rFactor 2 – Q&A & New Mores Previews
Image Space Incorporated has released an extensive developer Q&A, addressing various aspects of the simulation such as modding, multiplayer, content & more.
Q: Which of the implemented features will be improved, and how?
A: Limiting scope of the implemented features to non-trivial ones, I (Jeremy) cannot think of one area in the simulation we are 100% satisfied with. We are always improving existing features.
Q: Which features are planned, but waiting for the future to be implemented? How is the priority working for completing existing versus developing new?
A: Priority is not the only indicator when deriving a schedule of work. Complexity of the feature is a more indicative metric when estimating completion dates. In most cases, this makes estimation of completion difficult, as you only really know how long something will take once you are deep into execution. Mistakes in estimation happen when you are forced to give one earlier. At this time, we would prefer not to make public a specific set of planned features, except those answered in other questions.
Q: Will we get more Dev examples of files, with explanation of each line to aid customization of the files?
A: Yes, you should see gradually updated guides, more examples, etc. However, modding will never be for everyone. There will always be some barriers, whether it is purchase of software required to mod, or the expense of time. Hopefully, eventually, documentation won’t be the limiting factor.
Q: With regard to offline play, the ability to edit these files, and control the format of a race weekend is essential. Will this be made easier?
A: Actually this is something I (Tim) recently whined to the developers about myself. I’ve become more of an offline racer than online lately, and it is currently difficult to make yourself a carset to race against… I’m hoping!
Q: There are people still saying they would have to update too much to release mods now… If true, when do you think it will be ready? And what is the main reasons they would think like this?
A: I (Tim) don’t really think it is true now, or ever was completely. Compared with the effort of making a mod – at all – the work involved from build to build, was nothing. Modders always had the option to update for any changes at their own pace, the main problem I saw was impatience among others for mod work to be done.
I think the greater issue was the difference between rFactor and rFactor 2. The difference in quality you see between the first tracks we made ourselves, and the latest, is a good example. Belgium was built for what more closely resembled rFactor than rFactor 2. We took time to refine our own techniques as the product evolved, and they would have had to do the same if they started when we did. Although for quite some time it’s been fairly static in ways which would affect them. Building from scratch is really going to give the quality required now by rFactor 2, and this takes time… Though I think there’s already a lot more content for rF2 at this point than rF1 had.
Q: Given the professional quality of ISI developed licensed content and the realism that brings to your product, is the time and effort invested to support open modding in rF2 still considered a worthwhile endeavor?
A: Absolutely. While it is important for the product to have an established set of content for both marketing and user enjoyment, extended usage will likely come from the new content released by both ISI and by modders over the coming years.
Q: Will there be a hinge support? (Opening hoods, doors, roof flaps…)
A: We are currently adding an optional new constraint system that could handle these. But presumably you’d want some trigger to break the hoods and doors open, and aerodynamics for the roof flap, and that part is not high priority.
Q: Will there be support for solid front axle?
A: In working on the new constraint system, that possibility occurred to us. Although it’s still not high priority (higher than flapping hoods and doors, though!) It’s a little bit of work – what car do you want to use it for?
Q: The collision physics are not quite ready for league racing at a top level yet. Is this high on the priority list?
Q: Are there plans to add further control such as success ballast, reverse grids, multiple races in an event?
A: There is already ballast, the ability to reverse grids, and the ability to run multiple races, so I presume you mean adding some sort of automated means to do so. We would like to, but will probably try to shift control of those things to plugins, since there are an infinite number of ways to run a weekend.
Q: When will rF2 be league ready at high level. Where is it on priority list?
A: Quite high. But there’s little stopping a league from using rFactor 2 right now. I can’t think of much you can do in rFactor that rFactor 2 doesn’t yet do as well or nearly so…
Q: Will ISI host a server(s) in the future?
A: We do have a server hosted by NRT, but mostly use it for testing (it’s useful to have an external system as well as internals). We will use it for special events at some point. Other servers of our own are all required for testing full-time right now. Perhaps if the type of development we focus on ever changes.
Q: Any plans to improve lobby view? I would like to see server settings before I enter the server.
Q: Will we get the shorter club track for Mills?
Q: Are there any big plans for further AI improvements that you can tell us about?
A: Work on the AI is continuous. Each new class of car and track combination exposes quirks and limitations in the system that are then improved upon.
Q: When can we expect the AI to pit as they should to react to changing conditions (weather, damage, tire wear)?
A: The AI do pit when damaged or have excessive tire wear (if not, it’s largely a mod issue, or perhaps you are using more fuel or tire due to driving style than you should be). We’re waiting on predictive weather functions to fully implement AI pitting in response to weather conditions.
Q: Any internal talks about DX11 in the future ? Is the move to DX11 much to complex?
A: It’s not about complexity, it is about benefit. There isn’t enough benefit to using it right now, though that does not mean there won’t be benefit going forward (though that might be with DX12, DX13, etc).
Q: Will headlights ever cast shadows? Will lights be improved generally?
A: There are no current plans for headlights to cast shadows. I (Joe) don’t know which aspects of the lights you feel need to be improved – spotlights, omnis, which specific problem? I made some improvements to omni blending with scene lighting in HDR mode recently. As always, improvements are ongoing…
Q: Are replay animations (axle/suspension movement) going to improve?
A: If you’re talking about better tie-in with physics, there are some future plans.
Q: Is a real 4 core support (quad core) planned?
A: Like most of these kind of things, we need there to be more reasons to do it than there currently are. We can’t say no, for sure.
Q: Is 64bit support ever likely to happen?
A: We’ve made some progress in this area, but it’s certainly not ready for primetime. I’d say there’s definitely a chance of it happening.
Q: Do ISI acknowledge that there is a problem with running and pop up shadows (and some wet weather road reflections, I think) and when can we expect it fixed?
A: Shadows are continuously being optimized and improved, you should see some benefits in the next update.
Q: In rF1 you could turn the real mirrors off and use only virtual mirrors. This resulted in a significant FPS gain. If I turn the mirrors off in rF2, I gain 20% more FPS. This, to me, is huge. Can we do the same in rF2?
A: Turning off mirrors is not the same as using virtual mirrors, don’t expect the same result. However, we will see about adding the option you’re requesting.
Q: What are the plans on the performance side? Can we hope for improvements?
A: We’re always working. Yes.
Q: Any plans to have proper support for Triplescreen? (angle, distance, bezel etc…)
A: Yes. I (Joe) am currently working on a complete setup for triple screen including arbitrary angles between screens, bezel correction, and proper FOV based on distance to screens.
Q: Can we expect some improvement in the tyre physics? How are the development priorities for tyre physics?
A: Yes. Medium (currently behind new constraint system, multiplayer collision, and improved driveline).
Q: Are the wet weather physics completed for all tyres in all conditions? If not, when will they be?
A: No. Code needs aquaplaning, then the tire files would likely need updating.
Q: Is the contact patch still not simulated properly? If not, when will it be?
A: There are many different levels of simulation. The contact patch is simulated properly, but it could be simulated even better. That is also medium priority.
Q: What improvements are planned for the clutch and gearbox to make manual gear changing more relevant? Will there be a realistic starter?
A: There’s a fairly high-priority task to improve the driveline model. Personally I (Terence) don’t see much need for a starter that is more realistic at this time, so I would consider that part pretty low priority.
Q: Will it ever be possible to drag dirt or gravel onto the track from off course?
A: Doesn’t seem that likely at this point.
Q: Will there ever be tire damage from crash debris?
A: That is in future plans, can’t guarantee it will happen soon though.
Q: Will an offline championship mode be included?
A: It is unlikely. But we may eventually do something similar using stat collection, which may replicate the functionality, and possibly expand it.
Q: Will the plugin delay bug be ever sorted?
A: This is not a bug, it is a design choice and is unlikely to change.
Q: Will tracks ever frost or ice over?
A: There is some tech in the current code that could handle that, but to complete it would be significantly more work which would see limited benefit. I (Terence) don’t find this likely.
Q: Will track loading times be improved?
A: Probably not. This is heavily dependent on your system, and is shorter after you’ve loaded a track once before.
Q: Will there ever be support for point to point races? With multiple pits along the way?
A: The first part has been suggested repeatedly, and we may be able to do something. The second part hasn’t been mentioned to me, so I (Terence) haven’t even thought about it.
Q: Will weather ever be truly random? We currently know roughly when it is going to change by how we setup.
A: A medium priority task is to do exactly that. I (Terence) would really like a nice fully random weather system, as well as an option for “hot lap” weather – a mode where the weather including RealRoad is consistent for hot lap competitions.
Q: Will the “Weather Tool” program (by Gerald Jacobson) be integrated into the race menu options?
A: Probably not.
Q: Are there any plans to introduce proper surround sound support?
Q: Any plans to allow choice of Sound Output Device?
A: Not at this time, but a good idea.
Q: I really enjoyed the developer interview you did with Terence Groening. Will you be doing anymore of these?
A: We’d really like to, and will as time permits. We try to disrupt the developers daily schedule as little as possible, and leave them to work on the product most of the time.
Q: You said you would not market it until you think it’s ready. Can you give us an idea on things you would like completed?
A: Getting all the cars out as individual files, and the cars/tracks unconnected to each other was a big issue for me to wait for, and I (Tim) have been much more outwardly communicative since that happened. Right now I have little issue with marketing the product more openly.
The main issue is using content already available doesn’t really work very well… So you’ll see newer content being used for this as we go forward. Upcoming licenses we will be working more closely with the manufacturers and owners. Older content, we need to try to use more effectively, by organizing special events, etc. We can’t really announce them again now and expect a big ‘hurrah’.
Q: Has hiring the new staff helped get things back on track?
A: It has been great to see new staff, but Gjon would say we were never off track to begin with. While there were expectations both inside and outside the company of every kind, Gjon always maintains a calm approach to development. We’re building a product that people want, that we want, not what we can squeeze into a set schedule.
Staffing (in terms of their work ethic and ability) at ISI is one of the things that really impressed me when I (Tim) joined the company. Few companies are run this well.
Alongside the Q&A, ISI has also released a new preview of the Autodromo di Mores that is due to be released quite soon.
Located on the Italian Island of Sardinia, the track was opened in 2003 and mainly hosts club-level racing and track days. The rFactor 2 version will feature three layouts, the longest of which is 3 kilometers in length.