Monday, October 31, 2011

How To Make Good Independent Racing Games???

And a good October 31st to you.  Here's a programmer's joke:  Why do programmers always get Christmas and Halloween mixed up?  Because Dec 25 = Oct 31.  Haha, go eat your bag of Tootsie Rolls and candy corn.


So I want to say that it's good that fans are talking about Daytona USA again.  And Scud Race.  And Daytona USA 2.  And other Sega games.  We're getting emulators, fan projects (like Daytona Universe), strategy guides, loads of new media, this is very good.  Keep working at it, people.


But here's what I was really going to say.  Here at FIEA, the second and third semesters are devoted entirely to working on large capstone games.  Each game will have about 12-15 people working on it, maybe more as the semester moves on.  So which games do we work on?  The ideas are funneled through an American Idol-style voting system to find out the Top 3 games to make.

The first step is to deliver a 5-minute pitch/presentation to the class.  All producers (about 22) must present an idea to the class.  Then any programmers/artists who have a good idea may present their ideas too.  This means there will be, give or take, 30 ideas out there to choose from.  Students and instructors vote for their Top 5 games.  Games get narrowed down to Top Ten: five chosen by students, five by instructors.  Oh yeah, these pitches are scheduled for a week from now (Monday/Wednesday) so better get ready soon!

And that's just the first round.  The second round is where you pull all the stops.  You must give a 20+ minute presentation (Good Lord, everyone will fall asleep) devoted to the game.  Then the Instructors poll the audience again and they meet in their top secret lair to determine the Top 5 games and who works on what team.  This is at the end of the semester in December.

If your idea has made it that far then good job.  You actually get to start "working" on the game.  Well, for a little while that is.  You get up to around April/May EDIT: end of February (my birthday!!!) then you go through the "vertical slice."  The instructors bring a bunch of professional game designers from EA, Bioware, whatever (it's stupid) and then they determine the final cut.  Two games are cut so only three games actually get finished.  Everyone on a losing project must assimilate into another team and ride out the rest of the semester that way.


I want to pitch a racing game.  Oh Lord Jesus please have mercy on me.  I'm not surprised that the marketplace is hostile to racing games in general.  But the whole idea behind this presentation is to get the students to "feel it."  To want to make this game with me.  Cause they trust me or that nonsense.

Here's my idea.  It's really easy to say, "Make a Daytona USA clone" but that won't fly.  The idea is to come up with something new.  So the first thing I did was ask a crowd of producers what they would like to see in a racing game.  They actually came up with some good ideas.  This was some of them that I recall:

* Didn't like Gran Turismo or boring sim racers.  Stick with games like Ridge Racer (hell yes).
* Make games with wacky environments.  They need to look varied and pleasing to the eye.  I wholeheartedly agree with this.
* Needs strong competitive multiplayer.  Something like Mario Kart.  Or anything you can have fun with.
* Needs non-traditional powerups/items.  When this person was asked to come up with an example, he couldn't think of one.  This one is dicey for me.
* When making a racing game, try to come up with a more complicated system than just "go from start to finish."  Some producers want to produce more convoluted ideas and be challenged that way.  A traditional racing game would be too linear for his taste.
* Lastly from somebody who doesn't "like" racing games.  He pointed out some non-traditional racing games he liked such as Jet Moto and Wave Race.  Main reason he loved Wave Race was because of the way the jet ski bobbed in the water.  That's very interesting to point out--the way the vehicle "moves."

Well, I learned some interesting things.  But here's my idea and part of the things I want to include in the presentation:

* Racing games ARE a reasonable genre these days.  Mario Kart Wii sold over 20 million copies.  Forza 3 and 4 are critically acclaimed games.  There are also many other relevant racers such as Need for Speed, Burnout, Split-Second (I'm going to bite my tongue on that one).

* The problem with racing games is that no one really knows how to make them perfectly.  There's two categories of racers--simulation and arcade.  Here's some typical problems with each:

Simulation: too boring, too difficult, too reliant on intellectual properties, constrained to real life physics/visuals.
Arcade: too easy, too slow, too gimmicky/obnoxious, too many crashes.

But we can take the best of both worlds (swap parts) and make a superior racing game done RIGHT!

* I was thinking of a Stunt Race FX/Micro Machines-style game.  It would borrow many aspects from Daytona USA, OutRun, and maybe Mario Kart.  Hey, read my superb article on why Sega racers are so good.  Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V everything from that list.  Make use of drifting and manual transmission to win!  Drive your car faster than you ever have in Mario Kart/Sega All-Stars Racing!  Watch the way the car rocks back and forth on the suspension!  The way it trembles at top speed!  The way it turns on every bend!  You don't get this kind of adrenaline rush from sim racers when the car just turns left and right like a brick, demonstrating no emotion whatsoever.

Put all good racing games in the blender!

* Environments NEED to be colorful!  It's an uplifting, almost therapeutic game.  It should retain a cartoony atmosphere while throwing elbows here and there (should be some demerit for losing).  I think that track selection should go for the more absurd.  For instance, remember California Speed?  You drive through malls, roller coasters, super-computers, UFOs, volcanoes, golf courses, and so forth?  This is great stuff and would allow artists & level designers to flex their creative muscles.  While the courses are a bit crazy, they need to stick to some coherent theme--that is, they must be rational in whatever universe we're in.  Blue skies forever, baby!

* How about music and sound?  Most games go for the cheap dubstep music & tinny engine effects which don't do justice.  Let's get some intense rock & roll and deep sound effects in here and add icing to the cake! Any good sound producers here?

* I was thinking about some car customization options (with performance upgrades) in order to give the user an sense of ownership over the car.  Make it deep--give him things to score points and achieve.  Add various multiplayer modes with awards and whatnot.  This is where I begin to draw a blank so it's best if I talk it over with a few people and see what I can do here.

If I go in there, polish my presentation, and actually have the guts to present this, I may sway a few people.  If I have the only racing game in the room (and I most likely will), some people will get behind this because they want to work on something nice and clean without some overbearing plot/gimmick.

Well, there's two problems with this contest.  First, assuming I do manage to get past the first round into the Top 10, then that means I have to put a lot more work into this game concept.  I need to come up with a lengthy presentation and discuss this with other producers.  That's going to take more time away from other assignments that I may have due.  And should I somehow get to the Top 5, then I can't be the Lead Producer on the project.  Someone else will.  While I can talk with this person, there's no guarantee he'll keep in touch with me.  He may take this in the completely wrong direction so who knows.  Plus I'll have to work my ass off (even during the Christmas break) trying to avoided the dreaded "vertical slice" so my game makes it to the Top 3.

And the second problem is that I'm probably not going to win.  I mean, I got into this GameFAQs "Win a Private Message Board" contest about a year ago and I was all stoked cause I had a good video but was let down when I didn't even crack the Top 3 entries.  So let's not pretend that I have a good shot at this one either.

But if I have that attitude going into this project, then why bother in the first place?  Even if I only make it one or two stages, at least I'll have tried.  I'd much rather work on a racing game for a few months and have it canned than never to work on one at all.  If I have to see another Tolkien/sci-fi adventure story of epic proportions for the 1,672,278th time (or even work on one), I'm going to kick a puppy through the uprights.  Maybe my fallback project will be decent, I sure hope so...

Also, I read somewhere that the best time to embark on grandiose projects is while you're in college.  You have the time and resources on your hands (you're at college, duh).  You don't have to disrupt the norm of your average career to work on petty side projects.  So if I'm going to make a racing game, now's my best chance.  I hope I catch lightning in a bottle.  That is all.  Let you know if I get any ideas as they happen.  Wish me luck that I give my Winston Churchill speech next Monday, haha.

"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." - Winston Churchill, 1940.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spending Time With Family, Saints, Go-Karts, Ghost Squad, F***in' Fast & Furious, Disney Sucks

First of all, this was a good weekend because I had no homework and my parents drove over to Orlando to spend a few days with me.  But let's get to the Saints next.

I'm going to be like Joe Beningo here in a few minutes so little kids, please cover your ears.  All I have to say is that thank the Lord that I didn't actually see this Saints vs. Rams game on TV (I instead watched updates).  Because this has to be the MOST EMBARASSING DISPLAY I have ever glazed upon in my life.  No excuses to lose this game.  What a disgrace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are two types of teams in the NFL.  Teams that should win and teams that shouldn't.  The Saints are a good team (I think so, anyway).  They should be in charge of their destiny.  There's a reason the Rams were 0-6, because THEY STINK!!!  They had their backup QB in!!!  And then the Saints go to St. Louis and do what all dumb teams do and that is suck ass.  F***ing suck ass.

Compare the Saints to the Packers.  Let's just get this out of the way now--the Packers are probably going undefeated and are getting the #1 seed.  Why?  Because the Packers ARE WINNING GAMES THAT THEY SHOULD BE WINNING.  The Saints aren't.  And don't give me this "the team has to lose to learn to play better" nonsense since that just means they are undisciplined in the first place.  This sequence of "embarrassing" Saints losses goes back to last year when the Saints blew the games to the Cardinals, Browns, and Seahawks (first team to lose to a sub .500 postseason team, choke away 10-point lead, humiliating Marshawn Lynch replay).  Shame on you guys.  The Saints should've played with fire under their asses in order to keep up with other NFC teams but they look like they didn't give two s***s about it.

Oh, BTW, you know how awesome it was that ESPN gave the 62-7 victory over the Colts zero air time?  Well, expect ESPN to run a million stories about the Saints' 31-21 chokejob (most of those were garbage points) loss to the Rams with stories like "SEE I TOLD YOU SOOO SAINTS ARE ONE-AND-DONE ROFL" and "FALCONS WILL WIN NFC SOUTH CAUSE THEY HAVE MATT RYAN AND RODDY WHITE, TWO GREATEST PLAYARS EVER HAHAHA."  Good work, Saints.  Enjoy the embarassment.  Just suck it in and feel good about yourselves.  Really good.

Man-crush on Tony Gonzales!!!

And also don't give me this "Rams were playing passionate football," or "parity exists in the NFL" crap because it also applies to the Saints too.  If the Rams were playing tough, then the Saints should've played tough too.  AT WORST the game should've been tied by the half, but no.  The Saints scored ZERO POINTS in the first half.  That is completely indefensible.  You all are incredibly mediocre and deserve ZERO credit for today.  Sean Payton should take a paddle and just whip everyone with it.  Even Drew Brees since he's been throwing lots of dumb interceptions lately.  Seriously, just beat their asses with it.

Or maybe a ruler, you know...keeping with the Catholic theme.

This reminds me...I've said this before (in the Call of Duty: Max Performance post) that the day you underestimate the competition, you will LOSE.  Don't care if it's some dumb kids on XBL or your mom, you give it 100% all the f'n time.  This is true especially in professional sports.  Consider that a wounded animal WILL fight back when threatened.  Rams may be winless but they will get desperate at some point.  So you let 'em off the hook.  Good work Saints for playing down to the competition! 

And bear in mind that the Saints lost to a franchise that put out this video instructing its fans on "how to cheer" during the game.  Really?  This is absurd.

Seems like ever since "HAKIM DROPS THE BALL!!", the Rams have been the Saints' kryptonite.  Cause this is the second time a winless Rams team has gotten its first win against the Saints.  Sweet Jesus, this is bad.  So bad and I won't hold back.  I'm not going to "bail" from this team cause I still bleed black & gold but dammit I am just gonna call it like I see it.  Especially when I'm trying to enjoy time with my parents.

Know for a fact that someone will post this eventually so let's get it out of the way now.  And Rams fans, don't take this personally.  I'm mad at my team, that's about it.  There's still time for us to peak during the playoffs but enjoy playing on the road!  Geez.

Hey, it could be worse.  At least I'm not a Rangers fan.  Otherwise, I would be hospitalized right about now.


Okay, now I've gotten that train wreck out of the way, let's talk about what happened in real life.  On Sunday, me and my family are traveling down International Drive in Kississimee, FL., the big line of attractions/tourist traps near Disney & Universal Studios.  And we're looking for a go-kart track to drive on.  We find this three story wooden go-kart track and it was fun.  Just like the ones in Pigeon Forge, TN.  DAMN was the ride bumpy as I bobbed all over the place on those poor wooden planks which ate my dirt.  But, nonetheless, I continued on.  I lapped everyone too.  Kids were driving slow so I cut them off...all without bumping into them, of course!  Otherwise, those bums would've yelled and me and dragged me off the premises for "threatening to kill everyone."  No one's allowed to have fun anymore.

There was also an arcade at this place.  The arcade was decent--that is, if you enjoy Fast and the Furious very much.  I counted TWO Fast & Furious bike cabinets, FOUR Fast & Furious Drift cabinets, and THREE Deluxe Fast & Furious cabinets?  I mean, s***, do you really need THAT MANY FAST & FURIOUS GAMES???  No one was playing these games too.  Also, just for the lulz, I saw that one of the deluxe cabinets was missing a brake.  And none of them had manual gear shifters.  Not like you need either of those things, HAHA!!!  Seriously, I think I have more fun picking lint out of my pockets than I do playing this game.

The arcade did have Ghost Squad (2004) there and I played it for about six minutes.  I wasted two credits on it cause I accidentally shot the hostages (well I didn't know you had to hold the "special" button!).  Seriously, what an interesting game.  I played that cabin level and it was neat.  The machine gun controller was cooler than the traditional pistol weapon.  Main problem is that the screen wasn't in good was faded and the attract screen logo was burned in there too.  The same thing can be said about the 18 Wheeler game right adjacent to it.  So is it just me or is EVERY Sega arcade cabinet in poor condition???  Does anyone even bother with these arcade games anymore???

And why oh why does there have to be a Guitar Hero cabinet at the arcade too???  Do we really need MORE GUITAR HERO GAMES???  Go away, Raw Thrills, just...go away.  Can't take it anymore.  Friggin Fast and Furious & Guitar Hero in every arcade.  Well, at least we got Daytona 1/2, Scud Race, OutRun 2, etc. at home so it's not too bad.

I should mention there was a twin Sega Race TV cabinet there too and I played through it just once.  It was just as mediocre as my first experience was.  Game still makes zero sense to me this time.  I picked the Plymouth Hemi Cuda which has low top speed which meant that the AI would just sidle up to me near the finish line so I lost that way.  Man, this game is pissing me off too.


Oh, and it gets even better!  So me and my family decide to go to Downtown Disney.  It's this boardwalk-style attraction with a bunch of stores with blaring Radio Disney tunes (including Aaron Carter who is apparently still relevant) everywhere.  We checked out the Lego store they had.  Nice store, but no Xalax Lego Racers so no dice--Lego sucks now.  Yeah sure, just make a bunch of Lego dragons & Toy Story characters and we'll be on good terms--ooookay.  Then they had all these purple lit-up bars with dubstep music.  Another EPAC FAIL LOLOLOLLO.  And this "section" of Downtown Disney was called "Pleasure Island."  Geez, hide the kids.  Cause I imagine there was booze and hookers all around there.

Then I discover this store (or section of a store) called Ridemakerz.  Yes, it has a "z" on the end.  And you go there to make your own RC car.  Oooooo, gotta check it out!  So you pick up a plastic frame for your car (it's about a foot long & six inches wide), give it to the guy, and he outfits it with parts.  I picked a blue & white stock car.  Oh hell yes, after all these years, I finally get a "decent" RC car to play with.  Should be fun to drive around FIEA and whatnot.

So I read somewhere on the shelf that each car costs $22 at bare minimum.  I'm not interested in purchasing the shiny rims or the red tires--I just want a normal RC car shaped like a standard stock car.  Guy puts the thing together and says "Would you like a remote control with that?" and I'm like "Huh?"  The remote control is an "optional" accessory that costs an extra $25.  Wait, so I was about to buy an RC car without a controller??  What the f***ing s*** is that all about?  So the price of my car just doubled from $25 to $50.  Oh silly me, I thought I was getting a good deal on something at Disney World.  HA, forget about it.  So I just left after waiting for 15+ minutes.  Hate this crap.  TBQH, the car actually looked pretty good so it's a damn shame I had to give it up.  Maybe for $40, I'd give in but $50 is too much.

Anyway, I kissed my mom and dad goodbye and now I'm back at home, ready to take on the world by myself once again.  Thanks Saints, thanks Fast & Furious, thanks Disney for ALMOST ruining my day.

Motor Bike Crashes Are Terrifying

I thought this was a sad story pertaining to motorsport...:

I didn't hear about this until now.  You thought the Dan Wheldon wreck was the end of it all--well, it's not.  Italian Moto GP driver Marco Simoncelli died in the Malaysian Moto GP on Oct. 23.  He fell off his bike in the second lap and was struck by two other drivers, taking his helmet off as he laid there in the middle of the track.  The wreck also sent another driver flying into the grass although he is hopefully okay.  Simoncelli was unconscious as paramedics took him to the hospital.  He was declared dead hours later.  No idea if he was killed instantly or he was in great pain for some time.

I'm not even going to bother posting pics or videos of this.  Just look at the picture on that site.  At least in the Dan Wheldon wreck, you didn't "see" Wheldon die, he was just caught up in the wreckage.  In this bike wreck, the man was just lying there in the middle of the road.  It's chilling.  Jesus, I can only imagine if you were watching it live on TV.  What's sad is that Simoncelli was only 24 years old.  Dan Wheldon was 33.  He was so young and so good at what he did.  It's one thing for adults to die, but young people...give them a break.

I admit that I don't watch a lot of motorcycle racing.  I'm not that crazy about bikes.  But these guys truly got guts.  At least in a car, you have some sort of roll cage/buffer to absorb the hit when you crash.  But on bikes, you got nothing but your helmet & racing suit to protect you.  Riding so close to the ground too.  And when they fall down, they usually get back on their bike and continue racing.  Insane...

I guess the idea is if you lose control of your bike, in most conditions you won't "fall" to the ground but instead slide/roll on the concrete into the grass or whatever barriers they've constructed.  Yes, that would hurt but it's better than crashing face-first into the pavement.  That doesn't protect you from getting tangled up with your bike or being struck by other drivers.  Bear in mind these bikes go over 200 mph/320 kph and that is scary fast.

So, what am I saying.  So we can go on about NASCAR, Formula 1, Rally Racing, Touring Car, etc.  But some people like bikes--Moto GP, Dirt Bikes, etc.  They share the same passion for racing and that should be commended.  Just drive, baby.

I've hardly mentioned Hang-On (1985) and Super Hang-On (1987).  Yu Suzuki loved riding bikes so that's why he made Hang-On.  The idea of a cabinet that leaned back and forth was awesome.  This game was Suzuki's "break-out" title.  Bear in mind OutRun (1986) was released a year later so if Suzuki hadn't made Hang-On, would we even have OutRun, Virtua Racing, or Daytona USA??  Maybe I should put up a Hang-On picture on the right side of the screen...yeah I'll do it later.  My bad.

Not to detract from Marco's death but now you know why motor bikes are a big deal.  Just say a prayer for Marco's family and for other racers that everyone is safe.  Can't stand drivers dying like this, especially when they are so young.  I promise I'm not going to turn this site into an obituary.  Much better news coming up soon.  Too much stuff to talk about in too little time...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Electronic Arts: What It Means For Daytona USA & My Future Career

Okay, there's still a few things on the stack for me to talk about but this is one of 'em and it's sort of relevant.


Here at FIEA, there's this HUGE wave of advertising for Electronic Arts.  EA has studios all over the country.  Speakers show up on occasion to talk about stuff.  Even my programming teacher worked at EA for some time.  The main reason why is because EA is probably one of the most accommodating to entry-level game designers.  Clearly, one of their goals is to stroll by the building, advertise, and hire as many new employees as possible.  Then assign them to Madden, FIFA, Rugby, whatever the hell there is.


But I'll get to careers at EA in just a second.  We had a speaker from EA today who has 17 years worth of experience with them.  What his name was, I forgot...I'll probably update this if I find out.  EDIT: It's Dave Ross.  He was talking about licensed content.  About how you must balance working within the demands of the license's owners come hell or high water.  He was talking about Madden, NCAA Football, Lord of the Rings, all that good stuff.  Also, he mentioned EA is bringing back NFL Blitz...awesome, though I thought NFL Street 1 & 2 were awesome too (though NFL Street 3 and NFL Tour sucked ass).

He got to the subject of NASCAR (this is when the vast majority of the audience groans).  He was talking about the hoops they had to jump through to get the games made.  They needed the actual NASCAR license which also came with the drivers & teams.  Then they needed advertisements and all that crap.  They also needed to license the tracks which were separate from the NASCAR name.  It costs about $10,000 per track to license.

Now this is where things get dicey.  We all know that Sega made Daytona USA (1994), Daytona USA 2 (1998), and Daytona USA 2001 (uh...2001).  Now I actually asked this guy after the presentation what he knew about the Daytona license and how it pertained to EA.  Now some may have a hunch about what happened, but this is what I got out of this.  I think I'm right but I'm not 100% sure.  Please correct me politely if I'm wrong (with proof, of course).

Sega got exclusive rights to the Daytona name back in 1994.  How did they pull it off???  I don't know...but basically, EA couldn't put the Daytona track in their NASCAR games until 2001.  That's right--Sega basically denied EA the Daytona track.  So while we hate on EA for taking the Daytona name from us, bear in mind that Sega did the same thing back in the day.

Yeah, TAKE IT EA!!!

This also explains why Sega had an influx of Daytona games in the late 90's.  Daytona 2, Daytona DC, Daytona CCE/Deluxe.  Sega was sort of "obligated" to make an arcade sequel to Daytona 1 so they went ahead and did it.  Scud Race (1996) was originally some Daytona 2 prototype but they changed it to the touring car them we know today.  Then they went ahead and made an actual Daytona 2 (1998) based off the engine they used for Scud Race.

This game did not have Daytona in it thanks to Sega.  Hmm, would you rather Daytona USA 1 & 2 OR a Nascar '98 game with Daytona in it?  The choice is obvious.  Although I am eternally grateful to EA and NASCAR '98 for introducing me to Flirting With Disaster by Molly Hatchet.

By 2001 (give or take a year), after the license had run its course, Daytona struck exclusive rights to three companies--EA, Papyrus, and Monster Games.  This meant that Sega couldn't make another "Daytona" game even if they wanted to.  So basically, EA returned the favor with a haymaker to Sega's face.  But that's to be understood since EA made a friggin official NASCAR game WITHOUT the hallmark Daytona International Speedway.

Then again, even if Sega could've used the Daytona trademark, odds are they wouldn't have because they're incompetent like that.

After EA made their last NASCAR game (2009), the Daytona licensed was liberated.  Then anyone could get it.  Which explains why NASCAR: The Game (made by Eutechnyx) and Daytona USA (XBL/PSN) both held the same license.  So the Daytona trademark owners were just stingy like that.  Now they've loosened up a bit which is good.  No excuse now for Sega to make more Daytona games!  I guess.  Once Nagoshi-San wakes up from the tanning salon.


Speaking of the great gods of gaming over there at EA, let me describe this drive for EA to hire new students.  Like I said, they do a lot of advertising over at FIEA.  You know they're gunning for us newbies.  When entering the marketplace, it's like the NFL draft.  Except that EA owns two-thirds of the picks.

In the eighth pick of the FIEA draft, EA selects...Eric (last name excluded).  You'll begin working on Need for Speed immediately.  Have fun!

Other companies that have expressed interest in new students is Xynga (oh boy, love working on gimmicky games like Farmville), Interactive Studios (Epic Mickey), and uh....I think Bioware (Dragon Age, Mass Effect, OMG ROXOR MY SOXORS).  They had a couple of FIEA alumni from Bioware come back to speak so maybe this means they're hiring...?  I don't know.

Compare that to companies like Blizzard and Valve who have little interest in "newbies"--they go for experienced employees more than anything.  Though that's not set in stone--if you're a good student and you strike gold, you MAY get lucky.

Anyway, I'm not going to come on here and bash EA more than I do.  Yeah sure, many of their games are mediocre.  Yeah sure, Origin is spyware in a box.  EDIT: They're going over the line pressuring game journalists over Battlefield 3 reviews.  Way too easy to take pokes at "evil corporations" these days.  Although if you hate EA for that reason, then you might as well hate Sega too since they're on par (sort of...Sega isn't as strong as they used to be).

Though my main goal is to work Sega.  Well DUH, you know that.  But Sega is risky business.  For one, they're located in California...San Francisco to be intact.  Is that good for me to travel that far to an economically-reeling state where you can smoke pot all you want but can't even get toys in your Happy Meals anymore?  EA has studios everywhere in North America so they're much more flexible to work for.  They're even opening a studio near Baton Rouge (an hour drive from my hometown of Slidell, LA).  It's a stable company and working for them would be easy sailing.

But is that why I entered the game industry to begin with?  To work on perennial Madden titles for the rest of my career?  I don't think so.  We're here to HELP SEGA.  That's one of my primary goals.

Take the blue pill, go work for Electronic Arts.  It's an easy job with a decent salary but hardly rewarding at the end of the day.
Take the red pill, try to work for Sega.  Travel half-way across the country and be forced to live a different lifestyle.  Possibly get fired and are stranded from home.  But you get a shot at flying to Japan, meeting the Sega crew & Yu Suzuki, and working on a new Daytona title.
So what's it gonna be???

Though EA is prevalent here, not everyone kisses up to them.  Some say that EA is a good place to begin working at to gain experience but it's not someplace that many people want to stay.  While EA publishes a lot of self-made sports titles and coolio games like Mass Effect, they're stale when you think about it.  So if I do work for EA, just consider that it's not permanent at all.  Though this makes EA sound like a revolving door of good little drones and that's not fun.

Anyway...not much else for me to say.  EA is EA.  Haters gonna hate.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Daytona USA Port Impressions/Review

Final Score: 10/10.  Did you expect anything less??  Well, forget about the number, here my impressions that I'm just throwing out there.

Game looks great in widescreen.  Sweet framerate and awesome colors.  Handles just like the original arcade.  I'm playing this with my regular Xbox controller here and I didn't have any apparent problems with sensitivity.  It's fine as is.  Some of the AI cars have fairly blocky textures but that's just a slight issue at best.

Now about the gameplay.  Well, at first, I was sucking pretty bad.  Took me some time to get used to it.  My best advice for drifting is to keep the brake/lower gear held down for slightly longer than usual until the car kicks out from underneath you.  Then don't be eager to step on the gas again.  Let the car slide without gas/brake held for a little bit until you regain stability.  Like pretty much every Sega racer, I can't just tell you what to do--you'll have to play it a few times to get a hang of it (like I did).  The game also includes a subtle rewind mode (think Forza) for standard Arcade races if you are getting frustrated (access it from the pause screen).

About online play.  Well, I got to play online about seven or eight times, most on Beginner.  There's two "modes," Type A and Type B.  Type A has Catch Up on, Type B does not.  I played on Type A a lot and Beginner races were very intense.  People can nudge each other quite a bit (not like Forza though where the slightest contact means death).  Sometimes you will get smashed against the wall and fall back.  However, with Catch Up on, I got back in the race rather quickly.  Racers were four-wide on the back straightaway!!!  Crazy!!!

 Scene just before the Sonic turn

I got on a little winning streak here on the Beginner course.  You have the worst chance of winning though if you were to wipe out on the final lap, of course.  Early wrecks aren't that big of a deal since you can rebound quite easily just in time to finish.  When playing for real, turn handicap off...Real Players Only!!!

You can also enable AI cars online.  A motorcade of purple 99 cars that basically serve to aid (draft/slipstream) or hinder (rear-end) you.  Your position against the AI is irrelevant--you're only overtaking other XBL players.

I do have four minor complaints about online:

One, you cannot use the Player 1 thru 8 cars in single player.  Heck, when you join the server, you have no choice over what player you are, period (top of the lobby list descending is P1, P2, P3, etc.).  But I'm nitpicky like that.

Second, the other players' cars can jump around due to lag.  This isn't new to racing games but still worth mentioning.  The AI cars don't jump around as much but I've still accidentally collided with them because the lag made them appear farther away than they really were.

Third, there's no option to race tracks backwards (I think so anyway).  You can however race them mirrored (left is right and vice versa).  When playing courses with the Random option selected, I ended up racing mirrored Advance...a huge mind f*** if I ever saw one.  The game still has the options for Endurance races (with tire wear) so that's a plus.  But a two-hour Daytona run...geez, that can get tiring quick.

Last and certainly least, once you press Start in the lobby menu, you can't go back and change your transmission.  Got stuck with AT once and had to live with it.  Yeah, it's stupid, I know.

Then there's three special modes, none of them are that life-changing.  The first is Challenge mode, which is basically thirty Gran Turismo license tests (ten per course).  None of them are super-hard but are a decent way of learning the mechanics of the game.  Stuff like pass cars and keep your speed above a certain level.  If you've played this game before, it's fairly easy to plow through the whole thing in an hour.  Forget the star difficult ratings--the hardest challenge is #7 on Advanced with the 180 downhill turn (your speed can't drop below 140 mph...or maybe I just suck at that particular corner).

There's one thing about the Challenges that's strange.  In #8 of Beginner, the goal is to hit ten cones before the time runs out.  Okay, super-easy.  But the cones are laid along the black strip in the pit lane which means that--yes--the pit stop exploit is back!!!  You're still forced to pit if you don't drive on the strip.  The developers must be aware of this and chose to keep it in.  That's something I disagree with but it's a touchy issue--I know.  Just strange how it works.

Your goal for beating all the Challenges is a sense of pride and a Hornet XBL Gamerpic.  You only need to beat one challenge for the achievement.

Survival is basically an endurance race around a given track with EXTREME tire wear in effect (can't drive more than a few minutes without losing control).  Pass other cars, drive through checkpoints, and do other good things to add more time to the clock.  Fun for some people.  Karaoke is rather pointless.  The words of the song appear on the screen during an free drive session (no AI or timer) and that's it.  King of Speed (Beginner course) is basically a bunch of "Ah"s after the first thirty seconds.  Still good for the laughs.

One more general complaint and I know to some this will sound stupid...but there's not a whole lot of record keeping in this game.  Sure, there's the Time Trial modes for the two cars and three tracks but that's just about the only thing that's recorded.  EDIT: Okay, there's a online leaderboard for "Miles Driven," I must've overlooked it.  I already got 200/200 gamerscore within the first hour of playing so what's to keep someone really glued to this?  A Call of Duty/World of Warcraft-style XP system, that's what!!!

Another thing came to mind.  Since this is the same people that ported After Burner Climax, I was hoping that this game would include more little fun cheats/switches.  Like how about a Daytona To The Max mode with turbo boosts and bigger tires?  Or how about the Horse from the Saturn games?  Oh, this is stupid.

After playing this game for about two hours, I had to stop since my fingers were hurting from all the intense action-packed racing...geez.

So the game is great, but obviously it's a small game.  Reviewers may pass it off as another ho-hum arcade title with little content (although I will boycott any sites that review it less than a 9.9).   It also makes me want a Daytona USA 3/Sega Racing Megamaix even more.  But I don't know.  A lot of people will be very happy with this.  I'll jump into some online races again soon.  That's it, buy this game.  Only ten bucks.  This game should really be worth sixty, but you're lucky it's only ten, ha....


Today, we are getting Daytona USA on Xbox Live!!!  800 MSP, go get it!!!  Also, make sure that you rate the game five stars (look for the "Rate" option in the game's XBLA menu).  OutRun Online Arcade got an average rating of about 3.5 so make sure you've rated if you haven't already!!!

Daytona USA features

Fresh Oil and a New Coat of Paint: Experience the classic retro graphics of the original arcade hit in an enhanced,16:9 widescreen format
Let’s Go Away: Relive your glory days of racing to the sounds of the original Daytona® USA soundtrack, also available in Karaoke Mode (admit it, you know you have been singing along anyway)
Pedal to the Metal: Drive like a pro with included support for the Logitech GT Driving Force steering wheel controller on PS3™, and all Xbox 360-supported steering wheel controllers
Reach the Winner’s Circle: Challenge AI opponents in Arcade Mode, race the clock in Survival and Time Trial Modes, and trade paint with up to eight players in online multiplayer to place on the worldwide leaderboard

Sorry that European PSN users won't get this until late November.  But while you're at it, check out these nifty Daytona wallpapers!!!

It is looking SLICK!!!  Love the rich saturation of the colors!!!  Sega did a good job at making this game look colorful without making it all shiny & obnoxious...

You can get this cool Playstation background (with avatar) if you buy the game, I presume.

Don't think there's anything like this on Xbox Live.  Easy to implement Xbox wallpapers--put the picture on a flash drive, read the flash drive on your Xbox and set the image to wallpaper.  Easy.

All three pictures property of Sega of America....ooooh yes indeed they deserve some credit for making the game (well, perhaps Sega of Japan but close to the same thing).


The official Japanese AM2 Port Team blog has posted two more entries since I first noticed it.  Talking about the game's achievements.  Nothing extraordinary but good to hear more from these folks.

Now, I didn't mention this before, but I'll say the obvious.  This is an AM2 Port Team at work here.  We're talking AM2.  That means that the chances that we get Daytona 2 and Scud Race are significantly higher than I assumed a month ago.  Maybe not in the next few months but maybe later.  Had this been the same team as OutRun/Sega Rally Online Arcade, I would still have my doubts.  But we got dedicated Japanese developers at work here.  I'm feeling confident about this.  Although Daytona USA 3/Sega Racing Megamix would be the real pot of gold at the end of the rainbow...the golden ticket...the Holy Grail...the Boardwalk stamp in McDonald's Monopoly...or whatever.

I tried looking up this Toru Murayama guy.  Didn't get much.  I found a Murayama-San, the External Director, FAST RETAILING CO., LTD.Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University...not the same guy.  And some episode director for some anime shows.  But wait!  I think I found the actual Murayama-San of's his page with his picture:

Uh, we know next to nothing about him.  We do know that he was around in '99 to work on Shenmue.  We should learn more about this AM Port Team!  They may be Sega's saving grace for the future!

EDIT: While you're at it, try looking up the alternate name "Tohru Murayama."  You may get different results.  Can't do the searches now, I'm busy...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Gaming School: How I Learned To Stop Worrying (About Grades) And Love To Ridicule Everyone

I KNOW that Daytona USA is already out for PSN and is coming out tomorrow for XBL.  But this is something that must be said.  Let's be straight--today was just a s***ty day.  I know some people don't want to hear it but here goes anyway.  I'll try to make it as quick as possible.

And I know that this is a "controversial" post, especially if anyone who knows me in real life reads it, but I debated whether or not to post it.  Spent too much time on it anyway so don't want to let it go to waste.


At game school (FIEA), one of the things we do for this semester is work in teams of five and make a game in two weeks.  We make a total of five games.  I already finished my first two games: 30 Seconds or Less and A.R.I.  I'm proud of my work.

The third round's theme was "immersion" or the act of making non-linear gameplay.  Ours was for this big MonsterMedia touch TV, kind of like a big iPad.  We made a 2D game codenamed "MonsterBlocks" in which the goal was to escort a frog across the screen by dropping tiles from the sky (Connect-Four style) in order to aid/hinder him.  It was really a shallow idea that hinged on that level-editing mechanic--kind of like a sordid combination of Tetris, Lode Runner, and Frogger.

Our game did not fare well.  Our team had one producer (normal guy), two programmers (me and this Chinese guy), and two artists (two girls, hoohah).  First day on the project, ideas clashed.  In the end, the tile-dropping idea was made concrete.  I personally thought it was too shallow and had my doubts on the MonsterTV platform, but popular vote wins, right!  Let's begin working, huh?

The producer then e-mails everyone a list of vague instructions on what we should do next.  Then he goes AWOL.  Bear in mind that the Producer's primary job is to CONCEPTUALIZE THE GAME AND AID THE TEAM TO VICTORY.  Since producers are generally useless outside that realm, many producers at FIEA learn how to code, design art, write scripts, or record sound effects.  All our producer did was pop in occasionally then go away.  It stunk.  We weren't "motivated" to work hard.  For my first two games, I worked on them purely out of self-interest and pride.  Here I just got pissed off since our team was so disorganized.  I was running back and forth (in my mind, that is) trying to figure out what to accomplish.

To be fair, the game itself wasn't that bad...the art was good and the controls were alright (disregarding the touch screen).  If you took something like this, tweaked it and put it on a different platform, it would be okay.  EDIT: But it seemed like our team was willing to take the hit on presentation day and there was not a whole lot that could be done since I haven't talked with the producer and because I'm slaving away at whatever menial tasks I was assigned.

Tuesday at 2 am, me and my Chinese buddy finished cramming our game all while our producer stood around offering little nitpicks and staring at everyone else's games.  Later, after we got a half-night's rest, we presented our MonsterTV game to the cohort.  Out of the seven MonsterTV games, ours was the only one that didn't elicit any smiles or laughs out of the crowd--it was boring.  A lot of the minute details I added or polished weren't even shown during the demo.  Our producer just popped in and winged the whole thing as I stood there and took potshots for making a lousy game.  Bear in mind that ALL OF US get the same grade on the game so if he tanks, then I tank too.

As an angst programmer, I shall throw him bus.
Although I will admit he's a nice guy so I do so with chagrin.

Speaking of producers, I'm going to say this too.  Out of the three game design tracks here at FIEA, there are way more producers than programmers.  How can that be--all these producers but not enough programmers to design the games?  I'll tell you why--because the idea of being called a "Game Producer" is a big ego boost to some.  As a matter of fact, when I first read up on FIEA, I was all gung ho over being a producer!  You're like the architect of a building--you get to tell everyone what the game will be like!  On the other hand, those lousy programmers...the ones who are lazy, introverted, and don't shower (not me though).  They're like the construction workers.  They do all the bitch work.  No one wants to be a programmer and deal with all that math/logic/puzzle solving.  They want to be PRODUCERS and be the boss of it all!

Herp derp, I'm just a helpless programmer!!!

If you take a look at the homework the Producers have, they have to write up so many game documents, it's nuts.  Enjoy it, guys!  You want to design the games, right?  Then sit there and drown in all that ink.  Attend all the meetings, give the public speeches, and take the hit when the game sucks.  There's more to being a producer than writing down ideas and telling everyone what to do.  Some producers already get the picture (they're specializing in programming/art), others do nothing.  Just a friendly wake-up call for producers, that's all.


It gets better!  To tack on to an already bad day (seeing my game crash & burn in front of a crowd of 70 people), it turns out that my classmates think I'm useless!  What do I mean?  At the end of each project, each person gives out "Peer Ratings."  You sit down on a computer and rank each teammate (excluding yourself) from best to worst in four categories.  Categories are" Easiest to Work With", "Put in Most Time", "Most Creative", and" Number One Player".  Then after you rank them, you give them a final score of 1 through 5.  In other words, it's the digital version of total secrecy, go figure out which person(s) to screw over.  Brilliant.

Eric, you go home back to Louisiana, do not pass go, do not work for Sega, do not make Daytona USA 3.

Example: So I have four teammates named Bob, Joe, Gus, and Sam.  I'm ranking them in terms of Number One Player.  Now Bob did a lot of work, I put him at #1 with a score of 5.  Gus did a lot of work too but just a little less than Bob so I put him at #2 but give him a 5 anyway.  Sam did some work so I put him at #3 with a score of 4.  Joe was more or less expendable so I rank him at #4 with a score of 3 (he still helped a little).

Now everyone in the class got to see their rankings compared to everyone else (in terms of position on Top 4 lists, not scores).  They saw them in secrecy so you don't know how anyone else besides you fared.  Just for my first two games alone, I fared MISERABLY.  In terms of "Easiest to Work With" and "Most Creative," I ranked in the bottom 10%.  Like 60th out of 65th.  As for "Put in Most Time" and "Number One Player," I finished somewhere in the middle (35th place).

Now some of you are probably snickering at the scores and saying "Eric, you're a loudmouth who deserves to fail."  No, these scores are horribly flawed.  Utter bull for multiple reasons but here's one: I KNOW for a fact that I busted my ass on both of these projects.  As a matter of fact, 30 Seconds or Less was my baby.  A good soldier never leaves a man I polished the hell out of the game when everyone seemingly lost interest.  No really, I went around asking for help but I was uncertain what everyone was trying to do.  If I waited up for everyone, then the game would look less polished for the final presentation and our project grade would drop.  And as for A.R.I., I worked on that to keep up with my earnest teammates.  I think that I did an adequate job on those!  But here's more things to think about:

First and foremost, I'm a PROGRAMMER.  With Asperger's, mind you.  Regardless, I'm actually positive and complimentary with my teammates.  We're "friends," we say hi to each other.  So if I'm not an extrovert when it comes to socializing, that means I'm horrible at this job?  Plus, interacting with other teammates...isn't that the Producer's job?  He's the glue that holds the project together?  So because I'm not up and at em all the time, I'm not easy to work with?  If I am easy to work with, then doesn't that NEGATE the Producer's purpose anyway???  To coordinate efforts among each other???  WTF???

And the second thing--most creative.  First, saying someone's "most creative" is a misnomer.  There's two kinds of creativity.  First is artistic creativity--the ability to paint pictures, write poems & stories, and create music.  This is the kind of creativity that comes to mind which just about everybody.

A Bob Ross video game: more fun than Gears of War and Rage (yeah I went there).

Then there's pragmatic creativity--the kind of creativity that involves solving problems.  Now programmers aren't known for being very imaginative but they are known for solving logic/math problems!  Like imagine if you will that you're MacGyver.  You need to escape from a burning building.  You can blow a hole in the wall, get a fire extinguisher or build a makeshift helicopter and fly out of there.  All viable options to solving the problem at hand!  You just need to put the pieces together in your mind and then do it.

That's a different type of that involves getting an idea onto the computer screen somehow.  Like in 30 Seconds or Less, getting the delivery system/arrow pointer working.  And the drifting/smoke God that made a world of difference!  One teammate said "It made the game not boring."  All of that was a LOT of work in trying to setup the code, graphics, and UI.  Yet apparently my accomplices didn't see that in me.  At all.  So according to them, I'm a creative as a doorknob.  Kind of like Ethan Albright, the lowest-rated player in Madden (and his personal response to the man himself)...

It’s also pretty wonderful that my awareness rating was 59. You make it sound like I wake up in the morning, helplessly s*** and piss myself, then lose three of my teeth before I discover that I am trying to eat a rock for breakfast. F***, John, I understand you saying that I am slow and lacking athleticism, but a rating like this pretty much labels me as retarded. Rod “He Hate Me” Smart has a 52 in this category. Electronic Arts is saying that seven rating points separate me and the breathing embodiment of the perfect oxymoron. Rod Smart struggled to arrange words in sentence form. Cave men had better hold of the English language. The only actions that separate point values of ignorance at this embarrassing level are things like using your own toothbrush to wipe your ass. I basically edged out Rod by my lack of shit teeth. If I take a night school class, could you bump me up to a 60?

And for hilarity's sake...

I have received the impression that you feel that I am lacking in the agility category. I should consider a walk through my living room where I don’t crash through a wall or kick over furniture a resounding success. My agility rating on your game is 33. It makes it sound like I just topple over if I start walking too fast. Ted Washington is rated a 40 in agility. He is listed at 365 pounds. If Ted Washington tied a white lady up and made her wear a metal bikini, he’d look just like Jabba the Hut.

Oh, and as for the other two categories (and all in general).  Isn't this just a matter of outrunning your teammates?  Like if you and and a friend are in the woods being chased by a bear, you're not outrunning the bear, you're outrunning YOUR FRIEND (bear will kill the first person he gets).  So in the end, doesn't this whole contest involve sucking up and trying to outperform each other?  Oh, but that's good right?  But ever since when did this become a competition?  I mean, work good for YOURSELF and the game's sake, not to go nuts and play macho head games with your "accomplices."  Getting them to think you ran in circles all last night getting the game to work and thus they rate you higher.  Come on, man!  You know someone's tried that before.  Care more about looking good than the game itself.

And one more thing.  Consider this.  What if there's someone out there who just doesn't like me for personal reasons?  Like if they read my blog and say "Oh, this guy doesn't like Burnout, therefore I don't like him."  EDIT: Or, to a lesser extent, some members on the team are best friends and only see value in each other.  What's to stop them from voting the way they do?  Nothing, apparently.  Either way, I'm getting the shaft.  Brilliant.

Then there's the number ratings that people assign to you.  Okay, never mind the rankings (other than that they should give you the whereabouts on what your score is).  A 1 through 5 score is relative!  Like in game reviews, most of us think that 7 is an "average-to-good" score.  However, some shift to the left and say that 5 is an "average-to-good" score.  So his 5 is another guy's 7.  So if I get on this computer and rank everyone in the 3-5 range (cause everyone contributed), what if someone else gets on there and starts handing out ratings in the 1-3 range because he sees these numerical ratings from a different perspective than I?  So basically, he's killing me while I let him off the hook.

Did I mention that we're being graded on how well our peers rate us?  I think I've been fair in my evaluations of my teammates thus far (as well as very generous).  Since my "Easiest to Work With" rating is rock bottom, that means that it is unanimous that everyone I've worked with previously (eight people) thinks I'm a terrible person to work with.  Which I see as "Eric, you're a lousy bastard."  So do I still see these people as good friends?  Or do I sense some bad vibes with me?  Can I even look these people in the face and give a genuine "Hello" anymore?  You have realize how much I suck at maintaining friendships so stuff like this really takes a toll on me.

Oh, and did I mention we haven't tallied the ratings for the third game yet?  The Monster Blocks game that tanked?  So every team does private post-mortems in which they talk about what went well and what didn't.  This is a viable time for me to come out and say who dropped the ball on this project (and we know who).  But if I come out and say sternly, "You need to do better," wouldn't the same person get his feelings hurt and then turn around and rate me lowest on "Easiest to Work With" because I'm such an asshole?  So isn't this a fragile game of politics at here?  You need to be tough but at the same time you have to do what all good little employees need to do: KISS ASS??  What do I do??

What goes on inside my brain at any given moment.

In the end, we are on edge with each other.  Anyone says anything threatening, we take each other out.  IT'S G-D WAR GAMES PEOPLE.  This is what this peer rating system is--IT'S A GAME.  It's not a valid means of grading each other.  It's a load of ass.  And like I said before, this wouldn't bother me so much if you weren't kicked out if your GPA fell below a 3.0.  Oh well, this class is already half-over.  I'll be done soon.  Much ado about nothing I suppose. I could roast 'em some more but I won't bother. What's past is prologue.

EDIT: Well I've had a discussion with a few people about this today.  Some are understanding where I come from.  Things can get better from here.  Don't worry about this too much.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Now You Know That Sega Makes The Best Racing Games!!!

This is old but nevertheless, I haven't mentioned it yet (I think).  Found this pic today.

Ayrton Senna's Sega trophy.  The 1993 European GP at Donnington Park (or is it "Donington"...oh well) in Leicestershire, England.

dat trophy

Sega ads plastered everywhere!  Hey look, it's Sawnik the Hejhog--PINGAS!!!  But no sign of OutRun, Virtua Racing, etc. which is understandable.

A rainy day for Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna but that didn't slow him down.  He went from sixth to first place in the first lap and didn't let up since, partially because he was able to circumvent the drivers' need to switch from dry to wet tires frequently during the race.  In 76 laps (average lap time 1:20), he lapped every single car (except one).  He finished 1:23 (one minute, 23 seconds) ahead of second-place winner Damon Hill.  Funny because Hill was the one doing the photo-ops with Sonic.

So Senna beat "Sonic" at his own game.  Because of Senna's complete annihilation of the competition, Sega awarded him with his own Sega Genesis, Game Gear, and Master System games.

This...not so much. :(

There was even this weird Saturn game called "Ayrton Senna Personal Talk: Message for the Future."  Okay, a video game about a guy talking?  FREAKIN' BRILLIANT!!!

Unfortunately, Senna died at 34 years old in the 1994 San Marino GP.  Just like Dan Wheldon huh?  Terrible stuff...guy was a pro too.


Oh well, this post is to show you how wacky Sega is with these race cars...Nintendo couldn't get away with this but Sega could.  Like Sega and Michael Jackson.  Goes to show you that Sega are RACING PROS, and DO NOT DOUBT ME.  Piss off Nintendo, go sponsor some go-kart races down by the local amusement park/putt-putt course.  Cause Sega's got FORMULA ONE locked down already.

More Thoughts About Dan Wheldon Crash

I haven't forgotten about the Dan Wheldon incident.  It still irks me a little.

This is what we know about the Las Vegas race.  Indy Car was trying to incentivize non-Indy drivers to participate for rating's sake.  If you won, you got a cool $5 million BUCKS.  Indy Car hoped to get at least five other drivers to participate but they couldn't even get that many.  Even famous dirt-bike/rally driver Travis Pastrana considered but backed out because he injured his leg.  Dan Wheldon was in the running for the jackpot although he and many others were reluctant because of the dangerous conditions.

Think Indy Cars traveling 220 mph without using the brakes.  Sure, that makes for safe conditions.  Coming that close to each other...all it took was one minor calculation and that's it.  The drivers couldn't even make it 11 of 200 laps in without a serious wreck.  NASCAR drivers could see this coming a mile away.  Sadly, Indy Car set up the drivers for this situation.  To quote this article which practically sums it up:

Danger equals excitement in auto racing, and they pushed this one too far. This is a sport that sells danger, and the drivers and their teams are professionals, beating death. It's the edge that creates so much of the thrill that fans pay to see.

But if you have a track where drivers will go three across, where they can't separate themselves from the pack, where they are going 225 mph, and it's all a cry out for attention? Well, that seems recklessly dangerous.

Part of this race's purpose was to stir the excitement of onlookers.  Oooo, a 220 mph race makes up for all those left turns!  Indy Car is losing ratings to NASCAR as well as Danica Patrick who is quitting at the end of the year.  The $5 mil jackpot was another last-ditch effort to get some cool names in the race and get ratings. Too bad it exploded in their faces.  Will veteran Indy Car racers still participate in the series in the future?

Remember that NASCAR officials slowed down stock cars to about 180-190 mph for safety's sake (boooo, that's boring).  Sure, the difference between 190 mph and 220 mph isn't that huge but the stopping distance exponentially increase the faster you are driving.  See this (just assume it goes up to 220 mph):

In other words, Indy Car should probably stick with technical courses.  Besides, no one likes driving in circles anyway.

The death of Dan Wheldon was capped by five slow laps at Las Vegas with "Amazing Grace" played over the speakers, a moment of silence during NASCAR's next race (including Dan Wheldon stickers on the drivers' helmets), a funeral in Indianapolis Florida (EDIT: oops, I'm sorry), and changes to Indy Car's rules.  That's good, very good.

The reason I'm still making a semi-big deal out of this incident is because I've always wanted to be a race car driver since when I was a kid.  But obviously I'm a bit scared to do for obvious reasons.  Hey, would I rather live my life without doing anything fun & exciting like this OR I give driving a try and take a risk?  What's the point of being safe this whole time when you may be taken out to heart disease or a traffic accident anyway?  Isn't life fragile enough to NOT have fun?  I read a survey once in which a bunch of 90+ year olds were asked what advice they could give for us young people.  One of them was "take more risks."  Wait didn't they already make a movie like that?

Racing is a passion. It’s what we drivers love. Sure, when we are out of the race car we can reflect on all the “what ifs” of a race. When it’s time to put that firesuit and helmet on and go do our job, those “what-ifs” evaporate. We are willing to risk it all hoping we don’t have to give it all for the reward at the end of the day.

Even NASCAR drivers sound off.  The worst sound a driver’s loved ones can experience at a racetrack is silence. The car finally stops and the dust settles. The team radio falls silent.

You know, here's an observation of mine.  And I'm NOT trying to start a religious debate here.  There are a few people that are so abhorrent of any kind of belief/faith whatsoever.  But how can you think that way?  You have faith that when you get up in the morning that you can go to work and come home safely.  That you'll live to see tomorrow.  That you'll be able to perform tasks to your fullest ability.  That you'll be there for your friends and family.  There's no guarantee or "proof" that any of these things will happen but you go out and work anyway.  What kind of life will you live if you DON'T have faith in these things?  You'll just mope around your house like some emo kid and accomplish nothing anyway.

Sooo....about racing, I know that many people who are into that stuff won't have the time, resources, or ability to drive fast cars.  That's why video games are so important.  We want to make good racing games to meet that need.  So that's why I get pissed off when I see the racing genre become infected with all these generic/mediocre racers.  That's just my three cents.  I wouldn't say "be safe" since that sounds contrary to my post.  Instead, I say "don't be stupid."

RIP Dan Wheldon, he was a good man.

Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Daytona Port's Japanese Team At Work Here!!!

Now we know who is doing the Daytona USA port for XBL/PSN.  It is the "AM Port Team" who is also responsible for ports of After Burner Climax, Virtua Fighter 5, and both Virtual-Ons.  They started a blog and they posted their first entry today.   The studio is run by some guy name Toru Murayama.  I don't know who he is but he looks like a friend of Sega to me!!

But first, you want to see more sweet screenshots of the Daytona USA port in action?  You got it.

This page translate to English must, very funny it is!!!!


Hello, very much.
My name Sega transplant team and Murayama AM.

"The team transplanted AM" I claim to be freely Toka, there is no formal organization.
The stray. Sonic Team! Studio Gotoku! Official is not cool Hey I do not like.
I always feel funny is drifting even when dissolved,
Doing this "team" Deariyasu soon I hope to even think that somehow survived and got ready to Karaniha blog. 有安.
Thank you!

At first it is
VF5, Oratan, ABC, ported the arcade title came the Virtual Force
Porting Team AM (stray), the latest title announced at last! Maki! Is.

Proudly announced!

I do!

· · · It?
Oh, Did you mean Did you know anymore?

Oh Speaking
I Temashita rating agencies and information leak or Australia.
I rely on the title of the quiz was sponsored Barebare Sega of America.
Or rather, I was abroad I originally chat is officially announced.

Yeah, well, I do that is not irrelevant.
It is a matter of feeling.

Congratulations to the official announcement in Japan!

Will be delivered on October 26, 2011 Both models!
※ Sorry time is undetermined.
Notification via Twitter as soon as we confirm delivery.

I did it!

So, what will the introduction of light.

· DAYTONA USA is a first!
Temasen to be superfluous. The original atmosphere, I feel like operations focused on reproducibility.
But this time remains 4:3 to HD is compatible with that first Karou.
3D model while retaining an HD display various imposed by hand.
I just stretch and blur from Chaimasu only.
I is not actually a fairly clean,
"Mamajan the time!" "Nostalgic" What I hope it feels Moraetara.

You can play online • Up to 8 people!
As a precaution I should say, and I Both models are implemented as well!
It is hot indeed. What is not quite so at eight shops,
I play eight more experience think small.
Because change comes the fun by choosing courses,
Invite your friends want us to play us.

• Other modes are!
Sing the karaoke mode and sing that song famous Dr. Kokichi large,
Challenge mode to learn the basics of operation with a clear
Survival mode, or compete, such as how much distance 走Reru within the stipulated time,
We got the variety will be available. Even after the time attack.
Tenth of a second player and compete in the world rankings in support ... is hot.

/ Trophy Results · The Comp anyone can!
Karaniha make the team out, this is absolutely 譲Remasen.
I write this blog this more at a later date.

Not that the first ends like this.

So over again!





But no, I'm still here in English.

Check out some more of these user comments from that page translated to English.  They are very interesting and you must read them!!  Underlined the good parts.


Sorry topics intertwined in Daytona USA2.
But now a demand in the short-tempered 頂Kitaku also realized Daytona was realized by two full time transplant.

Option can be switched to Battle on the Edge & Power Edition.

HD images directly on graphic model3

16 people can play online

Sega sports channels with live footage was professional

Long instrument can be switched on the CD version was released earlier board sound

If you add sound and portability impossible transplant Scud Race Course

Mix, including additional courses such as Scud Race Course

Please consider the sections of the transplant.


Hello Toru Murayama, greetings from Italy.
Please convert other arcades for us, Am Port Team is our last chance.
We hope for more ports but please in retail edition.

The House of the Dead 4, Border Break ...

Please consider with Sega also the possibility to create a collection of old arcade games that we have never seen on console. Every years we see Mega Drive collection etc, but we know it very well, we prefer collection about System 16, X / Y Board , Model 2 etc.

Please think about that,
We are here to support you
We'll love arcade games forever

Italia Sega Front


Congratulations, Mr. Murayama Daytona revival! We now really looking forward to! 'd Like to be so by all means, I would like to be able to add content to do as a switch between the Saturn version of the song. I waited 16 years from the Saturn version was the dream of doing a song full of the arcade version of the Saturn in transplantation.(Roh △ T) and thank you also do not come just 3.6 million!
m (_ _) m


Congratulations transplant Daytona USA!
Temashita long wait.
Handle the controller options, "the strength of force feedback," "the weight of the handle," "play type" I am fine can be set.
And super-heavy arcade like Daytona,
Yes you can meet the needs of you and your lighter to set it to play a long time.

Then, thank you for porting Daytona USA2!
Such high speed and flashy action Oratan impact is over there.


It sounds good site

※ rice field error "SH-2" more, and if I can remove it


Gates has been replenished!
Please come to the following Harley-Davidson.



Ported very happy!
"You can enjoy the four perspectives with VR button"
The tears have involuntarily ....

However, a port of Daytona USA is happy and said,
2 is a transplant and still do ....
BGM at least full-course caution and, alone, such as a car collision course ... and enemy


Thank portable! !

School is a work of memory and time record competed endlessly with friends.

Buy Haste The Day 26! ! !


I have not played in real time honest and DAYTONA USA
Ported to XBLA and thoughts will be heard "Wow" was about Innovation say.
We heard high expectations of the team responsible for porting this AM and it!
Oratan, ABC, and the Virtual Force (VF5 is good at fighting so sorry)
Buying a 遊Bimashita felt the love all of them.
SEGA of yesteryear feel the momentum (in a good way) because I feel that most teams feel the evil of the head.
I think the game industry has swept the adverse times, not just a new transplant
We hope to have fun Rashiku SEGA!
Please transplant team luck AM (tentative)! !


Thank Daytona delivery!
Poured into a 100-yen coin Daytona Dearimasu much of my youth, that the Yarra played the Sega Saturn version of just how incomplete graft
Wktk 26

Then, Daytona 2, Scud Race is still a consumer machine output Temasen title definitely want to rent HD.

Daytona 2 If possible, optionally,
I want you to be able to switch or switching Kokichi Dennis ver-edge battle with Power Edition


Why ... Why not comment.
And thoughts of what is now in its third.

The official announcement will not stop wktk Daytona USA (laughs).
While the delivery date or should I buy one problem (but wearing clothes) I waiting for.
Oratan, and force, I look forward to future work as a team that had inherited the spirit of the old Sega.

Personally, I am glad to respond later because Kuretara clutch play Poku and NASCAR ...


It is interesting that a lot of gamers out there feel the same way about Daytona USA.  They want that Daytona 2 port with (I guess) Scud Race courses???  Wouldn't that be tops???  Sega Racing Megamix, Baby!!!

I also love the frequent use of the word "transplant."  We're not talking about organ transplants here, okay??

Again, here is the link to the article with the comments.  I see that model3 left a comment as well!  I will probably leave a comment too in the future.

Good night.  Rolf, I'm tired so most of my comments were disjointed anyway (Engrish-style)!!!