I was able to catch up with Codemasters and discuss their latest game, DiRT 2, which is coming out in November. The game has unbelievable graphics and amazing control from one of the top racing game developers in the world. This is a game not to be missed. Here are some excerpts from our discussion.
When did you come up with the idea for DiRT 2?
DiRT 2 was a natural extension of DiRT, which in itself was developed to capture the new spirit of rally and off-road racing we were seeing around the world. At the time this was being popularized by the likes of Ken Block, Travis Pastrana and indeed Colin McRae himself.
When did you begin working on it?
We began working on DiRT 2 as soon as we finished developing GRID, which was July 2008.
Tell me a little about DiRT 2 and what makes it different than other driving games.
DiRT 2 is not just about being a racing driver, it’s about living a lifestyle. DiRT 2 celebrates the culture of contemporary off-road motorsport and features an exciting line-up of fresh rally talent. It’s about traveling the world in your RV, hitting off-road festivals and building your reputation as a driver. Along the way you’ll build friendships with these stars of the modern off-road world and these relationships help you move up the ladder. We hope that this approach will take the DiRT experience to new audiences.
What’s the advantage of playing DiRT 2 with Logitech G27 Racing Wheel?
The G27 racing wheel allows all the depth and subtleties of the game’s handling to be felt, giving the player increased control. The player is able to react quickly and smoothly to all bumps and surprises typically encountered when racing off-road, including a proper feel of each surface transition. The sheer strength of the G27’s force-feedback system combined with the need to make rapid corrections as you navigate hostile terrain mean that the combination of DiRT 2 and G27 can give you a real workout! Naturally we allow the player to tune this to their preference.
What type force feedback effects are used with the Logitech force feedback wheel? And how do these enhance game play?
Force feedback effects are used for everything from large scale effects such as individual surface forces, collisions and damage feedback, through to more subtle effects such as skidding and car setup adjustments. Tyre-to-surface interaction is key to the driving experience in DiRT 2 and we’ve made some huge steps forward in the modeling of this interaction to deliver a realistic handling feel. Force feedback allows us to further capitalize on this by giving us means to communicate shifting of weight, grip levels and traction loss to the player.
Can you tell us more about your multiplayer support?
We’ve listened to feedback from our community here and we’re very proud of the multiplayer feature set in DiRT2. First of all, we support full 8-player multiplayer in all the disciplines that are available offline. Second, we allow players to set up whatever type of online event they wish – any car, any track, any game mode. Finally, we’ve wrapped all of this up with some really cool community features which we hope will make it even more fun to compete online – you can compare any of your stats with those of your friends at the press of a button, there are leaderboards for all events (complete with downloadable ghost cars) and we run regular tournaments into which players will be automatically entered and from which they can win additional in-game prizes. Multiplayer was an area we really needed to improve on over the original DiRT, and I think we’ve done that and then some.
What’s your favorite nuanced feature of the game, perhaps something that gives it more depth than some similar games?
The online tournaments in DiRT 2 are a fun feature. We wanted to provide a competitive online aspect to DiRT 2 that players of all ability levels could enjoy, and even participate in while playing offline in the DiRT Tour. Each tournament will pick up on a particular aspect of driving (such as jumps, lap times, highest speeds etc) and automatically enter you onto the tournament leaderboard based on your strongest performance. You’ll be competing with players worldwide to see your name in lights on the DiRT 2 website and also for the chance to win exclusive prizes.
Can you provide our readers with a gameplay tip? Something that will improve their experience?
Be gentle with the throttle and steering to get the most out of the car. With time you can learn when to be aggressive, but if you want the best times, you need to learn to drive smoothly.
You have a long history in gaming and developing for various platforms. What was it like making this game?
For DiRT 2 we were working with a mature and robust engine that has been refined through our experiences with DiRT and GRID. This meant we had more time to add lots of fun little touches and polish to the game, as well as pushing current hardware to breaking point. Great fun for the development team!
The DiRT name carries an obvious heritage from early successes. Are there any gameplay or game design similarities?
All of our games change with time to suit the changing tastes of our gamers, but you’ll still find lots of point-to-point racing in DiRT 2, along with the usual excellent physics and damage modeling.
When and where can folks buy DiRT 2?
All formats apart from PC are available to buy now, with the DX9 and upgraded DX11 PC version following in early December.
What else is your crew at working on?
We’ve just started work on another racing title, but that’s as much as I can say at this stage!