Autoprova : How to play with cars, try it out at the wheel of “Forza Motorsport 3”…


Recently we were invited to a presentation of the latest version of the pinnacle of racing video games, the “Forza Motorsport 3”, to be played on Microsofts’ wonderful XBOX 360. This latest version of the video game will hit the consumer markets at the end of October, and it not only sets new standards of realism, it also features the Audi R8 5.2 FSI Quattro as its “hero” car. In the virtual cockpit of the Audi, your servant also drove a few laps on the breathtaking, but also virtual Nürburgring Nordschleife. A hair-raising experience nonetheless…

This report is also a debut in a new site column on the developments and new products in the (car) game industry, and will lead you further in the world of how to play with cars…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

The XBOX 360 console and the Forza Motorsport 3 racing game: an impressive combination if you want to play with cars!

Utter detail and realism…

The creators of “Forza Motorsport 3” have worked together with Audi engineers to model the R8 V10 to an unbelievable degree. All the mechanical aspects of motorsport are included into the game this time, and are not overlooked. Details such as gear ratios, tire deformation, aerodynamic high speed behavior and its influence on handling, roadholding and braking are “built” into the game. This makes the “driving” experience truly exhilarating. The images of the chosen track are also a class of its own, and the game actually features hyper-realistic renderings of race courses where Audi has been successful over the years, including amongst others the Sebring 12 Hours race.

The game lets you choose your preferred car amongst 400 models, and then you can add also your preferred set up to your chosen “bolide…”

Getting the “feel”…

Sliding behind the very realistic wireless racing wheel which is available as an accessory of the game, I pushed back into the well contoured sports seats, choosing of course as my racing car the Audi R8, and opting for “realistic” difficulty levels like manual gear change and non indication of the “ideal” track line on the screen or braking points.

The player can also select his preferred type of circuit or race track…

In the first few seconds after the start, I learned already that I had grossly overplayed my hand: the car bounced all over the track, I had already missed 2 gear changes, the whole field was rushing past me, and I was left behind with the car already in a very muddy state after to unwanted “sorties” into the grass. Fortunately, my dear Audi was not a write-off in the first minute. The helpful demonstrator on my right side whispered to me that it would be better to change the settings of the game to a somewhat easier mode… like auto gear change and the indication of the ideal track on the winding road in order to able to tackle the winding hills of the infamous Nordschleife at true racing speeds. “Well, it is because you do not feel the car through your seat” I uttered somewhat hesitantly to the assistant.

Two players can also play simultanuously on one screen…

Of course, I learned soon that the only “feel” you have of the car is through the steering wheel, which indeed offers more resistance and gets stickier as (cornering) speeds build up. The seat of my pants was indeed not giving me any indication whatsoever. Concentrating on the feedback of the steering wheel through my hands, things improved soon, and I was able to appreciate the beautiful realism of the game, both in graphics as in the (racing)movements.

Microsoft Belux E&D Country Manager David Merzel (right) and Hans Reinarz (left), XBOX products Manager, justifiedly proud of their very realistic racing game…

The types of racing this game offers you are truly endless. An innovative single-player season mode puts you through a completely personalized racing calendar that includes more than 200 different events, including Circuit, Oval, Drag, Drift and Timed Events. No two calendars are the same; they react to the cars you love and the races you enjoy most. In addition, the online multiplayer mode gains an all-new game rules editor. This gives players a never-ending variety of ways to play with friends. Whether you’re a speedster, dragster, drifter, painter, tuner or just a lover of cars, “Forza Motorsport 3” offers what you look for.

Pierre-Yves Corthals (in front) inviting Tim Verbergt to play the racing game after they had parked their Audi R8 in front of Microsoft Belux…

Requires professional racing drivers…

True game racing, I noticed to my slight astonishment, … requires professional racing experience. I noticed this when I observed two professional racing drivers, Tim Verbergt and Pierre-Yves Corthals, were also invited to the XBOX 360 and “Forza Motorsport 3” presentation. Sitting behind the screen, one of the drivers, Seat pilot Pierre-Yves Corthals, set the drivers’ view at thee quarters behind the car, looking at it from a higher standpoint. His colleague, racing Pilot and FIA GT Championship driver Tim Verbergt , took the “classic” cockpit view.

The two drivers were steering very calmly and carefully, sensing the feedback through the steering wheel, and drove with the highest concentration. Both drivers went very fast indeed, never “lost it” and went besides the track, with incidentally Pierre-Yves Corthals winning the virtual race between the two.

Pierre-Yves Corthals (left) took the top view of the car, Verbergt (on the right) liked more the cockpit view…

I show you here some photo impressions of the presentation, and will soon comment more on this site on the XBOX 360 game and entertainment system and how it performs in my home situation, and then we will also put the “Forza Motorsport 3” game through its paces in my living room…

I will then also comment further on Xbox LIVE, which actually connects more than 17 million members across 26 countries to each other and the entertainment hey love…

You will find more reports on car games, systems and developments in this column, where we will inform you regularly about the (car) game industry, showing you further how to play with cars… and keeping you updated with the latest developments.

Autoprova

The Web Car Journal For the Conoisseur

Het Web Auto Magazine voor de Kenner

Artcile after the PR conference Forza 3.

Read artcile HERE   

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