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Posted: Feb 15, 2000 @ 12:53 pm GMT-0600
Updated: May 6, 2023 @ 11:56 pm GMT-0600
Sorting Tags: Article Interview, Article Software, Articles, Grand Prix 3,

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Geoff Crammond was interviewed and the text version has been posted on the official GP3 Web site. It makes for an interesting read.

Also published on the site were the first hardware accelerated previews, once again showing Monte-Carlo. It does not specify which hardware renderer.

Q. What have you been doing in the gap between GP2 and 3? Did you start planning GP3 all that time ago, or did you take a break from games altogether?
A. We all took a well-deserved break after GP2 for about 3 months. We’ve been working on GP3 ever since.

Q. What do you think of the many F1 games that have appeared recently?
A. I don’t like to comment on other games.

Q. Do you think any of them have come close to GP2? Or will GP3 be the first game to better it?
A. GP2 was as good as we could make it at the time. GP3 will be as good as we can make it now.

Q. How do you feel about a version of the F1 licence being granted to so many different developers?
A. It hasn’t affected the development of GP3 at all. Regardless of what other people do, we’re working to produce the best Formula One game in the world. It would be the same if we were the only licenced game, or if there were 20.

Q. What was stopping GP 3 using 99’s team data? Was it just a licensing issue?
A. There’s a lot of season-specific work necessary to make an accurate simulation. Making GP3 fully functional for the ’99 season would put back our release date, which would disappoint a lot of people. We’ll be doing the full ’99 season at some point.

Q. Is the GP3 3D engine a further development of GP2’s or is it completely new?
A. It’s mostly new.

Q. How has the introduction of 3D accelerators since GP2 altered the way you program/approach this project?
A. Not fundamentally – except they need to be supported which takes up more time.

Q. What advances in Formula 1 technology since GP2 was released have made it into GP3?
A. We are always aiming to keep pace with Formula One advances and changes. The most obvious difference is the shape of the cars, all now adopting the High Nose configuration, having the drivers’ head protection bodywork surround and being 20cm narrower. The engine capacity has been reduced from 3.5 to 3.0 litres, but the engines are much higher revving and power now is back up to ’94 levels. However, the grip levels are reduced now that the cars use grooved tyres. All these changes have to be accurately simulated in GP3.

Q. Have you been working closely with Formula 1 technicians during GP3 development?
A. We’ve had a lot of direct Formula One team help, including detailed technical data and factory and circuit visits. Obtaining this sort of precise information helps us to make GP3 deliver an experience as close as possible to actually driving an Formula One car.

Q. Has the circuit topography been improved since GP2?
This time, for GP3 we have access to better maps and original photographic material for all the circuits, of which 4 are completely new.

Q. What new graphical advances are you hoping to introduce in GP3?
A. We don’t like to discuss too many of our features until just before release. But I will say that I was very satisfied with the fact we were awarded official PC Game of the Show at ECTS just on the basis of the unfinished software mode we demoed there – particularly since there’s even more we haven’t shown yet.

Q. What new audio advances are you hoping to introduce in GP3?
A. We have a full spectrum of real Formula One engine sounds in GP3.

Q. Can we expect a greater simulation experience with GP3, such as Safety Cars and fully animated pit crews etc?
A. Without going into detail, our aim is to improve the realism of the GP series year on year. Eventually, you’ll need a 6-point harness in order to play it.

Q. Will different teams’ cars look and handle noticeably differently to each other in GP3 – one of the criticisms of GP2? And will set-up changes, such as wing angles, be visible from an exterior view?
A. The general philosophy is that AI car performances are different and authentic, while the player’s car performance matches the most competitive team, no matter which team or driver the player chooses.

Q. Will weather effects make a welcome return after their omission from GP2?
A. Yes.

Q. How will they affect handling?
A. The treatment of car and wet track are handled down to the individual puddle.

Q. Are you developing an improved damage model for the cars in GP3? Are you aiming to simulate realistic crashes/spins/tyre blow outs/etc?
A. In GP3 the cars are capable of tumbling completely upside-down. The bits of car debris will also tumble realistically.

Q. How will running close behind another car effect your performance? (Will downforce and grip through bends be affected)?
A. Yes – we’ve got full aerodynamic modelling in the game.

Q. What differences are there between the AI of computer-controlled drivers in GP 2 and GP3?
A. I think players will find the AI drivers in GP3 to be more…..human……than ever before.

Q. Can we expect GP3 to be as friendly to keyboard drivers as in the previous two games, or have the recent proliferation of affordable steering wheels seen you gear the game towards using them as a standard control system?
A. We’ll be supporting as wide a range of peripherals as time allows, however keyboard-friendly controls are very important and will be there in GP3. Also this time we have made more of a distinction between joystick control and steering wheel control.

Q. What are you aiming for as the minimum system for running GP3?
A. Bearing in mind the previous games have always pushed the PC very hard and only recently have fans of GP2 been able to run in SVGA with lots of the detail options switched on. Anyone with a reasonable PC will be able to enjoy playing GP3. We’ve kept a software graphics engine in addition to hardware support, rather than going for hardware support only, for instance. The more powerful your machine of course, the more the game will exploit it. A lot of the stuff we do in that regard can be pretty transparent to the user.

Q. GP2 was released with a number of missing features, such as weather effects and a network option, do you regret not developing updates or patches for the game?
A. We’ve been keeping our heads down while working on GP3 – releasing a lot of patches for GP2 wouldn’t leave enough time to develop a new full-blown product.

Q. Have you been aware of the support for your games on the Internet, with numerous add-ons, cars designs and new tracks? Do you support them? And will GP3 be more accessible to third party developers?
A. As I said, we have been concentrating on the job in hand – GP3.

Q. Has the size of the development team been increased for GP3? And which features of the game are you solely responsible for?
A. The team’s size has increased substantially – and that trend will continue through GP4, 5, 6 and 7, I expect. I’ll always remain 100% responsible for the core simulation and game elements, however the new Microprose Motor Sport Team at Chipping Sodbury contributes a great deal to the overall product. This will mean that you can be expecting to see the GP Series every Season from now on.

Q. Can you foresee any feature that you’re having to leave out due to technological restrictions?
A. The ‘Wind in the Hair’ effect is proving a programming challenge.

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