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Forza Motorsport 6 Makes Splashes at E3 2015

Rain, rain, don't go away.


Turn 10 Studios are ambitiously aiming to master rain in Forza Motorsport 6. We're not about your standard issue downpour in a racing game with superficial weather effects. It's more about drops of water beading on a triple-waxed chassis, the smears from a swing windshield wiper, and how large drops of water elongate as you accelerate. It's striking to see this play out in real time that it's almost distracting. This might be the first Forza game I play where I genuinely won't care that I'm not in first place.

The Turn 10 spokesman was so thorough with his verbal bullet point list of the pervasiveness of this dynamic water that I was compelled to quiz him on how the rain affects the Forza experience beyond visuals. Sure enough, he responded by saying that even the sound of the rain will change based on your camera angle, whether it's inside or outside the car. Ever notice how the sound of heavy raindrops on a car sound when you're at a full stop and how it's less cacophonous when you're in motion? You can experience the same sound changes in Forza Motorsport 6.

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It's seldom that something seemingly superficial as drops on a car would be a selling point, but these water effects go beyond the car itself. Forza Motorsport 5 already established a solid design foundation that Turn 10 could work on other aspects that weren't explored in previous iterations. Water as a hazard is one of those features. That means puddles are large enough that driving into it at the wrong speed or angle can significantly impact the result of a race. Skidding on wet tracks isn't new, but losing control due to aquaplaning (or hydroplaning) is a different matter.

Turn 10 Studios also introduced me to the term "porocity", which is the measurement of open space in between rocks and other hard objects. In the context of Forza Motorsport 6, these are the spaces, grooves, and cracks in the myriad driving surfaces. There's a type of racing pavement that feels sticky to the touch on dry days, but feels slick on rainy ones. Don't be surprised if you feel these nuanced differences where driving over the 100-plus surfaces in Forza Motorsport 6.

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Yet, Turn 10 knows their limits. Rather than toy with different precipitation levels in a given race, a soaked track will be wet the exact same way every time you race on it. That means the same puddles will be in the same spots, with the same size and depth. Sure it's unrealistic, but at least you can anticipate each hazard in the same way you can anticipate a hairpin turn. Race tracks are meant to be conquered through the course memorization. You still have other racers as the unpredictable variable. Speaking of competition, Turn 10 added a much-requested alternative to the often unpredictable driving habits of the Drivatar AI featured in the last two Forza games. Now you can toggle a setting that lets you race with more professional AI competitors.

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