Good evening everyone out in the big wide world of the Internet – your monthly fix of news and excitement from the development lands of rFactor 2 has arrived – and with an August theme. Yes, believe it or not another four weeks of action have whipped by, leaving us once again with our latest development roadmap posting.
Summer holiday season is here for us all, which undoubtedly has an impact on many businesses around the world as staff look to grab a quick opportunity to rest and refresh in various holiday destinations, or just take a little time back for yourself and crack on with the many things at home you’ve been leaving for the last few months. Here at Studio 397 the team have also enjoyed various bits of holiday time, meaning that this month, while still action packed, is perhaps a little lighter in news that would normally be the case – although we never rest for long, so we’ve still got plenty of points of interest to look forward to in the near future.
Zandvoort 2021 Update
Zandvoort | Steam Workshop: CLICK HERE
Earlier this month we announced that the next track to receive the full PBR update treatment in rFactor 2 will be Zandvoort, and as we race ever closer to the return of the Formula One Dutch Grand Prix this coming weekend, we are delighted to use this roadmap post as the first opportunity to see the new changes in action – ahead of deployment to the public build of the simulation later this week.
As we mentioned in our announcement post, considerable work has gone into this new build, over and above the visual uplift that has been introduced as part of our shaders package upgrade. We have retraced our steps around the entire Grand Prix and National Circuit configurations, making some pretty noticeable revisions to the circuit layout and surface as we look to ensure our version of Zandvoort is fully accurate to the real life venue.
These developments are just undergoing final testing and tweaking behind the scenes, and should be released to the public as a free upgrade hopefully later this week!
Tatuus | rFactor 2 Steam Workshop | CLICK HERE
Last month we promised some new updates to the various Tatuus cars available within rFactor 2, and at the time we firmly anticipated these would be released within August. As is almost always the case when publically commiting to a date, things happen, changes are required, priorities shift and that date is inevitably missed. Sadly, this has been the case with the various and sizeable updates to the Tatuus models in sim, and now as we hit the final day of August we are still very much in the testing and tweaking phase – meaning we are going to have to move release out to September, although we most certainly aren’t going to commit to an exact release date at this stage!
We certainly believe it’s possible to get these out sooner rather than later, so expect to see some movement with this update early in the coming month.
New Release Candidate
Following our big build update of July, we have spent the last month or so without an option to opt into the latest ‘Release Candidate’ build of rFactor 2. As we explained at the time of the update, this was a deliberate decision taken by our production colleagues, to allow us to understand and develop some deeper changes to the software before putting everything together into a build we feel confident enough to release into the public domain. At present, we have recently deployed a new internal build of rFactor 2 to our test team, with a rigorous testing process in place to check the first pass of changes have been applied and behave correctly. These changes have only recently been shipped to the private beta build, however work does continue to expand and improve upon this initial base as we gear up towards preparing for pushing out the build into the public Release Candidate.
The next scheduled Release Candidate will contain a collection of minor tweaks and improvements over the current public build of rFactor 2, with other enhancements set to be introduced over the next few build cycles. Although we are probably still a few weeks away from getting these changes into RC, below you can find a few highlights of what to expect to ship in the upcoming RC.
Faster Loading Times
The new build includes some code reworking to help with optimizing game loading and series switching times, which should present players with improved performance across the UI and when loading into rFactor 2. These changes have been developed as an initial pass at improving the responsiveness and speed of the software across the board, and already we have seen reports that suggest our initial changes are offering a real world improvement to the rFactor 2 experience.
Increased Exposure Settings
The new beta build has also shipped with some graphics improvements that have been made around low light exposure, especially within the cockpit of the cars. We have identified areas where we have made some minor adjustments to low light graphics settings, including a pass on cloud textures rebalancing and increasing the brightness of heavier clouds. These changes, in conjunction with some minor adjustments to cockpit camera PFX settings to allow for more exposure adjustment to produce slightly higher maximum exposure when running in nighttime conditions, which should improve the natural feeling of cockpit camera exposure behaviour out on the track.
Looking back on August
Despite the disruption that August and staff holidays traditionally bring, we still managed to put together a nice collection of improvements to various aspects of rFactor 2 during the last month. Continuing to work hard on revisiting and improving older content within the title, we are delighted to have finally had the opportunity to bring about some impressive, and free, improvements to various bits of content within the sim over the past four weeks – with more again planned for September and beyond.
Although certainly not as big of a list as in previous months, August was still another very good time to be a part of the rFactor 2 development process. With that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the highlights from the most just gone.
USF2000 PBR Update Released
USF2000 | Steam Workshop: CLICK HERE
This is one we are absolutely delighted to finally be able to release to the public at long last. The USF2000 is one of our favourite open wheel cars here at Studio 397, and despite the content representing one of our earlier releases, our art team have worked wonders with this latest PBR update – really lifting the visual aspect of the cars onto another level altogether, and instantly transporting this content into the realms of some of the best looking vehicles within the simulation. Having fully refreshed the 3D model in pretty much every aspect that can be seen by the players, plus the addition of PBR paint schemes and a brand-new driver animation – one that we feel offers a significant improvement over the original – this is a car set that now very much looks as good as it drives, and one that we really hope brings our community a great deal of racing pleasure over the months and years ahead.
USF2000 Release Article | More Details | CLICK HERE
Formula Pro V0.99 Update
Formula Pro | Steam Store: CLICK HERE
We originally released our new Formula Pro car back on July 1st, with a promise that further developments would be forthcoming to the car as the months progress. As we have alluded to in recent weeks, we have some very big plans for this machine in the future, but while we await those coming on stream, we also intend to continue reviewing and updating the car based on our own findings and those of our sim racing community. Intiially releasing under the ‘Shakdown’ version tag, this month we deployed our first update to the car back on August 9th, adding a few additional tweaks to the tyre life behaviour and rectifying a FFB vibration issue that some members of the community have been reporting since intiial release.
Formula Pro Update | V0.99 Released | CLICK HERE
This new build is very much a quality of life improvement, however we still have quite a bit of sim racing goodness to bring to these cars over the course of the next few months, alongside further fundamental core changes and tweaks. We have been delighted to see and hear the overall positive reaction from our community since we released the Formula Pro, and we cannot wait to let loose some of the ideas we have in our plans for this machine.
DRS Updates – Indianapolis and Silverstone
Indianapolis & Silverstone | Steam Workshop: CLICK HERE
Two of our more recent cars released to the simulation feature the DRS Drag Reduction System, and as such this prompted us to consider updating some of our existing tracks with specific DRS zones. We appreciate that with the introdcution of our new Formula Pro open wheel car, players will undoubtedly be keen to sample the machine on as many of the FIA Grade 1 listed circuits within the simulation as possible, and seeing as some of them either need DRS adding for the first time, or changes to locations of the activation and deployment zones, we took the opportunity to refresh both the Indianapolis Road Course and Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit with these changes.
As both tracks are free additions to rFactor 2 and available on the Studio 397 Steam Workshop profile, the updates have been deployed directly to the workshop for no additional cost.
Following a short hiatus, August would see the much anticipated return of the rFactor 2 Competition System Blog post – where Marcel answers a bunch of community generated questions and give a little more insight into the ongoing development of our rFactor 2 Competition System.
With the holiday season in full swing, and having quite a significant amount of work to undertake behind the scenes, the CS blog post releases have become a bit sporadic in recent weeks, however, I’m sure you will agree that the bumper nature of the last post should more than make up for the wait!
This month, Marcel fielded an incredible amount of questions from our community – we are exceptionally grateful to see the continued interest in our developing system – and hopefully the post produced some interesting insights into our development plans. If you missed it at the time, or want to quickly review what was said again, check out the link below.
Competition System Blog | Week 19: CLICK HERE
Don’t forget, our next Competition System Blog will be released on Wednesday 1st September – if you still have a question you want to be considered, head over to the Studio 397 forum and get posting!
Recommended Viewing – rFactor 2 Esports Competitions
We have an incredible, action packed month of top level esport competitions happening in rFactor 2 during September. From premium series featuring our new open wheel monster, to the continuation of long-standing tin top GT action in GT Pro and GT Challenge, plus of course a look into the future with the RCCO World eX Championship – if you like things with wheels racing against each other, you really don’t have to look much further than on the links below;
8th September | 20:00 | RCCO World eX Championship Round 8 | Motorsport.TV
That’s all for another month here at Studio 397. Wishing you all a happy, productive and safe September, and catch you all on the Studio 397 website and social media channels for all the latest and greatest news and excitement about rFactor 2!