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VIRTUAL RC RACING – THE INSIDE STORY Episode 20

01.07.2022   Category: Site news

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Episode 20: More commercial features

In the previous episode I told you about our efforts to involve the ‘r/c industry’ in VRC Pro, and also why that concept turned out to be not sustainable on the long run. Manufacturers simply weren’t willing to update the 3D models of their products year in, year out. I had apparently grossly overestimated the commercial value of VRC for the r/c industry, much to my disappointment. I have really tried hard to build close relationships with the industry and explain, but it did not pay off. But we went even further with our commercial concept…

Interactive pit table
On top of all the ‘commercial’ chassis and components we also developed an interactive pit table, a simulation of how pit tables look in the real world. A high-res version of the chassis which you can lift and rotate to look from all sides and all angles, with and without body, all the components used in that chassis are also positioned on the pit table, can be picked up and viewed from all angles, with a link to the manufacturer’s webpage for that product! But however nice and feature-rich the pit table is, very little time is actually spent by the members on the pit table. The pit table is also the main navigation interface, and users tend to quickly go to where they need to go, select a car or a track, build a car, go practice or race, or watch a replay. We even dynamically change some of the accessories on the pit table, but this is hardly noticed I’m afraid…

Customizable pit table
The pit table is also customizable with the usual accessories you find on real pit tables. We created pit towels of all the major brands, tool sets, carrying bags, you name it, we made it. The user could customize his pit table anyway he liked, and all objects were linked to a webpage. A manufacturer’s dream, right? It didn’t work out that way, again, the components and accessories we had modelled in 3D changed too frequently for the manufacturers to keep up with. With a simple click on the ‘print screen’ button you can create a screen print of the pit table to show off your car and equipment on your socials. Very few have… too bad of all the effort we put in to develop this.

Other pit table features
I wanted to create a real-to-life pit table with a number of surprise features as well. For example, we could place special ads on the notebook screen which was placed on the pit table and place r/c magazines and other objects on it as well. We had developed very extensive back-office tools for these ‘product placements’ hoping that the industry would embrace it and take advantage of it. But again, it was like dragging dead horses.

Track side banners
Another commercial feature we developed were the trackside banners, banners around the track like you see them all the time around r/c tracks, on rostrums etc. The banners were relatively easy to create, Tony had developed a series of track banners to which I could easily ‘stick’ a logo. We have a back-office tool to distribute these banners and or allocate them to specific events or tracks. Quite an easy to understand and apply type of advertising you would think, but hard to sell to the industry. I ended up letting manufacturers bid for whole Season Series but there was very little interest, again to my big disappointment.

Why it failed
I explained why it was hard to keep your products up to date in VRC, it was time consuming and to a certain extend also expensive, especially given the limited size of the VRC membership compared to other computer games. But the main problem, I think, was that VRC Pro is more or less a black box for the r/c industry. They have no idea what the member is experiencing when he is playing VRC. You have to play the game to know what’s going on. Very few manufacturers ever made an effort to understand and follow their commercial postings in VRC, it’s much easier to follow this in magazines or on websites. I really think that this is the main reason why I, VRC, has failed to deeply involve the industry in the commercial opportunities VRC had developed. I have tried, believe me, it’s probably one of my main disappointments of this whole project.

True 3D…
On a positive note, I don’t think many of you have ever tried to watch VRC on a monitor which supports 3D glasses. I have an ASUS monitor which supports NVidia’s 3D ‘shutter’ glasses, it’s truly amazing to watch VRC in true 3D, to spin a chassis or any other component or accessory around in true 3D! All the 3D artwork is really modelled as 3D objects, and it shows here. The NVidia graphics card and software takes care of all this, it does not require anything special from our graphics engine. In 3D mode the graphics card sends alternating frames to the left and the right glass and blinds the other glass. At a good frame rate this creates very detailed and fluent 3D!

I would have loved to develop support for (Oculus) VR mode which was being developed right at the same time we developed our graphics engine. I had evwn acquired 2 Oculus sets to start experimenting. By the time we were finished with our graphics engine (2014) this 3D platform was just gaining steam, but we weren’t in a position back then to fully jump on it. Nobody knew where this new development was heading and however promising it looked, there was a lot of uncertainty about resolution, frame rate, latency etc. We were unsure if VR would really be the holy grail for VRC. I still get frequently asked to add support for VR, but much to my regret we could no longer afford to start such a big development on our graphics engine.

It's hopefully clear to you that we have made a tremendous effort to involve the r/c industry in VRC Pro, but at hindsight we failed, hard to admit but it’s true.
When we developed all these commercial features, we didn’t forget about what VRC Pro was set out to be from the very beginning: becoming the ultimate r/c racing sim. And that doesn’t end with just racing and commercials, there is a lot more to it, competition structures, multi-player, replays, scoring to name a few.

That’s next…

Comments

Only active members can post comments
(Total posts: 4)
29.11.2022 [09:57]
Thank you for your effort! I'm hoping that soon this work will be completed. I fully paid for the game and have been playing it ever since.

drift boss
12.07.2022 [09:37]
Too bad that manufacturers doesn't support VRC as much, it's a great showcase.

Thanks for all your efforts, VRC is a nice tool to have fun at home and improve RC skills.
04.07.2022 [13:11]
Thanks Adrian!
04.07.2022 [10:11]
Appreciate the effort! I hope there will be a time this work comes to fruition soon. I bought the game in full and always being active to keep the game alive.

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