Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Gran Turismo (game)
Gran Turismo (GT) is a racing video game series developed by Polyphony Digital for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation Portable gaming systems. The producer for all four games is Kazunori Yamauchi . Gran Turismo is partially responsible for the US introduction of cars once available only in Japan and other right hand drive markets, such as the Subaru Impreza WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and the 2007 debut of the Nissan Skyline, possibly under Nissan's luxury brand Infiniti. The game has also increased US awareness of such companies as Aston Martin, Ruf, Venturi (automobile) , and Alfa Romeo.
The appeal of the Gran Turismo series is largely due to the meticulous detail evident in the simulation of driving and racing the licensed vehicles in the game. Every car sounds and handles according to real-life driving impressions. Vehicle tuning is similarly realistic, suspension settings affecting handling as they do in motorsports. Although Gran Turismo has a beer-and-pretzels arcade mode, the real heart of the series is its simulation mode, which guides the player through a circuit of increasingly difficult events—building up his/her cash, his/her skill, and his/her stable of cars all the while.
Although Gran Turismo is widely considered the best racing simulation (sim) available for the PSX and PS2, it is not without its drawbacks (however small). For example, the game contains no damage-modeling whatsoever—partly due to licensing agreements prohibiting car damage and partly due to the fact (as observed by developers) that many collisions during normal gameplay would completely destroy the cars involved. This lack of damage modeling has prompted many players to quip, "Who needs brakes? That's what my opponent's for!" Indeed, using the AI cars as impromptu barriers is a time-honored Gran Turismo tactic. This does not, however, undermine the realistic physics in simulating the actual driving.
Also, there are certain glaring vehicle omissions (despite a vehicle count of more than 700 in GT4), likely due to an inability to get the licenses which are currently held by EA; there are no Ariels, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, or Porsches to be found (although Ruf, which is available, builds its cars on Porsche chassis).
For the original PlayStation. Gran Turismo contains eleven courses, three endurance courses, and multiple time-trial events. The game's simulation mode is not as fleshed out as in later releases, and the structure is really sort of formless, but the basic features of the game are present, including the ability to win vehicles for your garage by winning certain events. Also introduced the license-testing system, which qualifies the player to compete in certain events. The player starts with a certain number of credits, which are used to purchase used or new vehicles from a number of manufacturer-specific shops (e.g., one sells only Toyotas, one sells only Mitsubishis, and so on), or in Gran Turismo 4 from one of 3 used car dealers, and then can tune his/her car at the appropriate parts store for best performance on the circuit. Players may apply prize money won in events to further tuning their existing car or buying a new one. Certain events are open only to particular vehicles, or to drivers with a particular license earned.
Gran Turismo 2
Also for the original PlayStation. Gran Turismo 2 (GT2) contains 22 courses, 6 endurance courses, and the first rally event courses. GT2 comes on two discs: an arcade disc and a simulation disc. The separate disc is testament to the amount of depth added to the simulation mode in GT2, nearly doubling the number of available vehicles, adding new tracks, and structuring the events in a more logical fashion. GT2 also reorganizes the license system accordingly and keeps track of the player's completion percentage. The game itself bears nearly 600 licensed automobiles. Early releases were noted for having many glitches.
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
The first version for PlayStation 2 and had vastly enhanced graphics. Taking advantage of the new platform, Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (GT3) introduced a number of elements to gameplay. For instance, oil changes become a necessity, and your vehicle's performance degrades noticeably if you leave the old oil in too long. GT3 also introduces a new super license, designed for the budding Formula One racers in all of us. The simulation mode is organized quite logically when compared to the first two games, giving GT3 a real sense of structure and progress. In addition, the car shops are now organized by country and then by manufacturer—far more intuitively than the contrived East City/West City method used in GT2. On the downside, far fewer vehicles are available in GT3 than GT2, a casualty of the improved graphics, the desire to package the game on a single DVD, and the fact that it was released early in the PlayStation 2's lifespan. Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec was a massive commercial success for Sony in Japan, Europe, and North America—easily its best-selling racing game.
Gran Turismo Concept: 2002 Tokyo-Seoul
Released only in Korea on April 9, 2002, this game featured Korean cars from Hyundai for the very first time. This game was based largely on the Gran Turismo Concept: 2001 Tokyo Collection and served as a launch pad for Sony Computer Entertainment Korea's Playstation 2 launch in Korea.
Gran Turismo 4
Gran Turismo 4 is the most realistic and comprehensive game of the series, with the most amount of tracks and cars available. There are at least 700 different cars in the game (although it should be pointed out that this list includes cars with multiple small variations, such as 20 Subaru Imprezas, 25 Mitsubishi Lancers, and 48 Nissan Skylines) and over 50 racetracks. Features new to the series include the ability to install aerodynamic spoilers to increase downforce, the ability for tuned or racing cars to spit flames from unburnt fuel through their exhausts, and the controversial inclusion of nitrous oxide. There are also new Photo and B-spec Modes to cater for a wider variety of car enthusiasts.
The game was released for PlayStation 2 on December 28, 2004 in Asia, February 22, 2005 in the United States and March 9, 2005 in Europe. A version for PlayStation Portable, titled Gran Turismo 4 Mobile (or GT4 Mobile), is currently in development. An online component, originally intended, was removed. However, while there is a lack of online features, the NTSC version of the game has the option of being displayed in 1080i (interlaced) HDTV resolution. It is the first game for the PlayStation 2 that can be displayed in this resolution—and one of only a handful of games available for any current console to do so.
In addition, the physics and AI have been completely reworked. The AI for the opposing cars can now be adjusted by the user with up to 10 settings in B-spec mode. GT4 is also the first game in the series to model the drivers of the vehicles, which allows for convertibles to be driven with the top down, and the inclusion of antique automobiles such as open-top early Mercedes and Model T Fords.
The most significant improvement of GT4 over previous offerings, for most, has likely been the evolution in the physics. Players must learn even more about the subtleties of real life racing in order to be able to drive effectively in the game compared to previous racing games. However, traction and stability controls remain available to provide realistic driving aids for relative beginners while they learn by completing various licence tests.
Licence tests have been an integral part of GT games. Completing higher levels of tests will let the player gain entry to harder races, where victory earns more prize credits and faster, rarer prize cars. This in turn gives the player a better chance of winning the numerous other races as, the money earned will allow for upgrading existing cars in the garage, or buying faster and more expensive cars.
An advanced player will be able to judge his performance by the realistic lap times. According to the developers, a professional driver was invited to set times using the same car on the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit, and the GT4 lap times were within 2% of the real life equivalent.
Toyota Prius demo disc
In the summer of 2004, Toyota sent a demo disc of GT4 along with a marketing brochure for its 2004 Prius hybrid car by way of customer request from their web site. The demo disc featured only two cars, namely the Prius and the Toyota MTRC concept car. Two tracks were included, Fuji Speedway 90's and Grand Canyon, but each was limited to two minutes of play time. Toyota stopped offering the demo discs when the requests for the marketing brochure became disproportional to the real interest in their cars. The disc became a collectible item for Prius owners and is still sometimes available via auction at eBay.
Gran Turismo 5
Speaking at a recent Japanese event, Polyphony Digital head-honcho Kazunori Yamauchi confirmed that he expects to see real-time damage in the next installment of Gran Turismo 5 (GT5) on the PlayStation 3.
Talking with Eurogamer a while back, Yamauchi briefly mentioned that GT4 will be the last Gran Turismo game on the PlayStation 2, and he has now made it fairly clear that a next-gen version of GT5 is on the boards.
- Official Gran Turismo website
- Official Gran Turismo 2 website
- Official Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec website
- Official Gran Turismo 4 website
- Gran Turismo World
- Gran Turismo X
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