De DTM Race Driver spellen van Codemasters behoren tot de meest veelzijdige racegames op de markt. Vooral het grote aantal verschillende races, de realistische besturing en het prachtige schademodel, kenmerken de DTM spellen. Begin 2006 komt Codemasters met DTM Race Driver 3 op de proppen. Wij vroegen Gavin Raeburn, het hoofd van de ontwikkelstudio waar DTM Race Driver 3 gemaakt wordt, naar de verbeteringen die we voor dit derde deel kunnen verwachten. DTM Race Driver 2 is known for its great variety in cars and circuits. Does DTM Race Driver 3 have as much variety as its predecessor or have you expanded the range? And if so, what cars and tracks have been added or removed from the selection?

Gavin Raeburn: We've expanded our range of championship styles from 15 in DTM2 to over 30 in DTM3 and we have included many new licensed circuits from around the world (including Avignon and Istanbul from the DTM 2005 season championship). We have also fully licensed many more of our tracks for DTM3 so we can have a greater number of car and track combinations, which has been requested by fans of the series. Unlike in DTM2, all the cars in DTM3 are licensed racing cars, which makes the game feel much more motorsport orientated than before. Since the series has such a tremendous amount of licensed cars, did car manufacturers and raceteams help with the development of car performance and driving characteristics of the cars?

Gavin Raeburn: We have had very close contact with many of the teams included in DTM3. For example, we visited William F1 Team, the Alan Docking Formula 3 Team, Formula 1000 Team, Prodrive who make the Subru Impreza N10 rally car, plus a variety of teams taking part in the British GT championships. We've spent time talking to drivers, engineers and designers discussing the racing and the cars in great depth. This involved us not only going to their works but also test days and race meetings. The driving model in racegames is pretty impotant if a car has to feel authentic and realistic. What kind of variables have been implemented to make the driving characteristics even more realistic?

Gavin Raeburn: We have improved many aspects of our car physics to make the cars behave even more like the real thing. There's an accurate fuel model, including the effect on car weight as fuel is used. We've looked at the tyre specifications a lot too and we're now simulating tyre temperature, dirt buildup on the rubber, and also improved tyre-wear since DTM2. The most pleasing update is how the car responds to bumps and roughness in the road, the track cars and rally cars all feel solidly placed - you can really feel the contact with the ground.

The collisions have also been improved for DTM3, jostling cars in the middle of a pack of touring cars can be safe, but other situations with different cars can be more tricky. With DTM3 we've gone for a realistic approach for all our different racing types, e.g. leaning on the side of a touring car down a straight is fun but if you catch your tyres against a 200 mph open wheel competitor on a difficult bend then you've got real problems!

Overall, we've got about 50% extra physics parameters this time to define the cars to allow us to really capture the subtleties of the different styles and genres we're putting into DTM3. The impressive damage models in DTM2 were totally unique to racing games. Losing wheels, crashing suspension, missing the hood, breakaway spoilers and such add to the realism and the overall experience of a game. Are there any improvements or other things added to the damage model?

Gavin Raeburn: We have added quite a number of extra features to our damage model to add extra realism. For example, we are now simulating the engine temperature and a number of different effects on radiator efficiency leading to overheating. There's a significantly more accurate model of the airflow changes, and therefore downforce changes, caused by various components being damaged - wings, bumpers etc.

There is also a number of more minor mechanical damage improvements - for example steering damage and turbo damage. Our particle effects system has been completely rewritten. Minor scrapes as cars brush walls or suspension grounding will now result in shower of sparks that leave true camera-relative trails behind them. More serious collisions with walls or other cars will send shrapnel and car body parts lying and bouncing across the track. A lot of people neglected the Rally and Offroad parts in DTM2. Will there be major improvements to these sections? Perhaps using Colin McRae Rally technology?

Gavin Raeburn: Our four point physics engine did not suit the very twisty rally track that we built, which meant that we had to do some pretty nasty stuff with the rally physics to make the car drivable on the track. This is not the case with DTM3 as the tracks are now a lot more open and are very good fun. The improvements we've made to the physics in DTM3 give an amazing impression of the bumps and roughness, so that even taking tuned versions of the road cars round the rally tracks makes for a totally great experience. In fact, the Colin McRae Rally boys are so impressed that they are looking at what they can take from our physics model for future versions of Colin McRae Rally. Praise indeed!