The Project CARS 2 July Status Update

It’s obviously going to be a tricky endeavor to address anything related to Slightly Mad Studios here on PRC without endless cries of viral marketing, but given that the launch of Project CARS 2 is only a few short months away, other publications are starting to ramp up their own respective coverage of the title, and our personal involvement with the development of the game, it’s only fair we talk about the multi-platform racing simulator at some point, and there’s no better time to do so than today.

With a scheduled release date September 22nd for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, Project CARS 2 is once again aiming to be that next step up from Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsport, offering auto racing fans a hardcore simulation experience with current generation visuals, and most importantly, without the absurd configuration, file management, and tweaking traditionally required from a niche PC simulator. Bundled with over 180 cars at launch, and a rather stout selection of circuits from around the world, Project CARS 2 is more or less an alternate reality version of rFactor 2, in which Image Space Incorporated had been supplied with near-unlimited funds to acquire as many prominent licenses as possible, and a comparatively massive staff to actually get the game out on store shelves within a reasonable time frame.

PRC’s involvement in the game, as stated in the past, has seen myself placed in a paid position, in which I was basically told to boot up the application each afternoon to poke around and see what kind of weird shit I could find. As a result, my experience with Project CARS 2 does not really put me in the best spot to publish a positive piece on the simulator, as I’m not exactly playing the game to enjoy myself as one normally would when busting out the toy steering wheel for the evening; I’m instead turning laps to troubleshoot and make sure that slip-ups and inaccuracies don’t make their way into the final game you’ll have the option to purchase in late September.

I definitely don’t want to claim I’m Superman and imply that myself and Sev have played an integral role in helping to polish Project CARS 2 prior to release, but I can confirm that in the months since we’ve last posted about Project CARS 2, we’ve found some important things that were promptly rectified by the development team. Personally, I was really proud of an 18-page thread relating to vehicle inertia and initial turn-in grip, and how within a week of first starting the topic, the team had identified a solution to our findings, one which drastically transformed the game for the better. It was really exciting when the solutions were gradually implemented, the lap times slowed to be within a very realistic window, and the driving techniques required to go fast were much more reasonable. It was definitely a moment that negated all of the uproar of the initial announcement of us partnering with our sworn enemy, and in the end, sim racers will reap the benefits.

Driving-wise, I still have to reiterate that it feels like a polished, complete version of rFactor 2, albeit with significantly better force feedback. SMS are at a point in development where they are still fine-tuning some cars for more authentic lap times, so I’m not exactly jumping at the bit to record a few videos of myself hotlapping because there are cars on the roster highly subject to change in terms of performance, but the most exciting part is that a lot of the most popular vehicles, right now we can jump in for an online practice session, throw down a few laps, check basically any IMSA qualifications sheet over the past two or three years, and we’re bang on in terms of lap times. Comparing on-board footage is also extremely gratifying as well; there have been a few times where out of my own curiosity I’ve synced up a Le Mans or Daytona Road Course lap of mine with the real life track record, and it’s not just the lap time that’s accurate; it’s the line, the pitch & attitude of the vehicle.. It’s something that’s really exciting to see, especially when other simulators aren’t at that level just yet.

Personally, I think a lot of people are going to be surprised because it just doesn’t drive like the original game in the slightest; those who say otherwise are flat-out lying or just being wankers under the guise of anonymity. On the other hand, I think a lot of criticism will instead come from sim racers who are unwilling to upgrade their PC’s to run such a graphically intensive game, though in our own testing at Dustin’s house, who’s not on a PC gifted to him by SMS, the game ran absolutely fine and did not suffer from any of the performance issues or graphical artifacts seen in the first title. Optimization for Project CARS 2 is really important and I’m glad the team are working hard to get it nailed for launch, considering many sim racers fall on extreme sides of the hardware spectrum; they’re either busting their balls to run the original rFactor, or have some kind of super-computer.

But of course, all of this is subjective, so instead I’d like to showcase a few elements that Slightly Mad Studios are implementing into Project CARS 2 that are objectively beneficial for sim racers who choose to pick up the title at launch.

There’s a built-in race engineer similar to Evolution Studios’ Formula One game on the PlayStation 3. While you don’t necessarily need a killer setup to turn laps and enjoy your time within a racing simulator, it certainly helps, especially if you’re participating in an online league of some sort. Though it’s obviously not a substitute for proper setup knowledge, and I definitely encourage people to bite the bullet and learn some rudimentary setup techniques sooner rather than later, Project CARS 2 allows you to consult a virtual crew chief within the garage menu that will make tweaks via what’s more or less a text adventure format.

You first pick the category you feel is worth exploring, and are then asked a series of multiple choice questions regarding car handling, before the crew chief offers a selection of changes that can be implemented with the click of a button. Again, it’s not a total replacement for manually making custom adjustments in the garage area, but given how daunting car setups can be for people really wanting to get involved in sim racing, it’s an excellent way to hold their hands and ease them into an element of these games that some spend years trying to figure out. Given how so many people on iRacing struggled to build setups, half of the service became fixed setup racing, it’s nice to see a developer take a hard stance in favor of the engineering side of auto racing, while still offering a reasonable solution for newcomers.

The bizarre force feedback setup seen in the original Project CARS has been eradicated, with something significantly more simple taking it’s place. With just four sliders and an overall effects setting – much like a guitar amp – gone are the days of an entire third party website with multiple configuration downloads being necessary just to get Project CARS to feel somewhat reasonable out on the racing surface. A couple of years ago, a force feedback menu wouldn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, but given how expensive and complex toy steering wheels are becoming – with even more ridiculous setups arriving in the future – the fact that the entire game’s settings can be tweaked with just a few easy-to-understand sliders is a highly efficient design choice, and it really goes with the mantra SMS are trying to achieve with Project CARS 2; it’s a hardcore simulator, without the insane amount of time dedicated to configuration.

This screen is of course subject to change, but at the moment it’s certainly hard to knock or find fault with.

Lastly, the game will make use of what the team are calling “motorsport presets”, allowing people to jump in and immediately have the game configured to their preferred or even favorite style of racing. One element that pisses me off about game such as Automobilista or Race 07 is how the event configuration screen becomes an endless list of adjustable options, taking time away from the on-track action just to erect a race weekend to mimic my racing series of choice. The motorsport preset functionality will basically allow IndyCar fans to boot up the game and immediately have the single player portion tailored to an authentic IndyCar experience, while WEC or Blancpain GT3 enthusiasts can treat Project CARS 2 as primarily an endurance racing simulator. It’s not a complete solution for those wanting the days of single series titles to make a return, but it’s a nice way of accommodating those who know full well they will be ignoring a large amount of the game’s content, and making a beeline straight for the heavy hitters.

There’s certainly more I could talk about, but I do not wish to over-saturate the internet with Project CARS 2 preview information, especially with so many other websites covering the game in a much more traditional & extensive format. Straight and to the point, however, the game is shaping up to be exponentially more refined than the first offering; it drives well, and there a few neat little features to ensure you’ll spend more time turning laps than configuring the software – as opposed to many other modern racing simulators. Personally, I am hoping Slightly Mad Studios push out a free demo prior to launch, as after the first game failed to impress those it was built for, it would be a very nice gesture to demonstrate the improvements that have been made over the past few years, considering the justified amount of skepticism surrounding Project CARS 2.

Until then, preview articles will suffice.

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122 thoughts on “The Project CARS 2 July Status Update

    1. The Astra in our current build is still on placeholder physics (since it’s a DLC). We might have the Astra with the proper physics this week.

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  1. Some of the grip levels looked off during snow and rain. I hope they get that right. Good to hear that times are close to irl as sick of hearing the bull about fast times. They will lose points from me for not including the freedom to choose the grid and not including custom championship. Everything else seems well thought out. Still don’t believe the handling and ffb is going to as amazing as you say but I will know soon enough as pre ordered 4 having vr support.

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  2. I still have doubts but out of curiosity i bought the bullet again. Polished rfactor2 sold me, really that good in terms of physics and details?

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  3. Wow, that lack of information. Unbelievable. I want to go back in time to when James was not that easy to bribe and our president was not Justin “Faggot” Trudeau…

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  4. What’s your take on the NASCAR Daytona footage? It looked horrible. Single file, super draft, and way too much lifting. And the track textures are horribly inaccurate.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. So actually it sucks & you where lying in the article. Or can you explain further? I would of thought Oval would be something you would be really pushing for accuracy. Personally I will not be playing ovals as it turns out that it is as boring in a sim as it looks irl but no doubt this will piss someone off.

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              1. Lots of cherry picking like this in this article – reader beware and use your critical reasoning skills. The AI has been criticised elsewhere already – identical behaviour to pcars (wip will be the answer.)

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  5. Austin is a total sellout and project cars shill and prc is bought and paid for by Ian Bell just as much as Austin’s real life race car is, so there did I cover the basics?

    Having gotten that all out of the way…. Thanks for the update, for myself I just received all the components to build a super computer so I’m ready for the games release. It’s been a while since I built a computer and it was difficult for me to pull the trigger on it, especially since it’s only purpose is for playing games but I’m looking forward to doing some PC gaming once I finish the build and tweaking it a bit.

    I came here tonight expecting an update on your weekend race but I’ll take a project cars update any day.

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      1. Bummer, I live in northeast US and so far it’s been a very wet year in our region but then again a good deal of the US has gotten good rain this year. It’s been a while since I visited Canada for either business or pleasure. I should grab some of my boys and spend some quality time fishing up your way.

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        1. Translates as “I have no business or pleasure and i have no friends and neither do i have amazing weekends away on a whim”

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        2. Lifesimulated looking forward to “grabbing some of his boys” and spending some totally heterosexual and not suspicious at all “quality time” with them. Talk about too much information!

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          1. What a bunch of sick fucks, there is nothing homoerotic about a father taking four of his sons fishing in Lake Memphremagog, a personal favorite fishing spot of mine. Good thing there’s an internet for you pieces of shit to trash talk and dentists to replace the teeth you lose if god forbid you say something like that to a man face.

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            1. Let me teach you a lesson: That’s exactly why you don’t talk about your inbred offsprings on a SIMRACING (!!!) blog, you fucking dumb redneck piece of trash. No one cares! XD

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  6. James,

    You talked about properly learning car setups (vehicle dynamics). Is there any guide or textbook that can help with this? I’d love to dedicate the time and learn; Id like to better understand what needs and doesn’t need to be fixed via car setup

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  7. From what I have seen on youtube over the last few days the game is looking pretty dam impressive , host of options , heaps of cars and tracks , something for everyone so it seems .

    Super interested in how the FFB is being handled this time around and how damage and race rules will be implemented ( haven’t seen anything on this yet) .

    John I’m a bit like you .

    I’m not the best at setting up a car but with the settings James has mentioned ( I did watch a video today that showed this engineer help ) it should be pretty self explanatory . Hopefully 🙂

    Personally looking forward to the game and if the physics at the stage some are saying it should be a pretty impressive title adding the weather system.

    On a different note I have also seen the odd video with the AI drilling each other up the arse like James and Ian on a Saturday night 🙂

    Bad Joke I know , I could resist …..sorry James only Joking .

    Liked by 1 person

  8. James

    How’s the ai shaping up with regards to pitting, pitting under yellows, pitting under safety car and pitting in the rain? Especially on the road side.

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  9. The sad thing is this paid shill will be more accurate and critical than the unpaid shills and profershonal garm jurnaliszts.

    A demo would certainly help with the performance and FFB concerns. Buying on Steam to try it out for 2 hours, getting a refund and buying it cheaper somewhere else is a major pain in the ass.

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  10. No need to loose time reading those articles as we know how it will end. Any other product compare to what SMS is doing is not good enough. James continue on this way cause i m more and more curious on the product other company than SMS are doing. What i m sure now is that with the shilling army of SMS (that you are part of now including your suggar daddy) i wont buy any of their games (present, past, future).

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  11. I’m instead turning laps to troubleshoot and make sure that slip-ups and inaccuracies don’t make their way into the final game you’ll have the option to purchase in late September.

    I look forward to PRC holding Austin personally responsible for every bug or inaccuracy in the final release of the game.

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  12. Not a single word about the AI. I see a lot of corner cutting in the videos which the pCARS faithful dismiss as “at least they’re not piling up in turn 1” and “tweaking will fix that before the release”.

    Seems to me that SMS is not shy about touting their achievements (graphics, weather, race engineer, ffb), so with them being strangely silent about AI, I can’t help but be skeptical that the AI will improve before release.

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  13. Thank you for a very informative pre-review article James.
    It looks like I now know what to buy when I let my iRacing membership run out.
    Specially your relating the PCars 2 to rF2 sounds great – because I still consider the rF2 tire model as the most believable on the marked.
    And dont want to mention iRacings TM in the same sentence as rF2s:-)
    Looking forward to more info later.

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    1. Too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too, too many kids who can have all the money they ask their parents for buying everything they want. Obviously, realism = incredible graphic.

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    2. Lateral grip levels are way off in game, road cars usually have 3 tire options for dry driving (Pirelli Trofeo R, Pirelli Corsa and Pirelli PZero) but even PZeros are faster than Trofeo R in real life. I can pull 5s-10s quicker laps on medium sized circuits in comparison to MotorTrend and various magazines tests on same tires and I’m not even a fast driver. That’s shame because the game physic engine is improved, but even Forza Motorsport 6 has more realistic tires in terms of the grip.

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  14. I’m in and preordered, it has VR and is looking good enough to take the risk.

    Physics and handling improved? On some cars maybe, all though that’s questionable.

    Take a look at this for example and play spot the similarities.

    Not a word from DigiProst or any of the other usual suspects on the physics in any of his gameplay videos either. Some cars & tracks look improved, some look odd, plenty of AI misbehaviour too.

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  15. Question: How does the license classes compare to iRacing?

    IE, how easy is it going to be for cancerous retards to wreck me in the top license requirement.

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  16. Ay, it’s shill time, boi!

    The physics and ffb comments nearly made me spit out my coffee. SMS must really have been coughing up the big bucks.

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  17. I’ve made similar comments before, but PRC comment section is already pretty repetitive so a bit more can’t hurt:

    For my sake as an avid sim racer, I hope PCARS2 is even half as good as Austin says. I’ll play the ever living shit out of it and buy DLC until my credit card has burn marks on it.

    For the sake of Austin continuing as someone who, in my opinion, is a net positive influence on the sim community…this sim better be damned good.

    Speaking as a daily reader and avid follower, I’m going to have a hard time coming back here for more if PCARS2 ends up resembling anything even close to the original.

    Gotta say, trying to stay hopeful, but I’m real nervous we heard all this same boasting the last time around (as it was pitched to my ears, PCARS was going to essentially render all other sims obsolete…only to have NFS Shift 3 dropped on us).

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Hey, huge stock car fan and saw some stock cars on Daytona. Drafting techniques look solid but the cars spread out way too much. Wondering if this is being worked on now or will be at some point before release?

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      1. Good to know, really looking forward to some quality plate racing. Would be nice for “the super bow of stock cars” to be done right for once in like ever. Even nr2003s plate tracks blew.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. what are the recommended system requirements? i’m about to get a new computer and would like to make sure this will run well if it turns out to be the game you claim it will.

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  20. That setup screen looks fantastic, I can only imagine the same old “sim”-racer masochism is why we haven’t seen it before. Because it’s completely realistic that drivers have to set up every detail of their own car… Hopefully they can tune the language with an eye towards teaching people what the options actually mean, although really, this should be the norm, not an exception…

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  21. Also, since you’re the “expert”, I’m wondering about this… https://youtu.be/MHDpgR4z4Yg?t=538 The “GP” layout has start/finish at a weird place, and the National layout… I think that’s the old Indycar layout, but it’s certainly not anything current. Having raced there myself it would be unfortunate if the layouts aren’t accurate…

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  22. Appreciate the update but can’t just take your word for how much progress they made after the unmitigated disaster of the first game. If it reviews well I’ll give it a shot.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. A demo would definitely be a major plus; the Pagani Edition was what got me to finally buy Project CARS long after release. My end result there was iffy, but still, it wasn’t on my radar at all before that sampler.

    I do very much like the idea of the tuning help. I understand what’s being referred to when I’m watching a motorsports broadcast, but I’m clueless myself behind the virtual wheel with the sole exception of gear ratios. And having the rules auto-set to a preferred style is absolutely appreciated, though I suppose stock cars won’t be a particularly prominent option.

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  24. Pywackett

    You are probably right about the stock cars not being prominent but I could see plenty of people running seasons with stock setups forced on in the game / option menu to keep a level playing field for non tuning likeminded people .

    At least the options are there to do so , if anything it seems project cars 2 to is teaming with options .

    Someone asked about career earlier

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi James,

    Been trying to find out if the file structure for setups has changed on the PC version so one can download a setup and insert it in a directory as opposed to the manual input of others setups aka PC1

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    1. Setups can be shared inside the sim this time around. I know that at least you can import the setup of a ghost car when the setup was shared.

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      1. Thanks .That will help. Now the only question is if the setup files are accessible to copy and paste outside the game aka iRacing and other sims

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  26. On the offhand chance this gets read; have you played any builds on console yet? What’re your thoughts on it?

    I haven’t got around to building a sim rig yet, but that’s a different rant.

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  27. I hope this game fails so all the idiots the “PRE ORDER ” get what they deserve.

    If you pre order this game after the launch of PC1 I have bridge to sell you,and if you pre order today, Ill toss in the sidewalks for free!

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  28. If it doesn’t have Denuvo, I can guarantee there will be a “demo” shortly after release.

    If it does, then Baldman will ensure you can try it out within a month.

    Anyway: Game sounds good. Worried about the AI. All this “Esports” bullshit IMHO is a way for devs to blow off making decent AI.

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  29. I don’t need a virtual race engineer.

    What I need to set up a car fast is the ability to pause while driving and make setup changes that are then reflected immediately *in real time*.

    This is how it works in Forza (during practice, not races obviously) and it’s brilliant, fast and gives immediate feedback. Combine it with a 10-second “rewind” and now you’ve got a very fast, efficient way of dialing in a car for those of us without a surfeit of spare time.

    Same thing applies to FFB settings. Raceroom is the only one right now where you can pause, go into the FFB menu, make some tweaks and then resume right where you paused.

    This is an order of magnitude more efficient than how it works in the other sims, where you have to laboriously quit out of a session, make your way to the FFB menu, make the changes, restart the session, wait for it to load and then finally you get to feel the effects of what the fuck you did.

    By that time, you’ve probably forgotten what your previous settings felt like and so you end up going back and forth several times to dial it in. Total bullshit lazy programming.

    So, my request? Realtime adjustment of setup and FFB settings.

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    1. You can setup all FFB during a session in Dirt rally. Well, you can change all game settings during a live session. It’s already super useful to see what options are bringing the FPS down.

      As for pCars 2 FFB, you can supposedly change, at least some, setting during a session.

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  30. It’s official. This site is officially a PCars website.
    100’s of comments on PCars within hours. Old articles on anything else. A couple dozen posters.

    And no one really cares about an update on PCars unless it’s how quickly the game drops in price.
    You can update me a month or so after release when it’s going for 10-$15 on eBay or gamefly.
    Don’t care otherwise.

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  31. Hey James, I just wanted to know whether or not it is possible to change career paths? In the first game if you chose an F1 career you couldn’t swap to an Endurance/Touring career. Is that possible now?

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  32. How’s the sound? This is one of my pet peeves about AC in particular. For every nice sounding car (usually a mod), you’ve got 5 that sound like the bastard child of a vacuum cleaner and a power tool. Only GT6 sounds worse.

    Then you’ve got rF2 and AMS, which can’t even do 5.1 apparently (except for fake reverb on the rears). So I’m driving an F1 car with the engine sound coming out of my front speakers. In 2017.

    So anyway, how does the sound compare to, say, Raceroom?

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Have you guys had much of a go at multiplayer, both in hosted sessions and via Dedicated servers?

    The biggest gripe I had with the original pCars was how buggy and horrible running multiplayer was.
    With people looking at pCars 2 as an option for leagues, I’m hoping that SMS has gotten this aspect of it right.

    Like

    1. But why would you expect that bro.
      The list of bugs in PCars is still over two pages long and SMS only ever rectified a hand full. They are still going to be there in PCars 2

      Like

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