I don't drive, so as far as I'm concerned the amazing automotive acrobatics on show in this GDC trailer of the latest build of Distance could well be a highly accurate simulation of real life. Why aren't people wall-flipping, barrel-rolling and hover flying all over the M6? Is it a highway code thing? Or is it because real life is boring, requiring us to take solace from fast-paced neon seared racers full of deadly traps across futuristic cityscapes?
Good news for lovers of neon: Distance, the new effort from the creators of the excellent free racing game Nitronic Rush, has just been Kickstarted. Nitronic Rush was one of our surprise favourites of 2011. Made by some students from DigiPen, it was about tumbling through a tron style futuristic glowing future city in a transforming rocket car. Distance promises even more of the same, only with multiplayer, mod support and all the other bonuses that come with having an actual budget.
Nitronic Rush was one of last year’s hidden gems - a slick arcade racer set in a glittering digital city and starring a flipping, flying, rocket-boosting car. It was the final year project for a group of students at DigiPen, the Washington-based game development university, and picked up awards from multiple indie competitions - including the IGF, Indie Game Challenge, and indiePub. We liked it alot, and featured it in last year’s New Years free games round-up.
Three members of the original Nitronic Rush team - Kyle Holdwick, Jordan Hemenway, and Jason Nollan - are now going indie full-time as Refract Studios. Their first game is Distance, a spiritual successor to Nitronic Rush that is currently entering the final week of its Kickstarter campaign.
I spoke to the guys about their plans for the new game, the benefits of getting a second shot at a good idea, and their experience of graduating from university into a maturing indie scene.