Assetto Corsa v1.5 Dev Diary – Part 2/3
In our previous diary we told you about the new “Black Cat County” scenic track that will allow you to focus on pure driving pleasure, giving you also the opportunity to rediscover some of the legendary cars that were not originally designed for the track by their manufacturers.
Before we would go deeper into some of the new features and improvements that will come with the new build in the third part of the diary, let us say a few words about what you can expect in the new version of Assetto Corsa in terms of new and updated content.
Three new cars
Assetto Corsa 1.5 brings to our users two car models highy requested by our fans, plus a little surprise that we are glad to give you as well, the little Abarth 595.
The Ford Mustang 2015 is the latest revisiting of what is probably the most iconic american car ever.A proper V8 of traditional 302 cubic inches (4951cc for the rest of the world) under the bonnet, delivers a healthy 435hp at 6500rpm. A round and plenty 400 lb-ft@4500rpm of torque (again over 540Nm for Europeans) is also available at any time. Now you might think that all this muscle can hit the wall very fast (power!) and then move the wall much further (torque!). After all 1700kg of weight is certainly not the definition of lightness… But if you think that’s muscle built with fast food and light beer, you’d be very wrong. The latest American muscle cars are built with many hours of hard work at the gym, using the latest technologies to improve flexibility and agility. You name it, you got it.
Front McPherson strut double lower links on separated ball joint in pure BMW fashion? Check!
Massive 6-piston front brake callipers? Check! 4-piston rear brake callipers? Check!
Massive 19” 255 front and 275 rear Pirelli P Zero tyres? Check! Torsen rear differential? Check!
and finally, get ready for it, a true independent multilink rear suspension!
If all of this sounds very similar to an M3 E92, maybe you’re right or maybe someone on the other side of the Atlantic ocean was doing his homework… the end result is a car that can stay composed and neutral when pushed, but at the same time produce so much tyre smoke that NASA scientists might accuse you as the main cause for climate change.
Are we done? Not really. If the Mustang is transformed into a fitness hero, the new Chevrolet Corvette C7 Stingray has Usain Bolt level of performance! A true purebred that has evolved into one of the greatest sports cars available today. They say America is the land of excess and surely in an era of engine downsizing we can’t do other than admire this “small block” V8 of 6.2 litres that easily produces 460hp at 6000rpm and 630Nm of torque at 4600. Let me say that again, six hundred and thirty newton-meters of torque… Watch out how you press the accelerator or people will complain that they had one hour less of sleep again and this time it won’t be because of the daylight-saving but because you sped up the rotation of the Earth! You think the excess would end up in the engine? How about a 7-speed manual – yes you read that correctly – gearbox. All-around independent suspension with active magnetorheological dampers is available to the Z51 option. The active limited slip rear differential always provide the optimum traction aided by the 20” 285 wide rear tyres.
The end result is impressive. The handling is extremely neutral and very capable. Overwhelming at times when you expect a car with such power to just spin its tyres and drift but instead just grips and goes! Chassis and suspension work perfectly together and lap times are impressive. It’s not a coincidence that in terms of handling and grip is compared to the finest European sports cars and… often comes out as the winner! Be careful though. As it is so focused on grip and performance, it might not always like been driven at an angle and might turn around and bite you.
On top of all of that, its straight-line performance is impressive as you might expect. 0–60mph in less than 4 seconds, standing mile (400m) in 12.3 seconds and a top speed of over 180mph (290kmh). And all this from the… base model. American muscle you say? Think again as this muscle is so lean and explosive it can put to shame many of the European beliefs and traditions.
Last but not least… ok well maybe it is last after all.
The Abarth 595 EsseEsse brings you back to the glories of the ‘60s, when people began to consider that cars were no longer a luxury item for a select few but an accessory to evolving and improving their lifestyle. Especially in Italy, the Fiat 500 represents an icon that every family has owned at least once. Abarth decided to tune this car to its best – so we did as well – tuning the Abarth version and giving it some decent power with two additional “S” versions. An interesting fact: the performance granted by the little 595 was considered very good in the ‘60s, and we like to think that in Assetto Corsa you can also taste and appreciate the technological evolution between the two centuries in terms of handling, balance, braking strength, torque and sheer power. Therefore, we are very glad to offer you this “small but actually quite big” icon of the Italian automotive industry that we believe will be a favourite choice for relaxed and fun multiplayer races.
A new layout for Vallelunga
Prior to 2005, “Trincea” was the most challenging bend on the Vallelunga circuit before it was modified to host Formula 1 tests. Trincea (“trench”) is a blind high-speed corner that joins the straight after “Ciminis” to the slower section of the circuit. On the real track, in spite of Trincea being permanently closed, the road is still there and it has been captured in our laser-scan point cloud, which is why we decided to give you the thrill this bend was able to offer, bringing the number of layouts available for “our” home circuit up to three.
The 1.5 version brings some interesting updates regarding sounds, an element absolutely relevant to guaranteeing proper immersion and to get you in the car. As we are gaining experience with FMOD, we can take further advantage of its features, while we continue to expand our recordings database. Thanks to our relationship with racing teams and their kind cooperation, we aim to keep improving our recording techniques and the overall product.
We always take into consideration our users’ feedback, so the 1.5 build finally features basic reverb effects along the tracks and the car sounds are differentiated by internal and external cameras. This means that cockpit cameras use internal sounds, while you can hear the powerful intake sound from the bonnet camera or the distinctive exhaust sound from the chase camera. This vastly enhances immersion and realism and gives modders the chance to further enhance their amazing projects.
Additionally, we now provide an in-game app that permits changing sound volumes on the fly, so you are not forced to exit a game session. And that’s not all, since the free cameras now use the same distance attenuation of the track cameras, this is also great news for race broadcasters and video makers.
Not only does the build bring new features, but also many fixes as well, most importantly gear shift and backfires sounds are now shared by the engine volume. Sounds are also an important information to the driver: now you can hear the bottom of the car scraping against the asphalt or any other surfaces.
The 1.5 version also takes an important advantage from the strong and direct connection with the porting process of the code to the consoles, and brings improvements and new features in the graphics department. Post-processing filters have been improved, and the improvements also affect how the cars look. The graphics of the internal instruments have been improved, as well as car details, shaders and materials. The new build features two new driving views: an additional exterior view and the “dashcam”, based on the suggestions given by real drivers and simracers and feedback from our PS4 press tour in January: in the absence of triple screen support on consoles, it was requested that we add an internal view that is set as close to the dashboard as possible without showing steering wheel and driver hands, conceived to be ideal when driving on a simulator rig. We listened, finding the ideal position on each single car that not only improves overall immersion but also allow the driver to see better from cars that feature wraparound cockpits that block peripheral view. These new visuals are now available also on PC. Up until recently, backfire graphics did not follow the overall evolution of the production. Finally, they have been completely redesigned, and now they match perfectly the engine behaviour, granting a better graphics performance as well.
We have already mentioned the improvements brought to all circuits featured in Assetto Corsa but let’s go a bit more into details. The first point is that these improvements do not have a negative effect on performance but add camera facing support for crowd on stands.
The overall look of the tracks has been upgraded with new textures, different shaders and various 3D modifications. Many tracks have now new trackside objects such as cranes, tents, TV vans that give a better racing immersion. The use of camera facing spectators has been extended to all tracks on several grandstands.
All race tracks received more or less the same treatment with some undergoing a more thorough overhaul. Some noticeable updates include: Nurburgring GP, Vallelunga, Monza, Imola have all been updated to newer versions and now feature new textures and improved shaders for tarmac, sand, curbs, grass, new trees and 3D trees, improved tyre marks, several new trackside objects, and upgraded environments.
In the final part of this dev-diary we’ll be focused on physics, tyre model, multiplayer and artificial intelligence, and we’ll take a look also to what there’s beyond the 1.5 build of Assetto Corsa.