Vancouver Track

06 Apr 2014 Written by 
Published in Level Design

As part of my growth as a user experience designer, I routinely like to challenge myself and explore design in its various facets.  I find this provides me with a better understanding of how to facilitate positive experiences, and improves my ability to communicate with those who work in these roles. 


Test drive the track now:

Click here for the Windows version

Click here for the Mac version

Or go here to play it in your browser (warning, this may run slowly on your machine)



I’ve enjoyed playing Asphalt 8, and I thought it would be interesting to create a track for it. As no track creation tools exist for the game, I decided to build my prototype in Unity instead. All of the tracks in the game are inspired by real world locations, therefor I decided to base my track on Vancouver, as I felt the contrasting geography that exists in this region would make for an excellent setting. With this prototype, I had a few goals:

  • To create a compelling environment that is also iconic
  • Focus on creating a track that provides good variety, while keeping it under 5 minutes in gameplay time for 2 laps
  • Create frequent opportunities to gain boost through drifting sections, air time and power-ups
  • Support the mechanics of Asphalt 8 by incorporating wide spaces for players to battle it out with their opponents



I started by researching the different locations available within Asphalt 8. From there I did an analysis of the mechanics, level flow and pacing of each track. In addition I did some research as to what players really enjoyed about the tracks, and the shortcuts used for winning plays. Using this information, I then began to brainstorm what this new track design could be.

The game features quite a variety of locations, so I endeavored to find a location that complimented this variety and would provide a unique experience for the player. Vancouver seemed like a natural fit due to its contrasting geography, and scenic views. Thanks to the Winter Olympics of 2010 it has also become more widely recognized on a world scale.

A defining feature is its proximity to both the ocean and mountains, so I felt the premise of this track should highlight that. After a few sketches, I had a general idea of how I wanted the level to look and feel. I was then ready to start prototyping it within Unity.
Unity was used to prototype as it allowed me the ability to quickly test the track and iterate on the design. It also allows me to showcase the aesthetic direction for the level and to better present the intent of the level as a whole.

This process took 1 week to complete.







Mountain Cave

This shortcut is located high up in the mountains. It is a road the cuts through a mountain cave and out to a jump that sees the player sailing through the chasm between two peaks and above their opponents. This moment is quite scenic and creates a thrilling moment for the player.



Forest Road
This shortcut is located in the lower mountainous section, right before the bridge leading back to the city. It cuts through a forested area to a ramp on the edge of a cliff. This ramp allows players to jump on to the bridge and back on to the main road.



Olympic Torch

This shortcut is located in the city section of the track, and features a jump over the Olympic caldron, set to the backdrop of the mountains and ocean. A second ramp is placed at the far end that allows the player to jump onto the bridge and back on to the main track.




This is not intended to represent the level as it would exist in the game proper. This represents the prototype phase. The next step would be to bring this track into the same engine that powers the game, and tweak the track to better suit the exact mechanics, speed, control and flow that exists within the game.


Once this track has been implemented within the actual engine, the next steps would include:

  • Testing and adjusting track length, currently the track takes about 2 and half minutes to complete. albeit at a slower pace than the cars found within Asphalt 8. The goal would be to ensure that completing a single lap takes approximately 2 minutes or less.
  • Play testing with additional ramps, ramp types, and boost locations.
  • Adding landmarks and other iconic visual elements to the landscape. The goal here would be to further seperate the visual look and feel of each section (city, lower mountains, snow covered mountains.)
  • Implementing oncoming traffic and frequency.
  • Adding additional shortcut locations, such as in the upper right section of the track layout.
  • Gathering feedback and making effective changes to improve the player experience and level flow.




Article header image is from Asphalt 8: Airborne © Gameloft.


Stephen Cleland

I always appreciate good feedback and constructive criticism. If you have some you'd like to provide, I'd love to hear it!

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