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ModNation Racers Title Update 1.03 Coming

Plus discussion on "sensitive" load time issue.

Good news for those affected by last week’s ‘Title Update 1.02’ issues – United Front Games is releasing ‘Title Update 1.03’ to fix the problems in XP Races and XP Series, which resulted in situations where players were unable to load into the respective XP Races.  This update is set to go live today in America during the regular maintenance window – hopefully all territories will follow suit.

Scott Nielsen – a producer at UFG – has also commented on the load time issue which has become the games Achilles heel;

“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!”

Source: US PlayStation Blog

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16 Comments
  1. monkeyspoon
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    It’s things like this that make me really respect certain devs. Good job UFG.

    Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 08:22.
    • Bilbo_bobbins
      Member
      Since: Jun 2009

      bang on mate. I’m impressed, it took some time but at least they listened to the fans and tried their best to make a great game even better for us all. Well done UFG !

      Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 09:23.
    • Charmed_Fanatic
      Member
      Since: Aug 2009

      Same, the truth = respect

      Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 09:47.
  2. Divine
    Member
    Since: Oct 2008

    Just started MNR again after my YLOD/Gamesaves debacle. It really is a great game, old-school frustrating though.

    Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 08:30.
  3. PhilipJWitow
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    Whoa, I completely missed 1.02. Just loaded it up now to check it out. :D

    Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 08:40.
  4. Mick939
    Member
    Since: Forever

    I was psyched for this game, then I played it a realised it was fairly generic

    Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 09:15.
  5. JaffaMan24
    Member
    Since: Jan 2010

    Loading back to menus/modspot is my major gripe! Can we have an option for a simpler menu rather than the modspot?

    Either way, good effort and thanks!

    Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 09:40.
    • Kennykazey
      Member
      Since: Mar 2010

      Yeah, UFG should just kill their darling “the modspot”, and replace it with a nice mainly 2d menu. Loadtimes would drop like plastic-guitars over a volcano.

      Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 14:31.
      • JaffaMan24
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        It looks like they have to an extent! You can go straight to continuing career from start menu! Will see what else is improved later.

        Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 20:58.
  6. tonycawley
    Pint! Pint!
    Since: Feb 2009

    Will be rebuying this game as soon as i see it cheap enough. I only sold it because the load times and network issues were doing my nut. If they’re now sorted it should be excellent.

    Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 09:40.
  7. Soild_Nat
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    Finished the single player last night with all the tokens, challenges and lap times beaten. Some of those tracks and challenges are hardcore, really surprised me for a game that seems on the outside to be casual.

    Great to see the dev’s cater for all tastes in one game, hopefully the explanation around load times will keep everyone from moaning about it now, we cant have everything!

    Now XP series to reach level 30!

    Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 09:47.
  8. freezebug2
    Member
    Since: Dec 2008

    It is great to see game devs listening to their audience and taking note of our gripes. The 1.02 patch did indeed introduce some areas of dubiousness to the game and it will be great to see any improvements that can be made with patch 1.03.

    Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 10:14.
    • freezebug2
      Member
      Since: Dec 2008

      Haha 1.03 is live as I speak…just updated the game to 1.02 and up popped the 1.03 update.

      Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 10:16.
  9. John Malcolm
    Member
    Since: Apr 2009

    I may start playing this game now. I got the game not long after release but was put off by the problems with load times etc.

    Now that the 1.03 update is live – it’s 118MB and downloading as I type – I think it’s time to give the game a proper going over.

    Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 12:15.
  10. maniulo
    Member
    Since: Mar 2009

    I already loved Modnation before the patch, I was patiently sitting through the loading times because it’s such a great game. But I do wonder about the reason for them, the article says:
    “In regular racing games, track data is packed onto the disc for loading, but ModNation is not a regular game. [..] 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.”
    They have already stated this during the beta and just after release, so I already knew it, and it makes sense to me to download just a ‘blueprint’ for a custom level because it is just a few mb to download, but why would they put the ‘source code’ for the main career levels on the disc and let our playstations ‘compile’ it hundreds of times over and over again, each time with the exact same results? Makes no sense to me.

    Comment posted on 10/08/2010 at 12:44.

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