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Soundbyte 204: High Hopes

12 August 2015

When Anneke reminded me again today that I had forgotten to write a soundbyte this weekend, I immediately realised I wanted to write about the reason I had completely forgotten about writing it in the first place. But not before I have introduced this week’s musical background. Sometimes I listen to different numbers for hours before I make my choice, but today the choice was quickly made: High Hopes by Pink Floyd, whose Pulse performance was already featured before in a Soundbyte and is well worth listening to in its entirety.

So why did I forget about the soundbyte in the first place?

That story starts on Saturday evening as I was preparing to visit Zandvoort the next day. As most of you know, one of my big hobbies is simracing, racing against others in a computer simulated race car and track. For about eleven years now, I have been part of a racing team called Simracing For Holland, a name we chose to honor “Racing For Holland”, a team led by Jan Lammers that participated in the 24 hours of Le Mans for a couple of years. Needless to say, we also enjoy endurance racing a lot and over the years the team has had many different drivers participate in races and we’re quite proud that we both try to win as many races as we can whilst still maintaining a very friendly and casual attitude. That is probably also why we still race together.

One of those team mates, Andras, had the ambition to participate in real races as well. After researching different options about a year ago he got his license, bought a car and started racing the Mazda MX-5, which has a very exciting competition in The Netherlands. All he had was his simracing experience. He did not know how to fix a car. In fact, his car was still mostly road-legal so he drives to and from the track in the same car he races. That also means that he can’t crash it, or else he needs to go home by train. Others in the team help him out and everybody enjoys to see how, after a season, he is becoming really good, regularly finishing races in the top 10.

So, Sunday was going to be another race day. Beautiful weather at Zandvoort provided the ideal backdrop for no less than 2 “normal” races of 10 laps each and an “endurance” race that lasted 70 minutes and included a pitstop. For Andras this meant just standing still for the minimum required time as he neither has a pit crew to do anything to the car nor does he have a second driver that can take over.

But, back to Saturday evening, when I was actually preparing for a 3 day session with different people involved in Reiza Studios’ current and new racing simulations. Renato, from Brazil, and Alex, from Manchester in the UK, were already in Amsterdam when I decided to invite them to come to Zandvoort. In the end, Renato decided to catch up on some work but Alex, who is the lead track modeller, definitely wanted to come to see the races and get a first-hand impression of the track.

So on Sunday morning I took a slight detour and picked up Alex from the hotel and drove to Zandvoort, where Andras was just finishing his qualification run and securing an 11th place on the grid. The racing was close as always, with Andras finishing in 8th, 16th and 6th place, and walked the track, taking lots of pictures and enjoying the beautiful day. At the end of the day I drove Alex to his hotel, came home and prepared a demo installation that Tran had kindly prepared earlier that day that we wanted to show to the guys the next morning.

On Monday, Renato, Alex and me started going over the plans for the projects we will be working on together. In the evening I decided we were going to need a game setup with all the development tools and a wheel to further demo and experiment with code on Tuesday. Of course when you’re on such a tight deadline, small things go wrong, but about an hour after midnight I was finally done and everything was ready to be shipped to our offices the next day.

On Tuesday Dom, the sound expert from Croatia, Steven, the 3D rendering expert from Belgium and Niels, the physics expert from Groningen joined us. We had some very interesting discussions about modern graphics engines and how they are now rendering more based on the laws of physics instead of via doing “fake” materials. On the sound front, we discussed advanced sound effects and how the car and track themselves affect the way sounds bounce off surfaces. Finally we discussed lots of smaller and bigger physics improvements and dynamic track conditions. In the evening we ended up having dinner and a beer together. In general this was the first time most people in Reiza met face to face, and some of them had already been working together for 6 years now.

One thing I learned so far from these guys is that each and every one of them is indeed an expert in their field. Humble and knowledgable and above all extremely passionate about what they do and how they approach such a project. They all get together because it is fun to participate in such a project.

And that is why I totally forgot the soundbyte. The moral of the story being that you should always follow your passion, which I think fits nicely in the Luminis culture. So I wish everybody a great day, so long and thanks for the fish!

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