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DiRT Rally Road Book - 02/10/15


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Original post here: https://www.dirtgame.com/uk/blog/5092

Well, this week has flown by. I guess that’s partly because I took a day off to celebrate my birthday but mainly because we pushed the Flying Finland update out on Wednesday. It is always exciting to push new content out to you guys as we never really know what sort of reaction it is going to get. With Finland things have been very positive and it’s looking like you are getting to grips with the new v.2 handling too.

Onwards!

I guess now is a pretty good time to be talking about some of the stuff that we are going to be working on over the next month. Probably the busiest guys in the studio right now are the simulation team. As I write this they are working on the new cars that we will be including in the Modern Masters pack. On top of that they are also working through the launch cars and upgrading them to the v.2 handling. They have got the Group B cars up on the axle stands at the moment and we’ll be moving onto the Group A cars once they are complete.

Snow business

As the lead times for our environment creation are significantly longer our environment teams have been hard at work getting the Sweden stages ready for the Winter Wonderland pack.  One of the key characteristics of the Swedish stages are the snow banks, drivers will often lean on snow banks as they attack these snow covered stages. We are currently prototyping some new tech that will hopefully allow us to simulate the sensation of soft snow at the sides of the stage. We have a pretty cool system in place (if you’ll pardon the pun) but we have a fair amount of tweaking to do to ensure that the feel of those snow banks is just right. I’ll let you know more about how that is coming along in the coming months.
On Monday I sat down in the recently well travelled D-Box and recorded the first set of calls for Sweden. I’ll be doing more of that next week but to give you some insight into how we go about doing these recordings here’s Stuart Ross (@stuartcross64) our Senior Audio Designer:

Aural pleasure

Visceral – that was what I was told. The game should tap into the feelings and emotion of the player. Ok, so how can I get this into the only voice in a game which tells you what do, constantly.
I looked at previous rally games and listened to the co driver, then listened to reference material of co-drivers out in the field. There were definite differences, and similarities. The similar things were obvious, right 4 into left 2 over crest; the calls were correct and functional. What was missing wasn’t so obvious and it wasn’t just one thing. After listening carefully I found it was the delivery that was missing, the urgency, the force of the car against the track, forcing the co driver around in his seat forcing the air in his lungs to be expelled at an uncontrolled force by the landing of the car. The volume he has to make his voice heard when the car is at 6000 revs going down a straight compared to braking quickly into a hairpin. The distortion on the headset caused as more air is used to control the voice as the co driver is punished by the car.  All these factors were contributing to the delivery of the co-drivers pace notes, and adding to the feeling of being in the moment.

After this period of research we set about designing a way to record in a similar scenario. Recording in a rally car on the required track was out of the question, so we went for second best. Our own  tracks and a Dbox force feedback chair. We hoped the chair would give the movement into the voice and after a few variations of setup we came up with a system that worked well and quickly.
We record a near perfect run of a track and sit @kick_up in the D-Box chair, strapped in with pace notes in hand, helmet on, much like a real world scenario. The car is launched and Paul calls out the notes, feeling every turn and crest. I then record the output of the driver’s headset in another helmet, so we get the real deal and not some fake processing we think it should sound like. This is what it sounds like.
Paul also has a set of ear buds under his balaclava to listen to the audio from the game, to give some volume to his voice at different stages of the track. As well as ear buds, Paul is literally shaking around in the D-Box. We have it set quite high in order to exaggerate the feedback from the track surface and force more energy into the seat giving Paul’s voice a more forced delivery.
Once we have completed a full run, we do it again. I don’t like audio in games to be repetitive, it detracts from the experience and the human voice is one of the most obvious sounds we pickup on as being false if heard too many times. We also use speed as a factor, at slower speeds the voice is less forced as we set the D-Box feedback lower to give the player some idea that they are having some input to virtual world around them.  So we record a fast pace set of calls twice and a medium paced set of calls twice, and also one set of calls without any force through at all, so if you’re travelling under 10 mph, there’s literally no force coming through the voice and as you speed up it switches to the medium and then to the high.
Each track has a bespoke set of calls for that one track; no calls are reused on other tracks as it would break the flow of the performance. We wanted a visceral experience, and adding these small differences to the recording to the calls is one step closer to the overall experience becoming the one visceral experience we wanted to achieve.

Thanks for that awesome insight Stu! We’ll be doing a more focused blog post from the Audio team soon.

That’s all for this week’s Road Book. Be sure to stop by and let us know how you are getting on with Finland.
Keep mid over big jump!

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Yeah, I like the "left 2 narrows" near a guard rail at the top of Greece's mountain..sounds like he's shaking like a leaf at my driving.  :)

I like snow where you have a layer of powder, but you have no idea when you are going to hit a feature below the snow. The downside to other titles I've played is that you never get stuck.
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Superb road book, thanks. Gossip, interesting back story, answering our questions; it's got the lot.

Please can I suggest doing one on the AI and how times are calculated, what variables there are etc. in future? Would love to know more about that aspect and hope it receives a review before v1.0
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I dunno, I have a feeling modern masters will be WRC's from 2006-ish. That would explain the Grönholm/focus tease we saw earlier.

Another thing is that there was no mention at all about the V2 tarmac feedback where many people feel strange behaviour. Center pivot/where it feels like the back end is not in line with the front. Right now I get the feeling it's  lid on from the dev team about this. Hopefully they are looking in to it.

Great to hear snow banks won't be brick walls as in Monte :) Really looking forward to Sweden!
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GusPerez. it's a Early acess game for christ sake. I can understand @KickUp is saying. Positive reviews on the gravel physics, except for the jumps, anything else it's good. tarmac... they have to be a little worked, But THEY'RE WORKING ON IT. With a limited team, and a limited budget. Don't be such a pain in the ***.  Instead of complaining and saying V2= ARCADE, do as I did. When Dirt was released, I didn't like the feeling at all. I came here, and explain my dislikes towards that. And wait for the physics to get better. And they did it after sometime, and I resume my playinng. I like the fact that because of people can't control the cars anymore, they say it's unrealistic. It's a freakin WRC car for god sakes. It's not suposed to be eay. That's why you have two handfulls of drivers in the world that are the best.
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GusPerez. it's a Early acess game for christ sake. I can understand @KickUp is saying. Positive reviews on the gravel physics, except for the jumps, anything else it's good. tarmac... they have to be a little worked, But THEY'RE WORKING ON IT. With a limited team, and a limited budget. Don't be such a pain in the ***.  Instead of complaining and saying V2= ARCADE, do as I did. When Dirt was released, I didn't like the feeling at all. I came here, and explain my dislikes towards that. And wait for the physics to get better. And they did it after sometime, and I resume my playinng. I like the fact that because of people can't control the cars anymore, they say it's unrealistic. It's a freakin WRC car for god sakes. It's not suposed to be eay. That's why you have two handfulls of drivers in the world that are the best.
Please. I express my opinion, respect my opinion. For all you attack my opinion ..? I do not say that all is well ..? I know that is an early acces. I'm just saying that the path should be another.

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Yes, they should have kept they're update private a little more as I know they wanted and everybody would cry towards Finland. And I'm not attacking you, just stating that v2=arcade, it's not the correct thing to say. Gravel physics are good, they need a bit of patching here and there, but they're good. IMHO better than RBR. And trust me, I have a done a lot of gravel rallys in a 4wd car ;)
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I talked about this in some other thread but I'd like to drop a comment here too about the co-driver's pace notes. I really like them as they generally help you as a driver pretty well with perhaps few problematic places here and there (I always had problems at the middle stages of Abies Koilada in Greece when you are descending and there are some blind corners with nasty surprises and you thought it was a normal 3 left). There are also many cues to the player about what's waiting for you such as telling them to not cut a certain place, there's a danger ahead or even telling them to be brave around some scary looking section. In my experience you really should listen to those cues.

But here's something I'd like improved. I feel that the cues don't stand out from the normal notes well enough so you can easily miss them until you learn the places where danger lurks. From this road book and earlier talks about pace notes it's evident that they have thought about this issue and Paul has done a good job, but I feel that some of the sharp accents from heat of the moment have perhaps disappears on the floor of the sound engineering department. I feel there are not enough dynamics in the co-driver's voice to make the cues stand out enough. Maybe there's some over-eager limiter and compression going on in the audio.

Or who knows, maybe I'm so tone-deaf myself and other people don't experience this problem. All in all, I really like the pace notes but I'd wish more dynamics to really make the things described in the road book stand out!
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Urokhtor said:
I talked about this in some other thread but I'd like to drop a comment here too about the co-driver's pace notes. I really like them as they generally help you as a driver pretty well with perhaps few problematic places here and there (I always had problems at the middle stages of Abies Koilada in Greece when you are descending and there are some blind corners with nasty surprises and you thought it was a normal 3 left). There are also many cues to the player about what's waiting for you such as telling them to not cut a certain place, there's a danger ahead or even telling them to be brave around some scary looking section. In my experience you really should listen to those cues.

But here's something I'd like improved. I feel that the cues don't stand out from the normal notes well enough so you can easily miss them until you learn the places where danger lurks. From this road book and earlier talks about pace notes it's evident that they have thought about this issue and Paul has done a good job, but I feel that some of the sharp accents from heat of the moment have perhaps disappears on the floor of the sound engineering department. I feel there are not enough dynamics in the co-driver's voice to make the cues stand out enough. Maybe there's some over-eager limiter and compression going on in the audio.

Or who knows, maybe I'm so tone-deaf myself and other people don't experience this problem. All in all, I really like the pace notes but I'd wish more dynamics to really make the things described in the road book stand out!
As a co driver my driver urges me not to emphasise things too much as it upsets his temperament in the car. This has carried over into the recordings. Also, I think if we had over emphasised things the calls will have sounded over acted and a bit cheesy. 

I do hear what you are saying and I'm sure we can improve it in the future. 
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Heh I guess in the end it boils down to personal preferences and naturally you can not please everyone. :) The notes are definitely well crafted as is.

I'd like to throw an example of more articulate style co-driving. Unfortunately the notes are in Finnish but maybe non-Finnish speaking folk can get something out of it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5iQs51N40c

Basically he EMPHASISES the dangers ahead with PERCUSSIVE accentuation.
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He's funny, swears & screams at the driver.  Best of it is, their notes seem to be fairly unique.  I have no idea what they mean and have yet to hear anyone else use similar, but one things for sure, Andrew must hear the detail in them, as his commitment is unreal!  He's mental in a rally car!!
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Maybe Jari-Matti Latvala's co-driver Miikka Anttila could be consulted on emphasising the notes. For some time in at least 2009 they decided to aid JM's concentration by making Miikka really shout out aggressively the notes in fast sections and be more subtle during slower ones. Here's one great example of the technique in use in Rally Finland in the classic Myhinpää stage: https://youtu.be/0mWpAN_F1Hw
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okit said:
Maybe Jari-Matti Latvala's co-driver Miikka Anttila could be consulted on emphasising the notes. For some time in at least 2009 they decided to aid JM's concentration by making Miikka really shout out aggressively the notes in fast sections and be more subtle during slower ones. Here's one great example of the technique in use in Rally Finland in the classic Myhinpää stage: https://youtu.be/0mWpAN_F1Hw
Yes please give us Coleman shouting to us with finnish accent.
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I need to know, have the team changed something on gravel mounds at greece? I feel it different since 0.8... more natural, but not Wales (I still feel the nitro mounds)

Now i´m looking forward to see how the game will manage the snowbanks. Will be there snow splashes? Will be ported to Montecarlo? :) 

Will gravel mounds be reworked in the search of some more "real" effect when hitting them?

Ps: bring back some downforce xD
(just a bit!)
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Recovery again.. flugzeugring reverse... last hairpin to the right. it have stone right inside on hairpin. you can even hit that stone cause the racovery takes the show. because the stone is there you can take it like shortcut so why recoveryagain there..?
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meerkat80 said:
okit said:
Maybe Jari-Matti Latvala's co-driver Miikka Anttila could be consulted on emphasising the notes. For some time in at least 2009 they decided to aid JM's concentration by making Miikka really shout out aggressively the notes in fast sections and be more subtle during slower ones. Here's one great example of the technique in use in Rally Finland in the classic Myhinpää stage: https://youtu.be/0mWpAN_F1Hw
Yes please give us Coleman shouting to us with finnish accent.
He better start booking some Finnish rally English classes.
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