Assetto Corsa – Stefano Casillo Q&A
Avid sim racer Dzidza1978 recently had the chance to ask Kunos Simulazioni’s Stefano Casillo about their upcoming Assetto Corsa simulation.
Dzidza1978 made great use of the opportunity as instead of asking the common questions often asked in magazine articles, his questions go into detail on particular features such as damage, car customization, number of cars in multiplayer, AI development and much more.
How extensive will the damage systems be?
Mechanical damage is easy to implement and it will be there. The hard part is to find the right balance between damage model and playability. It’s quite easy to say “if you treat the gearbox poorly it will break” but finding the mathematical definition for “treat poorly” is difficult and there’s always the risk of wasting time on a feature that nobody will see (eg, damage that isn’t obvious) or end up with races full of DNFs if you if make it too extreme. As with most other features in Assetto Corsa, they will be in the public version only if we are 100% confident they work and they improve the experience.
Will there be any form of car customization?
Our physics developer, Aris Vasilakos, loves this stuff. We have spoken about it and came up with a plan but, again, we’re back into “when it’s done” territory.
Will there be any form of event editor? Perhaps even a tool for creating online tournaments?
Oh surely not. That’s what we consider the community’s responsibility. There is no way we could develop the game and these kinds of management systems simultaneously. Our plan is to output/export as much data as possible from the server to allow third-parties to manage their own leagues.
Will Assetto Corsa be available for the next-gen consoles?
I would love it to be, but to get on the consoles you need to be backed by a publisher and we don’t currently have one, nor are we actively looking for one.
What do you think is your advantage compared to other racing games?
I have no idea. We do things our way. If we have any advantage, I’d like to hear that from the users. We go 200% to do our best work at any stage of development. That’s all we can do.
Is there a limit to the number of cars in multiplayer?
There is no hard-coded number like we had in netKar Pro. The practical number will be something to discover once the game is out.
Will there be dedicated servers or the possibility of renting dedicated servers?
Our company is not structured to provide that kind of service so the system will be identical to what we had in netKar Pro.
Do you have any plans to port netKar Pro tracks to Assetto Corsa?
We don’t have plans for that. I’d rather have the team work on new content than convert stuff from a 2006 simulator. I think running at Aviano with netKar Pro graphics when you can run at Monza with Assetto Corsa graphics is quite a silly idea. However, Trento Bondone is so well loved that we could plan to add it as bonus track, even if we are totally focused on the new laser-scanned tracks.
How have you approached AI development given that this is the first time you have included it.
As we approach everything else; by experimenting and finding what works and what doesn’t. I am working with a young programmer and we sort of split the early development. I went for a more traditional and dedicated approach to race AI and he went for a more university research approach with neural networks and all that cool stuff. In the end, my code path was the winner so we went with a more traditional approach, but our AI isn’t going to start WW3 or hijack a spaceship.
Will data telemetry apps be available for the Windows Phone platform?
I don’t know, though if we don’t release it, we’ll provide the necessary information to let the community code it for themselves.
Is the cost-per-track higher for laser-scanned tracks compared to traditional modeling?
The cost of laser-scanning does add up, but the development is much more linear and predictable because there is no need to argue about how steep a hill might be, how bumpy certain corners are, or how wide a particular track is. The scan is the unquestionable final word to all these doubts.
Can we expect official DLC besides what that the modding community might offer?
We have more content licenses than we can produce right now so I think additional content from us is a very strong possibility in the future.
Will Assetto Corsa have features such as manually starting the car?
At the moment we don’t have those features and nobody in the team seems to miss them.
What are the main obstacles when modeling tires?
The main obstacle is that nobody understands what’s going on and nobody seems to be able to figure out a consistent and reliable way to test them, so they remain pretty much a black art.