With the entry list approaching a whopping 90 participants as the second season is set to begin this Saturday afternoon, 4Chan’s GT3 league is possibly the greatest online racing series you’ve never heard of. Featuring a relaxed atmosphere and several prominent drivers that form a USFL-like starting grid, the site that brought you NFL stadium bomb threats, bank robbers, and surprise birthday parties have demonstrated on numerous occasions that there’s nothing they love more than Neo-Nazi’s and European Sports Car Racing.
And somehow, they managed to mess it all up with mere days before the first race of the season at Watkins Glen.
Over the summer, a group of guys from 4Chan made headlines here for embarrassing a legitimate sim racing modding team. The European Endurance Center was hard at work converting their massive modern GT3 mod to Reiza’s Game Stock Car Extreme, and ran into several roadblocks that delayed the mod for an indefinite amount of time. A handful of people from 4Chan managed to get access to the most recent beta build of the EEC GT3 mod, fixed all issues that stumped the EEC mod team, injected real life GT3 data from a variety of teams to make the cars handle more realistically, and then optimized the mod for league capabilities. The European Endurance Center guys were so devastated, they outright cancelled their version of the mod, and then tried to claim 4Chan “stole their work” – even after it was revealed that most of the car models the EEC team used were illegally ripped from Shift 2 Unleashed and Real Racing 3.
4Chan members ignored the drama over “stolen” mods, and those overseeing the series promised that unlike previous outings hosted by volunteers, this season of the GT3 series would be taken much more seriously; proper penalties would be handed out, there would be a much greater emphasis on clean driving, and the competitive environment would be looked after more thoroughly. Instead of a small group of talented drivers weaving through dangerous backmarkers, 4Chan as a whole were striving for a genuine organized online league format this time around.
The group pressed right on ahead with Season 2 of their GT3 league, releasing a few updates that adequately balanced all of the available cars while retaining all of their individual characteristics, and held numerous test races to sort out the remaining bugs. Myself, Sev, and Maple all participated in one of the test races held at Interlagos, and the event was fantastic.
The cars handled as if someone tried to make the 2014 ADAC GT3 cars from RaceRoom Racing Experience within Game Stock Car Extreme, the racing was clean, the server performed smoothly, and no one car was dominant. I ran the test race in the BMW Alpina B6, and the car definitely displayed all of the characteristics I’d expect from an outdated GT3 car. The only reason I won the race was because the leader in his Callaway Corvette didn’t conserve his tires properly, and I slowly reeled him in about half an hour into the event. There was every indication we were ready to begin the season.
First, concerns were made about some of the people working on the mod. One of the administration members was a driver who had been banned the previous season for reckless driving, and it reflected poorly on any decisions the administrators made. How could you trust a guy who’d been banned for reckless driving and was generally unable to run at a competitive pace to ensure the mod was of a decent quality?
Second, the schedule was still largely open to interpretation. There are apparently two very good versions of Watkins Glen available for Stock Car Extreme, and the exact version we’d be running wasn’t decided on until earlier today, even though the tentative schedule had been announced over two weeks ago. This left people confused as to which track they should be practicing on.
Third, the lack of a finalized schedule also meant no legitimate practice server had been put up yet – which has been the 4Chan standard for several seasons now. While the 4Chan server was indeed running the GT3 mod, it had been set on a rotation of tracks that don’t appear on the schedule, meaning testing and setup building was a complete waste of time. This was justified by administration and others by saying the server would go up for practicing once the final revision to the mod’s physics were made, and not to worry about it in the first place since it’s not a very serious league – even though as you’ll see in screencaps, that was the intention..
Fourth, when the update finally dropped, it was two days before the start of the season and introduced numerous problems. While the fast drivers would be able to adapt to the drastically different cars, the league is intended for drivers of all skill levels, a large majority of which drive with Xbox 360 controllers and genuinely need more than two days worth of practice given the length of the races and the fact that the game isn’t Forza – especially now that the series would have proper stewards for the first time who policed on-track activity.And practice would be needed; despite administration claiming the cars drove nearly identical and people wouldn’t notice the difference…
And this was reinforced by virtually everybody. Keep in mind, there wasn’t actually a need for this unnecessary BoP update – the test races went extremely well and didn’t indicate there was a need for further performance balancing.
I think this whole mess is really unfortunate. 4Chan blew the doors off of a legitimate mod team and accidentally refined what’s possibly the greatest GT3 mod available for Game Stock Car Extreme, and for reasons that still haven’t been explained, went ahead and broke it for no justifiable reason. Keep in mind, we were ready to race and eagerly anticipating the practice server to go up. There was no purpose for a complete overhaul in how the tires and aerodynamics behaved which fundamentally changed how the cars drive, two days before the drop of the first green flag and after several highly competitive test races where there were no tangible balance issues between each car.
Is this karma? Probably. I’m sure the EEC boys will be mighty pleased to see 4Chan struggling, one way or another.