Project Cars 3 Design and Physics Are All About the Driver and Racing Experience

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Project Cars 3 releases this summer, developer Slightly Mad Studios has penned a developer blog focusing on the design and physics underpinning this latest edition of the racing sim.

As lead designer Kris Pope explains, Project Cars 3 is far more focused on the driver this time around. ‘With this new installment, the direction was to laser-in on what makes motorsport evoke so much passion in those of us who love the sport’, says Pope. ‘The cars, the driving, the racing, the speed—we’re really narrowed down on those things with Project CARS 3.’

‘We wanted to bring a renewed focus on the driver and the racing. So now you don’t need to spend hours in a practice session working out the tyre life of a set of tyres for one car in one condition, and you don’t need to do the maths on how many litres of fuel you need to finish the race, and you won’t be punished for picking the wrong strategy and so on.’

That philosophy has leaked into many parts of the game, no more so than in how tires work in Project Cars 3. The complex tire dynamics remain, but unlike Project Cars 2, they are locked at an ideal temperature and constant pressure making the type setup process a lot more streamlined and enjoyable for the player. This means there’s no actual tire wear on Project Cars 3, but multiple layers that relate to the heat mode.

“Of course you still have access to your setups, though—aero, brake tuning, weight distribution, ride heights, alignment, springs, dampers, gearing and differential as well as tyre pressures are all there—but we’ve made the options a little easier to engage with and digest. We know that in Project CARS 2 the differentials were extremely complicated. There were 4 different kinds of differential (plus a spool that doesn’t allow for any differentiation), with at least 7-8 settings, and then all of that potentially for rear, centre, and front diffs separately, depending on how the car was set up. For Project CARS 3, we thought about what a driver would ask of their engineer: Preload, accel’ lock, decel’ lock, and done. The complex differential modelling is still there in the background, but the player has an easier time dealing with it through the new interface. Again, this goes to the driver-centric part of the design—less analysis paralysis, more straightforward tuning changes and racing.”

Slightly Mad says the logic is to avoid penalizing drivers who don’t have the time or inclination to devote hours to determine which tire is better suited to which race.

The developer goes into quite a bit of detail about these new layers and what it means for the racing experience. You can read the full breakdown here.