Wreckfest - jannesBB

Howdy partners,

If you've ever played the game for more than a few minutes, you would have been hard-pressed not to notice that the computer-controller AI Players mostly use the same cars with the same paint job and upgrades (more like no upgrades, to be honest), no matter what the performance class or whether you're playing racing or demolition derby. Looking at the same cars all over again makes all the different events feel generic and it's definitely something that many of you have been hoping that we could improve at some point, but why is it like that anyway?

Well, it's not because we were simply slacking off – creating paint jobs and configuring vehicle assemblies, not to mention setting them up for the career events, takes a considerable amount of time, and we were quite simply running out of it back when the game was being released on PC. Rest assured, we were not happy about it and thought it was definitely something that we wanted to improve later down the road. Releasing the game on consoles has given us time to improve many aspects of the game, and we're happy to let you know that this is one of them!

So yes, first of all we have created many more paint jobs for the AI cars. What that means is that now the chances of seeing two or more cars share the same paint job in one event is much smaller. The game is also clever enough to pick correct AI Players based on the event, so for example banger racing and folk racing themed events during the career will feature AI Players racing with banger racing styled cars whereas demolition derby events will put you against mean looking demo cars. This is actually true for car models as well, meaning that the AI Players will only use car models that fit the theme of the event – so for example in a folk-racing event they only use the type of cars that are used for real-world folk-racing as well, giving the game an extra immersive touch.

We also went the extra mile to make sure AI cars now sport appropriate derby upgrades like heavy bumpers and side protectors, making the derby events not only much more exciting but also challenging, since the AI Players are no longer driving around in boring bone stock cars. And actually, the higher the AI Player class is, the higher the chance of them using spoilers and other racing-oriented goodies in the racing events, upping the ante and giving a better show.

Thanks to these improvements, the game now feels more varied as well as immersive especially in regards to its career mode. And talking about the career: who knows, you might even receive an awesome paint reward or two from some of the special events for bragging rights!

Of course we need to have a screenshot drop too so here we go:

And to end on a high note let's have one final teaser...

See you the next time!
Wreckfest - jannesBB

Howdy friends,

How are everyone doing this fine afternoon? As we all know, new vehicles are high on everyone's wish list when it comes to new content, and as we've mentioned earlier, we have a number of new vehicles in the pipeline. Today, we're going to put the money where our mouth is and introduce you to one of the upcoming additions: Motorhome!

That's a pretty mean looking motorhome, don't you think? Even if you're not feeling the call of the open road and crowded camping sites, you're going to love this thing and be a happy camper!

As you can see, our version of the titular recreational vehicle stays true to the spirit of Wreckfest, featuring a body that shows its age and a wicked, demolition derby inspired paint job. Not only that, but we also really went to town with the body damage, and as a result you will see individual body panels of the camper section getting mangled and ripped off in collisions, getting opened up like a sardine can – pretty awesome!

Back when we were thinking about what kind of vehicles to add to the game, a motorhome really was a no-brainer for us. It's something that's occasionally used in real-world demolition derby events (well, to be honest what wouldn't be?), and since we love taking cues from the real life that's always a huge plus in our books. Also, being quite a bit, erm, campy, a motorhome will fit right into the style of the game and offer a nice change of pace whenever you'd feel like you want to take a break from the serious racing and have some recreational fun.

The best part of all this is that Motorhome will be launch content for console versions of the game and a free content update for all owners of the game's PC version. There will be also some new, fun career events featuring Motorhome, and naturally it will be available for multiplayer as well.

That's all about Motorhome for now, folks. We can't wait until you get to try it out for yourself but since we have quite a few balls up in the air at the moment we don't dare to give even a rough date for the next PC update. That said, it's coming and it will have plenty of neat improvements and exciting content. Watch this space for more news!
Wreckfest - jannesBB
Howdy all,

Here's a quick question for you (and it's not a trick one): What's that one obvious thing that Wreckfest has been missing compared to other racing games? That's right, a minimap! And by that, we mean the little overhead presentation of the track, complete with cute little dots showing your car as well as the other cars, all neatly tucked away in one of the corners of the screen on your HUD.

A minimap is something that's long been our to-do list, not only because it's pretty awesome but also because it has quite a few benefits. For starters, it makes it much easier for newcomers to get up to speed and start racing properly, obviously so because it removes the need to keep guessing where the next turn is and which way the track is going. Also, and this is a big one, for Wreckfest in particular it's extremely useful during demolition events because you can use it to quickly glance where your opponents are, removing the need to drive in circles especially during the latter stages of the match, looking for the remaining cars, all while possibly risking triggering the dreaded contact timer.

This being the case, we thought it would be a high time we added one so that' what we did!

Here's our minimap in all its glory:

A closer look:

We're still working with the some bits like finalizing the HUD layout, minimap size as well as figuring out how much further ahead to show the track but we wanted to already give you a sneak peek since for the most part, the minimap already functioning like a proper one should, doing a fab job at showing the next stretches of the track and the other cars. It also rotates according to your direction of travel, so up is always forward, and zooms according to your speed, meaning that the faster you're going the further away the view is. This works well especially in larger demolition arenas, in so that when you're rolling ahead slowly you can clearly see the cars in the immediate vicinity and when increasing speed, the whole arena comes into the view. Like alluded to earlier, the distant sections of the track are faded away.

Here's another sneak peek, this time in demo derby:

And closer:

As you probably already guessed, those gray dots are poor souls that have been already wrecked.

We also found out that having a minimap definitely makes playing a more exciting experience. For one thing, it obviously makes it easier to target your rivals and evade their hits during demolition events, or dodge those clever whippersnappers going the wrong way with a school bus. Besides, when playing catch-up during racing events it's fun to glance at the minimap to see whether you're catching up or whether you need to step up. What's even more fun is seeing the leader go off the track or even come to a completely halt, meaning that they crashed! Good times.

Oh, and one final note to our content creators: The minimap is being generated run-time from the track data, so as long as your sector data is more or less legit the minimap should work straight out of the box even for your custom tracks.

The minimap will be part of the next update of the game, and we can't wait until you folks get to try it out. That's all for now but see you the next time for more exciting progress reports on what we have in store for you!
Act of War: Direct Action - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

“We’re doing an 8chan AMA and we have no idea why,” announced THQ Nordic on their Twitter account earlier this evening. If you’re not aware, 8chan is an imageboard website which has been de-listed from Google search results for hosting “suspected child abuse content,” and which is associated with Swatting and Gamergate.

THQ Nordic’s marketing director has since apologised and claimed ignorance, but both are hard to believe.


Wreckfest - jannesBB

Howdy friends,

As you know, we've been working with the console versions of Wreckfest ever since the launch of the game's PC version. One major task that we've been keeping ourselves busy with is improving the performance on both console and on PC. Needless to say that whatever your platform, maintaining a smashing framerate is almost as critical in a fast-paced racing game as it is in a first-person shooter, and sure enough, improvements in this regard is something that we know many of you have been looking forward.

We're happy to let you know that much work has been completed already. For instance, the optimization of the rendering engine has yielded immediate gains in the raw rendering performance, instancing is now used for billboard trees as well as spectators, saving valuable memory, and vehicles now have multiple levels of detail that are used based on the distance to the camera – and the new vehicle detail setting that you can change according to how much grunt your gaming rig has.

While optimization is an on-going process, and yes, we know that there are still further gains to be had, we thought this would be a good opportunity to take a look what kind of performance improvements you can expect in future. To do that, we decided that the best way to show you the goods is to go old-school and simply compare the Minimum, Maximum and Average framerate between the latest Steam release and our current internal developer build.

The comparison was performed by doing three laps with exactly the same event settings: Midwest Motocenter, manually selected Mixed Class AI Set, 24 cars and Noon time of day, and while doing our best to ape the gameplay in both runs. The graphics quality options were set to Medium with V-Sync naturally disabled. This is of course not a scientific analysis at all (just look at how hardcore the lads over at Digital Foundry are doing it), but nevertheless, we'll let the numbers speak for themselves:

Open the larger graphic by clicking here.

As you can see, there's a considerable performance improvement with the average framerate seeing a whopping 37% increase after switching to the new build. The minimum framerate naturally occurs at the race start with most of the other cars still in the viewport, and while it's still a taxing situation, the new numbers look much healthier with almost a 50% improvement over the Steam build. The best part of all this is that all this improvement is gained without needing to dial back the game's visuals.

While we were at it, we also compared the system and video memory usage between the Steam build and latest developer build, with results as follows:

Larger graphic here.

The difference is not as striking as was the case with framerate, but even so we can see roughly a 10% reduction in the memory consumption, no doubt thanks to instancing support and track specific optimizations that we've been doing. This track is probably one of the tracks benefiting the least from the latter, seeing as it has never been very resource hungry compared to certain other tracks. Incidentally, this track was chosen for this performance comparison exactly because it's one of the tracks that has not seen much work done on it since the last Steam release due to not really needing much optimization.

This comparison was performed in single-player, with proper multiplayer benchmarking with a full grid being obviously much more difficult to arrange. That said, we expect most gains here to trickle down to online side of things as well and help with performance. Furthermore, we have implemented certain multiplayer specific optimizations like dead reckoning for remote cars which will reduce the CPU load in multiplayer, something we know is a sore point for most players. Also consider that this test was performed on a single system, and naturally your mileage will vary depending on what your rig is bottlenecked by. All things considered, we're hopeful that these improvements will make the game more accessible and make it possible for more players to enjoy the game the way it was meant, no matter what kind of system they have.

So – that's that, folks. As for the release of the next update (yes, we know that's what everyone is hoping for soon), we need to ask for more patience. The console versions are nearing a critical stage, and rushing out a PC update right now would not only mean using time to make that happen in the first place but also that we would need to do post-update support to address the bugs – especially with so many changes to the game, and multiplayer in particular, no doubt there will be some nasties we won't be able to catch before the release. So, our thinking is that, seeing as the current build is pretty robust, it's best to stay on that until we're sure we have the resources to attack the new issues and support the update properly. That being said, we expect to be able to share more news and a rough target soon so please stay tuned.

Thanks for your support and see you on the track!
Wreckfest - jannesBB

As you might have heard, Wreckfest has been nominated for 2019 D.I.C.E. Award in the Racing Game of the Year category. This is a huge honor for us and of course a testament to the amazing community we have and have always had - without you, there's no doubt that this game would be nothing like it's today. We love you! To celebrate the occasion we've also released a press release that you can read in full below or on the THQ Nordic website here.

Wien/AUSTRIA, Helsinki/FINLAND, February 12th, 2019: The destructive racing game Wreckfest developed by the Finnish game developers Bugbear Entertainment has been recognized with a nomination for the 2019 D.I.C.E. Award in the Racing Game of the Year category. The annual D.I.C.E. Awards are the most important honors of the video game industry, equal to Academy Awards of the film industry.

The Finnish game being recognized as one of the 2018’s finest racing games is an accomplishment that aptly demonstrates the innovation and proficiency currently prevalent in the Finnish game industry. The small Finnish studio’s achievement is even more impressive when considering that only three games made it to the final list of the nominees. The D.I.C.E. Awards are organized on a yearly basis to correspondence with the D.I.C.E. Summit conference held on 13th of February. The trophies are presented by industry veterans and other established game developers, and they reflect the current trends of the industry.

”Being nominated for an award is already a huge privilege for us, and it shows that even a small team can achieve big things when you are skilled and motivated. The nomination is also a testament to the vitality of the Finnish game development community as well as of course our devoted supporters who have believed in us during all these years” says Janne Alanenpää, the CEO of Bugbear.

Even before the D.I.C.E. Award nomination, Wreckfest has been already acknowledged internationally. In a voting organized by GameStar, a major German gaming news outlet, in early February, Wreckfest came in as a 1st runner-up in the category of Best Racing and Sports Games released in 2018.

Wreckfest was released on PC in summer 2018, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions slated for release later this year. In the near-term future, Bugbear plans to expand the studio and create new racing games that will rival the success of Wreckfest. “Our goal is to grow Bugbear in a racing game powerhouse, and to achieve that goal we’re looking for talented developers to join our strength” says Mr. Alanenpää.
Wreckfest - jannesBB

Howdy friends,

Seeing as the holiday season is now behind us, we just pushed out a small update to the game in order to remove the special holiday content. The good news is that the snowy shenanigans are still available on the Steam Workshop here, so if you feel the urge to keep up the holiday vibe there's nothing to prevent you from doing so.

With that sorted out, we guess that everyone is interested to hear about the next major update to the game as well the progress on the console versions. We've been working long hours ever since getting back to the office after the holiday break, and we're very happy about the progress we've made. New vehicles that we have mentioned before are now more or less finalized, and we're currently in the process of dialing in finishing touches to the new tracks. Also, there are further performance improvements thanks to, for example, the instancing support that we've added recently. All in all things are looking great, but seeing as there's still quite a lot of console specific features that we're working on we need to ask for more patience before we can start thinking about the PC update. Now if you're wondering what do the console versions have to do with the PC update, it's because they largely share the same code base to make sure that all the improvements that we do also carry over to the PC game and also to prevent us from doing the same things twice.

So yes, while we're not quite ready to unleash the update or even give a tentative release date, things are progressing at a good pace and with everything that we have in store we're confident that the update will be worth the wait.

In other news, most you have probably noticed that our own community forum is still offline. No need to worry, though, we're working on it and it will be back soon and when it is, it will be better than ever! In the meantime, don't forget that we have a Wreckfest Discord channel that you can join to chat about the game, exchange ideas and of course report bugs.

That's all for now, folks. Thanks for your support!
Dec 21, 2018
Wreckfest - jannesBB

Ho-ho-ho Wreckers,

As you know, it's that time of the year again that the magical white powdery stuff covers everything and Santa comes tumbling down the chimney (in selected parts of the world, you know). Since it also pretty much means we're merely a stone throw away from the end of the year, we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to fill you in with the recent developments here at the Bugbear HQ, and who knows, maybe we even have a small gift for you, so please read on!

As you know, for the last half of a year or so we've been hammering away and working like Santa's busy little helpers with the console versions of the game. And sure enough, our efforts are starting to pay off and the game is shaping up nicely with all the major obstacles now out of the way. Actually, just the other day we did have a very special guest to try out the PS4 version of the game to make sure we can meet the high expectations, knowing that this guy has really high standards – and while he was concentrating on wrecking, we managed to grab some sneaky footage:

Just check out that pad work, he's like a robot!

While there has been a lot of work done on console-specific tasks, many of the improved and added features will also benefit the PC crowd. For example, the improved single-player and multiplayer performance is something that many of you folks will surely welcome warmly, not to mention new and exciting content. We've also used the opportunity to fine-tune many aspects of the game and fix some nagging issues based on the feedback we've received since the PC launch. While we're not quite ready to unleash the improved PC version of the game just yet due to many things being still worked on, we just couldn't leave you out all cold so yes, we have little something for you!

While we're no match for the real Santa, he gave us an idea. Time and time again, we've been asked whether there could be snow in the game, and being as bright (or gung-ho, depending on your viewpoint) as we are, we thought this would be a great chance to bring some of that magic into the game. So, as a token of our gratitude towards the best community we could have ever wished for, we prepared a little surprise for you that will instantly transform the game into a winter wonderland, or should we say, winter wreckland!

No winter would be complete without glistening snow, slippery surfaces and of course Santa – and since we're talking about Wreckfest Santa, instead of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer he will be ripping along with a Christmas Harvester! Bad, bad Santa. Here's what you can expect:

It's not like we worked with this thing for weeks so it's pretty simple but we thought it would be still cool to somehow show our appreciation for all the support we've received over the years and we hope you enjoy it.

To claim your gift and start ploughing in the snow, simply make sure the game is updated to the latest version via Steam, head to the Misc tab of the main menu and click on the "Mods" button...

...then activate a new mod called "Bugbear's Holiday Gift" that has magically appeared after updating the game, restart the game when asked and then just enjoy the winter wonderland!

Our whole team wishes you all the very best holiday!
Nov 16, 2018
Wreckfest - jannesBB

Heya Wreckers,

As you might have already heard, we have some thrilling news to share with you!

Earlier this week, THQ Nordic announced that it had acquired Bugbear Entertainment, a game developer best known for FlatOut games, Ridge Racer Unbounded and of course Wreckfest. What that means is that our beloved studio is now owned by THQ Nordic, also the publisher of Wreckfest. While we will continue operating normally under our own name even after the acquisition, we thought this would be a good opportunity to explain the situation and give you a bit of insight info, so please read on.

All the way since THQ Nordic jumped in as a publisher for Wreckfest, we’ve had a marvellous and mutually beneficial relationship with them. We’ve also seen what they’re doing with their other studios and franchises, and we loved how much they clearly care about their games. We could easily see how Bugbear as a studio as well as our games such as Wreckfest would fit right in, so in many ways becoming part of the THQ Nordic’s stable of incredibly talented teams felt like a natural move for us.

Basically, what it boils down to is that as an indie developer with limited resources there’s only so much that you can do. We’re very proud of what we have achieved with Wreckfest so far and judging by the feedback we've been receiving you folks seem to agree, but in the future, we want to make even better and bigger games, not to mention reach larger audiences, and we believe being part of the THQ Nordic family will enable us to do just that. Yes, that's right:

We look forward to building Wreckfest into a major racing franchise and a force to be reckoned with!

As a player, you will be the one reaping the benefits of our bigger muscles. THQ Nordic shares the same vision as we do on how to create unique action racing games, and needless to say our games will continue to have that special edgy nature that we’ve become known for.

Also, the development of Wreckfest will be accelerated on both PC and consoles, with new features and more content coming. Speaking of which, we have already dialled in some much-anticipated improvements – optimized multiplayer and single-player performance, new Quick Play functionality to join an online game with a single button press, Screen-Space Ambient Occlusion effect for improved visuals, new unique paint jobs, bonus targets not resetting when restarting a career event + much more, and that’s without even making a mention of the stream of new content that we have lined up for you: we have a number (you read that right, not just measly one or two) brand new vehicles in production as well as a number of new tracks, with a surprise or two thrown in for a good measure.

Stay tuned for more news about upcoming content and features, PC updates and of course an exciting first look into console gameplay soon. Godspeed everyone!
FlatOut - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

THQ Nordic have gobbled up yet more studios, today announcing they’ve bought Bugbear Entertainment and Coffee Stain Studios. Bugbear are the smash-happy Finnish studio behind racing games including Wreckfest and the first three FlatOuts, while Coffee Stain made FPS tower defence series Sanctum and wack ’em up Goat Simulator as well as publishing games including Deep Rock Galatic. It sounds like they broadly plan to have the studios continue to do their things, with Bugbear making roughhousing racers and Coffee Stain both making and publishing games.



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