Questions by Brian Perry Jr.
Answered by John Young, Upshift StrikeRacer
Onrpg: What is Upshift StrikeRacer?
Upshift StrikeRacer is a high-octane car combat 10-minute snack of adrenaline in the middle of your day. If the idea of bolting deadly weaponry onto sleek vehicles and blowing up your friends in a persistent world makes you salivate, then you owe it to yourself to download a free copy from the official website today and try – just one StrikeRace and you may be hooked.
Onrpg: How do players start the game?
You need a free gPotato account, and you’ll need to get the 312 Mb client from any of the major download services or from our website. You log in, create your Driver name, and start the carnage. Easy as running over a land mine.
Onrpg: Is this game all about head-to-head competition with other players?
Yes. If you could crystallize the game into one moment, it would be: you see a hulking SUV racing ahead of you. He’s got a skull and crossbones over his vehicle, showing that he has killed you before. You hit Turbo and let fly a tomahawk guided missile. You chase your own contrail and see the missile impact into his big, stinky rear. Your enemy is rocked, but still moves and skids evasively into an alley. You drift around the corner at full speed, braking deftly, and finish him off with your short-range Mauler gun. He explodes into the air and you drive under his flailing, flaming carcass. That feeling of speed, revenge, and abandon… that is Upshift StrikeRacer.
Onrpg: What are players fighting for in this game?
In the future, there is no war, no material want, and even death has been reduced to an automatic respawn on the spot. What would the average red-blooded guy do in such a Utopia? Strap ballistic ordinance on the fastest car you can find and blow up your friends, right? I mean, death is no more! People found that by focusing on the groove of high octane car combat, they can actually perceive the underlying fabric of reality. Do enough of this and you “upshift” to a higher plane of enlightenment. So you Upshift and transcend the mortal world by StrikeRacing your way to vehicular victory!
Onrpg: Can you explain the three different game modes for us?
Time Attack is the solo mode, where racers strip their weapons and focus only on the best time to complete one of the 22 maps. Every racer above Rank 4 contributes 50 Reputation (the currency you earn just for playing) to the common pool. The best time for that track at the end of the month wins the whole pool – which can be hundreds of thousands of Rep even in our open beta! Racing mode is where you race against up to seven other players who can bump you off your ideal performance, but here too there are no weapons. First player over the finish line wins. And full blown StrikeRacing is where you use your driving skills and your weaponry to blast, freeze, flame, and detonate your way to success. Both Racing mode and StrikeRacing mode can be played either as individuals (against 1-7 other drivers), or in team mode, where you group together with friends or your Club to beat an opposing team. It’s red versus blue… but watch out for friendly fire!
Onrpg: How do you balance out the skill levels so that those who have barely played can compete with those who have some or a lot of experience?
Skill ultimately determines who wins over the long-haul, but it is pretty unpredictable on the chaotic streets of Triumph City. Long-time players have more Reputation, which means they can unlock better vehicles and can afford to equip a body kit (adding steering and armor as well as a hot new look), or accessories (which can add acceleration, turbo, and speed), but most importantly, they know the tracks and how to use their vehicles. Against this, we have a variety of design techniques to make sure that a newcomer doesn’t feel “PK’ed.” The person last in the race recharges their turbo faster. One of the pickup weapons that you’ll find here and there is called Thor’s Hammer – a surface-to-surface guided mortar that seeks out the race leader and lays down some retribution. So in many ways, you’re always in the race and having a blast, but over time good players will earn more takedowns, more victories, and gain more Enlightenment. Most of the finishes are very close, however!
Onrpg: Was it difficult when designing the item mall to provide value for the players while not providing too much of an advantage?
It’s a real art to ensure that people can play for free and have a great gameplay experience while also allowing those who choose to pay to upgrade the experience get something valuable. We’re very happy with the balance now. If you buy Potato-based items (gPotatoes are Gala-Net’s currency, and in the futuristic world of Upshift StrikeRacer, a good potato is highly valued), you can do things like expand your garage, change your driver name, get team-based benefits that will help with friendly fire, and – possibly most helpfully – packages of Decoys that help trick those pesky Thor’s Hammers. Some very sleek sports cars and powerful trucks will be Potato-based items, so if you want that look you’ll be able to upgrade the free experience for a modest charge.
Onrpg: What sorts of content updates can we expect?
We will be adding new tracks, new vehicles, and new items all the time. We have plans for a secure and exciting marketplace for players to trade items. Watch for events that drive the evolving storyline of the game – there is a dread force watching Triumph City and planning their attack, and all heroes will be needed to repel these invaders. Most importantly, at commercial launch we will unveil the Clubs – a guild of up to 50 allied StrikeRacers. We will give the players customizable websites with tremendous tools – photo uploading and ranking, forums, polls, admin tools, and ways to declare war on enemy clubs, and ways to transcend the game itself into a social web of communities.
Onrpg: Are there any official plans to allow the use of game pads, or maybe even a release on a console?
We’re considering this now but have nothing to announce at present. One of the things many people note is how few keys it takes to give a satisfying gameplay experience, and this would map to a console controller easily, but the whole community aspect does really take a keyboard to live up to our players expectations. But stay tuned.
Onrpg: What is a typical day in the office like for those at Gala-Net?
There is no typical day, other than getting scared out of my wits regularly by the Upshift promo bungee rockets we had made. We recently moved to a new office in Sunnyvale – four times bigger to accommodate our fast growth. Those bungee rockets really fly far. When it hits a Venetian blind it sounds like a metallic explosion and really is not safe for those with weak hearts! Other than that, we are hard at work adding new features to our website, building and extending the Clubs, extending the storyline thru events, dreaming up new items and how to weave them into the game economy, running an event in-game, tweaking our servers for better performance, and interviewing new people rapid-fire to handle the growth! There is never a dull moment when there is so much to do.