Renato SimioniAdministratorStaff Member
Hello again folks!
October has come and gone – another month of intense work for us as we enter the latter stage of Automobilista 2 development before its initial release.
After months grinding away producing, updating and exporting a large number of cars and tracks, figuring the ins and outs of the new game engine and developing the required additional resources, things are now beginning to take form and potential is starting to turn into reality as the focus shifts from assembling the meat and bones of the sim to fine tuning the game into a cohesive whole.
There´s a lot of work still to be done to achieve that, so let´s go over where we are
AMS2 Release Schedule Update
Beginning with what may not be so good news – although things have been progressing nicely and more or less within the planned schedule, with most major issues already cleared and a large content base already in place, we have decided to push release a bit from December 2019 to March 2020.
This is not a decision we have taken lightly – we understand many people are anxious for AMS2 to come out (not least ourselves), and even if we might have been able to just get to a releasable state by December, the content, features and polish we can add in these 3 extra months more than justifies the delay and will ultimately lead to a stronger launch for Automobilista 2.
For Early Backers the wait will be a little shorter as Automobilista 2 Beta should become available in February.
In the next two months we will be fleshing out our plans for Automobilista 2 in more detail, which hopefully will make the extra wait more understandable as well as more bearable .
For now, here is what we have been up to this past month:
Progress, Progress Everywhere
On top of many cool cars and tracks continuing to make their way into the game (like this sweet new and revamped Super V8), we covered a lot of groundwork in various essential fronts of the sim. Some of the highlights:
Physics & FFB – We have made a couple of small but significant adjustments to the physics code, crucially fixing a bug in unsprung inertia calculation (which was already fixed in AMS1 but not yet in this version of the physics engine).
We are also working on a new FFB system which basically works very similarly to Realfeel system used in AMS1 (basically converting the forces coming through the steering arm into the FFB).
The combination of bridging these gaps with the ongoing development of the physics derived from AMS1 and a growing understanding of the SETA Tyre Model is starting to net some very exciting results – Over the next two months I´ll try to expand a bit more on where these improvements are coming from, but for now I can say we´re growing more confident that the overall physics and resulting driving experience in AMS2 is going to deliver the step forward we hoped to achieve.
AI – A lot of attention was given to AI this month. One of the main differences vs AMS2 AI is that while the player physics run the SMS SETA Tyre Model, the AI still runs the old Pacejka Model similar to what we had in AMS1 which was by and large the same as the player´s.
This means both models need to be developed for each tyre type so that the AI has tyres that match the characteristics and performance of the player be that on straights, in and out of corners, running cold, hot, under or over pressure, come rain or sunshine and over a wide range of difficulty and aggression settings – a lot of variables to fine tune.
Luckily we do have quite a bit of experience with a similar AI code and this fine tuning process, and elsewhere in the code SMS has been very thorough in making AI functions fully parametrized, making it an easier (if still time consuming) process to experiment and fine tune the AI to get them to perform, behave and battle as one would like in all conditions.
There´s still some ways to go to make things work smoothly accross the board, but the good news hopefully demonstrated in the previews below is that we have the resources we need to get the AI as good if not better than AMS1 already for initial release, and then build on that with new features to try make AI racing more satisfying than ever before.
AMS2 Dedicated Tool – Another important milestone has been putting together the AMS2 Dedicated Tool so servers can host multiplayer sessions not necessarily through the game itself – this was one of the main requests we received from leagues and luckily here too we were able to rely on SMS providing us with something that was already over halfway there and we are now pushing accross to hopefully a releaseable state in v1.0
Weather & Climates – Similarly we´ve been doing some work on various weather and climate profiles to achieve more accurate rain volume, lighting and temperature ranges for the various locations we have in the sim – significant even within a country of continental proportions like Brazil where climate varies a lot from the southern tracks to the ones further north.
These weather and climate profiles also affect how much rain you may get in different places and the temperatures will affect how quickly or not it dries up.
It also helps recreating the kind of warm summer sunset you´d experience at a seaside italian kart track as can be seen here in intense VR glory:
One new front we have started tackling this month are 3d animations, as even though we have been able re-use some of the assets that came with the engine for things like driver animation, animated crowds and pit crews, there is a lot more that can be done elsewhere. For cars specifically, the suspension assembly is now fully articulated; then there are wipers, vibrating components, damage, switches and a bunch of different things we can add to make the environment both inside the cockpit and out more lively.
To help us out making quicker progress on this front we have partnered up with a South African Studio whose expertise is already proving invaluable getting us up to speed on this front. Below you can see a demo reel of various such animations being added to the Caterham:
Jerez coming for Automobilista 2!
We are thrilled to confirm another traditional circuit is coming for Automobilista 2: Jerez de la Frontera is a challenging Spanish track of rich heritage, having hosted several GPs in the 80s and 90s and continuing as popular testing venue well into recent years.
Jerez was stage to several historical moments in F1, from the classic 1986 photo-finish between Senna and Mansell, to Senna´s record-breaking 50th Pole Position in 1990 following Martin Donnely´s massive accident, to the infamous Villeneuve-Schumacher title deciding collision in 1997.
As with other recent tracks, Jerez has been modelled for Automobilista 2 with the aid of accurate LIDAR data, and will be included in the initial release of the sim. Also as per usual when going for circuits of such history, we plan to include the historical layout used through the 80s, although most likely after AMS2 release.
Jerez has been one of the tracks we have managed to fast-track licensing and production thanks to the influx from the AMS2 Early Backing Campaign, so thanks to everyone who has already opted in and helped us move this along!
Automobilista 2 Community Skins
Last month we announced that those who joined the AMS2 Early Backing Campaign would also have the opportunity to become part of Automobilista 2 by creating their own livery for any of the various fictional or semi-fictional series in the sim.
Some great results are already coming in and several drivers have already earned their place in the AMS2 grid, such as this beauttiful F-V10 by @Bruno Mendes
If you also want to be a part of AMS2 there is still time – check out the AMS2 Early Backing Campaign!
That is all for October! Even though release may not be quite around the corner anymore we are confident there is still plenty to look forward to before the end of the year as we outline our 2020 roadmap for Automobilista 2 – plenty of exciting news on the way still so stay tuned