Sunday, August 26, 2012

NASCAR Is Very Serious Business (Kurt Busch Sucks)

At last night's Sprint Cup race at Bristol, Tony Stewart was contesting for the lead when he got in a wreck with Matt Kenseth.  Afterwards, Tony gets furious and throws his helmet at Matt's car.  Tony went from leader to finishing 27th just like that.  EDIT: Replaced video cause some idiot took first one down.

Now that video makes Tony look like a fat old man.  Also, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed spokeswoman Danica Patrick wrecked too (to nobody's surprise) late in the race (was still on the lead lap, amazing) and pointed at instigator Regan Smith as he drove by.  So it was old-school racing at its finest and everyone got angry.  Lol, you mad?

But Tony's helmet toss is not surprising.  Just for fun, here are clips of people getting mad and swearing for the camera.  Warning: PG-13 Language.

And then there's Kurt Busch who is in a league of his own.  You know about his younger brother Kyle who is an asshat, but he clearly learned everything from older brother Kurt.

You could fill an entire 90-minute special on Kurt's antics.  Oh wait, someone already has!!!  The first 50 minutes or so are about Kurt picking fights with practically every other NASCAR driver.  If you want to skip to the good stuff, I'd say go to 55 minutes and watch that.

Not a coincidence that Kurt was fired from Penske Racing in 2011.  He was picked up by Phoenix Racing in 2012 and his luck has turned for the worse (his car sucks).  Even worse, his #51 car is unsponsored since no one wants to be involved with such a troublemaker as him.  Guess what, Kurt?

Speaking of arguments between drivers about who instigated a wreck and who's the dirty driver and so forth (the kind that would result in fights over Forza, iRacing, etc.) , NASCAR seldom penalizes drivers in these situations unless it's blatantly obvious/reckless on a certain driver's part.  Otherwise, it comes down to vigilante justice.  If a fellow driver treats you with courtesy & makes clean passes, you return the favor.  If he rubs elbows with you, then you rub him back.  You can type "X gets pissed at Y" in YouTube for anyone and see how these rivalries occur.  What goes around comes around--since Kurt was hated by every other NASCAR driver at some point, he is basically abused by everyone in return.


I will go ahead and say this: I think auto racing, both in real life and in video games, is probably the most anger-inducing of all sporting events.  Racing?  As opposed to something more violent like football or Call of Duty?  Seriously, I've heard things on Forza that make Call of Duty kids seem pious.  Ignoring the little Xbox Live kids who curse up a storm because they're too immature to be playing games anyway, let me explain why.  There are three factors:

1. You're on your own.

There's two types of competitive sports/games--teams and solo games.  Team games include soccer, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, Call of Duty/FPSes in general.  Solo games include golf, tennis, auto racing IRL and in games, fighting games, chess & poker (I suppose they count).  Yeah, sure, auto racing is a team effort--you have crews and fellow drivers assisting you, but in the end one person raises that trophy and that's you.

The good thing about being on a team is that you usually have fallback options.  If you're doing poorly--either you make one or two bad plays or need to be benched from the game altogether, at least you have your teammates to pick up the slack and hopefully make a few great plays, guide the team to victory, and make up for your mediocrity.  Sure, it sucks for you but at least you still "won."

However, in solo sports, it's all up to you.  If you play poorly and/or lose, there's really no one to blame other than yourself.  If you're having a bad day or are embarrassed, there's no evading it.  You need to keep your composure and finish the entire length of the event, take the loss, and face the music, knowing "I coulda/shoulda/woulda done better but I didn't and I lost, shame on me."  Yet some can't come to grips with losing which is why we kick and scream when that happens.

2. All it takes is one mistake to ruin the race.

Thinking about other games like football, soccer, Call of Duty, even solo sports like tennis & golf, etc., if you make a few terrible plays, such as a turnover or you die a few times, it's not the end of the game.  You can still catch up.  If the other team wins a few rounds/sets/holes and there's still some time left to play, at least you can outplay them later and make it an even game.

However, in racing, all it really takes is one or two miscues and you wreck and are set VERY FAR back.  Well, it depends on the game--in Mario Kart, crashes are expected to happen but in racing "sims," the penalty is much more severe.  It's so easy to just graze the other person's car and you're both flying.  Hopefully, it's a very light wreck and you're only set back about 10-15 seconds or so (Forza) and you can make the comeback assuming you race your ass off and/or the people in front of you screw up too.

But that doesn't take damage into consideration.  If that wreck dings your bumper, congratulations--your aerodynamics are shot which slows you down and makes it even more difficult to win.  Even worse, the engine/transmission could be shot which means you have to putter around the track at half-speed just to come in second to last as opposed to dead last in order to garner a few more points for the standings.  No worse feeling than that.

Now Forza is bad.  Playing with sim settings is awful once you hit the wall and dread trying to finish, but at least you can start a new race a few minutes later.  So think of it from a NASCAR driver's standpoint.  Each week you travel across the country to a new track.  You take the car out for numerous practice sessions, tune the thing over and over and over and over again to make sure it's just right.  Then you race.  Halfway through the race, the car spins out and smashes to pieces.  That's some hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment GONE in seconds and it probably wasn't your fault.  Plus that entire week was in vain as you finish in the bottom third of the standings and have to do it all over again next week and hope the results are better.  That's just aggravating to think about--I would be cursing too if that happened.

3. Driving is a strenuous ordeal.

Even though sports on a high level, such as football, soccer, baseball, basketball, etc. require extreme fitness, at the very least you get breaks.  You can stop for Gatorade, you can call timeouts, sit on the bench, halftime, hit the showers, etc.  Yet in auto racing, that seldom ever happens.  The race begins and it lasts for some 3-4 hours.  Yes, there's yellow flags (and the rare red flag) which means you're not exerting yourself nonstop.  But to sit in that confined car in that racing suit & helmet of yours and experience those G-forces for that period of time is tough.  BTW, did we mention the possibility of unexpected wrecks, wild rides, injury, death???

As an aside: I still fail to believe some of the things in this video, like the 13 pounds of water weight (I imagine they would be unconscious if they were in a 130-F oven being tossed around for 4 hours without a drop of water) but SportsScience tends to paint athletes as these gladiators who are able to ascends to the heavens and wrestle the gods while us plebians need help to even get up out of bed and use the bathroom cause we're so weak (or something).  But you get the idea, racing is tough.

I suppose this also applies to video games to a much lesser extent (well duh).  There's no pauses in the action--the entire game is nonstop "keep moving."  And that can be tough since the goal is always to move forward--you can't slow down for anything (i.e. "let's regroup" in FPS games and stuff) and hence your mind is always racing, trying to keep the car in equilibrium while simultaneously taking additional factors into play like other drivers trying to cut you off and so forth.  Just something to think about.


Now you know why NASCAR is so hard and why drivers like Kurt Busch get hot under the collar--CAUSE IT'S TOUGH BUSINESS.

BTW, I didn't know this happened at the Daytona 500, hilarious:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Daytona USA 2 Saved/Ruined My Life

EDIT: Fixed some typos & stuff a day later.

Well guys, I'm back.  Let me tell you what's been going on.  Recently, I had a two week break which I spent at home in Slidell, Louisiana.  Then I drove back to Orlando, Florida and I've already completed one week of my internship.  Just didn't bother mentioning it until now.

Driving to and from Orlando by myself was a nine-hour nightmare (that happened twice).  It rained a lot both times (precipitation for about 40% of the distance) and there were two traffic jams in which I had to come to a complete stop.  The only excitement came from a "race" between me and a geriatric couple in a white Dodge Caravan.  I pass these guys and two hours later, they start creeping up on me (at 76 mph) so I slingshot past them (at 77 mph).  Hey, anything to keep me alert is fine by me.

Me driving with my little furry friend.  I'm not ashamed.

BTW, Florida toll booths are crap.  There's this one booth that charges $3 for a two-axle car.  What a piece of crap.  What's worse is that I didn't have $3 in change on me (sorry I don't walk around with tons of cash in my pocket) so I offered the toll booth lady my debit card.  They don't take cards of any kind.  Are you serious???  The hot dog cart lady outside of the FIEA building takes credit cards but the State of Florida doesn't???  So they took my license & plate number and now I have to mail them a $3 check within a very limited amount of time that my dad agreed to pay for me.  But he got lazy and said "you got a Louisiana license plate that's crap, don't bother."  So now, if Florida law enforcement tows my car, confiscates my license, and makes me face a judge, then I know who to thank.  Thanks, dad.

So now I will tell you about this old town of Slidell, Louisiana.  That's my home.  You check out what has changed and, as usual, nothing really has.  So I made another pilgrimage to Northshore Square Mall.  Not even this mall has changed.  That's not bad seeing as indoor malls are "on their way out" but whatever, it's still good to know.  Buy some expensive cookies, some flat greasy pizza, check out the arcade, sit on the bench, I have zero interest in buying clothes so what else is there to do so I left.

It is properly fitting that as I begin working in the game industry we visit the place that actually got the ball rolling on this career path.

This is the water fountain, a picture taken while sitting on a bench.

Another water, that's pretty, I love palm trees.  Yu Suzuki does, that's why the AM2 logo is a palm tree (omg, symbolism).

This is the shot directly behind where I was sitting.  It's the arcade.  That's hallowed ground there.

As usual, my head was swimming with thoughts at the time.  Now I already told my arcade story a while back and how this all began, but I omitted some details.  I should mention these now.

I practically lived in Slidell my entire life until a year ago when I moved to Orlando.  I've always known about this arcade.  At first it was "Pocket Change," then it was "Namco Arcade," now it's "Coin It Up."  Pocket Change had a Turbo (1982 Sega arcade racer) cabinet and that was great.  I loved race cars as a kid and that was one of the many games that I played at the time.  Unfortunately, my parents were always reluctant to take me to the arcade for many reasons--it costs money, the mall is a ghetto full of gangsters and miscreants, and so forth so I didn't play much Turbo.

Never mind that, let's move on.  It was about 2000.  At the time, my greatest extent of racing game knowledge was Cruis'n World and Mario Kart.  Didn't know much else.  But Penny Arcade brought in a California Speed cabinet!  That was great--the first time I played it, I thought it was the greatest that racing games could ever get.  Stupid, I know.  Then what happens?  Penny Arcade closes down.  Aww, that sucks. I felt a bit sad but whatever, let's zip ahead a year when Namco Arcade opens a month or two later.  This is the make-or-break moment.  I mean, I had an It's a Wonderful Life moment and wonder if that arcade never opened.  Like if it were replaced with sporting goods, cell phones, or a hair salon.  Let me explain why.

What I've seldom said is that those years from 2000 to 2005 were some of the worst in my life.  I'm not going to paint a picture of doom & gloom--I had two parents who loved me, I lived in a nice house, and I didn't suffer any terrible injuries or sickness.  But I did suffer from extreme anxiety which I apparently got from my mother.  There's many reasons, most of which has to do with social situations.  EDIT: I wouldn't say I was a nerd (like Napoleon Dynamite) but I was just foolish when it came to these social situations.  I went from home school to a private school and I acted like an idiot--a Socially Awkward Penguin.  I also spent a lot of time on various internet message boards, making social blunder and blunder and not knowing why.  I was a fool who had just lost all of his childhood friends and made none other at that time.  School was miserable and all I really focused on was getting good grades--I maintained all A's from 9th grade up until my Senior year of College, true story but not like it matters now.  My loving grandmother died in 9th grade.  Took tons of anti-depressants.  I spent a lot of time playing "grind-it-out" games like The Sims which really proved to be a waste of time in the long run.  9/11 just happened and that was depressing.  And finally, I had some religious questions pertaining to my Christian faith that hung over me--not stuff like the existence of God but stuff like,  "What is Heaven like and what are you supposed to do for eternity," and "If the world is supposed to end soon, why bother doing anything?"  (please, for the love of God, no one comment on these things or I will probably delete it).  Oh, and puberty, that probably made me depressed too.  I try to block out this clusterf*** part of my life as much as possible.

Well, except for one thing: Daytona USA 2.

No, really, the new Namco Arcade had a twin Daytona USA 2 cabinet.  I can't remember the first time that I played it (purely on a whim, nonetheless) but it was pure joy every time that I played it.  What was otherwise a miserable time of my life was capitalized by the times I got to go visit the arcade and play it.  But like I said before, my parents hated going to arcade.  I only got to play Daytona 2 only a handful of times every two weeks.  I kept track of my fastest times with each car, bought Namco Arcade coupons to increase my number of plays, and ingrained the soundtrack in my head (whatever bits I could hear over the roaring engines).  In other words, old racing games that I thought were "good" were now bad because Sega moved to #1 in my book.

But as you know, Daytona USA 2 never came to home consoles.  I always read the occasional story while browsing lousy Reddit Gaming about how video games changing peoples lives for the better.  Pokemon, Halo, Portal, OH MY GOD GUYS they saved my life, thank you developers!  Yet the distinct difference between those games and Daytona is that you could actually play those games at home.  YOU COULD NOT PLAY DAYTONA USA 2 AT HOME AND IT HONESTLY BROKE MY HEART WHEN I THINK ABOUT IT (and still do today).  So I look up more Sega games, I buy a Dreamcast & find out about OutRun, Crazy Taxi, Sega Rally, the Dreamcast version of Daytona, all of which were great but why Sega chose to cast Daytona 2 away made no sense to me.

Then I always talked about that day: February 1, 2005.  Aaaand, it's gone.  Goodbye Daytona USA 2, it disappeared from Namco Arcade and never came back.  I stood in the rain and cried all night while my dad thought I was bats*** crazy.  He offered me the three most encouraging words from a father that you could ever hear: "GET OVER IT...."

I felt like a goldfish whose fish tank just cracked.  There goes my primary source of happiness.  And I did the only thing that I could--frantically post on the internet about Daytona, research more about Sega, learn about game design, and ultimately wallow in a state of depression.  I even e-mailed a 20-page document directly to Sega-AM2 with a bunch of ideas for a new Daytona--yeah the ideas were stupid but at least it was a valiant attempt.  They never replied back, to no one's surprise.

Then one day, I was sitting in a chair thinking about life.  You see, up until this moment, I didn't have a clear career track in mind for the future.  Until then, my mother was trying to groom me into this preppy, intellectual type--piano lessons, Latin classes, chess club, all sorts of honors societies.  But then, just like Forrest Gump, I had a revelation and got up out of that chair and said,  "There is no doubt what I'm going to do with my life.  I'm making a new racing game.  If Sega ain't doing it, then I will.  I'm bringing back the Daytona USA name once and for all and may the Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on those who try to stop me!!"  In Forrest's case, he just ran.

But I'm running too, sort of.  Running down a dream!  Go to Southeastern Louisiana University, get a computer science degree.  Never programmed anything before then!  Then I went to grad school and I'm nearly done with that.  I also made the Northshore Square Mall Counter-Strike map to exorcise some of the demons--it helped but it's still a sad state of affairs.

But it's so easy to lose track of the "goal."  Daytona USA 2 was released FOURTEEN YEARS AGO.  A lot has changed since then.  Arcades are dead, Sega is a deplorable, hollow shell of their former selves (which'll probably die out in a few years), I've been locked in a war of attrition with this new commercial-obsessed model for game design/publishing from the likes of EA and other game companies that have been stripping me of my morale.  Oh, and the racing genre is a complete joke now but that brings me to my next point...

Maybe Daytona USA 2 was a flash in the pan?  Look, most/all of us racing aficionados can say that Daytona 2 is a "good" game.  But is it a great game?  Perhaps it left that emotional impact on me because of the circumstances--it was one of the only good things going for me during those years, I seldom got to play it, it's gone now so it makes an emotional bring the game back.  And all it does is make me irrational to think about get mad at stupid video games (usually other racing games that I'm supposed to "like" so much) I don't like and ostracize myself from the rest of the community.  And it makes working on games especially difficult.  Other programmers are a happy-go-lucky type--they'll work on games X, Y, and Z without problem.  Yet with someone like me, whose has become so hung up on a 14-year-old game no one remembers, I'll work on X but struggle with Y and Z simply because "I hate it" or "I wish I was working on Daytona USA."

And then there's Bart's Model 3 emulator.  Once Daytona USA 2 (and Scud Race) finally came home, I wasn't overjoyed, I was FUCKING ANGRY.  Angry cause it took me so damn long to get this game back.  Angry that Sega did next to nothing to try to bring this game back...that it took the efforts of rogue fans to save the game to make some 50-100 people on the Internet happy.  Angry at whatever outside forces, directly or indirectly, held back any chance for Sega to redeem the game.  Angry that this game got no credit until now.  Angry at video games in general which have done nothing that let me down over and over again.  I played the emulator, yes, and I was thrilled, but it's not the same as it was before.  All I could do was throw rocks at the proverbial abandoned Sega building as hard as I could before giving out.

Of course, I learned more about Sega's situation at the turn of the century and clearly they were on hard times like I was.  So beating up on Sega is equivalent of beating up the special kid on the playground and it was no use.  So while I feel inclined to help Sega not just for myself but everyone else's sakes, I don't even know if I'll work there someday.  Whatever happens to Sega, I'll still bust my ass on that definitive racing game...the "utopia project"--whether it's Daytona 3 or some other game altogether.  It's only a matter of finding out who'll help me, whether it's Sega or some other studio or group of developers altogether.

So even though Daytona 2 was made available at home, my job's not done yet.  Which leads me to me and my very first game design "job."  Like I said, I can't tell you where I'm working or what game or platform it is, but I've just submitted a few lines of code to my very first game.  It really is a legitimate game--you could Google it and find out plenty of information on it.  But otherwise, it's a mellow job in which I work alone having just ditched all my old friends at FIEA.  See, I was the only person offered an internship from my cohort.  I did my best to leave FIEA on a good note--have fun, tell jokes, take people to Wendy's for lunch, etc. so I'm demoralized.  Despite my inability to make friends, those that I do become accustomed with over the years usually go away and I never see them again.  And this will inevitably happen--if I'm trying to go to Sega (or some other important place), well....goodbye, friends!

Back to Namco Arcade, I wondered if that arcade had never opened.  Maybe I had never played Daytona USA 2, I would've probably shed that depression, grown up, and become a fully responsible adult, never having to suffer the burden of dealing with "bad" racing games that let me down.  Maybe I would've been a pianist, a lawyer, a scientist.  Or maybe I still would've been a game programmer but I would've been a much happier person, able to work on anything at anytime with no emotional encumbrances whatsoever.  Stupid things like this can be morale killers which explains why I lose the motivation to do "necessary" things like post on the blog, work on Super Sprint, and engage in racing-related activities in general.  But my brain is full of f*** and I can't continue talking anymore so yeah, that's it, I'm done, I'll return when I feel like it.  Not proofreading this for a while.

TLDR: I was miserable from 2000-2005, then I played Daytona USA 2 which made me very happy.  I wonder what would've changed with my life had I never played it and never had that burden of living up to that game in my head.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Danica Vs. The Shoe

At the Nationwide race at Montreal, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed spokeswoman Danica Patrick is in the lead during a caution.  That's pretty good, she might win one at last!  But some jerk-off fan throws a tennis shoe/sneaker onto the track (we don't see who it is).  Danica inexplicably runs over it and flings it out the rear bumper.  While it appears to be innocuous at first, later Danica complains about bad handling as she begins to drop back a few spots.  Eventually, pieces of her car shoot out the rear.  She would later pit and get it fixed up but not before dropping six laps.

Swear to God, watching the highlights of the race on ESPN, seeing Danica's car fall apart with the stupid rock BG music ("derrr-deee-derr-duhh"), I just about broke down into tears (of laughter).  You'll also see a Sonic the Hedgehog logo in the pic above (to the right of the tire), which is bad Sega karma.  All over a f'n shoe.  She's SOL and Oh God Help Us because if she continues to get screwed, then Sega will be doomed.  To recap: Danica ran over a shoe and ruined her chance at winning.  What the f*** is that s***, indeed...

EDIT: It just dawned on me two weeks later.  Why couldn't that have been a SONIC shoe...and give Danica a speed boost????  WWRRRRYYYY?????

You'd think being associated with Sonic would make Danica drive faster but doesn't.  *okay.jpg*

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Worst Racing Game Ever Made (Wonderful ActionScript Programming)

Could it be possible to make a racing game WORSE than this?  Well, possibly these abysmal games from long ago, but this one takes the cake.  Literally doesn't handle like a car at all--you don't turn, you "strafe" left & right.  Can't even get the car to drive straight down the road, you in a normal racing game.  Plus this rap/techno loop makes my ears bleed.  And the three McLarens look stupid.

I know this could pass as a beginner's flash game, but seriously, I cannot get past how f***in bad the car handling is.  If it weren't for the handling, perhaps this game would be okay and have some legs to stand on but here, it is USELESS.  Seriously, if you doubt me, just play the game for yourself.  If you can actually come in 1st place, I will rain praise upon you.  Also, to the website hosters, please don't take this game down--it should be used as an example as NOT how to make a racing game.

This groovy post inspired by a Reddit post: "playing this game is like trying to drive a bar of soap."  Well said.

Sumo Digital Q & A's, Not Bad...

Hey guys, I hate to play the role of "news reporter" (as opposed to news analysis/pundit) but here's the new Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed trailer.

Wow, there's an After Burner track. You can see it in the video--it's just like the first stage of the game (nice and blue). That, OutRun, Virtua Fighter, Shenmue--it's nice to see AM2 games get some appreciation again. This can only mean Daytona USA 1/2, Scud Race, and Sega Rally, yeahhhhh!!! There's also Samba de Amigo, Space Channel 5, and Skies of Arcadia tracks too.

Already mentioned it, but here's the Sumo Digital AMA thread and I got the chance to ask DarthSol a few questions (page 133).  The thread is huge--it's been around since May so I couldn't dig up everything (maybe later). I can't say the answers for me are that great but what can you say. If he's reading this then thanks for putting up with my dumb questions!

1. What exactly was the rationale/influence behind this game? Or who came up with these Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing games and why? I know there's Mario Kart but let's put that aside. Was there this huge desire from the fans (like me) wishing for Sega to make a new racing game again (I know this is Sumo but close enough)? Or was there a desire to see more games celebrate Sega's roots so you guys decided "What the hell, let's do both?" I suppose this is a good answer but any more details I forgot would be great.

We'd done two games, we went 'Let's do a third' and went from there. We decided more could be done with a racer with land, air and sea in a single track, which meant Transforming vehicles. Initial design was probably written on the back of a beer mat - and we've been figuring it out ever since!

2. Some of my friends who are more into the "hardcore racing" side of Sega like OutRun & Daytona are concerned about the game's framerate. Should we be worried about the FPS dropping below 30 in the final build?

We're aiming for a locked 30fps, unless you're on PC of course. I'd love it to be 60, but the water alone means that's unlikely.

2.5 EVEN MORE, I guess I should reiterate the previous question. The guys are concerned that the game will cater more towards the Sega fanbase rather than the racing fanbase, hence this isn't as "good" of a racing game as it could be. Could you reaffirm to me and the other guys that this is still a serious racer, just once more to get them to ease up on the game?

We're aiming to make a pretty awesome SEGA Arcade racer based on all manner of classic SEGA franchises. It's been done by the same team as ASR, and I have the Lead Designer of Blur and PGR3 and 4 working full time on the project. This time we're going for a slightly older look so not to distress the hardcore. Not sure what more I can do to convince anyone really!

3. How much effort has been put into balancing the character tiers? In the first game, my favorite character was Jacky Bryant but he was dead last in tiers. I always played as him online though but barely kept up with the Sonic/Shadow abusers :S

It's no secret that we've brought in volunteers to do a better job of the balancing. We're committed to getting it right. We want to avoid tiers and there are things in the game that make that even less likely to happen.

4. How about backwards drifting? Has that been nerfed or not? My preference is towards removing it (seeing as it was unintentional, I think) but what do I know.

Not in. Wasn't supposed to be in the original either and we very nearly killed it with an update.

5. Any new content pertaining to Daytona USA, OutRun (besides the bonus track), Crazy Taxi, Sega Rally, Virtua Racing, or Scud Race?

Read the first post in this thread. If it's not revealed, we can't and won't discuss these kind of things!

6. Has Yu Suzuki, Toshihiro Nagoshi, or the AM2 team sounded off on this game? Do you think they will seeing as they were also responsible for OutRun 2 and other Sega racers in the past?

We work closely with SOJ. Some of the people mentioned may have played it, I'm not at liberty to say :P

7. What will Danica's character look like in the game (realistic, cartoony) and what will she be driving? I don't ask this because I'm attracted to her, I just wonder how she will fit into the scope of the game.

Again, you'll need to wait and see. We should have footage out shortly for this though!

EDIT: More questions & answers!!!  Here's what I got:

1. I know there's drifting in cars, but what is the equivalent boats and planes? The ability to do stunts for boosts I suppose? Or can you "drift" in planes/boats too?

Each surface has its own way of handling in the air a tumble left or right can get you right back on the ideal racing line... But yeah, they all have 'drifting' of a sort, but it's not identical in each form. 

2. What are your tasks & responsibilities pertaining to the game (anybody who answers)? Probably already been answered but since I'm into game development, I'm wondering how I can relate to your tasks at the moment? I'm a programmer BTW.

S0L is "Guardian of the Library of All Knowledge", and I think he is known by mortals as "Executive Producer" (correct me if I'm wrong buddy) He is also, the "Argumentor Persuivant" ...the upholder of the forums. If anyone has fought for the wishes of the forums, it is S0L!

I am commonly called "the Twit with Part of a Crayon Stuck up his Nose" and also known amongst the beasts of burden as Lead Artist/Creative Director. My powers are weak and age shrivelled, like an old current which fell from a cake many, many years ago, disappearing down the back of the sofa... A old and desiccated thing. 

SumoSpartan is known only as "Tim". A shy mysterious creature, he flits mainly from dark corner to dark corner, fixing design issues where he is needed. If Commisioner Gordon shines the "Tim" lantern onto the night sky, you'll probably end up with Batman turning up wondering what the hell that shape is. And then "Tim" will arrive with his powers of 'creating unsolvable puzzles' to bamboozle all! He survives mainly on a diet of gingerbread men.

3. How would you say the atmosphere at Sumo Digital is right now? I suppose everyone is excited but are they exhausted rushing to get the game done? Would you say everyone is serious or are they laughing & having fun? Dumb question but I'm just interested in you guys and hope all is well.

Everyone is working hard at the moment. Well it seems we always are... But on the whole enjoying it. Lots of late nights and weekends... No home life, stress, depression, waiting for that comet with our names on to end it all, but, yeah. On the whole, good clean fun.

No more multiple questions now guys.... It's hard work! Lol.

Take what you want out of this, but I guess it will reassure you all a bit.  Yeah, me posing in my Daytona 2 avatar & signature...the Daytona Universe is still omnipresent.  NOTE, if you want to post questions too, only ask three at a time (he's adamant about that now).  Also if I ask more questions, I'll let you know.

Sunday, August 12, 2012



No doubt about it.  This was one wild race at Watkins Glen, but for unusual reasons.

Tony Stewart spins out.  Dale Jr. spins out.  Jeff Gordon spins out.  It's down to Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Marcos Ambrose on the last lap.  Kyle starts losing traction and Brad gives him a little nudge.  GOODBYE KYLE!!!  Then Brad starts losing traction and Marcos gives him a push.  Then Marcos wins after some down and dirty racing: Driving off-road like this is Gran Turismo, then Marcos nearly pins Brad into the wall on that last turn, if you caught it (vote to kick Marcos from the Forza server!!!).

There must've been oil on the track, presumably from Joe Nemechek as he DNF'ed his way off the track.  No flags though!  They've stopped races for stupid things like beer bottles and plastic bags on the track but oil they couldn't see?  RACE IS ON!!!  Time to compete with vidya games like Super Sprint, deal with the obstacles!!!  BTW, do these guys have traction control on?  To avoid spin-outs?  No, cause driving aids are for the dreaded, offensive c-word...CASUALS.

Anyway, when it comes to circuit racing, always bet on the foreigners.  Except for Juan Pablo who sucks.  Now I have a legitimate excuse to play this song so BLOODY GOOD JOB, MATE!!!  Marcos the Aussie.

And now Junior is in 4th in the points.  DAMN!!!  This is not good, we don't need another Jimmy Johns championship, GTFO (ha, jk, Jimmy is a class act).

BTW, I would like to congratulate all of the following drivers for losing their jobs and having their driver's licenses revoked.  Here are the drivers:

Jeff Burton
Kurt Busch
Joey Logan
Juan Pablo Montoya
Denny Hamlin
Jason Leffler
Dave Blaney
Michael McDowell
Josh Wise
Jamie McMurray
J.J. Yeley
Chris Cook
Patrick Long
Brian Vickers

Why?  For placing worse than Joe "My Car DNF'ed After 3 Laps" Nemechek.  Losing to Joe is like losing to Glass Joe, it's OVER for you.

BTW, you saw what happened yesterday?  To Sega All-Stars Racing Spokeswoman Danica Patrick?  FIRST TURN OF THE RACE, she gets taken out.  Apparently, Ryan Truex, the genius, decided to cut on the inside of the first turn and hope to bounce off the other cars Gran Turismo-style (real driving simulator, my ass).  And guess who just happened to be behind Ryan Truex at the time?  Danica.  DOINK!!!  She finished 43th place--dead last.  No matter whose fault it is, the fact is Danica has this rain cloud following her wherever she goes and it's a given she'll find a stupid way to set herself back.

Before the Nationwide November race at Texas, when Danica drives the Sonic & Sega All-Stars Car, we're having a prayer vigil.  Sega + NASCAR should be a slam dunk win (Daytona USA) but that's not the case with Danica.  Lest you forget that Danica has won only one serious race in her career (2008 Indy Car race at Twin Ring Motegi) so we must truly pray that Danica does not fudge this up and that Sega is able to win again.  Cause Lord knows Sega needs every advantage it can get.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Good Racing Games Not Made By Sega (Curb Your Enthusiasm)

What if I told you...
there were good racing games not from Sega?

I can't be bothered to photoshop text in this pic.  So anyway, one of the unfortunate things that I (and I guess you to) have to do is find a new racing game to play.  This is tough.  Games like Scud Race, OutRun, and Daytona are great, but it's clearly obvious Sega's going nowhere (other than this Sonic All-Stars Racing 2 which I'm still cautious about).  I think you could get by on Dreamcast & arcade emulators which I guess is a good thing.  There's Metropolis Street Racer (good guy rjay's favorite) and Sega GT (my Sega Gran Turismo game come true?) which is good, but I sure as heck wish there were current-gen games worthy of being played.  Forza 4 is great but even with the DLC cars, driving the same tracks over and over again gets super-duper old.  Honestly, I don't have the patience to look at all of these racing games--I'm on break and I'm a tired programmer who's just too impatient to wade through this crap anymore.

One game I'd like to talk about though again is...Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012.  The game by Criterion.  Now don't get me wrong, I still don't like this game, but looking at the gameplay footage AGAIN, I still notice a few things:

One thing I notice that is quite good is that there's a tactile sense of speed.  Well, what do I mean.  The camera tends to rock back and forth when you turn.  The suspension cradles the Porsche on the turns.  I haven't seen stuff like this since Daytona USA and OutRun.  In other words, NFS: Most Wanted's sense of speed is...not so bad.

The problem I still have with the game is that it's basically as Burnout-ish as you can get while still remaining a NFS game.  Cops everywhere, dingy orangish-teal hues, wreck cams, same damn Porsche/Ferrari/Lambo lineup of sports cars (I like licensed cars but it gets old when you abuse them like this), the Facebook "beat your friends' scores" concept don't matter to me (I have no friends), and the car handling still looks like crap.  I truthfully give Criterion props where it's due but the rest of the game doesn't sit well with me.  Plus I sure as hell ain't giving EA any more of my money so that's the breaks.

Seriously, I reiterate--just the way the camera & the car react to the turns makes all the difference in the world when it comes to racing games.  Most racing devs opt for fancy production value over simple stuff like sense of speed and it's no wonder some of my favorite racing games ever were just regulated to mere arcade racers.  OutRun, Daytona, etc. were meant to be these brief arcade experiences but instead, they still stick with us today, a lot more than all these crummy Need for Speed/Burnout clones that have come and gone.

Right now if I really had to pick a racer, I would go with some sims like Nascar: The Game, F1 2012, or even i-Racing.  Need to buy a steering wheel too.  I just want something rewarding to play that doesn't feel aimed at the "CoD bros/epic win/YOLO idiots" of the gaming world.  I have mad respect for Formula 1 although I know little about it.  Now's my chance.

A CodeMasters game better than that Derp racing game.

BOOGITY BOOGITY...again, yeah.

I don't know...NASCAR the Game comes off as a bit bland but it's NASCAR, what did you expect.  Meh, I don't even know how you can call me a racing game fan anymore when I've fallen behind the curve.  It's my fault, I apologize.


Oh by the way, another Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed Update!   Two Sumo Digital employee (DarthSOL and SumoRex) have been answering questions on the Sega official boards.  The thread has been in existence for two months and nothing interesting has popped up but we do know now that there will only be seven Sonic characters in the game (Sonic, Tails Doll, Sanic the Hegehog, Emo Shadow, Pingas, a bean from Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, and Sally Acorn.  EDIT: DLC includes Froggy, neutral Chao with paper bag over head, Chris Thorndyke, and Mighty the Armadilluh) so thanks Sol buddy.  Prepare for the "Blaze the Cat for DLC!!!" topics.  Sawnik fans are hard to please.  If you're curious, keep tabs on the topic and asks some questions if you want.

BTW, there's a special OutRun track that you can only get by pre-ordering the game which is lame, but do it for Sega, please.  I assume it'll be both land and water, seeing as it's a beach, after all.  Prolly will look like something from the Sonic Tennis OutRun stage : D

BTW, logging into the Sega official forums is a pain.  Can't tell you how many times it says I successfully logged in only to log me out on the main page.  I say don't log in using the quick forms on the top of the page--click the login button to be taken to the "main" Login page and try from there.  Check off the "Stay Logged In" box and try different web browsers if it helps.

Inept message board...just like Sega in general

I still am worried about this Sonic All-Stars Racing game.  Does it look good?  Yeah.  Does it do Sega's heritage a great service?  Of course!  I am just curious if the driving in the game is actually up to par with Daytona/OutRun.  The game already runs at 30 FPS which is a minus right there.  It looks more into production value than actually having that tactile feel of being a great racer.  A great deal of the game's fanbase aren't really into racing games per-se--they're just into requesting Sonic characters and other miscellaneous Saturn/Dreamcast characters (please put Segata Sanshiro in the game).  But frankly, love or hate this game, it's practically Sega's last-ditch effort to make a unique racer so I pray it does well.


Back to racing games: I'm still trying to polish Super...err, Hyper Sprint and get it out there as soon as possible.  No online modes yet, those got all fudged up on the last month or so.  The goal is hopefully to make something small yet fun for everyone, particularly those not into big expensive racers that require steering wheel peripherals they don't own.  But yeah, I'll see what I can do in the future.  Until then, keep updated since I may post my next entry in less than four days.  Laters....

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Battle Fortress Tortoise

Hi guys, this is the capstone game I've been working on at FIEA in a team of 20 for the last eight months (January - August 2012).  It's called Battle Fortress Tortoise.  It's about a clan of gnomes riding on the back of a gigantic tortoise (like a battleship).  And hordes of barbaric hyenas run up to the tortoise and climb aboard in an attempt to kill you & the tortoise.  So use your handy-dandy crossbow to shoot tracer shots (to fire cannons) and bolts (standard rifle shots) to ward off enemies.  It's a PC game that's played using the Xbox 360 controller.

August 3rd was the capstone final presentations.  All three games, BFT, Penned, and Plushy Knight turned out great--I cannot lie.  BFT was done in UDK while the other two were done in Visions.  The problem that Penned & Plushy Knight have right now is that the Scaleform license (used to render Flash movies in-game) only has a limited use so if they were to burn copies of the game now, it would be rendered null & void in a few months or so.  So some guys are working on getting the limitless Scaleform license.  On the other hand, BFT doesn't have that problem since Scaleform is built right into UDK, haha.  Yes, the BFT team has bona-fide copies of the game, box art, disc, instruction manual, all of that stuff.  Here's photo proof of the copies we received:

From March (after Vertical Slice) to July, everyone plugged away at the game.  This last month, the programming team didn't do much besides bug squashing so it was all on the producers to finish the level design, sound clips, voice-overs, trailers, box art, etc.  And this is one of the final trailers.

I suppose I could show the Penned & Plushy Knight trailers but I don't know where they are yet.  Anyway, I wonder what your opinions are on BFT.  It wasn't my idea obviously (I pitched the racing game) but yeah...the game's cool.  Props to my friends Gabe for the idea, Blake for being the fearless project lead, Max, Rock, Yanan, and Mark for being my fellow programmer friends and laughing at all my jokes, producer Jeff who actually likes racing games (so does Gabe), and everyone else for working so hard.  Check out the game's website.  Not much else to say.  After eight months, it's good to see a final product at last.  Now on to RACING GAMES, hah!!!  REVIEW SCORE: 9.9 out of 10.  Only losing one-tenth of a point for not being as good as Super Sprint.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Zynga Sucks

I'm pretty sure everybody threw up in their mouths a bit after seeing The Ville trailer.  And just when you think Zynga got away with copying The Sims...  Warning: PG-13 Language.

I do not condone profanity but I guarantee that EA's response was equally as harsh.  And it was so EA sued Zynga.

I know that this has been reported in many places so you think "zynga sucks, ea sued them, haw haw," you really need to skim over this complaint that EA wrote.  It rather lengthy and some of it is repeating what you know (i.e. description of The Sims for the idiots who think video games are a waste of time (and they're right) ) but it lays into pretty much every transgression Zynga has made.  Mafia Wars, FarmVille, CityVille, Dream Heights, The Ville with plenty of pictures...  Hey, that's GOLDEN blog post material there so props where it's due.  I mean this is good s*** we're talkin about.  Really.

"As The Sims Social increased in popularity and visibility, Zynga turned to its well-known competitive playbook: "Steal someone else’s game. Change its name," then cross-promote the Zynga clone to its extensive user base. It has been widely reported that much of Zynga’s current position in the online social gaming market is not the result of creative development and innovation, but rather has been achieved through cloning rivals’ games."

Good riddance.   EA did one thing right out of what...a million things?  How often does a big game publisher sue another big game publisher?  Well EA declared war--it's go-time baby.

Comparing Battlefield to any Zynga game, oh yeah that's fair. 

I can't say I'm surprised by this.  Recently, Zynga sued another company for using the "Ville" in one of its game titles.  Oh, and then there's this--Kotaku recently posted an interview with Zynga dude John Schappert who, by complete coincidence I bet, worked in senior positions at EA and Microsoft.  Traitor to the MOTHERLAND!!!  Then the interview is loaded with cotton ball questions...nothing truly vexing.  And the comments sections are loaded with all sorts of (thoughtful) vitriol and I think...damn, Zynga vs. EA for the Worst Company in America Contest!!!  Bank of America, pssshhh.

EDIT: This is also from the Zynga interview: "And then he says this about the question of how one would make Nintendo's famous game free-to-play: "It's a horrible admission, but I don't know that game, Super Mario Bros, well enough to sit down and off the top of my head say what would I do…""  Anyone not surprised that these corporate big wigs don't know about Super Mario Bros?  They know how to make money but not how to make GAMES?  Figures...  EDIT AGAIN: Hey guess what guys?  This John Schappert bloke just resigned today.  After giving such a great, GREAT interview about how wonderful Zynga is???  Rage quitter.  Go work for Activision, an equally pathetic "gaming" corporation.

But really, I could care less how this turns out.  Without slandering social/mobile gaming in general (thinking about my job security), this whole new frontier is such a mess, trying to gaming, social updates, microtransactions, and advertisements all in the same package and hence it ceases to hold my attention (and maybe yours, too).  EA has been pushing tons of social/mobile games too (75% of their games this year alone, as opposed to 25% console/PC games???).  So f*** it, I really don't care.  All I know is that EA's stocks are down, Zynga's stocks are down, and Sega is making a profit again.  Maybe there will be a heaping dose of humility too.  There is a shining light at the end of the tunnel.

BTW, I wonder if Super Sprint (now named Hyper Sprint) is just as bad in terms of law-breaking.  Hmm, it can't be because A. it's a non-profit game that actually acknowledges its source material and B. I don't go as far as to copy the whole game (including the RGB values of the cars).

Anyway, why the hell am I talking about Zynga again?  Anyone here care about Zynga?  EDIT: Zynga doesn't make racing games anyway so what do I care what happens to 'em.  I should say Zynga has had a recent impact here at FIEA.  First day of classes, there's free breakfast (donuts, bagels, orange juice, etc) compliments of Zynga.  Okay!  Then a couple of Zynga folks pass on through with the usual propaganda.  And Zynga even did interviews here too.  I didn't want to work for them not because I don't really like them or their games but because they're also located in San Francisco and I don't want to move to California unless it's for Sega (because of living expenses & distance from home).  Couple of people from school actually got internships (I like them just as much had they not received offers) although they were really hard on the programmers so I don't think any of them got offers.  I see how it is.

Speaking of programmers, I feel bad for those programmers at Zynga anyway being forced into the gunfire...making clones of existing games only to potentially have them stripped away due to lawsuits.  Poor people stuck working on this crap.  I mean, isn't the game industry about making games you love?  NO, it's not.  It's about making money.  Well, money's good but not at the cost of creativity.  And now you know why I'm so miserable.  F*** video games.  Later.