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Addressing Graphical/Visual Discussions

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There's been ongoing discussion when it comes to graphics/visuals recently and after speaking to the development team last week, I want to give some insight on GRID 2019. Hopefully, this post clears a few things up. Whilst this thread is locked, I'll be linking back to this should similar topics come up in future posts.

Whilst some of the tracks in GRID 2019 are featured in GRID Autosport, it's wrong to say that the textures have been downgraded - they haven't. At the very least, they have been carried over from previous titles. Whilst not the entire reasoning, it's worth pointing out that the sun is in a different position in GRID 2019 compared to Autosport which also may alter the lighting of different assets. A lot of the issues being raised with graphics and textures are indeed due to LOD (level of detail) - the technique of using a dynamic resolution of different textures/objects depending on the distance they are from the camera (for those that don't know!).

As with any game, there is a finite amount of resource when it comes to visuals. With GRID 2019, the decision was made with the resource budget to give more graphical fidelity to those deemed most important - things closer to the camera based on your perspectives such as your car, rival cars, and on-track textures. If more resource was given to those things further away, this could impact the performance of the game - it's as simple as that. If we changed things up, whilst people upset about the textures of those things further away would be fewer, there would be more people pointing out the lack of 60fps, including players Xbox One X/PS4 Pro/PCs (that aren't high-end).

The same goes for trees and other things that are usually whizzing past you at 180mph+. They aren't the main focus of the race, therefore aren't given as much allocation from the resource budget. 

That being said, we have made many visual tweaks and improvements to GRID 2019 since launch. Whilst it's easy to take cropped screenshots and compare the finer details, they aren't a true representation of the entire picture, especially when comparing to early development videos. Obvious graphical bugs will continue to be reported, by me, but there won't be any overwhelming changes in how the game renders assets as mentioned above so please manage your expectations. For that fits the bug criteria, please use the following post as a template before posting:

I'm sure all of you would prefer to have better-looking cars that run at consistent frame-rates as opposed to picture-perfect trees and more frequent lag spikes. In a perfect world, we'd offer both but right now that simply isn't possible.

For some great screenshots showcasing the beauty of GRID, it's worth checking out our screenshots thread. This post from @PIXELSLIDER is one of my favourites: 

I hope you continue to enjoy GRID! 🙂 

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I've done some further investigation surrounding assets and textures to clarify this some more (bear with me, it's a little more technical!):

In previous games (pre-DiRT4) we were using a "specular" workflow. We had a narrower range of time of days, and assets were authored to best sit in these lighting settings. In rare cases we even had to have a day and night version of the same assets. Our new innovative PBR (physically based rendering) workflow allows all assets to work in any lighting setting and weather condition - this allows us to offer much more variation with GRID 2019 featuring 9 different times of day such as dusk and dawn.

There is a downside to PBR when comparing identical times of day to previous games like Autosport, which is where a lot of the comments derive from. In Autosport, edited photos were used to author textures for buildings and monuments, giving the illusion that they were embedded in the scene as they already contained detail, lighting and shadow. All textures from Autosport that were carried over to GRID 2019 had to be re-authored for this new workflow. If we simply copied the same assets/textures into GRID 2019, the light/shadow from the photos would make the assets appear unnatural and incorrect when lit with physically-based lighting. Moreover, with the resource budget available, our focus was on new content and the more important visual features, like your car, rival cars, track surface detail and other on-track features, as well as improved lighting, reflections, weather conditions, the crowd, and the number of cars on track.

Without PBR, we simply wouldn't be able to offer the same wide variation in times of day that are in DiRT 4, DiRT Rally 2.0, and GRID 2019 that so many of our players love. 

That being said, we will continue to make improvements, refinements, and tweaks to make assets like trees/monuments/buildings look more realistic for future games whilst still maintaining lots of exciting options like weather and times of day.

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