If there’s ever been any doubt that a good PC rig can offer a far superior gaming experience to consoles, then driving sim sequel Project Cars 2 will show it off spectacularly.
Due for release later this year, the game will not only support VR as standard, but will also come with a PC-busting 12K option. So if you just happen to have a trio of Ultra HD monitors running 3840 x 2160 resolutions, this high-end mode could enable you to drive an Aston Martin Vulcan or a Honda Acura NSX in immersive 4K Surround (11,520 x 2160 pixels).
It’s a feature that’s already available in the original Project Cars game, released in 2015. Powered by multiple NVIDIA GTX Titan graphics cards, developer Slightly Mad Studios showed off the game running on three 65-inch 4K TVs at CES, producing a “24 megapixel image with over 1.5 billion pixels being processed each second.”
That’s 12K, albeit from a horizontal point of view. The ultimate in widescreen gaming.
It’s not the only route to widescreen entertainment. Or higher-res gaming. Razer announced its triple-screen Project Valerie laptop at this year’s CES; Dell claimed the world’s first 32-inch 8K monitor with its 280 ppi UltraSharp 32 Ultra HD 8K; while LG launched a 34-inch curved UltraWide QHD IPS monitor, forgettably dubbed the 34UC88.
Of course, chasing a 12K/4K Surround experience will require a top-end PC equipped with the best GPUs and CPU that money can buy. The VR-ready spec for the first game suggested an NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 (or better), an Intel i5-4590 (or better) and 8GB of RAM. Project Cars 2 will demand something a little beefier.
The graphics card will need to cope with over 170 licensed cars and 60 tracks, HDR lighting and butter-smooth VR. The processor, meanwhile, will need to be powerful enough to crunch the numbers for the game’s cutting-edge tyre physics and advanced racing AI, not to mention its dynamic vehicle, surface, and seasonal conditions.
“With LiveTrack 3.0,” says the developer, “tracks dynamically transition from clean to rubbered-in to dirty, changing the grip physics whether on tarmac, dirt, or ice… Drivers can race a full 24-hour cycle with real-time vehicle, weather, and temperature changes, and even across all four seasons.
“Even weather effects like ground mist, thunder, and snow mean Mother Nature must now be conquered.”
As well as a new Online Championships mode, Project Cars 2 is also being built with Esports in mind. Slightly Mad Studios promises in-game racing license accreditation, dedicated director/broadcaster functionality, and streaming integration. In 2016, Project Cars was selected as the official racing game for Red Bull’s 5G Tournament.
The attention to detail and pursuit of racing realism is what made Project Cars stand out. The game also supports over 40 different steering wheels and peripherals (like Thrustmaster T3PA Pedals). True, the Project Cars 2 12K/4K Surround mode might be a flight of fancy for most of us, but it demonstrates the potential of PC gaming to go above and beyond the ordinary.