Reader Submission #43 – Why are Payware Mods for Abandonware Games now a thing?

Payware Mods are always a touchy subject, and today’s Reader Submission by Doug A. is going to address the topic head-on. However, despite payware mods gaining traction in modern sims like Assetto Corsa and rFactor 2, it’s incredibly strange to see them pop up in titles that are old enough to listen to American Idiot and get their first detention for mouthing off the teacher. Given that I don’t recall taking a public stance on payware mods, I guess now’s the time to address everything and get people pissed off at what I have to say.


sbpHey James. Yesterday, NR2003 track site Safer Barrier Project started requiring users to pay for access to the downloads, dubbing the new format “Premium Access.” It reminds me of quite a few years ago when some guy using the screen name }{udson introduced paid texture updates and the community went apeshit  over it. I’m just curious about what you think about it. Jrock is a friend of mine so I’m not bashing him, I just don’t agree with the decision. To each their own, I guess. But since this hasn’t been seen in the NR2003 community in some time, it would be interesting to see how people feel about this now. Keep up the interesting posts on PRC.net, I enjoy reading the site.


NR2003 2014-03-29 17-07-00-72There are two topics to address here, and both of them are equally retarded.

First, Payware Mods have no place in PC gaming because they can royally fuck shit up for the future. I don’t have a problem with people begging for donations on their mod page, because 3D modelling in 2015 is an extremely complex and lengthy process given the standards most gamers have become accustomed to with the current generation of hardware, but payware stuff has the potential to wreak havoc five years down the road, and that’s why I’m so against it.

Look, anytime you introduce a new concept into gaming, whether it be for the casual scrubs in Call of Duty, or for the hardcore no-fun-allowed Flight Simulator guys, you really need to sit down and brainstorm what the concept will look like five or ten years into the feature. To give an example, Downloadable Content wasn’t all that bad of an idea when it was introduced on Xbox Live. Once the game had run its course, you got a few new maps for Halo 2, or a few new tracks and cars for Project Gotham Racing 2, and it only cost you a couple bucks that you were most definitely going to spend on Doritos. Nobody envisioned a future where ten years later things like DLC Season Passes for Battlefield 4 would exist and cost as much as the whole fucking game. Nobody’s wallet was prepared for 1,000+ Rock Band songs or alternate liveries for planes in Ace Combat. And I’m sure nobody anticipated Forza Motorsport 4’s $300 worth of car packs and pre-order bonuses, along with the lite version where half of the fucking game was hidden behind more DLC if you didn’t buy the two disc version.

Or there was the first few years of Xbox Live Party Chat – what started as a great way to bullshit with your buddies from school while you were all playing different games completely eradicated all teamwork and public voice chat from competitive shooters, as everyone (and their little brother) retreated into their small group of friends residing in a private chat channel through the XMB Dashboard.

So when I see payware mods for rFactor 2 and Assetto Corsa, I don’t think “hey, that’s great, they did a really nice job and I don’t mind paying the $10”, I think about a future where payware mods are commonplace, and then think of how many great rFactor mods I’ve downloaded for free because that’s the way things are currently. Then, I do some really simple math and attach a monetary value to each mod and track – let’s say $10 for an individual RFM file and $5 per track because tracks are much easier to convert – and proceed to shit my pants.

modsNo matter how you spin it, spending $385 on mods for a game that retails for $28 is absurd. And that’s using friendly numbers designed to intentionally keep the number for this hypothetical calculation below $500 so our older readers do not experience chest pains. If payware stuff becomes the norm, there aren’t exactly regulations for this shit to dictate a reasonable price, allowing mod teams to charge whatever they damn well please for a mod, which could easily lead to a Flight Simulator-like environment…FSXOr even worse, Train Simulator191gzs32an2typngMost sim racers can’t deal with the astronomical costs of iRacing, which asks users to fork over a monthly subscription fee as well as $10$15 for each piece of content, and there are a constant stream of threads on r/iRacing demanding to know how to sign up for the game without breaking the bank. If you want to decrease the amount of people interested in sim racing altogether because only a fraction of people can afford to get started, then by all means go down the payware route. Just remember that you people can barely tolerate micro-transactions in games like R3E; this won’t be an improvement.

Now, onto how this applies to NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, and the Safer Barrier Project Premium Access feature.

nr2003 2013-06-03 14-17-55-80NASCAR Racing 2003 Season has been abandonware for a few years now, and you can get it here. The game launched in February of 2003 and spawned a huge freeware modding community rivaled only by the likes of Quake 2 and Doom. For thirteen years, people were completely happy to just make shit for the game, free of charge. Those who attempted to tie a monetary value to their creations were essentially, as Doug A. put it in the submission, laughed out of the community.

Attempting to attach a monetary value to content that people have created and distributed for free over the course of a decade is single-handedly the stupidest fucking thing you could do at this exact moment. It’s no secret that NR2003’s community is a fraction of the size it once was, and of that fraction, there are some pretty dedicated nutters still roaming the forums. Making people pay for something they’d gotten for free throughout the game’s entire lifespan, when the size of the community is dwindling, is a fantastic way to encourage people to fuck off and never touch the game again.

Which is a shame, because NR2003 is quite good and actually superior to the massively multiplayer online game that followed, it just looks like dogshit because it was released when Windows XP was new and innovative.

Had we been paying for mods since Doom WAD’s were a thing in the 1990’s, okay, maybe I could justify a membership to some NR2003 add-on track site. But we haven’t. It’s also important to note that NR2003 doesn’t look the greatest compared to modern racing sims, so you’re not even paying for quality add-on tracks that totally change how the game looks; just configuration or texture updates. It’s pointless. Dumb. Asinine. SBP, what the fuck are you doing?

Are there going to be shitters in the comments section who claim “bro, it’s just ten dollars, get over yourself?”

Yes.

Will another site think “our tracks our better, we could sell a premium membership to our site for $20!

Yes. And that’s where it begins.

Welcome to capitalism.

NR2003 2014-03-02 10-37-00-94

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29 thoughts on “Reader Submission #43 – Why are Payware Mods for Abandonware Games now a thing?

  1. SBP hasn’t even come out with a real track for a while now, and the ones they are about to release have ironically been done to death already.
    Not to mention their tracks are over gripped and don’t look very good.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s a trend nowadays. Valve/Bethesda tried it with Skyrim and it backfired immensely. I remember Gaben answering in a Reddit AMA that during the 3 days they had the option for modders to demand money for their mods, barely anyone downloaded any mods + many people boycotted Steam altogether, resulting in a multi-million Dollar loss for Valve for that short time period.

    I hope those people die from Super-AIDS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dont worry they haven given up. Fallout 4 will try again I promise you.

      Maybe they will just refine it a little. The money or their percentage is too good to give up. 45 for beth and 30% for valve.

      Just ask Jim Sterling about how the AAA game studios are. I prefer to spend my money on indies and if they fail so what? It didnt go up some ass clowns nose.

      That over state of the industry is in shambles and will implode most likely very shortly as people are starting to find paying $70 for 1/4 of the game $40 for another (season pass) another $25 for other dlc for another 1/4 and the rest as pre order bullshit. That is most likely 150 bucks you have given to them without even playing the fucking game.

      Just look at evolve on steam.

      Unless things get better and by that I mean better games and larger amounts of content this shit will get worse and worse and paid mods will be nothing. Look at the shit square enix is trying dues shit preorder.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate payware mods with a passion. Even if they are decent ones like URD’s. I don’t care how much time and effort it took, if you are going to charge money for it don’t make the damn mod in the first place. Recent example that got my piss boiling was a 991 GT3 payware mod for AC. I didn’t buy it, a friend of mine gave it to me, insisting it is great and amazing etc. Well it isn’t. The textures and sound are good but the physics are commplete fail, like straight out of forza. And the price for this? 5 euros. For a single car. With one livery.

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  4. I don´t have a problem with payware-mods or micro-transactions like in R3. Why shouldn´t modders who spend a hell of time with mods to get a certain quality not be allowed to demand a bit of money for their work? Are you that spoiled and greedy that you want to consume everything for free, but letting others do the hard work without you giving them anything? I can deal with it because I don´t need to load every shit available and can just download or pay for things I really like and where a certain level of quality (I expect) is given. That´s why I also don´t see a problem with R3. Why should I load every shit available? I can just build the game I want and therefor don´t need to spend hundrets of dollars just to have the complete content on HDD which I probably never will use.

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  5. If someone wants to ask for money for their mod, that’s fine.

    I won’t pay for it, because to me it goes against the spirit of what the modding of PC games has always been about.

    Now asking for money for NR2003 content? That’s just lunacy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/businessman-makes-6k-month-launching-6269728

    This guy makes £6k a month selling potatoes with a message on them. Turns out, people are stupid and you only need a few stupid people to subscribe to make some coin.

    Look at most of these websites offering premium subscriptions, the chances are the costs are minimal (or should be, if they shop around – web hostings dirt cheap) and the amount of people paying through premium subscriptions is way over the ‘costs’. Rest of the money is just siphoned into the owners bank account.

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  7. The 991 mod for AC is, from what I can tell, intended to pay for the league servers of the guys who made it, and they expected a few dozen people to buy in so they could drive in the league. It just happened the url got spread to people with no reason to pay for that league who are paying anyway, because, you know what they say about stupid people and their money.

    I see nothing wrong with having intermediate-scale studios that produce content for existing games and sell it (like URD does for rf2 and AC), of course there’ll also be people in it purely to sell turds to people who don’t know better but that’s true of AAA videogames too.

    My main objection is the obvious (selling a ‘Darche’ is really fuckin’ sketchy, and the sites that sell Forza rips? Can fuck right off) but since PRC’s basically in favor of rips I guess you can’t pull that argument.

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  8. I’m a hardcore flight simmer and I have to pull a defense for the cost of planes for flight simulators.

    Not because I’ve actually spent a lot of money outside of DCS on paid planes, but because I as both an enthusiast and an engineer understand why an accurate aircraft simulator is extremely expensive to develop compared to a car.

    For most car mods, even the “great” ones that you would have to pay for, there is an existing 3D car model that is getting ripped from some existing game. Sometimes the model is scratch made, but often times there are plenty of references to work from. The systems are easily modelled, there is no clickable switches and knobs in the car, and all you’ve really got to deal with is making the needles or the graphics in the speedometer and rev counter move. The animations are limited to making some wheels turn and steer, and some minor suspension movements.

    The physics are often relatively made up, while you can get something like general performance specs from even wikipedia, suspension systems are often made on a general mcpherson or double wishbone assumption and most times, everyone is happy with this, and no one really bothers talking to anyone knowledgeable about the car they developed and now charge a lot of money for.

    This is unfair and not up to the quality of what the paid flight simulators do.

    To create an aircraft for a flight simulator, you need to first create a 3D model from scratch and deal with autistically knowledgeable customers, so the accuracy has to be immense. Leatherneck Simulations, who developed the MiG-21 for DCS, literally counted the rivets on the plane to make the model as accurate as possible. The cockpit needs to be modelled as well, and every single little switch and knob needs to have its real life function – and depending on the aircraft there will be maybe 20 dials to model and make the needles move in.

    All of the avionics need to be modelled, which in todays standards requires knowledge of control engineering to be done accurately, you need to program a radar, a FLIR, a gunsight and many other moving things. You need to accurately model how the electrical connections work together so in case of damage some components might go while others do not. References are often hard to come by, so actual pilots must be found that know how this plane behaved (this is done in every single DCS module)

    Autopilot systems need to be programmed, along with tons of other small things.

    In the animations department, not only do you have to deal with wheels rotating and their suspension, but also with several control surfaces, opening cockpit doors, ladders, landing gear folding and unfolding, arrestor hooks, dynamic wing flex and so on.

    And finally in the biggest part of them all, the physics are extremely complex. To actually create a proper flight model, Finite Element Analysis-techniques have to be used, often requiring aerospace and mechanical engineers to calculate. This means splitting int aircraft into small parts and calculating lift, drag, center of mass etc and putting all of these together to create a truly realistic flying experience. Ánd after the flight model is completed, often a real pilot will be asked to evaluate it, probably also taking a chunk of cash.

    To put a hard number on the line, the development cost of DCS: BF-109K was $270,000. This plane sells for $40 in normal trade and down to $15 on sale.

    Bottom line is, aircraft development is hard and takes a lot of man hours compared to pretend racecars.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. As someone who is more into flight sims than racing sims, I just wanted to say thanks for saving me from writing the exact same post.

      While I do think some planes on the FSX side have silly prices, the reality is that there is a significant amount of work that goes into modeling and simulating a plane. They are magnitudes more complex than a car. I think the DCS module pricing is fair, and while can end up paying a full retail game’s worth (if you don’t buy on sale anyway) for a single plane, you are getting something that has had years worth of development and significant money put into it.

      Like

      1. I absolutely agree that there are awful payware mods for FSX and other flight simulators, but community-wide respected brands such as PMDG definitely deserve the money they are paid for their aircraft. You’re also covering stuff like the Boeing license fee with that, so it is completely understandable.

        Reviews always help filtering the rubbish from the quality work.

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  9. I think the author of this piece threw 2 things together in one proverbial potato-sack and then commenced to club it to death.

    1.st never was part of the NR2003 community myself. If it is considered “abandonware”, today for reasons that makes sense, so be it! Unfortunately: the monopolist that sells us the underpinnings on which most of today’s PC-gaming is run, today, does not care for us to be able to enjoy old titles as trouble-free as it should be. AND the way that content licenses are handled by most and publishing-rights expire means: titles like NR2003 will not be around forever … when everyone agrees upon holding up certain legal principles and abides by them (like not to pirate software just because you cannot legally get a copy anymore(..)

    2nd This “scam” where a website charges you for access to it’s own, seperately upheld repository which provides copies of “stuff” that is meant to be distributed free of charge (in it’s original form and location of release) has been around a few years, now. Remember people getting tricked into subscribing to a hosting-service in order to download perfectly-fine and “free” (as in beer) binaries of things like “Open Office (.org)”. Just because they were dumb enough to type that into google together with the word “download” or “update” and those scam-sites popped up amongst the top of the result-list. They would then blindly fill out subscription-forms and put their full personal information in there… ….how dumb has this world become? The answer is very! Just because everybody nowadays owns and operates some form of a (personal) computer does not mean everyone is in the know of what is going on with it at all times! These scam-sites have been ruled upon to be ill-fitting business-models and morally questionable in the EU courts, just to give you a hint: Not everything that is being done is actually “o.k.” And everyone who starts up a service of that nature today and gets filed a complaint as through an official-type case will have to deal with a high probability of losing to these complaints.

    3rd: high-quality content does not get produced “for free”. Because as always in life: when the time, materials needed and overall effort involved exceeds that what one or a few individuals can muster up in their “free time”, a project is either stopped dead in it’s tracks… …or transitioned into paid-for work: a “business”! Nothing wrong with it, what-so-ever. You as the customer(s) are to the judge of whether that stuff is worth your while (and money) or not!

    PC-games with their sometimes less restrictive nature ( // sometimes locked-down for good, as well) as to allow for smaller or bigger changes and add-ons by their users, has never been about “free stuff”. It has been about the possibility you have when the gaming platform (or I might call it: “play-back”-platform) is in essence “the same thing” that was used to create the “work of art & labour” (that is a computer-game) in the first place.

    It is not to be confused for “free beer”!. It is however your freedom to add certain things or aspects to your game. Some games are developed with these intentions in mind, some simply never were meant to be modded – of which some thereof actually will then see modifications made for it regardless!

    Like

  10. Good strike on the FSX community. Enthusiasts like the 3 guys above talking about how some developers deserve 60 bucks over a 15 bucks game is just embarrassing. Payware killed Flight Simulator and it’s community. It’s a niche inside a niche now. Until the 90’s and very early 2000’s payware was more or less like in the racing community right now: very rare. Now you can’t get a decent airplane that it isn’t payware – except Milton Shupe and some Dino Cattaneo stuff. And the prices are astronomical for every silly piece of software. Despite anything one may say, developing an add-on can’t be more expensive than write the damn game engine itself! This is ridiculous. No wonder it destroyed the game development and the casual community around them. FSX is now haunted by a small crowd of ghosts with deep pockets. Just browse AVSim or FlightSim forums to get a feel.

    Also it creates a strange paradigm: it’s more lucrative to be an addon developer spitting planes of varying quality for astronomical prices than be the game developer and put a full, finished product on the market.

    Oh and one last note: there’s no addon that is worth its price. No matter how much virtual tears and blood has been shed in the process. Most addon planes brings the old game engine to its knees in a good, fast system. You’ll see the old engine crawling with single digit numbers when playing a heavy metal like Wilco Airbus or some 747 from a dev I forgot. Pardon me if I don’t like to pay high prices to have my computer crawl with addons done for a dated game engine, but I sure hope this doesn’t come to the racing community. We already have a lot trouble as it is with unfinished games, God forbid they start to make payware as well.

    I used to be part of the community, even wrote news for AVSim for a while back in 2004. Community was still vibrant back there, it was large enough and there was a lot of great free content developed with passion and not with the eye in the pockets of the players. Gotta thanks Wilco, PMDG, Phoenix Simulations, Flight1 and so many others for screwing what was once a great community. Driven by passion back there, fueled by dollars today. And a nine years old game engine. Oh and a Frankenstein rehash version with DX11 stitched into it done by the same Microsoft team under Lockheed umbrella now.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post…

    Payware mods have separated communities and are technically illegal due to the whole copyright capitalist ideal…

    They do not only the rights to the blueprints for the cars, therefore those selling payware mods risk having the whole modding community shut down because they are making a profit off of other peoples work… This is a risk to freeware mods as well, not just paid mods, because once it goes to court and sets a precedent that you must get the approval and licence in order to release it, it will effect those doing it for free as well…

    The monetary costs of keeping up with others is bad enough in iRacing and R3E to make it very hard to set up online races with either sim, as invariably someone hasn’t got that one track…

    Payware in a community that was built on sharing and caring for the work of others has led to a very fractured community in a short period…

    Hopefully we can move away from payware and capitalism in general… Both have done more harm than good for society…

    Like

  12. Well, if you do not like to pay. Make yer own then. People complain whether you pay or not. Also seems that some of the same ones who suck up on sites also talk smack behind you back. Not like the tools to make these files for the game have been out for many a year. Those who complain are too lazy to make there own mods,tracks cars and anything else. So a guy wants a little return for his time – so be it.

    Like

  13. The problem with nr2003 is the community by and large is made up of children really dense adults. Ten years ago there was a certain site that produced a cup mod that was half-assed even by 2004 standards – the damage model was non-existent and the entire thing was mediocre at best (but) – it was the only available ‘cot’ mod at the time, so the site along with the guy running it was treated like royalty within the community and he developed an inflated god complex as a result…

    This is around when a group I was working with decided to focus on our own version of a cup mod. At the time the site that produced the half-assed cup mod soon found themselves without a car modeler. Yet the site owner kept promising the community an update to that mod knowing full well he couldn’t produce one. So one day he made a big community announcement to the effect that he had just purchased a house and desperately needed donations to keep his site afloat in order to deliver on that promised mod…

    After collecting donations for a few months, he simply shut the site down in everyones face. Amazingly (but not surprisingly), anybody objecting to this was challenged and brow beat to death at srd (particularly by the asshole administrator, Matt) defending ‘his boy’ – and the dumbed down community rolled right along with this. Fast forward a few months and our mod build was in the final beta stage while that other site operator who collected the donations was rounding forums pleading with the community at large to help him build ‘his’ mod (eventually he handed the unfinished build over to ‘the bullring’ which is how that site got off the ground)

    But going even further, he (along with Matt the srd admin) also called a meeting in secret with our mod group at the time pleading for us not to release our cup mod which would threaten their exclusivity to being the only available choice or a cup mod. At one point during the meeting they even came right out with this approach – “you guys can have nationwide, so please don’t build a cup mod”…

    Of course we released our build anyway and this is where most of the strife originated in the community. Before long the super secret meeting was disclosed to Joe Community and surprisingly, there was almost no objection to such lame ass tactics as those against another group simply out of fear of open competition within the community. In 2012 when nascar mandated the removal of the wings and knife splitters, our build had really matured nicely, whereas ‘the bullring’ alternative was a mis-modeled pos (just being honest)

    Matt and ‘his boy’ couldn’t handle this, so they banned any community painter simply from displaying our models on the srd forum for an entire season, and the community again, pretty well went along with this. To the point in where most settled on painting on garbage models just so they could maintain their little spotlight on the srd forum and to appease the dick that heads up that site. So what can you really do when you have a community of people who tolerate such manipulation as that in the first place? Not much and it’s been like that pretty well from the start.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Nice to see a post about nothing more than complaints. Again there is a few who can do it. Bitch enough and dome will just stop creating any kind of content. THAT IS what will kill the game. Not this bullcrap about how things are now to be paid for. Tools have been out for many a year. But for some reson those who whine and bitch ALL THE TIME, seem to not get off thier lazy A$$ and want to contribute anything other than how things look bad.

    There will be no room to complain when your sources dry up and you are still sitting there with no skills other than pumping out half backed car files w/o drivers or pit crews ! There are those who will not care and welcome a few bucks for a track. Next on the horizon will be mods. Then the drama and crying will ramp up for certain.

    I have seen many complain about paying for nr2k3 , then again quite a few of them are iracers. Hmm, seems hypocritical to me. They complain about iracing, but yet keep forking over the $$$$$$$$$$. How does that work if you have no interent connection or the server is down? What have you got to show for your money then?

    Like

  15. Does not did appoint me in the slightest. I am able to create enough things to keep me interested and a few friends as well. Am not one to point out many things I do not agree with and can not change. However many other seem to thrive on it. It is one thing to disagree, but another to beat a dead horse. It is what it is.

    Like

  16. Hey Toad, get over the past, All you ever do is bring up the same comments. Come up with something new, or shut the HELL up.
    Now if J-Rock goes down this premium path, he should be prepared for future law suites.

    Like

    1. Or what? You gonna threaten to put me in a pine box again? Or test out your lethal martial arts skills on me? More like you ripping off more sim paints of mine and displaying them on your personal facebook like you made them, sorry ass srd faggot.

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  17. SBP Hasn’t released much in recent years. Putting all of their old content behind a paywall, is beyond stupid. The tracks they work on have been covered already by Freddy & Sean, and Renault Fan.

    I mean seriously, be active first in your track building then ask for a pay wall service.

    Like

  18. Guess you have not read the whole thing it seems. All the Old content is free. Only newly created content will be charged for. Renault Fan only edits other peoples work and does not create them.

    Like

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