Turn 10 is having to beat car manufacturers off with a stick since debuting the Kinect-powered AutoVista feature for Forza Motorsport 4.
“Because of Autovista, honestly, [it's] the first time [manufacturers have] said ‘this is crazy!’” creative director Dan Greenawalt told theGuardian.
“They want to show it to their board of directors. The idea of seeing the car on a giant projector and being able to walk around it via Kinect, that has definitely got different departments within these companies interested.”
Greenawalt said executives getting excited by the tech has cut through a lot of red tape keeping much-requested cars out of the series.
“If you think about it, these are multinational companies and so generally most of us in the video game space deal with the licensing organisation. They have marketing organisations, they have design and racing organisations – and those groups don’t necessarily talk to each other all the time, just like in any corporation,” he explained.
“So for the first time, with Autovista, we reached the higher levels – the boards, the chief executives – we’ve got them thinking, ‘this has huge potential’. All of a sudden, we’re getting calls from manufacturers saying ‘hey, we want to talk to you about this’ and we’ll say, ‘well, you know, we’ve already spoken – we talked to your licensing guys. They’re in the same building as you!’”
Manufacturers are keen on Forza because it plays up the simulation card more than more arcade-focussed racers, but Greenawalt said Turn 10 doesn’t bow to manufacturer demands.
“If they don’t like something about their car in the game, we can say, well, you can not like it all day but that’s what it does! If you don’t like it, go fix it. If you fix it in the real world, guess what, we’ll fix it in the game,” he said.
In fact, Turn 10 bases its simulation data and physics engine on independent data, regularly dismissing manufacturer’s claims.
“Well first up, all the manufacturer data we get, we mostly throw away,” he said.
“This is because we’re either getting it from a licensing agent or a marketing agent, we’re not getting it from the engineer who knows the real data. So we research cars – we actually go find out what it really does.
“So you can’t really trust any of that. We look at the simulation output and ask if we’re getting the same range as those figures. And we have actually found issues in cars, we’ve called up the original manufacturer of the suspension, rather than calling up, say, BMW about the suspension.
“We might call KAW or H&R depending on who actually provided the springs, especially with older cars. We’ll actually find out the real gear rations from the maker. We put all that stuff in and the car might understeer, it might oversteer, we’ve found some cars that just don’t drive very well in the simulation. We don’t fix it because that’s how it really is.”
Forza Motorsport 4 is due in early October exclusively for Xbox 360, and features Kinect support including voice commands and a kid-friendly driving mode in addition to the virtual showroom of Autovista.