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Live For Speed | September Progress Report

The Live For Speed Development Team remain hard at work with their continual progression of this classic racing simulation - and the latest previews look very good indeed.
  • LFS released 15 years ago.
  • Development to update graphics continues.
  • New South City Preview Images.

Great games never get old, they just become classics, and never has that been truer than in the case of the mighty Live for Speed title - now over 15 years old but still receiving love and attention from the developers as they work to keep the simulation up to modern graphical standards.

Despite its age, Live for Speed is still a well regarded racing title from those in the know, and as the passage of time has obviously seen many technical developments in sim racing, it only seems right that this still very solid game should be brought up to speed on the visuals front - something the LFS team are working very, very hard at achieving - with some rather impressive results it has to be said.

In this September update, the studio have shown off how their work has benefited the South City venue,

LFS 1.jpg
LFS 2.jpg


The progress report in full:

A live echo render has been implemented. This replaces the old system that was pregenerated and stored in the path (an invisible structure used to track your car's location as you drive around). A special image for each ear is drawn, containing depth and angle information. The image is analysed by a compute shader on the graphics card creating a histogram for each ear. The histogram is read back by the CPU and used to update the reverberators.

For people who don't know all about graphics cards, a compute shader is a special program that runs on the GPU. The modern GPU is really a special computer that can do some things very quickly by doing the same calculation on hundreds or thousands of different pixels simultaneously. These days it is not only about drawing triangles. The automatic exposure histogram is now also calculated by a compute shader, saving CPU time.


A new system has been developed for occlusion culling. This is the process of not drawing (in each frame) objects that are 'occluded' because they are hidden by nearer objects. The frame rate must stay high even in an environment full of detailed objects. For example you may be near a building so there is no point drawing thousands of objects that are behind it. This is especially important for driving views as we must first draw mirror views then the main view. In VR it's even worse as these views are drawn twice each, slightly offset for each eye. Also we can avoid drawing some objects into the shadow maps, as there is no point casting shadows onto objects we cannot see.

The difficulty is in knowing which objects are hidden. Until now, the visible objects were stored in the path. For open configurations we needed to add paths for side roads, car parks and open areas to keep the frame rate high. The paths were also used for lighting and echo information

With the multi-storey car parks at South City it was hard to see how to make a path to cover all driveable areas. So we now have an octree system that analyses the driveable surfaces and creates cuboids to cover all places you might be in your car. The octree is subdivided where necessary to deal with multiple ground heights, such as bridges, tunnels and car parks. The occlusion data is computed and stored in the octree, then used to switch off areas that cannot be seen from your location.


lfs_occlusion_octree_SO.jpg



The shadow system has been optimised to allow sunset and sunrise with good frame rates. Realtime shadows are very important for realistic graphics and allow lighting to change with time. The shadow maps are a series of special images of the world, drawn from the direction of the sun, containing depth information so the GPU can calculate whether each pixel in your view is in the sun or shade. One notable problem for performance is when the sun is low in the sky and you are on the far side of the track area, away from the sun. In this case so many of the world's objects are between the sun and your view, and any of these objects might contribute to the shadows you can see. By taking a more detailed look at which objects are visible from your location, LFS can now reduce the area drawn into the shadow maps.


LF3 3.jpg



Original Source:Live for Speed.

Live for Speed is available now, exclusively on PC.


Want to learn more about this classic title? Check out the Live for Speed sub forum here at RaceDepartment and join in with the community today!

LFS Footer.jpg
 
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RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.

AccAkut

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Mar 21, 2015
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i'm no expert
but that looks a little like a caterham

View attachment 409368

more like a westfield though
given it's supposed to be a 1.3 litre inline four, bike engined Westfield fits better. But nobody knows where the LFS Devs got the LX6's 1.8 litre, ~9000 rpm inline 6 from :p

Fittingly I just tested LFS with my SC2 a few days ago... surprisingly good still, I managed to drift the RAC which I could never do on my old wheel, but deadly to fingers on wall impacts.

I don't understand how the Dev's still make enough money of LFS (or rather enough money for three guys plus families), but good to see actual development after many years of side journeys.
 
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AccAkut

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Why?
It’s a honest question because somehow I missed LfS.
What does it better than all the other sims nowadays ?
the actual online server and racing system was top notch, if not the best. Servers cycling tracks, APIs for automation. People set up delicate server systems with ranks and leveling, that required no action outside the game for you as the driver. It was the perfect "just start the game and be on track online three minutes later" sim.

Physics during its prime were second to none (but I'm no expert, and thinking back to ~2010).

Just try the free demo, it gives you two cars and a track with no time limit or anything
 

Gerzson

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Jun 24, 2017
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Why?
It’s a honest question because somehow I missed LfS.
What does it better than all the other sims nowadays ?
It has a lot of things I haven't seen in other sims. Like possibility to destroy the clutch when flat shifting. You need to lift the throttle when using manual clutch and H pattern to avoid much slippage and ruining the clutch plate.
Or there is over revving and ruining the engine, losing power drastically.
These minor things can make a difference even in a 5-lap race, having to be careful with the controls.
Other than that, it is the go-to sim I use for testing my DIY inventions. All that on a 7 year old laptop with Intel graphics. :)
 

Ben O'Bro

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Aug 3, 2016
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I don't understand how the Dev's still make enough money of LFS (or rather enough money for three guys plus families), but good to see actual development after many years of side journeys.
Isn't it a "side activity" rather than a full time job ?
i have good memories about it, must try it again sometimes!
 

Will Mazeo

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May 25, 2015
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It has a lot of things I haven't seen in other sims. Like possibility to destroy the clutch when flat shifting. You need to lift the throttle when using manual clutch and H pattern to avoid much slippage and ruining the clutch plate.
Or there is over revving and ruining the engine, losing power drastically.
These minor things can make a difference even in a 5-lap race, having to be careful with the controls.
Other than that, it is the go-to sim I use for testing my DIY inventions. All that on a 7 year old laptop with Intel graphics. :)
Isn't this in AMS1? Maybe not everything but that gearbox can die (check the Camaro files and modify them.
While testing I thought about making it die on 5 wrong shifts in our online leagues back then to stop people downshifting GT3 cars like F1 with 8 gears :rolleyes:
(I used downshift protection instead lol, EEC GT3/LMS if you wanna check)
 
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Oct 19, 2017
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Why?
It’s a honest question because somehow I missed LfS.
What does it better than all the other sims nowadays ?
It drives a bit like AC, but without killing yourself over Kerbs. :whistling:
Tintops are pretty nice in feel, even for today, you can cook your clutch with wrong shifting and general depth in what even a low powered car communicates, is pretty satisfying. You can adjust any option, even while driving, without pausing, if you need to and you can configure a lot of stuff.

FFB is a bit old-ish, but can feel okay, AI a tad too slow and obviously it's not the most gorgeous sim anymore. Engine sounds are generated synthetically, instead of using samples.

It was once one of the best multiplayer sims in terms of netcode and user experience, like already mentioned.
 
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AccAkut

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Isn't it a "side activity" rather than a full time job ?
Many people assume that but Scawen keeps repeating that LFS is their only job and full time... I personally don't want to believe him, for the sake of his family. Tho it could be that he is full time dad with his wife working. No excuse ever tho for "3d artist" Eric not doing anything for close to ten years :rolleyes:
I think it is the best all these years later, I've always wondered why others didn't copy them for multiplayer.
I don't know enough about other sims to claim that :p But as I started sim racing with LFS regarding online everything i tried was a downgrade.

..so many evenings racing on CTRA, Conedodgers and them all.. no need to wait or plan, just start the game, do a few races, then log out for the night.

And I remember everyone killing their clutches when clutch heat was introduced with the Formula BMW :D

The synthetic engine sound had the benefit that you could very well hear your engines load, it wasn't like in AC where changes from some load to a coast sample. Like with the turbo GTRs one could hear how much power you had at the wheels, as boost would change the engine sound.
 
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Jul 15, 2011
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Ok so it was/is more Multiplayer game. I spend my multi-years with rF so unfortunately never tested LfS.

Now I am singleplayer only so no more worth it I think
 
Oct 19, 2017
724
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The synthetic engine sound had the benefit that you could very well hear your engines load, it wasn't like in AC where changes from some load to a coast sample. Like with the turbo GTRs one could hear how much power you had at the wheels, as boost would change the engine sound.
The approach is indeed pretty interesting, not spot on for every car, but from a technical standpoint impressive indeed.

Now I am singleplayer only so no more worth it I think
You can try it out, like mentioned before, it has a 500mb(or so) demo, that delivers some cars and it has Blackwood, which is a pretty good track, testing several driving abilities. You may find yourself a bit lost with the menues and UI at first, but after all it's a nice change of pace.^^
 
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Ulfhedinn

I WANNA GO FAST !!!
Nov 26, 2019
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dammm I remember playing this for hours with my mouse and keyboard :O_o: when the demo came out :geek:
 

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