Ian Bell, the CEO of Slightly Mad Studios, has been posting on social media regarding the next step in the Project CARS series, and it’s fair to say he’s promising something good. In fact, he’s promising nothing short of “the most realistic simulation ever made”.
For many fans, Project CARS 3 was a serious mis-step. A design decision apparently taken early on, but not communicated to fans until quite late somewhat changed the complexion of the game. SMS chose to remove pit stops from PC3, with the knock-on effect that cars never needed fuel or repairs, and that tires not only never experienced wear but would change compound while driving to account for changes in weather.
This lead to pretty mixed reviews, with 3 currently holding a Metacritic score of 69% from media and 33% from the site’s users, and on PC at least around a tenth of the user count of Project CARS 2. “Lesson learned”, commented Bell in a Twitter post just yesterday, but today’s postings reveal to what extent SMS plans to change it up for PC4.
In a flurry of Tweets, which have since been deleted, Bell laid out some of the wider details in store. The first Tweet in the series refers to individual leaves casting shadows on each other, which seems an obvious indication of real-time ray tracing.
Visuals are one thing, but PC2 fans lament the blunted physics edge of PC3. Fortunately, Bell continues, with a further two Tweets referencing Madness 2.0 and Live Track 4. That signifies a new game engine running beneath PC4 — an evolution of the Madness Engine — and a new version of the Live Track circuit evolution code.
Bell also makes mention of bump-mapping, a technique used to impart surface texture, for circuit edges, and an aerodynamics simulation model which would allow items like leaves to feel the effects of passing cars and be whipped into other vehicles.
Further Tweets and replies — now also deleted — reveal more of SMS’s plans. In one, Bell comments that “no-one will touch us with pCARS4”, adding “given player and fan feedback, we’re dialling realism up to 11 this time. We’re going nads to the wall in every single area you can think of!” in a further response.
Obviously it’s incredibly early days in the development process, so there’s no specific detail at this time. However, it should come as at least cautiously optimistic news for disappointed PC2 fans that SMS has heard their complaints.
The timing of these Tweets is also interesting. We learned over the past weekend that EA had tabled a bid of some $1.22bn to buy Codemasters, which itself bought Slightly Mad Studios late last year. That puts SMS under EA’s control when the deal is completed early next year.
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