NFS physics discussion - a look over the series how it got worse

Discussion in 'Need For Speed' started by rom30s, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. rom30s

    rom30s

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    Ive got a theory that the physics on NFS only became worse over the games and gave you less freedom.

    leaving out the original titles, Im looking at NFS hot pursuit 2 PS2 version of the game onward. I believe Underground 1 and 2 shared the same engine.
    these games where the last of the "free" physics in the series of games.

    for example if you bring the car to a stand still and do a burnout then spin the car around to do a donut you can freely do this and control the car.(similar to forza)

    from NFS most wanted onward you cant really do this, the cars are too stiff and really look like there trying to follow a coded path to just turn. Mostwanted you could do it a bit but it only got more restricted as the games series progressed.

    and now NFS 2015 and payback you can do donuts but there just boring and look like there following a path to spin around.

    as for throwing the car around and putting into a drift the more modern games got even more "scripted" I think starting from NFS Hotpursuit 2010, as entering a corner you tap the brakes and the car enters like this drift path that you make minor adjustments by turning left and right. Its kinda too clean in a way and effortless.(ridge racer physics)

    the current gen NFS games become really frustrating to drive especially if you hop between forza horizon and then back to NFS payback, you find yourself constantly fighting the steering and the car goes all over the place.

    Im hoping Ghost really works on a complete new physics engine before making the new NFS title for 2019.

    what are your thoughts? do you like it like this or does it drive you insane?
     
  2. FT-1

    FT-1 Premium

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    As someone who has played the majority of Need For Speed titles since Hot Pursuit 2, I've just come to terms with the shift in gameplay style. In the case of Most Wanted 2012, I had no qualms with the brake-to-drift handling style. It was clearly a Burnout-inspired arcade racer, you had no setup changes to make and the car responded how you would expect it to - it was pure fun and I respect MW12 for that.

    The problem I find with the last couple of Need For Speed games (2015 & Payback) is that they are utilising brake-to-drift but they are trying to incorporate some tuning functionalities you would expect from a semi-simulation. Even if you are going around 90-degree corners at well over 100mph, you should be able to tweak a car so that the "grip" setting can be as fast as a drift-optimised tune. Unfortunately, grip builds are nerfed to the point they are not competitive at all. As explained by the NFS Community Manager on Reddit, the peak grip is at a very generous slip angle of 45 degrees so powersliding around corners is the fastest way to drive in the game.

    Brake to drift doesn't drive me insane - In fact, if NFS 2019 used largely the same physics model as Payback, I would be happy to buy it from day one. However, I would much prefer it if the model allowed for players to be competitive using grip builds also. It is kinda jarring that modders can easily implement a grip-favoured handling model while Ghost Games themselves won't allow it...

     
  3. rom30s

    rom30s

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    I can agree that over the years due to the gameplay style changing it has evolved on us, however I always go back and play the old titles. Recently doing a full play through of underground 2 really brought to my attention how much I missed these old physics.

    MW 2012 actually feels more free than payback to me, I dont mind those physics with a few adjustments. Payback is great for high speed runs on the highways but more shorter turn based races it got really annoying to me.

    brake to drift style can be fun if you get a good momentum going, its very ridge racer style just more flashy lol but yeah tunning for grip or drift should differentiate the cars behaviors. Its kinda like all the new Mario karts if you've played them, you have to hold that drift slide button on every corner to be the fastest lol.

    its interesting how the run physics are being modded into 2015, will be interesting to see what future mods will come.

    I like to compare the newer NFS open world racing games to Forza Horizon as I feel that it woud be there biggest competition. that game has everything packed down right for an open world racer.
     
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  4. AeonGaiden

    AeonGaiden

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    I am currently playing through NFS 2015, I bought it day one, hated so much that I sold on the same day. So I decided to go back to it since I was craving an arcade racer on the PS4. I dont know what happened but I turned 360 on this game. Payback which is supposed to be better in handling and all, is so bland and boring compared to NFS 2015. Im loving the game, hooked, cant put it down, I get the controls now. Must be massive updates and patches since 3 years ago but damn I am absolutely loving this game which is so weird to admit considering how much I despised it and **** on it when it came out.
     
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  5. rom30s

    rom30s

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    Its funny how that happens, more lately I try not to judge a game on a first play and give it a chance making sure I complete it before hating or liking it.

    NFS 2015 I got way into aswell, I love the atmosphere and overall game was addictive but I didnt get to play it on release as I didnt own a current gen console at the time. Good to hear your enjoying it, that games was done really well despite the limitation of the garage space and the horribly cringey cut scenes lol. Payback I got way into on release aswell. However later on I got an xbox one and started switching between forza horizon and nfs and that's when it started to really annoy me with the physics.
     
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  6. Petroperu

    Petroperu

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    I remember playing the original Most Wanted and felt like the cars were purposely trying to get off track.
    So it was more a battle with the car, than with the track.
    You can feel it when you are going on a straight line and the car is swerving towards the edge of the road.
     
  7. rom30s

    rom30s

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    I might test that out, drive in a straight line on the highway and not make any steering adjustments and see if it pulls. but then again it might only be triggered during a race or police chase to challenge you.
     
  8. LeGeNd-1

    LeGeNd-1 Premium

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    Been with the series since R&T NFS on the PS1, so I can definitely say it has gotten worse.

    PS1 era (R&T to PU) NFS was actually pretty realistic for its time. It's no Gran Turismo but cars generally handle like cars, you need to brake for turns, use racing line and be aware of weight transfer. Drifting is possible but it will slow you down.

    PS2 era started with HP2, which is the last game with PS1 style physics. UG1 started the change to tight grip based arcade physics, which works well for its style of racing in tight city tracks with lots of sharp corners. Drifting is possible with handbrake but again it will slow you down. Drift mode has its own set of physics which makes it a lot easier to initiate and hold slides. UG2 made the handling more slippery and easier to drift, but it was still ok. MW I didn't play much so can't really comment. Carbon is back to tight handling but drift mode sucks. It's just very unintuitive to hold slides.

    Then PS3 era came and this is when NFS' started to have an identity crisis. Prostreet was reasonably ok at low speed physics, but the faster you go the more it shows problems. Drift mode still has dedicated physics, which still sucks. Undercover is total trash physics wise, worst in the series IMO and on the level of 2015. Shift is pretty much Prostreet improved a bit, but still bad. Didn't play Nitro/World so can't comment. HP 2010 is basically Burnout Paradise with real cars. This is when brake-to-drift starts to infest the series. It kinda works for that style of gameplay and wide open roads, so I didn't really miss the tight handling of the Blackbox era. I do find initiating drifts annoyingly more difficult than Burnout, but once you figure it out it's fine. S2U I skipped but from what I heard it's more or less the same issues as Shift 1. Evidently this later became the basis of PCARS which is quite good so part of the blame probably lies with EA for watering down the physics. The Run is the last hurrah for Blackbox, and the last game that is truly free of B2D. IMO, it's a mix of the weighty feel of PS1 era games and the tightness of PS2 era. It's not perfect (there's still annoying floatiness around centre) and takes some getting used to (in part because Frostbite isn't really a racing engine), but I feel it's what modern NFS should handle like when you disable B2D. Anyway, MW 2012 went back to Burnout style but improved low speed physics because of the urban setting. Some people complained of precision issues when driving straight, which I personally never found a problem. This would be my 2nd preference for what a perfect modern NFS handling should be.

    On to PS4 era with Rivals, I've only tried a short demo and my impression is similar to HP 2010, maybe a bit more weighty and easier to initiate drifts. Then came the cancer, NFS 2015. Complete mess of everything bad about B2D handling, with an apologetic "grip" setting included which is completely worthless. Crab walking, magnetic walls, you name it. Hated every second of driving in that game. Heck I'd prefer the mobile No Limits handling compared to 2015. It's B2D but at least you have control and racing lines matter. Payback came and improved things a lot. It's sort of a middle ground between The Run and MW 2012, but unfortunately not quite as good as either. Still has some floatiness and initiating drifts are harder than usual. Also off road physics are complete rubbish. If they fixed those issues, I think we have a winner.

    In summary, I don't think it will be possible for NFS to go back to sim PS1 physics or tight PS2 physics. B2D is here to stay whether you like it or not, because the new generation likes it and building a new physics engine from the ground up is not top priority for Ghost. What they can do is have a nice middle ground. My advice to Ghost is to look at The Run and MW 2012, and focus on improving the off road physics in Payback. If they can do that and keep it consistent for the series moving forwards, NFS will be on their way to greatness again :tup:

    And lose microtransactions and loot crates please.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
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  9. AeonGaiden

    AeonGaiden

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    I dont know about that how "realistic" old NFS were. From 4 they did improve and added damage and the PU took ot to an even more serious level. I just did the first 3 NFS for my youtube videos, to go back again and see how it holds up. The handling is terrible...even in NFS 3, every car handles the same, cars are floaty like you are ice skating. But as I said you can tell a clear difference when NFS 4 came out, cars weren't anymore all over the place.
     
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  10. Petroperu

    Petroperu

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    Call me crazy but I liked Pro Street.
    It had authenticity, something that lacked previous NFS games.
    I mean, you were an amateur racer trying to make your way in the ranks and here was a snobby guy with his Evo X trying to make you look bad.
    The races were good, and liked it aside from the highway races.
     
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  11. rom30s

    rom30s

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    I agree with alot of points here and overall it looks like B2D has the biggest impact on destroying the physics in the series. I sure hope that if they want to keep that style that they do look back at MW2012, Id say those B2D physics are the most bearable.

    As you pointed out majority of the earlier games you can take a good driving line and the cars grip or you can make the cars drift, depending on how you enter a corner or if you initiate it. This is like normal physics on about 90% of racing games, Im not sure what made the devs step back and think lets just make it that every corner you must B2D no matter if its front wheel drive or rear.

    However it looks like to save it they would have to create their own physics engine dedicated to NFS. Basically Forza done this creating their own physics for the forza series. But in saying that they only release racing games and not sharing FPS games with the same physics engine.

    I gave Payback another go over the weekend I even spent the whole time fiddling with the tuning settings on the WRX and kept testing it on the same bends and dirt roads. I seriously couldn't get it comfortable. If you try and take a good driving line the car goes so slow and understeers badly then randomly oversteers making you constantly fight the steering. And if you pace yourself it pretty much jitters around a bend as if its just dying to B2D and your pretty much forced to do it lol. It didn't take me long before I put NFS underground 2 back on.
     
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  12. rom30s

    rom30s

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    I had a play of mostwanted yesterday, the xbox 360 version and it seemed fine. the steering didnt pull at all, not compared to paybacks physics you seriously fight the steering the whole time in that game.

    another thing I notice tho is that since most wanted if you accelerate and then let go the car auto brakes until its at a stand still, Carbon does this aswell. This might also ad to why its so difficult to get the car to spin around from a stand still and do a donut, everytime you back off the throttle it starts to auto brake.
     
  13. LeGeNd-1

    LeGeNd-1 Premium

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    Well the PS1 games are over 20 years old now, so of course they will terrible if you're used to newer games. Even GT1 will feel totally arcade compared to a decent simcade today such as Driveclub. My point is, the devs back in those era tried to at least replicate real vehicle dynamics. They want you to use the brakes and proper racing lines. And most importantly drifting, while possible, is not faster than gripping and taking correct lines. I concur the cars do feel floatier and slidier than real, but that's just the limitations of what they were able to program at that time - until Polyphony blows everyone away with GT1/2. As you said High Stakes and PU raised the game even further as the cars there have more sense of weight and suspension movement. From what I read the PC version of PU is as good as the best sims of its generation - unfortunately I only ever played the PS1 version but even that was already good enough for me at the time.

    B2D isn't bad in itself, but it's more the implementation and the fact that it's just not very well suited to urban setting NFS. In my 20+ years of playing arcade games, Burnout Paradise is probably the top 3 in terms of handling, and that game relies around B2D. Fortunately for BoP, B2D works perfectly for its style of gameplay and map (it's urban but the streets are not as tight and traffic is pretty sparse). When Criterion morphed into Ghost games, evidently they didn't have the time/money/effort to invent a new physics engine, and/or the old Blackbox engine wasn't available, so they had to adapt Burnout's handling to NFS. For their first game, HP2010, it works reasonably well because of the wide open map and flowing corners. MW2012 is pretty much Burnout with real cars, so it works as well. This is the high watermark of B2D physics because you can still grip if you want to around the tight corners, and drift the long corners. It's consistent, and once you know which cornering style to use for which turns, it all works perfectly well in that universe. Each style has its strength and weaknesses, you just have to figure it out like any other racing game.

    I don't know what happened then between MW2012 and NFS 2015, because now we are back to a tight urban setting, but the physics is so heavily in favour of drifting that any setting towards grip is just going to lose you cornering speed. So we have a terrible combination of 1) Physics that doesn't match the map design, 2) Drift favoured over grip, and 3) Inconsistencies in straightline precision and drift initiation. It's just worst case scenario possible of what you want from a racing game. Even GTA V has better handling, seriously. With Payback they rectified issues 1 & 2, but issue 3 remains especially off road. If they can fix that, I can deal with it. Personally as I've said above though, my perfect NFS would have either MW2012 handling (for tight city setting) or The Run (for open highway setting).
     
  14. rom30s

    rom30s

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    Well Ive decided to re play through Payback but this time on PC, and yeh because it switches between desert and urban areas the physics only really work well in the desert areas with long roads and big bends. The B2D works well with it and is fun. However when you are in the city or urban areas thats when it begins to become frustrating, or even some of the offroading/rally areas it also applies .
    Ill be testing out the debug 6 mods on it soon and hope to play around with some physics mods. Im actually pretty happy with payback apart from the physics not being freed up the game is actually great.

    Pointing out that Burnout paradise had nice physics depending on what car you drove. some of them you could throw around and have fun with.
     
  15. SlimCharles

    SlimCharles

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    Judging only the console versions (until Underground there have been different games for PC and consoles), they got less realistic from 4 except for the Shift games.

    It's a brand that has been exploited by EA since the very early days. That means creating new games no matter what. That means a lot of different developers (because of the constant restructuring such a big company like EA has). That means many games with completely different feel.

    The result is that the evolution of NFS is not exactly linear. SMS clearly brought the most realistic physics of the saga. Then Criterion and Ghost brought the less realistic physics of the saga, and IMO Ghost (created with a lot of Criterion staff) has made one of the less enjoyable driving feels Ive tried.

    The original EA Canada was a beast of a developer. The physics of 3 and 4 even challenged the all mighty Gran Turismo. Could have been the Rockstar of driving games IMO (their evolution from the first NFS is remarkable).
     
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  16. jflomario

    jflomario Premium

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    I remember thinking that NFS used to exaggerate the acceleration of cars.

    I looked some side-by-side videos and it turns out that they weren't. At least not in stock form.