RaceDepartment talks the future development of RaceRoom Racing Experience with Sector3 Studios. Following our recent interview with Chris and Allan Speed of Sector3 Studios and SimBin Studios UK, respectively, we today release our second part of the interview series, this time with a focus on the future development of RaceRoom Racing Experience, how the new studio will impact future targets for R3E and the upcoming focus on competitive eSports competition. You can read the RaceRoom Racing Experience in full below: RD: RaceRoom has come a long way in a short period of time, what's changed behind the scenes to enable this growth in development? CS: A large part of that has been simply listening to the fans. I’ll hold my hands up, at SimBin we had a tendency to keep things close to the chest, in hindsight that maybe was the wrong approach. One of the things we wanted to do at Sector3 was to open up a little bit, be more social and hold the dev streams at the studio live and tell people - this is what's coming up, this is what you can expect, send us your questions in, that sort of thing. Ok we might not please everyone, but people have to understand we are 10 guys sitting in an office in Sweden, seven guys working remotely around the world and we're just cracking on. Back to an earlier question about do we expect to continue development of R3E, absolutely 100%. We still have a lot of work to do and also a lot of requests from the publisher to ensure the longevity of the title can continue. RD: Will you guys be moving Raceroom over to Unreal? CS: It kind of works in unison to be honest. We know with R3E the game engine is old in comparison to the competition, there is no doubt we are missing certain elements and eye candy the others have. We took the decision that Unreal is the way to go, we did some R&D early in the year and we setup SimBin, that's what they are going to work on. That's not going to happen overnight either. Eventually RaceRoom will move across to this new technology, but first and foremost it's GTR3. Then we look into what we can do with RaceRoom afterwards. I want to be 100% clear we are not ceasing work on our current development plan for RaceRoom. There is no doubt that the work that is going on for GTR3 we will see in RaceRoom when we make that decision to switch which means day night cycle, weather, improved physics, AI and visuals. All these goodies will be coming across when the time is right. RD: You've recently launched a first pass at VR, that must have been a challenge with DX9? CS: It was a challenge indeed and something we were unsure about using the current game engine we have. I think what we achieved as a first pass, the fact we have it running in DX9 is fantastic and it will certainly add a new dimension and level of immersion to the game. The next steps for us on VR is optimisation, fixing bugs and making sure the UI is working the way we need it to. Achieving this also adds another string to our bow for our event version we run at tracks and events as VR is the hot topic at the moment, and there is a lot of demand for a high level of immersion in events where partners want to attract certain crowds. We will of course be running VR in GTR3 straight from the box and maybe we will see some certain game modes that are VR specific, adding VR gets the creativeness flowing that’s for sure so it’s an area of real interest to us. RD: It has often been said the R3E fans have to wait a long time between updates, and sometimes post update you have a number of server issues. What is the strategy going forwards with regards to update frequency and resolving those 503 server problems? CS: I think if you look at the most recent updates we are updating the game every month and that is a strategy we have adopted since October last year. Yes, there was a period when we were quiet for a few months during 2016 but this was down to a lot of back-end system work, fixing issues and working on requests from some of our partners and publisher which were event specific. Regarding the 503 error issues we have had, they were causing us a headache but we have done and will continue to do a lot of work in the back ground to rectify this problem and at the moment and looking at our last few patches this have been improved greatly. RD: On the subject of content, do you have any new or interesting licenses coming up at the moment you want to share with us? CS: All the previous partners we have been working with we continue to discuss the license availability and we also move forward with new potential license partners. These discussions can be quite lengthy and do take time. Those licences in the past have been expensive for us, so now we are trying to turn it into a partnership where we purely base it on a revenue percentage type of deal. WTCC of course is a long standing relationship between RaceRoom, KW and SimBin / Sector3 so obviously that will continue to fruition. Again working with the likes of Volvo for the S60 Polestar, that's coming soon, Silverstone's out and obviously we've announced some Swedish tracks, why? Two reasons why, we decided to try and work with some of our back catalogue of tracks we have and second of all in Sweden there is some business we can generate from the event version of R3E within Scandinavia . We still have a number of locations in Sweden that are still running the old software, so if we can give them the R3E event version with some really cool local tracks that are suited to WTCC or STCC cars then we'll do it. We also have a number of exceptionally cool licences coming up, but we can't talk about that yet... RD: So do you think we might see STCC 3 or the equivalent coming then? CS: We sat down in an office 12 months ago and discussed a new STCC game, but I think neither side felt comfortable with the time frames that was being talked about so we left it at that. RD: That's a shame as I know people are crying out for a new STCC game. Is it fair to say never say never on the subject, especially with the championship moving to TCR regs from this year CS: I think in this industry and with the partners we work with it’s safe to say ‘never say never’. RD: Saying that then, would anything maybe be cooking with regards to the move to TCR regs, both in Sweden and further afield? CS: As I said previously we continue to discuss all types of license deals and for us TCR is a very interesting series so we will see what happens... RD: TCR is an interesting series as the cars are used across many different championships around the world. Surely its just the skin packs and AI files once the cars are done. CS: (Laughs) If only you really knew…. There's much more to it than that of course, in reality it’s just not like that. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes just to get a car or a track in a game. RD: So what do you have in store in the immediate future for fans to get excited about? Can you tell us more about your intentions to bring organised multiplayer (or eSports) to RaceRoom Racing Experience? CS: As it stands our current priority is to push the ranked systems for MP. We already have the player rating tracking data behind the scenes so we can look at the numbers and adjust accordingly. We also have the reputation system coming in next patch that will track players incidents behind the scenes so again looking at the numbers and tweak if needed. These will be used to determine your eligibility for different tiers and categories of ranked MP races. The MP races will be running on schedule where players will be able to sign up via the portal and follow the progression. This we feel will add a missing element for players who look for more progression. It’s about competing against players that have the same skill level which ultimately will add additional purpose to MP races. RD: But you will keep the single player module bolted on to it, so people can play against AI if they choose and also online? CS: Absolutely, none of that will change moving forward. We will continue to improve the single player experience throughout the course of development. RD: The recent Mercedes DTM online competition was a great success for you RaceRoom, any plans to do something similar in future? CS: We've had a load of discussions with other companies and partners on the back of the Mercedes event with RaceRoom, which for us was kind of a springboard into what we can really do with a partner. We couldn't believe what we were watching, it was unbelievable the kinds of numbers we had watching the event was fantastic and Mercedes were happy with it. RD: To be frank that event wasn't really widely known about outside of the core RaceRoom user base, so to get the kind of viewing figures you did was an impressive feat. CS: For us it really hit home the potential we have, but also what it means to have a strong partner on-board. Let’s not forget Mercedes pulling power marketing wise and social wise is bigger than certainly R3E, Sector3 and SimBin put together, even RaceRoom as a company. EuroGamer did a great interview with ourselves in 2014/2015 back when Sector3 took that baton over from SimBin, and the title of the article was 'RaceRoom, the best racing game you’ve never heard of’ and in some aspects that really hit home for us, there is a bit of truth there. I'm not saying that RaceRoom is the best game out there, there are a lot of solid games available to choose from at the moment, but what we do I think we are the best at doing. For example Assetto Corsa is a great game, obviously focusing on both motorsport and real world cars as do many other sims at the moment, then you have RaceRoom. We do everything motorsport related, were not interested in doing road cars. We've always done this, and SimBin back in the past and even today it’s all about motorsport, and that's what sets us different from the competition. RD: I think you have a point with that. For me personally I like having specific years of a real world championship. DTM for example I might want to race the 2013 season, or 2015 season depending on my mood and RaceRoom lets me do that. I appreciate multiple years of a series and I wonder if other sim fans also enjoy that sort of thing. CS: I think when you read a lot of the forums, and especially the pricing situation and stuff like that doesn't help. We continuously evaluate our pricing and strategy with RaceRoom, who lets not forget are the people who are paying the bills at the end of the day. That's just a fact, if they say "what you say is great but not right now" we just have to turn the page and get on with it. We have made strides over the past few years from what R3E was at SimBin and I think we are in a solid place in terms of sales, numbers, things like that. RD: So you are looking at a cash prize or some kind of reward for success in a championship? AS: To be fair it’s whatever the sponsor comes up with. If brand X wants to give us X amount for an online event then that's what we will do. CS: It can take many forms one of these kinds of events, depending on partners and what we want to achieve at that moment in time. Look at the recent eVegas event. Ok it wasn't as smooth as it could be, but they will learn from that. We did one similar at the Nurburgring at the 24h race and it wasn’t as good as we expected, but we took those lessons on board and we learnt from it. Things like testing the event software, making sure the wheels and pedals are setup and calibrated, sounds are ok and all those kinds of checklists only come if you are used to doing those type of things. Going back to my original point, people are only interested in big numbers. People are only interested in writing about big numbers. For example we've sat down with someone to do an event and they've said they were only interested in doing a eSport event with us if its £100,000 on offer. For us that's crazy money, but no one will write about it if we don't have it like that, and they have a point. There are a lot of interesting things coming with RaceRoom as an entity. RD: So is it fair to say then that an eSports type solution has always been on the cards? CS: It's funny actually, it’s almost like we were one step ahead of eSports. We were already doing it before it became popular. AS: Well we had RaceRoom, and that's like an arcade with all the simulators and all that side. The software was tailored to a location and then it’s just evolved after that. We can now potentially do something with this. Plus we are not 18 rated either, it’s a racing game so it’s open to a much wider audience than some of these shooting games you see that are quite popular in organised competition at the moment. CS: If you look at history of RaceRoom as a company people would be very surprised at what they find. Back in 2012 / 13 we had nearly 13 RaceRooms open worldwide. These were locations where you just go in, pay at a counter, go to a kiosk and insert your name and you’re in to race against your mates or you hotlap. The company have a good history in virtual racing that again people don't know about. If people went online and had a look at the company they would understand what we have been trying and continue to do. RD: So if the intention is to have a greater focus on eSports going forward, does this mean RaceRoom can expect a long development life expectancy to meet this potential? CS: We use the word "eSports" very frankly, for example the next development phase of R3E is what we like to say structured online racing. The thing is before eSports can happen, although it’s happening today with other games like shooters, Dota2, LOL, Counterstrike and all that I still think it needs some kind of form to make racing work with eSports. It needs some kind of structure saying this is what it’s going to be. AS: You see we build the simulators, so everyone has a fair playing field. We know how to make a race event work in eSports, and we think that this sort of solution, be it participating at home on your own machine or turning up at an organised event and doing it there has a big draw as the future on large scale multiplayer racing CS: We've not made a star in racing eSports yet. In order for it to be interesting people need to write about it, and we need to make the stars. Until that happens organizations like ESL are always going to have that question mark about how are we going to make it interesting. Prize money, presentation and above all the drivers are all key here. RD: Jumping now to the new SimBin team for a moment, will you be making other former back catalogue games after GTR3? CS: Everything is open for consideration. GTL, a new Race game or something from the multitude of IPs in the back catalogue really. It just boils down to getting GTR3 done, then we need to access what's next. AS: They could be updates or something, but what our focus is now is getting the technology up and running to the level that we want, and then everything else will just come together. RD: We recently heard the news that the proposed GTL title from Tiny Feet Studios has been suspended for various reasons. Could we see the possibility of Simbin / Sector3 stepping in to bring that game back to life, or re taking the rights to the name and doing it yourselves? CS: Never say never…..just as I said earlier (Laughs) RD: We talked about IP, is that also the licences themselves or just the content already created, or just the actual names of the products? CS: The licence deals run out, that's just the tradition. Its either a 3 year or a 5 year deal then they will send you a letter to say "ok were not going to extend this licence and you have a 6 or 12 month sell off period". That's a traditional licence deal. When you purchase the IPs it doesn't come with a licence it just comes with a name, like GTR or GTL or Race, it doesn't come with GTR FIA or anything. RD: So in summary you say that RaceRoom will be looking to substantially enhance the organised multiplayer element of the sim, bring in a continual influx of new and (hopefully) exciting content, move over to Unreal 4 in time and add the features that opportunity presents. How do you feel about some of the elements deemed to be missing from the sim that many fans ask about? I'm talking about stuff such as multi class racing, proper flags, tyre pressure adjustments and that sort of thing. What's the plans in terms of feature development? CS: No doubt there is still some key elements missing in RaceRoom as you mention above. Flag system, tyre compounds on certain cars is being worked on. Multi Class racing we have a design on paper and will at some point work towards that but first and foremost we have to get the structured MP racing features done. RD: So in short the GTR3 announcement from SimBin won't prevent RaceRoom for developing further, it will in fact dovetail the development and open up opportunities for R3E to become bigger and better than would be possible without GTR3? CS: Think of it like this, two separate studios working on two separate products. We are under the same umbrella but we are two separate entities working on different things. We are supporting one another in different areas and provide feedback where necessary but the Swedish studio is still solely responsible for RaceRoom whilst the UK studio is responsible for GTR3. We want to assure everyone that RaceRoom is going to be here for a long time. If you missed it due to living under a rock these past few weeks, or have only just discovered the internet, you can check out our recent SimBin interview HERE and our GTR3 reveal article HERE. RaceRoom Racing Experience is a PC exclusive racing simulation by Sector3 Studios. You can download the base game with limited content for free, with further cars and tracks available to purchase at an additional cost. Check out the RaceRoom Racing Experience sub forum here at RaceDepartment for the latest news and discussion regarding the simulation. We have a few select mods to download, a ton of setups created by our community and our pièce de résistance the RaceRoom Racing Experience Racing Club. Head over to our club and join in a selection of races for all different skills and experiences. Top TeamSpeak banter and great racing, exclusive to premium members of RD. Did you enjoy our interview with Sector3 Studios? Are you excited for the future of RaceRoom Racing Experience? Do you look forward to playing R3E in the new Unreal 4 engine? What part of the information revealed about excites you most? Let us know in the comments section below!