Pascal Higelin has worked tirelessly for over 5 years to flesh a small timing and overlay program for his aspiring iRacer son (who now competes at the top level of iRacing in the Porsche Tag Heuer Esports Supercup by the way!) in to the iRacing Live Timing, Live HUD and Live Streamer apps we have now with over 600 subscribers!
Lee Thompson sat down with him to look at your questions and feedback from the recent SDK Gaming Customer Survey.
PH: Pascal Higelin – Lead Developer – SDK Gaming | LT: Lee Thompson – Director – Apex Racing UK
[...] the Live Timing screen [Web App] is very basic, not pleasing to look at either, especially when you compare it to what we as the user has [In the main Live Timing app].
PH: A new customisable Live Timing Web App is coming soon!! There is just one other project to work on before this begins. Expect the new version to display every data column currently available within the main Live Timing App, including the ability to hide or show any columns.
An easier way to include replays on broadcasts.
PH: If you are looking to pull up a replay of an incident during a live event then this is quite simple. In the F4 tab in iRacing Live Timing you see the event list on the right hand side. If you hover over each of the small Grey buttons, you will see the description for each event type you can filter out. When you see the event you want to replay simply double click the event in the list and the replay will play. Select the “Live” button in the Playback Component to jump back to the action.
Perhaps you are referring to when you are viewing a replay file? This is more tricky to then view a replay of an event because how do you jump back to live? There is no live moment as it is a replay file!
I am currently investigating how to add a “Live Timer” to track where you are in a replay file so that you could jump back to where you were!
[...] I wish there was a way to see everyone's fastest lap and sector times after the race in the live timing[...]
PH: There is already a “Best” column in the main Live Timing app. Check you do not have it selected to “Hide” in the F3 settings menu (as answered above the same options will soon be available in the Live Timing Web App).
We could look at adding the ability to view all available data for a specific driver by right clicking on a driver in iRacing Live Timing. All this information is already captured for the overlay, I will just need to add the display function.
[...] the button page is a bit cramped when also showing the events and
live timing - perhaps if one or the other could be broken off into a separate window? But
those are really pretty minor - product is outstanding, and the Discord support is awesome.
PH: The whole Remote Control Tab needs to be reworked. Currently the buttons are based on WinForms. The performance on these buttons is very poor, you can see this when you load a new project and one by one all the buttons appear. I will be changing to DirectX in the future. As well as a big performance increase this will also provide the ability for Tabs, Scrolling and Zooming etc in the Remote Control Tab.
This however is a very big project so there is no ETA!
As a broadcaster I would love when I click on the name of the driver I could show there [their] bio [...]
PH: You can use this Web App to view data that drivers in your session have uploaded to our Driver Information App: https://livetiming.sdk-gaming.co.uk/driver-list.html
We could look at integrating this into the main app by right clicking on the Driver name and providing a Component for display on the overlay.
[...]I would like a little more integration. For example fuel calc [calculator] in live timing.
PH: It would be better to view the Fuel Calculator in the Web App instead of trying to fit it within iRacing Live Timing: https://livetiming.sdk-gaming.co.uk/fuel.html
I would like more information geared towards spotters and to help with race strategy.
PH: Some work has been done on Race Strategy before (not released). We are currently considering this as a standalone product in the future. Don’t forget that the Fuel Calculator already exists both in a Web App and/or for display in the Overlay.
Update components with SDK app[...]
PH: I do have an update system for Components planned but this is still a little way off.
You have YouTube videos but they start like you know how to get to that point [...] you guys should make one from the very start of downloading it to showing the [Overlay] displayed on your screen.
LT: Take a look at this video: https://youtu.be/PcgwOIvARkg it takes you all the way from how to place your order on the website to having iRacing Live Timing up and running. Once Live Timing is running then you can move on to setting up your overlay either for streaming or driving.
I was hoping to have put out more tutorial videos by now but I do have a growing list of ones to do, so hopefully will be able to start up again on them soon(tm).
I like the online/video tutorials. Some of the information is not very intuitive, but that is
probably because most of this is foreign to me. I chose your product because of the
professional design and it provides the right "feel" I want to achieve for our Live Stream
Improved documentation - overall the docs could be more comprehensive. Also please
consider providing the software documentation as a single downloadable PDF or if you do
not wish to make a PDF, then please consolidate the docs in a single page. [...]
LT: Following on from my answer above of wanting to put out more videos, we also know there is more work to do on the support section of the website. There are additional tutorials that need to be added and then we should look at how we structure the documentation.
At the minute the documentation on the website is split into; Overlay (containing the Overlay Component List where you can find basically all information on each component), User Manuals to get Live Timing, Live Streamer or Live HUD running and Tutorials for more advanced features.
I am reluctant to make the documentation a downloadable PDF as it will then immediately be out of date as soon as any change is made and there is far to much, to document everything in a single page unless we look at a Wiki style layout. I did investigate this a while ago but didn’t find a suitable product.
Feel free to add suggestions for the structure in the New Features and Suggestions channel on Discord.
[The] only thing i can think of is the relative timing working better with the AI racing in iRacing, it always seems to be a way off to me.
PH: I haven’t tested extensively with AI Racing. I don’t believe we have had any other reports of issues like this but I will investigate. I don’t believe there will be anything affecting AI Racing differently as we are still receiving the same data from iRacing regardless of whether it is a “Player” car or not.
The whole overlay is still very confusing to use and if it was possible to move the elements
with a mouse like Kapps or Racelabapps to position on screen it'd be so much more user
friendly. I'm not a computer noob but without programming experience it's just so time
[...] The CSS editing is cryptic and cumbersome to use/configure. You also need to bust up the overlays so we can use them individually as browser sources for easier positioning in OBS.[...]
PH: Of course we have had many comments over the years about making the overlay drag and drop. Our Overlays will never be drag and drop, it would introduce too many limitations with our dynamic overlay.
We are looking to add a second tab to the Style Overrides Window in the future. This will be in the form of a property editor, so you can select a component and edit some predefined values. This would create a Basic and Advanced (the current CSS Overrides) mode to the Style Overrides window.
We could look at a modular plugin system in the future but something like this would be a long way off. The advantage of our overlays over other providers is our minimal system usage. If we were to break apart our components into individual Browser Sources then this would result in many calculations having to be duplicated taking up more of your PC’s resources.
It´s somewhat difficult to find all information for customisation. It is somewhere there, and if we ask we get a link within seconds to minutes from you and that's cool, but it would be
great if you could make the "what and how to customise" a bit more accessible. Maybe one
page with all important links or something similar in Discord.
LT: This is our tutorial on getting started with customising your overlay: https://www.sdk-gaming.co.uk/editing-css-styles/ all the Component web pages contain example CSS code for you to edit (click the ? symbol on your Component to jump straight there). You can see the full list of Components and then their CSS code here: https://www.sdk-gaming.co.uk/overlay-component-list/
Both drivers names in the battle box. Needed for chat.
PH: This is on the To Do list. I will provide the same naming options as with the Timing Tower.
I would like to see SR [Safety Rating] and iR [iRating] as options in overlays. Right now you only see iR. RaceApps and Kapps both provide this info in a good way.
PH: This is on my To Do list. There will be the option for a simple display as it is now or a detailed display.
A dashboard please!!
PH: There are no plans to provide a Dashboard. There is free software available already to display just a Dashboard like this. What extra feature could we provide?
I would love to have a NASCAR on NBC style Pylon or Top Ticker.
PH: The NASCAR Ticker already exists from April 2020! https://www.sdk-gaming.co.uk/nascar-ticker-2020-component/
The NASCAR Pylon is nearly finished and will be announced very soon!
I would like to see a caution count and laps led feature at some point[...]
PH: Laps Led and Caution Count data are both available but are not used in the overlay yet. This will be added soon(tm).
[...]Transform origin needs to be addressed. Positioning is already
hard enough, Add the fact that the overlays shrink and expand, it is darn near impossible to
get a fluid and intuitive experience without absolute hours and hours of testing and
tweaking, and testing and tweaking[...]
PH: Tranform Origin is required for resizing to ensure the Component holds its position on the left or right edge as required. It may be that if you have moved a Component designed by default to be on the Right, to the Left of the Overlay then you need to change the Transform Origin value to match.
Transform Origin could be added to the future Property Editor discussed above for easier adjusting.
Keep adding more things would love to see a hybrid bar.
PH: A Hybrid Bar Component is currently quite low on the To Do list. There is only the LMP1 and MP4-30(?) that use this feature. They are both very niche cars.
Love to see more ovals stuff for us ovals guys
PH: Don’t forget there is already the NASCAR Ticker available! The NASCAR Timing Tower (Pylon) and NASCAR Driver Details will be coming soon(tm).
More pre built templates for timing tower i.e. reflect f1 timing towers etc
PH: I am around 70% of the way through a full F1 2019 overlay template. After this I would like to do a WEC/Endurance Racing based overlay.
The gold package at the [Apex Racing] Academy to include SDK and VRS as listed would be nice. Only have one subscription per month for all 3 products.
LT: This package is on its way but there is no current date for release. We have a lot of work to do in the back end to have the different brands link in a single product.
[...] the price is excessive when there are free versions (or donations) that are effectively as good. [...] RaceLabsApps does essentially the same and is free[...]
LT: I do not agree that other Live Timing/Overlay software are effectively as good as ours. Other apps do not provide the level of customisation or level of detail that we do. Other apps do not refresh data as quickly as us, relying on iRacing informing them of changes of position instead of calculating all cars positions in real time, ensuring the most up to date information is available to you when you need it most!
We operate a central server available to all customers for remote viewing of Live Timing, Track Map, Events, Overlay (for remote Commentators), Fuel Calculator using our Room system.
We have a Driver Information database that all customers have access to (over 1600 iRacers have so far added Driver Images, Name Overrides, Country Overrides and Bios etc to the database).
Thanks to our SDK Gaming staff we are able to provide reliable and quick responses to Support issues on our Discord Server instead of customers hoping to get an answer in a 5 year old iRacing forum thread.
How can a company continue to develop its products to provide a better experience for its customers, keep improving its customer support and maintain the infrastructure required to keep running if the software is free?
This is not sustainable in the long term which is what we are planning for. Thanks to the support of customers such as yourself, Apex Racing UK (the parent company of SDK Gaming) has some very exciting plans in the works that will hopefully contribute towards growing Sim Racing as a whole which will benefit all of us!
11€ (8£) a month is very expensive for an Overlay. Maybe 2-3€ less
LT: Upgrade to the annual subscription and it is £6.94 per month. Find a friend to pair up with and you can get an annual Dual Subscription for £5.20 per month (per person). Find 4 friends and get a 5 person annual Team subscription for £4.17 per month (per person). Find 9(!) friends and it is just £3.82 per month (per person) (all Ex VAT).
On top of this there are coupon codes available and a referral/affiliate system that can give you a 10% cash reward of the first purchase of every single customer you refer!!
Monthly team subscriptions. Per year isn’t feasible for all. More themes as I feel most
streams end up looking the same with the default even after css changes.
LT: Since we have a Team Monthly Subscription available for the Apex Racing Academy, I don’t see why we shouldn’t have one for SDK Gaming as well. I will look to add this in once I finish writing up this post!
PH: As above a new Overlay Theme is being worked on now. Please reach out in Discord for what design ideas you have. CSS allows for any possible design but even with some basic changes everyone can end up with a unique design.
Wow that was a lot to get through!
We hope some of that was interesting and useful to you all. Thanks again if you were one of the 68 members to have filled out the survey.
We will plan to post up a chat with Pascal every few months or so to update everyone with the current status on SDK Gaming and how future projects are progressing!
Please shout in Discord if you want any more information from the questions or answers above.