51 DRIVECLUB details that might just blow your mind

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51 DRIVECLUB details that might just blow your mind

How Evolution Studios’ PS4 racer is pushing back the boundaries

As you might have noticed in recent trailers, Evolution Studios‘ forthcoming PS4 racer DRIVECLUB really is a looker. But until you see it up close it’s hard to appreciate just how much effort the team has gone to to ensure it really pushes at the boundaries of gamers’ expectations.

During a recent studio visit I was treated to anecdote after eyebrow-raising anecdote from key team members about just how detailed this game is. Duly, to shine a light on the extraordinary work that’s currently underway up in Runcorn, Cheshire, I collated as many as I could note down into the list below. Take a look and keep in mind this is only scratching the surface – Evolution still have months of development left and are adding new elements every day…


  1. NASA data was used to accurately map out the night sky – so wherever you are in the world you’ll see the correct star constellations for your location.
  2. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the northern lights – it’s possible to see the aurora borealis from the northern tracks in Norway, Scotland and Canada.
  3. All clouds are full 3D models to ensure accurate light diffusion from the sun. They’re calculated at massive distances in a fully volumetric form, so thin clouds cast lighter shadows than dense storm clouds, and their colour impacts the feel of the landscapes and cars.
  4. Skies are uniquely generated every time you play, so just like in real life you’ll never see the same sky twice. Unless you’re replaying somebody’s challenge, in which case it’ll replicate exactly to ensure a level playing field.
  5. You can play with settings to speed up or slow down the day/night cycle. With some circuits taking over a couple of minutes per lap, at 60x accelerated speed with a judicious choice of start time, it’s possible to experience two sunrises and sunsets in one race. Both of which will be completely different to each other.

  7. Clouds react dynamically to different wind speeds. This is then converted into a ground wind speed which accurately interacts with all vegetation, overhead cables and other environmental features, based on their height from the ground.
  8. Waves and rippling on the surface of lakes is dynamically linked to wind speed, which affects how clear reflections are in the water.

    The environment

  10. High resolution NASA data was used to accurately map landscapes and mountain formations – which were then tweaked to ‘improve’ on their natural beauty and make them perfect for high-speed racing.
  11. The team spent weeks out on location and covered a minimum of 200km every day to get a feel for each country’s roads and atmosphere. They captured thousands of photos and recordings along the way, in all weather conditions and different times of day.
  12. Road tarmac textures are hand-modelled rather than tiled or tessellated. Stones and bitumen are all placed and then rendered procedurally to give realistic surface detail with huge visual variety and no repeating detail on any road surface.
  13. Each location has a draw distance of up to 200km to the horizon and even simulates the curvature of the earth in both skies and terrain. Distant landscapes are built out and fully modelled, instead of ‘painted on’, to ensure that they support the dynamic, volumetric nature of the skies and lighting.
  14. All environmental light sources are independently generated with different properties. The team sampled the colour and intensity of individual streetlights, house lights and even camera flash bulbs, which you’ll see best in any of the Indian tracks at night.


    Flora and fauna

  16. Some tracks boast over 1.2 million road-side trees – and this number keeps going up as the artists try to out-do each other as development progresses.
  17. There are over 100 different varieties of trees, bushes, mosses and flowers. The team consulted botanists at Kew Gardens to learn which plants would naturally grow in each location.

  19. Wildlife is realistically tied into the day/night cycle. You’ll see flies and butterflies only during the day, and moths and bats only at night.
  20. One of the India tracks features a tea plantation with a sprinkler system that turns off and on at set times during the day.
  21. The Chungara Lake track boasts a 19,000-strong flock of pink flamingos, all behaving independently of each other.
  22. …and look out for the seagulls in Scotland, roosting crows in Norway, Canadian geese and vultures in Chile!
  23. Spectators are placed in realistic spots where they would feasibly enjoy a good view of the race. This is done by hand, by Neil Sproston, a senior track designer who’s a real life race enthusiast. Neil regularly clambers over walls and fences in pursuit of a good viewing spot for a real life race. Duly, Evo leveraged his expertise!
  24. Spectators dress for the weather – if it’s a cold night, expect them to be sporting hats and gloves.

    The cars

  26. A typical DRIVECLUB car is made up of 260,000 polygons. The staggeringly detailed cars you see in promo videos are the same models you drive in the game – they’re not pre-rendered CG versions.
  27. Each car takes approximately seven months to create – from initial licensing, reference collation, CAD data processing, asset production, physics modelling, through to the final car in-game.
  28. Evolution snapped in excess of 1,000 photos of the interior and exterior of every car as part of the reference gathering.

  30. Pagani employ seamstresses to accurately match up the symmetrical carbon weave on the cars bodywork, and even add the ‘Pagani’ name to their small screw heads. These nuances are accurately reproduced in-game.
  31. The same 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) engineering data that the manufacturer uses to factory produce each vehicle has been used by the development team to create each car.
  32. More than 500 different material types are available to designers to apply to the vehicles.
  33. The cars have realistic layered paint materials – base metal or carbon layer, primer coat, base colour coat, two metallic paint coats, clear top coat, etc. – which can all be stripped away individually as part of the damage system.

  35. A full shader-driven procedural system is used to simulate car damage. Multiple layers of scratches appear in the most exposed areas and edges, revealing undercoat and bare metal or carbon. A parallax mapped dent layer provides minor crumpling, and a physics driven vertex deformation system is used for severe damage.
  36. As you race, dirt and dust gradually builds up on the car, subtly altering its appearance.
  37. Screen space reflections (SSR) are being used together with real time dynamic light probes to render vehicle lighting and reflections more accurately, as opposed to using outdated pre-baked cubes.
  38. The car dashboard reflects onto the windscreen in bright light; and the car exterior reflects onto carbon interior panels.

  40. Anisotropic lighting is used to simulate the effect of each individual thread in carbon fibre weave. The pattern of the carbon alters realistically with the lighting angle and surface curvature.
  41. Headlights are modelled using multiple layers of reflectors and lenses that realistically reflect and refract the bulbs shining beneath.
  42. Rainbow specular highlight effects can be seen in headlight lenses because thin film interference is utilised.
  43. Animated active aero flaps are rigged up accurately and coupled with the physics system to operate exactly as they would in real life. The Pagani Huayra is one of the best examples of this.

  45. Conversion of kinetic energy to heat is physically modelled to accurately render the temperature and glow colour of brake discs.

  47. The speedometer displays have been accurately reproduced for every car in terms of visuals, technical display output and behaviour (again, all hooked up to the in-game physics).


  49. Each reference car was fitted with at least 16 separate microphones to authentically capture the sounds of the engine from 360 degrees, inside and outside of the car. Some had four mics on the exhaust alone.
  50. In-game, the engine sound reacts to your perspective. Pan around a stationary car gunning its engine and the sound shifts with the camera position (relative to where the engine is).
  51. When you race, the engine sounds are different based on which of the six camera views you choose – inside or outside of the car. You’re not hearing the same engine audio with a filter – it’s all recorded separately.

  53. The recordings were so accurate that BMW and Mercedes-Benz AMG requested copies to replace their existing library.
  54. In many cases, Evolution’s audio captures are the most high definition recordings of these cars in existence.
  55. Bespoke sound effects were recorded for every action in the game. You won’t hear a single stock sample.

    Handling and physics

  57. Although not a sim, DRIVECLUB’s handling model is based on real world physics, using technical data about performance provided directly by the manufacturers.
  58. To fine-tune the performance of every vehicle, a virtual “rolling road” test is used to check acceleration, top speed, weight distribution and braking performance.
  59. Aerodynamics are physically modelled. For example, activating DRS on the McLaren P1 affects the levels of downforce to increase top speed and acceleration.
  60. Evolution worked closely with Thrustmaster to get the best possible feel on all their wheels. When using a supported wheel you get 1:1 movement between the steering wheel in your hands and the steering wheel in-game.

    Artificial intelligence

  62. The AI drivers adapt their racing tactics and braking strategy based on pressure from players or other drivers. When alongside them, they will try to brake deeper into the corner.
  63. AI drivers always try to predict overtaking opportunities based on the track, the performance of their car relative to opponents, and also how opponents are driving at any given moment.
  64. When an AI driver has a car with KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) fitted, they will use the energy strategically at opportune moments to pass or block opponents on the track.

    Load times

  66. Despite all of the above, once selected a track will take no more than 15 seconds to load.

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  • 52: There’s no splitscreen. Mind blowing.

    • imokwiththis.jpg

    • eeuuwww, split screen, no thanks.

    • People who are OK with no splitscreen, or who actively don’t want it have some serious issues. If it bothers you that much probably just ignore its existence and it makes no difference to you. For example you can pretend GT5 doesn’t have splitscreen and guess what, IT’S EXACTLY THE SAME GAME.

      Completely agree with zalwelgoedgaan.

    • lol ..how has this comment so many likes. Split screen is fun for indies etc but often barely used with 99% of the games… this is no Mariokart .. and even in mariokart the performance takes a huge hit and FPS drops like a brick in split screen .. why would you want that? The game is a rock steady 30FPS I don’t think split screen is a viable option. Unless you really want to play at sub 30fps .. Split screen haha .. it amazes me that people care for it with a game like this ..

      What race game except mariokart and the likes has split screen nowadays? I guess people always find something to complain about ..

  • Can’t wait to get my hands on PS+ Edition :)

  • That is mind blowing.
    Load times! fantastic

  • My body is ready.

    • Mine too! They clearly put a lot of effort into this game but maybe they should have let us have the option to modify performance too :( It’s all part of the fun of a racing game.

  • Wow, I thought I wanted 60fps but now I know how much effort you have spent on fully modelled clouds who cares about responsiveness?!? Looking forward to the freebie to tide me over until Project Cars :)

  • Shinobi-vs-Gast

    53. No 60 FPS…

  • M_e-T_a-L_G-u-Y9

    Wow this is really impressive, people should actually appreciate the effort the staff at Evolution Studio have put into this game plus other developers at other studios also…I applaud all staff at Evolution Studio, keep up the great work :)

  • KnightsOfCydonia

    Wow, staggering detail. While you won’t notice these individually while driving, I’m sure it’ll all add up for an amazing experience. Excited!

  • Woah,u guys have outdone urselves!Thank u for ps plus edition aswell

  • SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!! (First time I have ever said that!) I hope we get a new Motorstorm afterwards. I loved Apocalypse.

  • Sounds amazing. Any news on Logitec wheel support?

    • Yeah come on Rushy… Put me out my misery will we have logitech support and for which wheels?

    • Yeah come on Rushy… Put me out my misery… Are we getting logitech support and for which wheels?

    • Fanatec too, I want that 1:1 wheel accuracy as its what I bought the darn thing for and yet no games seem to do it.

  • Would be nice to read this in German language on the German PS-Blog :)

  • “The Indian track Chungara Lake boasts a 19,000-strong flock of pink flamingos, all behaving independently of each other.”

    Chungara Lake is actually located in Chile. Nice attention to detail ¬__¬

    • I think you will find that there is infact an entire subspecies of flamingos in Chile, aptly named the Chilean flamingo :P

    • I was trying to reply to another comment about how there were no flamingoes in chile, sorry -_-

  • will it rain, snow, hail…?

  • alice_push_lara2

    is this game more like GT, NFS, or kind of a mix (Forza)?

    • I think its clear it will be a mix. Realistic physics but somewhat forgiving when it comes to harsh braking.

  • 15 seconds to load race, OK, but how long it will take to load game itself? Anyway, slowly but surely I’m more and more interested in your game.
    I didn’t own any good arcade races for a LONG time, so please, please be a good one.

  • I’m sure it will be great but all the above will mean nothing if its no fun.

  • Give me a snowing weather and I couldn’t be any happier XD

  • ”Although not a sim…”

  • Nice but… what about beta?

  • Now I know it’s not all about the polycount but “A typical DRIVECLUB car is made up of 260,000 polygons.” stood out to me. Didn’t Forza 3 on 360 have about 400,000 with Forza 4 stepping it up to roughly 1,000,000 per car?

    • Yeah, but that’s in their “Autovista” mode. No way you’re seeing that much detail in gameplay :)

    • That also probably doesn’t take into account tessellation, although I see no mention if they are using it or not.

      Tessellation means that the model polycount != the polycount on screen. Its also hard to know how much of that polycount was used to fake effects that are done in shaders on Drive Club, so work out far more realistic with LESS polys.

  • Ai sounds interesting but will it have the awful rubber banding of motorstorm?

  • I think Driveclub 2 should be like Forza. If you are going to put that much effort into a game, you might as well go all out. :P

  • What about the in game soundtrack?

  • Hot daaaaaamn.
    I am psyched for those flamingos :D

  • Where are the shadows from player’s car?

  • CassiveBrewster_


  • “Compatible Thrustmaster wheels” I do hope that includes the Trustmaster Ferrari F430 FFB wheel.

  • Now that is next gen!! FANTASTIC job guys and even more to Fred to explain it so neatly. Superb. Hope the game is awesome! And My friends have not moved on to the PS4 yet. So if anyone is gonna make a club and have an open spot! Would love to join. #NotForeverAlone.

  • Don’t forget the PS+ version is basically a demo you can get trophies on and microtransactions.

    I’ll wait.

  • In the weather section, there’s no mention of actual weather effects like rain, snow, does the wind effect handling? Surely racing in Scotland wouldn’t be realistic without *some* rain.. I’m really looking forward to playing this though!

  • If you can give us such a load of information almost on a daily basis, then why can’t you just release it already? I mean.. it has to be finished, right? Or can you really give 51 details on a game that isn’t ready until October?

  • What other steering wheels are compatible?

  • Jogo massa pra caramba, ficou show, o grafico entao é muito bacana.

  • What!?!? NO RAIN!!??!!

  • Looks and sounds stunning. Cannot come soon enough.

  • Mother of God. 0_0
    Can’t wait for this one. Hope for Logitech G27 support.

    • The next driving game I get _must_ have wheel (G27) support.. or I will just wait for a game that does.

  • Sounds AMAZING :P :P :P

  • I really want to be excited for DriveClub, but whenever I think about the game I can’t help but remember last year’s E3 when Rushy said the PS+ version would be and I quote “the same full game minus -a few- assets” followed by his spectacular climb down a couple months ago when he described it as a “collection of cars and tracks” and then lied to my face when he said nothing has changed.

    I’ll take the demo, but leave the full game. Shame really, some very talented people clearly put in a lot of good work to make this happen and they don’t deserve to have their work sidelined because some suit somewhere decided to strip back the PS+ version and pretend that initial reveal never happened. But sadly there are people out there who faced with the choice of supporting a lie or buying something else are going to go with something else, be it the rather excellent looking Project Cars, or waiting for GT7. Sorry honest people at Evolution Studios, I’ll see you for the next Motorstorm, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    • I think you’re getting caught up a bit here – what we get on PS+ is a top little game (don’t forget that we get 72 games a year for our annual sub, well below a dollar a game). Anyone that thinks that what we get for a dollar for the PS+ edition really doesn’t understand the work involved to create these kind of games ;). It sounds like you got suckered by the hype and forgot to apply a ‘common sense test’ to what was being said – there’s no way they can pay for Drive Club through PS+ alone, and it was pretty obvious to anyone engaging their grey matter that there’d be a significant difference between the PS+ and full version. I’d let go your emotional baggage and enjoy what we will be getting, rather than letting the past weigh down your future ;).

    • yes .. lets overlook the fact that most of the asset are in the ps+ version and that you can actually platinum the game with it.

      Project car and gt7 will not have a Ps+ version. i actually hope so cause that sense on entitlement gamers seem to have now is astonishing.

    • 7 months it takes to create each car and you get what, 10 cars in the PS+ edition? God knows how long it takes them to create the tracks with hand crafted roads and millions of individual plant life. A lot of money it takes to create a game, they’re even offering you a large chunk of it pretty much free of charge.
      Ok, I’ll cut to the chase, I’m saying you’re a SPOILT LITTLE BRAT.

    • Clearly not a single one of you actually read my post or followed the development of this game, but why let reading comprehension or facts stop you from insulting someone anonymously on the internet.

      I’m not saying that I want the full game on Plus, I’m not saying that loads of work didn’t go into it, in fact if you read I said the exact opposite. I’m merely saying that what was initially revealed and what is being given is completely different. If Rushy had said he got it wrong at E3 and over hyped it, that would be fine with me. If he said that the intention was to give a full game with a few bits stripped out and the plan had changed because the scope of the game had increased that would be fine too. But that’s not what happened, what happened was he outlined the release then eight months later described a completely different release and when asked why it was changed claimed there was no change. Not to mention that he also edited a few posts he made on blogs and forums in an attempt to erase evidence that he originally promised more than he is delivering (yes, he did do that)

      But yeah, we’ll just let them brush that under the carpet. I mean, it’s not that important really is it, games have been sold under false pretences for years and everyone loves the idea of demos replacing games in PS+ right?

    • I totally agree with you, however, if I like the PS+ version, I’ll still buy the full version :)

    • Making things up doesn’t make them true. What we’re getting is what we were always supposed to get.

    • You’re complaining about a free game which people have been slaving over, period.
      Unacceptable, both morally and logically.

  • The game looks absolutely phenomenal :). From the inclusive approach to racing (everyone gets something out of every race) to the attention to detail in the physics and environment (imo, attention to detail is the difference between good and great, and Evolution have always done it well :)), I’m really looking forward to this :). Good luck for the last few months before launch to the devs :).

  • So many teraflops in this one. Much next-gen.

  • I can’t wait for this game .. ! I really like racing games that mix arcade and sim .. (I loved Grid 1 for example) it being on PS+ makes it even better .. not only does it give me a chance to thoroughly try the game out before buying it, it also allows me to play with friends who aren’t really in to racing games and may not buy the game! I wish it was here already.. !

  • iHomer_iSamurai_

    I am glad that I made the Xone goodbye and I ordered PS4 already looking forward to Driveclub
    Otherwise I would have one question and it Driverclub open world as Forzha Horizon? or is it just a series of races as a series GT.

  • Seriously, this just might be the graphical masterpiece to beat for a long time, yeah- the best looking game ever created. The new trailers are absolutely mind blowing and thanks to the innovative social features, this truly feels like a next-gen title, more so than any other game thus far in my opinion.
    I never thought I could be so excited for a racing game that isn’t Wipeout, but you guys have done it. I’m buying on day one, the only decision left to make is- do I go physical or digital… decisions decisions. :-)
    Evo, if you read this, YOU’RE AWESOME!!!!!

    • There is zero reasons to go digital apart from getting the game at 12:00:01 in your own home at launch, if it’s even ready at that time

  • Sound great. Will there be a screenshot-mode like in inFamous Second Son. I hope so!

  • Sounds great. Will there be a screenshot-mode like in inFamous Second Son?

  • give me gt on ps4

  • I bought a PS4 for this game… and i still don’t have it..

  • LandmineSalesman

    Pre-ordered the game today!

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