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Snapping Back at Forza / 12th of August 2016

Lately I’ve found myself hopelessly addicted to Forza Motorsport 6 again, having finally found the time to finish off the endurance races and work my way up the ranks in both single and multiplayer modes, yet it’s not simply the racing that has captured my imagination again. I enjoy photography in real life, not perhaps to the extent that I would like to indulge myself in it (it is a rather expensive hobby), but I have once more found myself finding that Forza can provide me with an outlet, at least to a certain extent. As with most things, there’s clearly room for improvement, so here are a few additions that I’d like to see make it into the inevitable Forza 7, which I’d expect to launch late next year as the poster child for Microsoft’s Project Scorpio.

First of all, there are camera controls within the photo mode that simply don’t relate to how a camera works in the real world, granted, I realise that keeping everything as simple 0-100 sliders ensures that photography is approachable by any and all users, but how about including an expert mode wherein fully authentic photographs might be taken, and preferably still, at a higher resolution than what the game currently allows for. This could be produced in partnership with the likes of Canon or Pentax who could offer virtual representations of specific camera models and perhaps even allow for the changing of lens types. In fact, I’d personally love to see virtual cameras enter the fray, devices that can be positioned within the car or around the track to open up a wider variety of potential compositions. With the advent of night racing, this could offer the possibility of capturing some truly beautiful imagery, of course, this could just be me, after all, I adore capturing images like this one:

The above image was captured on a Nokia Lumia 930 with an ISO of 1600 and an exposure time of four seconds.

The home spaces that both Forza 5 and Forza 6 offer as well are a tad too limited, why not take a leaf out of Bizarre Creations’ book and instead offer fully 3D garage areas, except with one key difference; customisation. This is another hallmark of Turn 10’s driving series, yet why has customisation never made it into the driver’s home? Why not allow the player to use their photographs – framed, of course – to decorate their home space, or download images from other players to utilise them. Perhaps I’m just rubbish at it, but I haven’t seen any way of generating funds through photography in Forza which, to me, is somewhat in contravention of its ethos. Give players the option to utilise photos to the tune (pun intended) the same moderate credit boosts that one receives after having had a tune or design downloaded, it’s not much, but at least it’s something to help the photography side become properly embedded into the experience by assigning it practical, as well as artistic values.

Sticking with the home space, I’d love to see another successful Project Gotham Racing feature make it in too, and it’s probably not hard guess which one it is either. Mini-games are a seemingly obvious omission, after all, the original Geometry Wars was apparently created by Stephen Cakebread during his lunchbreaks, and look how big that went on to become, so why not try again? Initially, I couldn’t help but feel that I’d like to see classic Sega arcade racers like Daytona USA, Sega Rally and Sega Touring Car Championship tucked away in a corner somewhere, but the opportunity to create an almost sure-fire smash hit could prove to be the break that prevents a small indie studio from having to fold. We’ve had a mini resurgence in the twin-stick shooter with Geometry Wars 3, Tachyon Project and AIPD during this console generation, so the talent is definitely out there, you just need to find it. I could also prattle on about the addition of video editing features (hint, hint) but there are more important matters to get to, the livery editor.
Now this is an area of the game that I don’t spend much time with at all, I certainly gave it more of a concerted effort when playing on the Xbox 360, but in recent years, my interest in attempting to create a design that wasn’t vomit inducing has waned somewhat, However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a couple of suggestions to help the best designers get even more out of the game. Now, whilst the community pines for the chance to add some 10,000 layers to each side to allow the development of even more advanced pieces that are already created, why not simply give them better tools to make the most of each particular layer? A simple means of ensuring optimal blending between them is a basic opacity level, why not attribute sliders to each layer to allow players to assign them values up to one hundred percent, of course, this could be upgraded to allow the blending of specific colours/tones to bring it more in-line with the tools that Photoshop has to offer, but perhaps it’s best to just move forward one step at a time. Speaking of which though, another very useful tool that players would like to see implemented is masking. Why not allow the use of masks to crop layers to specific shapes and sizes, again, this will assist with the blending of individual parts and allow designers to make the most of the limited number of layers available to them. The Forza community is a ceaselessly creative one, so give them the tools they need to take that inventiveness and drive (they just keep coming) to the next level.

That’s it for now, but the mind wanders off on mysterious tangents in the midst of a three-hour long endurance race, so I’ll probably be back soon with more hastily cobbled together ramblings on the topic of Forza in the not too distant future.
James Paton
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