Interview with a representative of Forward Development, a company engaged in development of software and hardware solutions for student drivers based on 3D technologies.

3D-Ace Studio: 

Your company is one of the leaders in the field, providing ready-made 3D solutions for both students and experienced drivers in Russia and CIS countries. How long have you been working to achieve this result? Please, tell us about the company history and how the idea of specialization was born?

Forward Development: 

Our company started its journey back in 2001. We began with the creation of small multimedia tutorials, which helped people explore various complex software packages, such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, 3ds Max, and many others. Also, we produced educational programs for schools, offering children a fun and discreet education in form of a game. By the way, they are still being sold. In 2006 we decided to expand our product line with a specialized training car simulator, which helped the beginners to cope with the most common problems when learning to drive a car: to overcome fear and uncertainty, develop the necessary motility skills, learn the road signs and markings, train reaction and cope with various unexpected situations.

Just at that time we released the very first version of 3D car simulator with real Moscow streets. Thanks to the efforts of developers and user reviews, within six months there were several updates of this application. Then we reissued the improved modification of the first version, with fairly good physical characteristics, support of a clutch pedal and expanded territory for driving. Just for the first two years we have sold more than 500 thousand copies of our car simulator on the territory of CIS, it was constantly presented at the Russian exhibitions and was highly appreciated by Russian and foreign specialists.

In 2009 we released one more theoretical multimedia guideline with traffic rules for self-study with high-quality 3D-graphics. With help of 3D one could easily prepare for theoretical part of a driving test. After a while this up-to-date high-quality 3D graphics specially created by us for the above mentioned product has become a quality benchmark for similar applications.

Also in 2009, we actively cooperated with the authors of official examination cards for a written test covers the vehicle regulations and traffic signs.

Starting from November 2010 and till present all examination cards use our images. This is an important task not only for context specialists, but also for 3D modelers, artists and art director. Work on a new edition of examination cards is running with direct involvement of our team. In February 2010, we released the second generation of our 3D car simulator. It was almost a new product, a completely redesigned in comparison with the previous version. All product parts were changed and deeply modified – 3D graphics, physical model of a car, audio accompaniment, new roads and territories, as well as methodical training part itself.

From that key moment our company has gradually started to specialize in the software development for road traffic safety. We designed, built, and then tested our first driving simulator, using controls and instruments from a real car. We developed special version of 3D car simulator for use in this driving simulator.

Over some time, we created very specific 3D simulators such as crane, bulldozer, tractor, asphalt paver simulator and many others. We also developed special simulators for teaching drivers of emergency cars.

We cannot go on without mentioning "Interactive Driving School", one more product of our company, which is based on the latest technologies and which overturned the canons of group driving trainings. It completely transformed the lecture process in driver training centers and increased the acquisition of teaching material by students by times!

At present, our company is the absolute leader among the software developers in the field of road safety. No wonder that many driving schools use our car simulators and other applications for teaching their students.

3D-Ace Studio: 

How did you come to an idea of using 3D graphics in City Car Driving, a software solution for student drivers?

Forward Development: 

The decision was natural. At that time there have already been some similar products on the market of Russia, CIS and far abroad countries. Most of them also used 3D graphics. After examining all the products, we identified the main features by which our products would differ from our competitors’ in a better way. One of the advantages was a higher quality of graphics (compared to that of competitors).

3D-Ace Studio:

Please, tell us about the underlying technologies and technical specialists, creating 3D simulators for driving.

Forward Development: 

Technology and expertise of professionals who work on 3D simulators are generally the same as in any other company developing 3D games. However, we pay more attention to physics and artificial intelligence. Correct interaction between a user and the surrounding virtual environment is extremely important for us.

3D-Ace Studio: ​ 

Please, tell us in details about the development process, starting from the first idea to the release of a new product version.

Forward Development: 

Idea? Idea can take into our heads or our customers’. It is quite easy – imagination works :) When the idea gains distinct outlines, we start to write a requirement specification. It is based on formalization of ideas. And the more we work on the issue the more chances we have to avoid unpleasant surprises during the development process. After a thorough analysis of a specification we proceed to project estimation. This gives us and a customer the overall understanding of costs and time spendings. Software development itself is the largest part of 3D simulator production cycle. The last stage (one of the most complex) is testing and bug fixing. Every year the complexity of software increases together with the labor inputs at testing and bug fixing stage. This is the most important, but also the most unnoticeable to the end user and customer development stage, because bug-free software is perceived as something absolutely natural, rather than any errors...

3D-Ace Studio: 

Does your company use the services of any outsourcing 3D modeling company to develop models (landscapes, roads, bridges, different types of buildings)?

Forward Development: 

We widely use the outsourcing services to create 3D models of vehicles. The rest work is done by our staff.

3D-Ace Studio: 

What part of 3D modeling work is performed in-house and why?

Forward Development:

Generally this is the redesign or creation of new models for some special needs that may arise in the development process.

3D-Ace Studio: 

What is the determining factor for you when choosing an outsourcing company?

Forward Development:

Most important is the quality-price ratio. We have the long-standing requirements as to quality, based on our many years’ experience. It remains only to choose potential partners who can execute the work on a predetermined level of quality and at the same time keep within budget.

3D-Ace Studio: 

Whom do you prefer to work with: companies or freelancers? Why?

Forward Development: 

We work with freelancers rather than companies. These are not our personal preferences, so is the market of 3D services.

3D-Ace Studio: 

What outsourcing countries do you choose when it comes to 3D modeling services?

Forward Development: 

Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine.

3D-Ace Studio: 

Do you use any online marketplace to hire freelance 3D artists?

Forward Development: 

At the moment we have no need in online marketplaces.

3D-Ace Studio:

Does your company buy ready-made 3D models and where? What is the percentage ratio between purchased models and those modeled from scratch?

Forward Development: 

Almost everything we buy is custom 3D models produced for us. It is an interesting option to buy a library of 3D models; however we have no need in it.

3D-Ace Studio: 

How often do you update the interface of your car driving simulators, adding new 3D models or redesigning the existing ones?

Forward Development: 

This happens several times a year.

3D-Ace Studio: 

How often do you use the services of outsourcing 3D modeling companies?

Forward Development: 

Rare.

3D-Ace Studio:

How important are long-term partnership relations with 3D modeling company for you?

Forward Development: 

We are interested exactly in long-term partnership relations.

3D-Ace Studio: 

Are you planning to develop new software products based on 3D models to improve the education level in the field of road traffic?

Forward Development: 

Sure! Year after year the problem of quality of driver training becomes more and more topical. The requirements to driving centers and learning process increase. And we should keep up with the times and always offer our customers the most advanced and high-quality solutions in the field of road safety!

Our products are regularly updated to meet modern trends. Fundamentally, new products are being developed. Sometimes even exotic :)

Also, today we actively work with foreign partners and successfully promote our products in foreign markets.

Share this post