rFactor 2 Q&A with SimHQ

SimHQ has spoken with Gjon Camaj and Tim Wheatley about rFactor 2 and what is to come in the next few months.


Doug: Gjon and Tim, how would you characterize where rFactor 2 is in development at the moment?

Gjon: rF2 is in heavy development, there is always something new in the works. In general this is no different since rFactor was conceived a decade ago. You could pretty much pick any day over the past ten years and the development effort would look about the same. It’s a different model then what most software developers face. Anyone on our team can decide to create a new feature. We have a great group of friends in our internal test team and forums that provide advice. We debate with them and then among ourselves until we settle on a direction.

We are fortunate in that we aren’t obligated to a predefined design or schedule. This allows us to refine things at our own pace, involve the community, and have a quality of life not typically found in many software development organizations. This of course makes it difficult to predict when certain features will be ready for public release, hence we don’t make those types of announcements.

Doug: What areas do you believe you’ve achieved your goals envisioned when we last spoke back in 2010?

Gjon: I was absolutely correct when I said we wouldn’t release in 2010!
In terms of initial goals for release, every box has been ticked, and with our main goal being to always move forwards, introduce more users to the sim racing community, I would say we are achieving our goals. That does not mean we aren’t setting new ones…

Doug: How is the development team addressing by priority the multitude of announced features that are functional, but not complete or have known problems?

Gjon: Recently we have refined some of our procedures. We now have someone making a final decision whether a feature ships or is held. Previously it was largely up to the developer and whether he wanted to get that feature in the hands of the public, either for feedback or to get reports on it. Since we knew another build would soon follow, it seemed reasonable but now recognize that it caused too much confusion. To further help with releases we asked one of the members on our testing team to revamp our testing methods, so our developers can get a better prioritized list of issues facing our community.

This past year has been one of consolidation as well as pushing features further. We recognize we’ll need to set aside a time period to go back and button up some things that are lesser priorities right now.

Doug: Is the intent to complete what has already been announced before expanding further into other new features that may not have been announced?

Gjon: It’s a balancing act so our focus shifts between both, but the changes outlined above will affect this.

Doug: There was some question if rFactor 2 was far enough in development to warrant a release. It was explained as evolving, so is there a benchmark point you would consider it complete, and start focusing on new features (…or even rFactor 3)?

Gjon: We knew that development of rFactor 2 would continue for many years. As a very small development team we need the feedback from the community along the way as well as the steady revenue it provides.

We understood this process and product isn’t for everyone. We tried to emphasize this (and still do on our purchase page) when we decided to first release rFactor 2. We also took steps to have a very liberal return policy. I wish this was true of other products I’ve purchased recently.

Although I love seeing what’s under the hood of a product, sometimes I just want something in a pretty package that’s easy to use. We understand that and do try and button things up once its achieved a base level of functionality. As the product continues to mature, more time will be put into refining what is already there.

Doug: Do you have regrets about not going with the Steam purchase and distribution system?

Gjon: There are no regrets because Steam is still an option and always will be, it just hasn’t made it to the top of anyone’s list yet. I don’t think we would ever give up our own system completely, the margins are substantially higher and the flexibility is great.

Doug: When a new build is released, sometimes it is advised to use the update capability in the Launcher, and sometimes it is recommended a clean install be performed. What is the threshold point to do an Update verses a clean installation?

Gjon: When one is required, that is the threshold. Actually, it’s quite rare. Our goal is that the update system (either automatically through the launcher or a lite download) be the only way updates are done. For the most part, it’s very rare that we make a change that requires a complete reinstall.

What typically happens instead is that some complications come up for certain configurations so that its easier to recommend doing a fresh install. I do one about once every three months, but I’m particularly rough with my system.

We provide a Lite version. I usually use this to “refresh” the core elements installing right on top of my current build.

Doug: What problems remain in the updating from an older build to a newer one?

Gjon: Hmmm, I don’t really run into any, so its hard to say.

Doug: Is there any plan to make the Mod Manager more user-friendly so older component versions are recognized when a newer version is installed?

Gjon: There haven’t been any discussions about this recently.

Doug: What features are being worked on right now to get them fully functional?

Gjon: We have done some fundamental brain surgery on a number of systems. The underlying networking and communication systems have been strengthened, and now provide us a better base to do things like automatically downloading needed components.

We are currently unraveling nearly a decade of UI (user interface) and control code. This is an ugly mess but was long overdue.

We are undertaking a major revamp of our Race Rules code especially with regards to oval track racing. This will allow us to better implement both current and the never ending changes to race rules. Since we try and cover nearly any type of racing, this ends up being a big task. As part of this strategy, we are trying to see how much can be pushed onto the plug-in system. This way updates can be made independent of builds and leagues can create their own introducing limitless options.

Doug: Can we expect the revamped stock car rules to be released around the same time or concurrently as Stock Car 2014? If we get the cars but not the rules, we’ll have the same problems encountered with other oval track content released.As promising as NSC 2006 was, we were limited to good late model stock car racing until leagues developed their many plug-ins.

Gjon: Yes, our goal is to have the whole package come out together.

On the physics side of things, we are improving RealRoad™ features and refining contact patch computation. These enhancements will make an already deep experience even richer. Because of this we are also in discussion with various mod groups about how better to give them access to this system.

Doug: On that topic, how is RealRoad doing? Could we get a progress update on it?

Gjon: Comments from the community have been accumulating for some time concerning this feature. There was a decent effort made recently and an ongoing one now that should end up in the next build or two. Right now it could be considered fully functional, but we’re not done yet…

Doug: Are there any plans to overhaul the user interface look and feel?

Gjon: This system is one of our last to be completely overhauled. We are looking into it right now but it’s still unclear which direction we will take.

Doug: Let’s face it; the packaging system has been one of the most controversial areas in rFactor 2. What are your current thoughts about the packaging and will we see any major revisions to the system in the next few months?

Gjon: Yes it was. One of the biggest drawbacks was the inability to quickly create races with any set of cars and tracks – requiring them all to be referenced. It’s now possible to bypass this using the unstable release version that is now available.

Hosts will be able to setup a schedule of races, with any content, and only the content being used is referenced. This allows a secure race join with all the benefits of the packaging system still in-place, even if they do not have the content installed in the following race the host selected.

The requirement that mods be registered was removed some time ago as a first step.

Doug: While the weather engine is working, it tends to be as unpredictable as… the weather. Does it have a place in the update line of things to be done, or is it a lower priority while other things mentioned in this interview get resolved first? Can you tell us if the feature set for the weather is complete? Right now the weather is divided into 5 varied sub-sections, but there is actually the information inside the .wet file to do more variance and settings.

Gjon: Updates to the weather system is not currently on our priority list. Like with many of our systems, accessing the files directly can give you control of things not available through the UI. We do this for people that need more control or because there is still development and testing to be done.

Doug: The tires for some major genres of racing – such as LMPs – are just not available and it has hindered car development. While there is little doubt in the potential of the tires, there are concerns in the community if it is worth it since they are so complex to build and have been delayed. Can you advise when there will be a complete set of tires available?

Gjon: Not sure there will ever be a complete set given the vast variety, and ever-changing enhancements, being made in the real world. We are, however, having active discussions on this very point and are producing a spreadsheet to allow calculations to be quickly made in the same way our physics engineer does it. We also have examples of tires in the Dev Corner, and will update those when time permits. So basically people will be able to pull tires off the shelf to start with and then refine them over time if needed. We are also looking at how to add more “simple” adjustments/multipliers to existing tires, which will allow these pre-built tires to be used in a wider range of situations. However, we are trying to simulate real tires and guide the community into making high-quality mods; it will never be like anybody can punch in a couple of numbers to create realistic behavior from scratch.

Doug: Next, let’s talk about some wishful content for rFactor 2 cars. What can you tell us is still planned and what is actively being worked on?

Gjon: Planned cars in the pipeline include the classic Indianapolis cars mentioned here, and the Gurney Eagle’s, the F1 Toleman, the 2003 Bentley Speed 8, the Mercedes Benz 300 SLR and W196, first mentioned here. There is also plans for the Nissan GT500. We are actively working on an unannounced car, the 1991 Nissan NSX / NSX-R as well as the previously announced Stock Car 2014, and the Shelby 427 Cobra. I’m driving the AC 427 now, and it’s a handful. I would expect it to be one of the next few cars released, although there is still some refining and testing to be done. Here are a few more new screens of the Cobra. Click each image for the original screenshot.

Shelby 427 Cobra

Shelby 427 Cobra

Shelby 427 Cobra

Shelby 427 Cobra

Shelby 427 Cobra

We hope that once our stock car is available it should be a solid basis for modders to create many other similarly constructed cars. We are working with outside developers to bring new content to rF2 and are always interested in talking to others about this possibility.

There’s some interesting stuff coming before the Holidays this year.

Doug: Since SimHQ Motorsports is so active in endurance racing, news on cars for that genre peak our interest. We know that URD is developing LMPs that have already been announced by VEC for their Season 7 series, and today Enduracers announced their plans for their rFactor 2 LMP and GT add-on. Can we expect a heightened priority for endurance racing cars from ISI for rFactor 2?

Gjon: Yes, once some of the things we are currently working on get released, we’ll be able to work on more endurance racing priorities.

Doug: Going back to Stock Car 2014, it has been announced that it is being developed and Tim has published a few images already. What else can you tell us about it?

Gjon: Yes, this type of racing is being worked on. We have some models and tracks, just need more work on the rules as mentioned earlier in the interview. Here are a few more new Stock Car 2014 screenshots.

Stock Car 2014

Stock Car 2014

Stock Car 2014

Stock Car 2014

Doug: Will it follow the original National Stock Car of rFactor released way back in 2006? People forget NSC was the springboard for every successful stock car racing league and mod developed for rFactor.

Gjon: That hasn’t been decided yet but is certainly a possibility.

Doug: You mentioned the rules are being optimized for oval track racing. Like rFactor, rFactor 2’s rules are based on road racing so many issues with the Pace Car (Safety Car), scoring, penalties, for oval track racing. So much so that stock car leagues had to create their own plugin(s) to work around the problems. It would sure be better if stock car leagues could get the changes direct from ISI development.

Gjon: Yes, that is an important effort now. We have had some internal testers step up and take on the challenge of working on this system with us. Given their passion for the sport, I’m excited to see it continue to come together.

Doug: Beyond the stock car rules, I think anyone who has tried to run a “full flags” IndyCar race at Indy know the problems well with the oval track rules. The work on the Dallara and Indy track is so well done, but the rules problems just tarnish the terrific work. Can we expect to see some help for IndyCar oval track rules?

Gjon: We will revisit the Indy car, and the rules work now will play a part in what is missing there. It’s coming, hopefully at around the same time as we re-work the Indy car with the full set of data we now have.

Whenever we work on any aspect of the sim, we always try to think about how it could be used in other areas. Even if it isn’t something we plan directly, we try and allow flexibility in all we do so that others can use their talents and creativity to extend things further.

Doug: Off-road racing trucks and buggies had a big following in rFactor 1, and you’ve mentioned before that a dirt surface was something you really wanted to do. The experimental release of the Interceptor Quad was on a dirt surface. Should we expect more soon?

Gjon: I would love to pursue this area of racing immediately, but now the dance card is all filled in. With such a limited team, it would be a mistake to try to do too much at once. However, we would be more than happy to work with any interested group to start laying the ground work for this type of racing in the future.
Doug: How about rFactor 2 tracks?

Gjon: On the content side we have some new shaders, creating more realistic effects on track visuals. We’re updating some of our original stock car tracks like Jacksonville so we can use them to further test physics and rules. We’re also working hard on the road course, Tiger Moth Aerodrome. Here are some new screens from it.

Tiger Moth Aerodrome

Tiger Moth Aerodrome

Doug: Tim posted some teaser images of what looks like a new stock car track. Can you tell us how many new stock car tracks will be released around the time Stock Car 2014 is released? Will they be short tracks, intermediates, speedways, or superspeedways?

Gjon: There are a couple of tracks that we will release. One of the new ones we are working on is Mountain Peak Speedway. It is a 1.5 mile oval with an infield road course. Here are some new screens from Mountain Peak.

Mountain Peak Raceway

Mountain Peak Raceway

Mountain Peak Raceway

Mountain Peak Raceway

Mountain Peak Raceway

Gjon: There are other oval tracks being developed by a private resource with our help. Our intent is when Stock Car 2014 is released, there should be multiple tracks available for stock car fans to drive.

There are lot of nice ovals around, not just the ones being used in the upper series. It’s so tempting to try to bring some more grassroots content instead of what’s more well-known. For one thing, they cost less to license and get access to survey!

Doug: Are you planning to update all the current tracks? Portugal is such a good track, but it needs some bug fixes.

Gjon: Yes, as time permits. Some of the older tracks art will never look as sharp as the new tracks do though without a complete rebuild. We’ll probably always avoid doing that.

Doug: What are you most pleased with and least pleased with in the modding area of cars and tracks?

Gjon: It’s possible to make some genuinely amazing content and race it in what feels like a genuinely believable environment. The downside is, as it always was, the time required to do so.

Doug: Shouldn’t we be seeing more tracks and car mods by now for rFactor 2?

Gjon: Times have certainly changed. Nearly all of the modders I once talked to on a regular basis, even gave commercial work to, no longer mod as one of their main hobbies. There are some new people learning their way through the process, but with more barriers than there once were. Modding has become more complex and time consuming. Rivalries and arguments, title exclusivity with mod groups and other new occurrences, have splintered the community.

I have even seen almost as many mods being kept private as released to the public. People are being paid for their work by people who use our software commercially, and as the sim racing community seems so negative towards paid mods, those mods are only seen by that one paying client. I understand the politics, but wish people would give themselves a choice.

There are a few still plugging away with a surprising determination. Because of them, and the new guys, I think we will continue to see quality mods, albeit at a slower pace than the craziest days with rFactor 1. Sadly, those days seem gone, but I’m sure there will be some surprises in the future. Amusingly enough, with all that said, some new cars are about to be released (by us) created externally by modders, and some new tracks being developed by private developers with our assistance and support.

Doug: Certainly ISI rFactor 2 tracks and cars are generally regarded as excellent work. It has been understood since the beginning of rFactor the ISI car and track builders would do the vanguard or benchmark, then the modders pick-up on their work and apply it to various mods. Why do you think we are not seeing more car and track content? Is it because rFactor 2 is too complex, full tire models aren’t ready, modders don’t know what to do, modders are unsure of what will be the final modding tools, or why?

Gjon: A new utility is under development to help modders with things we’ve heard about, but things have been stable now for a long time, there’s documentation out there, as well as some really helpful guys on our forums. While things may seem more complex, there’s not a lot of validity to that anymore.

You could get rF1 content working in rF2 quite quickly, the painful fact is that it’s not often good enough to do that. Similar to how our older rF2 content looks old, so would most content not built from the ground up to take full advantage of our engine. That is a lot of time you’re asking someone to give.

Models needs greater detail to look more detailed in the sim. There’s some more things to understand, but nobody willing to mod rF1 would have an issue modding rF2 if they tried. There doesn’t seem to be as much sharing of information and learning from one another as their use to be and of course, not as many total people. So progress is much slower than in the past.

Doug: With regards to taking rFactor 1 content into rFactor 2, it is certainly understandable there are problems. Some modders either don’t realize or forget how much higher the resolution is in rF2. The source content in rFactor 1 just doesn’t have the pixel content that an original rF2 car or track contains.

I have to ask more on the packaging though. Sorry, but the multiple layering of mas > rfcmp > rfmod is arguably cumbersome compared to rFactor 1 mod development. Even seeing a car realtime in devmode is tedious. Can we agree modding in rFactor 2 takes longer because of the difference in structure compared to rF1?

Gjon: Yes, it does take longer to setup. But once a workflow is established the added structure is very small in comparison to the work it takes to create a mod. One thing that we probably should have done some time ago was put together something like a quick start guide. That is something that is on the ToDo list.

Doug: There is a real difficult situation for modders that I’d like to ask you about. Part of the issue has existed for a while, some of it is an emerging issue. If a league wants to use a track that does not contain stolen content from another commercial sim product, they have to go through a lot of investigation to check the car or track mods history. Now as we see other non-gmotor2 based titles emerge, what is ISI’s position on seeing car and track work developed by ISI being ported to another title? Certainly ISI like everyone else has license agreements, so how does a modder impact rFactor 2 if an exclusive track or car shows-up in another racing sim title?

Gjon: If modders are going to use someone’s work, it is proper to ask permission and to give credit, whether it is the work of a modder or a developer. I would hope anyone that wanted to use any of the ISI’s artists work, they would talk to us first.

We were recently asked about the rFactor Jacksonville track being converted to Assetto Corsa, we said yes.

Doug: What is going on with multiplayer mode with regards to the updated code that was started in 2013?

Gjon: Other priorities, it’s still coming.

Doug: Is there going to be any updates to the dedicated server in capability or function? The current one works fine for many hosted events, but some of the capability in the player and multiplayer admin files could be moved to the interface.

Gjon: For those running race servers, there is a new dedicated server front end coming very soon, allowing hosts to easily create a race (and race schedules) by picking any combination of cars and tracks. In the launcher, users will soon see a list of available new mods they can install, and the race server list that they can join directly. These will be massive changes and should equalize the rF2 race join experience with that of rF1 in many ways – still without mismatching.

We haven’t put real discussion into showing more options within the dedicated server interface. More complexity might be more of an issue…

Doug: The rejoin capability – which you promised would happen and it did – was a big benefit to those of us who host endurance races of several hours and have drivers running our events from many varied locations. The DQ and UNDQ commands are the other terrific admin tools that have really helped. I thought it was funny that one of the other big sim racing titles announced they were going to have driver swaps – and said they were the first to fully support it – when it has been in rFactor for years unofficially supported and formally supported in rFactor 2 for almost two years.

Gjon: We noticed that. It’s largely the same as every time you buy a racing game, seeing the word “realistic” somewhere in the description regardless of whether it actually is. People forget that as of now, rFactor 2 is still the only way to get day-to-night-to-day racing with driver swaps, a rejoin feature, weather conditions, a variable road surface, pit stops, car damage, tire wear and flatspot damage, as well as with 25+ cars in an event non-stop for hours.

Doug: So will we see more and more emphasis placed on tools for league race admins?

Gjon: We discussed this at-length a long time ago and have a lot of good ideas.

Doug: One of the big successes this past year has to be the release of the 64-bit version. It has really helped overcome the 32-bit memory problem in Windows. It seems to have emerged quite quickly. Was it a priority 1 project or was it just not as intense time wise as anticipated, or some other reason it appeared rapidly?

Gjon: Intense effort. We needed to move forward and it became quite high priority once it was decided it needed doing.

Doug: What about new technology with the virtual headsets? Any updated news to report?

Gjon: We did some work on it with the original Rift device. We already had some of the basics in there from earlier products and the Rift work enhanced this further. At some point soon we will carve out time and finish this up for not only the Rift but for all devices of this class.

Doug: How is support for multi-view coming along?

Gjon: I don’t really have any issues with it. There was an interface/tool in the works some time ago for helping to set it up, but has yet to be completed.

Doug: Before the end of 2014? With the ever-growing interest in three-screen systems, it is becoming more-and-more important.

Gjon: I don’t see it happening in the coming month, but can’t say for sure it will make it in for 2014.

Doug: What is the latest on NVIDIA-based GPUs and AMD/ATI based GPUs? Has AMD/ATI been any more responsive about resolving the standing problems with their cards running rFactor 2?

Gjon: Their movement into multi-threading was a huge step, then they released better drivers. The cards are in many cases now quite comparable.

Doug: It must be asked. There are some recent articles that are less than flattering about rFactor 2’s current situation with regards to development time, the lack of multiplayer events, the less than anticipated number of car mods and tracks, the delay and complexity of the tire set, and the complexity of the packaging. Valid?

Gjon: The server list is packed with servers, but the lack of people online is something we are working to change. The barrier is on race entry, clearly. While some leagues give usage peaks for us, average usage and especially “pick up racing” has been lower than we’d like. That’s why we’ve been working on it, as mentioned above with the changes to the dedicated server and launcher. We think the race join process will be a completely different experience and look forward to the feedback we get along the way.

Doug: Thank you Gjon and Tim for this extended and candid update to rFactor 2."

See the original article at http://simhqmotorsports.com/update-gjon-camaj-rfactor-2/

Join the discussion in our dedicated rFactor 2 forum, check out awesome screenshots and videos in our rF2 gallery, get racing in our rF2 Racing Club and Leagues and make your game even more awesome with some rFactor 2 mods!
Well the days we got flooded with mods in rF1 where also the days so much crap (many times stolen) was released. The mods that really stood out and are still on my harddrive are not that many.

If a company pays a group or artist to develop content for him it's the right of the company to keep that material to them self. They want to use that to their advantage, not having your competition giving the same material for free.
Last edited:
Gjon: For those running race servers, there is a new dedicated server front end coming very soon, allowing hosts to easily create a race (and race schedules) by picking any combination of cars and tracks. In the launcher, users will soon see a list of available new mods they can install, and the race server list that they can join directly. These will be massive changes and should equalize the rF2 race join experience with that of rF1 in many ways – still without mismatching.

:notworthy::notworthy::notworthy:, :thumbsup:. That's going to make my wife very happy. :roflmao:

@Marco Bijl : What do you think? :geek:

Marco Bijl

Axe Travels
That last scentence is a bit scary. Could mean JUST end user easy....

It can go any way, especialy seen the "stil no mismatches" remark.
Lets hope that they will further expand the options mentioned in the unstable build part.

Steve Bird

Come On Williams!
Great report but I'm still concerned that I have problems downloading from servers as you have to download each and every track in the series to be able to join a server for a quick 30 minute race. In the long run that could be good but it destroys "drop in" racing in an instant.
Great report but I'm still concerned that I have problems downloading from servers as you have to download each and every track in the series to be able to join a server for a quick 30 minute race. In the long run that could be good but it destroys "drop in" racing in an instant.
They said in the interview, that they are going to fix it:whistling:

Steve Bird

Come On Williams!
They said in the interview, that they are going to fix it:whistling:
They stated
Doug: Is there going to be any updates to the dedicated server in capability or function? The current one works fine for many hosted events, but some of the capability in the player and multiplayer admin files could be moved to the interface.

Gjon: For those running race servers, there is a new dedicated server front end coming very soon, allowing hosts to easily create a race (and race schedules) by picking any combination of cars and tracks. In the launcher, users will soon see a list of available new mods they can install, and the race server list that they can join directly. These will be massive changes and should equalize the rF2 race join experience with that of rF1 in many ways – still without mismatching.

I don't see anything there that allows you to download the current track/mod that's playing on a server without having to download each and every track. Or am I looking at the wrong bit of the interview?
Great report but I'm still concerned that I have problems downloading from servers as you have to download each and every track in the series to be able to join a server for a quick 30 minute race. In the long run that could be good but it destroys "drop in" racing in an instant.

The intension of the rF2 package system and the Vmods is to not change the original content.

Leagues who want to use modified content should embed the modifications in the Vmod, and not release another version of a car/track. They should create a "update-package" and embed it in the Vmod. So you don't "hurt" the original content.

For example: you want to have Malaysia with 2 DRS zones and modified billboards and a car with custom physics and league liveries. The modifications should be in the league Vmod. They are only a few Mb's. And if you uninstall the Vmod, all content is back to normal.

Still on my wish list is a rF2 big installer: with all ISI content included. And all ISI content should be updated through the rF2 updater with a new build.
So at least for races with ISI content you don't have to download every track and car separately and update it manually in the mod-manager.

For 3rd party mods. It can't be done of course. But once you have most of the popular tracks and cars you can drop-in and drive on 90% of the servers. ;)
There is since a long time to possibility to set a url to the content so that you can download it automatically. But most modders dont use this url in the correct way. And if the game doesnet know where to search to content its impossible to download. So its not a failure of the game ;)