Gran Turismo 4 Photo mode exposed

Kazunori Yamauchi, boss of Gran Turismo 4 developers Polyphony Digital, has revealed more details about the game's newly-announced Photo mode. Designed to enhance the non-driving segments of the game, the function - which Yamauchi says offers "a new way for players to enjoy Gran Turismo from a different angle, with infinite possibilities" - basically allows you to save and print images from the game.

The inspiration for the slightly odd-sounding feature is that it combines Yamauchi's twin passions of cars and photography. There are 16 locations designed specifically for it, as well as the game's full array of over 50 courses, all of which are available in the mode. All of GT4's 500-plus cars can be used.

The 'photos' themselves make use of a variety of virtual photography techniques, from motion blur to being able to fiddle with lenses and filters. The finished images can either be viewed via the built-in slideshow function, printed off via a USB printer connected to your PS2 or, if you've got a network adaptor, you'll be able to send the photos to your mates. Lucky them.

In other GT4 news, Yamauchi stated that the total of over 500 vehicles will represent 80 different manufacturers and cover anything from 1886's Model T Ford all the way up to the recently-released BMW 1 series. Whatever way you look at it, that's a whole lot of cars. As such, a new interface allows you to select vehicles by manufacturer or era, with a little graph showing the cars available to you based on the criteria you set.

Yamauchi also announced three new courses for the game: Hong Kong, Costa and Nurburgring Nordschleife, a 13 mile long track which the Polyphony president says he's dreamed of including in a game since 1992. It's the world's longest and most challenging circuit - it includes a staggering 176 turns - and is the benchmark track for manufacturers who are developing sports cars. As such, it was originally thought that it would be impossible to fit into a PS2 game.

Finally, the GT universe will include a massive 21 options under the umbrellas of Race Area, Car Area and Facilities. Some of these are: Event Hall, Arcade Arena, Power and Speed, Museum, GT Bank, Paint Shop, Tuning World, Flea Market, Licence Centre, Drift Contest and, er, Parking. Suffice to say, come the game's November release, there'll be plenty in there to keep you busy.