Posted 23 January
Online Features In ModNation Racers: Road Trip
I wanted to give the fingers of the talented blog managers a break this week so that I could talk about the robust online features in ModNation Racers: Road Trip. The team here in San Diego created an impressive list of online functionality to take advantage of the WiFi/3G and GPS functionality. This game is intended to let you take advantage of your road trips—whether they’re across the country, to another state or just traveling between home and work or school. More importantly, ModNation Racers: Road Trip was designed to work around your schedule and let you compete with your friends whenever (and wherever) you want.
1. Competitive Localised Leaderboards
When a gamer who has opted to “Use Location Data” posts a lap time to the Leaderboards, that time is connected to their current location. Gamers can personalise their location names (i.e., My Home, My Work, Mark’s House Where I Always Win, etc.) for easy reference. These times become part of the Local Leaderboards which gamers can use to compete in a fun arcade-style atmosphere.
Gamers can also select one of their saved locations and view other competitors’ times that were earned nearby. For example, if I earn a great time on “Construction Mayhem” while at “Mark’s House,” I can check my rank versus other gamers’ local times and more importantly, my friends… including Mark. The game would find the 8, 24 or 48 closest gamers to “Mark’s House” who posted local times for “Construction Mayhem.” This means you’ll have an ever-expanding level of challenge through asynchronous competition to play instantly when and where you want!
2. Continual Match-Making, Ghosts and Time Trials
Where ModNation Racers for the PS3 automatically matches gamers against one of the most difficult lap times in the community, ModNation Racers: Road Trip instead matches you against other gamers’ Ghosts who have set times which are competitive to yours. This continual match-making and the shorter play time of a single lap competition makes for a fun and constantly challenging online gaming experience. For those of us who are competitive with our friends, we can select a filter to race against friends’ ghosts.
An option on the Vita even allows you to receive a push notification whenever your time is beat or to boast to your friends when you beat theirs.
3. Travel Points: Time For A Road Trip… No Really…Seriously, get in your car, train or bus now.
The first time a gamer checks-in with Mod Explorer the game will recognise their location. Every time a gamer checks-in at any location after that they will earn Travel Points based on the distance from their last check-in. Individual gamers will then unlock additional parts for Track Studio when they reach certain amounts of Travel Points. There will also be an in-game leaderboard ranking gamers by the amount of Travel Points they have earned.
3a. Global Travel Points: Help Us Help You
Travel Points earned by every gamer are added together to form Global Travel Points. When the community of gamers reach certain distance milestone amounts of Global Travel Points everyone who uses Mod Explorer will unlock new track creation parts! This could be how world peace starts. Don’t you want to be a part of it?
4. Destination Check-ins: Better Than A Passport Stamp
Mod Explorer contains 45 featured cities across the globe–each city with three distinct destinations. When a gamer checks-in at a destination that they can find using PS Vita’s GPS functionality, they will unlock unique creation pieces to use in the creation studios.
In addition the entire ModNation Racers: Road Trip community is further rewarded when parts associated with the destination are unlocked for the global community of gamers. For example, if you check-in at Navy Pier in Chicago, you will unlock associated parts for your use. When the predetermined threshold of player check-ins at Navy Pier has been reached, a unique part is unlocked for ALL gamers. Other parts associated with Navy Pier will be unlocked for all gamers as the number of unique player check-ins increase there.
Finally, when a gamer checks-in at a destination, they are prompted to take a picture and modify it using their Mod and Kart. This is done with ModNation Racers: Road Trip – Mod Postcards feature (See last week’s US blog).
5. Ad-Hoc Play: It’s ModNation Party Time!
For those racers looking for that head-to-head experience with your friends, Ad-Hoc play is where it’s at. Up to four gamers can race simultaneously on any San Diego Studio track or choose from over 500,000 user created tracks from the ModNation Racers community. That ought to keep you busy for a millennium or so.
6. Race, Create, Publish and Download!
As you’d expect from a ModNation Racers game, you have incredibly strong creation studios literally at your fingertips to create anything in your imagination. Publish your creations for the entire community to enjoy. And if creation isn’t your thing, enjoy downloading anything published by the entire community. And to sweeten the deal, you have full backwards compatibility to download any of the over 3 Million creations from ModNation Racers PS3!!
I know there are some of you that are disappointed that ModNation Racers: Road Trip doesn’t let you play head-to-head online other than ad-hoc. But we really wanted to evolve online functionality and take advantage of the PlayStation Vita’s unique feature set in new ways. If all we ever did as developers is rehash features that have been done in previous games, we’d still be entering passwords instead of using save files and you’d have to start the entire game over after you lost your three lives (extra 1-ups aside).
While online head-to-head has been a mode used in many games in recent years, we focused on making a game that is crafted for how portable games are most often played—in quicker “pick up and play” sessions multiple times in a day. Your online interaction, competition and socialisation will always be when it’s convenient for you. I hope that all of you are as interested to check-out the robust online features that ModNation Racers: Road Trip has as we are to see you enjoy them!
Thanks for allowing me to write this week’s blog.