Since announced at Gamescom Opening Night Live, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with the all-new arena creator in DIRT 5 called Playgrounds. For the first time in the franchise, players will be able to design, upload, browse and compete in various game modes on player-made racing arenas.
In the build I was given access to, I had the choice of creating my own custom arena set in the Arizona desert or the Cape Town Stadium. Naturally, I tried both, and whilst they don’t have too much space to play around with, there’s still much that can be accomplished on these blank canvases thanks to the game’s impressive variety of tools and objects.
Blocks, ramps and boxes can form the groundworks of a custom arena. Add dirt patches, bumps and water slides to diversity the terrain before dropping in vast loops, rings of fire, buses or wrecked vehicles to jump over. If you’re making a gymkhana-style event, then don’t forget to place drift gates and donut spots. These pieces are organized into various categories and as you can likely tell, there’s much to choose from.
Once an object has been chosen, it can be manipulated to your liking. The game clearly defines where you can or cannot place entities. Objects that can be fitted together will automatically snap too, which rather makes the entire experience much more pleasant. This also ensures Playgrounds retain their flow. Multiple objects can also be moved or duplicated on the fly to further speed up the process.
Arenas created within Playgrounds can be designed for one of three modes:
Keep in mind, these are all solo-orientated modes. Considering the track props are designed to fit one vehicle at a time, don’t expect live multiplayer action in Playgrounds – at least not at launch.
Once satisfied with an arena or custom track, be sure to test drive it with any of the game’s different vehicles – all of which are available in Playgrounds. Keep in mind, some are better suited to certain terrains than others, but there’s no shortage of rides to choose from.
Once the event has been validated, you’ll be able to publish it for the entire community to download and try out for themselves – with a shared leaderboard showing the best times or scores for everyone who has participated. DIRT 5 allows you to easily find events created by the community, just choose from any of the highlighted ones or manually search for something more specific.
I tried a couple of events made by Codemasters themselves and it’s fair to say, there’s much variety to be found in Playgrounds in terms of unique track layouts and stunt arenas – and they’ll only become more diverse in the future as Codemasters adds new “decorative touches” and “insane obstacles” in future updates to DIRT 5.
In the meantime, there’s much fun to be had from Playgrounds, whether you’re a creator, a racer or stunt master. If you’re planning to pick up DIRT 5 when it launches on November 6th, then I highly recommend giving this a go.
Alan is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. As someone who enjoys spending all his free time playing video games, he delivers the latest in news stories, reviews, and feature articles to the website, as well as videos on his YouTube channel and livestreams over on Mixer.