August 25th, 2010 by Steve Myers
It’s pretty amazing to think that this small band of merry men and women has been hard at work on this product for over six years now and our doors have been open to the public for the past two! I think its remarkable how much we have accomplished over this time period, but I also think we have just scratched the surface of what we can become.
We have finally gotten to the point in our development, at least on the software side, that we are thinking about “new” projects. It’s not exactly comparing apples and oranges, but I think it is fair to say that while we have far exceeded the quality of work that we had accomplished at Papyrus, it has taken us a while to meet the quantity of features.
I think its remarkable how much we have accomplished over this time period, but I also think we have just scratched the surface of what we can become.
It’s exciting to start thinking about new territories to explore in this code base now. We have a wish list that would blow your mind and we finally now get to start debating what to start checking off the list to build next. Sure, we still have some no brainer features that we want to work on but there are always more projects in development then what will be released in the next build. All I can say is that I think it will be an exciting few years in front of us!
We also have a lot of cool stuff going on right now of course. I will run down some of the projects we are working on. First I would like to thank two groups that have really done some terrific work over the last few months to help us “spread the word” about iRacing.
Ian Busching and the guys at PSRtv have done a terrific job on broadcasting our World Championship and special race events. We basically developed our tools for broadcasting on the fly and I think they have really done a great job in refining their process to turn out some quality broadcasts.
I want to also thank Florian Goddard and the group helping him put together the iRacingTV shows. This concept was his initial idea and I think he does a terrific job in his highlight recaps and putting together video that we shoot here in the office. We are very lucky to have passionate people interested in our product and wanting to not only see it succeed, but also figure out ways to help that happen.
Staying on the community side of things, we have something very cool planned for the world’s fastest sim racer. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but let’s just say Greger is going to be making a trip here to the States very soon and he’ll get to do some very cool things. We will be capturing all of it on film to be shown on 3 Wide Life and on our website, plus it will be covered in Top Gear magazine.
One last thank you shout out to my friends in the far east. Shuji Aratani, Toshi Deki, Toshinobu Shigemitsu, Teruaki Kato and Thomas O’Dowd have all been extremely helpful in creating some terrific partnerships in Japan. We are putting the finishing touches on a contract for a FOURTH Japanese track for our service joining Okayama International and two recently signed tracks. Once we ink this final deal we will plan to have a press release introducing all of them. Look for it around September 18th….
On to some of the development updates….
On the content side of things we are obviously hard at work on the Williams FW31 car. It’s actually in testing already and it is getting rave reviews. Our friends over at Williams have done some driving with it and they already think it’s very good. We are kicking around some ideas here internally on how to make this car something everyone can use so stay tuned.
We are also making great progress on the Mazda MX-5 Cup car and Roadster. These cars will become the rookie road racing cars next season. You will be able to drive either car in the series with the primary difference between the two being one is left hand drive and the other is right hand drive.
We get a lot of questions about the Street Stock car and this will be the next car in development and we are hoping to have this released around the holidays. This will eventually become the Advanced Rookie oval car.
On the track side of things we are hoping to release Pocono next week. This will include five road course configurations! Dover will be the next track released and we are shooting to have that released by the end of September. With the way the art and production teams work we generally have multiple tracks in some state of development so the good news is that Spa is already under construction. The bad news is that this is probably our most ambitious build yet and we are hoping to have it also ready around the holiday season.
We are tentatively shooting to get our new forum software out to you next week as well.
One new feature that will be in our next build is actually an extension of the spectator functionality that we introduced in the last build. We are going to let you actually drive in a session that you are spectating. Essentially you will be a ghost in the world to the competitors (invisible from their perspective) but it will allow you to use the competitors to pace yourself. You obviously will not be scored in the race but maybe a ghost driver can stay with Huttu!
Our current pit crew system is not capable of doing all of the in-race functionality that we would like and needs an overhaul. In our last build we extended our damage model and we are planning on being able to fix some of that damage in the pits for this build. A much bigger project is going on to re-vamp the “pit crew/crew chief” system to allow us to expand its functionality.
We continue to work hard on integrating Fmod into our software and things are looking positive that it will be included in next seasons build. As with just about anything, things always look easier until you start getting your hands dirty with the project.
One cool project that the vehicle guys have been working on for a few months is incorporating better aero tables for our cars. We have been working with a computational fluid dynamics company to use our 3D models to create a new aero table for our IndyCar. This is kind of our “pilot” project and if it goes well we will expand it to other cars.
New tire model………………yes it’s being worked on. No, Dave won’t put a web cam in his office so you can watch.
We have essentially dedicated an engineer to work on upgrading our graphics engine for the entire year. Our product is going to really start to look “new” over the next few builds with the work Shawn is doing and the list of tasks he wants to accomplish are impressive.
In this next build we should have soft tree shadows are all collapsed and rendering as fast as the track surface lighting at Richmond night! Really there should be no need to turn off the tree shadows (which will be an option) and tracks like Road America are going to really benefit from this.
He is also working on proper light scaling on all track textures. Basically all the tracks are going to look significantly better because Shawn has done a massive project to properly scale how bright each texture should be at a track.
Of course we have many other projects going on that may or may not make the next build, but those are the highlights on the development front for what I feel pretty confident about right now.
We have had a terrific year here at iRacing and we owe it all to you our customers. Keep the feedback coming on what you would like to see added or improved and we will continue to work hard to deliver it for you.