Reader Submission #28 – We’re seeing another Atari Age

The first Reader Submission this weekend comes to us from Plush Labs, talking about the current state of driving games, in particular racing sims, and how it’s ridiculous that there are so many unfinished products on the market that people gladly eat up.


acs 2014-07-19 16-09-12-21I hate reading an article raving about a game the author isn’t even good at, only to be filled with regret when I purchase it myself. I’ve played many great games and a few terrible ones thanks to reviewers, but I like being able to see the latest news and reviews about games without bias on PRC.net. So far, I haven’t found anything that I disagree with on PRC.

My complaints today are towards the video game market in general, which seems to make terrible, unplayable games profitable thanks to Steam Greenlight and the latest free Unity download. I believe I may have found one of the reasons these terrible games exist and make profits regardless of their quality, too.

I think some of the blame should be pointed towards YouTube personalities and their audiences.I’m sure everyone is familiar with at least one LPer; even PRC has mentioned a certain Unfilled Container more than once. My focus is specifically on people like Cr1TiKaL, Markiplier, and that one Swedish fuck who screams too much.

These people, and the millions who watch them, seem to love playing games that don’t work. The audience loves funny things, and it certainly is a hoot when you see somebody’s vehicle suddenly explode into the air with no warning, or a corpse twitching itself into defying physics and flying through the skybox. However, because some of these games are so cheap, a lot of people seem keen on buying these games to experience the terrible glitches themselves when they can easily torrent the game instead.

I know at least three people in my social circle who have purchased games like Sonic Boom or Project CARS simply because they knew they were broken. They wanted to try the game for themselves and experience these terrible games because they found it funny. These people seem to believe these shitty games are in a genre all on their own, and buy these games as if they were intended to be terrible. This kind of consumer attitude makes bad games marketable and, as a consequence, I think the sim racing market has been affected at least slightly.

Even when a game is actually playable, some games also take up the extortionate tradition of making you buy the game, then tipping you upside down and shaking loose change out of your pockets for additional content. iRacing is especially guilty of this, forcing you to pay to use the game every month with the addition of having to pay for content you never actually own, anyways. Your payments made towards iRacing are only giving you a license to use these things, which means you can’t modify, sell, or trade that content for other content. That may seem like it makes sense to a lot of people, but many people already know where the problems with iRacing’s physics lies. They just can’t fix it – not even for use in a private event, like 4chan has been doing to EEC’s mod. You can’t even test drive the vehicles before you buy the license to use them, either, and you can’t trade cars or tracks with your friends either.

I think developers have found a get-rich-quick scheme within the LP community, and it could be a reason SMS released their game in its still-buggy state as well. Easy cash-ins are beginning to deteriorate consumer trust, and this very deterioration and saturation created the gigantic gaming market crash in 1983 North America. I don’t think we’ll see a market crash with similar strong effects, but I think this could at least cause a recession in the market if shitty devs keep making shitty games. However, some of the best games came after this big market crash because developers finally realized they had to make their games good in order to be profitable. pCars may not be the Pac-Man or E.T. of today’s console/PC generation, and even though most indie games are on par with the same severe lack in QA, they lack the expensive marketing budget Atari threw at both games.

I feel like the sim community may be approaching a game of similar traits to those failed Atari releases, and we may see the consumers finally wake up and revolt against these terrible business practices. But I worry they’ll just buy that game anyways, either because everyone else is playing it because it’s a terrible game, or because it’s been marketed as the best in its genre.


Dolphin 2015-08-04 20-59-57-47I’m not sure if YouTube personalities are a reason video games are declining in quality; I think it has more to do with the Stockholm Syndrome effect created within message boards. With so much communication between developers and the userbase in an effort to appear to be in touch with what the community wants, a lot of customers feel as if they’ve formed a bond with the Studio that goes beyond being someone who enjoys their video game. With Coding Livestreams and Crowd Funding campaigns becoming the norm, this bond is taken to levels counterproductive to the end product.

We’re now at a time where if a game ships with a crippling glitch and someone (like myself) draws attention to it, the immediate reaction is to bitch at the person who found the glitch as if the $60 video game is their promiscuous teenage daughter and she’s been outed as the town bicycle. People legitimately think this approach will magically make glaring flaws disappear, even though these people are playing the same game everyone else is, and their cars are warping into the ground just as often as the people drawing attention to issues in the first place. Better yet, nobody seems to recall a time when driving games were actually good.

This sort of community aggression happened with Project CARS

11…happened with iRacing:

iR…and it happened with Assetto Corsa:

acThis picture accurately sums up what these people sound like:

project

And you can’t even make fun of these people, because they won’t figure it out:

me

What’s the end result of all this Stockholm Syndrome-like behavior? Companies are encouraged to push out games that are either shit or continuously in development, and threads on Reddit begin popping up saying I bought a bunch of racing games this year, and they’re all literally un-fininshed:

reddit

This is the future you chose.

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39 thoughts on “Reader Submission #28 – We’re seeing another Atari Age

  1. I have zero problems with unfinished early release games so long as two conditions are met:

    Firstly, the pros have to outweigh the cons. There has to be a good reason(s) which makes it worth playing despite its buggy or unfinished status.

    And secondly, so long as the developer has shown and continues to show signs of making the game as good as it can be, I don’t see any reason to get bent out of shape since I know what I’ve gotten into.

    You can either play a perfectly finished game when its done, or you can play an unfinished one now and put your faith in the dev to come up with competent and timely updates. As for the former, we all know such games are extremely rare to come by, and not just in this genre, but within gaming in general. Sure it would be ideal to have a polished game at release, but these days practically all software gets put out early with ensuing patches. Lets be realistic here; like it or not, this is simply how things are. If you’re the impatient sort and demand nothing but perfectly coded games at release, you’re pretty much SOL and no amount of complaining will ever change that.

    Now if you’re the sort who can deal with the pros and cons of early release and don’t want to get burned in the long run, then I would say you need to take a close look at the developer’s track record and make your purchasing decision based off that. If you’re the type who gets sucked in by hype and empty promises despite a dev’s history of bad business practices, then frankly you’re gullible and you’ll have to deal with getting fucked over. Now by no means am I advocating bad business or victim blaming, I’m simply saying thats just the way it is.

    Mod edit: Use the enter key, bro.

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    1. That GamerMuscle youtuber clown is a prime example of what’s wrong. GamerMuscle does a lot of damage to the genre with his Assetto Corsa shilling. The guy can’t drive for shit and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

      BsimRacing, VirtualR and GamerMuscle are all close friends with Kunos, hence the shilling.

      TheSimPit, also close with Kunos did a review of Assetto Corsa last year and he said it had good AI. Nobody can be trusted anymore.

      Many modders wanting to lift on the mainstream success of Assetto Corsa are keeping their mouth shut and pretend everything is all roses, while shitting on other proper sims.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry, I think you switched names there. So in your text replace Assetto Corsa with Project Cars. Then it makes more sense.
        The AI in AC was better last year. It got worse later on, like in the update v1.1.

        What makes you have a credible word in saying that other sims are proper and AC isn’t?

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      2. It get’s worse, 130 journalists participated at an event organzied by the Assetto Corsa developers. https://web.archive.org/web/20150731212805/http://www.assettocorsa.net/assetto-corsa-release-candidate-news/

        “On September 29, we organized an exclusive event at Kunos Simulazioni headquarters inside “Autodromo di Vallelunga”. Over 130 journalists have participated in our event, organized with the precious collaboration of Fanatec, NVIDIA, rSEAT, RSR-Nurburg, Media consultants and Ibuz.com.”

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      3. So what if over 130 journalists/people from AC community went to Vallelunga to test and talk about the release candidate of the AC 1.0? Kunos in the past, well before early access on steam started, they did live showcase of their game in tech&gaming events, either in static or motion rigs, usually with fanatec wheels.
        Why do you say “it gets worse”? I mean, they invited journalists from the sim racing and gaming world, people like InsideSimRacing, Racedepartment, Eurogamer italia. They also invited RSR Nurburg with some of the track and super cars for the event, since both AC and RSR Nurburg are in cooperation.
        What is really the issue here, I really really fail to see it. So please explain better how this that showcase of the game/press event at Vallelunga of the RC version was any wrong doing or unethical thing?

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      4. Also add RaceDepartment, yes RaceDepartment to the list of Assetto Corsa shills too.

        And youtubers like ADRIANF1esp, DigiProst and Team VVV, stop shilling broken games with pretty video hotlaps.

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      5. What is really broken in AC? There is some bad AI behavior yes, debatable netcode/online collisions, but apart from that? What is a complete racing game? Maybe you should buy gran turismo if you expect the same stuff in sim racing games, so there you’ll have your complete game. And complete is subjective.

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      6. Of course a game being complete is subjective. And complete in sim racing is also pretty much endless. There is always some feature from real life or from game usability that could be added. Your standards of complete isn’t the same for every one. Therefore “complete” is subjective, especially in a sim racing game.
        A sim racing game is complete as soon as you have one simulated car and one track to drive. To race you only need more than one client, a timer and a lap counter, Everything else in terms of game and race features is just extra. There is a big list of extras you can simulate from real life. Lets say you simulate F1 race system with all its penalties and tyre limitations etc. Is this a complete sim racing game? Or a complete sim racing is one that simulates all race systems and regulations from all type of motorsport classes? A complete racing game is one that has all the cars and tracks from the world? What if I deem as important for a game to be complete the ability to have motion control of my driver and take him out of the car, walk up to the podium, and open a bottle a champagne and spray on the girls and the other two winners? This is just an extra as rolling starts are an extra of sim racing.

        One thing you would be right in calling AC incomplete would be currently not simulating brake temperatures.

        Another example, platform games (like super mario bros). The game is complete as soon as you have one character that you can control, enemies (debatable), a beginning and an end, possibly separated by levels. The ability to get power ups and coins is simply an extra.
        Now imagine super mario bros 2, a game that could be just one character, some enemies, a beginning and an end, possibly separated by levels. But no power ups nor coins, nor underground worlds down the pipe, no invincibility star. Is this game less complete than super mario bros 1? Nope, super mario bros 2 simply has less extras than bros 1. There is an endless list of extras you can add to any game and it can never be completed because is a subjective mindset, everyone wants this and that.

        Why games and sim racing games add lots of features and content, possibly more than essentially needed? Because they want its users to have more things to do and play the game for a longer time without being too repetitive. But these are just extras, which is a different thing than the concept of a complete game. If you consider all those extras as the synonym for complete game, then is a subjective concept, because no one can absolutely agree on what should the game have and could have in the future.

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  2. Wait, we lost Chris over the AC AI thing?
    Really?
    Well, fucking good I suppose. This blog is meant to be above dev relationships, and keeping people happy and be about the truth. Truth is, AI isn’t right.
    That said, I believe in kunos, and that they will do their best to fix it. Ai is established to be difficult to code.
    I think you could have been softer about it, being that they do have a history of making things right, when there are issues. Bugs don’t stay long.

    Also, where did that “dev relationship” ever get you?
    All I remember is one email “interview” that they never even sent you a response to, as they “didn’t want to make this blog out to be a AC shill site”. I think you may have asked some difficult questions, they didn’t want to answer
    Maybe that can be your next article “why won’t ac devs answer these questions?”

    Dev relationships have got vodya journalism to the shit show it is now. Don’t ever pander to them

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s unfair to be all LOLOLOLOL LOOK ANOTHER PEE CARS GLITCH VIDEO, and when the same stuff happens in a different game, downplay it.

      Will Kunos squash the bugs? Probably.

      However, we won’t wake up tomorrow in June of 2017. I’m old school and from the N64/Gamecube era. When I buy a game, I buy it to play the goddamn game, not sit around on the forums while waiting for the devs to fix it.

      Like

      1. Well you can buy plenty of games nowadays that are ready from the get go and don’t need any updates, meaning you can freely finish the game without the devs needing to further intervene after game release.

        But sim racing is different. This is a tech and game that keeps evolving every month and every year. You aren’t locked in the game, you can do what you want. Imagine a sim racing (rf2, gsce, ac, pcars, raceroom) would be like real life where you got the option to pick any car and any track you want and just go drive. This is what these games are about. You drive or race once in a while.. these aren’t traditional games which need to be finished for us to enjoy them. We can literally enjoy sim racing games as soon as there is one car and one track available to use, and of course is also needed for the driving model to be realistically simulated.

        Sim racing is also a bit like Counter Strike series. We don’t need a completely finished game to start playing it or enjoying it. It will evolve over time along with the community interest. As long as you have a map and some people in it, you’re pretty much done. Everything else is just details and some features to diversify the experience.

        You don’t need to be in these games 24/7 with having many many different things to do. These games are about replayability and they don’t need to be finished to enjoy them and play for many hours.

        Let me give you one more example. You know Stock Cars Extreme right? It is widely considered in the sim racing community that is a pretty finished and complete game. Is that a synonym for a greatly successful and interesting game? For me it isn’t, I have it there sitting on my steam library, a game widely considered much more complete that AC, yet is in AC where I clock many hours. It is preference of one thing over the other, of what they offer me. Seems like GSCE has this amazing AI and tons of sim racing features.. yet that is not a synonym that most will want and will enjoy that game. You can have more fun with an incomplete game that with a complete one.

        An easy analogy is like that perfect woman that is perfect in every possible way and everyone desires her. Yet when you are with her, is just okay.. Then you stubble over another woman who on the first look seems very interesting and appealing, it drew your particular attention, but is not perfect, has flaws and everything. Is not considered by all men as the best woman to exist. Yet for you she is perfect.

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      2. I feel like the ability to patch games made devs forget that games are meant to be complete when released.
        “Its still a little screwy, but eh, well patch it” went from the last ditch, to the norm.

        Also I’m serious about that article. I like how in the latest patch note they said support for active diffs was added, so just wtf were they doing with the diffs in the Ferrari, McLaren and BMW untl now, and are they now also using proper active diffs?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dude/PRC? Everyone gets Iracing wrong. And lumping it in with these games isn’t even fair. You try to say there all the same crap, but literally. Iracing stands head and shoulders above the rest. Because it’s ENTIRELY ONLINE with DEDICATED SERVERS. Must question journalistic integrity if you keep bashing it for just one reason. I only had the one free month. Not active. But I recognize so many aspects of that game that make it worth a subscription, as do enough others to keep it going month to month to month to month
    Your beef with Iracing seems more about your rejection from their community, not so much legitimate game gripes. The oval physics don’t suit you?
    Does the circuit aspect of Iracing still work? Is Iracing not DIFFERENT by virtue of being the only online only subscription based service?
    Your right on about PCars current state.
    But you seem to be picking on one aspect of AC. (AI) but by all means, tell me more. I’m on fence about a steam sale and this title. Is that your only gripe? Does it work online?
    Definitely missing the mark when it comes to Iracing and I’m beginning to wonder if your only angle is being a RFactor,or whichever one you do seem to somewhat like, fanboy.
    No offense, real talk
    Realize this is a single user generated post. But overall fits in with theme here at PRC & the lack of credit given where it’s due when it comes to Iracing is making it hard to take you as seriously anymore. I didn’t come to read the Troll Times
    So what should I be playing and why if Iracing sucks? What beats or rivals it for straight up head to head human on human sim racing?
    You telling me I’d be most stoked on dirt rally2? Because I doubt it. Iracing was flawless. Absolutely flawless for a month. Just couldn’t commit to being in my rig as often as I would want if I was paying for it.
    What is it missing, besides your particular physics preference?
    Don’t take it personal. I want to right a scathing article on a crap title someday too.
    Btw. How’s that work?
    If PCars 3.0 don’t work. I’ll have plenty of info on how it does or does not.
    But seriously. What else is wrong with Iracing besides your oval physics issue? Couldn’t really wrap my head around it because I have not raced ovals much and certainly know nothing about the cars except how to drive them in a circle.

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    1. We need an an article on this 🙂

      iRacing is a MMOG, not a simulator.
      Fine for those that want that, but it’s far away from what I need.

      When you realise that you are your biggest competition, others are kind of irrelevant and in the way.
      If it is not obvious… as much as I adore racing, I adore driving to my limits more.
      Luckily there are options that are one time payments forever.

      Like

      1. That iRacing has no competition is one of the biggest problems with the genre. iRacing has its head so far up its ass because there’s no incentive for them to care. There needs to be another game that tries for online racing, and preferably does it better, to show that you don’t need to put up with all of iRacing’s horse shit and disgusting cost to get good online racing.

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    2. Go find the article he wrote a few weeks back about iracing. The long one abou t the oval car.
      Within it he, and others, discuss the good and bad parts of iracing, and its not feel, its accurate knowledge.
      Its not “oval physics issues” its general physics issues, tyre wear issues, community issues.

      Like

  4. Oh. And maybe anyone who played games before the internet and the patch. (N64) considers themselves old school. I’m ok with that. Im sure a fair amount of us bitter old gamers predate the dreaded internet patch and remember the good old days when games were complete. Us Atari boys can call ourselves something else. Dinosaur might be appropriate. I mean look at all these fan-a-whatever’s running around.

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  5. “Your payments made towards iRacing are only giving you a license to use these things”

    That goes for all software. It’s funny that way, but most people don’t realize because they never actually read a license agreement…

    As far as unfinished goes, there’s unfinished and unfinished. I got nearly a 1.000 hrs on AC, so it’s not exactly broken or unplayable. That doesn’t mean there aren’t issues, but I think there’s a bit of a difference between a guy in the Philippines working hard and being open and honest about where he needs to work on things and a 100+ man software house churning out titles that are fundamentally broken and unplayable, and have been taking their customers for a ride.

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  6. @B. Americano

    “Differential were updated with the latest electronic wizardry in order to simulate the intricate torque vectoring system at the base of the Nissan GTR incredible handling.”

    “The Nissan GT-R Nismo introduces in Assetto Corsa the active central differential and it’s the second 4WD car now available after the Alfa Romeo 155 DTM.”

    There are different types of torque vectoring/differential. There is for front/rear, for awd, and even in electric cars.
    Kunos needed to develop further the physics engine in order to simulate the nismo gt-r. But there are cars from the past in AC that have differentials and those stuff, but they further develop new physics when there is a car that needs it. It would be mostly pointless to develop the nismo gt-r active central differential back in early access.

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  7. Is there not a limit to the realism in every sim? Is there any one sim that doesn’t have a flaw somewhere in physics that can be exploited in an unnatural way?
    Seems to be more about problems with a successful business model.
    Should mention that Iracing are staying loyal to fan base that made them successfull. It’s in bad taste to give stuff away cheaper than your core user base paid for it. Bitching about price is unfounded as this is a DIFFERENT game. So what if they wanna charge me $50 for one car. I guarentee it’s going to be like getting a new game, the hours it takes too work through and progress in that class will eventually add up to the kind of hours you’d throw at any other INCOMPLETE sim out there with NO ONLINE RATING system to legitimize it.

    Iracing is legit. Can’t I start off on street courses if the ovals suck and I don’t like them anyway?
    I’ll just start ignoring those articles
    Keep up the good work other wise.
    All these other assholes keep making crappy sims that are not finished. Take it to THEM.

    Like

      1. No worries James. Keep your axe sharp and I’ll just avoid your Iracing trolling. Until you can tell new gat you do like
        , about anything, I’ll stop taking this place as serious. Clearly your joking and level headed journalism not your aim. Blog on then.

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  8. @ B Americano
    That’s right, the older cars just use the standard diff (preload, coast/power locks)

    In the McLaren’s case, I’ve a pretty good feeling it’s because the company wouldn’t tell them anything about how its electronics worked, so it’s been a low priority to implement anything since they’d just have to fake the numbers.

    AC now has several online rating systems, nothing globally accepted yet but we’ll see how they evolve. Try an ALOOG server if you want to see one in action.

    Like

    1. ALOOG is a good server. Even though I don’t get very good ping to the server itself, close racing is still very consistent and smooth unless the specific player is dropping packets.

      The only ‘problem’ I have is the alien activity in the Ferrari. I rarely see anyone running competitively in the other cars.

      Like

  9. Hang on. Is that Chris as in Chris from this site? So, you two started a blog critiquing racing sims and then when one of you makes a valid criticism about an issue with a particular game, the other gets upset and quits.

    I really don’t get this attitude towards video games these days. Do these people owe the developers? If anything, as a paying customer, the developers owe us. I’m not suggesting they give us the world, but to support their product, with updates and patches to fix issues.

    It’s one thing to enjoy a game, I know I have a couple of sims I spend a lot of time on (AC included), I know they have issues, but I will be damned if I’m going to waste my energy typing an essay on how the person that made the claim should die in a car accident.

    Like

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