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Chris, from the West brothers, gives us an update on Racing Legends, including why the WSC project failed, and why there is often so little news about Racing Legends.

By Team SimRacingWorld
29 January 2004

Sorry

Okay, everyone can get back up off the floor now, hell hasn't frozen over (though it sure feels like it). And no, your eyes do not deceive you, an infamous West Brother is actually posting in the forum.

First thing, for what it may be worth, 'Sorry' for the lack of postings and news. It probably doesn't help, but we do mean it. Secondly, some form of explanation again for what it's worth.

Let's start in the beginning with WSC. Some people in the forum have commented on the lack of news, reminding them of the last days of WSC and perhaps RL is going the same. Why? Well no it isn't going that way at all, quite the opposite. During WSC we were working on something we had a great passion for and we were very keen to share what we were working on with people who maybe interested, since as we were developing the title for a publisher and being fully aware of the commercial success of titles such as GPL we felt the only way we would be able to complete WSC to the level we wanted was to get the community interested and vocal so that the publisher would run with the game. At the start WSC was meant to be a Lemans sim consisting of one track and a collection of cars, a manageable project. Though as time went by, we were required to change this working spec. An extra track here, another couple of cars there and along with whole tracks having to be thrown in the bin for various reasons, the size of the project grew and grew without the possibility of extra people being hired. Added to this, was a poor decision to develop WSC as a Glide title, which meant a lengthy conversion to DX, after the death of 3dfx, all meaning WSC turned into the never-ending project, much to everyone's frustration, developer, publisher and community.

In the early days, Tony and I were free to talk about the game and we sent out screen shots and chatted about the title at any opportunity. As I said, to try and show to the publisher an interest for what we were trying to do. But this didn't fit with normal ways of doing things and we were asked to stop.

After the ending of WSC, we decided that we still wanted to do the title we have always wanted to write. So instead of accepting jobs elsewhere or other offers, we decided to go it alone and start from scratch on an all new title, thus, RL was born. We now could do what we wanted with no one in the way. We knew we would need the help of real teams, real car owners and drivers, so before the 2002 Festival of Speed, we prepared an information pack highlighting what we were attempting to produce, which we could hand to teams and owners at the event. Obviously, part of the info pack had the www.west-racing.com url so we reproduced parts of the pack on our website. Part of that meant changing the under construction page, and it surprised us once we did that, we got an email or two noticing the change. We had long since thought no one bothered to check the site.

Anyway, the next day Tony decided to change the watermark on the fence for a car he liked more, and as a bit of fun, we changed the number to the number of days until the festival. It wasn't meant to be any grand countdown; it was just some fun. On checking the webstats after the first day of the site being opened, we were again surprised at how many people did check the site out. The site was never intended to be a news type site, it was just meant to be a copy of the info in the packs in case a driver etc. came to visit. This goes for the forum as well, which was purely there for people who did get a pack to post questions, car info, pictures etc. It was never meant to a public forum. So we were surprised when someone found the rather obvious url and announced the forum to one and all. We should have closed it then in hindsight but didn't, and here we are now.

So why don't we post more often? Well it's simply that there isn't anything to post about. We understand people are very keen to find out anything they can about what's going to be in RL, when it going to be done, how much is going to cost, when can they beta test etc etc etc. It's just not possible to answer most of these questions at the current time. What we can answer is in the FAQ's, but after that it's not possible to say what spec machine you will need to get 30fps, or what cars will be in the first release and so on. We also don't want at the moment to say how we are doing certain things.

You may or may not be surprised to hear I am not the world's fastest coder, but that doesn't mean I don't write code quickly, because I do. I do work on things until they are finished though, and do not start work on something else until its been fully worked out how it will work and link in with other systems. After that, I will often rewrite a system, not once, but twice to make sure it's as good as I can get it. I also do not code up demos or things that are not needed, as it's more important to me to have the systems working, all the boring stuff doing its bits, before I go for all the eye candy. There is not a lot of point doing just a rendering engine that looks great and shifts a few million polys a second, only to have to redo it because all the memory managers and resource handlers don't do what you need. Also, RL is designed to be expandable and to grow as the sim requires it, so each system needs to accepts plugins to expand its functionality, which makes things a little more complex.

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