Racing driver Nicolas Hamilton, who currently competes in the European Touring Car Cup, has spent some time at Slightly Mad Studios to provide feedback on Project CARS, having recently becoming an official Handling Consultant.
Having spent his early years kart racing despite being disabled with cerebral palsy, it's unsurprising to find that Nicolas focused much of his attention on the karting physics found in Project CARS. In fact, following his suggestions it appears that Slightly Mad Studios may be completely reworking the karts according to a consultancy provided by Nicolas on the WMD forum:
"So as some of you know, I took a trip to Slightly Mad Studios in London yesterday to adopt a more hands on approach with this project. I have put forward a lot of different ideas on small/finer details that should be present in the game with stuff like Atmosphere in garages and different animations etc etc. I went through track details and wet conditions etc, Shadows, kerbs and trees were all discussed for developing. Pretty much 90% of the ideas I had were already in motion or had already been put on the list for development which is really nice. The new Flash Tread is coming along really well and with a few more finer tweaks, it will be great.
I have put my ideas and feelings across about the karts going through how the chassis is now, how it reacts and what needs changing. We all agreed that we need to completely re-design the karts and start from scratch, this time using a proper kart chassis with the potential of licensing a kart manufacturer to get the best accuracy. So I am hoping that soon, there will be a completely different kart for us all to try, not just physics wise, but also graphics wise with different features of how a real kart should look like."
Nicolas also cited issues with Project CARS' slow steering response time – a common flaw found in Slightly Mad Studios' games that will no doubt be improved following Nicolas' feedback.
"So the main issue I found when driving the cars yesterday, was the reaction time between turning the steering wheel and the actual wheels of the car turning, with the new Flash Tread I feel that it has opened up a window for warming up tyres by weaving and throwing the car around (which is what you do in RL) but at the moment, because the reaction time from the steering wheel to the wheels of the car is quite slow, you are unable to 'chuck' the car around, catching slides etc," he continued.
"When warming up tyres, you should feel the tyre working as you throw it around, you should feel a slide and grip sensation, so the tyre slides and then grips when you put the tyre under load. This sliding and griping sensation becomes more difficult as the tyres start to warm up which tells you that the tyres are warming up correctly. So as the tyres start to warm up, you should work even harder to get the tyres to slide to maintain the heat. All of this is done on a formation lap before you line up on the grid for the start of a race, this is the cold tyre faze. To make this come to life in the game, we need to make the reaction time between the Steering wheel and actual wheels of the car quicker, this will give you more overall feeling of the car."
I will be getting involved in this Project as much as I can to help SMS finish the great job that they are already doing. There are a lot of great things to look forward to!"
It's encouraging to see Nicolas get so deeply involved in the development of the project, which is a testament to his passion for virtual sim racing. Indeed, Nicolas is no stranger to racing games – he regularly takes part in sim racing community events and won the 2009 SBTCC Championship in Race '07. His influence will no doubt be instrumental to the developers as they continually improve the physics in order to perfect Project CARS ready for release next year.