Posted on April 02, 2011


Just a quick reminder for the community, the SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED Game with Dev/Up All Night gaming session happens tomorrow (April 1), starting at 12 noon and running until to 3PM (all times PST). The folks at Slightly Mad Studios are ready to get their race on.

The developers’ accounts are listed below below:

PlayStation 3:

Xbox 360:

Another major event taking place this Friday is the second Up All Night gaming session. Drew, Greg, and myself – along with a fourth mystery player – will be racing on SHIFT 2 Unleashed from 9AM (PST) Friday morning until 9AM the next day.

We had so much fun playing with the community last time, and we’re chomping at the bit to give it a second go. As with last time, we’ll be on our Twitter feed (@NeedforSpeed), giving away prizes as dawn moves to dusk and becomes dawn again. Hope to see you there!

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Shift 2: Unleashed review

Posted on March 29, 2011

I am in favour of the RPG-ification of all things. I want points for successfully waking up in the morning, points for getting my legs through the right holes in my trousers, points for not falling over and voiding my bowels on the way to work. Shift 2 has the right idea: it gives me points for everything.

I overtake another car and the invisible car god of the sky gives me 20 points. I stymie a rival’s progression through the pack by weaving my multi-thousand dollar machine in front of his, and he gifts me another ten. All points from my benevolent driving lord go toward Shift 2’s career mode, and fuel a healthy and compulsive unlock schedule that makes me want to swear undying fealty to my new car god and kill all unbelievers.

A second later I was rammed off the road.

Points spill forth from all Shift 2’s orifices. Winning races or getting the fastest lap on a time attack session will typically give the largest rewards, but they don’t satisfy quite like the mid-race prizes. On default settings, Shift 2’s tracks are lit up by a racing line of green chevrons: follow them perfectly and you’ll tot up XP. Each course has mini achievements – leading for a lap, or following the line through every corner – and the points-haul is chunky.

Connecting solidly with the racing line and sticking to it adds an extra frisson to an already tense game, but the wayward handling model makes the process more complicated than it needs to be. Shift 2’s default camera mode is in the racer’s helmet. Slightly Mad studios have artfully recreated the sense of climbing into a turbocharged tin can and getting knocked about so hard your vision swims, but in doing so, it feels like they’ve tied Shift 2’s cars too closely to your on-screen hand movements.

The in-helmet view makes for a juddery ride

Let’s take turning left as an example. On a Xbox 360 pad (and for the love of new magic sky god, do not attempt to play with a keyboard – controller or wheel only), pushing the stick slowly to the left has one of two outcomes: a yank on the wheel that realigns your car at least ten degrees, or nothing at all. As an experience, the helmet cam is breathtaking – being close to the tarmac with the noise and speed feels properly dangerous. But to win races, I had to switch to the behind-the-car camera, or suffer as my guesses about the way my car was facing were proved wrong. Mastering a race from further out, Shift 2’s all-or-nothing handling can be studied, judged, and reasoned with. Car type and quality make a huge difference, necessitating some minor grinding. I was having problems finishing on the podium in one of the game’s early C-class races, using a cheapo front-wheel drive Nissan. Much swearing later, I hocked it and used some extra cash to pick up a four-wheel drive Impreza, adding a few technical-sounding tweaks from the garage along the way. Popping back into the same race, I slipped my competitors on the first corner and giggled all the way to the top spot.

Shift 2’s sheer weight of stuff – from mud-ring circuits in a VW Golf to Bugatti duels at the Nurburgring – gives it a deep bag of appeal. There’s an array of fiddly details for car geeks to poke at, and a range of control-difficulty settings that allow you to tailor races to your ability. The only downside to such a complete package is that it demands so many hours of acclimatisation before the cars start to make sense

Go to Source (PC Gamer)

Shift 2 Unleashed is Spooled and Ready to Launch

Posted on March 22, 2011


SHIFT 2 Unleashed races to North American gamers on March 29th (and the rest of the globe on on April 1st). To celebrate this authentic racing game sequel, Need For Speed World is bringing one of the SHIFT 2 Unleashed cars into its World.

The Toyota Supra (MKIV) is customized with a SHIFT 2 Unleashed livery and is outfitted with Race parts to make it extremely competitive. This custom car will be available March 22nd, and can be purchased for 2700 SpeedBoost through the in-game store. Get behind the wheel of this fast Twin Turbo and unleash your limits!

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Manufacturer Monday – A huge reveal

Posted on March 14, 2011


Quite possibly the largest reveal yet on today’s Manufacturer Monday, as we reveal 13 new cars and 9 manufacturers from the car list of SHIFT 2 Unleashed. Here’s a list of what we revealed today:

-Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
-Alfa Romeo Giuletta QV

-Bugatti Veyron 16.4

-Koenigsegg CCX

-Volkswagen Mk1 GTI
-Volkswagen Mk5 GTI
-Volkswagen Scirocco

-Caterham Superlight R500

-GUMPERT apollo

-Alpina B6 GT3

-Bentley Continental Supersports Coupe

-Mitsubishi Lancer EVOLUTION IX MR
-Mitsubishi Lancer EVOLUTION X

*Pre-Order the Limited Edition of SHIFT 2 Unleashed*


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Posted on March 10, 2011


We’re getting into the last couple weeks of the SHIFT 2 Unleashed Manufacturer Mondays and this week is a big one.  Today we revealed another five manufacturers with a total of thirteen new cars.  They are:

- Audi R8 Coupé 4.2 FSI quattro
- Audi TT Coupé 3.2 quattro


- Lexus IS-F
- Lexus LFA

- Lotus Elise 111R
- Lotus Exige S

- Maserati GranTurismo S
- Maserati MC12 GT1

Just click the links above to check out some of the new cars and read all about the manufacturers.



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Podcast #69 is LIVE!

Posted on March 06, 2011


Need for Speed Podcast #69 is now LIVE and ready to download on iTunes and our RSS feed, and can also be streamed in the player below.

NFSGreg takes the week off from the podcast, with Drew, Spenser and Kirk handling the major news of the week, which includes plenty of new SHIFT 2 Unleashed stuff, the release of Lamborghini Untamed for Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, a new photo mode contest (#HPDLCPhotos on Twitter), new cars and a new patch for World, as well as the off-topic topic and Team Need for Speed news.



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Posted on March 04, 2011


FIA GT Champion of 2000, Jamie Campbell-Walter is your main rival in the FIA GT1 championship series in SHIFT 2 Unleashed.  He made his debut in the Formula Vauxhall Junior Winter Series in 1993, taking second place in the championship.  Since his debut Jamie has had a very impressive career in the TVR Tuscan Challenge, British GT Championship and the FIA GT Championship.

He will be driving the SUMO POWER Nissan GT-R GT1 and he will be driving it well.  He’s got a standing offer that if anyone can knock him into second place, they deserve to win the GT-R.


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Pre-order SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED Limited Edition, get $10 e-card

Posted on March 03, 2011


In case you didn’t know, pre-ordering the Limited Edition of SHIFT 2 Unleashed gives you exclusive access to three cars (Nissan Silvia spec.R Aero (S15), the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV, and the Lamborghini Murciélago LP640), as well as 40 unique career events you won’t get anywhere else.

If you live in North America, both Amazon and Wal-Mart are offering $10 e-cards on future purchases if you pre-order the Limited Edition of SHIFT 2 Unleashed. Just thought we’d pass this along.

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Posted on February 27, 2011


This week we’ve got four new SHIFT 2 Unleashed tracks to reveal; some are old and some are new but they are all great tracks.  Today we revealed that Hockenheim, Irwindale Speedway, Riviera and Silverstone will be joining the ranks of SHIFT 2.

Most of these tracks have a lot of history on them and are very challenging each in their own way.  In 2002 Hockenheim redesigned their track and created a very tight turn called the Nordkurve.  Silverstone has 17 turns ready to be mastered.  Irwindale Speedway is a spot where drifters become champions.  Riviera is one of the most technical, had to master tracks that’s ever appeared in a racing game.

Whatever your racing preference is, SHIFT 2 Unleashed has a track for you!


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Posted on February 25, 2011

As some of you may know, I was very involved in the original Need For Speed SHIFT and this year I had the amazing opportunity to increase my involvement for the release of SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED.

I’m a frequent Sim player, and I truly believe that having a proper virtual driving experience translates to a shorter learning curve when the opportunity arrives to hit the track in real life.

When I first played a beta of the original SHIFT game, I had a few sheets of notes and changes that I felt needed to be made. The original SHIFT was a great game overall, but only some of my suggestions could be implemented into it.

I am very excited to announce that the team has implemented many of my suggestions and I’m hoping everyone is pumped on the new features.

I can finally share with you some of the things I’ve been keeping under my hat for the past year or so. As you can see from the screen grabs (and previous related posts), it is very hard to tell you are looking at a video game. The graphics are simply unbelievable. In this shot you can see how the smoke is much more realistic now.

The game’s engineers and artists have done an incredible job with replicating my Formula Drift Championship winning Monster Energy Falken Tire Ford Mustang into the game. Not only does it look the part, but it’s handling and throttle response are pretty much as crazy in-game as it is in real life. All players will have the opportunity to have my competition car in their garage and flog it, as it’s the “Boss” car for the drift element of the game.


There have been a lot of changes to Drifting in the game. We really focused on overall fun factor! With fun in mind, we swayed away from professional drifting competitions and tandem battles, instead concentrating on just going out and having the track to yourself to get crazy on. You can hotlap any track in the game as much as you want without the annoyance of being restarted just when you start getting in the groove. I expect everyone to be thrilled with the refined drift feel and how fun it is, even for the first time players.  As you can see from the image above, the Ebisu touge course returns. How can you have drifting in a game without Ebisu Touge?

There’s also an all new “drift park” called the Nevada Freight Depot. I really pushed hard for an area where players can get familiar with their cars and learn the dynamics of drifting with very little boundaries. This ended up being a perfect place to learn and once you get the hang of drifting, it is a great place to go and freestyle and just have some fun! Hopefully we will have a real-life drift park in the future here in the States!

Many of you will recognize this. That’s right, you can now tackle Irwindale Speedway. This track is such a special place for me personally and for drifting worldwide.

I was so pumped to see it in-game for the first time. Doesn’t it just look so crazy? If I didn’t know, I wouldn’t be sure if Iwas looking at a real picture or not.

Many of you have followed the build of the Team Need for Speed RTR-X from day one. To see it and play it in-game for me is simply surreal. The RTR-X is the “Boss” car in the Muscle component of the game and everyone will have the opportunity to get behind the wheel. Just please, don’t scratch the paint! ;)

Speaking of being behind the wheel, the team has put so much effort into giving a true driving experience. The addition of the helmet cam is really something special. You feel and see everything in a first-person view…

…Which is particularly important in drifting. With helmet-cam you’re looking out of the side window when you are at deep angle just like you would in a real car. And while racing, your point of view shifts to the apexes ahead. Under braking you really get a sense of the forces, with your head getting pulled forward. The sense of speed the team has been able to make a player feel truly is incredible.

SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED is a raw driving experience that sparks all of your senses. It is NOT just another sterile “driving simulator”. I guarantee in many occasions it will have you moving around in your seat – and flinching – like no other driving game has.

Aside from my cars being in-game and my personal contributions to physics and other elements of the game, my person has now been immortalized in-game. I am honored that the SHIFT 2 Unleashed team decided to make me one of the main characters in the game.

I am each player’s friend and coach in the game, so there was a lot going on behind the scenes over the past few months. I got to work with some very cool creative people during the process, some of which you know such as Rod Chong and Will Roegge.

I also spent a lot of time in recording studios, working with people like Charles Deenan. Thanks Charles for bringing out a talent in me that I did not know I had!

Not only am I in the player’s corner throughout the game, but I also work with players to teach them how to drift during the drift tutorial, another thing I really pushed hard to get in-game. All players go through the fun tutorial prior to their first drift challenges in-game.

We start out in the Nevada Freight depot in a special 240SX that we at Drift Alliance built for the player. I personally instruct the player just as I would in real life by starting out with large drift donuts, then moving into figure eights, then moving to high speed manjis.

Working on this game has been a true project of passion for me. I am very excited for the world to have to opportunity to get behind the wheel of my cars virtually. Who knows, it could turn into reality for someone one day!

I sincerely hope everyone enjoys SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED. The team has put a lot of blood, sweat and tears behind each element of the game!

- Vaughn Gittin Jr.


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Posted on February 24, 2011


Rod Chong has been really busy posting a lot of blogs on about SHIFT 2 Unleashed.  In his latest blog he talks about the BMW’s in SHIFT 2 and the improved customization system.  Here is a quick peek at the blog:

Hi guys. Well thanks for the hundreds of comments that you’ve been passing in my direction. The response to my SHIFT2 UNLEASHED blog posts have been so full of ideas, thoughts and questions that I’ve literally had to take a moment to figure out what to say. So for this blog post I’m going to try and dive in to explain some more detail first on the customization system which will hopefully answer some of your many questions.

Now the whole customization system in SHIFT2 UNLEASHED is entirely geared towards building up your showroom model into a full-on race car. Although you can build grass roots drift cars, I should stress that the pathway we’ve laid out for the customization is not based around cosmetic street styling. Rather, it’s all about performance and racing.

If you want to read more, click here to read the full article on


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Posted on February 22, 2011

We’re about halfway through revealing the SHIFT 2 Unleashed manufacturers and their cars.  Today we revealed two new manufacturers which made up ten cars on the car list.  Today’s manufacturers are:

- NISSAN 200SX (S14)
– NISSAN 240SX (S13)
– NISSAN 350Z (Z33)
– NISSAN 370Z (Z34)

- INFINITI G35 (V35)

We don’t have any sneak peeks for you this week so just click the manufacturer above to read more about them and their cars.


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Posted on February 20, 2011

No, it not Monday but with the Pagani Huayra being announced today we thought it was only appropriate to reveal Pagani’s full roster of cars featured in SHIFT 2 Unleashed.

Not only is the Huayra in SHIFT 2 but so are the formidable Zonda R & Zonda F.  If ever you’ve played the original SHIFT or know anything about supercars you’d know that these are some of the fastest in the game.

Here is a couple teaser shots of the newly revealed Pagani’s; just click the picture to see more:

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Pagani Zonda F

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Pagani Zonda R


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Posted on February 14, 2011

Another Monday another manufacturer. In this case another three manufacturers in SHIFT 2 have been revealed! They are:

Within the three manufacturers are seven cars:

- Acura NSX

- Dodge Challenger Concept
– Dodge Challenger R/T
– Dodge Charger R/T
– Dodge Viper SRT10

- Honda Civic SI
– Honda S2000

Below is a quick taste of some of the cars revealed today:


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Alpinestars & Need for Speed Presents the PLAY A PRO SWEEPSTAKES

Posted on February 08, 2011

Alpinestars and Need for Speed are very proud to present the PLAY A PRO SWEEPSTAKES.  This new contest gives you the chance to win a trip to attend the Formula Drift in Long Beach, California on April 8 – 9, 2011.

Available to residents of the United States only, this is an opportunity you can’t pass up.  The grand prize winner will receive roundtrip coach-class air transportation for two adults from a major U.S. gateway airport nearest winner’s home (as determined by Sponsors in their sole discretion) to Long Beach, California; hotel accommodations for two nights (two rooms, standard double occupancy) at a hotel selected by Sponsors; two tickets and two pit passes to the Formula Drift in Long Beach on April 8 and 9, 2011; transportation to and from the airport, hotel and event; and an opportunity to play against an Alpinestars drift driver in Shift 2 Unleashed.

To enter into the sweepstakes, visit and follow the instructions to complete and submit the online entry form to receive one entry.  All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. PT on 02/27/11 to be eligible.

Official rules for the PLAY A PRO SWEEPSTAKES can be found here.

Good luck!


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Posted on February 06, 2011

Yes, we know it’s not Monday but we didn’t get to post any new manufacturers this week so we figured we would go into the weekend with at least one reveal.  Today we revealed a new manufacturer in SHIFT 2; Mazda.

On the track, Mazda has been extremely successful with its Wankel rotary-based cars as well as its piston engine models. In fact, the Mazda RX-7 has won more than 100 races on the now-defunct IMSA Showroom Stock circuit, continuing in the vein of success set by its predecessors the RX-2 and RX-3.

You can check out the three Mazda cars; Mazda RX-7, Mazda RX-7 FC3S and the Mazda RX-8 or just read about Mazda.



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Posted on February 03, 2011

SHIFT 2  Unleashed Racing Game

One thing that really interests me is the process of recognizing patterns, especially trends and collective opinions. It’s a skill that has allowed me to carve out a bit of a career as a creative director and has served me well over the years.

Now one pattern that I picked up at the end of the Shift1 project was your viewpoint in regards to the physics experience of the game. Shift1 was definitely trying to please both the traditional Need for Speed arcade racers as well as sim racing fans. The feel of the game thus ended somewhere between both of these types of video game racing types.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

So after I showcased for you the in-game AE86 and the host of wheels available for it, I was quite interested to read your feedback. And it appears that while most of you are excited by what I showcased in the article, you wanted to know more about the physics and our approach for this game.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

So I’m quite pleased to let you know that Shift2 is quite firmly focused as a sim racer. And not only that I’m feeling quite bullish that we’ve pushed the genre to the next level.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

Now the whole focus of the SHIFT2 UNLEASHED experience is quite a lot different than the offerings from Forza and GT. We’ve pushed ourselves to replicate the first person, human sensory experience of driving powerful race, time attack and drift cars. So we’ve created a totally new way of racing in a video game: Helmet-cam.

This quite literally puts you in the seat of a race car, whether you’ve built up your hot hatch in to a full spec silhouette racer or you are piloting an FIA GT1 machine. Every single nuance of the real life experience has been lovingly recreated for you. We figure that driving a powerful car should be more than just a mathematical simulation, it has to be violent and frightening.

Let’s face it, motorsports is dangerous and dirty and this is the direction the team chose to take.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

So to make sure we nailed down both the physics and our new helmet-cam feature we turned to the experts. Speedhunters and Need for Speed are involved with the careers of several different racing driver and drifters, so we decided to get them involved with the game production itself.

The Slightly Mad Studios crew are pretty hardcore car nuts and collectively have a lot of experience of taking high powered cars to track day events. But to really take things to a deeper level and get absolute verification of the in-game race experience we hooked them up with a few of our driving crew.

When it comes to advanced technology, the Shift physics system itself is second to none. It takes the actual suspension geometry that we receive from manufacturer CAD data and replicates the suspension components in 3D space. It is not some game producer’s “idea” of how a car should handle. Not at all, if you are say driving a Porsche 911 in game, then you are driving an actual 3D physics representation of that car based on CAD data. Within this driving experience though, we can layer on driving aids and tweak items like holistic track grip, tire slip angles and car setups. So there’s a bit of wiggle room to push the difficulty levels and physics modes in to a few different directions.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

SMS have also added these HUD physics displays to the game, allowing you to see the forces acting on your car in real time. This screen shows tire temp, lateral force and grip direction among other items.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

This screen is layers in shock telemetry and allows you to get a visual on what the suspension is doing.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

But like I said, our goal with this game was to make it as realistic as possible, but also try and capture the essense of driving powerful cars. I don’t think this is something that has really been done too much in the past. I mean seriously, how many of the existing driving engines out there make you feel afraid, as you would be pushing a real race car to the limit?

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

The first driver to get his hands on an early version of SHIFT2 UNLEASHED was Vaughn Gittin JR. Some of you will recall that we flew him to the UK last May to join a Speedhunting trip at Silverstone. What we couldn’t say at the time, was that the real purpose of the trip was for him to sit down with the SMS crew to try out a completely re-imagined drift mode. Our focus? To see if we couldn’t capture the true essence of drifting. It had to be fun, exciting and with just a touch of hooliganism. So we decided to start from scratch with the drift experience in Shift2 and based the mode around car setup and optional driving aids rather than a different set of physics. I’m quite proud of the result but it did require literally months of work from SMS. They kept at it though until we got the feeling just right.

I took this snap of him and Will Roegge right as he arrived at the SMS studio in London.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

So we wanted to see if JR thought we were on the right track or not. He liked where we were going, but had a lot of suggestions which we then worked to incorporate into the mode. I’ll let JR talk more about this in detail in a future article though.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

The next driver to test the game was Jamie Campbell Walter, one of the drivers of the Sumo Power GT-Rs. we set up a meeting in London last August for him to try out SHIFT2 UNLEASHED.

As we have the official license for both the FIA GT1 World Championship and GT3 European series, we wanted to make sure that we had nailed down the exact speed and feeling of the GT1 machines. Were the target laptimes correct? The braking distances ok? Did the cars have too much or too little downforce? And more importantly, were we capturing the true feeling of racing one of these cars?

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

Jamie was very impressed with the overall Shift2 experience, especially helmet-cam, but thought that more downforce was needed. To him, the real life Sumo Power GT-R felt more planted in in Eau Rouge at Spa in real life than in the game. Jamie also wanted to see more aggressive turn in for the car too.

He also pointed out that we needed to raise up the shift knob in the GT-R’s cockpit. It wasn’t in quite the right position.

He did think we had nailed the braking power though. He found that he was hitting the brakes around Spa in exactly the right points.

So we made the adjustments and had him try the updated physics again the following month… this time we got a big thumbs up.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

Now there is one guy on our crew of racers who is as hardcore as they come when it comes to sim racing: Tommy Milner. Interestingly, we both got our big start in sim racing back with the old EA game, Sports Car GT and have remained in contact ever since.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

First of all, we had to updated his BMW to the latest 2010 spec. A few calls to our collegues at Rahal Letterman racing netted the actual graphics file for the 2010 car wrap, which we used on the new 3D model.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

And then we brought him to a private gaming session held at Formula D Irwindale last October.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

Tommy had a huge amount of feedback for us that day. First of all, he thought we needed to rethink our racing headlights in the new night mode. Longer beams would be needed to get around the Nurburgring Nordeschleife at night. He thought that the trees, guardrails and signs were lighting up in a realistic fashion but the tarmac itself was not lighting up enough. You just couldn’t see where you were going enough in the dead of night on the very remote tracks.

Secondly he didn’t like the shock dampening on the BMW and felt that the set up of the car was way too soft compared to how his real GT2 car. He thought it was pitching and rolling too much, which definitely should not be the case for a high end GT racer.

We later discovered that the shock bumpstops of all the high end race cars in SHIFT2 needed some adjustments. It was Tommy that suggested these changes.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

Tommy is a truly amazing in-game racer but Darren McNamara can give him a run for his money.

He was pretty excited to try out the in-game version of the D-Mac86 which was completed for Shift2 well in advance of the real car (Dmac86 when is the next blog post BTW?)

Darren was quite interested to try out the drift mode… he also had some very direct feedback on the amount of lateral grip on the tire model during moments of high speed wheel spin in a long drift, which we also addressed later on with SMS.

Rado also popped by too…

… And was rather blown away by the in-game representation of his AWD Scion. This is one of the wildest, fastest cars in Shift2 and is rather frightening to drive I have to say! Driving this beast of a car around the Nordschleife or Bathurst is extremely frightening :>

The whole Twins Turbo crew are rather hardcore gamers too… they were itching to have a go.

Their Viper was a very late addition to the SHIFT2 UNLEASHED release plan, but we’ve been working with them for a while now to get this crazy machine set up and going. I’ll show you more about this process later on….

I’d say that of any driver we’ve had working on SHIFT2 UNLEASHED, the one guy that’s had the biggest effect on the game is Edward Sandstrom. He worked out of the EA DICE Studio in Stockholm for around three months this past winter and individually tuned the set up for each of the cars. He wanted to also get a more aggressive turn-in for the high end GT race cars and also focused on making them a bit more lively, to allow you to balance the pitch and angle of the car using throttle input as you exited the corners.

SHIFT 2 Unleashed Racing Game

Of course I need to mention Patrick Soderlund who not only spent 2010 racing the Team NFS Schubert BMW Z4 GT3, but oversees the production of all racing titles inside EA. The first title to be released under his leadership was NFS Hot Pursuit, and SHIFT2 UNLEASHED will be his second.

I think Patrick considers SHIFT2 to be a little bit of a special project for him, so he spent quite a bit of time trying out all the physics settings. In particular Patrick was able to use his actual experiences behind the wheel of the real world Z4 GT3 to compare with the in-game counterpart.

The last big game test we did was was at SEMA in November. We rented out a private suite above the show floor to present the game to a few select journalists and drivers on a crazy D-Box setup.

BTW notice how Tommy prefers to drive in his socks. I guess trainers deaden the feel of the pedals too much.

Tommy is by far the fastest sim racer I’ve ever witnessed in the flesh. It’s quite unreal to see him display his skill as a racing driver on plain view.

We also let Fredric Aasbo and Matt Powers have a go too. Fredric interestingly had no issues drifting using a game controller AND manual transmission. More testing with these drifters and few of our other guests have netted more changes to the mode. Personally speaking, I think it feels pretty natural now. The cars still feel like there’s grip and you can dial in or out a number of aids depending on your level of hardcoreness.

Personally I’m completely addicted to these D-Box chairs. With a full range of motion, vibration actuators, and built in surround sound, this is the ultimate way to experience SHIFT 2… I quite literally am shaking with adrenaline, every time I use one of these things.

Of course this new focus on deep, immerse realism would not be possible without the superhuman efforts of the Slightly Mad Studios crew. Once they were freed up up to unleash the full power of their physics engine with a purely realism focused game, they really went to town adding the new on-screen telemetry features and a whole new level of car setup detail. If a parameter is adjustable on the real life car, then it’s adjustable in game. And if you add aftermarket parts to your car, then more adjustment options open up.

So to answer your questions: YES the driving experience of SHIFT2 UNLEASHED is squarely in the realism space and the physics experience is much improved and evolved.



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I want this game!! Now!


Posted on February 02, 2011

Tommy Milner: What’s up SpeedHunters! Welcome to a two part blog about the Dubai 24 Hours from half of the winning driver lineup, Edward Sandstrom and myself, Tommy Milner. The Dubai 24 Hour race is, for some people, a warm up for the 2011 season and for others their biggest race of the season.

I’ve known about The Dubai 24 Hour for a couple years. Recently, it’s been getting more attention in the world motorsport press as more well known teams and drivers make the trip to the UAE. This year was no exception as a number of world class teams sent their cars, crew, and drivers to Dubai for the first 24 hour race of the 2011 season.
Being a sports car racing driver, any 24 hour race is good experience and a good workout at the bare minimum and has the potential to be an unforgettable twice around the clock marathon. This year was exactly that.

Edward Sandstrom: Hi again. New season and what a perfect start then. I’ve never been start-ing a season in early January before, so it was great to start driving directly after Christmas. I was already in Dubai 2004 doing a race in Formula Renault V6, but my memories of the track wasn’t too sharp when me and Augusto were biking around the track. Off course I was bit disappointed that my regular co-drver Patrick unfortunately couldn’t drive because of his neck injury after the crash at Zolder. A good thing instead though was that he was helping the team with strategy during the race.

Tommy Milner: My involvement with Need for Speed, EA, and Speedhunters has lead to some great opportunities. Rod had hinted a few times at a desire to have me drive the Team Need For Speed Z4s. Rewind to a few months ago when I spoke with Patrick Soderlund and just like that I was going to drive for the team at Dubai! I was excited and I could tell Patrick was too.

Tommy Milner: As you are probably aware, the crew responsible for making Team Need for Speed happen is Schubert Motorsport. Having been around BMW’s racing programs for a number of years, the most well known and most well connected privateer BMW team has to be Schubert Motorsport. They are always first to run BMW’s latest customer racing car offering. I’d never met anyone from the team before until BMW’s End of Year Gala held in Munich where I met the lead Engineer for the team, Stefan Fober. We had a long chat about the race and after speaking with him I was pretty sure we had a good shot of winning this race!

Edward Sandstrom: I’ve known, Schubert since last season and must say I’m really impressed over the dedication they have for racing and preparing race cars. Every time I’ve been behind the steering wheel of their cars, everything is always working perfectly. Even when there’s been a crash they always make sure everything is 100 % to perfection

Tommy Milner: Our team for Dubai was Edward, Augusto Farfus, and Claudia Huertgen. I’d never met Edward and had only met Augusto and Claudia briefly before but I was aware of who they all were from following the GT3 championship here on Speedhunters and Augusto did a lot of the testing for the BMW M3 GT2 car I race for the last two seasons. I don’t think anyone would disagree with me when I say we had the best all around driver lineup in Dubai.

Edward Sandstrom: Claudia and me have been working together in the team during the 2010 season. Augusto I met shortly before. And fast Tommy was first time. Anyway this was best driver lineup I have ever shared a car with.

Tommy Milner: Joining the Schubert Motorsport team in the sister car was a bunch of nobodies… Yeah, no, just kidding. The other car was probably our stiffest competition going into the race. Boris Said, my teammate from last year Bill Auberlen, Matt Plumb, and Paul Dalla Lana. 3 Americans and one Canadian. I think just in our team was half of the American’s driving in the race. These guys would be fast for sure.

Tommy Milner: The first practice was my first time in the Z4 GT3 car so I was happy to hear they added another practice session as there wasn’t much time otherwise. The car felt like a slightly less refined version of the M3 GT2 car I was used to. However, with ABS, traction control, and stability control, finding the speed was easy.

Edward, How did you find the car in the first session? Was it a big change going from be-ing around cars that were all your speed to passing 30 cars per lap?

Edward Sandstrom: Actually the car itself worked better then expected. Because of the different rules for this race we had to change some important things like ride height on the car. I had some worries before, but it was no really drama. The thing was to get the tires working properly. The track in Dubai is really “green” and it isn’t too much rubber lad down, which causes graining. The traffic was actually worse then at Nurburgring 24h. You really have to pay attention to avoid all possible misunderstandings with slower cars. But it worked fine for me.

Tommy Milner: Our biggest competition for the race looked like it would be a couple Porsches, a Mercedes or two, and Ferrari or two as well. Judging by their lap times and driver lineups I guessed we’d be fighting at least one or two of those cars throughout the race.

I mean with names like Bernd Schneider, Sacha Maasen and Jeroen Blekemolen you know it’s better to step on it and have perfect tactics. The Mercedes SLS AMG GT3  is new and looks impressive and was also very fast on track.

Edward Sandstrom: I’m used to sharing seat with Patrick who is tall (198cm), so with standard Recaro-seat it was easy for me. Even then you have to adjust belts and everything to make sure everything fits properly and all stops can be effectively made.

Tommy Milner: One of the first things on the schedule was fitting into the car. When you have four drivers of all different sizes, the seating position and belt fitment is key. The four of us spent half an hour working on getting fitted into the car and doing some driver change practice.

Tommy Milner: With 80+ cars entered and every car having at least four drivers, some with five drivers in the car, the drivers meeting was packed. The Dubai 24 Hour has some different rules so I spent most of the meeting reading the handout and asking Stefan some questions about the Code 60 rules which was the biggest difference for me.

Edward Sandstrom: Quite different rules in some areas, code 60 means they instead of using a safety car puts out code 60 board which means you have to go around the track not higher then 60 km/h. You also have reference time for it. 5 min 23 seconds I think it was. I had a penalty in the race when I had been too quick, but just visual, hmm.

Tommy Milner: The NFS crew loves to put cameras everywhere. Edward had the honors of doing a helmet cam for the team this time. Does that distract you in the car much?

Edward Sandstrom: Off course you maybe doesn’t want to use it in qualifying. But you tend to focus on your line and so on. So it didn’t really disturb me. I’m just waiting to see the result and hope the developers got some useful data for helmet cam, which I really think is great in SHIFT2 UNLEASHED.

Tommy Milner: New team, new stickers. Throwing on some NFS branding on the helmet for the event. Thankfully, my helmet painter decided it would be better to put stickers for last years sponsors and not paint them. It made rebranding a lot easier

Tommy Milner: And some shiny new suits designed by the one and only, Andy Blackmore. Definitely one of the best designs I’ve worn.

Edward Sandstrom: Yeah I agree, thx Andy! They worked perfect and also shoes, gloves and underwear from Alpinestars. You really need a lot of things when doing 24h race and definitely need dry and fresh gear for every stint.

Tommy Milner: Practice was … OK. The car and team and drivers all worked well but we struggled with the tires. Specifically, graining the tires.

Tommy Milner: Depending on the balance of the car, we’d grain either the front tires or the rear tires. We hoped that it would be better in the practice session before qualifying after some more rubber was laid down on the track, but that wasn’t the case. We still had trouble.

Tommy Milner: The track surroundings are pretty interesting. As you drive to the track from the main city area, you leave these towering buildings and head out to what looks like nowhere. As you get closer though, the specs off in the distance then become buildings which are, as you soon become well aware of, under construction. Three, four, five, and on and on. More and more buildings this far out from the main city are just shells of buildings.

When I’m driving though, all I see is brake points, apexes, and the rear bumpers of about 20 cars per lap. You could put me into a street circuit in downtown NYC and all I’d end up seeing is the race track.

Edward Sandstrom: Yes, all aspects about the surrounding I was watching during the cab drives to the track. Off course you also crossed your fingers he would find the track. It wasn’t for granted. On track it’s only cars and the best possible overtaking you could do all the time.

Tommy Milner: The track itself is great though. The flow of the track is actually quite nice. The first section with a tough downhill right-hander that leads to a flat out left kink to a long right-hander. Then a quick little left kink to a long right, then to a long left. That first section has a great rhythm to it that when the car is on new tires and well balanced, a lot of fun to drive in the Z4 GT3.

My favorite part of the track has to be the last section. A really fast, flat out, left hand kink that leads right into the brake zone for a slow, late apex, left with lots of camber. You can really throw the car into the corner here and let the camber in the road catch the car. It was also a place in the race that I was able to make a lot of passes.

Edward Sandstrom: We wanted to qualify in a certain time, because of the rules with ballast. Setup changes and stipulated best time in the race if you went too fast. Our time was a little bit better than we wanted and therefore we had to put in 75kg ballast instead of predicted 25kg. We actually saw that our opposition reflected on this and bettered their times as well. Good to know they where watching us. What we had calculated with from the beginning would have been enough to go flatout in the race without hitting the reference time, the traffic influences the laptimes quite a bit. If you went lower you had 10 joker cards to use before getting a penalty. Strange to get a penalty for being too fast, but it actually didn’t affect the race this time. But I hope this rule was one timer.

Tommy Milner: I was focused on our 76 Z4 but I was also keeping an eye on 77. Having worked with both Bill and Boris before I was chatting with them as well about how they were finding the car and the track.

Tommy Milner: The morning before the race. The whole EA/Speedhunters crew, minus Jonathan here, was up enjoying the awesome breakfast at the hotel. Usually I’m really picky about what I eat before a race but I couldn’t resist enjoying the food they had out. I was really relaxed and ready for the race. It was odd having such little time in the car before the race. Usually, the team and I have done a lot of testing and practice leading up to the race that you’re almost tired already of the weekend. In Dubai though, I was excited to get going and racing for 24 hours. Quite a bit different feeling than I’m used to. It was a nice change.

Tommy Milner: My girlfriend, Evin, joined me on the trip and she was a huge help, as always. She would get me a snack if I needed something during the race.

Tommy Milner: Before qualifying the #77 car had a problem with a brake line and smashed the rear end pretty good. The Schubert guys were up until 5am before the night of the race fixing the car so it was good as new. A huge effort before a 24 hour race and something you never want to see but it was pretty impressive to see the car the night before the race and to see it all buttoned up and looking ready to race the next morning.

Edward Sandstrom: When it comes to repairing cars Schubert Motorsport knew how to do it. Even if you think it’s not possible.

Tommy Milner: Part of the agenda for the weekend, besides winning races, was doing some video for SHIFT2 UNLEASHED to appear later. As I’ve had a bigger hand this year in the development of SHIFT2, with helping them improve the driving characteristics of some of the race cars and other gameplay improvements, they’ve also had me do some more promotional video clips as well. Every time I play an updated version of the game, the better it gets. Can’t wait to see where they take it by the time it is released!

Tommy Milner: So, it was race time! It felt like it came so soon, which is a nice change. I headed out onto the grid to take a look, finally, at some of the competition. I recognized a lot of names on the tops of many of the cars. I was pretty surprised at the level of development that has occurred on the GT3 cars now. The Mercedes and the new Porsche GT3 R are impressive looking from the outside and look almost more aggressive than the GT2 cars I’m used to!

Also, a pretty cool meeting I had on the grid, was with a distant cousin of mine! Amazing that we’d meet in Dubai of all places. Will Langhorne races quite a bit in Europe in the Porsche Supercup series and is related somehow to me on my mothers side. He had spoken with my mom a number of years ago and it was neat to meet him there before the race.

Edward Sandstrom: I had a good feeling for the race. Bu you never know which cards have been shown during qualifying.

Tommy Milner: Giddy up! It’s go time. Claudia would start for us and she did a phenominal job at the start. Moving up from sixth to third on the first lap. Just as soon as the race got started though, it was under a Code 60, or essentially a full course caution. Code 60 basically requires you to cruise around the track at 60kph while they clean up the problem. A Porsche had speared off the track at the end of the fastest straight and completely taken out a section of guardrail. A quick end to a long race for those guys.

Tommy Milner: Once it went back to green flag racing, Claudia held her spot in third for a number of laps, running some fast lap times early on while traffic wasn’t much of a problem. However, it wasn’t long before she started to drop back. The problem was the tires and they were graining again. We had hoped that by now the track would be nice and rubbered in and the tires would hold up fine but that wasn’t the case. We now all had to do our best to conserve the tires as long as we could so we wouldn’t have to stop early for tires.

Tommy Milner: Claudia pitted a bit earlier than the others, which was to plan actually. The fueling stations can get crowded so we wanted to be off sequence of the rest of them so we weren’t waiting to get fuel. It also helped our tire situation as we had dropped down the order a few spots at this point and we needed to get the tires off the car.

Edward Sandstrom: I was seriously concerned because of all the problems during practice with graining. We had hoped the amout of rubber should have changed our tire situation. Luckily we found a way to cope with it.

Tommy Milner: Our plan for the driver rotation was Claudia, Augusto, Me, Edward. Augusto is in the car at this point now and he is trying to conserve the tires as best as he can. Edward and I wait and watch the timing screens to see how our progress was since the pit stop. We had dropped WAY down the order by pitting early but it wasn’t long before we’d be back on top.

Tommy Milner: The Schubert guys hard at work during a pitstop. No mistakes in pitlane would be a huge part of doing well.

Tommy Milner: Everyone was examining the tires that came off of Claudia’s car at the start. We knew by the lap times that they were graining so Augusto and I had already discussed taking it easy on them in a few areas and discussed with Claudia where she thought we could push and where we could take it a bit easy on them.

Tommy Milner: Almost 5pm and it was my turn in the car. I would drive from sunset into the darkness.

Tommy Milner: It was good to just get in the car and get that first stint out of the way. I took it easy on the front tires and it really made a huge difference over the stint. I was the quickest car on the track during my stint and was able to maintain that all the way through.

Tommy Milner: By this time we’d moved up from below 20th back up into the top ten and working our way back to the front.

Tommy Milner: I came out of the pits around the time the 77 car was nearing the end of its stint. Bill was in the car at the time and we raced for a bit before I let him by. It wasn’t but a few laps later and he was pitting to finish his first stint.

Edward Sandstrom: I used the first stint mostly to settle in. I first had to understand how dirty the track was off the racing line. If you overtook cars too much off the line you definitely suffered from pick up on the tires. When I realized all this it felt easier to get a good rhythm. The darkness was most difficult in the early high speed right hander as the elevation made the apex blind in the dark.

Edward Sandstrom: Actually the head lights arent as important as on Nurburgring as the track is quite bright even in the dark.

Edward Sandstrom: But the headlight flashing function is very useful to get attention from slower cars when passing in the traffic!

Tommy Milner: Looking pretty unhappy here at this point. Everything was just getting started really. We’d solved our tire issue and now leading the race. Things were looking good!

Tommy Milner: Here’s Claudia waiting for her turn in the car again. Her second stint now. The big number on the helmet is for the organizers to know who is in the car. The number corresponds to our entry sheet that lists each driver as 1, 2, 3, or 4

Edward Sandstrom: Here I was actually bringing the car into from lead after 7 hours I think. But I didn’t know I was in the lead. Also there were so many hours left that it didn’t really matter. Instead you always where thinking about strategy. How many stops have the others made or not, will they stop refueling before or after us.

Edward Sandstrom: Stefan Wendl our engineer and Patrick, who because of injury were replaced by Farfus, did an early master call in strategy, when we used the first code 60 to top up the fuel and stretch the stint for Farfus. Later the others started to copy this. But they weren’t awake from start, which made us an advantage

Tommy Milner: The key to these races is getting rest when you can. By the end of the race, hopefully, I’ll be sore and tired from the event so napping while I can is huge. The earbuds were crucial too for sleeping later in the night as they blocked out all of the noise and the iPod put me to sleep.

Tommy Milner: Waiting… It was pretty chilly in the garages with the wind rushing through. I threw this hoodie in my bag last minute and I’m glad I did. Maybe next year I’ll pack a snuggie just for that extra warmth.

Tommy Milner: No more than 5 minutes later from the previous shot, the car was coming in and I had to throw my helmet and suit on as quick as possible as Augusto was coming in a bit earlier because of a Code 60 again. Ready to go!

Tommy Milner: I was actually a bit nervous about the driver changes. In practice, I had trouble getting the lap belts buckled quickly. For whatever though in the race, it all went smooth and I got the belts buckled easily each time. One of those times when habit and second nature takes over and everything goes easy.

Tommy Milner: And away I go, but not before I had to turn hard right at the end of pit lane to go to the fueling station where two more of the Schubert crew were waiting for me, to fill me up with fuel out of your every day gas pump. The whole situation was bizarre for me as I’ve never seen anything like it but amazingly it worked well.

Tommy Milner: To be honest, I was a bit of a mad man in traffic. I was taking some risks but ones that I thought were worth it.

Tommy Milner: Despite the fact that we were in the lead and at this point leading by a lap or so, there was still a lot of race left to be run and who knows what would happen later. I wanted to put in good drives each time I was in the car and keep the gap we had built and if I could, extend it.

Tommy Milner: The car does look fantastic with the reflective wireframe. It’s also worth pointing out the lights. The Z4 GT3 has a high beam flasher button on the wheel that I’ve never pushed so much in my life. With so many slower cars around me on the track, it might have been more effective to just turn the high beam flasher on full time.

Tommy Milner: I’m sure some of the slower cars were annoyed with us faster cars as I saw many other faster cars doing the same thing I was.

Tommy Milner: Fireworks! Pretty cool to be in the car while the fireworks were going off at Midnight. The first firework caught me off guard a bit but after that I just tuned them out until the back straight where I took a break when I could to check out the show.

Tommy Milner: By this time this photo was taken at 1AM, I’d headed back for our shipping crate and some cots set up in there to get some sleep. Bill Auberlen was already sleeping and Augusto was in there as well getting a little rest. I chatted with Augusto real quick about the car and my stint and then put the earbuds in and turned my brain off for a bit.

More in part 2!…


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First SHIFT 2 Unleashed Manufacturers, Cars and Tracks Revealed!

Posted on January 29, 2011

Today is a very special day because we unveiled the first batch of manufacturers, cars and tracks in SHIFT 2.  But that’s not all!  Today we also refreshed the SHIFT 2 web site with a all new design so we can start revealing the rest of the manufacturer, car and track lists.

Starting next week we’re going to be revealing new manufacturers, cars and tracks every week.  Be on the lookout for ‘Manufacturer Mondays’ and ‘Track Thursdays’ because that’s when we’re going to post the next reveal every week for the next nine weeks.

Today we unveiled three manufacturers and four tracks.  Just click the logos below to read more about them:

Here is a quick preview:



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SUMO Power 2010 Retrospective

Posted on January 25, 2011

While following Team Need for Speed’s European GT3 program Will Roegge, of, also had the opportunity to shoot FIA GT1 and to document SUMO Power’s inaugural season. Enjoy this look back at the FIA GT1 races at Silverstone, Paul Ricard, and Algarve.

Check out the full article on here.


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