The latest update for Gran Turismo 7 has arrived and, although the 1.40 version number doesn't sound like a big deal, the fact that this comes with the Spec II tagline gives away the fact that there is much more to it. It even includes some important changes to the photo mode, although they may not yet have worked out quite as well as planned...
- GT7 // SPEC II -
It will come as no surprise to learn that the update sees another 7 new cars, a handful of extra Café menus, and even a new track being added, while the new Weekly Challenges expand the list of rewarding events available for regular players.
A new tier of Master License tests also makes an appearance, local multiplayer is improved with support for 4-way split-screen, and Polyphony's potentially unbeatable and more human-like AI drivers make a permanent return in the form of GT Sophy 2.0 to really test your racing skills.
All good news for fans of circuit racing then, but Gran Turismo has often led the way with in-game photography innovations that go right back to 2004's GT4, so surely there must be some big news for virtual photographers in this update, right? Well actually, there is...
- GT7 // SPEC II -
As usual, there are some new Scapes scenes that include the studio's very own "Digital Tokyo Office" and take the total number to over 3,000. There are 3,001 now to be precise, and if that already sounds overwhelming, then you will probably appreciate the new Player's Favourites collection that helps with the discoverability of some of the most popular spots.
This kind of thing is par for the course though, and the more interesting updates are the improvements to the camera shutter speed.
- GT7 SPEC II // SCAPES -
Although shutter speeds of up to 1 second have always been available in Scapes mode, the longest available in post-race photos was previously just 1/60th of a second, limiting how much motion blur could be achieved. That's all changed now though with race photos enjoying the same range of shutter speeds for better control.
This not only means that you can play around with a lot more motion and movement in your shots, but also makes it possible to experiment with light trails at night races. It's admittedly not immediately obvious how to do that though, the camera always want to follow a car by default, but move the manual focus point to a static object like the track or barriers and enjoy watching those long exposures render out.
A big thanks to @summers458 on X.com for the tip on that by the way...
- GT7 SPEC II // LIGHT TRAILS -
Unfortunately though, it's not all great news when using those new longer shutter speeds as things seem to go a bit wrong when you actually do want to track a car. The camera doesn't seem to be able to track the motion through corners and starts to roll around the point of focus, blurring most of the car and ruining the shot.
- GT7 SPEC II // SHUTTER SPEED -
This isn't even a matter of using the wrong camera tracking mode either – the other two modes give even crazier results. It's a shame to see such unpredictable behaviour that takes a bit of the shine off of what is otherwise be a very useful upgrade to the race photo mode.
- GT7 SPEC II // CAMERA TRACKING -
The Spec II update doesn't stop there though and does try to address one of the game's other long-standing issues with shutter speed. That being how the photo mode has never rendered enough frames to give a smooth motion path and often results in stepped blur effects and strobe-like trails on lights, as you can in the motion trail of this Porsche Taycan's taillight.
- GT7 SPEC II // STANDARD -
Hidden in the Detailed Settings on the camera tab, a new Rendering Quality option has been added to combat this by increasing the number of frames generated. Changing the quality to Fine doubles the number of frames used, while Extra Fine quadruples it for a, improved motion blur effect.
Using the same example again, the large steps between frames that appeared in Standard render mode have been filled in with additional frames in the Extra Fine render mode, making it much closer to a smooth motion path.
- GT7 SPEC II // EXTRA FINE -
It is still far from perfect but GT7 Spec II marks a definite improvement for the photo mode options that are a big step in the right direction, and hopefully we haven't seen the last of Polyphony's attempts to perfect their in-game photography offerings.
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