Here we are for our final catch-up of the year, just in time for Christmas!
As hinted in the November Dev Update, we weren´t quite done with the year just yet with v1.5.3 - rather that was to be the platform for the AMS2´s 2023 grand finale. If you have been keeping track of the forums or our social media you´ll have an idea what it is about, but it´s in this Christmas Special Dev Update that you´ll get the full scope of what we have been putting together for the Holidays. Without further ado, let´s begin unwrapping!
Circuit des 24h Du Mans & Endurance Pack Pt1 Incoming!
At this time last year we were on the verge the Brazilian Racing Legends DLC along with the first Historical Track Pack - both were meant to set the theme for a 2023 filled with historical open wheelers and historic tracks to suit them, and what an year it has proved to be for fans of those!
The book isn´t quite closed on that front yet, but with the final update of 2023 we are setting off in a different direction as we begin a push to make AMS2 as compelling for Endurance racing fans as it already is for fans of modern and historic formula cars, and as strong for Multiplayer racing as it has become in Single Player.
The first step in thar journey is nothing less than the introduction of the mecca of Endurance racing to AMS2 - as announced in the June Dev Update earlier this year, the license for the 24h du Mans circuit had been secured and the goal was to deliver the modern version of the track before the end of this year.
Part of the track team has been dedicating themselves to the project ever since, modelling the main mesh with the aid of detailed laser scan data. The rest of team has joined them after wrapping the Historical Track Pack Pt2 last month, and in the last few weeks they have together made a grueling push to complete it in time for the Holidays. We are thrilled to confirm they have succeeded with flying colors, and the plan is on to release the track as a dedicated DLC at some point in this final week of 2023.
The DLC featuring the modern 24h track along with its shorter Bugatti layout is estimated to sell for US$ 9.99 / 8.99€ .
Beyond the ultimate Endurance race track, an initial batch of ultimate Endurance racing cars as together with Le Mans we will also be releasing Endurance Pack Pt1, featuring four new GT3 Gen2 cars along with three LMDh Hypercars.
Two of the new GT3 Gen2 are as per their names evolutions of the existing Gen1 models - the Mercedes AMG EVO and the McLaren 720S EVO. Joining them are the BMW M4 GT3 and the Porsche 992 GT3-R.
The LMDh Hypercars in turn represent the new leading Endurance prototype class which made its debut in this year´s race to immense success, with exciting cars and a competitive field full of new contenders. Endurance Pack Pt1 features three of these contenders: The Porsche 963, the Cadillac V-Series.R and BMW M Hybrid V8, which didn´t race in this year´s Le Mans but did make its debut across the pond racing in the 2023 IMSA championship.
Endurance Pack Pt1 DLC featuring all four GT3 Gen2 cars and the three LMDh models is estimated to sell for US$ 9.99 / 8.99€ .
Both the track and the car pack is just the beginning – a second Endurance Pack is already being assembled r for 2024 to add more cars to both classes, but also new contenders to GTE, LMP2 & LMP3 classes; We can´t yet confirm which and how many there will be, but it´s fair to expect them to have a more Latin flavor to them.
Further down the road, we will travel back in time several historical versions of Le Mans, along with the cars that made history in them - but those are topics for 2024!
We have an initial batch of shader updates coming with V1.5.5, bringing some nice visual enhancements for to no significant performance cost
Continuing what we started in the previous update, sparks have received further adjustments to their visuals and dynamics, looking much more accurate now:
We also have initial developments to how rain interacts with the car models, in particular the way rain droplets hit, stream, and get wiped off from the windshield - more to come here.
Car number panels for the new endurance cars are now made of LEDs and also feature leader LEDs as per their real counterparts racing in WEC and IMSA so they can be seen at night. Inside the car, we have fixed the emissive shader for LCD and LED screens, correcting them being too bright at night and too dim during the day
There is more to come here both for these specific shaders as well other visual details we are aiming to improve on over the course of 2024. Thanks to the resources of the Madness engine and the skills of our 3D & 2D artists AMS2 has always been beautiful but as can be seen in the images illustrating this article, we´re not resting on our those laurels and will continue pushing to keep AMS2 competitive with the best of them in 2024, without compromising its exceptional optimization.
Further V1.5.5 Features & Improvements
With fresh new Endurance content comes the need for the game to offer better Endurance features, and V1.5.5 introduce some valuable initial steps there.
On the AI front, besides improving what type of driving mistakes the AI is subject to as well as how and when they may occur and further calibration refinements both to their performance as well as pit strategy decisions, we have added official support for AI driver swaps in pitstops - upon pitting and choosing to swap places with an undefined AI driver, the car will be under AI control for the stint until the next stop (assuming player decides to take over then). This feature has already sneaked in the last update but the AI performance wasn´t scaled appropriately to the AI Strength the player was running, which has now been rectified. As most new features in AMS2 this one will also get expanded in the future - users will get to choose which AI drivers from the existing pool get to be their teammate(s), what sessions and stints each of them will run as well as who gets to start and finish the race.
Furthermore, AI drivers will now flash their headlights at slower traffic ahead as they come up to lap them just as is typical in Endurance racing
One common complaint we got from users regarded the lack of performance options for night time racing -we have addressed this shortcoming by adding the option for user to configure the maximum number of visible vehicles, as upon investigation that proved to be the main performance draw during the night as each car model would be hit with various light sources from track as well as opponent´s headlights.
We also have a number of audio improvements, amongst which new user options to adjust the level of overall audio reverb & wall reflections.
Another cool new feature is the addition of working flag LED panels to higher grade tracks that feature them in real life - initially only green and full course yellow flags will be activated in the panel, but that will evolve in future updates to also display local blue and yellow flags.
Last but not least, v1.5.5 will bring a batch of new single player championships fully set up with appropriate rule presets, including regional and international Endurance challenges. Multiclass points system are now supported for both the built-in and custom championships created by the player, with a range of new points system to pick from.
The Road Around the Corner - AMS2 in 2024
2023 has proved to be another very strong year for AMS2, and it´s heartwarming for us to see so many of our users enjoying the game more than ever before..
Rest assured there are no plans to slow down in 2024, although users should expect game updates to generally grow more spaced out, with new updates taking up to 2-3 months - as new developments become more complex and the user base continues to expand there is a bigger focus in keeping the public game stable as even more important that such developments are not introduced until reaching a higher level of maturity and stability, demanding longer development timeframes. Such developments include a built-in content management system, a substantial UI & HUD overhaul, a more powerful Dedicated Server Multiplayer tool and a groundbreaking career mode (although this most likely will only see public release in 2025).
We also have a long list of new tracks and cars lined up to boost what is already an impressive roster in 2024, with negotiations for some further premium licenses already well under way. Some of these will introduce further exciting classes from past and present along with fresh motorsports disciplines to make AMS2 even more diverse than it already is. For the most part however new content in 2024 will be focused in further populating existing classes with more contenders as well as increasing the choice of suitable tracks for these classes to race on.
Le Mans and the new Hypercars mark a strong initial stab at modern Endurance Racing, and with the tracks already in the sim the European and Brazilian Endurance racing scenes are instantly very well represented in the game as we wrap this final update of 2023.
It won´t go amiss for hardcore endurance fans however that other prominent manufacturers are still missing from the game, and that a couple of very traditional race tracks in the USA are still needed to make AMS2 truly complete for Endurance racing. We do have some red hot news they may look forward to early on next year, which should further highlight how exciting 2024 promises to be for AMS2 and Endurance racing fans alike - we look forward to sharing these with you all in our initial Dev Update of 2024!
In the meantime, as curtains begin to come down for another year I´d like to once again thank all our users in the name of the whole Reiza team for their ongoing support, without which none of this would be possible. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and the very best of times throughout your Holidays – may it be filled with exciting sim racing!