ECTS: Gran Turismo 2000

GT 2000 creator Kazunori Yamauchi demonstrated the latest build of the PS2 racing game at the ECTS show.

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Sony Computer Entertainment Europe held a press-only presentation today at the ECTS show in London. The company showcased two of its most high profile PlayStation 2 racing games: Wipeout Fusion and Gran Turismo 2000. Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of the Gran Turismo series, showed off the latest code and discussed several new features that have been implemented in Gran Turismo 2000 since the E3 showing in May.

Yamauchi explained that the replay mode has been improved significantly. It now has added effects such as advanced heat dissipation, improved real-time environmental mapping on the cars, and a function he called "re-focus," where the camera intelligently focuses on the driver's car when it's moving through a crowd of other vehicles. Also, according to Yamauchi, the improved vertical resolution on the replays is twice the resolution of standard PS2 games and will help reduce dark lines on the screen. "All these new replay enhancements enables a more cinematic and natural feeling to the game," Yamauchi said through a translator.

Gran Turismo 2000 is about 75% complete and looked very impressive in the demonstration. Yamauchi hopes to leave a stronger impression on the player with GT 2000 than with its predecessor. He felt that GT2 was essentially a cosmetic extension of the first game, because it offered new cars and modes, but essentially similar play. He hopes that Gran Turismo 2000 will more accurately portray the feeling of driving a racecar. To that end, Yamauchi encourages players to use a force feedback steering wheel for the PS2 when playing GT 2000. "The steering wheel has helped me get one step closer to the ideal game," Yamauchi explained. The PS2 wheel will let players half-throttle the cars through tight turns, and according to Yamauchi, will facilitate better handling of the cars themselves.

Yamauchi proceeded to reveal that GT 2000 will include 150 different cars, which is a significant drop from the 300+ cars in GT2. The reason for the reduced car lineup is that each car now requires more development time, as each will be made up of over 5000 polygons, compared with 300 polys per car in the original Gran Turismo and GT2. However, all the GT2 manufacturers will be represented in the game, only with fewer models per manufacturer. Other new additions include re-recorded engine sounds, enhancements to the license trials, and a closer correlation between car damage and driving physics - if the player is knocked around the track, it will more realistically affect aspects such as handling and acceleration.

Finally, it was confirmed that GT 2000 will be released in the DVD format. The amount of data required in this latest game is 50 times that of GT2, according to Yamauchi. Thus, using the DVD format became essential. In fact, Yamauchi planned on using two DVD discs for the game, but was faced with technical problems and had to fit all the data into once disc.

This latest build of Gran Turismo 2000 featured very impressive car models, as everything from the hood ornament to sponsor decals are beautifully textured on the chassis. Yamauchi explained that anti-aliasing has been implemented in the game, and it certainly showed - the cars and environments appeared much smoother in this latest build compared with previous versions. However, there are still some graphical problems in the game, in that the cars appear unrealistically flat and wide. Even cars with rigid, upright chassises such as the Civic hatchback or Subaru Impreza looked crushed, almost as if they were racing in some high-gravity environment. Hopefully these problems will be corrected before the game is finished.

GameSpot will continue to bring you coverage of Gran Turismo 2000 for the Sony PS2.

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