Hello, and welcome to another DiRT 4 Road Book! We’ve got some fun stuff for you this week, off the back of your questions and requests from the last edition – so we hope you enjoy what we’ve got lined up for you. As the weeks go on, we’ll cover more topics in detail as we have more imagery and details to showcase – but up today, we have news of special editions, DiRT Rally PS VR in Asia, and a huge feature on landrush! We’ll be covering the circuits, the vehicles, the handling, and how to get ahead of your competitors when the game lands in June.
As per our last Road Book, if you want to see if talk about something in particular, please let us know in the various Road Book threads and comments sections over the internet. We’re already building a schedule of stuff you want to hear about, but there a couple of slots left – so get your requests in while you can. ;)
Dev Diary and Special Editions announcement
If you managed to miss our Dev Diary drop on Wednesday, don’t worry – we have it for you right here. Want to know more about Your Stage? Petter Solberg, Kris Meeke (alongside and our very own Paul Coleman and Tom Whibley) are here to tell you more:
We also announced our Special Editions at the same time, which you can catch up with here – but here’s a handy snapshot of what will be available:
As you all know, landrush is makes its return to the DiRT series with DiRT 4. However, it’s going to be unlike anything you experienced in previous games. If you’re intrigued as to what we’ve changed from DiRT 2 and DiRT 3, then don’t fear: Lead Level Designer Matthew Battison and Senior Games Designer Craig Taylor are here to fill you in on what to expect from the discipline.
So, the landrush vehicles – what are they?
There are three classes specific to landrush, and they form a class structure which is recognisable to anyone familiar with short course racing. The first vehicle up is the entry level class vehicle: the Larock 2XR Buggy. The buggy is RWD and rear-engine, but as the least powerful vehicle in the discipline, it’s the best place to learn the ropes of landrush.
Next up is the Jackson Pro-Truck 2, which is the first of the Stadium Truck classes. It’s also RWD, but it’s a lot more challenging than the buggy because there’s 700bhp under the hood! As you can imagine, this makes it quite the challenge to get around the circuit without incident – especially when lined up on the grid with seven other competitors.
Finally, we move on to the top-tier brute that is the Jackson Pro-Truck 4. With 4WD and 900bhp, these things really shift! Again, based on a real-life counterpart, this car is the real deal when it comes to top-tier shortcourse racing – and as in real life, their power lends themselves to some utterly spectacular racing (and jumping!).
We’ve also thrown in the option to use the Speedcar Xtrem on landrush – the crosskart that will also be available in the Rallycross part of the game. This low-slung, motorbike-engined bundle of fun adds a whole new dimension to the wide tracks and huge jumps, and it’s an absolute blast! So, all in all, there will be four different types of vehicle to throw around our circuits – each with their own specific behaviours and challenges. Plenty to get your teeth into.
And how do they handle?
For anyone concerned that this will be an ‘arcadey’ part of the game, then think again. The same authentic treatment we’ve given Rally and Rallycross has also been applied to Landrush, resulting in the most authentic representation of short course racing that we’ve ever done. We’ve paid real attention to the intricacies and nuances of the real life counterparts; the stance, the suspension travel, the way the wheels drop-out and compress, the way they absorb the huge bumps and jumps… right through to little slips and burbles you can hear between gear changes in their unique transmission systems. It’s this attention-to-detail that real makes the sport come alive beyond anything we did in our previous games.
If you’re playing with sim handling with all assists off, you will get the truest simulation of landrush racing. And if you’re playing with gamer handling, then our intuitive assists will help you control the car in the same way that it would with rally and rallycross. Our assists (for example the lift-off-throttle braking) are the same across each discipline, so your experience will be consistent across each part of the game.
The game features three fictional landrush circuits – Baja, California and Nevada. How did you go about creating these?
The first step was to do a lot of research on the existing landrush championships out there, to ensure that what we were building was going to be a realistic representation of the sport. Of course, we looked at corner-to-straights ratio, the length of the tracks – and importantly, we spent a lot of time researching track surfaces and track width to get it right. The great thing about the rally portions of DiRT Rally and DiRT 4 is that the track/stage widths are true to real life, and therefore the best and most authentic challenge to set a player. We wanted to ensure that this was the case throughout all of our disciplines.
We also noted the various characteristics of existing tracks used for shortcourse racing, and again made sure we were including everything true to real life. Berms, moguls, jumps, bigger jumps, step-ups and split routes are all part of landrush circuits, as they are in the real-life discipline. Even getting further into that we researched the height and length of various jumps, to make sure we were going to build something that was true to the existing circuits. It was crucial to us that if we were representing the vehicles as true to real-life as possible, we built jumps to a real-life specification too – meaning that vehicle and track would interact with each other in a very realistic and genuine way.
Then, from there, we set ourselves the challenge of building these fictional tracks from scratch, with all of that research and knowledge banked.
What is particularly great about these tracks, and what should a player look out for?
Each circuit was built with a slightly different difficulty specification, and because of this they all have their own personality and charm. And not only that, but each vehicle interacts with the track differently. In some vehicles, jumps on each circuit can be jumped… But that’s not the case for other vehicles, so you’re going to have to stay reactive and learn how to control each vehicle in each environment. Throw in multiple track configurations and seven other drivers into the mix, and you’re never going to be allowed to be complacent. As a player in an arena with so many moving parts, you should be looking out for everything.
Moving onto multiplayer for landrush – how does that work?
Well, they don’t call it landrush for nothing! Every race features the iconic 8-abreast Landrush start. The adrenaline of starting alongside seven unpredictable and competitive racers – is amazing. When we had our community event last November, we finished off a session with a couple of rounds of landrush, and there was all sorts of shouting and jeering going on!
There’s also a lot of strategy to a start like this, and it calls for quick decision-making too: if you get a good start and storm away, you have to make the call on how late to brake to hold your place. However, if you don’t get away well you have to work out how aggressive you want to be, or if you want to drop back a little in case carnage ensues ahead of you.
The features of the track also lend themselves to strategic racing. If you’re on a piece of track which has jumps and bumps either side, but is relatively flat in the middle, you have a couple of options; hang the opponent beside of you out to dry on the jumps, or put your foot down and let the suspension cope with the smaller undulations of the centre. However, the fastest route is most likely to be the narrowest in some situations, and also the most hotly contested space on the track – so the fastest way around the circuit may not involve using the fastest or the most direct route…
Is landrush a compulsory part of the career mode?
Nope – it’s not a compulsory part of the career in DiRT 4. However, if you want to 100% the game, you’ll need to get stuck into it.
Any finally, any tips for players who are new to this kind of racing?
Controlling these vehicles over the undulating terrain is difficult to master – but the best tip is to get the vehicles as square and as straight as you can over the jumps. And with RWD vehicles, it’s all about throttle control. Aside from those two gems, you’re on your own!
DiRT Rally for Linux – out now
In partnership with our friends over at Feral Interactive, we released DiRT Rally for Linux this week! Mac is standing by for Metal, but Linux is well and truly out there now. Our Linux version is available on Steam right now, so head over there if you’d like to pick it up.
DiRT Rally PS VR in Asia – coming later this month
We’re delighted to announce that after a slight delay, DiRT Rally PS VR will be arriving to Asia later this month! DiRT Rally PS VR is scheduled to land on the 15th March 2017 – so for all of you fans in China, you have less than a couple of weeks to wait. If you saw our last Road Book, you’ll see that the user reviews are awesome – so get your headsets at the ready!
And that’s all for today, folks! See you back here in a week or two for the latest DiRTy news and some in-depth game discussion. Have great weekends!