How long does it take a racing driver to spend in the car to master the art of drifting? For Pluto Mok’s brother Jason, it was just a few minutes. He successfully used this technique at the age of 17 when he got behind the wheel for the first time at his Japanese racing circuit.
Overseas racers can train in real cars from childhood. Mok, his brother, and most other enthusiasts in densely populated Hong Kong never had such an opportunity.
Years of playing car racing simulation games filled the gap for Moks. Proper timing to brake, turn and accelerate “was branded in my brain,” says Pluto Mok.
As a result, he finished second in his first real-life race at the age of 19.
The brothers went on to prove in multiple amateur competitions that sim racers can be real contenders. At the 2020 Macau Grand Prix, they won 1st and 2nd in the Elise GT Cup.
“We’ve been racing virtual tracks in Macau for 10 years and never had to make an effort to learn directions,” says Pluto Mok. Other newcomers were just getting used to the track.
Success in Macau has brought investment and sponsorships from established companies such as Challenger and Shell. So his Pluto Mok, now 27, decided to ‘bet it all’ on his next project of building Hong Kong’s own car racing simulation his game from scratch.
Original racing game from Hong Kong
During a recent HKFP visit to Plutonization, Mok and his team’s design studio, the only light source in the shuttered premises was the colorful glow from computer monitors. “They don’t like to turn on the lights,” said a member of the team.
Dim lighting was adequate. The development team worked full-time to deliver the game for his scheduled public release in March or April, and he only got four hours of sleep from most teams three hours each morning.
Wearing a t-shirt bearing the title of the game Rev to Vertex (R2V), Pluto Mok looks tired when chatting with HKFP and often closes his eyes when considering the next sentence. was. But his eyes came alive when we discussed his passion and goals for the game.
Enthusiasts like Mok and his brothers were forced to use foreign truck simulations in games created by foreign developers. “We thought we wouldn’t be able to build a simulation at all,” Mok said.
“There are so many talented people in Hong Kong. If people overlook it, we take the initiative to use games as a platform to show them.”
Plutonization has only five core members, including Moku and his brother. However, they were able to bring the project closer to its goal in just a year and a half.
Trevor Ting quit his job as a part-time English teacher to become a sound engineer. For him, it was a worthwhile trade-off for pursuing his passion.
“I literally had goosebumps,” Ting said of the first time he played a game he helped develop.
According to Mok, overseas Hong Kongers working part-time or freelance contributed to the game’s programming and 3D modeling.
“Some people in Hong Kong are studying subjects that have no career path…like automotive design,” Mok said. “They asked if I was making a game. I said, ‘Yes, you should be on board.’
It took 3 months to create each vehicle in the game and 9-10 months to recreate the challenging route of Tai Mo Shan, the highest mountain in the city at 957m. rice field.
In the demo version of the game they showed to HKFP, players were asked to race three sections of the Tai Mo Shan route based on difficulty: the Kam Tin route, the easiest, the Tsuen Wan section, or the hardest route, Twisk. You can select. Between Chuen Lung and Memorial Pavilion.
According to Mok, the road surface was created based on government-provided laser scan data, and the team also explained how different surface textures and weather conditions affect tire grip. did.
The goal was to ensure that the simulated experience was “close to a 1:1 replica” of the real world.
“We have a commitment – our career [racing] simulators and we have been in love with games for years but now we have the chance and we are not satisfied with just making mobile games. Mok said.
‘My life started with a game
Auto racing simulators were key to Mok’s many opportunities.
Visitors are amazed by the striking sketches of humanoid robots right next to their desks. In addition to the world of cars, he is also focusing on comic illustrations and graphic design.
As a teenager, he was the administrator of an online racing game forum, and the virtual community helped him build connections with local auto racing teams. After graduating at the age of 19, Mr. Mok continued his job designing car paintings for his drivers in the Hong Kong race.
“My life started with games. I decided games were the best way to explain what I had learned in my life.
Mok was fully aware that he and his team were the lucky few in Hong Kong who could dedicate their lives to pursuing their dreams “like cartoon characters.”
With the new racing simulation game, Mok hopes to identify more young talents and support them in his own version of a “miraculous” journey, from virtual racing to driving on real circuits. increase.
“If a driver can make it through every corner of Tai Mo Mountain, in fact, he or she will be on par with Hong Kong’s legendary car racers. Put it in a virtual environment,” he said.
A big advantage of virtual auto racing is that the playing field is level for all competitors.
“You can participate in races that are virtually free, fair and open,” Mok said. On the other hand, Macau he will cost tens of thousands of dollars to attend the Grand Prix, plus a lot more in upgrading and maintaining the car.
Hong Kong hosts tournaments for virtual racers, with winners receiving support to compete in real races, Mok said, sharing his experience on how beginners can improve affordably. He added that he could.
He said it would be ideal if potential race drivers could get involved in the sport through simulation games from an early age.
“Otherwise, Hong Kong will have to keep waiting for someone, who must be rich and young, have the time and resources, and be able to win without a local racing circuit. [to practice on]You may have to wait forever. “
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