Its here! Its here! At last we have the big one released for rFactor 2! DX11 and VR update released and ready to download right now...! After months of speculation and anticipation, finally fans of the rFactor 2 simulation will have the opportunity to place their hands on the biggest update to hit the game in years, and sample the first major fruits of the development path taken by new game custodians Studio 397. When Studio 397 first announced the deal to take over ownership and development of rFactor 2, one of the most ambitious developments planned by the studio would be the move towards DX11 and update to include Virtual Reality support within the software. In the following months Studio 397 have been working hard behind the scenes to bring these latest updates into a position fit for public release, refining what is sure to become one of the singular most substantial updates rFactor 2 has received since its initial release back in 2013. Because a move to a brand new graphics technology and major update to include VR support for the very first time is a considerable and risky move by the developers, Studio 397 have been keen to ensure compatibility for a number of existing mods and content remains post update, without the need for mod developers to substantially re work their products to ensure functionality with the new build. Of course some mods may require adjustments to benefit fully from the new update, however this will only become apparent in the following days as a large number of players get the opportunity to try out the update themselves for the first time. As an additional safety net for players who are maybe unwilling to move over to the new build immediately, Studio 397 have taken the wise decision to release the new update as an optional public beta build, which can be accessed by through steam itself (instructions below), this gives those not able or willing to migrate to the new build the opportunity to remain on the current foundation until manually choosing the updated version of the game. To try the DX11 open beta, you must first opt-into the DX11 branch – this means essentially you are downloading the DX11 version of rFactor 2 – don’t worry, though! You don’t have to download everything again, it will be a small download to switch between DX9 and DX11. So, here’s how you do it: Open Steam and on the right hand side right-click on “rFactor 2” to bring up the menu. Click on the “Betas” tab at the top. From the drop down list, locate and select the beta called “v1108-DX11-open-beta” Now at the bottom of your Steam window you will see the download starting. If you encounter any problems, make sure you validate your locally installed files. To do this, from your library in Steam, right-click on rFactor 2. Select “Properties”. Go to “Local Files” then click on “Verify Integrity”. The game will verify the files (this might take a moment). If you ever want to revert, follow the same procedure, but instead of selecting a beta version, select “NONE”, which will opt you out of any betas, straight back to the latest DX9 release. Your first steps in VR Setting up VR and Post Processing: Open the rFactor 2 Launcher. In the Launcher click on the settings icon wheel. Then click on the ‘Video Settings’ button. In the pop up config window check the box ‘VR’. Set your screen resolution to 1920×1080. Start by setting the Post Effect Level to “None” (see release notes below). Starting rF2 in VR Important: First open SteamVR manually before starting single player. (We have a known issue we are working on where you will not get FFB if SteamVR is not started first) Now just click on the single player icon in the Launcher and open rFactor 2. The menus and UI are all in the VR space, but you will need to use mouse and keyboard. There is a known issue with the replay cams, only one eye has an image. We’ll start these release notes with a few hints on how to setup the DX11 graphics (regardless of VR): In the same config window where you set your ‘Video Settings’ you have a drop down for post effect levels. Post effects provide you with some exciting new graphical options that look great, but as with any graphics option, need to be balanced against a good framerate. Therefore, we recommend you start at a conservative level (none or low), and if you have a graphics card of the latest generation, try the higher ones (medium or high). The highest setting (ultra) gives the best quality effects, but will also require a really fast graphics card. Note that even the “None” setting gives a better graphical quality than the DX9 graphics we had before! An overview of the levels: None Low = Glare Effects Medium = Glare Effects and Depth of Field High = All Effects at High Quality Ultra = All Effects at Ultra Quality At this point we would also like to thank the people from YEBIS for providing a great library to work with. It has definitely contributed to the overall look of the end product. With the DX11 implementation we also introduced new features to improve many aspects of the final output:Improved MSAA rendering. Improved Clouds resolution and depth. Static AO; This is adding Occlusion to bottom of objects and cars. It does improve the overall depth in the environment. Dynamic AO. This is adding a subtle low-frequency Ambient Occlusion to the scene and cars, improving the “connection” between terrains and structures in the scene, and also balancing cockpits brightness. Shadows Normal renders shadows, taking into account the shadow receiver normal map. A new Tone mapper which improves both colors and histogram, a perfect companion for our dynamic weather/sky engine! New Car Ambient Shadow, now working for the entire 24h cycle. Fixed some “pixel” artifacts caused by invalid calculations in shaders. Dedicated dynamic exposure simulation for each main camera set. Realistic simulation of Depth Of Field, Lens Flare, Bloom and other Optical aberrations, with scalable options. Track Lights and Car Headlights now can use the realtime glare simulation and get rid of the old technology and custom shaders. New Shader for car Dashboards, Rev Meters and Motecs. Content updates as part of this initial build: The USF2000, Nissan GT500, Howston G4 and G6, Dallara DW12 and the Stock Cars have been updated with new shaders, better headlights and overall better textures. Atlanta Motorsports Park, Silverstone, NOLA Motorsports Park, Mores and Indianapolis Motor Speedway have all gotten texture updates, and we painted the curbs at Silverstone in the current colors too! Modding: There are new guidelines for content creators, please make sure you read them here https://www.studio-397.com/guidelines-for-artists/ Known Issues: Plugins that render to the screen will not work any more. These plugins all depend on DX9, so their authors will need to update them. That said, we at S397 are working on improving the way such plugins render to the screen to make them integrate better with our new HUD, VR and each other. In general, for most plugins, there are known alternatives. Feel free to discuss these on our forum or on Discord. We’re glad to help! Content using LDR diffuse maps instead of correct albedo presets will work, but may have strange effects at some times of day and night, such as glowing surfaces. See: http://wiki.rfactor.net/index.php?title=AlbedoMap There is a known issue with losing FFB in VR. As a temporary workaround, first open SteamVR manually before starting single player. As stated above, we are still optimizing performance of DX11. As confident as we are that most of you will experience a nice boost when comparing the same settings in DX9 and DX11, we are aware that some of the new post effects, especially at higher settings, require a lot of memory on your graphics card. Future builds will bring improvements. Some users may experience black track surfaces/boxes around the car. Deleting files from Shaders and CBash folders (located in \Steam\steamapps\common\rFactor 2\UserData\Log) and reloading into the sim and track should fix this. The Road Ahead: This release version, as we have said, is an open beta. Development is ongoing, and we will quickly move to a full release over the next few months. We will regularly provide you with updates, both in terms of code and content. This release already comes with 5 updated cars and 5 updated tracks, and we have seen some third party modders come out with releases that are DX11 compatible as well. Expect us to do more releases in the upcoming weeks, each with new content, bug fixes and further improvements. Additionally, the full release will include updates in key areas, such as improving night driving, rain, new shaders for cars and a host of other additions. We know that strong graphics coupled with our best-in-class physics is only part of the package. We are working heavily on new content – both cars and tracks – and of course on providing you all with more functionality – including an innovative competition mechanic. We are really excited about our upcoming UI, which didn’t quite make it into this release, but will be released and improved as part of our series of frequent updates. rFactor 2 is a racing simulation exclusive to PC. You can purchase the game directly from Steam with immediate effect. Check out the rFactor 2 sub forum here at RaceDepartment for all the latest news and discussion with regards to the simulation. You can take part in lively debates with fellow rFactor 2 fans and take part in some great Club and League racing events..! Head over to the forum now and share the love this simulation so very much deserves... Have you tried the new update yet? What do you think of DX11? Does the game run better for you now post update? What do you think of VR in rFactor 2? So many questions! Tell us your opinions in the comments below!