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Every Nurburgring Nordschleife on PC compared

Discussion in 'Other Racing Games' started by VirtuaIceMan, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

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    Here I'll compare every version of the Nurburgring Nordschleife track released on the PC at 17 locations around the circuit. These are official releases of the track only; I'm not including mods (or this list could be endless!). I'll add to this comparison as new games with the track are released!

    Each game is shown in maximum quality at around midday/1pm with no mods, from bumper cam view. For reference I used a Chevrolet Corvette car (where the game had one) to try to keep the bumper cam a consistent height. My monitor runs at 2560x1440 resolution, so that's what I set the games to capture at.

    These are the games being compared:

    Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 - released in July 1998, this included a Retro mode, where you could race some 1951 styled race cars around a track called "Green Hell", with a track map from the Nurburgring. However, it takes 2 minutes or less to go around, so is rather simplified, but I noticed a few parts that look quite like the real track still, so I included it here for amusement! This was captured using the dgVoodoo2 3Dfx wrapper at the maximum resolution the game supported (1280x1024) then scaled up in Photoshop using bilinear filtering, which gave an identical look to how the game appears on a modern flat screen monitor. Note: this game was also released in parts as a Kellogg's Frosties promotion, called Kellogg's Frosties GR-R-Rand Prix, which included overly prominent Kellogg's/Frosties banners!

    Grand Prix Legends - released in October 1998. This was the first version of the Nurburgring to appear on the PC. It's rather simplified. The screenshots were taken with no mods, except for one to allow the graphics to work on modern graphics cards, which allowed the resolution to be boosted to 1440 pixels in height. I Photoshopped out the interface elements above and below the window however.

    GTR Evolution - released in March 2008, this was an add-on for the RACE '07 title, and the first "modern" version of the 'Ring available on PC. For many years this was spoke about as the best version available on PC.

    Need For Speed: Shift - Slightly Mad Studio's first take on the 'Ring, from April 2009. This features a large number of extra signs and Need For Speed branding, not present in real life. It also has a rather over-the-top bloom effect on everything, as though you're looking through fuzzy glasses!

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - this was in production before Need For Speed: Shift, but was tweaked a bit before its release in May 2012. However, comparing it to Shift, you can see the exact same track was used.

    Shift 2 Unleashed - losing the explicit Need For Speed branding, this game from June 2012 uses a newer model of the track than Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends, despite releasing before that game. However it's all rather spoilt by the huge high backdrop, whch makes the track feel like it's always pointing down into the ground. They retextured most of the circuit here, although the new trees look somewhat worse, in my opinion. Look out for rubber "marbles" on the track in some corners.

    Project CARS - heavily revised from the Need For Speed/Test Drive titles, this track isn't using laserscan data, but looks quite close (in places) to the laserscanned versions. It was released in July 2015.

    Ride 2 - a relatively recent version of the track, this was released in August 2016, and is the last of the non-laserscanned tracks I'm covering. As the "bumper" cam is on a bike, the view is a bit higher on this version of the track. It all feels a bit artificial though, as Milestone's texturing and lighting leaves a lot to be desired.

    Assetto Corsa - released as part of the first Dream Pack add-on in September 2015, Assetto Corsa's version of the track is possibly the most accurate to real life. Their mix of trees is certainly a lot more varied than some of the following titles. It's also interesting to compare the track camber and shape to the following games, which all use the laserscan data. RaceRoom Racing Experience (in particular) is extremely close to Assetto Corsa in track shape and general detail, but the colours and lighting of Assetto Corsa look less cold.

    RaceRoom Racing Experience - the Nordschleife arrived in RaceRoom Racing Experience in October 2016 and is extremely close to Assetto Corsa's version. Again using the laserscan data, it features the same corner shapes/camber. However the lighting looks a little bit blue and cold, but distant objects always seem sharper and more detailed on RaceRoom compared to all the other games.

    iRacing - the track arrived in iRacing in November 2015, and suffers slightly with textures/lighting that is a bit dated now. However, once again using the laserscan data, it feels very accurate to real-life.

    Forza Motorsport 6: Apex - the PC freeware release of Forza Motorsport 6: Apex, had the track added as paid-for DLC in December 2016. This version again uses the laserscan data, but they've gone to town with ultra-high resolution textures and a lower position of the sun, leading to long shadows and excessive "god rays" that make it quite hard to drive in places! It all looks rather fancy, even compared to games which are highly rated for graphics, like Project CARS.

    Real life - just to compare! Screenshots taken from videos here, here, here and here.

    Click screenshots to see them full size!
     
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  2. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

    Messages:
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    1: First drop - compare track camber and distant scenery:

    Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 - not much to say here! The first part of the track is so compressed, it's hard to work out what maps onto the first drop, especially as the start-finish line is in a different place!
    [​IMG]

    Grand Prix Legends - pretty boring, not much to see at all!
    [​IMG]

    GTR Evolution - the track writing is rather feint here. Lighting is a bit basic and the trees on the left very dense.
    [​IMG]

    Need For Speed: Shift - there's a dirty great banner on the right and a balloon in the sky, which is nice, but the overall view here is a bit boring, really.
    [​IMG]

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - the colour balance is a lot brighter, and now there's no banner but 2 balloons! Notice the same track writing as Need For Speed: Shift.
    [​IMG]

    Shift 2 Unleashed - the first appearance of the huge misplaced backdrop, making it feel like an enormous drop here! Trees look a bit strange in this version, note extra flowers and improved haze/fogging. The same trackside writing appears as the two versions above.
    [​IMG]

    Project CARS - much brighter but less track writing here. Trees are all new.
    [​IMG]

    Ride 2 - looks like a cheap knock-off! Background hills are rather poor and the camber is somewhat strange.
    [​IMG]

    Assetto Corsa - the camber in the following laserscan-based tracks is much different to all those before.
    [​IMG]

    RaceRoom Racing Experience - less spectators here, and the colder, bluer appearance of the track makes it feel less alive.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

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    iRacing - a good level of background detail, but perhaps not enough trees/too small trees. Textures on the behind the barrier look very low-detail.
    [​IMG]

    Forza Motorsport 6: Apex - Lovely asphalt textures here, and overall nice lighting. The curb on the left is much more faded, similar to iRacing, where Assetto Corsa and RaceRoom Racing Experience have much more vibrant curbs.
    [​IMG]

    Real life
    [​IMG]
     
  4. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

    Messages:
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    2. Compare trees on right-hand hillside:

    Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 - as it's such a cut-back track, with fake scenery, it's hard to find the right place on the track, so ignore this one!
    [​IMG]

    Grand Prix Legends - fairly simple, but nice trees, for such an old game. Not very close to reality though.
    [​IMG]

    GTR Evolution - the white lines disappear on the next stretch of track, which is odd. Trees are passable.
    [​IMG]

    Need For Speed: Shift - patchy treework here.
    [​IMG]

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - see above!
    [​IMG]

    Shift 2 Unleashed - the refined lighting, added flowers and new trees make a big difference, but as with the previous comparison, the trees seem to be a bit too round.
    [​IMG]

    Project CARS - lovely tree modelling on the left here. Trees on the right look okay.
    [​IMG]

    Ride 2 - throughout, Ride 2 has a strange colour balance going on, like someone has set the contrast wrong. It all feels a bit grey. The trees here look nice enough, but way too many and too close to the track.
    [​IMG]

    Assetto Corsa - good varied trees here.
    [​IMG]

    RaceRoom Racing Experience - so close to Assetto Corsa, once again, but trees on the right are a fair bit different.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

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    iRacing - nice track writing, trees look a bit basic and too close to the track (on the right).
    [​IMG]

    Forza Motorsport 6: Apex - some gorgeous textures again, and lovely grass on the right. The curbs are somewhat wrong.
    [​IMG]

    Real life
    [​IMG]
     
  6. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

    Messages:
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    3. Check out the hillside scenery, if any, along with shape/width of the track, and the catchfence on the right:

    Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 - not really right, but it does have a drop here!
    [​IMG]

    Grand Prix Legends - very simple textures, and not many trees!
    [​IMG]

    GTR Evolution - the road edge white lines are missing here, it's all a bit basic.
    [​IMG]

    Need For Speed: Shift - Not too bad, but looks a bit rustic.
    [​IMG]

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - same as above, but the lighting is a bit less gloomy.
    [​IMG]

    Shift 2 Unleashed - beautiful haze here, it looks glorious, apart from the massive, unrealistic backdrop!
    [​IMG]

    Project CARS - a few too many trees on the right.
    [​IMG]

    Ride 2 - Too many trees all-round, here. Boring looking track texture!
    [​IMG]

    Assetto Corsa - the first of the laserscanned tracks, and the only one to fill the fields with spectator vehicles, etc! Some odd white blobs on the track surface. Notice for this (and the following ones) the indented barrier on the left in the distance, it proves these are all the same laserscan.
    [​IMG]

    RaceRoom Racing Experience - not quite as close to Assetto Corsa as previous locations.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

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    iRacing - nice colours here, feels really like summertime. Plenty of fields to see on the right.
    [​IMG]

    Forza Motorsport 6: Apex - despite this being the day setting, they chose a late afternoon/evening lighting, which looks dramatic. Nice additional flowers on the left.
    [​IMG]

    Real life
    [​IMG]
     
  8. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

    Messages:
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    4. Let's compare the bridge and camber/angle of the track here:

    Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 - okay it's a tunnel on this version, not a bridge, but it's in the right place on their mini version of the track!
    [​IMG]

    Grand Prix Legends - actually has the right camber/angle (compare to laserscanned tracks/real life)! I don't know if the 1967 bridge actually looked like that though, or not.
    [​IMG]

    GTR Evolution - I've taken the shots from the start of the curbing on the left. On GTR Evolution I think the curb starts too far away from the bridge!
    [​IMG]

    Need For Speed: Shift - not too bad, apart from all those "Need For Speed Live" flags.
    [​IMG]

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - very close to Need For Speed: Shift; interesting that the background is a little different though, more hilly! No Yokohama branding here, as presumably it clashes with another brand of tyres that Ferrari support.
    [​IMG]

    Shift 2 Unleashed - attack of the mega backdrop again. Here's one of the corners with rubber marbles on the outside edge though.
    [​IMG]

    Project CARS - clean, bit not too accurate, compared to laserscanned versions.
    [​IMG]

    Ride 2 - not very accurate.
    [​IMG]

    Assetto Corsa - totally different camber/angle here, compared to the non-laserscanned versions.
    [​IMG]

    RaceRoom Racing Experience - so close to Assetto Corsa!
    [​IMG]
     
  9. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

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    iRacing - same corner angle as the above examples.
    [​IMG]

    Forza Motorsport 6: Apex - here the crazy "God rays" begin to take over in Forza Motorsport 6: Apex!
    [​IMG]

    Real life
    [​IMG]
     
  10. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

    Messages:
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    5. Comparing the track, textures and trees:

    Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 - the tunnel spoils this one!
    [​IMG]

    Grand Prix Legends - hardly any trees here, much more in real-life (and probably were in 1967 too).
    [​IMG]

    GTR Evolution - the flat lighting makes this look unexciting.
    [​IMG]

    Need For Speed: Shift - more varied trees than GTR Evolution.
    [​IMG]

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - they've changed Yokohama to fake brand Yirotires, again, I guess Ferrari have a different recommended tyre brand!
    [​IMG]

    Shift 2 Unleashed - the sign went missing here! The intense backdrop makes this area feel nice, there's also some fallen leaves on the track, for added flavour!
    [​IMG]

    Project CARS - a bit more accurate, with the corner in the distance less visible.
    [​IMG]

    Ride 2 - the trees here are crazy, it's like being in a dense forest!
    [​IMG]

    Assetto Corsa - definitely the most varied mix of trees, although not that accurate to real life (see shot below).
    [​IMG]

    RaceRoom Racing Experience - even though the track model is nigh-on identical, the completely different trees here make a big difference.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

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    iRacing - this is close to RaceRoom Racing Experience, but with slightly less tall trees. Rather close to real life!
    [​IMG]

    Forza Motorsport 6: Apex - almost identical lighting to the real life example, and the tree modelling is close too.
    [​IMG]

    Real life
    [​IMG]
     
  12. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

    Messages:
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    6. Let's see how each game renders the big tree on the left:

    Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 - forget this one, it's a railway, not a tree!
    [​IMG]

    Grand Prix Legends - there's a small tree and hut in Grand Prix Legends here, but they're a little further on down the track than other games.
    [​IMG]

    GTR Evolution - a pretty close to reality tree (two trunks), but the hut is in the wrong place!
    [​IMG]

    Need For Speed: Shift - a wider tree than real life.
    [​IMG]

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - identical to Need For Speed: Shift.
    [​IMG]

    Shift 2 Unleashed - rather a meek version of the tree here, not so bold.
    [​IMG]

    Project CARS - a detailed tree, but with only one trunk, not two (which real life has).
    [​IMG]

    Ride 2 - feels like the wrong sort of tree. Trees on the right are non-existent too.
    [​IMG]

    Assetto Corsa - close to real life, if a bit dense.
    [​IMG]

    RaceRoom Racing Experience - a huge tree! Much bigger than reality, and with only one trunk.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

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    iRacing - this tree is very close to reality, if a bit scrawny-looking!
    [​IMG]

    Forza Motorsport 6: Apex - sorry, but no. Not accurate at all!
    [​IMG]

    Real life
    [​IMG]
     
  14. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

    Messages:
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    7. Compare the hill shape, and trees on it:

    Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 - despite being a mini version with fake scenery, there is actually a hill at this point on the track!
    [​IMG]

    Grand Prix Legends - it has a hill! But limited resources mean there's not much else to see here!
    [​IMG]

    GTR Evolution - two hills, not one! The main hill is too small here, and the wrong shape. There's also a lack of trees on the left.
    [​IMG]

    Need For Speed: Shift - much more like real-life.
    [​IMG]

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - same as above, except the lighting is a bit nicer.
    [​IMG]

    Shift 2 Unleashed - the haze, leaves on the track and shading of the trees on the hill make this feel great.
    [​IMG]

    Project CARS - a bit underwhelming, lighting-wise. But all the detail is there though.
    [​IMG]

    Ride 2 - totally off!
    [​IMG]

    Assetto Corsa - almost worse than Project CARS, despite being laserscanned. More interesting track writing makes it a bit less boring though. Notice the texturing on the writing doesn't really match the track tarmac texture though!
    [​IMG]

    RaceRoom Racing Experience - closer to reality than Assetto Corsa in this case.
    [​IMG]
     
  15. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

    Messages:
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    Ratings:
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    iRacing - looks nice, if not quite photo-realistic.
    [​IMG]

    Forza Motorsport 6: Apex - can't see anything! Nice lighting, I guess, but we can't be sure of anything else!
    [​IMG]

    Real life
    [​IMG]
     
  16. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

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    8. Same hill, but a bit further down. Compare crowds and the buildings, where visible:

    Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 - as above, a fake village, but almost right track layout!
    [​IMG]

    Grand Prix Legends - a bit nearer the hill shows how basic the modelling/texturing were.
    [​IMG]

    GTR Evolution - not a lot of life going on here!
    [​IMG]

    Need For Speed: Shift - another of those damn great fake signs! At least there's a crowd on the right!
    [​IMG]

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - feels a bit more realistic, despite being almost identical assets to Need For Speed: Shift.
    [​IMG]

    Shift 2 Unleashed - the giant sign is back! But the lighting here is lovely.
    [​IMG]

    Project CARS - plenty of detail here.
    [​IMG]

    Ride 2 - the concrete walls and buildings are in the wrong place, the background hill is wrong, etc.
    [​IMG]

    Assetto Corsa - trees on the hill still look poor. Trees on the right seem a bit too big.
    [​IMG]

    RaceRoom Racing Experience - again, very close to real life.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

    Messages:
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    iRacing - feels like RaceRoom Racing Experience, but warmer colours.
    [​IMG]

    Forza Motorsport 6: Apex - the buildings in the background are more visible on this game, so they look larger/nearer.
    [​IMG]

    Real life
    [​IMG]
     
  18. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

    Messages:
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    9. Slight dip to compare, but more interestingly, compare the hillside/shape in the background:

    Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 - this whole section is completely different, so it's hard to find the right place!
    [​IMG]

    Grand Prix Legends - redefines "basic looking"!
    [​IMG]

    GTR Evolution - fairly basic. Hill ahead is a little lump.
    [​IMG]

    Need For Speed: Shift - too big trees on the left, so you can't see the distant hill very well.
    [​IMG]

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - as above, but check out how different the shadows are.
    [​IMG]

    Shift 2 Unleashed - all the trees here look like the wrong sort. Background hill the same as previous games. Nice blue flowers on the right!
    [​IMG]

    Project CARS - a little closer to reality, but not by much!
    [​IMG]

    Ride 2 - pretty far from real life.
    [​IMG]

    Assetto Corsa - much more like real life, but the distant hillside is a bit big/close. Nice pink flowers to add variety though! As with all the laserscanned tracks, the little red board on the right is now present.
    [​IMG]

    RaceRoom Racing Experience - quite different to Assetto Corsa this time. The background hill is closer to real life, but not quite there.
    [​IMG]
     
  19. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

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    iRacing - perhaps the closest to real life, hill shape-wise. It also gets the valley on the left pretty accurate.
    [​IMG]

    Forza Motorsport 6: Apex - quite close, especially the trees on the right, but the background hill is not quite as per reality.
    [​IMG]

    Real life
    [​IMG]
     
  20. VirtuaIceMan

    VirtuaIceMan

    Messages:
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    10. Comparing the slip road on the left, along with general scenery here:

    Monaco Grand Prix Racing Simulation 2 - as before, hard to tell on this version which part is which.
    [​IMG]

    Grand Prix Legends - a bit of a stab at this corner, but the slip road is meant to run up the hill, not through it!
    [​IMG]

    GTR Evolution - a fair attempt. Trees are a bit patchy. Missing the corner name board.
    [​IMG]

    Need For Speed: Shift - another of those signs advertising a feature of the game you're playing! A bit closer to reality.
    [​IMG]

    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends - as above.
    [​IMG]

    Shift 2 Unleashed - the revenge of the sign! Trees again look a bit fluffy.
    [​IMG]

    Project CARS - pretty detailed, but the trees seem a bit big (as with many of the previous examples).
    [​IMG]

    Ride 2 - wrong trees, no trees on the right, can hardly make out slip road, all bad!
    [​IMG]

    Assetto Corsa - close to real life here.
    [​IMG]

    RaceRoom Racing Experience - almost the same as Assetto Corsa.
    [​IMG]