The Dynapack is a type of “Dynamo” that is used to measure engine output, but unlike a roller type where the car is placed on top of the machine, the dynamo for applying load to the car is connected directly to the wheel hub of the drive wheels. Because it is connected directly to the hub, you don’t have to worry about tire slippage as you do using a roller type. You can then change the loads on the car as you like.
This means that you can almost completely recreate driving conditions with the car at a stand still.
We can do things that are like magic; like keeping the engine rpm exactly at 3000 rpm even at full throttle. Its easy on a Dynapack.
This makes it like a machine that was tailor made for recording engine sound.
Since then, we have asked Tanabe san of Amuse for his help in recording engine sound, and the cars with high quality sounds in Gran Turismo are generally those that have been recorded on the Dynapack.
So then it comes to, well, you should record all the cars on a Dynapack. But the problem is, a chassis dynamo is not a simple piece of equipment that a group of game creators could just pick up and use, and its not easy to carry this equipment to every place in the world where we data capture cars. It also doesn’t help that there aren’t enough people in the sound team.
And the biggest problem is that the sound recordings have not caught up to the increase in the number of cars.
But its something we have to do. Nowadays the equipment is starting to be built smaller as well.
And another piece of background regarding the general feedback that sound started to sound cheap since GT5, is not that the quality of the sound source had changed, but is in the fact that the method of creating a realistic and precise soundscape was improved first.
In order to make the system compatible with true surround sound, it was set up so that the positions of a massive number of sound sources within a space, and the directions of sound emissions were calculated precisely. And with automatic gain control, the audio level of the entire scene was output without overflowing and without distortion. This made it so that engine sounds that used to be overdriven and extremely distorted until GT4 was now ringing through clean without distortion, and with an old sound sampling the weakness of the sound source became very noticeable.
Automatic gain control that is unavoidable in producing precise sound is actually pretty difficult to match to human perception. A side effect of auto gain control is not being able to hear your engine sound when catching up to the car in front, or when the tires are screeching loudly.
And its also pains me that there are no sound engineers around anymore that can “make sound”.
20 years ago, there was a culture of sound synthesizers, where it was like “if you can’t record it, make it”. But since the advent of samplers, there are less and less people nowadays that are able to trace back sounds to their original principles of creation, and synthesize sounds that sound authentic.
Right now we are in the midst of making improvements regarding these issues, and I think we’ll be able to come up with results soon, but still there just isn’t enough staff.
So any sound engineers, recording engineers out there that are like “Hey let ME improve the sounds of Gran Turismo!”, we’re hiring. It should be pretty fun working to unravel the mysteries of sound from a technical point of view, and travel all over the world recording sounds in the process.
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