If you are a regular reader of these pages you will know that I love playing Gran Turismo on the PlayStation. I always have. My relationship with GT goes back to when it was first released and playing it with my landlord when I lived in Gillingham. GT and Crash Bandicoot are two reasons I bought a PlayStation, or PSOne as it is now known! You can see other communications about GT here and my gallery here it’s been a while since I added new photos to the GT gallery and I should try and do that soon (it’s a quite lengthy process).

Gran Turismo defines itself as The Driving Simulator. Which is probably about right. It’s quite likely to be the most realistic driving game on the market, especially in terms of the physics model it uses. I haven’t played any other driving games really and so I can’t comment. I am also not a racing driver so it would be hard to me to comment on the realism. It amuses me when people describe certain computer games as unrealistic. How would you know? If I was a real racing driver I probably wouldn’t be playing GT.

I recently bought a new home PC. See this communication and the follow up to that. this made me think I could have a flight simulator and I tried installing FSX – The Microsoft Flight Simulator, last version. It turns out that FSX hates Windows 8.1. Some people got it to work and some didn’t. I didn’t want to spend ages digging into why it wasn’t working and the only way I got it to work was to turnoff some graphics function which made it look pretty rubbish on the big screen that I have. So, I had to turn to the only other alternative AFAIK.

X-Plane [I could link to the official site but then you could JFGI]

If you want to see why this is a good program then go no further than Randall Monroe’s What If? blog and see how he used it. I downloaded the demo version and played with it a bit. It is pretty good. You are stuck to the Seattle area in the demo but most of the rest of the game functions well. If you want you can use this program properly and use it professionally. Also around the time of doing this I ordered the X-Plane 10 Global edition. It contains the scenery of the world in it. All of it. I ordered this from the USA website as I didn’t want part of the profits going to a third party seller. It seemed the fairest way to buy it. I didn’t read the small print as I ordered it though. It could take six weeks to arrive. Customs issues apparently.

Here are my tweets.

It looks like I ordered it 8th December and it was waiting for me after I got home on the 28th December. I guess that’s not bad. I’ve also installed a Saitek joystick and throttle (HOTAS) comnbination. I’m currently getting to grips with all the buttons and programming some functions into the joystick.

Here’s a gallery of some of my screen shots so far. I have been tweeting them so you might have seen them before. I’m trying to work with real time and weather in the program so far hence my flights are taking place around the world. I also need to work on my landings. Currently the Sabre is my favourite plane. It’s fast enough to be fun but easy to handle.

I spelt “Harbor” the American way, for accuracy.

I’m quite curious as to whether there is another type of simulation game I would like. On the Megadrive I played a submarine simulation but I would get bored quite quickly and send out a “ping” just to liven things up. I think a nuclear power station simulation would be a bit of a laugh, but then you’d try to recreate the “big ones”, Three Mile Island, Windscale, Chernobyl and see if you could have stopped the outcome. It’d probably take up a bit more technical knowledge than I have and then I’d get kidnapped by some dodgy regime to set up their nuclear program [Oh, no, that’s what Imperial did in the 80s, teach various countries their nuclear knowledge].

I don’t think I would find playing the Sims that exciting. Much like PlayStation Home doesn’t really bother me. I’m not that sociable in real life I don’t what to spend “virtual” time being sociable. I like games that challenge just me. I’ve played SimCity, but I played it once, for about 12 hours, non stop. And then I stopped.

With racing cars and aircraft you can make things happen fast. It’s about getting the timing correct. I’m not that sure that any of the following would bother me much:

  • Train Simulator
  • Fairground Simulator
  • Farm Simulator
  • Goat Simulator [it exists]
  • Car mechanic Simulator

Also, I don’t have the time.

Cutting It Close

I love Gran Turismo.
It can be a frustrating game but it is beautiful and thoroughly enjoyable. I have crashed a few times because I looked at the scenery!
I like the Goodwood Festival of Speed section but I have found the course tricky. Although a basic layout the shadows and look of the course change depending on the time of day. The sun has been modelled brilliantly (pun recognised but not intended), the shadows move and change how the course looks depending on the simulation time. This makes finding the braking point quite tricky. I need to find other track markers for braking points. Also turn-in points change because of the shadows. It takes a few runs on the track to find my pointers.
Such an excellent game and I haven’t even mentioned the fireworks and star maps.
I beat this particular trial by 0.004 seconds. Well done me.