The question on so many people’s lips when they see DriveClub in action, is whether or not they’re doing 60 frames per second yet. I grant you that it is an important one for many gamers, those who have the reflexes and ability to make those split second changes, and it’s a point which Evolution are keenly aware of.
It’s something I pushed to get a firm answer on, when I had the chance at Gamescom, in light of Art Director Alex Perkins saying that he’d rather have a higher visual fidelity. Yet this personal preference on his part was firmly rebuffed. They are still aiming for 60 frames per second, and that they’re not giving up on this even at this fairly late stage in development shows that they must surely be pretty close to achieving it.
They might still fall short, and everything shown so far has been at 30Hz with a lot more polish still to come to the game, based off the direct feed videos that they’ve released recently. Some of these effects will certainly add more complexity to their task of optimising the game for launch, but they’re still pushing and that’s a cause for optimism. There’s nothing to say they can’t hit the target after launch, either.
And to be honest, I’m almost on Alex’s side here, because this game is incredibly pretty in motion. It’s not really the detail on the cars which I find impressive, because we’ve had impressively detailed cars already (and I play in “Superman Mode” anyway), but more about the level of detail on the trackside.
Evo are recreating the spirit of the game’s locations with as few cunning tricks as possible. Every tree is a model, with no sprites in sight; every mountain in the distance is made out of polygons rather than drawn onto a skybox; the clouds are randomly generated, and will interact with the light coming from the sun, tying in to the progression of time. This is all real.
And it wants to hook into your real life as much as possible too, with mobile apps and interactions between friends, challenging each other and racing together. It might not be for everyone, but this is the direction
You should really treat yourself and get the uncompressed 800MB file from over at Gamersyde.
The Canadian demo level from Gamescom is a prime example of the kinds of challenges to expect in the game, with two laps to perfect your run and stack up against the rest of the world.
Opening with a little slalom, it was tricky to keep speed and keep the direction change as low as possible, with a speed trap up ahead. Then spotting the right moment to brake to make it round a tight hairpin, before the next mini-challenge, sticking as close to a racing line as possible through a loose chicane.
The third was to rack up as many drift points as possible through the final quarter of the lap, before crossing the line in as low a time as possible and hurtling into the slalom once more.
The RUF RT12 R proved a suitably tricky car to handle, with the rear engine making that first section and the weight quite tricky to deal with, though I’d like to see closer to GT6 levels of body roll. I slapped into the walls once or twice, and lost time and speed as a consequence, but while there is a damage model in the game, it’s not about destroying your car or penalising the player for mistakes. You will have bumps and scrapes, but don’t expect Burnout’s carnage here.
Importantly, the game had me wanting to come back and try again. My lap time was the best for that hour on Gamescom’s show floor, but I knew I could improve on it, and took the opportunity to make the little detour and try again the next day. Of course, I missed my target time, but did better with the challenges, and there lies a hint at what Evo hope will keep people coming back.
You can create and share practically anything from the game that you want. It could be a similar two-lap time trial, with a speed track and other little things thrown in, or it could ten times the length if you so choose. Limit the cars the others can race with, or leave it open to whatever people want to bring.
Send it to your mates, or the other members of your club, and see how they do, and if it’s a good one it might spread and spread, until it comes back to you and your jaw drops at how much faster this guy on the other side of the world is. Especially likely if your challenge gets picked up on and shared by Evo themselves…
Setting up clubs should be a nice way of friends getting together, and you’ll be able to customise your car liveries with unique logos to match. This alongside picking and tweaking your own avatar, collection of cars, and so forth.
DriveClub needs to be in the hands of as many players as possible for it to gain the traction and the player base it needs to thrive, and that’s why it will be part of PS+ on day one. Having it on your hard drive, with the instant gratification of being able to get a challenge and post your response with as little fuss as possible. It’s all designed to keep you coming back, and I think I will be joining you.
- Developer:Evolution Studios
- Publisher:Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release Date:29/11/13