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What we’d like to see in the new NASCAR game | The Traxion.GG Podcast, Season 2, Episode 8

Last week, Motorsport Games spoke to IGN about the upcoming NASCAR game, the first in an all-new series that replaces the existing NASCAR Heat franchise.

Utilising the tyre and handling physics of PC-sim platform rFactor 2 and the Unreal game engine for graphics, a selection of static images has been revealed showing off the new look and additional attention to detail.

Not much else has been revealed, other than the working title of ‘NASCAR 21’ and the inclusion of a detailed paint booth for customer paint scheme creation.

Joining us this week is NASCAR expert and journalist Justin Melillo to combe through the finer details of the details, plus a look back at the Heat series and a current round up of official NASCAR content within existing titles.

Think of this as a current NASCAR-in-gaming state of play plus our hopes and dreams for the upcoming release.

Hosted by Thomas Harrison-Lord and Justin Melillo.

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PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Below is the full transcript of this episode. It’s auto-generated, hence why it’s completely random…

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Hello and welcome to a brand new episode of the Traxion.GG podcast. I’m Tom and joining me today is Justin Melillo. How are you

Justin Melillo:

Doing good Tom. Thanks for having me.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

That’s no problem at all. Justin is, amongst other things, our resident NASCAR expert, you might be able to tell if you’re watching the YouTube version based on his background of memorabilia, there definitely on display. It’s even got a, what would you call it? A bonnet? I would say bonnet, you would say hood, right?

Justin Melillo:

Yeah. We’ve got a hood up on the wall, a NASCAR hood.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Nice. So that’s how, you know, he’s an expert. So today we’re going to be talking about, pertinently enough, NASCAR games now, I’m well aware that lots of you who are listening or watching are into NASCAR games or NASCAR the sport itself. I’m also aware that there’s a lots of people who aren’t, let’s be blunt. There seems to be a kind of a marmite sport That’s a very English expression. Unfortunately, you either love it or you hate it. But, uh, there is going to be a new NASCAR game and some information has been revealed about that. So we’re going to quickly run through what we know so far, and we believe that, you know, if a game, uh, does what it says in the tin and is enjoyable, that it will get more people into NASCAR, never played it before. Look at the formula 1 and MotoGP games, which come out every year and attract perhaps a bigger audience, just because they’re enjoyable to play. If that’s fair.

Justin Melillo:

Yeah, definitely. I just picked up the, uh, formula 1 2020, a couple of weeks ago, and I had already been kind of watching formula 1 and getting to get the feel of a formula 1 car on my computer has definitely helped me in watching some of those broadcasts on television.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Yeah. Now, you know how difficult it is in real life.

Justin Melillo:

Oh yeah, for sure. Um,

Tom Harrison-Lord:

So before we jump into the new stuff, though, I think it’s, uh, appropriate to just see where we’re at currently in the racing game and SIM world with NASCAR, because it’s not an exclusive license. There is only one game that’s just dedicated to NASCAR, but NASCAR properties appear around various different platforms of all sorts of varying different across varying different genres. So let’s just run through what’s available at the minute. So there’s NASCAR heat 5 and NASCAR heat, mobile. They are official NASCAR games, uh, which we both played. And then there’s also iRacing. So just in explain, um, the iRacing NASCAR relationship, if that’s okay,

Justin Melillo:

Iracing.com has a NASCAR section pretty much. I mean, iRacing covers not only NASCAR, but they cover many different motor sports and have many different tracks all across the world, but they do have that NASCAR licensing that you can go in and jump into a NASCAR stock or a NASCAR, a truck or Xfinity car, even some of the older cars and go around the officially NASCAR sanctioned tracks, um, on, on the service. But it’s, it’s not technically a NASCAR game. They just have NASCAR in it.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Right. Yeah. So iRacing It’s only on PC for those who don’t know it’s predominantly online racing focused. Although there are some AI races you can do with other cars though, not NASCAR, if that’s correct Justin.

Justin Melillo:

Yeah. The AI, they’re still working on that over there. And it’s, it’s a broad spectrum. It’s not just NASCAR. They’re also trying to get some of their open wheel and dirt and other types of vehicles and different tracks to be able to withhold their AI. But it’s, it says bare bones as it gets.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Right. Okay. Yeah. And just to be clear to circle back to the NASCAR heat games, there is like a full single player career. You could do time trials, you can race it, just a single races against AI, and then you can play it online and it’s only got NASCAR content within it. So that’s the differentiator between the two

Justin Melillo:

Strictly focused. It’s just NASCAR.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Yeah. And then,, there’s a couple of other games that have some NASCAR related content, which are even more broad than IRacing’s focus, which would be Forza Motorsport 7. Although that’s, that’s quite a few years old, at this point in time and we don’t know if it’s going to be any NASCAR’s in the next Forza Motorsport, which has been teased Real Racing 3, which is EAs mobile racing game. And of course, as recently as this year rocket league, which I believe you tried just in,

Justin Melillo:

Yeah, it was just playing that the other day with my brother, going around, you can drive some of the different, paint schemes or liveries that they’ve added into the game for, uh, for the Chevrolets and Fords and Toyotas. And, you go out there and you play soccer with cars. It’s a, it’s a fun time. It’s not racing. It’s it’s soccer, but it’s or football, whatever you want to call it. Yeah.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

You say soccer, I say football, but then the days, well kind of neither both cause there’s rockets and cars involved. So, so it is what it is. Yeah. But that’s, so that’s all official licensed content. So there’s a NASCAR vehicle driver, all livery of some description and all of those platforms, at the minute, there are some games that have like stock cars that kind of generic, but they’re not, they’re not licensed. So, do you want to run us through a few of those Justin

Justin Melillo:

Oh yeah, you can, you can race in a stock car over on rFactor2. They have a stock car type of vehicle that is available to run in there and they kind of mirror some of the, older generation, NASCAR, stock cars, the, the Chevrolet SS sort of the Ford fusion sort of, and those are, those are in there. They’ve also got, some they’ve, they’ve got one Ford fusion from 2016 in Project Cars 3 that can be raced. Very random. Only the Ford fusion. There’s, there’s no Chevy, there’s no Toyota. And it’s not, you don’t have any NASCAR branding at all on it. Only the Ford branding, all the stickers that are on the side, say random project cars related things on it. one that I, I did put down here is Wreckfest and that’s not at all, like, there’s no type of NASCAR race car at all in there, but it’s very inspired some of the paint schemes and some of the body styles for like some of the older NASCAR.

Justin Melillo:

And there are, there are, of course there are mods that you can get and put NASCAR into, uh, you know, wreckfest, but that’s all on official and completely off the books. And then the last one that I have is, uh, SRX the game. yeah, that, that one is probably the closest thing to NASCAR without not without actually being NASCAR. It’s a new series that just popped up. I’ve written about it a couple of times and it’s not a competitor. They don’t want to call themselves a competitor to NASCAR, but they’re, they’re everything that they, that they’ve done is what maybe they wanted in NASCAR with the way that the cars are and the way that the structure of the races are. And the types of tracks that they’re racing at, the racing it’s short tracks and dirt tracks and a car that’s, um, it’s a stock car and, and it’s not very aero dependent, so you can go and you can really side by side for, you know, tens of laps against, you know, another driver, without really any give up. There was a race the other night at, at Slinger. And, it was a great race. The guy who won Marco Andretti was side-by-side spoiler by the way.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Oh yeah, come on. I’m not finished yet.

Justin Melillo:

I’m so sorry, Tom. But he was side by side with, um, one of the, one of the other races for about 25 laps and it was just incredible racing. And then once he got past Tony Stewart got there, but, um, it’s not NASCAR, but it’s an offshoot of NASCAR.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Okay. Yeah. Fair enough. So, and, you’ve also mentioned there that, NASCAR is in the Gran Turismo Sport credits, but it’s not in the game. And I’m wondering if that’s like a legacy thing, or a hint for the future of Gran Turismo 7 who knows. What I do know is Gran Turismo 5 there’s a whole Jeff Golden thing where he taught you how to race NASCAR. And there was some cars in that game, but that’s a story for another time. So that’s where we stand at the, at the minute, as of right now, July, 2021 with NASCAR games or games that have NASCAR in there before we jump into the new game information. And another thing that we’d like to do before then is to just dissect the current NASCAR heat game, which is heat five, which came out in July of 2020, so a year ago from now effectively, or just over a year ago. And we’ll go through what, what we liked and what we don’t like. And then that’s the context to what we have hopes and dreams for for the new game. If that’s fair. Interesting of note though, obviously, this new game seems to be further, you know, it’s going to be more than a year since the last NASCAR game coming out because we’ve already passed that day, right. Worth bearing in mind. All right. So NASCAR heat five, what does it do well, in your opinion? Going to hit you with that open-ended question there.

Justin Melillo:

It does do a couple of things well, and I have had times where I’ve enjoyed the, you know, the, the little, you know, tiny little details in the game. One of the things that I really enjoy is that if you’re going to go online, you can race in a 40 car field, but which is the current limit of, of what a real NASCAR races. So you could go out there. Definitely. I mean, not many multiplayer online racing games can say that you can get more than four or, you know, more than 16, you know? Um, so they put 40 people, you could put 40 people on one single server, um, the paint schemes and liveries are top-notch, they are some of the best looking cars that are, that are out there, you’ve got every single NASCAR cup series, driver available to choose from.

Justin Melillo:

You’ve got most of the Xfinity and the truck series, liveries and paint schemes to choose from. there are a couple that are missing here and there, like there’s, there’s no Jeff Burton in the Xfinity series. he was a part-time driver, but he was, you know, he, he was competing for wins when he was there. And there are other part-time drivers that are, that are included in there, like Ryan Vargas. you’ve got the, the dirt kinda section in there, which is, yeah, it’s, it’s, you’ve got that level of project progression. That is, it’s fun to go through if it’s done. Right. you’ve got Tony Stewart in the dirt side too, which is kind of funny because Tony Stewart has his own dirt games that are, that are available, but, the last thing I think that it does well is that it, you can simulate a 2020 NASCAR race with the way that they have stage racing with way that they have the proper flags, caution flags, black flags, you can kind of get that simulation and feeling of a real race in NASCAR heat, which you really can’t get anywhere else

Tom Harrison-Lord:

What makes a fine game. into a really, really good game is if it also appeals those who are into racing games and Sims, for example, and in order to do that has to drive well on the track. It can’t just be the liveries or number of players, online, which leads us on to things that we don’t think it does too well. I’ve played the last, three Heat games pretty extensively. And there’s a fair few things that I think, are, when you compare it to, we’ve already mentioned formula 1, for example, are sadly lacking. And the number one thing I feel is how the game, how the physics, the handling, I don’t know if you’ve got any opinions on that yourself.

Justin Melillo:

I agree. It’s, it’s very sub-par is a word I would use. I’ve driven so many different NASCAR vehicles across so many different games over my entire life, pretty much. And you know,

Tom Harrison-Lord:

I mean, that’s why you’re on this podcast.

Justin Melillo:

I guess that’s why I’m here. It’s, it’s difficult to pinpoint how, like it’s supposed to drive. I mean, we were talking about it before we started recording, but the unity system, there’s not really any other NASCAR, any other racing games that are, that are using that. So it’s, it’s kind of awkward in the way that the, the physics kind of work with this, it’s it just, doesn’t, I’ve never driven a real race car that first and foremost, I’ve never driven a real race car. I never will, but I’ve driven other simulators that claim to be better. And I can kind of agree with them because they feel better and it doesn’t feel like I’m going into a corner, not knowing how I’m going to set it up.

Justin Melillo:

You, you kind of get with it. You know, it it’s twitchy. You never really feel like you’re, you’re in the corner too much. And, and you never really feel like you’ve got a complete control on what, what you’ve got. If you’re using a wheel that is on controller, even on a controller, it’s somewhat difficult, but.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Well I was going to say, it’s not much better with a controller.

Justin Melillo:

I can’t imagine it could be, just going in there, you kind of get a death wobble sometimes whether you’re on controller or on wheel, and, and you might just spin going straight at times, which

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Death wobble, that’s a good expression. Yeah, I would. That’s a nice, nicely summarize there because it, to me somehow, how the game is stimulating the weight transfer of the vehicle, the pitch and the, yaw, and it’s either going round fairly, I would say bland or inert, you know, it’s really overly friendly, if that makes sense. And then, or, in the extremist, it’s basically impossible to, to, to catch anything this, and this happened in, you know, you’re either getting some sort of dull understeery feeling, or you’ve got in a sway and you’re spinning it around. All right, there aim then is just try and get it straight as quick as you can In a way,

Justin Melillo:

Never hit an apron, because if you hit an apron, there is no saving that it’s just impossible. Once, once you go and get sideways, you’re going for a loop and you’re just hoping not to get hit at that point.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

But typically, and i think this is fair. Tell me if I’m wrong. We’re not, we’re not saying, a NASCAR game, like this has to be an out-and-out simulator, but it just has to be closer to being authentic. It has to be a step above at the minute. And I understand that the majority of people will play this on a console with a controller, but it can still, it could still feel better than what it is at the minute, or provide the sensation of driving a bit more. I dunno, and engaging or engrossing fashion,

Justin Melillo:

Just because I’m turning the difficulty up doesn’t mean that it should become a dumb driving experience is one of my points is that, yeah, I could, I could go in there and I could turn all the settings to easy and go out there and pretty much let the car drive for me. And that’s not really fun. I want to turn it down. I want to have a little bit of, you know, difficulty to it. And with what I’ve noticed in driving this particular game, is that by dropping or raising the difficulty, in that sense, it’s not really making it harder to drive. It’s just making it dumber to drive in, in a sense. Yeah.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Yes. That, that’s, that’s a fair point. So I think that’s fair to say that’s the main one that.

Justin Melillo:

Definitely.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

if a game drives, well, you can sort of forgive some of the other shortcomings if that’s fair because that’s, that’s the purpose of the game. but we’ll rattle through it through a few of those, because this podcast is not about heat, but it’s just given the context, I suppose. for me, the career is fine, but it gets a bit repetitive and doesn’t have enough incentive to continue. and then you had a point about, like the paint schemes and liveries

Justin Melillo:

Paint booth is not my favorite, it’s well, if I’m going to be driving a custom car, like I I’ve always enjoyed driving custom cars as opposed to somebody else’s car out there, because I want to immerse myself in the game. So if what I’m given to use doesn’t really work how I want to use it. I’ll give an example. So in the SRX game that we talked about before, i was very happy that I was able to resize logos numbers and kind of move them around to make it look the way that I wanted to look. That’s not an option in heat 5. You get to pick your number, you get to pick your logo. And if they’re too small, well that that’s too bad because it’s just, that’s how it’s going to look. And it doesn’t look right. NASCAR, numbers and logos. If you look at the real thing, they are huge. The numbers on the side of the door, they’re huge. The logos on the hood are huge. They’re, they’re just, they’re big. And they’re there unapologetic, about how big they are. And, and they, you don’t really get that from the paint booth that’s in NASCAR. Heat 5 it’s, it’s kinda like very minimalistic

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Its a big, unique thing, I think in NASCAR too, to focus on the rest number, you know, ohh, some people might say, oh, Kyle Larson won this weekend, but a lot of people would say, oh, the five one, I’ve I got that right with the driver/number combo there?

Justin Melillo:

Oh definitely. Yeah. Kyle Larson, number five. Very proud.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Thanks. Yeah, no worries. I know you’re a big, Allgaier fan right. You’ve referred to that, but there are some NASCAR fans. Am I correct in saying that would be they, they, they follow the number, as a big thing, or at least NASCAR fans seem to mention the race number a fair amount.

Justin Melillo:

Oh yeah. I mean, you talked about the 78. well, yeah, the 78 was, is now it’s it’s BJ McLeod. It’s it’s not the motorsport games car. It’s the 78. you, you talk about historical numbers, like the 3 Earnhardt it’s that’s that’s who the three is. You talk about the 43 that’s Petty. 24 is Gordon 48 is Johnson. That’s, there’s just that, that history that’s in NASCAR, the numbers are a big part of that and they make it very noticeable on their paint schemes for sure. Right. Like they stand out.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

So not being able to do something like that is a bit, a bit, bit of a shame. and I, there’s a couple of other things which we’ll just rattle through, I suppose. But yeah, like I say, we’ll move on to the new stuff, very imminently, the the online, while it supports 40 players, it’s just kind of like a list of lobbies. There’s no like, progression or ranking system, really. It’s just kind of thing, which is great if you know, people to have leaks with them, whatever, but not so great. If you just want to have, I don’t know, some sort of impetus to play an online race, which I hate to say it, but formula 1 again, or GranTurismo sport or something like this, you know, they’ve got a ranking systems in place, or iRacing, And then, the challenges, which I, will openly admit, I am not a NASCAR expert, even though I sort of followed the spot from afar. so I dip into the challenges and go, oh, okay. I’ve got to try and win this one. Right. But I think it’s fair to say that the, some of the accuracy is not the greatest.

Justin Melillo:

Yeah. I mean, the, the challenge is they’re the ones that are supposed to be historically accurate. Cause there are definitely some that are like, hypothetical’s like, what if like, they, they kind of give you that, like there’s a Natalie Decker one, which there would never be a Natalie Decker one in real life because he hasn’t done anything yet, there, there was a, another one, um, for, uh, I want to say Josh Bilicki maybe, um, who just, he hasn’t done anything yet, but it gives you these challenges to, hypothetical challenges to, to go. But there, there are some where like the very first one is my guy, Justin Allgaier trying to go into the 2019 championship. He was one of the, the championship four drivers. And, um, it’s like, this is another chance go out there and beat Tyler Reddick and go steal the championship.

Justin Melillo:

Well, I get on the track and I get up to the lead and Tyler, Reddick’s not on track because Tyler Reddick, isn’t an option in a NASCAR heat 5 in the Xfinity series. You, you, you go up there and the leader’s not Tyler Reddick. So, um, there was another one with Matt DiBenedetto, and his Bristol upset where he almost won. And Denny Hamlin was the eventual winner where it’s like, go try to recreate this and give DiBenedetto a win. But then you get in and DiBenedetto was not that driver anymore of that car, but they put that car and you’re driving that car and it’s Christopher Bell now. So it’s like, it kind of loses a little bit of that, that, you know, kind of immersion factor in, in that sense. And also the challenges really don’t yield anything. They there’s no prizes at the end of it. You just do it. Right. Right.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

But so that’s, that’s, NASCAR Heat. It’s fine. It’s got good and bad, room for improvement. Um, what we hope now is that the next game will take things on. So we’re both going to look our screens. So those watching YouTube, I apologize. We’re looking down a lot because, some more solid details have come out about the next NASCAR game. and the first images, it’s the first sign of life for the game. Now I’ve already mentioned earlier that, this time, last year, the heat game was already out, which was that year’s NASCAR game. So this seems to be, um, further away, but this article is on, IGN. Uh, but we’ve also got an article on the Traxion website, which sort of, oh, look at this information, that’s on the IGN website. So we’re both, we’re both read through this now and we’ll just pick out some, some interesting things. I would say that details are still kind of sparse, but right at the top, it will be released in 2021, which is a relief.

Justin Melillo:

Yeah. I agree with that. And, it continues the progression of getting a NASCAR game every year, which is something important to me because there was a time, at the end of the, the early 2000’s where they didn’t release the NASCAR game. And it was like the end of the world for me, because I’ve had every single NASCAR game since 1998, you know, every, every single console release from 98, 99 all the way through. So when they didn’t have that game, it was like, is NASCAR not important enough to have a video game every year? You know, Madden has a video game every year. and there’ll be, has a video game every year. NBA has a video game every year. Why, why is NASCAR getting shafted in this moment? But, um, so we’re, we’re keeping us on track,

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Don’t panic. You know, there’s not one out now, but this confirms that there is going to be something out this year for NASCAR fans like yourself, Justin, the other thing that’s important to mention is it calls, it references NASCAR 21 all the way through the article, but I’m convinced that when it first went live, I actually said that this is not a final name, or we don’t know the name or words to this effect, which has then seemingly been edited out. So I would say just, don’t take it as fact that that is the title.

Justin Melillo:

IGN wants you to believe it. Yeah. IGN wants you to believe that it’s NASCAR 21, the way that they, they put it in their article, they kept referencing referencing it as such.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Yeah. So if, if you hear us say NASCAR 21, lets just take it with a slight pinch of salt because I’m convinced the article said it might not be the final name. So there’s also a couple of things here. we’ll, we’ll go through the two, two main things, which we’re kind of already knew, but now we’ve seen it in action. So if these screenshots look really detailed and what they’re saying is it’s going to use the unreal game engine for the graphics, not unity, which is good. If it all works. the screenshots are there’s one of Homestead Miami, which just kind of has like a pace car or safety car, not sort of racing action. there’s a closeup shot of the car on front part of the car and track with some detailed asphalt. there’s one with like the sun setting behind the car, and then there’s like a closeup of the car in his face. And then there’s another one which is sort of like the paddock and some, haulers or trucks there. do you want to really quickly Justin just go through, what tracks do you use spotted or details that jumped out to you from these screenshots. And for audio listeners i do apologize, but Traxion.gg visit the website and you’ll be able to see the screenshots that we’re talking about.

Justin Melillo:

Yeah, definitely. So, I’ll start with the one that’s at Homestead Miami. I really wanted to believe that that was a race car that was on pit road, but it is a safety car. it’s, it’s the Ford Mustang, right? So, but, but looking at this screenshot and I wanted to say it was at sunset, but somebody pointed out to me on Twitter, uh, that the sun is setting in the opposite direction. So this is actually like sun rise. the, the way that the sun is pointed, it’s very early in the morning. The shadows are very long. the stands are packed though. you’ve got each individual grass. Yeah. It’s post COVID. Thanks. Thank goodness. It’s post COVID. you got every individual blade of grass, every leaf,

Tom Harrison-Lord:

The grass does look good.

Justin Melillo:

Definitely. It’s it’s a really good looking picture right here. You’ve got every detail of the grandstand itself where the, even the, the suites and the press area, on the outside of the track just looks exactly how it would if, if I were at the real track, which I’ve been at the real track, the infield as well. it looks exactly as it was so, very much a lot of detail already. And just this one shot, even though it’s all zoomed out. If you get that feeling that you’re standing at the grass at Homestead Miami in the early morning, there, there’s another one where there’s the, the burger truck that, that one I, 99%, I’m saying that this is Pocono Raceway. Just the way that the fence is modeled and, and the way that the walls are and the way that the campers are on the outside. I really want to believe that this one and the big screen on the outside as well. I want to say that this is Pocono Raceway. I’ve been there so many times. This looks like it would be late in the day at Pocono Raceway, just because they’re historically late races that get weather delays all the time. They start at 3:00 PM for some reason, a lot of detail with the lighting coming through the window netting. yeah, it’s, it’s a very pretty, it’s dark, but it’s pretty.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

It is quite dark, isn’t it? Yeah. Pocono Raceway, But I’ll have to see when the game comes out, if you’re correct that Justin.

Justin Melillo:

I’m going to hold my fingers crossed. well we know it’s going to be in the game. I just I’m really thinking that it’s going to be that,

Tom Harrison-Lord:

I’m going to find that fence and that TV screen, and that burger truck!

Justin Melillo:

We’ve got another screenshot here where it’s kinda looking down on the car from the side, towards the pavement and the pavement itself. Very, very detailed. I didn’t put it in my, in my Traxion recap, but I, I want to say that this track the way that the, the grooves are in the way that it’s grinding. So smooth. I want to say that this has maybe Indianapolis,

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Um, it good be, I don’t suppose the corrugations, but lines in the asphalt there. I was thinking. Hm.

Justin Melillo:

Because they do diamond grinding there, all the time, just to make sure that that track is like, as smooth as possible. So I want to say that this is it. one of the other things that I took away with the car itself is that things like the hood pins and the windshield tear-offs, those are 3D modelled here. They’re not just like flat layers.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Yes. Big, big thing. And there’s like the, the netting in the side window. And, you could see that like some sort of air vent coming out, you know, it’s, it’s actually modeled. detailed. It’s not just like an image on the side there, which is a huge step forward. I think

Justin Melillo:

These last two shots are both at Daytona. And the way that I can tell that the one with is that Daytona is because at the very bottom of the screen, there’s the UNO infield, Fan area. you kind of see the top of that UNO. Yeah. Right. So this has got to be Daytona. They’re looking at a pylon, there’s a Sunoco there’s, this is probably in the infield, uh, over by either where the drivers would camp out or over by the haulers. either one you could see, kind of the reflections and the lighting on different, like types of the stuff you could see the shiny parts got that, that red glow, but then the matte part kind of reflects like differently. So there’s different levels of that. I get really excited on that. And then the final picture is, is that Daytona.

Justin Melillo:

And this is just a shot, of the 78 car coming across the line at the Daytona 500, which has got next year’s logo on there. It’s like Homestead Miami, it’s got everything detailed. It’s got the, the, the grandstands and then the suites and the press area all perfectly done. You got the light stands exactly. How are they are, the, the flag stand as it is. again, you could see the lighting on the car is different in places where the, the metallic glossy kind of shines differently than the, the matte type of, you know, front type area. So it’s just overall super, super detail in just these five screenshots alone really gives us an idea of what to expect, maybe for the upcoming year.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

And it looks like a giant leap forward on these images, but there are two things that I’m going to temper your excitement with slightly.

Justin Melillo:

Sure.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

And they are, one not seeing this game moving yet. So, but it just seem like the environment, some more detailed, which is the key takeaway from these images, like you said, the burger stand, or what’d you call it the, the big tower with the pylon, the pylon yeah. Seems to be, oh, and the fans nearby. Brilliant. But let’s see how that works in action. But the main thing is, is more detail to the environment. The second thing is the key thing is missing from this information. We don’t know what devices is coming on. And also, therefore we don’t know what devices these screenshots were taken on. so what I would say is, um, I dunno, I don’t know, but it usually with a game like this, you’d probably be using like some high-spec PC to take images like this, to show up in, in this best life,

Tom Harrison-Lord:

But, you know, that’s a pure assumption. We don’t know, because we don’t know what devices is coming from. So while it looks hugely promising from these images, I’m a waiting with bated breath and not get too carried away because we don’t know what devices coming on, what the minimum specs are, what the recommended specs are, the PC, what is it commit to next gen or old gen? And how does it look on either or all this stuff is to be answered. but what we do know is that it should, our main complaint about Heat, should be rectified in some way, again, to attract. We don’t know, but as it’s mentioned already, it’s going to use the rFactor PC SIM game for the handling physics, which should be a big step forward. Shouldn’t it?

Justin Melillo:

I would definitely hope so. And, and like I mentioned before, the Rfactor2 does have a stock car already in it. It’s not a NASCAR stock car, but it does, It gives you somewhat of an idea of, of what to expect for that. And also one other thing that’s really cool is everybody talks about iRacing and how drivers use it for prepping for tracks and what-not. But the teams actually have a function of rFactor that they use to, that they plug their own data into. And those are the simulators that they use on the team level to prepare for races before they head to the track. So rFactor’s already got that already NASCAR link that possibly could now be used with this.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Yeah, exactly. now what, what I would say there is this game has to work very well, on a console with a controller, as well as a wheel, whereas rFactor2, well it does work with a controller, but it’s definitely best with a wheel or a rig. So I’m wondering if there are, obviously it’s not just a straight copy across, I think it’s reasonable to expect that, but I think what it’s reasonable to expect would be a step forward from Heat. So something that’s significantly more authentic than that. And maybe even other, either racing games, certainly more on the same level, but it has to be, well, I think, um, a previous interviews I’ve seen it has to be based upon having good assists to help players as opposed to dumbing down the handling. so that’s, that’s key. I just want to pick up a really quickly cause we were going long here, but we need to mention a couple of things mentioned in this interview, Motorsport games, George Holmquist, he says, and I quote “the game, brings the graphics and the game play into more of a AAA style game”, which can only be good.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

So that if that holds true, it suggests to me, high levels of production value,

Justin Melillo:

Fingers crossed.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Yeah, absolutely. And the second thing is that based upon, fan feedback, the paint booth, which we’ve already covered, should be a significant step forward. He says the paint booth is one people have been asking for directly in the community and it’s something we’re delivering on this first iteration of the new franchise. So happy days Justin, we don’t know what you can do on it, but it sounds like a step forward.

Justin Melillo:

We haven’t seen it yet, but it sounds really, really promising. I really hope this next NASCAR game is a, is everything that we we’ve hoped for. I know it’s not going to be everything that we hope for because they can’t just like flip it over and, and give us the greatest thing ever. There’s going to be time that it’s going to take to, to put in all that work. I mean, this is a great start what it sounds like, and I can only hope that it gets better as we continue through 2022, 2023 and so on and so forth. It’s, it’s incredible that they’re, they’re pretty much starting from scratch with this and, and not really taking what they already had with Heat and, and just trying to make that better. They’re, they’re kind of throwing that out and saying, Hey, we’re, we’re trying something new here. And hopefully that means better days for all NASCAR fans.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Yeah. I mean, Sorry. That’s quite rude. Yeah. I agree with that Justin well said, and I would say that normally with a yearly sports game is built upon for, for many, many years. It’s very, very different now, but I’m going back to the formula 1 example now formula 1 2021 is still using an iteration or a heavily modified version of what was initially made back in 2010. So it’s been, 11 years of constant evolution and development. Whereas here, this is clean new game engine. So clean gear one stay. Yeah. And George has comment there where it says in this first iteration of the new franchise, it’s not specifically saying it, but my interpretation of that I’ll reading between the lines is that, you know, this is not just this game. We’re going to keep going, and we’re going to listen to the community by keeping them going so that, see, there’s still a lot to, lot to know.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

We don’t know when it’s going to come out. We don’t know what platforms is going to be on. we don’t know what it looks like in action. So there’s a lot to get through before the end of 2021, whenever it comes out. Um, but certainly our sentiment is positive at the minute. If that’s fair to say.

Justin Melillo:

Yes, definitely.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

But we’ll have to try it. That’s the main thing isn’t it. And so, stay tuned to Traxion, we’ll keep you updated, with everything. I was going near this at NASCAR 21 there, but again, we don’t really know. So the next NASCAR game, stay tuned to Traxion and we’ll, as soon as there is anything to talk about, we’ll certainly let you know. But before we go, Justin, I would like to know what’s your favorite NASCAR game of all time, because you already said that you bought every single one and what’s good about it. That may be a, this kind of game could maybe has to try and live up to

Justin Melillo:

If I had to say my favorite game of all time, like on the simulator side is NASCAR racing 2003 by Papyrus. it’s got great drivability. It’s got realistic racing has got realistic crashing. It’s got great online capabilities. It’s really good online, NASCAR thunder series, the 2003 and 2004 games specifically by EA sports. those were really fun to play. they had a great like career/owner mode where it really immersed you at the time. the lightning challenge challenges really memorable. I always I will never forget just because the memes are still out there of, of Mike Skinner pointing behind them. “How would you like to see this happening right in front of you?” You know, it’s in, and you get prizes for doing those thunder challenges. And I do want to give an honourable mention to “dirt to Daytona” that game as well. it, it really started that concept of starting from the bottom of the ladder and moving yourself up to the top ranks. there were realistic expenses to keep track of. It was fun layout, yeah, the, the scrappy owner/driver and, trying to move through the ranks of, of dirt racing, modified trucks and NASCAR cup series. And it was a neat concept. It worked, I, probably had my nostalgic glasses on, but I really did enjoy, you know, the, the concept of what was in those. So, yeah, definitely. if any thing in any of those games happens to bring its way in, in a proper way to the next next car game, it’s going to be a good time.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

So that just shows how much of a NASCAR gaming fund you are because asked for one. And he gave me three.

Justin Melillo:

I actually, I gave you four,

Tom Harrison-Lord:

Yeah, cause one was oh three slash four, right?

Justin Melillo:

Yeah,

Tom Harrison-Lord:

That’s fine. You see, I don’t think many of the gaming podcasts would have such a NASCAR expert on board. So I really much, well, I really thank you for your time, Justin. It’s been a pleasureas I said already, keep it pinned on traxtion.gg the website, visit every day for the latest racing game, sim news, not just NASCAR, all sorts of stuff. And when there is something we’ll be back, I’m sure the also the Traxion.gg YouTube channel, give it a like, and subscribe. If you follow us, subscribe on a podcast service, it helps us out because it gives us more exposure and we can make more of these podcasts for your enjoyment, and lastly follow us on social media at TraxionGG. Okay. Thanks Justin. That’s it for now

Justin Melillo:

Thanks for having me, Tom. It was a pleasure.

Tom Harrison-Lord:

No problem. See you all next week.

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