Progress has been slow, not least because of a family christmas visit this last weekend, but also because I seem to have reached a gameplay impasse to some extent.
Where progress through the racing series was once rapid, I reached a point somewhere mid-way through the amateur series whereby advancement required me to purchase specific cars for certain races, meaning that i had to re-run previous races to build up some cash so as to buy various lumps of metal.
It’s odd, because my aim of making that money also levels me up, which provides me with the chance to enter different racing series, and thus the new level renders the cars I have more useful, and thus the original aim of saving up to buy a new car is negated as when my level goes up I no longer need the new car and can safely ignore the random race series I was looking at.
Follow that? No, me neither. In short, when one saves up to have to buy an American Muscle car, one finds oneself having re-done enough races and earned enough “experience points” (Does this sound like “grind” to you?) to not require an American muscle car any more because one can now enter a series for normal cars.
Oh well, ho hum, I still got a lovely Lancia Delta HF integrale and it’s quite good fun, but on the whole alot of the lustre of the game is starting to wear off, the grind up the levels and through the various race series is all a bit “de ja vu”.. I am not sure there is enough newness in there to make it a fresh experience, and arguably there needs to be more American Muscle Cars to buy if there are so many races based on them.
I want to be tiresome for a while and talk about physics again. It was asserted by a notably French friend of mine that:
“..this is Gran Turismo. You’ve never liked Gran Turismo for its hardcore realism. It’s a mainstream game designed to be played with a wheel or a pad by teenagers around the world. It’s a very forgiving model of course, how could it be different? Its target is the kid in us, the one who stares at sports cars in the streets. The good news is that you have not lost contact with this kid.
This game is more about cars than racing. Kaz Is fascinated by the industrial object that is the automobile, and he’s fascinated by the emotion this object tends to give to people. This is clearly shown by the splendid opening clip. If you like cars and would like to have an interactive encyclopedia of automobiles then go for it… If not then there is still plenty of choice for the hardcore… First one being… Reality.”
Whilst I was touched by the sentiment, and the poetic Frenchness of its delivery, I don’t think I necessarily agree with the “If I want realism I’ll go outside” suggestion. This is mainly because the tagline of this game is “The Real Driving Simulator”, and this implies to me that there should be some focus on realism, call me mad.
There is, of course, albeit sadly not that much has moved on since previous iterations of the GT series.
What got to me last night was this tyre heat cycle modelling that seemed initially to be quite developed from earlier games in the series. Further testing has revealed to me that tyres will not really overheat unless you are going crazy with them, just driving them hard will not overheat them, even in the following circumstance:
For reasons best known to the developers, there is a new track in GT5 featuring a rather absurd 360 degree corner. What this corner gives us is quite a nice physics test: a long, long corner with which to play with the balance of the car and see how it reacts to various mid-corner control inputs. It is quite easy to see the overheating process here, by simply provoking the car into a lurid slide that can quickly make all tyres turn red. Thankfully, as previously mentioned, they very quickly drop this temperature, even though they are in the middle of a 90mph corner.
However, what seemed odd to me (Other than the instacold) is that when taking this corner cleanly, but fast and hard, in such a way as to get round it as fast as one can, involves putting a huge amount of load into the left side tyres, particularly the front left, which is at a considerable slip angle for some time through the corner. It is gently pushing, and the car is being held in steady state of yaw all the way through the corner, at not inconsiderable speed.
Throughout this the front and rear left side tyres do not gain any heat, neither do they overheat, prompting a more gentle approach, as would be the case in such a long corner. It seems that the heat modelling works in, more or less, an on/off way. As soon as slip reaches what the physics model decides is an unreasonable level the tyre goes red and there is a huge drop off in grip, tuck it in and reduce the slip and the tyre goes back to blue almost instantly, there is no progression to this heat cycle and no notable increase in temperature from what I would call “heavily working the tyres.” Hence the heat in the tyres is not really cumulative over consistent heavy driving. As such, it is very easy to find the point whereby you can avoid any redness, but still work the tyres quite hard and thus have the tyres almost constantly at their optimum range. This, for me, breaks down some of the illusion built up that the tyre is a constantly changing variable in the physics engine, or that this game is quite so much of the revolution it was sold as.
However, I should really just listen to the Frenchness and get on with having fun instead of all this analysis.. if I can.
Finally, I tried a special event utilising the Lotus Elise 111S last night that seemed to suggest very, very odd mid engine behaviour. I shall be doing more research on that for next time, especially after I have checked whether that Elise had a grand piano strapped to the back of it!