Racing Simulations

Growing up in an 'F1 family' where waking up at 02:00 to watch the races in Japan or Australia seemed normal, it wasn't a bit stretch to find myself playing racing games. Things really started out with Nigel Mansell's World Championship, which although certainly not a simulation, led me onto F1GP on the Commodore Amiga.

After progressing through and spending many years modding the Geoff Crammond Formula One simulations for myself, I started to run IndyCar Racing and NASCAR Racing from Papyrus Racing Games. In 1998 Papyrus released Grand Prix Legends, this had a huge impact on my entire life; I founded a Web site about it, began racing online with it, and it actually led me to where I am today; working for a racing sim developer.

Grand Prix Legends (1998):

Apart from the occasional rFactor mod, I didn't run anything other than iRacing (who I worked for) for a long time. In 2010 I started to work for Image Space Incorporated, deep into development of rFactor 2 at the time. That's all I run these days, I just don't have the time to run anything else!


The Historical Factor

closeThis post was published 5 years 3 months 13 days ago.
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The last few days leading up to the public release of the rFactor 2 Open Beta were among the most stressful I think I’ve felt in my entire working life. The day of release itself was spent feverishly trying to clear my email inbox, before posting the download, and then awaiting the incoming onslaught that I still haven’t recovered from a day later.

The release and subsequent overloading of the purchase servers with massive demand aside, I’ve been quite pleased at how the community has received the content we put out. This is a taste (albeit a very good taste) of what we have in store, so I’ve been delighted to see that response, but it has got me thinking, too…

The vast majority of the positive feedback, or perhaps the users most pleased (and most vocal) have been talking about the historical content. It’s worth remembering that the cars we released were all generic ‘fictional’ 1960s cars, while the tracks (Belgium and Monte-Carlo) were extremely accurate versions of their real-life counterparts.

I expected to hear a lot of people talking about Grand Prix Legends, and I have. I expected a lot of people to say how fast and dangerous the tracks feel, and I have. But I haven’t heard anybody really saying why rFactor 2 is getting the kind of reception that it is about that content, and basing this purely on my own needs, I think I might have figured something out…

We are not the first company to include a historic car in their simulation and we’re certainly not going to be the last. In fact it looks like more historical cars are going to get released in 2012 than at any time during the history of sim racing.

I’ve known that there was a market for historic cars for a few years, but it’s only when I joined ISI that I felt this information accepted and used. I was let loose and (as has been mentioned before) licensed cars from many different eras and types of racing. So what is going to be the difference at ISI? History, of course.

ISI aren’t just licensing historic cars and giving them to you to race around todays modern and sterile racing circuits; ISI are giving you historic cars to race on historically accurate racing tracks. Much like Grand Prix Legends, and for the first time since, you’re actually racing a historical car on the claustrophobic, astonishingly fast and absurdly dangerous circuits it was built for.

To me? That’s the difference, and that’s why people stuck to Grand Prix Legends: It wasn’t just the cars, it was the feeling of doing what those brave men did on the tracks they did it… That’s what I wanted out of rFactor 2.

While I’m pursuing every license I possibly can, from all eras of racing, I’m looking forward most of all to helping sim racers look backwards in time and perhaps learn about the history of the sport. We’ll have to go a lot faster than 88mph to get there…


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Tim is British and lives in the United States with his wife and kids.

He works for software developers Image Space Inc. and Studio 397 on their racing simulations, and is a fan of Gaming, Motorsports, and photography.