In part two of our exclusive ISI/Studio 397 interview we discuss the future licencing of the rF2 engine, how the studio feel the sim is perceived in sim racing, DX11 and what it will mean to players and find out more about an upcoming new rFactor film. If you missed part one you can catch up here, otherwise read of for the conclusion of our interview... RD: How do you feel about the general perception of rFactor 2 in the sim racing marketplace? TW: We've gone through stages with this software where we didn't feel the software was ready to push out to software reviews and things like that. We kind of waited and once it really got to that point it seemed to co-incide with a difficult sales period and that makes you wary of spending money on marketing. I think that's also kind of connected to when people in ISI started to think of the "not rf3" coming in. The biggest failure in rF2 was probably a combination of the initial release method and either bad timing/budgets for marketing that restricted it completely. I don’t blame people for having a perception we haven’t put an awful lot of money or time into correcting. RD: With the partnership now in place, where does that leave you with regards to licensing out the current gMotor engine to other developers, should you wish to do so? TW: Well rFactor 2 nobody from our side wants to licence that out yet. We want to keep rFactor 2 to ourselves (meaning both ISI and Studio 397). With rf1 Gjon and ISI still own that, and that is still a powerful head-start for any company (roughly six years of development). I don't think you would have Ian Bell and Project CARS around without the rF1 engine, you wouldn't have Reiza and you wouldn't have Sector3 either. The cool thing is with each generation Sector3 and Blimey Games have gradually moved away from the rF1 engine and basically rewritten this piece of code and that so its becoming less and less the rf1 engine, in fact Project Cars was almost wholly their engine. But the thing important to remember is they got an estimated six year head start before they even got going using the rf1 engine. It’s still that viable. If you are marketing to the crowd that wants the pretty visuals you could basically take rf1, put the work into the graphics engine and people would not recognise it. If you have enough money to develop, it's actually fairly easy to make a decent profit in a short amount of time if you focus on specific areas. That’s something we need to think more about ourselves now… RD: In layman's terms, what are the new changes that you will see in DX11? TW: The main thing will be increased performance as you can use a lot of the DX11 tricks and tweaks. You also have graphics cards and drivers coming out that now support DX9 less and less. It's getting to be counterproductive because the support for DX9 is actually becoming worse, so you might actually get a better graphics card and get worse framerates on drivers that barely support it. The technology is still valid, but it’s not supported as such and it's at a difficult point where this had to happen really, but it’s the right choice now to move forward. DX11 allows a lot of the effects that people have become accustomed to in titles that they think are more pretty. There are certain limitations that I think you want to put on that when you are in the cockpit especially, but it does allow for post FX for replay modes and things like that that would of probably worked against us in DX9. RD: So it's going to be a more visually attractive affair post upgrade do you think? TW: Yeah, there are lots of different ways having an updated DX is going to help along with updates in other areas. If we don't keep up on the software side eventually you are going to get other titles that will come along with similar enough features that the rest of the product doesn't matter as much. Then it becomes about the visuals and it becomes about the framerate. In many ways, the update to DX11 isn't just about pushing rF2 forwards, its not allowing other people to push it back. RD: With many leagues running rFactor 2 nowadays, does any particular league or type of racing show off the sim in a way you enjoy watching on the internet? TW: Sadly I don't particularly get much time to watch race streams, but when I do it's really very enjoyable. Sometimes it's like watching a real race. I actually wish I could dvr them to skip the yellows like when I watch NASCAR! The main type of racing that obviously rFactor 2 is really suitable for is endurance type events, all of the features like the real road that obviously changes, the tyres and the fact the handling can change during a stint coupled with dynamic real time weather effects work perfectly in endurance racing. I was watching a race from the Virtual Endurance Championship league last season where the first 45 minutes or so when it was raining I was literally tense watching it. Seeing these drivers having to tip toe around the racetrack and occasionally make mistakes that would put them in the pits for an astonishing amount of repair time, and it was the first 45 minutes of a 24 hour race. There is part of me that just felt horrible for these people, but then I just thought to myself that what's just happened to them could happen to everybody else, and that’s how endurance racing really is. It was just a fantastic event in what was really a simulation of real racing, I've been saying this tag line for years now that rf2 is the first racing simulation, everything before it was a physics simulation... RD: On the topic of the Virtual Endurance Championship, you have debuted a sneak peak trailer at this years Sim Racing Expo for a new film following a team, Revolution Racing, competing in the VEC. Can you tell us a little more about this? TW: I'll let Edmund Trevelyan-Johnson, the films director and presenter to explain that bit. ETJ: It is basically at the core a bunch of people who live in different countries and are joined together in a sim racing team competing in an endurance championship. The first person from the team I met was Sam Macdonald and I met him on a league lobby during practice for a GT3 league. I was just looking for a teammate in this league and we got together, we won most of the races together and that was nice. This is pretty much the way I've met most people in the team. I met Miroslav Davidovic who is kind of the hub for the rest of the team. He started the team with Matej Lakota and then as more people came in there is a big forum of people who are constantly interacting with each other on a daily basis. I was interested in this idea from an artistic perspective in terms of you know these people incredibly well but the way you imagine them visually in your mind is your imagination, entirely fictional. I wanted to go and meet them all for the first time in the flesh and see what they were really like and also just the huge variety of lifestyles that they have. For example one of them is a Sargent in their countries military, one is a ski and hand gliding instructor, one is a government employee whilst being a sim racing journalist, it is really about the power of a common purpose regardless of background and desire to join together. A big part of the film is how much we enjoy racing in rFactor2. There are no bells and whistles about it, it doesn't sort of hold your hand, there is no kind of story behind it, it's just a tool, and that's what I want. It's just the ultimate about what a person who wants to be a racing driver can do as an alternative. The film in terms of story, it follows Revolution Racing, who are a team that takes part in a league called the Virtual Endurance Championship, which is pretty much the pinnacle of virtual endurance racing across any sim title, as they prepare for the final round 24 hours of Le Mans race, a mirror of the WEC's Le Mans 24 Hour race. I think you have, or at least definitely the way it's been in Revolution Racing, a complete feeling of equilibrium. The oldest member of the team is Matt Sentell who is almost into his 50's now and the youngest member of the team is Enzo who turned 18 last season and there is no sense of got to put these young guys in their place or anything like that, there is total sense of anyone can give anyone advice and anyone can, if it gets to it, tell anyone off for ruining a race or making a bad decision or something like that. Maybe it comes from not having the image, just having a voice. Can you necessarily tell what a persons age is or what they look like from just hearing them. That's one of the big reasons for what drove me to do the film. TW: For me personally, I'm British, live in the USA, work from home and basically my social interaction is based over the internet most of the time. I have to say that the majority of my oldest friends have actually been people that I've raced against. Through every single point in my life, any difficulties that I've had, it's been the people that I've met through sim racing that have stuck around and are still there. There's people from school, very very few kind of friends that I've kept in contact with that I consider real friends, but the guys that I've met in sim racing, well I've got people on Facebook that I've known since 1996... it's crazy that that's how it is. The kind of things I've been through in my life that these people have supported me through is something that I guess a lot of new sim racers probably don't know. I ran a fairly big sim racing site at one point, the Legends Central site (later Race Sim Central). There was one point in 2001 when I actually moved countries to take a new job and then the job went away. The guy was going bankrupt when he hired me. I'd spent everything getting over to this other country and I ended up being homeless living in a homeless hostel. I went to a library and posted what had happened and basically everyone that was a member of my site, and various other people that were members of other sim racing sites that heard about what happened and collected up enough to basically allow me to start saving towards getting myself out of the homeless hostel and into a rental place. There was even a guy who would call me, text me regularly to check in and see how I was doing. This guy knew me from sim racing, nothing else. His support was valuable to me, and that makes me grateful to be a part of the sim racing community and now to be working for it. Just this total kind of giving attitude that these people had is totally amazing. When I really think back to all the people I've met in real life and online, the ones that really stick around are the ones that I've met online. It's weird but it's true! When the film was proposed to me I didn't tell Edmund, who put this all together, I didn't tell him any of my history or why this would be an interesting story to me, but I can see in these people he met and has connected with the same thing I see in many of my sim racing friends. It struck a chord. I'm aware of the artistic side and didn't want to push him in any direction that I've experienced, I knew that he would have his own experiences which I why I didn't tell him a lot of the stuff I've just told you. When I heard the pitch I contacted Gjon and sent over my usual kind of whiney emails about why I thought we should do it, and he said yes. Essentially I just kind of handed it over to Edmund and Gjon to debate through everything and ever since I've just sat and read the email back and forth while I wait for the film. ETJ: You know, ISI have been supportive as you can possibly want in this kind of situation. Obviously without them it would never have been possible. Tim and Gjon have just kind of escorted me through the whole thing which has been really nice. RD: Have you been surprised to see how much passion and emotion a game such as rf2 can inspire in such very different people from such diverse backgrounds and cultures within this film? TW: I think it's almost the same as a kind of 9-5 job in an office. I feel like I am quoting a Ricky Gervais workplace comedy here, but the person that sits across the desk from you, you actually spend more time awake and alert talking to them than you do with your partner at home. It’s understandable that in sim racing you form a similar relationship. RD: So when can we expect to see the film for ourselves? ETJ: The film is most likely to be released towards the end of 2016 or Q1 2017. We hope you have enjoyed our interview with both Tim Wheatley from ISI/Studio 397 and Edmund Trevelyn-Johnson. Big thanks to both of you for taking the time out of your schedules to sit down with us and conduct this interview. Stay tuned to RaceDepartment for more rFactor 2 news and announcements in the coming days. In addition to the interview with Tim Wheatley, we are due to sit down with Studio 397's Marcel Offermans in the coming days to discuss his plans for the sim. Keep an eye out on the front page for more details in the next few days... RaceDepartment have one of the most vibrant rFactor 2 communities on the internet. Head over to our sub forum to discuss all things rF2 with your fellow fans. Catch up on the latest news, browse our downloads section, or simply take part in one of our epic club and league events. The choice is yours! Have you enjoyed our interview with Tim and Edmund? Looking forward to more details emerging about the new partnership? What excites you most about the future of rF2? Let us know in the comments section below!