A Commentary on the Future of Racing Sims – Revisited

In December of 2013, I published a widely-circulated piece for Race Department that received a fairly positive reception within the community. Titled A Commentary on the Future of Racing Sims, the article discussed four upcoming racing sims: Assetto Corsa, iRacing, rFactor 2, and Project CARS, all considered by both developers and fans alike to be heavily in development and would not be near a “complete” state anytime soon.

RD1I outlined what I expected from these four racing sims, as well as how the community’s involvement could change the path of development for the worse, as the “Virtual Yuji Ide’s” and “Virtual Danica Patrick’s” might offer useless feedback in terms of car handling and other core features, potentially changing the shape of the game if developers listened to incompetent fanboys who could shout the loudest. 600+ days later, all four games mentioned in the article are now on store shelves. Like it or not, all four developer teams list rFactor 2, iRacing, Assetto Corsa, and Project CARS as finished products. It’s time to see how they performed.

We’ll be taking a look at this paragraph in particular, and comparing how these games fared versus how they planned to innovate in an already crowded genre:

rFactor 2’s “innovation” comes in the form of a refined handling model after years spent working with F1 & GT teams relying on their rFactor Pro software, as well as a dynamic track surface. iRacing’s “innovation” comes in the form of laser-scanned tracks and a tire model that is based largely on a respected sim racing founder’s private research into how a tire behaves. Project CARS’ “innovation” comes in the form of years spent gathering data and building theoretical models that were inevitably scrapped due to time constraints and publishers who refused to see the full potential of their progress. And Assetto Corsa’s “innovation” comes in the form of the game being developed, literally, at the race track.

10818482_10203418282051704_3804942145206739661_oAssetto CorsaThe game is developed, literally, at the race track.

The Official Headquarters for Kunos Simulazioni are located atop the Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi, more commonly known by it’s short name Vallelunga. The Steam Early Access program for Assetto Corsa began in December of 2013, featuring a handful of cars, a few European tracks, and not much else. Anyone who jumped on the bandwagon at launch, even those critical of Steam’s Early Access format, were blown away by the game’s killer driving physics. People knew this was the second coming of something, they just weren’t sure what it was, or what it would turn out to be.

Updates trickled in every month or so, adding a small but sufficient stream of new content and improvements to a driving model a full generation above the competition. I personally spent hours on the RSR Leaderboards, dedicated to getting the #1 spot in the McLaren GT3 car, easily attaining the 100 hours played mark running hotlaps by myself. You didn’t care that AI hadn’t been added in yet, or when it was, you could only do ten lap races, or that Multiplayer would come later in the year. It drove so fucking good, myself and others probably went on record at some point saying things like “the Ferrari F40 could be the only car in Assetto Corsa, and I wouldn’t care that I’d spent $40 on it – it’s that good!”

But then, you started to care. You wanted a bit more to do within the sim because the base driving physics were so good, you wanted more to see and do. Once multiplayer was finally implemented, functionality, especially for server admins running a league, was almost non-existent. The AI was either slow or blissfully unaware of your existence, and updates caused them to have behavioral problems. Running online with your buddies was fun, but netcode issues caused tremendous lag shunts after what would generally be regarded as slight contact, and unless you knew the guy hosting the room, selecting your own car livery wasn’t an option. Not to mention night races, as well as rain races, features seen in NASCAR 99 on the original Playstation and GTR 2 on the PC, were confirmed to be left out until Assetto Corsa 2 – a game that isn’t coming for at least five years.

ACSo while there’s a Forza-like community built around Assetto Corsa, those who eagerly awaited the day they and their online leagues could abandon the ancient rFactor or flawed iRacing for a truly next-generation sim were left awkwardly standing alone in the rain, told by Assetto Corsa fanboys that they were a minority and to stop whining about the lack of features. Mainstream sites, even within the greater driving game community, refuse to discuss some of the game’s shortcomings, and a launch party Kunos threw at Vallelunga featuring several gaming journalists guarantees that you won’t hear about what Assetto Corsa lacks anytime soon…

maxresdefaultProject CARS – 80,000 WMD Members decided the game would be a heaping pile of shit.

Originally, we as a community believed the reason Slightly Mad Studios dropped the ball on the Need for Speed Shift series was because of Electronic Arts. A popular rumor that even I myself regurgitated in the early days of Project CARS’ development (including in the article above) was that EA forced Slightly Mad Studios to scrap certain game elements at the eleventh hour, in fear of alienating the casual-oriented Need for Speed fanbase. The goal with Project CARS was to not only rectify what was wrong with the Shift games, but allow the community to decide the exact direction of the games – what cars, what tracks, what features, what the game should feel like, how the career mode should play out – built by racers, for racers.

As someone who actually bought into the WMD phase in early 2012, the game was unstable, handled poorly, and featured content that was done better in other games. I got off the hype train for Project CARS fairly quickly, but others opted to fasten their seatbelts for the bumpy road ahead. While the game was shilled for heavily on mainstream gaming sites, and your average sim racer claimed it would blow away the likes of iRacing and rFactor – a lone title that hoped to bring console racers and hardcore sim fans together under one roof – behind closed doors, a much different outcome was brewing. Users who questioned why builds were abnormally buggy and why the game played poorly, lacking any sort of cohesive direction, were banned from the WMD forums and labelled trolls by other community members drinking the Kool-Aid. There was every indication the game would launch as a buggy mess.

And that’s exactly what happened – the 80,000 people assigned to “test” the game were little more than viral marketers spreading the gospel of pCars on various message boards; patches are still failing to fix bugs that have been in the game since the pre-alpha days of 2012, when the game was played and tested by a mere handful of people. To make matters worse, the head of Slightly Mad Studios, Ian Bell, has almost gleefully started arguments with random forum members to discredit their – as he put it – consumer preferences. Despite the abundance of glitch videos popping up on YouTube each day showing Project CARS on the video game equivalent of life support; cars warping around and smashing into each other as if the disc is shattering to bits inside your Xbox One and subjecting you to a virtual acid trip, Bell is convinced his game is utterly flawless, and is already asking for your donations to make another one.

C6R rFactor2 2rFactor 2 – Refining the original with feedback from rFactor Pro customers.

rFactor 2 is difficult to describe, as the game technically went on sale in 2012, yet never hit it’s stride until 2014 and maybe even 2015, as ISI constantly struggled to optimize the title and add content that people actually wanted to use. At launch, the game ran horribly, featured an irrelevant, outdated, patchy lineup of cars and locations, and an online pricing system ripped straight from the EA Sports book of bullshit. For $40, you could own an Offline License for rFactor 2, and for another $40 came a Lifetime Online License. The same bullshit that Madden fans spoke out against on consoles – the Online Pass – was now being implemented in PC Sim Racing of all places, where used games, the main reason for forcing an online pass in the first place, don’t exist.

As the title has gotten older, refinements in both hardware and software have made rFactor run better, and maybe look a little better, although that’s still up for debate depending on the HDR model you’re using. Default content now includes several modern racing circuits, historic tracks, street cars and purpose built race cars, such as the Verizon IndyCar Series’ Dallara DW12, but other issues have popped up. Installing mods, now done through a third party mod manager, is a pain in the ass. Vehicles and Locations converted from older titles are now not graphically up to par with the default ISI content, and sometimes, the features like the Real Road Technology don’t work properly on anything but the vanilla offerings. The lack of any online userbase aside from competitive leagues means there is virtually no one else to play rFactor 2 with, not even for a casual open practice session like you’d see in rival games.

Does it drive well? Yes. Can you race at night, in the rain, with a full field of AI cars? Yes. Is there enough functionality in the multiplayer side of things to accommodate hardcore league racing? Yes. Does anybody care? No, because most either don’t want to spend the money for an online pass, or have already sworn it off after trying it three years ago in a vastly different state. It’s like the title exists solely for those interested in online leagues, because the last time we checked, there were three people online.

iRacingSim64 2015-06-21 12-34-25-56iRacing – Laser scanned cars, laser scanned tracks, and organized online racing.

Despite fanboy claims of “the game is always in a constant state of development and isn’t technically finished like a store-bought game”, we’ve now got over 40 cars and tracks to purchase at $15 a piece, the game hosts two separate year-long $10,000 championships, and has several partnerships with NASCAR, IndyCar, the Blancpain Endurance Series, Formula Renault, and NBC Sports. Guys, it’s done.

The laser-scanned tracks only increase in quality, with Monza and Zolder being the two greatest examples of what this crazy technology can reproduce, but the core of iRacing’s experience – the driving physics – leave a lot to be desired. iRacing refuses to use the standard Pacejka tire model seen in all other racing sims and have left tire behavior up to David Kaemmer’s experimental in-house model, with mixed results. While iRacing markets itself as the PC’s greatest racing simulator, driving techniques you learn in iRacing would put your own safety at risk when applied in a real race car, completely invalidating the whole point of the expensive racing sim. Car Setups are not much different, being broken for months on end, only to change in an update that introduces a whole new set of exploits that turn what could be a very valuable tool for drivers to use as a substitute for track time into another Forza-like competition atmosphere, where making the right friends who introduce you to all the different hidden anomalies are the key to winning races.

Of course, drawing attention to this… Just don’t do it.

This is of course, unfortunate, as nobody has tried to copy iRacing’s successful online interface, which places you into a field of drivers sharing a similar skill set, and schedules each race to start at a specific time, allowing for huge fields only the most prestigious online leagues in ISI based sims can compare with. Many iRacing users simply put up with the physics issues, which have no clear resolution in sight, just to be able to compete against a field of 20+ drivers, instead of mulling about in public lobbies, hoping one of the five cars on the grid have played the game online before.

acs 2014-11-14 17-03-10-79Is there a clear-cut winner between the four games above, 600 days after the original article was posted? No. The current Sim Racing landscape leaves the Virtual Danica’s and Virtual Yuji’s to fight among themselves over which game is less broken, which game has more fans, and which features the hardcore fanboys are willing to wait for despite being present in the previous generation of sims. This kind of environment allows Crowdfunding Campaigns for games people don’t play to succeed, YouTube coding livestreams to gain a dedicated group of viewers, and $10,000 dinner dates to become legitimate investment perks for sequels to games that were received horribly by the community. The current crop of games are so incomplete, people take to message boards and get caught up in these nutty fads because there isn’t enough to do in the actual game to keep themselves occupied.

600 days ago, four titles prepared to fight for the crown of the best next-generation racing sim, all attempting to innovate in their own ways, and nobody got it right.


98 thoughts on “A Commentary on the Future of Racing Sims – Revisited

  1. Great article, but rF2 is not sold as a finished product, they clearly state that on the website before you purchase http://rfactor.net/web/rf2/rfactor2-purchase/

    “rFactor 2 is an evolving product, and as such, we expect to be adding cars, tracks and features for many years to come. We encourage people to purchase rFactor2 based on its current features and content at the time of purchase. We offer a one-time 7-day refund if you are unhappy with the current product for any reason (see “risk free” section below for refund policy), and you should decide on whether rFactor 2 is right for you during this period.”

    Also the mod manager is a first party built-in tool in the launcher for a standardized install method for mods and is very easy to use. Much better than having mods with their own installers that could break install.

    Also RealRoad works great on 3rd party tracks and there is no need to fiddle with HDR profiles anymore since a few months ago.

    Also there are orders of magnitude more than 3 people online in rF2.

    Also no consumer sim uses a standard Pacejka tire model, especially rFactor 2 which uses a thermomechanical physical tire model based on first principles.


    1. Another thing to add is that the rFactor 2 mod/package manager does all the dependency management for you and allows auto-downloading of mods during multiplayer.


      1. I’ll start bringing something constructive to the table when you stop posting your copy/paste crap.

        Dno about my VirtualR ban, what exactly is your point?

        I was enjoying it here until you came along and poluted my screen with the same old boring shit again Hexagramme.


      2. It’s funny how the obvious troll suddenly wants to be taken seriously. Nobody gives a fuck about your immature and failed attempts at bullying people into silence.

        It’s a damn joy to not have to read your BS on vR anymore. It leaves more room for constructive discussion.

        I’m very sorry you’re not enjoying it here anymore. If you don’t enjoy it here because someone doesn’t share your views, I say GTFO.


      3. You sound kinda mad boy. Calm down, it’s going to be allright. I’m sure one day you’ll be able to leave your mom’s basement and start a live beyond rf2.


      4. Also, i wouldn`t say my trolling failed. You were pretty quick to remove that picture of your shitty hobo style room with your “rig” from the isi forums and tried to take revenge by posting a picture of me here that wasn`t even me. Now that was a classical piece of failed trolling i`d say. Did i hurt your feelings somewhere? Awww…

        And without a moderator you`re quite the swearing type aren`t you Hex? Signs of you not being able to handle all the hate you`re getting on the internet? Are you crying yourself to sleep everynight? Or do you call your girlfriend Associat0r to talk about your feelings and how the world is against you?


    2. rfactor physics are fantastic, but I don’t like the feel when you drive. many of the tracks are very flat and does not contain many bumps and the immersion i feel from the cockpit view feels a bit dull and flat compared to Assetto Corsa. I also would like a better GUI and fonts. it looks like 1990. but that’s kind of just my opinion and is of course not to be considered by anybody else.


  2. @Fellow Anon.
    Don’t bother this guys finds negative things to say about a game. If it means something will get in the way James Ignores it.

    Here’s a novel Idea.
    Instead of just shitting on games, how about
    1.) Gather up a studio of members and You guys Develop one yourselves;
    Since nothing at all appeals to master james and his kingdom.
    2.) Try and find good points in games. While showing it’s downfalls as well.

    It’s easy to talk shit about any game you want.
    Seriously I can find over a hundred guys on YouTube do exactly what you are doing right now.
    Perhaps Hundreds more “Over Glorified Blogs” doing the same thing.


    1. I for one think this site is a welcome change from all the others that pretend everything is all perfect regarding certain games.


    2. “Mainstream sites, even within the greater driving game community, refuse to discuss some of the game’s shortcomings, and a launch party Kunos threw at Vallelunga featuring several gaming journalists guarantees that you won’t hear about what Assetto Corsa lacks anytime soon…”

      This right here is why I prefer this site over the others.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Are you really saying that anyone who attends official press releases is permanently corrupted as a journalist? What do you want studios to do, just post the news on facebook every time?


      2. Yep, me too.

        I always wondered how such of broken piece of shit racing game could score 10/10 and 9.5/10. I guess this answers that. Kunos and the 100+ journos doing a big circle jerk behind closed doors. Lovely, that’s how you fool users into the believing your game is the shit.


      3. Having worked some in media and having pretty much a whole family in media, I’ll say definitely, you aren’t going to step on toes and destroy your ‘meal ticket’.

        When I worked in that business, I could literally eat and drink for free, very well at that, 7 nights a week on promos, freebies, events, concerts, pro sports, premieres, etc. Add that up and see what it is in dollars vs. having to spend out of pocket from your salary. That includes our girlfriend/wife too. Do you think any journalist is going to fuck that up?

        So, whether it’s Slightly Major Shit or Assholio Corsa or whomever, if they are schmoozing journalists well, they are not going to get bad reviews. The ones who write bad reviews are not going to be on the ‘freebie’ list.


      4. You may work on media, but your thoughts are just about thinking mean of people, insulting them, offending them. Wow what a great journalist or marketing guy.


      5. Are you illiterate, 14 years old or both? Your reply almost makes no sense to what I said. I was stating a fact.

        Walter Cronkite was once quoted as saying the same thing I just said. He went on to say that as a young journalist starting out, he and his wife would never have gotten by if it weren’t for the freebies.

        Do you think it’s any different today? Where everything pretty much has a price and people would sell their soul for $0.50? It’s even more prevalent today. Whole elections and countries are bought by money and business, including the unregulated shitty computer/software industry is right up there.

        With all the bugs, problems, issues and overall behavior of people like numb nuts from SMS or Lord ‘Douche Wad’ Kunos, how the hell do you suppose these games got such high ratings? Paid shills. It’s blatantly obvious particularly when there are countless videos of bugs and problems so bad you cannot even play the game.

        I don’t agree with absolutely everything this site writes BUT when they post the straight up issues backed by screenshots, videos or whatever proof and you confirm it for yourself with your own research or reproducing those exact issues, then how do you rationalize anything else.

        The butthurt fanboyz and other low IQ trolls really need to dummy up. Because you drive 1/2 a lap in some shitty game and suddenly think it’s the greatest thing is BS. Try over 10,000 laps, hundreds of hours and real world experience as a reference.

        You may work on media, but your thoughts are just about thinking mean of people, insulting them, offending them. Wow what a great journalist or marketing guy.


      6. Whatever your ideals, moral, and ethics in journalism and media are for yourself, doesn’t bring with it the need to insult other people or companies. That has nothing to do with your cause or with your arguments.


      7. This will be the last thing I say to you. You are obviously the type who will reply with largely irrelevant, one or two sentence replies that have little or no substance. You seem exactly like the Hipster airhead type who will just argue for the sake of arguing whether you are right or wrong, or whether you have any facts, information, proof, or anything to substantiate your comments. The typical SJW I see at fucking Starbucks in their GAP clothes, Nike shoes, blogging on a fucking iPad.

        Go do another Bong hit kid. You speak like an absolute airhead.

        Is it my right or anyone’s right to be critical? When it comes down to companies being unethical in their business practices, flogging incomplete or broken products, bilking people for money then, just ignoring them, banning anyone who illustrates an obvious problem or flaw, censoring, removing evidence of those facts, bribery, collusion, fraud and ponzi schemes…

        Then YES! I and anyone has EVERY right to be harshly critical.


      8. You are being downright unethical for suggesting and actually stating Kunos is paying ign and eurogamer for their good reviews on the game. Did they also pay the userbase to rate them high on Steam reviews and Metacritic score?

        Being critical, giving your opinion, making a review doesn’t involve insulting people and companies.


      9. You really have to learn how to read what is written and then correctly interpret it.

        Let’s go way back to my first comment. I said, “…I worked in Media…”. I did not say I was a journalist. I am very familiar with the ‘Media’ business.

        Next, I never said Kunos is paying anyone. I said they are stroking people. i.e. Expensive dinners/galas/events or whatever it may have been or may be. These type of things ‘sway’ or buy people in a direction they may not necessarily have gone without some ‘help’.

        SMS, with evidence that was posted here and that can be found elsewhere, may actually be paying stooges to push up ratings and possibly for damage control.

        As for the user base on Steam, back to what I said earlier. A large number of those reviews are either by people who have only put in a few hours into AC, many of whom are driving with a game pad so they cannot possibly begin to evaluate the realism of the simulator element of the game. As well, many of those reviewing it have not even played it 100 hours so it’s less likely they’ve encountered the major issues. Finally, many of these reviews are by people who consider Need for Speed, pCARS and DiRT3 simulators.

        As for ign or any gaming magazine in print or online, I don’t believe much of anything they say just as it’s well known that ‘Consumer Reports’ is questionable on their ratings. Metacritic is just based on ALL the magazines getting schmoozed by all these companies. Some sap writing articles is getting 10+ games a week on his desk, has to review them all and have an objective article written? You are going to believe that writer/publication.

        With either of these review sites mentioned, particularly examine the reviews and ratings and you find that the newer reviews are now more often critical because users have had the time figure out or find the flaws.

        Finally, read the 2nd last paragraph of my last post. Next, try to actually absorb what is being said. When companies do one or more of those things listed, that is unequivocally AN INSULT to me or anyone purchasing their product! At that point, the gloves are off, especially with the behavior of the principle people of SMS, Kunos and iracing for that matter. Each one of them is guilty of hurling insults, censorship, harassment and a host of unethical behavior long before anyone called them names.

        Seriously, what kind of arrogant cunt has the nerve to call themselves ‘Lord’ anything?

        You are naive to the world. You have to a teenager at the most. It’s obvious. You debate/argue like my friend’s 17 year old. Anything more and that’s just frightening and sad all at once.


      10. actually I’m 16, 17, idk..

        But you’re full of preconceived ideas and stereotypes. Is quite senseless to argument with such type of “professional in media”. When you are that close minded and fixated on your ideas of what is happening versus what is really happening, and versus what is happening on a case by case, you’ll realize all your arguments are based on hatred, stereotypes, and your arguments already start with a conclusion as if it were a premise.


      11. You are actually the one full of some kind of preconceived something.

        My ideas, view, analysis, assessments and conclusions stem from 20+ years of day to day experience in the several professional areas I’ve worked in or still work in ranging from small business to large corporate.

        My arguments have nothing to do with hate. They have to do with a refusal to put up with lack of logic, reason, low IQ, rhetoric, as well as general stupidity or foolishness, lack of educated, critical thinking and entitlement.

        My arguments start with what is plausible and what I extensively research, learn hands on and confirm to be incredibly likely or the indisputable truth.


      12. when someone does a one way directional review of a game (in this case on the negative, basically saying the game is shit), and at the same time insults people and the company, that really speaks of your skewed perception.
        I don’t doubt there are paid reviews of games, which were supposed to be honest about the game, but other times people with skewed perception keep doubting everything and thinking everything is a conspiracy (in this case, video games media).

        So far you haven’t made an honest review of the game(s)/companies. You’re only focusing on the negatives and using them as exaggeration, and letting the hatred control your review and opinions.
        You’re about as bad as the articles who make game reviews only to say good, and sometimes too good; so in your case you only say bad and you try to make those points exaggerated and the central point of everything as if nothing else exists.


      13. Once again, you prove my point by your lack of observational and analytical ability. I did NOT write the article we are discussing nor do I write articles here. I was simply agreeing with a comment about media failing to address any shortcomings within the title in question and the ‘coincidence’ that Kunos had a media schmoozing party at Vallelunga.

        As for the people writing the articles, like I pointed out once already, I don’t always agree with them but they do a pretty good job of finding both the bad and the good almost at the irony of contradiction on occasion.

        Once in a while, I find they stretch a little for a story and it gets a bit ‘tabloid’ however, nobody is really throwing it all on the table as they do which is probably why most everyone doesn’t like them. People generally do not like to be shown the truth about anything. It’s easy to deceive people but it’s even harder to convince people they have been deceived.

        One person who should be given credit is Renato Simioni from Reiza. At least when he was called out on a potential issue, he handled himself professionally, came here, explained what his side of the story was and made his comments without name calling or having a tantrum like the SMS or Kunos folks. AFAIK, he is not banning people for having a voice on his RD forum either.

        As for you, well good luck in your idealistic, Utopian ideas and perceptions. Hopefully it doesn’t hurt too much when the real world slaps you in the face then kicks you in the nuts while you’re down. If you’re lucky, you’ll figure out how the world works sooner than later.


    3. Just because you can find many people doing the same thing as James does, does not make what he does intrinsically bad. I’d like you to explain your logic on that one.

      >I’d like to see you do better than these current developers have done!!!

      A) you are essentially saying that critique is wrong, an equivalent statement would be “You can’t be critical of an actor without being an actor yourself”, which is incredibly stupid.

      B) with the kind of money that has been and continues to be thrown at the likes of SMS in particular, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that he probably could do better given a similar budget and largely unquestioning fanbase.

      >t-try not to just shit on games, be positive pls James-kun!!!

      A) he listed pretty much all the positives of all the games, even the ones that don’t really deserve it due to the cynicism behind their release

      B) realistically there isn’t much to like about the current crop of games, which is kind of the whole point of the article.

      Addendum: would it really kill kunos to implement something as simple as a keyboard navigable UI, especially in-game? The current system is absolute trash, and you can’t even pause to switch apps on/off. It’s simple shit like this that can chip away at how much I’ll play a game, but maybe it’s just me.

      Keep up the good work James!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Project CARS – 80,000 WMD Members decided the game would be a heaping pile of shit.”

    It is buggy, yes, but it isn’t a pile of shit for sure.


    1. …kind of misses the first part of the thought. Context is everything 😀

      …as far as I am concerned: the wave of PCars fans drowning steam user2user forums of other titles in their hyping hot-vomit are thankfully over now. Yay! Now let’s see where the program finds it’s niche under it’s own power(…)


  4. The rFactor 2 launcher isn’t third party. Also it’s easy to use when installing mods, unless you’re a moron who can’t figure out what “install”, “uninstall” and “delete” means.


  5. “Waaah James said mean things about games he’s a hater and never has anything positive to say.”

    I’m sorry, guys, but it’s completely absurd that 15-20 years ago, games like GPL, F1 Grand Prix, and GTR2 were more feature-complete than modern games by modern teams.

    I get that we’ve got a different corporate environment. I get that we’ve got a different environment in the industry.

    But at the same time, we’ve come a million miles in terms of code optimization, in terms of workflow management, in terms of the money in the industry. We just saw $100,000 and still rising paid out to a team in Brazil, specializing in a no-name stock series and in serials-filed-off open wheelers, working on an engine that was ultimately written 10 years ago.

    The notion that somehow such things as day-night transitions, pit-stops, simple in-game championship points tallies, and multi-class racing are outside the bounds of reasonability is patently absurd.

    You can criticize me for saying so all you like, but in the end, each and everyone here knows that it’s inexcusable as anything other than “no worse than the current batch of competition.”

    If GTR2 came out again tomorrow, with an improved graphics engine, it would blow the competition so far out of the water as to be absurd.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. project cars is basically gtr2, it wasn’t the end of all sim racing games. Maybe if GP4 came out today, but with support for more types of cars, it could be a killer. But rf2 has those many features and support for different types of cars and still isn’t the dominant prefered choice for sim racing.

      Although I think this could work on AC. It already has community in numers and quality, so preparing the game for better enjoyment to casual and hardcore (league, mp) users, it could live up to its potential.


      1. The problems with Project CARS are twofold. First, the AI are slow. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very fast. A near-perfect lap for me is mid-pack, and I’m dominating the AI at the default 70% difficulty on pCARS. But I’ve seen people who I consider *somewhat* fast play the game and 100% AI is far too slow to provide any sort of challenge. I can’t say whether or not that’s true of GTR2 — the driving school “teacher” car is much slower than me in some corners and much faster in others, but that’s to be expected, since it’s designed to be beaten.

        The second problem is in the breadth of cars that they were able to get for pCARS. I can’t exactly blame them for it, but having Formula A as a spec series, only half of the GT3 field, less than that of the GT4/E crowd, only a handful of Touring Cars from any series at all, 3 LMP cars…

        Basically by spreading themselves so thin it quickly becomes apparent that outside of the ACTUAL spec Formula series (Rookie, Formula Gulf, FC/3, FB/GP2) and GT3, the selection of cars in any one series is limited at best.

        It also still lacks multi-class racing, which I thought was in GTR2 but I may have been wrong, since I don’t know where I thought I saw that idea, and I don’t see any Prototypes.


      2. Wow you cherry picked 2 fucking videos from the thousands? Good job Associator, I could do the same with rf2 and what does it prove? I’ll go as far as giving PCars credit for giving substantial updates, Kunos is working and releasing them all the time.


  6. Positives
    Iracing-The online multiplayer setup
    rFactor2-just raw physics
    AC-The best compromise of everything but serverly lacking in league functionality and AI
    PCARS-LOL at least htey ghave graphics

    Say James says nothing posiitive when he mentions all these key points…… Classic

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He needs to kill himself because he’s writing a blog offering his subjective opinion on racing sim titles? Kay.

      AC has been protected from criticism for far too long. Fanboys and journalists alike have been blinded by the glossy graphics. It’s time to call a spade a spade and discuss what AC actually is.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What the fuck are you talking about? AC has received nothing but criticism from every angle before the tech preview even came out. Why because IGN Italia likes an Italian developer it’s across the board shilling?

        Want to discuss what AC actually is? In James and Sev’s own fucking words the best driving experience available with the best physics. Not quoted exactly but I do recall Sev in a Q&A saying it is the best sim and the closest to sitting in a real car.


      2. A game, it`s a game. One that some people enjoy, and other don`t. Just like the rest of the games out there. Yes, the ones you`re pretending you`re driving a car with your plastic toy wheel. Get over it.


  7. James could you give the links to those videos from the RD article you posted in late 2013? Webarchive doesn’t seem to store videos, or maybe that article is still there on RD’s live website..?


  8. This is of course, unfortunate, as nobody has tried to copy iRacing’s successful online interface, which places you into a field of drivers sharing a similar skill set, and schedules each race to start at a specific time, allowing for huge fields only the most prestigious online leagues in ISI based sims can compare with.

    Forza Motorsport 6 is going to be trying something like this with its Forz Race Leagues feature. Drivers are matches based on their skill and temperament, with events taking place at set times each day.

    Who knows if it’ll work but if it does it’ll be a great addition to the series.


    1. Too bad Micro$hit is too stubborn to put the Forza series on the PC, they would easily gain 30% extra sales from all those people who don’t own an XBone


      1. Actually, if they are going to consider it, this version or the next is when they would probably do it. MS has been making some surprising moves with xbox integration, so maybe we will see something.

        It really is odd how they segment forza from their own PC os.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. This piece is spot on and I would go on to say that it goes beyond 600 days and is IMO is close to 6000 days! After all we had in 1998 Grand Prix Legends, five years later: NASCAR Racing 2003 and in 2006 GTR2 – three great sims which raised the bar in simming but almost a decade since GTR2 the only thing that has really improved with current ‘games’ are the graphics – but physics,immersion, ease of use, fun factor, community etc – has simply got worse.
    Imagine a re-release of the three above-mentioned sims updated by using today’s graphics technology…


    1. Why haven’t the developers from those older sims delivered the same or better? Why all the blame goes to the newer sim developers..
      People talk about GPL, GP4, Nascar, GTR2, and what did you get nowadays from them? Iracing, project cars/raceroom, and nothing from Geoff’s gp4 game.
      ISI mostly continued the same game model but with further developed tech. Kunos was also focusing more on developing their tech, and are now probably more committed to develop the racing aspect. Reiza is also working to give a new life to their game..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Why haven’t the developers from those older sims delivered the same or better? Why all the blame goes to the newer sim developers..
        People talk about GPL, GP4, Nascar, GTR2, and what did you get nowadays from them? ”

        Exactly – they dropped the ball and no one has really picked it up…


  10. I don’t want to defend Kunos, because AC is missing a lot of things from a competiton standpoint (i.e. the offline and online racing features) that should be there, and it seems like a silly oversight to design an engine without support for multiple light sources, but I’d much rather sims stop including rain as a feature unless they’re going to make some attempt at modelling it right. And so far, I’ve never seen a sim that actually modelled the real effects that a wet surface has on the optimal line through a corner. In every sim, even GP4 which has the best dynamic weather ever, racing in the rain just means driving the same optimal dry line with less grip. Which is beyond silly.


  11. This comment thread.
    Oh boy.

    Also when Papyrus Dropped the ball on Nascar. Iracing Owns the code.
    So a good Nascar Game has to be made from scratch since you can’t really pick up the ball because that ball is copyrighted by Irenting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is it just required that when you make a comment on a sim racing article that you have no clue what you are talking about? Pappy is iRacing. They didn’t drop the ball or anything like that, they became iRacing.


  12. IMO ideal racing sim today would combine the best of:

    Multiplayer and racing/licence system – iRacing
    Physics – Assetto
    AI – Game Stock Car
    Sounds – Game Stock Car
    Setup management – rFactor2
    Day/Night/Rain – pCars
    Graphics – Raceroom or pCars


  13. “night races, as well as rain races, features seen in NASCAR 99 on the original Playstation and GTR 2 on the PC, were confirmed to be left out until Assetto Corsa 2 – a game that isn’t coming for at least five years.”

    Could you stop spouting bullshit for just a second? Neither night or rain are confirmed to be left out of AC. Granted night racing is very unlikely given the lighting engine, but Stefano has reiterated that he loves racing in the rain and enjoyed implementing it in NetKar Pro. He’s also stated that the company has zero long term plans and aren’t even thinking about AC2 yet, so saying anything has been “confirmed to be left out until Assetto Corsa 2” is an outright falsehood. You are becoming worse than Kotaku.


    1. It’s a known insider-rumour that AC is only shelling out a console-port so they can fund themselves to make AC2. However, development hasn’t started yet on AC2, so the 5 year timeline is about right.


      1. That’s a pretty natural rumor to develop, though. AC is been around for a while now so everyone kind of expects to start hearing about AC2. Note how quickly SMS announced their next version and kind of got away with it.

        However, I’m sure Kunos have discussed AC2 internally and probably have some sort of plan. From their perspective, it’s a good idea to not talk about ac2, either way.


  14. A pretty decent summary overall besides the ‘AC2’ stuff. Kunos has never talked of ‘AC2’ outside of the context of AC1 needing further work so there’s no reason to talk of AC2 afaik

    Also, kunos has rolled out at least 5 patches since 1.2. They have all been small and are probably just hotfixes, but they are certainly active.


  15. It is interesting that two games with less innovation physics-wise, Game Stock Car and R3E, seem to be doing better. GSC is praised all-around and I am really into R3E’s time attack competition system and its Virtual DTM championship. Neigther of these two is crippled in any way (even if the pricing model in R3E is subject to critique and debate). So my question is: how hard is it to bring above mentioned innovations in the genre? Why are rain and night racing harder to implement today? Nkp had a cripping bug in a build that made rain races impossible on some systems (the game kept losing performance each lap) and pcars had framerate issues with rain. rFactor 2 seems to have no problem with these. It’s clear that funding is a problem, as everyone wants us to pay while they are developing, but how big an issue is this and at what cost do these features come? I’m puzzled.


    1. Simulating rain is really really hard. I mean really really hard. As in, the best wet weather system we’ve seen was in Grand Prix 4, and the weather still had basically no effect on the fastest line, it just changed the grip depending on the tire and surface characteristics. In order to do it properly, you not only need a “live track” system like rFactor 2, you have to take into account things like the ideal line actually having less grip when the track is wet, meaning you have to alter your line so you spend as little time on the normal dry line as possible. There’s also the fun of standing water and hydroplaning. And all of this has to take into account changing conditions, a drying line, different conditions at different parts of the track, the way the slip characteristics of different compounds and tread patterns change depending on the condition of the track surface, the way the tire temperatures are affected by the amount of water on the track, etc etc.

      Consider the difficulty most developers have in simply modelling a car driving over dry tarmac, and then add in all of the permutations required to properly model wet weather, and you’ve got problems. Or you can go the ISI or SMS route and make everything look shitty while lowering the track grip so the fanboys can tick off another box on the feature list.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This is exactly why I have all of the mentioned sims and more, they are all lacking something.
    I wish this wasn’t the case, I didn’t intend to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on several sims after over a grand on sim peripherals and over a grand on a pc to play them on.
    But look at this article, it’s pretty spot on.
    I love RF2 the most but it is lacking mods, content, online activity and graphics.
    AC is my hotlap/drift simulator, R3E for immersive sounds, iRacing for multiplayer, GSCE for close offline racing (as RF2) and so on.
    pCars.. well it’s just sitting there as I hope the physics and FFB improve.

    You know how many times I imagine these teams would come together and receive a substantial amount of funding to make something well-rounded from the best of each sim, knowing it’s just a dream.. god damn.
    I only get on the real track once a month at most, so sims are very important to me. One day..


  17. On the positive side, there is certainly a lot of passion for sim racing.

    On the negative side, the internet makes people mean (or, probably more unfortunately realistic, people *are* mean – the internet just provides a consequence free environment to turn it loose!)


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