Long said to be the centerpiece of the Assetto Corsa package, fans of the popular Italian racing sim are very vocal about willing to deal with a drastic reduction in features, believing all the title needs to succeed is a raw driving experience above and beyond the competition. Unfortunately, recent information reveals the driving experience praised by the legion of Assetto Corsa fans is in jeopardy, leaving some wondering what purpose the game holds in the world of sim racing.
Intended to be a mod platform first and foremost, Assetto Corsa ships with minimal functionality for both online leagues and offline racing, with poor artificial intelligence, shoddy netcode, and the inability to select the color of your car highlighting a laundry list of things we’d never expected to be omitted from a racing game in 2015. Features often found in other racing simulations as far back as the late 1990’s, such as pace cars, functional flag rules, and the ability to freely select your car are entirely disregarded by Kunos Simulazioni in favor of obsessive tweaks to the game’s ever-evolving physics model.
The common defense from those who have invested long hours into Assetto Corsa is that the purpose of the game is to be a driving simulator, very much the way X-Plane’s focus within the world of Aviation games is primarily on flight dynamics rather than building a game surrounding them. Like X-Plane, if the physics engine wasn’t world class, there wouldn’t be much of a reason to own Assetto Corsa in the first place.
But it appears the claims of a physics model far beyond what competitors offer are nothing more than delusional fanboy gospels. Enter David Dominguez, the Physics Leader for Virtua Simulazioni. Inside some of the less-frequented sections of the official Assetto Corsa forums, the veteran modder is found to be constantly at odds with the physics engine, continuously discovering new bugs and shortcomings which serve to frustrate him on a regular basis. For a game that prides itself entirely on a robust physics engine, this sort of blows out the theory that Assetto Corsa currently features the best physics in sim racing. And that’s important, because with a large portion of titles currently available on the market, having the best set of physics is a selling point unto itself.
Other Virtual Simulazioni members have also chimed in, offering their own thoughts on the physics engine from a very candid standpoint.
Since the game’s initial release on Steam’s Early Access program in late 2013, we’ve heard sim racers universally sing the praises of Assetto Corsa’s sublime physics, – what’s turned into the main selling point of the title. Now that a respected mod team has actually sat down in an effort to build the community a quality set of third party add-ons and accidentally discovered a whole host of physics issues, the unanimous praise has been outed as just another group of fanboys pushing their favorite game on anyone who will listen.
Given that the game lacks many features seen in rival racing sims currently on the market, fanboys have bent over backwards to defend Assetto Corsa in some pretty comical ways, including this guy above who claims features in a racing game are “just to fill a list.” While these people have always fallen back on Assetto Corsa’s physics as a last resort in My Sim is Better than Your Sim arguments, what we’ve posted above might put that in jeopardy, and make some question what Assetto Corsa’s place is within the world of sim racing.