Another two weeks and a day gone, and we were pleasantly surprised by the number of interesting questions we got about tracks and their development in rFactor 2! We’ll proceed with this, rotating topics every two weeks from now so we can cover all aspects of the simulation. In two weeks from now our next topic will be (you guessed it) “cars” so get your questions in.
I’ll go first with the track specific questions: What is with those clouds?davehenrie
Are they not fluffy enough for you? 😉 We did a few upgrades to them over the years, but mostly fairly minor stuff. We know there’s better (but also, in terms of rendering, more expensive) technology out there. Horizon Zero Dawn comes to mind, and Guerilla Games have presented on the technology in the past at SigGraph2015 for example. What is important for us is that we stay true to our dynamic weather, so we can’t just pick something that looks good, we also need something we can control and change based on (real or scripted) weather. That’s a big job and one we have not committed too yet.
Do you have plans to implement the graphic improvements of PBR in all the circuits listed on the web https://www.studio-397.com/cars-tracks/#tracks or just some of them?Diego Barjollo
Upgrading some of our older tracks is something we typically do in between bigger track projects when the team has time to do so. Therefore it is unlikely that we will get to all of them soon. Obviously there are also a bunch of tracks on there by partners (Reiza Studios and KartSim) so for those the answer depends on their priorities and timeline. I know that KartSim is continuously improving their content, so I’m hopeful we will see more of those improved over time too.
On the same topic, how about the Reiza tracks, will they get updated, and do you know for when is that scheduled?Diego Barjollo
That really is a question only Renato can answer. I know he’s shown some interest to do so in the past, but I cannot see nor influence his timeline.
Why don’t those originally listed by ISI, such as Montreal and Bathurst, appear on the web?Diego Barjollo
Montreal is so old that we did not ever “port” it over and left it in the ISI workshop. It would need too much work. The same, to a lesser extent, goes for Bathurst. If we had to redo these, we would probably do them from scratch.
Is it possible for rF2 to simulate the fact that it’s raining on one side and not on the other, as it often happens at Nürburgring or Le Mans?Julien Lemoine
It is possible in theory. The weather system allows for “local” weather in a few different areas of a large track. Beyond that this currently has not been implemented though. For Le Mans and the Nordschleife this would certainly make sense though.
One of my friends wanted to modify the track limits in dev mode, which works perfectly, but at the time of the switch to “prod” if I may say so, the track limits were 100x more severe than in dev mode. From 1, do you have the answer why? And finally, wouldn’t it be a good idea to provide a guide for this?Julien Lemoine
It’s hard for me to comment on this beyond saying that obviously the track should behave the same in both. So you might have found a bug or something else might have been going on.
As Alex had confirmed, there is a real problem with the rain, 20% of rain rate corresponds to a borderline storm, are there any plans to adjust this? To allow our dear Jimmi to offer us more races in the rain.Julien Lemoine
The short answer is yes, probably as part of a more generic “wet weather overhaul”. It needs better balancing (physics and graphics).
It was a bug with the overlay with the Nürburgring, it displays the whole map and if it’s the GP, the track map is very small, has this been fixed?Julien Lemoine
I am not sure, but this too sounds like a bug that needs to be reported. We might need to tweak the way we scale the track in this case.
Finally, speaking of the Nürburgring, is there an update planned for the 24-hour version that allows you to cut the last corner and start the timer in qualifying? As in reality.Julien Lemoine
I don’t think that will happen soon as it would need some code changes just for this track, so other more important stuff tends to get prioritized. I’m not arguing it would not be useful.
Is there any way, with how the licensing and track creation is done, to have those tracks that appear in other MSG titles such as NASCAR Ignition, IndyCar, WEC and BTCC added in to rF2?burgesjl
These are two separate questions, really. Licensing content is something that in general, we would like to do for all games in the MSG portfolio. In reality though, that typically is also more expensive and in some cases, like BTCC, specific layouts of certain tracks are included in the BTCC licence. So in the end, every licence negotiation is different, and any track might end up in only a few games. In terms of content, it’s too early to say how this will turn out. Obviously a lot of different technologies are coming together here, with rFactor 2, KartKraft and the first NASCAR game, the latter two using Unreal Engine but in a different way. So we are looking at what can be reused. For some games we also need to keep into account that they must run on consoles, that typically have memory that is a lot more restricted, so some things we can do in rFactor 2 will not work there.
As regards the Competition System – you state it’s not intended to be iRacing. What is it intended to be? Have to tell you, the competitions you have so far are severely, badly lacking. You’ve been asked in every CS Blog for daily, highly frequent series using Taatus F3/F4 and other more basic cars, and you refuse to create them. You need to tell us why.burgesjl
I think you will find us listening to this request and trying something like this for the next week (which we will extend if successful).
Are flags for offline racing part of the track? If so, when can we expect it to function where full course yellows don’t dominate a race?DucMan888
I’m not quite sure I understand this question. Could you please follow up and elaborate?
Have you considered adding more geotopographic information for tracks, like the altitude of tracks which would add some nice options for ambient effects like air pressure to influence the power and reliability of cars (like at Mexico for example) and which could also be linked to other ambient effects that haven’t been unlocked yet like wind, humidity and the ambient and track temperatures?hitm4k3r
The altitude is already a parameter that we set for each track and, from memory, it does influence air density and feeds into physics for aerodynamics and the engine.
How far away are features like fog that are available in devmode but not in the real game. Any chance of getting the proper alignments of stars and the moon based on the TOD and TOY?hitm4k3r
Stars and the moon should already align if the track is setup correctly. Note that each track has a “race date” and that is used (not whatever day today is).
There seems to be a big influx of free roam tracks that are very popular in games like AC have you considered to use procedural terrains to create such free roam tracks like desert highways, alpine passes or tropical islands with coastal routes?hitm4k3r
No, we’re sticking to racetracks and cars mostly. We’ll leave those to the community.
Speaking of community created tracks: have you considered porting some historic tracks from Fat Alfie that are very popular and that would most likely be pretty cheap to licence? Other tracks were ported from other products already, so why not expand in that area?hitm4k3r
We did not. We’ll give that some thought, but in general we have quite a wish list of tracks already and even porting tracks can be a considerable effort.
Any chance we see updates to the historic tracks within rF2 in the foreseeable future with the same treatment as Silverstone, Lime Rock Park and the likes?hitm4k3r
We don’t know yet.
Have you thought of offering track packs like Reiza with each track and their layouts throughout the years, like we have the Imola track pack from Reiza? Tracks like Spa, Monza, Monaco, Nürburgring, Silverstone or Le Mans, that have a rich history would offer great opportunities for something like that.hitm4k3r
We did consider it, but decided against it for now.
Have you thought about something like a forgotten track DLC with tracks like old Brno, Sachsenring or Rouen?hitm4k3r
Not really since most of our focus has been on current tracks that we can laser scan and licence so far. I guess we have been playing catch up in that department and are now getting to a point where we could consider doing some other types of content. It’s being debated internally for sure.
What do you think about something like a track editor similar to Garry’s mod for Half Life or Zeus in ArmA 3, where people would have a few selected objects that they can place in an open world (tyre stacks on a car park for example) to build stuff like Kart tracks on the fly, where people could interact in real time? You could start with “small” worlds and expand the concept if it is popular.hitm4k3r
I think those are great ideas, but probably best implemented (and possibly monetized) by the community. Honestly I don’t see us having the time to build such tools.
I saw that the new Nascar game is bringing wind and dynamic track temperature to the mix, so are those also coming to RF2 official content at the very least in the near future?Nieubermesch
Formally, we are not allowed to comment on new features of games that are not yet released. That said, any new features developed for other games, we will always try to bring back to rF2 too. Ask me again after release!
How high in the priority list is the implementation of a proper damage model to the engine and transmission? Can you give us a rough timeframe?RNeves
The basic damage model for the engine is good. There are a few tweaks we could make such as making engines lose a bit of power over their lifetime, but we have them taking damage on impact and because of abuse (overheating, over revving, etc.). The transmission could use a better damage model, damaging your gearbox if you mis-shift. I remember an implementation in NR2003 where you’d lose gears during a race, sometimes ending a race with only 2 of them left. Whilst that might be a bit over the top, we are considering improvements. I’m not able to give you a timeframe, though.
Are you planning on implementing a more refined damage model? Not only body panels, but suspension components too.RNeves
We have no immediate plans for this. Our physics model can have several parts breaking off already and those affect the car’s handling. We also have suspensions that get bent, and wheels breaking off. Most of those also have a visual component. We might look at visually improving some of those effects.
Are you going to implement in UI a way to override the parameters of the GDB of the track, in order to set up the races? Such as: Add practice sessions and configure the duration and start of every session / The tags related with the unticut code / The pit lane speed limit.lagg
Probably not. There is a system in the RFM files to override certain parameters in the context of a racing series, so we would like to continue to use that going forward. Obviously that raises the question about tooling to create RFM files more easily. That is something we are considering, as well as the option to provide a bunch of reusable series in general (for competition, multiplayer and off-line use).
It was probably answered at the time the track came out, but what was the reason for not scanning the Bugatti track alongside the 24H one?Yoann Kerjean
Licensing and the extra cost for adding that layout.
Personally think that Loch Drummond is a really believable track (even if it’s one of the hardest to master). Do you plan on making some other fictional tracks? If yes, can we send some designs?Yoann Kerjean
Loch Drummond started life as a personal project by Alex if I remember correctly. We’ve had a few similar ones, and I know our artists sometimes release tracks under a pseudonym. Right now, I know at least one other fictional track that is being worked on as a side project, but that’s all I want to say about it now. We have not considered letting the community design a track.
Urban tracks are nice because you can scan them without a licence (I think???). My city has a track called “Circuit des Remparts”, on which Fangio and Trintignant drove in 1950. The track is still in use, every year in September. Are you interested in tracks like this? (which would go well with the older cars we have in game).Yoann Kerjean
Mostly yes, you can scan public roads without a licence. In most countries. There are exceptions though, for example certain landmarks might be restricted (Eiffel Tower in Paris is an example). You still have to be careful with naming and certain temporary changes that are made to public roads. I had to look up this event online. Looks like we would have to contact the owners of this event about the name. To me this sounds more like something the community, or that event themselves, could model themselves. Much like we ended up with the Maastricht track. That was funded locally as well and ended up being the core of a yearly event, Sim Formula Europe (probably a whole different story)!
Regarding the general track quality, I am absolutely thrilled with all official tracks. The only thing that doesn’t match the general quality here is the AI (not always but often) as well as the general “rain quality” (especially regarding rain spray etc.). The AI is still one of the best out there in general from my point of view, but a few minor bugs make the AI feel worse than it actually is, this mainly includes from my point of view: AI always runs hard tires in qualifying / AI drives on some tracks (also original ones) wrong or strange lines / AI behaves strange at different flags (blue and yellow for example) /I think here would be the chance to achieve great effect by relatively small adjustments, this is from my point of view the foundation for the offline championships. So my question on the track topic would be what is the plan regarding the necessary adjustments to the AI?Christian Wolter
We are very much aware of the problems with our AI. We have in fact fixed some issues with them, mostly on ovals, as part of the NASCAR game. Obviously we would like to extend those fixes to road courses and bring that code back to rFactor 2. A timeline for that is hard to give as we have quite a few projects competing for attention at the moment.
With many of the tracks already in sim, I think it would be really nice to develop historic variants such as the old ‘Bus Stop’ chicane version of Spa, older Silverstone layouts and of course the various Monza goodies and bankings, amongst others. We don’t really see much of this from rF2 – why is that, and I suppose the second part of my question is, do we have any potential to bring alternative versions in the future?SiC58
One part of the answer is those versions we can’t laser scan, so they would be of a slightly lesser accuracy. That’s not the end of the world though. The other part is that historic versions, done right, are much more work than just changing a few turns and chicanes. You have to insert period-correct track side objects too, and since those are most of the work of building tracks, these projects end up much bigger than you might initially think.
I appreciate you have rightly been going after big track licences lately (Spa, Monza, Nords, Sebring etc), however a wealth of really amazing lesser known tracks are in existence and would be great to see in the sim – can we expect smaller profile venues in future?SiC58
We’re getting quite a few of those questions. We did a few lesser known ones (starting with NOLA motorsport part, including Zandvoort that then became an F1 venue) so we will definitely consider some. As long as a track can be used by many classes, it is interesting. That said, there are so many tracks we could do that we will probably never get to making all your favourite ones. We hope the modding community will help fill in the gaps!
Also on tracks, North America and Australia are really underrepresented in rF2, and generally in sim racing – any prospect of these regions getting any love from Studio 397 at all in the near future please?SiC58
We have about 15 tracks out of 40 that are not in Europe, and four of the remaining 25 are fantasy locations, so roughly half of our tracks are indeed European. That’s not even that bad, considering well over 60% of our sales are in Europe. So our “bias” towards that is less than what you would do based on sales. That said, there are certainly quite a few nice tracks in different parts of the world that we would love to add. We are working on one right now!
If you are going to build new tracks, will it be Macau, Jerez or Long Beach?juanchioooo
We have a couple of new tracks in production right now, but they are not these three.
In terms of track development, roughly speaking, how long does it take the studio to build a new track from receipt of the laserscan data (for example, an average sized F1 venue).Marco
As an average we’re talking about roughly three months. That said we typically work in parallel on more than one track.
Looking at the old ISI 3PA tracks, why has this initiative been abandoned in recent years, and additionally, can you foresee these old tracks ever being updated, or probably more likely being licenced and built from scratch by Studio 397?Marco
We abandoned 3PA as we wanted to do properly licensed tracks and from a technical point of view we wanted more control over the whole content creation pipeline. For a lot of these tracks, we either don’t have all the proper sources or our track team has stated that they would have to redo them from scratch anyway. So your last question is probably where we would end up with those.
I would really like to see more diversity in the trackside signage, as seeing a lot of S397 / rF2 / Traxion logos really breaks immersion for me. Do you think we could get to a place where either modders could add their own signage (without breaking online compatibility), or if the tracks could ship with some more realistic looking but fake sponsorship signs?Marco
A lot of tracks limit what we can and cannot do in terms of signage, so allowing everybody to add their own sponsors is not very high on our list.
Loving these recent PBR updates – go on, tell us which track is next on the list to be updated…Yuri Shelkon
I don’t know yet. As explained earlier these are things we do in between bigger projects. At the same time we have seen a few other smaller projects come in to create updates with special advertising for series like Le Mans Virtual. So currently there is no update in progress. I am sure that will come though.
Not really on topic, but thank you for doing these blog posts, it is great to see S397 communicating so openly with the community, and I’m sure I speak for a lot of people when I say we really appreciate it!Yuri Shelkon
You are welcome. We always try to be as open as we can, given the limitations we have because of NDAs and other contracts.
Is it possible to have separated graphics options saved for each track to maximize graphics quality for each one in the future? Like the car specific FFB settings for example.Balazs Magyar
That’s an interesting idea. We’ll give that some more thought.
When you give the race with the sign “+” or “-” you can go up to the cars of other drivers live, but in VR only if there is an odd number of drivers on the server, you can go up to all the cars, this It is so easy to change when the code is modified, could you please enable it so that in Virtual Reality we can get into any car? Thank you so much.juanchioooo
This bug is unfortunately still in our bug database and has not been solved yet.
Alongside the Windscreen Rain effects announced on the last roadmap, any chance to see updates to the “track particles” like grass or gravel in the future?L0P3X
Possibly. That’s all I can reveal right now (and that’s a hint).
Are you planning to upgrade grass and gravel, in terms of not being forgiving like it is right now? Right now you can cut on grass or gravel and run wide on so many tracks, which is faster, but you don’t get any real punishment for doing that. eg. getting a bigger slow down on gravel or losing traction on grass.Mario Tump
I interpret this question mostly as a question about “cutting the track and gaining an advantage”. So we try to punish people by giving them penalties if they repeatedly do this. Can our system be even better? I’m sure it can! I don’t think our grip levels and bumpiness are that far off on these materials.
In the current “Real Road Shader”, marble and rubber are reproduced, but sand and grass rolled up from the side of the course are not piled up on the road surface. Does S397 have any plans to update the Real Road Shader so that the sand and grass that are rolled up on the road are piled up?I_Bellett
That might not be as easy as we would need to keep track of more different types of buildup, which puts more strain on our networking. Given that our worst case here is Nordschleife we would have to make sure we design something that works there as well.
Is it possible to apply the system of showing yellow flags when there is a crash or a stopped car in the section between Marshal A and Marshal B, to show oil flags when certain sections become slippery?I_Bellett
I’m wondering under what conditions we would show the oil flags? Maybe you want to follow up on that.
Are altitude, humidity and wind working?I_Bellett
Wind is not. The other two, see above (yes).
Even on wet roads, I think there is a problem that the line on which the rubber is on is faster. Does S397 considering improving this?I_Bellett
That’s still on our list, yes, we know the grip levels on rubbered-in lines is not correct in wet conditions.
As weather providers are pretty accurate and real time nowadays what about adding a “Real Weather” functionality depending on the tracks location?Kevin Karas
There are plugins that do this already. We have considered adding such a feature natively.
Automobilista 2 has an awesome feature of allowing players to select a custom event date, and the track presenting the appropriate time of year changes like leaves on trees etc, is incredibly cool and immersive – plus adds a significant visual differentiation to the various tracks. Do you foresee something like this for rFactor 2?Ben Lotts
I admit it’s a very nice feature. I’m not sure if we’ll get to this soon for rFactor 2.
On the same sort of topic as above, AMS 2 also allows players to choose weather scenarios based on historic weather data – so essentially you can replicate weather conditions from any time / date in history. Would love to see that in rFactor 2 – do you have a desire or plan to bring something similar into the software?Ben Lotts
You have to set those conditions yourself in rFactor 2. We don’t have plans to add a historic weather database. Maybe if some external provider can give us that we’ll consider it though.
Tracks = content. What are you planning in order to better represent your DLCs in the steam store? Bought items are not marked, newer tracks cost the same as ancient ones, quality differs hugely, no mentioned “last major update date” etc. The community is asking for a better store experience for many years now. It would certainly help a lot with sales also.Kevin Karas
So what are we doing? First, since the item store mechanism we use was actually recommended to us by Valve as the best system given our requirements, we have since been asking them to help us improve this system. The most important thing we need them to change is to flag certain items as “things you can only have one of”. If they have such a concept, then they can figure out what you already own, and they could allow bundles (packs) that let you buy only what is missing. What we could do on our side is implement our own storefront. We might even be able to do that and provide you with some missing information (such as what you already own). Remember that in the competition system, we do have a feature that will figure out what content is missing and what the cheapest way is to buy that (combining bundles and/or single items) and putting it in your basket. We can build on that, but we would also really need Valve to help us with the above.
Are you guys going to implement any “clutch engaged” option? As it is now there is no clutch option for the h pattern shifter cars, which means that can change gear without pressing the clutch (I know there is a tweak bout that but i was talking about a native solution)Haris1977
This is certainly an interesting topic, and I would argue that to get to a significantly better implementation we would need to have a combination of hardware and software support. Current H shifters cannot block gear shifts based on signals they get from the software, so even if we would block a shift in software (because you did not use the clutch or whatever) the hardware would still allow you to make the shift. That could get weird really quickly. So for now we did not make any improvements yet.
Do you plan something like “initial track dampness (percentage)” in session settings in the future? It’d be great to have a (somewhat) wet track without rain at the start of a session.Balazs Magyar
Your best bet right now is to create and load a custom real road (rubber) file that has some water on the track already.
Internals Plugin documentation says, the rain intensity can be diversified by inserting different values in the 3×3 matrix. However, it is also written, the middle node is working. Any chances of updating that?Paweł Andrzejewski
A similar question was asked above. We might, we have not decided yet.
Is track temperature being simulated right now? And is it affecting how tires perform?Paweł Andrzejewski
Not all aspects, no.
Turkish GP had shown how humidity can affect track evolution. There was little to no rain (drizzles reported) and due to 95% humidity, drivers didn’t get a chance of utilizing slicks. Any chance of seeing that in rF2 in some time?Paweł Andrzejewski
Partially we have that. How quickly the track dries depends on the temperature, so on a warm and sunny day it will dry quicker than a cold and overcast day. We could add more detail for sure here based on other weather conditions, such as humidity and wind.
Which tracks from the legacy group like Malaysia, Sao Paulo, Brianza, Monte Carlo etc. are likely to be updated to current standards?Paweł Andrzejewski
I think you roughly ordered them by likeliness already (probably by coincidence).
Is 3PA programme shut down?Paweł Andrzejewski
We never really had one at Studio 397. This was only with ISI. So yes.
We had seen Alpine seasons, now there has been a ByKolles released with team supported physics, so it can be considered as an official content. Have you considered creating some public pack of standards and rules that a content needs to meet so it will be considered as worthy of use in the competition system?Paweł Andrzejewski
We might, we are still looking at the possibilities.