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Interview – Eutechnyx’s Dave Thompson on bringing NASCAR to the masses

Thursday, 30 September 2010 14:52 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

nascar logo

Activision formally announced NASCAR The Game 2011 this morning, amid rumors swirling around the publisher securing the license to the franchise last week.

Today, VG247 was given the opportunity to speak with NASCAR The Game’s UK-based developer Eutechnyx, a studio known for creating racing titles since 1996.

NASCAR will allow you to either play as yourself or any real-life driver through 22 tracks. Cars can be damaged in “meticulous detail” with multi-car wrecks, and online 16-player multiplayer.

It all sounds very racy, and executive producer Dave Thompson told Keza MacDonald all about the game and how excited the studio is for the opportunity to develop the title.

Get the full interview along with shots of a few cars below.

[Interview by Patrick Garratt]

VG247: How do you feel about being given the opportunity to work on the NASCAR property? How aware are you of the excitement the announcement is likely to have among NASCAR fans?

Dave Thomspon: Eutechnyx is fiercely independent as a company and we are constantly evaluating opportunities as a developer. With a strong background on immersive racing and driving titles, the NASCAR license has provided us with a great opportunity to use our passion and technology to bring something new to the franchise, and give the fans the game they’ve always wanted.

The NASCAR licence has allowed us to do a lot more in the game on the whole, and include the features we, and of course the fans, have always wanted – extreme wrecks, ferocious damage, 43 car high-speed close racing, pit stops and advanced tuning are all part of the NASCAR world. Everything that the fans expect from a NASCAR experience is captured in the game.

Through research, studying every event, talking closely to the drivers and teams, and with a strong support from NASCAR – we are highly confident that the game is going to thrill the NASCAR fans. It’s always been crucial for Eutechnyx to capture the passion and emotion of NASCAR throughout the game – of course in the races, but also in the build up to The Chase, in the spectacle before each event, and throughout the immersive 3D Front End. Players feel like a real driver progressing through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as themselves, or as any one of their favourite NASCAR legends.

Initially, when the potential to develop the next NASCAR games emerged, we pitched a high-level concept to NASCAR with the core aims to deliver an unprecedented sense of speed, dynamic damage, life-like cars with real handling and physics, and a true sense of immersion into the biggest motorsport in America.

NASCAR, the teams and the drivers all loved the concept, and Eutechnyx acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to the franchise. We feel that the fans, and racing gamers in general, will really appreciate the level of detail we’ve gone into to provide the complete NASCAR experience. Nothing will come closer to the real thing!

We are very excited and confident that the fans will love the game, and feel that the announcement is only the beginning, and will create a huge amount of buzz.

We’re confident because we’ve experienced and studied the sport first hand, listened to the fans, forums, teams and drivers, and gone all out to include the racing realism, online, community and tuning features that players want, as well as introducing a wide range of cool new features – such as replay and photo editing, and awesome 3D styling. We are looking forward to the fans reaction, as well as the simulation drivers and casual racers when unveiling the first images of the game on our website – NASCARTheGame.

VG247: What’s unique about your game from a design perspective?

Dave Thompson: The design is unique amongst NASCAR games and also other current racing games on the market.Representing every aspect of a NASCAR race has allowed us to be innovative on so many levels and introduce features never before seen in any other racing game.

The damage and wreck system in the game is truly incredible. NASCAR The Game 2011 features the most extreme damage system ever seen in an officially licensed racing game. We are literally tearing and twisting the sheet metal from the cars’ sub frame as if it was cloth – giving stunningly realistic damage. Tears and gaping holes caused through damage reveal the vehicle’s suspension, and other components which can actually be seen in operation. Fragments and debris that scatter across the track are actual bits from the car!

43 drivers racing at 200mph+ blistering speeds provide the ingredients for some of the most breath-taking and spectacular smashes ever experienced in a game. As damage is calculated in real-time, each and every wreck is truly unique.

This is realized through cutting edge proprietary technology developed for exclusive use in the game. All NASCAR cars are vibrant works of art, with the paint schemes of each driver being synonymous with the fans.

We’ve created an intuitive and powerful styling area for the players. Many games feature the ability to create and edit paint schemes, but NASCAR The Game 2011 offers complete creative freedom.

No more ‘sides’, with proprietary 3D surface technology players can drag and drop decals anywhere on their car, and orbit around the car whilst applying and manipulating their own graphics. Players can therefore create and customize their own masterpieces with speed and ease.

One thing that came from fan feedback and focus testing was an almost 50 / 50 split of players who wanted to play through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as themselves, versus those who wanted to be their favourite real-world driver. The solution – allow them to do both – players can get behind the wheel as a rookie, playing through the Career Mode as themselves, or try to hold their own as any one of the real NASCAR legends in the series.

We’ve also developed a totally new NXP (NASCAR Experience Points) system that constantly rewards the player for cool moves, such as slipstreaming and bump drafting, allowing them to develop their skills throughout a race. NXP allows players to rank up through the game and in doing so unlock new rewards and content.

NXP is earned through co-operating with team mates and shunning rivals, but with AI representing the real driver’s personalities and tactics, players must learn who they can work with in the race. Discovering which drivers are likely to block, work together, and who doesn’t mind a bit of bump-drafting to push through the pack, is all part of the race.

Finally, many of the natural ‘must-have’ design elements that went into the game felt like second nature to us. However, after including the core features of a NASCAR race alone it’s hard to compare any title that offers fully motion-captured pit stops, optional fuel and tire wear, dynamic spotter voice overs and barrel rolls with deformable track assets. Lets also not forget ultra-realistic physics and handling, with 43 cars on the track – each modelled to an unprecedented level of realism and capable of extreme damage.

VG247: Are we going to see roster-based DLC, or are you looking at yearly retail releases?

Dave Thompson: DLC is certainly a key part of what we have planned for the NASCAR franchise, due to the fact that the series constantly evolves during each season and we want to keep the fans totally up to date with the real sport. Be prepared to see some pretty deep integration on this front over the coming years.

An annualised release is also a possibility, but only on the condition that each iteration brings something new and genuinely exciting to the franchise.

VG247: Can you explain why there’s no PC version?

Dave Thompson: The lack of retail space for PC currently means it’s tough to justify the costs of development for traditional distribution. Nevertheless, we have something up our sleeves that should satisfy the legions of dedicated PC racers – watch this space.

VG247: NASCAR’s been pretty much neglected in terms of games for the past few years, but now we have both your title and GT5 coming to market in the next six months. Why the sudden renewed interest?

Thompson: I think it’s because NASCAR is one of, if not the, biggest motorsport in the world and its legions of fans have had nothing to satisfy their appetite for well over 2 years. NASCAR has a totally unique style based on exhilaration & spectacle that you simply cannot experience in any other racing game.

VG247: Do you consider GT5′s NASCAR component to be competitive to your game?

Believe it or not, I actually think that GT5’s offering will actually be complimentary to our own as it gives gamers an introductory taste to the world of NASCAR.

I am a fan of the GT franchise, but we have to make very clear what GT5 has and how it differs from NASCAR The Game 2011. We believe that Sony has licensed a small selection of cars & tracks from the world of NASCAR and these cars & tracks exist solely within Gran Turismo’s standard game world.

We also believe that there are no NASCAR rule sets, point systems, Sprint Cup Series, spotters, bump drafting, crew chiefs, driver personalities or extreme damage in GT5. Crucially though, there isn’t the 43 cars that create the unique bump and grind of pack racing that personifies NASCAR.

We are hopeful that the lite version of NASCAR in GT5 will allow a wider worldwide audience to experience NASCAR first hand and leave them wanting a taste of the real full blown sport.

VG247: Can you give us some stats on the game’s damage modelling? Just how detailed is it?

Thompson: One of the most technical challenges involved in the damage and effects system was that it had to work in reverse.

NASCAR The Game 2011 features an instant rewind feature allowing players to watch a clip of a cool pass or to re-attempt avoiding a huge wreck that just occurred. In addition, the advanced replay editor allows players to look all around the car and rewind in slow-motion. Players will literally see damaged panels re-forming and effects working in reverse.

The replay editor also provides the tools for players to create highlight reels of their best action and wrecks – so the ability for the damage to work in reverse is a really cool feature.

The damage tech has also been applied to the walls and fencing that surrounds the track. We are able to deform the track’s ‘safer’ barriers and fencing dynamically. Areas of the track where a collision took place are maintained throughout the race, displaying scarred barriers and walls. It is amazing how much realism this adds to a race circuit world.

All NASCAR races in real-life and in the game feature extreme close racing, with cars battling 3 or 4 wide, only inches apart. In such a situation in game tyre rubs and scorch marks appear on the side of the cars.

Another element we captured was the windshield tear-offs. As NASCAR fans know, the ‘car of tomorrow’ features thin layers of plastic film that the pit crew rip off if the driver’s windshield becomes scuffed or chipped.

Just as in a real race, the player’s vision can become impaired with chips, dust and dirt that accumulate on the windshield. The pit crew know to tear off a layer on the next trip to the pits.

The damage and effects system as a whole is completely dynamic. When players collide, scrape, bump and barrel roll the results are never the same, with the effects depending on who, what and how the player got hit, as well as the car’s current state of damage and the speed of impact. Every wreck is a totally unique and overwhelming experience!

Of course we allow players to turn on ‘damage affecting handling’ for those who desire a true sense of realism.

VG247: Can you explain the balance between the game’s online and offline modes? How popular do you expect online racing to be in your game?

Thompson: NASCAR The Game 2011 is focused on online racing, with up to 16 player in each race and online specific gameplay modes and skill ratings.

Players can join or create private multiplayer lobbies with ease, utilising a choice of pre-defined race styles and additional race settings, to create the race they want. Pit stops, tire wear, fuel consumption and caution flags can all feature in an online race if the player wishes.

Players have the freedom to race with any of their cars online, any custom paint schemes and any tuning setups. Online play and split-screen also allows players to race as any of their favourite NASCAR drivers.

In the single player career mode, players progress through the grandeur of the NASCAR racing championship – the adrenaline-pumping NASCAR Sprint Cup series. Career mode provides the opportunity to compete at all the real-world NASCAR tracks alongside 42 other NASCAR drivers – battling for points, victories, cups and other race rewards. Drivers perfect their pit-stops, and master their racing reflexes in order to make ‘The Chase’, the final 10 races towards stardom and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship.

The season comprises of 36 races at all the real NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tracks. Throughout the series players unlock invitational events offering unique modes and challenges along with new rewards. Invitational events provide a break from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and an opportunity to impress sponsors, unlock rewards and earn bonus experience points towards ranking up.

Throughout career mode players compete in qualification sessions, pit stops under caution and Victory Lane celebrations. In their garage players can review the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings at any time, track their points and progression towards the all important final 10 races – The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

NASCAR The Game 2011 will release in February for PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360. First in-game shots are through here.

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2 Comments

  1. humanfish

    I don’t really care for NASCAR, but there are some impressive sounding features in this game by the sounds of it. Good luck to Eutechnyx, it seems quite a break for them.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. freedoms_stain

    I don’t know much about NASCAR, but everything I’ve heard suggests that it’s really really fucking boring.

    #2 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]

  • Dying Light interactive video allows you switch between day and night

    A new video for Dying Light has been released, which allows you to hit the Z key to change between day and night. Titles Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone, the interactive story video showcases how the game changes between day and night. Daytime and nighttime are shown side-by-side but the z key allows […]

  • Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare out on PS3, PS4; PC delayed

    The Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for PlayStation 3 and PS4. Havoc contains the four multiplayer maps Core, Drift, Sideshow, and Urban along with the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, its custom variant, and the Exo Zombies cooperative mode. You can purchase the DLC separately or pick up the […]

  • Here’s a teaser for Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2

    A teaser video for the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available, so if you’ve yet to play the first episode, you may want to skip this. Resident Evil Revelations 2′s first episode is out now. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • North American eShop update is full of Donkey Kong games

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Titan Attacks, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country and more. eShop on 3DS Ironfall Invasion Titan Attacks! Donkey Kong Land – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 2 – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 3 – Virtual Console Luv Me Buddies Wonderland Around the World […]

  • Venture into the Valley of the Yetis next week in Far Cry 4

    The next batch of Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of the Yetis, releases in March and Ajay Ghale will be tasked with surviving violent cultists and the mythical Yeti. Apparently the cult is looking for a secret hidden in the valley, and Ajay has discovered their motives. The DLC features co-op with a friend taking […]

  • The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack out for Payday 2, has dino masks

    The 19th DLC pack for Payday 2 title The Butcher’s AK/CAR Mod Pack is available on Steam from today. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: 11 new weapon modifications for the AK rifles in the game 11 new weapon modifications for the CAR rifles in the game Four new masks together with their […]

  • Battle Chasers slated for PC, consoles; comic picks up where 2001 storyline left off

    Darksiders creator Joe Madureira and Vigil co-founder Ryan Stefanelli have confirmed a Battle Chasers game and a new comic are in the works at their new studio Airship Syndicate. Speaking to Polygon, Madureira and Stefanelli wouldn’t provide details on the the game, but did divulge it will be an adventure RPG with player-controlled Battle Chasers […]

  • Shovel Knight, Hotline Miami 2 discounted for Sony’s annual Spring Fever Sale

    Sony is hosting its annual Spring Fever Sale which runs for eight weeks and features a new title each week. The sale starts next week on March 3 with the launch of Helldivers. Here’s just a few items included in the sale: HELLDIVERS (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March 3 Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PS4/PS3/PS Vita) March […]

  • The gold Super Mario amiibo is a Walmart exclusive

    The Super Mario Gold amiibo which surfaced via a CPSIA certificate earlier this month will be a Walmart-exclusive, Nintendo has announced. The gold-colored Mario amiibo will be released the same day as the Mario Party 10 game for Wii U and will run you $12,96 at 3,000 participating Walmart stores in the US. Along with […]

  • Here’s an overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD

    As new gameplay overview trailer for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, culled from the Active Time Report, stream has been sent over by Square Enix. The video provides a look at the history and environments of the Kingdom of Orience; the 14 memebers of Class Zero; the battle system with customizable magic spells; and the ability […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video gives you a look at the game’s wildlife

    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]