Last updated on April 15th, 2020 at 11:51 pm
Black Delta has started sign-ups for its KartKraft closed beta run.
Formerly known as KartSim, KartKraft made an early appearance at last summer’s Gamescom. A late 2015 to early 2016 release window recently shifted to a definitive June 4th, 2016. The closed beta news states that this delay will now give the developers time to comprehensively test the game ahead of the revised launch date.
Adopting the new schedule, Black Delta’s intention is to involve the community in order to garner opinion as well as report on, for example, any bugs that might be discovered along the way. After a first round of beta testing, the company aims to periodically expand the number of invitations over the next couple of months. If the development and testing schedule holds, this will ultimately lead to a fully open Steam Early Access period that will begin in June.
Closed Beta Registration
KartKraft beta registration comes with a few requirements, which we’ll outline below.
To register, a Windows dxdiag text file needs to be uploaded to the site. Directions for creating the file are included on the KartKraft page. Once that is done, a slightly long questionnaire has to be completed. Applicants must supply some demographic information as well as a Steam user name. The process includes several pages of tick-box questions on game-related aspects such as these:
- What hardware you use (e.g. Fanatec ClubSport Wheel, Logitech G29, Thrustmaster T300, Xbox 360 controller…);
- What games you play (Automobilista, DiRT Rally, Project CARS…);
- What factors you consider important in games (physics, competitive AI, force feedback, on-line play…).
On completion of the form, you’ll be thanked for having signed up and should quickly receive an e-mail to confirm registration for the closed beta. If nothing arrives, do check your spam folder! Our sign-up receipt arrived moments after completing the process, though it was filtered as a junk message.
Kartkraft will start to send out invitations to the beta programme next week.
Lots of Promise
With the involvement of a number of racing-related companies that include Alpinestars, Arai, Momo and Sparco on the apparel side and Maxter Kart Engines on the mechanical one, KartKraft looks to be strong in terms of cosmetic authenticity. We’ll not read too much into the presence of those company names just yet but driven by Unreal Engine 4, KartKraft certainly appears to have its visual aspects nicely taken care of.
Gamers and fans of the sport alike should appreciate customisation of their driver, kart and race team. It’s a sign that regardless of any potential ‘sim’ leanings, Black Delta haven’t forgotten the game side either. We’re not personally fixed to the race-to-earn (or grind!) side of racing games, but it’s a canny decision on the design front. After all, such built-in progression has played a part for years in the massive sales successes of Turn 10 Studios and Polyphony Digital as well as the recently divisive games of Milestone. On two wheels or four, unlocking content by racing is a staple of the genre by now. Combined with customisation, we imagine this will play a big part in the appeal of this kart-specific game and partly due to that kart-only nature, prove to be a welcome, even valuable feature.
At this point, however, we’re most keen to see the results of Black Delta’s physics work. KartKraft has had a huge gestation period and we’re naturally eager to learn whether so many years of development and the inclusion of laser-scanned circuits have resulted in the ‘hyper-realistic’ game that is promised.
Gathering details between Black Delta’s blog posts, videos and the latest KartKraft ‘closed beta’ announcement hints toward the following:
- Multiple race classes from starter karts to full 100MPH (160km/h) machines;
- Build a team – buy a kart, create a team and race;
- Unlock larger team headquarters, decals, drones and RC cars;
- Dynamic kart modelling, including chassis flex and moving bodywork;
- Fully animated driver;
- Wet weather (falling rain and damp tarmac);
- Minimum of DirectX 11 rendering;
- Oculus Rift VR support.
KartKraft is a PC-only title that will initially be released on Steam. Don’t feel left out just yet if you’re a console player though as plans are afoot for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions!
Though the gaming world is hardly overwhelmed with kart-racing simulations, what we do have is very good. Especially when it comes to at least convincing behaviour of the machinery, the benchmark is surprisingly high.
It’s going to be fascinating not only seeing what Black Delta has created but also running it alongside titles like PiBoSo’s Kart Racing Pro and the kart classes of Reiza Studios’ Automobilista Motorsports Simulator for comparison. Can KartKraft match its visual advantage over those simulators with equally appealing force feedback, the ‘direct’ feel of a kart and tight racing on and off-line?
We hope to answer some of that soon!