Just Push Start recently was invited to an event at Battersea power station, for the Dirt 3 multiplayer unveiling. The first few hours were spent practising Gymkhana on the parking lot arena and also racing on one stage of the Kenyan rally.
While waiting for the unveiling I was able to get that a few details on the Gymkhana section of the game. Firstly the parking lot which has previously been shown off is only one third of the Battersea power station arena; the others being the depot and actually inside the power station itself. The Parking Lot arena was described by the Codemasters’ representatives as more of a practice arena than the rest of the compound.
Not only will players get to hoon around the Battersea Power Station arena that there will be two full Gymkhana arenas. The representatives described the Battersea Power Station arena as more of a fun and learning based arena, where players can home in their skills, whereas the other two were created for those who have grasped the basics. While the power station arena has 80 individual missions, including things such as double donating a digger, the other two Gymkhana arenas will work on a points system. Players will gain points and even multipliers from linking drifts and doughnuts together.
From speaking with the Dirt 3 development team, they started development with listening to community feedback from Dirt 2. Dirt fans that said the soundtrack from Dirt 2 was great but there was too much of an American emphasis. This is why in Dirt 3 they’ve brought back some locations such as Norway, bringing back snow and ice. One of the other things the community was really asking for was split screen, which is apparently why they started right from the beginning of production with trying to keep split screen as good as the rest of the game. When playing split screen it was surprisingly indifferent, the frame rate was identical and the amazing graphics still managed to remain. Whilst there won’t be split screen online I can see this will be a great fan favourite feature.
Then it came to what they were unveiling the multiplayer and a YouTube upload feature. Firstly they showed of the YouTube upload, which gives players 30 seconds to share their highlights. When revealing the feature they revealed that the footage will be in 480p, to keep upload speeds relatively quick for all. Also the 30 seconds limit was chosen as it means players will have to pick out their best bits to show off. The reason behind this is it also shows off the game best, rather than just a block of 10 min with only few good bits an amazing individual stunt is shown off. Players will be able to clip their videos, as well as determine the speed they run, but obviously if you slow a section down overall you can show less footage, due to the maximum of 30 seconds.
Then came the multiplayer unveiling which everyone was waiting for. Once a technical hitch was over, Codemasters revealed three multiplayer game modes invasion, transporter and outbreak.
Invasion sees cardboard cut-outs of robots and skyscrapers be dotted randomly around the arena. Players gained points for smashing through the robots were docked points fitting the skyscrapers. This game mode was played both in team based and in individual freefall mode. It was great fun to play anyone really did get you pumped up especially when you just fractionally beat someone to hitting a robot. Second came transporter. The first person shooter fans the concept is practically capture the flag. The flag location and where you’ve got to drop off change every time a point is scored, and the flag can be easily taken by just ramming into the opponent’s car. Again like invasion this was played in both team and in individual freefall mode. Both were hectic with the flag carrier not only constantly changing but being constantly chased by all seven other players.
If you have heard rumours of a zombie like mode coming to Dirt 3 that would be outbreak. At the event seemed to be the game mode that went quickest. Eight players started in a circle in quickly accelerated away from each other. Five seconds later one player at random got infected their job was simply to crash and smash into the other races to infect them. In the end of the game it was a seven on one fight to try and stop the last person surviving the whole 2 minutes. After the multiple games I saw there was actually only one occasion when someone survived with most rounds only just lasting over a minute. It was the most fun and fast game mode out of the lot, and the others were pretty good.
Lastly when speaking to the development team I found a few interesting things. Initially the way they got the idea for the online modes was by taking inspiration from popular games such as Call of Duty, taking things like capture the flag and seeing how was it possible with cars. Codemasters really wanted to do something different and that’s how the things such as the jam sessions and the online multiplayer modes came about. The team is also very happy with the way the games come out with both something for the true rally fans but also a fun new edge to the game, in the form of Gymkhana, to entice new players to the series. Dirt 3 comes out next month and if the multiplayer is anything to go by the game will be amazing.