Recently, Slightly Mad Studios’ Ian Bell posted some very interesting comments in the NoGrip forums regarding Slightly Mad Studios and its future.
While discussing possible handling issues with some cars having a shorter wheelbase in Shift 2 Unleashed, SMS’ head honcho mentioned a brand new physics engine that will be used for future titles:
“I do recall the physics struggling with very short wheelbase cars actually. So there might be something low level going on that’s barfing some numbers when the wheelbase is short. The S2000 is fine though IMO. We struggled to get the kart handling working well when we were doing Kart Attack so this could be related (although we blamed it on the lack of suspension at the time and fudged some chassis flex in).
We have a new from the ground up physics engine on the sidelines which we’ll use for future products alongside an updated version of our current tyre model but in the meantime I’ll have our guys look into this more.”
On the subject of Kart Attack, Bell confirmed that this title had been on hold ever since SMS went on to work on the Need for Speed Shift franchise. When one user asked about a possible rally title from SMS, he shed a light on the financing issues involved with such titles:
“I’d love to do a rally game actually. The problem is getting someone to pay for it. We, like most developers, work hand to mouth at the mercy of publishers when it comes to the money side. We’ve pitched rally concepts before to publishers and even offered to go half on the funding but still no interest.”
Most interestingly, Bell offered an innovative idea that could possibly resolve these kind of funding issues:
“I have a cunning plan though… Maybe the community can all buy into a game dev deal, and own a slice of it and the revenues. We build the game together with a huge forum so everyone can input and have complete insight into the development. That would be very cool and we’d all get what we want.”
Fortunately, Mr. Bell was kind enough to share some more details on his brainchild with VirtualR, laying out a very interesting concept that could very well change gaming development.
The new approach would allow interested gamers to be shareholders in a developing racing game title. Shareholders would be able to join the effort for a certain amount of money (lets say 10 Euros) and in return, not just get part of the profits but a say during the game’s development.
Development would be happening in an open forum where shareholders can follow the title’s progress and get to vote on what features to be included and which tracks and cars to be licensed. Furthermore, the shareholders would not just be treated to unfiltered previews straight form the development team but would also get to try out builds of the progressing title on a regular basis.
“Imagine paying 10 euros, buying 1 share, and seeing everything happening in development as well as inputting to it. Getting a build every day or two with the mini updates in since the last”, Bell explained the idea. “It’s unique but I think something that could be enormous, overnight we could be the biggest development team on earth.”
Due to the financial return needed for the idea to be profitable, the proposed title would need to be multi-platform in order to generate enough sales. The base idea for the title would be that it is a racing title, all other details would be decided by the shareholders in a carefully-moderated forum that would host transparent votes.
“Our development systems that we’ve perfected over the last 10 years are setup to allow this to work perfectly“, Bell concluded.
Keep in mind that this is in no shape or form a formal announcement of any kind but a very interesting idea to toy with. Would you be interested in joining such a new title as a shareholder? Share your thoughts in comments below!