to make cool new stuff. Argg…. Maybe you can add an “Easy” setting with you 1.03 Patch.


68

+ JdelaMancha on August 10th, 2010 at 7:24 am said:

It’s sad that so many people have giving this game a hard time because of the load times. As a gamer I have played many games that have decent sized load times and this games load times never bothered me at all. The game is so fun that I didn’t even noticed them and the fact that UFG took steps to shorten the times makes me feel honored…I mean how many game makers will update a game 4 months after launch with a patch that people have been asking for (more now in the age of DLC but still not nearly enough). This game is fun so thank you UFG, I’ve had a blast playing it.


69

+ Nikolodeon on August 10th, 2010 at 7:25 am said:

I agree, the casual setting is insanely hard. It took me FOREVER to get the trophy for getting first place in every race. Here’s a little secret UFG. Sometimes gamers DON’T want to be challenged. We are challenged at work, at home, with relationships, etc etc. When I sit down for leisure time (which is rare these days with a wife and two kids, a career and a house to fix) I want to win and win big. I want to be rewarded for racing well, not punished brutally because of it. I grew up on tecmo bowl and double dribble and still play those games because I like to win, and win big! I like winning by 100 points. Sometimes I don’t like being challenged. This game doesn’t give you that option. When I race Mt. Pain flawlessly 12 times in a row and only get first once the game ceases to be fun at that point.

I’m like a Wookie…I don’t like losing. So let the Wookie win.


70

+ DanteGC on August 10th, 2010 at 7:55 am said:

What about the Hot Lap tracks for this week?


71

+ Elnath10 on August 10th, 2010 at 8:14 am said:

Keep the good work guys, the game is going well

Hope that there will be tons of DLC of these game coming up… some free stuff will be ok as well more new premium characters with new chasise for karts and parts ;)

This game has long way to go yet


72

+ utopianacht on August 10th, 2010 at 8:19 am said:

good work people of ufg.. I’m willing to get back to the game now..


73

+ Nhyte on August 10th, 2010 at 8:33 am said:

All these people complaining about cheep A.I. but like, you have a shield button, I don’t see what the problem is. Only close range level 1’s and sideswipes can be sure hits. Especially the shockwave.

I’ve always understood why the load times were long in this game, I thought it was obvious but whatever. I’ve noticed a satisfying improvement in my game flow while playing online and in some other areas. Initial load time is still brutal and loading the modspot still feels long to me. I also vote for the idea of adding an install option to improve load times.

-Hitz frum tha b0ng~


74

+ nuclear_rum on August 10th, 2010 at 8:44 am said:

After the update I am actually playing the game now. At first I got tired of it because of too much waiting around for it to start and move around the menus. The addition to skip the intros and the improved loading is great. Making the game much enjoyable.


75

+ Avalanche on August 10th, 2010 at 9:02 am said:

any free or exclusive stuff coming to PS+ users?


76

+ Beefstu409 on August 10th, 2010 at 9:13 am said:

What about the Hot Lap schedule?


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    + Ramone Russell on August 10th, 2010 at 10:19 am said:

    Sorry guys it was cut from the blog by accident

    Monday: Fortress in the Sky, by Jamz-TEC
    Tuesday: Old Jungle Ruins, by VTemeV
    Wednesday: Mystery Track
    Thursday: Mazuri: Savannah Citadel by, IvoYaridovich
    Friday: Twiz-Tid city, by KING_STARFISH
    Saturday: Drifter Village, Arceus130
    Sunday: Concrete Beach, by VintageOctopus


77

+ DanielX26 on August 10th, 2010 at 9:23 am said:

This is my first time posting in the Playstation Blog..and I got to say, Modnation Racers is the best racing game I have ever played..I mean ‘racer’ in general..not specifically just kart racing..I mean the entire Racing genre…You guys work so hard trying to improve MNR and making it the best experience for everyone…you guys deserve a vacation; ignore the whiners and thumb sucking babies! lol


78

+ thanatos45 on August 10th, 2010 at 9:39 am said:

Two things! for starters, great job with this game. This is a major step for the create and share games. Stil there’s something that bugs me! I completed the tours but I can’t see the final scene! I was so pumped that no challenge could stop me. Is there something special I have to do in order to see it? Guess UFG should know. Please answer.


79

+ Razorback on August 10th, 2010 at 9:42 am said:

I have one question about the game since the update. When I enter an XP race, the same four tracks are in constant rotation. I am getting tired of playing the same four tracks. Is there a way to offer more variety because the later tracks are amazing?


80

+ TriCykle on August 10th, 2010 at 10:01 am said:

Nice work UFG.
Still love the game as I always have, and now people have an insight as to why the loading is the way it is.

Lots of cynical people though, good thing they aren’t making games, as it must be hard to read all these negative comments!


81

+ Jvolel on August 10th, 2010 at 10:01 am said:

Is there anyway to connect online and join a race via the start menu screen? I liked being able to continue racing in the single player mode without having to go the mod spot I wanted to be able to do the same for online play.


82

+ TriCykle on August 10th, 2010 at 10:29 am said:

Jvolel I believe you still have to go to the modspot to join an XP Race/Series and Casual, BUT in XP Races/Series, after the race is over, you get put back into the same group of people for the next race(s). That’s an improvement for me at least.


83

+ wolverinevsx23 on August 10th, 2010 at 10:45 am said:

United Front- Good job on the patches, but there is another problem occuring. Thats the Veto System in XP lobbies and the same redundant track over and over again. A room could be full of 12 people and 7 out of the 12 people vetoed the track and it doesn’t change. It gets very annoying. Can you please give more details if this will ever be fixed?


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    + Ramone Russell on August 11th, 2010 at 11:26 am said:

    Are you sure everyone is hitting L1 then X to veto the track?


84

+ AhoyThere on August 10th, 2010 at 10:59 am said:

For the Career mode tracks, why not just use the final built track instead of rebuilding them each time they are raced? These tracks will never change.

UFG & Sony is doing a good job keeping the community up to date with the latest Modnation news and with clarifying the improvement details. Keep up the good work.


85

+ MusicMan05 on August 10th, 2010 at 11:18 am said:

I was wondering if there will be Home rewards added to the game since it says Home on the back of the box. I remember you guys mention to keep an eye out on the blog and ModNation.com for an announcement. Was the ModNation space the announcement or is there still plans for Home rewards?


86

+ Nikolodeon on August 10th, 2010 at 11:22 am said:

I may complain about the difficulty but it does make getting first that much more exciting. I do really like this game. It’s probably the best racer I have ever played…


87

+ Elnath10 on August 10th, 2010 at 11:35 am said:

I see someone asked from the hotlap list of this week, that’s cool..

Hope the mods and karts of the week are back next modnation monday ;)


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    + Ramone Russell on August 10th, 2010 at 11:59 am said:

    They will be


88

+ mJ_mSv on August 10th, 2010 at 12:22 pm said:

When will we get some real cool addon, like scenery addon, and even some career addon with even more trophies? :)
If not you can say a date could you atleast say we will see such addon? for this excellent game?, I really love it!


89

+ Majestic-Man on August 10th, 2010 at 12:31 pm said:

the best solution to load problem is to increase install data
from 4GB to 8GB or 10GB so that we can play without waiting


90

+ Keyeszx on August 10th, 2010 at 1:13 pm said:

Just wondering couldn’t you increase the load times by adding an install option to the game?


91

+ Keyeszx on August 10th, 2010 at 1:13 pm said:

Whoops, meant decrease.


92

+ gta4psx on August 10th, 2010 at 1:21 pm said:

whats up united games! ahmmmmm….. what ever happened to the big announcement this week! and please make kratos, drake, and rachet and clank dlc…… please…. thanks guys


93

+ easytochris on August 10th, 2010 at 1:47 pm said:

After seeing the improvements going from the beta to the disk I was impressed with how much the load times were improved. I’m ecstatic to see you guys at UFG are looking to improve load times so we can play more of a fantastic game, but even if I have to wait for my races I don’t mind because it is the most fun kart racer I have played since Mario kart 64


94

+ angelspawn77 on August 10th, 2010 at 1:54 pm said:

Thanks for the update :) Glad you guys are getting that XP race problem fixed so fast, also the insight on the load times is appreciated and hopefully will stop or at least slow down the complainers about it. Also I would like to add that the inclusion of local 4 player races is SOOOO awesome, Had some friends over yesterday and we had a great time racing, each of us were pretty good so it was not a sure thing who would win, keep up the support for the game guys and I shall keep up the support for you :D


95

+ Beefstu409 on August 10th, 2010 at 2:09 pm said:

Perhaps the mystery lap Wednesday should be Cobra by Beefstu409 because I brought up that the hot lap schedule was omitted… (;


96

+ VintageOctopus on August 10th, 2010 at 2:43 pm said:

Russell, why is my “Concrete Beach” track in the hotlap? I’m not complaining, but I’m just very curious because I never entered it.


97

+ un-1known1 on August 10th, 2010 at 2:44 pm said:

well thanks guys for all your hard work on woking on the patch.
but may i ask about the trophies like the star creator trophy will you fix that or will there be no fix for it


98

+ moriarty1975 on August 10th, 2010 at 2:53 pm said:

@97

It has been “fixed”.


99

+ YODA798907 on August 10th, 2010 at 4:09 pm said:

Love the game but I had a huge problem. I am a PS+ member so my update was done through automatic download, but when I went online to play the other day ALL of my game progress was deleted!!! Is this an error on UFG or Sony side of things? Am I the only one this has happened to?


100

+ YODA798907 on August 10th, 2010 at 4:11 pm said:

Now I have to do career all over again because I have limited karts and creation tools now


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