Hi everyone and welcome to this week’s Road Book. It’s been a full on week as we get closer to the release of our Modern Masters pack. We tend to try and get everything together a couple of weeks before release to make sure that the release is as clean as possible and that is what the majority of what the team have been up to.
The observant amongst you will have already noticed that I’m writing this road book and not Carla. Carla took the decision to not continue working at Codies due to personal reasons so you are unfortunately stuck listening to me for the foreseeable future. This is obviously not ideal and we are well aware that our communication on the Steam, Reddit and the Codemasters forums has been pretty limited over the last few weeks but we will be doing our best to keep things ticking over while we find a new Social Manager.
Myself and other members of the dev team like @jamielowesdev are reading as much as we can and we have quality assurance engineers like GrimmerFandango and DeputyDiRT looking out for bugs and issues and asking you guys for more information if it is required. Please stick with us through this bumpy section, we’ll be firing on all cylinders again soon. I’ve put a #FeedbackFriday thread up on Steam, Reddit and the Codemasters Forums to find out more about what you think about our communication so please be as honest as possible and let us know how we are doing.
Going back to the original format of these Road Books I’d like to introduce Richard Priest. He is one of our Senior Environment Artists and has been integral in making our stages come to life in DiRT Rally. He has also been the proud owner of a Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 1 so if you want to donate some money to him so that he can recover from that financial burden I’m sure he would be very grateful.
Hi everyone! I’m Richard Priest, Group Lead Environment Artist on DiRT Rally. I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in this project from its early conception way back when, so as a Rally fan myself, and a general petrol head, it’s been a blast to work on!
This is the first early access title our Environment team has worked on so it’s been a slight step away from the traditional production methods of a boxed product. It’s been more problematic to plan as we have to deliver you guys new content every month but it’s a real team effort, not only between the different departments working on the game, but within the Environment team itself. I’m very proud of our team here and all who have been involved in the Environment production for DiRT Rally over the past couple of years.
Flying Finland – So then… Finland. For me this has been one of the highlights of the Environment production on the game, I knew how important it was to you guys to get it right. Although it’s generally a forest stage, it’s no ordinary forest stage! Oh no, it has its own challenges that set it apart from lesser forest stages. Its super fast with killer ditches and insane jumps. Only the brave can be quick here! Part of my role on the Environment team is to liaise with the Level Design team during track production, as ultimately we have to deliver tracks that look good and play good. We made a conscious effort early on in the project to improve communication between level Design and Environment Art, this was largely led by the direction the game was taking, a more focused and realistic Rally experience. We knew it was more important than ever to work closer together as a team. I had the privilege to be involved in Finland from the start, working closely with design to determine what was important, both visually and from a driving perspective, it was a collaborative effort! I knew back then it was going to be something special, and I’m pleased that you guys are enjoying the end result.
Summer vs. Autumn – I read the forums regularly as I’m always interested in the communities’ reaction to our games, particularly this one as it’s our first early access title. When preparing the Finland environment for production, I kind of knew setting the track in autumn would be a contentious issue for some of you as the real rally takes place in summer time. We had to make a choice early on as a lot of the preparation work is done in advance of the environment going into production. There were two main reasons why we decided to go with the autumn look for Finland. The first is reference material, as an art team it’s vital we have good, useable reference to work from, it’s our bible, and it tells us everything we need to know. I really don’t like using clichés (but I’m going to use one) pictures really do speak a thousand words. Our reference material is an extensive library of images that are taken out in the field of that particular location. We photograph everything that makes up the environment, ground surfaces, trees and foliage, buildings and structures, pretty much everything gets snapped. We then organise it for use in different departments. As we had already photographed Finland a few years ago (in the autumn) it really wasn’t viable to re-shoot that location again in the summer. The second reason was the autumnal look added some nice variety to the games colour palette, and we wanted to make a distinction between the different locations in the game. We realise that this is not totally authentic, but as artists we still like to have some creative freedom and artistic licence.
The bush of death! – You’ll be pleased to know we have listened to your feedback regarding the bushes in Finland and done something about it. I totally agree with some of the comments being made on some forums that it was breaking the realistic experience. The great thing about working on an early access game is you can fix things, this is good for the players but it’s also good for the developers too. There’s been many times on games I’ve worked on in the past where you see something minor that was overlooked when the game was released, things you know could easily be fixed but you cant…it’s in the box! It’s so refreshing to be able to fix issues knowing your fix will go out with the next release. The bushes are a great example of that! The actual fix was relatively minor, but so important to the experience. Well that’s about it from me, I’m going to sign off now as the winter wonderland environment won’t make itself!
Thanks for that Rich!
Stuttering bug since v0.8
We broke some stuff in the Flying Finland update that may have caused some of you to start suffering from some stuttering when playing DiRT Rally. If you’ve been suffering from it in v0.8 but you weren’t previously then we have a fix coming in v0.9 but there is a potential fix that you can try right now. You can check out the details here:
v0.8 Stuttering Bug
Screenshot of the week
Now that the nights are closing in and we are driving home in the dark it seemed fitting to go with this awesome shot by AZWew of a Mk2 Escort out on a night stage.
Video of the week
Well, this week it has to go to this awesome run by rally driver Will Order as he tackles Bidno Moorland in the Ford Fiesta RS Rally Car. Despite being very jealous of the sequential shifter and handbrake setup, it always puts a smile on my face to see actual rally drivers getting to grips with DiRT Rally.
We couldn’t not share this, it’s just epic! What happens when a real rally driver gets his hands on DiRT Rally… https://t.co/oJ5mbRcAr1
— DiRT (@dirtgame) October 15, 2015
I’ll be back next week with more details on the Modern Masters pack but until then stay safe and have an awesome weekend!