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TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

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TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by Standaman94 on Sat 10 May 2014 - 13:25



So, on Wednesday I took a trek to Codies HQ to talk about GRID Autosport and TORA. In the previous thread, I asked you all for questions to ask, and the responses are below.

But first, let's just talk about the game, since that's the most interesting bit Wink

Upon arrival at CMHQ I was greeted by Ben, Codemasters Community Manager. I had lunch with him and a few of the other Codies guys and a quick Q&A about TORA and Autosport over the table. The canteen had a pair of GRID 1 arcade pods, which I thought were pretty awesome!

Afterwards, Ben, Matt (multiplayer), James (chief designer) and I headed upstairs to try out the game and talk about it in more detail. The bizarre thing about this is that I had recognised them from interviews and V-Docs on the web. That probably sounds more creepy than it is.

We talked for a while about the game, I talked for a while about various other things, then we got down to business. They had three PCs going with dev versions of the game running; all three were previously announced cars/tracks from the announcement trailer. They said the build that was running was about a month old.

The first car I had a go at were the BTCC cars, I used the Focus if I recall correctly. They had a Logitech wheel setup, which I found a bit difficult to get used to, but I think Ben later confirmed there was something wrong with it anyway :PI went straight in with no aids whatsoever and I found myself in a bit of a pickle. The car certainly wasn't easy to drive and gave me a challenge with the wheel. While I was faffing around trying to find my brake pedal I was resorting to engine braking to slow me down quicker, but I soon found that too eagerly shifting down resulted in the car locking up and making friends with someone else's rear bumper.

Next up was Formula 3. I was prewarned that the accelerator should be used with prejudice. Again, after fumbling with the unfamiliar wheel I landed myself in a sticky situation (ie the wrong way). I planted the accelerator and pirouetted beautifully. "Ah yes" I said. So I nursed the car up to racing speeds and caught up with the back of the pack. At this point I had started to get used to the wheel, but at the same time got a little too confident in the car and ended up spinning out of control on a few select corners. A few times I tried to correct this spin to end up in a drift but it was to no avail. This is not GRID 2, and certainly not how I remember GRID 1. In a good way. After finishing 16th (AKA last place) I went over the the triple-screen setup running the street racing cars.

This time I used the Xbox pad, which was much more familiar. The track was the legendary San Fran circuit from GRID 1, going all the way up the hill and back. The pack were using executive sports cars, myself at the helm of the Audi. This is when it all came together.

The track was coming back to me a corner at the time. I was gaining a few positions very early on, but a few of the opponents were giving me a hard time. They would block my moves and get in the way. I remember James warning me that the street racer AI are much more aggressive. While a few of the opponents took each other out in spectacular fashion, I sped past and towards the hill. A particular corner proved difficult for me as I tried to get past an opponent. I was reminded of the Flashback feature and used it a couple of times before I realised I had to wait it out behind the opponent before I would have the opportunity to pass.

Going up the hill also faced a challenge from another driver. As we reached the top of the hill, the car in front pulled out infront of me as I tried to edge to his right. Eventually we were right on the inside of the track as we were approaching the apex at the top and he wouldn't let go. so I went to the outside and took the corner at full speed while the other driver had to slow down a lot more to make the turn, and I passed him before the downhill section. The car took a pounding on the jumps and bumps of the San Fran hill, and James told me the car would be getting suspension damage had the damage been on.

The AI are very advanced, much better than I've seen in other games. They also vary depending on the discipline you're driving in; Street Racers go hard or go home, Open Wheelers more gentlemanly. James went back to his business elsewhere, and Ben, Matt and I went against each other in multiplayer in a much more recent build of the game. I had trouble distinguishing the AI from the real drivers, and it was only until I was right up on their bumper that I would see their name tags above the car.

The physics in this later build were a touch better than the other one. All the cars are very distinguishable from each other, as Matt chose very different cars each time. They all drive very differently and you have the learn each car's nuances. Smaller, less powered cars were fun and spunky, whereas the faster, more powerful ones required concentration. The only issue I found was the braking, as it felt as though there was not a lot of resistance from the car when braking and turning in. Matt said he agreed with this, and it was a trait of sorts of the GRID games, but he did say he would pass this info on to the relevant people.

They have purposely said that the physics are not supposed to be a dedicated simulation, just like other Codies games. However, the car physics are "authentic", ie it feels like it is a simulation. In a sense, it's a meta-sim; the driving simulator simulator. Playing the game, it doesn't feel like it's quite as tight and focussed as, say, Forza, but the fundamentals are there. The basis of this seems to revolve around the car tuning; I had a quick look at the tuning options in the pre-race menu, and while all the fundamental stuff is there (height, downforce, diff, stiffness etc) it's on a slider scale for each option, like DiRT but more complex. It's hard to explain, but let's say that if Forza is 100% driving simulator, GRID Autosport is about 90%, GRID 1 is 70%, and GRID 2 is 30%.

There are some interesting things going on with the audio. At one point when I had spun out and was motionless on the track, I could hear ambient music coming from the stands. Going off the track I could hear the car pick up track debris on the edges before hitting the grass or the sand. Bumping into other cars in cockpit is scarily real at times. When the car receives damage, you can hear the engine struggle very realistically, or the wheels bumping around from being buckled.

Anyway, here's your questions answered. The responses in italics are from Codemasters, everything else is yours truely:


"Ask about the tracks they'll include plus cars" - Joito04

22 locations in the game, primarily circuits, 80 + cars
A lot of very good tracks as I saw, that many of you are going to love. Even more cars, too. I know too much already and I can't tell you yet, unfortunately. There are 22 locations, each with their own series of ribbons (so that's much more than FM5!). 80+ cars might not sound like a lot, but for a dedicated racing game, that's more than what you need. That's more than the previous GRID games and possible the most amount of cars in any Codies game.


"Ask about the club features that they have introduced" - CarbonViper93

Create a club on RaceNet, invite friends, create a club livery and race together to earn Club exp. We’ll have more in-depth info on the Clubs feature in a few weeks time.
^^^ that's as much as I know at this point. They are looking to expand this so we can use it, as they quizzed me about such things, so it'll be interesting to see what comes out of that.


"Can we fully paint? How does it handle? How many cars per online lobby?" - JVanEssen

Livery editor is based on pre-set patterns (similar to GRID 2 but more evolved). 12 cars per online lobby.
I didn't have a go at the paint editor, and I only saw 12 cars online, with 16 on single player. Handling is great, see above.


"What should we expect to see from the use of the pitlanes on most of the real circuits? in the first GRID They were blocked, and saved all the attention to racing wheel to wheel for 3-5 laps each time, but with what I can see, from the new photographs and trailers, to be top-line sportscars and an "Endurance" format in one corner of the game, will that pitlane be opened to allow for pitstops? It is something that, I think, should be in the game as it is an essential part of endurance racing." - AMR Garage

No pit stops in GRID Autosport, maybe one day in the future but right now we felt they were quite the right fix. If we were making a full blown simulator then obviously, things would have been different.
Ah, now this bit is interesting. No accessible pits as far as I saw. However, James explained to me about this very interesting tyre wear model. Basically, it harder you drive, the faster it decays, and the slower your car gets. If you drive carefully, however, your tyres last much longer. In an Endurance race, some of the AI will get an early lead from driving hard, but later on in a race they will slow down from the tyre wear, and all of the carefully paced cars will catch up.


"What about the cockpit view? And can you get more info on the HQ/HD pack for PC?" - Freheliaz

Two cockpit views, one regular and one dashboard camera that sites just behind the windscreen. No word on a HD pack for PC just yet.
Cockpit view is interesting. There's two in-car views, as above, and also a pod cam on the open wheel cars, ala the F1 games. There's also a feature where when you drive fast, the cockpit gets blurry. I can't remember if this was in the newer build I tried but it was definitely in the older single player one. Personally, not my cup of tea as it was very distracting in Shift 2.


"Will there be Australian tracks not just Bathurst and more Australian cars" - ErebusV8

Maybe
Maybe


"What handicapping options will be available? Power in 1% increments? Ballast weight perhaps?" - BG Cowboy

None, that’s probably a bit too sim for the game.
The cars are already very well balanced. There are unlockable upgrades which I assume give you a very slight advantage, however you can turn these off in a custom multiplayer game (called Custom Cup).



"interesting to see if they have success ballast, race weekends and the ability to reverse the top 10 say" - BG Smithy

We do have race weekends which also include reverse grids.
Race weekends are a thing on Single player. There's no Qualifying mode on multiplayer, HOWEVER after a chat I think they're going to look into it. It sounded like they were looking into a realistic Q mode like single player (drop-in, drop-out) but then I suggested a time-attack thing like how we do Q at TORA. As Matt said, it looked like a bulb came on in James' head.


"Is organized racing possible? Will Pit-Stops ever be introduced?" - II AntR II

Define organised racing? There’s a whole host of options in Custom Cup that a host can set, definitely scope for some organised racing from within there
Yes. Maybe, see above.


"Will there be classic racers in the game?" - JakeStatistic60

Yes, we’ve got some great classics in there.
Codemasters sure know their classics, and they let me know that there's going to be some very interesting classic cars in the game. I don't know what they are yet but it's got me excited Razz


"What real life race series and classes will the game feature?" - Flyin Mikey J

A lot of the cars are based on real world specs, whether that’s BTCC, WTCC or others. More info on these as the cars get unveiled over the coming weeks.
I had a go at quite a few real series analogues, they seem to have hit all the big ones so far. Nothing has totally stood out to me yet, maybe bar one, but we'll see what they announce soon.

That's about it for now, I hope that's cleared some things up. This game is looking to be very exciting and right up our alley, particularly as Codies are willing to help out their community in whichever way they can. That's more than what a lot of other developers would do.

So what now? Well, as much as I loved this so far, I can't help but think this is going to be a bit of a marmite game for some of the hardcore guys, particularly as GRID 2 has left a sour taste for some. On the other hand, playing this as very much brought back good memories of ToCA Race Driver 3 and also GRID 1.

If you have any more questions, I'll try my best to answer them Razz


Last edited by Standaman94 on Wed 28 May 2014 - 11:12; edited 1 time in total






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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by Turbo Power 77 on Sat 10 May 2014 - 13:45

Interesting...

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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by AnonCaliga on Sat 10 May 2014 - 14:19

Great article.

Question... will TORA be featuring any race series using GRID Autosport once released like we currently do with FM4, FM5 and GTA?






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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by ErebusV8 on Sat 10 May 2014 - 14:23

Those two maybes don't give me a lot of hope...


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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by LMP Dragon on Sat 10 May 2014 - 15:54

Well, this is going to be agitating.

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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by Grovesy36 on Sat 10 May 2014 - 16:10

Bugger I'd thought of a question. Was gonna ask about in game/online penalty systems for transgressions such as gaining unfair advantage through contact, corner cutting and the like.

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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by Standaman94 on Sat 10 May 2014 - 16:27

MichaelJGroves wrote:Bugger I'd thought of a question. Was gonna ask about in game/online penalty systems for transgressions such as gaining unfair advantage through contact, corner cutting and the like.
From what I've experienced, if you cut a corner too far you get penalised similar to GRID 2 - You slow down for a few seconds with a warning saying "Corner Cutting" or similar.

However it's not a massive pain in the arse as I've managed to stray off the track a few times without this happening. It seems to be a few select points that do this, and if you hit it you'll end up quite far behind.






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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by Freheliaz on Sat 10 May 2014 - 16:56

Nice write on your visit and thanks for the answers.

Continuing with cockpit view how is the detail of those views? Is it like Grid2 cockpit view " hack" or are they more detailed and not just flat surfaces with low res textures.
Shame you couldn't find anything about the HQ/HD pack for the PC.



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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by Standaman94 on Sat 10 May 2014 - 17:00

Freheliaz wrote:Nice write on your visit and thanks for the answers.

Continuing with cockpit view how is the detail of those views? Is it like Grid2 cockpit view " hack" or are they more detailed and not just flat surfaces with low res textures.
Shame you couldn't find anything about the HQ/HD pack for the PC.
From what I recall the cockpit view was pretty much fully detailed. Not that there's a lot to look at anyway, as the interiors of all the cars I drove were stripped down racing cars.






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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by II AntR II on Sat 10 May 2014 - 17:01

Great Interview Stan! The game looks very interesting. Despite not being a full-blown sim I think it will be fun.
Also, how were the sounds of the cars? Exciting? Or did they all sound like rally cars?

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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by Standaman94 on Sat 10 May 2014 - 17:13

Actually all the sounds were really great. I can't really comment on the accuracy, but the immersion was really good. The tyre squealing sounded good, not too little nor over the top.

You can hear the wind rushing past at high speeds. But when you slipstream someone, the wind noise drastically reduces, which was pretty cool.






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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by AMR Garage on Sun 11 May 2014 - 1:24

Do you think there is potential for TORA series on Grid:A even though it's only a maximum of 12 entries per lobby?

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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by Standaman94 on Sun 11 May 2014 - 11:24

AMR Garage wrote:Do you think there is potential for TORA series on Grid:A even though it's only a maximum of 12 entries per lobby?
Very much so, it ticks all the right boxes, bar pit stops.






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Re: TORA visits Codemasters - Part Deux!

Post by CQR Rogue on Sun 11 May 2014 - 11:26

possible but as TCR event why its ye old platform lol




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