BeamNG.drive’s v0.26 update introduced several improvements to the physics-heavy driving game, including a secret career mode!
The BeamNG.drive freight train continues to advance, with the incredibly fun driving sim getting its latest v0.26 update.
Alongside a host of fixes to its cars and levels, including a remastered Ibishu Covet and PBR (Physically Based Rendering) upgrades for maps of Italy, Utah and the US West Coast, the developers secretly implemented an early version of its long-awaited career mode.
One criticism of BeamNG.drive (BeamNG) is that there is no clear goal – not surprising considering that Early Access is a physics sandbox. With hundreds of scenarios and missions to complete (and more user-made examples), seeing and doing everything in BeamNG is a tedious task.
However, judging from our early look at BeamNG’s campaign mode, the developers may have found a way to tie all of BeamNG’s loose threads together and create an immersive single-player experience.
How to access BeamNG.drive career mode
From the BeamNG.drive main menu, simply scroll down to the bottom right tile titled “Career (Coming Soon)” and click on it six times in quick succession. That’s it, you’re in! (Yay). Here you are reminded that BeamNG’s career mode is experimental and that any progress made will be lost in future updates. (boo).
Next, we’ll be introduced to the game’s clever career branches. There are four in total, with experience points being earned based on the number of relevant missions passed (and your performance). Experience points lead to leveling up, with future updates offering in-game cash rewards. Getting paid for the crash? Are we some kind of Renault F1 driver from 2008 or something?
Experience points are divided into Branch Experience (Branch EXP) and Beam Experience (Beam EXP), so leveling up individual branches increases your total Beam EXP. At the moment, no indication has been given as to what cash rewards can be used for, but it wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that cash can buy additional vehicles, props, and other upgrades.
Hard hat: done!
BeamNG.drive career paths
BeamNG.drive career branches are divided into four sections: Motorsport, Worker, Specialized and Adventure.
The motorsport branch includes pure racing, be it on city streets, circuits, dirt tracks or simple drag racing. Players will get EXP if they finish first and within certain time limits.
Salvaging vehicles, delivering cargo in precarious conditions and performing other duties make up the Labor Career Branch, with an expected focus on heavier machinery such as trucks, vans and pickups.
The specialized career branch seems to depend on classic Cops n’ Robbers style scenarios where tracking and disabling a criminal’s car for at least five seconds results in EXP gains. More varied emergency service deployments are also expected in future updates.
This is where BeamNG’s innate silliness shines through. Do you want to shoot cannonballs at a phalanx of three-wheeled pigeons? Of course you do. The adventure-career branch brings stunts and car games to Beam NG’s career mode – which of course draws the attention of casual racing game fans.
BeamNG.drive’s secret career mode: first impressions
Our early look at BeamNG’s career mode lets us start on the map of the US West Coast, in our garage complex “at home”. Here you can choose your favorite car, upgrade it and start exploring the map. Players can traverse the highways and side streets in search of additional spawn points and missions.
You can choose a route to missions and points of interest via the in-game map (I’ve mapped this to the “M” key), and helpful arrows on the road will point you in the right direction. Clicking on a mission will bring up a submenu showing which career branch it belongs to, as well as an overview of its content.
With many different activities to take part in – and a huge variety too – combined with BeamNG’s fun driving model, it’s a joy to traverse the map to your next destination.
I’ll start with the aforementioned artillery attack on Fiberglass Reliant Robin clones. After expertly attempting to land a cannonball right on my target – and missing multiple times – I resort to firing straight at the ground and instead turn that into deadly bowling. And it works. Hit!
Mrs. McGregor watches from the shadows, unimpressed by my bowling skills, and decides to try it herself (we won’t discuss how much better she was), underscoring the appeal of BeamNG’s uniquely wacky fun (she rarely wants to commit to it ). my sim racing, surprisingly).
The map lets you chart a course to your next destination
Next, I’ll try out a few Motorsport Branch races. These are checkpoint-based events through city streets and beyond with only three opponents, so lacking the urgency of real racing. The AI is also quite slow, so unfortunately it doesn’t pose a serious challenge.
Next I’m venturing into the specialized career branch and after enjoying the pursuit style missions and scenarios in BeamNG before I’m really looking forward to it. And they don’t disappoint.
It’s difficult to come up with a technique to turn and disable an opponent’s car without destroying your own, but it’s definitely fun to try. There’s so much satisfaction in performing the perfect PIT (Pursuit Intervention Technique) maneuver by bumping the rear quarter panel of a car. It’s my favorite activity in BeamNG so far.
Early races are too easy
A full fledged police officer career has so much potential in my eyes, but let’s stick with traffic police and deviate from a whole serpico scenario…
If you’ve played through many of BeamNG’s scenarios and missions, you won’t be surprised by this early career mode build. Many of the activities are similar to those before, but this time everything has been presented in a more coherent way.
The idea of splitting BeamNG’s career into four different strands also appears to be a solid design choice, allowing players to focus on their preferred driving discipline while accumulating Beam EXP points.
The bones of a great career mode are in place, but it still needs to be fleshed out. For example, will there be a storyline? The BeamNG team experimented with comic book-style cutscenes and a story in the campaign mode “A Rocky Start”, but the reaction from fans was a little… muted.
critch! It’s the Rozzers!
Does BeamNG even need a plot? Maybe not, as the BeamNG.drive experience is all about manipulating its superb physics engine to create hilarious and spectacular moments, some of which don’t end in a massive crash.
BeamNG.drive is full of potential – the gaming community has been saying this for years – but finally it looks like it’s getting the career mode it deserves.
Do you think the BeamNG team is going in the right direction with their career mode? Let us know in the comments below.