DIRT 5 shows racers are ready to create their own tracks

Racing fans love a historic venue. Who doesn't immediately try out Spa or Monza when they load up a new game, or check to see if Imola and Le Mans are on it? But that can easily lead to races that are... samey.

The reintroduction of circuits like Istanbul Park and the Nurburgring gave F1 fans a taste of fresh venues, while Portimao and Mugello were easily the most anticipated races of the year thanks to the complete unknown they provided.

While some games, like Need For Speed and Forza Horizon, do create their own circuits out of the landscape they drop you in, it is rare that it lets you create a circuit yourself.

This year that has changed, and it could just be the first step.

The creativity of Playgrounds

DIRT 5 landed at the start of November, and has introduced something really remarkable to the racing genre.

While it's original locations and tracks are visually staggering and provide some amazing races, it is the arena creator "Playgrounds" that we keep going back to.

dirt 5 playgrounds
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ALL FUN AND GAMES: Playgrounds holds some sensational creations

Here, you have a thousands of objects and huge space to play with. You can create anything from a simple layout with a few jumps to a track that can take 10+ minutes to complete.

Some of the creations are mind-blowing and provide a racing challenge like nothing else.

The success of this mode, both from a creator and a user perspective, has shown one simple thing. The racing community needs a full track creation option.

Make your masterpiece

There are countless videos and articles out there about "making my dream track".

The imagination can run wild, and racers regularly come up with ideas that would take you from Eau Rouge & Radillon into the Maggots/Becketts complex and then the Ascari chicane. But what if you could actually do that in a game?

trackmania builder
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TRACKMANIA: This ultra-arcade racer let's you build your way

Just like in DIRT 5's Playgrounds, the possibilities would be endless. You could pick the topography and climate. Do you want a flat desert setting or the Ardennes Forest? and then go about building your dream circuit. Link Bahrain's dog-leg turns 1-3 to the sweep of Stowe and then the Suzuka Esses.

Sure, more often than not racers would create a circuit that melts tyres and results in a few accidents, but the virtual world should make those things irrelevant.

The power of next-gen

While most sim racing takes place on PC, appealing to the broader market has always been key for games, and that means making it on console too.

With the next-gen machines now out and proving to be every bit as powerful as Sony and Microsoft promised, there is no reason a game couldn't arrive with a truly powerful track creator that lets you live out your dreams.

gran turismo 7
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IN COMING: It's unlikely that GT7 will have a feature like this

Some old games, like Gran Turismo 5, had a fairly basic option like this, while TrackMania is making a killing with its track builder for stunts and aerial acrobatics.

Putting that into a more sim-based game would be a winner for everyone.

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