Implementing proper weather is something of a holy grail for racing games – that’s why the feature bounces in and out of various series in the genre, why it’s totally absent in most, and why we’re waiting. it’s been almost 14 years since it debuted in iRacing (can we really get it this year please?)
After getting a brief look at its implementation in Gran Turismo 7 during tonight’s State of Play presentation, I think we might just have a new standard for this feature.
Weather isn’t anything new to the Gran Turismo series – we saw dynamic wet races in Gran Turismo 5, and further refinement on them in Gran Turismo 6 before the feature dropped Gran Turismo Sport until to a very late update – but it went well implemented in Gran Turismo 7, with some cool ideas that I don’t recall seeing elsewhere.
First, there’s some of that characteristic Polyphony Digital quirkiness. As with Gran Turismo 6, precisely mapped star fields return, with keen astrologer Kazunori Yamauchi ensuring that the stars you see somewhere like Laguna Seca will be in the exact same place you’d find them in the Californian sky. at the corresponding time of day, with the moon rising and setting exactly where it should be, just like the sun setting and rising where you expect it to be. The color of these stars will change depending on how hazy they are, with the atmospheres changing hue.
It’s a small detail, but the game’s weather radar (which can be seen in the bottom right) seriously excites me – it replicates the sky-watching that’s so integral to real-world motorsport.
It’s a fidelity that extends to Gran Turismo 7’s cloud formations, their coverage and density taken from simulations that should ensure they’re authentic to the skies seen on real tracks – so the stupor of Kent on Brands Hatch on an overcast day, or perhaps the dense, foggy cover seen on hot afternoons at Interlagos. Granted, it doesn’t look as amazing as something like DriveClub in all its over-the-top glory, but what’s important here is that it’s authentic. It all translates to the track surface as well – in a downpour, puddles will form where you’d expect, a drying line will emerge once the rain stops and perhaps even more impressively, the change in air density will impact things like wake and performance.
The best detail, however – or the one that impressed me the most, at least – is one of the more modest. As part of the in-game HUD, there’s now a weather radar, showing clouds forming and moving across the track and letting you know of impending weather. This means that localized showers will be a thing, so on a track like the 12.9 mile Nordschleife it could be wet on one side of the circuit and dry on the other – a challenge real riders often face, and which has been replicated in other driving games before but never with the same readability. It’s really a smart thing.
As for the all-important dynamics and how Gran Turismo 7’s wet weather implementation feels in the hands – well, that’s a hard detail to grasp until we get a chance to. play by ourselves. Which, given Gran Turismo 7’s March 4 release date, shouldn’t be too far off.
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Article source https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2022-02-02-gran-turismo-7-might-have-some-of-the-best-weather-implementation-in-a-driving-game-yet