Speedway, one of the most popular auto-racing video games, is shifting gears and expanding to a brand new era. After more than 40 years in the industry, the classic game is evolving to take advantage of recent technology advancements to provide an even better experience for players.
As part of its transformation, Speedway is launching a brand new NASCAR racing game, NASCAR Heat Evolution, which reimagines what a NASCAR outing is like and brings all the intensity, excitement, and unpredictability of a live race into your fingertips. With the help of an elite group of NASCAR licensees, including Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Racing, and Joe Gibbs Racing, as well as longtime partner Ice Cream Factory, Inc., developing the gameplay and visuals for NASCAR Heat Evolution were a passion project for everyone involved.
Below we take a look at some of the biggest changes made to the classic game in preparation for the new NASCAR racing experience, as well as how you can get involved in the evolution process.
New Play Space
One of the most noticeable changes to Speedway is the complete overhaul of the game’s play space. A few years back, a lot of focus was put into giving players a more immersive racing experience, and it showed. While the gameplay still uses the same basic principles, the new play space brings a whole other level of immersion and engagement. Gone are the days of racing on a simple oval – now you’re driving on a completely dynamic, open-world track that can be modified to fit any car or machine.
The addition of seamless tiling means that once you finish one lap, the track continues seamlessly into the next, making it feel like one cohesive course instead of a series of disconnected tracks. Windy roads, heavy rains, or blazing sun – the environment is fully immersive and completely deterministic, adding even more realism to the experience. Allowing for more variety in the races, the addition of the environment will also provide unique challenges for the driver, as the track conditions can change at any moment and affect the car’s performance. Changing weather, temperature, and even light are all environmental factors that will impact your vehicle’s horsepower, handling, and fuel economy. These factors alone make for a more engaging gameplay experience.
Improved Physics And AI
The underlying technology that powers the cars and tracks in Speedway has also seen an upgrade. Using a combination of hardware and software, the cars and tracks react to all collisions and contact in real-time, ensuring that the game’s realistic physics and authentic sound effects translate to the highest levels of performance. To further improve the experience, artificial intelligence has been ramped up a notch, resulting in the AI cars and drivers acting more strategically and making smarter decisions, based on experience.
You’ll notice that the cars and tracks behave much more fluidly as well, thanks in part to the addition of improved tire models that provide more feedback, as well as a more realistic approach to braking and cornering. These changes make for a more seamless and polished gameplay experience.
Improved Road And Weather Conditions
One of the biggest changes to the classic game is the addition of different terrains and weather conditions to the tracks. While most racing games will only feature normal roads, WeatherTech® Championship, another of the game’s licensees, has taken it upon itself to really immerse players in all things weather-related, including intense snowstorms, thunderstorms, and rainbows.
The team also worked closely with the NASCAR outfitters to incorporate more real-world tracks and conditions, resulting in some incredible authentic-feeling motorsport experiences. The result is that while the gameplay might look relatively the same, in terms of how you’re steering and handling your vehicle, the overall feel of the game is completely different. It is without a doubt the most realistic simulation of motorsport that there is, bar none.
Larger Gratuity Pot
In addition to gameplay changes made above, one of the game’s biggest updates is the addition of a whopping $3 million dollar gratuity pot, which is basically a loot box that you’ll win by completing certain challenges or events in the game. This is one of the biggest upgrades to the game since its inception, and will no doubt provide a better chance of winning money, cars, and gear you actually want.
Additionally, this updated version of Speedway will allow players to upload their own car designs and liveries, as well as create their own tracks to race on. This opens up a whole new world of customization, and with the ability to share these creations with others, there’s now more motivation to keep playing.
Branded Licensed Drinks
One of the coolest things about NASCAR Heat Evolution is all the branding partnerships that the game has locked in. From Monster® Energy Drinks to Busch® Beer and everything in between, the game will now feature a series of authentic-feeling brand interactions that bring the authenticity of real-life motorsport to your fingertips.
While racing on brand-new tracks in the game might not be possible, thanks to the seamless tiling technology mentioned above, you’ll get to drink a cocktail or two with NASCAR‘s finest, as you would in real life. Just remember to have your wallet ready – these drinks will be costing you money, as you might expect, but they’re worth it.
Improved Multiplayer And Social Features
While the focus for most racing games these days is on the single player experience, it’s great to see that the developers behind Speedway didn’t forget about multiplayer and online competition, either. With up to four players competing over local wi-fi or bluetooth, as well as online against other players around the world, you’ll get to experience all the fun of a real-life NASCAR race, without all the actual driving – thanks to the advanced technology that powers the game.
Racing games have come a long way since the days of Pong® – now, with all these technological advancements, it’s easy to see just how far they’ve come. The new NASCAR Heat Evolution is shaping up to be one of the great racing games of all time, and with all the changes, the developers have done a great job of staying true to the original game’s formula, while also taking advantage of all the new technologies that make for an incredible gameplay experience. So if you’re a motorsport or racing fan, then it’s probably safe to say that you’ll want to try out this game.
To learn more about the changes made in NASCAR Heat Evolution and how you can get involved in the evolution process, check out the links below.