Reader Submission #61 – Just Another Marketing Tool

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We’ve all heard the ridiculous stories of Ferrari sending a team of mechanics out to oversee track day competitions for popular automotive publications, but I’d never imagined this sort of behavior would be replicated within the comparatively small world of virtual auto racing. Today’s Reader Submission wishes to remain anonymous, but has some extremely important info regarding the performance of certain vehicles within Assetto Corsa. As the email’s sent to me aren’t exactly anonymous, I can confirm this info as accurate because the person who sent it in is trustworthy, I just don’t want their ass to get sued over a very real non-disclosure agreement.


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Hey James.

Since you’ve been posting about Assetto Corsa’s physics flaws, I have some stuff for you that might be better than mindless forum dribble. I’ve been a community beta tester since Kunos first started yanking members from the forums to do their dirty work. I stopped actively participating at the start of this year, school and all, but so far nobody has noticed my absence. Either that, or they do not care. I know of at least one Sim Racing site that begged for beta access for all their staff members, but never used it a whole lot, and nothing happened to them. The active beta members are (mostly) Kunos apologists, so my input wasn’t all that valuable to them anyhow.

Anyways, I saw some, shall we say, neat little forum posts from the Kunos guys during the periods I frequented the beta forums each day.

The “first draft” of the McLaren MP4-12C road car was really bad. This wasn’t their fault. Kunos built the car based on the exact numbers they were given by McLaren, and the result was a poor supercar. I can’t remember if the Early Access members got as many drastic changes as the car went through in the hands of Kunos, but I do remember hating the car one build, it’s like it didn’t drive properly or the on-board computer systems didn’t work, and loving it a few months later.

This was because of pressure from McLaren. In a moment of frustration, and other beta members will be able to back me up (if they choose to), one of the Kunos guys posted a pretty long rant in the beta forum about the MP4-12C. He said he was struggling to fudge the numbers to get the car to drive in a way that would satisfy McLaren. Kunos described how brutal the car was in real life, and it’s the reason the new 650 models exist in the first place. When it came to putting the car in Assetto Corsa, McLaren wouldn’t let Kunos portray their car in a realistic manner, because realistic would mean almost everyone would hate it.

The same thing happened with the Ferrari 458 Italia, though it wasn’t accompanied by any sort of long venting session. I think the people who were in Early Access noticed this one a lot more. The first build it was available, a lot of guys had problems driving it. A patch or two later, a ton of threads popped up saying things like “I’ve fallen in love with this car all over again!”

There’s a bit of a pattern here. Ferrari is even more anal about how their cars are depicted in video games. I’m sure you know about the whole Forza/Gran Turismo style games lacking significant car damage, because companies ask the game developers not to show their cars getting too beat up. Well, Ferrari goes to the extreme.

As part of the licensing agreement, Ferrari demanded their new LaFerrari to be faster than McLaren’s P1 at certain tracks in Assetto Corsa. It wasn’t as long of a tirade, to be honest I can’t remember if it was just info circulating among beta testers via word of mouth, but again Kunos were forced to fudge numbers in order to comply with Ferrari’s wishes. The agreement literally said the LF had to be faster than the P1 at X, Y, and Z tracks. Even though the proper numbers said the P1 was the overall better car, the agreement forced Kunos to fudge numbers and hope enough people wouldn’t notice. I don’t think they have, I haven’t seen it discussed anywhere.

I’m not sure how many other cars this was done for. I don’t think Lotus is as concerned with their video game cars as Ferrari is. Lotus was actually one of the first manufacturers to let Kunos run wild with the car selection and include as many as they wanted, from all eras.


 

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Not the first time I’ve heard this rumor in regards to Kunos tweaking some numbers as requested by the manufacturer, and not really all that surprising.

I know the first time car damage was really a topic of discussion was when Forza Motorsport 2 was released for the Xbox 360 in 2007. A lot of people thought that with the new (at the time) console, there’d be a huge upgrade in visual car damage effects, and of course when people got their hands on the game, you couldn’t even roll your car. Through lots of whining on the community’s part, it indeed came out that a good majority of the manufacturers didn’t want their cars displayed as “potentially unsafe” or some other bullshit reason.

This problem also popped up in the most recent Need for Speed games. Built on Criterion’s Burnout engine, the previous four or five Need for Speed titles have these massive crash sequences reminiscent of the hit Acclaim series, but the players’ car always drives off with only a slight scratch.

The most recent case of this strange brand reputation management came in Test Drive Unlimited 2. Ferrari was really strict when it came to the game’s customization features, and some players immediately took notice. You couldn’t paint the car any color aside from the official Ferrari colors, and you couldn’t even buy performance upgrades, meaning some Ferrari’s were entirely useless when racing online.

tdu2

In this situation with Assetto Corsa, it’s extremely disappointing as a sim racer. One of the biggest draws of Assetto Corsa is simply running laps in isolation, because most of us were under the impression that the Ferrari or McLaren they were driving on a track by themselves was an authentic recreation, not just a Forza-level approximation. The fact that not one but two manufacturers have stepped in to control how their vehicles behave in a racing sim via paperwork is not a direction this genre needs to go in.

With Forza, I can deal with an approximated Ferrari 458, because there are something like 550+ cars to choose from that are sort of in the ballpark of their real life counterparts, an entire Career Mode can be explored at my own free will, ranked online races in a plethora of different classes guarantee I’ll always have someone to race against, and near limitless upgrade options turn the game into an automotive sandbox. Assetto Corsa isn’t Forza; the primary selling point is the car meets road experience, and accuracy of what is included in the game. Letting manufacturers step in as if this is a Road & Track 2016 Car of the Year Competition… Yeah, this just makes each of the brands look far more asshurt than a multi-billion dollar car manufacturer ever should be over video games.

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32 thoughts on “Reader Submission #61 – Just Another Marketing Tool

  1. Fuck me. We can’t win can we. Even though there are a lot of reasons not to like the devs of AS, I do have a shred of pity for them in this instance, where they want to do the right thing but can’t due to the liscensing.

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    1. I’m not a fan of banning people, but I agree that it was getting out of hand. It’s now been taken care of.

      And the IP indeed says it wasn’t the real Ass0ciator, but rather some autist impersonating him.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well like I said, the dude wasn’t even the real Ass0ciator. I mean, how autistic do you have to be to impersonate another autist? That’s some meta-level shit right there.

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      2. “Well like I said, the dude wasn’t even the real Ass0ciator. I mean, how autistic do you have to be to impersonate another autist? That’s some meta-level shit right there.”

        Lol this is some wild shit you’ve got going on James. I can’t even really figure out what they are trying to achieve… get certain people banned from rf2/steam forums?

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  2. This is in interesting submission and im not sure what to think. Im all honestly im a kunos fanboy, i enjoy the game more then any other sim or racing game ever. While this sucks the LaF is slower then the P1 with pretty much all tracks oddly enough. Anyways I cant help but find all of this very sketchy but if its true i can understand if people are mad. In all honesty though i dont give two sh**s and a fu** due to the game just being a nice driving experience and mods. I dont care if its got broken physics, its real enough for me. It has problems but in al honestly im going to not believe this regardless of the source. Kunos has a lot of enemies and in the current state of the internet that hate can breed lies and falsification or just changing facts. For example the previous thread detailing the next update is littered with incorrect facts which is odd because other easily accessible sources detail it.

    James dont get sloppy with the sources

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    1. Ever think Kunos might have “enemies” (oh how dramatic) because their game is unfinished and they’ve shown no sign of wanting to add objectively essential features? Or maybe because it’s a bad game and boring as hell? They need to pull their heads out of their asses. They deserve some criticism.

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      1. If is so true what you are saying, why are there so many antis (anti-ac fans) daily and weekly trying to denigrate AC and Kunos? I have never seen anyone do that for a game that is sooo terrible and sooo bad.. usually people wouldn’t bother spending their days hating a game, unless it presents a real present and future threat against other games in the genre, for being as well a top tier sim racing game.

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      2. hell yeah they deserve criticism but every much every game does. The problem i find is that with the internet as big as it is now how the hell am i meant to know if someone is being truthful or not. Generally the problem i find with AC is that the devs simply arent prepared to deal with the backlash of having a reasonably popular racing game, they dont have much money, they have a small dev team. Guys like ferrari and mclaren force them to bend over backwards also you can hate on something regardless of how great it is.

        Seriously pick any game and i can find something to complain about. Same thing with kunos but on a larger scale because there are actually problems. There are antis to everything and nothing pisses an anti person more then to see their desired platform be less successful then one they dislike.

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  3. Extremely disappointing if this is true. Any value AC had as a sim must be seriously called into question. Yet another strike against Kunos. From where I’m standing there’s little reason to play this game.

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    1. Hahaha.

      You don’t think this happens in all sims? Balance of Performance has always been a part of sim racing, mostly as a result of online play (one could argue that’s not an issue in AC because the netcode sucks) to ensure a single car isn’t dominant.

      As for Ferrari and McLaren demanding fudging of their cars – again it’s not a massive surprise. Kunos had to make the F458 understeer in FVA because Ferrari demanded it be a ‘safe’ car to drive.

      Ron Dennis is just as bad about having McLaren appear as anything other than the best. I think 5th Gear were in all sorts of hot water when they tested the 458 against the 12C and the 12C lost because Tiff Needell and Jason Plato found the handling to be awful and unpredictable – just as it was in AC before the unconfirmed changes.

      Anyone who watched the latest Chris Harris video with the P1, LaFerrari and 918 knows what uptight wankers Ferrari and McLaren are.

      Porsche supplied a few people whereas McLaren and Ferrari both had a team of people overlooking the test and analysing the lap data. Ferrari even went so far as to visit Portimao two weeks earlier with their test driver to make sure the customer supplied LaFerrari was doing decent lap times and sat with Chris going over his lap times.

      McLaren won the test because they had the fastest car – they then made sure of it by using the optional super sticky tyres, dumping the car into it’s lowest ride height setting (the other two cars had road legal ride heights) and placing the rear wing into it’s highest downforce setting, winning the test by 2 seconds. Paranoid much McLaren?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One other point is rF2 doesn’t have 4WD or hybrid systems simulated according to United Racing Design making their PX mod for rF2 very difficult to match that of Assetto Corsa’s simulation of both 4WD and hybrid technologies.

        This means rF2’s value as a sim is severely stunted and must be called into question.

        Like

      2. Here is the quote: “In next days Aura will be released. Its important to get as much feedback as posibile as that physics is a pain with faked hybrid and 4wd”

        Taken from: http://isiforums.net/f/showthread.php/24597-EnduranceRacingX-PX-by-URD-Pre-order-with-beta-access-available!/page26

        Ales from URD added:”all wheels support is here but overall its best for rally or so. Hybrid is missing, planned but no idea when”.

        So much like the current rain implementation (I do love it when rain and spray clip into the cockpit), rF2’s 4WD simulation is rudimentary at best and hybrid tech is on the “to-do” list.

        Like

  4. Has any one done any tests to check whether the user submission is correct, has the user that submitted this checked by himself or just starting some rumors? Even if the intentions of the manufacturers are what that user said to be, is that verifiable in the game?

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    1. There will definitely be an article up tomorrow about it. Someone’s already sent something in, largely confirming this submission.

      But we can’t give away all the good stuff in a single day 🙂

      Like

  5. For a long time (like, early access well past 1.0) the MP4-12C had a glaring error in the suspension files that would, absolutely, prevent it from driving at all like the real thing. The king pin was literally about 15cm away from where it should be. You could tell it was a problem just by turning the wheel ingame, without using any dev apps (with dev apps it’s more clear what was wrong since there’s one to show you the live suspension kinematics). In 1.3.5 it’s fixed, I don’t know in which version it was changed though.

    If that error was mandated by McLaren, or the beta testers just didn’t catch it & ended up suggesting other fixes, either way, it doesn’t surprise me that people were disappointed with the MP4-12C in Early Access.

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  6. The LaF isn’t faster than the P1 at any track though.

    All manufacturers pressuring all developers to make their cars better wouldn’t change anything anyway. I seriously doubt manufacturers give a shit at all.

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  7. Strange, I’ve found the P1 to be quite a bit quicker around almost every track except perhaps Monza where the straight line speed of the LaFerrari helps it, and even then it’s very close.

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  8. Tangent time:

    RE: Damage

    Johnnypenso on GTPlanet is known for repeatedly posting/mentioning an interview with Stefano Casillo where he says that there are no restrictions on damage aside from gore. Every time I saw that, I always personally call bullshit on that. Interview in question: https://youtu.be/Yqo_SDyWuqM (5:40+)

    RE: Customization

    NFS 2015 only allows you to put GT3-style aero parts, from what I heard. And it’s not Ferrari, but I heard from Normalaatsra (in WMExpressway forums) that Nissan charges more if they want the R35 GT-R to have visual customization – this is why you can’t rice up your R35 GT-R in many games, such as WMMT. Source is here: http://wmexpressway.net/index.php?showtopic=32868&view=findpost&p=735308

    Like

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