Rockingham coming to LFS
Dear LFS Racers,
It's our first real race track - Rockingham UK
The time has come to tell you a bit about something else we have been working on. We had planned to announce this nearer the release date, but a demonstration version of Rockingham was spotted in a special version of Live for Speed, at the real Rockingham race track during the BTCC weekend.
The opportunity to get access to Rockingham and permission to develop it for LFS came in 2008, through our contact at V1 Championship. It was clear to us that it would be very good for LFS to have a real track. It was a great help to us that the track is located not too far away in England, so we took the decision to go for it. Rockingham is an interesting track with several configurations inside a four sided oval.
After considering various ways to try and recreate an accurate version of the real thing, we realised that laser scanning was the best method. Laser scanning produces millions of points in 3d space, so we can then build a track to line up as accurately as possible with the laser scanning data, which is said to have an accuracy of around 2 cm. We discussed this with apr services in London, and were impressed by their systems including the fact that the 3d points can also have a colour, created by matching the scanning data with a photograph. We were pleased to ask apr to obtain and process the data. Scans were taken from several points around the track so that all areas were seen by the scanner and camera. This was later combined into a single set of data which we imported into the LFS track editor. Here are some pictures of the laser scanning data.
We visited Rockingham to have a drive around, get a video of the track and take several photos. Eric also went back on another occasion to get some more photos of some missing details. We think the result looks very good, not quite finished yet but we're getting there. Using the track also gives us some more real reference data to help improve the accuracy of the LFS physics.
One important thing we must mention is that to access Rockingham in LFS, users will need an S3 license. We have added the BMW Sauber F1.06 to the S2 license and will be releasing the VW Scirocco for the S1 license as free updates. We realised that at some point we need to move onto the S3 license and it would be better for the community to be able to start using S3 content sooner rather than later. The current plan is to also include another car in the initial content of the S3 license.
We cannot yet give a release date estimate. We want to get Rockingham to you sooner rather than later, but we don't know what will come up between now and when it is ready for release.
We hope you like the screenshots and we look forward to releasing LFS's first real race track!