Review: City Car Driving

I recently had surgery on my right Achilles, and have been on a quest to improve my left-footed driving in the virtual world in preparation to driving left-footed in the real world. Towards that end, I decided to buy City Car Driving (Home Edition) because it’s supposed to be a realistic traffic simulator.

Not Kansas

I’ve driven in the US, Canada, and UK, and have been a passenger in cars in various parts of Central America and Western Europe. The traffic patterns in CCD are a little different from what I’ve seen, and I’m guessing the setting for this game is Russia.

Vehicles

CCD gives you plenty of vehicles to choose from right away, which include some familiar looking Japanese and European models as well as some that are probably Russian. Sorry, what I know about cars in the US is small, and anything outside of the US mostly non-existent. The Steam Workshop is full of additional vehicles. I paged through them and subscribed to a few favorites: Lancia Delta Integrale, Ford Crown Victoria, Honda CRX, Mazda Miata, and a 1990s Toyota Corolla.

Graphics

The graphics are charming. Meaning they are pretty low resolution and look on par with original rFactor. I have a pretty good graphics card, but on high resolution (which was still low quality) the game delivered about 85 fps rather than the 144 I was expecting to sync with my monitor. There is a lot going on in the game, however. This isn’t a racing sim with 10 cars on track. It’s a city sim with hundreds of vehicles as well as people. Maybe that’s the reason. Anyway, this is city driving and one doesn’t need more than about 30 FPS to be playable.

Controls

Setting up the driving controls was pretty straightforward. I’m using a Thrustmaster wheel and pedals, so I don’t know how difficult it would be if they were different devices. That said, the game had no problem recognizing and using my external hand brake.

The viewing system can use buttons, hat switches, keyboard, mouse, or even VR. I used buttons on my wheel for looking left, right, and back. Unfortunately, 3 buttons isn’t really enough to view around your car. The game really needs VR or a head-tracker (e.g. TrackIR) because operating the vehicle controls and the view controls at the same time is awkward.

Realism

The reason I got the software was for the realism. How realistic was it? If I had VR or TrackIR or something, I think it would be highly realistic. The other drivers act a lot like drivers in the real world. There are people who will cut you off and blow their horns. There are people who drive too slowly. There are confusing intersections with confusing signage. It felt a lot like driving in a foreign country. Also, like city driving, it wasn’t much fun. Just a lot of stop-n-go with your head on a swivel. For someone who has never driven before, I think this might be a decent training tool because the driving situations are complex and varied. I think the developers have done a really great job of making something that feels like actual driving. I don’t mean this from the perspective of physics, but from the behavior of the other drivers. I didn’t drive in such a way that I could really test the physics.

Refund

In order to get a refund via Steam, you have to stop playing before the 2 hour mark. So that’s what I did. I can’t imagine playing this for more than a few hours. But for someone who has never done any real driving, I think 10-20 hours would be a fun and practical introduction to real driving.

4 thoughts on “Review: City Car Driving

  1. I used to have serious fear of driving in traffic and playing a lot of CCD in VR was essential to getting over it. It’s not nearly as good as real driving instruction but unlimited hours of CCD for the price of one hour of instruction is a no brainer if you already have sim hardware.

    One thing worth mentioning that the game doesn’t make clear is that it actually has different maps depending on which location you choose. If you pick US you get 4-way stops and giant intersections and if you pick Europe you get a maze of obnoxious roundabouts. You also get location-appropriate signage and signals. Might be useful if you’re anxious about driving overseas.

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    1. I saw there were different locations, but in mine there were only 2. Maybe I did something wrong. The first time I drove in the UK, I spent several hours on the plane visualizing what it would be like to operate and drive on the other side. It helped a lot, but it would have been so much better to have CCD. There’s great educational potential here. It made me want a “world driving sim”. You know how you can fly anywhere in the world with the new Microsoft Flight Sim? Wouldn’t that be amazing in a car sim?

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  2. So not really much of a “game”, no plot no purpose no winning and no ultra violent encounters? Next version will be the “Tesla Full Self Driving Game” where you sit passively watching the monitor as the car does all of the driving. Wheeeee….

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    1. There are points for finishing various exercises and with enough points you can unlock special vehicles. Not really interesting to me. Speaking of self-driving Tesla fun, I wonder at what point you can sit in a passenger seat and watch as your Tesla navigates a racetrack, perform donuts, or drifts. The Stanford car already does this. With all the nannies in cars these days, are people even driving anymore?

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