Two years ago, I had an idea. An idea to merge racing and RPGs together to create a concept that provided a new way to experience both. Within it, I outlined a few of the details such as how players would start and the overall narrative of the story. Paying homage to my history – to one of the stories from my original era – I had labelled the concept Zincite Storm.
As I was looking back on it, I did indeed have something, but I’d focused a bit too much on the racing side of things. Or at least there was little in the way of RPG elements aside from the experience system. If this was to be a combination of both, it needed a few other RPG elements to really make it.
For this Racing Month, I thought it would be good to bring the concept back, loaded with a few new ideas and changes to what had been seen before. I’ll also dive into some of the details I’d touched on before. The first thing to note, though, is that the world as I’d described it last time is changing, or at least evolving.
There’s no deep story to be following here, no linear progression. As such, there’d be other characters involved in races who you’d be seeing pop up often. These characters have their own stories and reasons for racing, and as you continue racing against them, you’ll find yourself getting friendly with them (or not) as you respond to them after the race.
There’s a morality system, relationship system, whatever you want to call it. It’s here, and it guides the narrative of discovery. See, not only will you be able to learn more about these characters, you’ll also be able to find out about the country where the game takes place. Each character belongs to a district within one of the five counties, and each district has its own history for you to discover.
If you’ve read that previous article discussing this idea, you’re probably thinking why you’d need all this if the person you control lives within this country. Well, that’s changed. You are a racing driver, but not one from this country. After seeing the advertisements for the Zincite Storm Cup starting, you decide to enter for the thrill of it. Travelling with your trusty racer, you get to the tournament (having already got the money to buy into it), which is where you encounter Adam Dane for the first time.
The final race acts as the tutorial, where you face off against the other racers – but in particular Adam Dane – where you are destined to not win. Having been beaten by Adam Dane, and having gained an understanding that this country is a racer’s paradise, you decide to uproot from where you live and move to the country, while also deciding to have a fresh start with a new vehicle.
The country, as you’d come to learn, was built by racing drivers and fans of the sport, with each district featuring cities built around the racetracks that formed the starting pillars of those cities. However, while some fans had enjoyed being close to the action to start with, over time it had been less fun, so other communities were built away from the racetracks.
All five counties are yours to explore however you wish, being able to enter races at the tracks and partake in tournaments whenever they are held. As explained in the last article, there wouldn’t be a set number of racers. Instead, entries at all the tracks would build over time, with a pre-race timer counting down how long you had before entries were cut off.
The longer that pre-race timer is left to count down, the more entrants within the race which means more prize money. The end goal is still the same as before – to earn enough to enter the Zincite Storm Cup once again. But this time, with the discoveries about the country and the racers, there’s side quests available to gain a deeper connection with such.
These side quests will be more about discovering areas of the map rather than racing, but that’s not to say that racing won’t be a part of them. Sometimes you’ll get money for completing them, but you will always gain experience from them, and sometimes a few boosters to attach to your car. Though the cars are built for the road, you can still go off-road with them, which some of these side quests will have you do.
Since this is a cross between racer and RPG, the technicals of how the car handles will be different. To start with, the car will feel incredibly loose in handling with a low top speed and slow acceleration. As those stats grow, you’ll find the car able to hit higher speeds faster, as well as take corners at a higher speed without losing grip. Seems fine, and just like a regular vehicle, but then there’s the two extra attributes.
Armour remains much the same as before, where hits upon the vehicle will reduce its health. As its health decreases, the top speed and handling deteriorate. A new addition to that is natural wear upon that health. As the vehicle is pushed to its limits, the health will slowly decrease. That addition is needed, as without it, stability becomes a null attribute when you reach higher levels.
Stability is the attribute that will decrease the effects of that deterioration. It will be minimal at first, but as it grows, those effects will become greater, so even a low health vehicle can still remain competitive if the attribute is near maximum growth. There are twenty models of vehicle, each having an attribute that will grow faster, but at the cost of another. You might think the choice of such permanent, but once you gain access to modifiers, there’s a lot of customisability that can go into creating the vehicle you want.
There are three permanent modifier types that can be equipped to a vehicle, with another two being single use. There are three clips that these modifiers can be equipped onto, with a fourth being used for the single use ones. All modifiers come in three sizes, with the largest size being the most effective but also the most expensive.
Boosters are permanent modifiers, giving an increase to the growth of one of the five attributes, which starts at a 6:4:4:4:2 pattern. To make it clear, these values determine the odds of each attribute gaining a stat increase upon a level up. If you want to grow an attribute quickly, using boosters to increase the odds to nine (the highest it can go) will make that process quick.
On the other hand, you might want to slow the growth of an attribute, which is where the negators come into play. These are also permanent modifiers, and can be used to slow the growth of one attribute to a minimum odds of one. The last of the permanent modifiers are configurators. These are advanced modifiers that need to be plugged into all three clips, but can be used to give a completely different growth pattern which wouldn’t be achieved using boosters and negators.
Eventually, an overall limit will be reached, where no attribute will grow upon a level up, making the two single use modifiers worth using, even if you haven’t yet hit that limit. Switchers will take some points from one attribute and place them on another, while removers will wipe some points off an attribute.
Enough on all the talk of attributes, though, as there’s more to talk about elsewhere within this concept. All the models of vehicle will look different from each other, which does make a change from when I last talked about the idea, as I had planned for all the vehicles to look the same. But that wouldn’t really offer any variety, would it, especially since this is meant to be a living world. To go with that, customisation of the colour of your vehicle is also a thing, though there wouldn’t be a massive livery editor to go along with it.
Marking a change from the previous time I talked about the idea, you would be able to buy more cars than just the one you chose from the start. These can be swapped to at your home, with each having its own level. Such is a thing introduced for collectors, as introducing all these vehicle options and locking players to just one seems a tad wrong, especially when the idea of the whole game is to be as open to players to do what they want as possible.
To go along with the quests that the various drivers have, there would also be a district quest within each district of the world. These are different in that they task players to complete objectives within the world that racers of the past have achieved. These can be to get from one area to another in a fast time, avoid a set number of cars within the district, or even to hit a high speed on a certain road.
These are only tracked through the records at the main city of each district, so should you want to see if you have achieved any, you’ll need to make your way there. Other records such as number of race wins are also tracked per district, and these records offer a side objective of sorts as you reach the top of each district’s leaderboard.
This is where I’ll end it for this article on the concept. There’s enough here to put the concept into action, and short of going into the wealth of detail such as who the various characters are and what the lore of the world is, along with other details such as how many active shops per district and the prices of the items they sell, I don’t think I can offer much more about it.
You are free to question me on that, though, along with anything else you might want to know about this concept of mine. For now, I will say that I hope the concept is something you would like to see become a reality as much as I do. In the right hands, I am sure such a concept could become something special.