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Old 05-10-2011, 05:08 PM   #12
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Re: Rate this 'article': Video Game Maps (i)

I’m not sure exactly what it was that persuaded me to buy Rig’n’Roll, a truck simulator from 1c Company, but I’d imagine the following blurb helped:

Players will step into the shoes of a young man in the year 2014 as he arrives in California to pursue his dreams of road domination and capture the Californian cargo transportation market. There are miles of highways to conquer and cities and towns to reach as he becomes the greatest trucker on the highways. Rig’n’Roll is a sequel to the famous Hard Truck series. This time the game world is true-to-life. Gamers can race high-powered Semis along thousands miles of real Californian roads, visiting San-Francisco to San Diego, San Jose to Los Angeles.

Leaving aside my dreams of road domination, it was the last bit – thousands of miles of real Californian roads – which hooked me and reeled me in. I lived in California for several years, and the promise of a true-to-life game world was intriguing. Real roads and real maps! If 1c could pull this off, it would be amazing. Plus, the idea of driving a truck from Mojave to Reno, country music blasting from the stereo, appealed to me a lot:

In real life, that journey would take eight hours. In the game it takes fifteen minutes. I have no idea what I was thinking – who on earth would sit down at a PC and drive a virtual truck for eight hours? – but I had assumed the routes would be the complete routes. I remember wondering how they’d render all those miles of highway and scenery. Upon firing up the game and seeing each journey timed between ten and thirty minutes, I felt pretty foolish.

Each journey is a condensed version of the real thing. For example, San Diego to LA, which takes two hours in real life, takes twenty minutes in-game. 1c have stripped the journey down to the bare essentials, and this can only be a good thing. You leave a warehouse and pass through San Diego’s dinky downtown area, and head north past the San Onofre nuclear plant to LA. It actually does feel like driving the route in real life.

One of the first things I did was pick up a load in Oakland, which the game intended me to deliver to San Jose. Instead I headed west, across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. The route was remarkably similar to real life. I wanted to see how far off track I could go, but the mission timer and the fact that all secondary routes were blocked off meant that I didn’t get far. The freeways are pretty much true-to-life, if shortened, and I was surprised to see other parallels with actual locations in San Francisco.

Lombard & Van Ness in-game

Google Street View of Lombard & Van Ness

All in all, though the emphasis is on the actual driving (which felt ok), I have to give 1c kudos for their map-making as well. There are miles and miles of road in this game, and while absolute verisimilitude will always be out of reach, they did a really good job with what they had.

Crossing the Bay Bridge to SF.

Last edited by Pedro; 05-10-2011 at 05:15 PM.
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