Rennsport Interview: We talk to the team behind the promising sim-racer

The German upstart Competition Company is working feverishly on the upcoming racing simulator Rennsport, whose development lead is now Kim Orremark, an ex-Gamereactor editor.

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Sim-racers around the world have no doubt been eagerly following the continuous updates for Rennsport, a simulation racing game coming from the talented team over at Competition Company. Gamereactor's resident sim-racing expert Petter Hegevall has had the chance to sit down and speak with the lead game designer on Rennsport, ex-Gamereactor editor Kim Orremark, to learn more about the promising title and to reminisce about times past.

Gamereactor: Hi old friend, how are you?
Orremark: Hello, old friend. I'm fine, thanks. We are just about to move home now, the whole family, from Germany and home to Stockholm after all these years. It's, of course, both nice and at the same time a little sad. The children in particular have spent more of their young lives down here than they have lived in Sweden, so there are things we will miss.

So, Rennsport studio Competition Company works purely remotely?
Orremark: Both yes and no. We have an office in Munich, but the main studio is now located in Malmö where, among other things, leading creative people from the Ubisoft studio Massive Entertainment has taken their place. I will work from Stockholm for some of the weeks ahead and then travel regularly to Malmö.

And how is the development divided between the different locations?
Orremark: Actually, not at all. Up until now, we have worked in two directions with Rennsport, internally, of course, and externally. Since the start, we have had the help of the Polish studio Teyon, who last year among other things released Robocop: Rogue City, and together with that gang, we have picked out the actual framework for what Rennsport is today. We have now reached the approximate staff strength we need to manage the main development internally, with continued external support.

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How big is the studio today then?
Orremark: Not big at all. Like most places where racing simulators are developed, it's largely about indie teams. We've just grown from 20 people to around 40 and on the whole, compared to, for example, Turn 10 which develops Forza Motorsport, it's an incredibly small studio.

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Isn't the team behind Assetto Corsa about as small, around 50 people?
Orremark: Much less, actually. The last time I talked to them was just when they released Assetto Corsa Competizione and then there were around 20 people, if I remember correctly. Assetto Corsa was developed by a historically small mini-team of I think around 13-14 people. It's absolutely incredible considering the size of many other studios in the gaming world.

Give us the elevator pitch: what is Rennsport?
Orremark: We hope to be able to offer the most complete sim-racing experience on the market with the most up-to-date, modern and above all technically advanced netcode that exists within the genre. We want to be able to cater to the esport world with tight, technically superb racing based on a sensible set of rules, while at the same time we want to give all other racing players an experience where realism is the focus but also never takes over and suffocates "the fun factor". We are very much community driven and listen very often and carefully to what our players and especially potential players say, and what they want. The sim-racing genre is a tough nut to crack, of course, and the players are mostly both knowledgeable and experienced, which makes our job challenging but also a lot of fun. Rennsport will become a racing platform with incredible potential, quite simply.

Network code is a part of this genre that can be significantly better with the right simple means?
Orremark: Simple? I don't know if I would call it that, but certainly, there must be great progress there and I think that we are already in beta phase very good in that area. Take a look, for example, at iRacing, this giant in sim-racing, and how the cars flicker in and out of the picture and how really tight online racing is not infrequently completely destroyed by bad network code. I think we've already, early on in development, shown evidence of the opposite and when we ran the final race last year with James Baldwin in the lead, our netcode worked very well and it was the tightest digital racing I've ever seen... Being able to drive side-by-side through an entire online race and rubbing metal, is important and it can only work in 2024.

Rennsport is Unreal based. What version of Epic's engine is it using?
Orremark: We currently use Unreal Engine 5.3 but will soon upgrade to 5.4 Our whole approach to that is that we should never get stuck or fall behind, instead we should be at the forefront and internally we work a lot according to the motto that Rennsport is also visually supposed to be the most advanced racing simulator on the market.

Unreal Engine seems to work great for those using three monitors in a sim-rig, how do you achieve that?
Orremark: The statistics that are available clearly show how the use of three monitors in sim-racing is going down, steadily. Fewer and fewer drive like that, actually. Instead, it's the use of ultra wide monitors that goes up and it's of course not a surprise considering that you save tons of performance and avoid all the fuss with Windows that hates the triple thing. That's why we don't feel a huge concern about that and Unreal Engine's problem with rendering three separate images in the way that would otherwise be required. Now don't take this as if triple support will never exist in Rennsport, because it will with all certainty, but in order to solve it today, we need to build our own technical solution and it is therefore not a priority as it is for us, today.

Orremark: We are working on the VR implementation right now, actually.

What do you play yourself, in your spare time, right now?
Orremark: Of course, I love Rennsport very much but have also spent a lot of time in Le Mans Ultimate. In addition to those two games, there's also a lot of Automobilista 2. As you say, today there is no racing game in the sim genre that offers a better "fun factor" and it is so easy to just jump into it and after five minutes have fun pretty much exactly however you want.


What does the future plan look like?
Orremark: We will enter Early Access this autumn and hope to run like this for a few months, if everything goes as it should. This is what the plan looks like. Then, of course, we have lots of fun things going on in terms of cars, tracks, classes, features, functions that I can't talk about right now.

Come on now, give us something exclusive!
Orremark: Okay then! We are currently working on the Nordslingan and we have just laser scanned the track and will thus be the only racing game on the market with a 2024 scan of it, which I think will be important as they put new asphalt on it earlier this year. We are also working hard to try to squeeze historical racing into Rennsport and if I have a wish, I would primarily like us to include the 1995 DTM series, which I personally consider to be the best year in touring car racing of all-time. In addition to this, we also work hard on multiclass racing and on endurance racing, which, of course, has to be included in the game.

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