Table Top Racing Interview With Playrise Digital's Nick Burcombe
Many racing games take place in real-world environments, challenging players to explore the same old tracks. That said, Table Top Racing is a refreshing change of pace. Instead of navigating your way through a drab-looking course, you guide the pintsized vehicles around a picnic table, through a child's room and along a workbench. It's imaginative, brutal (thanks to weapons) and quite accessible. On that note, we spoke with Playrise CEO Nick Burcombe to learn more about this well-received title.
We noticed members of the team worked on the WipEout franchise. How did that experience help make Table Top Racing the game it is today?
Myself and Chris Roberts have worked on a number of versions of WipEout. I was one of the co-creators of the franchise back in 1994, and was the lead designer on WipEout and WipEout 2097/XL. Chris Roberts also worked on 2097. Chris has since worked on WipEout HD and WipEout for PlayStation Vita, prior to the closure of the Liverpool Studio.
With Chris's vast experience in graphics programming and Art Director Chris Maloney's exceptional talents, Table Top Racing has, we believe, reached great heights. Frame rates, detail, lighting, modeling and code execution - all done by two guys. The gameplay - well I love my combat racers. WipEout, WipEout 2097, NGen Racing, Quantum Redshift....Table Top Racing....there's something in the blood.
How long did it take to finish?
Well the core team is just the three of us. Art, code and design. It's been a lot of hard work and long hours, but everyone has poured themselves into it. On the audio side, Chris Chudley - the brother of Martyn Chudley of Bizarre Creations fame, has done an exceptional job on the Music - really first class. My favorite is the jazzy piece in the credits. Super cool revamp of the theme tune - I think I'd buy that on iTunes. And of course the other component of sound effects was done by none other than Tim Wright, AKA CoLD SToRaGe - the guy behind much of the music in the first WipEout. See how the dots connect?
What can we expect in terms of downloadable content?
The plan is to expand a number of ways. Tracks and cars are a given, but also more special events and perhaps a look at more game modes for multiplayer. I won't put a schedule on any of that yet as it's only launch week, but we've got a ton of cool ideas to make it an even better value for the money.
Your decision to price the game at $2.99 is a bit curious, given the overwhelming number of App Store games that are either $0.99 or free. How do you justify charging that amount?
We buy games too, and as customers, we appreciate the time and effort that went into creating a quality game. We have no trouble paying developers a few dollars for a quality title. Importantly for us, though, was that in Table Top Racing you don't NEED to buy IAP at all. You can just play through the whole thing, maybe a bit of grind if you want access to everything in the game. But there's a number of good ways to make decent cash in it- just takes a bit of thinking through.
What are your thoughts on the finished product? Is there anything that still needs tweaking?
We're very proud of what we've achieved in such a small space of time and with such a small team. We want to expand it, find out what the fans want and build it. I'd like to do more with the AI and perhaps experiment with a couple of new weapons or wheels, but its a fine balancing act as the weapon strategies may seem obvious at first, but there's a nice rock-paper-scissors effect to them and how they can be used to counter each other. Online it's going to get vicious.
Apple chose to feature Table Top Racing on its App Store Games page. How crucial is that exposure to a game?
Any app featured by Apple is an absolute privilege, but of course it's also a massive boost to the numbers. We just hope we can get a large enough audience to keep it going and make it bigger and better. The response on day one has been overwhelming, to be frank.
What do you think of iOS racing games in general? Is there still room for growth?
Of course. There are some great racing titles out there now - can't wait to have a go of Real Racing 3. But with new devices coming more rapidly than in the console space, it's an extremely exciting but increasingly competitive environment for indie developers. I think that as we move forward, the production qualities and gaming experience will continue to increase, but then hopefully so will the audience.