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We asked Adrian Ciszewski, product manager at Techland to answer some questions about their new title, Xpand Rally Xtreme. SimRacingWorld Exclusive.

By Team SimRacingWorld
19 January 2007

SRW: How long has Xpand Rally Xtreme been in development?

About a year or so.

SRW: The original Xpand Rally was well received by gamers - what changes and improvements can we expect in the new title over the original?

The main task we set when we started out with XRX was to convey the emotions, dynamics and fear that real rally drivers feel. The main problem was how to show a rally special event in a nutshell. Real world rally runs are much longer then what we've come to know from computer games. The driver's emotions are constantly escalating second by second.

In the game, the tracks are shorter, so we had to work harder to keep the players adrenaline flowing, and the whole XRX team thinks we've succeeded. We've also fixed the graphics, improved the damage model, increased the interactivity of the landscape, added new modes... The full list of things that somehow improved the game play is much longer, but these are the basic points.

SRW: Following this, which part(s) of the game are you most proud of?

I'm particularly happy with the physics of driving a car that we've conveyed, the way the tracks are made, and the simulation of car behavior on uneven surfaces.

SRW: Speaking of physics, how have you achieved a balance between the needs of "simmers" and those who prefer the arcade modes?

To put it short, we haven't. We went the other way and created two distinct modes for both types of players. Before you start driving, you're prompted which game mode you want to use: arcade or simulation.

SRW: What in-game car set up options will there be?

There's over 800 tuning parts available in-game, and each one makes the car behave differently. Additionally, the player can play around with multiple parameters in the car's settings.

SRW: How advanced is the damage model in game?

The damage model is area based - dents are visible in the place where the impact came. If you drive onto a rock, you'll either damage your wheel axis are break the wheel off altogether. We're also simulating the durability of mechanical elements. Even if you're flawless, you'll still need to spend money on basic upkeep. Damage your car too much and you won't be allowed to start in the next event due to technical requirements.

SRW: Richard Burn's Rally is considered by many to be the greatest Rally Sim of all time - have you played this title and how does XRX compare or differ to it?

Naturally we know Richard Burn's Rally... some of us are avid fans! We don't want to make comparisons with RBRA, because it's very much geared towards hardcore simulation fans. The idea we had was to have a more arcade style of play, while retaining the simulation element at a similar level. The physics in both cases are different from what we had in Xpand Rally.

As far as the simulation mode is concerned, we've increased the complexity of the physics simulation system. We think the overall effect is much more impressive. Comparing the game to Richard Burn's Rally... I think that even if someone made a 100% true to life rally sim, people would still go defending RBR and saying it's better, so there's not much point in that.

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