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Liftoff: FPV Drone Racing, a popular drone racer that's enjoyed by many users on Steam just recently had a massive free upgrade released.

It's been available in some form since 2015, with a full release in 2018 and still LuGus Studios continually develop it and add new features. This big 1.3 release is all about preparing it for the future with much of the underlying tech being overhauled and upgraded.

One of the reasons they did a big upgrade to the Unity game engine that powers it was a "hidden limit", which as they added new content and features over five years it ended up causes them some big problems. However, Unity in that time changed a lot and their game heavily relies on physics so it was a big overhaul job. Additionally, they optimised the game as a whole to now precisely control what it loads and when to lower the memory usage.

Some of the big highlights include:

  • Engine update from version 5.6 to 2018.4. 
  • Major code reworks of some essential Liftoff systems to increase stability and optimize memory usage.
  • Content management systems update: optimized loading and memory usage:
    - Tracks now only load those track items actually needed by the track, instead of all of them.
    - Drone setups now load faster and memory usage is optimized.
    - Race AI opponents are now generated locally instead of downloaded from the Liftoff Pro service.
  • Updated physics to 4.0, as previously featured on the Experimental Branch.
    - Updated drag model to be more accurate based on the exact setup of the drone.
    - Some skins now have an impact on the drag behavior. This is visualized with an icon next to the skin in the Workbench.
    - More about what's included in Physics 4.0 and how it affects the flight behavior of your drone can be found here and here.
  • Added Replay feature. Save your flights and watch them whenever you want:
    - In Free Flight and Infinite Race, after a drone reset, your flight recording can be saved in the Pause menu.
    - In Race and Freestyle, you can save your recording in the finish screen or afterwards in the Pause menu.
  • Added Russian Woodpecker Night Fever environment variant (for owners of the Night Fever DLC pack).
  • Updated the Minus Two environment to make it perform significantly better.
  • Added third person spectator option to multiplayer.
  • Added Vulkan rendering support on Linux.
  • Updated the loading screen to show what's happening in the background and changed the loading background image depending on which level is being loaded.
  • First/Third person camera mode is now saved and applied on every time a flight session is started.

That's just a small taste, see the full post here. What's clear here is their dedication. They have over 2.5 thousand user reviews on Steam and they clearly went to keep updating Liftoff for some time and bring in more players. Additionally, they've shown clear dedication to the Linux port too, responding in detail to any Linux issues and helping to get it sorted.

You can buy Liftoff: FPV Drone Racing on Steam.

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slembcke Sep 29, 2020
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This is probably my most played RC sim. Racing in it is a blast, and it has a decent number of tracks to try. Freestyle... meh. I can do that in real life in my backyard, and it's actually fun on a real drone. Though I do sometimes like to try it in the winter when the weather doesn't allow doing it outside.

The performance of this game (even after the update) is pretty demanding though. Even after the update it's barely playable on a brand new i7 machine with UHD graphics. (Maybe Iris would fare better?)

Last edited by slembcke on 29 September 2020 at 9:34 pm UTC
linuxjacques Sep 29, 2020
That explains the gigantic update.
Bogomips Sep 30, 2020
Quoting: linuxjacquesThat explains the gigantic update.

Indeed, when I saw the 12GB+ update I asked myself what was the size of the game when I first installed it years ago ^^

Last edited by Bogomips on 30 September 2020 at 12:05 pm UTC
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