Throughout July of 2015, South American game developer Reiza Studios held a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo in an effort to help afford the development costs of producing more post release DLC for Game Stock Car Extreme. While the game was considered released and on the market for an affordable $30, a major downfall of the Brazilian racing sim was exactly that; the lack of any recognizable content.
Centered around Stock Car Brasil and the various amateur support series, those who had braved the unfamiliar tracks and heavy duty DTM-like cars genuinely enjoyed what the game had to offer, but many wished for Reiza to include more recognizable cars and tracks within their sim. The technical wizardry Reiza showcased within GSCX breathed new life into the aging isiMotor engine and supercharged the imaginations of sim racers everywhere – “if only Reiza could try their hand at this car” – they thought. The crowdfunding campaign essentially answered everybody’s prayers; the dev team just needed a bit of their cash to make it happen.
The result? More than 1,200 people collectively threw $104,000 at Reiza Studios. That’s a lot of money. On average, each person donated roughly $87 to Reiza Studios, triple the cost of what the actual game costs. Damn son, y’all must love this game, I can’t wait to race with y’all online!
Headlining the DLC financed from this crowdfunding campaign was the 2014 Holden Commodore as seen in the Australian V8 Supercars series. There has been no licensed racing sim featuring Australia’s premier auto racing championship since ToCA Race Driver 3 in 2006, and most people have mixed opinions on the various third rFactor mods that depict the series. This is unfortunate, as V8 Supercars are generally regarded to be one of the most exciting professional motorsports series in the world – saloon sedans with far too much horsepower approaching speeds of 300km/h, and far too little stability for their own good – and there was no way to race an accurate version in a racing sim.
Reiza’s crowdfunded DLC promised to solve that, and people were hyped as fuck, cheering on the team every step of the way on numerous message boards and news outlets. In fact, despite the game costing a meager $30, Reiza revealed that those who had purchased the Level 5 contribution package and upwards – a payment of no less than $75, more than double the amount of the cost of the game – would receive beta access to the 2014 Holden Commodore.
I’ll spell it out for you in case you’re lost: These people paid over double the amount of the actual game, just to drive a car that everybody else would have for free a few weeks later. And of course, we got a few videos from reputable sources within the sim racing community telling us how awesome it is and that everybody would love it.
Then, the rest of us got our hands on it.
Since their inception in the late 1990’s, V8 Supercars have traditionally been unstable land yachts with 650 Horsepower. This is why the series naturally creates an insane spectacle each and every weekend of the season – the drivers are not only fighting each other for position, but fighting the car to keep it pointed in the right direction. It’s a very hard car to drive, but very rewarding when you get it right. The version Reiza released for Game Stock Car Extreme remained faithful to these characteristics, but this created a rather hilarious issue mere minutes into the first public lobbies opening.
Not everybody had the talent to drive the car some shelled out $75 for.
My first experience with the car was in a public session at Montreal, a flat city circuit currently on the Formula One schedule that does an 650 Horsepower land yacht no favors. People were constantly spinning as if they’d never even seen footage of these cars on YouTube, smashing into every concrete wall possible as the rear tires frequently wandered out from under them. Most quit during practice or qualifying in a fit of rage, unable to complete a single lap, with the 20 or so people who stuck around for the start of the race eventually DNFing due to damage from self-spins. When my tires finally gave out and I pounded the wall hard enough to end my day, I retired for a third place finish. I was leading at the time.
Another website had an eternal practice server at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, which is much better suited for these cars due to elevation changes that allow you to apply the throttle more liberally. Myself and Maple became frequent visitors of this server, yet were constantly frustrated that we couldn’t find anyone to challenge us – despite a whole host of new names coming into the server who were fairly friendly in the chat box, we were still a good 1.5 seconds up on the rest of the entries, most of whom we’d find parked on the side of the track with various levels of damage before warping back to the pits. On one or two occasions, someone would beat our times by a tenth or two, kindly sharing their setup afterwards as an act of sportsmanship, only for us to load their setup and see they’d been running on Soft Compound tires and taken all the fuel out of the thing.
So we’d put on the softs, blow out their time within a few laps, and suddenly we’d see:
John Smith has disconnected.
RaceDepartment had a Bathurst public server up today, and for those who don’t follow V8 Supercars, Australian’s are crazy enough to race ill-handling family saloons on a narrow mountain pass for a prestigious 1000 kilometer event every October. It’s not uncommon for drivers or animals to die during this event. The room never had more than seven or eight people populating it at any given time, and it was not uncommon for someone to join the room, only to disconnect five minutes later without registering a single lap. By the time myself and Maple had gotten a few decent laps under our belt, most people in the room were a good two seconds off pace, and the guy ahead of us was once again in Qualifying trim despite it being obvious nobody would wait out the 55 minutes for practice to end.
When we did come up on another car making laps, often they became nervous and smashed into the wall, which at Bathurst causes a track blocking accident 99% of the time.
This car is extremely rewarding to drive, and given that myself and Maple will be competing in the upcoming Touring Pro Series V8 Supercars Championship under Walk Racing, even if we find ourselves in a room where everyone’s nailing the wall and making themselves look like idiots, we don’t mind showing up, conversing with the crowd, and running laps to work on car setups.
The thing is, even on launch day, there wasn’t much of a crowd to begin with. Less than a week after the car’s release, and after people threw nearly triple the cost of the game at Reiza so they could produce killer additional content like Montreal and the 2014 Holden Commodore to extend the lifespan of the title, here’s what the server browser looked like on a Saturday Night:
After people claimed the vanilla content in Stock Car Extreme is every reason to throw $104,000 at Reiza Studios so they can develop more official bonus content for the game, the most populated public server is for a converted third party mod on a converted third party track, and 82% of servers cannot be joined by those who stick to the vanilla content. For another redundant statistic, 47% of the most popular servers are locked to the general public and intended for private community or league use, giving some traction to my own believe that public lobby racing is basically dead.
As for the 2014 Holden Commodore, a car some paid over $75 to drive a few weeks early and unanimously praised? There are two people driving it in a practice session five days after it was released to the general public.
As the title of this entry says, y’all remember you threw like, $104,000 at a game developer so they could make some stuff for you and it got released the other day, right? Because it sure doesn’t look like it.