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Soundbyte 339 – Iron Flower

2 April 2018

This week’s sound to accompany this little byte comes from a belgium band called K’s Choice and is titled Iron Flower. I’m not even going to begin to try to explain the lyrics, because after all these years I still have no clue. Regardless of that it is a very powerful and beautiful song!

With that out of the way and the song playing in the background, I would like to congratulate all my colleagues and the people around them. As an IT company, we hit an important milestone. In nerdspeak I can now say that we’ve outgrown our first nibble and that’s not a sexual reference in any way! For those of you reading this with less knowledge of the inner workings of a computer, all information is stored in bits that can be either zero or one, and a nibble is a group of four bits. And with four bits you can count from zero — which is another of those things only programmers do, we start counting from zero, not from one — to 15. Two nibbles make a byte and the rest is history. Jokes aside, I think we can be very proud of ourselves. Being one of those who have been along for the ride since the start, I can still say that every day brings excitement and new challenges in a profession that never sleeps.

Which brings me to Valencia.

Together with John I had the pleasure yesterday and today to visit a company that races and builds cars, builds motorcycles and trains young drivers the skills they need to become a successful racing driver. When you put a group of passionate people together, you immediately get very animated and interesting discussions. Obviously our goal was to explore what our two companies could do to strengthen each other. Apart from them using simulators, like in many areas of sports, companies are also sitting on a lot of potentially very valuable data. Data that can be stored, enriched and used in machine learning and other ways that end up making racing drivers and their cars faster. So we definitely have the technology stack and expertise to help and we left today with a few ideas we are going to explore in the upcoming weeks.

One of those common interests is eSports.

Simracing is in a very unique spot in eSports for several reasons. First of all, it mimics a real sport. This is important as eSports is filling stadiums and attracting large crowds on-line and even gets seriously considered by the international olympic committee. They are looking at the possibilities of making eSports an olympic sport. At the same time, they mentioned that they are not interested in “first person shooters” and other violent games. Obviously you could also say that chess is a very violent sport as two opposing fractions battle until the very end, killing most of the participants on both sides, but maybe that’s the reason that’s not an olympic sport either. 😉 Secondly, simracing is one of the few eSports where the virtual sports actually comes close to the real thing in terms of the skills it builds. Compare this to for example FIFA soccer and you immediately see a huge difference. Using a game controller to control a whole team of players, while only directly telling one of them at a time what to do, does not build the real skills you need to be successful at the real game. No top team would even consider putting an eSports champion on the pitch. He or she simply would not be well prepared. Compare this with simracing, and you see many examples of simracers becoming really successful quickly in real racing.

So you could say we are one of the few eSports that properly simulate both the mental and physical aspects of the real sport! Except maybe for the fact that you are much less likely to die from simracing. And on that bombshell, I want to wish you all a great day!

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