It’s Quaint Brighton’s Split/Second

By John Walker on April 15th, 2010 at 1:33 am.

There's a part of me that believes there's a good

Here’s a peculiar trailer for Brit-based racer, Split/Second. It’s like a report for a gaming TV show, but without the gaming TV show. And it’s an American pretend TV show, which offers the rather hilarious opener that Black Rock Studio’s home town, Brighton, is “quaint”. But forget all that, because what you’ve got here is a neatly packaged explanation of what Split/Second is – a racing game where you blow stuff up – along with thoughts behind the development, and most crucially, lots of in-game footage.

Perhaps I’m a giant moron, but what stands out as most innovative to me is the rethinking of the HUD. Putting all those details on the tail of the car is damned smart, and I wonder if everyone else will copy this from now on. It’s madness to have to scan all corners of the screen for vital info when taking a corner, and here that issue is neatly solved. Oh, and it’s also cool how stuff blows up all the time. The game’s out on the 18th May in the US, and 21st in the UK. Take a look:

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31 Comments »

  1. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    The HUD is the sort of genius that makes me think how come i never came up with that?

    Also, does anyone know how you chose what explosions you are triggering? It would be annoying to blow up a tower infront of you, to have all other players pass nharmed, and it come crashing down on you.

    • Hypocee says:

      Things you can blow up pulse the proper colour – cyan for normal, reusable powerplays like shortcuts and helicopter attacks, red for the full-bar blow-up-a-building events. When I played I had trouble noticing them, but that was a very old build and the worst-case scenario is that you learn them by trial-and-error over a few shots at any given race.

      I think, though I’m not sure, that the destructions follow a fixed progression within a race – or at least, that some aren’t available until another has been triggered. From my time with it the big events felt like there was a safe way through that stayed constant every time that event was triggered, so if you’re the one dropping it presumably you’re prepared with the proper racing line.

  2. LewieP says:

    I definitely think that kind of thing can be taken further.

    Row of LEDs embedded on the car spoiler/rear to show power bar.

    Have your and other car’s positions embedded into the rear windscreen.

    Remove the speedo. As long as your game has a good sense of speed (which from what I played Split Second does), a speedo is just UI clutter.

    • westyfield says:

      Though I’ve never played it, I remember hearing that Dead Space had a similar system where Arthur C. Asimov’s health and ammo were displayed on his backpack. Can anyone who’s played Dead Space confirm this/say how well it worked? It intrigues me and I think I’d like to see it in more games.

    • Brumisator says:

      Yes, a bunch of games have done implemented that lately, Dead space, Ghostbusters, etc.
      It works really well.
      This is a probably good idea for a racing game HUD, but as you guys said, it could be taken further.
      Call me mean, but I couldn’t help but chuckle when the video said “it frees up space on the screen”, and the next shot is a block of text covering up the entire middle of the screen with extremely important info like “you wrecked player2″ “Great drift!” and “Your mother would be proud of you had you cared for her enough not to die in a car crash”.

      The numeric tachometer is necessary because for some people, seeing it written on screen that you’re going OVER NINE THOUSAND DECAMETRES PER HOUR somehow makes it feel faster, it’s probably some kind of subconscious thing.

    • neems says:

      The Dead Space HUD worked very well from a gameplay perspective, although I was always a little puzzled as to why the suit would be designed to show Isaac’s health on his spine.

    • karthik says:

      @westyfield:
      “I remember hearing that Dead Space had a similar system where Arthur C. Asimov’s health and ammo were displayed on his backpack.”

      ICWYDT.

      And it worked great. The game wouldn’t pause for any in-game action, like accessing the inventory, so it just made it scarier.

  3. Red Avatar says:

    RPS, you fail for not even mentioning Megarace :P Gee, a TV show where drivers drive to survive? Where did I hear that before.

  4. =w= says:

    Their last game was PURE fun (heh), it seems this one will be high on the fun factor too.

  5. dingo says:

    The crucial question to me is whether there is enough “meat” in single player.
    Neither this nor Blur are forthcoming concerning this question so I have to wait for some reviews before deciding whether I buy or not.

  6. Mitza says:

    AMAZE MY EYES!!! :)

    that was funny

  7. Magic H8 Ball says:

    Megarace wasn’t even all that good – the pre-rendered tracks sure looked amazing but there was no feeling of acceleration or speed at all because of it – but Lance Boyle is forever.

  8. dr_demento says:

    Split/Second’s direct competitor, BLUR, is going in that direction a little too – you pick up powerups a la Mario Kart, and their symbols appear on your back bumper. Your position and laps remaining are still on the corners of the screen, though, and after playing a lot of the current BLUR beta/demo, I think Split/Second might well be on the right track (sorry)…

  9. Cynic says:

    We’re filming in Brighton, LOOK AT THE PIER BEHIND US. Such a quaint little town that nobody’s ever heard of.

  10. Schmung says:

    It’s just me that hates the HUD then?

    I like my stationary big number HUD dammit – it’s more readable. Still, I dare say there’s an option to revert anyway and there must be an alternate way of displaying the info when you’re on bonnet/in-car cam.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Schmung

      Not just you, no. I don’t see how it’s any more convenient to have to flick my eyes down to read the HUD than it is to have to flick them to a screen corner, and it’s decidedly LESS convenient to have to figure out where said HUD is because it’s moving. I’m a little distressed that this is getting such a positive response, I’d hate for it to become common.

    • Velvet Fist, Iron Glove says:

      @Vinraith I second that. In racing games I’m always looking at the top middle of the screen anyway, since that’s where everything is happening that I need to react to a split/second later. The easiest place for me to see a HUD is in the top left and right corners, barely any distance to shift my gaze, and keeping the important bit still in my peripheral vision.

      Actually, I don’t know why racing games need HUDs much if at all.

  11. Nick says:

    For the same reasons there are levels in MMOs: it shows you a big one, you feel more powerful and sure of yourself?

  12. Radiant says:

    Split Second vs Blur… GO!

  13. rocketman71 says:

    This looks great, but I’ve searched and searched and I can’t find out if it has LAN support or not.

    If it has, instant buy. If it hasn’t, meh.

  14. Wednesday says:

    Brighton isn’t a quaint little town, it’s a city, and the largest built up area in the region.

    It isn’t a city like London or New York, but still.

    /anygrybrightoner

  15. snow says:

    reminds me of rollcage

  16. Davee says:

    If it has a damage model like and driving-feeling of the FlatOut games (or FO2 to be exact) plus these things you mention (HUD, awesome explosions) – SOLD!

    if not… Meh.

  17. Daniel Rivas says:

    “Brighton is famous for its beaches, university and nightlife!”

    Is UoB that famous? Could they not just have said “all the gay people”?

    :(

  18. LionsPhil says:

    No contest—Split/Second seems to actually have some ideas.

    I miss the days of 1NSANE, though. The Unreal Tournament of offroad racing games. (Flatout 2 is good larks, but nothing I know of has yet touched 1NSANE’s versatility or excellent force-feedback.)

  19. LewieP says:

    More thoughts:

    This looks like it might fill the gap of track based smashy car games that Burnout Paradise left. I love paradise, but there is something about navigating a menu, picking a track and racing on it that I kind of miss.

  20. Lucky Main Street says:

    More driving games should emulate fighting games. Combos, special moves, power bars, fatalities… mmm…..

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