"Here in my car
I feel safest of all
Will you visit me please
If I open my door
— "Cars" The Pleasure Principle, Gary Numan, 1979.
The Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco celebrates design — the process of taking a great idea and turning it into a reality. With about 60 different exhibits regularly on display that showcase the innovative work of Autodesk customers, the gallery illustrates the role technology plays in great design and engineering. Autodesk Gallery Ambassadors conduct gallery tours as a sideline to their day jobs. The tours provide employees with opportunities to practice public speaking in front of small groups.
With regard to the new Driving for realism exhibit that is now in the gallery after its debut at Autodesk University London, unlike other exhibits that are open to self-exploration, this one is an ambassador-supervised exhibit:
- Slightly Mad Studios // more
- BAC Mono // more
- McLaren // more
- Silverstone // more
- Nurburgring // more
It is fitting that a company called Slightly Mad Studios would take on the task of making one of the most ambitious racing simulation games to date. Not that creating challenging racing games hasn't been done before, but the degree to which the studio’s Project Cars video game captures the detail and accuracy of real-life cars and tracks requires a little bit of madness — and some powerful design tools.
To give gamers the feeling of actually sitting behind the wheel of a BAC Mono or McLaren F1, the company works closely with car manufacturers to gather data about their cars. In addition, using a combination of drones, laser scanners, and photogrammetry, the studio gets 3D scans of racetracks around the world, including England’s Silverstone and Germany’s Nurburgring Nordschleife. All of this data is imported into 3D modeling software where designers digitally replicate the cars and tracks with real-life accuracy. No detail is overlooked, from materials and geometry to the sounds the cars make on the track in response to dynamically changing weather conditions.
In some cases, they also scanned old cars. In fact, 90% of the cars in Project Cars were created using Autodesk 3ds Max. In other cases, Slightly Mad Studios received 3D datasets directly from automotive manufacturers to ensure the car geometry is spot on!
The result is a racing simulation that seriously laps the competition in graphics and authenticity, and the option to experience it in virtual reality makes Project Cars even more realistic and immersive. You don’t have to be a racing fan to appreciate the realism of this game. The driving simulator for the exhibit is very realistic.
Go ahead, visit the gallery, hop in the driver’s seat, and take a drive.
Thanks to the Autodesk Gallery team for the descriptive text for this blog post.
The Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a guided tour on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm and a self-guided audio tour available anytime. Admission is free. Visit us.
Racing is alive in the lab.