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gamescom – GT5 Yamauchi demo reveals Course Maker, B-Spec, Kart racing and more

Thursday, 19th August 2010 09:00 GMT By Patrick Garratt

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Polyphony Digital boss Kanunori Yamauchi showed off the latest build of Gran Turismo 5 in Cologne yesterday, finally announcing modes to create tracks, manage races in what looks to be an exhaustive B-Spec mode and much more.

Yamauchi spoke in an early session in Cologne yesterday – the content of which was embargoed until now, presumably to coincide with the Famitsu issue that leaked yesterday – to show near-final code of his epic racer to gamescom attendees. Get new screens below.

Yamauchi said he had downloaded the code from his hotel room that morning (“That’s how fresh it is!”) which probably explains why it only crashed once. The conference consisted of a series of live demos showing off a slew of new features in what will be one of the final big information releases before the game ships in November.

What is now, what could have been

The developer showed a new track in Monza – which he said was ideal for both novices and experts – and some new cars on static screens, such as an Impreza Sudan and a Lexuys Racing Concept, then launched into a what amounted to a history lecture on the 1967 GT circuit.

The Ferrari 230 E4 popped up on screen, Yamauchi saying it’s one of his favourite cars “in the world.” Resplendent in red and gold with a 21 painted on the side, the car took first, second and third place at Daytona in 1967, only to be beaten at Le Mans in the same year by the Ford GT MKIV. Apparently this is a famous motorsport story.

With everyone looking a little baffled, Yamauchi went on to explain that the Jaguar XK13 was supposed to participate in the 1967 Le Man race – it had a top cylinder engine mounted mid-ship, don’t you know – but the project was cancelled immediately before the event and the car was never seen in action. Jaguar only has one of them. Yamauchi and his team have put it in the game.

Yamauchi’s idea is to be allow people to recreate a race that never happened. Correct: you can use cars you probably never knew about to live out a fantasy only serious car enthusiasts will have ever known. The images on the screen, the lecture on a race that never was and the combinative slack-jawed expression on the assembled faces were the first hint at an attention to detail in GT5 that most normal people would describe as “fucking mental”.

Easy as A-Spec, B-Spec

History out of the way, Yamauchi moved onto his first big reveal. As was leaked from Famitsu yesterday, GT5 has two, equally-billed game modes – A-Spec and B-Spec.

A-Spec’s the “real driving simulator” mode you’re familiar with from other GT games. B-Spec is “the racing simulation RPG”. You know what it’s like to watch an F1 race? It’s like that, but you can interact with it.

He didn’t show A-Spec at all, focusing on the new mode. B-Spec didn’t go too well in Gran Turismo 4, he said, and it was included only experimentally, but will be included in the game at the same “volume” as A-Spec in GT5.

In B-Spec, commands are given to the driver – or drivers – in a race. Each driver has a unique personality which you nurture, as with characters in a normal RPG. Yamauchi described the mode as “the start of a new GT Life”.

Drivers levels up as they go through races; one may end up hot-tempered while another may be timid.

You start with one driver, but can end up with six. You’ll need at least four drivers to complete a 24-hour race. On the mode’s main screen, drivers are shown at top right with numbers next to them indicating level, at a guess. Arrows next to their helmeted images point right and down, indicating condition. Drivers need to recover, and so on, and have mental and physical health attributes which are affected in real-time during races.

Yamauchi flicked through menu screens. It’s detail-tastic. The main part of the mode is called Command View, and includes a Life Monitor for the driver in action, a leaderboard, a race timeline at the top, the condition of tires and brakes on a diagram at the top left, and a course map below.

There’s command detail at the bottom, and driver status, showing physical and mental endurance represented by green and blue bars. There’s a hot and cold slider which shows how agitated the driver is on the track. If a driver is very agitated he may not hear commands and ignore you, or may drive erratically.

The race happens within all this in a window. You can command the driver to pit, not to pit, maintain pace, increase pace, slow down, and so on.

You can swap views to go full-screen, first-person, whatever. Just to reiterate, you’re not driving the car; you’re the manager. The race he demos is an eight lap event called Supercar Festival on the Nurburgring in a Ferrari 458 Italia ’09.

There are more stats. In Lifetime View, you can see how fast each car is driving through each sector of the race, a live image of your driver still feeding at the top of the screen. This apes what’s seen by teams in race pits.

And now, thanks to one man’s life-long obsession with cars, you can see it too.

Magic track maker

Yamauchi then, casually, announced a track creation system called Course Maker. This has been heavily rumoured, and it’s probably not what you were expecting.

Firstly, you don’t actually make the track. It’s a course generator. Yamauchi said the team tried lots of tools for this feature, but halfway through development he realized they were creating a full, professional 3D tool and it wasn’t accessible to mere mortals. The final result is something that can be used by anyone.

It’s very simple. Yamauchi showed four “themes,” including Belgium, one just outside the Nurburgring in German and Toscana in Italy. I’m not sure he said what the other one was. He picked Toscana.

To make your track, you just select a number of sections, whether or not to make it one-way or a loop, weather and time of day. You can control frequency of curves, the course’s width, sharpness of corners, how closely the track flows with the topography of the terrain and bank angle – each has a number adjustable from 0-1.

You can set parameters for each section of your course. Once you’ve selected everything and you’re happy with it, you simply hit a button and the track’s generated on a 2D map on the left side of the screen. You can test drive any track at any time. Hit the button again and a new track appears.

He makes two Italian tracks, tweaking corners to show how things change. Tracks can be uploaded, saved, shared and so on.

And that’s all we saw on that.

Have some 3D – you may as well

He wasn’t finished there. Yamauchi then showed off a 3D photo mode, showing something called Photo Travel. He reckoned this is “one of the best ways of getting the most of the 3D format that we have”. Righto, we said, and got up out of our seats to have a look.

It’s pretty cool. It’s just a series of images in 3D. You arrange your cars as you like, take “photos” of them – obviously, you can adjust angles of front tires, set shutter speed, exposure and whatever else – and look at them. On a screen. Wearing a big pair of glasses.

Want to look at your Citreon Berlingo in a Japanese garden at night? Prepare to live the dream. The detail is ludicrous. There’s even an oil-like stress effect on windscreen glass. Images are made in the MPO file format, so photos can be outputted to different media and viewed elsewhere.

And that was it? Of course not.

Gran Turismo Kart

Yes, GT5 has karts. Like Mario Kart, but with “real” karts and no mushrooms. It’s “great” for beginners, apparently. Hilariously, Yamauchi said, “We were saving this for GT6,” but we’ll let that ride.

He showed a video of karts racing round an Italian city, saying the mode “changes the world of Gran Turismo”.

At this point, I write in my notes, as I knew I would, “This is the only car game you’ll ever need.” We didn’t see anything of multiplayer, which is sure to get an airing at TGS. Christ only knows what he’s done there. You can probably be a single spectator in a crowd of 5,000 at some Malaysian sledge race in 1924.

Tom Bramwell from Eurogamer asked Yamauchi a question about whether or not he’d take another year if Sony offered it. He laughed and said something about being close to finishing and it’d be “rough” to go back into dev. Whether or not he had more time, the battle’s won. There never really was a battle, in retrospect. Gran Turismo 5 is the most complete, polished, obsessive, impressive interactive car product ever made. I can say that in all sincerity after seeing what I saw. You will agree with me when you see it for yourself.

GT5 ships on November 2 in the US and November 3 in Europe.

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27 Comments

  1. Bloobat

    Awesome! cannot wait for this, The only thing I am still worried about is that the damage will not be very realistic, and that for me would ruin the expreience.

    But it is still the BEST driving game in the world!

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    I’m not a big car game fan, but this was amazing. Just ridiculous.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Psychotext

    With everything I’ve seen, the only thing left which concerns me is tearing / jaggies. If they’ve got a handle on that this time then this could quite easily be the game of the generation for me.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. KAP

    @2

    Same, totally agree. Im not a massive fan either but i truelly appreciate the level of EPIC there pouring into this title. WOW

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Boris Fett

    @3 But with the POWER of the CELL processor, THEY CAN USE MORPHOLOGICAL ANTI-ALIASING!!11!

    Sorry, couldn’t resist…

    Not a driving sim fan, but the game still looks awesome.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Razor

    Kaz is insane.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Tomo

    I’m like Pat, not a big racing game fan. Especially simulation games. But GT5 sounds stupidly comprehensive. I almost feel like I’d be missing out by not getting it…

    #7 4 years ago
  8. cookiejar

    This thing sounds totally ‘epic’ is every single way.

    But I still won’t believe its out until its sitting inside my PS3, and im tuning up my Toyoto Yaris because I can’t afford a Skyline yet.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. 2plus2equals5

    Awesome! The same track generator of lotus 3! I’ll buy it!:D

    #9 4 years ago
  10. HistoryTeller

    Seems like a ton of ideas was brought up and then just put aside. No wonder it took so long comming out..

    #10 4 years ago
  11. No_PUDding

    @Psychotext, I don’t notice tearing, but I’d love to jaggies sortted out too.

    I doubt they will though.

    I’d love that silly MLAA technique to be in it. Just to make it extra smooth.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Psychotext

    I don’t really know if there are any problems with it either way. Jaggies seem ok other than on some shadows, tearing is present, but not horrific. Problem is, there’s really not been a great deal of direct feed footage of gameplay. Most of it’s been off screen.

    As long as the tearing is kept to below GT5:P levels then I’ll be happy enough. :)

    #12 4 years ago
  13. No_PUDding

    Yeah those trailers are direct feed of supercomputers running GT5.

    And I am worried how terrible Standard cars will look, because I want to buy a Honda Prelude and my 2001 Ford Ka for photomode.

    GT6 needs all cars in equal detail.

    *holds breath*

    #13 4 years ago
  14. theevilaires

    GT5 has more features and content
    than multiple full retail games put together.

    cars
    • 1000 cars (800+ Standard, 200+ Premium)
    - new brands include Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti, Lamborghini, McLaren, Tesla, Red Bull Racing
    - new series include NASCAR, WRC, Super GT, karting

    tracks
    • more than 40 tracks (more than 100 layouts)
    - new real circuits include Top Gear Test Track, Daytona, Indianapolis, Spa-Francorchamps, Nürburgring, Monza
    - new fictional circuits in London, Rome, Madrid, Tuscany, the Alps, the High Fens

    offline:
    • single race, split screen, time trial
    • license tests, championships
    • A-spec & B-spec (2 modes with very different gameplay styles)
    • car tuning
    • 18 MP photo mode with 3D support
    • GTTV (compatible with PSP)

    online:
    • up to 16 players in a race
    • private rooms, lobbies with up to 32 players
    • spectator mode
    • text & voice chat
    • photo- en replay album
    • YouTube replay upload
    • time trial rankings

    other features:
    • cockpit view for Premium cars
    • damage & roll overs (all cars)
    • day-night cycle
    • dynamic weather
    • track creator / editor

    tech:
    • up to 1080p 60fps
    • up to Dolby 7.1
    • custom soundtracks
    • PlayStation Eye headtracking
    • 3DTV support (gameplay & 3D photo mode)

    As it stands, PD has just created the best sequel in gaming history.

    (CREDIT TO: Ravage27 of N4G) :D

    #14 4 years ago
  15. No_PUDding

    Did Ravage27 give credit to Press Release Author #276?

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Blerk

    And so it should, given that GT5 has also had more development time than multiple full retail games put together. :-D

    #16 4 years ago
  17. No_PUDding

    Plenty of games that aren’t proportionate to their development cycle though.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. theevilaires

    I don’t know PUD, but what I do know is that is a lot of quality for a day 1 purchase of $60.

    CELL+RSX+BLU-RAY really is the TRINITY of this generation of gaming. I will put 100+ hours in Photo Mode alone, B Spec another 50 hours, and A Spec I’m taking my sweet time doing a few races each day so the wait for GT6 won’t be that much of a pain ;)

    #18 4 years ago
  19. g00nerz

    This item bugs me in all these friggin’ lists I keep seeing:

    - Cockpit view for Premium cars

    I’m pretty sure there will be a cockpit view for all cars, it’s just the Premium cars will be modelled on the real thing in minute detail, while the other 800 standard cars will have some generic (but no doubt still beautiful) cockpit views.

    If they made it so that only some of the cars could be driven in cockpit view, well, that would be shit now wouldn’t it.

    Fanboy drivel aside, I’m well oiled for GT5. I cannee wait.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. No_PUDding

    I still am nowhere near getting everything on Prologue.

    @g00nerz, It’s like that. No cockpit. Only bonnet view.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. The Hindle

    Gt 5 has been in development for the same amount of time as Half life 2 and Rage yet no one pokes fun at them. Rage will have more by the time it comes out.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. theevilaires

    They aren’t owned by SONY Hindle. Come on you know how the game is played by now right ;)

    #22 4 years ago
  23. LOLshock94

    gt5 has so much shit but its god damn boring i aint being fan boy here but forza 3 is so much funner then gt5 but gt5 is good when using a wheel and the fact it has NASCAR then it will be even more boring but the only thing which was probely the best thing gt5 had was the challenges cause they were impossible

    #23 4 years ago
  24. DSB

    So Episode 3 and Rage aren’t running jokes?

    Wow, okay.

    If you screw the pooch on PR, and you keep failing to deliver an actual product, it just doesn’t look impressive. No one wants to keep hearing about a game that ISN’T coming out for years and years.

    #24 4 years ago
  25. LOLshock94

    @24 yeah but the thing is with rage and ep3 is that the developers are making other games while making rage and ep3 but Polyphony Digital has only ever made one game and that one game alone is GT series

    #25 4 years ago
  26. Psychotext

    @19: Kaz confirmed in an interview yesterday that standard cars will have no cockpit, full stop. Not even a GTPSP style generic cockpit.

    “As we were the first session and had a slight overrun, Kazunori couldn’t take many questions. However, he was able to confirm that the number of unique courses available in the game is “more than 70″ – with the added scope of online Course Maker circuits – and that despite their best efforts to respond to criticism about standard car interiors, they were not able to implement cockpit camera (even one similar to GTPSP’s) in GT5 – a source of some disappointment to Kazunori, who is never happy to let down his fans and is probably his own biggest critic.”

    #26 4 years ago
  27. The Hindle

    Is it immature to laugh at cockpit? Fuck it ill do it anyway.

    #27 4 years ago

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