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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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(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.

You are totally right about madness engin being a SIM engine...
But the most important are the dev team choices on how to use it or customize it !
AMS is targeting pure sim, when pcars wants to reach a larger range of gamers...
In the end, it's maybe just a commercial choice, and there is no debate about it.

Just a guess !
 
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NEVER said that SMS started with Shift. NEVER said that the Madness engine was created for SHIFT either. You sure do love to draw your own conclusions out of ....nothing.

Nice history lesson though. It also proves my point that there's a pretty much DIRECT connection between Shift and PC titles. Thanks. Cheers.
 
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AMS is targeting pure sim, when pcars wants to reach a larger range of gamers...
In the end, it's maybe just a commercial choice, and there is no debate about it.

Too bad the end result is pretty much the same. But i'm not going to continue arguing about that. AMS fanboys will have to take the red pill in order to see that they're almost identical. Same issues included. Hell AMS2 even needs a custom FFB as wel, just like PC2....and here we are still arguing about AMS being a SIMULATOR while PC2 isn't even a simcade. You guys are unbelievable. I'm outta here. Peace.
 
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You are totally right about madness engin being a SIM engine...
But the most important are the dev team choices on how to use it or customize it !
AMS is targeting pure sim, when pcars wants to reach a larger range of gamers...
In the end, it's maybe just a commercial choice, and there is no debate about it.

Just a guess !

In the beginning SMS defo wanted to appeal to a wider audience, including sim racers. Arguably some decisions went too far towards accesibility for some. Early door in WMD I suggested gravel pits actually acted like they do in reality and was soundly shouted down by more than a few.....no sims as far as I know have gravel traps that can actually "trap" the car in them like in reality. I also advocated for driver injuries in career mode (nothing too bad of course, broken arms and legs resulting in missed races). I had an Amiga Ferrari F1 game that had injuries!

But now SMS seem to be (IMO) going too far towards sim cade and into actual arcade territory (eschewing reality), such a shame.

Bottom line is though wages have to be paid, money has to be earnt and sadly it seems the hardcore sim market doesn't pay. How many people would do a job the didn't like over a job they did like for twice the salary? I think most would go for the higher salary
 
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...

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.

AC never used in public releases a brush tire model...

The sim-tire closest to a brush type is rFactor2 (and probably SETA is quite close but it is impossible to say anything about it because most of the needed parameters for any kind of analysis are missing in telemetry output).
 
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All of this is getting really boring. Arguments over arguments. What is the point? Just stay away from these pcars 3 topic if ypu don't like, and, if you're a fan boy, just do not answer to trolls.

Anyway, I'll wait for reviews this time. This pcars iteration may be a step further in certain areas which will benefit to future titles. I assume it already explains ams2's better performance (less aliasing, smooth VR) and refined physics.
 
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Actually cars don't quite rotate from the front when cornering. It's called combined slip angle. Without it, the car would oversteer very easily, because the rear has no steering in most cars.

I also presume centre of mass has a big effect on rotation point (then again I'm no physics expert), but my point was people who "feel" the car rotating on a central axis tend to say that proves the game is bunk.
 
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Too bad the end result is pretty much the same. But i'm not going to continue arguing about that. AMS fanboys will have to take the red pill in order to see that they're almost identical. Same issues included. Hell AMS2 even needs a custom FFB as wel, just like PC2....and here we are still arguing about AMS being a SIMULATOR while PC2 isn't even a simcade. You guys are unbelievable. I'm outta here. Peace.

If you don't feel the difference between pC2 and AMS, I'm so sorry for you, but hey, you are the happier since you should have the same fun on both titles...

In the end, the most important is what YOU call a sim and what fulfills you from a gameplay point of view ✌️

Peace,
Donnie
 
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The way I see it is.. they initially tried to progress forwards from PCars2 but weren't able to improve on the Mad Engines clearly limited physics capabilities so then chose to dumb it back down go the simcade route and talk it all up with complete nonsense about how good their new game will be when it really won't be. They can talk it up all they want but I'll wait for the reviews on this when it comes out. But at this early stage I am more than sure that I will not be purchasing it.
 
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why we talk about this game here?its gamepad arcade kids game and everybody knows it. bike sim experience could be better choice to talk about but no..and drift come on.
 
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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.


Very good written, i didnt know the story about sms,
i like this post so much, it shows how pc2 are advanced and realistic and was telling that all this years.
BTW im amazed how all those old "hardcore sims" brainwashed this community that easy to driving sim is not realistic. Thats all i hear from people "pc2 arcade, AC is hardcore" i tellin it all the time in AC cars driving like boats, cant turn properly, are not dynamic, everything like slow motion you need so much finesse to make car turn - thats not how they making cars.
The thing with this easy driving = arcade sim has gone so far that even community kids quarrel about this with pro drivers like Nicky Thiim that say iracing is too hard compared to real life, but they still tellin him (the guy drivin those cars in real life, won a champion) that HE is wrong, watch this xD

whole community must finally know that pc2 is not arcade cause cars turn easy and has a lot of grip.
Another thing about AMS2 i saw video guy complaining that cars too glued to road, cant even power slide, so unrealistic, too easy, arcade etc.. the funny thing was he was driving old f1 on wide slicks tyres and lot of downforce xD
So thats the thing now AMS2 gets bashed cause use same physics like pc2 and cars actually turn there, so lot of people complaining AMS2 turned arcade, so funny
 
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Will be interesting to feel whether PC3 will feel somewhat similar to AMS2 as Reiza has improved the Physics and FFB of the Madness Engine (personal opinion of course) in their own AMS2...so maybe the in return Reiza helps the PC3 Team Codemasters with info that Reiza has gained in transforming the Madness Engine FFB / Physics etc....only speculation on my part and no basis on actual truth.

Try my new custom FFB file called PopsRacerFFB. Project Cars 2 feels a lot like AMS2 already w this file. All the FFB and physics have been there all along. I'm working on an update, but this still feels really really good.

FYI: Start off w/ TONE at zero. TONE is now the FX feel of the engine.

 

Dave Thayer

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why we talk about this game here?its gamepad arcade kids game and everybody knows it. bike sim experience could be better choice to talk about but no..and drift come on.

You forgetting that they are making the game suitable for console users? How do you know, the game isn't even released yet. You would be surprised how good some of the people are with gamepads - I know a few and they race in leagues. I use a wheel controller and have all the top SIM games for the PC, For me, this game looks like it is turning out to be easy driving, relaxing replacement for my GRID or SHIFT games plus now VR support. I wont get the game on initial release, but will get it for my reasons above when the price comes down a little or on sale\. I do this with all games, not just this one.

I am glad that Race Dept provides and gets interviews from the developers on ALL the games. Keep up the great work Race Dept.
 
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Thats all i hear from people "pc2 arcade, AC is hardcore" i tellin it all the time in AC cars driving like boats, cant turn properly, are not dynamic, everything like slow motion you need so much finesse to make car turn - thats not how they making cars.

AC cars do have some issues, like the empirical model used feels very static, ie: it is either you have grip or no grip in a black and white way. Others games like rfactor 2 or Pcars do that much better that you can feel that there is a limit before you slip. Even if you slip, you know that it is your fault for pushing it too far over the tire slip angle, than the game defining it as grip or no grip.

The other issues with the older games are that cars tend to be unstable at low speeds because the equations used for the grip calculations are literally unstable and going to infinity. AC still have that issue where cars at low speed tend to have this weird slippery feel but ACC had improved on that a lot.

However, I really like AC's handling because of how much work Kunos did for the suspension where the cars feel alive to drive despite of tire model shortcomings. Games like Pcars, AMS or rfactor are great because of how dynamic the tires feel but they do feel a bit disconnected as the suspension isn't modelled as well that gives a more floaty feeling.

That is why I play almost every game in the market because they all do well at different things.
 
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The way I see it is.. they initially tried to progress forwards from PCars2 but weren't able to improve on the Mad Engines clearly limited physics capabilities so then chose to dumb it back down go the simcade route and talk it all up with complete nonsense about how good their new game will be when it really won't be. They can talk it up all they want but I'll wait for the reviews on this when it comes out. But at this early stage I am more than sure that I will not be purchasing it.

Erm the Madness engine is anything BUT limited. What it needs is a boat load of devs spending a good few years fine tuning it. Hopefully that's what Reiza will do.
 

Dave Thayer

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Reading some of the news highlights about Project Cars 3. It will be coming to STEAM for the PC. And I saw a pricing mentioned and looks like it is going to be around $60.00 for the game. Most of you probably already know this. take care.
 
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