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    Drift FAQ by Veen

    Version: 1.1 | Updated: 03/29/04 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Drift FAQ - Need for Speed: Underground
    v1.0             by Veen
    ii. CONTENTS
    1. Introduction
    	1.1. What is Drifting?
    	1.2. What is Drifting In-Game?
    	1.3. Which Car Should I Pick?
    2. Control
    	2.1. Game controls
    	      a. A Quick Note on Countersteer
    	2.2. Drift Techniques
    	      a. Handbrake
    	      b. Braking Drift
    	      c. Power Over Drift
    	      d. Inertia Drift
    	      e. Choku-Dori
    	2.3. Chaining
    	2.4. Turbo or NA?
    3. Misc
    	3.1. Drift Ranks
    	3.2. Specific Car Help
    	      a. Nissan 240sx
    	      b. Mazda Miata
    	      c. Mazda RX-7
    	      d. Toyota Supra
    	      e. Honda S2000
    	      f. Subaru Impreza
    	      g. Mitsubishi Lancer
    	      h. Nissan Skyline R34
    4. Conclusion
    5. Contributors and Version History
         All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by
    their respective trademark and copyright holders.
         This FAQ is intended for general use.  You may post this on your site
    or wherever, provided that you leave everything in this file intact the way
    it is.  Do not modify it in any way, shape, or form.  If you see this FAQ
    modified elsewhere, notify me at veen@phreaker.net, with the phrase "DRIFT
    FAQ" without quotes in the header of your e-mail.
         I make references in this FAQ to certain styles of driving that could be
    possibly transfered over into real life.  However, it is important that you
    remember that this is a game, and that the people who do this in real life are
    professionals and quite experienced at what they do.  Just because you can do
    it in NFS:U doesn't mean you can go do it in real life.  As such, you hold
    yourself and yourself alone responsible if you go try this in your real car
    and hurt anyone or anything.  Follow traffic laws and always use your turn
    signals and seatbelt.  That being said... let's move on.
    1. Introduction
    1.1. What is Drifting?
         Drifting is a variation of motorsports that originated in Japan.  As
    opposed to most types of driving, which require a driver to reach a certain
    point first, or in the shortest amount of time to be declared the winner,
    drifting relies more on style than anything else.  How far sideways you send
    the car, and how stylish in general your drift is, the better you score.
         This type of driving has now migrated all over the world, and various
    organizations have begun to support it.  Chances are if you live in any
    fairly large city, you can find a drift team or organization around yourself.
    The best part about it is that you don't need to be rich to compete.  If you
    have a fairly well balanced car, you can do it.  It just takes finesse with
    the controls and a feel for the car.  Obviously RWD helps, but isn't neccesary.
    Due to the magic of the handbrake, even FF econoboxes can drift with some work.
    1.2. What is Drifting In-Game?
         Drifting in Need for Speed: Underground has to be one of the most
    frustrating parts of the game.  It has a fairly steep learning curve, it's,
    tough to win consistently in the beginning of Underground mode, you can't feel
    the car adequately through your controller, and it's also the most fun mode in
    the game.
         That's right, this is actually really fun once you learn how to do it.
    The trick is getting over that steep learning curve.  Once you learn to
    control the car solely from visual feedback, you will find that it's
    incredibly easy to progress from there.  Don't be discouraged by constant
    losses, once you hit that plateau it's all downhill from there.
    1.3. Which Car Should I Pick?
         This is almost entirely a personal preference issue.  Due to the fact
    that the game exaggerates physics for the drift mode, you can get away with
    picking a FF car.  I really can't reccomend it, as this is going to hinder you
    once you graduate from Easy mode.  Besides, FF is probably the worst
    drivetrain you could have for any type of race.  Go with AWD or RWD.  With the
    exception of the Nissan Skyline R34, any of the AWD cars will drift well
    enough to be competitive.  They will just require a bit more work and finesse,
    and use of the e-brake.  I'll touch more on some of the best cars later on.
         For now, pick the best RWD or AWD car you have available in Underground
    Mode. It will see you through just fine, and still be a nice contender for the
    rest of the modes.  See?  It's getting easier already.
    2. Controls
    2.1. Game Controls
         The game controls you will want to have bound to your wheel, joystick, or
    pad are as follows.
    -Shift Up
    -Shift Down
         That's all you need.  NOS is not available in this mode, you don't need
    to look around you, and you won't need that horn or anything, either.  Also,
    the first thing you should do when you start the drift mode is to hit the view
    change button three times.  This will put you in the "bumper cam."  If you
    absolutely despise racing in this view, just learn how to do it.  You actually
    drift more effectively if you use this view than you would any of the outside
    views, and you become a better driver overall in the other race modes.  You
    get a feel for where the car is really quick, and after a few seconds in this
    mode it's literally a non-issue.
    a.  A Quick Note on Countersteer
         A quick note on countersteering.  I will refer to this a few times in the
    upcoming techniques.  The basic concept of this, and the easiest way to
    remember how exactly to do it, is "steer where you want to go."  This is also
    a nice technique that works in real life, if your car starts sliding out of
    control and you need to get it back.  Technically, countersteer is where you
    turn the front wheels into the direction that your back end is skidding, thus
    providing resistance against the skid, and keeping the tail under control,
    thereby minimizing your chances of spinning out.  Put simply, when this word
    is said in this FAQ, point the wheels down the track where you want to go.  :)
    2.2. Basic Techniques
         Ok, now we get into the juicy stuff.  The Drift Techniques.  First thing
    is first though, make sure the text below lines up.  Otherwise this is not
    going to make any sense at all to you.
         First technique up to bat is the Handbrake Drift
    a.  Handbrake
         This is probably the simplest drift.  This is done almost as it is in
    real life, though try to remember that this is a game, and does not behave
    that close to real physics.  It's an arcade simulation, and close, and it WILL
    give you an idea of how to do this in real life, but don't try it unless you
    really know what you're doing.
         Anyways, on with it.  Here's your turn.  You are the car "240," going
    "up," making this a left turn.
    ______________   &       \
                  \           \
                   |           |
                   |           |
                   |       *   |
                   |           |
                   |       2   |
                   |       4   |
                   |       0   |
         You should approach this at a fairly decent speed, maybe about 60mph.
    Most turns in the game will do well at this speed in Drift Mode.  Remember,
    you aren't trying to get to the line first, you're doing this with style.  If
    you have to brake before most of your turns, you're driving too fast.  Keep
    the car in control.  You'll get a feel for how fast is too fast when you
    start slamming into walls and skidding (not drifting) out of control, or for
    too slow when the car just goes sideways a bit and stops dead in its tracks.
         Take this turn above.  For the handbrake drift, you should start turning
    the wheel at the *, and hold the handbrake for about a half second to one
    second at the &.  Aim for the inside of the turn so that when your back end
    kicks around, you can have room to control it.  This will send the tail
    around, and you will probably need to feather the throttle and countersteer.
    The idea is to keep the tail in control and your car moving.  The handbrake
    just helps you get there.  This is the easiest drift to do, and once you learn
    it, you'll only need to use it for a short time.  Especially once your car
    gets more power.  Just practice this until you get the hang of sending the
    tail out and keeping control of it.
         If you're driving a manual, you'll want to shift to 2nd or 3rd when you
    start to go sideways, so that you have enough power to control the back end.
    This is done fairly decently if you let the computer handle the shifting, but
    it's much more rewarding to do it yourself.
         Next up, we have the Braking Drift.
    b.  Braking Drift
         This drift works well for hairpin turns.  The handbrake would only send
    you into the wall in one of these turns, so we need something a bit more
    controlled.  Hence, we just hit the brakes as usual.  This will also have the
    added advantage of disturbing the weight transfer of the car in such a way
    that a drift will be induced.  You would brake a lot later than you normally
    would in a regular race to get this one going, and contrary to what is usually
    ideal, you actually steer WHILE braking with this.  Observe
      /                 \
     /     _*-----&-     \
    /     /    __         \
    |    /     ||          |
    |   *      ||          |
    |  /       ||          |
    | 2        ||          |
    | 4        ||          |
    | 0        ||          |
         Once more, you are the 240, heading up, making a right turn this time.
    Try to steer the car to follow the line up there, but start your braking at
    the first *.  Your car will start to skid.  Let off the brake at around the
    second *, and slam on the gas at the & to turn this skid into a drift.
    Countersteer the car and feather the throttle to keep it under control, and
    you should have just taken a hairpin turn with a Great or Superb drift.
    Other cars may require different braking points or acceleration points, but if
    it's one of the RWDs, this will serve as a good starting point.
         For manual drivers, shift to 2nd or 3rd, whichever pulls you through
    drifts better, as you start braking.  Any sooner and you don't brake well
    enough to pull off the hairpin, any longer and you lose too much power to make
    an effective drift.
         Next up, we have my favorite, the Power Over Drift.
    c.  Power Over Drift
         This one is so simple it's funny.  It's also the easiest to pull off once
    you've mastered the art of keeping the rear under control.  You can approach
    turns really fast with this one, go through them at a blistering speed, and
    come out with plenty more speed for the next drift.  The only downfall is that
    you need a RWD to pull this off successfully.  FWDs just don't cut it, and the
    AWDs are pretty iffy.
    ______________           \
                  \           \
                   |           |
                   |       &   |
                   |           |
                   |           |
                   |       2   |
                   |       4   |
                   |       0   |
         Now eariler, I told you to approach this very same turn and to brake
    where that & is.  We're going to do this similar, but you're going to approach
    it at a medium to low speed.  Next you steer AND mash the gas at that &.
    Using the steering and throttle of your car, keep it going at about a 20-45
    degree angle through the turn and as far into the straight as you can.  This
    won't get you sideways too much, but it'll get you going fast enough to
    overcome that pointwise.  You CAN get the car to go sideways, but you'll
    really have trouble coming out of it and setting up for the next turn.
    Eventually, you'll be able to pull this off at really high speeds.  For now,
    just learn to do it from a slow start.
         The beauty of this drift is it's ease of use.  Once you learn it, it'll
    be your primary mode of drifting.  You can eventually just power over through
    hairpins, low speed turns, high speed turns, and most anything else.  No
    handbrake involved.  This is the beauty of RWD, right here.
         I'd reccomend third gear for doing something like this.  It should give
    you enough torque to control the drift, and enough power to keep the car going
    at a nice speed.  Shift into third as you turn the wheel and mash the gas at
    that &.
         Next up we have a little gem known as the Inertia Drift.
    d.  Inertia Drift
         This is a godsend for you FF drifters.  It's about the only way, save
    some handbrake work, that you'll ever see a drift in this game.
    Unfortunately, it can't be continued or done fast enough to score enough
    points to really win.  Still, if you want to go ahead and try, here it is.
                 _________  \
    ______________        \_ \
                  \         \ \
                   |         1 |
                   |        /  |
                   |       /   |
                   |      /    |
                   |      G    |
                   |      T    |
                   |      I    |
         Approach this turn at a slow speed.  Nothing above 55 or so until you
    learn this particular technique.  At this point, steer the car to follow the
    first line off to the right.  When you get to about that 1, you jam the wheel
    back left.  What this does in real life, is compresses the shocks and springs
    on the left side of the car, and then springs the weight back over to the
    right side, upsetting traction and sending the car into a drift.  Since you
    can't sense how compressed your shocks are in NFS:U, you'll need to practice
    this a lot before you can do it well enough to even try to compete.
         This also works for RWD and AWD cars, which have a lot better luck with
    it.  In these vehicles, after you jam the wheel back left, you can downshift
    and feather the throttle to control the drift like you would any other.
         If you're in a FF, you may as well just downshift to 1st or 2nd and floor
    it after you hit the 1 to keep the wheels spinning.  In a RWD or AWD, second
    or third should suffice.
         Next up is another useful little trick for getting points.  The
    Choku-Dori Drift.
    e.  Choku-Dori Drift
         This is a fancy way to say "swaying" drift.  A RWD exclusive, it's one
    nice trick for either continuing a chained drift, or just getting some extra
    points.  It is usually done on a straight, but some turns, like the doglegs in
    Drift Track 2, actually require this technique for maximum points.
    |      |      |
    |      *      |
    |      |      |
    |      |      |
    |      |      |
    |      |      |
    |      |      |
    |      *      |
    |      |      |
    |      |      |
    |      |      |
    |      |      |
    |      *      |
    |      2      |
    |      4      |
    |      0      |
    |             |
         To start with, just find a straight and do this SLOWLY.  Go about 40mph
    or less, and go in a straight line.  At the first *, jam the wheel left and
    hit the gas.  Immediately countersteer to the right, let off the gas.  The
    tail should be coming back straight now.  When it gets straight, or just
    before, gun the gas again.  Countersteer back to the left, and repeat the
    throttle dance you just did.  At each * you should send the tail in it's
    opposite direction.  Keep this up as long as you can.
         The real use of this is to continue a drift.  For example, coming out of
    a left drift with another left turn up ahead, the rear will be out to your
    right.  You can use this technique to kick the rear back to the right, and
    then back left again in time for the new drift to the left.  This will chain
    two drifts, and keep the point total going up.  Two 2,500 drifts could easily
    become a 10,000 Superb.
         As with most other drifts, second or third should suffice.  Third if
    you're going faster, second if you're going slower.  Keeping enough power to
    keep the rear swinging is the key here.  Not having enough to keep it swinging
    will kill this drift.
    2.3. Chaining
         Go out and practice these drifts until you can pull them off whenever you
    want.  The goal is to get to know which drift to pick for which turns.  When
    you achieve this, then it's time to move on to chaining.
         The problem with writing a FAQ on this, is that drifting is hardly an
    exact science.  There's also plenty of different ways for different drivers to
    do the same turn equally well.  By now though, you should know which drifts
    you prefer.  Time to chain them together.
         You should now have a good feeling over the car, and be able to tell what
    the rear end is going to do at any given moment.  Using the drifts above, just
    keep it going as long as you possibly can.  Choku-Dori through the straights,
    do a braking drift through one turn and then hit the gas for a power over into
    the next, the possibilities are literally endless.
         For practice, here's two drills you can do.  First off, try to chain a
    drift through an entire lap of Drift Track 1.  This will require you to
    choku-dori into a power over drift, and then do it back into a choku-dori.
    Secondly, try to score an Insane Drift on Drift Track 2.  This will require
    you to either modify the choku-dori to clear the doglegs, or inertia drift
    through them into a power over.  It can be done either way though, and this is
    probably the easiest track to score an Insane Drift on.
    2.4. Turbo or NA?
         This is about the only real bit of tuning you can do to your car, and it can
    make a big difference.  Some cars don't come stock with a turbo, and you may want
    to keep it this way.  A turbo will take a small amount of time to spool up, and if
    you are feathering the throttle, this might interfere with your driving enough
    that you may want to remove the device.  It's really a matter of taste.  I prefer
    to keep the maximum turbo kit on, as I like the additional power and can
    compensate for it, but others may prefer the finer control that keeping it off can
    give you.
         Some cars do come with a turbo, however.  This is unfortunate, because it
    forces you to use a turbo.  If the car is a turbo, you may as well just go with
    the maximum turbo kit to remove most of that turbo lag.  Usually the car will be
    manageable, even if dealing with the lag drives you nuts.
    3. Misc
    3.1. Drift Ranks
         The ranks for the drifts are as follows.
    Good Drift        1,000
    Great Drift       3,000
    Superb!           7,000
    Colossal!        15,000
    Outrageous!      20,000
    Insane Drift!    50,000
    Drift King!     100,000
         As far as I know, Drift King is the highest, and kicks in at around
    100,000 points in a single drift.  You can pull this off, and it is, in fact,
    quite insane to do and/or see.
    3.2. Specific Car Help
         This section is for help with specific cars.  Each one is different, and
    these are the ones I personally reccomend.  I will try my best to categorize
    their weakness and strength.  I have also put in which cars are NA (or naturally
    aspirated, the cars that come stock without a turbo), and which are turboed.  The
    drivelines of the cars are also here for easy reference.
    a.  Nissan 240sx
    Engine Type: NA, FR
         This car is the simplest to start drifting with.  It's probably the
    second best drifting car in the game, tied with the RX-7.  The tail will fly out
    at your whim with a touch of throttle, and it stays well under control when you
    want it to.  That and the fact that it's an excellent little contender for all
    the OTHER modes of Underground make it probably the best one to choose for quite
    some time.
    b.  Mazda Miata
    Engine Type: NA, FR
         Technically the best drifting car in the game.  It sticks to the ground
    at VERY high speeds in the drift physics, but if you just hold the throttle in
    and jam the wheel to the left or the right, it'll go into an excellent power
    over drift without complaining.  Let off the gas and steer the other way and
    you can transistion into a choku-dori no problem.  Chaining drifts in this
    thing is easy, power overing is easy, everything about this car is easy.  Its
    only downfall is it's squirreliness in other game modes.  Fortunately, you can
    just choose this car for drifting anywhere but Underground mode and not have
    to worry about this.  A very sweet car.
    c.  Mazda RX-7
    Engine Type: Turbo, FR
         Once you unlock this car in Underground mode, I would strongly suggest you
    snag it.  It's excellent in most any form of racing, but it absolutely rules at
    drifting.  It takes the versatility of the 240sx, and the speed of the Miata, and
    gives it to you in one very nice package.  If you love RWD, this will probably be
    your main car throughout Underground mode once it's unlocked, and possibly through
    other modes too.
    d.  Toyota Supra
    Engine Type: NA, FR
         This car requires finesse.  Out of all the RWDs, this one is probably the
    worst.  You have to take it slow, you have to carefully plan your drifts, you
    have to make sure your foot is so fine on the throttle it's almost scary.
    However, you can still pull off decent drifts in it, so long as you're smooth
    on the controls.  I can not stress this enough.  Your movements need to flow
    like water with this car.
    e.  Honda S2000
    Drivetrain: NA, FR
         This car is a middle ground between the Miata and the 240sx.  It goes
    faster than the 240sx, but still requires a bit of skill to successfully
    chain drifts with.  Not a bad choice, though I'd honestly prefer the 240sx.
    f.  Subaru Impreza
    Drivetrain: NA, AWD
         I think this car is supposed to be AWD, but it behaves more like a RWD.
    It's just as good as the Honda S2000, though I think the S2000 is mildly better
    at drift.  Still, the Impreza drives drift mode just like it was a rally race.
    It's not a bad car for other modes either, and the only glaring weakness it has
    is just a bit of trouble chaining some extended drifts.
    g.  Mitsubishi Lancer
    Engine Type: NA, FF
         A bit more sluggish than the Impreza, and a bit harder to control.  Still
    better than the Supra, but doesn't really compare to the real drift kings like
    the 240sx or the Miata.  Great for other game modes though, so it's liveable.
    It would also appear to be the baseline FF, not the AWD Evo, but it drifts like
    an AWD in game.  If you absolutely HAVE to drive FF, at least pick this car.
    h.  Nissan Skyline R34
    Engine Type: Turbo, AWD
         At first glance, this would appear to be a horrible choice for drifting.
    However, the AWD platform and insane amounts of horsepower help it pull
    through any drift with incredible control.  It almost behaves like a RWD in
    drift mode, possibly to replicate disabling the front wheels for the event.
    You can chain some fairly long drifts, you just have to use the handbrake to
    keep them going.  The power the car has will more than make up for its weight
    though, and the control it gives in the rest of Underground mode make this a
    wise choice once you unlock it.  You can at least muscle through the rest of
    drift mode with it, or just temporarily swap to a Miata and back.
    4. Conclusion
         Well that's about it.  This should serve as a rather nice primer for
    drifting, and at least get you started.  Just remember to take it easy, relax,
    and be smooth.  Your movements should be fluid and relaxed.  This doesn't go
    just for drift, this goes for all forms of driving.  If you have questions,
    you may e-mail me at veen@phreaker.net, and if you see something I haven't
    covered, feel free to let me know.  I will keep updating this FAQ as new
    questions and information come in.  Just put "DRIFT FAQ" without the quotes
    somewhere in the title of the e-mail so that my spam filter knows to save it
    and not throw it out.
         With all that said, I wish you all good luck.  Drift On!
    5. Contributors and Version History
         This section will contain the version history, and a list of contributors
    that have helped out on this FAQ, be it by sending me information, pointing out
    mistakes, or whatnot.
    D12ift 2 Win - For pointing out that I completely forgot a staple of
    drifting, the Mazda RX-7, and pointing out that I should probably mention turbo
    Numerous - Drift King ranking at 100,000, which I also confirmed myself.  Thanks
    for letting me know about this one.
    Version History:
    1.0 - 3/10/2004 - The First
    1.1 - 3/29/2004 - Whoops, forgot the RX-7, Whoops, forgot to put the drivetrains,
    also added a small bit on turbos and turbo lag in Section 2.4., and confirmed and
    added the Drift King! score.
    Copyright Brent Pedigo 2004