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rFactor 2: The Big Interview (Part 2)

Paul Jeffrey

RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief
rF2 Big Interview Pt 2 - 1.jpg

Part 2 of our big rFactor 2 interview with Marcel Offermans is here!

The second part of our big rFactor 2 interview with Studio 397's Marcel Offermans is now live! Consisting of questions posted to Marcel from the sim racing community here at RaceDepartment, we take the opportunity to speak with one of the men behind rFactor 2 to get a better understanding of where the development direction of the simulation is heading in the short, medium and long term - and some of the challenges faced by the studio in getting rF2 where it is today.

If you missed the opening part of our big interview, you can catch up again HERE.

Part 2...

RD: (question from @Balazs Floszmann) - Any chance for a bit more informative dash display in cars? (delta, more detailed lap info, some info of race like nmbrs of laps-laps to go, gap ahead, gap behind etc... even more page on dash?

MO: Our current system for building dynamic elements in cockpits is a bit like our old UI, it’s rather limited and hard to work with. To truly make significant steps in the direction of multi-page displays and more information in the cockpit, we should look at building a new system from scratch. This is something we are discussing, but no decision has been made. As a joke I’ve once said that we should simply ask sim racers to buy a CAN interface card for their rig so we could simply let people buy the real systems from Cosworth, Bosch, etc. and hook them up to the simulation. CAN is the data bus that almost all cars use, so we could simply push the data onto that. The joke is not that we could not do this, it’s quite doable, but that such systems are thousands of euros so I don’t think many simracers would be jumping for joy to even have such an option. Anyway, it’s an area where we can still improve.

RD: (question from @Daniel Monteiro) - I don't know how this works in terms of implementation; would there be a way to implement a function on the weather conditions imported from live sources (such as weather underground or other) so that the track temperature is not always at 29 degrees C regardless of air temperature? (maybe a factor between +4 and +6 degrees above air temperature, as a basic/silly example

MO: There is a plugin that gets weather data from live sources, so it’s certainly possible. We have said that we’ll look into including something like that in the simulation. You also mention track temperatures. Now we know our tyre model currently always gets fed the same track temperature, so that’s another issue we would need to resolve. That one is definitely on our list though.

RD: (question from @Daniel Monteiro) - We have noticed that when swapping drivers in a race, the tyre wear gets carried over to the new driver when not changing tyres, but all flat spots (and possibly other tyre damage/conditions) seem to disappear. Is there a way to carry over this "tyre damage" data to the new driver or is it simply impossible? If possible, do you plan on implementing it or is it lower on the priority list?

MO: That’s a very good question. When transferring the tyre state during a driver swap, we do need to somewhat simplify the tyre data. Each tyre consists of literally hundreds of little segments for which we keep all kinds of conditions, temperatures and wears. That adds up to a lot of data and we somewhat compress that when sending it to your team mate. That does mean you can get small differences in for example the presence of flat spots. I’m sure we can improve on that a bit more, but right now it’s not very high on the list, also because a lot of times people tend to change tyres when changing drivers and frankly the differences you get when you don’t are relatively minor. I’ve noted it down though.

RD: (question from @bigdaddy24) – Do you hold any plans to add NASCAR / Oval content to the sim in future?

MO: At the moment I don’t think it’s possible for us to get an official NASCAR license, just like we can’t get one for F1, which limits our options as we decided not to release official content without proper licenses. Of course we do have the existing Stock Cars and we know there’s a strong community out there racing and improving them and even building a lot of the ovals to race on. That said, the licensing situation might change in the future, at which point we will certainly consider the option.

RD: (question from @RaceNut) - Regarding Physics, both iRacing and RaceRoom now feature advanced drive-train models to represent physical behavior that includes oscillation and torsional-flex of the various drive components (in addition to gear-lash). Of course, new technology complicates things further, but it seems like such a fundamental feature that should be included in any simulation today. Are there plans to develop and advance the drive-train model in rF2?

MO: Certainly, a lot of our focus now is getting the competition system up and running, but once that’s all in place we will give the physics some love and finish those areas that a lot of people now call “unfinished”. That said, I think our physics today are already some of the very best available on a personal computer.

RD: (question from @Ace King) - Will the AI's ability to initiate a proper slip-stream pass be fixed, which will be crucial at Le Mans?

MO: This needs a code fix. It is on our list of AI improvements, but so far we have not worked on it yet. The good news is that we do have an idea on how to approach this.

RD: (question from @Tinifiori) - are plans for improve the AI, related to full throttle and full brake behaviour on corners.

MO: You could say our AI have lightning fast reflexes. They can instantly apply throttle and brake and let go of it again. It looks a bit weird though, so we could take a look at making the visuals for that a bit better.

RD: (question from @Andreas Rinz) - One thing I'm looking forward beside the new UI and its competition system is the announced integration of Motec in the simulation. Is there already any progress on this, and can the main output channels be shown in the upcoming UI or is it an export tool like DAMPlugin?

MO: We’ve made some progress on it. It will be integrated into the upcoming UI and not a plugin. We initially probably won’t do live graphs of those channels, but still export data to files. We are looking at options to let third parties do that though.

rF2 Big Interview Pt 2 - 2.jpg

RD: (question from @McKiernan) - Expanding a little on the previous questions on AI, could you give us an idea of what improvements are planned for the AI in general?

MO: A lot of smaller and bigger issues have been pointed out to us over the years that make the AI look stupid. It would be nice if we can get them close to the point where you are struggling to see if some car is driven by a human or AI. If I had to summarize the improvements I would say tyre strategy in the rain, their ability to overtake and some cases where they will simply kill their cars on curbs are on our list.

RD: (question from @BorisK) - I remember that when rF2 was announced, ISI introduced various classes of cars and tracks - super trucks, dirt ovals, rallycross, buggy, etc. Is there a chance in the future to see not only road track content?

MO: I remember that too and they prototyped a few of those. For now we decided to stick mainly to road racing, at least for now. We might look into popular classes like rallycross though down the road. At the same time these could be things the community takes on and expands on. For a lot of things, examples exist.

RD: (question from @T04STY) - Will we see GT4 or TCR cars?

MO: Yes, but I don’t want to disclose yet which of the two.

RD: (question from @rvieira) - My question is: any chance to have more prototypes, such as LMP2 and LMP3 on further DLC's?

MO: Certainly, we will keep looking for more licenses in these and other classes.

RD: (question from @Joe Moore) - Have you planned to have an up to date userguide for the sim ?

MO: We have been toying with the idea, as the need is clear. We are leaning towards adding more information and help directly into the user interface though, instead of making a manual that might get out of sync with the simulation.

RD: (question from @Patrik Marek) – Regarding updating older content, any chance of getting help form modders ? - in a sense, would this even be allowed for licensed content or would you have to go through re-approval and what not.

MO: If modders are interested in helping us by taking some of the older content that they would like to see improved and doing work on it, we will certainly try to work with you to make that happen. Get in touch with me and we can discuss this. In terms of what is allowed and when we would have to go through approval, there is no generic answer to that, it depends on the changes and the license conditions, which are different for almost every license. But we are certainly open to this.

RD: (question from @Patrik Marek) - What updates for modding / content creation tools are you planning - if any? and especially, anything that could assist in modding and make it bit easier. I personally find rf2 modding quite a bit more tricky then what is possible for Assetto Corsa, which is quite straightforward.

MO: We are looking at providing a more comprehensive material library as well as a system that makes it easier to finetune specific materials. We already added 64 bit support as well as support for more modern versions of 3D Studio Max. We are looking at options to support other modelers. The problem is that some of the integrations with Max are currently very tight, and don’t map easily to some other tools. So we’re still discussing and experimenting with alternatives. And yes, Blender is on that list.

RD: (question from @Patrik Marek) - Some time ago you mentioned that you are considering a platform where modders could sell their mods for revenue, and you would be helping with negotiating the licenses / contracts. Is something along these lines still planned ?

MO: We currently already do that with KartSim and Reiza Studios and we are also privately talking to other third parties including modders. So if you have an idea, talk to us. We are open to helping on licensing and contract matters as by now we have built up a relationship with many manufacturers and tracks. I certainly hope to be able to share more information about content in the near future!

rF2 Big Interview Pt 2 - 3.jpg

RD: (question from @dreamer al) - On behalf of the many gamepad/controller users; will you ever include vibration (force feedback), or rather fix, which although included in the options menu, does not work?

MO: Maybe, as we do recognize that not everybody has the financial means to build their own cockpit with steering wheel and pedals and we would like to offer an experience that you can enjoy with a controller too. It is one of the many things on our list to look at after we finish the UI.

RD: (question kinda from @2stains) – The quality of DLC released so far has occasionally been a little hit-in-miss, giving the impression of being slightly unfinished. How do you plan to ensure the quality is improved and little issues and mistakes are not overlooked in future releases?

MO: By learning from our mistakes and trying to do a better job next time.

RD: (question from @frankis) - Do they plan to finish the Monaco circuit, and deliver the complete Monaco GP?

MO: It’s a good question, and one that I currently don’t want to answer in public.

RD: (question from @Ulti11) - With the GT3 class getting an additional DLC adding newer/more cars, will there be the same for the Endurance classes?

MO: We will expand the classes in the Endurance pack, both by adding more cars to the existing classes and adding a new one.

RD: (question from @Shovas) - Are there mid-to-long term plans for more structured multiplayer infrastructure like iRacing/SRS? Even if that means integrating with SRS or teaming up with other sims to get it done.

MO: The competition system we are working on provides structured multiplayer infrastructure similar to what iRacing and SRS offer. We have been developing our own system, building on the infrastructure and components from Luminis.

RD: (question from @Oldzeb) - rF2 has rather a "mature" public who likes old model tracks and cars of 60's/70's/80's is it planned to use GT and proto DLCs from that time?

MO: I think it’s fair to say that we are still exploring our options here. As you know a lot of people at S397 are part of the simracing community for a long time, and some of us in the past have collaborated on the GTP mod for NR2003 which features some really nice Group C cars. Specifically cars from that era have been an internal point of discussion in terms of DLC, but we had discussions about other cars too. No licensing deals have been signed yet, though.

RD: (question from @Chris) - The Le Mans announcement came out of nowhere, and it looks, from the screenshots, to be in a very advanced state. How long have you been keeping the track under wraps?

MO: After this question was asked, we published our announcement where we outlined that we have been discussing the license with ACO for a long time. The production of the track was roughly done in the last four to six months.

RD: (question from @Angeltheartist) - Will all new tracks from Studio 397 be laser scanned

MO: The answer to this question must be “no” for two reasons. First of all, if we were to only do laser scanned tracks from now on, that would exclude any “historic” content. Second of all, there are countries in the world that don’t allow you to export scan data, so even for professional teams there are tracks that they have to train on without the luxury of a scan. That said, it’s probably fair to say that all current-day tracks that we can scan, and sell as DLC, will be laser scanned.

rF2 Big Interview Pt 2 - 4.jpg

RD: (question from @enhancer) - Is the development of rF2's announced features at risk financially? Or is rF2's development budget secured for the foreseeable future?

MO: S397, being part of Luminis, works with budgets that are approved annually and audited during the year. Without going into details on numbers, it’s safe to say that we are financially healthy and certainly intend to deliver the features we’ve announced. So whilst priorities might shift, and plans do sometimes change, our foundation is solid.

RD: (question from @TheGame316) - Is there any plan with the adoption of the new UI and competition system, to allow the purchase of only the vehicle you are driving and the track. Using current DLC, if you want to plan a multiclass race at Sebring you are needing up to 3 DLC packs to even access the server. This fragmentation will only get worse as more DLC packs are released.

MO: We will try to limit that fragmentation but our packaging system makes it very hard to do what you say without a substantial investment in upgrading it. For that reason we in general are giving big discounts on packs when compared to single cars to encourage you to buy the whole pack at a very reasonable price.

RD: (question from @Pawlo2002) - Are you planning to add sparks to the game because I would love to see sparks exploding from F1 cars or when gt3 cars bottom out or hit a kerb and get bouncy. it would be a nice touch to the game as well

MO: I think we might add them when we update our particle system as I agree they look nice (especially at night). I don’t have a timeframe for you now though.

RD: (question from @Chris Alfveby) - Why are rF2 DLC so expensive? I’d love to get all of it but when all the DLC costs double or more than the game itself it becomes kinda hard.

MO: When Studio 397 started, a lot of people in our community were asking us to build more popular content. So we had to make the choice to introduce paid content as the only way to recover the license and build costs was to sell that content separately. We still decided to try and balance free and paid content. I agree that if you buy all of the paid content you are spending more on that than on the game itself. I don’t see that as a problem though, none of this content is required to enjoy rFactor 2 and we don’t anticipate all our users to buy all our content. And we’re not the only racing simulation where your statement is true. Both in RaceRoom and iRacing, if you add up all the content and compare it to the base price of the game, the content is much more expensive than the simulation itself. In the end you have to ask yourself if you think the quality we are offering is worth the price.

RD: (question from @fireballr18) - Does it make a difference in the development to engineer such an iconic track and race the 24h of Le Mans is compared to e.g. Sebring (also a great race btw)? How does it make special to s397 (resources, tools, special spirit within the team of s397. etc)?

MO: Obviously in a team of 30 people, we all have our own preferences in terms of what tracks and cars we love. That said, when building iconic tracks like Sebring, Monaco, Le Mans and Nordschleife, we had our artists line up to be part of those developments to be honest! So yes, what we build definitely influences the spirit within the team and in general we see that a lot of love goes into these tracks (and the same goes for the cars).

rF2 Big Interview Pt 2 - 5.jpg

RD: (question from @fireballr18) - Le Mans is the high speed track per se. Will the AI setup their car configurations to low downforce settings as well to match the pace of human players?

MO: Yes.

RD: (question from @fireballr18) - On the preview Le Mans pics we see the lmp3: will a wider ratio of the gearing be provided for this car?

MO: Right now we have only two gearboxes for LMP3, a generic one and a “low downforce” upgrade specifically for Le Mans. We might add more if class regulations permit that and we encounter tracks that require it.

RD: (question from @fireballr18) - Although I know further DLC/content questions are not that welcome in terms of precise answers: do we have the chance to see this years LMP1 cars of the private teams in rF2?

MO: No. We are focussing on what happens after LMP1 now.

RD: (question from @Greg Latty) - Any plans to further optimize VR. while VR works fantastic as is, With some minor tweaks this could be one of the best VR experiences. Part of this is due to the UI as well so the new UI might fix some of the minor issues. Also and plans for new driver animations. this kills immersion in VR.

MO: We’ll gradually keep improving VR. You might have seen we recently added a few new features. We designed our new UI with VR in mind, so I hope you will find that easier to use. We also have a new driver animation, so I’m not sure if you mean you still think that one is not good enough?

RD: (question from @TTM75) - Is a new version of the gJED coming in the future?

MO: No. We’ve cancelled the development of gJED. It’s probably fair to say it was shipped in “alpha quality” (which is just a fancy way of saying it was not done) and we decided to focus on a different workflow for developing cars and tracks. Our internal team works with 3D Studio Max, so we made sure to upgrade those plugins to 64 bits and for newer versions of Max. Our next step, as part of the new material system, will be to enhance those tools and speed up the roundtrip time. Once we’re happy with that, next on our agenda is the support of other 3D modelers, but we don’t envision using gJED for that.

RD: (question from @TTM75) - I also want to know if there is any change to add rallycross and hillclimb content/support for the game?

MO: Technically hillclimb and generic rally support (and I know you are asking about rallycross, not rally) require a type of track and session that is “point to point” which currently requires you to resort to a few “tricks” to make that work (basically you need to make some hidden road from the finish back to the start). Proper support would eliminate the need for such tricks and would probably also add a few more mode specific things. Rallycross should work already (except for specific stuff like joker laps). If I’m honest we’re not working on these things yet, but if I had to make a statement today I’d say rallycross is the most likely of the two as it suites the rest of our simulation better. That said, point to point is not super hard to do (if you’ve played The Grand Tour Game you probably noticed it uses point to point driving a lot) so who knows!

Stay tuned to RaceDepartment,com for part 3 soon!

rFactor 2 is a PC exclusive racing sim from Studio 397 - Available now.

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Can we have something like SRS and RSR live timing......Most of us want a leader board to see how crap we are....I want this in every game...Without this a game is hollow.
RD: (question from @dreamer al) - On behalf of the many gamepad/controller users; will you ever include vibration (force feedback), or rather fix, which although included in the options menu, does not work?

MO: Maybe, as we do recognize that not everybody has the financial means to build their own cockpit with steering wheel and pedals and we would like to offer an experience that you can enjoy with a controller too. It is one of the many things on our list to look at after we finish the UI.

as for the vibration, it works using this plugin:
Nobody ever asked them the main question. Why Reiza abandoned RF2 engine to continue its own project?
It's never been said outright, but I think Reiza got a little look at how everything was structured and how hard it was to work with when they did their DLC and came to the realization that there are better ways to go.

Marcel Offermans

Studio 397
Nobody ever asked them the main question. Why Reiza abandoned RF2 engine to continue its own project?

First of all, you should ask Reiza Studios that question as obviously it's their decision what engine to license for AMS2, assuming you mean that when you say "own project". As far as "abandoning" the rF2 engine, I'm not sure if they did. They set out to do a content pack, which is doing well, so maybe (and again, ask Reiza) they will consider doing another one in the future.
Great questions asked and answered by Mr Offermans...a little to technical for an old Sim Racer like myself:redface:lol...but a great read all the same and shows that Studio 397 are still chipping away at the big picture...so I am personally more than happy with development progress on rF2 so far and look forward to all things new in the future...especially Nords:D


I know, for I told me so
I can't help thinking that, at some point, rF2 is just going to absolutely take off.

I've just swept up most of what I didn't have in the Steam sale.

If they come up with some kind of online competition system, well, wow.

Good luck to you.

Marcel Offermans

Studio 397
Marcel Offermans,is possible to us modders in the future added new textures to the particles system?
Also edit the pcd file to a better effect on the tires smoke.
I have done this,if you want to see i can send the files.
Thanks in advance.

Contact me on Discord or the S397 forum and we can further discuss options here.
As a joke I’ve once said that we should simply ask sim racers to buy a CAN interface card for their rig
Wouldn't Simhub work at a much more reasonable price?
so we could take a look at making the visuals for that a bit better
Would you please work on the sound also as that's probably worse for immersion than the brake lights flashing!