After making rapid progress since its first public appearance only a few months ago, ECAR_Tracks’ Le Mans Bugatti Circuit has now reached a full v1.00 release.
Betraying the numerically small step from v0.98 to the newly achieved v1.00, the entire venue has in fact undergone a significant amount of work this time round. All together, the updates, additions and fixes have created a welcome upgrade within our rFactor 2 track collection.
ECAR’s track-related efforts include not only remodelled sections of the short Bugatti Circuit but re-profiled kerbs for improved interaction with the cars. Impressively, force feedback and car behaviour will also differ with v1.00 due to modified surface properties in comparison to the v0.98 release.
Moving to AI, v1.00 has improved the driving zones for non-player cars. The cars should appear more ‘sane’ under certain conditions described below, in addition to being more competitive thanks to being quicker and more able to defend their positions.
This release is highly optimised with improvements and in some cases, complete re-workings of lighting, shadows and geometry. Many elements have been changed or replaced in order to improve frame rate and lessen the burden on slower computers.
Graphically, v1.00 continues the theme of advancement combined with scratch-built replacements for ‘unsatisfactory’ components. Considerable time has gone into making better textures and creating more realistic levels of reflection in multiple areas.
The famous Le Mans Ferris wheel adds a noteworthy improvement thanks to becoming an animated object. Especially when driving in night-time conditions, it’s one of those little yet valuable touches that adds to the feel of Le Mans!
Let’s look at the change list.
- First track segment totally rebuilt at T1 and the small straight before the Dunlop esses to get rid of excessive bumping (fixed wrong elevation data)
- Moved time-strap sectors
- Corrected Pit-Out position to avoid incorrect penalty due to leaving pits before Green and also corrected pit and start-light behaviour
- Corrected wrong properties of several objects (collide or HAT)
- Re-shaped tall red kerbs and decreased their height due to AI turnovers of some mods with stiff suspension parameters (1)
- Reversed wrong direction on several 3D kerbs and remodelled to match the real thing (Yoss’ picture database)
- Inserted new tarmac material in negative kerb zones to accentuate the force feedback in those off-track areas
- Increased gravel resistance in sand pits to match real run-offs observed during the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours
- Added two DRS zones (2)
- Reviewed track cutting parameters in order to outline what is cutting and what is losing control, avoiding unfair penalties
- Reviewed track-side camera set
(1) The red obstacles are lower now but the ‘cut’ corridors are the same. In addition, the red material has a high tyre-wear value to discourage human players from cutting the track. It is suggested that car modders pay special attention to their collision feelers as there are several cars with very low ride heights that produce bizarre behaviour when attacking tall kerbs.
(2) There’s no visual indication of DRS zone, so you’ll have to keep your eye on the car’s panel until you are familiar with the start positions.
N.B. The author of this mod suggests trying reduced AI strengths of 93 percent for fast cars and 96 percent for touring cars.
- Improved AI fast line and overall speed to increase off-line challenge
- Corrected AI right and left lines to avoid cars going off-track during pace laps
- Improved AI pit entry and exit line
- Better AI defensive line (AI is capable of defending its position without losing too much time on corner exits)
- Reduced some wide corridor zones to avoid crazy AI overtaking attempts
- Tweaked AI corner speed, AI field spread and draft behaviour and reduced slowing when AI cars are pressured
- Moved the safety car to a safe place
- Added specific AI learning files for several cars
- Another pass on track material light properties
- Improved overall ambience by including several track-side vegetation types as texture shadow casters (when shadow settings = Maximum)
- Replaced placeholder window frames and other metal structures with finalised versions
- Improved terrain ambient occlusion through alpha channel painting
- Inserted grass-tarmac alpha transition
- Corrected excessive vegetation reflection during night-time conditions
- All environmental and car-cube reflections were made from scratch (several objects were wrongly quoted in old SCN file)
- Replaced some vertex-colour painted objects with actual textures
- Added main yard as real-road to darken when raining
- Improved kerb texture (2048px and remapping)
- New grass with reversed wrong pattern which had induced overly dark grass areas
- Created detailed far outfield with blended grass texture
- Inserted animated Le Mans Ferris wheel, taking advantage of the rF2 ‘bones’ animation system
- Inserted some simple assets in the boxes to improve immersion just in case (used ISI Toban texture)
- Replaced the temporary MM Arena Football Stadium object with a final one and modelled the surrounding area
- Added very low-poly TSO cars in parking lots
- Other minor corrections on texture mapping, replaced concrete textures etc.
- Included a possible fix for the Nvidia driver crash that affects many systems using Nvidia 900-series cards
- Re-done track’s night lighting, eliminated TGA textures and grouped light glows for optimisation
- Created ‘far’ LOD objects for some high-poly instances
- Full revision of track geometry: corrected smoothing groups, unused channels cleaned, removed overlapping faces, isolated vertices, converted all normals to gMotor system
- Created Shadow Groups to improve performance on low-end computers
- Created non-renderable shadow casters for all high-poly elements as tyre barriers (improved performance)
- Remodelled and remapped pit buildings that had carried many invisible polygons and useless vertices that were reducing game performance
- Occluded a lot of unnecessary objects from mirrors to improve FPS
- Excluded a number of unnecessary objects from reflected environment and car cube reflections
- Corrected Z elevation of several objects as TSO vehicles
- Added invisible walls to avoid driving out of circuit areas and avoid sticking AI in any unusual accident
- Added some Real Road pre-saves
The download size of the 0.98 to 1.00 Steam Workshop upgrade is approximately 215MB.
For anyone obtaining Le Mans Bugatti Circuit v1.00 via direct download or Steam for the first time, the size will be about 349MB.
Players can subscribe to download the package, add feedback and thanks or join in discussion about the revised course through this Le Mans Bugatti Circuit v1.00 Steam Workshop page.
Non-Steam rFactor 2 players are also catered for with these alternative download options:
A Bugatti Circuit thread is also running in rF2’s Locations section of the ISI forums.
Starting with a complete but single player-only package, rFactor 2 is priced from £23.99 on Steam (€29.99 EUR or $31.99 USD). 1-year on-line subscription and lifetime on-line options are also available.