This is part one of an interview with none other than Marco Massarutto from Kunos Simulazioni. Marco talks about the intricacies of ACC development the how the Kunos team go about making the simulation. It's with great thanks to our friends at simracing-unlimited for exclusive access to this interview and we look forward to part two of this interview coming soon.

Stay tuned for our coverage of ACC console release with a give away coming soon.

Q: You developed ACC (AC) from the idea that there should also be a racing simulation for the PC that transports "Il gran turismo". Did you expect the success at the beginning of the development?

A: Definitely not, we went far beyond any of our expectations, not only in terms of units sold, but in terms of popularity. We have a very strong community that actually loves the Assetto Corsa brand.

Q: AC ran on an engine that you developed yourselves. ACC then ran on Unreal Engine 4. Do you plan to base your new project on UE5 in the future?

A: Unreal Engine is a very powerful engine but has not been specifically designed for racing games, that need specific features and very high performance. After the experience made with Assetto Corsa Competizione, we don't discard in advance the option to work again with Unreal, but we are considering also other options.

Q: You are currently developing a version of ACC for the new PS5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles. What are the advantages of the improved hardware?

A: Well, Unreal Engine 4 is quite demanding in terms of performance and the new generation of console can handle better the overall process, granting more stable frame rate, higher resolution, etc.

Q: After ACC are you working on a new project? What can you say about the future of the franchise?

A: It's quite too early to discuss about "what‘s next". As said before, Assetto Corsa is a very popular brand and we need to handle it with care, so we'll take our time to do our job at the very best, to meet the expectations of our community.

Q: ACC is the uncrowned king of force feedback implementation. How did you manage to implement this technology so brilliantly?

A: Our aim since netKar PRO is granting the best handling experience we can deliver: to this aim, every aspect behind Assetto Corsa lives around the physics. Our force feedback isn't something magic, it "just" reads the physics algorithms that manage tyres, suspensions, chassis and so on, with no use of fake numbers. The accuracy of tracks surface isn't secondary in providing a very natural driving experience, so I think that's the combination of different factors, the secret behind the quality of our force feedback.

Q: After the huge success of mods for AC, you have integrated some modders who have convinced you with their performance into your team. What are the requirements to get your attention with a mod and maybe become part of your development team?

A: Best quality, reliability, and attitude: each guy at Kunos works for and with the team, not for himself, or for his personal "glory". The understanding of the "AC philosophy" is the basis for being able to give the best contribution to the success of the team.

Q: How do you manage to integrate the physics models for the many different vehicles into the game? For some vehicles, it might be difficult to get the appropriate data to incorporate into the physics model?

A: We have a closer partnership with several car manufacturers; also, having our dev studio located inside an international race circuit (Vallelunga) for 9 years helped us to create a very strong network we can take advantage to recover mostly of the data we need. Also, through the years we never stopped our R&D activities aimed to improve our physics model. Now that the reputation of Assetto Corsa as realistic driving simulation is very stable, is not rare that automotive companies provide us all the data we need to reproduce their specs at the best.

Q: How do you ensure the high degree of realism of the physics model? To what extent is feedback from professional racers and race engineers, as well as manufacturer and tire data, used in this process?

A: Our approach is very rigorous and methodical, aided by more than a decade of experience. We take extra care to get as many measurements from manufacturers of the real cars and tyres, as well as ambient and circuit conditions and everything else we can collect. Everything enters the simulation model as is. We validate the real world results with our simulation results and we never tweak measurements that we know as correct. If we find any deviation from reality we will try to find the error in our physics model or we will try to implement new feature to better simulate the real counterpart. Real drivers feedback is then taken into account to cover all the dark spots where data are not available or not known and with the help of telemetry we try to reverse engineer the unknown data and get an even better model. Even real drivers feedback is carefully validated as we need to have a direct contact and understand how used a driver is in driving simulators, what are his expectations and how good he is to describe car handling both in real and simulated conditions. This kind of approach brings objective improvements and not just a “fun to drive” model from subjective opinions. We believe that if we do our job properly, then the end result will always be fun to drive because real driving is… fun.

Q: The engine sound is an extremely important detail in a racing game. Usually a dyno is used for this and microphones are placed accordingly. But there must be cars where you can't use a dyno to pick up the sound. How do you proceed with the recordings in this case?

A: There are two ways: the first one is actually driving the car on a closed circuit, in order to gather interior sounds, under-the-hood / exhaust notes, as well as pass-by ones. The latter is what you miss by recording on a dyno.
The second way comes from our audio archive: over the years, we collected recordings of many engines and exhausts. This allows us to reproduce a particular car sound by starting from different models equipped with the same engine and/or exhaust system.
About author
VernWozza
A motorsport fanatic and sim racer for over 20 years. Content creator for RD, and MD at Simracing.gp. Favourite sims include ACC, AC, RF2, AMS, WRC9 - VernWozza#7419 @vernwozza

Comments

If you have the ability to try this, it will settle your idea on what game has the best FFB. Get whatever car you prefer to drive ( mine is the BMW M6 GT3), take a track like Nurburgring GT circuit. load up AMS2, rF2, ACC, AC, PC2, and then do 10 laps on each game back to back without stopping.

The challenge for me is adapting to whatever the track/game is doing. If I can't figure out what is going on when things change, I will never get better. If you are comfortable, you are devolving.
 
A: Best quality, reliability, and attitude: each guy at Kunos works for and with the team, not for himself, or for his personal "glory". The understanding of the "AC philosophy" is the basis for being able to give the best contribution to the success of the team.
I guess I never undestood the "AC philosophy" then :roflmao: :roflmao:
 
An AC that's focused on the greatest road cars ever with large scale free roam road driving would be my dream next step for Kunos, but I don't think it's a runner. I think the car companies giving out their licenses want they're latest and greatest on display. It would probably be hard enough to sell a sim driving game without race tracks in the mix. I wouldn't even be that interested in traditional racing. I was watching guys using Beam Ng for car chases and hunts in multiplayer and it looks like a lot of fun. Even doing some of those classic car rallies were it's not about being fast and they even penalise you for arriving too soon.
 
Too bad he doesn't wanna talk about future projects... as an AC super-fanboy who never got that much into ACC(despite it's great qualities as a sim) that was my number 1 topic.
 
Just to add some info that is already available: Marco declared in a previous interview that they are looking into adding the Asia and America series to ACC and updating the game to the latest season(s). Also 505 games wrote in one of their documents that AC2 will be ready in a couple of years.
 
ACC really got great with all the updates. I suppose the biggest issue is that it's demanding on hardware, but to be fair, AC with SOL and all the bells and whistles is also demanding and running as slow as ACC haha :D
 
An AC that's focused on the greatest road cars ever with large scale free roam road driving would be my dream next step for Kunos, but I don't think it's a runner. I think the car companies giving out their licenses want they're latest and greatest on display. It would probably be hard enough to sell a sim driving game without race tracks in the mix. I wouldn't even be that interested in traditional racing. I was watching guys using Beam Ng for car chases and hunts in multiplayer and it looks like a lot of fun. Even doing some of those classic car rallies were it's not about being fast and they even penalise you for arriving too soon.
I think this is not far from what AC itself was. AC is not a pure "racing" sim, it is more of a sim driving / sim racing thing, open to whatever you want to do. Driving? Racing? Rally? Hillclimb? Drift? No problem. Just add the more advanced physics and netcode of ACC, variable weather conditions, modding tools (if possible make it easy to import an AC mod and convert it to AC2). People will create large scale free roam roads. Kunos don't even need to create too many cars and tracks if the modding tools are good and if they make it easy to import AC mods.
 
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Kunos don't even need to create too many cars and tracks if the modding tools are good and if they make it easy to import AC mods.
I would guess they make a good chunk of their revenue from selling DLC, it's not a benefit to them for other people to make free mods.

The original AC was trying to be a jack of all trades. With ACC being so specific I think they could separate the two styles. But I expect AC2 would also try to be a jack of all trades, it's just more popular and easier to create content just by having racing on tracks.
 
ACC is still my favorite sim right now. It looks and feels great. However, AMS2 is improving quickly and consistently and is almost as good.
 
Kunos has been very guarded about their upcoming project(s). Purely speculation on my part, but it leads me to think that something COULD be in the works with a bigger company holding them to a stricter NDA.

I have no idea, but my wish would be for them to be the lead developer behind a more sim focused F1 title. Last year Formula 1 said they were open to the idea, and I can't imagine any other game dev being the front-runner for getting the license to develop such a title.

But that's just a fun thought exercise on my part. Thanks for the article Steve!
 
People can & always have different opinions about force feedback because we all have different feel.
What is not in dispute is that ACC is the most complete sim of real life racing since GTR2.
Iracing's biggest failure is that series are incomplete.No DPis in IMSA & they have been the top class since 2017. The WEC series has the old Audi & Porsche & no Orecas.
 
Its unfortunate that ACC is unplayable for me in VR even with a 3090, regret buying all the DLC thinking new hardware would fix it. Nice interview especially regarding physics but they don't give away much about future plans.
 
Kunos has been very guarded about their upcoming project(s). Purely speculation on my part, but it leads me to think that something COULD be in the works with a bigger company holding them to a stricter NDA.

I have no idea, but my wish would be for them to be the lead developer behind a more sim focused F1 title. Last year Formula 1 said they were open to the idea, and I can't imagine any other game dev being the front-runner for getting the license to develop such a title.

But that's just a fun thought exercise on my part. Thanks for the article Steve!
100% agree with you here. I find it strange that they seemingly haven't started their next project. My guess is they are already underway, but trying to keep a lid on it. If they haven't started we know that puts them at least 2 years out.
 

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