After a brief interlude to discuss our upcoming V8 Supercars league, it’s back to what we do best here at PRC.net, and today we’ve received a Reader Submission from Iker G., drawing attention to a pretty crippling problem with Assetto Corsa’s current online infrastructure… but I won’t spoil it.
Hi! I first wanted to thank you for your work. I enjoy reading the blog very much, and I have learned a lot things just by reading your entries. I wanted to contact you because I’ve found one huge mistake in Assetto Corsa that I don’t know if you have already talked about.
You see, I come from GPL and rFactor, and I’ve been used to seeing and experiencing a lot of mismatch errors when trying to race online. This has always been because of some physics file mismatch between the server and the files in my hard drive. This has also prevented cheating. Which is good.
On Thursday, I updated my build of Assetto Corsa to the latest version (1.3.7) and decided to try and enter our rented server, which was outdated with version 1.3.4. To my surprise, it let me join just fine, though several physics tweaks had been made. I thought that it might be because those set of cars and the track had remained the same throughout the 3 versions. Still, I thought it was very strange.
So yesterday I found out that F1 Classic is updating the horrible physics of the illegal 1967 mod for AC, in an attempt to hurt the sales of that thief that sells the conversion as his own. I installed the new physics, and headed to test them offline. It got quite boring after a while so I decided to look for a server that had the 1967 cars. I found one server that had the original physics, and concluded that it wouldn’t let me join. But it did. I had a new set of physics just installed and I could happily join and race against people with much slower cars, though they looked the same.
The mod can be found here:
The physics update can be found here:
I called some of my friends and told them to install the vanilla mod, and to try and join me in the server. We could all join and race together. What happened is that I could fly past people in the same car because of the new set of physics. No warning, no mismatch. I could literally cheat my way to victory.
After some testing, I have found out what the problem is. Inside each car there is a data.acd file that contains the physics for that particular car. But some mods have a data folder instead, with the physics files inside. The game reads both formats just fine, BUT, it only checks for the data.acd file when you try to join an online race. So if you set up a server with a mod that uses the data folder instead of the ACD compressed file, the game doesn’t check the files inside the data folder and lets you in.
This is a huge mistake, one that lets people cheat online and ruin your AC experience. There are quite a few mods using the folder structure, so I imagine there’s no real competition with any of those mods. I could literally make my 1967 cars behave like the 2015 ones and the game will let me join and race against other players.
I thought that if you made this public in your blog, it would reach a wide range of people and hopefully Kunos will patch it in the near future. I really want to like this game, but each week I find something like this that drives me nuts. What a piece of unfinished crap that Kunos is selling us. And more DLC coming next week.
Thanks for reading, and thanks again for you blog.
Wait, hold on a second. You’re telling me that any car using a full-on data folder with multiple simple text documents governing car performance instead of a singular compressed/encrypted data.acd file can be opened up in notepad and given the Junkman engine upgrade? And these cars can be used online in any server as there’s currently no infrastructure to detect mismatches?
How, exactly, was this ever given the thumbs up? This was the kind of stuff that caused problems in Monster Truck leagues for Rigs of Rods, and we only ever figured it out because one kid no older than thirteen signed up for an event and had a truck rev to 20,000 RPM on the starting line. And it was sort of understandable in that situation. Rigs of Rods, and now BeamNG, are these little open source physics playgrounds meant for dicking around. A lack of any mismatch detection functionality was a bit pointless; they weren’t competitive games to begin with, it just sort of turned out that way.
Yet Assetto Corsa is a $60 title with multiple premium DLC packs, a next-generation console release on the horizon, and for the PC it was billed as this ultimate modding platform. Now we have a situation where the game is indeed a modding platform, but driving anything other than the official Kunos content online can lead to widespread instances of cheating, and there isn’t even a way to detect it.
The ride never ends.