This week the Prof and Brian are getting to grips with pole and laying down rubber with the racing team sim, Motorsport Manager from Christian West on iOS.
“Oh hello, it’s nice to see you. I’m Professor Kelvin Harris and this is my lab technician, Brian,”
“Together we’re here at our local coffee shop to highlight some interesting and unusual mobile games, which you can get instead of your regular cappuccino for the ‘Cost of a Coffee’. You see people like me will happily spend a few quid on a frothy foamed beverage, but many will shudder at the thought of paying that for a mobile game… It sounds crazy I know, but do you know that on average, every hour in the United Kingdom, we spend about £100,000 on coffee? That’s enough to buy an engine for a Formula One car.”
“I love motor racing Professor! It’s my passion. I love the power and the speed and the crashes… what do you think of it Professor?”
“Well I’m not too bothered about all that stuff Brian, but I do enjoy the politics, strategy and engineering of the various motorsport series.”
“Is that why you were so keen to come to my house and watch the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend?”
“Not entirely Brian; I think there was a misunderstanding when you invited me to join you for a thrilling Spa weekend where 22 men would be competing to beat each other off the grid and grab pole.”
“Did you think I meant Moto GP?”
“Well I imagined there would be more leather yes… This week’s Cost of a Coffee game is Motorsport Manager, a brand new motor-racing management simulation available on iOS from veteran games developer and motorsport fan, Christian West.
You take on the role of aspiring team principal, who must choose whether to start in the British Racing Series or the Australian GP Series; the arid Australian weather makes for a nice introduction to the world of racing, but the unpredictable British Weather…”
“It’s not unpredictable though is it Professor, it’s just wet.”
“The wet British weather makes for some great strategy as you decide when to switch from slicks to wet tyres, whilst the game’s dynamic weather does its’ thing. It’s not just weather though, the game also features qualifying, tuning, strategy, tyre wear, damage, crashes and outings for the safety car to spice things up during races, which you can watch in real time with the great looking 3D race engine featuring a tilt shift effect.
Alternatively, you can get the real Grand Prix experience by watching the live telemetry as it comes in.
If your team wins the Constructor’s Championship you’ll earn the opportunity to progress to more serious series, but how do you go about doing that? Well between race weekends you’ll have to manage the team by negotiating contracts with drivers, engineers and sponsors whilst balancing their and the public’s opinion of you. For example, one of your driver’s comes to you and tells you that they’ve been approached by another team… you can invite them into your office to negotiate a new deal or you can tell them to shut their face.
The game has a faux social feed which responds to your decisions and the race results, so choosing the latter response may illicit an indignant in-game tweet from said driver and there’s a chance that you’ll not only lose some respect from the fans, but also a slice of the merchandising money. You can also invest in a youth driver program, upgrade facilities and staff research projects.”
“That sounds very much like what you do here at the university Professor. Just out of interest, why does the lab have a youth driver program?”
“Because it means getting a lift home after the Christmas party is now a legitimate business expense and no longer a taxable benefit Brian. Same reason I devote valuable research time to reviewing games.”
“So is it worth the Cost of a Coffee Professor?”
“Clearly a lot of love for Motorsport has gone into the game; you’ll get 8 unique racing series and 36 brand new circuits for £2.99, but the value really comes from the endless variety of race outcomes thanks to the dynamic weather and random events. The team management is simple to get to grips with, but satisfying, and the in-game social media stream is really nicely implemented, providing a lot of humour. I can see how it might not appeal to some gamers, but the social slant makes the game accessible, especially if you like strategy and/or motor racing. I strongly suggest you lay down the latte and pick this up.”
“A copy of Motorsport Manager was provided to Codec Moments by Christian West for this episode of Cost of a Coffee.”
“Cost of a Coffee is a production of Codec Moments, for more information visit codecmoments.com. If you can recommend a game that costs less than your cappuccino, you can e-mail email@example.com.”
“Don’t forget you can tweet us @codecmoments, or look us up on Facebook and Google+ by searching for Codec Moments.”
“See you next time.”