Autoblog interview w/ Dan Greenawalt on track building

There’s an article and then detailed Q&A if you click on the Press Release button.


Can you describe the equipment used to scan a track? How big is the onsite crew?
From start to finish, how long does it take to create a new track for Forza 5?
What would the timeline for a very long track – oh, say the Nürburgring Nordschleife – look like?
How is the scanning/track creation process is different now than it might have been in previous iterations of the game?
What’s the rationale for the mix of fictional to real-life race tracks in the current game?
Can we continue to expect a regular cadence of DLC tracks as Forza 5 lives on?
Step-By-Step Walkthrough of Turn 10 Track Building Process

These are the general processes (with some added background on data) the Turn 10 Studios team follows.

  1. Pre-Production: Source Track
  • Reference track: Gather on average tens of thousands of photographs for location and color reference, laser scan proposed track route and surrounding area
    – Team captures more than 1.4 billion data points per track, resulting in sub-centimeter positional accuracy for unique surfaces, routes, and surrounding environments.
  • Organize reference material
    – Reference material includes location statistics like surface materials, local architecture, vegetation, etc.
  • Track story/workbook created
    – Background for track is discussed, to be included in descriptions for the game. Team sets internal build schedule and estimate delivery cadence.
  1. Course Mapped: Fully integrated into Forza engine
  • Build track outline, test game play
    – Laser scan composites are added into the game
  • Create AI splines
    – Determine and build starting grid location
  • Create track in database
    – Track will now become part of the official Forza daily build
  1. Rough Build: Memory & performance footprint are tested in-engine
  • All objects are placed in their foot printed area
    – The team added more than 200 percent increase in the number of distinct objects that make up the body of a track.
  • Forza Surface Based Materials properties assigned
    – “Forza Motorsport 5” tracks have 6x more unique materials than in “Forza Motorsport 4.”
  1. Refine Build: All rough assets replaced with actual models, textures, & shaders
  • Make all elements “shippable”
  • Licensing – all real-life elements (track signage, advertising, etc.) approved and signed-off by partners
  • Extensive bug testing, refining of materials and play experience
  1. Polish Build: Bug fixes, visual polish, & performance optimizations
  • Work with Environment Leads to prioritize assets to be polished
  • Testing by test leads
  1. Final Build Finish and Release: Final updates
  • Comprehensive bug sweep, preparation for delivery to customers

Sounds like more will be added to FM5 which is good news.

Hopefully every nitwit who whines that there aren’t enough tracks and how ‘easy’ it is to add them if they’ve been in other forzas, reads this, understands, and shuts up about how Turn 10 sucks.

Keep on keeping on Dan and the team, you guys rock!

Thanks OP for a great informative post. It seems to be harder to make a track for F5 than it is in real life, lol


Good news…i’ll buy another XBox One at a vastly reduced price (plus hopefully a better wheel option will be available by then) when the next game comes out with all the tracks included from the get go & hopefully the content & features that made this franchise what is was, more than just a game, also a great community experience.
Forza 6 should be a great sequel, looking forward to it.

Thanks for posting the article. As someone who’s not so technically savvy, I get a big kick out learning about how these folks do their thing. It’s interesting to get a glimpse at how the track building process has evolved from the original game. I figured it was a pretty involved, but I’ve got a new respect for it after reading about it.

On a facetious sidenote: I was talking to my neighbor this evening and he told me that his cousins best friends fathers room mate works overnight cleaning the offices at SmartGeoMetrics; the company that does the laser scanning. What he had said was that they had gone to Nurburgring to scan the track in October, but the bellhop dropped the laser unit when they got to their hotel, since he had drank too much at Oktoberfest. As a result, the crew needed to have a new lens shipped to them, but it was going to take 5 days and it was supposed to rain for a solid week. They just decided to bag it, so there will be no Nurburgring until Forza 6.