2010-01-13

Gran Turismo 5, the Duke Nukem Forever of car sims?

Sony announced that the release of Gran Turismo 5 has been postponed. Again. Is this going to be vaporware in the same way Duke Nukem Forever was "just around the corner" for years and years until too much money has been spent and the adoring fans have gone elsewhere?

From what has been said about the development in the media, it seems that they are slowly losing their way. The appeal of GT4 to a great number of people was that you could use it to familiarize yourself with various race tracks. The graphics were fairly good, and the physical model wasn't too annoying (except for some steering oscillation phenomena at high speeds that were quite annoying).

Of course, it did have some elements that were a bit out of place.

Most people I know who are interested in GT4 don't give a crap about the "career" nonsense in which you have to earn points to get access to better driving machinery. Nor do they care about damage models and such. Damage models is probably the single most stupid feature in a car sim when your primary objective is to practice the rythm and flow of a race track. If you go outside the track and the car gets "damaged" it isn't useful. It just means that you have to reset to continue your practice.

And while we're on the subject of resetting: please make the menus quick and easy. I know that the people who make menus think that users are as enthusiastic about them as they are, but the truth is that if your menus necessitate accessing secondary storage, they are no good. There is absolutely no reason why a usable subset of the menu system can't reside in memory at all times.

The way I use GT4 is as a training tool. Before I travel to the Nürburgring I spend a few weeks doing 2-8 laps per day on the playstation for a few weeks. The Ring is a long track and if I skip driving it on GT4 before I go there are a couple of sections where I will struggle a bit more during the first laps.
It doesn't matter that the physics engine isn't entirely realistic. Nor does it matter that the elevation changes aren't really obvious in GT4. What matters is that I can use it to get the rythm and flow of the corners. And believe me, once you do get there, you have an awful lot of other details to pay attention to (track surface temperature, moisture, shadows, bumps, tricky cambers, other drivers, etc.).

If it were up to me I'd prefer a GT5 edition that just concentrates on getting a collection of real race tracks done well -- with cars that are handy on the track. (Forget about the Ferrari 599 and other nonsense). In addition it would be really nice to be able to customize the tracks a bit. Be able to drive them in the dark, in varying weather conditions etc. and with different track configurations (Nürburgring with Nordschleife + GP track for instance).

It would also be nice if they disposed of the need for physical distribution media. They should go for an online distribution model so the game can be updated and improved continually. Possibly with third party extensions (cars, tracks, APIs that allow software extensions etc).

But most of all, they need to stop fiddling with it. Release it already.

3 comments:

  1. ...My friend, what you really need is this: rFactor, Nordschleife 2007 (http://www.rfactorcentral.com/detail.cfm?ID=Nordschleife%202007) and some quality time. I think I have the 75 Evo for rFactor somewhere.

    Then grab Bathurst and V8 Supercars. Rinse and repeat.

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Setting my pubic hair on fire strikes me as slightly more pleasant than maintaining a gaming PC setup.

    Though I wouldn't mind paying you a visit and have a few laps around the ring on your setup. Preferably foregoing the aforementioned pyrotechnical exercise.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete