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Featured rFactor 2: The Big Interview (Part 3)

Discussion in 'rFactor 2' started by Paul Jeffrey, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    rF2 4.jpg
    Part 3 of our Studio 397 / rFactor 2 interview with Marcel Offermans is now live.


    If you missed our the first two instalments of our new interview, you can check out Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

    Part 3...

    RD: (question from @Martin Fiala) - There's been a lot of talk about the upcoming UI, but very few mentions (if any) lately of the new plugin system that was supposed to solve the issue of plugins not being able to draw to the screen in the DX11 version. Is that still planned? Is it considered part of the new UI? If not, are there at least some in-game replacements for the most popular plugins planned, like proper track map or the very badly needed FFB meter?

    MO: Allowing plugins direct access to DX9 was causing a lot of issues, which is why we took out this ability with DX11, with no plans to bring it back in the same way. A new way over overlaying information will be part of the new UI, although we are not yet confident that this will make it into the first (beta) release. That said, you probably have seen already that we can render track maps in-game in the new UI, so I’m confident we will see that feature return. Same probably goes for the FFB and pedal meters.

    RD: (question from @Martin Fiala) - Are there any plans to improve the sound engine that seems to be basically limited to a very simple on/off reverb and to stereo only sound?

    MO: Yes. The current plan is to look at this starting probably Q4 of 2019. I anticipate this work to go well into 2020 though, so you will have to be patient!

    RD: (question from @Peter Koslowski) - All I need is 3D grass. Will all new and old tracks (Zandvoort already has it) be equipped with it?

    MO: It is highly unlikely that we will retrofit the type of 3D grass that was used at Zandvoort to all other tracks. There are a few reasons for that. First of all, placing this type of grass right now is quite time-consuming. The second reason is that we are not yet satisfied with the overall effect. The third reason is a more technical one, we lack a few bits and pieces to really end up with nice looking 3D grass. So I guess the good news is that this is something our artists and graphics developers actively discuss. We have not decided on an exact implementation yet.

    RD: (question from @leclettico) - There's a plan to manage a custom championship with the AI (so, with the same AI drivers) without having to create copy of liveries and drivers and using LogAnalyzer to looking into results and standings?

    MO: This is planned as a “second stage” of our new competition system, the first stage being online races against humans. That said, I do think LogAnalyzer did an amazing job on their system.

    rF2 1.jpg

    RD: (question from @leclettico) - Rain and AI. There will be improvements in the managing of pit in case of rain?

    MO: Yes. A few of your fellow community members asked a similar question and it’s certainly one of the areas where our AI can and should improve.

    RD: (question from @Jonny Austin) - Many sim racers praise the handling in RF2. What are the other unique features that should make me buy RF2?

    MO: I think by now we are the only “open” racing simulation that is still under active development, meaning you can build your own cars and tracks and customize a lot of aspects of the simulation. Also, we have fairly robust on-line play with intelligent prediction technology to ensure that even with some latency, we can still allow very close racing without (m)any surprises. Couple that to a dynamic track and weather system and I’m sure you will keep finding new racing challenges for a long time.

    RD: (question from @Alexandr Meshkov) - Is there Portland International Raceway still in development? No news for 1.5 years about it in Roadmaps

    MO: It was in development as we anticipated using it for some specific project. That fell through, and we also were not yet happy with how the track looked at the time so we decided to put it on hold and focus our resources on other projects. Does that mean we won’t ever finish it? Probably not. It’s just that right now there is no news about it.

    RD: (question from @Alexandr Meshkov) - What is the dirt maps and how it works? I remember that was a word about that feature when Sebring releases but no explanation since that.

    MO: Yes, I spoke too soon. We implemented dirt maps for Sebring and I think it really helped the look of the track, but when we evaluated the technology and how we used it after building that track, our artists and graphics developers agreed that we wanted to make further changes to the system before “handing it over” to modders. Which is why you did not hear much about it yet, as we’re still working on a better version.

    RD: (question from @The Walker) – When do you expect to release the Tatuus Pack?

    MO: Due to my lack of speed in answering all your questions, this pack by now has been released. Do you like it?

    rF2 2.jpg

    RD: (question from @The Walker) - Also, but this is just curiosity, I read somewhere like in 2017 that rF2 had the license for the Reynard 95i car. They never got released, right?

    MO: Correct, and I don’t think the car was ever modeled either. It was one of the licenses we “inherited” from ISI and one of the issues we had with those at the time was that we were really getting a lot of feedback from our community to go for series or classes of cars instead of individual ones (unless those were “cup” classes of course). So we decided not to do anything with some of those licenses.

    RD: (question from @SLimJim70 ) - As someone who works constantly changing shift patterns, do they ever plan to incorporate 'drop-in/drop-out' online racing?

    MO: Yes, that is planned as part of our competition system, where we intend to host events that contain multiple races where you can attend one or more of them in a period of multiple days, which should accommodate people with changing or unpredictable schedules.

    RD: (question from @VernWozza) - Are there any plans to do a thing with the damage model in the sim. Loving what iRacing have planned, I would love to see something similar in rf2.

    MO: Right now, no. I like what iRacing is doing to their damage model, so we’ll definitely keep an eye on that development but for now we have nothing planned in that area.

    RD: (question from @Cristian Luis) - Will the new UI allow the possibility to listen to music while in the main menu? Just like in rF1?

    MO: I don’t know yet. We have the technology to play music files, but the tricky part is choosing music everybody likes (and keeps liking even if he plays rFactor 2 for a long time). That is hard, and possibly expensive, considering we would need to license that music too. So would that really be the best way for us to invest our money? I’m just not sure. Nothing stops you from listening to music while you’re driving and/or clicking around in the menu system. Our current UI allows you to add music. We just don’t see a lot of people doing that.

    RD: (question from @tswest) - Will there be more tutorials and assistance to allow third party builders to build tracks for rF2 like it has been for rF1. I am a track builder and would like to see more Building tracks in rF2 for DUMMIES tutorials. At the moment there is very little info and I get the impression Studio 397 wants to keep everything for themselves.

    MO: If we gave you that impression, that is certainly not correct. The tools we provide to track and car builders did not fundamentally change much. We did upgrade them to 64 bits and newer versions of 3D Studio Max. With those in place, I think building tracks is mainly a matter of experience in 3D modeling in general and, on top of that, a lot of hard work. As engines become more advanced and faster, the level of detail for tracks raises, which has the downside that it becomes harder for people to build a whole track from scratch. We now use a team of 3 to 4 people, all seasoned professionals, to build a track and still it takes us many months, so I can only imagine how long it takes someone by himself who has a daytime job on top of that. But let me reverse the question, what kind of tutorial are you looking for, as there are certainly a ton of tutorials out there already about all aspects of 3D modeling and a lot of those apply to track too, so I guess the type of information we would need to add is specific information about our tools? Or am I overlooking something here?

    RD: (question from @Rui Santos) - Any plans to update the wet weather physics, racing line, water on track, etc.?

    MO: We are aware that our grip levels on a wet track are not always correct, so we do intend to tweak those. Water, rubber and marbles on the track are already quite accurately modeled through our RealRoad system so I think we’re in a good place there and we’ll keep expanding it.

    rF2 3.jpg

    RD: (question from John Eric-Saxen) - Across all industries we have recently seen a lot of buzz around AI and machine learning based on big data. However, in racing simulators the development of AI has stagnated at a very basic level. Could we possibly see a form of "neural AI" based on learning in some form in rF2 in the future? This could reduce the time and effort required to tweak the AI to work well with various car classes?

    MO: This to us is certainly a very interesting research topic. As you might know our parent company, Luminis, is involved in cloud technology and we also have specialists in AI and machine learning. What’s holding us back right now is that we first need to finish our competition infrastructure so we can more easily collect enough data for such algorithms to work effectively. But this is without a doubt the future of AI in simracing (and a very nice question, thank you)!

    RD: (question from @Travis) - will we have a return of the dev blogs? Michael Borda's blog was excellent; are these to be continued at some point?

    MO: I certainly hope so! With the Brabham BT44B finished, I guess we need to find a new topic for a series of blogs. And maybe some of our other physics engineers can chime in too, as it’s not just Michael doing all the great work in that department.

    RD: (question from @pcraenme) - Are you thinking of introducing something like a season pass/one year membership, so you pay all the upcoming DLC content for a certain period (e.g. a whole year) in advance, but for a cheaper price then having to buy all the individual DLC's when they come out?

    MO: Such a system is currently impossible to implement with the features Steam offers us. We will keep aggressively pricing bundles and participating in Steam sales. That model works a lot better. That said, Steam might add features in the future that help with “season passes” so please also relay such requests to Valve as they tend to listen to their users (if enough of them want a certain feature).

    RD: (question from @Terry Rock) - Will there be any emphasis placed on setting up any RF2 dedicated servers, strictly for pick-up racing with original content?

    MO: It’s our intention to host races for all kinds of people through the competition system, so I think you’ll find both pick-up style races and championships there. And obviously we’ll keep a close eye on what our community wants to drive and adjust our schedule accordingly.

    RD: (question from @mantasisg) - Better wet surfaces simulation, viscous and dynamic hydroplaning

    MO: I think there are two things we can improve when it comes to wet surfaces. The first thing are the grip levels of parts of the track that have a lot of rubber and marbles on them when the track gets wet. We are aware that those are not totally right yet. The second thing is, as you mention, aquaplaning, which is currently missing. We are still studying the latter to see how we can best implement that in our model, because if we do it, we want to make sure it’s physically accurate.

    rF2 6.jpg

    RD: (question from @mantasisg) - Better gearboxes, drivetrain simulation. Will it happen ?

    MO: Right now we are still prioritizing the UI and competition system, but once that is in place we will certainly free up some resources to work on these aspects. Some of you might know that, before forming Studio 397, some of us were involved in the development of Automobilista for Reiza Studios, where we implemented some of these features in the rFactor 1 engine. Of course we want to take the simulation of the drivetrain and gearbox to the next level as the rFactor 2 engine offers a lot more possibilities to model such things.

    RD: (question from @mantasisg) - More graphics (besides PBR) improvements. Will it happen ?

    MO: Yes, certainly, for us it is very important to get the basics right first, which means improving our lighting model and using PBR based rendering. Once that is in place, it opens the door for more consistent improvements. Most likely you will see us improving cockpits, a very important aspect since that’s your daily office as a racing driver, but also address things like shadows and our particle systems.

    RD: (question from @mantasisg) - More variety in cars content, more classics, more range in years, more range in vehicle types. Will it happen ?

    MO: I would say it is already happening, but it will also be fair to say that we won’t ever be able to cover every form of racing out there, so there’s a nice task for our community as well to fill in some of the gaps. And if those gaps turn out to be popular, we can even look at working with modders to go after official licenses, etc.

    RD: (question from @Boby Kim) - Nowadays the community wants graphics instead of physics as graphics are directly visible, and thus understandable, and physics are not: a direct outcome of Reiza going Madness=they will receive a huge chunk of the Project Cars community who are not interested in physics layers. How do you stand up against this change with rF2 in the future as more and more people choose for graphics and content instead of true simulation?

    MO: Interesting question. Obviously I can’t answer on behalf of Reiza Studios, but I’m sure they had good reasons to make the choices they did. I think honestly with our new DX11 engine, if you compare it to the DX9 engine we started out with, we’ve already improved a lot. In some cases even well beyond what the competition has, such as our car paints that feature up to six different unique material regions that can be different on each individual car. We are far from done though, graphically, so I expect us to stand our ground. That said, from experience, a good physics engine is what keeps people coming back in the long run and I think we are really doing well in that department.

    RD: (question from @DriftManiaX) - Will they ever fix all the bugs instead of releasing new paid content?

    MO: I like to believe we’re doing both. No software is free of bugs though, so I guess the formal answer is no, we won’t ever be able to fix them all. We’ll definitely give it our best shot though, balancing both adding new stuff (features, paid and free content) and fixing bugs.

    rF2 5.jpg

    RD: (question from @FS7) - Will rF2 have an option to enable trackmap on the hud?

    MO: As you might have seen, we already have a trackmap that we can enable in our new broadcast overlays, so the technology is there to also add it to the HUD. If you ask me personally I don’t think a trackmap is a very “sim” like feature, but I guess a lot of people do ask about it so I’ll answer this with a firm “yes”.

    RD: (question from @formidable) - Is expected the release from a classic Le Mans layout (70-80-90), plus some Group C or LMP1 Cars?

    MO: Right now we don’t have plans to release classic versions of Le Mans, doing the current one was already a huge project and we intend to provide a few more updates for that one. Group C cars are a personal favorite, so who knows. LMP1 cars are unlikely at this point as they are slowly dying and not yet “classics”, like Group C.

    RD: (question from @Dean Hayes) - Given that your currently working on laser scanned versions for both Lemans and Nurburgring is it safe to say that Spa is next?

    MO: It’s a lovely question, but one I can’t answer right now.

    RD: (question from @Will Mazeo) - I'd like to know about more pit stop work… Mandatory pits with pit window (u got 2 official GT3 packs, this is a must have) / Min pit timer stop (like ADAC GT) / Larger pit stalls as people requested in the forums / Pit stop animations at some point?

    MO: So that’s a few questions. I think our plugin system is powerful enough for leagues that want to follow the rules of specific series to implement those (mandatory pit window, minimum time in the pitlane). The larger pit stalls I am not sure about. Why would you want those? I hear a lot of people commenting they would like more pit stalls rather than less so I’m not sure if that makes sense. Finally the pit stop animations, those are hard to do for arbitrary types of cars and series regulations and I have not seen a single game that has done this for all the cars we have. If you limit yourself to a single series, you might be able to pull this off, if you need to solve all the cases, this becomes a very expensive project. So I don’t see this happening until there are better animation systems we could easily integrate that make it possible to implement “smart” pit crews that don’t require extensive motion capture animations.


    RD: (question from @ilema) - Drift content + drift tracks + drift scoring system? Possible?

    MO: I don’t believe there is anything fundamentally blocking people from making cars or tracks for drifting. Now I’m not super familiar with the drift scoring system. From the few races I’ve seen it’s mostly jury based, right? I am not sure how we would translate that into code. If you have an idea, you can certainly write a plugin that does that. If the question is, will we make drift cars in the near future? Probably not.

    RD: (question from @pcraenme) - Can track loading times be improved, since rF2 is the slowest by far when it comes to loading a track?


    MO: Our loading is currently done on a single core, and I think the reasoning was that loading times will mostly be I/O (disk speed) bound anyway. Now if that is still true in these times, remains to be seen. It’s an area we have not investigated a lot, but you’re not the first to suggest this so I’m sure at some point we at least will want to analyze better what the slowdown is. One reason I know and that is that our tracks are probably some of the largest ones around.

    RD: (question from @A man with a Harmonica) - Do you intend to fix the erratic and often bizarre AI behaviour on wet track where they pit every lap and are either too fast or excruciating slow


    MO: Yes, we would like to improve those situations, making AI more aware of the cost of changing tyres all the time versus running on a track with a certain wetness using the wrong. Some of these issues are triggered by starting in the rain but on a dry track. That confuses them. It’s raining so they start on wets, and when they start driving they think the track is too dry for them and they go to slicks only to go back to wets a short while later. Stuff like that I am sure we can improve on.


    Part 3 is done! Stay tuned for our fourth and final instalment soon!

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


    Check out the rFactor 2 sub forum here at RaceDepartment for the latest news and discussion regarding this excellent sim. Like your racing hard and fair? Join in with our rFactor 2 Racing Club for all your eSport racing fun! Oh, don't forget we like mods to, with our own rFactor 2 Modding Forum for you to enjoy!

    Like what we do at RaceDepartment? Follow us on Social Media!


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  2. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    The fourth and final instalment will drop on Tuesday!
     
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  3. The Walker

    The Walker

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    Wow, I made it to the interview:roflmao::D
    Sad that the Reynard has been dropped, but I understand. And yes, I'm really liking the Tatuus pack :inlove:

    Thank you again for answering my questions Marcel, and keep up the superb work
     
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  4. Will Mazeo

    Will Mazeo
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    The question about larger pit stalls was due to this discussion, especifically this page https://forum.studio-397.com/index.php?threads/devs-please.63103/page-3
    they are needed
    Yeah the plugin is nice but this kind of stuff (pit window) should be part of the base game, this is part of racing rules. I dont write plugins and I'm not interested in writing them either.

    About the pit animations, honestly there aren' that many variations in real life. If you cover them and give these for people to use they'll take whatever gets closer to what they need. Not all types of pit stops in history need to be covered. I understand this can get tricky when you need to do it different for example teams in US stay behind the wall and need to run to the car, etc
    but still there aren't that many different ways of pits and you can offer even less than the existing ones ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
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  5. Oldzeb

    Oldzeb

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    "Also, we have fairly robust on-line"
    [​IMG]
    sorry :D
    I like the rest of the interview! thanks all :thumbsup:
     
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  6. Emery

    Emery

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    Portland... sigh. At least we have Cootie's version.
     
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  7. Martin Fiala

    Martin Fiala
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    Well, a lot more positive answers to my question(s) than I was expecting! Good to hear :thumbsup: Thank you for answering.

    Edit: BTW, since I also mentioned track map, reading this answer to someone else...

    I absolutely agree it is not a very sim like feature. But we also have to deal with some limitations compared to real life racing, and from that point of view, a solid track map can go a long way in improving safety when it comes to rejoining, blue flag conditions and stuff like that. That's the primary reason I do generally have track map enabled. (Even though it obviously still relies on people actually using the feature...)
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
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  8. gianlucaP

    gianlucaP

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    A mountain road, late evening, rain, music like Rolling Stones or whatever one likes, not-too-slow driving... could be cool. I did this a lot with the PNG mod and GTR2. Would be great with modern graphic and sounds. I'm thinking at the old Spa track for example.
    The music licensing and the choice of the songs is not a problem: you guys can introduce the option to have music in the menu and in the car and give to the player an empty folder where he can put the music he likes. That's it. We are on pc, not on console. ;)
     
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  9. mantasisg

    mantasisg

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    Awesome interview, thank you for the answers :)
     
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  10. gianlucaP

    gianlucaP

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    Why don't you do the loading with more cores then? We have all these cores and threads...

    Moving the game folder to the SSD make a difference, but not so big. Some big tracks are still slow to load.
    Also, some people keeps the game in a mechanical disk, because Steam can fill the SSD in no time if the player uses the workshop files: there are two copies of the tracks and cars files, one in the Installed folder and one in the Workshop folder. I haven't tried to delete the workshop copy and see if the launcher and the game still sees the track/car, I'll do it, but certainly a less expert person (regarding Steam and the RF2 folders) won't try this option.
     
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  11. Martin Fiala

    Martin Fiala
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    Well, simply reading (actually moving to another disk, so reading+writing) all the vehicle+track files for a Le Mans race with LMP2, LMP3, GTE and GT3 cars (about 4.5 GB of data overall) takes about 10 seconds for me. Even on standard HDDs, it takes about 40 seconds (again, to move the content, not just read it). Loading an actual AI race in-game with the same car classes takes between 3-4 minutes. I wouldn't think I am disk speed limited.

    Edit: What are you even disagreeing with?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
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  12. Jason Mullin

    Jason Mullin

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    Are you saying Reiza chose madness because they weren't satisfied with the graphics of their own engine?
    I think AMS looks fantastic when supersampled 8X.
    rFactor 2 looks great to me, specifically around sunset or light changing conditions but could look better during the day.
    I believe graphics are very important as it directly affects immersion, but do not believe that our community prioritizes it over physics.
    If that were the case I'd prefer gran turismo, and would sell all my sim racing kit and find a new hobby.
     
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  13. tr1v1um

    tr1v1um

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    @Marcel Offermans

    Nice interview and it's good to see the involvement between the community and developers, but the topic about the Reynard made me chuckle and it's a bit dissapointing to say the least to see that unique lisence go to waste, because reading that answer makes me wonder who made the research to come to that conlusion. That car is suited much better to fill the car roster of a series than any of the current released cars by Studio 397 besides the one make stuff like USF2000 or the Tatuus pack. I can see why the March 86C was dropped and I guess the 761 makes up for it, but even that car makes it easier to provide a series.

    God knows, why a car that half of the freakin' Indycar field in 1995 used was dropped? Get in touch with Lola for the the other half and the other minor stuff like Penske or the older Reynard and Lola models could be either ignored or shipped with the help of 3rd party content creators. It's pretty sad to not see getting 90's Indycar content getting the love that it deserves and it would actually make rF2 stand out alot. I am not sure if I am completely blind and alone with my desire for such content, but CART factor is one of the most popular mods for rF1 and AMS. That mod has over 30k downloads here on RD, alot more than any of the subscribed DLC items by S397 actually. I get that there is a certain risk involved with such content and it is easy to compare a free mod with payed DLC, but I guess it's important to make rF2 stand out and not to be drowned in the neverending flood of modern GT based sims. Because one way or another, they all end up similar.
     
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  14. Peter Koslowski

    Peter Koslowski

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    Thank you very much for this detailed interview. Even my question about the grass was answered. Ever since I started "playing" rFactor, I've been amazed at the fun this simulation brings.
    So, rFactor team, keep it up!
     
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  15. 2stains

    2stains

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    Tried mashing the agree and like buttons but it only works once! Couldn't agree more.
     
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  16. Cote Dazur

    Cote Dazur

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    Sorry, I have to answer to that, as much as I enjoy some aspect of RF2, one of them is good physic, just looking at the number of players of what games are actually being played on Steam charts, tels us that for all the time that the physic has been great, and RF2 has been there a long time, not so many people keeps coming back. RF2 has among the lowest volume of players of them all.
    So graphics are also important to immersion, among other aspect, like for example when it rains the physic might be correct and the marbles accurately felt, but I have never seen a wet track surface that look literally like a mirror, and to make matters worse, not even reflecting exactly what is on the track side, other are light year ahead of RF2 on that graphic aspect.
    There is a lot of work to be done and I am as great full as every one to S397 for their immense efforts to keep our beloved RF2 alive and striving. But let’s not forget that graphic also matters and also keep a player base active and striving.
     
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  17. 2stains

    2stains

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    Thanks for not wasting time on the music in menus (that's the first thing I turn off in any game) I don't want to have to listen to someone else's choice in music and as was said "we are on PC" so we can just add our own music if that's what floats your boat (not me, I want pure track sounds).

    As for track map, I just want all mirrors that work, i agree about track map not being very sim like and go further to turn whole HUD off and have look left/right/back mapped to see mirrors (when they can be angled correctly), Simhub (can't believe I only just found this) is brilliant for me now in telling all the info needed that a hud usually shows (track map included).

    After reading all @Marcel Offermans answers I am super excited for the future of rF2 but just wish I had a DeLorean to jump the 5 years ahead it seems it's going to take!
     
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  18. 2stains

    2stains

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    Have you checked ACC numbers? It looks really pretty but has even lower numbers than rF2! It's not just visuals that keep me going to certain games but sure it does help.
     
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  19. tr1v1um

    tr1v1um

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    +76
    I am not going to argue that visuals are certainly one factor of the equation but what do you think keeps people playing a game that was released in 2012, that hasn't good sound, that has average/atleast functional graphics and a pretty damn decent AI and average content? I can tell you for sure, if it wasn't for the physics and FFB this game would have been dead long time ago. There are some other things that make it stand out compared to others, but rest assured physics and FFB are indeed it's main selling point.

    Regarding your issues with rain: if the track has a proper puddle map it will look as good as any other game in terms of wet track surface. The mirror effect only happens on tracks that don't use puddle maps. What looks far worse in terms of rain implementation are the rooster tails that look like some puffs of smoke. This is basicly my last gripe when it comes to wet weather visuals for now.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  20. Flip-Flop Driver

    Flip-Flop Driver

    Messages:
    72
    Ratings:
    +63
    In Digital Foundry's RX 5700 review today they observed the card takes like 3 minutes to load BF5 vs 1min on an Nvidia.
    I know the first time around a game needs to compile the shaders. But other games have to do that too.
    I remember Nvidia has a shader cache. But RF2 has another one located in the game files.
    Really don't know.
    Assetto Corsa Competizione loads in 5 seconds on an SSD and when I checked it uses more VRAM than RF2. But maybe it is not actually uploading stuff to the card but only reserving that memory.
     
    • Like Like x 3
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