Dirt: the final frontier!
Version 0.27 marks a major achievement for the game as this is our biggest release yet
Our team has toiled away for over two years
on a mission to deliver this groundbreaking experience. Along the way, we overcame major challenges and spent hundreds of hours researching and deliberating with off-road experts. We can’t wait to fill you in on all of the details, so let’s jump right into it!
NEW MAP: Johnson Valley
Introducing Johnson Valley – a top-tier destination for those in search of an off-road adventure, inspired by both its real-life counterpart in Southern California and the neighboring Kelso Dunes.
Whether you’re an experienced off-road enthusiast or a beginner looking for a thrill, Johnson Valley has something for you. This blazing landscape is 10km² in size
, and features an abundance of obstacles, including rocky paths perfect for rock crawling, winding dirt trails that test your stamina and endurance, towering sand dunes that will push your reflexes to the limit, and for drag racing connoisseurs – the longest straight paved highway among all our maps
Several points of interest can be found scattered throughout the map, including a nearly town-sized RV base camp filled with hundreds of objects, a ranch, and a remote pit stop zone. And near the edge of the map you will find a Tyrannos gas station, ferociously guarded by Wrecksy, your friendly neighborhood T-rex and the brand’s charming mascot.
This project proved to be a challenge for the team. We began with boots on the ground, collecting photos of the area for future reference, getting lost numerous times in the process, and having fun interviewing locals and other lost visitors.
(see our website for more concept art and in-progress images)
When the development kicked off, it was clear that matching shapes to the real-world terrain would not be easy. Once the concept art was finalized, we started generating shapes in our terrain generation tool, followed by processing them through erosion filters and feeding different pieces back into the generator to produce the final shapes that resembled our references the most.
(see our website for more concept art and in-progress images)
The reproduction of dirt roads was also a major obstacle. With procedural generation, it was simply impossible to achieve the level of aesthetic and functional realism we strive for. This meant that most trails had to be sculpted manually, meter by meter, with rigorous testing at each stage.
(see our website for more concept art and in-progress images)
This map also features a selection of new rocks
, placement of which has been very tricky – in no small part due to gameplay requirements we won’t spoil for you yet.
And the final boss on this quest was of course optimization. To put Johnson Valley in perspective, it originally had 16 times the detail density of Italy
(which is already one of our most complex maps). The team worked hard to maintain the desired level of quality while keeping the area playable on a wide range of hardware configurations. The RV camp is another excellent example of this; a variety of trailer designs was required, but the number of textures used had to be kept to a minimum. The end result is 23 unique layouts, all of which are made using only three textures and specific modules.
In addition to the map, we are providing a complete fleet of new vehicles ready to help you punch your way out of any situation.
NEW VEHICLE: SP Dunekicker
This desert truck
is based on authentic purpose-built racing trucks and is as close to the real deal as you can get.
Its wheelbase, track width, corner weights, engine power, and suspension geometry are all substantially influenced by real-world data and design input from several industry experts and baja racing hobbyists
. When all of these elements are combined with the revolutionary bypass shock technology, this vehicle becomes the most accurate reproduction of desert truck handling and performance ever accomplished in BeamNG.
NEW VEHICLE: SP Rock Basher
Inspired by the high-horsepower rock-bouncers
of the Eastern United States and the extreme performance rock racers
of the West, the Rock Basher highlights the strengths and differences of both designs.
The solid-axle version
has a low center of gravity and gobs of suspension articulation for extreme angles and near-vertical ascents. The independent suspension version
has plenty of travel to soak up the big bumps in the desert, but is still very capable in the rocks. These differences have resulted in extensive debate as to which design is superior, but the truth is you’ll have to decide for yourself.
The interactions between rock obstacles and vehicles have been extensively reworked and refined for the most realistic rock-crawling and rock racing experience possible, and the new Johnson Valley map comes with rock crawling lines that will challenge even the most experienced drivers.
NEW VEHICLE: Autobello Autobuggy
This chassis was inspired by a unique class of desert cars based on the original baja buggy suspensions
from the 1960s.
Class 5 race cars stay true to the original suspension design with modern engines and shock technology. This combination of limited suspension performance and speed produces a unique driving experience that demands the highest level of skill and knowledge of desert terrain. This vehicle especially showcases the flexibility of BeamNG suspension technology, and how it can function at all levels of off-road performance.
NEW VEHICLE: Autobello Stambecco
This rugged utility vehicle is offered with either a 4x4 or 6x6 drivetrain
, and integrates several distinguishing characteristics that let it shine among the lineup.
It comes with a choice of air-cooled gasoline or turbocharged diesel engines
, and a number of different body styles. Thanks to its portal hubs
and a high ground clearance, it excels in a wide range of off-road operations.
In addition, the Stambecco is our first vehicle to feature dynamic tire pressure control
, allowing some models to make per-axle adjustments to tire pressures while driving, aiding with exploration of rough terrain.
NEW VEHICLE: FPU Wydra
This adorable all terrain vehicle is more of a kayak disguised as a car. And after all, a kayak is like a racecar: they’re the same when spelled backwards! It enters the lineup as the first vehicle to use the new centrifugal clutch, skid steering
, and to top that off – it’s our first amphibious vehicle
Powered by an 800cc 3-cylinder turbo-chargeable engine
and housed in a fiberglass body, this little sidekick can comfortably cruise you through tight and swampy terrain with its 8 wheels and unrelenting character.
It’s also available as a 4x4 variant
, and the following is the story of how this vehicle came to be from the perspective of BeamNG lore. The 8x8 Wydra prototype was first constructed by a passionate team of imaginative engineers, and was eventually converted into a rugged 4x4 configuration optimized for traversing challenging, waterlogged environments. While the vehicle was a huge hit when it was first introduced to the market, several injuries ensued when people rolled over the car owing to its high center of gravity, — nearly bankrupting the creators in the process.
NEW: Bypass Shock Absorber Simulation
The newly implemented simulation of bypass shock absorbers is a huge milestone towards achieving our goal of delivering the most authentic driving experience possible.
To fulfill the progressive damping characteristics necessary for off-road racing applications, real-world bypass shocks are both position- and velocity-sensitive. To meet the challenge, we expanded the system from 2 adjustable zones to 5 and switched from a damping rate-based system to a velocity-based system
With the previous generation’s bypass shocks, each zone functioned like a separate shock and the bypass adjusters in the tuning menu changed the damping rate in the bypass zone. With the new system, the damper rate is constant and the velocity “split”, or the velocity at which the damper starts working, is what changes for each bypass zone.
This method simulates fluid bypassing the damper piston and shifts the velocity of the damping curve just like a real bypass shock does, including a realistic reproduction of the characteristic valve snapping sound
(also known as clappity-clickety-tappity-clank for the non-technical folk in the audience). It’s important because the bypass shocks are very soft over small bumps, allowing the suspension to flex and conform to the terrain. When the vehicle hits a large bump, the bypass shock kicks in and keeps the suspension from bottoming out while lifting the chassis in preparation for the next one. That’s why desert vehicles can float over massive whoops and holes, and it’s super exciting that we can simulate it in BeamNG!
(click to enlarge image)
Our new approach also allows for complete in-game customization of each bypass zone
, which opens up a whole new world of suspension tuning mechanics that even the most experienced suspension tuners can appreciate. These shocks were co-developed with off-road industry professionals and are the product of hundreds of hours of research and development. From the chassis flex to the control arms, to the bump stops and the shocks—every part is individually simulated at a component level. As the result, we are very proud to deliver one of the most comprehensive off-road suspension suspension simulations yet used in a game.
REVAMPED: EVs Simulation
The simulation of BeamNG’s EVs has been updated to more accurately represent the experience of driving an electric vehicle in real life. The primary focus of this overhaul was to improve the behavior and feel of the regenerative braking system
The vast majority of real-world electric vehicles offer a feature where the vehicle will automatically engage regenerative braking when the driver lifts their foot off of the brake pedal. This can be referred to as “off-throttle regenerative braking”, and it allows the driver to slow the vehicle down without needing to move their foot to the brake pedal (except in situations such as panic braking). Because regenerative braking can capture some of the car’s momentum and store it back in the battery, it is a popular feature among drivers of electric cars, as it significantly improves the vehicle’s efficiency.
Prior to version 0.27, BeamNG simulated regenerative braking by applying some amount of the electric motor’s torque in reverse whenever the throttle pedal was completely released. This achieved the effect of slowing the vehicle down, but it was impossible for the driver to modulate how quickly the vehicle slows down. This may have made it challenging for drivers to maintain vehicle control when coasting or coming to a stop.
Our new regenerative braking simulation is modeled after electric vehicles from various real-world manufacturers
. Players can now modulate how much or how little the car decelerates using the throttle pedal. With the throttle pedal completely released, the vehicle will slow down quite rapidly. As more throttle is applied, the rate of deceleration decreases until the vehicle reaches a certain point where it begins to coast. Beyond that, any further throttle input causes the vehicle to accelerate as normal. In addition, there is now an option in the “Pie Menu” (under “Powertrain”) to adjust the strength of this behavior or to turn it off completely (so that the vehicle will coast with no throttle input).
The brake pedal behavior in electric cars has also been improved. In 0.27, engaging the brakes in an EV will first utilize the regenerative brakes to slow the vehicle down, and will only apply the friction brakes (i.e. pads and rotors) if absolutely necessary, such as when panic stopping or when ABS activates.
One final improvement to our electric-vehicle simulation is a new feature commonly known as “One-Pedal Driving”. A number of EV manufacturers, including Ford, GM, BMW, Nissan, and several others, offer this functionality. This feature enables the vehicle to come to a complete stop without the driver ever touching the brake pedal. When slowing down past a certain speed using “off-throttle regenerative braking”, the vehicle automatically applies the conventional brakes to bring itself to a stop and to remain stopped until the driver presses the throttle pedal again. 1-Pedal Driving is enabled if the driver has chosen the “Full” regenerative braking strength in the Pie Menu.
Finally, we are adding a selection of 31 missions across 5 maps, including two brand-new mission types!
The new Collection Mission type is sure to test your skills! This mission type requires you to collect markers in an area, and it’s available in multiple modes: Survival, in which you try to collect as many markers as possible before the time runs out or your vehicle breaks, and Time/Recovery attack, where you collect all markers in the shortest amount of time or with the least amount of recoveries.
If you’re in the mood for a nerve-racking experience, then the Evade Mission type is the perfect choice for you. You’ll be thrown into a thrilling police chase, and your objective is to reach a hidden safe house without getting caught. With the stakes high and the tension palpable, you’ll have to use all your cunning and skill to outwit the law and make it to the finish line.
The majority of the new missions, which include rock crawling, dirt racing, and other off-road focused activities, are also available on Johnson Valley.
With this release, we’re introducing the revamped bloom effect
. Bloom is a lighting technique that replicates the glowing or “blooming” effect that occurs around bright light sources in the scene. This contributes to the immersive feel of the game and enhances its overall aesthetics. Our previous bloom method was outdated and produced inconsistent and unrealistic results, but we have now refined this technique to produce a more authentic and visually appealing effect
Gas station refueling is also being added as an experimental feature
across Johnson Valley and the West Coast, USA. This is only an early prototype, but you can already see a list of gas stations on the map and fill up your car using a simple UI prompt when you stop at a compatible station (make sure that mission markers are enabled).
We’ve also made improvements to the audio filtering system
to deliver a more realistic and immersive experience when driving a vehicle. Previously, regardless of cabin type, the audio would be muffled, but now the audio will respond appropriately while driving a vehicle with an open cabin, such as an ATV. Please note that this feature is still work in progress and not yet available for all vehicles and under all conditions.
Finally, we would like to give a shoutout to our friends at Automation for their latest update
, which is the largest and most comprehensive update they’ve ever released and it’s sure to be a hit with off-road fans alike! Remember that you can take your Automation creations for a spin in BeamNG.drive and experience all the thrill of off-road driving with a custom project. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to try out the latest from Automation – we guarantee you’ll have a blast!
From all of us at BeamNG:
We wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being such a devoted and passionate community throughout the 10 years of our development journey. We hope that you enjoy this very special holiday gift just as much as we we did creating it.
In the spirit of our tradition, we decided to ship this gigantic content package to you for free, and we would not be able to accomplish this without your continued support. We hope that you recognize the enormous effort that went into making this release a reality and don’t anticipate anything of this magnitude happening again in the near future.
An important final note about the Steam update system: we are aware that, even for minor releases (such as hotfixes), Steam is still spending a significant amount of time patching our game’s files. The upgrade to version 0.27.0 will require the same amount of time as before, but it contains an optimization that will reduce the time necessary for subsequent minor updates.
Before we wrap up this blog, we also wanted to provide an update regarding tire physics: earlier this year, we were rather optimistic that we would be making further progress with the development of a very early implementation of thermals before the end of the year. Unfortunately for everyone, this proved to be a tougher challenge than anticipated, and we’d prefer to not attempt another prediction at this time. However, rest assured that the research is still underway, so stay tuned!
We will continue chipping away at the next set of our long term goals in 2023, but for now we wish everyone a happy holiday season and thrilling new adventures!
To see the complete list of changes, check out the patch notes here!