Playground Games has detailed how it’s gone about making improvements to the game’s vehicle sounds in the latest video in the “Let’s Go” series.
Creative director Mike Brown and lead audio designer Fraser Strachan joined regular host Charleyy Hodson for the stream and, right off the mark, confirmed that Forza Horizon 5 will feature the largest car roster at launch for the series. Importantly though, all of them will sound different, unique and authentic.
To go with the large car list, PG needed to make new vehicle recordings, for which the team used an airstrip. The long stretch of road is necessary to record the car in a single gear going up to the redline and back down again, along with other things like high-speed fly-bys.
With at least eight microphones on the car — more if recording specific elements like hybrid motors or unusual transmissions — the team records hundreds of samples, and with these techniques PG has added over 320 brand-new car samples the existing library. Strachan notes that it’s taken roughly three years to “build everything from the ground up”.
One of the most interesting things during the stream is Strachan revealing that Forza Horizon 5 has fully transitioned to granular synthesis audio system — with all cars using the system, rather than 10-15% of the vehicles in FH4.
In essence, the old method of recording relied on placing the car on a dyno in a garage and revving it to specific speeds. The resulting samples could sound artificial, or generate the wrong sound if the recorded engine speed didn’t perfectly match the specified speed.
With granular synthesis, the audio team chops up the recording across the rev range into thousands of small sound samples, so the transition in-game as you speed up and slow down is more authentic. In addition, the audio plays back at up to the equivalent of 90 frames per second — faster than the visuals — which Strachan says produces cars that feel more responsive, by simply sounding more responsive.
While the presenters were talking over the recording video, PG has since made a separate video of the process available, showing off some of the cars they recorded at the airfield, which you can see above. It’s not a guarantee that each will appear in FH5, but with vehicles stretching from modified Supras to a semi-truck tractor unit, and a Golf R to an XJ220, the car list looks to be as eclectic as ever.
The new audio system doesn’t end with the standard cars either. For FH5, Playground has created a new modular system for vehicle upgrades. As you give your ride an under-the-hood makeover, you’ll be able to hear the differences each upgrade makes to the engine in real-time, with additional sounds for intake, exhaust, forced induction, and other performance parts.
Strachan and Brown also covered details that included ray-tracing-like effects for audio, with vehicle sounds reflecting off the environment, and more than 500 new engine swaps available.
The next show in the series will cover the environment of Mexico and the various biomes, while the full car list will make an appearance in a later show.
You can catch the stream in full below: