Assetto Corsa Competizione | Interesting Read: Laserscan Technology in ACC

An interesting read from Assetto Corsa Competizione developers Kunos Simulazioni and 505 Games popped into the world recently, explaining a little more about laser scan techniques employed in Assetto Corsa Competizione.

What is laserscanning? I'm sure the vast majority of you know all about it, however just in case you don't it is basically the now industry standard way of capturing exactly how a track looks and feels before transferring it into a simulation - giving players the advantage of enjoying incredibly close to real life and detailed racing surfaces on which to drive our virtual cars.

That's my idiot description of it anyway. Better hand over to Marco Massarutto of Kunos and his interviewer Antonela Pounder (hi Ant!) of 505 Games to explain a little more, and how it improves the experience in ACC:

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What exactly is Laserscan technology? Can you give us a brief explanation for those who know little about it?
MARCO – Laser scanning combines controlled steering of laser beams with a laser rangefinder. By taking a distance measurement in every direction, the scanner rapidly captures the surface shape of objects, buildings, and landscapes. In short, the result is a massive amount of data that consists in a very dense 3D point cloud, allowing the artists to understand with max precision exactly where all details are placed in the space. This includes circuit kerbs, the grass, poles and the little bumps that affect the way car suspensions behave on them.

Can you talk a little bit about how the laserscanning technique works in Assetto Corsa Competizione?
MARCO – When laserscanned data for a specific circuit is already available, we can decide whether we want to purchase it or capture the data ourselves. If we go for the second option, we then request access to the track with our supplier via the circuit themselves. Once the data has been grabbed and processed, (more on that later) we deliver this to our 3D environment department, led by Simone Trevisiol. From here they can import the data and start to model the 3D mesh copying the 3D surface shown by the point cloud. We began using this technology ten years ago, during the development of Ferrari Virtual Academy. Since then, we’ve improved in several areas, from the capture itself, to the way we use the data in the game. Once we get all the data we need to start, a single circuit can require up to four months of development time.

ACC 1.jpg


How long does it take on average to Laserscan a circuit?
MARCO – Since renting out a circuit can be far more expensive, compared to laserscan survey costs, we’ve gone for a mobile solution, that allows us to reduce the time we need to spend on track. The LS device is installed on the roof of a van, that completes X number of laps on the circuit at very low speed, while the infrared cameras capture the scene. The amount of time depends on the complexity of the track, the buildings surrounding it, track layout and details, etc. On average, it usually takes half a day to complete. While this is ongoing, photographers shoot all the pictures we need to recreate the 2D textures that “dress” the 3D mesh.

How many circuits take advantage of Laserscan technology in Assetto Corsa Competizione?
MARCO – All of the circuits featured in game take advantage of Laserscan technology. The only exception is Zandvoort, as this was recreated by an external company for the previous Assetto Corsa title. As it was well received by our community for its appearance and precision, we didn’t feel the need to re-do it from scratch.

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How will the player be able to tell they’re racing on a laserscanned circuit?
MARCO – Nice question! The player will tell you “wow, this feels the same as the real circuit” once they take a car to the real track and compare. Because they will feel the same bumps, over time they will find themselves taking the same driving lines of the simulation, finding the same kerbs (shape, height) in places, as well as the same reference points they use for braking. Of course, jump online and you’ll see a bunch of comparison videos that show how accurate a laserscanned track really is, but nothing is more effective as driving the real thing to recognise it.

Huge thank you to Marco for taking the time to answer some of our questions today. The attention to detail gone into Assetto Corsa Competizione is astonishing and hopefully today’s deep dive into the Laserscan technology highlights that! There is a lot to get excited about with this Official GT World Challenge title. Experience it for yourself now on Steam, PlayStation 4 and Xbox.



Original Source; 505 Games

Assetto Corsa Competizione is available now on PC and console.

Got questions about the sim? Want to know how to make the most from your instal? No worries, fire up a new thread in the Assetto Corsa Competizione sub forum here at RaceDepartment, and let the community be your guide!

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LukFry

10RPM
Apr 16, 2017
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How many circuits take advantage of Laserscan technology in Assetto Corsa Competizione?
MARCO – All of the circuits featured in game take advantage of Laserscan technology. The only exception is Zandvoort, as this was recreated by an external company for the previous Assetto Corsa title. As it was well received by our community for its appearance and precision, we didn’t feel the need to re-do it from scratch.

so if I understand it correctly, zandvoort is not a laserscan in ACC either?
 

Leynad777

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Jan 30, 2015
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The only outstanding about ACC is their marketing-blabla and the motion-dynamics in this game are IMO subpar with a severe lack of what I call 'Newton law's a physics'-simulation. These cars just have no proper weight in ACC and it's all about doing strange setups to pivot the cars faster around the corners. Certainly no sim is anywhere perfect, but ACC is just totally off for me and overrated af.
 
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Badwheels

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Jul 9, 2020
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Using this type of technology is very commendable for any sim racing title. What I find interesting is how sim racers get all huffy about whether a track is "laser scanned" as if they have actually driven the track to know whether a bump or a crack is in a certain place. Of course, the more accurate the reproduction is, gives more diversity in the feel of the track, but laser scanning won't make or break a drive around an unknown, in real life circuit.

Oh, and if a tree is missing near a sign at Bathhurst, I don't think that is going to cause you to drive the circuit any slower.
 

Nick Hill

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Oct 26, 2013
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Using this type of technology is very commendable for any sim racing title. What I find interesting is how sim racers get all huffy about whether a track is "laser scanned" as if they have actually driven the track to know whether a bump or a crack is in a certain place. Of course, the more accurate the reproduction is, gives more diversity in the feel of the track, but laser scanning won't make or break a drive around an unknown, in real life circuit.

Oh, and if a tree is missing near a sign at Bathhurst, I don't think that is going to cause you to drive the circuit any slower.
Yeah, I know what you are saying without necessarily agreeing - there is definitely a hype factor around laser scanning but the reality is most of us will never drive any of the tracks we are driving in our sims in real life. I mean, that's a big part of the reason we are playing sims at all, right?

At the same time though, it does sorta add something to the experience, IMO. Given the choice between a laser scanned and a non laser scanned version of a track, I'm taking the laser scanned version every time.

I think all of us who have been at this hobby for any length of time has had the experience of getting really familiar with a track in one sim and then at some point driving the same track in another sim and noticing a particular turn seems just a little too narrow or an incline not being quite as pronounced or what have you. If, in that example, one of the tracks is laser scanned and the other one isn't...well, the sim with the non-laser scanned version just kind of loses just a bit of it's luster.
 

Dazmaniac

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Aug 30, 2010
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The only outstanding about ACC is their marketing-blabla and the motion-dynamics in this game are IMO subpar with a severe lack of what I call 'Newton law's a physics'-simulation. These cars just have no proper weight in ACC and it's all about doing strange setups to pivot the cars faster around the corners. Certainly no sim is anywhere perfect, but ACC is just totally off for me and overrated af.
Looks like it's back to PCARS 3 for you then, lol.
 

passenger

250RPM
Jul 6, 2019
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Great inside info. Laser scanning is a fantastic technology which makes the simulators look
the closest to the real thing, especially the track itself. Great work, and very high standards
our beloved racing simulators are achieving.
 
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opmike

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Apr 25, 2014
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Using this type of technology is very commendable for any sim racing title. What I find interesting is how sim racers get all huffy about whether a track is "laser scanned" as if they have actually driven the track to know whether a bump or a crack is in a certain place. Of course, the more accurate the reproduction is, gives more diversity in the feel of the track, but laser scanning won't make or break a drive around an unknown, in real life circuit.

Oh, and if a tree is missing near a sign at Bathhurst, I don't think that is going to cause you to drive the circuit any slower.
You're making straw man arguments. No one thinks a tree out of place will have a negative effect on lap times, nor is that the reason why there's been a push towards laser scanning.

You're on a racing simulation website complaining about people wanting more accurate racing simulation? There's a percentage of us that are striving towards more and more realism, and laser scanning is one tool towards that goal. For the people who don't care, well, a laser scanned track isn't exactly going to detract from their experience, will it?
 

johnny9913

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Mar 21, 2013
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The only outstanding about ACC is their marketing-blabla and the motion-dynamics in this game are IMO subpar with a severe lack of what I call 'Newton law's a physics'-simulation. These cars just have no proper weight in ACC and it's all about doing strange setups to pivot the cars faster around the corners. Certainly no sim is anywhere perfect, but ACC is just totally off for me and overrated af.
:roflmao::laugh:
 
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JimLee

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Nov 3, 2015
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that would be a bumpy ride as the road seems in terrible conditions now:
PS the video is speed up and filmed from a tiny (rented) car...and some dangerous driving "choices"/overtakes too.
Yes, wish I could drive it that fast :cautious::cautious:, but it still looked pretty much the same summer of 2019...just that the traffic was actually pretty fast that day (you gotta love those Scilians :laugh::laugh:) and we did not find any severe tears in the pavement (my friend said that they do make repairs) :)
 

Mr Deap

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Jan 3, 2016
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They should work on the animation. The car natural frequency ride like a Maybach.

I don't know how people can get immersed.

If a simracer hate how it shake. They can aways use an assist option, because they're too scared to drive.
 
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Duke55

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Using this type of technology is very commendable for any sim racing title. What I find interesting is how sim racers get all huffy about whether a track is "laser scanned" as if they have actually driven the track to know whether a bump or a crack is in a certain place. Of course, the more accurate the reproduction is, gives more diversity in the feel of the track, but laser scanning won't make or break a drive around an unknown, in real life circuit.
If you've been around on the scene before rfactor and you've seen a few track meshes that we used to race around on back in the day, and known how those meshes were contructed. You'd soon come to realise what a huge step forward laser scanning has become. The accuracy of the circuits were way off, and the data they can collect these days far surpasses what we had back in the day. I would've thought most people could appreciate that.

Oh, and if a tree is missing near a sign at Bathhurst, I don't think that is going to cause you to drive the circuit any slower.
If you're talking about the tree on turn 13 in the Esses, that particular tree was used a sighting guide by many of the drivers when they blindly drop off Skyline and enter into the Esses. It is/was about the only reference point to go by. So yeah, if that's the tree you're on about. It is quite a significant part of the circuit and should be included in all builds of the Mount Panorama Circuit.
 
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passenger

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Talking about ACC's trees, one question... are they all 3D? are all leaves 3D? They are the
finest, detailed, best looking. more realistic trees to date on any Sim. Not sure if they are
all 3D...
 
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