Forza 4 might give GT5 a serious run for its money

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The Forza series is the Xbox equivalent of PlayStation’s Gran Turismo. There’s some serious competition between the two games as to who can be the more realistic driving simulator. Gran Turismo 5 was released towards the end of last year and while some were a little disappointed with it, most people thoroughly enjoyed it as a hyper-realistic driving simulator.

Forza 4 is on the way, although a concrete release date is still nowhere in sight; the last we were told we could expect it around autumn 2011 (our spring here in South Africa). The team behind the Forza series has been pretty busy, and a post over on MSN Autos sheds some light onto just how busy they’ve been. Gran Turismo 5 might be up for some serious competition insofar as hyper-realism is concerned.

The way tires interact with road surfaces is key to creating realism in driving simulators. As such, Turn 10 Studios has invested a lot of time with companies like Pirelli in order to gather as much data on how tires change driving experiences. The development team has “modelled tire-related properties, such as weight transfer, and have incorporated proprietary performance data from tire manufacturer Pirelli into Forza 4. The result, the company says, is the most up-to-date simulation of how modern tires grip or slip in a variety of racing conditions”.

Tires are merely one part of the equation when it comes to handling. Road surfaces and tracks are just as important when designing for realism. As such, Turn 10 Studios hired out every racetrack that appears in the game. Over days, the development team plotted and studied each course, taking “terabytes worth of video and photos, and tracing the inside, middle and outside portions of the road surfaces with a commercial-grade GPS system”. According to the article on MSN Auto, “the resulting map detects road crowning, tiny changes in camber, or angle, and other anomalies with subcentimeter accuracy, all of which can be coded into the game for even more realism”.

What about Kinect? It’s already been mentioned that the motion-sensing peripheral will be utilised in Forza 4 along with a standard game controller, but what will it do? Those who have Kinect will be able to ogle their cars in a more immersive way. You’ll be able to open doors with your hands, crouch down to get a closer look at various parts, and move yourself around the interior of the vehicle. Of course, the same applies during races as you’ll be able to shift your body to alter the direction that your driver is looking. It sounds a little gimmicky, but it fits with the ethos of adding realism to the game. By incorporating player body movements into how you interact with the cars in the game, the immersion factor is kicked up a notch.

Source: MSN Auto [via Eurogamer]

Last Updated: February 18, 2011

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