Saturday, November 12, 2011

500th Post Special: EPIC Daytona USA Multiplayer Battle

Well, let's see here...this is supposed to be the 500th post (on my Blogspot dashboard here) but seeing as there's a few posts that went AWOL (I deleted them), I don't know if this is really the 500th.  Nonetheless, let's party!!!

You know what.  I'm done talking about this FIEA game pitch nonsense.  The way I see it, The Powers That Be wouldn't have green-lit a racing game anyway, even if it made it to the Top 10.  So f*** it, I don't care anymore.  Let everyone else haul the load of planning & presenting these games.  I'll just sit back, eat popcorn, and watch as everyone else trips over their own shoelaces.

I'm going home now.  You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

This doesn't mean that I have a 0% chance of making another racing game.  During the 2nd thru 4th semesters, we may get the chance to make more minigames of our choice.  So if we get another racing game going just for kicks, then it'll be awesome.  Prove the doubters wrong--just check out my l33t game.  Thumbs up their asses...

So anyway, good news: We now know that Team Marubaku, a pro Sega-racer team out of Japan, is on YouTube now.  Now their speed runs have been on YouTube for some time as uploaded by other users.  But they've asked anyone who posted their videos to remove them and make way for their account.  So I was happy to oblige and got rid of my Scud Race videos (the ones they made).  They DID upload Sega racer vids way before any of us did (before the days of YT when you had to download huge .avi/.wmv vids) so give them props.

I will end on one thing.  Most racing games really come down to one thing--repetition.  Kind of like a golf swing or a free-throw.  It's a matter of learning what works best and practicing it until you can do it consistently.  A racing game involves learning how the car handles and how to handle each turn.  Once you learn it, you can do it nearly consistently...assuming you have no interference, that is.

"An amateur practices something until he gets it right. A professional practices until he can't get it wrong." - an unknown author from a year between 1 AD to 2011 AD.

See the Marubaku video above.  Guy just runs the same routes over and over and over again.  I think this is one reason why people are turned off by racing games.  Disregarding the learning curve and difficulty to be able to do this consistently, there's not much variety there.  For the record, most every video game relies on repetition to say racing games are so repetitive compared to other genres is a bit absurd.

But....this makes me think.  I was playing Daytona USA online again recently.  And I was playing against evenly matched competition.  And I remember going two-wide with some people on the turns.  And that's when my rote memory flew out the window.  This guy is blocking my optimal driving line.  What do I do?  Red alert--figure out another way to take this turn.  Usually this involved fighting for position as we just bumped each other around.

Sometimes, due to opponent interference, I would wreck or my speed would drop below normal.  Turning at a different speed than normal affects how you perform.  Yeah, you'd think driving slower makes turning easier but it doesn't always.  Like I'm used to taking the Sonic turn on Beginner at 180 mph.  If I somehow drop to 150, it gets complicated because I don't know exactly how I should shift and when to slam on the gas.

Then later, he was drafting me on a straightaway.  Do I try to cut him off?  Now let's flip flop positions.  Can I keep drafting him?  When should I make my move and try to overtake him?  Really, I must decide these things on the fly and prepare for the worst.

And at least there's the intimidation factor.  If this were a time trial, I would drive 100% full-speed always--take all the risks and restart if I make a mistake.  But with multiplayer, time doesn't matter--just finish before everyone else.  So there's a guy about a second behind me.  Should I continue to drive to the max but risk crashing?  Or should I play it safe and hope he can't catch up?  Any slight mistake on my part would lead to me falling back.  It's a nail-biter.  Can I hold him off?  Or what if I'm behind in 2nd place--do I take extreme risks to move up to 1st when I could possibly wreck and fall way back to 5th or 6th or so?

I did pass a few people on the very last turn on the Expert course.  I nailed that turn PERFECTLY while everyone else floundered.  An exhilarating comeback.  If I were in the presence of company, I would've yelled and gave everyone a high-five.

Then all of a sudden, a "repetitive" racing game took on a whole new layer of complexity.  Another reason why Daytona USA is so legendary.  Bravo, Sega, bravo.

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