Excluisve Interview: Marco Massarutto from Kunos Simulazioni - Part two

Welcome to part two of our conversation with Marco Massarutto from Kunos Simulazioni. Last time we covered topics such as how Marco started working with Stefano Casillo and the thought process behind the success of Assetto Corsa. In part two, we are talking about their latest project, Assetto Corsa Competizione, the world of esport and the future of the Assetto Corsa brand. Enjoy! When developing cars, do you receive data from manufacturers and teams and if so, which sort of data do you receive and how does it affect the development of your content? Each car manufacturer has a different approach. Sometimes you negotiate the license through an external agency or even directly with the licensing team of the manufacturer, but you can't necessarily expect that the licensing manager will tell the engineers to cooperate with you to provide you with the data you need, or that the person you negotiate with has all the data and information you need.  Not to mention the motorsport team of a manufacturer, that usually behaves as a separate entity. So getting the license to reproduce a car is one thing, getting all the data you need is a different matter, and sometimes the two things are not connected, but it has improved over the last 10 years or so. I can say that through the years we gained a very good reputation so the level of cooperation we can expect from a manufacturer is quite high. We have a list of parameters, except for the CAD files, that we ask them to compile, but through the years we also built a very powerful network with drivers, engineers, workshops, owners, who help us to get access to the cars and data we are interested in when we don’t drive them personally. People were excited when you announced Assetto Corsa Competizione. How did the deal to become the official GT World Challenge videogame come to fruition? When Stefano and I started to think about what's the next AC. Our aim was to explore how deep we could go in terms of physics, features, gameplay and if we could focus on a single racing series, and the GT World Challenge seemed to be perfect. Beautiful high-performance racing cars, the best brands, the best tracks, one tyre compound. So I got in touch with SRO and when we met each other, they were looking for an official product and seeing that the creators of Assetto Corsa were interested in producing it, everybody was excited by this opportunity. The last couple of years, sim racing has increased in popularity within the world of esport. Have you felt a difference over the years and how do you see the future of the business? Unfortunately, Covid-19 forced real motorsport to stay at home, and we saw a very different approach about the way the automotive and motorsport industry looked at sim racing. Even if things had started to change 2-3 years earlier, this pandemic has been a huge accelerator that allowed a lot of people to go far more in-depth with sim racing than ever before. Having Valentino Rossi, Charles Leclerc, Francesco Bagnaia and many others racing with us while Sky Sport F1 streamed the race on TV says a lot about the potential. car manufacturers and racing teams seem to understand what sim racing is about far more, and they are already working to organize esport activities for the years to come. Is there something that has surprised you in a positive and/or negative way during the 15 years Kunos has exited? Well, when we released netKar PRO in 2006 I didn’t imagine that our debut would be so tough, and for many years we had to face a lot of professional and personal challenges. On the other side, if you ten years ago you told me that more than 3 million users would have played our simulation, I wouldn’t believe that. One thing that makes me so proud is seeing the dedication a lot of users have for AC and AC Competizione, and they continue to ask for more content and more features because they are still excited about our simulation. Also, if I think how the approach and relationships with the automotive industry have changed in the last 10 years, it’s something that makes me so proud about the good reputation we gained thanks to our dedication and hard work, and the opportunities that it brought. How does the future look like for Kunos Simulazioni and the Assetto Corsa brand? Will we see an Assetto Corsa 2 or could we see a title with other motorsport organizations like ACO? It’s a bit early to talk about it, but we miss road cars so much, and our users love them so badly, so it’s definitely something we want to consider in the future. The only thing I can guarantee you is that realism and car handling will continue to be part of our DNA forever. You can almost feel the passion for sim racing, motorsport and cars in general from what Marco said. It was a pleasure to interview him and who knows, maybe we soon will see some big events with the car manufacturers involved as Marco mentioned. This is the end of our interview with Marco Massarutto. We hope you have enjoyed it and let us know what you found most interesting of what he said. From Global SimRacing Hub, thank you to Marco Massarutto and Kunos Simulazioni for taking time for this interview. If you want to find streams and race broadcasts with Assetto Corsa and Assetto Corsa Competizione, don’t look further. It’s all here on GSRH.gg

Excluisve Interview: Marco Massarutto from Kunos Simulazioni - Part one

Hello and welcome to another article series here on the Global SimRacing Hub! We have another interview ready for you with one of the main persons behind the big sim racing titles. This time we have spoken to Marco Massarutto from Kunos Simulazioni, who is the developer of Assetto Corsa and Assetto Corsa Competizione. Enjoy! Hi Marco, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Let’s go back to 2005. What made you and Stefano Casillo take the step to found Kunos Simulazioni? Two years before, I was managing Drivingitalia.net which at the time was one of the most important and popular European sim racing websites, and we also collected important partnerships with F1 Racing and other motorsport magazines.  I was keen to let the automotive and motorsport industry understand that sim racing was something different and more than “video gaming”, and it wasn’t easy at all. So when Dunlop contacted me to host a sim racing event in Misano, I asked Stefano for permission to use his netKar game, because despite its “roughness”, I believed it was the ideal showcase to open that door. Stefano agreed, so I produced a customized version of the software for that event, involving other people, working on logistics, packaging, management, and so on. When Stefano decided to bring netKar PRO to the next level, he thought I was the man he was looking for. We worked together for more than 15 years, and it has been just great.  Everyone in sim racing has even heard of or played Assetto Corsa, which today still is very popular within the community. When did the idea of making Assetto Corsa come to your mind and how long was the development before release in 2014? Assetto Corsa was our third product after netKar PRO and Ferrari Virtual Academy, which barely provided the starting budget to work on something bigger.  Those products were aimed for the typical niche of hardcore sim racers. The idea behind AC was to produce a hardcore PC simulation that in terms of car choices and tracks woould look familiar to the Gran Turismo fans, but going far deeper in terms of car handling, physics, behaviour and car setups, not mentioning the modding features.  We aimed to include not only those racing cars and content you typically find in any hardcore PC simulation but also road cars that lots of car enthusiasts can drive every day. The goal was to feed a wider audience without compromising realism and I think we nailed it. One of the reasons behind the continuing success of Assetto Corsa was the accessibility to create and install mods. Was that the plan from the very start and how important do you think mods are in sim racing titles as a whole? I agree. I’ve also been surprised to see the level of complexity and dedication lots of talented users have shown, to the point throughout the years, where we hired some of them.  About the strategy, we are convinced that this is a very flexible platform for our team. First of all, when the AC project started we were 6 people in the company, and in 2015 we  were just 14, so we needed to take any possible advantage in terms of structure flexibility, in order to speed up the production flow. Also, AC was available for some dedicated B2B activities, with Ferrari, Dallara and other companies way before we released the public version, and having a moddable platform was absolutely needed to avoid any bottleneck with our partners.  Surprisingly, more than 60% of overall AC users are console players that can’t take advantage of the modding on PS4 and Xbox One. That means a lot of people also appreciate the original content we provided for AC. This concludes part one of the interview with Marco. Him and Stefano’s approach and vision of how Assetto should look like and the journey since Kunos Simulazioni have been through was truly fascinating! In part two, we are gonna talk and the current and the future of Assetto Corsa. Stay tuned!  

Close battles and controversy in round 8 of the Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup

  The Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup went to the green hell, Nürburgring Nordschleife for the series. Sebastian Job from Red Bull Esport has been the man to beat so far and around the bumpy 21 kilometres, he had the opportunity to extend his championship lead. His teammate Patrik Holzmann started from pole position in the sprint race and managed to defend his position going into turn one. Kevin Ellis Jr. was right behind him and putting on the pressure on a track which is very unforgiving. At the end of lap one, Maximillian Benecke and Joshua Rogers went side by side on the long back straight, but Benecke lost control of his car going into the final couple of corners, went over the grass and collided with Rogers and ended the race for both of them. In the last round at Spa Francorchamps, the two of them also collided which is adding a bit to the rivalry between the two.  Not much happened after that, and Patrik Holzmann held on to win the sprint race ahead of Kevin Ellis Jr. and Mitchell DeJong.  Feature race Starting grid for the feature race was as the sprint race finished so Patrik Holzmann lined up in pole position once again with Kevin Ellis Jr. and Mitchell DeJong, with championship leader Sebastian Job in 4th.  Ellis Jr. made a great start to take the lead and Job went up to third place, just behind his German teammate. On lap two of four, Holzmann and Job overtook Ellis Jr. on the back straight to make it a Red Bull Esport 1-2, with Mack Bakkum slowly but steadily catching up to the front trio. On the curvy straight before the first carousel, Sebastian Job took some bravery pills as Martin Haven in the commentary box said and overtook Patrik Holzmann around the outside to take the race lead with one and a half lap to go. That move proved to be the one that secured Sebastian Job his sixth race win of the  Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup 2020 and extended his championship lead to 45 points ahead of Joshua Rogers who struggled to recover after the collision with Benecke in the sprint race. Next round of the Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup takes place on the 26th of September at Le Mans and make sure to add that race to your calendar here on GSRH.gg, so you don’t miss a surely intense round at Circuit de la Sarthe.

How to get started with sim racing - Part 3: Simulators

Welcome to the third and final part of our how to get started guide to sim racing. So far we have covered arcade and sim-cade with suiting equipment. This one is gonna be simulators and more high-end equipment. Let’s get to it! If you want to have the most realistic virtual racing experience, then there’s two titles that clearly stand out from the rest. iRacing and rFactor 2. For you who want to pursue a career in esport, this is where you probably will end up at some point. Both games are only available on PC, but doesn’t need expensive high-end PC’s to run at decent performance. Neither of them is the shiny graphic experience like the games we covered on part one, but you don’t race on iRacing and rFactor 2 for the graphics. You play them for the physics and realism in terms of car behaviour.  What's iRacing? iRacing is subscription based where you buy a 1, 3, 12 or 24 months at a time. As a base you start out with a limited number of cars and tracks, the rest have to be purchased as DLC. The cars cost $12 and the tracks $15 each. However, there is a quantity discount if you buy several items at once, and if you buy everything at the same time, you get a 30 percent discount. It can be an expensive journey, but every car and track is laser scanned, which ensures high quality content. iRacing offers a wide range of series in all types of racing. All from the traditional road and oval racing to rallycross and dirt ovals. There’s a licensing system that determines which series you have access to run, so you have to work your way up in each discipline of racing.  Everyone starts in Rookie class.    The way to upgrade your license is to race clean and fair in a certain number of races of a series in your current license level. If you to that, you will receive points for your safety rating which promotes yo directly to the next license class when it reaches 4.0 or above. You can also move up by having a safety rating of 3.0 or above when the season ends. A season runs over 12 weeks, with the track changing every week in each series. TO find more information regarding license classes and much more, visit the links to iRacing’s YouTube channel at the end of this article, where you can find several how-to videos.  What's rFactor 2? A couple of months ago, we interviewed the managing director of Studio 397, Marcel Offermans, that develops rFactor 2. There you got a great insight into the progress the simulator have had in recent years and what’s still to come. rFactor 2 can be purchased through Steam for €30. As with iRacing, you start out with a limited number of cars and lanes, but in return, there are plenty of mods you can download through the steam workshop for free. First and foremost, look for cars and tracks made by Image Space Incorporation or Studio 397. These are made by the developers of rFactor 2, which guarantees you high quality content while it being free.  It is also possible to buy cars and tracks, which will probably become the norm for rFactor 2 in the future. There are car packs with prototypes and GT cars, as well as laser scanned track such as Le Mans, Nürnburgring(both GP and the Nordschleife) and Sebring.  rFactor 2 is currently limited to organized league racing when it comes to multiplayer. As Marcel Offermans mentioned in the interview with us, a matchmaking system is coming to rFactor 2 with the new UI that seems to be a game changer. But until then, there’s plenty of great leagues to participate in. If you’re a fan of long distance racing, then the Virtual Endurance Championship, also called VEC is a logic choice. VEC is basically a virtual edition of the popular WEC series from real-life motorsports. The organizers of VEC collaborate with the developers of rFactor 2, Studio 397 and are therefore ensured that the series is well-run and professional.  In addition, rFactor 2 is also the game that was used for the 24 hours of Le Mans virtual in June this year, that was a huge success both on and off track. For open-wheel racing, Formula SimRacing and GPVWC is the two top leagues on rFactor 2. Both have a ladder system that gives you the ability to go through a learning curve before taking on the elite of sim racing.  Equipment In terms of equipment, the belt-driven wheels mentioned in part two is used by many top drivers in these games. But if you wanna take a step up, a direct drive wheel from SimuCube or Fanatec with a set of pedals from Heusinkveld being the way to go. A direct drive wheel is basically a servo motor, which gives you a huge amount of detail about the behaviour of your car. These bit of kit are quite expensive, but it also gives you a whole new experience and gets you closer to the feeling of a real race car. For rigs, an aluminium cockpit is necessary to cope with the forces of the direct drive wheel and pedals with loadcell brake from Heusinkveld. Like mentioned in part two, SimPlexity is a great choice with their multiple options of rigs and customization.   That concludes the end of part three. I hope this has made you wiser on which game and platform to choose to get started on sim racing. Put a comment below this article if you have any questions, create a thread in our forum section or message us on the GSRH Facebook page. Link to every game, league and equipment mentioned can be found at the bottom of this article.    iRacing https://www.iracing.com/ iRacing How-to videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46g28xAynTI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCTVvt4rh_U https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stgLhQsyt6o https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2uu_DqonAM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AYdSp7VPYo rFactor 2 https://www.studio-397.com/ Buy rFactor 2 on steam https://store.steampowered.com/app/365960/rFactor_2/ Virtual Endurance Championship https://simracing.club/ Formula SimRacing https://www.formula-simracing.net/index.php/fsr GPVWC https://www.gpvwc-simracing.com/ Equipment https://fanatec.com/ https://www.simucu.be/ https://heusinkveld.com/ https://sim-plexity.eu/

How to get started with sim racing - Part 2: Sim-cade

Welcome to part two of our article series on how to get started with sim racing. Today’s topic is the so called sim-cade category, a combination of simulation. Let's get started! What is sim-cade? It’s a step closer to real world racing but still isn’t a simulator. These types of games will provide a great starting point for many who later wants to get into the hardcore simulators, but also the casual gamer who we covered in part one can have many great hours of racing. F1 2020 and Assetto Corsa.  Those games are great examples of what isn’t directly what would be called a simulator, but they have some elements going in that direction. The behaviour of the cars in these are not as realistic as 2 other titles we will come to in part three, but they are a great starting point. All three are available on PC, PS4 and Xbox. For the F1 games, there are excellent opportunities to join online leagues.  F1 2020 has a dozen of private leagues which have been running for years. ApexOnlineRacing is known as the most prominent leagues besides the F1 Esport Series. Here you can get racing against fellow racing fans in the incredibly fast Formula one machinery. Assetto Corsa was released back in 2014, but it’s still very popular within the sim racing community, which is helped by thousands of cars, tracks and much more made by the community for the PC version. In 2016 Kunoz Simulation released Assetto Corsa on the PS4 and Xbox one, but here you don’t have the luxury of the third party content like on the PC version. The “sequel”, Assetto Corsa Competizione which is the official Blancpain GT series racing game offers everything in the world of GT3 and GT4 racing. Every car brands from the real world series are to be found in the game and you can quickly drop in an open lobby and race against people from all around the globe. Now that we know a couple of games which could be an option as a starting point for you who wants to climb the sim racing ladder or wants a game which isn’t limited to console only let’s go a step further in terms of equipment. Fanatec has for years produced great products which suit every level of sim racing. However, they are a bit more expensive than Logitech G29 and Thrustmaster T150 and T300. The Fanatec CSL Elite is great value for money and can be bought as a bundle with an F1 steering wheel and a set of pedals for 700 Euros. With the pedals, you have an option to buy a loadcell brake kit which will give a more realistic and consistent feeling under braking. From Fanatec too, the V2,5 wheelbase which goes for 550 Euros, gives you a lot of detail in the force feedback and just like the CSL Elite, you can use multiple wheel rims, so you can use a circular one for rally and a formula style rim for open wheelers, GT’s and prototypes.  Thrustmaster has an option is a similar price range to the CSL Elite with the TS-PC racer which comes with a formula style rim.  At this point, you can still mount the wheelbase to a desk or a playseat challenge. But with the increased forces through the steering wheel and especially if you got a loadcell brake you might start looking at getting an aluminium rig. Here SimPlexity can be a great option. They also have plenty of customization options which enables you to make your rig more personal. At SimPlexity, you can also buy complete sim racing setups with wheel, pedals, rig, monitor, monitor stand and PC/console. They have a range of 3 alu-rigs, so If you’re on a budget, don’t worry. That’s the end of part two. Next time we are going into the big simulator titles and more. Stay tuned. You can find links to all equipment mentioned here down below. Fanatec CSL Elite F1 bundle https://fanatec.com/eu-en/detail/index/sArticle/983 Fanatec ClubSport V2,5 wheelbase https://fanatec.com/eu-en/racing-wheels-wheel-bases/wheel-bases/clubsport-wheel-base-v2.5 Thrustmaster TS-PC Racer https://www.thrustmaster.com/en_UK/products/ts-pc-racer-0 SimPlexity https://sim-plexity.eu/

How to get started with sim racing - Part 1: Entry level and casual gamers

Welcome to an article series on how to get started with sim racing. We cover everything from equipment and gaming platform to what suits your specific needs, based on what you are looking for. In part one we are gonna focus on the casual gamers, the wider audience. Let's get started! First of all, it is important to do know what you’re looking for and what your expectations are before you start with sim racing. Is your aim to go all the way and drive against the best in the world and try to make a living in the long run, or will you use sim racing to relax for a few hours after a busy day at work.  The reason for this question is that there’s a lot of games to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. But the most important thing in this context is the realism of them. There are 3 categories you can put them into. Arcade, sim-cade(mix of simulator and arcade), and last but not least simulator. In addition to the game, equipment is an important part of sim racing and there are also various options to choose from. Many have played with a controller on Playstation or Xbox, but if you want to invest in a wheel and pedal set, I would highly recommend buying a steering wheel with force feedback.  This means that when you turn, you notice resistance or vibration in the steering wheel that tells you what the car is doing. For example, if you drive over a curb, you will probably notice a quick jerk and when you oversteer or understeer you may notice that the steering wheel becomes easier to turn because the car is sliding and has no grip.  There are 3 types of force feedback. Gear driven, belt driven and direct drive. What the difference is and much more I will discuss later in this series. If you wanna go racing on console, I would suggest getting a Logitech G29, Thrustmaster T150 or T300 for Playstation and get Gran Turismo Sport and if you prefer Xbox, go for a Logitech G920 or Thrustmaster TMX and Forza Motorsport as the game. All wheels can either be mounted on a desk or you can go for a rig like the Playseat challenge. Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport are the ones I want to put in the arcade category. They fit very well with the wider audience of casual gamers, where it's plug n' play without having to set up hundreds of things to get it run. They are not very realistic in terms of the behaviour of cars versus reality. The steering wheels mentioned above are all compatible for PC. Forza Motorsport can also be found on this platform, but also titles such as Project CARS 2 offers a great variety of racing categories. That concludes the first part of our how to get started guide to sim racing. If there should be any questions, visit our forum and make a thread. In part 2 we will go a step up the sim racing ladder and take a look at the sim-cade category, which also can give many great hours of racing for the casual gamer. 

FSR 2020 round 8 - Championship fight intensifies

Jernej Simončič could seal his second world championship title in round 8 of the 2020 season in Formula SimRacing at Zandvoort. The dutch circuit delivered plenty of action.  Championship leader Jernej Simončič qualified 2nd behind Dennis Jordan from Evolution Motorsport. The Slovenian world champion took the lead into turn one while championship rival Petar Brljak was further down the field in P5. Michi Hoyer started all the way down in 16th due to technical issues which meant he wasn’t able to set a competitive lap time in qualifying, so he was a man on a mission. The german Burst Esport driver made a brilliant start and gained three positions during the first lap. Back to the battle at the front, Simončič was controlling the race from the front, but a disaster happened at lap 17 when an internet disconnection saw him having his second DNF in 6 years of racing in FSR. This opened up the championship fight completely since Petar Brljak now had the opportunity to close the gap in the standings significantly. The Croatian Edge Esport driver pitted a couple of laps before people such as Dennis Jordan, Muhammed Patel and Alex Siebel, which saw him jump up into second place after the first round of pit stops. 54 laps to go and Brljak only had the pole sitter Dennis Jordan ahead. A very intense and close battle unfolded for the rest of the race, but despite several attempts from Brljak, Dennis Jordan held on and secured his first ever race win in the Formula SimRacing World Championship. Muhammed Patel come home in 3rd with Jordan’s teammate Alex Siebel just behind in P4 Michi Hoyer recovered to P7 after starting way down the field. He drops to fourth in the standings behind Dennis Jordan. Jernej Simončič is still leading, but the gap is down to just 11 points with two rounds to go. In the team championship, Evolution Motorsport jumps to the top with Burst Esport SimPlexity just 3 points behind. The championship fights intensify and nothing is decided! The penultimate round takes place at the 26th of July where the legendary Suzuka Circuit sets the scene in what could be a championship decider. 

iRacing 24 Hours of Spa 2020 - Short preview

Last year's edition of the iRacing 24 Hours of Spa finished in dramatic fashion when Max Verstappen’s brake pedal broke with just 14 minutes to go. Thanks to a gap of a whole lap to second place, they managed to tow the car to the pit, do a driver swap Lando Norris and still win by half a minute. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps has a very rich history and is one of the most legendary race tracks in the world. The original track was over 15 kilometres long, which is almost double of the version of today. One thing has always been the same. It’s a very high speed circuit and the hill which starts at the bottom as Eau rouge and climbs up to raidillon have become an icon in the world of motorsport. With its location deep into the Ardennes forest, the weather conditions often change out of nothing, which has given some of the most spectacular races in history. The iRacing 24 Hours of Spa will once again have a field full of the very elite in sim racing. Team Redline will be there to defend their win from last year with drivers like Maxmilian Benecke and Dominik Farber while VRS Coanda Simsport turns up with Joshua Rogers and Jeremy Bouteloup just to name a few. The cars will just like in the real life version be GT3’s, so expect to see Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes cars on the track. The Ferrari and McLaren have previously shown to be very fast in a straight line while the Mercedes and Audi have been solid in overall performance.  Who’s gonna win? Can Redline repeat what they did last year? No one knows yet, but you can watch the race here on GSRH.gg.  

Exclusive interview: Managing Director at Studio 397 Marcel Offermans - Part 3

Welcome to the final part of our conversation with the managing director of Studio 397, Marcel Offermans. The main topic is esport and which role rFactor 2 have played in recent years and months and where they are going in the future. Enjoy! Esport has escalated as a business in the last few years, but sim racing hasn't had its big break. But with the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual being such a huge success, do you see things changing? It’s true that within the esports world, sim racing is a niche. You could even argue that, except for maybe F1, the same holds true for racing in the world of sports. That said, the last year or so we see an increase in interest for esports from the world of motorsport. There are probably several reasons for this, apart from the current situation in the world. Most importantly, sim racing and real racing require a very similar set of skills and as we get more successful in simulating cars on consumer grade hardware, there is a growing interest to use rFactor 2 for all kinds of training purposes. At the same time, sim racing democratizes racing, lowering the barrier of entry into motorsports, which traditionally has been labelled as a sport for the very rich only. I would like to see the two worlds merging even more, and that is definitely a trend we are seeing right now. It’s hard to predict the future of motorsports. With the changing ways we all think about future mobility, it’s clear to me that there will be big changes. We grew up with the car as a status symbol. The current generation sees it much more as a way to get from A to B, with many alternatives that are more environmentally friendly. Over time, I’m sure that will make the big car manufacturers rethink their huge investments into motorsport and that might actually be a good thing, as it pushes the sport in a direction where it’s not all about money, but about competing on equal terms where the skills of the driver are decisive and not the research and development that goes into the cars. While we are at the esport topic, Studio 397 is working on a competition system for rFactor 2. How will it work? Will it be a matchmaking system as we know from other platforms and how will drivers be sorted or will you do something completely different? We have a couple of goals with this system. First of all, we want to provide people with daily races, where they can pick their favourite series and compete against people of similar skills as well as race with their friends. We focus here on making this as easy as possible by obviously hosting the races, but also by making sure it is easy to download the content, required for such a series. We realize that a large part of our community enjoys racing and the competition, but not everybody has the talent or the time to compete at the highest level. Secondly, we want to build a system where people can move up the ranks, from regional and casual racing with friends to national and international series. This is where we also want to involve existing leagues, integrating them into the system and providing them with the benefits of the system. Finally, this system should also cater for a few “special cases”. We’d like to be able to use the same system for people who enjoy racing the AI in offline championships, where they are free to race whenever they want. Other cases we are targeting are LAN environments and esports tournaments, where an automated system needs to be flexible enough to also be used with humans doing race control, live broadcasts, etc. Last question. What does the future of rFactor 2 look like? In short: bright. We started on this journey four years ago and year after year we have managed to increase the user base, grow our sales and extend the world of rFactor 2 in many interesting ways. It’s our intention to keep evolving the platform over time and stay relevant for many years to come. Those words conclude our conversation with Marcel who was very open and transparent about the issues the studio are facing in their effort to unlock the potential of rFactor 2. A big thank you to Marcel Offermans for the talk and Studio 397 for their contribution to grow sim racing as a whole. More information about rFactor 2 can be found on https://www.studio-397.com/

Exclusive interview: Managing Director at Studio 397 Marcel Offermans - Part 2

We are continuing our chat with the managing director of Studio 397, Marcel Offermans. In part 2 we got to some of the flaws of rFactor 2 and how they are solving those. We also got around their plan for current and future content. rFactor 2 is known for its great physics. However, bugs have been a known issue for some time. Some might think it can’t take years to fix those issues. How are you sorting these out and how complicated is it? That is a very broad question, as there are a lot of bigger and smaller bugs and wishes that have been brought up by the community. I agree there are issues that have been around for many years. Most of them we “inherited” with the original codebase. Typically how we work is that we are focused on a specific area or topic as a development team and try to make a big improvement there. We’ve done so for graphics, writing our own DirectX 11 based engine and adding VR support, and during that process, we fixed a lot of long standing bugs. Just to pick one, when we started out, alt-tabbing back to the desktop did not work too well and would often freeze or crash the game completely. In terms of wishes our community has, we know we still need to work on improved cockpits and possibly a brand new HUD concept. We are still working on the UI, which, admittedly, took us a lot longer than we anticipated, but this is the basis for a lot of future extensions and improvements, as well as our competition system. One area where we still need to go in and make big improvements is our physics engine. We did make a bunch of smaller improvements, but there is still a long list of things to do here, from improvements to our AI to a more extensive drive train model. How will the new UI improve the experience of rFactor 2? What can people expect in the final version? Probably the most important point to make is that the new UI should not be seen as an end goal but as a new beginning. We are fundamentally changing a big part of the codebase to future proof it and allow us to add innovations more easily. As you know it is fully based on HTML, which means it’s much easier to extend and integrate with online services. Soon we will make the switch to the new UI and will start this process of improvement. The first thing we want to do is to improve the way to set up rFactor 2 after installation. We will also start our journey of the integration of the competition system. Smaller things we will tweak are the opponent selection system as well as finding and filtering online servers. You have released a lot of content focused on endurance racing. Is that something you plan on continuing, or are you aiming for a wider range of motorsport disciplines in the future and what’s in the pipeline in terms of cars and tracks? Our focus is certainly broader than just endurance racing, even though that shows off a lot of strengths of our engine, like the dynamic weather and track, and the 24 hour cycle. We want to offer a broad spectrum of racing cars, so really anything on 4 wheels that drives on asphalt is in scope. Track wise I think we needed to catch up a bit on our iconic tracks, but now that we have the full “triple crown” in as well as other unique experiences like the Nordschleife, we are looking to broaden the spectrum there, adding tracks across the different continents that cater to the wide range of cars we have planned. Our pipeline currently includes another iconic European track, and we’re also discussing a few other tracks that are related to future esports events. Long overdue is a new “sample track” for the modding community that will come with extensive documentation on how to leverage our new shaders to make tracks that look awesome and are future proof as we continue to evolve the engine. On the car front expect more cars to fill in gaps we still have in our portfolio. We are also still working with our stock car community to bring a huge update that will also see some improvements in our stock car rules plugins. This is the end of part two in this article series. The third and last part will be about the increasing interest for rFactor 2 in esport and how the new UI will improve that side on the platform.

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