Interviews VVV interviews Dan Greenawalt

Interviews

Alan Boiston

Founder & Website Editor

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When a racing title the size and quality of the Forza Motorsport franchise comes along, it's a relief that it's in the hands of the right people, and that these people have been given the opportunity and control they need to make it happen. It's also interesting to see how Microsoft as a company are still so open and flexible to learn from their audience – many of the racing community can confess to knowing or at least conversing with some of the Turn 10 crew – and so few developers are this open or interested in wider opinion.

Of course every ship needs its captain. and in the case of FM3 that man is Dan Greenawalt. He has an interesting background that comes from a different perspective to many in the industry. but it's this that gives him that unique insight into his interpretation of game development, along with the organisational and communication skills needed to back it up. Essentially, it becomes less hands-on and more about how you manage your resources.

We were lucky enough to grab a word with Dan at the recent press conference for FM3 revealing the final code besides many more examples that make this game a truly benchmark performer.

Lets learn about Dan

Dan Greenawalt is the Game Director of Turn 10’s critically acclaimed racing simulation franchise “Forza Motorsport” on the Xbox platform. Greenawalt is the franchise’s visionary, leading the team that brought the groundbreaking “Forza Motorsport” and its sequel “Forza Motorsport 2” from dream to reality. His extensive knowledge of automobiles and car culture allows him to lead the team of talented and passionate individuals that make up Turn 10. Greenawalt and Turn 10 are driven to deliver the most compelling, engaging and realistic car game possible.

Though born in Pittsburg, Greenawalt grew up in the Seattle area. His love of gaming began early in life as he competed in “Street Fighter II” tournaments at Seattle area arcades. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Comparative Religion from The Colorado College. Before joining Microsoft, he taught at various martial arts studios and competed in Mixed Martial Arts tournaments.

Greenawalt’s introduction to the gaming industry came in 1997, when he joined Microsoft as a Tester. After two years of contract work, he was hired as a Lead Tester and quickly moved into Design, eventually becoming the Lead Game Designer of “Forza Motorsport.” His past projects include “NBA Inside Drive 2000,” “Motocross Madness 2,” “Midtown Madness 2,” “Midtown Madness 3”, “Rallisport Challenge”, “Project Gotham Racing,” and of course “Forza Motorsport 2.”

Greenawalt’s personal highlight from the development of the original “Forza Motorsport” came during Popular Science April 2005 cover feature called “Virtual vs. Reality, Can You Tell the Difference – at 150 mph?” He was able to play the role of crew chief with professional race car driver Gunnar Jeannette by tuning virtual versions of his real-world race cars. This experience proved to be instrumental in defining “Forza Motorsport’s” lifelike physics system.

His love of cars began in the late 90’s when, inspired by his own love of racing games, he started his first project car. He stripped down and rebuilt a 1970’s Toyota Corolla for rallycross and autocross racing. Since then he tuned a lightly modified 1991 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4 and currently drives a heavily modified 2000 Audi S4.

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