It’s been 20 years since the movie Days of Thunder debuted. During that time NASCAR has grown leaps and bounds. And while it’s a totally different sport since the movie came out, many fans still remember the NASCAR that was around then and the characters made famous in the movie.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the movie, Paramount has released “Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition”; a new video game that will allow fans to immerse themselves in both the old and new days of NASCAR.The game not only includes the characters from “Days of Thunder” like Cole Trickle, Rowdy Burns and Russ Wheeler but some of the top NASCAR drivers of today like Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon.
I recently caught up with Jeff Dickson, one of the producers of the new game to talk about “Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition.”
Q: What were some of the challenges involved in creating a game that will provide the realism that gamers demand while staying true to the elements NASCAR fans will no doubt look for (such as the layout of certain tracks or the look of the racecars)?
One of the main challenges was trying to keep the gamer convinced they were on the track with real NASCAR cars. That detail came with the task of recreating the team cars down to the last sticker on the quarter panel. In a driving game, the eye will focus on what is directly in front of you. You’re not really trying to see the banners on the side of the track. Yes, we can and did recreate the individual tracks but the car in front and on the side of you becomes most important. Don’t forget you’ll be going upwards of 170 mph at some points, so focus becomes very important.
Q: Several years ago there was a popular computer game that allowed gamers and NASCAR fans alike to race at their favorite tracks against their favorite drivers. It also allowed them to make changes to the racecars, race single races or an entire season; these were the core elements that made up the overall game. What core elements will this game have?
All of the above actually, however previous games have been more simulation. This means that the changes you can make to your cars is very in depth and true to life. Our game simplifies the process and gives the player a more arcade (over the top) feel.
Q: Did any of the producers/development team actually travel to any races to get a feel for the elements they were going for in the game?
We actually had a showing at a NASCAR event early this year and gave drivers and fans a sneak peek.It was a great turnout and a successful showing. It really gave us an insight into the sport, the fans and what we needed to improve in our title. Too bad we can’t make smells come out of our gaming systems though. The smell of gasoline and rubber was intense. I would highly encourage race fans to see at least one NASCAR event in their life.
Q: How did you model the elements of the game? Real racecars? Photos? Real racetracks?
We don’t have racer’s photos in the game but we do have their cars. We were given the exact models and paint styles of the cars by the teams themselves. The teams worked very closely with us to ensure the car’s realism.
Q: What is your overall hope for this game? What do you want people to come away with?
I just want gamers to have fun and play a game that gives you a real sense of speed. A game that will reward you, and punish you if you don’t focus on the task at hand. Just as in a real stock car race.