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A Surprisingly Sublime AMS2 Experience: Real Weather Rain at Spa Race Weekend


I had one of the greatest experiences sim racing has to offer yesterday when I setup a race weekend with real weather at Spa. AMS2 automatically chose wet tyres. Everything felt automatic and it allowed me to just focus on the experience.

The whole day was rainy. I thought I would hate it. I don't like rain in sims mainly because I feel sims don't provide the feedback information necessary to drive in the rain and it just feels like simply less grip. Surprisingly, I was able to handle the car at speed (rain speed of course) and was competitive with the lot. I don't know how realistic AMS2's wet track surface simulation is but it allowed me to enjoy the experience.

It wasn't simply cloudy skies and rain, either, there were parts of the track with less rain than others. There was even a section of track where sun rays broke through the clouds while it was raining giving you that sensation of a sun shower or the end of a mid-day rain.

And dry lines started appearing, very, very clear, like in real life, especially towards the end of the race session when it transitioned from rain to dry.

The feeling of following up 2 or 3 cars ahead in their rain spray reducing visibility to almost nothing is brilliant.

AMS2's graphics shine when all of these separate systems come together to give you a visual and sensory experience that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Words can't convey the immersion and experience of it all. I can only recommend just firing up AMS2 and making use of real weather on your favourite track. I suspect even if it's not raining it will still provide a more immersive, perhaps surreal experience than just clear skies all the time. I loved this experience at my home track Mosport using AC's Content Manager with real weather in the middle of winter having to put up with 0 degree track surface and dark evening lighting. It was still a fresh, fun experience.

PS. Some advice for developers: Real Weather is a good example where a ready-made race configuration beats manual, tedious user setup of variables like weather. I suspect I'm like most, it's takes you out of the experience if you have to setup 4 slots of weather, etc. ACC gets this with their competitions, it's all just setup. The same applies for weather and other tiny features, like your car, classes, grid size, time of day, setups, etc. Prioritize ready-made experiences over simply requiring setting up all the features. How about a mini evening setting sun 12h of Bathurst? Or a snow/rain drenched night experience at Spa? Or rain/dry/rain/dry, N pit stop requirement, driver swap required, 24h-in-24minutes Nurburgring experience? There's so many options. To attract the average sim racer (ie. wants a simulation but is more causal about the details), I think this is the way.
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Cote Dazur

SIM Addict
Prioritize ready-made experiences over simply requiring setting up all the features.
I am with you on that concept. That would make a SIM attractive to me, even if it is not my preferred driving SIM.

As you mention, it can be done in many SIM, particularly in AC, with all the recent add on mods, but it is a lot of preparatory work, it requires commitment I am not always in the mood to commit to.

Having an option for particular conditions, without pre work, just jump in, could go a long way to provide a different experience as a diversion from the main experience.
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It wasn't simply cloudy skies and rain, either, there were parts of the track with less rain than others.
On a related note for those that didn’t see it over on Reiza’s forum, Renato confirmed yesterday that this from the v1.2.4.3 changelog…
  • Monza 2020: Performance optimization & LOD pass; Added drain material to curbs for Livetrack functionality: Increase track limits at t3 runoff of Monza Junior layout
…does indeed mean that water drainage on the track is accelerated in areas where the drain material is located.
Evolving weather and LiveTrack are indeed mind-blowing for immersion. LiveTrack in particular is incredible tech.
You really need to play with all the parameters AMS2 has to offer to create unique races.
The amount of possible combinations is insane !
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Got another banger scenario I'm driving right now, funny enough to post in the middle of the race weekend.

I'm at Campo Grande, Brazil, in the Group A BMW M30. The track is soaked through practiced. Thought it might get better for qualifying. Nope. In the middle of a lap Crew Chief (the app) comes over the radio and says "Careful mate it's a ****ing monsoon out there" I don't even like swearing but it was genuinely funny as I wasn't expecting that at all :D

Meanwhile AMS2 is doing its best to throw the grid around with hurricane force gusts and pelting rain, and then I have to remember this is Real Weather happening in Campo Grande today. I think I ought to feel bad for enjoying it so much...

Add in dodging or ramming track-spanning puddles and drifting around the outside of a line up of cars on the wide bends of Campo Grande and I wish I had recorded it.

They should allow you to save these scenarios to come back to later. Some of these combos are a riot once you settle in.
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AMS2 Staff
Every Tuesday, Myself and a few RD friends throw up a server for a few hours and race a variety of older cars.
Last Tuesday we raced the BMW 2002 on a few tracks, and I had set the weather to three changing conditions: overcast, rain, sunny. When the rain came, the 2002 handled it real well, as it has all weather tyres. Great fun, no bother. Then, we put the BMW M1 Procar on 1970s classic Monza, and I forgot about the rain setting. What ensued over the 10 lap race was, quite simply, one of the best, funniest, madcap races I have ever done. We had 15 people join our server - A popular combo - and the racing was amazing, cars going four wide into Curve Grande in the dry, and battles everywhere. When the rain came, all hell broke loose. Half the track was semi dry, while the Lesmos and Parabolica were under water. The top 5 cars all went off at the Parabolica and he who was last was now first! This went on for a few laps with the track drying in parts and retaining surface water at the problem corners. On slicks every corner was an adventure and the eventual dry line was single track only. It was an absolute blast to drive the M1 in tough conditions. So enjoyable and challenging, that hardly anyone on the public server quit when the track became a moat.