Forza Motorsport 5 will have head-tracking! hopefully it works better than with 360/Kinect 1.0. some other neat info on the game.http://simhqmotorsports.com/wp/feature-e3-2013-recap-part-ii-forza-motorsport-5/
E3 2013 Recap: Part II – Forza Motorsport 5
After learning all they could about Gran Turismo 6, Chunx and SeanManly were off to visit “Brand ‘X’ (box)” – better known as Turn 10 Studios’ Forza Motorsport 5 for the Xbox One. With a far deeper well of computing power to draw upon, Forza 5 was everything you’d expect: visually gorgeous, with healthy doses of believable vehicle dynamics.
Forza Motorsport 5
While people waited in line to try FM5, members of the Turn 10 developers provided factoids about things like the game engine’s new math model for capturing tire camber changes when the car’s suspension is flexing, and the graphics engine’s ability to pump out 1080p visuals at a steady 60 fps. It’s a good thing that Turn 10 had employees to chat up folks waiting in the cue, because you had to spend a long time in it to get a shot at driving the game: Forza 5, a flagship launch title for the Xbox One, was shown with only one cockpit/wheel combo. The rest of the display consisted of four monitors with game pads. Contrast that to GT6, where Sony laid out an even dozen cockpit/T500RS sleds to savor that title with.
Putting the cherry on top of Forza 5 game display was a very early prototype of Thrustmaster’s new Xbox One wheel and pedals. When we say “prototype”, we mean “early development mule” − the wheel and pedals appeared to be a hodge-podge of parts bin raiding and metal project boxes never intended to see retail sale.
The Thrustmaster wheel and associated game code is clearly in an early and incomplete stage of development. Chunx noted how other people drove with the Thrustmaster development wheel; sawing back and forth as if they were trying to find center − perhaps due to input lag. Then when he drove FM5, he noticed that, to a certain extent, he was doing the same thing. Reviewing the videos the SimHQ Motorsports team took of FM5, it was clearly input lag. At the other end of the controller, all three of Thrustmaster’s pedals had the same, limp spring resistance, lacking the feel that a more polished product would have. In our opinion, Thurstmaster’s prototype wheel complicated anyone’s ability to assess the title, and actually hampered Turn 10′s ability to showcase Forza 5, which is unfortunate.
There was only one track to drive, a fictional street circuit in eastern Europe, which you got to complete one lap of. That’s about 2 minutes of driving to assess the game. With only one cockpit sled to demonstrate the title, there was little opportunity for the rank-and-file E3 attendee to get a feel for the game. Luckily, the Forza 5 launch party gave SinHQ Motorsports many more opportunities to try the game out.
The game isn’t anywhere close to being finished yet. Developers told us several times that the title is only a little over half-finished. So what everyone tried at E3 was essentially a WIP (work in-progress) and not fully reflective of the final product.
At the Forza 5 launch party, we watched another reporter try the title with most of the driving assists left on. It seemed apparent to us both that using all the driving aids/assists do not penalize your car’s performance, so it’s quite possible to get better lap times with certain combinations of aids. While that’s not surprising for a console racer, it is something we hope will be addressed by Turn 10 before final product release.
So, all those caveats aside, what did we think about Forza Motorsport 5?
It’s stunningly beautiful. The graphics power of the new Xbox One’s AMD hardware really shines through, and raises the bar of what’s possible for a racing simulation on consoles. Sun glare has a realistic impact on your ability to aim the car, reflections come, go and move on the windshield, shadows hide some track features. The sounds are equally impressive, changing in tone and pitch as trackside objects (like tunnel walls) reflect the engine sounds. Recognizing that any racing game needs to translate some dynamic vehicle motions into audio cues, the tire scrub and skid sounds are also very well done. Street tires sound like what you’ll hear at a track day event. Frankly, you’d expect no less from a game leveraging the latest gaming console technology.
In terms of physics, FM5 is dressed to impress. With all aids turned off, the car’s handling felt pretty realistic, punishing you with gross understeer if you over-drove it into the corners or snapping the tail out if you trail-braked a bit too aggressively. In one sweeping corner with a camber change, Chunx mashed the gas to develop some power-on oversteer. The car’s rear end immediately slid out, and a too-slow correction (input lag?) led to a tank-slapper into the outside wall. Unlike earlier versions of Forza there was no feeling that a “hand of god” would suddenly dampen the laws of physics and save you from disaster (and with the wheel lag present in the demo, there was A LOT of disasters at E3)… which is good news for sim racers looking for a realistic challenge. We didn’t get much of a sense of inertia from the car, but we have to chalk that one up to the state of the TM wheel and associated game controller code. So in spite of the wheel issues, Forza 5′s overall feel from the physics engine was pretty good.
At one point in the show, Chunx had the honor of talking with Barry Feather, Turn 10′s Executive Producer, and Aleks Brooks of the development team. First off, Barry stated that as of E3, Forza 5 is at about the 50% – 70% stage of completion in terms of physics
. Calspan is supporting Turn 10′s chassis physics and tire data collection
, with Pirelli
is the tire team providing Turn 10 with tire model data (via Calspan). What Turn 10 put together for E3 isn’t sufficient for a final product, so they’re still receiving more data and continuing to work on the tire and physics model to fully leverage the the Xbox One’s APU.
As for wheels, Barry tells us there will be there will be multiple wheel options
for the Xbox One at launch of the game. We know Thrustmaster is one
, but who is the other manufacturer? Barry wouldn’t say. One thing we do know is that no current wheel for any other gaming platform will be compatible with the Xbox One. There might be some mod kits in the future, but for now you’ll need a new wheel if you want to play FM5.
Barry also talked about the single player experience, and that there is no AI per-se in FM5. Now there are “Drivatars”, where your Xbox One learns your driving style at a certain track, and when the Xbox One does its daily contact to the mother ship, it uploads data on how you drive at a certain track: line, braking points, passing techniques. When a player races the AI in FM5, the Xbox One pulls down Drivatars from the cloud that meet the desired skill level for that track, and that’s sets the opponents list for that race. So even the AI in FM5 will have human tendencies, to include driver errors.
Sadly, Barry told us that no pit strategy options available
(apparently pit stops are boring for most Forza racers in Microsoft’s focus groups. We’d opine that they had the wrong people in their focus group).
When asked about how the new Xbox One Kinect will be used by FM5, we learned that it will offer some pretty robust head-tracking in-cockpit.
The older Kinect had problems with back-lit situations and some clutter environments, as well as tracking accuracy. The new Kinect can use low-light and other electro-optic modes to precisely track your facial features and give you accurate head movement in-car.
In terms of race hosting online, FM5 will offer more Multiplayer race hosting features on the serve, but didn’t elaborate.
As for car sounds, Alex told Chunx that for FM5 actual cars on modeled in the game were placed on dynamometers were used for engine sound recordings so they could capture exactly how the engine sounds under load. Tire sounds generated by the game are driven by the physics model, but Alek was not quite sure how they acquired them.
At the Turn 10 Forza 5 launch party, Turn 10 head Dan Greenawalt announced Indy Car would be a part of the upcoming title, with the current-gen Dallara chassis cars
modeled in the game. And in a cooperative effort with the movie “Rush”, the McLaren M23 and Ferrari 312-2 Formula 1 cars from the 1976 season
will also be modeled in the game.