In a post on their internal forum iRacing have announced that their implementation of rain, initially expected to be released with the upcoming 2024 Season 1 build, won’t be. The update says they will “really push for a release along with the March build” and, honestly, even that doesn’t sound too confident.
The timing of this announcement has been questioned, coming immediately after the Black Friday sale where many will have signed up or renewed in anticipation of this feature, but my experience tells me there was no intention to mis-lead. While a delay of at least four months does make it seem like iRacing should have known one week ago that they wouldn’t make it, this really doesn’t mean rain won’t be pretty much ready shortly after the next build is out. The fact is, iRacing do not ever release major features DURING a season… If they JUST missed this one, it should be in the next one. If they don’t push rain in March, feel free to grab your pitchforks…
As I shared in a recent update, our new weather system (called Tempest) has reached a point in development where we’re comfortable saying the release is imminent (#soon). We are genuinely close to being ready to share this with you all; in fact, we are more or less feature-complete for our initial release. That said, with the Season 1 build now a short week away, we don’t want any ambiguity surrounding whether Tempest will be included with the release – in short, not quite yet.
Tempest is a collection of systems that have their hooks deeply integrated into every area of our codebase, and incorporating all of this into our live service environment requires great care and significant testing. It’s also critical to us that Tempest meets the deservedly high expectations of iRacers, as well as the standards of our developers. To accomplish this high mark and deliver a well-tested and polished feature to you all, we ultimately need a bit more time.
We are eager to show a more expansive offering of screenshots, videos, and insights into the project over the next months. For now, though, we can share a bit more detail on where things stand with Tempest development as of late November…
Tempest has been available to our internal testing team for months now, with our alpha test group joining in with access provided in late October. Sim, web, and UI developers have reached feature completion on their systems and are largely in the polishing and optimization stages. The areas that require the most work at this point are refining the interaction between our physics-based systems and VFX systems for things like spray and mist, a bit of work left to do with Race Control properly handling the loss of grip cars will experience when it’s wet, and some rendering optimization.
Our teams are working with urgency to complete this work as soon as possible, and although we aren’t comfortable 100% committing to it (this is software development at a very R&D-focused company, after all), we are going to really push for a release along with the March build. While it might be “fun” to spring it on you unannounced and at 3 AM during the Daytona 24, as some folks have humorously suggested, we will spare you from that surprise 😉
Outside of rain, we are all very excited for the season 1 build next week, which will feature a compelling set of product improvements like the first phase of Oval Refresh, the debut of 3D curbs at select tracks, NDM added to a huge list of cars (18!), improved UX in the iRacing UI, continued sim optimization, improved off-track physics, a subtle tweak to how SR is calculated at short ovals, and great new content. Expect those release notes late this week or this weekend.