Reiza Studios has published the June 2022 Development update for the Automobilista 2 racing simulator.
As usual, Reiza Studios founder Renato Simioni takes us behind the scenes of the AMS 2 development and brings us up to date with some of the upcoming content, features, and improvements that are in the works.
With the new V1.3.8 Release Candidate build just deployed, Reiza Studios has been pushing hard to improve the sim in some key areas before moving on to some exciting new content over the second half of 2022, starting next month with the release of the new milestone v1.4 version.
Automobilista 2 is currently available via Steam for €14.79. (60% Price reduction) The Automobilista 2 + 2020-2021 Season Pass Bundle is currently available for €61,90€. (51% Price reduction)
Official Webpage – www.game-automobilista2.com
Reiza Studios Quote:
Argentinean Track Pack
While the ongoing revisions & maintenance of existing content along with the pursuit of general improvements to the game has remained the focus for V1.3.8, the new update does feature some great new content – the Argentinean Track Pack is a free pack featuring three Argentinean tracks (Buenos Aires, Córdoba & Termas Río Hondo).
Argentina has an extremely rich motorsports culture, with several distinctive circuits spread across the country to host their incredibly popular and unique series. The tracks were originally part of a bigger project for AMS2 featuring one of these series, but sadly that got put on hold due to some licensing complications.
Termas is a brand-new track for AMS2, while Buenos Aires and Córdoba had already been present in AMS1 – originally our plan was to just upgrade these models for AMS2, but with our track team recently running into fresh LIDAR data and being unable to settle for doing things halfway, they have once again gone beyond the call of duty by fully reforming both tracks, with Córdoba being essentially a new track modeled in record time – at the expense of many sleepless nights!
You´ll be able to get a sense of the results in these screenies, and they are also already available for all AMS2 users in the latest release candidate – some bits and bobs and a few more layouts still to come in time for official release, but already some great racing to be had.
Physics Overhaul – The One to Rule Them All
Long time users will know that physics development has remained one of our core priorities, with regular extensive update changelogs reflecting the constant ongoing work towards developing the physics in AMS2.
As we have mentioned to in the past, the switch to Madness for AMS2 introduced us to a physics engine that combined components of the old familiar pMotor engine we had used up to AMS1, with the new quite sophisticated tire and driveline models from the Madness engine – with AMS2 featuring the largest and most diverse range of motorsports classes of any sim, delivering them while going through the learning curve of these new models presented a formidable challenge – one which ultimate potential lured us into tackling it, but that was always going to take time to be fully overcome.
While the physics of AMS2 always relied on the solid baseline of chassis, aero, and suspension models which had been developed for well over a decade from GSC to AMS1 and are still largely in use in AMS2, our inexperience with the new models meant the overall result remained inconsistent and often compromised by fundamentals not quite working as well as they should.
Over time however we continued to make progress in unleashing the potential we always knew was there – boosted by new people joining the team and helping not only with identifying but fixing some of these core issues, we delivered two milestone updates over the course of 2021 (v1.2 and v1.3) rectifying some of these core issues with the driveline model in particular.
The most consequential component of a racing simulator still is the tire model, and while improvements have been made in this area throughout, a substantial flaw continued to exist – basically, our tire carcass models have remained generally too soft, which in turn created a variety of side effects from poor compliance, excessive oscillations resulting in general lack of precision and inconsistent handling, as their intrinsic relationship with the rest of the car meant that the everything else riding on those tires were affected – if for instance, a tire has carcass compressing even a couple of centimeters too much, there are considerable repercussions to the suspension and aerodynamics of the car running it, so essentially fixing this problem meant the whole physics of the car had to be revised – a big project with the sim already featuring almost 70 different classes of cars.
The development of the F-Ultimate Gen2 with its reliance on underfloor aerodynamics kickstarted that project, and revisions of all existing content have already been in progress since – with the release of V1.3.8, all cars with radial slicks will already have been fully revised, and by the end of July every car in the sim will have received the same treatment.
Once we are through this process, we can confidently claim to have delivered on the potential of the engine, and that the physics of AMS2 and the resulting driving experience are at the level we had hoped to achieve. No need to take our word for it – as of V1.3.8 you already can experience the evolution yourselves. And if you haven´t checked AMS2 in a while, this would be a good time to revisit it!
Naturally that does not mean the work is done and AMS2 physics is good as can possibly be – models can always be improved, and with the game being as huge in scope as it is, there will always be car-specific details to further develop, dynamics to refine in order to make every aspect of the car even closer to reality, so we´ll continue to push to make the physics in AMS2 ever richer and more detailed.
The release of V1.4 later next month will however mark the point at which we´ll consider AMS2 physics to have finally reached a state of maturity that allows further developments to flow in a more gradual manner, especially those that impact the handling and performance of the car and thus can affect existing setups, AI performance balance vs player or TT records will be fewer and further apart – from August onwards, further major physics developments will be concentrated to the larger milestone updates every 6 months or so, keeping gameplay largely consistent during the months in between.
For those wishing to hear more about AMS2 physics development in the past, present, and future, you may want to check out this podcast I recently recorded with the two other physics devs who were essential to these recent breakthroughs:
Still within the realms of physics developments, another area we´ve been doing extensive work is on advanced damage modeling, covering driveline, tires, suspension, and bodywork – to finish first, first you must finish as the old saying goes, and the ability to care about the machinery is an essential component of real-world racing that we are in process of more faithfully representing in AMS2.
On the driveline side, previous builds have already enhanced gearbox and clutch damage modeling, so that long-term poorly timed gearshifts and bad use of the clutch can lead to broken individual gears and/or outright gearbox/clutch failure – an especially pertinent concern in older cars. Related to that, there have also been revisions to heating, cooling, and wear on most engines in the game to make sure there is sufficient penalty from undercooling or otherwise pushing the engine too far.
In preparation for oval racing, we have developed a shared heating/cooling/wear system for both player and AI, so that AI cars will suffer the same wear player car already did, including wear from high boost pressure, overheating, and overrevving. Moreover, we have introduced decreased cooling while in dirty air, which will lead to AI and players having to think strategically to get to the finish line in a high-draft, high-boost, high-RPM filled race, with incoming improvements to AI logic will ensure they make a better job of trying to maximize their resources to remain competitive against the player.
Parallel to mechanical damage development, bodywork damage modeling has been further enhanced, with AMS2 now featuring fairly detailed damage modeling for all cars – everything from scratches to broken headlights, to bent suspension and dangling bodywork parts, all of which with their appropriate effect on the car performance.
Finally on the tire front, revisions to tire wear rates, flatpots, as well as the introduction of graining will force drivers to be more mindful of how they treat their tires over the race weekend.
Along with these damage modeling enhancements, further gameplay options such as limited tire sets (forcing drivers to manage a specific number of tire sets over the race weekend rather than the usual unlimited supply) and delays caused by crashing or damaging your car potentially lead to missing out in qualifying or a race heat will also be introduced in the sim, giving drivers consequences to deal with for going over the limit.
AI development has a direct correlation with physics, and with the game featuring a total of 155 car models and 146 track layouts, with reasonable unique combinations well into the thousands, getting the AI right all around has been a struggle as the constant physics development makes balancing of AI performance an ever-moving target – now with physics for various cars reaching their maturity, we have been dedicating a lot of time to calibrating AI performance so that they can provide a consistent challenge from corner to corner, lap to lap, session to session, come rain or shine, from one car-track combo to the next.
Beyond their performance, we have continued to push toward developments to make the AI more challenging to race against, but also more reliable and less predictable. While racing the AI can already be quite challenging, the AI still has some quirks and flawed decision-making in AI vs AI scenarios especially while running in a pack, which we will be pushing to minimize for V1.4 and beyond.
Still, on that front, further improvements to AI strategy in managing pitstops as well as reacting to blue flags should make longer races against the AI a much more viable prospect.
Finally, we are soon to complete the task of setting up dedicated AI drivers for each series in the game so the cars are driven always by the same driver with unique characteristics pertinent to the class and era they were racing with, instead of being randomly assigned to a dev or community driver (this will be restricted to karts and club series).
We already have some good progress in the upcoming V1.3.8, and for V1.4 we are going even further – this in turn will open up the game for more features that rely on great AI to work, from single-player championships, option for Multiplayer championships, and eventually a comprehensive career mode that will tie the whole game into a cohesive whole further down the line.
Vehicle Liveries for existing cars have also been a focus of attention, with the vehicle team going over several classes to give them new liveries or updates to existing ones.
There are also several exciting audio developments incoming, with improvements to reverb effects and external sounds currently in the pipeline.
Multiplayer is another area users have been eager to see improvements on – while there has not been a lot of progress in this area recently as the focus has been on delivering the developments that were already in reach, we have nevertheless continued to catalog reports from the community alongside our own findings from the regular multi tests we run in Beta, and during the rundown to V1.4 there will be more time dedicated to pursuing core Multiplayer improvements – whether that will lead to substantial breakthroughs or just minor improvements we can´t really say at this point, but at the very least there will be more regular progress in this area in the foreseeable future.
Steam Summer Sale
A reminder to all that the Steam Summer Sale has been on since last week and will run until July 7th – if you still have DLCs missing from your collection or haven´t taken the plunge on AMS2 itself, this is a great time to get it and enjoy all the latest improvements – the base game is 60% off, with DLCs up to 75% off.
Next Month And Beyond…
With all this groundwork on the fundamentals properly laid down, it will once again be time to open the floodgates for new content & major new features – this is, to begin with, our first milestone update of the year, as V1.4 is expected to be released towards the end of July featuring several such features, some long-awaited new cars as well as Racin´ USA Pt3, which will introduce oval racing to Automobilista 2.
It will not stop there – most updates in the remaining months of the year will in fact include batches of exciting & long-awaited new content, both free and DLC.
V1.4 and its features however are the topics for our next Dev Update – to arrive sooner than you may expect!
V1.3.8 will be officially released towards the end of this week – we hope you enjoy it, and look forward to catching up with you again sometime next month!