‘Go Kart Engine’: It’s not just for car games
Posted On July 23, 2021
“It was all about the art, it was all art,” says a former Go Kart employee who was on the design team.
“It wasn’t about making a game.”
The game started with an open-ended engine, with no restrictions on how much time could be spent.
Players could play as any character or character creator, but they could never create their own characters.
“We created this sandbox environment where the gameplay could take place,” says David Haggerty, a former programmer on the game.
“We had a little bit of a free-form world, where you could play with anyone.”
The developers then built out an online hub where players could share creations with one another.
A community hub was built around a multiplayer system, allowing players to play with one other and share the same characters.
But the real power of the game was its social element.
Players would have to find each other on the online game servers, chat with one or more other players, and then join a game.
Each character creator had a “friends list,” and each player had a list of friends.
These lists would be shared among friends and would eventually evolve into an online game server, where players would play against one another on a massive server, with each player having his or her own custom character.
Players also could have a friend list of up to 30 other people, and a “friend” list would eventually be expanded to include friends of other players.
The player could share their “friends” lists with friends, and when they played against other players on a multiplayer server, they would have a chance to “tag” their friend.
The game would eventually have an option to have a tag system that allowed people to share their own tags with other players as well.
Haggerty says the game initially focused on the idea of playing with friends and having fun, but that eventually it became an exercise in competitive gameplay, where “the fun wasn’t really about playing with other people.
It was more about the challenge of playing against other people.”
The team that created the game and made the online hub had no idea how large the online community would eventually grow.
They only knew that they wanted to have the biggest online community in the world.
“When we first got together, we had no clue how big that would become,” Haggerties says.
“The more we grew it, the more we wanted to add as many players as possible.”
Players who played against each other were rewarded with “favorites,” which could be used to buy items or buy new items.
There were even online tournaments for players to compete in.
“One of the cool things was that we could have tournaments where people were just trying to make a name for themselves,” Haganty says.
But the team also realized that the online players would eventually begin to overwhelm the team’s server.
“As we got bigger, we were able to expand the server to be able to accommodate a lot more players,” Haggty says, but it still wasn’t enough.
“You had a server with thousands of players and we had just a handful.”
Eventually, Haggerts says, the Go Kart Engine team realized that there was no real way to keep the server open all day.
“A lot of the servers we were using were very congested,” he says.
“So we just got really busy,” he continues.
“And we were like, we have to shut down the server.
We’ve got to shut it down.”
The Go Kart team closed the game down in March of 2013.
Haggty is now a freelance writer who worked on games like “Pete’s Dragon” and “Dead of Winter.”
He also worked on “Lucky Louie,” a new game that he and his co-worker, Alex Minkin, created for “Boys’ Night Out.”
The game was a social card game, where a player would collect tokens and then “tag,” or make friends with other members of the team.
Each time a tag was made, a new character would be created and players could try to tag as many of their friends as they could.
“This is not the game that we wanted it to be,” Minkins says.
The team eventually learned that their servers were not enough to support the online gameplay, so they built out a new server, called the “Humble Store,” which hosted the game servers.
“In the Humble Store, you would get everything you needed,” Higgty says of the original Go Kart engine.
“I remember the first time I logged in, we said, ‘Hey, how much do you want to spend on servers?’
And they said, we don’t really know.”
The company was also able to increase the size of the online multiplayer by adding more servers.
But it was too late.
“There were a lot of servers,” Mankins says, “and the game had just started.”
Haggerts eventually left the company, but M