Published on February 21st, 2013 | by Alisdair10
Assetto Corsa Technology Preview First Impressions
After a year of excitement and hype from the community Kunos Simulazioni have finally released the first tech preview for their highly anticipated title Assetto Corsa. Since it was first announced the community has been hyped with the promise of great graphics, ultimate realism and all round an excellent sim racing title that will suit ever sim racers desires, well almost.
Even although this is only a tech preview, with limited access to only practice mode and hot laps with the Lotus Elise SC and the Italian track of Magione the game doesn’t disappoint with so many features living up to the standard we expected from the initial announcement.
The first area that stood out was of course the stylish and modern user interface, the interface was in no means cluttered and present the information you need in a way that you will remember where it is and not get lost in the abundance of menus that can be found in almost any game. Simple things like the information that is displayed for each car or in this case the only car, the Lotus Elise SC. Along with the general and common information about the car a performance chart add’s that extra touch to top off an overall eye-catching and more important pleasing to the eye user interface.
During a track session the user interface can be customized so easily and quickly even while driving allowing for you to display vital information anywhere on your screen. Some of the information you can display includes lap times, gear indicator, track maps and many more exciting features. The ease of which you can customize this makes it a lot more fitting for every driver as you can quickly add modules to your screen during a race to view vital information and then hide it again for a more realistic cockpit only view.
With previous history developing some well-known sim based titles such as Ferrari Virtual Academy and netKar Pro, Kunos Simulazioni certainly had a lot of work to do in order to bring the physics standard of Assetto Corsa to a level which can only defeat the already impressive physics of their previously released titles.
Going into my first test session at the Italian circuit of Magione with the Lotus Elise SC my prior knowledge of the car industry had me already prepared for a very light and nimble feeling track car which was exactly what i got headed into the first turn. The physics, force feedback and laser scanned tracks brought the game and car to life, throwing the car into the corners you can feel the weight shift around the car depending on your inputs, more throttle as you left the corner and the car would become very light and almost at the edge of spinning. All of which i can safely say i expected from what is already a small and light car in real life.
The small touches are definitely what make the game an overall joy the play and a lot more realistic, take for example the tires after completing your many laps of Magione you head back to the menus and as a result the car is placed back in the pits, however if you want to jump back into the car straight away you won’t start back with cold tires instead they will be around the same temperature as what you left them in when headed back to the pits. Over time the tires realistically lose heat however heading back to the pits for a few seconds before jumping back in the car shouldn’t lose much heat from your tires so you can get straight back to setting some blistering lap times.
The force feedback combined with the physics allows you to feel very connected with the car similar to driving around in real life, you can anticipate what the cars going to do and behave like depending on how you handle the throttle and brake etc. Taking the car from the asphalt to the grassy edges or gravel traps the car becomes loose and the tires having less grip to the road, all of which is relayed back through the feeling of the wheel and force feedback system. For once in a game we really felt connected and the true driver of the car, after lapping the circuit you could really begin to feel when braking was too much or required even more, being able to tell what the car wanted to do and how much you can push the small and nimble car before its to much for it handle.
Even although all the hype mainly surrounded the physics of Assetto Corsa which in the early stages of a tech preview is already astounding and could keep us typing up this preview for days its time to switch to the graphics, another area of the title which Kunos Simulazioni should take a pat on the back for. Even although we currently don’t have the most powerful gaming pc we still received very solid 40 fps on average with some pretty high graphics, the small attention to detail around the circuit graphics including the grass shaders and even the tire marking on the road after spinning give a more realistic feel overall.
Even although most of the features we discussed appear small, they all add up to producing a more realistic experience and bringing the game to a new level of engagement between the player and the environment they are racing within. Our tech preview only touched the surface of what we discovered while playing the Assetto Corsa tech preview for what seemed like endless hours. Many areas could still do with work however with this only being a tech preview those were left out as there is still tons of time left for them to be worked on and fixed. With the final release of Assetto Corsa we will release a full review of the title touching on all different areas of the game and giving you our unbiased, honest opinion.