Assetto Corsa v1.5 Dev Diary – Part 1/3
While waiting for the warm season to carry out our survey at the Spielberg A1 Ring– to be reproduced with laser-scanning technology and available for Assetto Corsa later this year – we used the winter season to produce a huge update for the tracks previously released for the simulation. Some of the circuits in Assetto Corsa were created years ago, resulting in a visible gap in terms of appearance and graphical details when compared to the latest additions such as the Nordschleife, Barcelona or Brands Hatch. Being our main aim to provide you with the best we are able to achieve, we are glad to announce that all circuits in the game have been updated and now bring an improved look and better immersion, raising overall quality to a new level.
In addition, last year we made some tests with a new laser-scanning device at ACI Vallelunga, the Italian circuit that houses our HQ since 2009, and we used this data to give you a massive graphics update of “our” track that will now also include the “classic” layout used until 2005featuring different driving lines and providing a new challenging experience on the roman circuit.
And that’s not all. We are glad to announce a new, free content that will be available for Assetto Corsa. “New” is the right word because not only is it additional content, but something that aims to introduce a new, exciting way to enjoy the Assetto Corsa driving experience.
As you might know, Assetto Corsa offers more or less a parity of racing and road car models in order to meet the different tastes of our wider audience. Regardless of this mix of road and racing content, the simulation features highly detailed laser-scanned circuits, which represent the perfect environment for racing. However, until now the simulation did not include a proper road environment, an ideal scenario for the simple pleasure of driving, something that people are especially looking for while driving road cars and grand-tourers.
One of the car manufacturers that use Assetto Corsa for promotional, training and R&D activities has noticed the same, and last winter requested our team to create a fictional road environment with the purpose of taking advantage of the driving feeling granted by the simulation, just for the sheer enjoyment of driving without the need to learn and practice on a track, aimed at people who are not yet familiar with driving on racing circuits.
Although we can’t deny that at the beginning we were somewhat sceptical about the idea, eventually we did it, and you know what? It’s a blast. We have created a road that allows you to “just drive” – for the pleasure of driving itself, enjoying the landscape, navigating smoothly and fast without the need to memorize exact braking points, adopt a specific driving line and the limitations in terms of road layout (i.e. length, wide, elevation changes, etc.) that we usually find when we replicate a real-life, homologated circuit. And, of course, it can be a fun break between races on one track and the next one, providing a totally different atmosphere and details from the ones you usually find on a racing circuit.
In the real world, closed circuits are the only place where you can push yourself and your vehicle to the limit in relative safety by reducing the risk of being harmed or harming other people in case of driving error or mechanical failure.
The good of any simulation is that the worst consequence of a crash is the need to press the restart button. That is why we believe that providing you with a new experience “on the road” will give you the chance to enjoy Assetto Corsa in a different way, taking advantage of one of the most appreciated dynamic models on roads that you could tread every day in the total safety granted by the virtual world.
Since the Ford Mustang and the Corvette C7 Stingray are the cars scheduled to be included in the build 1.5 of Assetto Corsa, we decided to create a landscape and environment with the most appropriate theme. We hope you will like it: “The Black Cat County” includes three layouts in a loop, also suited for racing events: “Short” (that, despite the name, needs three minutes to be completed), the most challenging one, a possible paradise for drift enthusiasts thanks to its wide hairpins in sequence; “Intermediate”, which provides a nice and varied challenge; and “Long”, which combines the Intermediate variation with high-speed bends and long straights, allowing road and GT cars to reach speeds otherwise only achievable on the longest straight of the Nordschelife (Döttinger Höhe).
Due to the racing DNA of Assetto Corsa, the Black Cat County is not a boring challenge: its various layouts allow all AC fans to enjoy the simulation’s advanced physics model in a different way – a perfect choice for those who want to progressively build their confidence for online racing, without the risk of ruining the online experience of other drivers on more challenging racing circuits owing to their inexperience or the lack of knowledge of demanding track layouts.
The production of Black Cat County scenary ran in parallel with our scheduled development, and I cannot emphasize it enough that it does not represent a replacement or a different direction of our will to continue to make improvements to Assetto Corsa, with our main focus on the realistic racing simulation genre. Nevertheless, not only do these kinds of activities guarantee a better relationship between Assetto Corsa and automotive manufacturers with all the benefits that they bring in terms of realism, connections and new licenses, but also represent a more comprehensive way to process R&D activities and test new 3D modelling and texturing techniques with the aim to bring the most out of what the Assetto Corsa engine is capable of.