E3: ModNation Racers is LBP for karting

UGC-heavy "Play Create Share" in 2010.

Sony's US boss Jack Tretton made the case that LittleBigPlanet was the first in a new Play Create Share "genre" during his E3 conference speech, announcing another UGC-heavy game called ModNation Racers for release in 2010.

Developer United Front Games demonstrated that not only is MNR a kart racer with standard props like drifting, power-ups and online multiplayer, but it's also an LBP-inspired modding and sharing system built around a versatile track editor.

Using Track Studio in-game, one of the developers was able to lay down tarmac by actually driving around a big empty field, connecting start to finish by driving back through the start/finish line.

With the right stick to help with elevation, he took the track up and around in a loop back across itself, and the game put a bridge in place to avoid problems. With a few other easy-to-use tools, he sprinkled mountains, dirt roads, trees, power-ups and even sheep around his creation, which looked pretty professional by the end of the five-minute demo.

Elsewhere he dropped in lakes and played with the sun, moving it around to change shadows and raising and lowering it to change the lighting conditions from midday to dusk and everything in-between. It was all reflected in real time.

With the track set-up, the devs jumped into the world and started racing around instantly, and the game spawned AI racers to help test it out. Actual mechanics were slick - very fast, with nimble drifts - and we're told to expect a physical experience to match, with noticeable surface changes.

Power-ups, meanwhile, will include some familiar and some not - with a nice multi-rocket launcher coming into play at one stage.

As with LBP, everything can be uploaded, downloaded and remixed at your leisure through a range of seemingly intuitive on-screen menus, and that includes your racer and car. Your avatar isn't quite a Sackboy - he's more of a mannequin boy - but he gets a cutesy basic car and the skins for both he and it suggest plenty of depth.

And if you disagree with anyone's choices, there will be the usual arrangement of rating features for the community - and presumably the usual range of party-pooping censors to rub out your superb homage to Cannonball Run.

Watch out for more from ModNation Racers later in the week, hopefully. There was no word on Stephen Fry this time - perhaps we can have Murray Walker?

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