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Grid 2 drives forward years later after tech upgrade


By the time Grid 2 wheels into stores it will have been nearly five years since the Race Driver series welcomed a new installment. Codemasters spoke previously about waiting for technology to meet the Southam studio's ambitions, but we wanted to know the specific ways in which the lengthy pitstop benefits the racer.

"The thing for us is that sometimes you get a car that's been modeled to such beautiful, beautiful detail," Grid 2 Associate Producer Iain Smith told Joystiq, "that when you see it in the environment it just jars. It looks like it's from a showroom. It's not lit the same way as the environment, it just feels like this glossy thing in the middle of something that's actually quite tangible and real. We try to make sure those two things blend in a much more realistic way."

Smith said Grid 2 features a much more advanced lighting system than seen in previous Codemasters games, especially in terms of how shadows are cast on buildings, and the sense of detail to depth. In Grid 2, when light beams onto a building, it cascades off it and onto other buildings. These are the kinds of complex light effects Codemasters feels makes Grid 2 stand out visually, but visuals are just part of the equation.

Grid 2's physics engine operates at 1000 Hz, Smith added, meaning it's updating everything from the various constituents of cars, to ways AI drivers act within in centimeters rather than meters. As Smith puts it: "We wanted to make sure the handling was A1."

Because of Codemasters' patience, Grid 2 also benefits from the recently unveiled RaceNet, the developer's free-access community platform which compares to the likes of EA's Autolog and Call of Duty's Elite services. We asked how RaceNet stands out from its rivals, and Smith pointed to how Codemasters' service operates across all the studio's games (which for the foreseeable future are all going to be racers), while other platforms may be restricted to single games or franchises:

"We develop racing games like the F1 series, F1 Race Stars, the Grid franchise, the Dirt franchise, and anything else we develop in the next couple of years, so we're only going to add features to RaceNet over time. It's a constantly developing platform. The unique thing for us is that it's an umbrella profile [for players], a single profile that's appropriate to F1 online, to Race Stars, and so on, and you can carry things across."

Grid 2 is scheduled to arrive in early 2013 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. As we revealed last week, Codemasters doesn't have plans to release Grid 2 on Wii U, but isn't ruling out bringing that game or any of its racers to Nintendo's new platform.

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