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New rFactor 2 Update Gives Rain Effects A Complete Overhaul

Studio 397 has released a new update for rFactor 2, focusing on improving several aspects of the title’s graphics engine.

Most notably, the new version vastly improves the title’s wet weather graphics effects, including dynamic windshield drops, improved track reflections and much more.

You can see the new effects in action in the video below, refer to the full changelog for all the details.


Improved Lighting

  • We developed an Image-Based Lighting for Ambient (IBLA) solution that substantially improves lighting in our graphics engine.
  • IBLA acts on the colors of the scene, taking into account information from the surrounding environment when drawing each object.
  • The resulting lighting system gives the final image a more realistic look and it improves the perception of depth for the driver.
  • This new system uses new ambient probes that have been added to most of the tracks. It is recomputed dynamically as weather or time conditions change.
  • IBLA does not introduce any noticeable performance penalties and its features have been exposed to Mod Dev. Furthermore, tracks that do not have set IBLA yet will automatically have a default set of probes assigned to them.

Rain Effects


  • Added dynamic drops on the windshield and the body of the car.
  • These drops respect gravity, so they will run down the sides, and each single drop will have its own lifespan.
  • The drops also respect airflow around the car when driving, making them move in appropriate directions.
  • The effect is not scripted but generated in real time, and it varies depending on factors like the amount of rain drops falling from the sky, the speed of the vehicle, or the particles generated from another car in front of you.
  • Wipers on cars are now functional and will clear the windscreen in two different user configurable speeds.


  • Vastly improved reflections of the surroundings that become visible as the track gets wet.
  • Added blurred reflections for the “Ultra” Road Reflection setting.
  • Improved shaders for the real-road surfaces and added new shaders to match closely the properties of elements like curbs in dry/wet conditions.
  • Added highly detailed puddle maps that allow puddles to form in the appropriate places on tracks.

New HUD Options

  • Added options to show tire wear and ride height as text parameters.
  • Added tire wear percentage to the vehicle status MFD.
  • Increased the accuracy of fuel consumption with an extra digit.
  • Fixed a bug with TireAverageTemp text parameters, which would not show up in the HUD because of a space in their names.
  • Added a “delta best” parameter that you can add to a HUD, showing time lost or gained compared to your fastest lap in milliseconds. Works for all cars (not just player). Included optional text coloring of the text output so positive and negative values can result in different colors.
  • Added a more accurate fuel indication as well as one that shows the fuel you used in your last (full) lap, or zero otherwise.
  • Added a gauge for showing the “delta best” with a range of -1.0 to +1.0 seconds.
  • Added predicted number of laps remaining based on fuel used for last lap.
  • Added current rain percentage.
  • Added minimum and maximum track water depth.
  • Added an option to disable font scaling for the chat and message box (apart from using comic sans, non-linear font scaling is about the biggest sin a designer can commit).
  • Added weather info (rain intensity and min/max water depth) into the MFD for HUD and in-car use.
  • Designed a new default HUD that takes advantage of the new features. (Coming soon)

Other/Fixes etc.

  • The plugin API will no longer invoke callbacks that provide ScreenInfoV01 data that used to allow plugins to render to the screen. Doing this directly has been deprecated with the release of DX11, and alternatives are to either use information that is available in the updated HUD or wait for a new plugable HUD system to be released in 2018.
  • We have removed the “cache” folder from our install, so all content will now be downloaded from the workshop. This means the base install is much smaller. Upon first launch you will be automatically subscribed to all Studio 397 content and while that is downloading the Launcher will show a progress dialog window with screenshots of all content items it is downloading for you.
  • Generating Mip Maps from reflections, this gives smoother reflections as a result.
  • Formula E liveries for TeCheetah, Mahindra and Venturi updated to 2018.
  • Formula E driver helmets updated.
  • Formula E driver suits updated.

Known Issues/troubleshooting

  • Rain effects are visual currently. However, we are working on physics impacts.
  • Some content is still to be updated to include the rain effects such as cars and tracks.
  • Performance is constantly being reviewed
  • Rain drops on external cameras under review
  • If you are experiencing strange graphical issues, delete the contents of your cbash and shader folders located in \Steam\steamapps\common\rFactor 2\UserData\Log
  • Important: Make sure to update any SteamCMD servers to get the latest

Studio 397 has released officially recommended graphics settings to make sure all players can enjoy a smooth experience based on their GPUs.


  • ImageArtSigns .

    The new rain effects are very decent, still a WIP though, but a good first attempt.

  • Leeman

    Yeah that looks pretty good. Just seems to me a lot of people already moved on from rF2 and this could be a case of too little, too late, which is a shame.

    • melanieuk1

      That IS the case, regardless what wet dream some people will have thinking people will turn once the devs add X,Y or Z.

      People didn’t return, when it moved to steam, people didn’t return, when they removed the online subscription fee, people didn’t return when they added mediocre DX 11 visuals, if you can believe them, people didn’t return when VR was added.

      People are not turning just because it now as GT3 and little interesting license, people will not return, when the dated GUI gets a overhaul, again some people are kidding themselves thinking rFactor 2 will re-live the glory days when rFactor 1 was “king”, rFactor was only good because there was no other modding platform at the time, to those dreaming of that when it returns to the top, I say, throw ice cold freezing water on them, and wake them up, the reality is very different.

      • Paul

        When they removed the online fee it did grow actually. And now it reached the highest number of owners. Slow as hell but people are joining it seems

      • Depco

        Our league’s membership has steadily increased since the transition to dx11. The growth has not been massive or sudden, but it has been happening. THis is just like what we are ssing with rF2. No massive sudden growth, but there has been growth all the same. While the growth has been slow, the game is maturing and those who continue to use it are seeing the value in the things it does well.

        People will continue to hate on rF2 because it is the thing to do. But it continues to stick around and grow its dedicated user base.

      • Roger Ramjet

        yep as long as mel is around there will always be someone to hate rf2. sad life that one..

  • Depco

    The interesting thing to me is that rF2 keeps chugging along. It was destined for the scrap heap until studio 397 pulled it from the fire. But since then it has gotten steadily better and better. With a move to DirectX 11 plus the VR implementation plus the new lighting and Rain effects there has been constant improvement of the game itself. The new UI should come out sometime early 2018 and hopefully bring with it a much needed refresh of the very dated user interface.

    Also something to look forward to is the new competition structure. I don’t think Studio 397 is released nearly enough information on this yet. But, it should be a vast improvement over what we have now.

    If the GT3 and Formula E content is any indication of what we can expect from Studio 397 and 2018 should be a fantastic year. I hope more people decide to give it a second chance.

  • Erik

    Yeah unfortunately I feel RF2 has two more years of hard development before it will really catch my interest. I bought the new gt3s, but honestly even the new cars are far behind the competition, in terms of pretty much everything. Driving in rf2 is still good, but competition has caught up, and surpassed in so many ways. And formula E I won’t buy just to be supportive. They also have to release tempting content. But we’ll see maybe one day RF2 will stand up strong again.

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