Can you tell this car isn’t real? HDR makes this popular car game unbelievably believable

Games are constantly getting more realistic looking, thanks to bigger budgets for artists, more powerful systems, and advancements in technology. For a long time, it’s always felt like we’ve been on the cusp and just about ready to cross over to the point where games become photo-realistic.

Racing games are usually at the forefront when it comes to realism, and these new shots of cars from the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport are taking things to the next level.

Chances are, your monitor uses the RGB format to display color. The problem is that this format lacks certain depths that are required in order to get closer to photorealism, so our eyes and our brains are still quite adept at telling the difference between a real car and a car in a game.

Even as you read this right now, and look at the pictures of the cars in Gran Turismo Sport, it’s not quite there… but Sony has plans to change that.

Here’s a quote from Kazunori Yamauchi, a producer for GT Sport: 

“Over 10 percent of the cars in the real world that have been included in Gran Turismo in the past were actually outside the color range of the sRGB that TVs were compatible with,”

“The world of HDR is something that most of the world hasn’t stepped into. It’s really uncharted territory… Three years ago when we started developing Gran Turismo Sport, there were actually no HDR images anywhere in the world.”

“In order to make the game compatible with HDR, we had to start by developing a camera that can actually capture the world within HDR format,” he said. “As a result, we ended up developing a camera that has 100 times the dynamic range over a standard digital camera today.”

It’s going to be a while until household TV’s are anywhere near displaying the detail and accuracy of this game. Here’s some perspective about “nits”, the unit of measurement for light intensity.

  • 100 nits: This is the amount of light intensity from a standard television.
  • 1,000 nits: Blu-ray and HDR movie theaters are hitting around this amount.
  • 1,500 nits: The TV used in the Gran Turismo Sport demo.
  • 10,000 nits: The total amount supported by this game.

Presumably, this game is going to age very well, as it’ll be a very long  time until our displays are even remotely close to taking advantage.

Sony have added HDR support to existing PS4 consoles, along with the PS4 Pro, so if you have a TV that supports it, you’re in for a visual treat.