Preamble, as usual:
I’m aware I have a couple of outstanding things:
- the video reviews of the 2nd Fite Me, which I definitely did put on the backburner because the physics model in Beam got tweaked and so everything now drives differently (a bit better). Also Hirochi was overhauled so it would be nice to test under newer circumstances. I will have to work out how to present this.
- any kind of guideline as to how to do tune cars for Beam when exporting from Automation. This is still evolving with each new thing I learn, and also the recent balance changes and upcoming patches (I assume) may yet bring more changes, so anything I write would have to be sticking to the basics. More on that probably next year, work is far too busy for me to figure this out now.
- I also floated the idea of the “rally car pack” in Beam after the Gamer Challenge round, but that will be difficult to make work due to issues with the traction model. I have to figure out a way around that before anything else. It doesn’t help that a lot of the good looking entries had really bad engineering and a lot of the fast entries weren’t that good looking lol, but we can work around that in the long term.
Anyway, this next thing is actually an important part of a slow-cooked series on learning how to refine exporter conversions, as it also happens to be the most difficult segment to get right but I think I’ve finally gotten good enough to give it a good go.
For that matter I expect this round to take up to an entire year to complete. At the moment I’m just taking suggestions and expressions of interest. In order to organise my own time and maximise entry quality I’m also going to make the conditions extremely competitive.
What is FITE ME?
FITE ME is what happens when I wonder how other people would approach a certain concept of car that I’ve built. Less about winning on a single metric, it’s more a rumination about what options we have and what compromises we make.
Fite Me 1 was an exploration into the pricing/value metric of the old Kee Engine Automation: sure you can cram 700hp into a car for not that much but if you had a similar budget what else could you do and would it be better to drive? (answer: you can cut that cake so many ways)
Fite Me 2 was largely an exploration of the physics of Beam exports using budget sports cars and sporty budget cars. The competitors I provided were from companies I frequently use but haven’t got threads for, UK-based Armada Motors, and the Italian breakaway, Matteo Miglia: both known for making fast cheap and cheap faster.
In Fite Me 3, you’ll be directly squaring off against my main company: Gryphon Gear.
FITE ME III: Modern Hypercar
The world was never short of people who wanted to make cars go fast or defy the laws of physics. It’s just human nature to pursue new frontiers in technical achievement, or artistry, and it’s also human nature to seek visceral thrills. But the 2010s kickstarted a new era of speed on 4 wheels, and since then the heights of insanity have been rapidly escalating.
Gryphon Gear is one company of many that attempts to tap into this rarefied market, though it is one that is rapidly innovating, where dreams and money can vanish like smoke and only the best make it into the history books. This parallels the community-held belief that there are way too many hypercars floating around (especially come Car Collector’s Summer Auction time) and that perhaps this could do with a bit of scrutiny. This is partly why I like taking a provocative term with the title: I’m going to dispense with false modesty here and assert now that as far as this game goes I kind of know my stuff in this market, so you’re really competing for my approval here, even better if you teach me a thing or two I don’t know (because that’s how we all learn).
There are no hard or fast rules just yet so the rest of this post is going to be Q&A until I figure it all out, sometime after the New Year, 2020.
What time period?
Preferably 2012-2020, but I can allow 2010 onwards.
What is a hypercar?
There’s always that one person who likes to argue that the term hypercar is stupid etc. Do that here, and you’ll get insta from anything and everything Automation related I run, forever. I don’t want rehash number 174039 of that thread.
For our purposes, I am going to assume that hypercar means meeting a certain performance requirement. In this case this means having a minimum top speed of at least 300km/h and being able to lap around the Automation Test Track in under, uhhhhh 1:55 just pulling that number out of my ass, this may change. That’s all I can think of that is mandatory for now. I know this means a lot of “definitely not a hypercar” will technically pass muster but don’t worry about that for now, remember what I said recently that just because a car meets all the mandatory rules doesn’t mean that it suits the brief well.
What kind of car are you actually looking for then?
The important thing to note is that there are many approaches to this as there are many approaches to the hypercar. The banner image above should provide some hints. There are cars everywhere on the spectrum of hardcore to luxurious, handling and downforce to top speed and power. I leave this open to you.
It’s worth noting that all hypercars appear to have only a single row of seats, and that every single example I have listed above is mid-engined
because I’m not sure how controversial it would be to include the Nissan GT-R. I am not going to enforce this, but I will say if you can deliver a super sedan that performs on par with an actual hypercar I’ll be impressed and will consider it all the same. If you submit a rear-engined car that doesn’t kill me when I fling it around on the track, I’ll be even more impressed. And if you submit an FWD car to this you’re 99.99% likely to fall flat on your ass but it’ll be hilarious if it makes the cut (please don’t try this).
How will you judge this?
Stage 1: design
Hypercars need to go fast, yes, but they also need to look amazing. There is a certain vernacular and over-the-topness about them, therefore, the first stage will be the styling. In previous FITE ME rounds I ignored this, but I can’t do that this time. This will be a hurdle requirement, whether it’s a strict one or an elastic one will depend on how other things go. I may in fact crowd-source an opinion from some other
Tier 1 designer community members. The standard for this will be very high and by that I do not mean fixture vomit and redundant layering to make 1Mb size .car files.
Stage 2: engineering
Then the next thing will be to check the technical aspects in Automation. How optimised is it for what it aims to do? This also means that I’ll be comparing what you say your car does versus what choices you’ve made in the game. I’ll be purely relying on the Automation stats to do this, don’t worry about whether it works in Beam or not at this stage. The trick is, that I’ll be classifying your cars on a scale to decide whether it’s more luxury or hardcore or whatnot and then these cars will be compared to other entries like it.
This stage will be competitive i.e. you will be fighting for slots amongst yourselves.
Stage 3: Beam optimisation
After this there should only be a handful of cars left. The superior few remaining will be tested in Beam. Worry not! I will be tweaking the .jbeam files so as to match top speed and cornering stats as listed in Automation. If other things need changing, like suspension tune and brake balance, I’ll do so in consultation with the user. At this point I’ll also make basic changes using my own preset ESC system and also possibly, if need be, altered boost limits for individual gears, and optimised LSDs and transmission. Depending on whether this gets patched I’ll also fix the durability problem with the engine. This will be a very time intensive process, hence why I don’t want to have to do this for more than say 5-8 cars at the very most.
Then I’ll run the car on some courses. ATT is an obvious choice. The other courses are likely to be 1 other racetrack (probably West Coast Race), and one street course (not yet decided). Lap times are important for bragging rights, but I’ll also judge how responsive it is, how easy/hard it is to drive etc. All cars in this stage will receive full reviews and detailed feedback plus some kind of ranking over which ones I think are “the most successful at what they set out to do”.
If there are so many different approaches then how do you judge which cars pass through stage 2?
It’s a balance of factors. For example, if your car has an ET of 200-300 for trim and engine each (which is high) I will expect relatively less than if it has an ET of 800-1000 (which is absolutely astronomical). If it has a comfort level of 0 I will expect it to travel at the speed of light and corner on rails or something like that, but if it has a comfort level of 50 I would accept a weightier, more ponderous handling. Things like that. A full technical balance sheet will guide you when the time comes.
Are there any specific limitations?
Straight off the bat, a few. Here are the ones I can think of now:
- engine Noise level under 80.0
- needs a cat and run on unleaded fuel (maximum 98 RON)
- the engine needs to be completely unstrained i.e. no warnings about knock, valve float, overly high revs or torque etc. I know hypercar engines aren’t necessarily reliable but given the Beam issues with engines falling apart I can’t just fiddle with the values and make everything ok when it’s not. So if your engine is unreliable I have to let it fall apart in Beam and I’ll probably make it halfway around ATT and then the engine will lunch itself, and that’d be a total waste of time. No strained parts!
- tyres will be made semi-slick 0 tech for the purposes of testing. You’d be a brave soul to pick any other compound
- tyre profile must be at least 30; any lower and they may burst upon spawning in Beam. I recommend any driven wheels have a profile no more than 35.
- If you drop the cooling factor down below 50 you run the risk of overheating, and I will not alter your engine durability which means that it will likely overheat really quickly on the track.
- Trim reliability must be above 0 i.e. no red flag bottoming out problems due to too much downforce
- Car safety must be at least 40
Also depending on quality and number of entries I reserve the right to instantly discard meme entries and entries that are patently unsuitable e.g. ladder chassis, van, truck, bus, ute and the meme car bodies, solid axle suspension etc. I will not be outright banning any bodies based on period-correctness but choose wisely and make it look modern!
Can you make the car electric or hybrid?
I’d love to but hybrid appears a bit beyond what’s possible in Beam, and electric is a bit of a crapshoot and too time-consuming to work out, so no. Guess we’ll have to stick to ICE hypercars only.
What GG cars am I fighting against?
I’ll reveal this in more detail later, but in a nutshell, one at the “cheaper” end of the scale (2017 Lilith, think a Maclaren 720S with more power), one at the “batshit crazy” end of the scale (2015 Mercury, think a Hennessey Venom F5 with… more power and a top speed of 500km/h), and one that’s optimised for track handling (TBA). I don’t do luxury, so naturally I do not expect to be beaten on performance at any price point. But in terms of all-roundedness…
What do I get if I win?
No but seriously, if I like the result enough I’ll go further and tweak more things: exhaust nodes and additional sounds (DSG farts), backfire etc. and you’ll get featured in a video plus have an optimised Beam mod (at least for driving. I don’t yet know how to fix the lights. Maybe that’ll happen too.)
Okay I’m opening the floor to thoughts and suggestions, and over the next 2 weeks or so we can slowly generate a more compact rules list.