Today is a good day. Today is a new build day. You may have heard on the sim racing grapevine something about a new competition system within rFactor 2 that is under development..? Yes, that’s right, our December build update is here and a very first pass at organizing rFactor 2 multiplayer action has come with it, marking a very important line in the sand for us here at Studio 397 as we continue working incredibly hard to ensure the simulation delivers an experience our users demand.
The Competition System is now live as part of this build update, with the first racing events due to be uploaded and set to begin on Thursday December 24th.
November Roadmap | More Details On Competition Roadmap: Click Here.
Before we talk about the changes that have come as part of this new build release, let us remind you a little about why we want to include a competition system within the software in the first place.
Online racing, from a local level all the way up to organized and professional esport activities are an important aspect of the rFactor 2 journey, and have for a long time been very well represented by the many numerous community created sim racing leagues throughout the world.
Whilst these leagues are doing an incredible job of offering sim racers outstanding opportunities to race their favourite cars within the simulation, we realize that for the largest part of our user base racing in scheduled league events isn’t always the most convenient or accessible way for them to get involved in online multiplayer action, and finding servers that host content they want to race, at a time in which they would like to race it, has proven to be more difficult than it ideally needs to be.
Driven by a desire to offer quality racing for everyone, in a structured and organized way that increases the opportunities for our fantastic community to get involved, we have devised a new competition system within the software, one that offers up regularly scheduled racing in a variety of different car and track combinations within the sim and brings with it an element of matching together drivers of similar skill and ratings, to help streamline and improve the racing experience for our users, and put the emphasis back on what is important – getting on track and having fun.
Of course, this new system has been developed with expansion in mind, so what you will see as part of the new build today is certainly going to grow and expand over time – with so much obvious potential to enhance our multiplayer experience, we have taken the decision to adopt a cautious and regimented approach to deployment. What this means in reality is that we intend to spend time at each phase of development taking onboard community feedback in regard to how the system is working, and what features and behaviours the community would like to see brought to the system in future builds. By adopting this approach, we aim to maximize the potential of the system based on how it is used, and how the vast majority of people would like to use it going forward, to collectively develop something that adds genuine value to your sim racing experience within rFactor 2.
Before we take a look at the system in its current initial release status, it may be useful for those of you who missed it within the November Development Roadmap to have another look at our planned ‘mini’ roadmap of development over the coming months:
Ratings — are probably one of the most anticipated features, and one of the reasons for not having them active right from the start is that we want to test our algorithms on real-world data before publishing anything. Our current philosophy is to have a single rating system that encapsulates both your skill and safety record.
Protests and decisions — are also high on our roadmap list as we will no doubt have situations where an incident will need to be reported and evaluated by our stewards. Our goal here is definitely to let the in-game systems do a lot of the (easy) work here, monitoring when you cut the track or commit other offences and directly handing out penalties. At the same time we are aware that not everything can be decided by robots.
More competition formats — are things we will probably gradually introduce but as a feature they certainly need to be mentioned on any roadmap. We intend to run our GT championship, various hotlap styles, some completely new formats as well as more “league style” competitions in the system.
Roles and team based driving — will be added to allow multiple drivers to share an “entry”, or car, in a competition. Roles can be defined so teams can also have a manager or race engineer. Other roles are stewards, race control, and cameramen to facilitate broadcasts.
Broadcast integration — is probably another feature that will be gradually introduced, but obviously when broadcasting sessions that belong to a competition, we want to make sure that overlays showing standings, points, participants and calendars accurately reflect the competition they’re a part of.
Offline Championships — will be added once the online part is running smoothly. We will leverage the features we use online to also facilitate offline championships, where you can race against our AI.
These features will take us well into 2021, and we will revise and update them as the year progresses.
These features and developments will largely be driven by how the system is adopted by the current and future rFactor 2 racing community of course, and should be taken as a broad guideline as to our development intentions rather than a set of absolutes. We are exceptionally keen to ensure this development phase is driven by the wants and desires of our community racers, as we look to build something together than improves and enhances the overall experience of racing within rFactor 2.
With that all said, let us take a look at what has changed as part of the new build today.
- Fixed v-sync not working
- Fixed an issue where certain car classes would not show in a session
- Various minor graphical bug fixes
- Fixed issues with aspect ratio
- Added competition system
So that’s it for the new build update, but it certainly isn’t the end of the rFactor 2 story this month. Tomorrow afternoon we plan to release our new Endurance Pack 2 DLC, adding three pretty fantastic new cars in the form of the Cadillac DPi-V.R, the LMP2 specification Ligier JS P217 and the brand new GTE Chevrolet Corvette C8.R… three cars we are sure you will enjoy racing just as much as we have enjoyed developing over the last few months.
From all at the studio, enjoy the new build and have a great Christmas and New Year!