Assetto Corsa v1.5 Dev Diary – Part 3/3
The already top-class driving experience and physics engine of Assetto Corsa have been further improved and enhanced with new features, new content and great attention to detail for every single aspect of the simulation. As a result, Assetto Corsa achieves a new level of maturity and confirms our continuous dedication to a simulator that offers the best driving experience and maximum realism.
Tyre model & physics
Starting with tyres; the 1.5 build optimizes the work started with the previous version and brings all the cars to the latest tyre model and tyre features. Tyres have now a more realistic load sensitivity, a variable grip curve after peak, closer performance level between compounds, a brand-new surface and core heating model as well as more realistic heating operation range. Modders will be delighted with the new features and available values, but most importantly, drivers will now be able to discover even more exciting handling characteristics. Our goal is always the same, an easy-to-understand handling model thanks to the improved feedback, which is also more demanding once over the limit. From street tyres that are easy to maintain in drift but at the same time more willing to spin once over the optimum grip to slick tyres that can be very slippery when cold to very sticky once hot but at the same time nervous and unwilling over the limit, requiring fast hand movements and skilful footwork.
Additionally, finding the correct compound might not be as straightforward as before, and a careful study of the circuit characteristics, ambient and asphalt temperatures as well as car behaviour and the tyres’ operating range is now obligatory in the search of maximum performance.
To help you with choosing the correct compound and keeping under control the tyres temperature, we are working on a new “Tyres” app that has been added to the list of system apps included with Assetto Corsa. The new app shows real-time information about core and surface tyre temperatures, pressure, wear and provides basic graphical feedback of the general grip level of the tyre.
Assetto Corsa’s advanced aerodynamics have always been a highlight of our title’s physics engine. Active aero, speed, height sensitivity, stalling and a practically infinite number of aerodynamic surfaces, permit an ample customization and simulation of the most aerodynamically advanced cars. Now, with version 1.5, brand-new equations for yaw sensitivity are included in the core model and new values for aero stalling depending on yaw for every single aero surface are available for modders. Feel what real professional drivers struggle to describe to their engineers when they drive their cars over the limit and discover strange handling characteristics when the yaw angle becomes severe. Depending on the car and its aero configuration, one car might be extremely stable and grippy until the limit, only to transform into a nervous and wild animal once a slight drift angle is achieved. Other cars might maintain their character, thus enabling the driver to push over the limit for that last split of a second. As a general rule of thumb you can expect cars with advanced aerodynamics to be the most sensitive and in need to be driven smoothly.
Additionally, there has been a ton of little bug fixes, fine tuning, tweaks and optimisations on practically every single car available in Assetto Corsa.
One of the most awaited features for single player is finally here. Pitstop functionalities open Assetto Corsa to endurance racing thanks to the option of refuelling the car and changing tyres, using the compounds available for each single car. The pitstop menu also allows repair to the car body (that affects aerodynamics), suspensions or the engine, with the same functionalities available for multiplayer racing.
Multiplayer & Artificial intelligence
Visible damage has been introduced on opponent cars in Multiplayer races, adding to the immersion of online sessions.
Time progression has also been added to the Multiplayer game mode, meaning that light conditions are no longer static during Multiplayer races, and time progresses the same way it does in Single Player modes. The feature brings an increased level of realism and immersion to online sessions.In addition, general improvements and optimization have also been made to the Multiplayer mode.
As usual, we have not stopped to keep tweaking and improving our artificial intelligence. Significant improvements have been made, more specifically the AI are now more skilled at navigating through traffic and handle racing situations, offering users who prefer single-player modes an increased level of challenge and more realistic racing environment.
Beyond the 1.5 build
While looking forward to the release of Assetto Corsa on console, we have some news that will make this summer really hot indeed.
Assetto Corsa welcomes the Mazda Brand!
We are glad to confirm that the Mazda brand has joined Assetto Corsa and will be represented by some of its most iconic models: the first-generation Miata and the brutal and awesome 787B will be added to Assetto Corsa as free updates later this year. The 2015 MX-5, MX-5 2015 Cup and the RX-7 will be part of the upcoming Assetto Corsa Japanese Pack, available on Steam by May 18th. The most-wanted pack, including a number of vehicles requested by the community, will feature the new Mazda MX-5 road/cup car, the RX-7, the 2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo, the Nissan GT-R 34, the Toyota Supra in three versions, and the Toyota AE-86 in two versions. The production team is working hard to complete the work on physics, graphics and sounds, with the aim to produce an unforgettable, massive Japanese pack to be crazy about. The same package will also be available on console after its launch.
The console version of Assetto Corsa will hit the shelves on June 3, and a new package including the Ferrari 488 GTB, FXX K, Praga R1 and Audi A1 S1 will also be available on Steam.
The production of the Spielberg A1 Ring circuit has already started, and our plan is to release the new laser-scanned circuit in time for the Formula 1 race weekend (July 3) to allow AC users to “taste” and enjoy the race even more.
There is a lot going on under the hood with about 30 new vehicles in production, including new entries for classes already included in Assetto Corsa, with the aim to make the simulation even better, more enjoyable, offering a selection of cars suited for everyone. We are evaluating the option of implementing championships in order to allow users to create proper seasons with any car of their choice.
On the physics side, we have scheduled a task related to brakes, possibly with the cooperation of a widely known brand, in order to simulate how temperatures affect the performance and efficiency of braking systems. We also have a new algorithm for AWD drivetrain that it giving promising results in the numerical simulation and that we plan to port to the AC engine soon. The new system will allow a more accurate simulation of AWD cars with unequal torque distribution.
Work is underway to create a function called “Quick Menu”, which will enable the user to control software functions while in the car without resorting to mouse or keyboard.
Designed to allow to pre-selected pitstop operations (tyres, fuel etc.) before reaching the pits, the new system could also be expanded to offer necessary controls in VR, a scenario that is not currently possible to support via the existing mouse-driven GUI, opening the possibility for full car setups, pit and game operations to be accessible for VR users.
By the way, let us say a few words about VR, which is an open and quite talked-about issue at the moment. As you know, Kunos Simulazioni has been supporting the Oculus Rift since the release of the very first kit, and the American company also chose Assetto Corsa for its events thanks to the immersion achieved by Assetto Corsa with its products, up to the DevKit 2. The third time around, the SDK provided by the company to support its device was radically changed, and we simply cannot update the code in Assetto Corsa every time this happens; we need to completely rewrite the dedicated rendering structure. That’s not easy or cheap, as you could probably imagine.
Although the retail version of Oculus Rift is finally available, at the moment our core team is focused on the submission and release of Assetto Corsa for consoles, which at the same time brings a huge update for the PC version with the 1.5 build thanks to the fact that part of the code is shared between the platforms. Since working on Oculus support requires us to allocate extra time and resources – because of its complexity it cannot be managed easily or in a few days – we will have to take a moment and consider when our current development schedule will allow us to do so, but realistically not before this summer. Our aim is to support VR – and not necessarily only the Oculus Rift – when we will be able to take the time and resources required.
We fully understand that people who have invested in the purchase of a VR device want to use it as much as possible, and we know that Assetto Corsa guaranteed a ton of fun with the Oculus SDK2 (that could only be better with the retail version), therefore we promise that we will take the time to evaluate the option of creating proper VR support in harmony with other tasks and priorities that we have already scheduled.
Finally, let us thank you for your awesome support that gives us the resources and motivation to do our best to make Assetto Corsa even better day after day.