Last updated: January 11th, 2024
Featured image: BeamNG.Drive map
The BeamNG.drive freight train is making significant progress, as evidenced by recent updates to the incredibly enjoyable driving simulator. In addition to receiving a swathe of remastered vehicles, players have also been treated to Physically Based Rendering (PBR) enhancements for the Italy, Utah, and West Coast USA maps, with Gambler 500 and Baja 1000-inspired off-road additions making BeamNG an excellent all-round driving experience.
However, with the v0.26 update, the German-based studio behind BeamNG surreptitiously added a secret career mode to the game. Although it wasn’t made obvious at the time, it could be accessed with a little know-how.
Below, we outline how you can access BeamNG.drive’s secret career mode, explain its structure and detail what’s currently available to sample.
How to access BeamNG.drive’s career mode
To access BeamNG.drive’s career mode, simply navigate to the ‘Career (coming soon)’ tile on the game’s main menu and click on it six times in succession (make it quick, though!).
It’s important to note that BeamNG’s career mode is still experimental, and any progress made may be reset by future updates.
The career mode introduces four branches of driving ‘job’: Motorsport, Labourer, Specialized, and Adventure. Experience points, earned by completing relevant missions and performing well, contribute to levelling up within these branches. Cash rewards are also available for levelling up and completing missions, which, in theory, will allow players to build a vast collection of cars as their career progresses.
Motorsport involves various types of racing; from city streets to race tracks, and even drag races. There are mods available to BeamNG drivers and of course, rFactor2 drivers, to enjoy all styles of racing from trucks to karts. Sometimes mods can cause unexpected behaviours but there’s always support in the forums if you’re stuck. My best advice (having had experience with installing mods for Assetto Corsa, sometimes things just go wrong. The best advice I can give you here is to make one reversible change at a time, make sure you’re using the latest version of the mod and of course, the Racedeartment forum is particularly helpful. Love those guys. Very helpful.
The Labourer branch focuses on tasks such as vehicle recovery and cargo delivery, often featuring heavier machinery like trucks and vans.
Specialized scenarios resemble classic cops-and-robbers situations, with a focus on emergency vehicle situations.
Adventure missions add a touch of silliness to proceedings thanks to stunts and more unconventional car games. This is where BeamNG.drive really shines – you may have seen a ton of these sorts of examples in YouTube compilations already.
Getting started in BeamNG.drive’s career mode
If you’re completely new to the world of BeamNG.drive then taking part in the career mode’s tutorial is a good idea to help you get into the swing of things.
Here, you’ll be taken through the basics of movement – both inside and outside your car – giving you a chance to map the game’s most important controls (and mapping buttons is one of the most pernickety and frustrating aspects of BeamNG, something we’ll attempt to cover at a later date).
Visit the car dealership
Once you’ve gone through this literal crash course, you’ll end up in the career mode proper. To kick things off, you’ll visit a car dealership and have the choice of purchasing one of three cars: front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive options are available.
As a rule of thumb, rear-wheel-drive cars in BeamNG are much less stable than the other options, so it’s best to opt for a front or four-wheel-drive option when starting out (the Honda Civic-style Ibishu Covet is a fun and predictable little car and gets my vote).
Once you’ve bought your car, head across the road to add a lovely spoiler to your pride and joy, hinting that BeamNG’s finished career mode will heavily feature car modification.
Pro tip: if you complete the tutorial you can part-exchange the tutorial car at the dealership and save some precious cash,
You’re also introduced to the vehicle recovery mechanic. If you damage your car you can choose to have it repaired or towed to the nearest garage. However, you’re covered by insurance, so destroying your car won’t necessarily cost a fortune. This will almost certainly happen regularly…
The next step is to do some missions. Now, the car you’ve just bought isn’t used for these, but it’s your means of conveyance between them. Currently, the West Coast USA map is the only environment available in career mode.
By opening up the map you will see several mission locations dotted around, You can set a GPS-style route to any of these, with blue road markers showing you the quickest route. You can also plot a way to other points of interest or petrol stations – your car will run out of fuel otherwise.
Completing a mission will unlock more activities, with tiered rewards available depending on how successfully you finish it.
While some missions are a little laborious, others are superb, with the Specialized branch of missions offering genuinely engaging chase-style scenarios.
Some of the Motorsport races are a bit of a chore thanks to slow AI opponents, however, and rock-climbing missions can feel deeply unfair thanks to the game’s slightly top-heavy physics.
The decision to divide BeamNG’s career into four distinct strands is a sound design choice, allowing players to focus on their preferred driving discipline while accumulating overall Beam EXP points.
Ultimately, BeamNG.drive’s experience revolves around its exceptional physics engine, giving it massive potential. The career mode attempts to harness this by offering a more structured approach, which will hopefully create a more engaging single-player experience in the long run.