In the last couple of days, we have heard many cool things about LFS S2 and its stage of development, and we got many cool screenshots. I decided to make an interview with the Developers, that is supposted to be a bit different :)
Many questions are not the usual "what cars are in S2"-questions, but you will see what I mean ;)
A BIG THANK YOU goes to Victor for wasting his time with this interview ;), and actually to the whole LFS team for making such a cool racing sim!
ZT: First of all, how are you doing atm?
Vic: Fine, thank you :)
ZT: What games except LFS do you like?
Vic: I don't like / play too many games - most of todays games are FPS's which I really don't like personally. If i play a game it's more the simple types, for some quick fun. I know Eric played some Quake, but we don't have a lot of time for that anymore, working on the future LFS releases and testing that. A simple game like Tank does pass the revue every now and then here :)
ZT: Do you compare LFS with other games to see what they do better (if there might be anything ;) )
Vic: Not really - we rather take reality as reference and judge LFS accordingly.
ZT: Is there anything about LFS that you really dont like?
Vic: ehm .... *thinking* ... ehm, ... nope :) Of course there are things that need improvements, but knowing it'll be better in the end, I'm not complaining - there's nothing I / we don't like.
ZT: Your favourite quote?
ZT: How do you coordinate your work? I guess its not as easy as working together in an office, but working at home is quite cool, isnt it? Do you use teamspeak, some kind of a chat or something else?
Vic: Email mostly and when some more direct conversations are needed, irc is a good solution. Or phone of course.
ZT: Do you decide in a group, what car and track design will be needed,
or can eric do what he wants?
Vic: We globally decide together what we want first and then Eric does his thing
and fills in all the details.
ZT: Have you ever had totally different opinions?
ZT: How did the notice you, and why did they invite you into the team? Were there any others who werent good enough? ;)
Vic: Basically they were looking for a musician and someone they could trust and asked Alex Evans (ex Lionhead collegue) if he knew someone. Since I had worked together in the past with Alex in the demo-scene he gave them my email address. The rest is known :)
ZT: What aspects of developing arise with you, being a part of the community, compared to the usual "we make the game and you decide if you buy it or not" strategy.
Vic: I don't think we're too different from other developers generally. But the big difference is that we communicate much much more with the racers/community, to help us decide in which direction we should take LFS next. The thing 'we make the game and you decide if you buy it or not' still applies, but when people have good ideas and feedback, they kind of decide on how the game is made. Tips from the community can be really useful and they're there to be used, so why not use them? Plus people appreciate this, so it's a full circle basically.
ZT: Just a couple of weeks ago, we got to know that S2 will support up to 20 players in an online race, or even more! Is there any theotethical (technical) maximum for players on a server, or is it only specified by a variable in the code and/or the bandwith from the server?
Vic: There will be a practical limit to the absolute maximum amount of players. Both bandwidth and codewise issues would arise if the number would be too big and i'm not even talking about the cpu power required to have a 20+ grid running smoothly at the moment. But yes, eventually the limit will be above 20, but i don't know what the absolute maximum will be.
ZT: Have you ever thought of synchronizing some servers to let them act as one? Does this make sense actually?
Vic: Why would you want to do that? :) No, i don't think that makes much sense, because you want to see all cars on screen right? So the data for all the cars must be transferred anyway, if you use one host, or 10 hosts with 2 people per host. It would complicate things very much, unnecessarily.
ZT: Well, this feature would be nice for 24h races with an extremely high amount of players. But luckily, we have some great IRC coders in the community, so synchronization or an idependent calculation can be done after the race :)
ZT: How do the aerodynamics work at the moment?
Vic: The aero model is reasonably simplified at the moment, but is being improved all the time. Especially with the new adjustable wings for example, aero becomes more important, so it will be improved. I can't talk about the technical details, simply because I'm not the techincal guy in LFS :)
ZT: Will there be any test-pathes before S2 (to test the new physics for example), or will we get all the cool stuff at once?
ZT: Damn ;) ...was worth a try :P
ZT: We have seen some new cars having decals on their windows. Will it be possible to change them, or even to modify 100% of the car's surface with one skin file?
Vic: Decals are not part of the skins, instead they work like the number plates do, printed by LFS. I'm not sure if it'll be just a copy of the number plate text, or a separate text you could enter in the options screen.
ZT: Has Scawen done any improvements to the graphics engine, or is it just the good modeling and the great textures that make the S2 shots look so cool?
Vic: A combination of both. Eric, actually being an animator, is constantly improving his skills in the black art of modelling and texturing real world environments. Scawen has helped Eric with this, by programming some more specific functions in the editor, so that Eric can do a better job. There are no updates made in the graphics core of LFS though - that's for a later time (lots of work)
ZT: Will the "old" tracks be optimized, too? (graphically and gameplay)
Vic: As the physics gets better and options are being added and small changes in for example the lighting system, yes, every track, new or old, will have to be update to support everything. So yes, Blackwood will be updated with each release for example.
ZT: How big will the S2 download be?
Vic: Don't know yet. My guess at the moment will be around 240Mb.
ZT: When are you going to post the next screenshot(s) from S2? Maybe in a serious resolution? :)
Vic: Not very soon - we're all very busy and i think we're only going to post a new batch when there's something really new to show. Will be a bit. But yes, I'll try to remember to put the high resolution versions of any new screenshots online as well (probably all inside one downloadable zip).
ZT: Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to answer my questions! =D Do you feel the speed?! ;)
Ok, that's it for now, hope you liked it ;)