Gran Turismo 6 wants to bring your real-life races to its digital tracks

Spinning donuts down the information superhighway.

With more than 15 years of development history behind it, the Gran Turismo series is no longer satisfied with simply being a racing simulator. According to producer Taku Imasaki, developer Polyphony Digital's dream is to realize all aspects of car ownership within its game. Thankfully, a 12-hour-long "Day at the DMV" mode isn't in the cards yet. Instead, the team has been hard at work developing two GPS-powered features that incorporate your real-life driving data into Gran Turismo 6.

The course maker--a returning feature from GT5--will let you create tracks using GPS coordinate data collected via the game's smartphone app, while the GPS visualizer will let you re-create entire driving sessions using data pulled from your real-life vehicle. Both of these features were recently announced on the game's official website, so I caught up with Imasaki to get some more information on this new technology.

Have you ever wondered how quickly you'd wreck your car while driving to work at 90mph, or how it would feel to try to race a Formula One car on your local go-kart track? The GT6 companion app will let you answer these burning questions, and others, using GPS coordinate data. When enabled, the app will trace your movement and record how far you traveled in the real world. You will then be able to import that data into Gran Turismo 6, which will generate a racetrack that follows the same path as the recorded data.

However, the app only records the path you took and doesn't record other details such as the road's width or surrounding scenery. Those details will be fine-tuned using GT6's course maker within the game itself. As Imasaki noted, the course maker will be an expanded version of what was in the previous game, but he wasn't ready to dive into specifics just yet.

One addition the team is hoping to include is point-to-point tracks, or tracks that aren't a complete loop. If you're trying to record your morning commute using the app, for example, chances are you won't be making a complete loop. Imasaki acknowledged that point-to-point track support is something the team is aware of, but it remains to be seen whether this feature will make it into Gran Turismo 6.

Using GPS data to retrace driving routes may make for an interesting companion app, but it's just a stepping stone toward greater things for Polyphony, such as the GPS visualizer. True to its name, this technology lets you visualize in GT6 every decision you made while driving in the real world. The way it works is that an automotive manufacturer attaches a small device to your car's computer. This device then records data that the computer is receiving, such as throttle control, brake timing, steering angles, and whether or not you're terrible at parallel parking.

Imasaki was quick to note that this device isn't hacking into the computer--or otherwise interfering with it--in any way. It is just passively recording what you're telling the car to do. All this telemetry data is stored on a USB drive, which can be used to import it into GT6. The game will then construct a digital version of your real-life drive, letting you study the intricacies of your automotive performance in exhaustive detail.

The potential applications for this technology have the team at Polyphony extremely excited. As Imasaki explained, combining this technology with, say, a wireless streaming service could allow you to digitally insert yourself into a race that is happening in the real world. GT6 would use the data being streamed to recreate the race as it's happening, and could then drop you on the racetrack alongside the other racers. Alternatively, if two cars equipped with this technology got into an accident, you could review the data to help determine who was at fault. It's basically instant replay for the accident.

However, these ideas are still in the realm of speculation. For the time being the GPS visualizer is primarily intended for personal improvement. A racer could complete a lap on the real-life Willow Springs, import that data into GT6, and watch the car in the game make the same decisions he did in real life on the virtual Willow Springs track. By reviewing this playback he could potentially spot minute errors in his performance. That visualizer data could also be shared as ghost data for others to compete against.

So far, GPS visualizer technology has only been integrated into the Toyota 86 in Japan--as well as its North American counterpart, the Scion FR-S. The device will be available in Japan starting next spring as a dealer option for the 86. No details are available yet regarding a North American release. Together, these GPS-powered technologies represent an exciting step forward for Polyphony and the Gran Turismo series towards becoming a truly complimentary experience for car owners everywhere.

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Discussion

30 comments
dillon-peters
dillon-peters

damn... now I wished I lived in Switzerland or Italy. bring those straight in game. though I like the idea of the 90mph to work thing... I'm gonna drive to work, make a loop and come straight back and see how fast I can do that in game.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

we need mountain passes. i would go to a couple of them if i knew it was possible to recreate

crazeon
crazeon

I have the Subaru version of that car, and I'm trying to figure out if it has that integration also...so far it looks like the answer is no :(

bigfatjono
bigfatjono

Just when I thought I could skip a GT game, they go and do this.

ronvnit2006
ronvnit2006

the dynamic weather changing in gt6 is impressive.....

proudtiger
proudtiger

Microsoft is watching lol.

Forza "new" real drivatar control" coming in Forza 7.

They stole GT now they will steal ideas from GT again.

A bit like EA Sports stealing sports franchises.

CptYoutube
CptYoutube

If I can race at a track, why would I play a videogame? Kind of a useless feature.

lonesamurai1
lonesamurai1

I do wish they would stop referring to this game as a simulator.

Horndawgie
Horndawgie

Pretty cool idea, but unfortunately I don't have any race cars that I take to tracks. My cousin has some nice cars that he takes to tracks - Carrera GT, Ferrari F40, F50 and an Enzo, but he doesn't play video games. He has been cool to give me rides in them, though. Did 185 MPH in the Carrera GT. I had motion sickness for a day after. I will stick to video games, I think.

RageSet
RageSet

@proudtigerAs a fan of both racing series, I'm trying to figure what Forza stole from GT. If you mean Forza "stole" the idea of a racing simulator, then I guess. Unfortunately, Polyphony has rested on their laurels for certain entries in the GT series and Turn 10 has taken the racing simulator genre on consoles to new levels.

Admittedly, I was a HUGE GT fan and I wouldn't buy any other racing simulator but after the mistake that was GT4, I ventured off and tried new racing games and I fell in love with Forza. GT5 was two steps forward, one step back and I'm hoping GT6 gets the series back on track. However, I think Turn 10 is getting a bit lazy and I'm going to skip Forza 5 (Forza 4 is one of the best racing games I've ever played).

I think you need to do what I did and test other games out.

Draken_Domingo
Draken_Domingo

@CptYoutube That's not the point. You can basically record your driving at -any- area, so if you find a place that has lots of twists and turns, you can import it into GT6 from what I gather.


Of course, I'm sure most Initial D fans are just itching to see if they can recreate Akina/Haruna....myself included

ustesbaines
ustesbaines

A Carrera GT huh? Thats what Paul Walker died in.

sanchango
sanchango

@Horndawgie don't need a race car or a race track. From the article, you could literally drive a loop around your neighborhood and it will record that data. Then you can transfer that data to GT6 and race it with a faster car.

West123
West123

@RageSet @proudtiger forza is a better game but its not a simulator and its clear that its not....dont get angry that it isnt GT goal was always to make a perfect simulator and forza goal was to be fun  

West123
West123

@digitalclover @PETERAKO you dont know that... it could be the mess GTAO is...trying to break us by cutting the ways to make money in game and pushing their cards

dillon-peters
dillon-peters

@motopram well duh they drive on a track, it's called an ideal race line. if you actually watched racing you'd notice that passing doesn't happen as often as you think

motopram
motopram

@West123 @RageSet @proudtiger GT isn't a simulator either, both games are equally arcade sims. iRacing is a sim. The difference between GT and Forza is GT is a car game and Forza is a racing game.

I've put many, many more hours in GT than Forza, the problem GT has is the needles grinding, the unrestricted upgrade system (you can dominate any league with enough money) and your opponents drive on a train track.  But there are lots of cars in great detail. I'm new to Forza, Forza 5 is my first in the series. The first thing i noticed was the opponents seem to actually race, the cars are equal in their arcade sim style, the Forza cards drift a bit more and the damage system is impressive. But there might be holes in the game i haven't seen yet.

West123
West123

@lonesamurai1 @Halloll what are you talking about? how would you define a simulator and what other game or product comes close to this? 

how do you explain gt academy? how do normal people go from a game to LeMons...maybe just maybe its getting so close to the real thing that they can actual predict the winner of GT academy will actually be able to race and be competitive in the real world

digitalclover
digitalclover

@PETERAKO @West123 @digitalclover That is a very flushed out argument of counterpoints.  It even included counterpoints to what you imagined I would say next.

There are already reports coming in that the progression system in GT6 is practically identical to GT5 in regards to how much and how often you acquire credits.  So no, this game hasn't been balanced against you.  Purchasing in-game currency is completely optional and isn't required to see all of the game's content.

Some games do have a sadistic setup to get additional money from the user, but GT6 isn't one of them.  Just because the phrase "micro transaction" is used in a game article doesn't mean there's an evil business man out to get your money.

I'll be back in a few months when you overreact about car pack DLC.

PETERAKO
PETERAKO

@West123 @digitalclover or it could be like forza 5 and most exclusive launch titles on the skinner's box one, or like dead space 3.

Shove this well into your brain mister Clover. 

Microtransactions are never optional. The game is always balanced against you. It is grindy or too difficult. Then they make pop up adds that brake the experience and the atmosphere to tell you "oh is this taking too long or is it too difficult? you can buy our shit to make it "better"". They insidiously try to subliminaly force you to them transactions

To add insult to injury the Items you sometimes get through these MEGAtransactions are so OP that are essentially cheats(in case you were wondering why are they so rare these days), and that is why most games are no longer modable.

And before you say it, NO! I dont buy the "its necessary for having income" excuse. you make a good game, I buy it, you make money because you sell the game not because you sell me a 60 bucks empty barebone shell and then milking me till the end of time with a bussiness model that should only belong to F2P


you got some nerve defenting those insulting and dowright discusting practises