ModNation Monday: XP Races Remedied and UFG Insights

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Greetings from Vancouver, Canada! My name is Scott Nielsen, a producer at UFG and I’m happy to report some good news.

Last week an issue was introduced with the release of Title Update 1.02 that affected XP Races and XP Series resulting in situations where players were unable to load into the respective XP Races. This issue has been addressed in Title Update 1.03 which we are currently scheduled to release during our regular maintenance window tomorrow morning (Tuesday, August 10th).

I’d also like to take a moment to try and provide some insight into our game and hopefully some clarity surrounding the load times in ModNation Racers. This is a subject that both our fans and the team are very sensitive about and we want to assure you that a lot of work has been done in order to address these issues. We have made some significant strides to improving the user experience in ModNation Racers with the release of the Title Update.

Custom Creations means A LOT of Data
As you know, ModNation Racers can’t be compared to most racing games as it lets you create your own experience. That means we have races where each Mod and Kart are all different. Each of these creations are made up of hundreds of individual textures that are fed into our compositing system to create the final creation. As there are up to 12 players in a race, each with a Mod and Kart, we need to do this 24 times for a single race. That’s a lot of data!

Making Tracks
In regular racing games, track data is packed onto the disc for loading, but ModNation is not a regular game. One of our focuses on ModNation Racers was to make it incredibly quick and easy to share your tracks online. To enable this, we store tracks as blueprints for rebuilding, which are very small on disc. To build a track in the code, we have to first load up this blueprint, then we need to generate all of the additional data for the track and then start compositing. Both these steps are not simple, but they are necessary to bring our tracks to life.

So as you can see, there were a lot of tradeoffs involved in creating a game that allows creating and sharing. We tried to strike the best balance we could between all of the competing priorities. Creativity is so important to us, and the ModNation community, that we didn’t want to sacrifice the amazing flexibility that we have made available.

Breaking Down Load Time Improvements
It’s important to note that we made a number of significant changes to the game flow in order to improve the user experience in ModNation Racers. We focused our efforts on making improvements to high-impact areas of the game; specifically when doing Career Races and Online Races. In fact, the biggest improvements you will see are when doing multiple Career Races or Online Races.

You should see a reduction in time when loading from Career Central into a Race, plus significant improvements when returning from a Career Race to Career Central. What used to be around 30 seconds now takes about 6 or 7 seconds. Online Racing sees very similar benefits when returning from a race to the Gameroom. Changes made to the flow of XP Races have significantly reduced load times when returning to the Gameroom from an XP Race. What makes this great now is that when you find a group of people that you are enjoying XP Racing with, you are able to stay matched with them as opposed to returning to the ModSpot and having to get matched into another XP Race with different people.

We’re confident these changes provide a more positive user experience for the ModNation community. With a game like ModNation Racers, we thrive on the strength of our community and we want to do everything to make sure you have a great time with our game.

A big thanks from all of us here at UFG for supporting our game!

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