"Traditionally, laptops haven’t been known for providing the best gaming experience." This was the first thought that crossed the mind of Steve Lycett, executive producer (Sumo Digital) on Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed*, and one that was rapidly dispelled. "As soon as we received the Ultrabook™ device and spoke to the engineers at Intel, we realized that suddenly we were dealing with the next generation."
Charged with bringing one of SEGA’s landmark franchises to Ultrabook™ devices, the team at Sumo Digital in Sheffield, England, more than rose to the challenge. Acclaimed racing game Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is the latest in the no-holds barred series that lets players leap into the cars (which then transform into boats and planes) of world-famous SEGA luminaries, from Sonic all the way to Wreck-It Ralph, fresh from his Hollywood debut. SEGA has never rested on its laurels with the series, so bringing the game to Ultrabook devices with touchscreens was a logical next step.
"We tailored the game for the Ultrabook range to ensure we made the most of the hardware," said Lycett, who worked with his team to make sure players would always have just as much touch control as they wanted. "We've specifically designed the user interface so touch can be used throughout. You can select modes, decide which track to play, and check out all the vehicles with a simple touch of your finger."
There was no doubt in Lycett's mind that he needed to bring touch to his games. Though at first glance a PC racing title isn’t the most obvious home for a touch interface, players are becoming irreversibly accustomed to it in their games. "Users want to reach out and touch the worlds we create. It's a natural user interface you’re taught from the day you’re born, and one that provides an immediate connection with instant feedback."
Ultrabook devices bring a new level of flexibility and interaction to Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. In a regular laptop configuration, players can go head-to-head with up to four controllers for chaotic split-screen racing, while a convertible device allows for play in tablet setup, making full use of both touch and tilt interfaces. Players will find a game that has been carefully optimized for play in either configuration.
But it's not only the interface options that led Lycett and his team to so heartily embrace the Ultrabook device. "Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed on the Ultrabook platform takes advantage of the fact that we know there is a consistent set of technologies that is available to us," said Lycett.
"The high-quality screens really let the colors pop, plus the touchscreens are smooth and sensitive, and the tilt sensors give you immediate and accurate control. Tie all this together with a lot of processing and graphics power, and much more memory compared to what even the latest console has, and you’ve got a recipe for a great gaming experience."
A fully playable demo version with touch and sensor functionality. (1.2 GB)
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"We’ve specifically designed the user interface so touch can be used throughout. You can select modes, decide which track to play, and check out all the vehicles with a simple touch of your finger."
Steve Lycett, executive producer on Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed