Gaming Influence on Nissan's GT-R "Supercar" Dashboard Controls

I saw the San Diego premier of the Nissan GT-R Supercar at the San Diego International Autoshow during the last week of December.  The dashboard controls inside this car, as well as other Nissan vehicles admittedly have been strongly influenced by gaming.


Reading the literature from Nissan, the GT-R Supercar is a vehicle of mythic proportions.  For kicks check-out the GT-R website to learn about the legend that is the GT-R supercar.  Anyhow, …, I encountered this car at the San Diego International Auto at the end of this past December.  The sleek looking gleeming beauty was displayed on a rotation pedestal complete with a beautiful spokes model to to give us the 5-cent tour of the vehicle.  This car will be available in 2009 in the US at the amazing bargain price of $69K, $72K nicely equipped ;p.

My Dad’s instantly fell in love and has been a lover of Nissans sports cars since the early 70’s — yes, he still has an old non-functioning pea green Z-car in his garage.  Me, I’m less impressed by a race car exterior since my brain is always focused on visibility out the windows when considering a car (ever practical I guess).  What caught my attention was when the spokes model mentioned that this present incarnation of the vehicle first appeared as a prototype vehicle option in Project Gotham Racing 3 (XBox 360) and that the performance monitor interface was inspired by gaming.  Hmm … interesting.  So as I understand it, the “performance monitor” interface not only can be used to adjust features like climate control and the stereo system, but it can also be used to monitor and adjust engine and driving parameters.  Here are some further details from JD Power:


Technology
The 2009 GT-R is Nissan’s innovative technology platform designed with an elaborate array of advanced electronic computerized controls to make driving faster, easier and safer. The center of the dashboard hosts a row of switches to customize transmission shift points, choose one of three suspension settings, and change or override the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC-R). The driver is able to monitor more than a dozen engine and performance parameters through the multi-function LCD on the dashboard. These include vehicle speed, g-force, fuel economy, turbo boost, water pressure, oil pressure, transmission oil, front/rear drive distribution, steering angles, and more. The presentation of the information was designed in conjunction with Polyphony Digital Inc, designer of the Gran Turismo video game series for Sony PlayStation.
The standard electronics package is comprehensive. A 7-inch, touch-screen, WVGA high-resolution color LCD sits prominently in the dashboard to display GPS navigation, vehicle performance information, and audio selections. A digital Bose stereo with AM/FM in-dash 6-CD changer, HDD Music Box system, MP3, WMA and DVD audio capabilities is also standard. All GT-R models are equipped with a Bluetooth Hands-free phone system with voice recognition.


Wow!  That’s a high level of driver engagement!  One of the concepts the spokes model stressed is that the GT-R is meant to be driveable by anyone with a license, from novice to pro.  I wonder is this true with the peformance monitor interface, or is there a learning curve associated with how each of these parameters effects car performance.  Eitherway, I imagine for those who would buy this car, part of the fun will be learning how to use the performance monitor interface to enhance the driving experience and to track their preformance on their driving adventures.  I just hope that fun doesn’t lead to too many horrific traffic accidents.

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