In this year's Questions&Answers session with the producers of Need for Speed Carbon we took a different approach and besides asking the usual game features inquiries we also asked a few fun but also interesting questions. Assoc. Producer Mat Thomas and assoc. Producer Kristian von Fersen responded with what are more than interesting answers.
NFSUnlimited.net: We know that the police will make a return in NFSC, but till now we haven't seen any screenshots or videos of chases in action, can you tell us any interesting information about the cops in NFSC ?
Mat Thomas: Well, we have taken what was a huge success last year and built on it for Need For Speed Carbon. As always, we take feedback seriously from our fans and for Need For Speed Carbon we have really tried to make the cop moments more meaningful for the player. A lot of our feedback for Most Wanted was that while the cop experience was cool, it was sometimes over the top and overused. You can expect this year to be more focused and therefore it really compliments the gameplay.
Some cool stuff we are doing this year is bringing in a feature called Geography Heat. Basically, the more the player races in a particular zone, the more likely the cops will show up in races. The player can manage this heat by letting the area "cool down" by taking their racing elsewhere in the city. Couple this new system with the car heat system and you can really get yourself into trouble. While your wingman might take some off the heat off of the player when being chased in a race, don't expect them to take it easy on you! The cops this year will also chase down other racers in races and after, making for some chaotic cop chases in the open world.
NFSUnlimited.net: The green screen videos in Most Wanted were the first and the best to be seen in a racing video game, but unfortunately they were quite few. Should we expect more this year in Carbon?
Mat Thomas: One thing I can say is that the story this year is much better in terms of pacing. Last year we showed lots of story off the bat but didn’t really come back to the player with more story as they beat the various blacklist members. Well in Need for Speed Carbon we have really worked hard to ensure the pacing is better and the player is given a compelling story to follow.
NFSUnlimited.net: How useful did the various online user surveys turn out to be?
Mat Thomas: Every year we pay close attention to what people want in the game. Naturally, we try and develop new modes and features but at the same time, we acknowledge what people want to see in Need for Speed. One of our main sources of feedback is from our users online – whether this is what cars they would like to see, to what worlds they want to drive. A good example this year is our car list. We had lots of requests for specific cars, and anything that comes back as being an overwhelming favorite, we will consider it into the game design. The result this year is an amazing car list which our fans are sure to enjoy, many of which people wanted to see. Couple this with the great new Autosculpt™ feature and I think people will appreciate what we have done.
NFSUnlimited.net: What new measures will be taken to minimize online cheating? Does EA feel that the anti-cheat measures in MW were effective?
Mat Thomas: Need for Speed Carbon has some great new online features this year so we have paid special attention to stop players cheating. In Most Wanted games were player hosted with players connecting directly to one another. So if the host player quit, the game would end for all players. In Need for Speed Carbon all games are run through an EA server, so there is no longer a player host who can end the game for the other players. This means that if a player leaves the game midway through the rest of the player will continue on as usual. The player who quit will get a loss and an increase in disconnect percentage.
The game stats are also arbitrated by the server, so if a player is cheating to inflate his score, the server will spot the discrepancy and give him the score he actually should have gotten. In addition we do special case things such as turn collision detection off between players on different laps in a circuit style race, so you can't drive backwards to mess with other racers.
NFSUnlimited.net: How about performance tuning? More like NFSU2 with a dyno or simpler like in NFSMW?
Mat Thomas: Performance tuning in Carbon will be very accessible and easy to do. It is integrated into the performance customization menu so the interface is much like choosing from a different variety of parts to get the tuning effect you're looking for. We've spent a lot of time on the differentiation of the three car classes and the performance tuning will allow the player to spend time tweaking the car even further to suit their driving style.
Each part package has a number of different brands to choose from and the player can pick one of three selections for each part. Selecting different parts will affect a slider that shows what sort of result you will get in each category. For example you can select transmission parts which will let you tune your car for a higher top speed at the expense of some acceleration. While it is still quite simple to use, the performance tuning allows players to get the most out of their car or adapt it to their specific driving style.
NFSUnlimited.net: Which cars are the most popular among the team?
Kristian von Fersen: That's definitely a loaded question and one that's fairly evenly divided amongst the team. A lot of people are huge fans of the classic muscle cars and love the acceleration and drifts they can get out of them. Others are a little more traditional in their driving and are fairly evenly divided among Exotics and Tuners. I find that I have a couple of favorite cars from each class that I like to drive. I find it a challenge to master each of the three car classes because they definitely require different driving styles to win.
NFSUnlimited.net: Can we expect some sort of car picture export on the console versions of the game?
Kristian von Fersen: Carbon has a brand new Photo Mode on Online enabled platforms which can be accessed during races and Free Roam. The player can access this feature from the Pause Menu and is able to rotate the camera 360 degrees and zoom in and out to get some amazing looking shots. Pictures taken here can be sent to NeedforSpeed.com. I can't wait to see some of the pictures of customized cars and action shots on the site!
NFSUnlimited.net: Can you tell us any fun anecdotes connected to NFSC?
Kristian von Fersen: Well, there once was this programmer who..... ah no, I better not tell that story. We have a ton of fun working on the game. This year, we ordered in hundreds and hundreds of foam rockets and distributed them throughout the team. Needless to say there have been some full-scale wars throughout the project and countless innocent bystanders being hit by the crossfire. That and I think we have half of the rockets lost up in the ceiling!
NFSUnlimited.net: Features like 'catch-up' and performance matching in recent games have gamers crying foul. Does this philosophy continue in Carbon?
Kristian von Fersen: We've spent a lot of time this year balancing the AI and tuning the various car classes and tiers within them. Overall, I think that players will notice a much more realistic experience based on the different performance levels of the cars. For instance, it makes sense that a car such as the Mazda RX8 can't keep up with a car like a Lamborghini Murciélago and vice versa. As players progress through the game, they'll reach certain points where the car they're driving just can't quite compete with the competition and they'll have to head to the car lot to make a step up in performance. I think this is a key difference from Most Wanted where you could, through the use of upgrades, make a low end car that could compete with some of the fastest cars in the game.
NFSUnlimited.net: We're sure you play the game a lot even though it's in development. Can you give our readers a time challenge to beat in the upcoming demo?
Kristian von Fersen: For the Circuit race, try breaking 2:36. Keep an eye out for shortcuts. For the drift race, anything over 200,000 points is a really good score but see if you can get closer to 400,000. The key is keeping your speed high and getting the max link multiplier.
Need for Speed Carbon Q&A
The Q&A session with Need for Speed Carbon producers
Author: NFSUnlimited.net Staff
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