Mud For The Mud God: Spintires Out Now

By Adam Smith on June 13th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

I’d planned to have all of my thoughts on the majesty and mudslides of Spintires ready to release into the wild today, but it’s been a busy week and I haven’t quite managed to put in enough hours to claim my HGV license. The heavy cargo vehicle simulator is out today though and I’ve seen enough to confirm that it is the most credible depiction of grinding machinery into mud that I’ve ever played. Even the smallest vehicles are in danger of becoming entombed in the slippery stuff, wheels digging their own graves as the engine buckles under the strain. It’s a beautifully slick and believable depiction of driving over difficult terrain, but I haven’t played enough to know if the game lives up to the simulation.

More on this soon, when I’ve played more, but right now the actual business of the game hasn’t gripped me. Ploughing across rugged tracks and going off the off-road to bump and grind through trees and over hills is a blast, showing that speed isn’t the only thrill in driving games. The landscape is altered by vehicles, torn and scarred, and every divot and ditch is a potential catastrophe. Careful adjustments and patience are necessary.

The game built around the engine has various tasks scattered around its maps – collect this and deliver that – and more are unlocked through exploration. I’ve enjoyed learning the handling of vehicles and discovering tricky inclines more than discovering and reaching objectives so far, but that might change as I become more familiar with the game.

Spintires is a powerful simulation. I worried that it might be Heavy Vehicle Simulator 2014, a tedious slog with facile physics, but despite occasionally simulating exactly that (a tedious slog), it’s intricately and engagingly modelled. Despite enjoying a spot of logging, I can’t help but wish the deformable terrain were driving a hill climb racing game.

Back to the lumber mill.

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60 Comments »

  1. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    At last. I’ve been waiting muddy ages for this.

  2. Perjoss says:

    Cannot WAIT to get stuck into this one!

  3. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Euro Muck Simulator

    • Rao Dao Zao says:

      From the sounds of it, it’ll get tyred pretty fast.

      • noom says:

        Looks gripping to me. You don’t know what you’re torque-ing about.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          I think it deserves at least a spin.

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            Gus the Crocodile says:

            Agreed, I really have no truck with this unadventurous attitude.

          • The white guar says:

            I don’t know, Oovee are pretty much unknown, do they have a good truck record?

          • LionsPhil says:

            I’d make some comment about how my aging gear might not be up to running it, but I’d be clutching at straws. I guess if the proper WIT comes back positive I may well be requesting its transmission from valve. Of the first demo I was quite the fan, belting along in the Kamaz, but the second was such a let down that I felt a bit piston.

        • Tony M says:

          “torque-ing” Well played sir.

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        JB says:

        Pun threads make me feel dirty

  4. Crainey says:

    Had not heard of this game until last night, but apparently people are quite fond of it since it skyrocketed to Steam top seller (one ponders what that metric even means).

    This game is very pretty looking and the way the tires rip through the mud (which you can see being clogged around the wheels) is very impressive. To me though, this game is better served as a tech demo of the engine than an actual game, because the gameplay is distinctly lacking. Then again, I’ve not actually played the game (yet) so don’t listen to me!

    Exactly as you said it, I’d love to see a racing game made in this engine, a rally game with this tech would be superb! Each lap of the track would be different because of the deformed terrain.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      That’s the problem, do something techy enough and it’ll immediately be accused of just being a playable tech demo, much like what happened to the first Crysis.

      I’ll always fondly remember Trespasser. It was a terrible and flawed game, yet it still was fantastic for me. Sometimes the tech itself IS the game, especially if it’s something groundbreaking ( pun intented ).

      • Crainey says:

        Indeed. The good thing is once you have the engine down it’s easy to focus on the content and making great games thereafter. Crysis may not have been the greatest game (I quite enjoyed it) but the CryEngine is up there with Unreal and Unity as the most important engines today. Completely off-topic now though.

      • Shadowcat says:

        especially if it’s something groundbreaking

        pun indented.

    • Smion says:

      All I want is a campaign in which you must deliver several crates of nitro-glycerine through a procedurally generated south-american mountainscape. Perma-Death and guerilla attacks are not optional!

      • rotekz says:

        Like ‘The Wages of Fear’? Could be fun…

        • jonahcutter says:

          Or “Sorcerer”, the William Friedkin remake with Roy Schneider and the gloriously precarious rope bridge sequence.

          I played a bit of Spintires last night and discovered a couple of short, janky-looking wooden bridges that reminded me of these very movies. The game is excellent, lurching, slow-paced fun. Explosive cargo would add a delicious tension.

          One caveat, the camera is pretty bad. I really hope they fix it.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Ugh, is it still as bad as in the last demo? :/

          • jonahcutter says:

            @LionsPhil

            I don’t remember the camera from the demo. But this one is really bad.

            It spins around and zooms in a very strange way, putting you at awkward angles and distances. For whatever reason, they didn’t just use proven camera methods, but designed their own, new approach. And it sucks badly, to be frank. I am fighting it constantly, which is no fun. Getting it to look where I want is a real chore. Sometimes an impossible one so I end up driving blind. It’s extremely frustrating.

            Unfortunately, while they say they’re going to tweak it, they seem reluctant to do so. They declare they’re happy with it, but are listening to the feedback and will make “little” adjustments. We’ll see.

            It is genuinely amongst the worst cameras I’ve encountered, and a serious detriment to what is otherwise a unique, fun and well-crafted game.

          • Hadjimurad says:

            ….

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Exactly as you said it, I’d love to see a racing game made in this engine, a rally game with this tech would be superb! Each lap of the track would be different because of the deformed terrain.

      Game Informer had an article about a game like that years ago. I don’t remember much about it, or even what platform it was for, but they were attempting exactly what you describe. You could drive anything from a dirt bike to a semi truck; the balancing factor was that bigger vehicles could plow right through ruts that would trouble smaller ones, but the smaller ones had an easier time leaving the main course for narrow shortcuts or higher, less-trodden ground.

  5. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I will be waiting until they add cockpits :) Off roading looks great but 3rd person always feels like playing with a Tonka Truck rather than piloting an all-wheel behemoth

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      I always use the cockpit vision even when it’s inconvenient ( Dirt 2/3, driving trough puddles ), i just love it too much and i would never consider anything else.

      This is however the first game in which i simply love the third person view, just for watching all the moving parts working, the tires getting all muddled up and the terrain reacting to your driving.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Slightly off topic, but have you played Next Car Game? The physics in that looks so nice, particularly the actual races / drifting.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Yeah, got the early access and the feeling there is similar, lots of flying stuff and it’s good to see some properly modeled damage.

          I guess i really need something extra happening on screen in order to force myself into watching my car’s butt wobble and to fight the camera movement!

    • P.Funk says:

      I have some truly romantic memories of Tonka trucks from my childhood. Sometimes gaming is the perfect excuse to play with toys like you did as a child.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Heh yeah true. Its one reason I was always sad there were so few good Ghostbusters games (apart from the original C64 one which was awesome)

    • trjp says:

      Technically they only need make a ‘looking out of the side window’ camera – because you have no reason, whatsoever, so see the regular cockpit view – it will tell you/show you nothing useful, whatsoever…

      Putting a cockpit view into this would be like putting a ‘side of your head’ cam into an FPS – the point of the game is the mud – you have to be able to SEE the mud!?

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        …Anyway, they are putting cockpits in. So you can play it however you like.

        • trjp says:

          You could just have turned-off your monitor and put a picture of a tree on there instead – save energy, same result really.

          Still, entitlement is at work as usual…

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Still got that pole up your bottom trjp? You must be a smashing ventriloquist.

          • SRTie4k says:

            Preferring cockpit view in a driving game automatically makes someone entitled? I didn’t see even the slightest bit of an “I deserve this” attitude in his original post.

            I think in this case douche is at work, as usual, but it’s not coming from the OP.

          • DanMan says:

            Mess with the Cook and prepare to be bullied.

            *prepares rolling pin with tar and honey*

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            :D Heh now I want pancakes, though hold the tar….

            @ SRTie4k: Aye I am particularly looking forward to having a go in that massive double cockpit thing, but as a fan of ETS2 I also love the idea of being in a truck cab but with the screen at 45 degrees and half buried in mud :) Would be cool with a wheel as well, changing the diff and so on

        • Hahaha says:

          Have they changed what they said 5 days ago?

          Reece Bolton – Oovee on 09 June 2014 – 07:47 PM
          Q: Does SPINTIRES™ feature a cockpit view for each truck?
          A: Due to popular demand, we are currently looking into this – so it may or may not appear in the future.

          Why are gamers spouting constant lies when what they say can be so easily checked?

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        I don’t really get this attitude, do you really need a reason? What if there actually IS a reason instead, but you’re the one not seeing it? Besides, we don’t NEED most of the good stuff in life, but we still like to pursue it.

        These are old and rusty trucks with rugged and utilitarian interiors, some people ( like me ) loves to watch and be immersed in that kind of stuff.

        You could counter me by claiming that sitting in a real cockpit gives you a different and broader view and that cockpit views in game tend to feel clamped, i still wouldn’t care, i like to see the wheel moving, the dials, the little details in general and maybe some bobbleheads Dirt 2/Elite Dangerous style.

        • trjp says:

          Now bobbleheads, that’s a good thing

          My point – missed by the small army of insult-throwing numnums above here – is that asking for a cockpit view when the really clever part of the game – it’s raisin’d'currant if you like – is going on out-of-sight (tyres, mud, water) is a bit weird.

          Yes, immersion etc. etc. – but it currently doesn’t support wheels (properly – you can bodge it as a 360 controller) which is a bigger issue for that and it struck me that people were missing the point.

          There is a certain type of person – maybe they’re here, maybe not – who simply “demands stuff” everytime they see a game – before they’ve played it – often before even thinking about it I suspect.

          A cockpit view here is spending eons making Gordon Freeman some new shoes tho – you’re looking at the wrong things (indeed if you can even SEE the wrong things)

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Ok then, i’m definitely starting to see the point there.

          • LionsPhil says:

            And yet calling them entitled for it is still a dick move. Use of that as a blanket insult has long been a much bigger problem than any entitlement complex ever was.

            (As is the general ridicule of the idea. If you can’t picture water perilously washing over your bonnet while fording, you lack imagination.)

      • Shadowcat says:

        Uh, the point of the cockpit view isn’t so you can see the instruments (and not see the wheels and mud). The point of the cockpit view is to let you feel as if you are driving the vehicle.

        Anything which enhances the sensation that you are behind the wheel is an enhancement to the simulation.

        Likewise, the primary purpose of the “mud technology” isn’t to look awesome (it does look awesome, but this is a secondary benefit); the point is that it behaves believably, and affects the vehicle believably. And if it affects the vehicle believably, and you feel like you’re at the wheel of that vehicle, then freaking mission accomplished!

        That said, I realise that it would sometimes be necessary for the driver to be able to see how badly stuck the wheels are. The solution (the best solution for a simulation) is to enable the player to get the same viewpoint as a real driver. Maybe this means being able to lean out the side window and look down/back at the wheels while driving. Maybe this means being able to ‘get out & walk around’ the vehicle.

        External views are still awesome, and I love to see them included, but a simulation without a first-person view is quite simply incomplete.

  6. Chiron says:

    Can we combine this with something like Next Car game? Chunky ground physics + deformable and destructible cars = win

    • jonahcutter says:

      Throw in some STALKER irradiated-mutant and anomaly-hunting shenanigans while you’re at it.

      If were gonna dream, let’s dream big.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Or survival mode.

        It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s raining. You’re lost, low on fuel, and you can hear wolves.

        Don’t get out of the truck.

        • drinniol says:

          Oh my god now I will build a truck in Minecraft and see how long I can last you sir are brilliant

  7. meepmeep says:

    Ice Cold in Alex: The Game needs to be made.

  8. Faxanadu says:

    In my country, your car can actually get stuck sometimes. To me, this game is something akin to a horror game. I get real shivers running down my spine just watching the header picture. “NNNGH, NNNOOO, YOU’RE GOING TO GET SSSSTUCK, NOOOoo….” In real life, getting stuck isn’t just waiting for a monster truck to come save you. It’s phonecalls, sorting stuff out, assessing damages, fixing them, oh Gods the terror. IF ONLY YOU WON’T GET STUCK, YOU’LL BE SPARED ALL OF THAT. In many ways this is better than modern horror games. The ogey bogey man usually just kills you. But getting stuck BOTHERS you.

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      You probably shouldn’t look at this album where I got stuck for five hours.

      Can’t believe there wasn’t an achievement for getting out of that. I did get the achievement for driving 300m with the parking brake on though, so there’s that.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        I love how the jeep looks so sad

      • jonahcutter says:

        Ha. That was my first achievement, spurring my reaction of “There’s a parking brake?”

    • Neurotic says:

      I absolutely agree. I’m in Poland, and there are times of the year where you really do not f***ing want to get your motor stuck in the shit. Last time it happened to me on a relatively small, quiet road near my house, that very soon became stuffed with cars in both directions until a dude in a big 4×4 pulled me out. I still have nightmares about that one.

    • LionsPhil says:

      This principle is why I think Jam’s Mr Lizard, which contains no blood, gore, or people in creepy masks with knives who suddenly appear behind you, is the pinnacle of first-world horror sketches.

      The sheer absurdity of obstructive customer service. The inability to control your surroundings. True, relatable modern nightmares. *shiver*

  9. DanMan says:

    “I can’t help but wish the deformable terrain were driving a hill climb racing game”

    DLC confirmed!

  10. Mud says:

    I like Mud

  11. IneptFromRussia says:

    If you looking for realistic mud simulator, play this. Its so impressive that if some big company presented it at E3 audience would lose its shit.

  12. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I always feel that these games are made for the same people that watch those boring blue-collar reality shows like Ice Road Truckers or Deadliest Catch or Kazakhstan Soft Serve Man.

  13. jellydonut says:

    25 euros and there’s no in-car view yet?

    I’ll buy it when they add that.