Did Turn 10 confirm weight bias tuning?

2 10 2015

I’ve collected data on about 35 unique cars, mostly race cars so far, and one of the interesting things to fall out of the statistics is that the published balance is more of a fiction than any version of the game I’ve bothered to examine. This is the balance the game gives you on the screen with horsepower, torque and weight.

When you look at the default suspension settings for cars with an adjustable suspension you can calculate a suspension balance. I have stats covering a published range of 35-64% but the suspension balance range for these cars is only 48-55%. Usually anything outside this range is pulled in to the edges of the range but still maintains a forward or aft bias. Looking at the numbers, I’ve even found a couple cars with an aft bias running a 52% forward bias suspension. Both were what I would consider supercars.

The most interesting aspect of this change is that it used to be that you could trust that anything considered a race car had a suspension balance that matched the published balance. Now not so much, if the published balance falls in the 48-55% range the suspension usually agrees, but every car I’ve looked at outside that range is pulled back in. My data set includes samples of each of the open wheel types since 1960, various LMP & GT types and a V8 Supercar as well as any of the gift or DLC cars with adjustable suspension. I’ve only bought and tuned maybe half a dozen cars I didn’t get for free.

You may ask, so what? A friend of mine, Blooze (RIP) noticed way back in FM2 that the published balance didn’t seem to accurately represent the center of gravity of the car like it should. Setting the suspension to whatever balance you wanted seemed to move the center of gravity. Back then a lot of the cars were set up with pretty odd balances that rarely matched the published values (except for the race cars which always matched). We started moving the balance to the 52-54% range and the cars became easier to drive. It seems Turn 10 is following this advice and is setting up their cars to be easier to drive across the board by keeping the balance closer to 50%.

I wouldn’t be surprised if FM5 was the same way, but I never bothered to look.

Forza 6 Review

21 09 2015

Even though I said I’d never preorder another one, I broke down and pre-ordered the Ultimate Edition for digital download and have been playing since the early release let me. I didn’t read any pre-release hype at all. I only just saw a trailer for the game last week. My only source for news on Forza has been when something popped up in one of my RSS feeds and I think Major Nelson is the only exclusively video game related feed I follow.

My first impression is generally favorable compared to Forza 5. How could it not be better that FM5? Really its closer to the game FM5 should have been two years ago. In comparison to FM4 it’s still lacking content, short around 50 cars and 30 ribbons in the base version at launch. However, wet and night racing have been introduced as well as several tracks new to the Forza franchise. I don’t think any were dropped this time.


  1. The digital pre-order with background downloading is my preferred way to buy games now. I had it ready to go as soon as I was allowed to play vs waiting most of a day for UPS to show up and then waiting hours for the disc to install and then download the day one patches last time.
  2. I love the new real world tracks. More is always better. Even some of the tracks available in older versions of the game have new ribbons available. I’ve always preferred real world tracks to Turn 10’s fictional tracks. The fictional environments (with the exception of Maple Valley) all seem to be missing something to me.
  3. Rain and night racing are very welcome. I’ve seen people complaining online about how unrealistic the puddles are, but they seem spot on to my experience of driving a Miata with bald tires in a heavy downpour. A drying track would be an interesting variation, one with no rain, but a dry race line and damp off line. The only disappointment I have with the rain is the rooster tails are rather insignificant for the amount of rainfall, similar to the weak smoke effects that have always been in Forza.
  4. Mods are an interesting way to vary the career and add a method to tune the game difficulty. It would be nice if mods that didn’t affect performance wouldn’t automatically dirty your laps.
  5. AI with the aggression limiter turned on is better than FM5’s drivatars. There are problems on the tighter tracks until the pack has had a chance to spread out, but I’ve also had cases where I’ve made it through the pack without any contact. I can’t imagine going through 2 or 3 wide through turns in a previous Forza without the AI sideswiping me. Going through career I started on average AI difficulty because I was really rusty since it had been over a year since I’d spent any time in a Forza Motorsport game. Each time the game suggested a more difficult setting I went with it. I run with Pro Drivatars being my norm unless the car I’m driving just isn’t competitive. I’ve run into this a couple of times on ovals where my chosen car just can’t go fast enough to keep up even running a power build. Rather than buy a better car I’ll just dial down the AI and play with Mods to keep it competitive.
  6. Career race length is just about perfect to me. I’ve hated the 3 lap sprints around a 1/2 mile loop in previous games where the only way to win was to bash your way to the front. I usually use a Dare to start in 20th. Even with one Drivatar dominating from the front, I can usually work my way through the pack to chase him down sometime in the last lap. It also doesn’t really matter. Getting on the podium is good enough. I think I’ve had 3 races where I just couldn’t podium and eventually had to dial down the AI. Twice were in the rain and once was on Daytona.
  7. Physics don’t seem that different from FM5, if anything it seems a little more forgiving. In FM5 camber settings doubled over what was needed before and that still holds. I didn’t spend any time analyzing FM5 to update my tuning tools and just used the ones from FM4 if I bothered at all. I started gathering data from cars that have adjustable suspension and found some surprises. The general trends I’ve always seen are still present and not really that far from the values I had in FM4, but where I noticed 3 distinct groupings for different types of race cars, now I have at least 4 and maybe 5 if you group the high ARB production cars as their own group. But, I have a limited set of cars that I’ve been able to check so far. The surprises were that default ARB balance is always 60% forward no matter what car or published balance. The spring & damping balance follows engine location. On Forward engine cars the balance I calculate from the suspension settings agreed with the published values but all the mid-engine cars were at 48% regardless of the published value.
  8. Most of my menu organization gripes with earlier versions of Forza have been fixed. I find the game menu better organized. The only exception is that shared content is still scattered all over the place where something similar to the old storefronts would make more sense.
  9. Importing decals and designs from FM5 and FH2 is available. It doesn’t do much for me as I didn’t spend time painting in either game.
  10. The economy is better. Cars aren’t as ridiculously priced as FM5 and Turn 10 kept DLC cars as being free to add to your garage.
  11. You can see your stats on what you share, but it’s buried. The lack of feedback on designs and the shitty browsing experience were the primary reasons I quit painting racecars in FM5. I only got into painting as a revenue stream so I could afford to buy cars. I’m still not that excited about painting as I have next to nothing to import and I still hate the browsing experience.
  12. Leaderboards seem a little better, but it’s still missing a local leaderboard filter.
  13. I love being able to stream to a windows 10 PC. Most of my data gathering has been while streaming to a laptop watching TV. I’ll probably eventually do some painting this way.
  14. Endurance races are sort of back. It’s a showcase event where no tuning is allowed and the car choices are a limited. I’ve done 2 of them. Atlanta went about how I’d expect with a fuel stop at the halfway point and I had gas for another lap or two beyond that. Catalunya I ran out of gas midway through lap 17 of 35. It’s definitely a 2 stopper, but the AI didn’t pit until lap 20 well beyond the range I could have covered.
  15. Sticky grass is gone, and replaced with extra walls to curb corner cutting. Either would ruin a race, but it’s easier see a wall than know which patch of grass is going to grab your car.


  1. The intro to the game is too long. Give me one race, point me at the career and let me play the game. My biggest gripe with this was the controller options were locked out during the intro, somehow I missed setting up my controller like I’ve been using since FM2 and had issues shifting gears that I couldn’t fix until the intro was over.
  2. Why is it that no matter what group of cars I’m racing the Drivatar paint schemes always look the same?
  3. Free play doesn’t have the configurability of earlier games. For example, there’s no way to restrict cars to a given division like 1970’s Grand Prix or Can Am cars.
  4. Please add saving the user’s last choice when it comes to sorting choices in menus. I usually sort Mods by type and look at my garage by class. The default options on each are about the least useful choices of the ones the user can choose.
  5. Damage still seems to be all or nothing, but it seems to take more to trigger damage than in FM5, so a little rubbing has no effect at all. However, if you get engine engine damage it’s race over, as there’s no way to get back to the pits.
  6. Rain and time of day is not dynamic like Horizon and it’s probably related to limitations with Forza’s lighting model. Turn 10 models a static environment to simplify computing. The sun doesn’t move, rain falls or it doesn’t, puddles are always in the same place. It’s not that big of a deal to me other than I hate the glare in some of the environments.
  7. The Drivatars need a puddle avoidance algorithm. On Silverstone in the rain it’s especially bad. I started lapping the field (on Pro difficulty) in 3 laps on a 6 lap race because the AI hydroplanes into the wall at Vale almost every lap.
  8. All my visual gripes with FM5 still apply: jaggies, lens flare, unrealistic sun glare are all still around.
  9. Not all my gripes with the menu were fixed. Access to some car information was dropped in FM5 and is still not available. There was a method in FM4 that let you see info on car family, body type, engine displacement, peak HP and RPM number, etc. It’s was accessed while in your garage for sorting the garage. Some of that info was available to the player nowhere else in the game. It makes precise calculations for tuning a bit more difficult.
  10. The message center took a step backwards. I don’t understand the harm in allowing the user to delete messages once read. Used to be you could delete some of them like rivals notices, now it’s I haven’t found a delete button available for anything.
  11. A storefront like interface would be better to manage your shared content than having it scattered all over the place. Related to this, when you search for designs, you don’t the description entered by the creator.
  12. Tuning and upgrades are exactly the same as every earlier release. Per wheel setups would be very useful for oval track racing since we actually have some ovals in this release. Also it would be nice to sort the wheel rims by price or weight reduction.
  13. Again several achievements require online commitments that I’m probably not going to make. There are at least 3 that look like you will only get through random chance. I had the lowest Gamerscore in the series on Forza 5 and it’s probably not going to be much different on this one. Hopefully more DLC will add achievements that I can use to max out the Forza rewards for this game. I left a lot of points on the table in FM5.
  14. Apparently there are already glitch cars banned from posting times online, so patches and leaderboard wipes are coming.
  15. Around level driver level 40 I noticed the random spin for a level up prize doesn’t seem to be so random. I confirmed it to myself yesterday when I did an endurance race with an +XP% mod and jumped about 8 levels at once and every spin resulted in the lowest valued award. Once or twice in a row I could see as a coincidence, but not 8 straight.  It didn’t hold, I started getting some better spins again later.
  16. This is more of a Microsoft gripe, but I miss my chatpad from the 360. I’ve preordered one but it won’t be here until November. There can be a surprising amount of text entry in this game and a chatpad would make that a lot easier. I don’t know why it took 2 years for M$ to realize release a new version chatpad. I know I can plug in a keyboard, but I don’t have somewhere to keep one handy.
  17. Forza Rewards went weekly. What a pain in the ass. I like the rewards, but I hate Turn 10’s buggy website that seems to be down as often as its working. Down below is my normal view of the rewards. It means I have to spend even more time there and give Turn 10 four times the chance of fucking up.Rewards

Forza Horizon

3 10 2014

This one snuck up on me. I haven’t played FM5 seriously in months and gave up visiting the asylum over at Daught Net around New Years. Most of my friends haven’t bought an Xbone (less than 1/3 ), so my enthusiasm for a new Forza game isn’t the highest. I think some OCD need to keep building my Forza Rewards score is really the biggest reason I bought it.

I pre-ordered Forza Horizon 2 when I saw a Major Nelson announcement that I could “Pre-Download” it and promptly forgot about it. I didn’t seek out any preview press or a game demo. I still haven’t found an achievement list for the game or even looked at a car list. I’ve seen one commercial on TV. I figure the less I know, the lower my expectations will be and the more I’ll appreciate what the game. I happened to be out of town on launch day and even when I got back it didn’t cross my mind until last night that the game came out Tuesday. Pre-downloading worked as I had hoped. I turned on my Xbox and just started the game. No need for an hours long patch download just to start it the first time like FM5.

I only spent about an hour with it, but my first impressions are favorable. It didn’t start that well. Just picking the controller layout seemed more confusing that it needed to be. As soon as I could I went in and changed my controller layout. Layout 6 with shifting on the bumpers is my preferred scheme, but I hadn’t yet gone into the difficulty settings to turn on manual shifting. With the game set to automatic, the controller layouts don’t show you where the gear shift buttons would be and overall the controller layouts are subtly different. Turn on manual shifting and/or the clutch and the layouts change to accommodate them.

Overall this feels more like an open world Forza game than the original Horizon did.

Playground Games and Turn 10 have fixed two of my big gripes from the original:

  1. Tuning is available. – It never made much sense to me in the original FH to add race parts that couldn’t be tuned. A lot of time I’ve found race parts give an inferior setup out of the box than some of the cheaper upgrades, but allowing tuning was their primary impact. Along with tuning, telemetry is back. Telemetry without tuning didn’t make much sense, and tuning without telemetry is just trial and error.
  2. Boundaries have opened up. – One of the things that made Horizon seem really small were all the guard rails making so much of the game map was off-limits. I don’t really care for the cross-country racing through fields and vineyards, but it’s nice to be able to drive off the beaten path.

New things I like:

  1. Damage – I have yet to see how bad this gets, but with sim damage it pays to drive better.
  2. Clean Racing Skill – Giving skill points for clean driving may encourage better driving.

Things I don’t like so far:

  1. The douchebro event organizer – I seriously want to punch this guy. I don’t know what it is with Playground Games, but each of the Horizon games is populated with instantly dis-likable stereotypes.
  2. Radio is off, enough said.
  3. Server issues. It’s not a Forza title without server issues at launch. This is the 5th Forza title I bought at launch and each has had launch day server problems. So far I haven’t seen forza rewards in FM5 or FH2. I claimed them last night and still hadn’t seen them this morning. I claimed more this morning as the bit I played last night bumped me into tier 7. The Forza Hub app is unreachable more often than it is available.

I’ve been playing anything but FM5 and I replaced my Xbone

7 01 2014

Is anyone still playing FM5?  I’m not really. I think I played for a couple hours to finish 2 series in the last month where I did about 10 series in the first week. However, I did send my Xbone in for replacement and was out of town for work most of December. Because of this trip I was forced to do without the Xbone and haven’t gotten back into playing it since I’ve been back. There haven’t been any other games on the Xbone that have been must haves for me, so it’s collecting dust.

I took a PS3 out of town with me and bought GT6 when it came out. FM5 looks better, but GT6 is a much better game overall. Frankly there is just more to GT6 than FM5. I played GT6 enough to break a controller (my first ever) in about 2 weeks. Physics are a toss up, but FM5 seems more forgiving. FM5 gets the nod on painting and customization. However I think GT6 has a better tuning setup. Being able to ballast and detune an engine to fit restrictions are awesome and I’ve mentioned before the need for similar things Forza. I also like the proximity warning when cars are along side. The menu system in GT6 is a big step up from GT5 and much better than any Forza. There doesn’t seem to be things shoehorned into weird places. I really like being able to upgrade and tune as a combined system and you can do it right before most races instead of having to back out of one menu tree and go down a different branch.

About the only thing I don’t like about GT6 is the race line is better in FM5. I don’t need an always on line, just the braking zone. I wouldn’t even need that if I didn’t jump around cars constantly. I just never stay in the same car long enough to get comfortable without the line. FM5 does a better job with their concept predicting available traction based on your current speed instead of showing you where to apply brakes as you approach a turn. AI is pretty hit and miss. I think the Drivatar in FM5 is mostly a gimmick. It doesn’t give a better race really just a much more unpredictable one and usually not in a good way. GT6’s AI is at least predictable. I think a lot of the racing experience has to do with how the games approach performance ranking the cars and race restrictions. I wouldn’t say one system is better than the other. With the AI in GT6 I haven’t needed to worry too much about maxing out my car’s PP to be competitive since it really seems to be mostly based on power to weight ratio and things like tires and handling improvements don’t affect it much at all where these can be big drivers in Forza.

Then the weekend before Christmas I picked up Grand Theft Auto V on the PS3 in the bargain bin while waiting in line to check out at a Best Buy. I love it and haven’t been able to concentrate on racing much at all. The Significant Other also picked up Xbox 360 version of Lego Marvel Superheroes. It’s become something of a Christmas tradition. Since TV is dominated with reruns and it’s too cold to go out much we end spending time together playing the latest Lego game in Coop. We made it through once in Story mode and about halfway through in Freeplay, but I’m leaving tomorrow for another extended trip out of town, so we will probably never get back to that.

Since I did go through a console replacement I do have a couple answers if someone has to deal with this. First the cloud was wonderful. I got the new console, installed Xbone updates, FM5 and it’s patches and a couple HOURS later I was ready to play. I downloaded my gamertags to the new Xbone and as soon as I started FM5 it synced to the cloud and downloaded my old games, nothing was lost.  In the process there was a glitch with FM5 Lotus E21 and LaFerrrai giveaways and I got a second set on the new console. Initially I didn’t do anything about VIP or DLC and cars from those packs were still in my garage but flagged as DLC and undrivable, but not removed. I haven’t found a marketplace history like on the 360, but browsing the marketplace it knows you have bought content and just gives the option to install it.  I just had to find the associated packs in the storefront and install them again and I was good to go.

I did break down and buy the LaFerarri pack when T10 announced there were gifting the car to everyone who had it. The price of the car in tokens at that time was less than the price of the pack so it seemed like a no brainer. I only got the car on the gamertag that purchased the DLC, even though the others can use cars from that pack. On a whim I removed one of the gift LaFerraris and poof it was gone, no credits to show for it. It’s really lame there is no way to sell unwanted stuff back to the game. I haven’t noticed the impact of their economy changes, but then I bought every car I needed to finish the various leagues with the half price sale and Forza Rewards back before I sent in my console.

The T10 Christmas gifts were the lame Christmas designs as usual, can they at least build and tune their gift cars? But I did benefit from the Veloster. Since everyone got one people started using a couple simple designs I shared. These were enough to trip the painting achievements and I have started earning income on a pretty regular basis for what was honestly crap work that anyone could do. I’m still not interested in painting replicas in the current system and the search engine in the game is so poor I hate even looking for good paints.

I’m leaving tomorrow for what could be months with only the occasional trip home. I’m driving so I have room to take some extra stuff like game consoles. The PS3 and Xbone are both going on this trip. I can’t think of any reason to take the 360 unless I feel like going through Mass Effect 3 which I bought but never got around to playing.

Speak your mind.

27 11 2013

If you don’t like the direction Turn 10 has taken with Forza Motorsport 5 let them hear about it. #FM5

Phil Spencer (Corporate VP of Microsoft Studios) @xboxp3

Larry Hryb (Director of Programming for Xbox Live) @majornelson

Brian Mechberg (Community Manager Turn 10 Studios) @mechberg

Ian Webster (EMEA Community Manager Turn 10 Studios)  @heliosT10

Turn 10 Studios @Turn10Studios

Forza Motorsport @ForzaMotorsport

I can’t find a twitter handle for Dan Greenawalt and if anyone has suggestions to add to the list let me know.

You can also give user reviews at Metacritic, Amazon, GameStop and probably any site that sells the game. Don’t forget to look for Day One and Limited Editions.

Skip this one or at least wait.

26 11 2013

Turn 10 released a stinker. Maybe patches, DLC and expansion packs will eventually make this worthwhile, but I’m not buying anything piecemeal hoping it’s going to magically fix this based just on rumors and Turn 10 PR. I’m going to wait and see if there is enough post launch support to make this worthwhile to sink more money into. This game is so bad as is I would wait for a FM5 Ultimate Edition that contains all the add-ons at a discounted price. As it stands there is no way I’m pre-ordering another Forza game and I may be done with the series entirely. From this point on I’m waiting for fan feedback before buying another game from Turn 10.

Don’t hold your breath for a Kitchen Sink modified for FM5. The Tonka Tuner seems to work okay as is and Manteo Max (see my links over to the right) does a car list spread sheet.

I got the game on Launch day and after 2 hours of installation and patching started playing a little. I’ve had conflicts over the weekend that ate into my play time along with being social, so as not to piss off the significant other. However I did find some time to race. I am LVL 30 with 75 races for 454 miles over 5.75 hours (4.71 in Hyundai the rest in rivals) with 1,787,396 cr (310,000 from Forza Rewards, 558,466 racing and the approximately 900,000 remaining comes from levelling bonus) and 6 cars (4 from Forza Rewards, 1 starter and 1 bought). During that time I burned off 335 tokens on XP accelerators for 3.5 hours. That’s a little under 100K per hour in race winnings, with the largest chunk of income coming from running XP accelerators to level up faster.

Slave Munky found a review that covers the omissions pretty well so I won’t go into detail on that. As it stands this game feels like a stripped demo of a better game. I was under the impression the Airfield Test Track was a family of tracks like the old Benchmark Test Track. It turns out to just be one ribbon so FM5 comes in with a smaller selection of tracks than Forza Motorsport 2 and only 1/3 of what was in FM4.

There isn’t much of this game that I can’t criticize from the graphics, to the user interface and on to several of the choices in the game design mechanics. I’m staying away from the physics as that changes from game to game anyway. One positive thing that is absolutely awesome to me is the rumble triggers. I use a controller most of the time anyway and this just seems so natural for brake and gas feedback.

Graphically it looks better just because it’s rendered at 1080p instead of 720p. Jaggies are still present where you would expect to see them.They just aren’t as noticeable at the 1080p resolution or when the camera is stationary but on my 1080p monitor when the camera makes a slow pan it seems like the screen has glitter all over it. I was blown away by how poor the game looked compared to the press pictures. I’m also seeing moire effects on tight patterns like carbon fiber and sometimes chain link fencing. I honestly don’t care that much about the higher resolution graphics, I’m more concerned with how it works as a game, but I would prefer 720p with anti-aliasing over this.

Lens flare and sun glare effects are ridiculously overdone. The sun doesn’t even need to be in the field of view. On top of lens flare there is glare that Turn 10 simulates with what looks like the gamma cranked up to wash out contrast and colors. I’ve stopped on track at times and located the sun and several times the effects are coming in when the sun isn’t even on screen it’s high or off to the side. When I drive my car if the sun isn’t in my line of sight I never have the problems this game simulates. It also bothers me that there are lens flares even when driving open top cars, the Mk.1 human eyeball doesn’t do this, so why simulate it. Please turn this shit off and give us anti-aliasing.

The user interface took a step sideways and is a cluttered mess. The Windows 8 influence is evident and it looks more like GT5 than FM4. I’ve always thought it bizarre that the garage and buying cars is under the career path with the offline career races instead of at a higher level or grouped with the tuning.

I’ve never been a fan of the Forza menu layout and this time I think it’s worse than FM4 because of things that got cut. The problem here is leftover pieces of cut features got shoehorned into odd places. For example, searching for a vinyl graphic someone else created is now in the vinyl objects pallet menus. I never thought to look there and had to ask on the forums where it went. Searching for tuning setups is in the Tuning Manager where you used to go to rename and delete tunes. Conceptually these seem inconsistent. The old storefront interface should have stayed with the price component locked out, as it was an easy place to browse for content and manage your shared content.

I’ve also run into features that menus indicate are present, but don’t work. Distance ahead/behind indicators aren’t present, but there is a selector in the HUD menu options to turn them on. Clicking the right stick should toggle the heat/damage display and the built in help menu says it’s there, but nothing happens.

Tire heat indicators are very poor. It took me a while to figure out that they are clear for normal temps. I thought they were broken. With them clear there is no indication of whether the camber heating effect is right. It should be shades of green as before with some gradiation to indicate which side of a tire is hottest. It only does this when you are too cold or too hot.The Telemetry menu doesn’t respond quickly at all so hunting for tire heat takes too long in a race.

It also sucks that you can’t use Telemetry in replays to review how your setup is working, but I guess whiners complained that people were stealing their tunes from telemetry so we can’t have nice things. To me the simple solution is you lock out telemetry if the tune is locked or the car isn’t yours. You don’t kill it for the most useful place to have it.

With all the things cut from the game it seems Turn 10 is intent on killing many of the social aspects of the game. Yes you can share designs, but there is no gifting, so easy collaboration is gone. For someone like me that paints race cars that means each and every logo must be made by me, no logo swap groups and shared logo cars. I have very little desire to paint anything at the moment. Community run contests where a community member gifts the winner a prize are impossible. Transferring credits from one player to another is also gone.

However, my biggest gripe, and the one that will kill this game for me, is the cost/reward scheme this go around and micro-transactions. I liked FM4, I played a lot and made a lot of money, had any car I wanted and cash to buy any car as I wanted it, but not so much that I just bought every car in the game. I still had been judicious in my purchases, I had about $40 million by the time I quit playing regularly, but only about 200 cars.

I thought FM3 was a grind, this seems worse and it seems designed just to fleece players for more cash. Maximum car prices are lower, but minimum prices are higher, so that the average car prices is slightly higher than FM4 at 460,000 cr vs 450,000 cr. Parts pricing is ridiculous. For example, a Hyundai Veloster price in-game is about what one would cost in dollars at around 24,000 cr, but with upgrade to max it out at C class add another 45,000. That a one class jump.

Base race rewards are around 4500-5000 for gold in the career plus bonuses. I run with a +45% assist bonus and +35-40% drivatar bonus. Driver level rewards appear capped at 15,750 cr per level for normal players and 31,500 cr for VIPs where 100,000+ per level were more typical of FM4. There are also no credit awards for leveling up manufacturer affinity while you got a lot from FM4. Award cars are no longer in the game, and you don’t make enough from race rewards to buy them as you level up. I’m wondering if this was a late design decision when someone realized that if you gifted cars at the pace of FM4 you would give the player 25% of the available cars for free. So, Turn 10 cut them and didn’t think through the rate players would be earning credits.

Manufacturer affinity is virtually worthless. Last go around it took very little effort and you had 100% discount on parts. I’ll admit it was probably a bit too easy, but it did encourage swapping parts and tuning all sorts of combinations. This go around you always pay full price. I’m finding parts pricing far outstrips the cost of cars. Sucks to be a tuner. Artists on the otherhand can paint any car, they don’t even need to own it. So those that only paint can just paint away, make money and never have to spend any. Racers and tuners have to buy cars and parts to have a chance to make money.

Instead of a parts discount you get a percentage increase in race winnings, I’ve stuck to one manufacturer for 4.7 out of 5.7 hours and got me to a 21% bonus or about 1,000 cr per race. The rate is increasing at 1% per affinity level. I have no idea if affinity or driver level maxes out. It also seems very strange that you can’t sell parts or cars back to the game. There is an option to remove the car, but I’ve been too chicken to try it because I don’t want to waste money.

Shifting gears, the career is nothing special. It’s just the same old event list reshuffled to deal with a smaller car list. There are 8 leagues with 42 events. There is a Top Gear intro to each event that is a good time for a bathroom break. Each event consists of a championship series and bonus races. You have to race the championship series to unlock the bonus races in all it’s about 13-15 races per event where half are the championship and the rest are bonus. These races (so far) have been made up of 2-3 laps around each of the circuits plus at least one worthless Top Gear race, passing challenge or chase.

One league is class based all the others are restricted by Body Type. Every car is assigned to one of 34 Body Types. This is somewhat hidden from the user but can be seen in the Mulitplayer race setup. In the past body types were very generic like Economy, Hatchback, Roadster, Sedan, etc. Now it is used to restrict each car to a specific event with values like Early Hot Hatch or Modern FWD Hatch. What this means is that to complete career the player needs at least 34 cars, one of each Body Type. This is why using a manufacturer with a wide range is beneficial for affinity.

Another way to make money is off your Drivatar. You get a message every day that says Your Drivatar has appeared in XX race(s) and earned XXXX credits since your last session. This have varied from 2 races for 2800 cr today to 58 races for 10,655 cr on Saturday. It really feels more like the last game’s login bonus that Turn 10 could never keep functional.

I also put up a quick car design that has 7 uses, but that doesn’t meet the minimum threshold to get money for it. Honestly it’s nothing I would have posted in the past, but I’m also not interested in spending days doing a proper paint scheme. I have a message In the last 24 hours, your shared Designs were raced by the community. With higher community usage, your creations can earn you daily credit payouts. I see this as been shorthand for the same old artists are the only ones that are going to make money this way, but Turn 10 will make sure they don’t get too much money. If a user isn’t going to get anything at all why bother sharing shit? There have to be more people making stuff than the handful that used to populate the top of the painting leaderboard.

By the way, why the hell are some cars recommended? You see this pop up looking to buy new cars. Some are labled “recommended” with no explanation anywhere. Was a special promotional consideration paid for by the car manufacturer?

I think Dan Greenawalt said in one of his interviews he wants the player to feel more attached to each of his cars. You are, because you can’t afford to buy very many. I made the mistake of picking the Hyundai Genesis Coupe to start and bought a Veloster since I bought a real Veloster about a month ago. I say I made a mistake because outside of a couple Sport Compact League events and Class based events I can’t use them in the solo career, so maybe 6 out of 42 events. So, I will quickly run out of eligible events to gain affinity for them and will have to choose something else. A better choice would be any maker that covers a wider range of events like Audi, Ford, Nissan or Chevrolet which all cover about 9-10 body types. I’d say Ferrari too, but they are too expensive to buy very many of them.

On a side note I did find geometry errors on the Veloster that were not in FM4, so it does look like at least some cars were remodeled, but are not necessarily better. Q/A has never been a Turn 10 strength. Painting has a glitch where 0,0 is not center of the front bumper and this is common to both games. So they used new geometric models with painting masks ported over from FM4.

To deal with the grind tokens are back in a big way. In FM4 only 3 tokens bought any car in the game at 6 tokens for $5. This time try 10,000 tokens for the most expensive car at a price of around $80 for the tokens. Tokens can be used in place of credits on any purchase in-game. Similar to Forza Horizon’s Popularity Spike you can also spend tokens on a XP accelerator to level up faster. They also straight up lied in the marketing materials about tokens. Straight from the Microsoft store for the limited edition 1,250 car tokens (a $9.99 value) that will allow Limited Edition owners instant access to any car in the game. 1250 is only worth 750,000 cr in-game. So any=750,000 cr. Average car price is 460,000 cr, so you can get an above average car for that $10 in token.

Another gripe with the tokens is that in the past we could always drive any car in Free Play. Not this time, only about 20% of the cars are available in Free Play with the 6 of the 10 most expensive cars unavailable to drive unless you pay or grind. I’m feeling very ripped off buying a game I likely will never be able to fully appreciate without forking over several hundred dollars for tokens.

I’m not impressed with the Achievements this time. I think that I spend an above average amount of time on the Forza games and have only missed 1 achievement across FM2, FM3 and FM4. This time there are too many community based “Popularity” achievements that I don’t think have much to do with how well you actually are at playing the game and everything to do with how well you can play the post whore on the official message boards. That’s too much work for me. These achievements are in what are typically conflicting areas, like earning 1,000, 10,000 & 100,000 cr from both shared paints and tunes. If you don’t paint or tune, good luck with those. Get 50 and 100 photo views, I had maybe 30 in FM4 and no more than 10 for a single photo ever. I actually have more views of theses same photos on flickr than I ever got in-game. These were tied to badges and titles in the last game and that was fine, but it bugs me that there are gamerscore points I’ll probably never see. There are several tied to winning races in pricey cars you cannot rent, so if you’re OCD break out the credit card.

So far I’ve only had the game crash out to the console once while configuring a race in Free Play.

A pet peeve of mine is that the player should have the choice to delete any message just like your email inbox. In the past this applied to anything but message from Turn 10 and new DLC notifications. If they were set to expire on their own after a year if they didn’t time out sooner. Not anymore. I’m not seeing a delete button for anything, so I’m acquiring a daily message about how my Drivatar is doing racing and today I started getting rivals notices about beaten times. Oh, joy. I hated those in Horizon and now I can’t even delete them.

Also affecting my enjoyment of the game is the immaturity of the Xbox One console. No Dolby Digital support directly affects playing Forza. I get very little from surround sound separation in its current form. I use an old Denon receiver to drive a 5.1 speaker set in for my gaming. It only supports Dolby Digital 5.1 over S/PDIF and I’m not replacing it for this game. I use an HDMI switch with an optical out to the receiver. To this I have connected an Xbox 360, PS3 and the Xbone. Only the Xbone doesn’t do DD5.1.

Also support for USB keyboards or even a new model chatpad would be very welcome. I used a chatpad all the time in previous Forzas and I’m hating not having it this time. I was amazed and very pleased when I bought a PS3 last week that during the initial configuration it suggested I plug in a keyboard to make text entry easier.

I’m also one of those affected by the crunchy disc drive problem. I’m waiting for a replacement console, so I’m hesitant to play since I don’t know if my progress will be lost. My replacement console should be here next week. I am leaving for an extended business trip Monday, so the PS3 is going with me for GT6 and the wife will be shipping the Xbone back.

Bit the bullet

18 11 2013

I finally broke down and ordered a PS3 in anticipation of GT6. From the info on FM5 I know it won’t be able to hold my attention until FM6 comes out. This is my first ever Playstation since I only did PC gaming prior to the Xbox 360. I’ve got a super slim on the way bundled with GT5. It will be here 2 days before to Xbone. I’ve also taken vacation to make a 4 day weekend to have some time to play with my new toys.

I’ve got a trip for work coming up December 2nd that will keep me out living out of hotels for months. At least one of these will go with me. I can already see some problems with taking the Xbone. Hotel internet connections are a pain in the ass to authenticate to for a console and if you can connect, bandwidth sucks. I sometimes have to go offline only and I don’t know how well the Xbone will handle that. Also I use some analog iPod speakers in my travel kit that won’t work for the Xbone since it is HDMI or optical only, so that will have to be worked out if the hotel TV is ancient.


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