NASCAR 09 Updated Hands-On

Customizable paint jobs are coming to a stock car racing game near you in NASCAR 09.

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Though EA Sports' NASCAR series has always had a leg up on its driving competition in one respect--it's tough to discount the impact of the NASCAR license on sales--it's always trailed behind such competitors as the Forza Motorsport series in one crucial area: car customization. Earlier in the week, NASCAR 09 revealed the ace up its sleeve in that respect--downloadable car templates that look to take the customization fight to its competitors.

Currently available for download from EA's NASCAR 09 Web site, the templates give you a great deal of control over how your car will appear in the game. All you need to do is download the templates, bring them into a graphical editor, such as Photoshop, and then set out to create your visual masterpiece. Once NASCAR 09 is released, you'll be able to upload those designs and apply them to your car in the game.

The paint booth tool will let you create your own custom liveries for your cars.
The paint booth tool will let you create your own custom liveries for your cars.

Using such powerful programs as Photoshop to create designs should result in some fantastic user creations--everything from fantasy designs to re-creations of classic NASCAR liveries from the past. Unlike Forza's shapes-based design tool, there's nothing keeping you from using graphical elements, such as photographs on your car, which means that there will likely be some inspiring and more than a few scary car designs out there once the game is released. You will be able to see the designs your friends have created for their cars when racing online, but EA won't be hosting the images for download by other people via the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Instead, if you want to share a design with a friend, you'll have to do it the old-fashioned way (such as via e-mail or file transfer).

In addition to the paint booth feature, there's more good news for NASCAR fans waiting for their yearly fix: The game is complete and nearly ready for retail. We look forward to seeing what interesting car designs players put together, as well as finding out how NASCAR 09 turns out, and we'll be reporting our findings in our full review after the game is released on June 10.

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