Greetings everyone! It´s hard to believe that we have already hit March 2021 - time is flying by faster than a Sauber Mercedes C9 set to max boost! This means this Dev Update has actually run a couple of days late as we focused on wrapping the big update just deployed this past Sunday - February just wasn´t long enough March is likewise shaping up to be another very busy month as we gear up to what should hopefully be another major update - one that will mark the first anniversary since AMS2´s initial EA release. For that reason, we´ll be keeping this dev update a bit leaner than usual, focusing on the information that´s most important as we approach this new milestone. LAYING DOWN THE GROUNDWORK Sunday saw the release of v22.214.171.124 update to AMS2, which has just been complemented by the v126.96.36.199 hotfix earlier today, with another minor update scheduled to be deployed before the end of the week. While the rate of development has remained pretty intense from the very first public release, the last couple of months in particular has seen a big influx of updates to physics, AI and FFB, and regular users would have been forgiven for feeling like the game was under maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience, but it has truly been to better serve you On the physics front, the core of the dev work has been focused on tire and driveline development - these are two components of the physics engine that were completely new in the Madness engine relative to what we had been used to up to AMS1 - they are also much more sophisticated, which has proved to be a steep learning curve to get on top of. Things did pick up pace in recent months, and physics for certain cars went through some big changes in between updates, occasionally with some sideways steps or even slightly backwards before things come together to lurch forward again - we realize this may have been a bit frustrating to go through for the users, but it was important to get it done and cover most ground in the shortest amount of time so we could establish the stable baseline we´ll be relying on moving forward. As physics change, the AI needs to be adjusted to suit since they run on simpler tire and driveline models relative to the much more complex physics used in the player´s car - the AI has received plenty of developments of its own, with several adjustments to their behavior and an increased breakdown of previously global parameters allowing for car-specific tuning of various aspects which compose their overall performance - this allows for more detailed fine tuning of AI in any given series, which is crucial in a sim featuring everything from rental karts to racing trucks. The latest update has also seen some valuable FFB development, with the default profile now providing more accurate self-aligning torque and various handling dynamics such as brake torque, wheel lockup, and traction loss also becoming more detailed through the FFB. These three fronts are key for a satisfying driving and racing experience, and while all will continue to evolve through AMS2´s shelf life, we have hopefully reached a state from which progress should become more incremental, and users thus can be more reliant on the experience remaining a lot more consistent from one update to the next. We now have the solid baseline needed to introduce & flesh out more gameplay features to make the best use of all this groundwork - that is the plan as we enter this 2nd year in AMS2 development, and the first big step should arrive already later this month. THE NEXT UPDATE Next month will mark the first anniversary since the initial Early Access release of AMS2 on March 31th 2020, and over this first year we have mostly focused on developing the simulation core and assembling a large, diverse content base; the second will still be primarily about introducing new gameplay features that make best use of all this groundwork. Given the extent of the physics updates in recent months and their impact on the performance of several cars, we have decided that a reset of Time Trial boards and its setup DB will be in order with our March update; likewise a substantial update to championship mode with several new options will mean saved championships from the current version will no longer work after the late March update. So a bit of inconvenience ahead, but a necessary clean slate to bring these game modes up to par - while it´s always possible this may again be necessary further down the line in case of a major breakthrough, we assure that at least for the foreseeable future things should remain much more stable. There is a lot of cool stuff coming up with the next update and subsequent months that we are eager to share, but we´ll leave that for the Dev Update we´ll be posting later this month just before the new version is released, so we can cover them in more detail In the meantime we hope you all manage to stay safe and enjoy a fun time with AMS2 or whatever else tickles your sim racing bone, wishing it´s contributing to that crucial little bit of indoor joy while we continue to hunker down in these tough times!