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Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo 4

Discussion in 'Channel Zero' started by Weapon X, Dec 2, 2003.

  1. Weapon X

    Weapon X 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Sep 6, 2002 Messages: 14,905 Likes Received: 202

    from gamers.com

    We got to spend more quality time with the three-track Gran Turismo 4 demo, and so far the biggest changes are mostly visual. If you've seen the shots of the Grand Canyon track, you know what we're talking about there. One thing the screenshots can't convey is the amount of suspension travel the cars exhibit, especially on the Grand Canyon rally course, where the cars seem to be constantly bouncing along the bumpy track. On the road the cars handle much as they did in A-Spec, although the dirt course racing feels very much improved, on par with the best dedicated rally games. Polyphony Digital director Kazunori Yamauchi made some big promises for improved driver AI, claiming computer controlled cars would exhibit more human-like behavior--actually trying to avoid your car instead of ramming into it, for example--but, unfortunately, that doesn't seem to have made it into the demo. You can still bounce off them with impunity if you go into a corner too quickly, but Yamauchi says that'll also be changed for the final release. Here's hoping.

    May 15 2003, Lastest E3 impression by D. F. Smith, Gamers.com
    E3 2003: Playing Gran Turismo 4 is an exercise in foregone conclusions. Luckily, it's one of a very pleasant sort. As expected, the newest Real Driving Simulator is very real indeed, and promises an avalanche of courses and cars in comparison to any of the previous games in the series. Sony is talking about more than 50 courses and more than 500 cars -- even if those numbers are perhaps padded a bit by variant tracks and multiple annual models, that's still an awful lot of driving for the money.

    The demo presently on display offers three tracks and a handful of cars for each. Japan's Tsukuba circuit represents the licensed racetrack component, the Grand Canyon course offers rallying action, and an urban road race through New York City. The car selection for each is appropriate to the course -- there are more straight racecars on Tsukuba, tuned rally cars for Arizona, and some classic road racers in New York. Across the board, though, it's great to see an improvement in the diversity of the car lineup, coming closer to and even exceeding the selection of Gran Turismo 2

    This, for example, is the list of cars available in New York:

    Lotus Europa Special
    Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 350
    Nissan 240ZG
    Chevrolet Camaro Z28
    Alpine Renault 1600S
    Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA
    Isuzu 117 Coupe
    Toyota Corolla Levin 1600GT Apex
    Plymouth Barracuda 440-6
    Pontiac GXP
    Toyota Supra Twin Turbo (old version)
    Honda Prelude Type-S
    Suzuki Cappucino
    Chevrolet Chevelle SS
    Pontiac GTO
    Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII
    Subaru Impreza WRX STi
    Plymouth Prowler
    Pontiac Vibe GT
    Chevrolet SSR
    Nissan Fairlady Z LM Edition
    Mazda RX-8 LM Edition
    Honda NSX-R LM Edition.
    That's a pretty sick lineup of a cars for the game's first demo appearance, and look at the variety on display. There are Le Mans racers, rally homologation specials, bizarro concepts, classic European sportscars, modern Japanese sportscars, famous oddities, the Cappucino (which falls into no available category), and a rumbling contingent of American muscle. And it's only about four percent of what we're told to expect in the finished version of the game.

    Beyond the demo's slice of the last 35 years or so, Gran Turismo 4 intends to replicate the history of automotive racing back to its earliest days. We're told that the car roster will include some very classic classics, along with a special musem mode to show them off and provide more historical information about the game. Exactly how far back the garage will go, of course, remains up in the air, but Detroit was making some pretty speedy rides at least as far back as the 1930s. At the very least, Formula One-styled open-wheel racers are definitely on tap.

    During today's press conference discussing the game, director Kazunori Yamauchi discussed further details of how the game's new physics engine replicates the behavior of each car. After stripping down and rebuilding the existing physics, Polyphony Digital tested it against cars raced in real-life conditions. A Mazda RX-8 raced at Laguna Seca yielded a lap time with less than one second's variance from a similar lap recorded in the game. A VW Lupo on Tsukuba circuit was replicated to within one second. And the virtual Honda S2000, known to be one of Yamauchi's favorite cars, came within four tenths of a second of matching its real-life counterpart at Tsukuba.

    At the same time, though, the new physics engine is meant to be easier to drive than earlier games. The steering is to be a little less squirelly, perhaps thanks to a widening of the central dead zone among other tweaks, so beginning players won't spin out at high speeds on the straights. Ultimately, Yamauchi hopes to create what might be an introductory training tool for future motorsport drivers -- a pretty bold claim, but if there's any game that can do it, it's this one.

    And it looks pretty sharp while it's doing it. We've had a lot to say about GT4's graphics already, but new details reveal themselves every time through. The New York course is really something once you get to put in a couple of full laps. The back stretch actually peels right through Times Square, complete with theater ads, McDonalds storefronts, and towering billboards attached to the surrounding skyscrapers. There are bits of draw-in in the background at key points, as there were in GT3's Tokyo circuit, but we're not likely to complain about tiny issues like that when the overall package still has this much impact.

    One of the bigger issues that's dogged the GT series over the year, however, is artificial intelligence. Your opposition in these games has historically been a bit on the passive side -- to be blunt, the other cars on the track served as place markers, racing more or less the same line on each track. GT4 plans to change that in a few ways -- Yamauchi hasn't said much about more aggressive driving from the computer, but he does want to include smoother, more realistic, and more conscientious AI drivers. The computer will race closer to the capabilities of a human, matching the best human lap times to within one second (as opposed to 2.5 seconds, as in GT3), and respond more realistically to the race around them. Earlier games had AI that would simply bump you if you crossed their pre-programmed line, while GT4 is to feature better-trained competition, with smoother evasion capabilities and the good sense to brake in response to an oncoming obstacle.

    For serious drivers who want the best edge on the opposition, there's a new GT steering wheel in the works from Logitech, offering more realistic features in comparison to the original GT-Force. The biggest change is its range of motion -- it rotates 900 degrees lock-to-lock, comparable to most modern cars, meaning that you'll actually have to steer hand over hand in this game, rather than just tweaking a wheel through 180 degrees or so. It also mixes improved precision with a far more powerful force feedback effect. The demo units currently on display at Sony have the feedback set towards the stiffer end of the spectrum, but once the game is fully tuned, the wider range of feedback settings means more realistic and varied effects for different cars. One change that some may find a little mixed is the inclusion of a shift lever, however, instead of the buttons on the original wheel. The author would honestly prefer an F1-style paddle shift, but the lever is admittedly a bit more realistic given the wide range of cars included in the game.

    Driving with the wheel takes a lot of getting used to. The expanded steering range makes it far more sensitive, and it's harder to recover from a bad spinout when you need to haul on the wheel so hard to correct your course. After a while, though, it becomes easier to drift correctly around the turns -- cruising through New York in a nimble Lotus Europa was brilliant fun, so long as nobody bumped the light midship-engined Europa and sent it spinning out of control. The rally mode is made tough as nails by the heavy force feedback settings, but ace drivers around the show floor had the game well in hand and were pulling off some perfect slides.

    GT4's online component remains its most mysterious feature. Yamauchi wouldn't say anything, other than that it will feature the same six-car field as every other racing mode in the series. For now, however, it's probably enough to know that it's coming -- even the simplest of competitive modes would be a big addition to the series.

    After all, it's not as if Gran Turismo 4 is short on content. More cars than before, more courses than before, the promise of an improved tuning mode (reflecting "current trends," they say), the return of used cars, and the souped-up technology powering the whole works make for some pretty compelling reasons to get excited about this game. We'll keep bringing in the latest details as long as we're excited, which should be right up until the game's winter release.



    ^ i hope these work.
  2. Weapon X

    Weapon X 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Sep 6, 2002 Messages: 14,905 Likes Received: 202
    what’s that invis.anonymizer thing??? These pictures are MUST SEEEE!!!!!!!
  3. Dr. Dazzle

    Dr. Dazzle Veteran Member

    Joined: Nov 19, 2001 Messages: 8,147 Likes Received: 3
    Hey X did you get my email??
  4. Weapon X

    Weapon X 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Sep 6, 2002 Messages: 14,905 Likes Received: 202
    Donovan McNabb is stellar.

    Yo, Daz, I have a vague memory of replying to your email while I was drunk, but I couldn’t remember for sure. I’m starting the process of rebuilding my other computer, so I may hit you up for that if you still have a copy. If not, no worries, you’ll probably have something else that I want by then.

    I may have fixed the pictures in the first post…did I?
  5. Dick Quickwood

    Dick Quickwood 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Aug 25, 2002 Messages: 14,783 Likes Received: 14
    that reminds me, i need to get gran turismo 3
  6. japillahan

    japillahan Senior Member

    Joined: May 5, 2003 Messages: 1,308 Likes Received: 69
    car games where cars dont blow up dont make sense
  7. Crimsøn

    Crimsøn Senior Member

    Joined: Dec 18, 2003 Messages: 2,120 Likes Received: 1
    ^^^ Yea, but they're fun.
  8. caL

    caL Senior Member

    Joined: Feb 7, 2003 Messages: 2,056 Likes Received: 0
    i dont have a ps2, but i will get one just for this game
  9. Weapon X

    Weapon X 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Sep 6, 2002 Messages: 14,905 Likes Received: 202
    I’ve been checking the net and have been getting varied answers regarding when this gem will be released. I don’t have any subscriptions to video game magazines, so could someone fill me in? I’m being an Anxious Andy here, I know.
  10. Dick Quickwood

    Dick Quickwood 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Aug 25, 2002 Messages: 14,783 Likes Received: 14

    got it, i think i'm gumma go play in a couple minutes.

    oh yeah, driver 3 is coming out in february
  11. iloveboxcars

    iloveboxcars 12oz Royalty

    Joined: Jul 29, 2002 Messages: 20,506 Likes Received: 450
    I am looking forward to this game a little. MGS 3 is the only thing that has been grabbing my attention though.
  12. Weapon X

    Weapon X 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Sep 6, 2002 Messages: 14,905 Likes Received: 202
    Yeah, that looks good…but you know what’s gonna be ten times better, if not more?

    Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. I will be starting a thread on that in the near future. Supposedly drops in March. Check out pandoratomorrow.com for a trailer.
  13. iloveboxcars

    iloveboxcars 12oz Royalty

    Joined: Jul 29, 2002 Messages: 20,506 Likes Received: 450
    Dude what? You think Splinter Cell is going to be better than MGS3? Shit.
  14. Swiffer Jet

    Swiffer Jet Elite Member

    Joined: Jul 14, 2003 Messages: 2,669 Likes Received: 0
    splinter cell better than MGS3? hell no.
  15. Dick Quickwood

    Dick Quickwood 12oz Loyalist

    Joined: Aug 25, 2002 Messages: 14,783 Likes Received: 14
    my thumb is sore