Learn how to drive in Gran Turismo 4 (GT4) for complete beginners
So you saw the glorious screen-shots of powerful cars sweeping around exotic circuits and thought I can do that. And you fell off the road at every opportunity. In every car. On every track.
Getting started on GT4 is pretty hard for us beginners. You can watch the licence test demos and try to get up the screen display to see when the car brakes and accelerates. Too short. You can try to race and learn from the other cars, but you make a mistake and they whizz off into the distance.
This was supposed to be fun but you're just getting mad sliding off all the time. You may decide to pack the game in, and you only bought it a week ago.
Well help may be at hand because I've just gone through the same thing. And I sat down and figured out how to let GT4 give me a real tutorial.
Some features are denied by the handbook and some have to be work-arounds but this may help us klutzes who find it hard to get round a hairpin in one piece.
Right - the basics: I figure there are four things you must master to get around a track without fiddling with the tuning.
Track position, speed, accelerator (gas) and braking.
There are thousands of variants of these which will pitch you off into the scenery and you need to get most of them right to stay on the road. So we're going to learn these
and stop that crashing and burning.
First nip off down to the licence centre (in GT mode) and do the B licence tests. Read what you have to do, then look at the demonstration (second button from the left) then do the test and repeat it until you get a big bronze medal spinning around. On to the next one. (By pressing the buttons you can find the displays, but braking is only on outboard view.) When you have completed them all successfully you will be rewarded with a VW Lupo car and you can have a crack at the beginners races. Try the Sunday Cup with your Lupo and you may be able to hustle it around and pick up some points but you aren't really learning how to improve.
This is where the next stage comes in. To learn driving technique you need to be able to follow another car closely and learn the track position, speed, gas control and braking for each section of a track. Then you can go racing.
The key is the B-spec feature in GT4. You can't really do this in GT mode as it limits you to the car in your garage. So go to Arcade mode and choose Time Trial. Choose a circuit which has varied corners like Autumn Mini or El Capitan. Right, you are going to become an expert on this track. Now choose a well-mannered car, not underpowered and not too powerful. You could try your Lupo or something like the Mini which I chose. Colour it white, not red, so you can see the brake-lights clearly.
First let's have a little fun which will prove its worth later. Flail around the track as fast as you can and see how fast your lap was. Write it down, we will return to it later.
Choose B-spec (the option second from the left with the little headphones). (The handbook says this isn't available in time trial - it is on mine and yours too I hope.) This allows the computer to drive the car on the track and you command what it does. Now choose the speed of this computer-driven car. We're beginners, right? Before the start click the left direction arrow so that slow pace is chosen on the big line of numbers at the top of the creen (square 1). (Of course if you are not a beginner you could choose faster paces but we are going back to basics here.) Now the computer will drive the Mini around the track in slow pace. Click the X button and watch from the driving seat. Kill the background music and listen where the car brakes and accelerates. Watch where the car is positioned on the track and how fast it is travelling into corners.
Commentate out loud on what you see: " on the right into the tunnel, stay on the left out of it, pull a little bit right to avoid that barrier." Do this as many times as you need.
When you have an idea of what is required, press the start button and then the triangle button and get back to the Time Trial window. Now choose the A-spec option (the logo on the left, the steering wheel). This time you are the driver. Start off and in a moment the ghost car of the B-spec lap will appear, probably whizzing past you. Get behind him and shadow him around the track, matching him for position, speed etc. This is where you learn to improve your technique. Perhaps after a few laps you can speed up and get in front of the ghost. Then if you make a mistake or slow down too much he will overtake you. You can try different lines, speeds and braking points. Each time you can see where you lose time or make it up.
Now then to save this aid. This is what I found. GT4 is really weird about ghost cars. You can't save them in replays in GT mode. The file calls itself "free run" and excludes all ghosts. So you can't replay a ghost in Replay Theatre either. But you can save it in Arcade mode, and it comes up with data displays so you can see when he's braking and accelerating, and by how much. Send out the B spec driver in Time Trial mode at whatever pace you want. When he's finished his lap, save it using the ghost replay button. Now you can choose any car you like, load up that ghost file (using the ghost load) button and the Mini will appear in front of you as you start your lap. You can replay the ghost and you driving together too, but if you save that replay and try to view it in Replay Theatre it will just be you without the ghost!
If slow pace is still too fast you have a problem - he will whizz away and you won't be able to learn. So go to the auto-tune up button to the right of the A and B spec screen buttons and click on that. You can now adjust the power and weight of your Mini. Give it a bit more power and a little less weight. If you still can't keep up then try a different car or track.
Remember we are only at slow pace so far. Now you can send the B spec car out at pace 2 and so on. Just for reference go out and drive a lap using your new-found knowledge and record your time - compare it with
the one you recorded before training. I hope it will be streets ahead with no "offs".
When you have speeded up considerably you can try a proper race on your learned track - either in arcade or GT mode. This time you should be able to keep up with some of the other cars and be able to make some judgements on their lines and braking points.
That's it - use the same technique for other tracks, use it to rehearse the stages of the A licence, start winning races and the full complexities of GT4 should open up.