Reader Submission #42 – What’s with the PC Sim Racer elitism?

We’ve received a handful of fantastic Reader Submissions from Ruben Galvez Lopez, and today’s is no exception. Drawing attention to the disastrous yet populated environment of console racing games compared to the ghost towns of modern racing sims, Lopez wishes both sides of the spectrum could unite as one so we could see a resurgence in the popularity of racing games.


Race_Steam 2014-12-10 22-37-37-25It’s not uncommon seeing the sim racing community being condescending towards console users, and sometimes even towards sims that dare trying to make a move into the console market. I’m sure you’ve heard stuff like:

  • It’s not a sim anymore!
  • It’s dumbed down to cater to console users!

What’s even worse is that the lack of options we’ve had for years make me assume this feeling is shared by people inside the industry itself. No one has released serious racing games for consoles, and the only explanation I can think of is that they thought it wouldn’t sell.

Let me get this straight – I’m perfectly aware of some of the old negative stereotypes rehashed all over the place about console players. I think it was you yourself that illustrated the skill level you’re likely to find on console driving games with this hilarious video:

I can’t disagree. Public races are a fucking jungle. The average console player is probably way worse than the average PC racer, and the number of crashing kiddies reduce your chances of a smooth pickup and play race to nearly nothing. But that does not mean by any means that everyone in the world of console driving games is a moron, and that you simply can’t race competitively on consoles. Let me illustrate my point with a video:

These guys you’re seeing trading paint safely in a big pack and having intense battles all over the race track with no hint of drama are just a bunch of guys that got together two years ago playing Grand Theft Auto V. Yeah, you read that right, Grand Theft Auto. I think it goes to show that there are plenty of competent drivers out there just waiting to be lured into sim racing. And the community would only benefit if they got involved.

I think the condescending attitude I described before is poisonous. One of the main problems about sim racing is the small player base and the lack of activity. I’ve read here on PRC.net about killer sims being a fucking desert when you try to get a race going, and how people contribute to crowdfunding campaigns for games nobody actually races! I’ve also read another Reader Submission where someone wondered if sim racing could ever become an e-sport. We all would love being able to pick and play our favorite software with a bunch of guys that know what they’re doing, and we would love if racing pretend cars on a television was far more popular. Think about it: more popularity, bigger userbase, more developers trying to nail it, better sims as a result… sounds good doesn’t it?

So why be hostile towards a potential huge source of players to increase the userbase? I just don’t get it.

Console releases shouldn’t be perceived as a threat to the genre’s purity, but as an opportunity to grow. A LOT. We just need something serious to be released in good condition, and I’m sure a lot of new people will jump on the bandwagon; hopefully they’ll fasten their seatbelts and keep their arms inside the vehicle.

The anticipation for Project CARS was immense for thousands of people that were tired of Gran Turismo, Forza, or Codemasters F1 games… or even Grand Theft Auto! The sale figures were damn good for a kind of game that no one dared to release because they thought it could not sell well. The problem is, Project CARS was fucking broken. If your first attempt to get into something happens in such a shitty environment, you’re not likely to give it another go. Now we know Assetto Corsa is also coming to consoles, and there are fears it will arrive short of key functionality like proper support for online racing.  

If, after a broken game, the next title we get is a hotlapping simulator that drives well but does nothing else, a huge opportunity will be wasted to lure players. So all I can say to end the submission is:

Please, Kunos, get it right!  


acs 2014-05-11 01-22-26-08Hmm, a bunch of stuff to comment on, and a lot of what I say will probably provoke the Kunos fanboys, so dig out that box of popcorn!

First, sometimes the condescending comments towards console players and the games they play have a bit of merit. Look, there’s some shit you can do in Forza and Gran Turismo that would put your life at risk if you tried it in a real car. I remember hotlapping in Forza 4 with the Mazda 787B, and being able to rapidly tap the handbrake at Sebring to rotate the rear end of the car. I’m pretty sure Group C Prototypes don’t have handbrakes. In Gran Turismo, the racing compound tires allowed me to smash the real life track record at Bathurst in a Ford Falcon from fifteen years ago. I love shit like Hot Wheels Turbo Racing and Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2, but if you’re going to put The Real Driving Simulator on the box, back it up, because there’s only one group of people who care.

These games have traditionally not sold anywhere near as well as Madden or Call of Duty, and are played exclusively by die-hard car guys. You know your target audience won’t just play the game for an hour or two; they’ll scrutinize every last detail. When your audience is that dedicated by default, it’s important to get every last detail as right as possible. Cutting corners and dumbing down game elements doesn’t benefit the average gamer, because the average gamer doesn’t play racing sims.

This is something MakCorp, a multi-platform sim modding team, touched on a bit when talking about Assetto Corsa a few months ago. Ultimately, there are a ton of teams using rFactor not just to familiarize them with track layouts, but to genuinely prepare for a race weekend.

mk

This $30 game that virtually everyone pirates nowadays is now on-par with RacePak and Motec in terms of data analysis. PC sim guys get pissed when racing sims are dumbed down on consoles because console games are typically created by developer teams with a much higher budget, a significantly larger amount of resources, and could blow away what these now ancient sims were able to achieve a decade ago and then proceed to make a firm decision not to.

Second, I think it might have been one of the FSR guys that told me how a large percentage of the current FSR field got their start in competitive online racing through RaceDepartment’s F1 2010 league. We might not need a killer sim app on consoles, because those who want a hardcore racing experience migrate to the hardcore games naturally. Even myself, I remember racing F1 2011 with my buddy down the street over Xbox Live, and getting wrecked out of a race at Valencia by some shitter who couldn’t keep the car facing forward. I signed off, figured out how to apply for a credit card, and three weeks later signed up for iRacing.

Is there any one main reason the majority of public lobbies on consoles are shitfests? I don’t think so, but at the end of the day, driving cars at speed is a skill, and there’s a reason most civilized countries have you take a rigorous course before you’re allowed to pilot a vehicle by yourself on city streets – this shit can get out of hand in a hurry. Clean racing on any platform is the result of like-minded people getting together and making a group effort to get better at the game.

IMG0002Third, sim racing’s lack of activity is primarily the result of online communities. Now I have just as much fun maintaining this site with my old roommate and a guy from Germany as I do actually playing the damn games we talk about, but you have to remember, for every minute I’m on here editing articles or thinking of new shit to write about, that’s one less minute I’m in a lobby actually racing. All ~50 people currently reading r/SimRacing means there are 50 less people to populate a server in Stock Car Extreme. All 400+ people online browsing the forums at RaceDepartment and bickering with each other means there are 400 less people on Assetto Corsa. And of course, there’s the heavy hitters – all 800 people reading the iRacing forums means there are 800 less people practicing or racing an official session; all 90 people complaining that a new patch broke Project CARS again results in 90 less people jumping in online lobbies they find exciting.

RRRE 2015-05-31 17-02-05-58Fourth, Assetto Corsa is going to be a hotlap simulator when it comes out next year. Sorry to burst your bubble. I’ve heard this from a variety of sources – some with beta access, some not with beta access, it’s all the same conclusion. 505 Games want to establish the Assetto Corsa brand when the game drops for the PS4 and Xbox One, basically hoping early adopters will be happy with the finished product and vocally praise what the game does right, as well as securing funds for the sequel through the resulting sales. It’ll have more cars and tracks than the current list of content available, that’s for sure, but there isn’t a whole lot more they plan to pump into the game between now and launch day in terms of functionality. Mainstream sites will praise the driving physics, but final scores will inevitably suffer, and the various journalists will find numerous ways to say “there isn’t much to do.”

Your best bet for a good console racing sim is praying Forza Motorsport 6 doesn’t suck, as you really can’t argue against 450+ cars and an impressive track list that covers all bases quite well. I’m still curious as to why they’ve got Daytona on the roster yet no American Stock Cars, but there are tons of PC sim guys that got into this shit through the first few Forza games, and now it looks like Forza’s got some hair on its chest…

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46 thoughts on “Reader Submission #42 – What’s with the PC Sim Racer elitism?

  1. Top kek, another “user submission” that takes a shit on AC and claims to know inside information about console being a cash grab. We all know it is, however the dev’s explicitly stated they were approached regarding console and given money to do it. The game is also not going to be dumbed down. Aris’ words directly.

    This nonsensical rambling really is pathetic. Get a girlfriend or a life.

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      1. Assetto Corsa physics are a joke http://www.assettocorsa.net/forum/index.php?threads/game-stock-car.22692/page-8#post-436917

        “””AC physics feel incomplete when compared to GSCE or RF2.”””

        “””FFB on AC gives way too much informations, that’s why the majority think “it feels better” or even worse “it has better physics”.

        When you enter real data to RF2, it works like real life to some extent, it’s not the case for AC, you always have to use workarounds and substitute models :)”””

        “””That is perfectly understandable, I’m just trying to make a bit of justice when people says that rF engine is dated, or inferior, etc without any solid facts other than their “feel”. But as gamers, we play whatever we enjoy the most, that’s clear.”””

        “””Feel is something that can be fooled easily, numbers not so much :D”””

        “””Ofcourse, because most of your mods are within kunos stiffness limits … try to do some modern f1 with ULTRA stiff heave springs (400 N/mm +) and come back to me, i will show you a nice workaround 🙂

        And i will say it honestly, tyre model is weak and is very limited … and you used P4/5 tyres on your oreca, why havent you used your real life data then ?

        The first workaround any modder in AC meets in BrakingTorque : you always have to reduce it because there is no thermal simulation that changesfriction coefficient and so on …”””

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    1. Nobody is saying the game is going to be dumbed down. What they’re saying is that the game lacks features and things to do in general. Things that console players are accustomed to having. Unless Kunos turns into miracle workers, AC is going to be a very underwhelming console game. It’ll be just as it is now. A sim with very good physics for driving around a track, but not much else.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s another of those ‘natural’ rumors, too. It’s the sort of behavior people have come to expect from developers, so saying the same thing will happen with AC is the easy ‘safe’ call.

      The possibility of a developer not really working on their product for a year isn’t much of a revelation.

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  2. This is becoming so pathetic. Those rf2 fanatics are so feared against Assetto Corsa. No one in the world would bother to shit so much on a game if it was that bad and unrealistic. Normal people would ignore such game, like I do with many other racing games.

    The fact that they are almost every day having something against, shows lack of confidence in their preferred game, and fear of AC’s current and future potential.

    They spend more time talking bad about AC than playing their preferred game, which we can question; is rf2 their preferred game? Or they spend more time with AC because they don’t like rf2 either? So much obsession against assetto corsa, a normal person wouldn’t spend so much time with something so unrealistic right? They spend more time with this “unrealistic” game they shit on, instead of playing their super duper realistic game. Top lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do we really need every article ending in fanboy wars in the comments section? The article is interesting, and I think the point James makes about how console dev teams COULD create awesome games but DECIDE not too is the center of the whole problem.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Is there any way of introducing a system where you can’t post a comment unless you log in or something. Reading comments is frustrating when most of the time its just people saying so and so has posted under anonymous.

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    1. wow Sam Smith.

      But what login system? People can also create new accounts or post anonymously on disqus. Is easy to identify them, but not for new people to simracing discussion boards they will take it for granted.

      Like James took for granted what Makcorp said about AC. Yet James likes a lot how AC drives and is simulated, so is weird why he quotes mak that ac is not of simulation value, yet James in several articles/posts praised the simulation value of AC.

      If ac is of no simulation value and is like forza5, then rf2 is the same shit; according to the video below.

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      1. The thing with AC is, in terms of pure physics simulation it is way off realism, but in terms of driving feel, and comparing it to how cars drive in real life, it is extremely accurate, also thanks to its superb FFB. What MAKCorp is trying to say that eventho AC drives nice, it is of no value to race teams because of its not-so-superb underlying physics. AC doesn’t properly simulate aerodynamics, it doesn’t properly simulate tires and it doesn’t even simulate brakes, whereas rF1 and rF2 do all of those things correctly.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. >Ze Bad Driver repeating shit that was already debunked

        It’s great how spamming “AC DON’T AERO” has totally drowned out the fact the guy was mistaken and another member of the same mod team told him it’s done in engine instead of individual car files. That said it doesn’t do it perfectly but if you think rF2 or iRacing or anything does you’re fucking insane. Barring certain blowover studies for specific cars the data doesn’t even exist for high yaw angles, but none of them have blowovers anyways because the shitty crash physics already launch cars 20m in the air as it is. iRacing just put their budget to some sort of use and bought into CFD a couple months ago.

        What makes MAK Corp’s claims particularly absurd is that Kunos’ software is used professionally in a bunch of places. They have a vested interest in keeping people on a platform they know well. (inb4 the Ferrari switched to rFactor Pro meme, because F1 teams totally use rF Pro for standard consumer gMotor physics)

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      3. The tires definitely don’t have enough documentation to guarantee a 1 to 1 with reality translation of measured values for your average modder. But that’s pretty much par for the course; older pacejka sims are completely opaque (dozens of coefficients just named a1, a2, a3, … – you can get real data for these, but only if you are an insider at Pirelli or something) and things like PCars & RF2’s brush model are not even aiming to be realistic (protip: a rubber tire is not a bristled hairbrush) so the variables can’t have real-world names either – you just tune them up or down until the output grip looks plausible.

        Everything other than tires I’ve touched in AC, if you put in the real-world value, you get the real-world result. The problems are as usual for any sim, translating your measurements. eg. a reciprocating damper dyno for in/sec. vs. force doesn’t cross through 0 velocity 0 force, and doesn’t actually show the N/mm/s you want, and needs to be scaled through a motion ratio. If you get any of those steps wrong, you’re not really putting in the real-world value.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You guys are literally the dumbest retards I have ever seen. I never said I hate AC, neither did I say AC doesn’t do aero at all. I just said that for example rF2 DOES IT BETTER YOU DUMB FUCKING SHITHEADS. I also said that AC HANDLES THE MOST REALISTIC DESPITE ITS NOT-SO-ACCURATE PHYSICS you mongrels.
        Also yes, professional F1 or factory teams like the Audi and Porsche LMP1 teams use fucking rFactor Pro. How do I know? I’ve worked with the guy who “built” Porsche’s LMP1 simulator together in Formula Student, and after he graduated he went to Porsche.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Who are you Sev? I mean, what’s your role in sim racing/real life motorsport. You have any website, personal blog, you’re part of some motorsport projects? You are making many affirmations about this and that game, but what’s your background in the motorsport/car dynamics scene?

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    2. The race teams will put their own car physics and aero data, in every physics engine. AC simulates the aero dynamics, but in several cars they don’t use the complete aero values because they don’t have access to it, so they don’t know exactly what happens with the car in certain air moments, therefore they will use aero values until a certain point, just where it matters on driving the car on track.

      But AC, rF2, GSCE, iracing, etc, they all need to create their own data based on analysis and concepts. There is a plethora of data that isn’t shared by car manufacturers/race teams, so what are the devs supposed to do? They will do their best.

      No sim racing game simulates entirely how race cars/F1 cars behaves, because they don’t have the complete data for several parts. No F1 car in any sim is as accurate or as well simulated as a car manufacturer/race team is capable of doing with their car, compared to a sim racing dev.

      You are saying the driving feel is great in AC and that is like a real car, but the physics are of no simulation value. That’s so lame and contradictory to say. They why haven’t other simcade games replicated so well the driving feel of every car like AC did? Maybe because those simcade games don’t have as detailed and directly simulated game engine and car physics as Assetto Corsa does.

      There isn’t an exact science on tire model. You can go to Ferrari, Mclaren, Corvette, Pagani, Renault, Toyota and ask each one of them to make their tire model. You will have 5 different tire models. That’s the same thing with sim racing games.

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      1. I know for a fact that Porsche’s LMP1 simulator (which uses rFactor Pro) is accurate up to a second per lap at Le Mans with their real world test data.

        About AC: Because other games simply don’t put much effort into their handling physics? Most games don’t want a realistic driving model, they want a fun and easy-to-drive handling model for the casuals that buy their game (which is usually 90% of their userbase). Or they are incompetent like Slightly Mad Studios.

        I can go to Ferrari, McLaren and Renault and they all will have the same fucking tire model, because they get their data from Pirelli. Just like them, Corvette and Toyota will have the same tire “model” because they both use Michelin tires, even if they drive in different classes.

        Neither did I say that any game simulates anything perfectly, I just said that some games do some stuff BETTER than others.

        Stop trying to read shit into my words and interpret them the way you think I meant it. I write shit like I mean it, and if I say “rF2 simulates aero better than AC” I mean BETTER, not “rf2 does it perfectly”.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And how you compared real life vs rf2 vs ac to see how each does and how much better? Which cars have you measured between these games and what were the results? Wtf are those empty statements like “.. this game simulates better than this game”. That’s just empty and subjective. Where is some data analysis, some evidence. Something that we can all discuss and not just everyone giving their subjective opinion.

        Why you don’t make an article with all that and try to prove between games and real life, or just games according to real life, what, how, and who does it better. Then people with more technical knowledge on this subject, can possibly reply back and discuss this in a logical way.

        Simracing discussions so far are full of subjective and empty statements.

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    3. Forcing people to sign up would be the death of the site. Allowing anonymous comments exposes blatant shills, haters, autists, and fanboys. You want a clean comments system? Go to VirtualpCars.

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      1. As a middle ground: Require everyone to use a username and show trip/IDs next to the username, similar to what /biz/ and /pol/ do (as well as 2ch), if possible.

        Also maybe the “ability” to sage your comments. I always put sage in the website field (not email, so that people can proof that the post is being saged).

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  5. Cross-platform MP would be great for AC. Already been done with existing ps4/PC releases.

    I don’t expect to see it though, as AI work will be seen as more pressing.

    Also, I believe I read that the forza demo is out, so someone with an xbox one should be able to provide some reports by now.

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      1. Thanks for the link!

        I’ll be honest, I don’t historically have a great deal of respect for their opinion. Far too many times, I’ve seen them gloss over obvious problems in numerous titles.

        That said, there’s not really anything else to go on for now, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

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      2. i didn’t watch their channel before, even thought I had it subscribed. But recently they improved the content entertainment and there isn’t anything that I strongly disagree. I think since Darin got a new person for the channel, it improved their content.

        I started rewatching their channel after the video of Darin going to E3 2015 and doing a preview of AC on consoles. Then his videos started going well, and later on he added a new person, John it’s his name I think.

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      3. Just watched them race the golf. Darin was way off line (as usual) but they have a ton of coverage and made good points. It does seem like they have improved their show.

        I must say, in terms of rendering consistency, forza looks vastly better than pcars. Much cleaner in motion, better trackside detail and the interiors actually use non-diffuse maps correctly.

        As they said in the video, it’s nice to see a track re-created without a bunch of trash and advertisements thrown around all over the place. Looks a bit more serious than the previous forzas, hopefully it also drives that way.

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    1. Unless the console mfrs. have specific requirements for MP that aren’t worth porting to PC (which they very well may, since they both run pay-to-play-online systems), I’d expect cross-platform to be the default because that way Kunos only has to maintain the 2 server exes for Windows/Linux.

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      1. hmm, that’s an interesting point. I’m not sure how the pay-to-play system ties in with free PC multiplayer. I wonder if Gaijin (for example) has to pay some sort of fee to sony for cross-platform?

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  6. So James, care to tell us how many unique IPs are spamming comments verbatim on any slightly AC-related article?

    No?

    Looks like an absolute maximum of 3 people who retain a folder of anti-AC information and unverified personal opinions.

    Not a one of them posted any unique content on this article. That’s simply troll spam and you know it.

    Like

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