I’ve always been a huge fan of the racing genre, be it hardcore sims, arcade entries or anything between. That love helped fuel our own debut into the genre, mobile title MiniDrivers, back in 2016.
When we considered bringing the game to PS4, we knew a simple port won’t suffice. Instead, we took the original concept and reimagined it for console, taking inspiration from a diverse range of genre heavyweights, like Crash Team Racing and Codemasters’ Formula 1 (a personal favourite).
This made sure our title would be packed with the kind of features players have come to expect: cross-platform multiplayer, tons of content, crazy yet customisable power-ups, and plenty of accessibility options. A great physics engine. Stunning visuals. And lots of courses, all with dynamic, race-disrupting dangers to make every lap different from the last. And so was born Touring Karts.
1. Keeping the multiplayer lobby thriving
Making sure there are enough online players to keep multiplayer healthy is always a challenge. Cross-play, coupled with no segregation of VR and non-VR players, proved to be a simple solution.. on paper. Of course, the reality – building server infrastructure, testing all combinations of platforms and control methods – is somewhat more complex. Difficult, but ultimately worthwhile, ensuring all players regardless of where and how they’re playing have the same experience.
2. Power-up precision for everyone
Giving every player, regardless of platform played on, whether they’ve a PS VR headset on or not, the exact same experience was a real challenge. You know how to wield the hammer or grenade launcher power-ups in VR. It’s instinctive. Precise. We had to make sure whatever the player input – PS Move controller, Dualshock 4’s analog stick, mobile touch screen – all offered the same level of precision.
3. Funny how?
Battling for pole position can be a serious business. We wanted to alleviate that tension (or ramp it up, if you’re on the receiving end of an attack) with our multiplayer power-ups, which best example our strive towards the wackier end of multiplayer racing. Sure, hammers and grenade launchers are unorthodox items for the race track, but they’re not unfamiliar to gamers in other online arenas. But how about a giant, irate chicken or a troop of miniature monkeys trained to briefly hypnotise your race rivals?
And as previously mentioned, you can fuse power-ups. Combine that angry avian with a bazooka and watch it stampede ahead of you, sporting a military cap and laying explosives onto the heads of those unfortunate to be in its path. Switch a bazooka for an ice cube and you’ll replace grenades for ice cubes, a military cap for an eskimo hat.
4. Comfort settings
Touring Karts offers multiple camera modes. Arcade Cabinet is built to aid any player who suffers from motion sickness and recreates the oversized sit-down machines that once frequented arcades. You ‘sit’ in the cabinet, with the game screen built-in in front of you. Power-ups still appear in your hands, and are ‘thrown’ into the cabinet screen, ensuring you still enjoy the immersive physicality of a race.
5. Practice makes perfect
Touring Karts had a few practice runs before it roared onto PS4, with tests conducted and bugs ironed out as the game took its first Early Access laps last September on PC. Changes weren’t just behind the scenes: we continued to refine tracks, in both gameplay and aesthetics, adding dynamic elevation to further emphasise the ever-changing courses. All in answer to player feedback. As a result, the PS4 release offers the best version of our arcade racer!