“Never had a doubt in the beginning
Never a doubt
Trusted you true in the beginning
I loved you right through

On and on we laughed like kids
At all the silly things we did

You made me promises, promises
Knowing I’d believe
Promises, promises
You knew you’d never keep

Second time around, I’m still believing
The words that you said”

“Promises Promises” by Naked Eyes – 1983

Sorry, maybe I have been reading too much Bill Simmons lately but for some reason this song (which I don’t even particularly like) popped into my head when I started the process of writing this.

It is kind of funny to read those lyrics though and think about this communication game we play as developers and customers. Maybe game is not the best word but it also could be the perfect word.

Here is why I think it may be the perfect word. Run for the hills, an iRacing employee is going to say it, we make a video GAME!!!! We make a hardcore racing video game. We make a racing simulation that for the most part is used for entertainment purposes. There may be fewer than a thousand of our customers that actually make a living from racing and they may get some practical use out of the software but the rest of us are using it for fun and to increase our enjoyment of the sport.

I have never really understood why “simracers” get upset when these hardcore products are called games. The reality is that they are, and there is nothing wrong with that, and quite frankly that’s the whole point for most of us.

Now I am sure the argument will be made then that why is our message always talking about the most authentic racing simulation ever made, or why we never call it a “game” in our press releases or announcements. The reason we do this is to create a brand called iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations, to differentiate ourselves from other products. I think it is a fair statement that we have gone much further then anyone else in the commercial space in trying to create as authentic an experience as possible, but we still are an entertainment product.

If you accept that iRacing.com is a hard core video game and therefore a product used for mostly entertainment purposes then lets figure out how we can communicate like we are having fun.

Coming back to the cheesy 80’s song I quoted lyrics from. I am about to write about a bunch of things we are working on, none of which I will promise you will be done. I write these blogs because some of you want to know what to expect next but if one of these features does not get completed it is not the end of the world. The sun is (hopefully) going to come up tomorrow and everything is going to be okay. Trust in us that there is a plan and we are doing our best to execute on it.

If you accept that iRacing.com is a hard core video game and therefore a product used for mostly entertainment purposes then lets figure out how we can communicate like we are having fun.

On to some of the highlights of the things we are working on…..

Tires, yeah, instead of me regurgitating the same stuff I always say Mr. Kaemmer himself is going to write an entire blog post on what he is working on. After being tied to a chair and forced to watch me trying to solve quadratic equations on the whiteboard he finally broke and said he would do it.

Grant is back working on his new transmission model. He made my eyes glaze over yesterday by telling me he had just added in the mass of a hand into his model in trying to determine the velocity needed to get the dog tooth gears to engage. There is still quite a bit of work to be done on this, most importantly that there are aids available that make this new model usable by all of our customers.

One of the most complained about “features” in the sim is that a damaged car is just as fast as an undamaged car. We just figured what fun would it be if you lost the front wing on your IndyCar and it actually required you to slow down? Okay, seriously, we are working on improving the damage model.

I read a hotly debated thread yesterday on what exactly we are doing with the very general statement of “we are working on night racing”. (On a side note, if you ever want to see an engineer melt down describe a project they are working on in the most general description possible and say it’s a piece of cake to complete.) To elevate the suspense we are working on turning Richmond into a track that can be run at night. This may seem like a trivial task but we are modeling a light source from each light at the track. This will be over 100 lights. Kevin Combs will be doing a blog post specifically on this topic in the near future.

This project is just the first step in the long term project of finally getting back to work on improving our graphics engine. Now that Shawn is finally done working on the HoF project he is being set loose on all kinds of goodies to make the product sexier.

Fixed setup racing for hosted and official racing is also being worked on again. This is pretty self explanatory really. The real debate for this feature is what official series to make fixed setup. We have not had serious discussions about this internally yet but my first thought on this is that to start maybe D and under series are fixed setup? What do you guys think we should do for fixed setup series while trying not to add any redundant series?

I am pretty sure I have mentioned this in one of my previous blogs but we have started the process of transitioning to a third party sound engine called FMod. The feature set for this product should allow us to add some cool effects into the model and hopefully increase performance in general. At this time the goal is to have the old system in place as well so if there are any problems for a particular user you can continue to use the old sound engine.

We have heard quite a bit of feedback from our league operators that having more control over a hosted session would make their lives easier and we have listened. We have begun the process of trying to get back into hosted racing the extended admin functionality that we had in our previous products at Papyrus. As we have said many times before just because we did it at Papyrus does not mean we can copy and paste the code into iRacing so I don’t know the exact feature set we will have yet.

Tony “loose lips” Gardner has made a few posts recently about a few cars we are working on. We plan on trying to get the Tour Modified out in June around the same time that Thompson Speedway will be finished up. We also plan on trying to get the Mustang done in June or early July for when Mid Ohio is released.

On the topic of cars we have received a ton of feedback on our aero model and we have started to look at trying to model the draft effects on aerodynamic side force on the car. We think this will improve the side by side oval racing and being able to pass cars a little easier on the outside.

One of the larger projects that we will be working on is being able to find your friends on the service. We hope to be able to allow members to see if their friends are already in a running race, qual or TT, and can allow them to join an open practice and possibly a hosted session with them. We also are going to try and allow you to join an actual race they are competing in to watch it as a spectator.

I got to see some of the videos the other day that are going into the driving school and I must say I came away incredibly impressed with what they have accomplished. It’s going to be a seriously comprehensive training package that I believe everyone from novice to experienced sim racers will find useful. I am really looking forward to that getting launched.

And lastly, the cheerful backbone of our community, the iRacing forums, will be getting an overhaul. I have told Scott that if we don’t see a serious increase of positive thoughts and discussion in the forums you will be stuck with this same outdated piece of software that you have now. So let this be your warning!

Seriously though, we are incredibly excited to get these projects we are working on out to you guys as soon as possible. I think they encompass many of the things you have been asking for and yet only scratch the surface on what we want to accomplish. I hope everyone has a great summer (or winter for you guys down under) and now I am off to try and get this damn song out of my head!

80s
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33 Comments

thx, but what is about the Williams F1? 🙁

Nick
May 17th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Great post Steve, thanks for the insight!

Francisco Costa
May 17th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Do not turn the Late Models into a fixed set series this will be a huge mistake.

Andy Shuck
May 17th, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Tony “loose lips” Gardner is the best. You too Steve! As an iRacer, I like the loose lips part. Wait, that didn’t sound right. You know what I mean.

Great blog. Go see Rock of Ages on Broadway if you love 80’s rock. 😉

Lincoln
May 17th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

How about street stocks as fixed setups.

Also, is there any chance we can get a developer diary going on the dev of the Williams. It would be a good way to manage expectations. There is a lot of anticipation for the car, and unless ever single system and button is modeled in full detail, there are a few that will be up on the roof ready to end it all. Better to get them the help they need as soon as possible, once they get an idea of what will be in or out. 🙂

Kevin Kosiorek
May 17th, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Could “fixed setups” be more than a 1 setup option? Say kind of what the iRacing setups now show us….Oval (basic, fast, adv….maybe all tracks setup option? Like be able to use a Lowe’s setup for Texas?) Road ( basic, smooth, rough, high curb…etc)

Rick Hogue
May 17th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Great post, thanks for the insight. I’m not an oval guy but I hope the fixed setups are an additional series and wouldn’t take the place of any current oval series. If that’s the case I’d go with either the late models or trucks.

Mike Taylor
May 17th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Personally I would look at merging some more classes together, but without the need to purchase all cars. With more series arriving, the numbers are becoming a little watered down.
Like the idea of the fixed setup series, good direction to go in.

Jon
May 17th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

There is no reason to make cars like the Late Model (D Class) fixed. Maybe make the poorly attended series like the COT Indy Car and Daytona Prototype limited option setups so that you can make them a bit more comfortable and to your liking.

Chris
May 17th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

[b]”If you accept that iRacing.com is a hard core video game and therefore a product used for mostly entertainment purposes then lets figure out how we can communicate like we are having fun.” [/b]

This is gonna give grey hair to some, but I totally agree…

Pierre
May 17th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

We would like an Italian car. I’m sick of American muscle car!

Domenico
May 17th, 2010 at 3:21 pm

very nice to hear EVERYTHING you said, Steve!

but you start off saying “…and think about this communication
game we play as developers and customers…” and then you
proceed to talk about the sim as a game? lol

Alexandre
May 17th, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Fixed setups would be great (for me). I am not a setup guru. Some cars, like the Late Model, are very dependant on setup, and that makes it tough to be competitive. To be fair, some guys put a lot of effort into their setups and really enjoy doing it. I wouldn’t want to take that away from them either. Its a tough call.

Scott
May 17th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Perhaps a two tier (oval and road) rotating car series would be the most appropriate way to go with the fixed setups. Personally, I would say mix both road and oval together in one series and have it cycle through all the Rookie and Class D vehicles throughout the season. However I could understand a need for a road vs. oval fixed series. However- the best way it will work and not be redundant is if it switches vehicles week to week.

Simon Woodson
May 17th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I think that if fixed setups are introduced to the game’s official series that should be used as a Rookie division with say a Safety Rating of 3.5 or below. Basically a step between the Safety Rating of 3 and 4 cause, having just come from the Rookie rankings LOL, the gap in between 3 and 4 got somewhat old. If Street Stocks are introduced, do Street Stocks from start, Legends Cup at 3, Advanced Legends at 3.5 and then go into D Class with Late Models and such. Can’t say much with the roadies as I haven’t played with them too much here.

Thomas Christ
May 17th, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Just thought of something, if you keep the number of tracks down for the series and use most of the rookie tracks already given costs for this series would be at a minimum.

Simon Woodson
May 17th, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Thanks for the insight. It’s nice to hear what’s on the drawing board.

Jeff Sparks
May 17th, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Sometime my quantum physics teacher said about bras and kets that, at the start, we must take those just as a game. And then a pupil raise his arm and ask: And later?

Luis Babboni
May 17th, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Appreciate the update. Thanks. Any chance for driver swaps being implemented anytime. Now that mixed classes have been introduced, team based endurance racing seems like a logical next step, don’t ya think?

Here’s hoping…

Stephen Ellis
May 17th, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Numerically better way to solve quadratic equations:
Dixon, “The Shock Absorber Handbook”, Appendix E.2

Use it only for good, and don’t give anyone a heart attack when showing off 😉

Matt Jessick
May 17th, 2010 at 10:27 pm

dont we ~already~ have a fixed setup series in road and oval? I like the transition of how the setups get more complicated as the car class increases; as you learn to race safer and faster you learn more about how to set your car up and that gives you the skills to go up another class. I also like having an edge over others from all that testing I do, its not fair to enforce a fixed setup on, say, late models, where some who know their own driving style and test lots to get a set that works for them may be wasting their time.

Dean
May 17th, 2010 at 11:01 pm

I like the idea of fixed setups , I would as Dean points out keep in mind the work some put into it. I don’t see the harm in making a series have two races, I’ll second the idea of a rookie fixed set up class and a regular class. Even as you move up the levels I’m finding it harder to be safe on the track because I can’t set a car up that doesn’t eat tires after 3 laps. I think the more you help ease people into a series and let the fast folks play with the fast folks..the better overall quality we’ll see… At least in theory that’s what should happen… Sort of on that note..I would like to keep the fast guys out of the rookie races and not sandbag just for a win.

Tony
May 18th, 2010 at 6:32 am

talking about “game” and “fun”: I’m still waiting for a permanent fun series! 13th week with short races every 30 mins and not having to worry about destroying your stats is always the most fun I have in iRacing. Of course, if you want to have serious competition, you don’t want to have it in those races and if I have time to practice I always prefer sanctioned races, but for entertaining purposes those events are great. I think this would raise iRacing’s popularity a lot and will also help participation in the official series in the long term.
Hosted series is NOT working for spontaneous racing (at least on the road side), we need permanent events!!!

Tom
May 18th, 2010 at 7:13 am

Great post, thanks for the update!

mike anderson
May 18th, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I have not run an open race in 6 weeks so what series is fixed does not matter to me. I am a league racer who owns a 5 year old SIM Racing Community and fixed setups is something we have been after since we migrated to your service last year. I need the ability to set up an open race for Latemodels, Trucks and the 2 Stock Car Classes with a fixed setup. Give me that and I will give you 30-50 more subscribers from my community alone.

Kevin Hamilton
May 19th, 2010 at 10:21 am

Some of you I could pass your mail to register at iRacing.com

Thanks

Mauricio Moreno A.
May 19th, 2010 at 12:28 pm

You call it a hardcore racing sim yet we cant even do a simple driver change !?! Ha, Sounds like a hardcore driving beta that you expect us to pay for which, still falls below the standards of other sims released more than nine years ago.

Other than that thanks for the info.

Tony Mahony
May 23rd, 2010 at 8:14 am

Fixed Setup Racing needs to be at least Late-Model for sure, but i think the turnout would be great in the Truck Series. Either class would be much welcomed.

Jason Newby
May 23rd, 2010 at 8:49 pm

I drive almost only Late Models, cause thats the car i like the best. I enjoy very much the making of setups wich i normally share to whoever wants it in the servers or on the forum. If the LM would be a fixed setup serie I would have to take a serious thought of what to do next. I don’t want that such a huge part of the fun i have to be taken away. This said not as a whine like “i’ll leave bla bla…” but as a fact.
Anyway, thanks for the blog and i am, except for the fixed setup thingy, looking forward to the new improved versions.

Göran
May 24th, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Fantastic improvements in the pipeline. Thanks for everyone’s hard work at iRacing!

Paul Kelly
May 31st, 2010 at 6:52 pm

When are AI cars going to be added, whilst I enjoy real driver competition I would also like the choice off racing against AI only aswell, so long as the AI is up to scratch of course.

Somedriver
June 2nd, 2010 at 4:09 am

I always read your blogs something everyday because I like your thought and I get many advice after read you. I tell to my other friends about this & its’s blog. I hope you will read my this comment and you will remember me. i want you to always make new articles like this.I appreciate this.Thanks a lot.
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Tech Help USA

mark01
June 24th, 2010 at 5:12 am

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iazdhzerhd
May 24th, 2011 at 5:49 am

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