Several months ago I managed to get some hands on time with the hotly anticipated World of Speed. As a racing free-to-play title with AAA graphics it stands out amongst the crowd. Even in its early stages when I first played the game it showed plenty of potential and the key thing in any racing game - speed - was more than prevelant. I managed to catch a couple of minutes with Slightly Mad Studios to discuss just how the game is progressing. Here's how we got on.
Ten Ton Hammer: Firstly, how is development of World of Speed progressing? Have you encountered many new difficulties?
Slightly Mad Studios: The biggest challenge thus far was moving our physics over to a server-client structure. This is extremely complicated but absolutely necessary in order to combat potential cheating. When you play World of Speed, you’ll have complete confidence that everyone is on a level playing field and the cars behave exactly as you’d expect - with zero lag and great control.
Ten Ton Hammer: What are your biggest development priorities at the moment?
Slightly Mad Studios: We’re currently polishing the core gameplay loop - the experience from logging in, finding a game, playing, earning rewards, upgrading your cars, and then moving to the next game. There are also other features around that central loop that support the experience as a whole, like being able to chat with friends, view statistics and more - but first the central core of the game has to be enjoyable and fun to play. We’ve also addressed other previously shown mechanics, for example, you can now see which members of the opposing team are attempting specific objectives. This upgrade adds a new layer of strategy as team members notice and attempt to disrupt the competition. Additionally, the race sequence finale is far more obvious and congratulatory and your Home Garage has been given a usability upgrade so it’s clearer which cars are ready to race and which need repairs or upgrades.
Ten Ton Hammer: When I last played the game, common feedback was a seemingly the inability to slowdown or handbrake properly. Have you made any gains in this area?
Slightly Mad Studios: We listened! We’ve made huge improvements to the handling of the cars which previously were reported to feel a bit heavy and sluggish. By increasing the handbrake strength and tweaking the input, the cars are now far more responsive without being too twitchy. This makes it easier to initiate drifts, while allowing the cars to feel far more unique to one another and more comfortable to drive both on a gamepad and keyboard.
Ten Ton Hammer: Racing roles are intended to play a big part in World of Speed, is this still the case? Are you still wanting some players to just, for example, solely block other drivers?
Slightly Mad Studios: The ultimate vision is for friends to be able to form a club and take on other clubs in healthy, team-based competition. By providing a pool of objectives in the game that focus on goals other than ‘getting into first place’ we hope this will breed ‘specialisations’ within those teammates. For example, by playing the game we hope players can find objectives that they either love to achieve or are particularly natural at completing. In turn, this motivates players to drive the cars that compliment those objectives and kit them out with performance and visual gear to further enhance team-based success in events. So a strong club, just like a strong clan, would be one that has a roster of teammates that cover all objectives and have the right tools and cars for specific jobs. So for those that find leading the pack either too daunting or beyond their skill level, there’s a great potential in a ‘support’ role where they can block the opposition or a ‘lone wolf’ role where they can go after other objectives such as drifting or finding shortcuts.
Ten Ton Hammer: When we last spoke it was far too early to talk about the free to play model. Have you explored exactly how you're intending to monetize yet? Are there any systems finalised?
Slightly Mad Studios: As with any MMO we have a plan but it’ll be constantly monitored and tweaked as more and more people play the game through various Beta stages and beyond.
Ten Ton Hammer: Is there any intention yet to allow players to exit their cars in the Clubhouse?
Slightly Mad Studios: Right from the very concept phase of the project we discussed human player avatars but right now our focus in on the cars themselves since they are the visual representation of your progress and style in the game.
Ten Ton Hammer: Have you made any specific changes to the Micro Actions UI or its functionality? Is there any intention to make them more like quests you can track?
Slightly Mad Studios: Balancing of these Driver Actions is continuously ongoing, along with a method to track these actions over time. Some of these actions are already implemented and some of these are part of a longer-term rollout strategy.
Ten Ton Hammer: Lastly, how has the continued reaction to World of Speed been from fans? Have they made many suggestions you've acted on?
Slightly Mad Studios: We read the World of Speed forums daily, but right now we’ve been making changes based on internal play tests and reactions to our public events. But yes, as we move towards Beta, the forums are where we’ll be turning our attention to in order to support the community with their suggestions and concerns (I’m looking at you the guys in the ’Suggestions’ thread!). Overall I’d say the reaction has been pretty humbling; it’s amazing to see clubs from around the world showcasing their teams already and also to see the community investigating every screenshot we release (I’m looking at you Airfield Playground Layout thread! ;-))
Ten Ton Hammer would like to thank Slightly Mad Studios for taking the time out of their very busy schedule to answer our question. If you want to learn more about World of Speed, hit the link!