Commonly known as ISI is an Independent video game developer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, specializing in the fields of computer game development, man-in-the-loop simulator architectures, computer image generation, and entertainment systems integration.ISI began with production of military simulators. They have worked on many different types of software, but focused most of their development time over the years on racing games and simulators.ISI also developed the gMotor2 game engine,which is used to create many racing games like GT Legends, GTR2, ARCA Sim Racing , Race 07 and others.
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW TO ISI
length of the beta. We won’t push a 2011 release if we don’t feel the software is in the right place.
First, we want to thank you on behalf of our community members at rFactorNews.com for giving us
You’ll need to watch our forums for info on that
an interview for our first magazine.
With iRacing as a humdrum game for the well-off, Will ISI give a playable demonstration to the public? netKar Pro with its on-line system not polished yet, SimBin simulators based on old tech and the first
Eventually, yes, although the demo may come after
rFactor in an almost final status, everyone in the sim
initial release when we’re happier with a set of fea-
racing world wants to fling themselves towards your
new simulator and discover everything about its upcoming features.
Is ISI following the iRacing trend, where simracers must pay for cars and tracks (and an eventual on-line
You know how to create expectation: rFactor 2
service) or do you prefer to be backed by the current,
screenshots and videos have shocked the net for
and great, modding community?
some time now, the trailer shown at InsideSimRacing is superb and the gameplay videos demonstrating
Our plan is to sell rFactor 2 in a similar fashion to
the new tyre model implementation have the com-
our first version. One addition is that we will pro-
munity expecting much. So...
vide online accounts for access to the matchmaker, updater and news. The service will be included
The first question is clear: When will rFactor 2 be in
with each purchase and valid for twelve months. If
a user wants to continue with this online account service, they can add an additional twelve months
We plan to have an open beta, mainly to allow at some incremental cost. modders to give feedback on the new way things are setup, before the initial release. That open beta
With the first rFactor version, the community played
will be happening very soon within 2011, the initial an important role. Will this still be the same with release we also hope 2011, but that depends on the
CREATORS OF RFACTOR
It already is. The open beta and the feedback of the
There is no delay, as we don’t work on fixed sched-
modders specifically will be very important.
ule. It is our intention to release rFactor 2 as soon as possible.
Which of the current simulators, rFactor aside, its better in your opinion?
Will ISI offer updates, extra content and/or DLC’s after the game is launched?
It’s difficult to say which titles are better as every title has its place. Different people appreciate differ-
Our plan with rFactor 2 is very similar to what was
ent things and that’s why you get the lively discus-
accomplished with the original rFactor. Updates
sions in the community. Nobody is wrong.
will include features, cars and tracks. We’ve licensed some really cool content and are working hard on
We know that you work really hard, but what is the adding more. reason for the delay of your upcoming simulator?
Now, about the game, strickly speaking:
damaging system. What improvements have you bring in this area?
We are about to enter the 2012. Why is there no trace of DirectX 11 support? Maybe some special re-
We have improved damage and intend to work on it
quirement about your engine or a console port is on
further. It is a little lower priority than some of the
driving features, so some updates to this may come after initial release.
DirectX 11 hasn’t made it to the top of our list yet.
Most people like to have beautiful animated arms in the cockpit. Are there plans to improve this area?
Yes. These can be seen on a couple of previews.
Have you improved special effects, like skid marks? And particle-based effects like fire or smoke? Will rFactor 2 include any antipiracy measure like Yes, there have been overall improvements. We’re
DRM and/or on-line checks to prevent piracy? Which
still working on these.
Will the “virtual” driver interact with the steering
Purchase will be checked online, but not in the same
wheel and/or the cockpit in some way?
method as rFactor.
He’ll turn the steering wheel, he leans his head and
Developing a game involves many people. How
you’ll see him be affected by acceleration and brak-
many? Do you have numbers so we can have an idea
of your enormous effort to bring us rFactor?
The first rFactor title lacks some realism about the
We have a small but highly specialized team of peo-
CREATOR OF RFACTOR ple, less than a dozen. We do have great commu-
We all know that ISI works to bring us an accurate
nity support including dedicated testers.
physics engine, but... Is rFactor 2 physics engine state-of-the-art? Could you explain some differences
Will rFactor 2 include updates in networking code to between the current implementation and gMotor2? improve latencies and accuracy in simulation? The engine is certainly state-of-the-art. But that is a Yes.
relative term, as rFactor 1 could still be considered that way.
How many people could join an rFactor 2 multiplayer server? Is there a maximum number (software lim-
gMotor2 is an incorrect name that the community
ited) or will it be limited by hardware processing
uses. gMotor is the graphics only, pMotor is phys-
ics only, etc. We havenâ€™t really had a name for the entire engine, but we now call the entire engine isi-
The theoretical number is very large. Most people will be limited by hardware more than software.
rFactor was isiMotor 2.0 on initial release and rFac-
on some cool effects to replicate track surface mi-
tor 2 is currently 2.5. These numbers do not relate
rage and heat haze from other sources like engines.
to how advanced the engine is though, because different parts (gMotor, pMotor, etc) all advance at dif-
By our testing, most current racing simulators have
ferent rates and are not numbered. The isiMotor 2.5 the physics and rendering loops tied, so high FPS imnumber doesn’t really mean very much, it’s more
ply more accurate physics. That’s a problem with vs-
ync enabled or multiprocessor CPUs. Has the rFactor 2 implementation subsystems been decoupled so it
The differences are plentiful and it’s really the com-
can exploit all CPUs? We have found that rFactor 1 is
bination that makes the difference. You’ll have to CPU-bound in this aspect... try it! Yes, we now have two main threads. One we call About the technical aspects of the game:
the simulation or physics thread and another we call the multimedia or “graphics” thread. The term
With all the buzz about post-processing effects in
“graphics” is not that accurate though since sound
current generation games (bloom, HDR, blurring,
and other tasks are done in this thread.
DOF, SSAO, etc), which effects are implemented in rFactor 2?
More parallelization may occur in the future as we continue to break apart these two main threads and
We’re still working on these. It is an interesting pro-
optimize them. Events are inherently serial when
cess. It isn’t as simple as creating the effect as these
simulating the real world. This is something we
are not static conditions, you then have to adapt
tried to take into account while looking long term.
levels to all the changes as you go from day to night, or sunny to storm.
rFactor 2 will use two cores at initial release.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of the HDR preview shots.
Network code in rFactor does not take “cheating”
We are also working on Bloom, blurring (shadows) into account. It seems that the server does validation and SSAO (ambient occlusion). We’ve also worked
on client connection but not on every packet sent
CREATORS OF RFACTOR
by the client. Also, most of the simulation happens
like the Internet, things become very difficult.
in the client side, and this helps cheaters. We know
The high latency causes queuing issues, so you in-
that checking everything will increase the CPU power stantly have to give up on continuous verification needed by the server but will be very helpful in on-
because it can’t work. Now we have to sample com-
line competitions. Are there plans to improve client-
putational results and use some type of custom
side security (EXE integrity, own process memory
heuristic to catch cheaters, and since we are stuck
auditing, etc.) and networking code (server checks,
using a heuristic instead of provable algorithm we
cryptography to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, could have false positives. While all of this can be etc.) to prevent cheating?
circumvented by argument like, “just check fuel load that would be great”, the question is, without running the simulation physics on the server, how? Currently rFactor 2 uses about 70% of Intel Wolfdale Core, so just running a ten person server, in the way you suggested, would require quite a server.
With all that said is there more we could do about cheating? Yes, of course. However, the problem is generally not as simple as people assume, and the This answer relates to PC gaming in general, rFactor
possibility of false positives makes an easy option
and rFactor 2.
unacceptable at this time. Client side executable security is a PC problem. As a
The majority of the simulation computation is cli-
general rule, one cannot completely trust anything
ent side for one important reason: The simulation
an executable produces because any other process
computation does not scale well. It is designed to can modify another processes memory. We do aurun on a client machine and to utilize that machine
dit certain fields in the processes memory but that
to the fullest to provide the most accurate simula-
is not always going to help. If a cheat can rewrite a
tion possible. When you look at verifying simulation
section of the processes memory it can also modi-
computation results across a high latency network
fy the action a process would take if it detected a
As for server checks, I don’t see how this can be ac-
Professional steering wheels, hydraulics-based cock-
complished as there has to be one piece of software
pits, multiple displays... Where would like ISI to put
on the network to manage trust. We have to trust
the limit on racing simulation?
the server implicitly or we would be forced to group it with the clients and those clients would require
Would there need to be a limit? Just like advance-
some type of explicit validation of integrity. If the
ments are being made in hardware, we will contin-
server was not implicitly trusted, there would be
ue to make advancements in software. We welcome
no entity in the rFactor multi player network to dis-
seminate information on what/who can be trusted. The only real concern with hardware is that There are plans to improve security further, and
there should always be an affordable option. This
with rFactor 2’s new distribution model it should be shouldn’t affect the evolution of the technology, easier to patch away popular cheats as we become
but lower-end products should always be made
aware of them. rFactor 2 client side executable se-
curity will be very robust. Which steering wheel and cockpit do you use for deIs Steam or Origin the medium rFactor 2 will use for
distribution? Manufacturers send us products to ensure compatNo , we have no plans to use either. We’ve built our
ibility and we enjoy testing those. We use a broad
own way of doing it.
range of products both at work and at home including all those the average sim racer has.
ISI develops mostly for the PC platform. Is there any chance to have a console-based ISI game?
There is no doubt that one must be passionate about motorsport in order to create racing simulation
Our engine was used in an XBOX 360 title by anoth-
games. Has anyone in the development team the
er developer. We have no plans to do this ourselves.
chance to drive a real racing car?
We’ve all had some kind of real-world experience
updated questions on the beta.
but the understanding of physics and engineering is probably more impressive and useful at times.
With all the work and focus on game development, design, testing... Do you have time to play, and actually enjoy, racing simulators?
We have regularly scheduled test races and all try to take part in those. Unfortunately when you are involved in the development you often spend more time staring at code than touching a steering wheel. Most of our races involve the A.I. as it is easier to summon them when you need to test something!
Now a tricky question...
Is Jessica López (from insidesimracing.tv) as pretty as she looks like? Be careful with you responses, we all know that you all are engaged and/or married...
Guys, thanks again for this interview. We hope to talk again with you when rFactor 2 is in our hands, maybe with another interview. Deal?
Sounds good. It would be very nice to hear some
When we started this adventure, we have the idea of making more visible our championships, by way of interviews and chronicles in one of our web’s topics. The proyect evolved slowly to became a little digital magazine, without many media, but with huge illusion. We’re competitive people, and ambitious too. Despite the fact that we thought it would be difficult, we decided to contact ISI and ask them about their impressions about the evolution and the development of rFactor 2. I want to express thankful for all of us, especially to Tim Wheatley for his extreme kindness and for making easy this interview. We hope this collaboration will continue through time so we can keep the community well informed. Tony Vargas (Cluj)
Interview with ISI