Interest in Assetto Corsa appears to be declining

Often PRC.net receives a fair bit of flak for displaying the shortcomings of Italian racing sim Assetto Corsa, with some readers believing we’re aligning ourselves with the mentally ill for daring to source legitimate glitch videos made by certain community members, forcing us to make our own in an effort to prove that yes, the game actually is kind of broken and a bit of a letdown now that it’s been almost a year since release. It drives really fuckin’ nice, but there isn’t much to do aside from watching YouTube coding streams and waiting around on the forums for future updates.

acs 2015-07-12 13-20-25-02SimHQ and sister site SimHQMotorsports is one of the longest-running simulation publications still in existence, and venturing onto their forums, there appears to be a bit of disappointment when it comes to how many people are interested in Assetto Corsa.

1“No event last week. Nothing scheduled for this week. It seems like this is it,” says member Piotr, with over 1,200 posts in his time on SimHQ.2“Assetto Corsa Multiplayer is woefully inadequate” writes editor Darren Blythe, adding that “what hurts the most is that many of the annoyances are just poor design choices and/or things that could and should have been fixed ages ago.”

Pumba666Pumbaa666, a member with over 4,400 posts, writes “I don’t have any confidence in going for anything longer at this point in time… There’s just not enough interest here in the current product…”

These are not guys operating under fake accounts to drum up controversy within the community, but diehard sim racers who have been  around this hobby for far too long, and they are already questioning the longevity of Assetto Corsa, hinting at support for Stock Car Extreme and/or RaceRoom Racing Experience instead.

This unrest, albeit focused on a different topic, has spread into the Assetto Corsa official forums, as well. User ShredatorFIN states that at launch, Assetto Corsa received a near-perfect score from a highly reputable magazine, and essentially asks “if the game was already satisfactory and nearly perfect, why were so many updates needed to continuously change everything?”

unrestAnd he brings up a good point. The game got killer reviews almost everywhere; what was so bad about it that everything from the AI to the tire model needed to be re-done over the past few months? It’s no secret that we’re playing a vastly different Assetto Corsa compared to Version 1.0, but now the game is falling into an iRacing-like state, where there are multiple versions of different elements within the game, and each time they’re released in a patch, we’re told they’re the most realistic, and the former version sucked.

acs 2014-03-02 17-24-53-43Rumor has it (and you know what happens when we post a rumor) that 505 Games, the publishing company that helped bring Backbreaker to shelves in 2010, aren’t interested in having Kunos tidy up Assetto Corsa for a console release, but rather throwing it out as-is to the console masses in order to establish the brand and generate a quick profit. It is highly likely (and unfortunate for AC fans) that many adopters of Assetto Corsa on the PS4 and Xbox One will be gravely disappointed at the title’s lack of features and polish, especially after the mammoth failure that was Project CARS.

It pains me to say that we are looking at a future where there are three unfinished racing simulators on next-generation consoles, and fanboys will be fighting over which game is less broken.

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61 thoughts on “Interest in Assetto Corsa appears to be declining

    1. If you’re not getting paid to shill then there is now reason to get defensive. A lot of games have faults and as a paying customer you have the right to criticise them.

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    2. Maybe because the port isn’t done yet. IIRC PS4 uses an OGL derivative, which means Kunos have to rewrite the entire gfx part of the engine (which uses DX11 right now) to work in OGL. This isn’t an easy task, especially if Kunos made the engine without properly separating rendering from the other bits.

      Then there’s incorporating the DRM, finding PS4 versions of all the libraries, probably rewriting the menus as I don’t believe you can do this “menus are in a browser then we launch a separate executable for the game” on consoles, testing and passing all the certifications and probably a couple more hoops to jump through.

      It’s even worse if 505 takes care of the porting, as they have to learn the codebase before thinking about tinkering with it, a hard thing to do when the game is still in development. Changes everywhere.

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      1. It’s really not necessarily such a big thing any more. Kunos have actually done a better job than most in preparing for rendering pipelines that are more advanced than dx11.

        Remember that low-level implementations such as vulkan are not entirely a one-way street on modern hardware, including consoles. PS4 is a GCN-specific version of vulkan and is/will be drastically under-utilized in console and PC until asynchronous shaders and compute are actually implemented cross-platform. Unfortunately, a large portion of the PC install base is entirely unprepared on a hardware level for efficient asynchronous shading and calculation.

        Luckily, the hardware providers that failed to innovate didn’t actually have much influence on the actual fundamentals of modern real-time rendering APIs, so a forward-looking developer is capable of utilizing a very efficient (game changing) feature set, if they simply have the foresight.

        Based on the engine Kunos have made and their mgpu scaling on modern hardware and planned release date (waiting/lucky guess/funding at a time when relative cross-platform API maturity finally arrives) I would say they are more likely to implement something impressive than anyone else developing sims right now.

        I expect to see a dx12 implementation of AC announced for PC sometime around console release. If console does well enough, we may even see vulkan.

        In terms of driving sim developers, the only people that might beat them to the punch of functional modern PC software are Reiza.

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  1. 6 months on and the Open Letter still rings just as true as it ever has done. Don’t get me wrong, I love Assetto Corsa. It’s given me more joy as a driving simulator than any other game has ever done (I have over 1400 hours logged in it… Not sure whether to be proud of that or not, lol), but they have to address the MP or the game will quickly become as quiet as a graveyard for church mice.

    1.2 made some nice improvements but it really hasn’t been the leap that I was hoping for. The ability to now set the weather conditions is cool, and the new UDP plugin should allow for modders to do some great stuff, but at its core, AC needs a colossal amount of work done. I mean we don’t even get sector splits for heavens sake.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Online is still way more active than any other sim (that isn’t iRacing of course, but iRacing-like plugins are in development), and the modding community is creating a spectacular range of content. But instead of covering the modding community at all, you scrape together some random forum posts in transparent attempt at creating more doom and gloom about sim racing .

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, well before this news, probably about 3 months ago, I participated in two or three weekends on SimHQ Assetto Corsa races on Sunday. The races were OK with all kind of driving quality but we always were about 10 to 12 drivers, at the most. Also, not every weekend there was a AC race as looked like SimHQ was rotating sims every week.

        I enjoyed the races at SimHQ and I have nothing against them (on the contrary, they were very kind with me), but seems that AC was never that attractive in there.

        On the other side, you can compare them with RaceDepartment which looks like heavily active on AC races, particulary on the weekends. I was very active there until the policy changed to allow only Premium Account Users to race on the official servers, which I think is fair considering the server rent cost and maintenance, but that at the moment I cannot aford to pay it.

        I agree AC is not as complete featured product as other sims, but at least Kunos is still working on it and in my opinion on the right direction. Particulary on the server plugin implementation, that would allow to have a better online community experience.

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  3. I think there will always be a drop off in interest in virtually all titles after 6-12 months, AC is no exception to that. MP numbers are down, maybe by as much as 50% from its peak.

    I do agree Kunos needs to do more to the multiplayer portion of the sim, better league tools being one, but the main think Kunos need to sort out is the online lag and warping. Other sims have this sorted so why can’t AC?

    I do love AC, its a great hotlapping sim, I just wish the MP portion of the title was more developed than it is currently.

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    1. Have they? I think dropped packets are a problem in all of them. If the player has reasonable latency and can actually send and receive consistently, it works very well even over 200 ms.

      There’s not a whole lot that can be done when multiple packets are dropped, the player’s position and actions must be guessed until data is received again.

      What I would like to see is players dynamically ghosted when there’s a sudden spike in packet latency. There’s still room for improvement in how missing packets are handled, but I don’t think rfactor 1 or 2 do any better in terms of reasonably consistent connections. In fact, I see odd and disconcerting sideways movements/slide in rf MP all the time.

      Now, I have been racing against people with very, very bad connections AC and suddenly ended up with a car on my roof and other things like that. A dynamic ghost option would be a good short term solution for that sort of really barely connected player behavior. For all we know, these other games would just disconnect the players from the server.

      I rarely play in servers with less than 100 ms ping, they usually don’t have many players due to location. A populated server does not automatically equate to excessive latency.

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      1. rFactor doesn’t have hilariously spastic collisions 100% of the time. iRacing’s netcode which is actually something resembling state of the art is way better than rFactor other than when you occasionally get bodyslammed by a car 4′ away though.

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      2. Oh I hear you, its not every single race, far from it. I have had some great online races in AC without any issues with lag or warping. However, it is more frequent than in other sims (that I have played). I used to play a lot of GTL, GTR2, RACE07, and yes whilst there was the odd lagger, the game delt with it in a better way, or perhaps the netcode was slightly more advanced, I don’t know, im not a netcode programmer. The one thing I can say is that I never had cars thrusting back and forth on the track in those older sims. How the lag manifested itself in those older sims was that the car would just behave “oddly” in that it would shake, or appear to be more rigid on the track during movements.

        I really don’t know how the AC netcode is going to cope with the console market after all, id say at least 60-70% of console gamers are on wireless, which is a recipe for disaster if I ever saw one.

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      3. Well, I don’t get spastic collisions if the packets are arriving in a reasonably consistent rate for both players. I would agree that iRacing easily has the best netcode, though I still see a rather sparse player input rate when the connection is out of the ideal range.

        ” or appear to be more rigid on the track during movements.” Yes that’s exactly what I mean. I recall it happening pretty frequently, as if anything except very ideal conditions would lead to this interpolation. Might be remembering incorrectly, though.

        Anyways, I’m basically saying the same thing. IMO, there’s a threshold where AC is very smooth and capable of laps in a pack without any strange movements at all, (in fact, it seems to poll actual player input very frequently when it can) then when things really get bad at 300-500ms with dropping packets, it does not handle the situation nearly as well as most of the others.

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  4. I blame this on the modding community being so stuck the fuck up about anyone even thinking of tracing someone elses 3d work, i think the most said phrase on that fucking goddamn ac forum is “WIREFRAME PLS” how the fuck do they bitch about content not being made fast enough when they’re forgetting that literally 60% of rFactors best mods were conversions of some sort, fuck ac’s community.

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    1. Yeah, fuck AC’s community indeed. It’s a big reason for why the sim racing community as a whole is going down the drain these days…

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  5. devs already stated that online racing is dead for them. So I dont know what the issue is?
    80% of the players never hit the multiplayer button ever.

    Going by the metrics stef stated on stream it is no wonder they dont care about it. But for consoles it is required because of the social aspect so I think they will be screwed.

    And the constant changing of how the car fundamentally behaves for one patch to another is death.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s just facts and that can apply to any game that isn’t online only like a world of Warcraft.

      They don’t care about online but keep working on met code and a safety system.

      Is it perfect? I would be lying to say it is

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      1. Not as far as league racing is concerned. More and more leagues are turning towards rFactor 2 now because it’s the most complete sim out there.

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  6. “especially after the mammoth failure that was Project CARS.”

    The problem here is that from a commercial point of view, it was a huge success. Sadly, gamers are helping the industry getting away with half-baked products, pre-ordering and buying products that we know are very flawed. If AC gets into consoles with mediocre AI and known bugs or flaws, but sells well, Kunos is going to be happy, period.

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    1. Was it? I kind of think that remains to be seen. The return rate is not being discussed.

      Anyways, >250k public funding for pcars2 shows they dug themselves a bit of a hole with all but the most dedicated of SMS fans.

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    1. Frankly, I completely disagree with the article on this point. The amount of active servers alone has increased dramatically and MP involvement will likely begin increasing after the initial post update increase dies down.

      Funnily enough, I have noticed a drastic increase in troll kids on AC server post-update…Seemed as though they just showed up to ‘test’ the updates.

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    2. Shame RRE not as popular, I really don’t get it, are vast majority of “sim racers” actually small broke children? as that seems to be only reason I see ppl posting why no players, money, yet those same idiot kids spend 80 bux on pcars which would buy you huge amount of QUALITY content that actually has proper race series, not just a collection of random shit.

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      1. The 3d models in RRE suck. The pricing sucks,It would takes hours just to buy and download all the extras. and last but not least the game has had 3 or 4 names and remakes . Pretty sure they have been bankrupt as well.

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  7. AC looks great, drives great and to me, seemed great for a while. But man is it boring now. It really is just a hotlapping sim. Disappointing for something that brands itself “your racing simulator,” but the actual racing is nonexistent online and sucks offline.

    Kunos has a solid foundation but I think maybe they’ve lost sight that they’re developing a game, you know, something that’s supposed to be fun and hold one’s interest. And to be fair, the market shelled out for it so to some degree we’re to blame as well. If they don’t get their act together, they’re in for a rude awakening once this is released for consoles.

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    1. I’ve never yet launched AC, looked through the selection of cars, and found nothing I’m interested in driving. So I can hardly call it boring. PCars is the only other sim that’s providing a comparable amount of official content, and it’s got its own problems when it comes to online and offline racing.

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  8. Honestly the game is going at a shit pace into a bad shit storm, console versions are just a money grab and gtfo, that’s atleast how Stefano is acting like, you can see that he is pissed and frustrated with how shitty the game engine is, Kunos is registered to last until 2020 – but he sees it as a joke, no way in hell Kunos would last until 2020.
    AC will never be a next-gen sim, its still a fucking early-access game with great physics and great graphics, but its running on 32bit, it doesn’t have night time or multiple light-sources or even rain, how the fuck can you call that next-gen, shit… the only time you can run more than 10 laps is in practice mode and I honestly must say, they’re some serious Nazi Mods in the forums too.

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    1. it’s 2015, why we still saying words like next-gen? This was just a marketing word back in 2013 for consoles changing from x360 ps3 to xb1 and ps4. This next-gen you guys talk about is not related to PCs. PCs have directx11 platform since about 2009. This dx11 is already old technology and very heavy/limited for games. Dx12 can, so so, be called next-gen, mainly because of the processing benefits which enables developers to build more efficient and complex games. Our current hardware is already very very good, but dx11 is holding back the potential of our current cpus and gpus which we sometimes think they are bad, when in fact dx11 technology is limited and heavy compared to the potential you can extract from our current gaming hardware with APIs like directx12 and vulkan.

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    2. World of difference between compiling a ’64-bit’ program and actually utilizing 64-bit wide instructions…

      Also, it’s a deferred engine, so there’s no actual light source limit. Night races and adding multiple lights are the last thing Kunos should be worrying about right now. That would be completely the wrong direction, as if you think following pcars development is the right way.

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      1. Its actually a shitty game engine, its probably the only game engine at this day in time that doesn’t support night time or multiple light sources, its a fucking racing simulator, night time and lights are a basic fucking feature for racing you idiots 😀

        This game will remain a hotlapping simulator for years to come until someone else makes a better game with same physics and graphics, but a far superior game engine able to support what a true next-gen sim should be capable of.

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      2. Did you not read anything I just wrote? You clearly do not know anything about real-time rendering engines and what is and is not possible based on basic design principals. Go read about deferred engines.

        Again, adding additional lights and a time cycle is the last thing kunos needs to worry about right now when it comes to providing consistent experiences to players.

        We get content because that’s what content people do, they make content. Only a few really contribute to the core. Those few do not need to add lights and time cycles, there’s other stuff to do.

        Don’t tell the chef to go put the pizza in the oven when the dough is still being mixed.

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      3. AC’s not a deferred engine, that would only be useful if they were using multiple light sources. It does the shading in the pixel shaders. (source: I’ve decompiled AC’s shaders)

        Adding more ‘real’ light sources is a resource tradeoff, even in scenes with 1 light there’s still code for ‘check what other lights are doing’ that has to return ‘nothing’. Eliminating it streamlines the code so you can spend the render time elsewhere (like more trackside detail) while still being usable on affordable GPUs

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  9. Interesting there is no Reply link to properly respond to the coward Anonymous and e123.

    I do not know what I said that both did not like and their best response was to swear on my comments, so constructive and civilized, pathetic.

    I enjoy AC a lot, my favorite sim. Best driving experience I have so far compared to other sims I have driven before. There is still room for improvement, but right now what it has its enough for me to enjoy it.

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    1. haha no man it was just sarcasm, I think both of us actually agree with you.

      ” Best driving experience I have so far compared to other sims I have driven before.”

      Yes. I still test the others fairly frequently, but I always end up thinking ‘AC is just a better drive’ at the end of the day. GSCE beta content is the only recent AC-level standout I’ve tried recently and unfortunately the engine isn’t capable of fully doing justice to the content. Reiza and Kunos have a lot of work to do, so just hope I don’t see completely unreasonable bitching and ‘suggestions’ towards Reiza in 6 months simply because they haven’t built a brand new engine at an impossible pace.

      For the record, the reply system still confuses me too.

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  10. Antonio Crinò, Associator and Hexgramme. What do all have in common? All either don’t play AC unless it allows them to show it poorly and then they admit to playing it with a keyboard or don’t actually have the game and continue to shit about it.

    http://www.racedepartment.com/threads/open-letter-from-devs.109749/ Antionio cannot access the official forums so he is either banned or doesnt own the game. Yet he posts shitty about it frequently on VirtualR.

    Sourcing your articles from them puts you in the same discussion as a troll.

    Like

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