packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
[personal profile] packbat
To whom it may concern:

I am writing to you as a great fan of Test Drive Unlimited for two reasons: first, to thank you for making such a great game, and second, to suggest a few things I noticed that could make it even better.

Before I say anything else, I want to say that TDU is probably my favorite videogame of all time. The driving physics feel realistic without being unmanageable, the fleet of available cars is extensive and well-crafted, the traffic AI is beautifully implemented, and the variety of missions and challenges is enough to satisfy anyone. Most importantly, the major selling point of the game - the freedom to simply drive anywhere on the network of roads covering the island of Oahu - simply works; in contrast to previous games (such as GTA: Vice City), only the rarest of hiccups interrupt one's drive.

I would say that there are only three things to which I must direct your attention. I am sure you are well aware of the corresponding issues, but I will mention them nonetheless.

First, I notice that the game seems to have been designed with the outside-the-car cameras in mind. I don't really object to this - I know many people like to play that way - but I've noticed that when I am using the inside-the-car camera I (a) can't see traffic lights when I stop at the intersection and (b) can't turn the camera quickly to look in directions away from where I'm going. These aren't game-breaking issues, but it would be cool if the team could spend a little more time on them.

Second, the classification system for the cars is somewhat unsatisfactory. For example, in Class G, the Mercedes Gullwing is much slower than the Pontiac Firebird, which is much slower than the Lamborghini Miura, which is much slower than the Shelby Daytona. In the other classes, too, several assignments are dubious (e.g. the TVR T440R as C instead of A). Adding a numerical rating system like in Forza 2 would be able to capture these details more clearly (although even in Forza 2 the Porsche 914 was underrated). It would also support the addition of a more complicated tuning system, like in the Forza and Gran Turismo series.

Third, there's no way to tell whether another human car is a fair challenge for you before you challenge them except by knowing all the models. Again, the numerical system could help with this: for example, an identical opponent could be displayed with a white halo (like the health indications in Left 4 Dead), and the halo could fade towards pink and red for faster opponents and toward gray and black for slower. (I chose these colors arbitrarily - if you have better ideas, please ignore them.)

Thank you for your time and trouble,
Robin Zimmermann

P.S. I just finished all the missions to get "Ace" rank in TDU!


packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

October 2011

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