It’s been a pretty jam-packed 12 months or so for racing games, with Driveclub wowing some, Forza Horizon 2 wowing most, and Project Cars wowing all of those that aren’t absolutely over the genre yet. For the most part racing games are tinkering around the edges, but they’re driving better than ever before, and certainly taking rather enormous graphical leaps toward making it at least look like you’re sitting in the driver’s seat of some of the world’s fastest cars. And I reckon go you good thing, because no genre has traditionally said ‘technical showpiece’ better than racing games, something Gran Turismo made a point of shouting from the rooftops way back in 1997. But that desire to have these games look as real as possible has started to grow a little sting in its tail.
And that sting is the enormous glowing ball of hydrogen and helium gases we know as the sun. Imagine this. You’re driving at a cool 250km/h down, finger poised over the trigger ready to brake, gradually easing off of the accelerator, knowing there is a corner somewhere ahead:
“It’s somewhere up here.”
” I can’t quite see.”
“Bloody sun is in the way”
“Hang on maybe if I squint….”
And then bang. Before you know it you’ve hit the grass, your brakes lock up, and your car plummets into the track barrier at speed. The race is over and with it your shot at the driver’s championship.
Lens flare and natural light effects look great, don’t get me wrong, but the extent to which it’s being used has become a little bit rampant. It was something I first noticed with Driveclub, which I didn’t think was a particularly great game at the time, but it certainly looked the part due in no small part to its amazing lightning and weather effects. Well it looked amazing, that is you could see the bloody track, what with all the glare and flare.
And playing Project Cars – another stunner of a game – I came across the same issue.
And just by way of comparison this was me in a car driving into the sun just the other day.
Look, driving into the sun isn’t fun, alright? So to all you racing game developers out there, enough with the lens flare, eh? Or if you’re insistent on it, for whatever reason, at least let me pull out a pair of polaroid sunglasses so I can at least see the track.