United Front Games Studio Tour: Behind the Scenes with the ModNation Racers Developer

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Hello ModNation!

My name is Julian Beak and I’m the Lead Producer on ModNation Racers. Today I’m going to talk about our studio at United Front Games in Vancouver, Canada where we make the game. Rob Oliveira, who you’ve met before, will walk you through so you can picture it for yourself.

We have a lot of design, technology and art direction to discuss every day. Sometimes this is done in meeting rooms which are very sensibly named after Mexican wrestlers. More often these discussions take place right at our desks. There are no offices at United Front Games — not even for the President. This puts everyone on an equal footing when it comes to access. We believe making innovative games requires a touch of chaos and lots of communication.

Our character, kart and world artists make up the largest group on our team so we don’t let them sit together or they would take over. Designers, artists and programmers are mixed up in small teams devoted to major features. All the people who design and build a particular feature sit close. This lets them play and improve these features very quickly.

The creation tools you’ll use in ModNation Racers are the same ones we’re using to make our characters, karts and tracks in the final game. The team of designers, programmers and artists who make these tools are the same people who made the first prototype of the game back in 2007. Sitting close by is another team who design and engineer the user interface for these tools so anyone can pick them up and start playing immediately.

At the core of ModNation Racers is our racing and online teams. As Mat Thomas described in an earlier post, the racing mechanics have evolved a lot over the course of development. In addition to multiplayer races, there is an online community in ModNation that we’ll talk more about in the coming months. All of this sits on top of our game engine which is optimized for the PS3 thanks to our technology team. They will be tweaking performance right up until we ship.

Around the corner we have animators and programmers who bring the Mods in ModNation to life. Our Quality Assurance group keep us honest and are fast becoming the best racers on the team. Which brings us to our front lobby and lounge with all the regular office features: leather seating for about 40, a 10 foot bean bag, rotating disco balls, many, many PS3s and screens for multiplayer mayhem, DJ turn-tables and a glass video wall.

I hope you enjoyed a look behind the curtain at United Front Games. We are very excited about what you will build in ModNation Racers in 2010.

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