Definitions

Famicom Grand Prix 2

Grand Prix 2

For the article about GP2 series, see GP2 Series.

Grand Prix 2, sometimes known as "GP2", is a racing simulator released by MicroProse in 1995. It was made under an official FIA license that featured the Formula One 1994 season, with all of the circuits, teams, drivers and cars. The cars were painted with liveries reflecting the races that did not allow tobacco and beer sponsors (i.e. 1994 French Grand Prix).

It was one of the first computer games with 3D texture mapping and SVGA graphics, as well as an early but realistic physics engine. A large community of GP2 enthusiasts formed quickly and still exists today. Grand Prix 2 is recognised as one of the definitive racing simulations of its era.

Gameplay

There are many features that caused the game to be considered a great one for its time:

  • Advanced SVGA Graphics Engine - The visuals were nearly unparalleled at the time due to the SVGA capable of rendering the then-high-end 800x600 resolution.
  • Unparalleled AI and Physics - Grand Prix 2 was said to have featured elements from both an arcade racer and racing simulation. Similarly aged offerings such as Power F1 were perceived as inferior despite being fairly impressive games in their own right.
  • Extremely accurate circuits - Circuits were often highly detailed and, at 800x600 resolution, were once described as feeling "photo-realistic".
  • Engine, gearbox and electronic failures and detailed car setups for a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail.

Of course, Grand Prix II wasn't without its flaws, including but not limited to the lack of wet weather, the 'black flag' system for handling penalties that gave cars a speed penalty for course cutting, cars being unable to flip and many difficulties in modding the game but; these are often overlooked due to the overall quality of the product.

Cracking the Code / Modding community

Because of its revolutionary true-to-reality style, programmers began to crack the code. The first known Track Editor was built by Andy Barganski, and a collection of new circuits built using this editor were published (commercially) by Instant Access Int Ltd. René Smit and Frank Ahnert created Gp2lap, that read the track files from the hard-disk instead of the CD, so track editing would be possible. Paul Hoad programmed the Gp2 TrackEditor, the CarEditor and the JAM Editor (texture importer/exporter) with the help of many beta testers, too numerous to be named here. As soon as tracks and cars became editable, the GP2 modding community began to grow. New track commands allowed better-looking, more challenging circuits and with less bugs. Many racing leagues were created with customized cars and helmets (the car liveries pack is called a "carset") and modified engine power.

Another breakthrough came with possibly the most used editor in the history of the game. Steven Young's GP2edit added an unrivaled easy-access carset maker. The simple UI and the range of the program meant that anyone could use it without prior knowledge or having to use multiple programs. As more versions were released, the programs power increased. Menu helmets, ingame helmets, sounds, pit-crew colours, track textures & adverts, team & driver performance, camera angles, tyres and even the number position on the car could be edited.

Steven went on to create GP3edit for GP2's successor Grand Prix 3.

The Zenith of the GP2 community

While Juha Viitala, Daniel Ketteringham, Pieter van Dieren and PK Arnall created each year the latest Formula 1 carset, they also made old seasons, from the golden era (50s and 60s) to the wing era (70s), the turbo ages (80s) and the technological era (90s). CART, F3000 and other series were also featured, but were less popular than F1 and fictional carsets. Adalberto Zapparoli, Andreas Bosch, Dereck Hicks, David Richards, Warren Jenks, Gabriele Moschetto focused on tracks, specially those of the F1 season, but also other FIA circuits in Europe and America, and also form Australia and other countries visited by CART, MotoGP and popular motorsport categories (Rio de Janeiro, Kyalami, Motegi...) On the other hand, people like Adie Walti, Martijn Keizer, Graeme Nash, John Edwards, Matti Laitinen, Jason Sinnbeck, Thomas Stephanskirchner and Phil Paterson focused on creating fictional tracks. Flexibility in track design produced interesting results: driving challenges, overtaking paradises or irrational madness.

In addition, Internet-based competitions such as LFRS, and Jon Edgar's GP2 Championship evolved, whereby competitors drove their individual races within GP2 then submitting them to a website which compiled overall results from their race times, providing a form of human competition to the game.

Decay and Today

After the release of Grand Prix 3 most patchers moved on from GP2. Late 2000 the Grand Prix 2000 patch was on sale; again the GP2 modding activity decreased. Grand Prix 4 (2002) almost killed the GP2 community altogether, as 2002 and 2003 updating rates show. But still some people carried on making carsets and tracks. The EVDJSR team and the NPSW team made carsets until 2005; Andreas Schulz, Antonio Pessoa, Otavio Silveira, Roberto Remedio, Alex Cherkashin and Carlos Pereira built tracks. These experienced patchers helped breed a new wave of track designers like CAP, Dereck Hicks and David Richards.

In early 2006 TeamGp2 was formed by Nick Pathuis, EVDJS and Fridjof Knirsch (a.k.a. "FK"). But after some months the team disappeared. Henning Fisser (HF) founded HFGP2 (now HF cars and sets) and went on making GP2 carsets. Tim De Klein recurred to the szene and made carsets for the 2001 to 2006 seasons and MWi made Champ Car sets to prove the community was still around and alive and had diversity.

Toward the end of 2006, two relative newcomers to the mod scene Alexander Diehl (AD) and Moonraker created the MARD Team (MARD). Although they have been playing GP2 since its release, they only recently decided to contribute to the ailing "GP2 MOD scene" and help keep the scene alive. Their creation is the Grand Prix Racing League (GPRL), a fictional series with fictional drivers and some fictional tracks (the others being real). For this fictional series they popped up a forum which contains all necessary news about the fictional series like team launches, reports about the pre-season testings and the race-weekends: Grand Prix Racing League Community. But since the end of 2007 it got quite about the project.

2007 sees the community still have a team of dedicated core fans. A new GP2 forum popped up (http://hfgp2.hf.funpic.de/forum/). Tim de Klein (a.k.a. "Tdk"), David Stunnenberg (a.k.a. "DJS") and Henning Fisser (a.k.a. "HF cars and sets project" or "HF") continued making carsets and several new people made several cars. With a growing number of people editing and modding the game the game is enjoying a revival.

Toward 2008 two of the best active patcher decided to come in "NL²" together: Tim de Klein (a.k.a. "Tdk") and David Stunnenberg (a.k.a. "DJS"). The name is a tribute to their citizenship. They started with a 2007 / 2008 testcarset and seem to have big success with it. People like Fridjof Knirsch (a.k.a. "FK"), Henning Fisser (a.k.a. "HF cars and sets project" or "HF") Merten Wischnewsky (a.k.a. "MWi") or Alexander Diehl (a.k.a. "AD") stay active but created alternative catsets and/or cars. Thomas Kost, Roberto Remedio and Antonio Pessoa created new tracks at this time.

References

External links

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