The racing line is perhaps one of the most crucial aspect of motorsports. Carefully modulating speed and direction to take a corner optimally is key to shaving precious seconds and fractions of a second from lap times. Cornering strategy and track condition and vehicle limits are linked in that moment of driving precision.
Royal Polygon understands the importance of the racing line. The studio’s upcoming arcade racer-puzzler hybrid Vienna Automobile Society takes that moment, the careful navigation of the corner apex, and crafts a minimalist test of reflexes and fast-paced planning around it. It’s come a little way since we last saw it, and is now up on Steam Greenlight with a new trailer. Oh, and Royal Polygon has announced that the game will be out sometime next year, too.
In some ways, Vienna Automobile Society didn’t have to be about cars. The same concept could translate to sprinters on a track, or even chariots in a arena (as seen in Slitherine’s Quadriga and its management of cornering). But Vienna’s use of cars and classic formula racing acts as an easily understood visualization of its mechanics, as you change gears and drag your vehicle to adjust its racing line.
These simplified controls shift the focus from the moment-to-moment thrill of driving to looking ahead and planning your approach of each corner, how your speed and angle in the turn will influence your car at the next corner and beyond. By design, it’s an abstraction of racing.
“Vienna Automobile Society is not a game about driving a perfectly simulated car, it is a game that tries to distill the high-level concepts of circuit racing,” said creator Nic Tringali in a recent blog post regarding the game’s design philosophy. “I’ve made a huge number of abstractions in order for those concepts to be communicated to people who don’t know how tire sidewall flexing and graining can impact the grip as it goes around a fast Eau Rouge or Piscine, but can see how taking a corner wide or shallow lets you overtake the person in front.”
Overtaking, cornering, speed. Those are the concepts one needs to understand to master Vienna Automobile Society, in your races against other players both online and locally. By stripping formula racing to its most basic form, Royal Polygon plans to deliver a racer where how well you understand and predict the track is the means to come in first place rather than how well you drive.