It’s that time of year again when information starts to trickle out from iRacing about the upcoming features in the next build. Deploying some time before the end of April, the season 2 2011 build of iRacing is slated to mark the dawn of the highly anticipated new tyre model!
No doubt a highly complex piece of engineering to integrate into the existing simulation, the new tyre model looks to be included in the next car in the iRacing fleet – the Nationwide COT. The NTM will also be merged into one of the road cars (exact car TBA).
In other news the build will likely include :
- Membersite awards – iRacing’s reward system which will have similarities to Xbox achievements. Set to be 74 in number, these should provide an interesting way of marking key moments in an iRacing career and hopefully they’ll be carefully designed so as to not be a detriment to the racing (e.g. an award for ‘over 100 incidents in a race’ would cause HAVOC in official races!)
- Okayama – Set to be a free track to all members this Japanese track marks the first of a number of Japanese tracks coming to the service in the coming months (can’t wait for Suzuka!)
- Pit repair is in for all the cars (I don’t really care about this feature personally, I’m happy for wrecked cars to stay wrecked)
- No word on the FMod sound improvements – it’s all eerily quiet on that front (pun not intended). The initial implementation was pretty lacklustre (it provided crackling output for me, and sim crashes for others) but it is still an anticipated feature and could really improve the immersion in the sim.
- Graphical improvements – Shawn Nash has hinted at further improvements to the graphics engine in the next build, including optimisation for members who currently suffer from momentary stutters, even during high FPS situations. They’ll also be reworking/improving the Skip Barber car model.
- Animation improvements – I’ve been hoping for this for some time now, and staff have finally revealed that they are working on improving the animations in the sim. Instead of having completely static drivers in the race replays, we’ll start to see visual effects such as driver arms moving in relation to the steering wheel (and hopefully, but not yet mentioned, buffeting helmets due to g-forces). Watching replays with lifeless drivers is immersion sapping, so I’m eager to see this sooner rather than later
- Telemetry – not much has been mentioned other than we’ll be getting telemetry exported in a industry-recognised format, along with a third party tool to read it. Useful to those that are looking for it.
- Hosted racing – more controls for hosted racing, including the ability to schedule smaller sessions (e.g. a one hour session, which will work out cheaper than a four hour session) plus the ability to schedule events up to one year in advance.
iRacing staff also dangled some pretty significant carrots for the next build (season 3, in July). Those improvements include the new tyre model for the rest (or at least a significant number) of the cars in the iRacing fleet. Work on an animated pit crew was also mentioned (I suspect this is a bigger project than the July build).
We’ll also get headlights (in the cars that have lights) in July. Useful not only in night racing, it’ll be valuable in mixed class racing to indicate when faster cars are coming through. There’ll also be new content coming, including Iowa, Suzuka, Ford GT and the LMP.
All that and plenty more to come as iRacing continually add to the service.