Why RaceRoom Is Experimenting With Drift Content

Why RaceRoom Is Experimenting With Drift Content.jpg
Images: RaceRoom
At an upcoming car tuning event, RaceRoom is holding an in-person final for a sim racing community cup. But it will also showcase some drifting action...

When you think of stylish sideways sliding, RaceRoom is perhaps not the first game or simulation that springs to mind. CarX Drift Racing Online routinely sits in the most-played Steam charts, and there is a slew of drifting mods with matching communities for Assetto Corsa.

If I was after official DTM content, or underrated tracks in Sweden, RaceRoom would be my first port of call. 2013 WTCC cars around Pau or Macau, sign me up. But drifting, aside from perhaps the Ford Mustang Mach-E 1400, I would traditionally look elsewhere.

Turns out, however, the KW Studios-stewarded sim racing platform can do big skids, you just may never have seen it.

Ford Mach-E 1400 RR 02.jpg

RaceRoom's Ford Mustang Mach-E 1400 recreation could eviscerate tyres, but not quite in a 'traditional' drifting sense.

“We've had a concept drift car in our beta builds for a while now, dating back to our force feedback refactoring,” explains Head Of Studio for RaceRoom at KW Studios, Jean-François Chardon to OverTake.

“While we were redoing our FFB with pure physics, a couple of drifters approached us seeking something more realistic than the various mods available.

“It made sense to take on this project as a way to validate the purely physics-based FFB we had in beta at the time. I knew (and still know) very little about proper drifting techniques, but what I understood is that the natural movements of the steering wheel must be accurately reflected in the force feedback

“Any noise or artificial effects would be counterproductive to maintaining a controlled slide.

“The drifters were quite satisfied with the work we had done, but it remained in beta builds as this content didn't quite fit RaceRoom as a game title. We lack gameplay mechanics for drifting and it is also a completely separate list of content to produce.”

As the development team is part of a large entity, KW Automotive, the drifting set-up within the beta builds could still be used as a testbed – even if a public RaceRoom

One of the group's brands, ST Suspension, for instance, is used by pro drifters, as evidenced in Steve “Baggsy” Biagioni’s ‘Return To Driftenberg’ video.


However, things are about to emerge from the private versions into the public consciousness at the Tuning World Bodensee gathering this weekend.

RaceRoom will host an in-person final for a recent community sim racing competition in Friedrichshafen, alongside which it will have a drift-specific rig for the public to try some new content combined with a variation of those beta drift builds.

“We've been wondering if this content would appeal to players at all. After all, to truly enjoy it, you need a high-end direct drive wheelbase, making it a niche within a niche in terms of audience,” continues J-F.

“So, we reworked our Counter Steer driving assist to be a bit more helpful in that regard, and I've heard and seen footage from beta testers managing nice slides using just a gamepad with the assist enabled.

“At this point, the Tuning World fair is a way to gauge player interest in such a content drop. Perhaps it will open some doors for further developments; we will see.”

RaceRoom Raceway Drift Area.jpg

The drift-specific update to RaceRoom Raceway

Should the content prove of interest to the community, it would be in the form of a ‘physics sandbox’. There is a fresh area for drifting, added to the existing fictional RaceRoom Raceway – filling in the inner lake and adding containers and barrels.

Then there is the BMW M3 E30 (main image), with a body kit featuring extended wheel arches, allowing for a drift-based suspension setup.

“Even if we don't end up developing the drift aspects further in RaceRoom, I still think it can be interesting for some one-off events, like a drift competition stream with human judges and commentators,” J-F tells us.

It comes as the team is looking to expand its development resources – it is currently looking for a Lead Programmer – and explore new content possibilities across 2024 and the years ahead.

Would you be interested in drift content for RaceRoom? Let us know in the comments below, or on X: @OverTake_gg.
About author
Thomas Harrison-Lord
A freelance sim racing, motorsport and automotive journalist. Credits include Autosport Magazine, Motorsport.com, RaceDepartment, OverTake, Traxion and TheSixthAxis.

Comments

Premium
They have seen how much players like drifting, beamng and assetto bunch get thousands of players only on drift content.
The other side is paymods, the amount of money left on the table is mad, these drift mod creators are committing daylight robbery selling upwards of $100 from what ive seen. no surprise a sim dev would see that and not want a part of it.
 
Premium
I've seen a lot of Drift content on YouTube with AC / BeamNG and lately LFS which may have been invitation only into LFS as it had the main YT Creators of Drift content all on track ( correct if wrong).

Personally if Sim / Racing Developers can implement Drift properly in Game as a part of their content base it could bring more potential customers to that Sim / Racing Game:thumbsup:....another possible revenue stream:)

Kudos and good luck to Raceroom for moving forward.;)
 
If you want to attract the drift community you have to go all in. Not just one car and a new part in an existing track. None of the beamng or xdrift folks will come for a half baken drift content. And drifting needs night time too.
Otherwise this will be the next content drop no one plays after a week.
As much as I love RR, it´s time for weather/night implementation.
 
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In fact, it's quite the opposite. A "simulator" where the physics aren't able to support holding a drift because every car is effectively on racing slicks with varying amounts of peak grip is more arcade than anything.
Exactly, a good simulator should have the ability to do various tyre compounds correctly as well as any type of "car on road" activity well. rF2 is considered to have the best tyre model in the market, yet most people drift in AC or even rF1.
RRRE bringing drift in shows that the developers have confidence on what they made and aren't afraid of seeing things being pushed beyond the limits. This could also help them tune some game behaviors that could improve the overall experience, in the form of FFB or better controller support like mentioned in the article.

I've stepped out of RRRE for now because the brakes have just been feeling weird to me, but they mentioned that they were Working on it ™️when they released the latest tyre model revision. Hopefully these ABS tweaks and whatnot also come with the Drift update.
 
Bring it on!

Also, point me at a reputable drifting for dummies video.
Drifting is a bit like doing wheelies in my experience. You put a lot of time in and it's often disappointing but then suddenly something clicks and you're away.

I'm all for this. If you don't want it then don't buy it. The only thing that would maybe put me off at moment is the need for a top end DD wheel which I have yet to buy.
 
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It's called RACERoom not DriftRoom

True. And I look at drifting as more a display of a driving style than actual racing. But there's room here for everyone, and we can all benefit from exposure to all automotive endeavors (you may attract drift fans to F1 or GT racing ...and vice versa).

Don't forget, the venerable GPL requires the "four wheel drift" devised by F1 drivers in the sixties to get decent lap times. And sport cars of the fifties, such as the classic Jag D-Type, did their best laps by sliding the rear end through turns. This style disappeared with the introduction of ground effects, where getting the car the least bit sideways resulted in loss of those effects.
 
True. And I look at drifting as more a display of a driving style than actual racing. But there's room here for everyone, and we can all benefit from exposure to all automotive endeavors (you may attract drift fans to F1 or GT racing ...and vice versa).

A lot of people take my opinion as something that should be for everyone with no exceptions... I don't understand that mentality... Different people have different perspectives...

For me there's far more important things for RaceRoom to address than drifting for their product to rise up the player base rankings...

Drifting might bring in a few people, but with AC sitting there with all it's mods and drifting focus the free to play aspect of RaceRoom will only nab a minority of the drifting world unless they populate RaceRoom with the same amount of content for drifting as they have currently for road racing...

Don't forget, the venerable GPL requires the "four wheel drift" devised by F1 drivers in the sixties to get decent lap times. And sport cars of the fifties, such as the classic Jag D-Type, did their best laps by sliding the rear end through turns. This style disappeared with the introduction of ground effects, where getting the car the least bit sideways resulted in loss of those effects.

It also disappeared with better slick tyres as well... Those old bias plys were really forgiving beyond their peak grip in comparison so pushing to the limit was a lot easier and allowed for more driving styles to be acceptable... But the four wheel drift was the way for best lap times back then, from the late 70s that became a thing of the past with anything with high downforce and rear wheel drive... And tin tops followed by the early 90s...

Ground effects forced a different driving style as well as a different approach from the tyre manufacturers... Which is why we didn't see a return to that style of driving after ground effects were banned...
 
An idea for the next post from Overtake about RR: the interview on what are the real strategy plans for the future. Avoid subjects like we are releasing a brand new race track from Farawaystan and a couple of South American raceclass cars with fantasy names.
 
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