In the second part of our interview with Marcel Offermans of Studio 397, we discuss the rF1 tyre model, the future potential of road cars in the sim, gJED development and much more... If you missed it the first time, part 1one of our interview can be found here, and our recent interview with Tim Wheatly of ISI and Studio 397 can be found here. RD: At the moment 90% of the cars that come out for rF2 are race cars recently. Will this remain the case or could the odd road car make it into a first party release in future? MO: For us, race cars is more the preferred direction because in the end, we are a racing simulation. We are all about competition and racing these cars, so that makes the most sense. We are also continuing the Third Party Affiliate programme, so if we can work on some street cars in that way, we might also do that, but it has a little bit less focus than race cars for us. RD: Can you share with us some of your future content plans? I appreciate you probably can't say what will be coming, but could you give us an idea of volume of releases and potential frequency? MO: It is still a little bit too early to talk about exact volumes of cars and tracks. We are still expanding the team at this moment, so it depends a little bit on how that goes in the next couple of months, but I'll definitely be coming back to that question in probably a couple of months to tell you a little bit more about that. Our intention is to be more open to the community, to share our roadmap. Not that everything we say is set in stone but it is a direction we are working in and we like to share that with people. RD: It was mentioned there was a proposal to bring the rF1 tyre model into rF2 , generating a number of both positive and negative comments. Do you have anything to say on the subject to maybe address some of the concerns raised? MO: Yeah, I've already given a short explanation in the forums when people started discussing that. I think it is a fair discussion. If you look at the rFactor 2 tyre model, it is definitely a more advanced than the one we had in rF1. There is no debate about that what so ever. But in the past couple of months, I've talked to a lot of people who make physics for cars, also people that do that professionally, who take rFactor and make physics for cars used by racing teams. Some of these are saying that yes, the new tyre model is more advanced, but with the data they have, it is actually easier for them to work with the rFactor 1 tyre model and end up with results that are pretty close to the data that they’ve got. So that is the reason why they prefer working with that model. That's the reason why I'm considering it as an option, to enable more people to work with rFactor 2. Again, stressing the point that we are trying to be an open simulation to the whole community, with as many people working with it as we can. In the end, the overall quality of the physics will determine whether people like it or not. Yes there is probably more to like in the new model, but as you well know, there are many other simulations out there that are still using the rF1 tyre model that are also creating quite nice cars. So I'm thinking why not have the benefit of that and offer an option that lets people decide what they want to drive in the end. RD: So to play Devils Advocate on this, couldn't you counter the need to use the rF1 model by creating better support documentation and maybe revisiting the design ideas behind how one creates the rF2 tyres to help make the rF2 tyre a no brainer choice, rather than reverting to a known quantity in the rF1 model? MO: Yeah I think that is a very valid point. In actually, bringing the two camps together and having an environment where you can work with both models is good first step. We can then actually look at one of the car models that is for example using the old tyre model and then create a new tyre model for that car, comparing the two and probably in that process learning a lot about how you can convert from the old to the new model. Right now, not that many people are intimately familiar with both that can actually start looking at such comparisons and maybe providing tools that can help people migrate. It is also a way to bring those two parties together and try and see if we can end up with a model that everybody likes and everybody can work with, which might be the existing rFactor 2 model, which might be an evolutionary step or something like that. That's something we want to start exploring more and to do that we first want to bring those parties together. RD: So are you saying that maybe the top rF1 tyre model shod mods the studio may be interested in working with those modders and helping them along the journey to creating rF2 spec tyres? MO: That was the first step we took engaging with those people and encouraging them to use rFactor 2 more, and to do that, we had to support the old model. People have said on the forums as well that wasn't actually a big step for us, as the old tyre model is available, it just never made it into the retail builds, so it wouldn't be too hard for us to enable it and it’s definitely a move we are making as part of engaging those people and seeing how we can migrate to a newer model. RD: You mentioned you worked with Reiza on Automobilista in that past. Is their a chance we will maybe see some crossover in the future between either AMS or the yet to be title Reiza 17 and rFactor 2? MO: We have a very good relationship with Reiza and Renato. Like you said, over the last year or so we have been active in its development. The whole roadmap and direction of Automobilista is obviously something that Renato determines. In that sense, we were just programmers to help them out, so I'm not yet sure which direction Renato wants to take. He was obviously informed of what we were doing before the public knew. Even before we started to work with Reiza, he knew that I was already involved with ISI, so that has never been a secret or a problem and I talked to Renato last week just to explore ways in how we could collaborate. We haven't made any decisions yet, but we are still discussing our options. I think in general, Renato likes some features of rFactor 1 better, so he'll probably stick with that and build on that. Even if you do that, there are plenty of things we could collaborate on. RD: gJED tool. I understand it still needs some development to become a complete tool. Do you have any plans for this or similar going forward? MO: Yes we are looking at that. There are actually two parts to the modding tools that I think are very interesting there. First is our 3D Studio plugins that we have had for a long time, and that might need some upgrading because they don't work with the latest 3D Studio version yet. The other is gJED, our tool that makes it a little bit easier to import 3D scenes in a quite common format, and bring them into the game. That's obviously still under development. It was still under development when we took over, so we will definitely be trying to do some more work stabilising and finishing that. We will probably be looking at how those tools will evolve when we move to DX11, so I think we will take all of those at the same time and try to evolve them a little bit more. RD: Matchmaker is something you have mentioned in the past. Can you tell us any more about this? MO: All the basic features are there. We have our dedicated servers - anybody can run one, it's maybe not as easy as we would like to set that up, but matchmaking is an area where we want to improve things and make things easier. We will probably start with leveraging the workshop a little bit more for online racing as well. As you know, it's easy for people now to just download content from the workshop, but if you log into a server right now that is running a mod you don't have, if you are lucky, Get Mod is enabled and you will be able to download it directly from the server. That puts quite a strain on the actual server and might not have as quick a download link as you would like, so one thing we are looking into in that area is to see if we can hook up dedicated servers to the workshop as well and have them tell clients "well I'm actually running this workshop item so if you want to join the server that's what you need to subscribe to" and allow clients to quickly download it through Steam and then join the server. I think that's one improvement that will make things easier. We couldn't really do that in the past because we also had the non Steam version to think about, so it wouldn't benefit everybody. Since we've moved to Steam only that's an area we can improve. In general, in Match Making, we want to make it a lot easier for people to find stuff, find races, that will probably include no only showing what races are on right now, but also have some kind of calendar where people can look and see when certain league or other races are coming up later in the week, so they can maybe get a notification when that race is coming up and actually join it on time. RD: That makes me wonder if you would be interested in replicating an iRacing type environment in future. Things like ranked events and safety rating type features? MO: Yeah I think some kind of rating would make sense for rFactor as well. If you look at how leagues work nowadays, they mostly work on the basis of reputation and knowing drivers, teams and some of them are invite only where you first need to prove yourself before you can race somewhere. I think things like having a rating would help people make those choices which would be good for leagues. Steam offers so capability that may allow us to offer that. Do we want to take it as far as iRacing as to say that we have almost only official competitions and nothing else, probably not because we want to stay more open, more community focused and also have leagues figure out how they want to run things. We are going to keep it a little bit more open but at the same time trying to consolidate all different things out there, so people have a better overall feel of what's happening in the world of rFactor. RD: Can we expect an overhaul on the wet weather system and other racing features of the sim? MO: One recent change was already to tweak the spray to be more consistent with the overall wetness of the track. We will be looking at further tweaks, such as better linking ambient and track temperatures to all parts of the physics engine. We are also still working on further tweaks for Stock Car racing. A question we get often is the one about raindrops on the windshield and working wipers. There was a tech demo for that long time ago, but that did not make it into the build. We will probably revisit that after moving to DX11. We hope you enjoyed our recent rFactor 2 interviews with Marcel and Tim. Keep an eye out for another exclusive rFactor 2 related interview in the next few weeks.... Lastly let me just give my sincere thanks to Marcel for taking the time to speak with us regarding rFactor 2's future development direction. Much appreciated. Check out the rFactor 2 sub forum here at RaceDepartment for the latest news and discussion regarding the simulation. Have a browse through our extensive mod database, share a setup or even better come along and join in the fun in one of our awesome club racing events! Did you enjoy our interview? Looking forward to how Studio 397 will develop the game? 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