FITE ME 4? (discussion phase)

Hey all. So it’s been about 18 months since I played this game in any detail. And this will probably be the last time I do any gaming for the forseeable future as in under 5 months my wife and I are expecting our first kid sooooooooooooooooo this may be the only opportunity that I got-

you better lose yourself in the music the moment you own it you better never let it goooooo

Who are you again?

I played Automation too much since 2014. Then when the Automation exporter to Beam dropped in 2018 I played with that altogether too much. I liked to drive fast cars fast in sims and was decent at it. Aside from real life, I dipped from the official Discord server when I stopped playing due to major engine updates breaking save files which taught me that I should probably not touch another hypercar project until my kid starts going to school :rofl:

So now I’m very rusty and probably don’t know half of you. Or maybe I do because this kind of game is perfect for us neurodivergent nerds who hyperfixate LOL

Wait a moment, what about FM3, the Supercar round?

Still indefinitely on ice. After discussing it with some more current players, I’ve concluded that while the tyre model has advanced significantly, several issues with tyres, suspension, meshes with complex geometry and lightweight nodes etc. prevent exports of ultra high performance cars behaving with sufficient fidelity to make that project worthwhile. The development that’s been happening and the fact that we have a working vehicle exporter in a physics simulation is already nothing short of amazing, so one can hope! I also see that people have continued to make significant leaps and bounds in design capability and scope, far beyond what I now have the time and investment to achieve.

The biggest issue I’m having currently is that it seems that adjusting the tech level of wheels in Automation adjusts the rigidity of the wheel mesh in Beam, but this isn’t necessarily good for contact patch: the higher the tech level the less traction I seem to have. Hoping somebody else can advise me on that.

So this being said, I’m going to run something rather more focused to give me and hopefully all of us a bit more of an idea of the state of things.

Fite Me 4: The Sport Coupe 1990-2020

Some automotive purists opine, nay, insist that the FR is the purest form of automobile there is. Front engined, rear wheels driven, something something balance, something yadda yadda… Look, Enzo Ferrari thought that way once but then he eventually realised better. And I’m not one of those purists either, I drive a turbo FWD rice rocket :joy: and my FR experiences, namely in an MX-5 NB, a Dodge Challenger R/T, and a couple Holdens haven’t exactly lit up my dial.

And that’s precisely why I’m coming back to this as the main, actually make that exclusive focus for this iteration. My lack of appreciation for the FR format was not remedied by the initial release of the AutoBeam exporter, because of weight balance and tyre model issues that meant that most FR creations capable of spinning the rear wheels were slippery jittery slidey messes. FM2 made that painfully clear in the heavy performance discrepancy between their FF and MR counterparts.

But the game and exporter has been significantly refined since then. And we now have more control over weight distribution (though I know that it doesn’t translate well to Beam still, fear not I know the workarounds). So it’s time to return to the neglected sector, time to welcome the game’s prodigal son home.

What do I do? What do you do?

You give me a car (or more, I haven’t figured out how many yet) that fit within the parameters of this event, I review it briefly in Automation then do a more detailed review of its driving characteristics, as exported, across a range of tracks in Beam that will test dynamics, handling, and high speed performance. I will also report on seeming export infidelities and issues with bodies as I encounter them. Unlike FM2, this time it will be released in a hybrid form of text and video.

What am I competing for?

To be honest I can’t think of any specific prize this time. It’s more of an educational process for my benefit and for anyone else who’s interested in examining Beam export models. What I’ve discovered so far is that the cars of this spec are much more controllable than before but I also have a particular approach that optimises things, so collectively we can generate a more complete picture.

What kind of car am I making?

As you can see from the pics I’m looking for the classic FR sport coupe, mass produced, within “reasonable” budget, that’s driven mostly on the roads and sometimes on the track. There’s a range of sizes and performance profiles each with their own characteristic and I’m happy to explore that range.

What this means in terms of design requirements in the game (if not specified assume free choice):

Detailed Proposed Rules
  • Model year 1990-2020 inclusive
  • Body type: coupe (must have 2 doors only). Convertible is allowed.
  • Engine position: Front
  • Wheelbase: I recommend 2.3-2.7m but I’m not going to be super strict.
  • Mod bodies? Honestly I’m so out of date I’m going to have to download everything by scratch. Try not to make it a total meme or an obvious racecar body, this is intended for mass-produced models as you can see from the pastiche.
  • Panel material: definitely no full CF, we’re not that bougie
  • Chassis Type: be sensible. This isn’t a truck
  • Chassis Material: again no CF
  • Engine Placement: Front Longitudinal only
  • Suspension: whatever you want within reason, though I’ll probably insta :wastebasket: your car if I see a front solid axle :laughing:
  • Engine design: has to be stress free, run on unleaded and have a cat converter. Max loudness 60. You get a tech pool maximum of +5 points with no more than +2 in any one part. I still haven’t decided whether subtracting tech should give you extra (I would prefer not but I can be persuaded otherwise)
  • Trim tech pool: Also a maximum of +5 points with no more than +2 in any one part I guess? Also subject to discussion.
  • Drive Type: Longitudinal RWD (you get the idea by now)
  • Differentials: open, except no Locker Diffs unless you can point me to a car in this segment in the relevant era where it came factory and how your car is similar to it
  • Tyre Type: Radial
  • Tyre Choice: Sports Compound ONLY
  • Tyre Width: for Balance of Power purposes I have a whole formula for this that is a composite of the vehicle year and mass, let’s discuss and refine it later and then I’ll include it on a Google Sheet guide or something
  • Tyre Profile: I would recommend not going below 35 under any circumstance (I’ve driven 30 in real life and bumps can really clang off the rim… in Beam the tyre model may get compromised). Keep in mind that sports car tyres in the 90s were more like 45 profile.
  • Tyre Quality: MUST BE 0
  • Brakes: whatever you want within reason, just remember that pad type makes a huge difference as to the maximum temp they handle and I’m going to be doing some HEAVY braking.
  • Undertray: be reasonable, in other words I’m not expecting an Offroad Skidtray or a Race Diffuser
  • Active Aero: forbidden, because it isn’t implemented in the exporter
  • Seats: At least 2 in front row. May have a rear row if available.
  • Interior: ideally either Standard, Premium or Sport
  • Entertainment: try to match it, I’m not really looking for the “Type R S spec infotainment delete Nür-spec” model built specifically to break Nordschleife records because your rival used carbon fiber parts :roll_eyes:
  • Traction Aids: whatever the country of manufacture required at the time, which for most will mean at least ABS. I will be driving without the TC and ESC anyway but the ABS stays because 1) it’s a real hassle to turn it off in most cars 2) my brake pedal bump stops are really janky so I don’t have a particularly progressive pedal feel.

I haven’t looked at how all the production calculations etc. have changed but I would suggest not exceeding 100ET for either the engine or the trim. You’ll see in the picture that I’ve included a C5 'vette but the SLS AMG’s V8 generates nearly 600hp and weighs more than a bus, which is a bit much for the scope of this challenge. And that’s why I’m basing the maximum tyre width mostly on total car mass. Currently after checking the specs of several real-life cars across the decades, I’ve worked out that most production sport cars seem to more or less follow a line of best fit formula something like:

Tyre width (mm) = vehicle mass (kg)/6 + (2020 - model year)/2 + 15

It’s probably only fair that I add in a bit of padding but in general, the above will be a recommendation.

How is this going to be judged

Depends on how many entries I get. But the honest answer is “slowly”, with a deadline of late September.

What I will say is that 30 years is a big span and the FR sport car evolved a lot over that time. Generally became a lot heavier too. So I will be dividing the cars per decade first, so 1990-1999, 2000-2009, and 2010-2020. I’m probably going to have to cap entries at no more than 8-10 per class if I want to get this done anytime before kid is born. If I get more entries in a class I’ll have to rank them somehow. Problem is I don’t know how yet!

  • I will not be judging aesthetics.
  • The driving part I’ll do similar to my previous judging on a composite metric of how fast is it vs how hard can I drive it vs how much fun does it let me have and how much bang for my buck is it
  • The courses I will drive the cars on, at present, will be 2 laps each around West Coast USA Street Course 1, Mountain Course, and Bathurst - Mount Panorama
  • Other than that suggestions welcome

What’s the Timeframe?

Let’s try and get ruleset finalised this week, then I’ll start accepting entries for, say, 2-3 weeks. I am going to be almost completely offline in the latter half of June for travel, otherwise I’ll hopefully slowly dribble things out and try to get it mostly sorted by the middle of August. For now I just want an indication of interest.


Congratulations Strop!


Congratulations, and this takes me back to the AGC you ran with the rally cars in beam as well as obviously FM3

Sounds a really good challenge

What kind of price and speed are we looking at here?

Congrats on getting little Strop soon, wish you best of luck there…cant comment from parent perspective, but im older brother and uncle to enough kids that i know they can be handful at times, but watching them growing up is extremely satisfiying
Speaking of cousins, my two cousins aged 7 and 9 at beggining do sometimes ask if they can play Automation or/and Beam when they come around, so thats possibility for some parent-kid bond down the line…

I guess rules seem fine to me as they are atm, good luck hosting this…dont know if i will join but certainly possible i could

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Sounds like a great challenge - count me in! (And I am totally a FR guy - in racing sims I can’t drive MR/RR cars sustainably fast for the life of it…)

The main task in my view for the rules set would be to prevent people from sending in race cars when you want to see regular mass production cars (we’ve had this phenomenon quite a few times in the past when Beam testing is involved).

So, something along the lines of:

  • Min comfort (to prevent race car set-ups)
  • Min reliability (since the weight slider kills reliability)
  • Min safety (& basic safety ban?)
  • Min 50? cooling (no overheating penalty in Beam)
  • No negative ignition timing
  • Aero restrictions (e.g., max fixtures, no positive downforce etc.)
  • Brake fade restrictions (rear brakes stay much too cold in Beam in the current exporter)
  • Camber limit? (for that extra realism)
  • No race components
  • No components that limit mass production?
  • Strict quality limitations (no neg, max 3?)

There are probably a few other things I am not thinking of right now.


Good to see you back, is this a fully sweat it out competition for the legendary Strop or is this just, make something nice and send it?

I also won’t lie, I don’t think any challenges have included ET since like the last 6 months maybe. It’s mainly done by total price, especially since techpool messes with it so much. I can see you want “lower” spec sports car rather than muscle or super.


A maximum of +5 points overall (for engine and trim) with up to +2 points in any one area is very strict (although it is at least better than not being allowed to use any techpool at all), so we would have to choose our tech pool options wisely. May I suggest +10 points for both engine and trim with up to +3 points in any one area? This would allow for more creative freedom, without being too outrageous.

Also, will the cars be categorized by price as well as era, with a minimum and maximum cost for each price bracket?

With that in mind, is the use of the legacy body mod pack (which contains many deprecated, obsolete body sets from earlier game versions) allowed or not?

Given that techpool usage affect PU/ET values considerably, I’m not sure if there would be any point to adding PU/ET limits for engine or trim this time.

To that end, I am also proposing a maximum of two lips (no more than one on the front or rear) and one spoiler/wing, the latter of which must be mounted on the rear.

That’s fine by me, especially since my skillset leans more towards the engineering part than the visual design aspect.

yeah absolutely correct. And this is me trying to figure out what kind of “spread” I want in a “sample space”, because I’m already fielding questions from people who want to abuse malicious compliance to the utmost (I get it, I’m like that myself) and that in itself does present some opportunity for variety.

This is a pretty chill thing. There’s no prizes and no winning unless somehow you send me a car that would be quite realistic and reasonably priced yet also drive absolutely fantastic, however it was intended to be.

So in that case, given you understand the target brief what would your suggestions be wrt. total price? I can see that I’m going to have to graduate it by year also as IIRC money scales by inflation in Automation.

Whilst we are still in the question phase here, usually tuning for automation means the cars handle like shit in beam. So are we aiming to get a good beam setup and not worry about the automation stats too much

this is kind of what I’m trying to figure out by doing the test. The short of it is that I’m not going to make people optimise markets because stats cheese makes for a terrible experience.

EDIT: also this is part of why i’m restricting the scope of the test. Of the models I tested, tweaking the suspension around the “sport” preset actually yielded pretty good results, at least appropriate to the era, which is more than can be said for previous iteration of exporter as well as for more extreme builds.

Excellent suggestions, I’ll most likely be implementing most of these.

Some of the issues that are systemic “does not translate well to Beam” are for me to find out and note so I have to figure out the balance between tuned for Automation vs tuned for Beam.

Min comfort will penalise small cabins, and while I don’t want absolutely tiny cars in this particular round, I feel it may give too much latitude to the larger vehicles. It may also be a bit too harsh on turbo vehicles.

Aero restrictions, absolutely, a maximum of 1 wing OR spoiler, and 2 lips should be sufficient. It’s true that most of these cars didn’t reach positive downforce either but I’ll have to think about that one. EDIT: sike, @abg7 beat me to this one haha, but I independently think the same.

Camber limit, I reckon should be between +0.5 and -1.5 degrees or something.

As for the quality discussion, I am now leaning towards opening that up a little but using reliability and total costs.

Probably not, the way I’m judging there shouldn’t be a need to do this.

Do they work and will they export correctly? That’s the only thing I’m concerned about. I probably need another crash course into the mods I’m supposed to be downloading…

After external feedback and concerns about receiving zero-fixture spam, I’ve decided that I do require the vehicle to at least look like a decently built era-appropriate car to pass scrutineering :laughing:


Maybe limit the lower comfort % for suspension setup? That would be independent of the size and probably harder to cheese. Also I’d argue against banning basic safety, as TBH it’s still a basic road legal safety, so as long as it’s neither ancient or resulting in single digit safety rating it should be allowed IMO.

Oh, and congrats for the evoutionary success of course :wink:

Another thing I haven’t seen people speak about yet is the advanced trim settings.

While messing with the width and everything else to do with tyres I dont think does anything to change the numbers in beam, it’s still worth checking quickly as it does export properly.

Engine position doesn’t affect weight distribution since it’s an average around the node points I believe so no cheesing that either.

yeah basically I have noticed that some models do not export with the correct weight distribution. I will be correcting this to the nearest 0.1% by using the advanced tuning options to move the engine in Beam manually, as correct weight distribution is vital to the feedback process.

I’m going to be banning people from changing the wheels in the advanced trim settings as, in my experience, this has changed how the car behaves in Beam and sometimes in potentially whacky ways.

Can you elaborate?

When you tune the suspension there are those four bars representing IIRC the frequency of the springs and dampers, and above them there are three percentage modifiers displayed: one for comfort, one for drivability, and one for sportiness. Limiting the comfort one to be a minimum of XX% could prevent too hard (= sporty in Automation) suspensions.

The previous (attempt at a) FM allowed users to submit more than one car, but I’m not sure if that would be a good idea here - the entry list would potentially be too large!

As for weight optimization and distribution sliders, should there be any restrictions on how far we can tweak those?

And regarding this recommendation on tire widths:

I think this formula could (and should) be used for the car’s recommended average tire width (1/2 of the sum of its front and rear tire widths).

Related to the above, I have another recommendation regarding suspension tuning: the sportiness percentage should be at least xx% to avoid overly soft setups.

Ok yeah I think minimum sport% will probably help here just as a guide so I don’t do a nose stand every time I hit the brakes.

Problem I see with this and the eternal battle with malicious compliance is that I can absolutely see some players (looking at you, @TheElt ) putting in like some minimum weight car turboed to absolute fuck and making a power to weight ratio like 500hp:metric ton, and to compensate for this they make the rear tyres 395 and the fronts 135 :joy: I think I’m going to stick to maximum tyre widths and stipulate some engine conditions that keep it not too mad.


Those engine conditions could take the form of upper limits for engine displacement (preferably divided by the number of cylinders, to avoid cheesing), boost pressure (for turbo engines), power outputs, and in particular, power-to-weight ratios.

I saw this yesterday and tinkered briefly with a Firebrand concept. Maximum muscle for an affordable price kind of thing. 700kW didn’t feel like enough, but that might just be me. Seems likely that any sensible engine conditions will send that straight out of the window, which is simultaneously fair enough and a damn shame.

Truth be told, I probably won’t be able to enter either way, but it was nice to see a familiar name pop up. Been a while since I fired Automation up. Grats on the kid!