Light Runner – Version 0.14 Released

30 October 2018

Happy Halloween! We’re beaming version 0.14 out to you with a super awesome Track Builder, a new achievement and a scarecrow collection minigame 🙂

In this update we are launching the revamped Track Builder which lets you build a wide range of tracks to suit any style of driving. To showcase the possibilities of the Track Builder we’re also taking a trip back to the 80’s with the new Light Runner map featuring several tracks built by the BeamNG dev team. In keeping with the neon glow feel of the map we are also including Powerglow skins for some vehicles so you can cruise this retro future vision in a matching car.

We’re also celebrating the spookiest time of the year with a scarecrow hunt. This mod distributes 80 scarecrows throughout the maps for you to hunt down and collect. Note that this event is being released as a mod so you can control whether you want to participate or not. To get hunting and give the maps a Halloween look, all you have to do is install the mod, available to download ingame.

  • Revisit the neon-lit glory days of the 80’s with the new Light Runner map, showcasing the capabilities of the Track Builder with some electric glow skins for selected vehicles
  • Our new Track Builder is launching with this update – From simple circuits to multi-level corkscrews leading into loop the loops, the only limit is your imagination!
  • T-series: You can now fit the T-series with a Car Hauler upfit, suitable for hauling vehicles and other large, bulky items
  • The following vehicles have had various improvements applied: Barstow, Burnside, Citybus, D-Series, ETK800, ETK-K, H-Series, Hopper, Moonhawk, Pigeon, Roamer, SBR4, Sunburst and T-Series
  • V8 Engine and transmission meshes for the D-series, H-series, Roamer and Grand Marshal have been fully re-modeled and textured
  • The Halloween scarecrow hunt is on – Search for the scarecrows scattered around the maps to earn a new achievement! You can get the mod to activate the hunt ingame here
Our physics, audio and vehicle teams have continued the effort to bring more improvements, optimisations and new elements to the gameplay experience. Over a dozen vehicles have had tweaks and improvements applied in this update. The driving feel of some vehicles will be noticeably different following the implementation of rotary steering actuators and improved anti-roll bars. A new ‘Driver’ camera has been implemented to give you an improved view of the world racing past outside your vehicle. On the audio front we have made improvements to both ambient environment sounds and some vehicle component sounds. In addition to this work we have also made a myriad of bug fixes, balance tweaks and UI improvements. The full list of changes is here:

Vehicle Additions, Improvements and Fixes

  • Added chainlink gate prop
  • Added rotary steering actuators (using torsionHydro) to Barstow, Burnside, Miramar, Moonhawk. The new system better represents recirculating ball steering kinematics and countersteers faster with FFB wheels
  • Added improved anti-roll bars (using torsionBar) to 200BX, Barstow, Covet, ETK800, ETK-K, ETKI, Miramar, Moonhawk, Pessima, SBR4 and Sunburst (more vehicles are in progress)
  • Anti-roll bar stiffnesses are now properly matched to real life equivalent cars
  • Improved steering arm rigidity using torsionBar beams (currently only on cars with new sway bars, still work in progress)
  • Adjusted smaller wheel and tire widths to more accurate dimensions
  • Wheel axle node collision has been changed so wheels can now fall flat on the ground
  • The actual default configuration of the Pickup will now load if default is selected
  • T-series: Dump Bed, Cement Mixer and the new Car Hauler upfit now use the second color channel, allowing the upfit color to be different from the cab color
  • T-series: Frame torsional rigidity reduced, but bending rigidity increased using torsionBar beam
  • Barstow: Increased rigidity of front frame sections using torsionBar beam
  • Burnside: Increased rigidity of front frame sections using torsionBar beam, fixed some instability when using 15×8 Alder Basketweave wheels
  • Burnside: Fixed the hood lifting spring deforming on spawn as well as the issue causing the rear axle to sometimes be unstable with small wheel choices
  • Citybus: Shift point spacing widened
  • D-series, H-series, Roamer: Improved engine flexbodies and made SFA steering more durable. Fixed steering breaking easily when using independent front suspension with 8 lug hubs and fixed some parts deforming too easily from general driving
  • D-series, H-series, Roamer, Grand Marshal: new V8 engine and transmission meshes. Centrifugal supercharger changed to roots supercharger on Grand Marshal, to maintain consistency between vehicles using this engine
  • Hopper: Fixed issue causing the rear axle to be unstable with wheels spaced outwards
  • Pigeon: Added radiator nodes
  • Sunburst: Drift steering should now not break easily at full lock
  • ETK800, ETK-K: Changed shift point spacing on low gears to prevent loss of control when downshifting in corners
  • Moonhawk: Increased rigidity of front frame sections using torsionBar beam
  • Sunburst: Closer gear ratio spacing for Hillclimb config
  • SBR4: Wider bodywork for better proportions, closer gear ratio spacing for Hillclimb configuration and handling tweaked to suit new wider track
  • SBR4: Added a black & blue interior skin and made interior carpet a separate map for skinning
  • Tire textures have been improved to add symmetrical tread and move whitewall/lettering to the outside only
  • Made improvements to some lightbars’ flares to avoid them leaking in the opposite direction
  • Updated Pickup ‘Rusty’ skin materials to make it blend better with the vehicle colour
  • Improvements to the ‘Sawhorse’ prop materials

Levels

  • Fixed some East Coast USA roads having wrong groundmodel assigned

Camera

  • Added new ‘Driver’ camera, featuring side-look and rear-look, as well as customizable settings: lock to horizon, inertia effect percentage, autocentering, FOV angle, per-vehicle seat position adjustment and tilt angle. This camera works as a replacement of the old “onboard.driver” camera
  • Added right mouse button support to ‘Chase’ camera
  • Fixed ‘Top-Down’ camera while paused
  • Fixed rare camera errors after reloading system Lua or when switching between vehicles with different available cameras
  • Fixed some camera rotation issues when simultaneously attempting to look left and right, or up and down (using keys)
  • Right mouse button now works correctly while F11 editor is open
  • Fixed an issue causing camera zoom speed to be too slow or too fast unless the button was lifted and pressed again

Physics

  • Added torsion bar support in physics core. This is a new physics entity that simulates rotational springs
  • Added torsion hydro support to simulate controllable rotational actuators
  • Added breakGroup support to couplers
  • Added planet gravity support. This simulates gravity both inside and outside a planet
  • Added “staticCollision” node attribute. Setting it to false disables collision of the node with static geometry (default is true)
  • Fixed “normalForce” attribute of particles to be positive (previously it was negative)
  • Fixed calculation of collision energy used to initiate fires
  • Added a new debug function to draw triangles (obj:drawNodeTriangle)
  • Added “beamstate.addPlanet”, “beamstate.delPlanet” and “beamstate.setPlanets” functions to vehicle Lua
  • Added “thrusters.applyImpulseBody” function to vehicle Lua
  • Changed electrics.airspeed to be based on ground speed instead of airflow speed
  • Increased maximum nodes limit to 4000 (from 3000) and maximum beams limit to 20000 (from 15000)

Powertrain

  • Added “free-play” support to the friction clutch, increased holding torque by ~25% and improved the damping calculation
  • Reworked “vehicleController” to allow for more possible use cases outside of regular combustionEngine powertrain layouts
  • Tweaked shift logic for sequential transmissions to go through a tiny period of neutral state while switching gears
  • Implemented basic “Two-Step-Launch” logic
  • Fixed “smart” parkingbrake being stuck on from time to time
  • Fixed a bug where custom powertrain devices could overwrite default ones
  • Fixed ESC/TC staying in an incorrect state after disabling it

Audio

  • FMOD has been updated to V1.10.0
  • Rock surfaces have new surface sounds
  • The turbo audio mix has been given a balancing pass
  • The radiator damage sound has been replaced and radiator hiss sounds have been added
  • New suspension samples have been added for pickups, trucks, bus and semi
  • Replay cameras will now filter surface sounds based on distance filtering
  • Improved the ambient water sounds in Utah, East Coast and Jungle Rock maps
  • Volume and equaliser settings for group channels have received mix changes
  • The default game volume has been changed from 80 to 100, compensated for by decreasing the volume in FMOD
  • New default master volume in game audio settings
  • All glass impacts have been refactored into FMOD
  • Aero, Piano Crash and Suspension have been refactored into FMOD
  • Five music tracks in a ‘Synthwave’ style have been added for the Light Runner level
  • Tweaks to cabin view filtering with reduced high and low frequencies
  • Fixed skid sounds being triggered while inside heightmap holes

Gameplay

  • Included Light Runner game mode with several tracks and appropriately styled skins for Bolide, Moonhawk, 200BX and SBR4
  • “Teleport to checkpoint” now sets the direction of the vehicle either to the direction of the directional checkpoint or the velocity of the vehicle when entering the nondirectional checkpoint
  • Resolved an issue which would cause checkpoints to trigger late
  • Fixed some issues in the ‘Port Escape’ scenario

Force Feedback

  • High-Frequency smoother has been removed, as it is no longer necessary
  • Added new coefficient slider to improve generic self-centering
  • Simplified low speed force slider into a checkbox
  • Increased smoother setting range in Options > Controls > Force Feedback
  • Increased default force resolution when drivers don’t provide this information (such as some direct drive wheels), potentially providing extra detail in those few cases
  • Small improvement of force feedback responce at higher framerates
  • Added new “Side Accel Feedback” slider. It allows emulation of sideways forces on the driver by passing them to the wheel

User Interface

  • Track Builder tracks can now have Preview images for time trials
  • New options for the Track Builder: custom materials, ground models, border shapes, walls and ceilings, obstacles and custom Checkpoints
  • Fixed extreme UI slowdowns while ForceFeedback Graph UI app was visible
  • Removed incorrect “Nm” unit from ForceFeedback Graph UI app
  • Rearranged Force Feedback settings page, fixed some alignment issues
  • Added key binding cheatsheets to Options > Camera menu
  • Deprecated ‘Smart V-Sync’ graphics setting
  • Implemented new groundmodel debug window
  • Updated thumbnails for some older scenarios
  • Fixed an issue that made the save dialog not show up for PostFx
  • Fixed in-game repository ‘Discussion thread’ button redirecting to a wrong thread if the mod does not have a discussion thread

Input

  • BeamNG.drive Remote controller V2 (Smartphone app) will now update its HUD regardless of whether Outgauge setting is enabled or not
  • XBox gamepad linearity default changed to a softer 2.5 value, for better control at high speeds

Lua

  • Added an ‘onMouseLocked’ camera callback, triggered when right mouse button is pressed or released (check its usage in the new ‘driver’ camera)
  • Added function to add a command to the queue of every object except those with id “exceptId“ using BE:queueAllObjectLuaExcept( string command, int exceptId)
  • Commandhandler should now not repeat all commands when the Lua VM is reloaded
  • The Json parser has been optimized to be 30% faster
  • Added smootheststep Lua function

Game Engine

  • Improved the render interface for TrackBuilder meshes
  • Added support for decals on TrackBuilder meshes
  • Implemented new immediate GUI with multithreading support
  • Fixed shader issue when normalmaps are used with detail UVs
  • Loading PNGs with greyscale + alpha formats should now not cause crashes
  • Resolved issue causing rare crashes on vehicle deSpawn
  • Added support for progression in Steam Achievements
  • Reduced latency by 1 frame
  • Fixed issue causing crashes when loading invalid mesh cache files

Misc

  • A performance warning for drive space, cache folders and cloud storage has been added
  • Steam Rich Presence has been added to the game
  • Removed some unused / extra copies of some files
  • Tuned default graphical settings to be less heavy on Dynamic Reflections
  • Added ‘Hay’ and ‘Confetti’ particle effects

Known Issues

  • The setting file “base.ini” cannot be created if missing, Resulting in debug messages not being blacklisted by default

Italy – Progress report

In parallel to the updates and improvements above we have continued to work on the Italy map, adding more buildings and towns, improving the detail of the urban and rural environments and of course giving you more roads to drive on. With Italy being the largest map we have ever added to the game there was always a risk that we would run into some performance issues and these have proven tough to resolve. However we are making good progress on that front and are confident we will soon have more news to share about when you can start exploring the Italian countryside in BeamNG.drive. In the meantime, here are a couple of images illustrating some of the changes and additions we have have made:

Some areas are still need work such as the industrial section and small harbour as well as some objects missing near streets:

The mountain village, overlooking another town on the eastern side of the map:

An overview of the center of the island:

Italy contains a variety of different types of street, from fairly wide down to very narrow:

At 16 square kilometers it is big enough to fit West Coast USA, East Coast USA, Utah and Jungle Rock Island within it:

The main city in the north and the highway connecting the airport to the north-west and east coast:

It features many roads suitable for rally:

Instructions on how to update the game here.
Bug reporting/Help Thread here.

Development Sneak Peek #6

05 October 2018


Hey everyone!

Here’s another view inside the development of BeamNG.drive. This time there’s not only screen captures, but also some photos and videos. Hope you find them interesting 🙂

Remember that you can keep track of development by subscribing to the developer subforum – that’s where the content in this post came from.

But first, here’s some fun facts (…if you like numbers): I’ve briefly analyzed a subset of our code repositories, which are the internal development places where we work on the game, store most of its associated files, etc.

The following stats correspond to only two of those code repositories:

  • We’ve uploaded around 2340 changes to them since the last game update.
  • That’s equivalent to around 42 changes per day.
  • The day with the lowest amount of changes was September 2 (Sunday), with 1 change.
  • The day with the greatest amount of changes was September 7 (Friday), with 128 changes.

On top of that, there’s also the effort that doesn’t necessarily get reflected as one of those ‘changes’: Quality Assurance, Mod reviewing, Support, Research, etc:

  • Our support team has attended 1123 tickets (around 27 per day) since the last update.
  • These, in turn, prompted 2052 responses in the form of emails (forums and social media support is not included in these numbers).
  • People have sent 2474 debug reports to us. These help us when we need extra information to debug any issues you may experience.
  • We have seen 2213 mods. Phew!

Alright, that’s enough numbers. On to the media!

What you see here will NOT necessarily reach the next update or the final version
If it does, it is NOT representative of what it may look like
More work happens behind the curtains – this is only a random selection!
LJFHutch, May 31, 2018:

Italy progress

Swapped out the old asphalt texture that was extracted from a photograph to one built in Substance Designer, looks better now.



Also changed out the old roadsides for ones built in Designer as well:


tdev, Jul 27, 2018:

New tools in the works …

We can also change groundmodels on the fly now 🙂

LJFHutch, Jul 27, 2018:

Italy progress

Haven’t updated in a while, better grass colours, more work on the dirt roads, new guardrails and a few other things:



Diamondback, Aug 6, 2018:

Two-Step

A little something 🙂

(Note the messages app in the beginning)

LJFHutch, Sep 10, 2018:

Italy progress

Improved the visuals of the castle.

sebaudio, Sep 27, 2018:

Recording scrapes and grinds for impact audio system

Some impressions of the last recording session for the new audio system. Next up: scrapes and grinds.

What if a vehicle flips upside down and the body scratches against asphalt? What if the same thing happens on gravel? Or the exhaust system gets detached and scrapes against the floor? Those questions need answers also in terms of audio. Scrapping a whole vehicle outdoors might have been fun, but this time we decided to re-create the sounds in the studio, using car parts and different surface types.

Please Note: Everything here is a work in progress and in no way reflects the final quality or confirm their presence in-game.
So here are some pics and a short clip of the recordings we´ve made:








After mixing and editing the recordings, we will implement them with our audio middleware FMOD and use physics parameter from BeamNG.drive to change the sounds in real-time.

Stay tuned!

TStabbert, Sep 27, 2018:

Track Builder

Hey guys. I’ve been working on improving the Track Builder, adding new features, to give you a powerful tool to create 3d Tracks. Here, I want to show you some new features.

More grid forms
Previously, the tracks were forced to be on a triangular/hexagonal grid, allowing only 60° turns. Now, you can also select a square grid for those familiar 90° turns and orthogonal roads. Additionally, you can create arbitrary curves where you specify the radius and angle. In the image below, you can see all three types of tracks.

Additional Border types and textures
Now it is possible to change the border of the track, selecting from a range of borders forms, as well as textures. The picture shows four border types: The regular border in blue, the bevel border in red, rail border in green and wall border in orange.

Parametrized borders
Some of those new borders can have different forms along the track, for example the height of a wall. The next image shows some varying heights.

Interpolations
Previously, the values for the height, bank and width of a track would be interpolated between two key values with the same interpolation function, to ensure a smooth and gradual change from one value to another. Now you can chose how to interpolate between the values.

Obstacles and Objects
Through the Editor, you can now place a variety of objects on the track. They can be moved, scaled and rotated. This way, you can place ramps to jump on, bumps to drive over, or rocks to evade.

Track Preview
Of course, we will provide you with a number of tracks. Here is a preview of two tracks which make heavy use of the wall and obstacle feature.

Bonus Video
Enjoy.

LJFHutch, Oct 2, 2018:

Italy progress

I improved the background a lot over the simple dirt texture I stretched over some polygons last time:


The map feels a lot less lonely especially on the cliffs:

tdev, Oct 2, 2018:

Soon to a planet near you

We worked on some small gravity improvements.

Not sure when or how it will be released yet. Video was too awesome to not share 😀

estama, Oct 2, 2018:

Soon to a planet near you

[…]

For each of the vehicle’s nodes, it calculates the full Newtonian gravity for all planets. So yes it’ll get weaker and yes it’ll pull the car towards it from anywhere on the map. The gravity calculations are also correct while inside the planet. So for example at the center of the planet the gravity will be 0.

About the why, well, why not? The main concern with something like this is if it’ll affect the performance of the “normal” simulation. We found a way to add this feature without affecting the performance under normal circumstances (without any planets enabled).

[…]

It supports multiple gravity sources. You can also change the sources on the fly and have different sources per vehicle.

gabester, Oct 3, 2018

Autobello Piccolina

Today we’re introducing a new Italian marque – Autobello!
Autobello was founded by Vincenzo Bello in 1948 to build affordable family cars after the second world war.

From 1957 to 1973, the Autobello Piccolina was produced in several different configurations. Powered by a rear-mounted air-cooled flat-4, it’s rear-wheel-drive, has torsion bar suspension and is extensively customizable. Light weight and lively handling characteristics combine for a thrilling drive.


What you see here will NOT necessarily reach the next update or the final version
If it does, it is NOT representative of what it may look like
More work happens behind the curtains – this is only a random selection!

UI – Sneak Peek

17 August 2018

Hey everyone, Yale here.

I’ve been working with our user interface (UI) team for quite some time now and we thought it might be a good time to talk a little about what we are doing right now.

Early last year we decided to take a new approach. We would continue working on the current UI and implement the most needed features, fixes etc, but at the same time start from scratch on a new UI. This new UI should take all the lessons we learned from the last couple of iterations and apply them in it. Of course this splits up our already tight resources even more and often feels as if we are riding two trucks at the same time.

The topics we want to focus on in this blog post are the following:
    • Mod-ability
    • Performance
    • Visual redesign
This UI is nowhere near finished. So what you’ll be seeing here is a sneak peek of what we’re up to and what we are working on at the moment.

Mod-ability

One of the goals was to avoid pain points like the single file for app layouts, which required us to overwrite players’ own layouts, when we needed to make a change. So in every new system we are writing now, we are considering how and if this could be modded. This makes designing systems a lot harder and more time consuming, but it also means it will be super easy to add and modify them. Additionally, we found that designing that way includes thinking on how to scale the UI and forces thinking about problems that typically would have been an afterthought otherwise.

One example is the menu system of the new UI, which handles how new menus are picked up, integrated into the UI and finally displayed.

The menus up top (Play, Options, Help etc) are stand-alone folders, as are the menus in the middle (Freeroam, Campaigns etc). Remove a folder and the only difference is the missing menu in game. Add one and you get a new entry.

Performance

A valuable lesson from the current UI is where and when to expect bottlenecks. Of course we cannot predict all performance issues, but it does help a lot and we are keeping this in mind when working on the new systems. As much as we’d like to port all improvements back to the current UI, that is not possible, due to the fact that most systems are incompatible to each other.

One thing that made it back though and that probably shows the improved performance most visibly, is the vehicle selector grid. We used a technique called a virtual scroll, which essentially only loads the content it needs to display, instead of every single image in the list. While the concept is nothing new, we use this and similar techniques in all bottle necked menus for the new UI and are observing a more fluent and responsive UI overall.

Let’s have a look at how this is noticeable.

First there is scrolling performance. This is where we are lucky with CEF (the render software of our UI), which seems to optimize for small scrolls even with huge lists. However, you can see the problems when jumping a long section. Note how the optimized grid is faster, but also how you can actually see when it loads new images. This happens due to the scrolling being faster than it can load the needed images.

Equally noticeable is the responsiveness of the single elements due to the decreased cpu and memory load.

Both videos are recorded using a mouse recorder and with roughly 250 mods enabled.This is one very visible performance issue and of course we have heard problems like slow or freezing UIs and are working on those.

Visual redesign

As you already have seen, we removed the Material Design System in favor of our own, more gamey design. The material / android themed look didn’t bother us last time we revamped our UI, but the more BeamNG.drive became a game, the more the UI felt out of place. This was already getting obvious when we designed the garage and the mission screens.

We decided to take a very close look at general patterns that would fit the amount of menus and options we have. As well as feeling more gamey, being fast and easy to use and understand, while not restricting speed of use or being exclusively for keyboard or gamepad (to name just a few points on our wishlist for a perfect UI). These often are conflicting, but nonetheless important points to consider. Of course nothing is perfect and we needed to make a lot of trade-offs, but we then distilled all of that into something that felt suitable as UI of BeamNG.drive and that you can see as prototype in the attached images.

Approach

The first step to the new UI was to identify the core problems, pain points and lessons we’ve learned over the years, but also writing down and discussing all the new and exciting features we wanted to implement.

The current UI started to reach its limits some time ago. It was hard to find places for new menus, features and so on. Not only on screen, but also implementation wise. Additionally, there were some design choices that made a lot of sense then, but didn’t scale well over time, like for instance the app layouts, as mentioned above.

Originally we planned to keep most of the code in the current UI, adapt and revise it for the new one, since that would be a lot faster than a full re-write. However, it pretty soon became obvious that this would not address all the problems we wanted to solve. So we went forward only keeping a handful of the libraries and went for a full re-write of the UI.

Okay, but when can I try it?

There is a lot of stuff we need to finish before we can release this UI. We learned quite some things from the garage in that regard. So we’ll need to ask you to be patient. We are working on it as fast as we can, but need to split up a lot of resources to maintain and update the necessary parts of the current UI as well as internal prototypes etc.

Once public, you will be able to switch between the two UIs. That way you will be able to check out the new UI without missing features, until the new UI is feature complete.

We are looking forward to releasing the first prototype and getting a lot of feedback from all of you!

I hope this gave you a brief insight on what we are up to. Until the next time,

Yale

TL;DR

We are working on a brand new UI, that is designed from the ground up with performance and mod-ability in mind and additionally will feel more like a game UI. The following is a short dip into discussions and decisions made. It will be released when ready.

Fourth hotfix for 0.13 released

10 August 2018

More fixes/improvements as we work on the next regular update.

General:

  • Force Feedback: response is more immediate now, self-steering improved
Note: We would be happy to hear your feedback about these recent force feedback changes, please let us know if you have any issues, configuration tips, etc.

Fixes:

  • Fixed crash with some vehicle’s stock colors
  • Fixed crash when first vehicle spawned is removed but other vehicles share sounds with it
  • Fixed trailer’s reset logic affecting non trailer vehicles
Instructions on how to update the game here.
Bug reporting/Help Thread here.

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