A day after an initial statement from Rennsport about its development process, in response to allegations of using existing physics technology from simulation title rFactor 2, Competition Company GmbH has admitted to the use of isiMotor technology within the simulation.
isiMotor 2 is an off-the-shelf technology stack that has been used to simulate driving experiences in various forms since 2005. Debuting in the first rFactor, it has also been in prior games such as Race 07, GT Legends and even the contemporary RaceRoom Racing Experience – although for the latter, albeit heavily evolved over the past decade.
This goes against the original claims of custom code within Rennsport.
“For collisions… We use engines that do things like that, but the whole simulation code is a custom-built engine and later when we had that simulation, we just need to synchronise it with Unreal Engine,” said Krzysztof Szczech, Rennsport’s Lead Programmer at the game’s reveal event in July 2022, available to watch on Rennsport’s YouTube channel.
This now seems to have changed, although the timeline remains clear as mud.
“When we started the development of Rennsport, our goals were to build something from the ground up,” reads the statement, this time from the ‘the Rennsport team’ and not CEO Morris Hebecker.
“That originally meant custom-made physics, tyre models, graphics and sound. Initially, we experimented in many ways and came to the conclusion that for some aspects, we require a baseline to accelerate development.
“We turned to an industry leader: Image Space Inc. to fully acquire a licence to use their physics processing system (known as “ISI Technology”) to act as that baseline. ISI has provided proven technology in the automotive and gaming industry for over two decades, so we believe it to be the best option for a strong foundation to build upon.”
Now understanding that the upcoming title uses existing physics processing, we expect Rennsport to be more open and honest henceforth. Merging Unreal for graphics and ISI’s base for physics is no mean feat, and I think something to be proud of, so we found it somewhat murky to seemingly hide it from the off.
“Since the implementation of ISI’s physics processing; parts of ISI have been or will be tweaked, refined and changed to make it what we believe, eventually, to be the best possible racing experience,” continues the statement.
“There already exist 100% custom additions on top of our licenced engine: collisions, contact points and damage models are but a few.”
Custom physics now an ‘ambition’
Now the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, Rennsport claims that it will continue to work on its own systems in the years to come:
“Our ambition is still to create custom physics. Such an undertaking from scratch is a multi-year endeavour,” highlights the blog post.
“A full rewrite will enable us to support more advanced racing experiences, such as implementing mixed weather systems, larger races and higher quality physics by increasing the physics thread frequency. We believe we can get there instead with incremental improvements on the strong foundations we have.”
This is something to look forward to – now we can witness its driving physics change knowing full well what lies under the hood, comparing and contrasting as we go.
One question does remain, however – which iteration of the venerable isiMotor has been licenced?
The ‘2.5’ version of the system is owned and used by Studio 397 for rFactor 2 and the upcoming Le Mans Ultimate, with only two variations licenced by that team pre-Motorsport Games takeover in 2021 – The Grand Tour Game and NASCAR 21: Ignition, albeit in a lesser form.
“We ended up using a variation of the rFactor 2 engine that used the older tyre model (that also existed in rF1) as a basis because the games had to run on PS4 and Xbox One (last gen now) consoles,” explained Marcel Offermans to Traxion.GG, Managing Director of Studio 397 between 2016 and 2022.
“Those are the only times we licenced something.”
Versions of the ‘original’ isiMotor 2, not 2.5, are what’s used in the likes of rFactor (2005), Automobilista, Race 07 etc.
Once again, it’s important to note that Rennsport aims “all content and libraries used for the production, release and development of RENNSPORT are commissioned, licensed appropriately or created by us.”
“They either misunderstood the terms of misled you,” said Jan Harasym, Chief Technology Officer at Rennsport on social media last night (4th October), when specifically asked about the difference between what Studio 397 uses and rFactor (1) code.
“I can confirm that the licence we have is 100% legitimate and honestly the feat of genius it would have taken to infiltrate another games company to steal code which we intend to replace is… silly.”
Full disclosure – Traxion.GG is part of Motorsport Games and the Motorsport Games family of brands. All Traxion.GG content is editorially removed from Motorsport Games video game development and created by a dedicated team.