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Featured Racecraft: Developer Q&A Part 1

Discussion in 'Racecraft' started by Paul Jeffrey, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    Sim Racing News Editor Staff Premium Member

    Racecraft RD QA July 2016 1.png
    RaceDepartment recently gave our readers the opportunity to ask some questions directly to the people behind new "Procedural Racing Experience" title Racecraft, and now its time to hear what the studio have to say...

    In line with our other recent interviews, we have structured this article in a traditional Question and Answer format. Beginning with a few of our now traditional informal questions we will then move on to the topics the community really want us to cover. Due to the number of questions asked by our community members we are going to spread the replies over two separate posts. We hope you enjoy part one below....

    RD: Hello, thank you for taking the time to chat to us at RaceDepartment today. As a little introduction, please can you tell the readers who you are and what you do over at Vae Victis Games?

    LG: My name is Luca Garattoni (LG), I’m one of the co-founders of Vae Victis. I’m the CTO, but also the game designer here.

    RD: Thanks for that. In the tradition of our recent Q&A sessions I'd like to start off with a few less serious questions before we dig into the juicy stuff provided by our community members if I may. So first question, what road car do you use on a day to day basis, and why?

    LG: I had a Renault Megane 1.9 TD, but unfortunately two years ago my driving licence was suspended for speeding, I will receive it back in October, so I can go back driving again, and go slower...

    RD: Have you ever raced a real car on a real track, and if so, what car / track / series and how did it feel? What did you enjoy the most?

    LG: I raced on 125cc karts for several years and I also attended motorsport school in Misano, where I drove a BMW M3. I really enjoyed both of these experiences and I’d like to repeat them as soon as I can.

    RD: Ok, now one that might get the team arguing a bit... who's the quickest virtual racer over at Vae Victis?

    LG: It’s me! I was a former pro-racer on iRacing, then my time since 2007 has been almost totally vacuumed by game development.

    RD: While we are on the virtual subject, can you share with us your greatest sim racing moment? Either as a player or in a professional capacity?

    LG: In 2005, playing Nascar 2003. It was the NROS, the major Italian league at the time. I raced 25 pre-seson races without making a single mistake, so I stepped forward to the national Nextel.

    RD: How do you rate the current crop of virtual drivers in sim racing?

    LG: I raced against Greger Huttu in a few races. I consider him a real myth!

    RD: When not hard at work developing Racecraft, or indeed indulging in other sim racing activities, what other genre game fills up your free time... if you have any free time that is!

    LG: In what remains of my free time, I enjoy VR games, space simulations and sandbox products. These are the genres I love the most, apart from racing, of course.

    RD: Many folks I suppose know of your studio from other titles such as Victory: The Age of Racing. How did Vae Victis form, how long have you been running and how many people do you have on board so far for development of Racecraft?

    LG: Vae Victis has been founded in 2007, so it’s nine years the studio is alive and kicking! We are a very small team and producing a game so technologically complex as Racecraft is a really massive undertaking for us.

    RD: Procedural technology in a racing game is fairly new thinking, how did the decision to do this with Racecraft come to the studio? Was it always the intention to go this direction after Victory or was it a chance occurrence?

    LG: We are convinced procedural generation could be the future for racing games. We are absolutely not taking real tracks out of the equation, because they are a staple in sim racing and they will always be there, but we think the possibility of creating endless different racing situations is perfect for eSports.

    RD: Ok, now for something a little bit new... we recently opened up this Q&A to allow community members a chance to ask some questions of their own. We had a great response, and I firstly want to thank you for your kind generosity in offering up some free Beta keys of your game to lucky participants who responded to the Q&A. These have been passed out now to three lucky winners and I'm sure they are enjoying the game. But it leaves you with lots of questions to answer! So, in no particular order and with minimal editing, here you go!

    LG: I hope they’re enjoying that too! If you have feedbacks, we would be really happy to hear them!

    RD: "why should I buy Racecraft"

    LG: Because it’s a really fresh take on the racing genre, with a really cool feature such as procedural track generation and other new elements such as the crafting and the sandbox-style gameplay.

    RD: With procedural tracks already working, are there plans to let users generate a track then manually edit it as they see fit?

    LG: The track editor is on our to do list, but we will start working on it only when the game is completed. We would like to do that earlier, but as said, we’re a really small team, so we’d like to focus first on the main features, then on all the rest.

    RD: Will we see Steam Workshop integration so we could share tracks for potential use in club races, leagues, etc

    LG: Yes, Steam Workshop integration is on the cards and we’ll give the people the chance to share the tracks they create, but also car liveries, crafting templates and other contents.

    RD: Will we see any official licenced content in game, either cars or tracks?

    LG: We have a procedural generation engine for tracks, so it wouldn’t make sense to add official licenced tracks to the game. At the moment we also don’t have plans to add licenced cars, but we wouldn’t take it completely out of the equation. It all depends on how the game will perform and how our audience will react to the concept of “class” we are introducing with the game.

    RD: Are you planning on having dynamically shifting tracks where some corners or segments of the track change with each lap? If yes to the above, what sort of technical challenge would this present?

    LG: This is a feature we thought about for lots of time, because an Endurance mode with a progressively changing track would be incredibly fun. Unfortunately, the technological hurdles to make that real are too high for a team like ours, because it would require an awful lot of R&D and our focus should be more on the game than everything else at the moment.

    RD: Are there different times of day to choose from and/or weather conditions?

    LG: Yeah, it’s already possible to choose if you want to race during the morning, the afternoon or the dusk. In a few weeks we’ll also introduce night conditions. We’ll have different grip levels for the track surface depending on the temperature and the weather conditions.

    Racecraft RD QA July 2016 5.png

    RD: How moddable will the game be, if any? Skinning (liveries) plus auto download for all on track would be cool. Concerned people (explicit) could tick box to not receive custom liveries (stock setting). But its cool to see your own car paint design.

    LG: We know modding is really important for PC gamers, but we have a different approach. Our goal would be providing our virtual racers all the tools they need to create their custom liveries and upload them on Steam Workshop and on our servers, so everyone participating to a race can automatically download them. While we work on this system, however, we’ll probably allow users to create their own special custom livery through external software and apply it to their car.
    We also already introduced the first version of our paint system in one of our latest updates, so players can already customize their car (switching templates, colors and sponsors) and upload their liveries to our servers.

    RD: So, you’re saying modders won’t be able to add cars to the game, just new liveries...?

    LG: One of the big differences between Racecraft and the other racing games is that, because of crafting, each car is not a simple car, but a CLASS, with with tens of different physical properties and parts connected to the crafting and the paint system. As in a RPG, where you usually just have a handful of classes, but with your skills and your experience, you could literally create characters so different from one another.

    RD: Are there more than the typical race mode planned? Practice, time attack etc (to improve your driving)?

    LG: We will have all the typical modes you may expect in a racing game. We’ll soon introduce a campaign mode similar to Trackmania based on user-created tracks. We’d like to offer a different campaign each month, but we’ll see how players will react to this. An Hotlap Endurance Mode is also on our list and this is something you usually don’t see in other racing games. Talking about multiplayer, apart from the classic game modes, our final goal is building a real and fun strategic session where you have pit-stops, strategy changes and all things happening in a real race weekend.

    RD: What were the main lessons that the studio have learnt from their previous games (mainly Victory: Age of Racing) that have made their way into Racecraft? Is one of those lessons the fact that instead of a free to play distributed game, Racecraft is now being sold at a price instead?

    LG: Well, Victory was born in 2009 as a free to play game, then our publisher collapsed, so we tried to relaunch that as a paid game on Steam. Unfortunately, we did so many mistakes because of our lack of experience and we understood that free to play can work only if you have an incredibly huge user base. This is the reason why we went for the classic premium paid route with Racecraft. However, we are also thinking, when the game will leave Early Access, to release a feature-limited free client focused on eSports racing, so we can grow our user base and let many people as possible try Racecraft and maybe, if they like it, buy the full game.

    Victory also allowed us to grow as a studio, to improve our development pipeline and helped us understand we should concentrate first on the core features than on the details.

    Racecraft RD QA July 2016 4.png

    RD: So the game has this incredibly high replay ability value thanks to infinite tracks and custom cars but given the flat somewhat plain nature of the tracks, what reason will we be given to keep coming back? In victory I loved the missions system that encourage players to keep complete races cleanly and not rage quit. but this system allowed us to spend money on performance enhancing and cosmetic upgrades. Will we see a similar system in Racecraft? and how will you ensure balance so that new players (or players with less time) don't get left behind as was happening in victory? (it can be discouraging to start out a new game and have everyone else has much better equipment than you)?

    LG: In terms of replay value, players will have lots of things to do. You will have daily, weekly and monthly events, year long leagues and many game modes, both single and multiplayer. I think campaigns will also have great replay value and eSports tournaments with sponsored prizes will engage players. Racecraft will also take advantage of Steam social features and allow sharing of tracks, liveries and all user-created contents.

    Victory was a free to play game, so its upgrade system was built as you should do in F2P games to encourage people to spend real money. Racecraft is not that game. All players will start from the same level and will have access to the same group of parts so, only your driving and crafting skills will matter when racing against other people. We are still debating on introducing a point system, but if we’re going to do that, it will only be for cosmetic upgrades such as nicer liveries or helmets, which have absolutely no effect on your performances.

    RD: Will there be a multiplayer races with collision model ?

    LG: Of course they will!

    RD: Are we likely to see other styles of racing car, such as GT3 and Touring car appear in game?

    LG: We will introduce, of course, a few other car classes during the development. What I can say at the moment is they will belong to the close-wheel category, so probably GT and Touring cars fan will have what they like.

    RD: Rally seems to be the car class of choice in a game with procedurally generated tracks, what chances of seeing a rally option and/or a rally version of the game using the same kind of procedural technology?

    LG: We had thought about it during the concept phase, but we decided to go along the track racing route. It could be the idea to follow for a second Racecraft. Everything will depend on how Racecraft will perform when the moment comes. But we’d really love to develop a rally game with procedural technology.

    RD: which maybe game-changing feature would you love to include, but are currently not able to do so due to technical restrictions of the latest machines?

    LG: There are two features we’d really love to include in the game: progressively changing tracks, as I was saying before, and a realistic damage model (Wreckfest-style, if you know what I mean). Unfortunately, what is limiting us are not technical restrictions, but just time and money, because we are a very small team and at the moment we are not able to spend all that time doing the required R&D to achieve those amazing features.

    RD: As far as we know that the team is concerned about what a procedural engineering will be for a rally based game, and knowing that community is loud and consistent about this petition, would you let a door open for modders to do some terrain textures and adapt some cars physics and models (even generic ones) to have what would certainly be a best seller with that feature?

    LG: This is something we’d really love to do, but the procedural engine is so complex from a technical point of view it would almost be impossible to let the door open for modders to do that kind of work. Tracks and surfaces are generated procedurally, and also textures and other graphical elements. However, if a team of modders is keen on working on what you’re suggesting, we’re absolutely open to talk to them and see if we find a solution to work together.

    RD: The name of the procedural engine "Camilla"? why that name?

    LG: It’s a tribute to a beloved person.

    RD: Will Camilla be able to generate tracks with elevation changes?

    LG: Camilla is already doing this, but actual elevation changes are not so big. The next engine upgrade will add steeper elevation changes, so you can have tracks reminding of Laguna Seca, Sachsenring or Austin in terms of height variation.

    RD: Would you list your priorities for the development of the game? For example, is physics higher than graphics? Graphics higher than AI, etc

    LG: Adding game modes and features, plus working on the AIs are our highest priorities at the moment. Then, we have the upgrades to Camilla to bring it where we expect to have it in a couple of months. After that, we’ll improve graphics, add VR support and other aestethical changes. Physics are mostly complete right now, so at this moment they are at the bottom of priority list.

    RD: From the site I see Racecraft listed as a racing game - not a racing sim, so - where will the focus be? is it sim, simcade or arcade?

    LG: The focus is in the middle. We’re trying to achieve a driving experience which can be enjoyable and satisfying for both sim lovers and casual drivers, depending on how they will set driving aids. So, it’s mostly simcade, if we need to identify it with a single word.

    Coming soon... Part 2 of our exclusive Community Q&A with Vae Victis Games, developers of the new Racecraft racing game. Keep an eye out on RaceDepartment for the second part of our Q&A and check out our Racecraft sub forum for all the latest news and discussions regarding Vae Victis latest racing title.

    Did you enjoy our Q&A article? Learn anything of particular interest? What do you think of the game so far? Have any follow up clarification questions you want answering? Let us know in the comments section below!
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2016
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  2. I don't like the idea of a dynamically changing track. One of the enjoyable things about racing games is learning a track and then trying to push as hard as you can to get the best time, but if there are corners that change during the race, you're basically having to learn a new track every lap, and then that track is gone by the next lap, and so on. You might just end up introducing more crashes as people go wide into unknown corners, especially during an actual race.
    I think a point-to-point track generator could be a better addition.

    Love the idea of the livery editor though. Wish more PC racers would add that. I've made a few skins for AC, but it can be a pain getting stuff to line up right and it can be discouraging. If more pc games had a console style setup, where you could edit in real-time, but then be able to save the skin out into the correct files, skinning might take off in a huge way.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  3. It's something like rally-style-tarmac-race track. Rally drivers would love it
  4. Sk3ptik0n

    Premium Member

    I am sad that I'll probably be in a old folks home by the time something resembling procedural Rally will be available (this reflect more on my age than the team's abilities and capabilities) but if I am still alive I'll buy it on day one.

    I too am not crazy about tracks changing turns every lap. The whole idea of circuit racing is to perfect your line, braking zone, exit speed. Having the track change configuration every lap I think it would result in huge pileups and shorter races.

    However, and I am really bummed I didn't ask this questions during the AMA, procedural tracks could be really good for point to point races like hillclimbs. The tarmac issue would be non existent because it is road and won't change, but being able to race against others in a hillclimb that changes every week won't reward those with more time to spend practicing. Call it "Rally Light".

    Io sono nato e cresciuto in Italia e so che le corse in salita sono molto popolari.
    (I was born and raised in italy and I know hillclimbs are very popular)
    So I am sure they must have thought about it. Hopefully someone asked it for session 2 because point to point hillclimbs would make me buy this game day one, while so far I am unfortunately not very impressed with the cars, graphics and the target audience, even though I realize we are a long way from release yet.

    See, I grew up during the golden era of car racing. My father and Grandfather counted the day to watching the races at Monza and Imola for both cars and motorcycles. (I remember crying when Renzo Pasolini died at Monza. Even though I was a big fan of Ago, I loved the scrappy "Paso" and I was also very sad about Jarno Saarinen demise. I watched that race live.)
    To me racing a sim is not just a challenging game. Taking the Lotus 49 around the Nurburgring or the vintage Monza circuit, actually makes me go back to when my Grandpa and my father were still alive and we watched races together. Kind of a "if they could see me now" kind of thing.
    Racing fake cars on fake tracks doesn't have the same appeal for me. For instance, my father loved the Alpine Renault rally car (a neighbor owned one, street version) and the old Giulietta, or the Giulia, and he especially lusted for the Lancia Fulvia HF (almost bought one, red with black hood). Driving one in a game makes me connect with those happier years.

    Surely, it's different for others, but for me it's a big part of the appeal.

    Nevertheless, I have to wish all the best to another team of Italian developers. I'll probably buy the game for that if nothing else.
    • Love Love x 2
  5. Hello everyone,
    just a small clarification about the progressively changing track. :)

    From all of your comments, it seems you understood we're adding this feature to the game. This won't happen, because it's just a fantasy, nothing more. :) In the next few months, you'll have Career mode, crafting, VR support, multiplayer and many other things. That's it. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  6. I just bought this game and i like it. I understand this is early access, but will be good to see some changes in near future.
    Now AI is similar to ghost car, you and AI can go through each other - no collision.
    Tracks is feels flat, no any bumps there. To better understand what i mean, its like different between official laser-scanned tracks in AC and mod tracks.
    If i create new track and choose max length and max tortuosity its impossible to have length more then 5.x km. It will be good if we can generate such tracks with length near current max - 8 km and with looks more like Nordschleife not like GP tracks
    Thanks and sorry for my english ;)
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  7. Thanks for purchasing the game and also for your comments. We'll have a look at the maximum length issue you're talking about. :)
    • Like Like x 1