Home Gaming Project Cars’ weather effects are disasterously crippling

Project Cars’ weather effects are disasterously crippling

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Project Cars is finally seeing the light of day this week, bringing a long, winding development period to a resounding close. The game looks absolutely breathtaking, allowing you to tweak your visual experience on consoles for the first time in the hopes of a smoother experience. And it seems like that’s a good thing, considering a beating storm brings the game to a grinding halt.

The guys over at Digital Foundry have posted their initial technical thoughts on the performance of Project Cars, and it starts off relatively well. The game isn’t locked at 60FPS, but for the most part it manages to stay pretty darn close on both Xbox One and PS4. Things take a slight dip when there are numerous cars being rendered on screen – which just incentivises you to stay leader of the pack.

Inevitably, the initial break of cars cues some of the lower readings on record, especially when starting at 20th in the grid. However, the ascent to pole position brings with it a reduction in the regularity of sub-60fps dips, and the knock-on effect is that it leaves the front-runner with the smoothest playback overall.

One of Project Cars crowning features is the dynamic weather system that is present during every race. A sunny, dry spell could quickly turn into a hazardous, torrential downpour in a matter of minutes – which won’t only make corners trickier but also weigh heavily down on performance. Heavy rain effects bring with them a huge knock on the frame rate, clawing it down close to the 30FPS region.

The greater the downpour, the bigger the drop from 60fps, and neither gets off lightly once the switch happens mid-race. With no other driver in sight, a cruise around a soaked Brands Hatch circuit has the final bends run at 45fps on Xbox One, while PS4 takes the lower end of 50fps. And once the pit-stop and stands are in view, this number goes even lower still, where both drop to the 40-50fps range, while the cadence of tearing becomes increasingly more aggressive.

It seems that a CPU bottleneck is to blame in this case, with the differences between platforms becoming blurred. It also seems that tweaking the game’s visual settings has near to no impact on the matter – which means you might as well just keep everything turned on and fight out the weather.

Alas, while Slightly Mad Studios offers a bevy of post effects toggles, the impact these actually have on the game’s performance is fairly minimal; our test above shows the boost averages at 2fps once all options are disabled. The sacrifice isn’t worthwhile in our view; eye-catching extras like god rays, bloom, and screen-space effects such as water droplets add hugely to the impact of the game’s weather, and the gains otherwise are small.

It’s also really important to note that weather effects are having a similar effect on PC performance as well. Polish website PCLab posted their own benchmark tests for the visual beauty, running on a variety of different graphics cards. The benchmarks at Ultra with around 20 opponents under clear skies were impressive, with the GTX 980 putting out above 80FPS. As soon as the rain hits though, this number halves – which is abhorrent in any situation.

Both PC and consoles manage to keep the game well within playable territory, but it’s the large jumps that are often the most jarring. Losing around 20 frames (or double that) is extremely noticeable, and becomes even worse when coupled with terrible screen tearing. Since it’s an issue across all three platforms, it could be a leak of some kind that Slight Mad Studios could plug with a patch. Otherwise you’ll be hoping for blue skies more than every racer that went corner to corner with Schumacher.

Last Updated: May 7, 2015

44 Comments

  1. But you have to drive slower in the rain, so that’s why you get less frames. Makes sense to me.*

    *I don’t understand how car games work.

    Reply

    • Captain JJ Fantasticus

      May 7, 2015 at 12:17

      Well, in Cape Town that doesn’t hold either.
      Apparently you’re supposed to drive faster in the rain.

      Reply

      • Lord Chaos

        May 7, 2015 at 12:21

        Wait… You mean people in CT can actually drive above 30km/h?

        Reply

        • Captain JJ Fantasticus

          May 7, 2015 at 12:22

          Yes, but only if they’re NOT in the fast lane.

          Reply

          • Lord Chaos

            May 7, 2015 at 12:23

            Learn something new every day

          • Captain JJ Fantasticus

            May 7, 2015 at 12:24

            I remember when I first moved down, when I was but a wee lad. I couldn’t understand how people drove slowly in the fast lane and then the other cars just pass around them. You never actually get used to it though.

          • Blood Emperor Trevor

            May 7, 2015 at 13:57

            It’s like that going over Tygerberg Hill in the afternoons. The left lane is almost always the fastest, in spite of having most of the trucks.

          • Skoobaz

            May 7, 2015 at 14:21

            + 50. Bloody Cape Toonians. * types as I sit in my boardroom overlooking table bay

          • Captain JJ Fantasticus

            May 7, 2015 at 14:23

            XD

        • Krabby Paddy

          May 7, 2015 at 13:21

          Ja, they are the ones that moved down from Joburg.

          Reply

          • Captain JJ Fantasticus

            May 7, 2015 at 13:48

            Don’t forget Durbanites.

      • Rock789

        May 7, 2015 at 13:08

        Nope… You’re just slowing down in the rain, like most normal people, allowing for the slicker conditions.

        Everyone else is being an idiot and driving as they do in the dry… Not taking into account increased braking distances, slick surfaces, etc. Yes, I feel quite strongly about this – some people just don’t deserve to be let loose in a car!

        Reply

        • Captain JJ Fantasticus

          May 7, 2015 at 13:48

          Agreed.

          Reply

      • Emily Johnson

        May 7, 2015 at 17:28

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        llllot

        Reply

    • Skoobaz

      May 7, 2015 at 14:37

      So ergo, in a FPS, if I walk instead of run??

      Reply

  2. Hammersteyn

    May 7, 2015 at 11:44

    Maybe they can patch it? Console gamers be like…
    http://replygif.net/i/127.gif

    Reply

  3. Hammersteyn

    May 7, 2015 at 11:44

    LOL Schumacher

    Reply

  4. fifacoinsonlineuk

    May 7, 2015 at 11:47

    fifacoinsonlineuk.com

    Reply

  5. SEGA Neptune

    May 7, 2015 at 11:47

    Nep Nep loves 60fps sunsets

    *_*

    Reply

    • Umar

      May 7, 2015 at 11:49

      I LOVE your Neptunia avatar. Nep Nep πŸ˜€

      Reply

      • JacoZAB

        May 7, 2015 at 11:59

        I hope senpai will notice me πŸ˜€

        Reply

        • Umar

          May 7, 2015 at 20:30

          Senpaaaaai~ I hope you notice me today!

          Reply

  6. Spathi

    May 7, 2015 at 12:07

    Well, I’m stupidly excited to play the game. It simply looks amazing!

    Reply

  7. Lord Chaos

    May 7, 2015 at 12:14

    HAHAHAHA

    *Boots PC

    Reply

    • Greylingad

      May 7, 2015 at 12:24

      Have you seen what those AMD cards perform like in this? I’m a little worried about that…

      Reply

      • Matthew Holliday

        May 7, 2015 at 13:05

        no physx, should actually be less effected by rain.

        Reply

        • geel slang

          May 7, 2015 at 13:49

          Have you looked at the link with the PC benchmarks? AMD is getting destroyed even without the rain, best they can do in the clear at 1080 Ultra is 44fps and thats with a 290x. That drops to 24fps in the rain. If those benchmarks are corret thats bad, real bad.

          Reply

          • Matthew Holliday

            May 7, 2015 at 15:43

            oh yeah, theyr not doing great, just saiyan’ that the rain is less of a factor without physx.

  8. Captain JJ Fantasticus

    May 7, 2015 at 12:17

    Honestly. The FPS drop doesn’t really bother me too much.

    Reply

  9. Greylingad

    May 7, 2015 at 12:45

    I do find it funny that most of the vids I’ve seen for this entails an AI driver going through the course, are people afraid of driving the cars themselves?

    Reply

  10. chimera_85

    May 7, 2015 at 12:56

    Still too simulator for me but the fact that they can get 60fps at all on both consoles is pretty damn good imo. DriveClub is locked at 30fps and it looked fine

    Reply

    • Bramstons

      May 7, 2015 at 15:27

      Play a racer at 60fps and you will never want to look at Driveclubs 30fps ever again.

      Reply

      • chimera_85

        May 7, 2015 at 15:34

        Well I’m very impatient so gave DriveClub back for a refund while it was still broken. Also I’m not a fan of simulators…

        Reply

  11. Rock789

    May 7, 2015 at 13:10

    Still can’t wait to get my hands on this! Will definitely check out the weather affects, but it ain’t stopping me. Bring on Le-Mans!

    Reply

    • Captain JJ Fantasticus

      May 7, 2015 at 13:51

      Le-Mans!
      Man I loved that feature in the first GRID.

      Reply

      • Rock789

        May 7, 2015 at 15:08

        Hell yeah! πŸ™‚

        Reply

  12. Gr8_Balls_o_KFM_Fire

    May 7, 2015 at 14:23

    Hey look at that mountain!!

    oh no, its just a molehill sorry πŸ˜€

    Reply

    • Skoobaz

      May 7, 2015 at 14:37

      Still no silent hill then…

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        May 8, 2015 at 13:03

        hahahaha
        *Cries

        Reply

  13. CaligulasRuin

    May 9, 2015 at 03:42

    Moral of the story? Don’t buy a console and don’t cheap out on your rig.

    Reply

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