Thursday, July 15, 2010

Live for Speed - Scawen talks about their progress

Developer of Live for Speed simulator, Scawen Roberts, talks about their progress:

"I've just scanned through the last few pages of the thread. I haven't looked at the thread for a long time, as I've been working a lot recently.

I think you are not correct about the contempt. We're just improving this simulator. I'm trying to program the tyres to behave as realistic as possible. It takes a lot of investigation and testing.

The reason I don't make progress reports is not contempt. It just doesn't make any sense to me to do, say, monthly progress reports. One of them says "I'm working on the tyre physics" and then the next month "I'm still working on the tyre physics" and so on. I just want to say something when there is something interesting to say. But the tyre physics has been a lot of development, a lot of testing and trying new things, finding it did some things well and others not so well. Changing some things, looking for reference material to refine constants, taking a break, coming up with a new idea to test, trying it out, taking some wrong turns, investigating something that turned out impossible, rewriting something, finding a better result, and so on...

Maybe you would suggest that all those twists and turns along the journey of development is exactly what I should be writing in the weekly or monthly progress reports, but actually I don't want to. When I am following a line of investigation, I don't want to say what I am looking at, instead I just want to get on with it and see if it turns out right or wrong in the end. It's kind of a private activity, not sure how to explain that.

From experience I have learned that it's not worth giving the beta testers a version that I still know is flawed. While there is still plenty for me to work on full time, and Eric and Victor are pleased with what they see but are still able to demonstrate situations where they think the handling is not quite like reality, the best thing to do is just carry on. For how long, I don't know. Not everything goes as expected. Some things I try make strangely little or surprisingly large differences and sometimes they open up a new area of investigation. Personally I am surprised overall how much there has been to learn and understand about the behaviour of tyres.

Today I thought I'd just have a look at this thread, but there are too many new pages for me to read in detail. Anyway, you may be assured we have not stopped development. I guess if we stopped development then we'd make a post about it. I'm not sure how that would happen, maybe if I got run over or contracted a fatal illness or perhaps someone will come and offer me a flight to the moon but I have to train at NASA for a couple of years. Unlikely, and there's really nothing better I can do than work on this simulator. I just don't want to write about every step on the development path, so that's why there is a long time between progress reports.

- I'm not planning to try and make the VW stability systems as refined or complete as the real thing. I tried something before, when we were apparently close to release at the end of 2008. Already learned something by taking some wrong turns at that point and I hope that it won't be too hard to get a couple of reasonable systems in place that enhance the handling.

- The suspension updates I hope won't be too difficult, though that is an area where one thing could lead to another, so I don't really know. I think it will be a case of "where to draw the line". It's doesn't need to be the final update to suspension systems but if I could get a bit of anti-dive and anti-squat working then it would help with the default car setups which are more softly sprung now.

- Limited setup system is just a whole bunch of logic programming, meaning it's a load of rules, nothing complicated like physics and geometry. So it shouldn't be too hard. But there will be a few things to sort out, like how it will work in the interface and deactivate an "extreme" setup when you join a "limited" setup host, and you'll need to specify if a setup you are working on should conform to "limited" or "extreme" setup rules.

After the updates are done and the beta testers are quite happy with it, I think there will be a decent period of public testing. The limited setup system should be quite interesting. Class balancing will also need to be sorted out, with new tyre physics and default setups on limited setup hosts, we'll probably find that some adjustments are needed. And of course, public testing will usually bring up other issues we can't think of yet."

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