MotorStorm GDC Trailer Impressions

We get a look at the latest footage from Evolution Studios' dirt-covered PS3 racing game.

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SAN JOSE, Calif.--Today at the Game Developer's Conference, Scott Kirkland and Mick Hocking from Evolution Studios showed off a bit more of MotorStorm, their racing game that made a big splash with its cinematic trailer at E3 last year. Anyone who watched the trailers from E3 will remember MotorStorm's debut as one of the highlights of the PS3's third-party offerings, with some slick graphics and down-and-dirty racing.

The emphasis in MotorStorm appears to be to reproduce the dirt and mud inherent in off-road and rally racing. To date, all of the footage we've seen of the game has taken place on off-road tracks, and the footage shown today shows just how far Evolution has come in its attempts to model the natural grime that builds up on vehicles when they leave the asphalt. If you're tired of pretty-boy cars that never get dirty, then Motor Storm is shaping up to be the racer for you.

The first section of the GDC demo showed off a yellow buggy doing doughnuts in--what else?--a bunch of mud. The car was obviously well detailed, with tiny elements, like individual welding points, visible. As the car circled around and around, it kicked up so much dirt that it actually deformed the ground underneath it, and it appears that this deformation actually does have an impact on gameplay, since the suspension and wheels of the car bounced over the ruts that were being created. It'll be interesting to see how this effect impacts gameplay. In a multilap race, you could conceivably wind up having to stick to the ruts worn into the turns if you want maximum speed, whereas pristine mud would slow you down.

The second section of the demo was of an off-road motorcycle, which would seem to be confirmation that Motor Storm is going to feature multiple types of vehicles. (The E3 footage showed off ATVs, motorcycles, buggies, and rally cars of various types.) This was effectively a "mud demo," where the bike's wheels would kick up huge amounts of dirt and mud into the air, all accompanied by some slick motion-blur effects and the requisite particle overload.

The last part of the demo featured the bike kicking up mud onto another truck. In one of the neater aspects of the game's engine, you can get mud stuck to your car as the result of following another vehicle in front of you. Mud will usually be initially oozy and wet when it hits your car, but over time it'll dry off, leaving you with a coat of grimy goodness that would make any SUV commercial proud.

While we didn't get many more details on MotorStorm's gameplay as a result of the GDC demo, Evolution promised that the game would be showing at E3, so be sure to stick to GameSpot this summer for more details on one of the dirtiest racers for the PS3.

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