There’s a lot more than meets the eye.
We didn’t need to tell you that video games are awesome, but they are. Apart from everything that makes them great, it takes a lot more work than you’d expect to get cars into any game. Thankfully, Donut Media’s latest video takes us through the process that developers go through when gifting a vehicle its 15 minutes of fame.
Nolan from Donut was lucky enough to get Codemasters – most notably the studio behind the Formula 1 and DIRT series of video games – to walk him through the development process. Long story short, it boils down into three stages involving vehicle selection, modeling, and programming.
Believe it or not, it’s a big deal for your vehicle to be featured in a game, and manufacturers want to know that their pride and joy is accurately depicted. As such, a lot of time is spent getting licensing figured out. From industry experience, some of the Codemasters devs mentioned automakers having astonishingly specific stipulations on the colors, sponsors, and even structural integrity of its vehicles in-game.
After getting through the initial red tape, the car in question needs to be digitally recreated – while you’d think visuals are most important, the sound a vehicle makes is equally critical. 3D modeling is currently incredibly advanced, but things used to be different; developers used to attend auto-shows to photograph the vehicles they wanted to replicate and retrace them digitally afterward.
Sound capture has come a long way as well. An immensely important tool in selling the authenticity of a video game, developers will spend countless hours with advanced microphones trying to precisely recreate the noise of every vehicle. Nowadays developers will even model the sonic properties of different environments – for instance: driving through a tunnel sounds miles different than driving around tall city buildings.
Finally, after a car has been licensed and digitally modeled, it needs to be programmed to provide a realistic feel behind the wheel. This can vary from title to title, but behind the scenes, the game engine serves to recreate vehicle physics; metrics like weight, power, and grip, can be used to differentiate one automobile from another. Regardless, all of these steps come together to produce the driving games that we know and love.