Posts Tagged Firemint

Now that Real Racing 3 is out, we are going to give you some tips to get the best times and have the most fun with Real Racing 3. All of that with an eye toward how you can minimize any real money investment in the game.

Real Racing is the most beautiful racer on any mobile platform, and it’s free, so there is no reason not to try it. I’ve played Real Racing 3 for around 30 hours total now, let me give some tips on how to get the farthest possible in the shortest amount of time and without paying a thing.

 

Racing Tips

 

Manual brakes = faster times. The main tip I can give is one that I still haven’t mastered completely myself, turn the braking assist to low or even better off. Of the three assists in the game it makes the most difference in your racing times/speed. When the computer does all of the braking for you, it does so very conservatively. If you can at least turn braking to low, it will greatly decrease your times. One thing to remember, you can change this in-race, at any time. Hit the pause button and you can then get to the settings in the lower left of the screen. (See more dirty tricks below)

Get inside, quickly! You start in last place in every single race. Seems unfair, but get used to it. You can usually jump up at least half way up the standings in the first couple turns with smart maneuvering. The key here is to not follow the car in front of you. If you do that you can only go as fast as they are going, and the car in front of them, etc. Pick your own path, preferably on the inside of the turn, and zoom past the other cars as they all line up and then slow down when the car in front of them does. It’s best to not follow another car at any other time if at all possible, you get no advantage from drafting and will be more likely that you will need to slow down to avoid hitting the car you are following.

Build your stable of cars, smartly. You will need a single car that is one of the 3-4 for each circuit to race in that circuit. But you will need all of the cars in the circuit to complete it 100% as there will be races that require each car in the circuit. You should also note that most cars you purchase will be able to race in more than one circuit — just check out the list on the main page to see the circuits you have access to.


Continue reading Real Racing 3 – Tips, Tricks, and Cheats or at Least Dirty Tricks »

Here’s a quick rundown on how earning in-game money in Real Racing 3 relates to real dollars and time and what it would take to finish the game. What we found is rather shocking, doubly so if compared to current day console racing games.

Before we get to the details, we should note that these numbers are current at the time of writing. But like most free to play games the in-app purchase prices, timers, and values can change at any time the developer wishes. In the two weeks I’ve been playing, changes have already happened twice. So, the numbers reported could be different than they are when this is read.

In Real Racing 3, to get to 100% a player needs to win every one of the 961 current events. As there are races restricted to each one of the 46 cars in the game, to enter those races the related car must be owned. So to get to 100% in Real Racing 3 players must buy every car and win every race. What will it take to do that?

Also take note that like many free to play games, Real Racing 3 is tuned to allow players to earn everything without paying. But a player really has to want to put the time in to earn it. The developer doesn’t charge anything for the game with the hope that players will spend some money in the game to speed up their progress.

To earn enough money to buy every car in Real Racing 3, what would it take? Our numbers show that it would take over 472 hours to earn enough money to buy all of the cars in the game. Or to purchase all of the cars with real money via in-app purchase, it would cost $503.22 at the current best rate.

To earn all of the cars in the game rather that buy them with real money, a player would need to finish 6,801 races with an average (per our RR3 stats) of 4:10 per race earning R$3,700 per race. That would equal 472 hours to earn the R$25,163,573 it would cost in the in-game currency to buy all 46 cars. That does not include the cost for repairs, maintenance, or upgrades which can be rather expensive.

If a player wanted to take the shortcut and buy all of the cars in the game with real money, that would cost $503.22 in in-app purchases. That’s assuming the current best rate of R$50,005 per US$1 when buying R$5,000,000 at a time.

Let’s compare the cost for Real Racing 3 to modern day console games, what could be purchased for that $503.22. For one example, a player could get a 4GB XBox 360, Forza Horizon (one of the newest racing sims on the 360), all of it’s DLC including over 127 cars, and a 22″ Vizio flatscreen LED TV. And still have $17.22 left over.

I think I can safely say that the way that the cars and the in-app currency are currently structured in Real Racing 3 right now seems a bit out of whack. It seems extreme to think that players have the choice of playing for well over 400 hours or paying over $500 to unlock everything to complete the game. Or most likely, some combination of the two.

And these numbers are not counting any of the promised expansions that will deliver new events and new cars. Those will increase the time and money required to get to 100% complete.

Nor are these numbers including upgrades that could be required to win races. It is very unlikely that any player can win all races without upgrading at least one car in each series. And those upgrades can get pricey as fully upgrading a car can cost more than the base cost of a car. So while on paper it could take 472 hours to earn enough in game currency to buy all of the cars. In practice that number could be as much as doubled to pay for upgrades that would be required to win each race.

Free to play games are tuned to balance the fun a player has vs. the developers need to get earn money to pay for the game development via in-app purchases, that’s just the way free to play works. I’m not going to say it’s wrong, but it at times like this it just doesn’t feel quite right.

For players that feel the need to get to 100% in games, take caution with Real Racing 3. It will take a lot of time, or money to make it to 100%.

I feel lucky that I got a lot of time to play Real Racing 3. With well over an hour of playtime with Firemonkeys community manager Sam Mayo walking me through the game, I think I got a fairly good feel for Real Racing 3. That time with the game has just made my anticipation for the release greater.

I also got the opportunity to record a ton of video. Of the cars, some of the tracks and race types, the repair system, and more.

Late last night we brought you a 4:26 video walking through of Real Racing 3 that covered most aspects. We also detailed the energy system used in this free to play title. Today, let’s go a little more in depth.

 

All 46 Cars in Real Racing 3

 

Wonder what the 46 cars are in Real Racing and wanted to see them? This video is for you. Here’s a parade of all 46 cars where you can see their specs at the bottom of the screen.

A special note here. Some of the cars don’t look perfect. The reason for that is the damage system in the game. If you damage the car while racing, that damage is persistent, much like it would be in real life. Your car will be represented as damaged anywhere in the game you see it. You can still race it, upgrade it, paint it, etc. But it will remain damaged, with it’s performance reduced, until you spend the in game currency to repair it and wait the time it takes.

Now, back to that video.

 

Customize and Upgrades in Real Racing 3

 

Like most racing games, Real Racing 3 has upgrade and customization options. For Real Racing 3 you can make a variety of tiered upgrades to the Engine, Drivetrain, Suspension, Brakes, and the Wheels. Under each section there are from two to four tiered upgrades you can do. Meaning that you need tier 1 to apply tier 2, and so on. Each of these upgrades applied to a single car and has the possibility to increase the top speed, acceleration, braking, or traction of the vehicle. Each one should decrease your lap times by some amount.

 

Mount Panorama Track – Time Trial in Real Racing 3

 

Mount Panorama is aptly named. You race up this steep track on a mountain that never seems to end, crest the top to a beautiful panorama, and plunge right back down the other side. Awesomely rendered vistas, but better keep your eye on the road. I did make more than a few mistakes on this time trial / Autocross race while looking around the beautifully rendered track.

 

Head to Head – Circuit de Spa-Francordchamps in Real Racing 3

 

We also did a head to head race on the long and very fast Circuit de Spa, or just Spa. It’s a great track and racer “drollted” provided a worthy challenge, until he made a mistake near the end of the first lap. It was bye bye from then on out as he had to take second place and I got the win!

 

Full 22 Car Race on Southbank, Melbourne in Real Racing 3

 

Real Racing 2 was amazing with up to 16 cars in a single race. Real Racing 3 has bumped that up to 22 cars. In this Southbank race you’ll see all 22 cars squeeze through a very narrow course. Southbank is the course through the streets of Melbourne. It’s a track that doesn’t exist and was just a fun experiment by the Firemonkeys team to add a brand new course. And a challenging one at that! This race gets a little dirty with lots of bumping and wall grinding in the narrow turns. I couldn’t pull out a win on this one. It was my first drive on the track and I made too many mistakes. Those walls just jump right out at you! The best I could do was to climb from 22nd to a disappointing 6th. Even dirty driving can’t win every time.

That’s all we have right now. You can tell from all of the coverage we’ve been giving Real Racing 3 that we are anxiously awaiting it. Real Racing 3 comes out as a Universal build on iOS on February 28th. It also realeases for Android at the same time.

Note that this is a preview of Real Racing 3, not a review. We can never review an app when it’s presented by people related to the app. The reason is that we have no idea how the game is tuned for that demo. We need to reserve judgement for the final release of the game, downloaded from the App Store, and set up just like it is for everyone else.

We got a chance to grab some quality hands on time with Real Racing 3 today. We got about thirty minutes of video we’ll be posting over the coming days. The game, much as we expected, it’s pretty amazing! It looks great, it plays great, and our concerns about the free to play model were somewhat assuaged.

We’ll have more on the free to play model once we get more time with it. But you can at least rest assured it’s not super intrusive. It exists pretty much as we guessed last week, but with less friction and fewer pay walls than I anticipated.

The free to play energy system in Real Racing 3 works like this. You earn cash when racing. When you race, and damage your car, you have to pay for those repairs. The better you are, the less damage you do to your car. To fix you car, you have to use the cash you earn. You also have to pay for upgrades and new cars. While the damage to your car does affect the power of it, you can chose to not repair it and keep racing.

Also, typical to most free to play games there are two currencies included. Dollars and gold coins. Dollars pay for repairs, upgrades, etc., the gold coins speed things up, reducing your wait time.

Repairs and upgrades take time to complete. How long depends on how much damage or how big of an upgrade it is. You can speed them up by using gold coins. You only earn gold coins by leveling up in the game or by buying them with real money via in-app purchase.

All in all, not that intrusive for free to play games. But I can’t totally give it a pass as the device I was playing on had millions in cash and thousands of gold coins. That doesn’t give me a good feel for how fast you earn money or how fast you are forced to spend it. We’ll have more when we get a chance to try it on our devices.

Here’s a quick demo of Real Racing 3, featuring the first full race seen anywhere. We’ll have more videos coming soon with more on the cars in the game, the repair and upgrade system, and more. But first, here’s 4:26 of Real Racing 3 bliss.

Real Racing 3 launches as a Universal app on February 28th. We hope to have a promo code soon so we can start setting some hot laps. When we get one, we’ll have more in-depth info.

This week at 148Apps.com all eyes were still pointed at Firemint’s upcoming Real Racing 3. Site founder Jeff Scott writes, “Sister site Pocket Gamer editor Richard Brown discovered that Real Racing 3 is showing up in Game Center. The good news is that means it’s been approved by Apple and it can’t be long before the release now. While it’s not out yet, this does bring up something interesting. Something I noticed in the Game Center achievements lends a little to the accuracy of rumors and theories I’ve been hearing that Real Racing 3 will be released as a free to play game.

Last week we took you through a three part series about the history of the App Store icon, Real Racing. Rob Rich covered the history and design of the first two games in the series. He also covered time-shifted multiplayer and other new features expected in Real Racing 3. An excellent series and well worth a read. One thing we didn’t cover is how the game will be monetized as it has yet to be announced. That monetization method is likely to have huge implications on how the game is received by the fans of the series.”

Want more? Read more at 148Apps.

GiggleApps.com writer Amy Solomon contributed a review of Whack A Bone: “Whack A Bone is a wonderful app for iPad that is truly an educational delight, teaching about the anatomy of bones found in the human body.

Nicely sectioned into groups, users will learn about the bones that make up one’s core, such as cranium, sternum or vertebrae which is grouped here into three different categories – cervical, thoracic and lumbar, as well as the arm and leg bones, each consisting of its own section as well.

To play this pirate-themed anatomy game, place the bones from the different sections back to their rightful places inside a skeleton with the direction of a talking parrot whose attitude kids will find witty and fun.”

Read all about Whack A Bone at GiggleApps.

$2.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-11-27 :: Category: Education

And what week would be complete without a KickStarter Spotlight on AndroidRundown.com. This week, writer Joseph Bertolini focuses on Freedom Planet: “It has been a while since we have really taken an in depth look to one of the fields in which KickStarter has benefited the most; indie game developers. As most everyone knows, indie game sales have exploded over the last few years; bolstered by better distribution methods like Steam and a more willing Sony and Microsoft. It goes without saying that a strong indie market is one of the most important factors to a great gaming industry. Recognizing this, our choice for this week’s KickStarter Spotlight is Freedom Planet, a game that will harken strongly back to the days when Sonic and MegaMan were dominating the console market.”

Follow up on this Kickstarter Spotlight on AndroidRundown.

Another week down, but another one right around the corner! Keep track of the latest happenings by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. You’ll be glad you did! See you next week.

Sister site Pocket Gamer editor Richard Brown discovered that Real Racing 3 is showing up in Game Center. The good news is that means it’s been approved by Apple and it can’t be long before the release now. While it’s not out yet, this does bring up something interesting. Something I noticed in the Game Center achievements lends a little to the accuracy of rumors and theories I’ve been hearing that Real Racing 3 will be released as a free to play game.

Last week we took you through a three part series about the history of the App Store icon, Real Racing. Rob Rich covered the history and design of the first two games in the series. He also covered time-shifted multiplayer and other new features expected in Real Racing 3. An excellent series and well worth a read. One thing we didn’t cover is how the game will be monetized as it has yet to be announced. That monetization method is likely to have huge implications on how the game is received by the fans of the series.

In the past few months, monetization of games has made a huge shift. With the exception of Minecraft Pocket, the only games to spend any time high up on the top grossing list have been free to play games. It’s obvious where the money is. Real Racing 3, with a budget likely to eclipse the reported $2 million budget of Real Racing 2, may have to be free to play to have the potential of making a profit. Let’s take a look at the evidence.

For one, Firemint / Firemonkeys have already tested the free to play world with mixed results. The follow-up to their first smash hit Flight Control, called Flight Control Rocket was initially released as $0.99 paid download. The game was tweaked to drive higher in-app monetization and made free to play. There was a bit of a backlash though as many of the in-app purchases were considered “pay to win” items. Something that really ruins the competitive aspect of games. Flight Control Rocket was never a huge hit and it’s thought to have lost money.

A similar thing happened with another Firemint / Firemonkeys game, Spy Mouse. Initially released as a $0.99 puzzle game, it was tweaked with in-app purchase items included and made free. It is rumored that this change was much more successful for Spy Mouse in generating revenue. So we know that Firemint / Firemonkeys have their tests in free to play. They also see how much money is being made in free to play, it’s logical that they would move that way. Nearly the whole industry is heading that way.

Today the Real Racing 3 Game Center achievements are discovered, thanks to the carelessness of an EA employee. To my eye they verify that Real Racing 3 will be free to play. Two achievements in particular, “Extreme Paintover – apply 100 paint jobs” and “Wrenching Experience – conduct 5,000 repairs” point in that direction as they both seem excessive for a standard paid release.

Free to play games usually have what is called an energy system. This is the pay/play wall you hit when you have played a certain amount without paying anything. The energy system can be thought of as your allotted playtime. The energy / playtime decreases as you play and rebuilds as you wait. The “Wrenching Experience” achievement listed above to me indicates that cars will need to be repaired after racing, effectively refilling your energy to race again. The reason I think that is that 5,000 repairs is a huge number unless repairing the car is a necessary condition to racing. And why would that be a necessary condition of racing if it wasn’t a free to play energy system?

Free to play can be done right, even in racing games, so I’m holding out hope for Real Racing 3, should it turn out to be free to play. I have faith in Firemonkeys that they will not ruin my most favorite francise on iOS. When the game play is put first, and the monetization is optional, the game could shine as free to play. But when an overly aggressive energy system interrupts gameplay and forces plays to pay up or wait, it really saps the excitement from the game. I’m hoping for the former, obviously.

I can also hope for a single in-app purchase to just unlock everything and get rid of any play limits, energy systems, or similar. That would be the best of both worlds. But I doubt we’ll see that.

For Real Racing to succeed with both free to play and core racing gamers, it needs to carefully ride that thin line between pay walls and allowing players to just play. It’s a tough line to ride. And if there’s even a hint of pay to win, it will in my opinion, kill the game with all but the most casual gamers. Something like that would lead to a huge backlash from the hundreds of thousands of devoted players that love the Real Racing series, like me.

We’ll find out next week. EA is hosting an event in San Francisco which will be the first event to let journalists get hands on with Real Racing 3. It should be evident there what the plan is for monetization of Real Racing 3. Oh yeah, and I finally get to play Real Racing 3!

Lots of fresh new content this week at 148Apps.com, including a three part series tracking the history and development of Firemint’s Real Racing series. Rob Rich writes, “The soon to be released Real Racing 3 is on a lot of iOS gamers’ minds these days, especially many of us here at 148Apps. Because of this we thought it would be a good idea to recap the series. In fact, we might have gone a bit beyond that and created a trilogy. First we’ll be taking a look at the series’ history and the history of Firemint, the Melbourne based studio that created the series. After that we’ll be taking a look at the design factors and what when into creating the first two Real Racing titles as well as a little of the third. And in the third part of this series, we’ll take a look at the new Time Shifted Multiplayer found in Real Racing 3.”

Read Part One, Part Two and Part Three at 148Apps.

$4.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Games

$0.99
$6.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-03-11 :: Category: Games

GiggleApps.com traded in the racing wheel for a stethoscope, as Amy Solomon reviewed Doctor Cat: “Doctor Cat is a cute children’s app allowing users to use different medicines to treat animals.

This app is bright and colorful, with a simple and sweet narrative about a cat finding a lost doctor’s bag and using its contents to treat creatures in need.”

Find out more about this delightful new app for children by visiting GiggleApps today.

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2012-12-14 :: Category: Education

And we close out our weekly tour of sites by checking in on the latest KickStarter spotlight on AndroidRundown.com. Joseph Bertolini writes, “It is amazing how many times I leave my phone in the car or forget to bring my keys out with me. Consolidating these two would be a dream and there are a few solutions available but their effectiveness is very questionable. One of the more complete and involved KickStarter projects that we have spotlit here, Intellacase is a smartphone case that incorportes within it a key fab for any modern car with keyless entry. While this does nothing for most car owners who still reside in the land of metallic gateways, a growing number of affordable cars are adopting the keyless ignition as a viable offering. Certainly for anyone who has a car that utilizes keyless technology this is an incredibly attractive opportunity. Image going out on the town, with the increasing prevalence of NFC payments, and being able to bring just a phone which has access to both wallet and car access.”

Read more about Intellacase at AndroidRundown.

Another week down, but oh so much more to report in the coming days and weeks! Keep track of the latest happenings by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. You’ll be glad you did. See you next week kiddies!

Real Racing 3 – Time Shifted Multiplayer

Earlier we took a look at the history of Real Racing as well as that of Firemint itself, then it was on to the nitty gritty details of the Real Racing series’ gameplay design issues. Now it’s time to talk about what could be one of Real Racing 3’s most revolutionary features: Time Shifted Multiplayer.


Of Two Minds


Most iOS gamers are familiar with the idea of asynchronous multiplayer at this point; one person takes a turn and submits it, then next person takes their turn whenever they’re able, and so on. Many iOS multiplayer games use this mechanic to great effect these days; Robot Entertainment’s stellar Hero Academy, OMGPOP’s Draw Something, and Playdek’s Penny Arcade The Game: Gamers vs. Evil are just a few examples.

It’s great for playing anything turn-based on the go because it enables players to jump in and make their move whenever it’s convenient for them. Taking a break to get lunch, turning off the phone for a few hours during a long trip, or even taking a break partway through a match are all possible thanks to this particular form of multiplayer.

Real-time multiplayer games are a bit more difficult to execute on iOS devices. Not so much because the technology isn’t there, but because the very nature of mobile platforms creates a different sort of “flow” for users who aren’t tied down to a particular location. And Game Center is still in its relative infancy, so setting up a match among friends typically requires a decent amount of prep work. Especially given the sheer number of titles available for most Apple products these days. Capcom’s Street Fighter IV Volt and Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 are both examples of this particular multiplayer type, and both fun games, but setting up a match takes more work than it does on many gaming platforms.

The fast paced nature of the gameplay and the speed with which most bouts are completed fit the real-time online play well, but it still requires players to find a good spot to stop for a moment if they want to get a match or two in. Or they could also always play to their heart’s content while relaxing at home or any other location with proper seating and wireless internet.

Real Racing 3’s Time Shifted Multiplayer is a sort of amalgamation of both asynchronous and simultaneous play, and could very well lead to some significant changes in how we play mobile games with other people in the near future.

Thinking Freely

“What could we do if we had no limitations?” is the mantra that was used throughout Real Racing 3’s development according to the game’s Development Director, Kynan Woodman. “The answer to that question for many of us,” he said, “is that we would be able to play against our friends and other real people anytime and anywhere.” It might not seem like a big deal but not everyone has the same daily schedule.

Anyone who’s ever tried to play games online with a friends who lives in another state, even one that’s in the same time zone, knows just how problematic it can be at times to try and coordinate. Being able to play with friends without needing to adhere to a specific schedule means everyone can play when they have a moment rather than having to set aside a specific time or possibly turn down an open invitation.

And thus Time Shifted Multiplayer was conceptualized. Without worrying about whether it was “possible” or not, they got to work figuring out a way to combine the accessibility of asynchronous play with the pulse-pounding action of simultaneous play. In essence, it’s meant to be the best of both worlds.

Blazing a Trail

Firemonkeys hasn’t revealed the exact details of Time Shifted Multiplayer just yet, but it has explained the basics of how everything comes together in practice. When a Real Racing 3 player begins a race against someone else it’s not actually a direct competition.

Rather than racing against their opponent directly they’re in fact racing against “… their fully interactive time-shifted double,” Woodman said, “which emulates their performance and skill.” In other words it’s like racing against their ghost, only this particular ghost is tangible. This “non-ghost” can be driven off the track, react to other racers jostling for position, and all the other stuff a real player would do automatically.

Imagine racing against a snapshot of another person; a sort of virtual player that’s compiled from data based around their particular skill level and performance. If left to its own devices it’ll achieve a time similar (if not equivalent to) the player’s original run, but that’s only if it’s left alone. This is, in essence, what Time Shifted Multiplayer is.

It’s never a good idea to get too far ahead of things when it comes to speculation, but it’s also incredibly difficult not to get swept up in all the Time Shifted Multiplayer madness. It’s a technology that combines the two primary forms of online play iOS users have come to rely on for all of their games, and as such stands to create quite a stir once more and more titles begin to adapt similar techniques. Fusing the play anywhere/anytime convenience typical of most mobile multiplayer games with the more directly interactive (and often more competitive) nature of real time multiplayer certainly seems like a brilliant idea on paper.

Firemint (and now Firemonkeys) has been on an interesting road trip up to now; full of all kinds of unexpected detours, the occasional paint job, maybe a trade-in here and there, picking up a few new passengers along the way, and bittersweet goodbyes to those who’ve been dropped off. Of course it’s not over yet. There’s still a lot of road to travel. We’ll have to wait until next month to see how well everything Firemonkeys has experienced and created comes together for the newest pit stop, but the potential is definitely there.

Last time we took a look at the history behind Firemint and its popular Real Racing series. In this post we are going to go into a bit more detail on just how these games came about: design troubles, device compatibility considerations, gameplay mechanics, and ideas that help to define a developer and its products. Enjoy!


Everything To Everyone

A whole lot of iOS gamers are familiar with the Real Racing series. It’s well known (and rightly so) both as an example of the ever-increasing visual prowess of mobile gaming platforms and because it’s just plain fun. But creating something with so much quality and depth takes plenty of effort, especially considering that there are several possible generations of hardware to play it on. It’s quite the list, really, ranging from the original iPhone through the 3G, 3GS, 4, 4S, and now the 5. And let’s not forget the iPad, iPad 2, 3rd Generation, 4th Gen, and the adorable iPad mini. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the iPod Touch 1-5, either. So that’s, what, like 16 different iOS devices total, right? Each of them with their own limit on supported operating systems. Even ignoring the hardware side of things, that’s still at least five different OS platforms to check for compatibility.

The original Real Racing was developed in 2009: the middle of the iPhone 3G’s life cycle. Since the 3G was built around the earlier generations of iPhone, compatibility wasn’t too much of an issue. Real Racing 2, however, pushed things quite a bit further and gave the team a little difficulty when making it compatible with older devices. The game hit the App Store when the 3GS was still going strong and the iPhone 4 had only recently become available. According to Real Racing 3’s Development Director, Kynan Woodman, “Real Racing 2 was the first game where challenges with legacy hardware arose, but we managed to support everything back to the first iPhone on Real Racing 2.”

Even with a still comparably small list of devices and iOS software to worry about, things were starting to get more complicated. Firemint even went so far as to develop two separate base sets of code for its follow-up racing game: one designed to take full advantage of the iPhone 4 and fourth generation iPod touch’s specs, and one for everything that came before it. The different codes were then tailored to make the best use of their intended devices as possible by way of including different art assets, using higher framerates, etc.

Moving Forward

Real Racing 3, on the other hand, will most likely break with that tradition of near-universal iOS compatibility. A number of older devices are incompatible with iOS 6, and many of them also lack the processing power to manage more demanding games. Compatible devices haven’t been officially announced yet but Real Racing 3 is “… using Open GL ES 2.0 and relies on this for the advanced lighting,” said Woodman. “Everything prior to the iPhone 3GS only supported OpenGL 1.0.” Given the specificity of that statement, it’s looking like support for anything predating the 3GS is off the table. It’s amazing to think that the lighting is what’s primarily responsible for the game’s hardware compatibility. Of course, iOS hardware upgrades are always an option and with each new release, prior versions become even more affordable.

What’s really interesting and even downright commendable about Firemonkey’s approach to Real Racing 3’s development, which began mid-2011, is the way it didn’t let hardware limitations dictate the design. “When we started developing Real Racing 3,” Woodman said, “we started out with a core question: ‘What could we achieve, if we imagine, even just for a moment, that we have no limitations whatsoever.’” It was a question meant to steer (no pun intended) people away from worrying about whether or not their ideas would be feasible on any particular iOS device and get them thinking much more freely.

In other words, they tossed all preconceived limits out the window and let their imaginations run wild. So they got to work creating the racing game they wanted to create, with no consideration as to whether or not the hardware could handle any of it. “We went into this project anticipating hardware as powerful as the iPhone 5,” Woodman said, “so when the iPhone 5 did come along, we were ready.”

Dream Big

The idea was to design the game first, then worry about hardware specs later. It gave the team at Firemonkeys more of a chance to explore their ideas, and to play around with any concepts they could dream up and give them a real shot before deciding if they would work in Real Racing 3 or not.

So they worked backwards; developing Real Racing 3 as they saw fit, then hoping they could find a way to put it on Apple’s current and at the time future hardware. Ideas were given time to be fleshed-out rather than getting the axe early on thanks to the “no limits” approach. This led to the inclusion of an honest-to-goodness rearview mirror to help keep an eye on everyone currently eating your dust, a larger number of racers on the track (22 instead of the previous 16), new events that have never been used in a Real Racing game before that also sadly haven’t been specifically named, and real world racetracks like Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Silverstone.

Incorporating these tracks into Real Racing 3 is something that Firemonkeys is understandably excited about, especially considering all the work that went into the process. Each raceway needed to be thoroughly documented and multiple reference photos had to be taken. Once that step was finished it was time to research each track’s elevation data and use it to create a close digital approximation. It’s not a simple process, but the results are well worth it.

Of course, there’s also the Time Shifted Multiplayer everybody’s been talking about that allows players to race against friends and foes anytime, anywhere. “We didn’t start out with Time Shifted Multiplayer,” Woodman said, “we started out by putting real names on the cars and pretending that we had the ultimate multiplayer mode. It felt great and we worked our way back from there to Time Shifted Multiplayer.” It’s a method that’s resulted in some impressive new software technology that’s garnered a fair amount of attention since its announcement. It may not have ever come into being without such an open approach to design.

We’re still a ways off from Real Racing 3’s February release date, but that hasn’t kept people from talking about it. Not just the pretty graphics or the smooth controls, but also the unexpected surprises such as the Time Shifted Multiplayer which we’ll be taking a look at in the next post in this series. Even so, Firemonkeys is still holding a few of its cards close to its vest. It’s exciting to take a moment to consider just what it is we haven’t been told yet.

The soon to be released Real Racing 3 is on a lot of iOS gamers’ minds these days, especially many of us here at 148Apps. Because of this we thought it would be a good idea to recap the series. In fact, we might have gone a bit beyond that and created a trilogy. First we’ll be taking a look at the series’ history and the history of Firemint, the Melbourne based studio that created the series. After that we’ll be taking a look at the design factors and what when into creating the first two Real Racing titles as well as a little of the third. And in the third part of this series, we’ll take a look at the new Time Shifted Multiplayer found in Real Racing 3.


Humble Beginnings

One of the best-known examples of how far developers can push Apple’s new iPhone 5 hardware is looming just over the horizon. However, it wasn’t always so. Sure the Real Racing series has steadily become pretty much synonymous with near console-quality visuals on mobile platforms, even going so far as to have a permanent spot on the App Store’s Big-Name Games and Racing Games lists, but there was once a time when no one knew the name Firemint. This was around four years ago, when most mobile games were still easily distinguished from virtually every other platform. You know, when Solitaire and box-pushing puzzles came preloaded on everything and acquiring new games wasn’t anywhere near as convenient as it is now. Oddly enough, the developer’s first major innovation wasn’t even based around graphics.

According to Kynan Woodman, Real Racing 3’s Development Director, the original Real Racing was actually more of an experiment than a real game. Specifically they were trying to figure out how to rig up accelerometer steering for a Nokia handset in a way that wasn’t awkward or unnatural. Keep in mind this was back in 2008, and up to that point attempts at such a control scheme would tilt the view along with everything else which wasn’t exactly conducive to a driving game. “To solve this problem we tilted the horizon dynamically to counter your steering of the device,” he said, “so that regardless of where you moved the horizon in the game would match the real world. It seems obvious now, but no one had done it at the time.” Firemint didn’t just find a work-around for a common problem, the team developed a solution that set a new design standard for accelerometer controls.

Building A Unique Race

Once it had the horizon tilting figured out, Firemint began to construct the game that would eventually become Real Racing around it. “There was a lot more to the Real Racing franchise than great controls,” said Woodman, “but it started with that as a key innovation.” As it turns out, innovation ended up being Firemint’s calling card of sorts.

The developer’s second major task was to construct an interior view that the series has come to be known for, “… so players could actually see the steering wheel move as they steered,” Woodman said. It’s a feature that isn’t uncommon in console racing games these days (Codemasters’ Race Driver: Grid is a prime example), but it’s not prevalent in many – if any – iOS racers. The added level of detail, and by extension immersion, goes a long way to enhancing the “simulation” experience.

The decision to create a racing game built around closed tracks was made fairly early on in the cycle, however, but the rest of the design evolved as the game was developed. No one at Firement (now Firemonkeys) expected their project to become such a juggernaut on the App Store or to be the target of much speculation when early gameplay footage (above) was first revealed on PocketGamer in August of 2008. “We particularly enjoyed all the comments from consumers about how it was ‘clearly fake,’” said Woodman. Encouraged by these reactions, Firemint continued its work on through 2009, listening to fan and potential consumer feedback all the while. “We had a good idea of what people would like from the game,” he said, “because we could read comments and talk to press and consumers about it. Although we couldn’t do everything that players would like, we did use their feedback to help us focus the game design.”

Not Just A Racing Game Studio

Amidst all the hullabaloo surrounding console-quality visuals and innovations up the wazoo it can be easy to forget that Firemint doesn’t only make racing games. In fact, before Real Racing came out, it was already flying high (*rimshot*) thanks to the success of Flight Control. This casual mobile rendition of a day in the life on an air traffic controller began as a simple experiment concocted by Firemint CEO Robert Murray. It was meant to be a simple design exercise created over the winter break when the studio was shut down for the holidays, but garnered so much attention around the studio that fellow Firemint designers, Alexandra Peters and Jesse West, hopped on board to help turn it into a full-blown game–a good call considering that it’s sold over half-a-million copies in its first month and well over three million to date.

Award Winner

The original Real Racing went on to receive plenty of accolades, including 2010’s Apple Design and IMGA’s Excellence in Connectivity Awards, as well as a Best App Ever Award for Best Racing Game, Best Graphics, and Best Simulation Game in 2009. It’s also sold a whole bunch–and that’s just the first game. Not surprisingly, after Real Racing was launched in June of 2009, work on Real Racing 2 began roughly 6 months later.

The sequel to Firemint’s critical darling turned its fair share of heads as well when it was released in December of 2010. In addition to carrying over all the new concepts and special features that made the original Real Racing so noteworthy, Real Racing 2 added plenty of new items to its pedigree. The career mode was greatly expanded upon by allowing players to earn cash to purchase new cars and even upgrade their current ones. More camera options were added along with a special TV broadcast-style instant replay system. Vehicles were given damage models so that particularly rough races would leave telltale signs all over the racer’s cars. Online save options were added to allow players a chance to carry over their racing career when they installed the game to a new device. It was one of the first games to incorporate Apple’s Airplay technology which allowed players to view their games on their TV, using their iOS device as a stand-in for a controller. Actually, it allowed up to four players to view their games on the bigger screen all at once by way of the special Party Mode.

Last but not least, and in keeping with the whole “innovation” thing, Firemint also managed to include 16 player races (against AI in single player or 15 other people online), which was a first for iOS games at the time and no small feat in and of itself. All of these various features reportedly pushed Real Racing 2’s development costs to over $2 million. So it wasn’t just a first for iOS multiplayer, it was also a first for iOS development costs. Real Racing 2 has received a fair share of success with a combined (critic) Metacritic score of 94 to date along with taking the Best App Ever Awards for Racing and Graphics in 2010. With so many hits on Firemint’s hands, it’s no wonder large publishers like EA took notice.

Big Changes

The following year, Firemint was absorbed into the collective that is Electronic Arts. Some were understandably concerned about the acquisition, as it’s not uncommon for smaller studios to lose most of what makes them special (or get dismantled entirely) once they become a part of a much larger whole. However, Firemint CEO Rob Murray, as well as EA Interactive’s Executive VP, Barry Cottle, were quick to put those fears to rest by recalling the developer’s history. Many of Firemint’s pre-Flight Control and pre-iOS releases (Need for Speed Most Wanted, Madden, etc) were created while under contract for EA Mobile. One could even argue that EA helped to shape the folks at Firemint into the dream team they are today. Getting bought by one of the largest video game publishers in the business while being able to maintain their creative freedom made for an exciting opportunity for the already quite successful developer. But it didn’t end there. In July of 2012, Firemint joined forces with IronMonkey Studios (Dead Space, Need for Speed Undercover) to create Firemonkeys. I hope they braced for all the inevitable Infernape jokes beforehand. Since then, EA’s involvement has most likely influenced Firemint’s/Firemonkey’s pricing structures, but overall it seems like they’ve left the developer to do their own thing, which is to make fantastic games.

A more recent and potentially troubling development was the announcement that Rob Murray–former CEO of Firemint, mastermind behind Flight Control, and Executive Producer at Firemonkeys–would be leaving to spend time as a full-time dad. It’s a perfectly good reason to step down and Tony Lay, EA’s Melbourne Studio GM, has more than enough experience to see Real Racing 3 to its release as the new Executive Producer, but it’s difficult not to have a little concern over what this means for Firemonkeys. Development heads come and go from time to time, as is the nature of the industry, but sometimes major shakeups can be difficult to shake off. There have also been rumblings of another kind of shakeup for Real Racing 3. The App Store is still a tough market to predict when it comes to pricing structure, and it’s rumored that Firemonkeys might do away with the premium price tag for their new racer. In fact, if the rumors are to be believed Real Racing 3 just might be free-to-play. It’s not definite by any stretch of the imagination at this point, but it is possible.

It’s impressive to think that Firemint accomplished all of this–several multi-award winning games, millions upon millions in cumulative sales, and a significant acquisition by a major publisher–in about three years’ time. Where they go from here is anybody’s guess, but with Real Racing 3 looming on the horizon, the future definitely looks exciting, and pretty shiny.

Tomorrow, we’ll delve into the design decisions and what it took to make the premier iOS racing game series, so stay tuned.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Rarely do big name games live up to the hype. Thankfully, this may be one of the rare exceptions to the rule.

Read The Full Review »

Firemonkeys, formed from the recent merger of Firemint and Iron Monkey Studios, has announced its first title: Real Racing 3. This sequel to the popular racing series promises to boast more of what made the series so popular.

While only an alpha version was shown off, the footage is all based on in-game visuals, which displays how detailed the cars are going to be in the game. The details won’t come at the sacrifice of cars on the track, as the racing field has been expanded to 22 cars. There’s no confirmation of 22-player online multiplayer yet, though.

To help put the “Real” in Real Racing 3, real-life tracks are going to be in the game, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Laguna Seca, and Silverstone. New car brands have been added, including Porsche, Audi, and Dodge. No release date was confirmed, other than that it is scheduled to release sometime this year. Check out our video of Rob Murray from Firemonkeys announcing the game below.

Image by Chris Thompson

It’s Fourth Of July here in the states, and everyone is celebrating with sales on their apps, including EA, Chillingo, Crytek, WB Games and more. Let’s take a look, shall we?

First up is EA – from July 2th until July 9th, all their games will be $0.99 or free. Their pitch basically amounts to an “all our stuff is on sale” sale. That said, here are a few great games you should definitely pick up at these low prices.

On Sale Now-
Price was: $6.99
Sale: $0.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-03-11 :: Category: Games

On Sale Now-
Price was: $4.99
Sale: $0.99
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, works on iPad
Released: 2010-12-16 :: Category: Games

Real Racing HD - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

On Sale Now-
Sale: $0.99
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, works on iPad
Released: 2010-12-16 :: Category: Games

Flight Control HD - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

Burnout™ CRASH! - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

Warner Bros. are also doing a “Everything is $0.99″ sale, maybe just to prove they can. It’s nice to see some competition here, but the indies are sure to feel the pinch. Even so, there are some great games to save money on. Here are a few we dig.

On Sale Now-
Sale: $0.99
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, works on iPad
Released: 2009-11-15 :: Category: Games

Batman Arkham City Lockdown - price returned to $5.99, was on sale for $0.99

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 - price returned to $4.99, was on sale for $0.99

There are also some games on sale for Independence Day that don’t hearken from the juggernauts of electronic gaming, but they’re still worth your time and monies. Check ‘em out below, but be sure to check the price before you buy – some of these are on sale starting on the 4th itself.


Continue reading Celebrate Your Independence – From High Priced Apps »

It was a banner week for hit game updates last week and EA and Firemint were in the thick of it with version 1.1.0 of their cat and mouse puzzler SPY Mouse and SPY Mouse HD.

Intrepid Agent Squeak has uncovered a new volcano world. And this new world isn’t just more of the same with a new background. Along with 11 new levels and three new goals come new evil Jungle Cats who throw poison darts. There are also new obstacles like lava pits and fireballs and new power-ups to help complete the challenges.

Also look for Digger the Dog’s new shop where players can load up on power ups, and while Origins, Electronic Arts cross-platform gaming network is still prominent, there is more Game Center integration as well, with achievements now where most iOS gamers tend to look.

This path tracing brainteaser continues to shine as one of the best on iOS so if one already owns it, be sure to update and if not, now’s the time to pick SPY Mouse up.


FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-08-25 :: Category: Games

FREE!
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-11-17 :: Category: Games

Flight Control Rocket Review

Flight Control Rocket Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Flight Control Rocket is a sequel to Firemint's original iOS smash hit, that takes the path management gameplay and takes it into space.

Read The Full Review »

EA and Firemint’s Spy Mouse has an update out now that’s designed to be more appropriate for this time of year, with Valentine’s Day coming up. Love is in the air, and while the cats in Agent Squeek’s life are still out to keep him from getting his cheese, everything is a lot more lovey-dovey. The app icon shows not a stern and focused Agent Squeek, but a more charmed Agent Squeek, presenting delicious chocolate for a willing suitor. The whole menu is now Valentine’s-themed, which means that it’s more pink and heart-filled. In-game, the cheese crumbs that give bonus points are now hearts. As well, those cats now get hearts over their head when they spy Agent Squeek, broken heart icons when the try to grab him and miss. Plus, when they do get him, it’s now a heart-filled dust cloud. Okay. This alternate interpretation of Spy Mouse update is available now for both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad versions of the game.

FREE!
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2011-08-25 :: Category: Games

FREE!
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-11-17 :: Category: Games

EA Mobile and Firemint’s mousey hero Agent Squeek is now about to stealthily and cheesily sneaking around on the iPad in the recently released SPY mouse HD. The game, which topped the iPhone/iPod touch charts upon its release, has been re-worked to take advantage of the iPad. The game’s art and graphics are optimized to shine on the bigger screen, and the line drawing controls are more accurate thanks to the iPad’s massive screen. The iPad version features the same number of levels as the iPhone/iPod touch version, but the game boasts exclusive new content for the iPad version. Otherwise, this is the same hybrid of line drawing, popularized by Firemint’s Flight Control, and stealth action gameplay. Players control Agent Squeek by drawing lines that he walks along; however, he must avoid cats and other traps that get in the way between him and his beloved cheese. SPY mouse HD is available now for the iPad.

FREE!
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-11-17 :: Category: Games

As we’ve seen, the iPhone 4S and iOS5 has been announced and with it has come a whole bunch of different features for app developers to implement in their products.

Historically, it’s always been Firemint and the Real Racing series that has been first to introduce such features such as iPad 2 optimization and 1080p output. It’s no different this time round with numerous features being added to Real Racing 2 and Real Racing 2 HD.

As predicted earlier in the year, AirPlay support will be added so that players can stream the game to their HD TV. Dual screen functionality will also be possible with real time racing telemetry on the iPad 2 or iPhone 4S.

More entertainingly is the addition of Party Play for 2 to 4 players, enabling players to play split screen local multiplayer over AirPlay.

Besides such revolutionary features, there’ll also be numerous visual upgrades to ensure that Real Racing 2 is still a cut above the rest.

Check out the Party Play trailer below. It’s looking pretty impressive.

The update is set to go live in time for iOS5 and the iPhone 4S release.

$0.99
$6.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-03-11 :: Category: Games

$0.99
$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-12-16 :: Category: Games

SPY Mouse Review

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Liberate the Limburger in this death-defying, secret agent-shuffling, feline-fleeing line-drawing game.

Read The Full Review »

Until August 22, the entire series of Real Racing games are on special offer with some impressive discounts available for budding racers.

We at 148apps have been big fans of the series, especially the iPhone versions of Real Racing 1 and 2. With the iPad versions also doing well so now is surely the ideal time to give them a shot.

Prices start at $0.99 for Real Racing iPhone edition, Real Racing HD for $3.99, Real Racing 2 at $2.99 and Real Racing 2 HD priced at $4.99.

Each title offers some excellent simulation based racing and are all equally worth players’ attentions. It’s particularly fun to see just how far iOS gaming has come just in the time that Firemint has been developing the Real Racing series. Real Racing 2 HD is particularly revolutionary with the likes of TV-out functionality and cloud based saving synchronization.

Don’t forget though, these offers end August 22. So be quick to snap up a bargain!

$2.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2009-06-08 :: Category: Games

$4.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2010-04-01 :: Category: Games

$0.99
$4.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2010-12-16 :: Category: Games

$0.99
$6.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-03-11 :: Category: Games

Real Racing 2 HD Review

Real Racing 2 HD Review

iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Real Racing 2 HD is an iPad version of Firemint's popular iOS racing franchise.

Read The Full Review »

Jeff already discussed the potential of AirPlay mirroring and it sounds pretty exciting. Now, the idea is becoming reality.

Consistently revolutionary Real Racing 2 HD, already famed for going 1080P when using an external monitor, has extended this further by offering streaming.

It’s impressive stuff but come the release of iOS 5 later this year, it’ll be possible to stream Real Racing 2 HD to a big screen TV over AirPlay providing a completely wireless experience. It all sounds wonderfully futuristic being able to transfer the iOS gaming experience to a TV without even needing any wires.

Real Racing 2 HD already looks gorgeous on the iPad 2 so it’ll no doubt look just as tremendous when it hits the big screen.

The update should come along around the same time as the release of iOS 5 in the near future.

Real Racing 2 HD is available now for the iPad priced at $9.99, with iPad 2 owners being able to view it in 1080P via an external monitor and adapter cable.

$0.99
$6.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-03-11 :: Category: Games

EA is trying to set themselves up as the dominant player in the mobile and iOS markets, and months after acquiring publisher Chillingo, EA has acquired developer Firemint. Based in Australia, Firemint are known for Flight Control and the Real Racing series, which are responsible for over 4.5 million and 2 million downloads respectively. No details have been released on the terms of the transaction, or if Firemint’s operations will change in any way. While Chillingo is largely just a publisher of apps, any changes on their end have been largely in the background, as they have continued to operate normally on the surface, continuing to regularly publish independently-developed games. Firemint being an actual developer themselves, they may be subject to more changes, although any changes are largely speculative at this point. EA reports that Firemint will be maintained as a studio under the EAi group which includes their mobile, social, and online game offerings.

What this move does for EA is that it brings a pair of successful yet disparate franchises into their tent, and that may have been what made Firemint such an appealing acquisition target. Flight Control is a popular casual game that at one point was possibly the most popular game on iOS around when it was released, and is a progenitor of path management games to this day. Meanwhile, Real Racing is a graphics-intensive game, showcasing some of the best graphics and racing gameplay on iOS. As such, it has always sold at a premium price point, but this hasn’t kept the franchise from gaining popularity of its own, based on the number of downloads it too has gotten.

This move could be based on bringing Flight Control and Real Racing, along with any other future Firemint projects, to other platforms. Firemint has partnered with Namco to publish Flight Control on Android and Windows Phone 7, along with a PC version available on Intel AppUp, but we have yet to see Real Racing leave iOS yet. EA has also recently acquired Mobile Post Production, who have largely worked on cross-platform mobile projects, including the porting of games across various smartphone OSes. This could mean that Real Racing might be popping up on non-iOS platforms at some point, but this is all speculation at this point. While it’s unknown what will come of this move by EA, it’s another example of them making a big splash in the mobile gaming market.

Real Racing Goes 1080P

In an age where it is hard enough to find a console game that displays in full 1080P, it is practically unheard of to even fathom an iOS game reaching those heights of resolution. Choosing to push the envelope of the platform, Real Racing 2’s developer, Firemint, has announced that there is an update that should be hitting by Easter that will unlock full 1080P output from the iPad 2 if you use an external monitor that is HDMI capable.

These unique dual screen controls allow you to interact with what is happening on your external monitor, while displaying the groundbreaking game with a graphical fidelity has been unheard of on the platform, truly showing off what the iPad 2 as a device is truly capable of.  But now that they have pulled out all of the stops, where can Real Racing 2 go from here?  Watch out Gran Turismo, there is a new competitor in your rear-view mirror.

[Source: Firemint]

$0.99
$6.99
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2011-03-11 :: Category: Games

The Portable Podcast, Episode 78

We did a podcast and we are the greatest. #sworcery

On This Episode:

  • We discuss Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP – trying to discuss the game’s experience and gameplay while trying to be as spoiler-free as possible.
  • We also discuss the iPad 2, and whether iPad 1 users should upgrade.
  • Who We Are:

  • Host: Carter Dotson
  • Co-Host: Dan Morgan, The APPera
  • Music:

  • “Beatnes7 (Theme to The Portable Podcast)” by The Eternal – Download on iTunes here:
  • “Nanocarp” by The Eternal
  • How to Listen:

  • Click Here to Subscribe in iTunes:
  • Click Here to Subscribe via RSS.
  • Listen on WRGT Radio every Friday at 4pm Central
  • Listen Here:
  • Apps Mentioned in this Episode:

    $4.99
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Released: 2011-03-24 :: Category: Games

    $5.99
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
    Released: 2010-12-09 :: Category: Games

    $0.99
    $6.99
    iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
    Released: 2011-03-11 :: Category: Games

    Firemint today announced that its next major update to Real Racing 2 HD will bring full 1080p-out support for the iPad 2.

    Although the iPad 2 itself only displays video in 1024×768 at the highest, with the use of the iPad HDMI adapter, it can output 1920×1080 video to a monitor or television that supports 1080p, which is exactly what Real Racing 2 HD will do.

    Firemint did not say exactly when this update will be released– just that it’s coming in the “next major update.” Color us excited for this high resolution treat!

    Real Racing 2 HD is one of the most impressive racing titles on Apple’s iOS. It features a 10-hour single-player campaign and gorgeous 3D visuals. The game has an average rating of 4.5 stars on the App Store and nearly 1,000 user reviews, while the iPhone version of the game garnished an Editor’s Choice Award right here on 148Apps. You can download it for $6.99.

    Check out video of Real Racing 2 HD running in 1080p on an external monitor below.

    $0.99
    $6.99
    iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
    Released: 2011-03-11 :: Category: Games

    Firemint have done it again. Real Racing 2 HD hits on the eve of the iPad 2 launch.

    One of our highest rated games of all time, Real Racing 2 has been given the HD treatment just in time for the iPad 2 launch.

    Firemint have released Real Racing 2 HD to really show off what the iPad 2 can do. This version includes full screen anti-aliasing for an ultra sharp look. In addition, seven new career events are exclusive to Real Racing 2 HD.

    The feature that really stood out to me is one that more games need – your progress is synced between the iPhone and the iPad versions, ensuring that you can pick up just where you left off when you switch from one device to the next.

    $0.99
    $6.99
    iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
    Released: 2011-03-11 :: Category: Games

    Hit the jump for more screen shots and full specs, direct from Firemint.


    Continue reading Real Racing 2 HD Revs on the App Store — Optimized for iPad 2 »

    A big announcement kicking off the day today, as Firemint announced that they have acquired fellow Aussie developer Infinite Interactive. The agreement means that Firemint will now be the exclusive publisher of all Infinite Interactive games, which means they’ll need more kangaroo pouches in which to stuff all the money they’re about to make.

    “I’m incredibly pleased to welcome Steve (Fawkner, founder of Infinite Interactive) and his team to Firemint,” said Firemint founder Rob Murray. “Steve is an outstanding game designer and our two studios evolved very similar philosophies of developing addictive, fun and polished original games. By bringing our studios’ talents together, we will be able to create even more awesome games – and more of them.”

    Fawkner added, “Firemint has had huge success designing, developing and publishing great original games. By joining forces, we now have a way to further develop some of the exciting new concepts we’ve been working on. This new position really frees me up to focus on game design and I can’t wait to get stuck into it!”

    Infinite Interactive is the studio behind the extremely popular Puzzle Quest franchise, while Firemint is best known for games like Flight Control and Real Racing 2. With the two studios set to work together it likely means that none of us will ever get anything done ever again, so we may as well just all quit our jobs now and wait for the companies’ first joint-venture game. Will their combined power be enough to knock the traditional powerhouses from their perch atop the App Store? It’s impossible to know right now but we wouldn’t be surprised if whatever they come up with makes some major waves in the realm of iOS and beyond. This is truly a powerhouse pairing, and one with a whole lot of promise.

    Real Racing 2 Review

    iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
    Sony has Gran Turismo, Apple has Real Racing. Real Racing 2 can't compete with the 1,031 cars that GT5 has, but for a mobile device it's just as impressive.

    Read The Full Review »

    Real Racing 2, possibly the most ambitious app to hit the App Store launched today. It’s a new version of one of the best racing games ever seen on a mobile device, and better than many seen on consoles. Firemint, based in Australia, has a lot riding on this game with a reported 2 million dollars spent on it’s development. We fired off a few questions to the fine folks down under to get some of their thoughts on the iOS platform and development of Real Racing 2.
     
    Q: Real Racing 2 integrates Game Center for multiplayer, leaderboards, and achievements. How have you seen the performance of the Game Center multiplayer system?  You’ve been able to do something others haven’t by bringing 16 player multiplayer to iOS.
     
    Game Center has been great for us and we are big supporters of it. Beyond just leaderboards and achievements, we can use your Game Center ID to locate your save games and link to other services like Youtube uploads etc. The awesome thing about Game Center is that it provides an easy way to create peer to peer multiplayer connections with up to four players at once. We have supported this in Flight Control, Real Racing, Flight Control HD and Real Racing HD.
     
    For Real Racing 2 we have implemented a hosted solution because we wanted to support our 16 car single player grid in multiplayer games as well. We also wanted to make it really simple to find and play multiplayer games, on every device. This is something we have been working on for a long time. It is more difficult for us to do things that way, but it means we are able to support all devices.  

     
    Q: A few months ago you released a story about how you had tuned the AI in your bots to such an extent that they were cheating.  Are you sure they aren’t still cheating?  Some of the AI race drivers seem awful good! Tell us more about the AI in the game for the computer drivers.
     
    Well the Real Racing 1 AI weren’t cheating as such, it was more that they were finding exploits in the physics engine, the same exploits that human players could find. An example of that was that the AI found if they hit a certain corner at exactly the right angle, they would explode down the track faster than any car could drive. Needless to say, we fixed that bug before release!
     
    In Real Racing 2, we have gone to great lengths to make sure the AI are competitive without cheating. Some games allow their AI to have faster or more responsive cars, or add catchup code so that they are competitive. On release, our game has none of this, the opponents never drive a car that out performs the ones the player can drive in the game. However, they may take you to the cleaners if you enter a hard career race under-spec’d. So choose a car with as high a performance rating as possible and ideally well suited to the particular track, for example top speed is pretty critical on an oval but it’s not so helpful on a winding track. If the AI is driving a car that you know has a higher top speed than yours, then you can be pretty sure that they won’t be so good on the corners.
     
    The AI have been written to use the same inputs that the player has, accelerate, brake and steer. The down side of this as developers, we have to make our AI really smart to keep up with a human player.
     
    One advantage that the AI do have is that they are precision drivers, the best AI can hit a precise racing line every time, so while it may seem like they are cheating, they actually take great lines through the corners and may come out of them faster than you if you make a small mistake. So just like when you are down at the track, winning at the high levels in Real Racing takes precise driving.
     
    Even with all our effort into improving the AI, we would still rather take on the fastest AI we have than try to compete with a top ranked Real Racing player!

    Q: What can we expect in the future for Real Racing 2?  Any planned updates? An iPad version perhaps?  Voice chat like we’ve seen you recently add with Flight Control?
     
    You can be pretty certain that we will do an iPad version and we want to do something special, but definitely not until next year. We also have the online save game system now so that we can share your progress across versions of the game including from iPhone to iPad.
     
    We do have all sorts of ideas and plans for Real Racing 2, however they are just ideas at this stage. Announcing things is easy, but delivering is hard, so we are cautious about announcing too much at this stage. Hopefully then, when we do deliver something, we will have over-delivered :)

     
    Q: You’ve developed your own 3D engine for Real Racing 2, Mint 3D. Can you tell us a little more about it and what are the advantages of a custom engine over a pre-built one?
     
    Mint3D is a powerful and highly optimized rendering engine designed to get great performance out of the current iOS platforms, particularly iPhone 4 and iPod Touch 4. It supports standout visual effects like shadow mapping, depth of field, motion blur, detail textures, reflections, level of detail, specular highlights, glints, flares, particle effects, animation and even some improved real time shadows, whilst being able to push large quantities of polygons and models through the hardware each frame. The cool thing is, we have a very optimized legacy engine within Mint3D that was developed along with Real Racing, which is how we are able to continue to support earlier devices, albeit without the same high level of effects possible on the newer hardware.  
     
    We have to render a 3 mile track being traversed at high speed, from any angle with 16 cars, sometimes all on the screen at once, all with unique textures, see through windows, reflections, shadows, damage etc. It all has to look great regardless of what the player is doing with their car or with the camera or where they are driving. Everything moves by very quickly so dealing with a large object count is very important to a racer, and when you have 16 cars with physics and AI on top of that, there is a lot of variety to deal with. Mint3D is designed to handle this and to do a large variety of things well and at consistent framerates.
     
    The choice of going with a custom engine over something pre-built is something that should be made for each game and each developer individually. It is not just an economic choice, sometimes a pre-built engine is the right choice for creative reasons. In our case, we design the game first and the engine has to keep up with that. By using our own engine we have the freedom to do whatever it takes to make it deliver for our particular needs. It feels like that is the best way for us to build signature titles and make them stand apart.

    Q: How about some racing tips? Do you have any tips our readers for getting the best times on the Real Racing 2 tracks?
     
    Generally, the fastest race times can be achieved by turning and braking as minimally as possible: a good race line with the goal of taking straight lines through corners, sufficient but minimal braking (losing traction washes off a lot of speed) and trying to maintain a high, constant speed throughout the race will hold you in good stead.
     
    Every car handles differently, and braking and acceleration in and out of corners can count for a lot. Learn to exploit the varying performance attributes of each car and practice the techniques listed above. Driving with assists can be a very helpful way to learn to get your braking and racing line right.

     
    Thanks to the folks at Firemint for answering our questions. Real Racing 2 is out now, and I strongly suggest you grab it if you enjoy a good race. Feel free to add me in Game Center, I’m jeff148apps — I’ll see you on the track.
     

    $0.99
    $4.99
    iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
    Released: 2010-12-16 :: Category: Games

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