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Reiza Studios Interviews: Alex Sawczuk

Discussion in 'Stock Car Extreme' started by Patrick Giranthon, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Patrick Giranthon

    Patrick Giranthon
    Premium Member

    Thanks to Alex. ;)



    1 - Alex, you are in charge of the tracks for Reiza. As I asked to other members of Reiza, can you tell us more about yourself? What is your trajectory in the world of simracing?

    Talk about myself? That's such a broad question - and I'm not really sure what to put! Obviously I'm a big motor racing fan with a bit of a passion for the race tracks! Bit of a perfectionist too with myself, this has its benefits and its drawbacks in life. Generally helps with work though! Trajectory? Well trajectory generally insinuates upwards and progression, which I certainly hope so - in terms of bigger projects with more resources with Reiza! I'll try to answer the next questions correctly and not question the questions :p


    2 - Before GSC you were doing tracks for free (I suppose). Now you make tracks professionally, does it make a difference?

    Before Reiza Studios I was involved in a few other projects which were trying to get off the ground that for one reason or another never did. There was a few paid projects here which helped out, but not enough to do it as your main job! There are things that don't change doing it professionally. It's always a mad rush to try and get it finished as fast as possible, and generally it's just more of the same. However the nicest thing is working with others who have different areas of expertise and who can question things in a way you hadn't thought of. Basically having people to bounce of more than you do when working alone, or with one or two others as a modder, and the extra knowledge the other people bring and I do like being able to bounce ideas of people.


    3 - Niels said that "he saw the light" when watching a tv report about a RUF on the Nurburgring. Did you also see the light after something like this?

    I'd have to say "Saw the light moments" are somewhat overrated. If I had one it's long forgotten that's for sure, well at least relating to track building anyway! Here's what I know though, as a kid I loved Scalectrix, and probably loved the building track bit more than the racing! I started playing with converting tracks because I saw the generally standard of stuff being done for rFactor in the first year was pretty dreadful, and thought I must be able to do a better job. It took about half a week for me to get frustrated with the limitations of 3d Simed, so I started messing around with 3ds Max, and converting tracks using that. Trying to fix the mapping, shaders and things like this. This then progressed into track creation. I'd had a few false starts at this before, and had actually bought the 3ds Max Bible a year or so before, but never got anywhere. Eventually I took the plunge and doodled up the layout for my first ever scratch track (Livet Glen) in a really boring University Lecture. Shortly after starting I enlisted the help of Luc Van Camp (SLN) to help with textures and general mapping ideas, and well the rest is history...


    4 - When you create a track, what is the more difficult task? What is the easier one?

    Building tracks is something I've been doing for nearly 6 years now. There isn't anything that is particularly hard other than keeping the self-concentration and will to place 40 different armco barriers and 25 different sets of tyre walls around the track. It gets repetitive in bits. The process has been so refined now though that it's not so hard in any place. Although the toughest thing though is trying to get the elevations, cambers and bumps of the road surface right. The problem is the road is the first thing created and you have no terrain for reference in what you’ve built. And often we have no data other than youtube videos and pictures! So trying to judge this can be quite tough. It is possible to edit these things later, but it’s quite difficult. I’m always relieved when we have data to help, but then the question is the data accurate, and in some places it clearly isn’t!


    5 - I have tried 3 different sims using "tracks laser scanned". And you know what? Running on your tracks gives me really more sensations. Is it only a question of FFB?

    FFB, Physics and road surface I guess. I'm always disappointed how little attention goes into the road surface in various track addons for rFactor. It's arguably the most important thing, and why I absolutely hate old track conversions where the road mesh is really low poly! There's a few tricks I apply to add noise to the surface to try and give a good feeling. Although you'd have to say laser scanning must produce a more accurate surface, I guess the question is the accuracy difference enough to justify the cost? But if we had money to throw away I'd love to get my hands on this kind of data :)


    6 - How do you proceed to build your tracks like the real ones? Videos? photos? Real lap on it?

    I've only been to one track I started building before I started building it. It never got finished because I got hugely bogged down in the details (and had a full time job at the time). Videos & Photos and Satellite Imagery of Google Maps are the main thing. Usually someone from Reiza manages to get to the track and take a lot of pictures for us. This makes things a lot easier for the entire team, but sometimes we just gotta make use of whats on the internet, but that's just how it goes. Roads are first, followed by the curbs. Then the remaining terrain around it. This takes about a week on a normal club circuit, a bit longer on GP circuits with intricate surroundings. Fantasy tracks are heaven though, you just make it up as you go along, and don’t really care if it’s a bit off! After this we add all the barriers, fences, tyre walls etc, and start placing in the TSOs the guys have done. It’s a well driven drill now.


    7 - For you, which real track is the best? Did you ever modelize it? If not, will you do it?

    Well that's a big question! There are too many tracks in the world but erm let’s see. I'm not one for the big name tracks (bit similar to my music taste in that respect!). There is one track, Pacific Raceways near Seattle I've always had my eye on. There's a few picture I saw of it which just captured me, these aren't the exact pictures, but similar:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mi4em2/4825678715/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/23445245@N08/2710963554/
    I wouldn't say it's the best. The best is an impossible question to answer. But it's one that I've always felt, yeah that's cool. I’d like to do it one day. But there’s a lot of things I’d like to do one day!

    Also given Livet Glen, Autodromo Floripa and also did you try the Vielsalm beta? I'd like to put myself forward for Herman Tilke's job :)


    8 - Some poeple say that GSC has reached the maximum of the ISI2 graphic engine. Do you agree with this?

    Nope. One thing I've learn't over the past 6 years is once you think you've reached the limit you find something else :) However I would say that the graphical quality as a general base in GSC2012 is the first time I've ever been 'happy' with the product. There are still quite a lot of things I wish we could improve though, I'm not sure many of them are possible without serious code reworking though.


    9 - You run in an English league. Do you have any particular feeling when you run on your own tracks?

    Since the turn of the year I haven't really simraced much at all. Spending all day working on racing sims has lead me to take up other hobbies. A good thing probably. However I do prefer race at my own tracks, because I must admit I get annoyed at deficiencies in other tracks when I race them!


    10 - What are your expectations for the future (for you job and for the sim racing evolution)?

    I'm not sure to be honest! It's a case of waiting to see how things pan out and just handling what Renato throws at me. If I'm honest I prefer it like that! I'd like to see Reiza expand and to be able to do more than we can now. I know we've done a good job with what we had available to us for GSC2012. But there was a lot we couldn't do for various reason. More, bigger & better hopefully!


    11 - Do you have an idol in the sim racing world or in the real life of racing?

    Idol? Nope, I don't do idols. There's obviously a lot of racing drivers and also people with in the modding community who I have a tremendous amount of respect for, but you've gotta make your own way!


    12 - Thank you Alex. If you want to add something...

    I think I need to get back to work now!
     
    • Like Like x 7
  2. Dave Stephenson

    Dave Stephenson
    Technical Administrator Staff Premium Member

    Tracks in GSC are awesome. Really fun and good feeling form the road.

    As for Pacific Raceways, never heard of it. Those pics look epic. I hope you get to it some time as it looks like it would truly rock!
     
  3. Bram

    Bram
    Roaring Pipes Maniacs | #27 Staff Premium Member

    Nice track for the Mini's :)
     
  4. Dave Stephenson

    Dave Stephenson
    Technical Administrator Staff Premium Member


     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Bram

    Bram
    Roaring Pipes Maniacs | #27 Staff Premium Member

    Looks like a real life Gran Turismo track. LIKE!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. PieterN

    PieterN
    Premium Member

    Looks like a nice track to race at in the F3's. Hint....:D
     
  7. Dave Stephenson

    Dave Stephenson
    Technical Administrator Staff Premium Member

    my thoughts exactly :)
     
    • Like Like x 1