I had been eyeballing some potential physics upgrades for a while, but the thing is, changing any of the physics that affect the default buggy setup (nisson), implies having to re-do all the time attack developer ghost cars, which may be inconvenient for those used to the original ones. Also, changing the cars in a big way will 'invalidate' your player records, in that they become either easily beatable, or unreachable.
There was another problem that bugged (heh) me, which was that cars with higher drift styles turned out quite a bit faster than the base cars, which meant that only the higher drift styles are usable to break your time attack records, which hampers replayability, as well as annoy people who prefer a lower/non drift style setting.
So, it was time to address both these issues at once, so that all the inconveniences happen in one go :P So, what has changed?
* The physics engine has had some tweaks, mostly noticeable in that cars retain some more grip while going a bit sideways. I shall spare you the technicalities, but basically, some more things that happen in real life are now added to the simulation, related to load transfer, the tyre model, as well as having a more realistic torque curve.
* The basic buggies have had an extra injection of torque, making them roughly as fast as drift style buggies (the big difference remains that the latter have more power, but less grip, resulting in a different style, whilst being equally fast overall)
* The drift style setups have been changed to retain more of the character of the base cars. I felt they were all a bit too samey - now they have more personality. That also means there is more of a difficulty curve in car setups: the elite drift style version of the nisson is way easier than the elite drift style version of the toyato, for example.
As was necessary then, I have re-driven the developer ghost cars, and your old records are now probably easy to beat with the cars being generally faster. I do think the base cars overall are more fun to drive now they are a bit faster, so I hope this makes up for the annoyance.
2 other notable changes are somewhat of a logical step, based on the now faster cars.
* There are settings for zoom & dynamic zoom in the graphics menu. Dynamic zoom means on higher velocities, the camera zooms out a bit, so you have a better view on what lies ahead.
* There's corner warning arrows (configurable) that will signal there's a sharp corner ahead, so you can plan your racing line accordingly.
Having to redo the ghost cars also gave me an opportunity to change another aspect that was just dumb to start with - the biomes had the same amount of grip. That is now (if slightly) different. The arctic is now the most slippery biome, followed by desert, forest, savanna, with mesa being the most grippy. Also, the 'slippery' tiles for each biome are different in grip - I will leave that for you to discover ;)
Here's the full changelog:
- physics improvements (more realistic effect of load transfer on tyre model, steering ackerman angle, torque curve more realistic)
- drift style cars are now less samey, and retain more of their 'base car' personality
- rebalanced low drift styles to be similarly fast as higher drift styles (btw, drift styles == more power, but less grip)
- because of physics/car changes, I have re-driven all dev ghost cars in time attack mode (all using default nisson + default tweaks + no drift style)
- slightly different grip levels per biome & surface type
- larger minimum track width on forest biome when racing against AIs (campaign / single race)
- more realistic (automatic) clutch, makes for more powerful starts
- made slower AI drivers a bit faster again, they were separating a bit too early
- slightly randomized AI skill per race, so they have a 'form', which is meaningful in campaign mode
- AI now use various car setups instead of only default nisson
- improved sprite scaling for non-common resolutions
- zoom levels, and dynamic zoom (configurable)
- corner warning arrows (configurable)
- player car visibility hint, to recognize your own car in the crowded pack (configurable)
- new music track 'embassy' by bitplanes
- weenie mode is now on by default, to not discourage newcomers
- ever so slightly more health
- menu 'back' sound effect
- ambient lighting (hardly noticeable, but influences atmosphere)
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