Vital MX Forum QNA: Mike Mamula

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1/25/2017 5:08 PM
Edited Date/Time: 1/25/2017 5:35 PM



This week's guest in the Vital MX Forum QNA is Mike Mamula, lead designer from the MX vs. ATV team. Mike grew up racing around the southeast before a spinal cord injury sidelined him in 2003, after which he turned to digital MX. While going to school for multimedia development and building tracks for Motocross Madness 2, he was picked up by THQ/ Rainbow Studios to officially work on MX vs. ATV Unleashed.

During a short hiatus after the closing of Rainbow Studios in 2011, Mike filled his creative itch doing the Green Arrow track maps for the Lucas Oil Motocross Series, Monster Energy Supercross Series and the occasional Red Bull project. Things eventually came around full circle when Nordic Games bought the rights to re-launch the MX vs. ATV series in 2014 with MX vs. ATV Supercross. Since then, Mike and team have been hard at work bringing SX/MX to your couch with the release of the Official 2017 Supercross tracks each week for MX vs ATV Supercross Encore.

Mike has been a long-time poster here (MX45 is his account name), and he is here to talk about all things MX gaming, animated track maps, and the future for MX vs. ATV, so bring your best questions and fire away. As always, keep it respectful, and ask questions that you would like in a face-to-face meeting.

If you want to see previous Vital MX Forum QNAs, click the Forum QNA tag below the subject line. (Check below to see what it looks like.)



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1/25/2017 5:31 PM

Can you give us any news on a new MVA game or other projects you may be working on? Thanks!

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1/25/2017 5:38 PM

Hey Mike,

First of all a big thanks to you and the team for making the 2017 sx track pack happening! It's been a blast so far and i've been having a good time on the PC version going for top spots on the leaderboards

So it's been kind of clear that there is a new Mx vs Atv game in the works (hints on the steam forums, rmfantasy price), any news you could drop about that ? Or when could we expect to hear more about this one ?

A bit more of a technical question, i take mva:sx encore somewhat serious and try to push the game and be as fast as possible. Could you comment on the laptimes being comparable between versions ? I.E. ps4 /xbox 1 / pc. Because i played the game at a friends place (on ps4) and the controlls feel totally different on pc vs console.

Anyway thank you for all the work! I was part of the FnF team back in the MCM2 days so i very likely raced some of your tracks back in the day

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1/25/2017 6:20 PM

Hey Mike, thank you for taking the time to talk with us idiots

Two questions:

1. Favorite MX game of all time

2. Favorite non MX game of all time

If you have any specific reasons why to those two questions, it would be rad. Love to hear the opinion of a guy whom designs games for a living....


Have a good one!

-Moscrop

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shit'll buff out

1/25/2017 6:30 PM

thx for the time. could you?-- fix the sliding in gravel sound.horrible ai(it should be hard to beat the top guys,they cant even stay on the track). true sx and mx qualifying heats semi lcq,point system. choose the riders and tracks you want in a series(being able to see results for the yr as you go).adjustable settings on bikes.suspension,motor etc. lag online.


theres my one question thx again and take care.




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If I'm healthy enough to complain. I shouldn't be complaining.

1/25/2017 7:15 PM

Hi Mike,

Why is is that mx vs atv abondoned the controls of reflex? I as probably most motocross racers tend to think that that was the best/most realistic controls the game ever had. I still play that game to this day. With those controls and updated sx/mx tracks and updated bike/gear combos i think itd be the best mx game out there right now.

Also have you ever thought about a career mode kind of like MXGP2 or pastranas game were you pick up sponserships and team offers as you progress through the series?

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1/25/2017 8:00 PM

Hey Mike,

So I was wondering. If I say "Braaaapp" while I'm hitting some HUGE Air in your game, I never get the extra style points on my freestyle runs. Do you think this could be a microphone issue or a bug in the game?

Thanks!

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1/25/2017 8:26 PM

MIke,

Love the game. Thanks for bringing it back! As for the new sx tracks, they rule!. Is there any way we're going to get the real outdoor nationals this year? Also as amsoil arenacross gets bigger every year, have you guys thought about bringing those tracks to mx as well?
Thanks!

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1/25/2017 11:29 PM

booth112 wrote:

Can you give us any news on a new MVA game or other projects you may be working on? Thanks!

Hi Booth112,

At the moment we are focusing our production efforts on the 2017 SX tracks DLC, but popularity of the game continues to grow so the future of MVA looks promising.
The current generation of consoles (and PC hardware) offers so much potential for amazing games. However, to utilize all that potential there is more time spent on tech, design, and planning to where it's necessary to have a longer dev cycle (24 months is standard now days, even for a smaller game). So it's just too early to say for sure what is next for MX vs ATV. We just hope the 2017 track help fill the void until we can say more.
Thanks for the question.

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Mike

1/25/2017 11:30 PM

Sandwarrior752 wrote:

Hey Mike,

First of all a big thanks to you and the team for making the 2017 sx track pack happening! It's been a blast so far and i've been having a good time on the PC version going for top spots on the leaderboards

So it's been kind of clear that there is a new Mx vs Atv game in the works (hints on the steam forums, rmfantasy price), any news you could drop about that ? Or when could we expect to hear more about this one ?

A bit more of a technical question, i take mva:sx encore somewhat serious and try to push the game and be as fast as possible. Could you comment on the laptimes being comparable between versions ? I.E. ps4 /xbox 1 / pc. Because i played the game at a friends place (on ps4) and the controlls feel totally different on pc vs console.

Anyway thank you for all the work! I was part of the FnF team back in the MCM2 days so i very likely raced some of your tracks back in the day

Hi Sandwarrior752,

Glad you're enjoying the 2017 DLC!
Like I said above, I can't give any details but if you keep reading between the lines we are always working towards the future.
Some of that messaging you pointed out is marketing motivated (but the RMFantasy prize is the real deal - if you win you will visit the studio and be put in the game as an AI rider!)
As for when - the typical "retail season" for games is from about October through January where summer is the slow period for new releases. So you'll have to wait a little while. Sorry!

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Mike

1/25/2017 11:33 PM

Mike, thanks for taking the time. Mike is a great dude with lots of talent! I've got several ?s.

Thanks for the 2017 Official track release, Mike!

Any updates on a full new Supercross/Motocross game? Love the Official Track Release but getting time for a whole new game with the full development behind it.

Any chance we can, in the future, dial track scale back to where it was on the JS7 in Alive? That was perfect. Tight and technical. I heard the tracks were made wider for Supercross to accomodate the ATVs. That is not a good way to do it, in my opinion,as most play with bikes and most of the game is buil around, well, Supercross, not ATVs. Just have fewer ATVs on track than bikes to account for the more realistically scaled tracks.

Are replica tracks here to stay? Hope so. The real track designs are a MAJOR improvement over the non-replica created tracks. In my opinion, the biggest stride ever made by Rainbow is getting the licensed tracks.

Any chance of working with Coombs and MX Sports for making replica outdoor tracks? Or with the individual track owners for permission like you probably did the Stewart's. The Martins own one, other individuals own the other tracks.

Could we please, please have a game speed slider to slow the game down some. (It is like way too fast, imo.) I actually posted a game/real comparison on the nice MVA forum. Speaks volumes as to how fast the game is compared to real life.

Any chance, for next game, we could get more current graphics companies making graphics for bikes. And more realistic looking graphics kits. One has been out of industry forever and most other graphic brands aren't used by major pros and look next to nothing like the pro factory graphic kits.

Here's a biggee everyone always asks about. Is the Reflex/Alive code TRULY gone or buried and irretrievable as we have been told or do you guys just prefer the way Encore is?

Any chance we could drastically improve the AI programming. They take unrealistic lines and just are all over the place. You can't really race them as they are just horrible at riding the track. No back and forth battles for position with the AI whatsoever and they never roll any jumps, something that is commonplace in our sport.

Will we see full race replays in the new game?

Any chance in the future that once we buy OEM bikes that we can assign those purchased "real" bikes to the AI riders? Would be nice and especially great to look at if can institute a full race replay mode.

Will we have a full nights events like Heats, Semi's LCQs, timed Mains? The whole nights events (along with better AI) would be a great improvement and add more immersion to game. Also, we need to be able to pick by a checklist the riders (22 hopefully) that we want in our particular season.

Any chance of getting Ralph and Fro for commentary? Been since 2001 in EA's Supercross game since anyone even tried. Long overdue to amp up the presentation like other sports games.

Could riders be ratings based ala Madden games and their performances actually be somewhat based off those ratings? That would make a season mode much more realistic and enjoyable.

Other MX games have 22 riders on gate. Will we get that from MVA in next game? We've had 12 for a long time and the new gen systems can handle nearly twice as much.

Ever considered a legends replica DLC pack with bikes/riders/replica tracks of the past such as Johnson/Bailey Anaheim 86, MC/Fro in 97, RC/TP in 2003? The tracks were better back then and at least more challenging due to two strokes.

We have real riders, replica tracks and can buy OEM bikes. How about being able to purchase factory replica bike graphics and trims such as Red Bull KTM, Monster Energy Kawasaki, Rockstar Husqvarna, HRC Honda, RCH and JGR Suzuki?

Could we add a rear brake. It adds a lot in MXGP 2.

Could we bring back improved bike tuning?

I have dozens more but will stop for this post. Thanks again, MX45!!




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1/25/2017 11:41 PM

moscrop940 wrote:

Hey Mike, thank you for taking the time to talk with us idiots

Two questions:

1. Favorite MX game of all time

2. Favorite non MX game of all time

If you have any specific reasons why to those two questions, it would be rad. Love to hear the opinion of a guy whom designs games for a living....


Have a good one!

-Moscrop

Hey Moscrop940,

I'll give you my favorite 3 MX games:
[1] Motocross Madness 2 - Because of the huge community and friendships I gained, unlimited user generated content and mods, and because it ultimately got me this job! I still have my boxed copy, Sidewinder Pro joystick, and TONS of CD-R's with downloaded tracks (I should make a shrine), and Ill watch this ">goofy video I made when I was 16(?) whenever I need a laugh.
[2] Supercross Circuit - Replica motocross and supercross tracks, factory bikes/teams/riders, and an awesome career. - I play this on a *cough*hacked* PSP.
[3] Excitebike - The classic. I'm not sure any MX games would have reached market without Excitebike. And it has a track editor! (I still play it on emulator)
[4-6] Mad Skills 2, VMX Racing, and Dirt Trax FX all have a special place in my heart as well.

When you think about it, there is alot of MX games to choose from! Sandwarrior752 has an awesome list here
http://www.vitalmx.com/forums/Game-Room,39/All-MX-Games-list,1287959

Favorite non MX game(s)?
[1] Halo series. Halo 1 undoubtedly set the standard for FPS's on console
[2] Rocket League - I have more hours than I am willing to admit.
[3] Whatever the current car game is out at any time (currently playing Forza Horizon 3)

Thanks for the questions.

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Mike

1/25/2017 11:43 PM

smoothies862 wrote:

thx for the time. could you?-- fix the sliding in gravel sound.horrible ai(it should be hard to beat the top guys,they cant even stay on the track). true sx and mx qualifying heats semi lcq,point system. choose the riders and tracks you want in a series(being able to see results for the yr as you go).adjustable settings on bikes.suspension,motor etc. lag online.


theres my one question thx again and take care.




Smoothies862,

Here is the fix for the sound FX: Set Music to 0%; Effects to 30%; and Engine to 100% in the game options.
The fix for AI: Go online (ok, I admit they make the C class look like pros)
Seriously, there is some crazy fast competition online. There are a few fan series going on right now, in which they do the whole qualifying and 22 lap mains, season points, etc.
I agree, bike tuning would be a good addition, but I'll tell you the hot set up: Upgrade your exhaust, tires, and suspension (any brand, they are all the same - I promise). But run factory chassis and STOCK brakes. Also, manual transmission (change controller preset to #5 to enable manual shifting) and you should be able to improve your lap times.
Lag online? Get a better ISP! Yeah, lag gets...funky sometimes. Encore connects peer-2-peer (no servers), so connections are direct between users (with a pass through the host), unfortunately lag can occur with that type of connection.

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Mike

1/25/2017 11:47 PM

mxjon454 wrote:

Hi Mike,

Why is is that mx vs atv abondoned the controls of reflex? I as probably most motocross racers tend to think that that was the best/most realistic controls the game ever had. I still play that game to this day. With those controls and updated sx/mx tracks and updated bike/gear combos i think itd be the best mx game out there right now.

Also have you ever thought about a career mode kind of like MXGP2 or pastranas game were you pick up sponserships and team offers as you progress through the series?

MXJon454,

Good questions.

First, let me give you some context. Reflex was new in so many ways. The dual-stick controls and terrain deformation being truly cutting edge at the time - and users hated it! Seriously, I get the following Reflex has now, but at the time gamers were familiar with single stick controls, push button throttle/brake, and WFO arcade racing (remember MCM?) there was a ton of backlash on our forums and interwebz. At which time we were in development for Alive (that's a saga to explain in another post). So, we took the negative feedback on Reflex, and made big changes for Alive. Some people liked it, some didn't. By time Alive came out, people were adapt to Reflex, but it was too late to turn back.
We took honest steps to appreciate and adapt what users liked about Reflex, Alive, et al, and put that into Supercross and the Encore.
What I think Reflex had that people still yearn for is a loose and flowing physics model, a tighter risk vs. reward (easier to crash or mess up), and most importantly now - nostalgia.
Oh, did I mention when THQ shut down Rainbow in 2011, they shredded all the backup storage? Seriously, so much code and content was lost due to THQ's mishandling of data backups.

We have definitely discussed a more robust career mode. It is an area MX vs ATV has alot of room to improve and add to in the future.

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Mike

1/25/2017 11:47 PM

Joe_Newton wrote:

Hey Mike,

So I was wondering. If I say "Braaaapp" while I'm hitting some HUGE Air in your game, I never get the extra style points on my freestyle runs. Do you think this could be a microphone issue or a bug in the game?

Thanks!

Joe_Newton (who told you about this thread?!)

See, you're doing the wrong noise. "Braaap" only works on 2-strokes. You need to do a "Bruuuup" when you're riding your virtual 4-stroke.

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Mike

1/25/2017 11:48 PM

Joey1927 wrote:

MIke,

Love the game. Thanks for bringing it back! As for the new sx tracks, they rule!. Is there any way we're going to get the real outdoor nationals this year? Also as amsoil arenacross gets bigger every year, have you guys thought about bringing those tracks to mx as well?
Thanks!

Hey Joey1927,

Glad you're digging the new tracks! It seems alot of people share your sentiment so I do hope we can keep adding "official" tracks in the future.
As for Arenacross, I think that would be a cool race mode as well. Just like when we added Straight Rhythm, it's nice when we have the opportunity to add content inspired from a real event. That's where DLC model fits, because of the longer dev cycles I explained above, DLC gives game devs an opportunity to put out content in response to current trends.

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Mike

1/25/2017 11:59 PM

Flatout111 wrote:
lots of questions



I'm going to give other people a chance, but I'll circle back to answer some of yours later. In the mean time, I answered a few similar questions other posters had.

Thanks!
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Mike

1/26/2017 12:04 AM

What do you think about MXGP 2 and MX Simulator?

Your favorite MX vs Atv game?

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#1
KX125

1/26/2017 1:04 AM

With you being injured during what seems like the 2-stroke and 4-stroke transition, what would you change from the current track design to the former?

Bonus question: Since you are from Florida.. Are we ever going to see the green arrow for mini'os?

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1/26/2017 5:20 AM

First off, apologies for the essay...

Is 2018 when we can expect to see the next MX vs ATV game?

What are the main ideas for the game?

I'd like to see the Supercross tracks from that year on there- maybe used the 2017 ones initially and add 2018 ones as the year goes on?

Motocross tracks: Is there a potential we can get the real tracks/ is it in the works?

Legends tracks: Could tracks like Steel City be added to the game? Or non national tracks like Pala, Milestone etc.

Private tracks/ compounds/ facilities: Can you get more private compounds in the game? I'm thinking Goat farm, Reeds, el chupacabra ranch, the nest, bakers factory, MTF/ GPF etc.

Career mode: Could a better career mode be implemented? Start on a 125, race local rounds (Pala etc), get to Loretta Lynns/ Mini O's, Monster Cup. Earn a 250f, repeat, earn a 450, repeat. Earn a ride in the lites class..

Freeride: can freeride worlds like the ones in Untamed come back? Tracks - freestyle compounds etc.

Reflex: reflex physics still seem ahead of their time to me. Will the future revert back to these, or continue to work on what feels like the arcade style platform from Alive?

Bike: Will we see bike customisation again? Suspension set up/ brakes etc? I like the idea of a front/ back brake.

Graphics: Can we see real graphics/ more of them/ more customisation opportunities on them? - Forza is a good example.

Gear: Can we get a lot more gear updates? Seems very backward we have tracks released the week they're raced on, but have to wear 2 year out of date gear..?

AI: Are 22/ 40 rider line ups possible? Can the difficulties be better (Have got better on the new SX tracks) - I want to be challenged more! Can AI gear change, round to round to add to the realism. Can there be annual update on numbers/ teams etc?

Suzuki's in the UK: Why could this not happen? Crazy we have Suzuki cars every direction we look, but can't get the bikes in the game.


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1/26/2017 5:41 AM

Hey Mike,

Thanks for taking the time to do this. I've always been a huge MX vs. ATV fan. My question isn't geared toward future plans so hopefully it will give you a break from trying to answer those....lol

Roughly how many lines of code are in a standard game? With the current state of consoles and computers, are game developers about tapped to what they can do or is there more potential to create innovative and unique stuff?

Also, what is the software that you primarily use to build the games? Is it developed in house or do you use a 3rd party platform?

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1/26/2017 6:04 AM

mxjon454 wrote:

Hi Mike,

Why is is that mx vs atv abondoned the controls of reflex? I as probably most motocross racers tend to think that that was the best/most realistic controls the game ever had. I still play that game to this day. With those controls and updated sx/mx tracks and updated bike/gear combos i think itd be the best mx game out there right now.

Also have you ever thought about a career mode kind of like MXGP2 or pastranas game were you pick up sponserships and team offers as you progress through the series?

MX45 wrote:

MXJon454,

Good questions.

First, let me give you some context. Reflex was new in so many ways. The dual-stick controls and terrain deformation being truly cutting edge at the time - and users hated it! Seriously, I get the following Reflex has now, but at the time gamers were familiar with single stick controls, push button throttle/brake, and WFO arcade racing (remember MCM?) there was a ton of backlash on our forums and interwebz. At which time we were in development for Alive (that's a saga to explain in another post). So, we took the negative feedback on Reflex, and made big changes for Alive. Some people liked it, some didn't. By time Alive came out, people were adapt to Reflex, but it was too late to turn back.
We took honest steps to appreciate and adapt what users liked about Reflex, Alive, et al, and put that into Supercross and the Encore.
What I think Reflex had that people still yearn for is a loose and flowing physics model, a tighter risk vs. reward (easier to crash or mess up), and most importantly now - nostalgia.
Oh, did I mention when THQ shut down Rainbow in 2011, they shredded all the backup storage? Seriously, so much code and content was lost due to THQ's mishandling of data backups.

We have definitely discussed a more robust career mode. It is an area MX vs ATV has alot of room to improve and add to in the future.

I 100% agree about the physics being better. I am not sure if I would call them loose but turning was more realistic and you had to work on your corners to be fast. If you guys could get the cornering more dialed and get rid of the preload stick I would try your games out again.

Thanks for doing the QNA

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1/26/2017 7:05 AM

MX45 wrote:

Flatout111 wrote:
lots of questions



I'm going to give other people a chance, but I'll circle back to answer some of yours later. In the mean time, I answered a few similar questions other posters had.

Thanks!

Sounds good. Thanks, Mike!

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1/26/2017 8:23 AM

for me, reflex is still the best mx game made...I wish I could play online still. none of these newer games even compare. I would bet more people than not would agree .

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1/26/2017 9:53 AM

Just poppin' in to say I'll pick up on the QnA later this after noon.
We are heading over to U. of Phoenix stadium to get some sweet reference

Loving the questions so far!

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Mike

1/26/2017 10:38 AM

MX45 wrote:

Just poppin' in to say I'll pick up on the QnA later this after noon.
We are heading over to U. of Phoenix stadium to get some sweet reference

Loving the questions so far!

Yo Mike. Hope you are well.
That begs the question then, reference for what exactly, if the tracks are already built for MvA?
My other question was also going to be something about MX Sim. But someone beat me to it.


Take care, have fun this weekend!

-Stephen

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1/26/2017 10:51 AM

Supercross Circuit game from '99 had all the series tracks, sx and mx, additionally it had all the manufacturers. and a solid career mode that mimicked reality

So, How come newer age games have failed to include all these details?

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"If you feel in control, you're not going fast enough" ~Mario Andretti

1/26/2017 12:40 PM



Quick peek of Glendale track build in progress.
How cool would it be if an mx game looked like this?
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Mike

1/26/2017 2:19 PM

I'm definitely enjoying the new tracks for the SX season. Round 4 isn't coming up for Xbox One. Not sure if it's just me or it's delayed?

Anyhow, huge thanks for all you do and I'm looking forward to what's to come.

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1/26/2017 2:41 PM

thank you for the response. I actually use that "hot" set up. factory brakes would be good if it wasn't all rear and like a light switch
online I didn't know it was player dependent.does that mean 1 rider could lag 5 others? I'm used to tanks with 30 players being seamless.hopefully ill connect with better players. I use 50mgs fiber.

I mentioned the sx room in lobby and you guys did it. great addition.thank you.. could it be only one track instead of a rotation? most players want to race the new one .as we go farther into the season,a1 is going to be burned down.

thank you again for the time and you always have a free r&d tester here

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If I'm healthy enough to complain. I shouldn't be complaining.