We Are Building Dragons

I have spent a LOT of time in the car and on planes lately traveling to meetings and events for some very exciting developments for iRacing.  I can’t really get into the specifics yet on what these trips are for but during these long drives and flights I have had a lot time to reflect on iRacing.  Some thoughts that popped into my head on my travels….

It’s pretty amazing to me that not only has iRacing now been around for 12 years but we are now over 50 employees strong!  We actually have a larger development staff than we did at Papyrus over the last five years of that company’s existence.  I loved Papyrus and my time there but I honestly feel that iRacing has far surpassed what we accomplished at Papyrus and we have really done far more than we could ever have dreamed about doing if we still worked there.

When we started iRacing we took a very different path in our product development than really anyone else had at that time.  Digital distribution and a centralized infrastructure enabled us to focus on product development rather than finding shelf space and dealing with packaging and a physical product.  We really did get in on the ground floor of what is now called eSports.  You probably would not be surprised at the number of eSports conversations we have had over the last few years and it’s quite funny to me that we really have already been doing this now since 2008 and developing it since 2004!

As most of you know, social and digital media has really exploded over the last few years.  It really has become a terrific tool for us to communicate not only to our existing members but also in our efforts to try and recruit new customers.

I will give you a tangible bit of information on the effectiveness of social media.  When we did our last survey a staggering number of respondents stated they learned about iRacing from YouTube.  This is the exact reason why we developed the feature enabling iRacers to easily record your races and export them into a video format that can be shared without using the iRacing software.  This is also why we have put significant effort into upping the quality and content on our YouTube channel.

If you have not already done so I would recommend subscribing to our YouTube channel because we have some exciting things coming soon!  Here are some links to our digital and social media sites you should follow.

 

 

 

And if you like service updates, spontaneous ramblings from my mind, interesting pictures from my travels, and disparaging remarks about my co-workers….

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/iRacingMyers

A dark topic that I have thought about during mile after mile of driving are DDoS attacks.  I just don’t get why people would actually spend money to ruin things for others.  It’s a sad state of affairs when we have had to spend probably close to half a million dollars and lose valuable development time on new features and content because of this.  I know it’s really frustrating to our members to have these issues but I have to commend our Ops team for the work they have done on this over the last year.  I won’t go into a lot of detail on what we have done – for obvious reasons – but we have thwarted about 75% of the attacks we have gotten.  That said, we apologize for the ones that got through  and we want you to know that they are a priority for us.

On a happier note . . . Recently I was preparing for one of my trips and rummaging through my basement trying to find something I wanted to bring with me and I found my original Nintendo Game Boy.  I then began frantically searching for my copy of Tetris to play it again only to come up empty handed.  I was transported back in time though about how AWESOME it was to have a portable gaming device arrive and how drastically it changed gaming.

sim racing

Jaime drawing 3D dragons in the air with the HTC Vive

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I really feel that virtual reality is a similar if not more impressive development, not only for gaming but entertainment in general.  We are hearing terrific things about our implementation of the Oculus Rift, even going so far as getting a shout-out from Palmer Luckey as well!  Fans of the HTC Vive should know we finally got one to the developers and they are working on getting that implemented as well…… as long as they can stop drawing dragons….

 

Don’t tell my wife that I am on my second Red Bull but it’s got me feeling motivated to keep typing so I will run through some updates on projects we are working on.

Dirt is in fact confirmed and we are making great progress.  I hope you have checked out our latest video update on Williams Grove.  If not you can see it here.

I often see comments on Facebook, Twitter, and our forums asking why we are doing dirt instead of focusing on pavement.  If you can believe it, the development of dirt surfaces has actually HELPED on the pavement side of our tire physics model! Not only that, but we have yet another breakthrough on the dynamic track surface that we learned from the dirt project and that will be in the September build!

It’s still too early to know for sure when the first version of the dirt project will hit the member site but we continue to learn so much about how it will all work.  From the dynamic surface side of things we are actually getting pretty close to have a working prototype which, needless to say, is exciting.  There is still more work that needs to be done on the tire model but that is making great progress as well.  It looks like we will be creating a V7 version of the tire model when this work is complete so prepare yourself for another round of “my car next” fight in the forums!

I do think the part of this project that will require the most time is the actual graphics of the surface.  This is pretty much uncharted territory for us so although I believe we have figured out the direction we are going with it, we do still need to code it and work on making it actually look not just good but up to our standards. :)

sim racers

Taking the Dirt Late Model out for a spin around an early version of Eldora. Track textures are placeholder.

From a content perspective the dirt late model is almost complete.  We will plan to include three versions of the car when it goes up for sale: a Super Late Model, Limited Late Model, and a Late Model Stock.  Really the only difference in these cars is the engine, so everyone should be able to find a car to fit their skill.  We will also include in our base package a version of our Street Stock that will be prepared for dirt sim racing.

Another topic I hear quite often is “when are we going to build a winged dirt sprint car?”  Well you will be happy to know that we are sending poor Kevin Iannarelli on the road again next week to go scan one.  Kevin is spending so much time on dirt tracks he is now expensing new clothes purchases.  Not a horrible thing really because he was in desperate need of a makeover….says the guy with an iRacing t-shirt on most of the week…

Eldora and Williams Grove are obviously the first two purpose-built dirt tracks that we will release and it is our hope that they will be done when the technology is complete as well.  We actually have completed the driving splines for both tracks already and are working on the surrounding artwork.  With the work that we have done collecting data before and after the tracks have been raced on, Williams Grove in particular will be important in the research and development stage of this new feature.

Also: We are likely going to create a dirt surface version of one of our base content ovals, most likely USA Speedway, so that there will there be a dirt track in our base package.  I know this breaks our norm when it comes to “authentic” content but, at the end of the day, the track doesn’t exist anymore in real life. So just imagine we dumped 500 tons of dirt on it to make this real!!!!

best racing games

3D rendering of iRacing’s Ford Fiesta RallyCross car

Not to be ignored is the fact that we are also making great progress on the Ford Fiesta GRC car. On the physics side we’ve already modeled a handbrake; David Tucker even went to his woodshop and created a bracket for us to mount an actual handbrake to a desk!  As for tracks we will initially be building iRacing rally cross tracks on existing tracks using fun track layouts that rarely get used.  In my opinion one of the great things about rally cross (at least here in the States) is that courses can be constructed just about anywhere and are often unique on repeat visits to a facility.

The next track we will be releasing is of course Le Mans.  If you have not watched it I would recommend checking out our video update on Le Mans.  You can find it here.

Here is a cool story about this piece.  We really by chance ran into Frank Biela when working on another project.  We had planned on just simply interviewing him about his history at Le Mans to include in the Le Mans update because we thought he would have some interesting insight on the track. Much to our delight as introductions were made and he found out we worked at iRacing he was just as excited to meet us as we were to meet him!  Needless to say I am now a full-fledged member of the Frank Biela fan club which includes his personal restaurant recommendations in Prague.

Greg is riding the art team hard to try and get Le Mans ready for the September build so we want to make it known that there are a bunch of very tired artists at iRacing!  If you can believe it, this track is actually a more difficult project from a management and art perspective than the Nordschleife!

Back to the topic of surfaces. . . it probably flew under most people’s radar, but we had a very significant advance in our track geometry in this past build.  For the first time in the history of the Papyrus/iRacing code base we have an actual polygon mesh on the track surface.  Really, it’s about performance in general (literally thousands of particles can bounce off the surface in real-time) and being able to eventually get to complex shapes colliding, eg body panels colliding with the track surface. This was a monumental project and one that had our Scottish engineer Richard Jobling questioning whether or not he should vote “leave” at some points during the project.

Another project we have been working on for quite a long time is finally getting close to an initial release, namely the new UI project.  With this update you will have the ability to join official sessions from inside the sim using our new user interface – our goal is to have phase one of the the new UI available by the end of the year. This will be a beta version of the UI specifically to test compatibility and performance much like we did with the initial release of DX11.  There really is a lot of work going on behind the scenes with this project and it will be a fundamental change in technology.

One of the first new features that we will launch with this new technology will be our Time Attack competition.  We will do a more in depth preview of this new racing mode when it gets closer to completion but the basic idea is to create a competition for the “hot lappers” out there much like GPL Rank.  Essentially we will create “seasons” for each car with a specific track list that enables you to run any track at any time in that season and set a time.  Your best time in that season for each track will roll up into a cumulative time total that will rank you against all other sim racers in that season.  With this new feature Greger Huttu will have yet another way to embarrass us all….

I am running out of steam here after going a solid eight hours on this so I will wrap this up shortly.  But first let’s have a commercial break so I can collect my thoughts to bring this baby home.

Ok I am back.  Some quick ones to finish this up…..

Time of day transitions?  Yes, it’s still on the list of things to do.  No, it’s not going to be done in time for the release of Le Mans.  Rome wasn’t built in a day people!  The poor graphics engineers are just tidying up DX11 and did a fantastic job essentially replacing our entire graphics engine.  They are just finally getting to a point where they can actually start developing on this platform so please be patient.

I have seen that a number of you are starting to see the fruits of Aussie Greg Hill’s labor as a full time part of the team here.  He continues to pump out new sounds for not only engine sounds for the cars but individual components of the cars.  We have two engineers and Aussie Greg working on sounds right now, so you will continue to see, check that  – hear improvements in nearly every build going forward.  There are some big gains to be made here and Aussie Greg is standing on his head to make things happen!

The animation project is also moving along very nicely. This has required significant work on a new driver model which will now be used for the pit crew and track side engineers.  We are hoping the new driver model will be in the September build and we will also now have more animation in general in the environment.  The first area you will see this will be with the crew members that are next to the war wagons on pit road.  I am sure the art department will find some interesting ways to plant some Easter eggs as well which I will be looking forward to your finding….

And finally, to the guy who just can’t live without flags blowing in the wind, you can stop beating that drum, we are working on it.

Thank you, and good night….

 

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About Steve Myers

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.


45 Comments

#RockinghamSoon?

M A Jones
June 28th, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Fantastic update. Love seeing these! Hopefully we can get a new LMP1 for Le Mans as well 😉

Robert T
June 28th, 2016 at 3:27 pm

I liked the guy behind inspecting the dirt lmao

Daniel
June 28th, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Awesome man. Call me lame but I think the best thing coming is an animated pit stop!!! Love iracing. Ive been a fan of iracing since Payrus and the Indy 500

Jeremy
June 28th, 2016 at 3:57 pm

Niiiice….really good news about improving the game :)

Fabian
June 28th, 2016 at 4:17 pm

A dirt version of oxford would be perfect. Track already drives like a dirt track on a makeshift dirt car chassis in a majority of cars.

Ian
June 28th, 2016 at 5:44 pm

No formula renault 3.5 news? Even after the huge success of Formula Renault 2.0?

Guilherme Queiroz
June 28th, 2016 at 6:23 pm

Love this sim, love you guys, love your work. I hope we’re all together here for a very long, successful, and fun time!

Todd Bettenhausen
June 28th, 2016 at 9:32 pm

Wish Good luck to all Iracing crew. Best SimRacing on the market. Every build ‘s getting better!

Sébastien Houde
June 28th, 2016 at 10:00 pm

Need an extra copy of tetris? Were in the midst of moving and I found all of my gameboy games but alas no gameboy…

If you want a copy of tetris..its yours

Paul Coleman
June 28th, 2016 at 10:13 pm

Thanks for everything you guys do! So happy to have found this awesome sim and community!

William Whalen
June 28th, 2016 at 11:41 pm

Awesome work to everyone on the team! I’m excited about the new features and overall direction. With DX11, Oculus support, dirt, wind, environmental changes, might we one day be able to race in the rain? Keep pushing!

Alberto Fonseca
June 29th, 2016 at 12:25 am

Will the rallycross tracks be real layouts from the GRC, WRX etc. or will they be fantasy layouts?

Dominique
June 29th, 2016 at 12:36 am

#FlagConfirmed

Carl
June 29th, 2016 at 1:05 am

Thank you for the work you guys put in; its easy to get impatient sitting on our comfy leather sim-seats, but there’s so much work you do for every new feature that gets released. Keep up the good work!

Sach
June 29th, 2016 at 1:40 am

Looking forward to all of this!

Rusty Walsh
June 29th, 2016 at 3:33 am

Formula Renault 3.5?

Aqil Zed
June 29th, 2016 at 6:02 am

I’m almost at one year of my membership with Iracing. This is a fantastic racing sim, keep up the great work. Thank you

Mike Martin
June 29th, 2016 at 7:45 am

very interesting new coming contents..le mans especially

Luca Fioravanti
June 29th, 2016 at 8:58 am

I been a member of Iracing for 7+ years and I’m impressed with how far the SIM has come in that time. It is by far the best SIM I have ever raced on and actually now is the only one that interest me. I love the fact when you want to race all you need to do is log on and click into a practice or race and bang your up and running. The live race events that are broadcast simply have taken the racing to yet another level. While I believe that Iracing modeling of Air-row push in cars like Indy are over the top I have to admit I have not ever strapped into a real Indy car so my judgement comes from only trying to race the car on sim. The cup car my congrats goes out to anyone who can drive that car ! If there is a car that is no fun to drive that would be the one I would pick. Why because other than on Daytona or Tally they simple do not have any grip !

So conclusion Iracing has been my hobby for better than 7 years and I’m happy to say that I’m more hooked today than I was 7 years ago. Thanks to the entire Iracing team and please continue to improve on what we have and add new content but not at the cost of not improving what we already have…. #71 Gary Holbrook

Gary Holbrook
June 29th, 2016 at 10:04 am

Simracer since 2001. I have run F1C, rF, rF2 and AC. Now I have switched to iRacing and conclusion: I’m really addicted to that sim!
Thank you guys…
#72 Oli Prent

Oli Prent
June 29th, 2016 at 1:25 pm

+1 on the Formula Renault 3.5 inquiries as I’m having a blast with the 2.0 and hoping to get word on the next step up the ladder.

Alberto Fonseca
June 30th, 2016 at 12:01 am

Lots of great news and good insight to how much work is involved . Great read. Looking forward to buying Le Mans. Thanks to everyone for the hard work. And on closing I`d just like to add that I hope see green-white- checkers soon.
Thanks Steve and everyone at iracing

Mark McFadden
June 30th, 2016 at 1:02 am

I think that on the drivers head animation, it needs to lean into the corners as well as turn, but you are probably doing that anyway, keep up the good work.

John Fletcher
June 30th, 2016 at 4:25 am

Damage model ?

Marc
June 30th, 2016 at 6:50 am

Great news and a lot of future updates that will help get this sim on a new level.

Glad the Oculus support is working great and I am super jealous. Cannot wait to have the HTC Vive support so I can start racing with that box on my face!

Nick Prosper
June 30th, 2016 at 8:17 am

Hey Lanier technically doesn’t exist in its virtual form anymore either dump some dirt on there also

Adam
June 30th, 2016 at 8:58 am

When do you do the offline racing capability?

Lawrence Blair
June 30th, 2016 at 12:43 pm

I’m “that guy”. “That guy” thanks you very, very much!

Steve Moore
June 30th, 2016 at 12:54 pm

Thanks for taking the time out of your hugely busy day(s) to update us Steve!! Y’all keep up the good work!!

John Mustianjr
June 30th, 2016 at 1:07 pm

We desperately need driver arms turning > 90deg for VR!

Bernhard Berger
June 30th, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Awesome stuff! I just wish there was a video or some sort of guide how to play this on oculus. Maybe I’m daft but I can’t get it running on it.

Arturs Gerskovics
June 30th, 2016 at 4:29 pm

You guys have done an absolutely outstanding job at pushing out content and rectifying any issues in a timely matter. What I find better yet is your communication with the iRacing community and how you keep us updated throughout the process. Thank you for all the hard work each and everyone of you have put into this amazing sim.

Now after all that I have just one question. RAIN, WHEN IS IT COMING ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!?!? Wet roads transitioning into dry lines… starting on wet tire compounds and having to switch to slicks mid race… these are the things I need!!!! This is all I want and I will never ask you for anything ever again. Just kidding i’ll definitely ask for something else after you develop that.

Marino
June 30th, 2016 at 4:36 pm

Simracer since the 90’s. I wonder has IRacing thought about Drag racing. 4 second passes would be incredible, would definitely add another dimension to the game and I have never really seen a very decent Drag racing sim. Multiple car classes are available from Pro Stock upto Top Fuel and Funny Car

Daniel
June 30th, 2016 at 6:31 pm

while redoing the street stocks for dirt you might want to have something other than the Camaro platform you already have since in most Street Stock/Stock Car dirt classes Camaros are illegal. a rebody with your current super latemodel bodies would be great since it has Dodge, Ford, & chevy bodies…..there are still a few of us Dodge dirt track guys out there! even a few fords

Mr. Mopar
June 30th, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Seeing the model of the Ford Fiesta makes me think of all the people who are WRC fans. I was one of many who loved Richard Burns Rally, and the mods that were painstakingly put together were awesome, but had the fit and finish of a hobby project. Since you are getting into dirt, I can guarantee you will have Europe eating out of your hand if it meant that you could scan many of the stages in the WRC’s various locales. I can hear the nerdgasms from across the pond…snow, Ice, and gravel having been beset uppon by 300 bhp little beasts on some of the tightest courses in the world.

jeff
July 1st, 2016 at 1:04 am

Was hoping steve might have some information on the formula renault 3.5. As great as the 2.0 is, the 3.5 was the one I was really looking forward to when they were first announced. Come on steve, make my day:)

Lee williams
July 1st, 2016 at 8:43 am

#blowingflags FTW .

Steve Moore
July 1st, 2016 at 10:56 am

Ready for Rally, anyone else? Great job guys keep it up.

Chris Kidd
July 2nd, 2016 at 9:47 am

So glad to finally here about the HTC Vive support. SIM racing in VR is incredible. I can’t wait to try it on iracing.

Darryl Anderson
July 3rd, 2016 at 8:54 am

every time i go practice with people its always dark…. how can i change that??

marissa plante
July 28th, 2016 at 6:25 pm

I wish I would have know about this earlier….I have a street stock that I wouldon’t let you guys come scan if you would like…..problem is its in Bonifay,Florida…not sure if you guys would be willing to come out to have a look…but the offer still stands

Kristian Tinkler
November 16th, 2016 at 2:24 pm

Update soon?

Michael A. Jones
December 14th, 2016 at 5:26 am

The best thing since sim racing. I LOVE IRACING

David white12
January 29th, 2017 at 1:49 pm

UI Update??
Then end of 1026 is long gone…

Nuno santos
February 8th, 2017 at 12:28 pm

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