Happy 10th Birthday To The Duck
Oh my gosh I can’t believe it, we bloody well made it to year number 10!!
Wow! Where do I start with this one then? I think starting at the start would be a good start, so that’s where I’ll start.
Before It All
Back in 2005 a trailer for a game showed at E3, this game was Test Drive Unlimited and it hooked me almost straight away. With its massive environment, great cars, bikes! (and I’m not even a huge bike fan but it was something different) and a general feeling of being more about the drive than the race, here was a title I had been waiting a long time for.
In the run up to the original release for Xbox 360 in September 2006 it was clear that this game was going to draw in a good crowd and that those people would be of a sort that would just get what this game allows. Well that happened and they were easy to spot as they all visited the official Atari community forums, of which I later became a moderator on because of my selfless promotion of the game… I mean my helpfulness to others was just that amazing.
Over that time of being on these forums I came to meet many of the members from it in the game itself. This showed there was just so much potential for a dedicated community to the game and being that I was in fact a long time admin of the Forzacentral community, the idea of where to go in relation to a name was obvious.
Welcome to Test Drive Unlimited Central
Funnily enough, I still remember writing the original ‘Welcome to TDU Central !!’ thread at 3AM in the morning, ready for the ‘switch to be flicked’ at noon the same day. And as that time came to strike, the community of Test Drive Unlimited Central kicked off right on time at 12:00pm (UK time) on February 1st 2007. After about 2 mins this was shortened to TDU Central (TDUc) for obvious reasons and the community that enjoyed the game flocked over to the new place.
All the good eggs came over and signed up and plenty of discussion, showing of media and arranging meet-ups and such were well underway. The PC mob weren’t staying away either as the release of TDU was heading their way and so over they came also. And it is thanks to these early pioneers that our popularity spiked as their early experiments in the modding of TDU started to show some real promise, and when new vehicles were getting closer and closer to being able to be put into the game, visitor numbers surged and activity frankly exploded.
Unfortunately all this attention made our hosting practically do the same and so we had to look elsewhere and moving up the power chain meant increased costs, but thankfully a good amount of generous members contributed from their own pockets to keep things running.
Over the years there were some really hard times and there were moments where we actually were away and had moved to a temporary free hosting forum which we subsequently labelled ‘TDU C-rap’ if I remember correctly.
These hardships were overcome and forum life in general was pretty sweet, with plenty of regulars having fun and joking about with one another, game sessions and meets being proposed and members for clubs being sought after. This was a fun time!
Here comes Test Drive Unlimited 2!
In early 2009 the infamous BADNED, who you may know from Forza circles, posted about how a sequel was on its way, showing some of the old media and information that he had available to him. Unsurprisingly this lit a fire under people in our community and the chatter started to happen about what they hoped to see, what they wanted fixed and improved, and what the new location could well be.
Well after that little burst of news I took it upon myself to go hunting for goodies myself and so, armed with Google and some knowledge on how to go about performing advanced searches, I set out on my web expedition and to my surprise, found quite a lot of stuff.
Concept art, vehicle renders, interface graphics and icons and a small clip from a work in progress trailer video. Some of this concept media was displaying some weather scenes and so again another flourish of conversation and hype-building was unleashed on us.
At the end of 2009 I received an email, this email was from none other than Mr David Nadal, head chieftain of Eden Games and in it he was responding to the info I had found and commented that he found it flattering and showed that the desire for a sequel was strong. He ended his message with words to the effect that '2010 will be an important year' and left it at that. It wasn't until March 2010 that the official drop arrived on the scene. As this is when an email containing details about TDU 2 and its first official screenshots went out. Naturally though, I was out taking care of some business down in the town when it arrived and so I missed being able to post it for our members before it spread like wildfire around the internet. (sods law and all that)
Shortly after this I was invited to attend a TDU 2 event in Lyon at Eden Games with another fansite admin, Fabien of tdu.fr fame, where we were treated to a presentation about the game, allowed to ask questions, watch the game, watch the game crash (these things happen during development), play the game, comment on how the game was “twitchy” and “had too much grip” and then get a tour around the studio where many a vehicle model was seen that we had to keep quiet about. (still sour about no Lamborghini even though…)
Understandably the other TDUc muppets were thrilled that I had been able to do this and had nothing but warm wishes and smiles for me when I got back but hey they and some of the regular scum members got a chance to head on down to London where at Namco Bandai Partners we got to check out TDU 2, eat pizza and watch Baldy consume an unhealthy amount of sparkling water. This was a really fun day and one I am so glad to have been able to do, not because of the game but because of being able to meet the people behind the words and see just how they were in real life. They were all quality people and I really would like to see them again in the future. *Aww*
TDU 2 What Happened To You?!
Not going to lie, TDU 2 for many of the original game’s players was not a good game at all. It fixed the problem of the roads and gave us a whole other island to play with but the core of it, the driving, was horrible. The cars were very twitchy and performing a powerslide was not as natural as it was in its predecessor, and not just in Hardcore mode either but there was a real feel of delay in getting the vehicle to respond to your controls and despite the lovely smooth roads compared to TDU, the driving just didn’t make it fun to play.
I myself spent 98% of my TDU 2 playtime in the Casino, playing the slots or praying for the roulette not to crash out or say you’ve won but still take your money. Out of most of my gambling time a good amount was probably spent drinking cocktails in order to win a ticket for the high stakes Poker game. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed this aspect and the winnings from it allowed me to buy the yacht, all the Veyrons and every other hypercar but that was it. I could not drive them in that game and that kind of hurt as this was a sequel myself and my community had been waiting years for, and here it was and it was pretty bad…. for us anyway.
Not ignoring the people who do enjoy the game but for fans of the original TDU 2 over on our place, it was quite the disappointment.
Within a very short time of the release of TDU 2 we realised that being a dedicated TDU community wasn’t going to work any more and so we opened up the discussion about where we should go from here. This talk was mainly contained within our chatbox amongst the regular and veteran members until a thread was created by tWm looking to create a proper conversation on the matter.
It descended into mainly jokes and piss taking but there were a couple of genuine suggestions and comments on the matter. One of these was made by me™ who commented “Rename it to TDuck, as in Turbo Duck” and this was noticed, in fact as we were known as TDUc which was said as T-duck the name had came up before along with other words that begin with ‘t’.
As I liked the name that much, in August I went ahead and registered the domain to keep it as a proper option.
Throughout the rest of 2011 and into 2012 the name was picking up steam amongst people and so it was decided this is what we were going to rebrand ourselves as. I started work on the first version of turboduck which included a main site that had been missing for too long and version ‘one’ went live on October 23rd 2012.
The focus was removed from TDU and all other games were brought in along with more typical gaming, automotive and motorsport talk and that has been our way ever since.
We still have our crazy laid back ways and aim to make our members find fun on our place and will continue to do so for as long as I hold the admin hat.
The future… ?
Looking ahead, it’s going to a bit of a strange one. A new TDU looks to be coming so naturally people are watching that but with more caution because they do not want to be bitten again. A new Forza Motorsport is on its way and should be looking incredible on Scorpio and PC, GT Sport is just coming at some point (starting to really not care about that series), Assetto Corsa has brought an awesome PC racing sim to console, DiRT Rally has shown that a proper sim can sell and play well too, VR is making games even more fun and immersive and old names are reappearing making some of us ask…
It’s been an epic time and a hard time but it’s certainly been one that’s been amazing to see. I thank each and every member who has posted and shared anything worthwhile on our community forum and wish you all the best in life, even if that means leaving us and finding your way in the real world.
Just make sure to come back now and then and let us know how you are getting on.
As for us. We will just keep on keeping to our motto: Be Stupid Responsibly!
– turboduck team