iOpener Media hope to bring competition with the worlds top touring, sportscar and later rally drivers to the computing world in early 2011 with its live racing game.
With a Beta test currently in progess using iOpener technology paired with the Simbin “RACE” game engine, the Real-Time Racing game has been gathering interest.
At the WTCC round at Zolder in June, gamers could race against virtual representations of SR-Sport drivers Tom Coronel & Gabriele Tarquini on the track. Tarquini set the bar to beat, by winning the first race at the Belgian circuit.
We spoke to Emiel van der Wal, Marketing Director for iOpener Media about the project.
TcT: What stage is the development is the game in at the moment?
“The difficult thing is licensing. Because our focus is on reality, we first contacted the FIA, to have all the series approved.”
“Once the series are approved we then have to contact the car manufacturers to get their cars approved – once we have their licences we should have the tracks as we want to have the tracks iOpener Enabled.”
“After the end of August, the Beta test will stop, and then we will start developing the new game – they will be negotiations what engine and what platform we will develop. In the first instance, it will be a PC game.”
TcT: Will you be continuing to use the Simbin engine used for the RACE series of games?
“We are going to talk to other developers, we are not committed to anyone”
Tom Coronel trying out the simulator before the race at Zolder
TcT: What championships are you aiming to feature?
“We now have WTCC approval, we have GT1 approval. We are in contact with the WRC to have an iOpener version available in 2012 – so from a series point of view, its looking great.”
“We are aiming at the beginning of 2011 to have the game available.”
TcT: What is the pricing structure for the game? Some similar games have a monthly fee, are you going that way?
“We will have the options open. If you have a regular one month fee, you can have it all, but I think we can offer a one-off low price, where you buy a single series. For example, you could buy the WTCC and the tracks, or you could buy the GT1. So the pricing is going to be either a subscription, or one price for a series.”
TcT: You mentioned also looking at the WRC. Isnt the game quite well suited to a rally game format? What happens if you try to knock Coronel for example of the track in the touring game?
You are touching on the most difficult part. That is what we are doing in research, we are trying to find out what gamers would like – because if you knock Coronel off you actually ruin the concept of iOpener, because on the real track he has not been knocked off. He will still be transmitting data in the game, but you want it to be real so there has to be damage one way or the other.”
TcT: The Simbin game is a very realistic, specialist simulator. What are you going to do for someone like me who would pick up this game and not have a chance of keeping up with drivers like Tom & Gabriele?
“Within the concept, what we are looking for is to have training progammes, training aids, ghost lines, ghost cars, and also real education progammes. We already have something running in the game where it says “brake now, brake full, release brake, steer, steer, steer”, so from a mentality where the real drivers help you develop the skill and also help the novice improve.”
The iOpener Enabled SR-Sport SEAT León in the pits
Its virtual track counterpart
TcT: The American iRacing game is popular with drivers in the US as a training tool, and is regarded as a front-runner in this area. Are you looking at what they are doing?
“It is difficult to compare yourself with competition, what iRacing does is really realistic, but not offering the real race. Racing the real guys is what we offer, that is our competitive edge. Of course we have to have realistic graphics, and realistic tracks – but the fact that you are actually racing Schumacher or Vettel, that is what it is.”
TcT: Are you aiming to do Formula 1 as well then?
“Well, they will not be the first, but we are already talking to all series, and that should be one of them. From a licencing point of view and from a technical difficulty perspective, that will be the hardest to do.”
TcT: With the data you have got, will you be able to do things like in NASCAR, where the race data can be used to create virtual replays of what the camera missed? Are applications of that nature outside of the game being looked at?
“Well, we had guys from Eurosport in this morning, where we were setting up picture in picture. There is also replays for training for the teams using the real information, there is so much you can do with the data in a virtual environment. Whatever is possible we have been thinking of, its just a matter of when.”