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Gaming Gallimaufry 3: Shift 2 Taught Me To Drive!

Who says games aren’t educational? Really, who? I’ve heard that someone’s been saying that. Anyway, Shift 2 is such a remarkably convincing driving game that it’s even taught someone like me who has never driven a car in his life exactly how driving works. Now I know some stuff about cars I’d never even imagined before! Here are some of the incredible things that I’ve learnt about driving just from racing in this incredible sim.

Steering: When you turn the wheel of a car, there’s a distinct delay before the car actually starts to turn. This means that you have to turn slightly early to compensate. I’d never have known this without the help of Shift 2. Indeed, most other games have missed this key feature from their games. It’s fortunate that I’ve learnt this otherwise I’d have thought cars turned when you wanted them to!

Magnetism: If a car gets close to a wall, the car will become magnetically attracted to that wall for several seconds. It will be able to slide along the wall for a while, but any attempts to steer will be ignored. Likewise, if a car gets within a few feet of another car, those cars will become magnetic and will be drawn into each other, where they will become inseparable for a while. Any attempts to steer one of the cars will automatically pull the other car along with you as if they’re welded together. This is the sort of thing they never tell you about!

Racing tactics: From observing the AI, I’ve learnt that the way you’re supposed to win a race when you’re behind other cars is to first catch up to them, but not to overtake. Instead, you’re supposed to pull up alongside the car in front of you, and then purposefully and maliciously swerve straight into that car, smashing them straight off the track. If you can keep going yourself then it’s a bonus, but apparently the main aim of it is to make sure that the race is ruined for the other driver. I’d have thought this would be incredibly dangerous and potentially lethal in real life, but I’m sure the AI in this game has been well programmed with sensible racing tactics, so it must be correct.

Shift 2 Results
A typical racing results screen. (click for full size picture)

Crashing: Colliding with anything, whether a major crash or a small bump, turns you temporarily colour blind. Also, crashing into walls and cars isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. Once every four or five times that you start your car, the car will randomly crash back to a Windows desktop. I’m not sure how this works in real life, but it’s impressively simulated here.

Donations: If you win a few races, some chavvy racing guys will happily just hand over their car to you for free. I didn’t know racers were so generous!

I’m sure there’s much more to learn from this in depth simulation. Let me know if you’ve learnt anything else from it over on our forum.