The Kinematic Subject

The Vehicular Experience of Speed and Automobility in Virtuality/Reality

motion; similar to that of a steadicam. For the benefit of the quality of mediated information, camera movements in cinematic films are heavily founded on the ideal of smooth motion, for the audience’s advantage of easy to perceive represented spatio-temporality. The space as seen through a jittery, shaky and violent interface of the camera/projector detracts from the quality and thus quantity of information that can be perceived and is thus generally discouraged, unless that is the desired effect. Additionally, a lack of information leads to uncertainty, which can provoke fear (and/or other emotions). However, for there to be any context to the smooth kinaesthesia of progression, there has to be bumps, inconsistencies, and aporia applied to the progression. This is in part provided by ecstasy, of the changing speed of progression, with each change being a significant event. It is additionally aided by the bumps and errors of the interfacial lack of buffers. It is only through context that data becomes meaningful information, and thus in the velocity of travel, chaotic violence provides the sense of a journey.

A few new racing simulators are progressing away from this trend of virtually rocket propelled vehicles and limited smooth motion. These include physics engines that are pre-modelled to simulate the travel medium which occurs in reality: the much more complex tyre-ground interface. The main result is that such games like that of Live For Speed exceed the motion quality of the vehicular trajectories of other ‘simulations’ (ie Gran Turismo 4 [Polyphony Digital, 2005]), for the main reason

that the basis of movement in reality is mirrored in the simulation engine.

The release of Live For Speed S2 (LFS Team, 2005) imposed an implicit change in driving attitudes in multiplayer servers due to the increased detail in physics modelling. Previously, in Live For Speed S1 (ibid) and most other racing simulations, there was no dynamic physics that changed the state of the vehicle according to how it was driven. Drivers could constantly sprint around the circuits, going as fast as possible, even in endurance races (a constant acceleration of stimuli). The introduction of the physics stopped this sprinting, because the vehicle handling changes according to how it is driven. Instead, in order to survive and finish the race, drivers have to strategise by monitoring the state of the vehicle, and slowing down accordingly. [This then results in a break in the rate of stimuli projection, which allows for an increased response time and thus arguably less concentration].