Grand Theft Auto IV
Driving and Vehicle Guide
Originally Written by: Reirol
Now for the fun legal crap, to summarize it you’re allowed to print it. But not much else.
Ok, let’s get a couple things straight. Yes, you have to read through the whole thing, each passage builds on the knowledge gained in the passage preceding. Yeah, I’m rude, abrasive, and annoying. But I’m a damn good driver. Get over it. If you can’t handle the rude obnoxious jokes, well, this may not be the FAQ for you, go read something else.
For everyone who didn’t press the back key, welcome. You made it. I’ve never been one for long drawn out FAQ’s so I’ll cut right to the point. If you’re reading this FAQ you probably drive like everyone else. Like a drunken monkey with a steroids problem. But if that doesn’t sound like you… here are some profiles that might fit.
-A- You grab the closest car regardless of who's watching. You must think that any car will do for anything and that you are invincible. Just as long as the car will move, you will keep driving it.
-B- You're a real gunslinger; you like to have the petal to the metal all the time. You do 120 mph through rush-hour traffic and really don’t care whether you have a black smoke car because, really, "no pain, no gain”, right?
-C- You drive like a 12 year old, on the cell phone, and drinking a soda. You seem to be really good at going straight, which is if you can keep it in the right lane. You prefer a powerful car, because "If I can get a powerful enough car, then who cares if it can turn."
-D- You drive like a drunken monkey (AKA- taxi cab driver). You seem to be all over the road and frequently spin wildly out of control. Everyone seems to be in YOUR way, and you aren’t acting rationally. This may involve putting your fist through the wall or random nose bleeds.
-E- You're always so careful, don't hit the cops. You don’t go too fast for you might lose control.
Before I get to the real way you should drive, I will be filling you in on some basics.
-The gas is on the right; the brake is on the left… one at a time people. You people astound me!
-Any Vehicle goes through a few stages before it’s toast.
-New- It’s brand new, runs like a champ. That seems to last a really long time, doesn’t it?
-Damaged- It’s got dents in it. But it is not smoking or on fire.
-White Smoke- There is thick white smoke coming out from under the hood. Probably because you rammed that N.O.O.S.E Patriot back on Dukes.
-Black Smoke- There is thick black smoke coming out from under the hood. Your car is trash. Find a new one if at all possible.
-Cut Out- The engine stops… trust me, it won’t start.
-Fire- GET OUT OF THE CAR! It’s over; your car is now useless. And will explode soon.
-In this game, physics are brought to new heights. The large heavy vehicle will drive like all other big heavy vehicles, BRICKS! And small fast sports cars drive like go-karts. So proving the point that each car drives differently in this game isn’t hard.
Some vocabulary for you------------------------------------
YOU WILL SEE THESE USED MORE THAN ONCE! LEARN THEM
-Blue Groove- The blue groove is the mental line that is made and changed every second. This groove is the one that your mind chooses as its best plan of action. For example, the blue grove for a normal turn would be a sweeping arch.
-Feather- To feather the throttle means to work the throttle back and forth between 40%-90% throttle to achieve an optimum level of spin on the car. (When the rear wheels of a car are broken free from the pavement the result is the rear wheels want to instantly slide to the outside of the turn. We can’t have them doing that now can we? So by controlling the speed at which the rear wheels spin, we control how much the rear wheels slide.) When going through a turn, to kick the back end farther toward the outside of the turn, throttle on. If you want the rear wheels to come more in line with the front wheels, throttle off. This is used in many situations where the engine controls the spin of the car.
-Understeer- When the vehicle makes a wider turn than was intentionally planned. (The rear wheels did not kick out enough)
This is a picture showing the blue groove as a green dotted line and the Red line represents the line that the car actually takes. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Understeer.svg
-Oversteer- When the vehicle made a tighter turn than was intentionally planned. (The rear wheels kicked out too far.)
This is a picture showing the blue groove as a green dotted line and the Red line represents the line that the car actually takes. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b1/Oversteer.svg
Okay, now I’m ready to tell you the best driver profile.
-Rational behavior- (meaning he/she does NOT use a Ballista Compact to force Big Rigs off the road). This driver is calm and collected in his/her thoughts. This driver recognizes an objective, and collects a rough plan of how to achieve it. (This may be as simple as going down an alleyway in the industrial district to lose a cop trail. But it is a plan.)
-Situational Awareness- This driver makes decisions based upon the situation; not by anger or fear. He/She is aware of the weather. (If it’s raining, the roads are wet, you have less traction, so maybe a super high powered sports car with a blown out back tire may not be the best idea. You’ll end up with a record number of spinouts in a one mile track. *HINT HINT*.) A good driver is also aware of the lay of the land, I.E.: driving a Buccaneer or a Landstalker ends up being really great if you are driving from point A to point B and you need a car capable of taking high amounts of damage, say… running into cop cars. But these might not be on the top of the list if you wanted to make a clean getaway through back alleys and then make a quick run through the park. So be aware of where you are going whether it is an open stretch of highway or a cramped alleyway somewhere in the dukes.
-Mini-map- This may be the most useful tool you ever receive. Many people can’t get to the end of the street without one. I am one of those people. Much of the information you need to know is within the confines of a small circle. One of the better features is the built in GPS route tracker, very handy when you need to get somewhere but you have no idea how to get there. Wow, what can't technology do…? Well I have the answer to that too, the route tracker will only actually tell you the shortest LEGAL route to your destination, most of the time there is a shortcut. Knowing them is key to evading cops, cutting your commute time in half, and speeding through those pesky intersections in Times Square. But those you have to find yourself. (I can’t tell you everything, that’s no fun.)
-Acceleration and Deceleration- These two things may be the hardest to master. Accelerating smoothly is easy enough but learning how to decelerate is a different story. Deceleration is not confined to pressing the brakes and calling it good. There are several ways to decelerate, -The Brakes- These are mighty useful little buggers. They usually do a good job in slowing and stopping the vehicle. The problem lies in that most of the time, when a driver wants to slow down they smash the L2 button into the controller, causing the wheels to lock up. We use the E-brakes for that! The new controllers have these amazing buttons, variable in fact, allowing for a controllable amount of brakes or throttle to be used. USE THEM! Don’t slam on the brakes, the resulting skid is less effective than pushing the brakes to the point where they almost lock-up but don’t. This allows the brakes to do their work to slow the car in a controlled manner. -The Throttle- In addition to speeding the car up, did you know that lifting off the throttle actually slows a car down? I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the concept but let's give it a try shall we? By lifting off the gas, you have allowed the cars back wheels to spin freely. Not under any power load. So the car will be less likely to break loose and understeer in corners. This is the alternative to smashing the gas and the brake at the same time.
-Sudden Deceleration- Hit something, preferably something that doesn’t move well. Primitive sounding isn’t it… but think of it this way, brakes don’t work well when you’re going 250mph, but an analog physical object, like say… another vehicle, doesn’t really give a crap how fast you’re going. So in extreme cases, this skill can be used.
-Cornering- This Driver can take any turn with ease, is able to gauge the size and power of his/her car, gauge the turn’s intensity and size, and gauge the traffic and situational factors, to complete the turn in the fashion he/she choose as the best fit.
Alright, that about sums up the ideal driver, now we will talk about how to become an ideal driver, most problems stem from a lack of cornering knowledge. So that’s what we will start with.
-Basic Cornering 101- Each turn involves four basic steps -Deceleration, a slowing of the vehicle to a speed in which the turn is possible. -Set up, a period in which the vehicle is set up to get the most out of a turn. -Coasting, a period which consists of the first half of the turn and a state in which neither the gas nor the brake are engaged. -Acceleration used in the back half of the turn. Easing onto the gas allows for a smooth take off.
So to summarize, slowly into the turn and quick out.
-Understeer and Oversteer- The two extremes of the cornering world. The trick that most people, even experienced drivers don’t see is that, while the extreme of both conditions is dangerous, each condition can be controlled, and used to some extent. Oversteer (defined in the vocabulary section) is the most useful, kicking the rear wheels out and being able to control that kick is crucial. That kick I’m referring to is the rotation of the cars rear end towards the outside of turn. Typically this is under power and feathering the throttle is used to control it, but in some rare cases the vehicle is oversteering on its own, in these cases feathering the brake is a crazy trick to try. Mastering the art of controlled oversteering, is just that a mastery, it’s difficult and at times frustrating, but when you get it down, the rewards are plentiful. Understeering is less of a science, if your vehicle is Understeering it’s probably heavy and you’re trying to make the vehicle move through the turn more quickly than is possible, the only real fix for understeer is to slow down, or you can use an oversteering technique, like cornering under power…
Cornering Under Power
Cornering under power is a tough prospect; it involves a skilled hand and a keen mind. To better understand how a car will react you need to understand a few key concepts.
-NOTE-I’m relatively sure if you’re reading this you have no idea how a video game’s physics work. In basis it’s the same as Earth Physics, maybe because that’s what we based it on, if you’re actually curious enough to want to learn about those things, look it up. But the big physics problems we have to deal with here are, Friction, Centrifugal force (To understand centrifugal force you need understand this, any object in motion has a tendency to stay in motion unless another force is exerted upon it. In other words when your car takes a turn, it doesn’t want to turn, you make it, the force of the front wheels working against the weight of the car forces the vehicle to conform and move in the desired direction otherwise your vehicle would continue in the direction that is so pleased, strait, until another force stopped it, like… a wall.), and counter effects. The great thing about physics is that everything is predictable, what happens today will happen exactly the same tomorrow. And each effect has a counter effect, whither you believe it or not you are always fighting against counter effects in everything you do. -NOTE-Each force that is exerted upon the vehicle creates a counter effect. Sometimes this counter effect is intentional, sometimes it’s not. An example of an intentional counter effect would be… If you floor it, the rear wheels will either spin, or push the vehicle foreword. An example of an unintentional counter effect would be… If you take a corner at high speed, the centrifugal force will pull the car outward (understeer), and if pivoting at the axis (the front axel) is easier than pulling the whole car out to the outside of the turn, The car will do just that and oversteer itself into a full-bodied spin.
To best lean how to corner under power, find a Sabre GT or a Dukes.
Cornering under power is a lot like basic cornering, it includes a lot of the same ideas, but it’s a bit more complicated, like 100mph and 400hp more complicated. So, as physics start to complicate things a bit, cornering becomes a little more technical.
To diagnose what you might be doing wrong. Find a large 90 degree turn, and drive your car through it as many times as you can faster and faster until you don’t make the turn. Now your car should have done one of these things, -(oversteer)You lost rear tire traction, and you spun out, if your car was a Sabre GT or a Dukes, it spun around the front axel and you ended up spinning 180 degrees around and pointing the wrong way. You probably use the power of the engine to slide around the turn. That’s what we are looking for, without the spinning out part. -(understeer)Your sweep of the turn became wider and wider until you had no more turn, you hit something very solid, and Niko flew out the windshield and had a bonding experience with the pavement.
One of these things should have happened if not, you’re either doing something very right, or very wrong. Not my problem. READ BOTH!
If you had the first result, you have the power part down, but you are unable to control the vehicle. You probably slide around the turn, in an arc-like manner. The problem you have occurs when your vehicle makes the transition from sliding comfortably in its arc to straitening out and driving in a forward motion. So you most likely lose it at the end of the turn, try to back off a bit, but still allow the rear axel of the car to swing out to the outside of the turn(controlled oversteer, remember feathering the throttle, giving the vehicle throttle makes the rear end swing towards the outside of the turn, while coming off the throttle brings the rear and the front end more inline with each other), and as the rear end swings out it will create a force wanting to push the vehicle to the inside of the turn, this alone without anything to keep the vehicle in check would end up spinning out the vehicle. So to counteract that inside force, turn the front wheels towards the outside edge of the turn. This creates a double negative, because the rear wheels are trying to push the vehicle towards the inside of the turn, and the front wheels are pushing towards the outside of the turn, you end up with a car facing half-sideways, and driving strait. When you have slid into the lane you wish to drive in let off throttle for a second (this should bring the rear wheels inline with the front wheels) and straiten out your steering, the vehicle should pull out strait again, and your end result is a fast way to go from sliding through a turn to driving forward.
If you got the second result, you’ve embraced basic cornering 101 and congrats you grasped that concept so well you wouldn’t allow yourself to let the back wheels lose, so you haven’t mastered the whole controlled oversteer deal. To remedy this, try to break the rear wheels free and slide through the turn. Then when you encounter the spinning out read the remedy for result one.