News Development notes - November 2023

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by J-F Chardon, Nov 17, 2023.

  1. J-F Chardon

    J-F Chardon KW Studios Developer

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    A major update to our tyre model will be rolled out in December. It will bring substantial improvements to the way the cars handle at the limit and will have an impact on brake performance as well as the Force Feedback.

    In order to provide context and facts regarding the changes, we felt it was time for a new development notes article. Enjoy the read and see you all on track in December!

    Tyre Model v5 - Major update coming in December

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    During the development of our Porsche Pack 2023, we benefited from the precious feedback of various subject matter experts, real drivers and race team engineers. The development of a car for RaceRoom starts by plotting all the hard facts and measurable values that constitute the core character of the car. We then make the car available in closed beta to real life drivers and the first rounds of feedback are usually pretty quick iterations focussed on dialling in the car set up and its handling before going into more details. For the Porsche 992 GT3 and GT3 R, we got pretty close to full satisfaction, but... We had comments regarding excessive grip on the rear axle that resulted in understeer during corner exits and drivers also wished for a more lively behaviour in braking phases.

    Now, we were 100% sure of all the data points about the cars, so there had to be something else causing it and that left one possible culprit, one of the hardest aspects of a vehicle simulation: the tyres. Little did we know this would occupy us for months and suck us like a whirlpool into an intense research phase during which we reviewed pretty much everything we knew about tyres and collected books on the matter, contacted various researchers and tyre engineers. This is where working among the KW Automotive sphere proved really beneficial as the network is truly immense and the accumulated knowledge to be found is astounding.

    Since this summer, our internal physics chat channels have been at a boiling point. Discussions of tweaks to the tyre model variables, investigations into the core physics engine and comparing it with research data as well as logged data from race cars… It has been pure excitement all this time.

    What you can expect from all this work is a much more dynamic feel, achieved by ensuring that the tyre reacts appropriately in the various operating conditions, such as tyre load and camber. Before this, the behaviour was correct in the optimal and most encountered conditions but did not change much when going out of that window as we lacked data on what should happen in those cases.

    Now with the research we've done and data we've received we were able to fill in those gaps and also correct mistakes in certain calculations inside the physics engine. The result is a much more realistic tyre and a much better overall driving experience. You don’t need to trust our own words on that, here are some quotes from two of our subject matter experts:

    Moritz Löhner - Professional esports driver, Moritz competed in DTM Trophy in 2021 and 2022 after winning the DTM Esports Championship. This year, he has accumulated experience behind the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 with Laptime Performance.

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    Tim Heinemann - Multiple winner of DTM esports, Tim has proved himself in real racing by winning the real DTM Trophy twice and he made his real DTM debuts in 2023 with Toksport.



    As a side note, the new tyre will make the cars a lot less subject to rolling over, which is actually a great example of where our simulation proved imprecise beyond normal camber limits.

    While the feeling for the car is greatly enhanced, the updated tyre physics should not require much change in how you drive or approach a car, it will simply be making a lot more sense at and beyond the limit of grip. Braking for a corner however, that's going to require some changes. In previous physics, you didn't really have to modulate your braking power much, and 100% brake input was pretty weak in comparison to real life measurements. If you have been tweaking your brake pedal sensitivity settings for RaceRoom to reach 100% input with less required pressure or pedal travel, you might want to revisit this as you will need more finesse in this critical phase once the update rolled out.

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    We know for sure that the changes will make it to you in our December update on selected cars. Feedback we got from test drivers and partners is confirming that the changes currently in beta are spot on and we are now working on adjusting all our other car classes with the V5 tyre approach. We are prioritising the most driven cars in RaceRoom but also the ones for which we have data. We will have to leave certain specs of tyres or certain ABS tweaks for a later update.

    We don't want to stop there, however. We already know that there will have to be a V6 tyre: during the research, we have had a close collaboration with Falken Tyre engineers and received a steady stream of data that opened further paths of improvements in all areas, including effects of temperatures and wear on the mechanical grip. In order to secure a releasable package for December, we have to leave this kind of refinements to 2024 as we had run out of time to iterate enough times in testing.

    The research also grew interest for the sim by professionals. In the last days, Manthey Racing started using the latest beta in their brand new simulator room and that practice program will surely lead to further feedback and paths for improvements I’m sure. Stay tuned for more on that in the future.

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    Credit - Manthey EMA

    Roadmap for Content

    Our 2023 content roadmap had some exciting content releases planned in the third and fourth quarters. However during the summer, we hit a bump in the tarmac when something went awry in our backend, causing noticeable issues. We have opted to play it safe and focus on figuring this out fully before resuming our content rollouts.

    This situation has been an annoying setback as we had just hired a senior backend developer to start on a project to completely replace the old python web backend application. That old app has been causing us headaches for years, during which it has been maintained alive by successive teams. In the last months, we have had to spend time investigating these issues and looking for all possible culprits, fixing any issue we found along the way. We have taken the opportunity to also alter the infrastructure to make it more scalable. The positive news from this investigation and the sequence of fixes we did is that it will be benefitting the game's stability for months to come, while we work on the new app.

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    Some remaining issue relating to Steam transactions is proving hard to debug however and this week, we have added extra logging steps in the hope to fully understand what breaks and why. This means that until a fix is found and deployed, we are considering any further major content release to be done through redeem codes sold on raceroomstore.com.

    The content that was planned for release in our 2023 will be rescheduled to later dates. We will communicate on those new plans as soon as we are able.

    Some background to these backend issues

    RaceRoom is more than a game; it is an online service that was originally released in 2013. Any such service requires a strong server infrastructure and a performant, properly maintained backend. However, throughout the years, it hasn't received the care and attention it deserved. When we transitioned from Sector3 Studios and formed KW Studios in 2022, we have been allowed to put extra focus and resources on its development. Our platform's backend is due for a serious overhaul and refactoring.
    The goal is clear – we want to ensure that RaceRoom remains relevant for another decade and steadily increases in popularity.

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    Long-Term Feature Plans

    We haven't forgotten our long-term feature plans, and we remain as committed as ever. The interface upgrade has some elements already in-game, such as the replay interface, the options menu as well as the garage and car setup menus.

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    What remains to be done is the main menu and the content selection menus. The way we currently present content is quite unappealing and requires the user to make an effort to become familiar with a panel of car class icons and no way to sort by specifications, regulations, type of cars, etc. Improving the content discovery and surfacing all the awesome content that is to be found in RaceRoom is the most important part of the interface upgrade project as it plays such a huge role in how long a player is going to engage with the game. This is one of the areas where the future backend is supposed to deliver results and provide more possibilities to achieve our goals with the interface and improve upon the user flow and content discovery.

    Similarly, backend development is required in order to complete our objectives with regards to the ranked multiplayer experience. While we wait for this in-game feature to be fully completed, we might come out with an interesting race organization system through Discord. Make sure to join our official RaceRoom Discord for more info on that. [ INVITE LINK - https://discord.com/invite/raceroom ]

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  2. elstpizarro

    elstpizarro New Member

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    Thank you guys for these updates - I think dev communication really helps for users to stay involved and connected to the project.
    Regarding December update - any plans for more teasers? List of cars for which new tire model will be implemented maybe ? :)
     
  3. fischhaltefolie

    fischhaltefolie Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your frank words.
    I wish RR and KW Studios the recognition they deserve. ... and for me that the old enthusiasm starts to burn again.
     
  4. fischhaltefolie

    fischhaltefolie Well-Known Member

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    Does this mean purchased vrps cannot be used til then?
     
  5. Muzarati

    Muzarati Member

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    "Braking for a corner however, that's going to require some changes...."
    This worries me a bit, I hope it doesn't make it so hard that it kills it for people like me that don't run fancy load cell pedals etc! I'm using G25 pedals and lock-ups are a regular occurrence as it is! :(
     
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  6. NL-Jos

    NL-Jos Well-Known Member

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    Fingers crossed for coming circuit de Pau-Ville in the december update
     
  7. Andi Goodwin

    Andi Goodwin Moderator Beta tester

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    it will be fine , in a few minutes you can understand it

    Andi
     
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  8. ShortyBuzzGER

    ShortyBuzzGER Well-Known Member Beta tester

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    What i understand is, that buying through steam is the problem. so if you have vrp on your r3e accoun t it should work fine.
     
  9. fischhaltefolie

    fischhaltefolie Well-Known Member

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    I don't know. Most of what I"ve read was people saying their vrps were charged but no cars/tracks were available or vrps were charged double.
    @J-F Chardon @Georg Ortner @Andi Goodwin could you please give some lnformation?
     
  10. Maskerader

    Maskerader Well-Known Member

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    That was an old problem. Now it's only an issue when you pay through Steam.
     
  11. fischhaltefolie

    fischhaltefolie Well-Known Member

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    thank you
     
  12. reif

    reif New Member

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    Will there be default support for Asetek wheels so they are auto-detected and configured?
     
  13. Arcson

    Arcson Well-Known Member

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    ...as well as the Moza ecosystem? I'm not really up to date for some time already but as far as I know it's not officially supported yet?
     
  14. Maskerader

    Maskerader Well-Known Member

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    Moza R9 and R5 have default profiles in the game. Although not without an issue.
     
  15. Wilko Jones

    Wilko Jones Well-Known Member

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    I! Can't! #######! Wait!
     
  16. HiCkS

    HiCkS Member

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    those are great news, loving Raceroom since Race07;)
    Manthey using RRE for their simulator! that alone tells everything.
    thanks devs!

    *I did get a bit scared too about the "braking in the corners gonna need some adaptation...", me too still with my old G25. Will see how it goes :sweatsmile:
     
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  17. Maskerader

    Maskerader Well-Known Member

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    This caught my interest. How far apart are v5 and v6 in terms of development? If v5 is already a temporary version, maybe it makes more sense to only apply it to a few popular classes, put all development resources into V6 and only then update all cars with new tyres?
     
  18. Muzarati

    Muzarati Member

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    I was going to ask, how long will it take to roll it out for all cars? It's gona be really annoying having some on it and some not, especially if we are having to readjust our braking application etc o_O
     
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  19. Thomas Jansen

    Thomas Jansen KW Studios Developer Beta tester

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    Aside from the driving improvements on V5, we have also made our workflow a lot smoother when it comes to making changes to the tyres. So I wouldn't call V5 a temporary version (though physics development never really stops :p ). In many ways the V5 tyres are a new fundamental framework, from which we can iterate further much more easily after we get all cars at the same level.
     
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  20. Maskerader

    Maskerader Well-Known Member

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    Ah, that sounds great. Thank you!