Driving simulators are a large genre of gaming, some big names in racing are Grand Turismo, Need For Speed, Forza, Driveclub, etc. ‘Next Generation’ gaming has added so much detail when it comes to the player’s driving experience by including a lot of interface elements such as fuel gauges, speedometers, laps, maps/ placing and so on. Interface elements allow the player to have the best gaming experience possible. Video games are able to be played on different console platforms from PC to Playstation, the first racing game on console was in 1973- an arcade game called Atari’s Space Race and it would get two players to battle against each other racing space ships, whilst having to avoid obstacles in their way. It was very basic graphics compared to the driving simulators we have today.
Interface elements are a key essential in racing games because it gives gamers control over their gameplay/ vehicle- they are able to know how fast they are going, their current ranking, placing on map, etc. One key essential is the speedometer, traditionally this feature is a circle but it can be completely unique. A speedometer allows the player to see the speed of the vehicle.
Another key interface would be placing. This element is small but it is essential for competitive racing, without this feature racers would not know their current position and know how many players are in front of them. Placing can bring a competitive atmosphere into the racing experience because it forms rivalry between players, almost every single racing game made has placing in it otherwise it would be difficult to know where the player came in their race. Here are two examples of placing in racing games, the first image is from Wipeout HD, a future based racing game where you drive hover vehicles and use various weaponry to defeat your opponents, whereas the second game is a Nintendo classic, Mario Kart 8. Both these video games have player placement designed to the style of game, one being very cyborg-like and the other being a child friendly game. The designers of Mario Kart 8 tend to go for a similar design every game to give the players a nostalgic feel.
Thirdly Track maps are an important aspect in racing games because it enables the player to know where they are going and what obstacles/ checkpoints are ahead of them. Next generation racing games have adapted this feature throughout the decades- retro video games used to have the entire map and there would be various coloured circles showing the other opponents. However in modern games such as Forza, Driveclub, etc, the maps move depending on where the layer is facing, furthermore not all of the map is shown, the track maps being used only show the small area that the player is in and the player is only shown with a little black line. Two examples of the innovation of Track maps would be the Forza Horizon 2, which was designed / produced in 2014 and the 2012 mobile racing game Circuit Racer 2- we can clearly see how detailed the Forza track map is compared to Circuit Racer 2. The device used to play racing games also effect the quality because Circuit Racer 2 was made for mobile phones and tablets, whereas Forza Horizon 2 was produced for next generation consoles and has several teams of designers & programmers to help to make it. We can also see the faded map design in the Forza game, that I had mentioned before, as well as that the For a game also tells the player whether they are facing North, South, East or West, a new element that only a few racing games include.
One more aspect that is vital when playing racing games are the various team logos- these, as well as the colour scheme, symbolise the various teams. Logos also help to instantly promote a team when being visualised by audiences. Many different car teams have been made for car brands, some that I looked at were from F1 Race cars and FE Race Cars. By looking at the different logo we can see common shapes that are used are rectangles, rhombus’, triangles and circles, shapes that I will take into consideration when creating my logos. Furthermore car brands commonly use animals in their logo to intimidate their opponents, animals they use tend to be fast such as large cats (jaguars, lions, cheetahs, etc), bulls, eagles and sharks.
Over all ‘User Interfaces’ have many different uses to provide players with the perfect racing experience. Some user interfaces may not be noticeable to the player such as Fuel gauge and directions but they do add a little bit of guidance for the racer. Every single racing gaming has user interfaces, without them it would difficult to play, game designers match the interfaces with the overall style of the game to make it look aesthetically pleasing.