Automobilista May 2017 Dev Update
Reiza Studios Renato Simioni has published the Automobilista May 2017 Development Update.
The Brazilian developer has now entered the final stages of AMS development. This month’s dev update is a retrospective of the work done for Automobilista Build v1.4, but also shows us a glimpse of what’s to come in the near future. For more details, check out the full dev update quote below.
May 2017 Dev Update
Following popular demand, v1.4 has seen a lot of development time dedicated to improving the AI – we began by compiling a list (split into 5 main areas – Performance, Awareness, Strategy, Behavior & Personality), documenting the worse problems and elaborating some ideas to not only address these issues but move AI in general up to a new level. So far the focus has been on making good baseline progress on all fronts, sorting out or at least minimizing the most critical issues.
Improving AI Performance, or more specifically consistency in their performance so the AI can provide a consistent challenge to the player from corner to corner, track to track and car to car vs the player irrespective of his AI strength setting is always an ongoing task, with some good ground covered again in v1.4.
One of the initial focus was doing some basic improvements of AI Strategy, as any development elsewhere becomes a bit pointless if AI messes up his pit strategy – V1.4 updates should see more realistic tire wear from the AI as well as customized tire wear thresholds for pitstops so they don´t stop so late they lose too much time in worn tires, nor so soon they risk doing a potential pointless extra stop. We also added a lock for AI refueling in series where they aren´t allowed to. Next steps include improving their fuel strategy so they can better calculate if and when to stop (and not take extra fuel when they don’t need to), and set up different tire compounds for AI to qualify and/or start the race on.
These, however, are just the tip of the iceberg – there´s a lot still to be done for the AI to not only avoid basic errors but actually, challenge/outsmart the player in strategy alone. Lots of ideas here but it will take some time until we can completely flesh them out.
We´ve also added several new functions to AI behavior to make them less “robotic” and more believable to race against – for instance they now respect blue flags and lift for the car behind, take it easier in / out laps as well as cool down laps. Next steps include making them behave more safely after leaving the track and/or spinning.
AI awareness has also improved considerably in v1.4 as can be seen in this quite radical multiclass race start and how the AI manage to navigate their way round fairly competently:
Finally, we´ve covered some initial ground in adding some extra Personality to AI drivers so they now not only perform differently but may also vary as to how they perform in starts, manage their tires and how cooperative they are reacting to blue flags, according to the definitions of the driver´s RCD file.
Naturally there is still plenty of work to be done in all areas, in particular issues with AI awareness in some conditions when they don´t give other cars the proper space, and AI hesitation to overtake on straights when in position to do so are both big issues which we hope to make further progress on in time for v1.5.
The audio was another big front of development in v1.4, as our man Domagoj Lovric continues to do great work on the audio front, far exceeding our original goals for AMS. In addition to extensive work on new PostFX filters providing much meatier external sounds, some old issues have been ironed out and extra configuration options added.
Besides working on some very cool new cars, Dom has begun dabbing with development of surround sound – fingers crossed it will make it in for v1.5
There have been various updates & fixes to content by Sandro Kholodkevich – one of the most notable being the Boxer cockpit getting a facelift with ambient occlusion mapping, seamless textures and a couple of extra tweaks and options, the results of which you can compare below:
The shots above also showcases another development from v1.4 as driver’s arms have now been added as vehicle configuration option. – these, unfortunately, are not fully animated but rather static objects added to the wheel, for that reason they´re not articulated and have been limited to 90º in each direction. Not ideal, but hopefully an acceptable stop-gap for those who have been waiting for this feature.
The driver model itself has been upgraded and the suits and gloves specially customized to each era:
Custom Season Tool
Another long awaited feature finally made it in with the v1.4 release of the Season Tool, which considerably expands the value of single player championship mode as users can now create their own season. Kudos to @Dave Stephenson for another great job on this one
Like other features, the Season Tool in its current state is a baseline we´ll be looking to expand on with a few extra rules and further customization options.
The Formula Ultimate
The F-Ultimate was greenlit for v1.4 fairly late as the original plan was to release it with new ERS / Turbo models. In the end, we figured those would not affect the driving experience so much to warrant withholding release. Truth be told we thought it just drove and sounded too good to be held back any further
There is still work to do though, especially on the ERS system which we hope to complete in time for v1.5. As it is, the car already features an ERS map which optimizes power delivery for each gear but the battery is still 100% all the time.
Here you can see Niels commenting on the physics development of the car while taking it for a few quick laps:
There will be a preview topic for Steam Achievements in Reiza51 shortly so those with access will be able to check them out and even contribute with a few suggestions
What´s still to come
We are now on the final stretch towards v1.5 and we´re working hard to make it at least as big an update as v1.4 was. There will, however, e one, potentially two intermediate updates until then.
Beyond new content and a couple of new features we hope will make it in time for v1.5, we´re also looking to continue polishing the overall package, fixing some of the more inconvenient bugs and quirks along with upgrading existing content to bring them as close to the standards of the latest stuff as possible. @Alex Sawczuk is looking to update some of the older tracks which have fallen a bit behind when compared to newer releases like Hockenheim; we also hope to do some accuracy updating to tracks that have had minor changes since they were originally modeled.
In terms of new content, current plans feature development of 2 more (free) tracks, 1 semi-new series, and DLC packages to be released for AMS within the next couple of months.
We´ll need a bit more time to spill the beans on all of these- for now, I can confirm the development of Ibarra has begun and should be the next track to be released. This track (also known as Yahuarcocha) is a picturesque old-style circuit in Ecuador, set in between a beautiful mountainous scenery and the lake Yawarkucha and should be a great ride in all sorts of cars. Check it out:
This covers it for the month – look forward to catching up with you all again next month, hopefully, we will be in a position to be more specific then.
Official Webpage – www.reizastudios.com