By John Bayley – Product Development…
It would seem the majority of our email lately indicates that there are a lot of people out there excited about, and wondering how we arrived at (or returned to) ‘mixed class racing’, the rF modeling process, and how all this will apply to those wanting to create MOD’s for rF. If we’re going to talk vehicles, tracks, or any form of modeling, Brad is definitely the go-to guy.
Why choose mixed class road racing as the first product for rF?
Mixed class road racing was not a difficult decision for us. We have all been in love with that form of racing ever since we worked on Sports Car GT released back in 1999. It was inevitable that we would some day get back to this form of racing sim and we could not be happier then to be returning to it with rFactor.
One of the most exciting aspects to the mixed class racing appears in Multiplayer. Not only can you enter the race with whatever vehicle you choose, but you can also set up which vehicles the AI will drive. So you can set up a race with the diversity of all the vehicles you have installed or just a very specific subset thru our filtering system. This has been really fun for us here at ISI as we can easily add competitive AI or just a few back markers with slower vehicles.
What is the development process for making vehicles and tracks in rF?
Creating the assets of rFactor is somewhat different than previous products . Since we are designing all the vehicles and tracks from scratch we spend less time researching the specific details in every centimeter of the tracks or vehicles and more time testing them to make sure they feel realistic and are both fun and challenging.
Most of the early work that goes into the tracks is making sure it feels right. We test the tracks exhaustively to ensure the vehicle handles well over the bumps, thru the turns, gets up to just the right speeds, and performs in the way you would expect from what you see if front of you. We have spent allot of time adding in bumps, banking, elevation, and even some hazards to the track surface. Once we are happy with the road surface we move on to the outside geometry. We feel this is sometimes just as important. Allot of drama can be added to a turn or suspense in the straights by what is surrounding the track. In most cases the turns are not as difficult as they first look or feel. Most of this visual deception is due to the placement of walls, trees, and other objects. It is really important to us to use all parts of the track to give the racer the most intense experience we can.
As for the vehicles, we start out by designing it so that it fits the type of vehicle we need next. In the beginning, we create spline models of the vehicle. These are later use for shading. We tweak them for size and shape, and then divide them up for parts and upgrades.
What would you say to those people out there interested in modeling circuits for your sim?
Dive in! The technology in rFactor is the best that we have ever had a chance to work with. It opens up new possibilities and allows us to flex our creativity. Although with the power comes added complexity. The new pixel shaders and lighting means all new options to wrestle with, but the results you can achieve are well worth it. I think that modeling in rFactor is a large leap forward for the mod community and we are very excited about this aspect.