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Two weeks ago our partners of Simracing-Unlimited.com conducted an interview with Marco Massarutto. Today the second part of the interview with one of the key players of Kunos Simulazioni the creators of NetKar Pro, Assetto Corsa and Assetto Corsa Competizione.

In case you have missed the first part of the interview you can read back the questions and answers here. What does the future of racing games look like and which game does Marco like to play in his spare time? The answers to these and more questions you can read below.

Q: What do you think will be the next big milestones towards realism in future racing sims?

A: The answer is not easy, because every simracer has his own opinion and preferences about it. I think that the overall complexity of racing simulations (physics, tire model, graphics, sound, netcode, track accuracy, weather conditions) has reached a very high level of sophistication, so we can expect fine-tuning of all these aspects in the future. On the other hand, there are some aspects that still have a greater room for improvement, such as realistic damage: but this is something that requires a lot of work and calculations to be processed, and if you think about it, as soon as you hit a wall, even at 20kmh (that would mean zero feeling in a virtual environment), you should stop the car and the racing or driving experience would end there. Very few people would really appreciate that level of realism. Imagine playing a match in a shoot 'em up and getting hit in the leg by a single bullet, in a real world you would not be able to continue the fight in an effective way. The frustration would easily overpower the realism.

Q: On the future of the ACC and your new project, what about sublicensed national series, such as ADAC GT Masters, since SRO is the original license holder? Will these perhaps find a way into the game in the future?

A: Assetto Corsa Competizione is the official video game of the SRO GT Series, so we are evaluating content and opportunities for this product that are limited to SRO's area of interest and expertise.

Q: Do you plan to offer GT2 models for ACC in the the near future? Almost all SRO series are already available, only GT2 is not yet.

A: This is something that is being discussed with SRO, so I wouldn't rule out this possibility from the start.

Q: As one of the most popular PC racing simulations of our time, looking back, what are you most proud of in the development of AC/ACC?

A: Several things: We started from scratch with no money and a lot of passion and determination, so it's very nice to see that the Assetto Corsa franchise is considered a benchmark for racing simulations in the international scene; we're even prouder when we consider that Italy, while celebrated for many things, is not necessarily known as an ideal country for video game developers, and it means a lot to our team to be able to spread the "Made in Italy" in this business as well. Last but not least, we proved that a hardcore racing simulation can also be popular on console and not limited to a niche of a few people: We bet on it, and we were right.

Q: Simracing and eSports have finally arrived at the car manufacturers. There are so many different series and events that it's hard to keep track of them all. Still, many players are put off because they think they're not good enough in comparison. Do you have a solution to get more players interested in eSports and take away this fear?

A: That's a good point and a good question: we think we can get more people interested in eSports competitions if we let them compete on different fields and in different "contexts" without sacrificing the simulation value. It's still quite early to go in that direction, but we're working on it.

Q: The FIA GT World Challenge, whose virtual part is handled through ACC, combines real and virtual racing for the first time. Do you think this exciting model in scoring will become more common in the future?

A: As SRO CEO Stephane Rathel said, 50% of the teams agreed to this possibility beforehand, and frankly I was pleasantly surprised. After the first race, I read a lot of enthusiastic comments. So I think that after we break through the wall of skepticism, many other legitimate virtual competitions will see the light.

Q: What is the significance of what appears to be a hissing cat making a hump in your company logo?

A: Well, at Kunos we love cats, and "Kunos" was the name of the first cat Stefano had when he was a kid, so we thought that including a cat in the logo would have been representative of our team. A sleeping cat would not have worked well enough, an "aggressive" one would have been much better. We asked the same guy who eventually designed the AC logo to do some mockups, and we liked it at first sight.

Q: How big are the problems in team communication and development in times of pandemic? After all, it's hardly possible to scan routes or record audio for vehicles, etc.?

A: We have been working in smart working since 2005, from that point of view the pandemic has not affected our habits so much, except for the few of us who also work in our studio near Rome. For me, business travel has been an important part of my job, and logistics have also suffered a bit, but we've been lucky because a lot of the data we need for production has been obtained well in advance.

However, like everyone else, we are waiting to get back on track for planned future activities.

Q: Would you like to develop something other than a racing simulation? If so, what kind of game would that be?

A: I would like to simulate myself to have more free time! :D Jokes aside, we didn't create Kunos to produce driving sims, Kunos is a "consequence" of our will to produce driving sims, so I don't see that changing in the future.

Q: Away from racing sims: What other games have you enjoyed the most lately?

A: Recently I tried Circuit Superstars, which is now in Early Access on Steam, and TrackDayR, a new motorcycle racing simulator produced by an Italian studio, but the game I've played the most in the last year is Flight Simulator 2020, I think it's great.

We want to thank SimRacing Unlimited, the developers of Kunos Simulazioni and their publisher 505 Games for the opportunity to conduct the interview.

Image Credits: gamesvillage.it
About author
Bram Hengeveld
Avid racing games fan since 1798 1987. Founder of RaceDepartment.com and co-founder of Simracing.GP

You can follow me on Twitter & Instagram

Comments

Damage model has more positives than negatives, in that People take more care of other drivers as they don't want to damage their own race . ie : Consequences , Sim races are not expecting to get broken bones in a sim crash , so that is a poor excuse to avoid the hard work of adding damage imho. The developer goal Should be Engine Damage , Suspension damage , Gearbox damage , Aero damage, Ageing parts damage and lastly and least important car body visual damage. Extras,, Oil leaks , blown gaskets, tire damage etc. Damage promotes more consistent careful considerate competitive and fun racing. Frustration of race car damage promotes less selfishness more consideration of others and Patients! All positives.

"Ageing parts damage" I should mention that F12020 does this quiet well.
 
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More realistic damage could also make the racing a lot better, since people would realize the consequences and try to drive properly. But I don't see the point in trying to make this very accurate in terms of physics.

And btw AC feels better than ACC. ACC just feels.. dull and as if front tyres are on a smooth glass road all the time and cars on cardboard chassis.
 
More realistic damage could also make the racing a lot better, since people would realize the consequences and try to drive properly. But I don't see the point in trying to make this very accurate in terms of physics.

And btw AC feels better than ACC. ACC just feels.. dull and as if front tyres are on a smooth glass road all the time and cars on cardboard chassis.
It's weird how there's about equal number of people having opposing viewpoints on this. I side with ACC being better. I don't know what it is. I felt that way on an AF1 and now on an SC2P. AC is decent but honestly feels a little old school meaning that floaty, uninformative feeling.

I wonder how much of it is up to the wheel and how much of it is up to tuning.
 
for me personally, the sims are missing out on being good games,

the next step would be to have much more deep career more, and also kind of career MP mode, so that it feels like you are doing more then just driving car


wreck too many cars, sorry, we have no more cars left to enter the race
 
It's weird how there's about equal number of people having opposing viewpoints on this. I side with ACC being better. I don't know what it is. I felt that way on an AF1 and now on an SC2P. AC is decent but honestly feels a little old school meaning that floaty, uninformative feeling.

I wonder how much of it is up to the wheel and how much of it is up to tuning.

I don't think it's the wheel, since there are people with same opinion as myself with all kinds of wheels. I agree with some cars having that 'floaty' feeling, as if you have 4 balloons instead of tyres, but at the end of the day tyres are kind of balloons. But yeah, it is car specific and not sim specific. Tatuus Fa01 won't feel as floaty for example or many other cars. Road cars, especially old road cars will and even in real life they do.

IMO ACC is really uninformative. That's ought to be the case because that's how they designed the FFB in the first place. "We are gonna make FFB 'real'. You won't feel bumps and kerbs because real cars don't make you feel them" then they backed off on that update by update as community kept complaining. Because we don't feel the G forces and need those subtle cues from the wheel. Though better than the early versions, still when I drive it I have to depend on my visual cues much more, because I don't feel anything. I don't know what your issue is in AC, but you have adjustments pretty much for every detail. You don't just have 3 FFB options like in ACC.

I honestly think 5 years from now ACC will have been long dead and AC will still be rocking. One of those sim classics.
 
Well damage may be not that important in circuit racing (still very important), but if we are talking about sim racing in general then we should think about rally where realistic damage modelling would be one of the key points of the sim.
 
"Q: On the future of the ACC and your new project, what about sublicensed national series, such as ADAC GT Masters, since SRO is the original license holder? Will these perhaps find a way into the game in the future?

A: Assetto Corsa Competizione is the official video game of the SRO GT Series, so we are evaluating content and opportunities for this product that are limited to SRO's area of interest and expertise."

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of "NORDSCHLEIFE when?" suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened
 
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In the opening of the 2nd part of this interview Marco talks about damage modelization. Even if I understand his pov, it's a kind of confirmation that the poor deepening of the damage and race collisions aspect is a real shame in ACC. Simply speaking: race collisions are a key "feature" of the real thing that ACC want to simulate, and so, I am sorry to say, I feel the lack of it in a sick way, and so I think do many other perople. I can only encourage Marco & Kunos Devs to take some risk in this game (oops simulation) area.
 
Q: On the future of the ACC and your new project, what about sublicensed national series, such as ADAC GT Masters, since SRO is the original license holder? Will these perhaps find a way into the game in the future?
What? The ADAC GT Masters is not organized by SRO. The ADAC is the license holder, they are just using the SRO BoP for their series.
 
Q: Many people, YouTuber, pro drivers, amateurs like me, think that driving ACC always feels like "driving on the edge" even if you're not going top speed. Other sims don't have this feeling. What can be done in ACC to alleviate this so that we can drive hard?
How on earth ACC makes you feel like driving on the edge?, if anything it feels pretty controlable, tire take any abuse thrown ant them, and both TC and ABS save your ass at any mistake. Try Grand Prix Legends and your would experience what it really feels like driving on the edge.

Only one bad shifting in Grand Prix Legends, or a small contact, and the race was over.
Haha, so true. In less than 1 and a half lap you could blow up the engine if you timed incorrectly your throttle lift while gear changing. A small touch against other car and the steering or suspension arms would get twisted and the whole balance of the car would be destroyed, a small crash and you could rip a complete tyre from your car. I liked that approach quite a lot, people weren't divebombing like crazy so much back in GPL times.

Also a honorable mention to vanilla Richard Burns Rally, a slow crash against a feeble and thin looking tree and your engine and 3 day rally would die on the spot. I liked that, you had to not only be fast but also make sure at any moment during the rally that you would not crash at all, instead of going into every stage with a Toivonen mentality. Also a small crash and your lights would completely die, and you would be unable to finish a night stage without them.

Seems they already went far with giving up realism. James Baldwin's best laptime in the wet around Snatterton was a 2:06, while the average lap-time within the current ACC Special Event (89) in very similar wet condition is a 1:53. I did this as well (1:56 average) and curious I could take the same braking-points than in the dry. That's not even trying to make it authentic in my book.
No sim has ever been realistic, ever. Not even the F1 teams has anything that accurate, and it will never be because it is impossible to be that accurate. If F1 teams simulators where so accurate not a single car would leave the pits during the free practice sessions as the cars would already be perfectly setup for the track, and the drivers totally trained in their simulator.

Comparing laptimes on dry is absurd, but on wet conditions is a nonsense. No one really knows the real amount of water on any part of the track, nor if some part of the track has some amount of bitumen oil, nor what is the level of abrasiveness the tarmac has on every corner, nor the temperatures of both the asphalt and air, and not even the tyre manufacturers know all the tyre properties, specially the wet tyres that are very seldom used and even more seldomly tested.

Those guys you say, are driving on certain weather conditions that keep constant. In real life there isn't anything constant on a wet race track, that makes driving to the very limit almost impossible. In ACC those same guys could be going way slower if the rain levels increased within the game limits. The laptimes would be realistic?, hell no. But as I said, not even the F1 simulators can do that.
It's not about 2,3 or 5 seconds, it's about over 10 sec. difference and the view was fine in the real onboard. In ACC it's a 30 minute stint and you can't risk so much if you don't want to mess up within 16 laps. I was watching enough onboards during rain-conditions and the braking in ACC is just a joke. The real cars even have to brake more early in the dry. And what's the major difference between sim and simcade: braking is easier with the latter ;) :whistling:
iu

Do we even know the real amount of water in every corner?, absurd. Also, the game has more possible amounts of water that the ones selected for that event. And we are talking just about a single parameter among quite a lot that can affect the outcome.

If not even tyre manufacturers know all the values of each and every parameter that affect the handling of their own tyres how can we slay any sim for not being a perfect representation of reality?.

I'm going to do a mental experiment using your logic: the initial premise is that the game is arcade. But then the devs read your message and just change the overall wet tyre grip to match the laptime you said with a certain amount of water. The game suddenly would be an accurate simulator in your mind, in that same simulator then I want to do a wet race, but I'm bored to always race in standard wet conditions so I select a different amount of water and a different temperature for that race.

Now suddenly, the laptimes don't match with the specific race you mentioned and the accurate simulator turns into a arcade without even changing the physics code at all. Now the question is: can ACC be both a simulator and an arcade at the same time?. If I select variable conditions and during the race the conditions change and the car start matching the real life laptimes of the specific race you put as an example, the arcade turns into a simulator between the start and the end of a single stint?. Personally I don't find it reasonable at all.

@StefanoCasillo please consider iRacing damage model for ACC or the future sim branded Kunos Simulazioni :D
Stefano left kunos almost one year ago because he got bored with doing always the same kind of work for years and years and he wanted to tackle new challenges. I'm not sure if he would want to come back to what once got him bored.

But probably he would like to develop that physics as a side project while out of kunos just for the sake of the intelectual challenge that it would be to himself. I have that kind of impression about him, that he is the kind of person that needs to take challenges to feel self fulfilled.
 
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It's not about 2,3 or 5 seconds, it's about over 10 sec. difference and the view was fine in the real onboard. In ACC it's a 30 minute stint and you can't risk so much if you don't want to mess up within 16 laps. I was watching enough onboards during rain-conditions and the braking in ACC is just a joke. The real cars even have to brake more early in the dry. And what's the major difference between sim and simcade: braking is easier with the latter ;) :whistling:
Rain in ACC and rF2 is pure marketing BS. The physics and AI behaviour are laughable. Or you will lap 40 sec faster or slower than real life lap times. Unbalanced and silly. Geoff Crammod did it better 20 years ago.
 
How on earth ACC makes you feel like driving on the edge?, if anything it feels pretty controlable, tire take any abuse thrown ant them, and both TC and ABS save your ass at any mistake. Try Grand Prix Legends and your would experience what it really feels like driving on the edge.


Haha, so true. In less than 1 and a half lap you could blow up the engine if you timed incorrectly your throttle lift while gear changing. A small touch against other car and the steering or suspension arms would get twisted and the whole balance of the car would be destroyed, a small crash and you could rip a complete tyre from your car. I liked that approach quite a lot, people weren't divebombing like crazy so much back in GPL times.

Also a honorable mention to vanilla Richard Burns Rally, a slow crash against a feeble and thin looking tree and your engine and 3 day rally would die on the spot. I liked that, you had to not only be fast but also make sure at any moment during the rally that you would not crash at all, instead of going into every stage with a Toivonen mentality. Also a small crash and your lights would completely die, and you would be unable to finish a night stage without them.


No sim has ever been realistic, ever. Not even the F1 teams has anything that accurate, and it will never be because it is impossible to be that accurate. If F1 teams simulators where so accurate not a single car would leave the pits during the free practice sessions as the cars would already be perfectly setup for the track, and the drivers totally trained in their simulator.

Comparing laptimes on dry is absurd, but on wet conditions is a nonsense. No one really knows the real amount of water on any part of the track, nor if some part of the track has some amount of bitumen oil, nor what is the level of abrasiveness the tarmac has on every corner, nor the temperatures of both the asphalt and air, and not even the tyre manufacturers know all the tyre properties, specially the wet tyres that are very seldom used and even more seldomly tested.

Those guys you say, are driving on certain weather conditions that keep constant. In real life there isn't anything constant on a wet race track, that makes driving to the very limit almost impossible. In ACC those same guys could be going way slower if the rain levels increased within the game limits. The laptimes would be realistic?, hell no. But as I said, not even the F1 simulators can do that.

iu

Do we even know the real amount of water in every corner?, absurd. Also, the game has more possible amounts of water that the ones selected for that event. And we are talking just about a single parameter among quite a lot that can affect the outcome.

If not even tyre manufacturers know all the values of each and every parameter that affect the handling of their own tyres how can we slay any sim for not being a perfect representation of reality?.

I'm going to do a mental experiment using your logic: the initial premise is that the game is arcade. But then the devs read your message and just change the overall wet tyre grip to match the laptime you said with a certain amount of water. The game suddenly would be an accurate simulator in your mind, in that same simulator then I want to do a wet race, but I'm bored to always race in standard wet conditions so I select a different amount of water and a different temperature for that race.

Now suddenly, the laptimes don't match with the specific race you mentioned and the accurate simulator turns into a arcade without even changing the physics code at all. Now the question is: can ACC be both a simulator and an arcade at the same time?. If I select variable conditions and during the race the conditions change and the car start matching the real life laptimes of the specific race you put as an example, the arcade turns into a simulator between the start and the end of a single stint?. Personally I don't find it reasonable at all.


Stefano left kunos almost one year ago because he got bored with doing always the same kind of work for years and years and he wanted to tackle new challenges. I'm not sure if he would want to come back to what once got him bored.

But probably he would like to develop that physics as a side project while out of kunos just for the sake of the intelectual challenge that it would be to himself. I have that kind of impression about him, that he is the kind of person that needs to take challenges to feel self fulfilled.
It's a quite wall text that doesn't explain why you can drive like it was dry in a wet ACC track. All variables you said should cancel each other in average. A wet track is a wet track and you never be able to use the same brake points you did when dry. It's bad physics modelling.
 
IMO ACC is really uninformative.
Got it right with part in bold. I think most people sharing this opinion confuse information with exaggerated chattiness. ACC FFB can be more muted but more nuanced and higher res with the information it carries in the signal.
That's speaking from DD wheel owner perspective, can't tell if low end wheels are capable of communicating all these minute details that clearly.
 
"Q: On the future of the ACC and your new project, what about sublicensed national series, such as ADAC GT Masters, since SRO is the original license holder? Will these perhaps find a way into the game in the future?

A: Assetto Corsa Competizione is the official video game of the SRO GT Series, so we are evaluating content and opportunities for this product that are limited to SRO's area of interest and expertise."

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of "NORDSCHLEIFE when?" suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened
Well, not from me, I don't care about the Nordschleife. However, it would have been nice to get a more precise answer than a vague "we're evaluating our options, blah-blah-blah".
 
How on earth ACC makes you feel like driving on the edge?, if anything it feels pretty controlable, tire take any abuse thrown ant them, and both TC and ABS save your ass at any mistake. Try Grand Prix Legends and your would experience what it really feels like driving on the edge.
It's this feeling that at any time the sim will flip a coin and you'll go for a spin. Like feathering throttle and braking through corners, running kerbs, door-to-door with AI (not the AI themselves but the physics when you contact).

It just has this unique trepidation that at any point randomness will kick in and you'll crash. I don't get this in any other sim. iRacing might be the closest, for the way it expresses grip, but it's consistently on the poor side so you learn its consistency. rF2 is consistently on the good side so you just push and push.

In iRacing, I've always prided myself on consistency, and being able to get through a race, even if I'm off pace, and even given its poor ffb expression, but in ACC I can be seconds ahead of pace, well on my way to a win, and still have this insane feeling that the sim will flip a coin and I'll spin.
 
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