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VELOCIPEDE

SimBin Dev Blog 20-3

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VELOCIPEDE

http://insider.simbin.com/simbin-dev-blog-5/
 

Corner Markers
So the bad news… I mentioned that we would update the tracks with biweekly patches. And this week was supposed to be the week for the second batch of track updates. Unfortunately there is going to be a slight delay on this as we have to delay this update by few weeks.
The reasoning for this is that we decided we can kill two birds with one stone. Since we are going through all the tracks for the corner marker update, we thought, why not remove all the banners and billboards that are not part of the track in real life. Now, these banners are still useful for us on certain events so we don’t want to remove them altogether. But we will have them disabled by default and have the ability to change and enable them on events such as sponsored competitions and so on. And that takes some work behind the scenes.
Hopefully you can appreciate the delay. Who knows, maybe these banners were another thing you didn’t like seeing around the tracks :) So it might be good news for some after all.
Here are some shots of tracks we’re updating for the corner marker toggle and soon the banners will disappear as well.
cornermarkers2-670x160.jpg cornermarkers11-670x160.jpg
 
Multiplayer ALPHA
We are pushing hard to get a Multiplayer Alpha ready to share with some of you very soon. So here’s how we’re going to roll it out.
Multiplayer Alpha, as the name suggests, is by no means a finished feature and it will be purely basic Multiplayer. We will start with a limited amount of servers to stress test certain things. For this we decided to make it available to a limited amount of players to make sure it’s not too overcrowded and the amount of player and server traffic has an ongoing balance.
Initially, Multiplayer Alpha will be made available to DTM Experience Season Pass holders only (players who have the Season Pass sticker in their profile).  In other words, it will be available for players who have purchased a redeem code for DTM Experience 2013 + Season Pass via dtm-experience.com. The season pass deal is still going until the end of this month by the way.
 
Multiplayer Alpha will definitely have issues. It might be unstable at times. It might be buggy. Performance might be terrible, lag might ruin your experience and a lot of other negatives that come with testing an Alpha feature. But in the end it will help us improve it and make Multiplayer an Experience everyone can enjoy.
We aim to share Multiplayer Alpha in DTM Experience for Season Pass holders, before this summer. Depending on how things go we will then make it available to more players in R3E.
 
What Else
The latest NVIDIA drivers are still crashing while running the game and we’re in contact with NVIDIA to get the issue resolved asap. If you are still experiencing issues, please revert back to NVIDIA drivers 332.21 WHQL.
Our web and in-game browser team is done with prototyping and we are definitely going to change the way we present the game. That means revamping the menus entirely and a lot more. That will take some time so there’s not much to talk about just yet but I will keep you all posted with updates on that part as well.
It’s been a while since I posted some WIP content shots. So here are some shots of a car we are working on.

cockpit_04-670x670.jpg cockpit_01-670x670.jpg
Audi_Quattro_90_GTO_07-670x670.jpg Audi_Quattro_90_GTO_06-670x670.jpg
Audi_Quattro_90_GTO_02-670x670.jpg quattro-670x670.jpg



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VELOCIPEDE

CURRENTLY IN PLAN FOR 2014

Multiplayer
We are currently working on preparing Multiplayer Alpha. We aim to start stress testing the infrastructure with a limited amount of users before this summer. 
Initially Multiplayer Alpha will be made available to DTM Experience Season Pass holders only. In other words, it will be available for players who have purchased a redeem code for DTM Experience 2013 + Season Pass via dtm-experience.com. Depending on our tests, we will then enable the alpha mode to more of our players. 

WEB Technology based User Interface and Menu System
We are currently working on making a switch to WEB technology based UI and Menu system. We are working on revamping the entire presentation of the game with a dynamic and more user friendly WEB technology based approach. 

Controller Wizard & Physics
We are revisiting our controller profile system and will revise our default controller profiles. We are also working on the physics side of things to bring more realism to car handling. 

Single Player
We are working on completing the Single Player experience for the R3E base. Adaptive AI and Single Race is being implemented for R3E alongside Multiplayer. 

Shared Memory Data
We are working on improving our Shared Memory Data system and we are creating a technical documentation to provide better support to 3rdparty developers who develop applications that can be used with R3E. Telemetry app and motion plugin developers will be able get more usable data from the R3E and thereby improve their compatibility with our game. 

AI Improvements
We are currently refactoring the AI and the Adaptive AI system to improve the performance and accuracy of computer controller cars.  

Multiple Experience System
We are implementing a more dynamic system to support multiple experiences under the R3E umbrella. Different Race series will have their own style and theme within their own unique experiences.

 

 

INTRODUCED SINCE APRIL 2013

Extended Controller Support
We have added extended controller support for players to be able to user their controllers (D-pads and analogue sticks on gamepads and steering wheels) on every section of the game. This implementation allows controllers to control the mouse cursor to make menu and option browsing more accessible. 

Instant Replay in Game
We have added the ability to watch replays instantly during gameplay sessions by pressing the key “I”. This implementation allows players to instantly access the replay to re-watch an event or take screenshots. 

Banner-Pack System
We implemented a dynamic banner-pack system where we can dynamically change the visuals on the environment objects such as banners and billboards around a track layout. This allows us to add endorsements and sponsor banners on special events such as competitions. 

IBL (Image Based Lighting)
We implemented a lighting/rendering system that improves the look and feel of the visuals in the gameplay environment. The IBL system improves the illumination on the entire environment including the cars. 

Account Removal
An account can now be deleted by the user through the account settings link in the portal menu.

Newsletter Subscription
Manage newsletter settings through the account settings link in the portal menu.

Novice Mode
We added novice difficulty for the players that are new to simracing and racing in general. The novice mode includes various automatic assists and in-game HUD (Head-Up Display) markers. The novice mode introduces players to racing and lets them get familiar with the game before they are ready for the more advanced driving models, Amateur and Get Real.  

TrackIR Support
We added TrackIR support, a motion tracking hardware that is widely used by gamers, especially simulation players. 

Graphical Improvements and Options
We made various improvements to the rendering and the overall graphics of R3E. We also implemented various new graphical options to allow players to customize their visual settings as it suits them. Some of the added options are;

  • Car & Track Texture Quality
  • Shader Quality
  • Rearview Mirror Quality
  • Reflection Types (Cubemap reflections on car surfaces)

Advanced Stats
We implemented Advanced Statistics to the portal to let players get more detailed statistics on all cars and tracks the player has driven with. 

Adaptive AI
We implemented an Adaptive Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that adapts to players performance on individual cars and tracks in race sessions. The AI adapts and adjusts its difficulty based on the performance of the player on the driven car and the track. 

Class Based Leaderboards
We added class based leaderboards to allow players to compare their performances across an entire car class. Before this implementation, the players were limited to compare their laptimes in the leaderboard of the individual car only. 

Brand Pages
We added Brand Pages for players to subscribe to and get more information about various brands that sponsor our events and competitions. 

News Feed
We added Newsfeed section to the portal where players get real-time updates. Via Newsfeed, players get instant updates on their friend’s activity and their favourite brands they have subscribed to. 

Photo Feed
We added Photo feed widget to the portal that shows latest uploaded screenshots to the portal. The player can set photo feed to show screenshots from friends only, or let it show all the screenshot updates globally. 

Corner Marker Toggle
We have added a corner marker toggle to allow players to turn ON/OFF the corner marker assists. With the introduction of Novice Mode, the purpose of these arrows have diminished and we are now working on updating all the tracks to let players turn off these marker assists.

Overlays
We have implemented an overlay system which can be seen on DTM Experience 2013. The overlays simulate the experience of watching a race series on TV. In DTM Experience 2013, the overlays are designed after the real life overlays used in DTM races seen on TV. 
As an alternative, we have also included an option to turn off the overlays for players who want the fully realistic driver experience instead of the TV experience. 

Steam DLC Integration
We implemented Downloadable Content (DLC) system to make our content packages and add-ons available in Steam Store.



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VELOCIPEDE

Time for another dev blog. We’ll talk about what’s in the patch we’re preparing for you that will go live next week and we’ll also go into a bit more detail regarding Multiplayer Alpha.

Patch Next Week

As promised, the second batch of updated tracks for the corner marker toggle is now ready.

These are;

  • Bathurst
  • Zandvoort (R3E)
  • Hockenheimring (R3E)
  • Mid Ohio
  • Portimao
  • Suzuka
  • Mazda Laguna Seca

And of course all their layouts are going to be updated as well.

suzuka-brake-markers-670x376.jpg

Suzuka is one of the tracks that’s being updated for the corner marker toggle.

 

As mentioned before, these patches don’t really include a whole lot as they’re mainly for track updates. But there are few bits and pieces so I’ll just mention those.

  • The SimBin intro video is now skip-able. Hehe.. Fairly small change but I know a lot of people, including me, asked for this for a while now.
  • We have also removed the exit screen. Because why not!
  • We are adding VIP driver profiles to the portal. Drivers from real life race series will get a bit of a special profile. Players will be able to follow their profile similar to Twitter and race against their laptimes in competitions. Some drivers will join some competitions soon so stay tuned for more information on that.
  • We are adding class based competitions. Players soon will be able to choose a car and livery within a class rather than being limited to one car and livery set by us.
  • And we are adding competition history tab in competitions. Players can see their laptimes in competitions they have participated in the past.

 

Multiplayer Alpha – Mini FAQ

My news about Multiplayer Alpha and how we’re going to roll it out raised a lot of questions. So I figured I would gather the most frequently asked ones and make a mini faq.

When will MP Alpha be available?

Sometime in May or June. Hopefully May.

You said that it will be available to DTM Experience Season Pass Holders first. What does that mean?

For stress testing the infrastructure with a limited amount of users, we are initially making the MP alpha available to DTM Experience Season Pass holders only. Basically, players who have purchased the preorder offer  (DTM Experience 2013 + Season Pass for Season 2014) from the dtm experience and Race Department.

What about players who only purchased DTM Experience 2013?

The stress test with season pass holders is only for a few weeks. If all is well we will enable it to all DTM Experience 2013 players for further tests.

What about R3E players who do not own the DTM Experience? 

We are working on a temporary menu system that will be similar to the Web based DTM Experience Menus. With that we will be able to have MP browser and all the other components to share both Single Player Race and Multiplayer Race with all R3E users.

Please note the menu system we are developing is just a temporary one for the purpose of sharing MP and SP as soon as possible. It is not going to be the finalized, fully revamped UI/Menu system we are working on.

I bought DTM Experience 2013 but not the season pass. Can I upgrade? 

Currently this is not possible and probably won’t be.

Why make it available to DTM-E first and not R3E? 

R3E menus are using a middleware called Scaleform. As we are revamping the entire menu system and switching to a WEB based solution, any work done on Scaleform based menus would be tossed out later on, which is not the best way to use our time and resources. Most changes are also hardcoded and not very dynamic while the DTM-E menus are WEB based. They are dynamic and quick. It makes it easy for us to create the components needed for Multiplayer.

The second key reason is the ease of limiting the number of players. It is a lot easier for us to limit the amount of players by checking whether they have Season Pass or whether they have DTM Experience. The MP Alpha is not an exclusive bonus or anything like that. We are simply limiting the numbers for initial stress testing. We will then make it available to a bigger chunk, and then finally everyone. This is mainly for Quality Assurance and Infrastructure testing purposes.

wip_multi-670x371.jpg

This is a mockup of the MP Alpha browser. It’s a mockup so please ignore the track names and typos.

Hopefully this mini faq will clear some things out. If you have more questions feel free to comment here or on your favorite community and I’ll gather them up and do another Faq.



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VELOCIPEDE
New Track Shader WIP




1797560_691031104286740_713357783_n.jpg



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