Microsoft's 'Forza Motorport 5' moves toward realism | Bangkok Post: tech

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Microsoft's 'Forza Motorport 5' moves toward realism

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With a stunning level of visual detail and the widest ever selection of cars, which for this edition extends to Formula One and IndyCar open-wheel racers as well as the world's most beautiful supercars, the racing simulator series has taken another giant step towards realism, Drivatars not withstanding. 

The McLaren and "Forza Motorsport 5" collaboration in action

With a choice of rides that includes the Ferrari LaFerrari, the Bugatti Veyron, the latest Aston Martin Vanquish and of course the McLaren P1, the game is a veritable who's who of the supercar world, offering gamers the chance to push these objects of automotive desire to their virtual limit, but to create the most expensive automobile accidents in history.

As well as a stunning level of rendered detail, the latest addition to the ongoing series is a selection of ‘open wheel' cars -- i.e. vintage and current F1 and Indy Car racers, including Nikki Lauda's 1976 Formula One championship season Ferrari 312-2 and James Hunt's McLaren M23 -- both of which are featured as part of a shameless publicity tie-in with US director Ron Howard's latest film, "Rush," which tells the story of the two drivers' on-and-off-track rivalry.

And, thanks to another shameless tie-in, this time with McLaren, which used the game to out the final design for its P1 -- the game's cover star car -- one person will win the chance to experience the spills and thrills of pushing a million-dollar car to the limit for real. McLaren is offering a ride in the passenger seat as the P1 races around the infamous Hill course at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this July. The competition, announced on June 13, is open to gamers and non-gamers alike. To be in with a chance of winning, visit McLaren's Facebook page.

Away from commercial tie-ins and from a purely visual perspective, there can be no doubt that Turn 10 has raised the bar again with the latest game in the hugely popular series, and this is in part thanks to the processing power of the cloud and one of the reasons why the next-generation console needs constant internet access so that its virtual processors can do all of the heavy lifting. This extra processing power is one of the reasons why Formula One cars have been included in this edition -- aerodynamically, they behave completely differently from all other types of car and therefore require a totally different physics engine for replicating their performance on circuits.

However, one of the more bizarre features of Forza Motorport 5 is something called a Drivatar -- a virtual representation of the player that learns a gamer's driving style including strengths, weaknesses and willingness to play fair and how to replicate it exactly so that the game can continue in the player's absence and he or she can continue earning credits. It seems a little counterintuitive to create such an involving, hyper-realistic driving game and then offer what boils down to an autopilot mode, but the game's developers say that by replicating real gamers' behavior, a player's virtual opponents will behave like real people rather than like automatons.

Forza Motorsport 5 is exclusive to Xbox One and will launch in November alongside the next-generation console.

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