July 24th 2016 – 1.217
-If more than one force feedback controller is plugged in when the program starts, force feedback commands are no longer sent. This should prevent the program from crashing when more than one FFB devices is plugged in. This has a been a rare problem, but has occurred a few times with people using a FFB steering wheel while an XBox or similar gamepad with rumble support is plugged in. FFB will not work at all in this case, so it’s best to unplug the second FFB device before starting the program so FFB will still be present on a steering wheel.
-After the patcher has completed running and the game has restarted, on some systems a crash can occur when the game window loses focus and then regains it. For example, clicking or using ALT-TAB to switch to another program and back can cause a crash if you’re using a game controller. To try to circumvent this, the program waits a short time after the game window has regained focus before it starts polling the controllers again. A previous patch added a delay of 0.2 seconds. This new patch raises the delay to one second. As a result, when you click off the screen and back on again, the controls will stick in their old position for one second before snapping to their new positions.
These are not perfect solutions, but should reduce the chances of these problems occurring.
July 14th 2016 – 1.216
-Hmm… What happened to 1.214 and 1.215? Must have forgotten to write something for those! Anyway, moving right along:
This version has a new leaderboard with 20 or so entries in it that fits better with the on screen messages. While not yet available on Steam, this version has the necessary systems for Steam support built in including a Steam leaderboard. The leaderboard on the Steam version will download results from the current leaderboard (the one that’s not on Steam) and combine the results with the Steam leaderboard. This means future Steam users will be able to see everyone’s top 20 or so results even if they aren’t using Steam.
June 7th 2016 – 1.213
– New water spray density options available in the design screen by pressing ESC, then clicking “options.” New options are Off, Low, and High. “High” is the same as what we had before. “Low” has 25% as much spray for faster rendering on lower spec graphics hardware.
May 24th 2016 – 1.212
– Fix for login on new accounts.
May 23th 2016 – 1.211
– A new login system has been developed that should hopefully take care of the problems players that bought the product some time ago have had posting results to the top speed shootout leaderboards. Every time the program is run a new login screen is presented. There is a “remember me” checkbox there so you shouldn’t have to actually type in all your info again every time you play, but for this first update you’ll need to enter your username/password again at least once. As time goes on, every now and then when you restart the program it may require you to login again. Unfortunately this is a necessary evil because if you’re not logged in there’s no way to post your results to the leaderboard introduced on May 12th.
If you bought the product a long time ago and have forgotten your login details and can’t find the original emails from when you created your account, click logout at the top right of the website if you are currently logged in. Then click the same button again which now should say “login” instead of “logout” and choose “forgot password.” The website will send your details through email so you can log in to the simulator again. Once you’re logged into the simulator, click the green “play” button and you should be on your way.
– There have been some minor graphics updates to Lotus Lake and Glen Canyon. Detail textures are now visible on the land surrounding all of Lotus Lake and part of Glen Canyon, mainly the area around the top speed shootout course. At Glen Canyon this is mainly noticeable on the steep cliff to the left of the starting zone which was looking pretty lousy before. It’s not AAA quality by any means, but should look a bit nicer now anyway.
Oculus Rift users: The new login system is Oculus Rift friendly and has been tested with 0.8 runtime on DK2.
May 12th 2016 – 1.210
– Top speed shootout leaderboards are here! At the end of a top speed shootout run, the boards will appear showing the top 10 speeds among all players. Making a run yourself is the only way to view the leaderboards. Shootouts are not classed by number of engines/power/boat length, so it’s just an unlimited free-for-all at this stage. Other classifications might come later, but it’s not certain yet.
– The sky shader has been changed to a version that has better control over the appearance of the sun. The sky is slightly darker now than before, while the sun is not the huge, glaring blob that is has been up until now.
– The boat hulls are a little less shiny than before. The reflections on the hull as viewed from inside the boat didn’t good a lot of the time, especially at Glen Canyon with the big mountains everywhere. The reflections are now slightly blurry as though the surface is not perfectly mirror-like.
April 26th 2016 – 1.209
Solo buoy time trial racing is now included which has some basic racing and timing systems in place. If you want to jump right in, I find the new DIDBoats_CornerKiller boat at Glen Canyon’s Minnow course to be a lot of fun. Lap times are less than 50 seconds and the boat can be driven very aggressively in the turns due to the nearly flat bottom. Turning acceleration of more than 1G is possible with this boat, so it’s a fun change of pace if up until now you’ve just been doing top speed runs.
To use the new course mode, go to the “Locations” section of the panel in the design screen. Pick the map (Lotus Lake or Glen Canyon) on the left the same way as before. On the right will be a large map (taken from in game, this is what it actually looks like from high altitude) with two new checkboxes at the top. One checkbox selects “free as the wind” mode which is the same open/free driving that’s been available until now. The other mode is “courses” which will bring up course maps and course selection options as well as letting you choose the number of laps to run on courses where multiple laps can apply. You can choose from 1 to 500 laps per race, so if you just want to hotlap for a long time and see your laptimes (best lap is also reported per race every lap), just pick a big number. Clicking the +/- buttons changes the laps by 1, but you can hold down “shift” while clicking to increment them by 10 if you want to put in some huge number and lap even a small course for several hours straight. DIDI boats don’t run out of fuel and the gas is free anyway, so go crazy. 😉
There are three basic types of courses:
Point to point race: There are no laps here, you just drive from the starting gate to the finish line, following the buoys along the way. Right now there is only one of these, a full run down the length of Glen Canyon from one end to the other which can easily take over 30 minutes. It is not reversible, you must start in the north in the narrow, twisty area and proceed south. I may add another course going the other direction if people are interested. The buoys here are very sparse in the narrower river areas where the course is obvious, so if you don’t see a buoy for a few minutes, don’t worry about it. They’ll start to show up more frequently when you get into the more open areas of the river and lead you to the finish line.
Lapping/loop courses: These loop back on themselves like typical multi-lap circuit racing and can be set to run any number of laps from 1 to 500.
On both of these types of courses, the timer begins as soon as you drive between the green starting buoys. To prevent people from cheating by circling around and getting a high speed flying start, you have to cross the starting line within 15 seconds or no laps will be counted. Just start immediately without trying to trick the system and you should be ok. You’ll get an onscreen message telling you when the timer has started so you know it has worked.
Top speed shootout: These are one mile long straight courses with the goal being top speed at the end of the mile. Time and acceleration do not matter here, only trap speed between the final green buoys (I’ll try to remember to make them checkered in a later patch). A pair of green buoys is present every 1/4 mile of the track, you have to pass between them all. At the start, you must cross between the green starting buoys at or below 40 mph for the run to count. On screen messages at the start will remind you of this (I found myself forgetting to take it easy at first), and if you cross at over 40 mph you’ll get a message saying so immediately so you can restart or just circle around for another pass.
To more easily accommodate the new game mode, a “restart” button has been added to the ESC menu when you’re driving. This simply reloads the map and puts you back at the original starting location. This also works in “free as the wind” mode by placing you back where you started. The space bar still works the same as before, if you end up stuck on land or flipped over in the water and just want to set the boat upright again without putting you back at the starting position, just tap that and it’ll put you somewhere near where you crashed. This doesn’t work if you get stuck on buoys though (the system is only looking for land, not buoys), so if you get stuck on a buoy you’ll have to hit ESC and restart.
To help with racing there are some optional green waypoint helper arrows next to and slightly above the buoys. The helper arrows are on by default, but they can be toggled on/off with the F9 key once you’ve learned a course. A message at the start will remind you of this, and the F1 help menu has it too.
How the buoys work:
Red buoys mean right turns (the buoy should pass your right/starboard side as you make a right turn around them), yellow buoys mark left turns. Green buoys come in pairs and are used here as start/finish lines. You must drive between those buoys. I remember it by thinking “Right (turn) = Red.”
The waypoint helper arrows appear near the next buoy you’re supposed to pass. The arrow is offset slightly from center and is on the correct side (left or right) that you must pass on. It is not necessary to actually hit the arrows or even come anywhere near them. They’re just offset so you know which side of the buoy you’re supposed to be passing on. Sometimes you can be several hundred or thousand feet away from a buoy and it will still count as having passed successfully, so don’t be afraid to run very wide of the buoys. A lot of the invisible gates you actually have to pass through extend all the way out to the shoreline.
Remember that you can turn that off with the F9 key. It’s useful for learning the courses though, so I’d recommend running a few laps until you understand the course layout before turning it off.
Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome in the forums here as well as in the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/405024603032224/
April 14th 2016 – 1.208
Don’t like starting in the cove at Glen Canyon? No problem! You can now choose from multiple starting locations at Lotus Lake and Glen Canyon. Click the arrows at the top of the panel in the design screen to get to the “locations” section, then choose Lotus Lake or Glen Canyon on the left side, then click one of the checkboxes on the right to choose the starting location. The big maps that appear are actual overhead shots from inside the sim, so it’s accurate.
For you top speed record chasers, Glen Canyon’s “Deep South” location puts you at the far end of the big lake. There’s a lot of wide open area to run there and you’re pointed in the right direction from the start. There’s another location creatively named “North” which is at the far end of the river where it’s narrow and twisty. These are both good starting points if you want to drive across the entire scene.
Irrelevant history: One of the starting locations at Lotus Lake is named “Todd’s Cove” and is the cove I grew up on as a kid. If you look directly behind you at the start, you’ll see my childhood home. “Sandy Hook” was the location of our neighborhood’s public dock for those that didn’t live on the shoreline. “Old Launch” was the original boat launch at Lotus Lake. The southern launch wasn’t built until sometime in the 1980’s.
Some artificial, barely visible boundaries near each end of Glen Canyon have been added as well. These will stop you dead in your tracks if you hit them. It’s easy to get stuck on them, so if you see what looks like a giant pane of glass stretching across the river, turn around and go the other way. You’ve reached the end of the world.
April 12th 2016 – 1.207
Force feedback broke after multiple engine support was introduced and is now fixed. From the design screen (the blue screen where you adjust the boat parameters) press ESC, then “controllers.” Under “set steering” there is an option to choose between hydraulic or mechanical steering. Hydraulic is a very simple damper which I just discovered never really worked as intended. This is fixed now. With the hydraulic steering option there are no engine torque or other effects. The wheel just tries to resist your rotation. This is good if you’re one of those people that finds the constant pull to the right under power and all the dynamic effects annoying.
Mechanical steering uses the full force feedback which includes torque effects from gravity, engine torque, prop torque and p-factor induced torque, hydrodynamic and aerodynamic effects on the engine and lower unit. This has been updated to compute the total steering torque for a single, twin, or triple engine setup. All torques at the various engines are computed separately and added together. The steering torque is then scaled down according to how many engines there are so it doesn’t double or triple in strength when going beyond one engine. Otherwise for most wheels the strength would need to be turned down so much that you’d barely feel anything with a single engine setup.
April 6th 2016 – 1.206
Fix for older graphics cards without DirectX 11 + Shader Model 5 support. Game should run ok now without crashing, but the new water spray system introduced in 1.205 will not be rendered unless your GPU supports DirectX 11 + Shader Model 5. The foam and rooster tail will still be there as always even without a DirectX 11 card.
April 3rd 2016 – 1.205
This patch brings optional water spray to the boat hulls that’s been under development for a couple of weeks. The old foam and rooster tail is still there and remains unchanged while this new spray system is added on top of it. This new system uses DirectX 11 compute shader technology using Shader Model 5, so if your graphics card does not support this, the new water spray system will turn itself off and everything will look the same as it did before.
The new spray should be enabled by default, but if you don’t see it working, go to the design screen and hit ESC, then “options” and check the “water spray” checkbox. If that doesn’t work, you can read the “output_log.txt” file in the DIDIBoats_Data folder to see if your graphics card supports compute shaders. If compute shaders are not supported on your machine, there will be an entry like this somewhere in that file:
“computeShaderSupported = false. Disabling water spray component”
If you see that, sorry, there’s no way around it other than to upgrade to a graphics card with Shader Model 5 that supports compute shaders. The sim will still work, but the new spray will not be visible. The min spec for the game has been DirectX 11 all along with the aim of using compute shaders eventually, so chances are it will work on your machine if you’ve played the sim before. But if it doesn’t, at least you’ll know why and what to do about it.
Performance is excellent on my machine using a 680X 4GB graphics card. The new spray hardly affects the frame rate at all most of the time and is fast enough for the Oculus Rift. As of now there is room for 500,000 water spray particles at any given time, so it’s rather stunning that it actually runs in real time on the Oculus with no problem.
As fast as it is, the system isn’t perfect. The water spray at times can come through the hull and into the cockpit with some hull designs, most noticeably the designs using steps. I noticed it mainly on big boats with steps in the design which tend to spray water in weird directions. The water spray doesn’t “know” where the hull is, so this type of spray doesn’t get deflected away from the hull the way it would in reality and some of it can end up blowing through the cockpit which looks weird. If you see too much spray coming through the hull, try setting your step size to 0 on the specs2 page in the design screen. The default DIDIBoat2 and 3 hulls have been updated to step size 0 to improve this. There is not an easy fix for either of these unfortunately, so if you’ve got a design that suffers badly from this problem, you’ll just have to turn off the spray for the time being until I can figure out a way to improve that.
At low speeds with the bow up while planing, the cockpit can be largely below the waterline. The particles in this situation can be visible in the cockpit too. That’s a tough one to sort out because the special Unity rendering call I’m using to render such huge numbers of polygons for the spray bypass the rest of the pipeline, so these can’t be masked against a depth mask the way the regular water is. I haven’t figured out a way around this yet, so we’ll just have to live with it for now. If it drives you crazy you can just turn it off in the options.
Anyway, let me know in the forums how it works and what you think. There is room for improvement still, but it made sense at this stage to go ahead and release a patch including it, so here it is. Have fun!
March 18th 2016 – 1.204
Multiple engines (up to three 300 hp engines) can now be fitted which allows for much larger boats that should be capable of new top speed records with careful attention to design. To get started quickly with a reasonable twin or triple engine boat, navigate to the save/load screen and select DIDI_Boat2 for twin engine or DIDI_Boat3 for triple engine. After you’ve made your modifications, save the boat with a different filename (DIDI_Boat2 and DIDI_Boat3 can not be overwritten). The new settings for number of engines and engine spacing can be found on the “specs 2” tab under “engine.”
These boats can do well over 100 mph, and with some modification to your designs should be able to go even faster. The 300 hp engines are rev limited to about 6500 rpm, so to accommodate the extra power and speed that should now be possible, the maximum propeller pitch has been increased from 40 to 45 inches. The pitch on real propellers does not normally go that high (if ever), but since we’re currently rev limited to 6500 rpm while racing engines typically go much higher than that, this was a quick way of allowing some extra speed with the 900 hp now available. Otherwise we’ll need gear ratio or engine torque curve modifications. Something like this may come later, but to get the update to you sooner I went the quick and easy way and just increased the prop pitch range.
There is still only one tachometer in the dash which is connected to one of the engines, but all three engines indeed operate independently. Prop rotation direction on twin engine setups is “out,” the tips of the blades rotate away from each other at the top (standard rotation on right side of boat, left-hand rotation on left side). This more or less cancels the prop torque, so twin engine boats with the driver on the right side will tend to list to the right since there is no prop torque to counteract the driver’s weight with this setup. Generally twin engines in the simulator will be balanced best with the driver in the center. I tried running with the props rotating the other direction (in), but the handling was not as good.
Triple engine boats in the simulator are set up to have the two outside engines spinning “out” (top tips of blades spinning away from each other just like the twin engine setup) while the center engine’s prop rotates in the standard direction (clockwise when viewed from the rear). Because of this, a triple engine boat in the simulator will need the driver on the right side for balance about the same amount as a single engine setup since the two outside prop torques cancel each other out, leaving you with the left-hand torque of the center prop counteracting the driver’s weight. Just like with the single engine boats, you can tweak the balance by keeping the driver to the right of center.
The engines themselves both rotate in the same direction (standard/clockwise when looking down from the top), so the yaw torque will get stronger as you add engines. If you folks want to be able to set the engine and prop rotation directions yourselves, just ask in the forum and I’ll look into adding that in the next update. It makes a big difference, but for now I just went with what generally seemed to work the best on the boats here that have a center or right hand driver position only. Just keeping it simple for now, but if you want more control, just ask in the forums.
In order to use two or three engines, there must be enough room at the stern of the boat or it won’t let you add them. If you want to try fitting multiple engines to your current designs, it may be necessary to decrease the transom deadrise angle or widen the boat enough to make room. There is also a “spacing” setting that controls the spacing between the two outside engines. To run three engines, this number needs to be large enough to fit a third engine into the center. What I found works pretty well generally is to decrease deadrise angle to only a few degrees, widen the boat and increase engine spacing enough to fit two or three engines. Once the engines are placed, the system will restrict you from doing anything to the boat that would not be allowed with that number of engines. At this point you can then increase transom deadrise angle again as far as it will let you go, decrease the width of the boat, or whatever else you want to do. If you want a steep deadrise in the transom, you’ll need to keep the engine spacing tight. One trick to getting the back of the boat wider is to increase the pad width, but of course that has consequences on handling so that may not be the best thing to do.
I’m curious to know what kinds of speeds you all get with two or three engines and what designs end up working the best! Double/triple engine boats will need to be much longer than singles (I’ve run 38 feet and more), each engine weighs 500 lbs and with all this extra power it becomes ridiculously easy to blowover with a small boat. You’ll quickly find out that 18 footers with 2 or 3 engines don’t work well, but it can be fun to try anyway just so you can see why nobody does it in real life either!
The last few weeks have been spent rewriting a large part of the code base in order to allow multiple boats to be on the water at the same time. Don’t get excited yet, this is not coming any time soon, but it is indeed in the system now and has been tested with multiple boats on the water at the same time. This opens up the possibility of adding racing or multiplayer some day in the future if we can get enough players involved. So if you’re having fun with Design it, Drive it: Speedboats, please tell your friends on Facebook, your favorite boating forums, or wherever else you go to chat about boats!
Feb 11th 2016 – 1.203
A couple of potential bug fixes along with a significant reduction in RAM usage. Glen Canyon uses about 1GB instead of 1.5GB of RAM now, Lotus Lake is closer less than 300 MB instead of more than 600 MB.
Feb 3rd 2016 – 1.202
A weight adjustment is now available in the “General” section in the “Specs 1” page along with readouts for dry (hull only) and total weight (boat+engine+driver+fuel).
Up until now the boats have been too heavy compared to light performance boats. The weight can now be reduced substantially. The weight adjustment setting is a percentage increase from the lightest possible boat (0%) to the heaviest possible (100% which doubles the weight, many bass boats are even heavier than this). Boats made with versions before this will default to 60% increase above the lightest possible which is about the same as what they were before this new setting was introduced. Previous boat designs should still work about the same way they did before, but they’ll be slightly heavier at the new default 60% setting.
The densities of various parts of the boat have also been changed in order to move the center of gravity forward and slightly down from where they used to be. This should help the boats turn a little better in general and keep the bow down a little more. Combine this with a likely increase in the weight and your previous boats will probably lose some top speed and be more stuck to the water. The solution? Lighten the boat a little bit!
The lightest boats will tend to blow over much more easily at much lower speeds, so if you go with a setting of 0% you’ll need the boats to be longer to keep them from blowing over at high speeds. This shift in the center of gravity helps offset that somewhat, but if you were one of those folks running a 14 footer doing 110 mph+ before, you will find that it doesn’t work anymore unless you keep it heavy enough to avoid taking off.
(Note: This version mistakenly still says 1.201 after it’s been installed. If you see the boat weights on the panel then everything’s ok, you’re on 1.202.)