rFactor 2 – March 2021 Roadmap Update

rFactor 2 Roadmap Update – February 2021
rFactor 2 March 2021 development Roadmap

Studio 397 published the March 2021 Roadmap update for rFactor 2.

In this third roadmap of the new year, Studio 397 brings us up to date with the latest Build Updates, New released, Upcoming content, Bug fixes, Competition System enhancements, Car and Track updates, events, and more.


Official Webpage – www.studio-397.com

The rFactor 2 Racing Simulator is available via Steam for €29,99.


Studio 397 Quote:

Roadmap day! 

Happy end of the month everyone – another four weeks of intense activity logged and complete here at Studio 397 as we prepare to say goodbye to month three of 2021, and edge ever closer to those long awaited and much anticipated warmer days of summer. 

Already we have enjoyed a very strong opening to the year here at the studio, with plenty of new content, fresh build updates and improvements to existing content releases – but we most certainly don’t intend to let our collective foot off the gas anytime soon – far from it in fact. 

Now I’m pretty sure you will have seen our big announcement at the start of the month relating to the impending purchase of Studio 397 by our colleagues at Motorsport Games. Understandably, this is a major development for the team here at Studio 397 and something we are extremely excited about as we look to ramp up the progress we have made with rFactor 2 in recent years. Not only will the joining together of these two companies help to strengthen our long time future here at the studio, but without doubt the ability to tap into the substantial resources of Motorsport Games will certainly help in our quest to accelerate the future prospects of rFactor 2 and the many other projects we at Studio 397 continue to be involved with on a day-to-day basis. 

rFactor 2 to be Acquired By Motorsport Games | More Details: Click Here.

I’m sure that the community will have plenty of questions about how this acquisition will impact the short, medium, and long term of the team and software, and we will of course communicate with the wider public about this new ownership arrangement when it is appropriate, but rest assured that now more than ever work continues apace back in the studio as we continue our mission to deliver the best sim racing experience possible to our awesome community, and with that in mind, let us take a look at what to expect from the immediate future of rFactor 2, and a few select highlights from the month of March.

Bug Fixes, New Builds & The Quest For Improvement

This past four weeks we have continued our recent push to with the development of rFactor 2 and address some important issues within the simulation that need further exploring and rectifying before we can start adding new and improved features to the software. As has been the case in the last couple of months, we have continued with our new policy of hosting four distinct build branches of the simulation on Steam. ‘Opt Out’ remains our current public stable build of rFactor 2 and is the default, ‘Release Candidate’ is a build containing our latest improvements that the community can choose to download and offer feedback, ‘Previous Release’ is a copy of the last stable build of the simulation prior to the most recent changes and ‘Old UI’ is a now depreciated build of rFactor 2 that retains the old UI functionality of the sim, but will not be subject to any future updates. These are our public-facing builds, however, we also have a selection of private versions of the simulation for our internal testing, one of which, our ‘Beta’ rFactor 2 already contains a healthy number of fixes that we will be looking to move to ‘Release Candidate’ status in the very near future. 

Within this Beta build, several areas of rFactor 2 have been reviewed and worked on by our development team here at Studio 397, with the focus being particularly placed on live stream overlay features and functionality and further UI tweaks. What does this mean in terms of new experiences our players can look forward to in the near future? Well, for starters we are working on adding data for RPM, Speed, Gear, and pedal inputs to the driver information live stream overlay (in Release Candidate, these functions are already enabled within the in-game replay function), plus new overlay elements and other graphical and modding tweaks amongst other changes – of course, these are all still very much in development (with more to be added), so we can talk about that again when the latest internal beta build gets closer to Release Candidate status.

‘Release Candidate’ Builds

We are fairly sure that a large proportion of our player base in rFactor 2 elect to stick with the default ‘Opt Out’ version of the simulation when playing the software on a day-to-day basis, however those who do venture into the realms of Release Candidate builds have been presented with a number of fixes, tweaks and improvements to rFactor 2 in recent times – some of the fixes relate to long-standing issues that the community have been keen to see rectified in the sim, and it is greatly pleasing to us here at Studio 397 to be able to finally bring about some of the changes that our community are so eager to see added to the simulation. 

Over the course of March we have deployed a new Release Candidate build of rFactor 2 and a subsequent update expansion that that build, with further refinements and development work being undertaken here at Studio 397 as we get close to pushing this build out to the main latest stable default version of rFactor 2 – the build that the public will have access to as default. 

Latest Release CandidateSteam Build IDs

Client 6133456
Dedicated 6426499 Changelog

  • General- Added SteamID of each client to race results logs generated by a Dedicated Server
  • Fix issue with Attack Mode overlay information not correctly resetting.
  • Stopped AI playing wipers when in Garage
  • Added automatic headlight and wiper settings for player.
  • These show as an extra step in the key toggles (Headlights: Off / Auto / On) or (Wipers: Off / Auto / Slow / Fast)
  • Skip Auto option when the setting is disabled
  • Added a message about windscreen wiper state to the message centre. Don’t show a message if the vehicle does not have wipers.
  • Auto Headlights and Windscreen Wipers are forced on if no key is assigned”
  • Fixed issue where automatic gears would require a false top gear to correctly downshift for some vehicles
  • Report steam branch and build number on startupHUD- Fixed spacing for weather info in HUDGraphics- Renamed Anti-Aliasing options to show the amount of MSAA applied.
  • Adjust Sunflare strength so that they work with different field of views
  • Added a blend out at screen edge to smooth transition of Sunflare going off screen.
  • Fixed an issue where a texture sampler would not set correctly
  • Fixed an issue that DigitalFlags would behave as Marshals online
  • Reworked Auto Exposure to reduce the calculated exposure “bouncing” around in different conditions
  • Enabled Auto Exposure in Cockpit Cameras
  • Fixed Water not rendering on TV Screens
  • Removed GPU V-Sync option from Graphics Configuration settings
  • Updated Environment Reflection Settings
  • Low/Medium/High/Ultra settings which increase refresh rate and resolution.
  • Ambient light probes now allow for more advanced blending options
  • Fixed stuttering on Replay Monitor screen.UI- Added sector and lap timing to full screen replay bar.
  • Updated the styling and alignment of the full screen replay bar.
  • Fixed UI stopping updating when clicking repeatedly on the track map in the event screen.
  • Corrected the display of FXAA to On/Off
  • Fixed the units to seconds for displaying Transparent Trainer Lead Timer
  • Fixed the display units for Low Speed Information to show a percentage
  • Fixed race countdown not always showing for a multiplayer race.
  • Fixed showing the maximum time for a single player race before the race start.
  • Improved formatting of time durations.
  • Fixed issue where RealRoad setting was carried over from previous track selection in session setup screen
  • Fixed an issue where some tracks would not show in game due to having packed SCN files which were not valid track layouts
  • Added Auto Blip, Auto Lift, Hold Brakes, Hold Clutch, Repeat Shifts, Start Engine, Auto Wipers and Auto Headlight settings to difficulty screenModding- Fixed some minor issues with sample ModDev content
  • Added pop up (mod dev & scene viewer only) / logging to paths where the RRBIN file fails to load
  • Force an update after loading RRBIN in scene viewer or moddev so that it shows correctly straight away.
  • Updated default RRBIN filename scene viewer / moddev tweakbar rollout
  • Setup a stable and beta version of Max Plugins 2021. Stable is the last fully tested internally. Beta is built to the absolute latest code.

Client 6426498
Dedicated 6426499


General

  • Added SteamID of each client to race results logs generated by a Dedicated Server
  • Fix issue with Attack Mode overlay information not correctly resetting.
  • Stopped AI playing wipers when in Garage
  • Added automatic headlight and wiper settings for player.
  • These show as an extra step in the key toggles (Headlights: Off / Auto / On) or (Wipers: Off / Auto / Slow / Fast)
  • Skip Auto option when the setting is disabled
  • Added a message about windscreen wiper state to the message centre. Don’t show a message if the vehicle does not have wipers.
  • Auto Headlights and Windscreen Wipers are forced on if no key is assigned”
  • Fixed issue where automatic gears would require a false top gear to correctly downshift for some vehicles
  • Report steam branch and build number on startup

HUD

  • Fixed spacing for weather info in HUD

Graphics

  • Renamed Anti-Aliasing options to show the amount of MSAA applied.
  • Adjust Sunflare strength so that they work with different field of views
  • Added a blend out at screen edge to smooth transition of Sunflare going off screen.
  • Fixed an issue where a texture sampler would not set correctly
  • Fixed an issue that DigitalFlags would behave as Marshals online
  • Reworked Auto Exposure to reduce the calculated exposure “bouncing” around in different conditions
  • Enabled Auto Exposure in Cockpit Cameras
  • Fixed Water not rendering on TV Screens
  • Removed GPU V-Sync option from Graphics Configuration settings
  • Updated Environment Reflection Settings
  • Low/Medium/High/Ultra settings which increase refresh rate and resolution.
  • Ambient light probes now allow for more advanced blending options
  • Fixed stuttering on Replay Monitor screen.

UI

  • Added sector and lap timing to full screen replay bar.
  • Updated the styling and alignment of the full screen replay bar.
  • Fixed UI stopping updating when clicking repeatedly on the track map in the event screen.
  • Corrected the display of FXAA to On/Off
  • Fixed the units to seconds for displaying Transparent Trainer Lead Timer
  • Fixed the display units for Low Speed Information to show a percentage
  • Fixed race countdown not always showing for a multiplayer race.
  • Fixed showing the maximum time for a single player race before the race start.
  • Improved formatting of time durations.
  • Fixed issue where RealRoad setting was carried over from previous track selection in session setup screen
  • Fixed an issue where some tracks would not show in game due to having packed SCN files which were not valid track layouts
  • Added Auto Blip, Auto Lift, Hold Brakes, Hold Clutch, Repeat Shifts, Start Engine, Auto Wipers and Auto Headlight settings to difficulty screen

Modding

  • Fixed some minor issues with sample ModDev content
  • Added pop up (mod dev & scene viewer only) / logging to paths where the RRBIN file fails to load
  • Force an update after loading RRBIN in scene viewer or moddev so that it shows correctly straight away.
  • Updated default RRBIN filename scene viewer / moddev tweakbar rollout
  • Setup a stable and beta version of Max Plugins 2021. Stable is the last fully tested internally. Beta is built to the absolute latest code.

Latest Release Candidate 3 (Hotfix)

Client 6438124
Dedicated 6438127

  • Fixed an issue where Steam had to be open to start a Dedicated Server

As soon as this new update is transferred to the ‘Opt Out’ version of rFactor 2, we will of course bring another brand-new Release Candidate build into the Steam page of rFactor 2 – this is the new update we are currently working on behind the scenes. With so many different build status updates currently in play for the simulation, and with such a rich and sizeable collection of content too as both DLC and free additions to the software, we are also working on a new and all-encompassing page on the Studio 397 website, which will quickly and easily list the last build release notes (for both Opt Out and Release Candidate), and will show what content is available for the simulation in a quick and easy to identify format – including which packs they are a part of, and direct links to purchase / download the content. This is something we are working on behind the scenes, with a view to getting this useful new information page out into the public domain over the next couple of months. 

As we continue to push forward with our development of rFactor 2, we again want to thank our loyal community for engaging on our various Discord and forum channels with suggestions and bug reports – rest assured that these reports and posts are noted by us here at Studio 397, and each bug the community tell us about is recorded, tested, verified and presented to the development team for review and repair in a future build. We would obviously love to rectify more bugs and issues at a quicker rate than is possible now, but the reality of the complexity of the software and the resource available to us is that we must prioritize issues with a view to the longer term development goals of rFactor 2. If you have reported something, and it hasn’t yet be resolved fully, worry not, we will get to it in due course as we continue to push onwards with reaching the potential we all know is firmly in the grasp of the simulation. 

Busy Scanning Tarmac

Apologies in advance for this, but we are excited about a new track we are working on, yet don’t quite want to give away what it is yet so this will have to be a teaser of sorts with more news to follow in the future. Over the course of the last week, colleagues from our track team here at Studio 397 have been rather lucky in the fact they had an opportunity to travel to a particularly wonderful racing venue to carry out some important work. Yes, restrictions are still in place, travel is still pretty challenging and swabs still need to be pushed up noses and down throats in order to be deemed safe to move, but that didn’t stop the team enjoying a couple of days in the sunshine with a laserscanning team, several cameras, more batteries than needed to power a real car and a couple of drones for good measure. The footage and data that the team have brought back home with them is impressive indeed, and the rest of our colleagues here at Studio aren’t jealous of their travels at all… honestly!

So, what track is it I hear you all scream… well, like we said we aren’t quite ready to give that information away just yet, however we can categorically confirm it is not Daytona, so please allow that meme on the Discord channel to die off once and for all! What we can say is this is very much an AAA circuit, is located in Europe, always proves popular with fans and racers alike (in both real and virtual worlds) and should be a good match for much of the content available within rFactor 2. Sadly we will end the clues at that, and with a firm reminder that we literally only scanned it last week, so it is going to take a huge amount of work to sift through the data and get everything together before we even think about beginning to start building the track – so don’t expect it out for purchase in the immediate future – this is more one to look forward to towards the middle or end of 2021. 

KartSim – Massive PBR Update Coming Soon

KartSim | rFactor 2 Steam Store: Click Here.

March is set to see a bumper new update for the popular KartSim DLC available within rFactor 2. Featuring a selection of highly realistic racing karts and laserscanned circuits, KartSim offers the purest of racing experiences within the rFactor 2 platform – and March will see a major new overhaul of the content with PBR graphics updates joining fixes and improvements to the content itself. We are really excited to see how the community reacts to these new changes, and can’t wait to get them out to you in the very near future indeed. Stay tuned to the Studio 397 website for more information, and to our social media channels for release date news and previews in the very near future. 

Giving Some Love to Older Content

Recent months have seen one or two track updates to existing circuits within rFactor 2, and that work certainly continues as we look to apply the PBR treatment to our older crop of virtual racing arenas within the simulation. However, whilst tracks are certainly a very important aspect of the overall experience within rFactor 2, we also acknowledge that several really cool cars are sat in our Steam Workshop and could do with a lick of PBR encrusted paint and some Studio 397 love to bring them back up to the standards now expected with more recent content releases. With this in mind, and frankly as firm fans of the car ourselves, we have made it our ambition to revisit the mighty little USF2000 and give it a bit of a refresh. Now some of you will likely remember this American open wheel racer from when we first released it as free content within rFactor 2 back in – believe it or not – 2016. Low powered, minimal downforce, bags of fun to drive and to race, this free addition to rFactor 2 quickly established itself as a favourite amongst our virtual racers within the simulation. 

USF2000 | rFactor 2 Steam Workshop: Click Here.

Although the car certainly doesn’t look out of place in comparison to more recent cars, we acknowledge that work does need to be done to the vehicle in order to step up the overall experience and quality in line with recent content releases – and hopefully if all goes to plan the month of April should see the fruits of those labours, with both a PBR visual refresh and some further refinements to the physics and actual driving experience of these little beauties. Hopefully, a mini USF2000 revival within our player base will quickly follow on the heels of this update!

Track Updates

Warming to the subject of content improvements, although we have many more update projects in the works behind the scenes at various stages of completion, with tomorrow set to see updates deployed to the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, Portland International Raceway track and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway configurations within rFactor 2. These updates will not be as sizeable as a full PBR refresh, as all of these tracks are already to the latest graphical standards. Once these updates roll out into the public build of rFactor 2, we are turning our attention to the finalisation and testing of another big PBR update, this time for the beautiful Lime Rock Park circuit in the United States. The new build should be deployed to our testing team in the next week or so, and depending on any significant issues that crop up with the latest refresh and the final few tweaks and amendments all is in order and should be quite close to when we are ready to release. We don’t have an exact timeframe on when this update will be made available to the public, as things can (and often do) spring up the odd surprise, however it should be reasonably safe to assume we can get this out during the month ahead. 

Looking Back On March

Now we’ve taken a good look at some selected highlights of things that are in the works and coming to the simulation in the very near future, we now reach the part of the roadmap where we spend a little time reflecting on what we’ve achieved during the month just gone. In our latest ‘looking back on…’ segment, we reflect on new pieces of content, improvements to existing tracks within the simulation, review the latest Competition System musings from Marcel and point your attention to a few interesting rFactor 2 esports broadcasts that will be running over the next four weeks. 

New Content Releases – Diriyah and Rome Formula E

Formula E | Diriyah E-Prix Steam Store: Click Here

March would see the introduction of two brand-new street circuit locations to the simulation, the very fast and technical layouts of Diriyah in Saudi Arabia and Italy’s Rome E-Prix tracks – both of which afford drivers a thrilling and challenging driving experience in either the Formula E cars within the sim, or frankly any car in our wide and expansive library of content (disclaimer – Prototype cars are a bit too fast!). Both of these new tracks have been created from scratch by the rFactor 2 track development team, and both represent the latest graphical technology available within the simulation. 

Formula E | Gen2 Formula E Car Steam Store: Click Here. 

We are of course delighted to continue what is proving to be a very close and successful relationship with Formula E for these two new tracks and to have no less than six official circuits from the real world ABB Formula E FIA World Championship, plus the Formula E Test Track is something that brings immense pride to us here at the studio and is a clear sign of just how far rFactor 2 has come in recent years to be trusted with such an important and high profile license as the Formula E agreement represents. 

In terms of the tracks themselves, it would be fair to say that these two circuits are arguably the most challenging of the six Formula E tracks we have in the simulation so far. Proximity to the walls lining the track is pretty much a given in the world of Formula E racing, but something that these two venues have over the majority of the calendar is the sheer speed one can reach in a modern Formula E car – with corners that demand an incredible amount of commitment, bravery and more often than not a fair slice of luck thrown into the mix. 

Formula E | Rome E-Prix Steam Store: Click Here

Formula E Content Updates

Formula E Content Updates | March 16th: Click Here.

Not content with adding two new Formula E city circuits to the simulation during March, we also took the opportunity this month to revisit our existing Formula E offerings to tidy up a few loose ends that have become apparent since the tracks first released on the simulation over the last year or two. More a ‘quality of life’ improvement than adding significant changes or updates, we are nevertheless still very pleased to see how well these exciting city street circuits stand up in rFactor 2 – offering some of the visually most impressive content within the title while at the same time producing a great driving experience in both the official Formula E content within the sim, and if our Discord community is anything to go by, also with a selection of lower powered open wheel and tin top cars. 

New Free Content – StockCar 2018x Released

Stock Car 2018x Release | March 23rd: Click Here.

From the ultra-modern electric power of Formula E to the brute force grunt and go of American style stock cars, March would see an exciting addition to our tin top collection with the release of the new Stock Car 2018x carset to the rFactor 2 Steam Workshop. Developed with slightly less power than the current Stock Car 2018 machines, but featuring improved handling characteristics, brand new audio mixes, changes to the physics behaviour and a new visual style thanks to the updated livery designs and front facing grills, these cars are absolutely incredible to experience in either oval or road course configuration, really adding a new dynamic to the simulation and a driving experience that can be enjoyed by veterans of the title or newcomers alike. The Stock Car 2018x pack comes complete with three different model types available in both road and oval configurations, and each with their own new liveries and unique body shapes thanks to the new front grill designs. That said, it is intended to add a new 3D model to these cars at some point in the future, however an estimated date for this update has yet to be confirmed.

Fun On The Streets Of Azur – New Circuit d’Azur AI Update

Circuit d’Azur AI Update | March 24th: Click Here

The beautiful Circuit d’Azur also received an update during this month, with plenty of time allocated to our AI drivers to learn the many variables of racing on such a demanding street circuit. We used the last few weeks to revisit this DLC circuit and clean up a few items that needed additional attention post release, improving various collision meshes around the circuit, updating no rain zones, regenerating Real Road profiles and other required maintenance items that have been identified in the time since the circuit first released. Useful and needed as these changes have been, without doubt the highlight from the most recent build has to be the improvements we’ve managed to put together for the AI behaviour on this demanding circuit. Of course, with such a varied collection of cars that are available within rFactor 2 at present, not least of which is the added variable of modded content outside of our control, it was always going to be a challenge to develop AI behaviour to avoid wall contact, remain fast enough to present a challenge, race well in a pack and race hard against the player – but we do feel that this latest track build has produced a considerable improvement to the player experience on the Circuit d’Azur – one we hope you’ve been enjoying since the update released back on March 24th.

Competition System

March has been another very informative month for our competition system beta within rFactor 2, as once again we have seen a very interesting and wide-ranging selection of questions from our community – questions that we have done our best to answer as thoroughly as possible in our weekly Competition System blog postings. As always, we remain incredibly grateful to our community for their continued interest and engagement with both the competition system itself, and the interest around what we have planned and in development for the immediate future of this exciting addition to rFactor 2. 

If you missed any of our recent postings, worry not, we’ve taken the opportunity to link them below for your reading pleasure…

Recommended Viewing – rFactor 2 Esports Competitions

As ever, we have a packed month of esport racing events taking place in April, from our own thoroughly exciting GT Pro and GT Challenge categories continuing into their third and fourth events of the season, to some awesome adventures in the BMW CS Racing Cup car and plemty more besides, with quite a few other high profile community events being held during the coming weeks too. 

In order to help you keep track of some highlight events next month, check out a few of these races to see exactly our amazing rFactor 2 drivers are capable of delivering:

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