Friday, July 28, 2006

Street Rod: Game Design and Usability

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Blogger Daniel 'sirleto' Renkel said...

nice view on the newest need for speed installations, which i'm not a big fan of.

and i think you got the point there in your last sentences, need for speed underground conveys quite realistically what a street racer feels like today.

but i can tell you why need for speed is selling so got today, because everyone seems to want to do exactly that. teens have full lives: school, a lot of activities, friendships - and what they want is to race cars, they don't want to repair nor build cars, they don't want to tune the cars themselves - they want to be fast. and furious - not a car mechanic.

11 August, 2006 09:41  
Blogger Krystian Majewski said...

You are adressing quite general clichés. "The Youth" can be dangerous generalisation because you cannot design something for the target group "everybody". You see, it is not that simple. In fact, if you look at the time you spend working on your car and the time you race, both games I have described are quite similar. Need for Speed Underground offers even a mode where you have infinite money and can just pimp a ride as much as you want withouth being able to race it. The possibility tinker around with a car provides much satisfaction and is a big point of both games. People who play those game WANT to spend some time working on their cars, it is part of fatasy. If you just want to be "Fast and Furious" with no strings attached, there are other games, that might be more suitable. For example the "Burnout" series, which also offers customized cars but no possibilities to customize a car for yourself.
On a sidenote, some toy car companys like Jada's "garage worx" series offer toy cars that are being delivered with some simple tools and exchange parts. So now kids can pimp their cars for themselves.

My point is that this fantasy (I have a new hammer) is better adressed if you adapt the user interface instead of using some standart and efficient solution. Street Rod is a good example, although I must admit that it goes quite far by expecting users to know what engine parts do and even offering no help. Still, I think NFS woud profit by adapting some of the ideas in Street Rod. Gran Turismo does a baby step there: every time you install a part in you car, you have to wait while you see a progress bar that tells you the part is being installed. It gives you some feeling that something has been done to your car.

11 August, 2006 16:37  
Blogger Krystian Majewski said...

By the way. Recently, I showed the game to you, Daniel and you said something like: "I understand, it's like a normal car racing game with tuning only they made a mini-game instead of a normal interface for the tuning".

I've been thinking about it because I have the impression you got it wrong. I understand a mini-game as something you could play on your own, without being in context of the real game. Examples are the Tripple Triad trading card game in Final Fantasy 8 or the slot machines in Super Mario Brothers 3. In case of Street Rod, it is more and less at the same time: it is less since it isn't really a game - there are no winning/loosing conditions, no goals. On the other hand, it is more because it is an integral part of the game. You can imagine Super Mario Brothers 3 without the slot machine (or with a different game instead), but Street Rod would be something fundamentaly different without the tuning. It is similar to the geoscope part in X-Com, I wouldn't call that a mini-game either.

11 August, 2006 17:07  
Anonymous honda auto parts said...

Geez, i must say, for an old game, its very good, i know the graphics are out dated but its an old game so the grpahics are not important, but the gameplay is great, i love how you can open the hood of your car and take the engine apart and put new parts in, same goes for the rest of the car, very sim like. i recommend everyone try it.

28 August, 2008 22:44  

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