You Should Give AMS 2 Another Try: Here’s Why

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Image credit: Reiza Studios

Automobilista 2
has always suffered with issues with its engine. But with a recent update, the AMS 2 physics have seen large improvements. Here’s why the game deserves another chance.

Recently, Automobilista 2 received a sizeable update, bringing the simulator to version 1.4.8. Adding the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya and a definitely-not-Indycar open wheeler to the game, the update has plenty to please the fans.

But, perhaps more exciting for those that have given the title a miss over recent months, are the numerous physics tweaks. A selection of cars, mostly of the single seater variety, have received major refreshes to their handling models. This list of racers is set to preview major updates coming to every car in version 1.5 of AMS 2.

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Barcelona joined AMS 2 in the latest update. Image credit: Reiza Studios

As the bulk of this new update acts as a preview to the huge changes coming in a few weeks’ time with version 1.5, this is the perfect opportunity to judge the title’s progress. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the update impacts the game and why it’s worth giving AMS 2 another chance.

AMS 2 Update: What’s new?​

Work towards the 1.5 update for AMS 2 has been ongoing for several months. In fact, developer posts from the end of last year mentioned a flat-out push to improve that title’s handling. Prior to this push, the team would make changes bit by bit as part of each minor update. But last year, the team announced it would reserve physics updates for major game refreshes, such as the upcoming 1.5 version.

This particular update, version 1.4.8, is a preview to version 1.5, releasing within the next few weeks. With the physics changes, Reiza has reportedly focused on the way the SETA tyre model interacts with the ISI PMotor model. In fact, blending elements from the Madness engine and Automobilista 1‘s ISI engine has seemingly caused some conflicts.


Whilst tyre model improvements are a large part of version 1.5, they can’t be truly implemented until its full release. As a result, this is one change that won’t fully see the light of day for another few weeks.

Elsewhere, suspension spring rates and aerodynamic interactions are what feature most heavily in the newest version of the game. These are what aim to eliminate any of the strange losses of grip players may experience in higher downforce models. This is just one of the many complaints fans have about the title.

Popular Complaints​

The main complaint fans of the simulator have had since Automobilista 2‘s launch has been a fundamental disconnect with the road. The tyres never seemed to stick to the racing surface in previous iterations which led to a general lack of grip.


Additionally, with a Project Cars-esque softness to the suspension and chassis of each car, the front and rear axles seemed to have minds of their own. This felt most prominent and strangest in high downforce cars. Suddenly finding the rear end stepping out in long, high speed sweepers was always an odd feeling. But to then be able to hold a slide in a formula car was simply immersion-breaking.

Clearly then, Automobilista 2 was far from sim racing excellence, even in its most recent state. But the big question is whether the most recent update is cause for celebration or concern. In short, it’s a bit of both. Here’s why.

Does the Update Work?​

Among the cars featuring the new physics are several open wheel cars and a few prototypes. In each case, there is clearly a focus on the interaction between downforce and low-speed grip. In fact, all Formula Retro, Classic and USA models, the Formula Junior, Ultimate and Inter as well as the P1 cars now run on the updated handling model.

Jump in any of these cars and you will soon find some minor differences in handling. The obvious improvement has to be at higher speeds when downforce takes control. One can feel the car weight better under aerodynamic pressure and the strange slides are seemingly a thing of the past.

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Formula USA cars got physics update in AMS 2. Image credit: Reiza Studios

The downside to the new AMS 2 update however is that the rear end still seems to wallow at lower speeds. The game still feels as if the rear end is on caster wheels. You can turn in to a corner and the front will grip as you’d expect. But the rear feels like it continues on the normal trajectory for longer than it should. The rear wheels seemingly don’t follow the front end as they would in real life.

This mind-bending disconnect isn’t helped by the tyres retaining their lack of overall feeling. Whereas slick tyres in real life – and most other simulators – feel rigid and stiff, AMS 2’s tyre model is still full of flex. Sure, some flexibility in the tyre carcass is realistic. But when it feels like the rim is losing its rubber, it doesn’t provide any sense of immersion.

Because of this exaggeration, one lacks any sort of feeling through the Force Feedback. The only positive is that now the game doesn’t kick downforce cars into extreme levels of oversteer at random moments, it doesn’t require quite as much rear end feeling to save said slides.

Whilst this may not sound particularly positive, it’s clear that changes are incoming. Furthermore, Reiza has said that game-wide improvements are inbound for version 1.5, set to release in another month or-so. These general refreshes will also have an impact on the tyre model, so we shall see how things feel by the end of July.

What do you make of the latest version of Automobilista 2? Tell us on Twitter at @OverTake_gg or in the comments down below!
About author
Angus Martin
Motorsport gets my blood pumping more than anything else. Be it physical or virtual, I'm down to bang doors.

Comments

D
Ok the stuff you written seems true. To me I have a more positiv feeling on the wheel with 1.5 tyres physics.

There s one thing AMS2 is and will be unbeatable: The immersion of fast driving is so great. Changing to ACC or any other sim is like riding on a snail.
 
I must be in the minority, but I like AMS2.
Not at all, the game is very much appreciated by those who have bought it.

After that, if it had a quality multiplayer mode and an integrated career mode, it would be all the rage, but if that becomes the case one day, it's highly likely that the studio will be bought out....
 
I was on the 'not very good' side for the longest time but around 6 months ago I watched a YT video suggesting to adjust camera settings to remove the disconnectedness that some people felt. The difference at the moment was night & day and the improvements have just kept compounding since then.

Full 1.5 release will be what the 1.0 release should have been. Not bitter though as it is now coming into its own.
 
At the weekend I've been online at Formula Junior on the unloved Interlagosh :) . Despite the fact that, as usual, I was far behind the leaders, I had a lot of fun. Call me a fanboy, but AMS2 for me on the top line :)
 
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My takeaway from this article is that people should try AMS2 again because it's still an inconsistent mess?
Granted it's not the only sim with glaring issues.
 
From Reiza's last Developer Update:

The V1.5 physics overhaul is once again focused on tires, with aerodynamics and suspension also receiving substantial developments. It was triggered by the discovery of an issue with how the SETA tire model was interacting with the old ISI PMotor model from which it was still getting fed some tire-related values - basically this was resulting in a "confused" tire carcass with oscillating spring rates which were different from what we were actually inputting into STM - and as explained in previous revisions, since the dynamics of the whole vehicle literally rides on how the tire carcass flexes under load due to its direct repercussions on aerodynamics and suspension, fixing this issue once again demands an extensive overhaul to all car physics.

Another important discovery made since V1.4 was that the way the undertray of the car was defined for each car had been changed vs what we had in AMS1, even though that particular component of the physics seemed on the surface to be identical to what we had before. Correcting that issue forces further suspension and aerodynamics revisions but the results are well worth it; it also contributes to fixing the issue of cars appearing to explode off the ground upon hard bottoming (which has been known to happen specially with AI from low riding formula cars).

The developments relating to the undertray are already present in new cars released since V1.4 (as obviously it wouldn´t make sense for us to ignore that for the sake of consistency with older content) and so are refinements to how we reproduce each car´s suspension geometry - these being the main reasons some of you have noticed post-V1.4 cars already drive better than older content. The real thick of the V1.5 upgrade however will come from the tire developments, and while the F-Inter is the one car so far to feature some of those tire improvements, most of it relies on code changes we haven´t yet merged to release in order to preserve older content until they are also properly revised to suit it.

The net result of the changes impacts different cars in diverse ways - some (like the oval variants of F-USAs) really are massively improved with noticeably more accurate dynamics, while others present subtler differences. Generally speaking, what you may expect from V1.5 physics from a driving perspective are cars with more precise response to steering inputs which thus feel more "connected" to the road than before, but that also will punish mistakes getting tires beyond their peak slip angle more severely.


So, fingers crossed that these squashed bugs will help AMS2 to blossom. I trust that RD's writers will subject other sims' physics issues to such scrutiny.
 
AMS2 is a decent sim. They desperately need to improve either the amount of players or the AI, as races are either 20% filled or you spend the entire race watching the AI 'race' each other in packs going three wide through corners, cutting grass, bumping into each other all while losing no speed whatsoever. It's immersion breaking to say the least.

On the audio front most of the cars have a very "shallow" sound. I'm no sound expect, but I lack 'depth' in the audio used somehow. In VR it feels like there's a speaker behind you playing the engine sound rather than the audio enveloping you in the car like in AC/ACC.

Last pet peeve are the models of the cars. Compare the FUG2 to the RSS FH23. The FUG2 looks like one of the initial mock-ups of what 2022 cars would look like made by the FIA, the FH23 looks like an actual F1 car with way, way more detail in the model. Sounds are way better as well in the FH23.

The historical content is loads of fun to drive though.
 
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Premium
My takeaway from this article is that people should try AMS2 again because it's still an inconsistent mess?
Granted it's not the only sim with glaring issues.
My take away is that the article is a bit of an inconsistent mess. It reads like a transcript of a GamerMuscle video. Lures you in thinking its going to be nice, then damns the sim with faint praise. I was only surprised it didn't end by declaring AC the best sim evah.
I think a lot of cars have been very good to drive on AMS2 for a while, I've had a lot of fun with the GT4s, Minis and the stock cars lately. This initial revamp targeted the higher aero cars I believe as they were the ones hit the most by the issues they found in that article quoted above. The bigger 1.5 patch should fix all the cars, but honestly, at moment cars like the formula junior and formula Inter, and the ones they have fixed, drive consistently well.
Like someone else said, where is this level of scrutiny on the other sim.
 

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