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A Day in the Life of a Cat Herder: XVII

Monday morning after the Super Bowl is always an interesting day.  I always kind of feel like I fought someone and I didn’t come out the winner.  All the crappy food I ate all night comes back to haunt me like 12 rounds of solid body shots from a heavy weight fighter.  The beer doesn’t help either but it’s Oh so delicious…..

If I am lucky to have my hometown team in the game (Patriots) every muscle in my body is stiff from feeling like a compressed spring ready to explode all night.  Unfortunately the Pats choked two weeks ago so I only feel like I fought a middle weight boxer today instead of a heavy weight…

As I sit here on this Monday morning trying to nurse my “injuries” I have started the mental transition from football season to racing season.  Yes the Rolex 24 was last weekend and really is the start of the racing season but let’s be honest: until the merger of the ALMS and GRAND AM happens the race really feels like a minor league baseball game with a handful of Major Leaguers getting in some rehab work.

In my opinion the racing season starts in three weeks when the beautiful Gen6 NASCAR cars take to the high banks at Daytona.  I am legitimately excited that NASCAR has finally gone back to its roots with the concept of “win on Sunday, sell onMonday” and brought back cars that at least resemble vehicles we can drive ourselves.

Okay, so technically that phrase was coined by Bob Tasca, Sr. who had a Ford dealership up here in Providence, Rhode Island along with an NHRA team, but you get my point.

Upcoming NASCAR Chevy SS Cup Car

Upcoming NASCAR Chevy SS Cup Car

The good news for you and me though is that we don’t have to shell out tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to drive a new street Chevy SS or NASCAR SS Cup car.  We are going to get to drive the NASCAR version in about four weeks on iRacing and for only “pocket change” compared to the real world versions.

The Chevy SS will come first and the Fusion should be released a few weeks later.  Yes, I have been working on trying to get the Toyota signed and hope to accomplish that “soon.”  I have been working on it since last summer but working with the big corporations means the “soon” clock runs on months instead of hours….

Upcoming NASCAR Chevy SS Cup Car Cockpit Shot

Upcoming NASCAR Chevy SS Cup Car Cockpit Shot

I have been asked quite a bit whether we will have driver names on the windshields of the Gen6 cars and I can confirm we are working on it.  We may not be able to get this done for the new car’s release in a few weeks, so it may need to go out with the next 13th week build.

The next car in the development pipeline will be the Ruf Rt 12 R which I can say has personally given me more heartburn than any car to date for a number of reasons I care not to divulge.  I do not anticipate this car being in the next build but there is a very good chance that the Kia Optima SX race car will be in the Season 2 build.

I have to admit that I was not super enthusiastic when this Kia deal came together and then I drove the car…….and it was fun…..and I kept driving it……..for hours. It actually makes me even more excited to get the BTCC Honda Civic done which we are currently working on trying to scan.

The art and production team continues to impress me with the work they do in building our tracks, and our recently released Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace is no exception. The track better known as Interlagos has long been a favorite of mine from my very early days of sim racing and running Geoff Crammond’s GP games.  The flowing uphill, double apex Laranjinha corner has always been one of my favorite sections of track in the world to “drive” — even if only virtually in my case.

With the release of Interlagos, the guys have turned their considerable talents to Kansas Speedway while as continuing work on Montreal and Bathurst.  When we finish-up Kansas and California Speedway this year we will have finally completed building all of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tracks on the schedule.

At this point it is likely that Kansas will be the next “new” track completed but probably not for the next 13th week deployment.  However, we should have a fresh coat of paint on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and USA International Speedway to bring them closer to our current standard of new tracks.  The art guys staged a pixel protest and demanded that we stop shaming them by flaunting their early work to the masses . . . and we caved.

A maxscript We Developed to Help Implement The New Tree Shadow System

A maxscript We Developed to Help Implement The New Tree Shadow System

Keeping on the visual topic, we have a bunch of projects in the works to add some depth to our in-sim world.  We almost had the new shadow map work done for the last build so it is almost certain that it will be done for the next build.  We are also in the process of changing the way that shadows are cast from trees. This project is pretty much the first required step to be able to get dynamic skies into the sim which is another project on the horizon. Pun intended.

Our newest engineer, Richard Jobling, whom you met in our last episode of iRacing TV, is working on the first project to improve our collision and crash models.  This may sound silly but starting with something simple like making cones “collideable” is a significant step forward in making the environment more alive.  This is a big, hairy, monster of a project but when interviewing him for the job he made it clear he was perfectly comfortable wrestling big hairy monsters.

I think the question I get asked most often in the forums and on my twitter account is when the Lotus 49 will be completed.  The good news is that it’s done….well except that it needs NTMv5 which isn’t done yet.  I know I sound like a broken record but Dave really is making great progress on the tire model and feels that he is getting closer to getting NTMv5 released.  He made a significant advance in this last build which really is NTMv4.5.  We are hoping the remaining 0.5 is in this next build.

We are finally getting to a point in our development life here at iRacing that, not only can we can start looking at things that just are not working the way we like, but we can do something about it!  We have a number of projects we are starting work on in this department.

Early UI Concept

Early UI Concept

One area of the service that has been neglected has been our UI.  I don’t think we have really changed anything since we launched the service.  We have taken a fresh new look at what we can do not only with the in-game interface but also with the loading screen and post-race.  This is a significant project requiring work from both the sim and web engineering teams, so a release schedule for this is still hard to predict.

Also, we are going to try and kill two birds with one stone by introducing an exciting new feature and at the same time try and give the time trial session some TLC.  We are starting work on adding the ability to integrate a ghost car into the session that will allow you to select the best lap of the session, your best lap ever or even a loaded lap from someone else.  We have a lot of exciting longer term ideas as well but in the short term you should be able to work on improving your performance while you spruce up your safety rating!

Yet another project that we are coming back to is our paint kit. We want to evolve the paint kit, both in terms of its design and layout as well as the introduction of new features such as a new color picker and increased font options.  We have even kicked around the idea of adding the ability to download the templates directly from this page.  Brian Simpson actually paid me in peanut butter pattie girl scout cookies to write that last sentence and this is the first time the engineers will hear about it…..

The web team has a number of different projects they are working on in support of features like team racing and our UI re-design.  They really are the unsung heroes of the development team.  These poor guys often are crunching right down to the wire trying to tie-up a feature that literally can’t be deployed without their interface.

One exciting project they are working on right now is a re-design of how you view and join race sessions.  Imagine your TV guide view of nightly television and you get the general idea of where we are going with this.  Soon you will actually have a visual depiction of the racing schedule that you can complain to me about!

I think the second most asked question I receive is the status of team racing.  I can confirm for you that I was sitting in Randy’s office the other day and I watched him make in-race setup adjustments on one iRacing account and machine — and it changed on a second iRacing account and machine.  This is a significant step forward on this project, and although there is still quite a bit of work to be done both in-sim and on the website, I am cautiously optimistic that it will be in the next build.  Once we get the crew chief portion of team racing done actual driver changes are not far off.

I think one of the most significant advances we made in our last build was the improvement Grant made to the drive-train model.  It is amazing how this change has not only transformed the immersion factor in the cockpit but also how the cars actually feel.  The funny thing about it is that this is the end result of us having him work on improving the sounds!  Long term he is still heading towards converting our software to use X-Audio but our lovable Kiwi does have plans to try and make some advances in the near term as well.

For those of you that have not done so, I would highly recommend taking the Ford Falcon V8 Supercar for a spin and then watch the replay from one of the TV cameras.  Aussie Greg Hill has made a huge breakthrough on these external sounds and, coupled with Grant’s work on our sound engine, I think we have the best sound EVER in a racing game or sim.  Expect this same treatment with as many cars as we can get samples for in the service but this new technique will require new recordings so, realistically, this will be a long project.  We are doing our best to launch the Gen6 Cup cars with these new sounds and the Cadillac and Corvette will have them in the next seasons build as of now.

As always there is much more going on behind the scenes then what I have spelled out here.  I make no promises on when any of this will make it on to the membersite but at least you get a little glimpse into what we are working on!  I would encourage those who have joined us in the twenty-first century to follow me on twitter at @iRacingMyers because I often send out some charming 140 character updates on what’s going on in the iRacing universe.  For those of you leery of being sucked into the social media blackhole — don’t worry!   It will be on the forums in thirty seconds.

Now I am off to get some Tums…

About SteveMyers

Steve Myers is the Executive Vice President and Executive Producer of iRacing.com. His day to day activities include over seeing and coordinating production, engineering and licensing and trying to get many far more intelligent people than himself heading in the same direction. Steve has been with iRacing since the doors opened in May of 2004 and previously was a Producer at Papyrus Racing Games since early 2000. In his spare time Steve enjoys watching from his comfortable couch all forms of sports including motor racing and occasionally will drag himself to an actual event. Steve lives outside of Boston Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters.

37 Comments

Nice stuff, good to hear on the team projects, and well everything else.

Might as well plug, Check out http://iRacersResource.com We opened back up our setup sharing and its busier than ever.

February 6th, 2013 at 5:04 pm
PJ Losey

For those of you leery of being sucked into the social media blackhole — don’t worry! It will be on the forums in thirty seconds.

Ain’t that the truth LOL at that.
Thanks for the update Steve

February 6th, 2013 at 5:50 pm
Michael Chaney

Thanks to the Iracing people for the awesome progress you guys are doing , i know alot say we want EVERYTHING faster as in NOW , but i really apreaciate the service for sure and great things take time .

oh on a sidenote CAN WE HAVE THE BMW CARS NOW !!!! :)

can you maybe let us know what bmw cars you have been if not planning then thinking about to make ?

another note i just introduced a new member to the service , its number 17 i got started in the service :)

i get alot of messages via my fb racing page when people see out onboard cams “what is that iracing sticker you have onboard in cam wiew ? :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQxdGsYOuVA&list=UUgsdEHxvKkXBhsKDLGYcc_g&index=2

see for yourself , the car was leading the supercup series in 2012 upto the point i was wrecked by a T1 hero mid season . (it dosent only happen in iracing as some people tend to think)¨

kind regards
Dennis Johansen

February 6th, 2013 at 5:52 pm
Dennis johasnen

All sounds very promising!

February 6th, 2013 at 6:52 pm
Matthias Egger

its in car sounds we want too sound great not just the externals in replay

February 6th, 2013 at 7:55 pm
pmc40

Can we get fantasy and historical tracks into the sim?

February 6th, 2013 at 8:00 pm
Krudo Dudos

Hi Steve, just curious as to when your guys will update Phoenix to its current configuration?

February 6th, 2013 at 9:22 pm
Nick Mazyck

Sounds pretty good :) . When will the 2011 version of Phoenix be done?

February 6th, 2013 at 9:36 pm
Nick Mazyck

Everything sounds great.

However, let me get this straight. Did you just call the Rolex 24 which is sanctioned and owned by one of your premier partners a minor league event? I’m pretty sure, at least I hope, that did not come out the way you intended. I agree that the merger of the ALMS and Grand Am will be good for that type of racing in general, I just find it hard to conceive of the Rolex 24 as being a minor league event.

February 6th, 2013 at 9:47 pm
Ray Schmidt

Please, this new UI for reaply still not have “best lap”, just last lap…. it could not be so hard to add it, even the gPL had it, and is a fundamental data to understand the performances of the drivers you are looking for.

February 6th, 2013 at 10:02 pm
Luis Babboni

Little down about the Kansas date, hope to see it sooner but I understand quality work takes time.

February 6th, 2013 at 10:18 pm
Jim Foose

Steve, thanks for the fun read…sounds like some very cool stuff coming our way. happy to hear about the “ghost car” as of now I have a friend who comes by the house and I enter a test session and lay down a fast lap and he trys to beat my time…and I have to kick him out the door about 1AM…so at last I have a way to get him to join iRacing and get some sleep, thanks so much :)

Cheers

February 7th, 2013 at 12:02 am
William Broadfoot

The new sounds are Amazing to say the least. I would also say everything Iracing is doing is great. I feel like Iracing is doing everything thing they can with their available resources to make Iracing the best game it can be. I started out hating the Idea of leasing a game.. But after seeing how much work goes into this game and how evolving it is I quickly realized there was no way this game could be covered with a one time sale. We would be stuck with one version for ever. Once I understood that leasing was the best method for all of us involved I became a 100% member and have never looked back. Only forward to the next great update. Keep up the good work Iracing.

February 7th, 2013 at 2:14 am
Thomas Kraft

Thanks for the information update – keep it coming. There seems to be a lot of work in progress, well done.

February 7th, 2013 at 2:03 pm
Steve O’Malley

When will we see New Jersey Motorsports Park?

February 8th, 2013 at 12:12 am
Jeffrey Mallak

Montreal track in the works? Excellent! I think that track will be lots of fun for many series!

February 8th, 2013 at 6:46 pm
Vac Sedivy

How about Brainerd International Racway

February 9th, 2013 at 5:46 pm
robert brist

still nothing about the DW12 I see, but sure going to have the Gen6 NASCAR car ready to go a few weeks after its debut…. typical

February 10th, 2013 at 1:54 am
Ryan Norton

I as one of the Japanese fans NASCAR,
I’m really looking forward to the release Chevy SS, the Fusio.
Also, ask to sign with Toyota, I’m so excited.
Thanks to iRacing staff.
However, even though the Tsukuba circuit scan is finished,
I regret, that it is not released yet.
If you can, at the same time want the release of Tsukuba Circuit BTCC Honda Civic.

February 11th, 2013 at 2:30 am
Shigeru Ogawa

Any chance we will see Elko Speedway?

February 11th, 2013 at 2:18 pm
Adam Oxborough

i will pay out of my own pocket for a super late model to be produced on here.

February 13th, 2013 at 3:56 pm
Keithmac

Steve you make me smile ever day .. i have been racing on line for about 10 years you guy are the best i love I racing more then u will ever know … THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 14th, 2013 at 8:43 am
Curtis (wayne) Benson

This new UI looks preety nice!

February 18th, 2013 at 9:34 am
Przemysław Głos

can anyone give an aproximent mounth that the california track will be comming out,or is it going to come out next year?
THANKS In Advanc

JOHN

February 24th, 2013 at 11:03 pm
John H. Estes

Some really nice stuff! Hope to see this soon in the simulation. Big thanks for the great work!!!

Thomas

February 26th, 2013 at 2:07 am
Thomas Geserigk

hurro….

could we have any more teasers or hints about the progress of Mt. Panorama, Bathurst ?? heheheeee

February 26th, 2013 at 8:31 pm
Corey Preston

love the gen 6

February 27th, 2013 at 5:09 pm
bradley robinson

what about the trucks at eldora? anychance of dirt late models in the future?

March 2nd, 2013 at 5:15 pm
D.Cameron

Hi iracing people i love your iracing sim .love gen6 ss ,when might we see a commodore to take on the ford supercar ,keep up your good work regards bevan aussie racer

March 4th, 2013 at 10:22 pm
bevan findlay

Is the speedometer supposed to be upside down…
Noticed it after i bought the car…!!!!

March 5th, 2013 at 1:48 am
JJ

Can’t wait for the BMW Z4 !!! Hurry up.

March 9th, 2013 at 3:53 pm
H Arendse

a next ui is pretty cool!

March 9th, 2013 at 4:53 pm
Patrick Morin

Are yall going to update the B call, and is there going to be a ford ?

March 17th, 2013 at 11:41 am
Name

Need Track overlay w/position

March 17th, 2013 at 3:06 pm
Ray

Are there any plans making the ultimate road track “Nordschleife” available in iRacing?

March 23rd, 2013 at 10:27 pm
A. Broberg

Very nice platform,real effect, real track etc…
My demand, I want a dirt series in the futur…..

March 25th, 2013 at 5:51 pm
Patrick Hubert

loving the ghostcar idea

April 2nd, 2013 at 2:36 am
NickSpeeD
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