Why Real Racing 3's 'time shifted multiplayer' is kind of a big deal
The iPhone 5 is taller, thinner, lighter and has a powerful new processor that makes games look gorgeous. You already know this. But perhaps the most interesting feature of the iPhone 5 isn't exclusive to it at all, or even its new hardware. It's something that Australian developer FireMonkeys (formerly Firemint and Iron Monkeys) has developed all on its own in its newest game, Real Racing 3: time shifted multiplayer.
Essentially an advancement of the asynchronous or turn-based multiplayer found in hits like Words With Friends and Hero Academy, this is something that would have happened regardless of the fancy new innards of the newest phones. Arguably, it's where mobile gaming is headed, and we caught up with Real Racing 3 executive producer Rob Murray to learn more.
What was it like working with the new iPhone 5 in terms of its new screen size?
The larger, wider screen on the new iPhone 5 is a joy to work with. It's not just larger and wider, but it is a much richer looking screen. With a game like Real Racing 3 you get to see more of the action due to the wider screen and the richer colors improve the realism.
What are some of the more nuanced advantages of working with the iPhone 5 than the previous generation?
I think the wide screen is quite subtle as are the richer colors. The lighter device is a subtle advantage, particularly when holding it for long periods or playing with one hand.
Can you explain the new "time-shifted" or asynchronous multiplayer in Real Racing 3 in more detail? How exactly does it work?
Time Shifted Multiplayer is a new form of social gaming experience. It is built on proprietary technology first revealed in Real Racing 3 during the iPhone 5 keynote. It combines the excitement and immersion of real time multiplayer with the convenience and practicality of turn by turn games.
With Time Shifted Multiplayer, I can challenge my opponent on one day to a race, and then they can race me the next. My opponent will see me in the race and compete against me as though I was there. They are not competing against a ghost-they are competing against my time shifted double. By colliding with my double or even just forcing me off the racing line, they can actually impact my race time.
So my double will play for me against my friends, and it will seek to match my skill level in the races it plays for me. The better my time in the race, the more skillful my double will play when it seeks to emulate me. Given all the same conditions in the race, my double will achieve the same race time that I set. However every race day is different, so the race is not won on my time alone. No cheating, no ghosts, just real racing against your friends.
This is a play style normally reserved for the casual group and Facebook games, so why bring it to an arguably "hardcore" game?
We think that the play style, specifically the way we have implemented, is actually closer to synchronous multiplayer. We think that we are making synchronous multiplayer more convenient. At the same time we are making asynchronous multiplayer more interactive. We don't think it is a play style that is reserved for a particular audience, we just see it as a play style that provides a great balance of convenience and interactivity...it is super social in that sense.
Do you foresee this kind of play style becoming the de facto mode of multiplayer for mobile games?
We aim to use variations of Time Shifted Multiplayer across a number of titles in the future. We think it is an awesome way to play multiplayer, so it could become the de facto standard for a generation of gamers that want the multiplayer experience, but want it at their convenience.
Click here to learn more about Real Racing 3 for iOS Now >
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