Slightly Mad Studios reveal announcement trailer for Project CARS 2 and Ian Bell undertakes massive Q&A session on the new game. Following our recent "what we know so far" article on Project CARS 2 it seems like the studio have flooded us with new information, and it provides a very interesting read. Prior to the new announcement trailer released just over an hour ago, SMS Studio Head Ian Bell took to the GT Planet forum to offer up an impromptu Q&A session regarding the new game, sharing some very interesting facts about Project CARS 2 as the studio begin a mammoth marketing campaign ahead of the proposed September 2017 release. First let's get the visual stuff out of the way. Have a look at the brand new reveal trailer for Project CARS 2 below... So now you've seen that, let's get stuck in to what Ian Bell had to say about the new title... Bell has confirmed in a recent posting spree over at GT Planet that the upcoming Project CARS 2 racing game will feature an increased roster of laserscanned circuits, with all new additions to the series benefitting from a new scanning technique as well as many previous tracks having been revisitied and scanned for PCARS 2. "Every new track we've added is laser scanned (or our new trick drone scanning method). We're also scanning some of the old tracks that weren't previously scanned. I don't have the list to hand but the Nordschleife is now fully scanned (as is the Nurburgring GP circuit)" Said Bell. When questioned on what exactly the new "new trick drone scanning method" actually is, Bell went on to state SMS are making use of a "drone based 'photo scanning' aerial photogrammetry system". This method is thought by many to be a less costly yet equally effective method of scanning track data as opposed to the more traditional methods considered the industry standard. Bell went further when explaining the differences in technique - "The difference really is imperceptible because we always abstract the point cloud anyway. The little vaunted additional benefits that drones provide are variable height scanning (which gets us much more detail on the off track terrain) and the ability to place the drone at known camera points to capture more detail there." This is actually a very interesting take on laserscanning technology and could be of a considerable benefit to SMS over regular techniques. As Bell alluded to in the quote above, the ability for the studio to better and more accurately recreate the surrounding track environment is considerable, and could very well lead to a substantial increase in accuracy when moddling the surrounding scenery and trackside buildings / grandstands - something that has annoyed me in other games when it becomes obvious that the track in question is surrounded by scenery that either doesn't exist at the real track or isn't accurately modelled. Furthermore Bell went on to clarify some of the confusion that surrounds the proposed multiplayer features in Project CARS 2. Initially when the new game was announced back in 2015 a CO-OP multiplayer feature was included in the announcement news, however since then reference to this functionality has been removed in some parts of the Project CARS 2 forum, leaving many users asking unanswered questions as to what this means for the title. Although not offering a conclusive response when directly asked this morning, it does appear that the possibility of co-op featuring in the new title hasn't been totally discounted out of hand. Bell said "We're still working on multiplayer features. I have 10 full time dedicated multiplayer coding staff on the project now and we're working very hard to deliver all that we want to deliver. That delivery list is VERY long though and at some point very soon we have to stop new feature work and move to bug fixing and polish. So I can't say for sure yet sorry. Our main focus has been on improving the 'acuity' of the online experience; on dealing properly with griefing (wreckers) and dealing more efficiently with those suffering temporary connection issues." It is very reassuring to see as many as ten dedicated staff members working on multiplayer however, so one can expect a much improved online experience with the new title, something that will be critical to get right if Project CARS 2 is to step up another level from its best selling predecessor. Unfortunately dedicated servers on console won't make it for Project CARS 2, with Bell stating: "the work (and expense) required is insane and we're not EA but we have worked our peer to peer system massively to improve the experience." Of course lack of dedicated server support is a blow for console players, however the above quoted P2P system sounds intriguing and should go some way towards filling that gap for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players. Netcode has also received some love from the studio - "We've greatly improved the interpolation and we're working with distant player throttling code. We're also working with ghosting players who have a very bad connection, within limits, before they're removed" When pushed on the subject of new content to be found in Project CARS 2, Bell was understandably reluctant to give away too much information at this early stage of the marketing programme. The Head of Slightly Mad Studios did however reveal a more concerted attempt to increase American themed content has taken place for PC2, stating that the game has "more US based circuits that we haven't announced yet that should please our fans from that region". Additionally Bell has confirmed our suspicions from a post I made yesterday and confirmed that significant work has been undertaken to improve the offline experience for oval based content. We already know the new game will feature at least one NASCAR style machine and Indianapolis, Daytona and Texas Motor Speedway (all laserscanned the traditional way), and it now looks like Ovals in general will be seeing more love in the new game. When asked to comment about the possibility of seeing more than the previous leaked Daytona, Texas and Indy oval tracks Bell went on to add: "I can say that we have a little more in the bank there that you don't know of yet and we have been working for 14 months on perfecting oval AI behaviour... I say 'perfecting' but 'making it good enough' would probably be more accurate as nothing is ever perfect" This will no doubt come as a great piece of news for American fans who were left disappointed by the lack of oval content in the first title, despite the game featuring NASCAR style cars for use on road courses. We are aware that SMS have previously found difficulties with oval AI when developing Project CARS 1, and it seems the studio have acknowledged that fact by Bell's claim above that the studio have poured considerable resource into this side of the game for over a year of the title's development. Furthermore Bell very briefly touched on the fact that the new game will have more focus on endurance style racing than was previously the case, responding to one users question asking if we can expect to see more multiclass endurance WEC style racing with a short "yes". So that's two styles of racing confirmed for the new game that were under represented in the previous version confirmed already.. good news for those with an interest in varied forms of motorsport. Due to licencing restrictions and a planned marketing campaign Ian Bell was reluctant to go into details concerning exactly what new and returning cars will be included in the in the new title, however we did get a little sneaky peek as to the thought process behind licencing for Project CARS 2. One of the questions thrown at Ian this morning asked the SMS boss if such popular classics as the Viper, Lister Storm, Ferrari 550 and Saleen from back in the mid 2000's GT scene might make an appearance in the new game, and Bell gave hopes of cautious optimism that we might get some of what we want come release day. In direct response to the question Bell replied: "I can't give specifics (man those car companies are strict these days!) but we have things that we didn't have before from your list that will make you happy". Getting back to the online features for Project CARS 2, unfortunately livery editors coming as part of the base game for console players have been ruled out with the new release, despite the studio having investigated the possibility during the design phase of development: "We created a pretty decent livery system for Shift but it comes with many downsides. You need to reduce the online car limits as the liveries come with a memory overhead. For pCARS we have massive fields on 24 hour tracks like Le Mans and for that reason we had to restrict livery work. It's a tough choice but I think it's the correct one" responded Bell. With Project CARS 2 shaping up to be such a detailed and visually impressive title many are going to be left concerned about the performance requirements of the new game. Will players struggle to get a decent frame rate whilst running reasonable in game settings? Probably not claims Bell: "We have massively increased the detail on tracks in terms of using fully 3d trees, adding live track details, etc. So while the overhead is increased, we've also worked very hard to improve efficiency. On dual cards and on AMD kit in particular we are much faster than we were before. We're running at 90+% efficiency with crossfire and we've optimised other areas massively. We have more to do but a fair summation would be that you'll get more quality for less kit in pCARS2." This will come as welcome news to fans of the series, and with a reasonable amount of time left until the finished version is due to go into production one can expect further gains to be made in performance requirements for the title, an area Project CARS 1 actually achieved quite respectable results when it launched initially back in 2015. As well as ensuring the game is fully optimised on a number of different PC specs, it looks like Slightly Mad Studios have been at pains to ensure a more focussed and structured gaming experience greets fans when they fire up the title for the first time. Bell has gone on to state that the studio have assessed the content from the original release and decided to focus on areas found most popular from the original, with the decision taken to drop less popular game modes in order to focus on fleshing out areas of the title they perceive to be more desirable to fans of the series: "We cut Touge and Hillclimb. They were part of the initial 'vision' but not the post 'pre-production' plans. They simply felt excessively niche and didn't appeal to a large swathe of the potential punters. So they're not on the radar at the moment. We've doubled down on the areas people enjoyed and added much more content there, in a big way" "We have a much more varied offline experience than before, it's safe for me to say that We've left almost nothing out of the roster we had before and added a lot (loads!) more for this one. We've also updated all of those tracks to the new standards". On the subject of the often criticised Force Feedback difficulties experienced in the first game, where a massive range of adjustable settings left a lot of people at a loss in their quest to find an acceptable compromise in order to receive a respectable experience within the game, Bell has confirmed the studio have been working diligently to address these issues and feel they have found a suitable solution. It will be of a great relief to many that the process of setting up FFB settings has been streamlined somewhat, but a wide range of adjustability has been retained for those who want to dig down into the files and tweak the experience exactly to their preferences. Bell went on to say on the subject - "We have new physics and from that falls out new FFB. For this one we're shipping (as of now) 3 FFB preset options (we default 1 of course) that you can single click and get (hopefully!) the feel you prefer from the feedback. I'm biased but it's a huge step forward from the rocket science we had before. That rocket science is still hidden in sub menus and accessible for the more masochistic" As for the offline experience, Bell has confirmed the studio have expanded considerable efforts towards upgrading the Artificial Intelligence to exhibit more life like and reliable behaviours for the new title, something that was severely lacking in the original release. "The main issue we saw with pCARS1 was that the AI were excessively eager to drive into you under braking and in corners. We've had coders full time on this for the last 2 years working on the 'AI personalities' to make them more human. We've also worked hard on the 'sticking issue' where when you contact an AI driver you seem to lose input and you merrily understeer off together. This should be fixed. With AI you will never create a perfect scenario in all conditions. They are not human after all. But what we have created is what we feel is a set of AI personalities that approach humanity without the downsides that we coded before." This is something that was much needed in the original release and could no doubt prove to be one of the main improvements found in PC2. If SMS manage to nail this side of the sim, coupled with the visual improvements and reworked FFB effects, Slightly Mad Studios should be well on the way towards putting to bed many of the concerns from people reluctant to dip their toe in the water after difficult experiences from the previous release. Visuals, FFB, performance and multiplayer are not the only things due to receive an overhaul in the new title however, Bell then went on to discuss the change of approach from SMS with regards to the audio in game. Bell confirms this side of the sim has received considerable attention for the new release. Now looking at running the increasingly popular fMod system, the new Project CARS game will be looking to make considerable strides in the sound department. Ian Bell commented: "We've completely changed our audio. We've moved to the fmod rev based system with custom plugins. Therefore we've had to recreate all of our base audio input for pCARS2. We have a wonderful team that are working overtime now to transform all of our extant audio to the new system. I think it sounds massively better for those cars that have been converted thus far. It's a case of polishing now. Those cars that are polished sound epic if I may say so" With the new game looking very much like SMS are focussing on the simulation aspects of the racing world, the team are keen to ensure accessibility for everyone with Project CARS 2. The original title suffered from poor controller support on launch and although players could make adjustments to get a satisfactory experience with plenty of fiddling, the aim of Project CARS 2 is to make the experience much better "out of the box": "We've massively reworked our pad input filters to try to pre-empt what the user wants to happen, in coordination with what actually happens in game. It's been rewritten from scratch and we've been influenced a lot by what our competitors do here. What we want to happen is that we don't need to build in subtle understeer for controllability to allow the average person to enjoy the experience on a game pad. I personally have put away my wheel for pCARS2. I'm using a pad exclusively and I'm insisting that we retain the dynamics of the car but allow the player to control such things as sharp front end turn in and on the apex and on-throttle balance with full throttle oversteer and opposite lock controllability (if that makes sense)... That was our aim 2 year ago and I think we've achieved it. I think it's a very affirming experience for pad users now" said Bell. So there you have it, a new video and loads of new facts in relation to the much anticipated new racing game. So far so good from the guys and girls at SMS, I don't know about you but I for one am very excited to see what the team can produce come release date at the end of the year! Project CARS 2 is due for release on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC late 2017. Check out the Project CARS forum here at RaceDepartment for all the latest news and discussions regarding Project CARS on both PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Browse out modding database, engage with the community or join in one of our many League and Club Racing events. Its all here at RaceDepartment. For Project CARS 2 specific information have a look at our Project CARS 2 sub forum. Looking forward to the new game? Does the trailer and Q&A response add to your excitement? What part of the new game do you look forward to the most? Let us know in the comments section below!