How do developers determine the time to beat in time-trial races?

#1 Posted by Masha2932 (1242 posts) -

Over the weekend I was playing Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit trying to get the gold medal awards in the time trial events and some of these gold times were really tough.  
 
This made me question how developers determine the time to beat in time-trial races? Do they make them up or is it based on user tests?
 
 This is not only relevant to this game but all other racing games as well.  
 
Any developers or knowledgeable users know the answer?

#2 Posted by mordukai (7185 posts) -

Most likely by the times set by their internal testing.

#3 Posted by EVO (3942 posts) -

@Masha2932 said:

is it based on user tests?

Most likely. But games like Split/Second make me think otherwise. Some of the gold medal times are near-impossible.

#4 Posted by Starfishhunter9 (369 posts) -

@EVO said:

@Masha2932 said:

is it based on user tests?

Most likely. But games like Split/Second make me think otherwise. Some of the gold medal times are near-impossible.

Maybe internal testing average multiplied by a difficulty factor E.g. 0.8 for silver medals.

#5 Posted by Masha2932 (1242 posts) -
@EVO:  Oh, don't get me started on Split/second. The racing times on the Detonator events(time-trials) are just brutal, throw in the random explosions and it becomes downright  frustrating. 
 
With regards to the time trial times I guess user tests make the most sense. 
#6 Posted by Shirogane (3581 posts) -

Hardet ones might be from them programming an AI to make an almost perfect run and seeing what that time is then taking it from that.

#7 Posted by BisonHero (7079 posts) -

If the developer has a big budget, they probably have the resources to bring in some random people to play the game, and to get feedback on whether they think the difficulty is too hard, too easy.

But I think most developers look at whatever the QA testers can do (in this case, time trials), and just lower expectation a little bit, because most people won't be able to compete with testers who have played the same game day in, day out for like 6 months.

I remember listening to the in-game commentary for Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II, and there was a part where the lead designer briefly talked about the first Rogue Squadron, and he basically acknowledged that they lost sight of what was reasonable and started listening to feedback from the testers way too much, to the point that some of the missions in the last act of the game are of completely ridiculous difficulty, not to mention nearly impossible to get a gold medal on.

#8 Posted by MideonNViscera (2252 posts) -

When I was a kid I thought that whoever made Mario Kart 64 had to be the best player ever too, and therefore the person behind the crazy unlockable ghost time trials heh

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