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DriveClub's Plans To Keep You Coming Back

Refresh rate be damned, I want more.

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.

DriveClub 400-1

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.

DriveClub 400-2

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.

  1. 3shirts
    Since: Aug 2008

    Including it for PS+ is a great idea, as you say, to get the number of people it really needs to be a success.
    I’m quietly optimistic about this game. It’d be nice to have some competition to Gran Turismo as well, always good for the consumer.

    Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 11:10.
    • Greg Turner
      Since: Feb 2009

      Yeah I agree. As someone who isn’t that into driving games it means DriveClub will be my driving game of choice as it’ll be right there on the system from day one.

      Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 11:50.
  2. Bilbo_bobbins
    Since: Jun 2009

    I’m looking forward to this. Will definitely be giving this a very good go.

    Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 11:30.
  3. Kennykazey
    Since: Mar 2010

    It’s a shame EA have got monopoly on Porches, it shouldn’t be allowed…. Downloading the uncompressed video now.

    Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 11:50.
    • Kennykazey
      Since: Mar 2010

      The dynamic shadows seem a bit blocky (low-res), and the framerate leaves much to be wanted from what I’ve now seen. But the core gameplay looks good.

      Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 13:14.
      • bunimomike
        Since: Jul 2009

        In the video I watched a few days ago, the website page had a bulleted list of things they were aware of in the video itself. One of them was the low-res shadow problem you mentioned.

        I don’t see the frame-rate as being an option but I used to play racers on the Amiga which probably varied from 10 to 30 FPS sometimes! :-)

        Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 14:28.
      • Kennykazey
        Since: Mar 2010

        Ah, good. I hope they’ll improve it then.

        I can normally handle rough framerates, but in a racer I prefer it to be as stable as possible (and 60fps) because of the constant movement. This being a posterboy for next gen and the PS4, I’d really like it to feel as smooth and fluid as can be.

        Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 15:15.
      • blarty
        Since: Apr 2011

        To be fair, the ‘poster boy’ for this generation is Nathan Drake in UC 2 not Nathan Hale from Resistance:FOM, and by that I mean that launch titles will inevitably be inferior compared to games in a couple of years. Similarly, Forza Horizon 2 or Forza 6 will be well ahead of Forza 5.

        Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 17:39.
  4. cam the man
    Since: May 2009

    Really looking forward to playing this, and with new content coming every weekly or so should keep me entertained for quite a while. This and Resogun are day one for me.

    Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 11:53.
  5. colmshan1990
    Since: Apr 2009

    I always thought these kind of asynchronous challenges weren’t my thing.

    And then I played Evolution’s Motorstorm RC.

    If Drive Club proves to be half as compulsive as RC was, Evolution will have succeeded in making a great game.

    Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 12:08.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      Even if they’re not, there’s still the head to head, club to club play in the game.

      That’s actually a damn good parallel to MS:RC, which I hadn’t thought of!

      Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 12:39.
    • Kennykazey
      Since: Mar 2010

      RC was somewhat of a testbed for DriveClub though wasn’t it? For Evolution to try things out. I think they’ve said so somewhere.

      I think these challenges will be what makes the game, they can quickly get addictive.

      Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 13:11.
  6. Amphlett
    Since: Jul 2009

    Looks really nice and the idea of creating mini challenges within each lap are reasonably interesting.

    Does anyone know whether we’ll actually be able to have races with other drivers rather than just timed laps and ghost cars?

    Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 13:15.
    • Stefan L
      Community Team
      Since: May 2009

      I don’t think they’ve really talked about single player yet, though is a single player campaign, so to speak. You will be able to race head to head against other people online, too.

      Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 13:39.
  7. elpablo79
    Since: May 2009

    Both this and The Crew are shaping up to be very good and quite different too. I’m not quite the car game aficionado as some on here, preferring arcade style ones, but these ones are certainly looking like my style. I like the fact there’s so many ways into a race, not just times, but ways to achieve. Intrigued to see the upgrade deal through PS+

    Comment posted on 16/09/2013 at 17:25.

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