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Game Developer Explains Why New Racing Games Suck at Car Damage

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Gran Turismo 5 (2010) was the first game in the series to depict visual damage, but only World Rally Championship class rally cars suffered the greatest level of damage, missing doors, bonnets and other body panels.
screenshot: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Former NASCAR driver Jason Jarrett once said, Playstation game named after himTV commercials from the 2000s Jarrett & Labonte Stock Car Racing Two Audi A4 touring cars were staged side by side. Gran Turismo). As Jarrett, Justin Labonte, and an unnamed goggle-wearing accomplice thrash the hell out of a helpless German sedan, the announcer briefs those at home. genuine article damage. “

Credit: RGTV via YouTube

For years, marketers and critics have imposed a sense By the early 2000s, game hardware had matured to the point where realistic, real-time wreckage could be conveyed, Gran Turismo It’s finally here. But if you were paying attention— As some of our commentators have —You may have noticed that the degree of damage done to sanctioned cars in racing games has taken a big step back over the past decade.

I wanted to know why. So, in search of some answers, I turned to a developer at a major game studio with decades of experience building racing games. I only refer to this person as an anonymous game developer. Because companies (both games and cars) don’t usually appreciate people talking about stuff like this. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Adam Ismail: Some games are better than others today, but generally speaking, why don’t cars beat up like they used to in racing games?

Anonymous game developer: I think it’s because so many companies have different rules about what they can and can’t do with their cars. A situation arises where you have to have a damage level. For example, “A car” can be wrecked and wrecked, but “B car” has only minor damage. I’ve worked on games where you’re in that situation and it just seems inconsistent. And I think you are.

And I think racing games are now in a situation like open-world racing games and simulation racing games. Gran Turismo again Assetto Corsa Competizione or whatever. ACC Deals more damage. Because it’s about the simulation level of things and it’s part of the game. On the other hand, open-world racing games — for example, Forza Horizon — it doesn’t really matter in that game. I don’t think they put that much in there because it’s not that important to the game.

AI: I think about the games from, say, 15 years ago. In the 2000s, you saw damage prioritized in games like Dirt and Grid. Even the original forza motorsport damage, Looking back, it was a lot heavier then than in recent years. Do you think it depends on the changing attitudes of automakers? Are they more restrictive about this than they used to be?

GD: Because the game is much bigger than it was then. As a result, more eyes will be seen on cars, and more people will see cars. I also suspect that the much improved fidelity of the game has made the cars look more realistic. [damage] It’s easier to recognize. That’s definitely part of it too.

Check out this interview conducted by GamesRadar mud Producer Alex Grimbley dates back to 2007. This was his 16 years ago and his current racing slate of games is no match when it comes to vehicle damage. Credit: gamesradararchive via YouTube

artificial intelligence: Clearly, automaker sentiment has a lot to do with it.But is there anything on the development side that is holding things back? Is damage seen as a lower priority than it used to be? Gran Turismo Everyone scoffed at it for being probably the most realistic car game, but it didn’t do any damage. Is it difficult from a development standpoint as well, or are these just industry realities and publishers are just trying to keep the conversation away from damage?

GD: Dealing damage is a lot of work — it’s a fair amount of work. Also, there is an additional approval process. Because we need to send what the damage model looks like to the manufacturer so that they can approve it. So it all goes through it. And I guess, [publishers] You’ll probably look to games like Gran Turismo And I said, ‘Hey, they weren’t really damaged and sales weren’t affected.’ I think that’s definitely part of that too — GT’s Lack of aging damage. Obviously they have a little bit of it now, but that was definitely part of the declining importance.

artificial intelligence: In your experience, what specific types of damage have automakers drawn the line on? It feels like breaking glass in racing games isn’t that common anymore.

GD: [T]Hey, it’s very specific that the roof never gets damaged. Importantly, the driver cell must always be completely secure. It’s never part of it. But otherwise, some companies are perfectly fine with the wheels off. The angle of the wheel may be interesting, but actually removing the wheel from the car may be a no-no for some manufacturers.

This video from Formula Digital compares 11 different racing sim damage models.It’s no coincidence that titles without licensed cars paint a much scarier picture. Credit: Formula Digital via YouTube

artificial intelligence: You mentioned earlier how you should deal with the weakest link. So he has seven manufacturers that allow a certain level of damage, then one or he may have two manufacturers come in and disapprove. Is it often a problem to take this superior high-tech damage model and cut it down to please some of our licensees?

GD: I have worked on several games. [cars]Because it’s clearly balanced, […] Mechanically, shock still causes [the same] mechanical damage. But it looks different with the naked eye. Also, you can find that some cars don’t get as battered as others, so that creates a problem. And it looks weird that you have this car and you drive it. But another vehicle that suffered the same impact looks, you guessed it, completely destroyed.

When I started getting feedback from the community it seemed inconsistent [that it became an issue]And they question it, but you can’t tell them why!

artificial intelligence: I don’t see much damage to my device. Is it a game design decision? Isn’t it fun for players when cars get stuck easily?

GD: I know of only one manufacturer that has had problems with terminal damage conditions such that the car is basically undrivable anymore.But in general it’s probably a game design issue [….] When that happens, it’s a game frustration. So although your car will be damaged to some extent, you can still drive around the track and complete the event.

Gran Turismo 5 (2010).

Gran Turismo 5 (2010).
screenshot: Sony Interactive Entertainment

artificial intelligence: Are there any stories that the makers worked on games that had very strange complaints and demands?

GD: No damage. To be completely honest, even more so when it comes to customization. Like Livery Design where there were companies that didn’t like certain designs or shapes for the sides of their cars. There is actually no particular damage. Just the rules we knew from the beginning.

We found that making the damage range an even number either way [between makes] Or I think it doesn’t exist in some games. [important]As you say, I don’t see players talking about it like they used to. It was critical in racing games.Unless something like Wreckfestit’s all about soft bodies and is very different.

artificial intelligence: And of course they get away with that because they don’t use vehicles licensed from real car companies.

GD: they can do whatever they want.

artificial intelligence: That’s why I was thinking. I know car manufacturers play a big part in this, but this is an open secret. But we have to think that it is useful for developers too. It’s like, “Okay, if the manufacturer won’t let me do this, I don’t have to invest a lot of time there and I can focus on other things.” And over time it becomes less important.

GD: That’s right. It becomes less relevant and you can spend more time making your paint look better or your headlights looking better. Something like that, in perfect condition.

The new Forza Motorsport takes into account the context of the impact and the shape of the car's body to make scratches and dirt more detailed.

Scratches and dirt should be removed from the new forza motorsportrespecting the context of the impact and the shape of the car’s body.
screenshot: xbox game studio

Last week, Turn 10 Studios from now on forza motorsport, which focuses on handling the game’s more realistic damage and dirt build-up. According to the studio, it’s now “unique to each car” and “more localized depending on the situation.” It is clear that dirt accumulates in areas of the body that trap particles, but it is time to determine if efforts extend to replicate the results of more severe shunts, such as broken or torn body panels. It’s too early.

Race cars may even get special attention. An anonymous developer from Jalopnik told me the title is centered around real-world motorsport. Assetto Corsa Competizione again iRacing, not only because they are simulations, but “because they are mostly race cars, any damage doesn’t really matter”, and often have more noticeable damage. On the other hand, “The road-going car you will see is Forza HorizonI want to be like [it does] Always in brochures. Manufacturers appear to be slightly less restrictive on non-consumer vehicles, which is understandable from a marketing perspective.

However, broadly speaking, unless the automakers collectively miraculously decide to lighten up that their products are presented in an undesirable light, the best players you can expect in most racing games are dirt and scrapes. Today’s graphics hardware is very powerful, but there are some scenarios where vested interests don’t want to reproduce true detail.

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