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Reiza Studios Interviews: Renato Simioni

Discussion in 'Stock Car Extreme' started by Patrick Giranthon, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. Patrick Giranthon

    Patrick Giranthon

    Now, it is boss' turn :cool:

    1 - Renato, many drivers have nicknames in the simulation world. Your company is called "reiza". Can you precise what this name means?

    In the early days before Reiza was officially formed, we already had a group of people in a mailing group discussing and participating on its inception, and one of the initial topics naturally was what the name of the studio should be. We were kind of going nowhere with it until a guy named Chris Neira who was involved back then suggested "Reiza". It had a ring to it and it ended up sticking. I hear that it supposedly has some meaning somewhere in the world, but I cant claim to be aware of it back in the day!

    2 - We can imagine that it hard to become a simracing conceptor by accident. What is your exact travel in the racing simulation?

    I´ve been a simracer pretty much since the conception of the genre back in the early 90s, and grew more into it as it evolved in the late 90s / early 00s. When rFactor was released the modding scene was booming, but what was being done with it in the early days did not feel very satisfactory, and that led me on to start messing about with physics files -following the old adage I guess that if you want something done well, you better do it yourself!

    Unlike Niels I dont have an engineering background (being a law graduate myself), but I learned my way round the physics engine and vehicle dynamics to the point my output was decent enough and I began doing work on both mods and some semi-professional projects. The highest profile one was GP79, which I developed physics for.

    Looking back, with the know-how we now have of the very same game engine we´re still using, it was not very sophisticated, but the scale of production was huge and quite ambitious for just a few developers to put together as a hobby - having all cars and all tracks from the 79 F1 season. We took it very seriously and it was very much a labor of love that took up a lot of time over the course of 2006. We released the 1st version towards the end of that year, and it was a big deal in the community at the time.

    Being a part of that project probably defined in myself that I really wanted to be doing more of that, though doing it professionally still seemed something far out at the time. By a stroke of luck, swedish game developer Simbin, who also used the same base technology of rFactor was going through a reform around the time GP79 came out, and that opened up an avenue to make the jump to actually doing simracing professionally. I went to work for them as physics consultant in the RACE 07 series towards the end of 2007, and was there for little under 2 years. It was a great learning opportunity and what planted the seeds to start Reiza. As 2009 unfolded, pieces started coming together and as perspectives became bleak at Simbin, focus shifted to creating a new avenue for myself in simracing. I found a partner with good software development experience in Fernando Oliveira Jr., managed to assemble a small but really top level development team, raised some initial funding to start Reiza in October 2009. Soon after we started development of GSC, and the rest as the cliche goes, is history.

    3 - I think cars are a passion for you. Where does this come from? Your father? TV shows?

    My father did business with airplanes and was an acrobat pilot who performed in air shows with old WW2 warbirds - I must have inherited that passion, and the passion for racing cars is probably derivative from it. As I grew up in the Senna era in Brazil, the passion for racing and cars kind of took over.

    4 - What is your favorite car? Did you ever drive in competitions or in exhibitions? What is your actuel car?

    Nothing very exciting here :) I did a lot of karting in my teenage years, had my own to play with but it was only for fun. My own car these days is a Chevrolet Vectra. I usually develop special fonding for whatever cars I get to work on in sims - be them old F1 cars or racing Trucks. But my favorite racing cars are the F1 cars from the late 80s / early 90s.

    5 - When you were a kid, what was your wish for your futur job? Astronaut? Policeman? Fireman? Superman?

    I wanted to be a race driver or a game developer. So if you told me back then that I was going to be developing racing games for a living, and with the opportunity to work on an Ayrton Senna project to top it off, I´d probably not be too disappointed!

    6 - For you, what is the ideal simracing game?

    The ones we do at Reiza, it´s probably an obvious answer but it´s also true. It focus on the important things a sim must have. Obviously so far we´ve worked within some limiting technical and budget constraints, hopefully the near future we´ll see us with the the tools to take it to the next level. But for today, I´d be glad enough if GSC 2012 was all I had to do my simracing with.

    7 - When you received the prices for GSC in brasil, what was your feeling?

    Certainly rewarding, and compensation for the all the hardships that involves starting your own company and keeping it a float, specially when doing what we do, and taking over 18 months to see any results from our work. But the positive reception it got within the simracing community was and is even more rewarding, as it comes from our peers.

    8 - What is your reflexion about the future of simracing?

    It´s certainly exciting, with many promising projects and new technologies which promises to take simracing to a new level. From a business perspective, I have the impression there are too many players for what still is a niche market, so it will be interesting to see how things evolve over the next 5 years.

    9 - You said that you grown in the Senna era. I was in front of my TV on the 1st may of 1994. I am not bresilian but I was shocked. I suppose you were too. Can you talk about this legend and more about this "Senna project" wich seems to be very important for you? Why deciding to give half benefits to the Senna foundation?

    We dont decide to give anything to the foundation (or rather the Ayrton Senna Institute - the Senna Foundation is a separate institution operating in Europe) - the IAS exists for the purpose of raising funds from the Senna "brand" through product licensing agreements such as ours, and redirecting these funds to the various philantropic activities they promote - mostly towards promoting education and oportunities to brazilian children. So it´s not our option, but certainly a noble cause we´re very proud and happy to be contributing to.

    Having managed to get their approval is also something that I´m very proud of, as they dont just license any product for any company that comes knocking on the door - the project has to suit the IAS "ethos" in some way, and they all are individually and personally approved by Viviane Senna, Ayrton´s sister. We were very careful about approaching it the right way, and also at the right time as Reiza is still a very small and young company, and one has to produce the trust we have what it takes to do the Senna name justice.

    I suppose part of the reason we got it is precisely because it means so much to not only me, but I´d say everyone in the team, brazilian or not, and to some extent that ends up showing. Not only Senna is a racing legend, but the whole era of motorsports around his time is something that resonates very strongly to this day - and to myself and most in the team it´s represents the origins of our love for the sport. To get the chance to recreate the era, or a chapter of that era in a sim as well and to as large an extent as we possibly can is an ambition that goes way back, even before Reiza itself was originally formed.

    That does present some major hurdles however as one can imagine, but we´re working towards piercing all the fundamental parts together. It was very important to get Senna, as even though the project goes way beyond him and the IAS alone, through them we manage to get through a few important doors. It´s by no means an easy road but we´re slowly making progress!

    And of course all this has to convert into a Game that is worth all that. There too, we´re making slow but good progress. I wouldnt want to raise expectations too high, not least because there´s still a long long way to go and a few fundamental bits still to be put in place. I suppose underpromising and overdelivering is an approach that has served us well so far, so I´ll stick to it until we´re closer to the finish line.

    The insight I could offer I guess is a memory from way back in 1992, as a 12 year-old playing Crammond´s World Circuit, or GP1 for the first time and just being overwhelmed by excitement. It felt like being there - this in a 386 running 8 FPS or whatever it was it could manage back in the day, before the infamous processor occupancy shot over 100% and everything slowed to a near halt! Wouldnt it be something if a sim could raise that sort of excitement again with today´s technology. That´s what we´re looking for - that magic that only a great immersive sim can produce!

    10 - A final word?

    Just happy to be doing what we do, with the team of people that we´ve got, working hard to build upon it for greater things from Reiza in the future. There will be no shortage of commitment and passion :)
    • Like Like x 17
  2. Patrick Giranthon

    Patrick Giranthon

    Add of the 9th question.