Greg Hill, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer, at iRacing has revealed more details on the sim’s long-awaited changeable weather features.
During the live broadcast for the National MS Society Benefitting Peachtree Three, Hill spoke about a trio of upcoming features to iRacing, including a rescan of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and an ‘Active Reset’ feature.
However, the prospect of rain coming to iRacing was perhaps the headline talking point, and Hill was able to divulge a few more details on the subject. Wet weather was first hinted at back in July 2021, with a small update in February 2022 showing us some soggy in-game screenshots and a lot of progress.
This time around, Hill was able to give the iRacing community an update on how the development team is progressing: “Of course, one of the biggest questions we always receive relates to rain. We shared a little bit on rain over the last year. It’s a huge project.
“We were able to get the essentials put together by early this year/late last year where we were driving around, our weather script was running [and] we were able to get the rain tied into a forecast and all the core systems operational.”
As expected from the unveiling of in-game wet weather screenshots this year, the rain system is already operational in the iRacing game engine, but the team has a way to go before it’s fully up to speed with iRacing’s plethora of cars and tracks: “[creating] the requirements for all the different race cars how their tyres handle these situations and creating the modelling for those – there’s been a lot of work on that.
“We’ve spent this year really homing in on the graphical component – [it’s] important that it looks right. The physical component: where it’s important the car behaves correctly and the tyre behaves correctly”
Traxion.GG’s resident iRacing expert – Justin Melillo – speculated last month (June 2022) about how iRacers may be able to control or script changeable weather in their online or offline sessions.
Automobilista 2, for example, uses real weather data from the last 40 years to create its weather scripts. While in rFactor 2, players can also set when the weather will change during a session and offer a percentage value of its severity.
On the other hand, Gran Turismo 7 has an in-race dynamic weather radar – one of the series’ strong points – albeit wet weather is only available on a handful of tracks. Hill surmises:
“There’s been a lot of work on the user experience side of it, so essentially how you, as iRacers, will create sessions with rain, how you will be able to lean on real-world data to create a scientifically accurate experience based on the location.
“Or if you want something more custom, we’re going to give you the power to fully design it and set up your own keyframes for an entire event and create the experience that you want.”
This seems to hint that users will be able to both precisely control when weather will change in a session and by how much. The addition of real weather data seems to cover all bases too, aligning iRacing with the likes of the aforementioned rF2 and AMS2.
Notably, an in-game screenshot displayed during Hill’s broadcast interview hints that iRacing has a weather radar similar to GT7’s, which should make the timing and severity of inclement weather easy to predict and plan for mid-race. It is unknown whether this will be available to see mid-race, however.
How complicated can implementing rain and rain tyres be in a sim? Hill explains: “Our tyre is actually simulating the channels on the tread and how those channels interact with the water and puddling and how the water would flow through it, how the water absorbs into the track, how the water absorbs into off-track areas”.
Quite complicated, then! When it is finally released, iRacing’s dynamic weather model is sure to be among the most intricate on the market. However, at this stage, we have only seen inclement weather on road courses – does this mean ovals and dirt tracks won’t get the same treatment, or will its implementation be delayed? At this stage, we simply do not know.
To finish, Hill stopped short of giving viewers a specific timeline on the release of wet weather to iRacing: “I’m hesitant to give timelines on when you guys might actually be able to experience it yourself, but we’re all working hard. It’s a full company project and we’re excited about it.
“We want to make sure it’s right, we want to make sure we nail it, so bear with us.”
What excites you most about iRacing’s forthcoming wet weather update? Let us know in the comments below.