The online racing simulator
Kunos Simulazioni - Assetto Corsa
(8883 posts, started )
Quote from tristancliffe :Good graphics today are tomorrows naff "did we really think this was good?". Good physics are good physics forever.

I agree with Keling, and it's all relative to expectations. GP2 is a good example. Great graphics and physics for it's time, but nothing on what we expect today.

Besides if you're immersed in a game, you should be too busy enjoying it to be thinking about how crap it might seem in 20 years time.
For racing sim physics is the most important thing. For racing game (pcars, forza, gt5) graphics is more important because not only is the good graphics what the target audience wants but also what sells it. For some people the graphics is what makes a game realistic for example. For example when a donkey reviews lfs and iracing they simply think iracing is more realistic because it looks better. Non-donnkeys know better. But then again the majority of people are donkeys when you look at them from sim racer perspective.

Graphics are just something that can only be good for a short period of time. Good physics are good always. If lfs had great graphics but poor physics no one would play it. It would have no target group anymore.

Of course we also need to remember that good graphics is not just about advanced rendering engine, smooth shadows and reflections and good looking textures. It is also about smooth fps and purpose fitting graphical look (motion of the cars or realistic graphical effects). For example one of the graphical things lfs and even the first gran turismos did well was the motion of the cars.
Quote from Keling :Good physics isn't that immortal. The standard does change, just at a much slower rate. There's much more effort on the graphics side of gaming because the average Joe can easily tell the difference. For sim physics it's a different story.

Think about what used to be the best sim 10 or 15 years ago. Maybe still fun to play, but can it challenge today's sims physics wise?

My point is that when GP2 came out, it was photo-realistic and had amazing physics. Except that the graphics were terrible actually. But the physics aren't all that bad actually, but it was optimised for digital inputs.

Over 20 years, the physics have improved x amount (both in terms of what is possible, and what is expected). Graphics have improved 10000x in comparison. And no people are totally unable to improve the graphics using their imagination. So in some respects games actually look worse!
I don't think physics is "timeless", just because fewer people know how to scientifically make a good physics model, the progress seem less evident, but its there nonetheless, 20 years later we will be complaining tire rubbing against wheel arches not being properly modeled.
Quote from JJ72 :I don't think physics is "timeless", just because fewer people know how to scientifically make a good physics model, the progress seem less evident, but its there nonetheless, 20 years later we will be complaining tire rubbing against wheel arches not being properly modeled.

I don't think that will happen. Even after 10 or 20 years we are still having sims dealing with the same basic stuff they were dealing with 10 or 20 years ago. Basic form of tire physics in very limited environment (dry static track with static environment). And even that is still being hugely problematic to get right most of the time. Even iracing that is supposed to be the bestest and most realistictest sim still offers only the exact same static sim racing experience that the first racing games offered. There is even no wind for crying out aloud! And they still struggle to get it right. It's 2012 and there is only one sim (rfactor 2) that even tries to move away from the most basic form of making a sim by adding some of the dynamic elements you have on real race track.

It's 2012 and stuff like visual tire wear, rubbered up driving line on race track or even anything other than just one static environment per track is considered revolutionary. With this pace in 2030 we are lucky if we have sims that have even moved past rfactor2 in terms of complete racing sim experience.

Tbh with this pace after 20 years we will still be complaining about sim devs putting tires into their sims that still have too much drop off in grip after optimal slip angles because they "feel" hard is realistic. And dynamic weather is still going to be revolutionary and awesome even if it should be mandatory part of any racing by now. I can understand why lfs is not going anywhere because the development is dead but the whole sim racing genre as a whole still seems to struggle even with the most basic things. It's like 20 years have gone by and only thing that has improved is the processing power that allows more mistakes to be made every second. It's like tristan said. Graphics have improved 10000x but physics only 1.5x. And when you look at what is achievable that is just very poor result.
Accurate graphics are more important than pretty ones. One thing I've found more difficult in other racing simulators and games is judging the feeling of momentum and inertia of other cars. Judging a car's body language is quite difficult when the graphic depiction doesn't match the physics. Of course the MP code has its part to play, in that.
Quote from Hyperactive : It's like 20 years have gone by and only thing that has improved is the processing power that allows more mistakes to be made every second. It's like tristan said. Graphics have improved 10000x but physics only 1.5x. And when you look at what is achievable that is just very poor result.

Name a racing SIMULATOR from 1992. Go on. And if you manage to do that, compare it with LFS. Is it only 1.5x better physics wise?
Quote from Nadeo4441 :Name a racing SIMULATOR from 1992. Go on. And if you manage to do that, compare it with LFS. Is it only 1.5x better physics wise?

That's not the point.

If you look at it from the perspective of what is possible (hardware, technology, understanding of the phenomena you are trying to recreate in a video game) then 1.5x improvement is just fair thing to say. Processing power for graphics and physics has increased 10000x and graphics has taken the benefit from that. While physics 20 years ago were also on the cutting edge of what is possible the physics today just aren't that. With the increase of processing power the quality will of course go up as well because you are no longer limited with what is possible to do with the hardware. But while graphics are limited by hardware the physics have not been that for at least 10 years.

Look at the rate of improvements in racing sim genre from say 1992 to 1998. The time span from nfs1 to grand prix legends. There we can see physics and graphics pushing the boundaries together. What was possible was done. After that we still have the same gpl model of racing sims. While graphics have improved drastically the physics haven't. We are pushing closer to photorealism but "photorealism in physics" is still almost just as far away as it was in 1998.
Quote from Hyperactive : With the increase of processing power the quality will of course go up as well because you are no longer limited with what is possible to do with the hardware.

I get your point but you have to realize that while we're not limited by the processing power, we are limited by the ammount of programming put into those games. In other words, it would take years and years to perfect the physics calucations (like LFS). It's not just something you can do in an afternoon. The physics in the 90's games were pretty simple.
It's surely a case of diminishing returns as much as anything.

As with graphics, the closer you get to photo realistic, the less obvious the advances are going to be with each generation, even though the required power and amount of work needed increases exponentially. I'd say that with the few landmark titles of the nineties, and even lfs for that matter, physics were way more realistic than the visuals. To make a defining leap forward from there would surely take a thousand times more work than it took to get to that point. If you look at it like that, for me, gpl has physics way, way in advance of the visuals, and given the rate of technological advance, it's no wonder that graphics have moved further since then.

I do think that with some developers a little complacency has set in, though. "Good enough" is quite common, which isn't good enough most of the time, but I fear that given how much work probably is required to make "good enough" into "exceptional" we won't see many commercial developers making the effort.
Look at HL2. At the time, it was pretty much the pinnacle of physics and graphics.

Look at HL2 now. It looks better (by virtue of Valve jamming HL2 into new-source), but are the physics anything to write home for? They're not bad.. but they're not amazing anymore... there are things that are much nicer. See Crysis' exploding trees or the destructable ferns/plants.
We're talking racing. Where destructible buildings, moving grass, throwing saw blades, or nice waterfalls are hardly important.
There are more movies about that, search for BeamNG. Pretty amazing stuff and I am looking forward to see what they will release in the future.
Quote from Mysho :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KppTmsNFneg I assume you know this clip...

This is kind of an argument for lack of processing power. If pCars were able to include such physical soft body deformations in their product and have it run at a rate acceptable for a racing title, they (or others) would probably do it. They can't.
just a good-night post
Lately I have put the Devs' advice - play some other game, for a change - to some good use:

rfactor 1; HistorX 1.95; Nordschleife-24h and Targa Florio == heaven for a "sim-driver". Because that's what i've been doing in it - driving solo, enjoying something completely different.

Graphics-wise: I was really happy. Some outstanding work (even though the car models are mainly converted from a prior commercial effort: GTL) is included, there. And even though I know that race-cars are only marginally-comparable to their street-counterparts - I was immersed into the illusion of driving those classics on the street and loved every second of it - mainly because the default set-ups actually seemed to work, once I got to know the cars' quirks in their handling. But mostly: oh my god that handling!

Completely different from what we are used to with modern cars / race sims. And so rewarding, once one has finally got it right. Really fun that. And actually it shows with what little technical possibilities rfactor 1 offers, how much of a good-looking, refreshingly entertaining and engaging piece of simulated driving a well-craftet collage of algorithms and artistic effort can get you.

So for

1.: graphics are over-rated big-time - and they sadly always will be
because
2.: you cannot convey a thorough view on the quality of a good simulation just through pretty pictures, alone - be it moving ones on youtube/TV or stills as in print and/or web.

You can however sell a mediocre shooter with some pretty eye-candy any day - because that's what you'll get when you take the pretend-stage away from it: pretty pictures of a preferably bloody, yet simple and repetetive trade. Games are made to satisfy their players not on achievements or skill alone.

Racing Sims - real simulations - sure feel different, as they should!
Quote from DrBen :Lately I have put the Devs' advice - play some other game, for a change - to some good use:

rfactor 1; HistorX 1.95; Nordschleife-24h and Targa Florio == heaven for a "sim-driver". Because that's what i've been doing in it - driving solo, enjoying something completely different.

Graphics-wise: I was really happy. Some outstanding work (even though the car models are mainly converted from a prior commercial effort: GTL) is included, there. And even though I know that race-cars are only marginally-comparable to their street-counterparts - I was immersed into the illusion of driving those classics on the street and loved every second of it - mainly because the default set-ups actually seemed to work, once I got to know the cars' quirks in their handling. But mostly: oh my god that handling!

Completely different from what we are used to with modern cars / race sims. And so rewarding, once one has finally got it right. Really fun that. And actually it shows with what little technical possibilities rfactor 1 offers, how much of a good-looking, refreshingly entertaining and engaging piece of simulated driving a well-craftet collage of algorithms and artistic effort can get you.

So for

1.: graphics are over-rated big-time - and they sadly always will be
because
2.: you cannot convey a thorough view on the quality of a good simulation just through pretty pictures, alone - be it moving ones on youtube/TV or stills as in print and/or web.

You can however sell a mediocre shooter with some pretty eye-candy any day - because that's what you'll get when you take the pretend-stage away from it: pretty pictures of a preferably bloody, yet simple and repetetive trade. Games are made to satisfy their players not on achievements or skill alone.

Racing Sims - real simulations - sure feel different, as they should!

Considering Kuno's past with NKP.. It's a pretty sound bet that AC will match if not surpass NKP's physics which would make it one of the best sims for physics out there.
@ Hyperactive / NotAnIllusion
Accuracy and motion belong to the physics part of the sim. It's the job of the physics code to feed nice data to the graphics code so it can be rendered. Graphics tech guys are not responsible for any ridiculous motion you see on the screen.

@ Mysho / TVE / Electrik Kar
The RoR people have been doing this for years... with much less attractive graphics though.
Quote from Keling :@ Hyperactive / NotAnIllusion
Accuracy and motion belong to the physics part of the sim. It's the job of the physics code to feed nice data to the graphics code so it can be rendered. Graphics tech guys are not responsible for any ridiculous motion you see on the screen.

That's not entirely accurate. The kinematics and animation are not 1:1 linked to physics in terms of the game engine. A different part of the game engine translates the physics output to motion that can be rendered by the graphics engine. If you want, you can split it to "graphics guys", "kinematic rigging guys" and "physics guys". The thing to keep in focus though is that with our fav indie projects you're usually talking about one guy.
Quote from xaotik :That's not entirely accurate. The kinematics and animation are not 1:1 linked to physics in terms of the game engine. A different part of the game engine translates the physics output to motion that can be rendered by the graphics engine. If you want, you can split it to "graphics guys", "kinematic rigging guys" and "physics guys". The thing to keep in focus though is that with our fav indie projects you're usually talking about one guy.

This very much the strength about lfs. Eric (iirc) was doing kinematics and animation stuff in his previous job and it really shows positively in lfs when the car motion is so well done and looks just the best in the business.

I've never done any 3d modelling of sim cars and put them into any sims but I'd imagine that the visual representation of the suspension of the cars shown on the screen is not necessarily connected to physics in any way. The suspension geometry on the 3d model may be something totally different than what the physics engine uses and if the kinematics guy does not put in the correct geometry the car motion on screen will look just wrong. Stuff like toe-in, bump steer and camber will be totally different.

But then again that is where lfs has a strength. The way lfs seems to directly use the same numbers for both physics and graphics really makes it look great in motion.
Quote from Hyperactive :This very much the strength about lfs. Eric (iirc) was doing kinematics and animation stuff in his previous job and it really shows positively in lfs when the car motion is so well done and looks just the best in the business.

I'm 99.9999999% sure that the "car motion" is all Scawen, as in it's all coming from the unified physics engine. Eric may have given the cars all the suspension geometry settings, but the actual motion comes from the physics engine. The hands on the steering wheel animation is quite certainly from Eric however, and it looks fantastic. Related to that, it's very sad to see even well funded titles like iRacing take the easy way out and use some silly console-like 180 degree incar steering with all cars.

Anyway, isn't this thread going quite far offtopic now? Are there any news about the AC tech demo?
Quote from dawesdust_12 :Considering Kuno's past with NKP.. It's a pretty sound bet that AC will match if not surpass NKP's physics which would make it one of the best sims for physics out there.

Exactly what I am thinking.

And dear god, that Vintage Replica GT is tonnes of fun in the rain. That's some real white knuckle driving stuff just to keep that beast on the road. But while you're doing so, you just have that inner giggle, with your head telling you "It's madness to munch the throttle like that in the middle of the corner, but it's just so much fun to do"

Kunos Simulazioni - Assetto Corsa
(8883 posts, started )
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