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Distance - A Next Generation Arcade Racer's video poster

Join developers behind the hit racing game Nitronic Rush as they take futuristic arcade racing to the next level! Read more

Redmond, WA Video Games
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pledged of $125,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on November 16, 2012.

Join developers behind the hit racing game Nitronic Rush as they take futuristic arcade racing to the next level!

Redmond, WA Video Games
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Refract at GDC! Experimental build and upcoming major update


Before I give a quick recap on our progress this year, I want to mention that Kyle and I will be at GDC next week! If you'll be there and want to see our latest developments or ask questions about anything let us know! Hit us up at any of these:

It's been a couple years since we've done GDC, so we're excited to finally catch up with old friends and put a focus on learning from the greats. Please do feel free to say hello if you'll be around!

The Experimental Branch

In classic Refract fashion we might have bit off a little more than we can chew, so this next major build release has been a long time in the making. Literally hundreds of changes have been made to the core game, and with these improvements comes plenty of bugs.

To help with dev to player transparency (and the testing process in general) we recently announced the availability of an "experimental" branch for Steam users! While we're in the final stages of testing our update, players that feel like living on the edge can update to access to the most "bleeding edge" work in progress features. Here's some of the highlights in the latest experimental build:

  • Added level playlist functionality in the level select menu for creating quick playlists
  • Added automatic Steam Workshop level downloading if you attempt to play on a server with a level that you don't own
  • Input system revamp (i.e. if you reported an input bug this build probably fixed it)
  • Added Logitech G27 support with force feedback
  • The level select menu now supports advanced sorting and rating
  • Revamped the server browser window to be more accessible and allow for hiding private, full, and incompatible servers
  • Fixed most scenarios where the car could tunnel through objects
  • Downloading Steam Workshop levels in the main menu now only downloads newly subscribed levels
  • If you unsubscribed to one or more levels the game now prompts you to delete them
  • Add the ability to move to next or previous level in a set at the end of a match
  • Upgraded the visuals of the main menu to feature your car and highlight community content
  • Added Friends leaderboards category in the Results Screen
  • You're now prompted to rate a Workshop level after finishing a match
  • Fixed tons of issues with the chat window in-game
  • Some minor performance improvements
  • Plus dozens of other tweaks and bug fixes

If you'd like to access this build simply follow the instructions at the link below. Just make sure to read the WARNING section about reverting to build 3315 before updating! Also make sure to report any bugs you find on our bug reporting site, labeling them with the build number you see in the upper right corner.

The Big Update

The focus for this update (as you can probably see above) is on discoverability (is that a word?) and usability. While we're unfortunately not including any levels of our own in this update, there are now over 460 community created levels we want to make sure you don't miss! We wanted to do our best to highlight the content we found enjoyable, and allow the community to more directly affect visibility through rating in-game. After GDC we hope to finally get this monstrous update out the door, and at long last I'll be able to do a proper development breakdown of all of the major changes. Stay tuned, and if you're making it out to GDC we hope to see you next week!

- Jordan (with everyone at Refract)

The Christmas Update is live! Twitch stream at 4pm PST today


Hi everyone!

It's been an insane couple of weeks since the launch but things are going really well. Last week ended up being a bit slower than we hoped due to another round of flu-like illness passing through the office, but after pushing through this week we're finally back and fully engaged.

Our first few days on Steam went far better than we anticipated, and in no surprise our time has quickly been soaked up by the flood of emails and messages. I'll talk more about the specifics in a minute but first I need to mention something happening in just a couple hours!

Distance Advent Calendar on Twitch! TODAY at 4PM PST

(Screenshot from Da Ham/Krispy's level "Rats_Christmas." And yes, that's in-game)

Today marks the final day of the Distance Advent Calendar, a community-run event where track creators have been sharing incredible new level creations each day this month. The 24th and final level of the event was shared today, so we’d like to take a moment to play through every Distance Advent Calendar level shared this month!

We’ll also be playing some multiplayer on Kyle’s new tag level Jingle Valley, and there might even be a couple interesting surprises… See you there!

Watch us play Distance Advent Calendar levels LIVE! (4pm PST / 7pm EST / 1am CET):

The Christmas Update: Beta build 3314 is live!

We also just released a new Distance beta update! It's a minor update that features a new Christmas-themed reverse tag level, a remix of Carol of the Bells (I know, very original), art tweaks, new level editor features, and a fix for the negative leaderboard time bug.

Read the Changelog:

If you want to just listen to the new Christmas remix, here it is on SoundCloud!


#DistanceMoment Competition Winners

Thanks to everyone that shared #DistanceMoments during the weekend before the launch! There were some really great posts shared, so it was incredibly hard to narrow them down to our top five favorites. If you have a chance, I'd check them all out respectively on Twitter, Imgur, and Facebook. Anyways, in no particular order here are our top five:

"Never laughed so hard in Distance as when this happened: #DistanceMoment", Kristian Larsen

's video poster

""Wheels? Where were going we don't need wheels!" "We're gonna fly doc?" "No Marty.. l meant lasers" #distancemoment", Nicholas M-L

"#distancemoment just a few epic screens from the official levels", Christian McClanahan

"#distancemoment Distance level editor + some patience = icy roads!", Ian

"Taking friends advice to design a new level #distancemoment", Mr. Ben

We've already contacted the winners with info on how to claim their prize, as each wins two copies of Distance Deluxe via Humble Bundle. Thanks again to everyone that participated and congrats to our winners!

Watch the first ever Distance Tag Tournament

If you missed it on Saturday, we saw our first ever Distance tag tournament! Since Distance doesn't have a spectator mode it required some ingenuity from the commentators, but overall it was a blast to watch. I personally feel like I learned a lot about the potential for long term competition in Distance just as a spectator, and I can’t wait to see the next match-up some day.

I won’t spoil the winner in case you want to watch it all the way through. See below for the entire stream on Twitch (the action starts around 30 mins in):


Initial thoughts on the Steam Early Access launch

When researching marketing stuff before doing our Steam Early Access launch I wasn't able to find much online, so I hope to contribute my own longer postmortem at some point. In the mean time, I've been writing a quick rundown on what we did before/after the launch, and what stands out in my mind right now. Since this update is already getting pretty long, I'll post it on as soon as it's finished.

Long story short, it went better than expected. We were in the top 10 sellers several times during the first couple days, and all month we've been in the top selling racing and early access game categories. Thanks to all the testing from beta players the build seemed to hold up really well, and reviews on Steam have been surprisingly positive.

In any case, I want to mention the one thing that impressed me the most during this launch. It wasn’t sales numbers, reviews, or the fact the build didn’t fall apart on day one. It was something else. Over and over again I hear reports from new players joining servers with skilled players. Instead of destroying them on the track however, these early backers take the time to answer questions, patiently share advanced techniques, and thoroughly explain how Steam Workshop levels work. On top of that we saw two excellently run community events (DAC and the tag tournament), where every day there’s something new to check out.

Anyways, thanks to so many of you who have been wonderful ambassadors in our community. You've paved the way for positive growth and creativity in the community, and that really opens the doors for bigger and better opportunities on the development side as more players dive in to play multiplayer, create levels, and give quality feedback. Keep up the great work!

Upcoming Beta Updates

While nothing is set in stone, it looks like in 2015 we’re going to be concentrating our efforts on bigger updates instead of smaller, more frequent ones. It’s been our style so far during the alpha and beta, and it seems to give new features a chance to breathe and get proper feedback. I'm honestly not sure what our next big feature will be, but we're still working through the various bug reports and suggestions from the past few weeks to help determine that.

As some may have noticed I opened up the private backer forums to the public so that all of the early access players can get caught up on past developments and updates. If you're new to Distance and are looking for more gritty behind-the-scenes details, you can read many of our previous updates in the Development Updates forum.

From all of us at Refract we hope you have a great holiday season and conclusion to 2014! I know I'm excited to fire on all cylinders in 2015 (and not just because 2015 is an beautiful number, which it is), but it'll be good to take a bit of time to reflect on everything learned in 2014.

I hope you can join our Distance Advent Calendar party on Twitch at 4pm today! In any case have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and we'll see you in 2015!

- Jordan (with everyone at Refract)

Distance is now available on Steam! Reddit AMA + Twitch stream today


After 2.5 years of development including a Kickstarter campaign, Greenlight campaign, private alpha, and private beta, Distance is available for everyone on Steam Early Access! The reaction to the current beta build has been phenomenal, and in our first day we somehow found our way into the Top Sellers list! Thanks to everyone that took a moment to help us spread the word yesterday!

Sharing Distance on Steam Early Access

While we're still being promoted through Steam, we could use your help if you haven't mentioned Distance to your friends! Here are a few things you can do to help:

Share on Facebook:

Helpful links for sharing:
Steam page:

Another simple but powerful way you can help is to leave a review of Distance on our Steam page! Once logged in, a spot for your review should show up halfway down the store page.

Give a review of Distance:

Reddit AMA: TODAY at 1pm PST / 4pm EST

Today at 1pm PST / 4pm EST / 10pm CET a few of us will be answering questions about Distance on Reddit! Visit the link below to be redirected to the AMA (ask me anything) page when it goes live at 1pm PST! Until then it'll redirect to the Distance subreddit (r/Distance).

Reddit AMA (1pm PST):

Twitch Stream: TODAY at 4pm PST / 7pm EST

Following the Reddit AMA we'll take a break and then we'll be streaming community levels and multiplayer for a while on Twitch! Follow refractstudios on Twitch to be instantly notified when we go live!

Refract Twitch stream (4pm PST):

Looking for your Steam key?

In August, we released the private beta to all Kickstarter backers and anyone that had pre-ordered up until that point. For all of those details you can read that post here.

Long story short, all backers can now use Humble Bundle's key resender to access your download page for DRM-free builds and a Steam key. To be clear, you'll never have to buy the game again as your Steam key will work for forever and we'll continue to update the DRM-free builds!

Use this Humble key resender if you need a key:

Creation of the PAX arcade cabinet (album)

I also finally posted a breakdown of the creation of the arcade cabinet from PAX if you'd like to check it out! This was just the prototype for the two cabinets we'll be building for the two $10,000 tier backers. When we build the next couple I hope to take even more photos/videos.

DIY music-synced arcade racing cabinet:

Going Forward

Right now we're incredibly busy with all of the small details of the release like responding to all of the emails/messages we've received, but we're keeping an eye on everyone's feedback for the latest build. There are a lot of directions we could go for our next update so we'll be looking for what sounds exciting and go from there.

Now that the big release is somewhat out of the way I'm excited to write more about actual development (feature/content creation) in future updates again. This has been the craziest ride of our lives, and the train isn't stopping for a while. Since I can't say it enough, thanks as always for the feedback, encouragement, patience, and passion that has fueled this development!

We hope to see you at the Reddit AMA and Twitch streams in just a little bit!

- Jordan (with everyone at Refract)

Updated Level Editor Tutorial, 21 Hours Until Early Access!


There are less than 21 hours until the Steam Early Access release! In many ways it's just the beginning of a new stage of development, but we tend to have a love/hate relationship with big releases. Things coming together at the end is always a blend of exhilarating and stressful, but that's only because we've poured the past two years of our lives into this and we want to see it through.

Right now we're spending all of our time in continual outreach to get Distance in front of more people. If you have a favorite YouTuber, streamer, or writer that you want to check out Distance, feel free to let them know that Distance is releasing on Steam tomorrow and we'd love for them to check it out!

If you'd like to share Distance, here are some helpful links:


This also means that there are less than 21 hours left to pre-order the game and get 25% off. If you know anyone that might be interested in getting the discount, send them to our website here:

Updated Level Editor Tutorial

To accompany all of the great additions Kyle and Jason have added to the level editor, we created an updated editor tutorial! It shows how you can create a sprint level in just a few minutes, as well as revealing some of the newest features like attaching decorations to the road. If nothing else it's a great way to see the current state of the editor.

Our "Playstation Experience" Experience

Kyle and I just wrapped up showing at the two day Playstation Experience event in Las Vegas. Overall it was really fun and a great chance to show Distance to the Playstation community while catching up with members of the press. We were impressed with how well it was put together in its first year. Thanks to all of the backers that dropped by to say hi!

#DistanceMoment Reminder

We've seen some fun #DistanceMoments posted so far! I just wanted to remind everyone that we're selecting our top 5 favorite #DistanceMoment screenshots posted on Imgur, Twitter, or Facebook and giving out two copies of Distance Deluxe to the uploaders. Read here for all of the details in case you missed them. There are only two days left to enter your screenshot into the competition!

So much to do in the next 21 hours. Time to grab some more coffee... see you on the other side!

- Jordan (with everyone at Refract)

Win copies of Distance in the #DistanceMoment competition! 3 days until early access!


Hi everyone,

The Steam Early Access release is only 3 DAYS AWAY!! We've pulled some of the craziest all-nighters of this development getting things ready, and we're so excited that it's less than 72 hours away!

Pre-order until December 9th to get 25% off!

We've decided to bump up the price of Early Access to $20 (from the original Kickstarter price of $15). Until December 9th you can still pre-order the beta for $15, so if you know someone who's interested they might want to jump in at the lower price. The public beta will be available to anyone that pre-ordered Distance on December 9th!

Get it while it's hot!

Screenshot Competition! Your Favorite #DistanceMoment

This weekend we're doing a small competition leading up to the release on Steam! The winners (5 to be exact) will each win 2 copies of the Distance Deluxe tier on Humble Bundle! You can gift them to a couple friends or keep them all to yourself.

To win, simply upload a screenshot of Distance to Imgur, Facebook, or Twitter that represents one of your favorite moments in the beta. It could be from Adventure mode, multiplayer, getting wrecked by a laser, or even using the level editor!

To take a screenshot you can use the Steam screenshot feature (by default you can press F12 while in-game), press PrintScreen on your keyboard if available, or use a program like FRAPS.

You have until 11:59PM PST TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9TH to share your #DistanceMoment! Later next week we'll review our favorites and post the winners in another update. Be prepared for us to contact you via Imgur, Facebook, or Twitter with details on how to claim your prize!


- When sharing use the hashtag "#DistanceMoment" so that it's easy for us to find it.

- Your screenshot must be an original screenshot captured by you.

- Your Distance screenshot must be shared publicly on Imgur, Twitter, and/or Facebook to qualify.

- You can share as many #DistanceMoments as you like!

- Refract developers will look through all of the shared screenshots and pick our five personal favorites (as shared by five separate individuals).

- The creators of the top five winning #DistanceMoments will each win 2 copies of the Distance Deluxe package via Humble Bundle (see more details at

- While it doesn't directly increase you chances of winning, massive kudos if you use a GIF to share your moment!


Distance Advent Calendar

Finally, I wanted to again mention this month's Distance Advent Calendar. As a game player (let alone a creator) I've really never seen anything like this before. The Distance community is coming together to pour incredible passion and organization into releasing a new level (and often times a wallpaper) EVERY SINGLE DAY leading up to Christmas.

Even if you don't play each level (which I highly recommend you do), definetely take a moment to check out the impressive designs released so far! Check out the full thread of levels and wallpapers here.

 Video: Distance Track Showcase: Colliding Worlds by Krispy

 Video: DAC 2 - Nitro Sleigh Ride

 Video: Distance: "Detection" Custom Level

 Workshop: Distance East (by Da Ham)

Workshop: The Greenhouse (by Quargzon)

Finally, Distance on PS4!

As many of you may have heard, we also announced this week that Distance will be coming to the Playstation 4! We're obviously still focused on the Steam Early Access release in the short term but this should be something interesting to watch out for down the road.

Playstation Blog: Can You Survive the Distance on PS4?

We'll also be showing Distance at Playstation Experience this weekend! It's the first event Sony has ever done like this so it's definitely interesting to be a part of the first year. If you'll be in Las Vegas this weekend for PSX drop by our booth in the indie area!

For a brief update on game development, Kyle and Jason have been adding some impressive new features to the level editor as well as improving tons of loose ends. Chin created amazing new art for the Steam page. Eddie and Laura have greatly improved some of the story-centric art in Adventure mode. Finally, Ellie and I have been working to get the word out about Early Access to press.

We can't wait to see your #DistanceMoments this weekend! I'll be back with another update very soon so keep watching that inbox!

- Jordan (with everyone at Refract)