Can you introduce yourself and describe your role on the project? How long have you been in the gaming industry and what drew you to your current position?
DS: My name is Diego Sartori, 36 years old. I am the Creative Director at SimBin Studios where my career started in February of 2005.
It is hard for me to fully explain how I ended up in this position.
I think a good imagination and a playful spirit helped a lot but more importantly Henrik Roos and I share visions and could if time allowed it, sit and dream up games, game modes and features endlessly.
I often wake up and wonder if I am dreaming or if it really is so that I am being paid to spend my days as a gamer and a creator of new games! I have decided to enjoy every second of this time, should it one day actually turn out only to be a dream.
Simbin is known for your excellent PC racing games, why bring the games to the console now? How different is it to develop a game for the PC vs developing a game for the console? What kind of lessons have you learned since you started work on the game?
We have decided to release RACE Pro on console for many reason, one being that there is a demand for titles to be multiplatform. It was decided to use the Xbox360 platform as our first step into the console market.
Apart from the obvious technical differences, it has not been that different for us to develop RACE Pro for the Xbox360 platform. We believe that our philosophy for good racing titles on the PC can be carried over to console. In terms of design, little would have been different had RACE Pro been a PC only title.
I think many lessons have been learned since we did GTR for PC and many lessons will be learned long after we have released RACE Pro.
The most important lessons we have learned however has not been about games, they have been about the games industry, it is a cutthroat business with many pitfalls and being an independent game developer you must tread carefully if you wish to be part of it and stay out of trouble.
Your previous games have been fairly hard core simulations, will Race PRO continue that trend or are you making the game more arcade like? How do you make the game accessible to non gear heads?
I agree with your statement to a degree that RACE 07 when driven with no aids is a racing simulation for the skilled, but RACE 07 driven with all aids active in an entry level car is actually targeted at players new to racing games.
We think that a game can cater for both seasoned players and players new to the genre and we think the best way of doing that is to make sure the core of the game mechanics creates an intuitive driving experience. Anyone with a driver license can drive a race car around a race track in real life; this is no harder than driving a normal road car. The hard part is to race a race car or a road car around a race track.
It is this ideology we try to use with our games and we refer to it as “easy to learn – hard to master”.
So all work we do with physics, controls, sounds and driving cameras is based on delivering an intuitive driving experience that is easy to learn and hard to master.
Is there any chance we'll see a PS3 version of the game in the future? Were there any reasons it's a 360 exclusive?
The PS3 platform surely is part of SimBin’s future, in what way or form I can not disclose at this time.
RACE Pro started as a self financed project and being an independent developer there is a limit to the risks we can take so it was decided to start out with the Xbox360.
Another important aspect here is that RACE Pro runs on SimBin’s own game engine “Lizard” and to develop a game engine parallel to game production
adds to the risk and strain on the production teams.
The 360 has a lot of great racing games already on the market and in the pipeline, what makes RACE Pro different from all the other games on the market? What are your favorite three features of the game?
On a personal level, my favorite features are the physics, sounds and controls. The reason being that if a game fails in these areas, then the game, in my mind at least, is a failure, regardless of the other nice features and game modes it might have.
HotSeat is a unique feature to RACE Pro that I really like. I think it’s important to have social options in a game and HotSeat offers a different way of racing each other on one console.
How will the controls work for the 360 controller? Will the game support the Microsoft racing wheel?
Yes the game supports the Microsoft racing wheel. For the 360 controller, we have carried over the 3 sector approach we introduced with RACE 07. To us, it is natural that in a racing game that the player can personalize the input device, just as you would in a shooter on console for example.
With RACE Pro, the players should be able to find a setting that makes the game suit their individual driving and gaming styles.
RACE Pro has a wide variety of licensed cars in the game, how did you pick the cars for the game? Were there cars that you wanted but could not get the license for? What's the hardest part when it comes to negotiating for the rights to a car?
Yes there are cars that we would like to have the license for that we don’t have at this time. On the other hand, there are many cars we have the license for that we do not feature in RACE Pro.
There is absolutely nothing trivial about obtaining a license for a car, it is often costly and usually takes a long time to finalize.
The cars featured in RACE Pro are more or less by demand in the sense that they are part of the championships in the game. Other cars are there because they suited one of the GT classes.
We do not discriminate between what we think are cool or not cool race cars; to us all race cars are cool and, in 99% of cases, provide excellent racing.
At the end of the day, this is the most important aspect when choosing what content to add to the game.
To sum it up, availability, brand value/cost/terms and creative freedom are key in deciding on the rights for a car. With no or extremely limited creative freedom, a car license is not worth much in a racing game.
Page 1 of 2