In an out-of-the-blue and most pleasant of surprises for us (we’re big bike fans at ORD too!), PiBoSo has released the next stage of the motorcycle simulator, GP Bikes.
Taking on the tricky task of reflecting the two-wheeled racing machines that few sadly dare to touch, this work of a lone person is for bikes what the best of the detailed PC racing sims are to the more mass-market ‘Arcade’ fare.
After moving from the notional alpha to a beta state in 2012, GP Bikes Beta 2 arrives with new features as well as a long line of bug fixes. In addition to its modest hardware requirements, GP Bikes is yet more accessible by working as a demo that gives players the chance to try a 125cc MSM bike at GPB’s familiar-looking Victoria Circuit. Quick note: don’t let the small bike fool ya – or make a fool of ya! A full licence costs €20 and will open the complete bundle of standard bikes that includes a second single-cylinder 125, a 500cc V4 and the rocket that is the 900cc V5 Murasama RC990, with the further addition of enabling the on-line mode for competitive racing.
That’s not all, though!
That €20 also pays for a licence for one of PiBoSo’s other racing projects, World Racing Series! Likewise in Beta 2 status with a Beta 3 work-in-progress, WRS includes the same sort of features as GP Bikes, such as an on-line mode, lap statistics (including records), Microsoft’s Kinect for Windows face-tracking, custom painting and the ability to use new tracks created by the small but dedicated community.
One important part of these titles to note is that there is no AI competition. At this time, they are strictly dedicated to practice laps and network or on-line racing via an integrated server.
Here is a partial list of the new features and changes, followed by hardware requirements, the direct download link and videos of GP Bikes:
- Calibration crash, calibration lost when a controller is disconnected, input dead-zone;
- Race classification, pit status, restore tyre wear state after a reconnection;
- Possibility to set client port, master server disconnection.
- Live timing, results end race, xml export;
- Track animations, fixed cockpit view, rain occluders;
- Pause / resume dedicated server event;
- Kinect face-tracking, input plugins support;
- Direct-steer option.
Minimum hardware requirements
- Any 32 or 64-bit version of Windows following and including Windows 98.
- 1.5 GHz processor
- 512 MB memory
- 64 MB OpenGL 1.2.1-compliant graphics card
- DirectX 8.1 or newer
PiBoSo also has a forum. There are lots of tips for configuring GP Bikes and World Racing Series, including some extra configuration changes if you have a thing for .ini files! A trip to the forum will show good sections on getting the most out of your PiBoSo-produced games, where you’ll also be able to find links to track and bike files for GP Bikes.
Visit www.gp-bikes.com to find out more or buy the combined GP Bikes Beta 2/World Racing Series license. Despite this recent release, GP Bikes Beta 3 is already a work-in-progress!
We’ll close today’s GP Bikes coverage with a cool sign of how the sim can look with a little effort made to install tracks, rider and bike textures. In this first example, the Murasama RC990 pushing through Misano is decorated as Marco Simoncelli’s Gresini Honda, with the leathers and helmet styled on those worn by the late MotoGP rider.
GP Bikes couldn’t be left without GTERTET’s wonderfully produced The Beauty of GP Bikes, featuring a virtual Valentino Rossi…
If you’ve heard a rumour of the forthcoming Forza Horizon, then the leaked trailer embedded below will only increase your anticipation and questions. Crediting both Turn 10 and Playground Games, the ‘Tone Trailer’ has apparently been leaked by the latter company. It appears to have escaped from the recent Xbox Spring Showcase, and looks to be the game formerly rumoured as ‘Forza World’, which was bubbling under for E3 2011 as an open-world game, which was reported as being developed at Playground back in May 2011.
The LinkedIn Details for Playground, which is an independent UK studio formed in 2009, mentions development of a first title in partnership with a major publisher. It’s also made of ex-Codemasters, Bizarre Creations and BigBen employees – and obviously Bizarre and Project Gotham Racing have shared roots with Turn10 and Forza Motorsport since the first Project Gotham game appeared for the Xbox.
So an open-world Forza racing game with loads of cars and modifications (Judging my the modified machinery in the tone trailer), crowds of onlooks and barrelling down desert highways in Lamborghinis?
Two points to note, one of which has escaped the non-racing obsessive games press.
1. Ex-Bizarre/Codies staff gives us some hope, but there’s a worry it could end up turning Forza into Need For Speed: The Run, or Test Drive Unlimited.
2. Did anyone else spot some Porsches in that trailer? Now, it’s only a tone trailer, so we can’t get too excited, but it may mean that the licence to use the brand was obtained before Electronic Arts refused it for Forza Motorsport 4, or they’ve since relented – we can only hope.
No other details have come to light besides a Fall 2012 release date. So this could be a full boxed game, XBLA or the automotive equivalent of Minecraft for all we know! But we’ll be keeping a very close eye on it as either an amazing addition to the Forza franchise, or possibly the moment when it jumps the shark and goes horribly wrong.