Distance, Refract Studios’ spiritual successor to Nitronic Rush (arguably more a direct sequel than a successor) has had a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign: and now we’ve gotten some huge updates, including new screenshots, a new video, and new details.
If you’ve never heard of Nitronic Rush, it’s a fast-paced racing game filled with crazy level design, extreme sports-like tricking, dangerous obstacles, and a Tron-like visual aesthetic. Nitronic Rush was developed by Refract Studios, a developer made up of DigiPen students who started development on the game as their final project at the school. The game released for free and had a huge following, and has since led to Distance.
While Nitronic Rush was widely successful and garnered a lot of attention, it wasn’t perfect; and that’s what Distance aims to do: make this wild, crazy racing game bigger, better, and crazier.
Their newest update details a lot of touch-ups, like incorporating more elements of Nitronic Rush‘s single player into the game, including the overheat/cooldown mechanic, the trick system, normal/advanced controls, a better HUD system, obstacles, split-screen modes (race, stunt mode, soccer), and a fleshed out tutorial. They’re also playing with the idea of the announcer, who in Nitronic Rush shouts very 90’s-like phrases and insults when players crash. Personally, he was to me an integral part of the game’s identity, so hopefully the announcer will just be expanded upon, and not removed.
Specifically, Refract is still working on a few particulars:
The Trick System is going to have a way of landing a “Perfect” trick, with point modifiers for landing the trick as smoothly as possible.
The HUD has been redesigned to free up the screen as much as possible, and look “fancier.” This includes speed and traction meters, a brighter boost meter in the tail lights, and a huge compass that always shows your vehicle’s orientation (which will be useful when flying about the stage using the wings mechanic). Refract is also playing with idea of important info being shown as needed (like race position) as it changes. Everything being considered is “in flux,” and may change in future updates.
Split-screen currently supports race mode, stunt mode, and a new soccer mode for 2-4 players using controllers. Soccer mode has players in teams pushing a large ball across an arcade-style arena to score. Refract said that having split-screen has also been great for quickly testing multiplayer when it’s not easy to lug around multiple PCs, but they are working on full-time networking programming as well, to test multiplayer with more than 4 players. Also, the HUD reworking was very important for split screen, since a less-cluttered screen makes for a better local-multiplayer experience.
The menu system has also been improved, with a more interactive and visually appealing set of screens.
Distance was greenlit on Steam, with Refract currently working on Steamworks features, and the functionality of the DRM-free version. Distance is still in it’s pre-Alpha phase, but will be moving to Alpha very soon. You can get a look at the new levels, car screen design, trick system, split-screen racing, and music in the Pre-Alpha trailer and screenshots below. You can also suggest things by signing up with the Distance forums, and learn about the game at SurviveTheDistance. Stay tuned for more Distance updates.