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PC3 Project CARS 3 | New Developer Blog: Handling

Paul Jeffrey

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Slightly Mad Studios have released their second 'developer blog' about Project CARS 3, this time giving us some more information about what to expect from the handling of the new title.
  • Q&A with key developers from the new game
  • Insight into handling model and experience
  • Launch trailer
Project CARS 3 | Developer Blog #1: Click Here

I think it would be fair to say that the apparent departure from a traditional Project CARS experience with this new game has opened up a lot of questions from the sim racing community, with many potential players eager to better understand exactly what kind of product the new game is likely to be.

Up to now the development team behind Project CARS 3 have been keen to reiterate the third instalment of the franchise will open up a much more accessible gameplay experience, whist still satisfying drivers more used to a simulation environment similar to that found in the original two Project CARS releases.


In a bid to bring more clarity to the sim racing community, Slightly Mad Studios have started a series of 'Developer Blog' postings on the Project CARS 3 website, where they aim to shed further light on various aspects of the new game. Already we have heard about how PCARS 3 will differ in terms of physics and design compared to previous iterations of the series, and now in this newly released Q&A topic we get to hear more about the handling characteristics of the new title.

PCARS 3 6.jpg

  • Improved driving assists based on experience
  • Updated AI with 'thinking intelligence'
  • Increased accessibility

Nick Pope: Principal Vehicle Handling Designer: The brief for Project CARS 3 was to go back to basics a little, remove some of the clutter, and find a way to lower the bar for newcomers whilst keeping the authenticity and realism in place for the more experienced fanbase.

Doug Arnao: Physics and AI Director: To echo what Nick said into a simple bullet-point, we’ve taken the full realism of Project CARS 2 and added accessibility for everyone. Then we added the game modes that our fans were clamouring for and—on my side—spent a lot of time updating the AI with new thinking intelligence to make them more human-like in their decisions.

Nick Pope: From a physics standpoint, we approached this merging of authenticity and accessibility in a number of ways. The highlight here is how we’ve improved the way driving assists work. ABS, Stability and Traction Control are now not only more effective, but also better aligned with how those systems work in the real world. The ability to set those assists based on the player’s experience really opens up the game and allows them to fine-tune their experience to their own personal tastes. That’s, for me, a really big leap for the franchise—combining that greater accessibility with the same authenticity that makes the franchise what it is has resulted in both wheel and gamepad users getting a tailored experience more in sync with their skills. It gives them options with how deep they want to go with it.

PCARS 3 Blog 2.jpg

  • Core physic engine remains, assists and instructions included to help newcomers
  • Increased optimisations
  • Improved realism to vehicle behaviour
Project CARS 3 | Join the discussion: PCARS 3 Sub Forum

Jussi Karjalainen: Handling QA Lead: The core physics engine is still there, streamlined in a way that maintains the situation to situation handling depth our core fans have enjoyed, but also open up what a real driving simulator should be for fans of other series and games that want to take a step up into a more ‘serious’ simulation without feeling lost or overwhelmed. Keep the assists on, and you’ll slowly be brought into the game with aids as well as instruction. Keep the assists off, and you’ll be welcomed to the kind of driving simulation fans of the franchise expect. Despite being easy to approach, there’s a lot of depth and nuance to the handling model that will keep you engaged for a long time.

Casey Ringley: Vehicle Technical Art and Handling: As Jussi says, it’s still the MADNESS Engine, and the physics engine has been improved, but what’s changed is the optimizations and experience that you’ll find in Project CARS 3. Our STM (Seta Tyre Model) in Project CARS 2 was great but it was also processor intensive, and we’ve gone through all the code to make it more robust and efficient so that the same high-resolution can be used on all platforms. Additionally, having three more years’ experience in tuning the model has helped to refine all of the dynamic behaviours such as carcass vibrations and the temperature reactions between rubber and road.

David Kirk: Principal Physics Programmer: One area where realism has improved is body movement and reaction to suspension due to improvements in our damping model.

Casey Ringley: Yes, and related to that, I think, is the way we’ve improved the driveline flex in the model. Hold on because this is going to get a little geeky! Our model connects all the various shafts of a car’s driveline— crankshaft, gearbox in/out, driveshaft, axles, etc.—with spring-like couplings which allow flex. For Project CARS 3, we were fortunate to get some really detailed reference materials which allowed us to determine typical torsional stiffness of all the various parts of the driveline for some benchmark cars. Initially, we applied this to the model mostly hoping for a nice wobble to the engine RPM during gearshifts, and while we got that exactly the way we’d anticipated, we also noticed that the cars suddenly just felt better, more planted, and generally more realistic to drive around. Allowing all that flex to take place in the drivetrain meant there were fewer micro-slip situations happening at the tyre, leading to a more stable contact patch. No longer needing to compensate for those micro-slips let us use a more complete heating model for the tyre with fewer internal safety nets, such as temperature caps, to prevent runaway slip situations. Making the model more realistic and accurate in this way has made the cars both more fun, more dynamic, and easier/more realistic to drive.

PCARS 3 Blog 3.jpg

  • Better over the limit feel in grip
  • Refined aero drafting model
  • Much improved gamepad feel
Project CARS 3 | Wish List: Click Here

Jussi Karjalainen: Improvements to the driveline—that is, everything between the engine and the tyres—was definitely one of the keys. Because it’s been so improved, there wasn’t a need to design the tyres around the issues, resulting in better feel and behaviour, particularly in the over-the-limit feel of the game. The other thing, related to that, is how the engine has gotten updates to improve the body movement dynamics over bumps and rough terrain. The responses are faster, less damped, more realistic than before.

Nick Pope: It’s probably also worth mentioning that we improved the model for aero drafting too. Now it’s more realistic, particularly with respect to the strength of push vs. pull draft effects. Racing in big packs round Daytona has been huge fun during development!

Jussi Karjalainen: Thing to keep in mind, of course, is that all of this is happening in the background, but what the player feels is, for me, the most important part of Project CARS 3. And that—the way the game feels on wheels and gamepads—is the really big takeaway for the game. In particular the gamepad controls are far beyond what was possible in the past, and for the wheel the FFB system is more informative, providing better player feedback and giving you more control over what the car is doing in a way that is more natural and intuitive.

David Kirk: That’s actually a good point. The gamepad control was one of the core design features we wanted to get spot-on this time around. Nick {Pope} and I were brought in pretty early into the game’s development to sort this out, and it didn’t take long before we realised the only way we could do that was to overhaul the entire thing. The goal was to provide the most natural, intuitive wheel-like response from the vehicles, and to achieve this meant a significant move away from traditional ‘Driving an RC car’ implementation. Improvements to the FFB for wheel users make the experience more intuitive and realistic as well, which in-turn makes the game feel more forgiving and predictable. We’ve also taken the time ensure there’s better consistency between vehicles, so you don’t have to change FFB settings when switching cars, and we’re delighted with how that has worked out.

PCARS 3 Blog 4.jpg

  • Universal gamepad experience - no more adjustment settings
  • More natural reactions to bumps and off track incidents
  • Tyre model now more consistent and stable
Project CARS 3 | More Information On Customisation: Click Here

Jussi Karjalainen: Revamping the controller handling from the ground up with new eyes looking at it worked out fantastically and it feels amazing. Project CARS 2 improved upon Project CARS, but the leap here is an order of magnitude. The gamepad handling was redone to work properly with in depth physics, without requiring any changes to the physics to accommodate gamepads. There’s no need to make any vehicle setup concessions for gamepad controllers anymore, we don’t even need settings to tune the gamepad itself, you just get in and drive and you can drive just as fast with a controller. That’s really is a massive leap for the franchise, and one that required a total redesign to get right. We’re really excited about how this turned out for sure.

Nick Pope: Driving cars with a gamepad doesn’t happen in real life, so it can sometimes be a difficult control method to use in a racing simulation. Even though we use analogue thumb-sticks for the steering input, there’s something inherently digital about steering with your thumb—you’re either asking for full-lock or none (especially so for ‘flickers’). For Project CARS 3, we completely overhauled the pad controls to be more intuitive, to give you the right amount of lock when you need it and the feedback you need on the limit of adhesion. We’ve worked hard to make the experience feel as real as driving on a steering wheel, whilst also removing some of the frustration that came with trying to find settings that worked for you. There are no settings for the gamepad anymore, it just works. This results in an unrivalled gamepad experience.

David Kirk: I’ve been working on gamepad implementations for many years now—since 2001 actually—and I used the knowledge I’ve gained to best utilise peak slip angles of both the front and rear axles along with yaw rate and drift angle etc., to improve the feel of gamepad handling. During re-writing the gamepad handling for Project Cars 3, I was impressed with how well it handled the initial implementation thanks to the natural compliance in the physics model. Add to that a few months of iteration and refinement, and that’s where we are with Project Cars 3.

Nick Pope: A huge boost to allow us to achieve all this was the progress we made to the wider simulation: Vehicles react more naturally to bumps in the road due to improvements in damping, refinements in the way our driveline works has offered greater stability and our underlying tyre model is more consistent and stable. Adding to that the advancements to our optional driving assists, gamepad controls and FFB for wheel users means we’re also communicating more to players, allowing them to react quicker and giving them more information and more time when pushing a car to the limit. For Project CARS 3 we’ve created something that removes some of the frustration, has options to cater to a wider spread of abilities and allows players to focus on the on-track battles and the racing itself.



Original Source: Slightly Mad Studios

Project CARS 3 is set to release on Xbox One, PS4 and PC August 28th 2020.

Want to discuss this new game with fellow sim racing fans? No worries, head over to the Project CARS 3 sub forum here at RaceDepartment and start up a new thread!

PCARS 3 Blog 5.jpg
 
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Because SMS has a habit of promoting their games as 'simulators' since NFS: Shift - I never played NFS but have played PC1 and when you spent, you know how angry do you have to feel at being lied to.

SMS and their staffs deserve any attacks they receiving for their work and the way they mislead people as much as Huntington Life Sciences do by animal right activists.
So every time you buy something that turns out to be different from what's described in the advertisement....you get angry and mad and start posting hateful stuff on forums? You get into all this trouble when you can simply REFUND and buy something else?
 
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I'm just going to wait for the reviews after release and then make my mind up, Simples!
Don't expect the reviews to be any better than any of the bitching and moaning you're reading in here. Instead, try it for yourself.
I think as long as this is still playable and not sliding round the corners like Grid, I’ll buy it. PC1 was decent but I couldnt get on with PC2 not sure why
PC1 was an improved version of Shift 2. It fixed the main issues and increased realism a little bit. PC2 really tried to go to the next level and stretch the limits of an engine that's not really made for simulation. The result was a lot inconsistencies and problems. Some cars/track combos would feel AMAZING, some others utter garbage.
Not even the almighty GO.....i mean Reiza, couldn't do it. AMS2 is still suffering from the same issues as PC2. Maybe to a lesser extent but according to most AMS fans, AMS2 is worse in terms of simulation and driving feel.
 

Dave Thayer

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I am still open minded and may get this game sometime in the future just to have the VR and somewhat retire my older GRID and SHIFT games cause of the VR support for PC3. I will hold off on getting PC3 at first release pricing, I do this with all games, its not just because of this one.

Still no discussion on gameplay options for PC3 which I am a PC gamer with wheel controller and VR. Since no pits, how many laps max can we do on all the tracks? I hope it is not just 2-3 laps, and allot more than just 10 like GRID has. And can do single player quick race mode? I am not into doing career modes in racing games.

Graphics looks good, but all the new games have outstanding graphics.

I will see what the video reviewers say on product release. Thanks for the additional info on the game.
 
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Don't expect the reviews to be any better than any of the bitching and moaning you're reading in here. Instead, try it for yourself.
PC1 was an improved version of Shift 2. It fixed the main issues and increased realism a little bit. PC2 really tried to go to the next level and stretch the limits of an engine that's not really made for simulation. The result was a lot inconsistencies and problems. Some cars/track combos would feel AMAZING, some others utter garbage.
Not even the almighty GO.....i mean Reiza, couldn't do it. AMS2 is still suffering from the same issues as PC2. Maybe to a lesser extent but according to most AMS fans, AMS2 is worse in terms of simulation and driving feel.

This is the reason I'm steering clear of of AMS2 - I liken it to AC modding it's still the same underlying game.
 
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I will buy the game, just to give a try and because it has motion and VR-support, but..... a quick CTRL-F3 on the word "gamepad" results on 17 hits in the article.

Which kind of says where the focus of this game is....... :(
 
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I will buy the game, just to give a try and because it has motion and VR-support, but..... a quick CTRL-F3 on the word "gamepad" results on 17 hits in the article.

Which kind of says where the focus of this game is....... :(
Who says it's the focus of this game? The developer merely mentioned that it will have BETTER SUPPORT for gamepads. That's all. Nobody said that it will be NFS Heat. Your steering wheel will still be very useful. Stop reading the comments and read the article itself.

By the way, even ACC is very playable with gamepad, does it make it any less of a simulator?
 
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Everything described in here,especially the damping improvements, relates directly to what i've said numerous times about the suspension being to bouncy and wobbly. If they managed to fix that or to improve it, i'm pretty sure most of you will like it a lot...SECRETLY...just like you loved PC2...SECRETLY. SHhhhh.

Anyway, again all the negativity and hatred without even reading a single word. Go read the article and pay attention to what you're reading, and you might just even get a little bit excited about it. I am.

Same story as PC1... Promises everywhere !!!
I would
If PCars games were NEVER simulators, then why would PC3 be any different and why do you feel that you have to rage and moan about it all the time? I don't see anything being dumbed down if, according to what you've always said, never was any better.

What is the big issue here? You're complaining about losing something that never existed in the first place. I don't see the point. I don't see the logic. Stay true to your opinion that PCars games were just...games. Simcades at best, and stop complaining about another PCars game being....the same!

One more thing. Forza games have tire wear. Does it make them simulators? Absolutely not. I'm pretty sure we can all agree to that. So stop pretending that PC3 just became an arcade simply because it lost tire wear and fuel consumption. I didn't see anybody calling PC2 a SIMULATOR because it has those features anyway...ever.

In the name of all real simulators, Thank you ✌️
 
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What to expect of those titles?! GT Sport is labeling the game as “The driving simulator”. Is it a driving simulator??

I said it earlier, it's a claim they did at a time when they were certainly the closest thing to a simulator you could fine on the market !
We all know this franchise and nobody will be fooled by a dated tagline...

Pcars could have been a sim 15 years ago, but not on today's standards.

Cheers ✌️
Donnie
 
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I expect a lot from this simulator

About handling, Simbin's GTR2 is the best race car "simulation" ever what comes to realistic grip and handling, with GTR2 you can drive like a real car!!!! Grip is perfect!!! Hopelly PC3 could do the same, fingers crossed!

See these videos, this car and all those tracks made/modified by me, yes GTR2 allowed to make the car and track just you like it and it was so easy to do, this car is what I like the most, small car and 1000 hp engine, super fast and much more fun than F1 which is the second best. No other sim offers this much fun as GTR2 and this BMW 2002 Turbo, nothing. AC which is 1 of my current sims I drive is far away from this what comes to handling, eye candy is the thing with AC...




Oh, and here comes my first race car "simulator", this car made and driven by me, BMW 2002 Turbo...found this video about one year ago, it is taken by an individual who was watching street racing in Hanko, Finland, year was 1989, good old times :)


Can't wait PC3!!!!! Please do not hesitate to disagree.

Starting your post with "I expect a lot from this simulator", is quit risky in here, my friend
 
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Maybe to a lesser extent but according to most AMS fans, AMS2 is worse in terms of simulation and driving feel.

(emphaisis mine)
Most?? That's not the jist I'm getting, Most people seem to be more than happy with what Reiza have accomplished, just seems to be a few SMS/PCars haters not likng it IMO. Thing is all I read is those types saying they "feel" somethng wrong...with no technical break down of what it is..i.e.:

"cars feel floaty like PC2"
"Feels like the Car rotates around a central axis"
"Feels like an assist is on when it's not"

99% of the time it's a "feeling".....that's subjective opinion and not objective fact.

The madness engine is a very advanced engine that has things like the heat from brakes effects the wheel hub which can transfer into the Tyre Carcass, and has Barometric pressure effect engine power....loads of liitle details like that. I'm not saying it ALL works perfect, yet its there and most definitely a SIM engine.
 
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I mean this statement is a complete fail for me:


"Nick Pope: Principal Vehicle Handling Designer: The brief for Project CARS 3 was to go back to basics a little, remove some of the clutter, and find a way to lower the bar for newcomers whilst keeping the authenticity and realism in place for the more experienced fanbase. "

How can anyone in their right mind thnk that tyres that don't wear out, fuel that doesn't burn off or tyres that work optimally in dry AND wet conditions is in any shape or form "authentic" or "realistic"????

I mean my mind has never been so boggled at that. It's just nonsese.

I want the original team that worked on PC1+2 back and get rid of the arcade racer devs.
 
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"There are no settings for the gamepad anymore, it just works. This results in an unrivalled gamepad experience. "

Shut up Todd Howard!
Jokes aside, hope you can still adjust the settings.
 
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PC1 was an improved version of Shift 2. It fixed the main issues and increased realism a little bit. PC2 really tried to go to the next level and stretch the limits of an engine that's not really made for simulation.

This is nonsense. I can only conclude that you think SMS started with Shift and that the Madness Engine was created for Shift. Neither is true. A history lesson is in order.

Ian Bell founded Simbin Studios in 2003 who produced GTR and GT Legends. Towards the end of GT Legends development, the development team split, with the vast majority leaving with Ian to form Blimey Games. Blimey were bought by 10tacle, the publishers of GTR and GTL. What was left of Simbin still owned the rights to the name GTR and the FIA GT license but didn't have the staff to produce GTR2, so GTR2 was subcontracted to Blimey while Simbin recruited new staff and started work on RACE.

Simbin and Blimey licensed the source code to ISI Motor2. ISIMotor2 is the starting point of the Madness physics engine. ISI Motor2 was definitely made for simulation, and was used in rFactor, Simbin's RACE series, RaceRoom, and all Reiza's sims up to AMS.

Although ISIMotor2s tyre model has come back into fashion with the help of people like Niels, in 2007/8 it was seen as old fashioned. ISI themselves dropped it for rF2. Ian Bell hired a guy called Eero Piitulainen to produce a new tyre model for what would become the Madness Engine. For those who haven't heard of him he was the guy behind Richard Burns Rally physics. This is not a guy you hire to produce arcade physics.

However, in 2008 10Tacle Studios went bankrupt. Blimey Games struggled on for a few months before closing and re-opening as Slightly Mad Studios in 2009. So with games in development but no publisher, SMS needed to find a new publisher quick and teamed up with EA to produce NFS Shift. While Shift was intended to take NFS in a sim-like direction, understandably EA didn't wantt a hard-core sim, lacking features such as fuel use, tyre wear and pitstops (sound familiar?) so the ISI based physics engine was dumbed down to do this.

Eero Piitulainen had produced a brush-type tyre model (AC also uses a brush-type tyre model) but apparently SMS and/or WMD felt a better tyre model was needed for Project Cars so SMS developed the SETA tyre model which is a physical tyre model as used by iRacing and rF2. Now physical tyre models have their issues, but the SETA tyre model is very advanced, and processor intensive. Not something you opt for for an arcade game.


Can I suggest that whatever some people think of AMS2, Renato Simione is better placed than most of us to judge physics engines having worked with ISIMotor2, ISIMotor2.5 (rF2) and the Madness Engine. He's made it clear that the Madness Engine is more advanced than ISIMotor2 and that they chose the Madness Engine because of its physics engine, not inspite of it.

 
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