Dirt 2 First Look

February 18, 2009 - In 2007, UK-based Codemasters racing studio overhauled its successful Colin McRae Rally series, adding a slick new menu system, a gorgeous graphics engine and a more comprehensive sampling of the sport's events to help attract a wider audience. The result was Dirt, an impressive new racing property that left racing game fans begging for a sequel.

And being polite British types, the Codies racing team cheerily agreed to do just that. The studio officially announced Dirt 2 back in November, but details have been thin in the months to follow. That all changed this week when the developers stopped by the IGN offices to show an early version of the mud-splattered sequel, and I came away impressed.

On a wall of the Codemasters racing studio is an oversized sign that reads, "Off-road racing with extreme sports attitude," and it's this design philosophy that's driven the Dirt 2 team during the game's 18 months of development to date. While the pure rally feel of Dirt is very much still the core of the experience, Dirt 2 is branching out to include new off-road events that stray from the traditional.

It's only a bumper. It can be replaced.
The development team kicked off their demo with a handful of videos from real-life racing events to set the tone, starting with a scene more reminiscent of an X-Games exhibition than a rally competition. The footage shows Team Subaru driver and DC Shoes founder Ken Block taking his WRX STI over a 171-foot jump, and although stunts like that aren't the sole focus of Dirt, they're reminiscent of the new direction some elements of world rally racing are going, and it's a vibe you'll see in the game.

The most obvious place you'll see this new direction is in the stadium events. Set in huge venues like London's Battersea Power Station (the scene on the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals record), and a fictional mega-venue outside of Los Angeles, these races feature tight tracks with varying grades and surfaces where you'll be battling other racers to cross the finish line first. In a single lap, you might roll over tarmac, gravel, loose dirt, a tightly packed berm and a two-foot-deep puddle of standing water. I was shown a few laps at Battersea that contained all of the above, plus a dangerous jump in the middle of the track that requires a steady hand and nerves of steel.

Any good racing game needs to have rock-solid handling, and getting that just right has been a major focus of the Codemasters team. With Dirt 2, the physics wizards at Codemasters have changed the way the cars feel compared to the previous game. Each car now has realistic weight transfer modeling on all four wheels, and the entire system of how traction is transferred to tires has been updated. Whereas before the suspension as a whole had weight load treatment, now the differential and individual corners of the vehicle are independently modeled. How does that translate into car handling in the game? I'll let you know once I get behind the wheel.

The roaring crowds rally's been missing.
The physics aren't the only part of Dirt 2 to get an overhaul. The third-generation Ego engine that's working under the hood has an all new lighting/rendering system that's designed to give unprecedented layers of depth to terrain and environments. The build I saw was based on pre-alpha code, and there's plenty Codemasters isn't showing off yet, but the environments already look stellar, despite missing textures, lighting, and so-called "crowd furniture." I caught a glimpse of what the developers are planning to do with particle and water effects, too, and rally fans won't be disappointed. In the races I watched, cars got progressively grimier until they looked like they'd been airbrushed with brown paint. One flick of the windshield wipers though, and you're right as rain.

Water, always a rally-racer's enemy, has also been given close attention in Dirt 2. It may look pretty, but you don't want to plow into it unless you plan on slowing down by about 30 percent. But if you happen to land in the drink instead of hitting your apex, no worries. There's always the replay.

With 2008's Grid, Codemasters brought a clever new innovation to the world of racing games. The replay function allowed you to tap a button on your controller or PC keyboard and stop time in the middle of a race. And depending on your difficulty level, you could then rewind your race to the moment before you made your fatal error and try again. I didn't get to see it in action, but Codemasters said the replay function will play a part in Dirt 2, which will come as welcome news to those of us who don't share Travis Pastrana's deft touch on hairpin turns.

Many fans of both Dirt and Grid will notice that there are definite similarities between the latter and Dirt 2, including the replay system and the introduction of tighter, circuit-based tracks. But Dirt 2 also shares another trait with its street-racing sister game: online multiplayer.

While Dirt was universally well-received by critics, it also took a few hits for not having a robust competitive online multiplayer system where a group of friends could log on and race against one another in real-time. There was multiplayer, yes, but gamers wanted to see their friends racing alongside them. That's all changed in Dirt 2. Now, the new motto is all cars, all tracks, all online. In general, Codemasters is paying a lot more attention to online connectivity in Dirt 2. There's talk of including a system that will alert you in-game when one of your friends beats your lap time on a certain track (good luck, Goldstein).

Advanced lighting tech opens up new track possibilities.
But before you head online to start battling real-life drivers, you'll need to get the basics down in the single-player mode. The main way you'll do that is through World Tour mode, which is the meat of the Dirt 2 experience. Codemasters is still keeping some secrets about what World Tour will include, but we do know you'll be playing as a rally driver who travels to events throughout the world to compete in races of all different types. And at least at the beginning, you won't get the Pastrana or Block star treatment. Instead, you'll start out the old-fashioned way – in an RV.

In Dirt 2, your trusty RV serves as your menu system, allowing you to choose races, get updates and tweak your cars, all from the comfort of your plush captain's chair. But the RV is much more than a menu system, Codies says. It will go with you to every event, and the exterior scene will match your surroundings. So if you head to an event in China, you'll see the mountainous environment in the background and your car of choice parked outside. Hopefully I'll be able to set up my grill, too. After all, it's not rally without steaks.

Leave em' in the dust.
In addition to China, Dirt 2 also takes you to California, Utah, England, Croatia, Malaysia, and other well-known rally locales. So what cars will you be using to tear up nature's pristine virtual environments? Codemasters isn't saying just yet, due to ongoing licensing discussions. But you can bet your rear differential that Subaru will be involved.

I have yet to get my hands on Dirt 2 in earnest, and there's a lot Codemasters has yet to reveal about its upcoming rally racer. But from what I've seen so far, the team is set to deliver a razor-sharp off-road racing experience in September. The environmental sound is beefed up, the cars sound throatier and the damage and destructible environments are already impressing. We'll have much more on Dirt 2 as the game progresses, so check back soon for more mud, sweat and gears.

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From IGN.com
Good game!!! This game is made by GRID development team

[ 本帖最後由 Scuderia 於 2009-3-22 17:43 編輯 ]

for PC platform ??

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原帖由 UMPC 於 2009-3-22 18:19 發表
for PC platform ??

360/PC/PS3

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原帖由 Scuderia 於 2009-3-22 20:14 發表

360/PC/PS3

Good~..
期待中

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good

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第一集有時仲有玩下............正
超期待中

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原帖由 yorkechiu 於 2009-3-25 02:43 發表
第一集有時仲有玩下............正
超期待中

do you remember Dirt1 有貨車玩?

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