Following a recent forum post requesting questions for Stefano Casillo of Kunos Simulazioni, the questions have been answered here.
I was pleased to see most of the questions I had to ask in there, though mainly with negative answers. One gets the impression that nKPro might be nearing the end of it’s product lifecycle, which doesn’t come as a big surprise as it is seemingly the extension of a base kernel that was built as a pet project in 2001.
Stefano does not come out directly and say so, but perhaps the upcoming release of V1.3 for Christmas will be the last major release of the software as the team move on to bigger and better things. Ultimately, to constantly adapt and add features to software that was never originally designed to use those features is unsustainable, something has to give, sooner or later. At which point it generally makes sense to wipe the board clean and start again, but with a carefully planned design as to what features will or won’t be there, and even with a cleaner software design to allow new features to be added with relative ease in the future. None of this was really possible when Stefano threw “namie” together one rainy evening in 2001.
netKar has always been, as Casillo states, the underdog in the simracing arena, but also a pioneer in so many ways. KS may not have had the money of some of their competitors to find licences or invest in back end server technology, but where nKPro always won hearts was in the sheer quality of the driving experience, coupled with it being just about the only racing simulator out there that does not make any concessions to gameplay. It is a simulation of single seater car racing, and so, with it, a training tool for single seater racing.
Over the years I have driven practically every simulator (And quite a few games that call themselves such) released and I always find myself back in nKPro sooner or later. The vehicle balance, the tyre behaviour, the fundamentals, are closer to real life than anything else commercially available as is the damage modelling and the focus on clean driving that presents no margin for error. I would, without doubt, recommend this software to any race driver that wants to keep their “eye in” in between race weekends.
It seems that the professional motorsport industry has also taken notice of Stefano’s work, where the derivative BRD simulator (Based on an earlier version of nKPro), used in their Gatwick simracing centre, has won “Motorsport Technology of the year” at the Professional Motorsport Expo.
Perhaps we will see more from netKar Pro over the coming year or so, but in the meantime the V1.3 update, slated for next week, brings some very notable changes. Not least wet weather, with talk of pooling water and puddles that hints at a wet weather simulated driving experience that has never been so good. It’s going to be a good Christmas.