SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED Legends Pack Available NOW!

Posted on April 26, 2011

 

It’s official, the Legends Pack for SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED is available now on the Xbox LIVE® Marketplace for 800 Microsoft Points, so if you’ve got a hankering for the golden age of racing, grab it today.

Featured in the Legends pack are 13 classic cars:
Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA (1965)
Austin Mini Cooper S (1965)
BMW 3.0 CSL Gr.5 (1975)
Ford Capri RS3100 Gr.4 (1974)
Ford Escort Mk1 RS1 600 (1971)
Ford GT40 Mk1 (1965)
Lotus Cortina Mk1 (1963)
Jaguar E-Type Lightweight (1963)
Nissan Fairlady 240ZG (S30) (1971)
Nissan Skyline 2000GT-R (C10) (1972)
Porsche 911 Carrera RSR 3.0 (1974)
Porsche 914/6 GT (1970)
Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe (1965)

As well as five of the world’s most challenging classic race tracks:
Dijon-Prenois (1972)
Hockenheim (1982)
Monza (1958)
Rouen-Les-Essarts GP (1966)
Rouen-Les-Essarts Short (1952)
Silverstone (1975)

A special note to the folks who play SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED on PlayStation® 3: given the current outages on the PlayStation Network, the DLC is currently not available, but we’ll keep you posted.

Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED Tuning Tips: Tires & Brakes

Posted on April 24, 2011

 

Everyone knows a car doesn’t perform well when it’s got a flat tire, let alone four flat tires. Using that as an extreme example, one can understand that by slightly adjusting tire pressure, you can improve the handling of a car.

I wouldn’t recommend solely increasing or decreasing tire pressure. It should be used in conjunction with the other tuning aspects offered, some of which I’ve already described. I want to reiterate that going overboard with one area can affect the rest of your tuning in a negative way. Making small tweaks to different parts will almost always garner better results than maxing out the settings on just one.

I’ve tuned a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG fairly well, but I still feel some minor push in the corners. After manipulating the springs to my taste, I began fine-tuning my front and rear tire pressures.

I decreased the front to 40.00, and increased the rear to 55.00, promoting oversteer. This immediately helped  bring the rear-end around in the middle of the corner, getting the car pointed quicker, essentially allowing me to get back on the accelerator sooner. Anything larger than 10-15 in either direction is generally too much.

Whereas the tire pressure seemed to help in the middle of the corner, I still felt I was having to over-slow for the entry. By increasing the rear brake balance to 55.00, my entry improved enough to where I felt the car was helping me turn, instead of working against me. That being said, I wouldn’t advise going any higher than that. Couple your brake balance with a brake pressure between 10.00-15.00, and you should find the car acting more like it should.

Again, I can’t stress enough that while changing tire pressure may seem minor, small changes to multiple areas result in a better tuned car than giant changes in the more important areas. Make enough small changes and you’ll find yourself rising higher and higher on the Speedwall.

 

Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

Shift 2 ‘Legends’ DLC brings some classic cars out of the garage

Posted on April 21, 2011

Are the newfangled autocontraptions in Shift 2 Unleashed a little too modern for you? Not a fan of all the vehicular bells and whistles fastened to your 21st Century whips? EA has announced a DLC pack that should give you the sweet, nostalgic release you crave. On April 24, the game will receive 14 retro cars and five equally retro tracks — most of which hail from the 1960s and ’70s.

You can pick up the new rides and venues for 800 Microsoft Points ($10). Check out the full list of new-old content included in the “Legends” pack after the jump — and while you’re back there, why not check out the DLC’s announcement trailer?

Continue reading Shift 2 ‘Legends’ DLC brings some classic cars out of the garage

JoystiqShift 2 ‘Legends’ DLC brings some classic cars out of the garage originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 21 Apr 2011 22:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED Game With Dev/Up All Night TOMORROW!

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:
NFSdevteam1
NFSDrew

Xbox 360:
AndyTudor
NFSdevteam1
NFSdevteam2
NFSDrew

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!

Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

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!

Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

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
-Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
-Alfa Romeo Giuletta QV

BUGATTI
-Bugatti Veyron 16.4

KOENIGSEGG
-Koenigsegg CCX

VOLKSWAGEN
-Volkswagen Mk1 GTI
-Volkswagen Mk5 GTI
-Volkswagen Scirocco

CATERHAM
-Caterham Superlight R500

GUMPERT
-GUMPERT apollo

ALPINA
-Alpina B6 GT3

BENTLEY
-Bentley Continental Supersports Coupe

MITSUBISHI
-Mitsubishi Lancer EVOLUTION IX MR
-Mitsubishi Lancer EVOLUTION X

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

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Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

MANUFACTURER MONDAY || FIVE NEW REAVEALS

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:
- Audi R8 Coupé 4.2 FSI quattro
- AUDI R8 LMS
- AUDI RS 4
- AUDI S3
- AUDI S4
- Audi TT Coupé 3.2 quattro

JAGUAR:
- JAGUAR XKR

LEXUS:
- Lexus IS-F
- Lexus LFA

LOTUS:
- Lotus Elise 111R
- Lotus Exige S

MASERATI:
- 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.

Enjoy!

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Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

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.

 

 

Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

JAMIE CAMPBELL-WALTER || GT1 RIVAL

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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Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

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.

Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

TRACK THURSDAY || The OLD AND THE NEW…

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!

* PREORDER NOW *

Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

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DRIVER BLOG || VAUGHN GITTIN JR: UNLEASHED

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.

xxx

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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Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

SHIFT2 UNLEASHED || BAVARIA’S OFFERINGS

Posted on February 24, 2011

 

Rod Chong has been really busy posting a lot of blogs on SpeedHunters.com 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 SpeedHunters.com.

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Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

MANUFACTURER MONDAY || TWO MANUFACTURERS…TEN CARS

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:
- NISSAN 200SX (S14)
– NISSAN 240SX (S13)
– NISSAN 350Z (Z33)
– NISSAN 370Z (Z34)
– NISSAN GT-R (R35)
– NISSAN GT-R SPECV (R35)
– NISSAN SILVIA S15 SPEC. R AERO
– NISSAN SKYLINE GT-R (R32)
– NISSAN SKYLINE GT-R (R34)

Infiniti:
- 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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Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

BONUS MANUFACTURER REVEAL || PAGANI

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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Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

MANUFACTURER MONDAY || AMERICAN & JAPANESE

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:
- Acura NSX

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

Honda:
- Honda Civic SI
– Honda S2000

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

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Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

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 www.tillys.com 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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Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

MANUFACTURER MONDAY >> BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

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.

Enjoy!

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Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

SHIFT 2 UNLEASHED >> ON THE SUBJECT OF PHYSICS

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.

:R

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Go to Source (NeedForSpeed.com)

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I want this game!! Now!


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