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Modding Spotlight | 10 Questions for Alberto Daniel Russo (A3DR)

We get to know the master modeller behind such creations as the Ferrari Testarossa, the Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota, the Porsche 911 (993) Turbo, the Honda S-800, the Veloce GTS-8, and many, many more (the list is astonishing).

Alberto Daniel Russo, who goes by the name "A3DR" here on RaceDepartment, is one of the most prolific content creators we are (incredibly) lucky to have in our community. The amount of 3d models he has created for free, all of the highest level and quality, is simply outstanding. I have mentioned a few, but there are many that I had to omit, and I felt bad considering how good they are.

He has also created models for third-party studios that produce premium content for Assetto Corsa, and even these are some of the best, and my all-time favourite, cars in the simulator.

Whenever I interview these people who we usually call modders, but that I would really prefer to refer to as content creators because what they're doing is far beyond what used to be the standard and norm for the craft, I get nervous. These are incredibly talented people doing, whether it's 3d models, tracks, physics, sounds or whatever, stuff that to me and almost everyone else is magic. However it's not magic, it would be unfair to say it's magic, because there are no tricks of the eye or ears. No, it's really brilliant work done by really brilliant people. People who teach an important life lesson, because the more brilliant, talented and intelligent they are, the more humble they are, the more inclined they are to lend a hand, to share their work and their talent with others. Not once have I been proved wrong in this lesson so far, and again I found Daniel to be a very charming, open and friendly person. The interview says it all for me, without needing to prolong your wait for what is, I can assure you, a very interesting read, thanks to the enthusiasm Daniel has put into it.

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Hi Daniel, would you like to give us a short introduction about yourself? Who is Alberto Daniel Russo?

Born in 1982, I'm a geek with a passion for mechanics, electronics and learning how things work.

I currently live in El Calafate, Argentina, where I've been working from home since I moved about 6 years ago from Buenos Aires, where I lived most of my life so far.

This interest to build cars started when I was putting together 1/24 scale plastic models as a kid, to later discover at my 16 years of age, that I could do the same on my computer with 3D software. Back then I was just a kid playing games on my PC, to everyone's inconspicuous eyes, in the 90's. That’s how my career took off over 20 years ago, without even knowing it was going to become my life’s work. Neither my parents, who had no idea what I was doing locked up in my room for long periods of time.

Right now I'm part of the vehicle artist team in BeamNG, so couldn't be happier with my work, and thankful for having supporting parents growing up, my wife, and everyone who stood by me throughout the years from the many modding communities I've been in.

What is the one thing in your daily life that you cannot do without?

Coffee.

When did you learn about simracing for the first time?

Well, hard to go back so many years, but does the PC game Indianapolis 500 from 1989 count?

Screenshot_vrc_formula_na_1999_road_mugello.jpg


What does 'modding', or third-party content creation, mean to you?

“Modding” gave me the opportunity to get into the 3D modelling world by myself.
Not only does it mean to enjoy building my favourite 3D cars and sharing them with the world, but also a way to develop my creativity in an environment I can have fun with.
Tried to get into CGI in my early days, but there was always something missing, seeing the cars on a static render always seemed “dead” to me. Being able to drive what I’ve created is what kept me interested and always looking for the next game to mod.

What would you say is the most difficult thing for someone starting to create content for the first time?

In this mad world we live in, where instant gratification seems to be the norm, getting past the frustration that comes with the first failed attempts at modding, would be the most difficult step to overcome. There’s always lots of trial and error when you get started, and requires patience and consistency in your efforts to success.

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Is there anything you think is missing or lacking in the community that would be useful to those who want to create third-party content?

Having some kind of reference or directory about the most popular content creators for each community would help, as I think it would be easier to reach out directly to the person behind the mods, instead of wasting time trying to find answers in the huge sea of information we have today on the internet.

What is the best part for you about creating and sharing content?

For the creating part, seeing my cars “come alive” in a game is always fulfilling.
The best part of sharing content is getting feedback on it, not just thumbs up or stars, but actual comments and critiques, that always help to know what I did wrong (and right, too) and improve on it.

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Have you ever had the feeling, looking back, that you spent time on a specific project that in the end was just not worth it? On the other hand, which one did you enjoy the most, regardless of the final result?

No, there was always a learning experience from spending time on a project, even if it didn't turn out as I expected. The one I enjoyed the most is the remake of the original cars from “The Need for Speed”, not only did I have the chance to recreate some of my favourite cars from all time, but also work with talented people who helped turn it into something amazing.

Does content creation make you enjoy simracing more or does it take away all the time you would otherwise devote to simracing?

Well, I spend most of my time in front of my computer creating something, so that leaves little time to actually enjoy some sim driving. Being a vehicle artist in BeamNG gives me the chance to do a little bit of both (crash testing can be fun as well!).

Which is your fondest memory of all these years in the simracing community?

Well I'd say “modding” community, because I started doing mods for Carmageddon 2, which I'd hardly consider it a “sim”, but it's from that community where I have my fondest memories back when I started in 1999. Sites like the CWA Board, Crashocalypse, Driven to Destruction, were the places to be back then.

The Internet was starting to kick off, there was no such thing as social media, tutorials were not that easy to find and no Youtube videos to learn with. So we were a closer community, since our main means of communication were the forums, and we relied on each other's support (and haters!) to get things done. There was a real sense of “togetherness” back in the day.

On the strict “simracing” term, I'd have to say my fondest memories come from the early days of Assetto Corsa modding here at RD, back when the official forums shut down the mods section and found a home here.
That’s where I met some really cool and talented people to develop our passion with, and thanks to that shared effort, be able to push things to a further level.

Screenshot_a3dr_viper_rt10_ek_tsukuba_fruits_line.jpg


We reached the end of our interview! Do you have any final remarks?

Hmmm, 2nd question was the most difficult one, having to choose only one thing. I need my glasses too :) ⦿


Again, thank you Daniel, for the time you spent with me on this interview, and for the work you share with all of us. Ad Maiora!

(also, thank you for the Testarossa to you as well as Jason, as I said, flat engines are the best engines, especially if they come in twelve cylinders :laugh:)
About author
Davide Nativo
Petrolhead and Simracer, passionate since the cradle about cars, motorsports and simracing. I read a lot, and I love to share what I've learned with others!

Comments

These articles are always my favorite on the website! It's awesome to learn about how fellow modders got into the scene and to see their perspective. When it comes to 3D modelling, A3DR is easily one of the key standout figures in the community, and we have been very lucky to have his incredible work shared with the world!
 
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Would it be a bad question to ask him if donations for mods were significant, not so much, or better than expected, etc.? I was always curious about that. Hopefully he made a fair amount from all of his efforts.
 
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Ohhhh where do I get that Boss 302 in the group picture? I don't see it in the downloads section.
 
Ok i think there is no possibility someone interested in cars and born in the 70s-80s, and earlier, could not feel a special love to cars like the Diablo or the T512.

And A3DR brought them alive in best possible quality, for people like me, which never could drive them in real life .
Additionally its all for free and like mentioned in the interview its not obvious in todays world.

At least as he is an Argentinian from Buenos Aires i would ask him: Boca/River/ or other??? ;)
 
Would it be a bad question to ask him if donations for mods were significant, not so much, or better than expected, etc.? I was always curious about that. Hopefully he made a fair amount from all of his efforts.
Donations generally make up a rather insignificant amount in total. At best, something like 5% of the cost to develop a mod, with most performing well below that.
 
That was a fascinating read. I think one of the most surprising things I learn when people like Dan are interviewed is just how far back their hobby / work goes. I only got to know his work through AC and it felt to me like he just popped up out of nowhere, like a mushroom appearing overnight! :D I was oblivious to the years and years of content creation, and all of the other games he had worked on before AC, so if nothing else, Davide's interview helped put his AC career into some kind of perspective.

Thank you for the endless hours of enjoyment, A3RD, and again to Davide for his time and hard work making these brilliant interviews happen :thumbsup:
 
As surely plenty other people here, I started getting into modding with the NFS collections from A3DR. And I was amazed to see the incredible quality, attention to detail, and obvious passion put into his work. Big kudos to him and the whole modding scene for keeping AC fresher than ever, and opening so much new perspectives to driving and racing enthusiasts.
 
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Thanks to @Davide Nativo and @Bram Hengeveld for the chance to share not only my work, but a little bit about myself.
It's easy to forget there's always a person behind the avatar, and these interviews are a great way to get to know each other.
I always found the best source of inspiration is on other's people work, so I'm glad that mine is also inspiring other people to get into modding.

And yes, I am Argentinean, but soccer is not my thing. About donations, the largest one was $100 USD from a follower, Lee Khuen, whom I didn't get to thank through paypal so I take the chance here. Other than that, I guess in total they must've covered the cost of my RTX card, so it was well invested ;)
 
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A few hundred dollars in donations sounds like a lot and everyone thinks us modders make bank, but you need to take into account that a car with a good 3D model, physics and sounds is worth some tens of thousands of dollars. We're paying out of pocket to make this stuff most of the time.
 
A few hundred dollars in donations sounds like a lot and everyone thinks us modders make bank, but you need to take into account that a car with a good 3D model, physics and sounds is worth some tens of thousands of dollars. We're paying out of pocket to make this stuff most of the time.
It's a shame there is isn't a 'scale' of some kind that ranks mods based on actual technical stuff that people like myself don't understand. I think, in another thread, you mentioned the amount of files that a make up a mod? Perhaps:
Low (maybe WIP),
Medium
High
and Ultra.
Then there would be a clear understanding of what we were downloading and each mod here on Racedepartment could then be priced accordingly. Win win for everyone!
 
It's a shame there is isn't a 'scale' of some kind that ranks mods based on actual technical stuff that people like myself don't understand. I think, in another thread, you mentioned the amount of files that a make up a mod? Perhaps:
Low (maybe WIP),
Medium
High
and Ultra.
Then there would be a clear understanding of what we were downloading and each mod here on Racedepartment could then be priced accordingly. Win win for everyone!
JPG probably mentioned the file count, not me.

The thing is that you'd need to sell the cars for some tens of dollars per license to make any money back. I don't think enough people are willing to pay 30 - 70 dollars for one car. If you sell it for 3 dollars you actually do get some buyers, but don't make 10% of the cost back.

If you want to make money it makes no sense to develop anything for the public. At least when you're making free mods, you can choose exactly what you make, for how long and how well. Otherwise no merits.
 
JPG probably mentioned the file count, not me.

The thing is that you'd need to sell the cars for some tens of dollars per license to make any money back. I don't think enough people are willing to pay 30 - 70 dollars for one car. If you sell it for 3 dollars you actually do get some buyers, but don't make 10% of the cost back.

If you want to make money it makes no sense to develop anything for the public. At least when you're making free mods, you can choose exactly what you make, for how long and how well. Otherwise no merits.
I think that's because there are so many, and so many free ones. But the vast majority of them probably fall into the low or medium category. People don't pay because they have no (proper) way of differentiating the quality. I'm pretty sure there are plane mods for flight sims that cost 70 dollars or so. I can see that being a bit on the pricy side for most of us looking for a super-high quality car mod but £20 - £30 would still be affordable for many I think?
 

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