Hi everyone and welcome to another Road Book. We’ve been flat out in the studio getting things ready for the Modern Masters release and things are looking good. We’ve got a few bits and pieces to tie up but suffice to say it is pretty imminent.
Some of you may have noticed our #FeedbackFriday last week which focused on how you feel we are doing with our communication. I took a look at that feedback on Monday morning. While it looks as though most of you were pretty happy with how things were going despite the fact that we are still looking for a new community manager, it was clear that there were some areas where we were lacking. In an attempt to rectify the situation I spent a fair chunk of my time this week on the Steam Forums going through some of the Suggestion Threads and explaining how we might be going about supporting some of those ideas. The immediate response on those threads seems to have been a positive one so I will be aiming to continue to do as much communication as I can but it is a bit of a balancing act with that and the need to continue developing the game.
It has become a bit of a tradition to do this now so I’m going to hand you over to get some insight on another part of the development team. This time it’s actually been written by a team of people so here are the RaceNet team to talk a bit about how they have been integral to the development of DiRT Rally.
Rolling with RaceNet
Hello! We’re a small team within the Racing studio that’s behind RaceNet, which powers DiRT Rally’s online play. This includes features such as the online events and leagues. As well as the online functionality, we also created the web site which we’ve been evolving since the start of early access.
So how did the web site come about? Well, usually we’ll get a brief with a set of requirements which starts off the thought process. That’s the idea anyway, but sometimes the brand guys fancy themselves as wannabe designers! Then it’s our job to translate their brief into something a little less offensive to your eyes that actually works.
DiRT Rally was a little bit different to previous games in that we combined both the traditional ‘marketing’ web site with all of the functionality you’d normally find on RaceNet.com. We included features such as the timeline and blog to keep you guys in the loop with the game’s development and give you a clear view of what to look forward to in upcoming versions. Opening the site up and making the RaceNet features easier to find and use required significant work behind the scenes. We’re pretty happy with how it’s turned out and hope you are too.
Just like the game, we’ve embraced the spirit of early access and been able to evolve the web site and online features regularly since launch. This is where your feedback has been really useful in helping us prioritise and shape features. You might remember one of our meetings a short while back that our Community Manager live tweeted.
Good meeting everyone! Thanks for coming, we better go get started. pic.twitter.com/d933Sl7HaE
— DiRT (@dirtgame) May 13, 2015
Loads of ideas came out of that meeting, some were totally new ideas we hadn’t thought of and others were ideas we were already working on. One of the end results of that particular meeting is the profile page. RaceNet has existed for a good number of years (since DiRT Showdown), and over that time we are always looking at how we can make these stats more useful to individual players. It’s the first thing we ask ourselves when an idea is thought up, we don’t just want arbitrary numbers, we want the information you see to actually affect how you may approach the game, showing information you may not have known about yourself.
Throughout early access we’ve been updating the site, the game, and the servers to support new content and features. You may have noticed a few recent updates to leaderboards and the home page where you can track your progress in our online events.
Behind the scenes the RaceNet systems collect, filter, aggregate and mangle game data from thousands of concurrent players to drive the community features you see on the web site and in game, such as scheduling and scoring online events, collecting community deltas, and keeping your leagues ticking over.
Leagues were a massive new addition to the site. We knew that small groups of players had already been organising their own leagues outside of RaceNet, but this time around we were able to provide a simple set of tools to allow players to easily create their own competitions and attract competitors from outside of their usual circle of friends. League events are totally configurable, from the number of events and stages, down to the vehicles available and the weather conditions.
Online events have been present in a number of previous RaceNet-enabled titles, but for DiRT Rally we wanted to expand on our previous efforts; more events, multi-stage events, bigger rewards. We’ve also added a number of additional leaderboard options to make it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Something we hear you guys loud and clear on is cheaters. We share the same sentiment, we’re not keen on them either, so rest assured we’re continually looking out for them and the techniques that they use so that we can sniff them out and keep everything fair.
That’s it from us for today; we hope it’s been an enjoyable insight to how things work internally. Remember to get in touch with any site suggestion that you think we should add. We’re continually adding to the site and still have a couple of big site updates in the pipeline that we look forward to sharing with you.
Thanks for that guys. I have to say that it has been awesome integrating so much of the inner workings of the game with the web side of things and I really hope that we can continue to develop these features in the future.
Screenshot of the Week
I love this image of the 2001 Subaru Impreza taking on the Sweet Lamb rally complex from Mustaine
Video of the Week
Its been a bit of a bumper season for people playing DiRT Rally on their awesome gaming rigs so here is the guys at Force Dynamics taking it to the Finnish forests:
That’s it for this week! Make sure you stay safe over the weekend and you never know – you might catch us on the next DiRT Show soon.