A few weeks ago I was invited to attend the VIP Press Launch event for Cie Games' new racing game for iOS Racing Rivals. The game is sponsored by Nitto Tires and features live, multi-player drag racing and can be downloaded for free from the App Store. The game features some very cool console-quality graphics and a realistic level of customization that even accounts for wear and tear on the parts. More than 40 of the world's most popular cars are available to choose from and there are hundreds of upgrades available to customize your ride for both performance and aesthetics.
Automotive and gaming industry press were invited to celebrate the launch at Irwindale Dragstrip with a day of drag racing competition both in Racing Rivals and on the real drag strip. We split into two groups and my group headed to the tent for a demo of the game and the first rounds of virtual competition while the other group went to the dragstrip.
Here are some in-game screenshots so you can see just how beautiful the graphics are.
It's a lot of fun to customize a car in the showroom because the options available are based on real world aftermarket options for a specific car and you can see how they will affect your performance.
After choosing your car and customizing it, you head out to the streets and challenge a live opponent to a race.
You can bet cash or race for pink slips!
Then it was time to head out to the drag strip and test our reaction time in an Edelbrock-supercharged Mustang.
I have to throw in the cute fireman shot for the girls!
So what's it like to photograph an event like this? A LOT of fun and a lot of hard work. It was a brutally hot day with temps well over 100° but there was plenty of ice cold water on hand, Umami Burgers to feed us and a shade tent where we could retreat from the sun. By the end of the day there were just a few of us still shooting. I think all of the hot summer days I've been spending in the desert have been good training.
You can't be shy; you have to be willing to stick your camera right into the middle of a group of people to get the shot. Since everyone there was either a journalist or affiliated with the game they were very understanding and would even make it easy. I picked up some good tips by watching the photographers who have done many of these events.
I was surprised at how few women journalists were in attendance. I realize that we are in the minority in the automotive and gaming fields, but out of approximately 100 journalists there were "maybe" five women. It didn't really matter though; the environment was very welcoming and I made some great friends and contacts.
The other thing that honestly shocked me was how few journalists were using SLRs; I counted exactly five dSLRs, everyone else was snapping pics with their cell phones. It made me very proud to be affiliated with a publication that prides itself on quality imagery. It seems that these days most publications hire writers and tell them to grab some pics, it is a real pleasure to work for a publication that hires photographers who can also write.
Here are a few more shots from the day:
If you like racing games I think you'll really enjoy this one, the customization options and live player element makes it a lot of fun. The download is free from the App Store and I received a card in my swag bag that is good for some free premium content. I don't know what the premium content is and I don't know the value of it, but I will give the code to one random person who leaves a comment here by 6pm PST on Monday the 23rd. The winner will be selected by a random number generated with random.org. I think that most readers of my blog are