Logitech G25 Competitor Revealed

Rally GT Force Feedback Pro Clutch Edition Wheel + Pedals

As you may or may not remember, back in May at E3 when discussing Logitech’s G25 wheel (the one with the clutch pedal and H-pattern shifter) I alluded to some potential competition coming later this year. While this wheel Thrustmaster is announcing today isn’t exactly what I may or may not have seen at E3, it is awfully close. What you’re looking at is the Thrustmaster Rally GT Force Feedback Pro Clutch Edition, a new version of their venerable (and low-priced) Rally GT wheel seemingly targeted at under-cutting Logitech in the three-pedal game. While it lacks the H-pattern shifter of the G25 (which most didn’t like anyway), not to mention the 900-degree rotation, it also lacks $180 of the MSRP, coming in at a rather more budget-friendly $120. Whether or not this wheel can stand up to the G25 remains to be seen, but it’s great to see clutch pedals showing up on lower-priced wheels

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A D-Pad for Racers?

Thrustmaster's Run'N Drive

Over the years, there have been no shortage of attempts to make the traditional button infused D-Pad a little friendlier to racers. The two most successful have both come from Namco as accessories for Ridge Racer games. The first, the neGcon, pivoted in the middle, giving analog control in a racer before Sony made analog sticks standard issue on the Playstation. The second, the JogCon, replaced the twisting with a mini-wheel in the middle and added force-feedback. The idea was to stick your thumb in the divot and steer that way, but given the combination of sweaty thumbs and force-feedback the car didn’t always turn when you wanted it to. Needless to say, both controllers have (mostly) faded into obscurity, and now Thrustmaster is trying to succeed where they have failed.

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New (And Improved) Fatal Intertia Screens

Fatal Inertia on PS3

A few weeks ago we posted some new Fatal Intertia screens that looked, well, a little pixellated to put it mildly. This week we’re happy to present a new suite of eight shots, all but one showing no traces of the earlier jaggies that left me a little concerned. In fact, everything’s looking flat-out gorgeous now. It just goes to show: never underestimate the power of anti-aliasing.

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More Portable Asphalt

Asphalt: Urban GT, a Nintendo DS game that came from an auspicious source, launched along with Nintendo’s split-screen wunder-portable back in 2004. When I reviewed it almost two years ago I found it to be simple and kinda ugly, but overall fun. Others apparently found it fun too because Ubi has announced a sequel. The DS version will hit stores in November, and this time there will be a PSP version, though that’s not slated for release until March of 2007. Motorcycles will make an appearance for the sequel, but with only 36 total vehicles, selection may be a bit lacking overall.

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Escapist Sim Racing

Those who know me have probably already heard me tell of how I got into sim racing and the real-world effects it gained me, but when presented the opportunity to write it up at The Escapist and tell some more folks, I of course jumped to it.

What I needed was an edge. Something to offset the advantage gained by those with the resources to dump wads of cash into their hobby. One winter I found it; the perfect training regimen for cheapskate racers like me: videogames.

“Even Better Than the Real Thing” at The Escapist

Part of the inspiration for the article came from an interview with a professional pilot and racer, which I’ll be writing up separately and posting here soon. Until then, I hope you enjoy the article.

PS3 Still Not In Production

Sorry, more bad news for PlayStation fans looking forward to the PS3. Contrary to earlier reports, Kaz Hirai has stated unequivocally that the PS3 is still not in production, and they don’t know exactly when it will be.

We haven’t started manufacturing yet. Some of our ops guys were actually just in China, and also in Japan just reviewing the [production] lines and everything else. But they are, again, preparing as we speak to get the manufacturing going. We’ve not announced and we haven’t set really a specific date to say, “As of this day we’re going to start manufacturing.”

Full Interview at GameSpot

On most topics of conversation Kaz is open and honest, even somewhat modest at times about the (lack of) success of the UMD format, and whether the so-called PS3 “launch titles” will actually be there on the November 17, or whether they’ll come in the weeks following ala last year’s 360 launch, which featured many “launch window” games that barely got out the door before the New Year.

IGN on Forza 2

IGN has posted up some freash Forza 2 information, including a couple of wireframe renders and an interview with Game Director Dan Greenawalt about some of the game’s features.

IGN: Will we see more common car types appear in Forza 2, or will the game continue the emphasis on sports cars and exotics? There are some wicked possibilities if you combine Forza’s decal editor with a Dodge Magnum…

Dan Greenawalt: Forza Motorsport 2 has over 300 cars. While it’s true that Forza Motorsport contains lots of sports cars as well as exotics, we also have plenty of accessible production cars such as the 2003 VW Golf R32, 1994 Honda Civic hatch, and 2003 Ford Focus SVT. There are tons of race cars such as the Le Mans winning 2002 Audi R8 and even classic muscle cars like the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. We have tons of customizable Japanese Domestic Imports such as the 1998 Toyota Supra RZ the 2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II. Forza Motorsport 2 covers the full spectrum of cars that are fun to collect, customize and race.

Interview at IGN

iRacing Gets Radical

Real-Life Radical

As seen at SimHQ.com, the folks behind iRacing, the end-all-be-all racing sim that nobody knows much of anything about, is now a little less mysterious, announcing a partnership of sorts with Radical, makers of some of the hottest street-legal cars in the world.

Just like real-world racing, the iRacing.com simulation will include a selection of ladders with a succession of different vehicles, each faster, more powerful and more demanding of the driver than the last. With the quality and breadth of Radical’s product line, we’re not only opening up a ladder for sports-racing cars, but adding several rungs to that ladder all at once.

So, we now know the game will have at least some licensed cars and some licensed tracks, and has a strong focus on training as well as just plain ‘ol having fun. With any luck we’ll be learning a lot more about this game soon.

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