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Crashday

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Crashday is a destruction derby/racing/car stunts game co-developed by Replay Studios, Moon Byte Studios and Atari, and published by Atari. It was released in February 2006.

Gameplay

The game combines various styles of proceeding racing games. Several modes are available, including several race variants, a Destruction Derby-like arena, various capture-the-flag variants, and stunt competition. The cars can be upgraded to have weapons, similar to those in Full Auto, with which to attack competitors in both race and arena modes. The stunt mode involves the player driving around a purpose-built stunt track, performing flips, rolls and other stunts to receive points. The more combo stunts you perform, the more points you receive. The hold the flag mode contains a flag that should be driven through a number of randomly selected checkpoints. The flag can be stolen from another player by toughing his/her car. Race mode includes a mode whereby the last car on each lap is destroyed. There is also a race type featuring a minimum speed that rises with each checkpoint to avoid a bomb being detonated.

Damage Model and Upgrades

Damage is taken to the car as an overall percentage, which causes the car to be "wrecked" at 100%. The lights, windscreens and body trim can all be smashed from the vehicle and wheel and suspension damage is also modelled (affecting the car's actual driving performance). Furthermore the cars geometry deforms through collisions, again effecting the cars stability. Though these features are not immediately apparent due to the games 'arcade' feel that allow continual collisions without noticeable damage (there is no realism settings in the options menus), the game can in fact be easily modified to allow a more realistic damage model by editing the simple text in the games configuration file. There are many car types available for purchase as well as a system of upgrades. Many of these are cosmetic in nature, however the cars can be armoured to absorb less damage from impacts and gunfire - as well as being reinforced to better resist collision damage (and cause more to other cars). Cars will then take very little damage in collisions against the front of their vehicles. The car's engine performance can be increased, and other more cosmetic improvements include wheels, trims and paint schemes.

Cars

Known Game Issues

Some people have reported game crashes, though most problems are mild screen artifacts on the title screens. Some of these problems remain unfixed after the first patch.

Criticism

  • Upon initial release the games 'clunky' feel received negative reviews - largely because of graphical artifacts on the title screens and sound problems on SBLive! cards.
  • During online gameplay, lags which make Crashday hard to play, and often completely unplayable, have been reported. This is often dubiously blamed on the Master Server. Lags in Crashday range can include 'Touch-Lags', 'Teleports' and Cases of the Flag respawning underground in Hold The Flag.

Game Versions

Versions available of Crashday:

  • 1.0 The European CD-ROM installation version of the game
  • 1.1 (Official) An update that can be downloaded from Crashday's official website.[1] It prevents AFTBUR.DBS being modified, and for unknown reasons causes numerical values to be displayed on screen erroneously. It also fixes some small issues with the physics.
  • 1.1 (Unofficial) Identical to 1.1 Official with the exceptions that it doesn't overwrite the older 1.0 version executable file, and it does not require a CD-ROM to play.
  • 1.2 1.2 was initially, the US version of the game. However the 1.2 No-CD executable's source is unknown, and is identical to 1.1 with the exception that it removes the values displayed erroneously in 1.1.

Modifications To Crashday

Crashday's file architecture is unarchived, which makes it a popular game for modders. Ever since Crashday was released, players have been making modifications to Crashday. The most notable of all mods is Jane's Mod, which comes in three versions, each replacing the previous. Jane's mods aim to make cars faster, more controllable, more fun, whilst optimising the game's performance. The latest version of Jane's Mods is v2, and use of older versions of Jane's mods is now considered cheating in the online community.

However the easy accessibility of the game files has also made cheating easier, and commonplace. Cheating has become a big issue in Crashday's community, especially seeing how the inbuilt anti-cheat is largely ineffective, only preventing modifications to a few values in car configuration files.

Other popular mods include The Desert Mod,[2] Custom Carpack 2 [3] and SmashD Tiles [4] (The latter are included in v2).

An SDK is available on Crashday's official site, and some fan-made applications allow developments, including SmashD's Crashday Tools and the X-Mod.

Master Server Shutdown

On 25 August 2009 Atari announced to a hardcore dedicate that developer Replay Studios had filed for insolvency. As a result of Replay Studios ceasing operations, Crashday's Master Server was shut down permanently.[5]

One alternative to the Master Server currently in use www.crashdaymaster.com. This is a website run by GamerZone that allows a host to announce a multi-player match which can be connected to via the host's IP address. Theoretically this allows a P2P connection when the client connects to a host via this IP, however if the host is behind a NAT (Network Address Translation) router the connection is not possible.

Another alternative is the creation of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) using specialized software. In the Crashday community the program Hamachi is become increasingly popular as an alternative to the Master Server. Hamachi is a VPN creation software that allows a user connect to other users directly, by adding them to a list and applying an alternate IP address in the 5.X.X.X range. This IP address is then used by clients to join to a host in the same way you would connect to a standard IP. The advantages of this method include the listing of addresses in a VPN complete with player names, and chat capability, and primarily, the ability to host behind a NAT router as Hamachi bypasses NAT.

The New Master Server Project

In September and October 2009 the availability of an alternate, "New" Master Server had been announced. A well-known dedicate who lives in Holland, going by the persona RichDutch has given permission for his internet connection to be used for a new server, and donated a disused computer to be used as the Master Server itself, and this server was up and running by November.[6]

In December 2009, a Domain crashday.ath.cx was acquired, and the final version of the so-called New Master Server was up and running. This Domain is essential, as if the Server's IP address changes (A Static IP could not be used for reasons that remain unclear), the Domain can be refreshed allowing a connection from client to server to be re-established. This allows the Master Server to be shut down for maintenance or in event of a system failure, without disrupting the community.

Crashday's Lead Programmer, Robert Clemens was initially involved in the New Master Server project, however his involvement in the project seems to have since discontinued.

The Master Server works by running a small MS-DOS application that gathers information about hosts, and submits that data to clients on request, allowing the client to view Host Name, Game Type, Maximum Players, Track, Car(s) Available, Game Version Number, Nationality and Game Status. This software was provided to hardcore dedicate Jazwa by Robert Clemens, who passed it onto the New Master Server owner, RichDutch. RichDutch later set up the Domain using DynDNS for the static IP.

In order to connect to the Master Server, players must either download modified network configuration files, or modify them manually using a basic text editor. In order to modify it correctly, Line 6 of NETWORK.CFG and NETDEFAULT.CFG must be modified to read masterserverip crashday.ath.cx. The ports on lines 4 should also be modified to read clientport 9000.

End Of The Road?

On the 20th of April 2010, on GamerZone, it was announced that due to a lack of activity and the expense of hosting, that the Master Server is to be turned off at the end of May 2010 (a specific date has not been specified).[7]

It is could be argued that the initial shutdown caused extensive, and irreparable damage to Crashday's community, resulting in a lack of interest in the game. The vast majority of Crashday's "Oldschool" and "Professional" players, have ceased playing the game, which has for many players taken the enjoyment out of the game. Also, Crashday is graphically challenged in comparison to newer games, and is virtually obsolete.

There is currently discussions of financing the Server via PayPal donations, however it is too early to know the outcome, and with the severe lack of interest from the game's core players, this could be unfeasible and is looking unlikely to happen.[8]

External Links

References

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