Leave It To The Russians

GM1

Often drumming up controversy whenever the topic is mentioned, Illegal Rips have been a natural part of the sim racing modding scene since avid sim racers have began cracking open the internal components of their favorite games and working their magic.  While I won’t sit here and give you an extended history lesson on the timeline of third party modding in racing sims, it’s not uncommon to see a portion of the sim racing community voice their displeasure anytime a Stolen Mod is discovered. It’s the endless file sharing debate of sim racing. Guys will argue for days over what is considered theft over pixels and polygons.

What exactly are stolen mods?

Stolen Mods, otherwise known as Illegal Rips, are a pretty simple concept to comprehend – even if you’re new to PRC.net. In short, the modding scene is one of the aspects that attracts the hardcore nerds among us to PC gaming in the first place, and racing sims benefit heavily from third party content. One simply cannot have enough cars or tracks – it’s a car guy thing. In a quest to expand the list of content in a given racing sim, sometimes it’s easier and far less time consuming to crack open another racing sim and yank a car or track from it, to be used in your sim of choice.

For example, rFactor didn’t ship with the entire 2013 Formula One schedule, but guys who knew what they were doing dug deep into F1 2013‘s file structure, and converted all 20 tracks available in the yearly Codemasters offering for use in rFactor. SimBin’s Race 07 didn’t ship with any Ferrari or Porsche GT entries, so dedicated users cracked open their previous title, GTR2, and brought the Ferrari and Porsche teams into the newer road racing title.

Some guys believe this is theft and make a big stink about it by saying they won’t touch said mod. Here’s an example from our own comments section earlier today.

SRFL

In reality, all third party mods are theft, as very rarely do established sim racing modding teams receive permission to re-create digital versions of intellectual properties. If you made a Budweiser livery, and some guy at Anheuser-Busch saw your car and had nothing else to do that day, they could sue you, and win. They just don’t, because they’re not assholes.

Well, some of them are.

VF2

Now with Assetto Corsa’s booming popularity among amateur modders – car physics boil down to very easy-to-understand text files – a seemingly infinite amount of illegal rips have sprang up out of nowhere. These quick rips from other games have began outnumbering the number of legitimate mods by an estimated count of 5 to 1. It’s gotten to the point where people have actually written to us explaining that everywhere you look, there’s a shoddy payware mod demanding you pay money for something that’s blatantly snatched from another game with minimal effort.

aspec

We’re here to tell you where they’re all coming from.

Untitled-4

GameModels.ru is a database full of high quality 3D models from all modern racing games, dating back to 2005’s Need for Speed Most Wanted. If you want something, they have it, and it’s compatible with the 3D modelling program of your choice. Their most recent additions are none other than the eight cars included in the latest Dream Pack 3 DLC for Assetto Corsa, so this isn’t just some abandoned goldmine, but a highly sophisticated operation that’s actively being maintained and updated.

ss

It’s a pretty interesting discovery to say the least. The biggest problem we’ve got right now, is that only the guys using this fantastic resource are guys shitting out cars to make a quick and easy buck on unsuspecting Assetto Corsa owners. If a few guys bite the bullet and combine their knowledge of car physics editing with a high quality pre-made model or two, it will be hard for some to resist the temptation and download a forbidden Illegal Mod. Unfortunately, with how complicated 3D models have become in recent years, waiting a year or two for somebody to build a single car from scratch just isn’t feasible, and now that GameModels.ru is out in the open for the readers of PRC.net, illegal mods may become a necessary evil.

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32 thoughts on “Leave It To The Russians

    1. The iRacing models use a file format like NR2003’s naturally, with a few key differences. One is that they stick to a dds-like texture format (instead of the old shitty 16 bit color stuff). Two is that a lot of the key data is encrypted – anything physics related, including car physics and the track physics mesh. Three is that they scrapped their bizarre mesh format that dated back to GPL – it had a whole bunch of optimizations that modern systems with DirectX 9.0 don’t need.

      I tried parsing the meshes a while back but they’re hugely overpopulated with annoying data – iRacing has ~9 LODs on cars, ~5 different speed levels for wheel blur, and it ends up with the file being thousands of tiny meshes or references to meshes already in the file. There’s not exactly a huge use for making rips (you’ll get shut the fuck down if you release anything, and the free content is the older/uglier stuff) so I decided not to bother.

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      1. That’s what I implicitly meant, there is no iRacing stuff out there, because no one ever bothered with ripping their content too much. It’s not that there’s a lack of talent to do so, just a lack of nerve and patience.

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  1. >illegal mods may become a necessary evil.

    “I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life.”
    ― Walter Anderson

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s not actually illegal to make art containing intellectual property. What is illegal is (copyright) distributing someone else’s property, (trademark) impersonating someone else in the same field, (patent) using someone else’s inventions.

    Scratch-made mods, whether cars or skins or tracks, aren’t illegal by nature. Distributing them can be, but the art itself is your property.

    Illegal mods are mostly the first one, since the actual 3d models are owned by their creator & licensed by the game. Sometimes they also fall foul of the DMCA which doesn’t allow distribution of content obtained through reverse engineering DRM.

    The key to actually getting sued for any of this is when you start making money, or less often making someone else lose money (since that’s hard to prove, and music cases only get away with it by going to that one court in Texas that loves the RIAA). If you’re making money lawyers will whisper to the companies “get some of that”.

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  3. GameModels.ru has been around since 2013 as we know it (The current official site), but the “project” itself is older than that. Sorry you’re late to the party, pal.

    Anyway, it’s not correct to say that they’re the only source for ‘modders wannabe’. Because 3D models from almost all current racing games (Being them simulations or arcade games) are so easy to get, you would probably not believe it. But I’m sure you will believe it one way or another.

    First of all, let me get this straight: 90% of the videogames released in the last 5 years or so which feature cars in them (FM4, AC, pCARS, NFS, even Mario Kart, etc) have absolutely NO ENCRYPTION WHATSOEVER. Or if they have one, it’s so weak that it’s like a castle made of cards. Just one tap and everything falls.

    I will use our beloved (?) AC as a first example.

    Kunos themselves released official tools to help people modding, but while those tools are intended to import a 3rd party mod into the game by allowing the users to create the proper file structures without too much problems, they’re also RETROACTIVE. Which means that using the very same Kunos official tools you can grab the models, extract them and import them in a 3D editing software such as 3D Studio Max, AutoCAD, Zmodeler and the like. From there, it’s very easy to save the files in the desired format of choise (For example, rF1 and SCE use .gmt format) and go from there.

    Now our even more (!) beloved (?) pCARS as another example.

    As we know, SMS doesn’t support modding in any way (Yet, people have found their way in and are currently working on new scratch made GT3 cars such as the Audi R8 LMS 2016), but they also don’t offer any protection for their own models. You can literally go, grab what you like and import the files in your favorite 3D editing software of choice. Now it becomes tricky, but it really isn’t. It’s just a long and boring thing to do. All the models’ single parts have absolutely no name whatsoever, instead they use random ones full of numbers and letters such as asfi9f41247192h48172. Same for the textures. That way, you have no idea what textures are used for what and what are the wheels, the cockpit, the wings, etc. You may think this is a joke, but it isn’t. The fun part, is that whoever came up with the choice of that particular and stupid file format, didn’t do a good job, because you can literally open the 3D parts with notepad. And no. This is not another joke. If you open a 3D or 2D with notepad, you usually find weird strings of symbols, numbers and letters; but if you open the pCARS files, before that weird stuff you can find a perfectly clear and english-written line with the name of the 3D. It’s basically the name of the 3D part. All you have to do is rename the file with what you find inside it and from there onwards you’re good to go. Open the files with the 3D editing software, reassing the textures to the respective model and pouf. Nothing else. You could obviously leave it how it is and have weird names and such, but it would be madness.

    I tried to be as clear as possible with both examples, but it’s hard to speak in terms which are not commonly used by the average sim racer who download mods and doesn’t have a clue how they work or how they were put togheter. Not an offence, it’s just the way it is.

    GameModels.ru dudes know that (=That what they’re doing is nothing “that” special”), in fact most of the models are free of charge on their site. Only few of them are locked behind premium paywalls. But they’re usually models bought directly from 3D modellers on sites such as TurboSquid.com, Humster3D.com and the like.

    Now the fun part. Permissions.

    Let me get this straight. As pointed out in the article or in another comment, ALL modding is illegal. Recreating a real life world brand of a car or a company without their owners’ permissions is a violation of copyright. It doesn’t matter if you’re a good boy and create everything from scratch or a bad boy and convert it from a commercial title such as AC/pCARS.

    BUT.

    As long as you don’t sell your mods, most companies absolutely do not care in the slightest. Sure, they are aware of mods existing. But they’re smart people and take them as absolutely 100% free advertising. Even if you technically stole their intellectual propriety from them by recreating 3D models or 2D textures.

    Inside the modding communities, there are essentially two branches. The 1st one is the one of cunts and idiots who act so innocently and condemn all kind of modding that involes converted stuff (And then you discover they’re the first to download and play with them, how ironic!). The 2nd one is the one of all those other people who just don’t care and just want to play with their favorite cars and/or tracks.

    I’m a modder that have no problems converting stuff from other sources. I have a simulation of choice which I indefinitely prefer over all others, even if “my” simulation is 10 years old and there are newer and better ones. I do not care. I love my simulation, I love to play with my toys using that simulation. I’m working on a mod, one which has kept me busy for the past 6+ years. And everytime I have to start working on a new car for it, I follow this basic flow chart:
    “Is it already available in my simulation?”
    Yes. No.
    If yes, good.
    If no, “is it available in some other game?”
    Yes. No.
    If yes, “do I have the skills or the possibility to convert it?”
    Yes. No.
    If yes, good. I go and do it.
    If no, I spent the next 9 hours learning how to convert from that game and eventually do it.

    I know people will jump at my throat (They always do, that’s why this project won’t have my name on it, I’m tired of dealing with their bullshit), but I’d rather be considered a thief bastard than a puritan, if being a thief bastard means that I can get to play with the cars which I saw racing with my own eyes in my childhood many years ago. I never claim other people’s work as my own, I just convert it and adapt it for my own tastes. Nothing more.

    And one last thing before I go, something I live by in this virtual world and a lot of people fail to understand.
    “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” -Charles Caleb Colton

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    1. What I get out of this post, is a big rationalization for doing something you know is inherently wrong. But hey, we all make our own moral decisions.

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      1. Modding as a whole is illegal. Conversions from commercial titles are not more illegal than scratch made content just because the internet said so and you’re too stupid to believe it. Converting stuff instead of creating it, is just slightly easier. That’s the only difference. Developers already got paid for their work, they do not care in the slightest if, afterwards, their work appears on some semi-obscure modding scenes and communities. And since companies do not care in the slightest either, nobody is harmed and nobody suffers. Nobody, except for cunts who have absolutely nothing to do with a particular mod or modding in general (The average VirtualR reader, basically), yet they feel the urge and the need to come to these boards and give speeches about morality while receiving upvotes from other cunts like them because they all ride the same cock(s) while the poor modder maybe just wanted to relive his childhood or share with others what he worked on for months without asking anything in return, yet receiving only insults and death sentences.

        I’ve been harassed for years because of my work by people who were just there to ride the original modders’ cocks shivering in fear of them not releasing anything else because of me and people like me. All I wanted was to share my passion with others. All I received were insults and death sentences. How can people come on all these boards and give speeches about morality when they’re the first who are rotten to the core?

        But I bet you’ll be there in the months to come standing in line waiting to download my mod regardless of the fact that now you’re questioning my morality.

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      2. Replying to the Anonymous post below: A bit defensive aren’t we? Alas “poor modder”; Don’t worry I won’t be downloading whatever you may be sharing. As I said above “we all make our own moral choices” seems that I am more comfortable with mine than you are with yours.

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      3. “Nobody, except for cunts who have absolutely nothing to do with a particular mod or modding in general (The average VirtualR reader, basically), yet they feel the urge and the need to come to these boards and give speeches about morality while receiving upvotes from other cunts like them because they all ride the same cock(s) while the poor modder maybe just wanted to relive his childhood or share with others what he worked on for months without asking anything in return, yet receiving only insults and death sentences.”
        ——————————————————————————————————————————

        Cant plus one, but awesome comment anon, you need a name, very well put.

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    2. I can see you don’t believe there are those of us out there who don’t take joy from downloading rips, but we do exist… I’m not gonna say I never download them, cause, well, even if it’s the most strongly anti-rip site some skate by, and sometimes you get a league track with no real record of where it came from.

      The rips mostly annoy me cause they discourage quality work – when you take a model from a game 3-4 years old, built for another game, you won’t get something that matches the new games. But then the few guys who are actually making new stuff skip over those and you end up with Barbagallo, Grobnik, Bridgehampton… sure they’re fine circuits, but they’re not exactly ones I’d say “yes, I always wanted that” On that count, AC to RF2 rips are about the only kind where the quality’s actually better than the game’s original stuff.

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      1. Anyway, how fucking lazy do you have to be to rip one of my models and not even tell me you’re doing it? I’ve never yet said ‘no’ and still some people don’t ask…

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  4. Here at PRC, most of us already know that AC is simcade shit.

    Why don’t you go educate people on other sites like VR, BSR, IGN, Gamespot, reddit, 4chan youtube gaming channels etc instead? Those people there still think AC is the hottest shit.

    Oh, and use your own style, no Ass0 imitation shit.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. James there is a hidden part of the site which you have overlooked, a while back by “accident” i donated to the site which unlocks a second premium section.

    oohh now this is where things get interesting.

    https://gyazo.com/04df4f3312fa0049c66b762b08f245b0

    Its pretty much a turbosquid blackmarket site, where as a typical squir or humster3d model will run you $90/£49ish on this blackmarket you can grab them for anywhere between $40-$10.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Note there is an error in the R390 GT1 in the Pack Le Mans mod: it uses the 1997 body (noticable in rear wing and bumper, but 1998 livery. Using Gran Turismo 2 as reference:

    And speaking of which, there’s this Russian bloke on GTPlanet that made illegal rips almost going too far. No, he did not buy ripped models (he ripped them himself, he even asked about in in GTPlanet and, IIRC also, Xentax [that game ripping forum I know from TCRF.net, that I sadly missed their free registration period] forums about it). The problem? He tried to make a commercial racing game, with barely any budget, using ripped assets from Gran Turismo 4/PSP. He does put newer cars, but apparently he stole the model from some other guy – or even worse, using models taken from mobile racers such as Real Racing 3. This is the thread: https://www.gtplanet.net/forum/threads/project-ignition-racing-simulator.331260/

    Eventually the moderators there locked the thread and the project’s official website disappeared. He mentioned he can’t do a Kickstarter, but even then (even if that’s a flexibly funded Indiegogo, which accepts any country) I’ll would have post that to /r/shittykickstarters.

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    1. Others faults doesn’t justify if you do the same. I don’t want certain AC “modders” to rip content from other games. The community in general doesn’t want that, nor Kunos. We prefer much more when people create their own mods without stealing work from others.

      Yeah I know some people say that even the legit mods aren’t legal because they don’t pay the manufacturers. First, they don’t sell those mods, so no profit from there. And second, the legit mods are created by manually creating the model as they are represented in real life. What ripping mods does is steal the 3d models (and sometimes physics, sounds) from the work of someone else.

      So there is a difference between manually creating through software what exists in real life, and other thing is when you steal that work from someone who created those 3d models through software modelling.

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      1. It not just the fact it happens in AC, its the scale, I ve read comments last few days of numbytes tearing to shred rf2 and ISI for “ripped” models, AC has hundreds, all in the open, and if players “prefer” legit mods, why these sites hosting a stupidly HUGE collection of ripped mods, with a ton of traffic, far far far more then any rf2 ripped content,the irony is too much.

        its also worth noting a lot of “ripped” content in rf2 is actually quality well worked stuff with passion, why so much less than AC, where any kid and his dog can rip a model, edit a text file and boom he a modder, those rips are not only numerous on AC but are fucking terrible mods, and some cunts even sell em, AC fanboys are completely and utterly blind,clueless and hypocritical when comes to “rips”.

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      2. One of the problems is that some people still think we are ripping your content because others ripped ours. Or that just because several AC/rF2 “modders” ripped content from other games, is excusable and justifiable to do the same.
        Some people think this is still sim vs sim.

        When in reality we should all not approve anyone from ripping content from whatever racing game. If you interpret this as satire, the idk…

        I don’t approve nor advertise when people rip into AC, models from other racing games. And neither I approve people ripping models from AC to other racing games. This isn’t a discussion of sim vs sim, or you did it we do it as well. That’s not the position anyone should take.

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  7. Creating a 3d image of a car is not illegal , nor is a photo or a drawing. If you use a name, or a trademarked logo then you’re in the court system. Scratch made is your property. Hope you’re making money selling it because you are gonna need a lawyer to protect it. That is why musicians publish through BMI/ASCAP. For the publishing fee you get a certain amount of legal protection

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  8. wow….

    Oh those Russians….

    Always finding ways… haha…

    For years many sim racers have said it would be great to have a repository of models like this… As the man hours spent creating these models over and over could be spent on making next gen simulations that work with all the features we got used to under the old gen…

    For tracks more than cars of course, as the licenses and the lawyers and other scum that like to make money and make other people suffer through the barriers they put up with it, as they were always going to cause problems… But with Putin’s latest anti-west stances the corporate sharks won’t be dragging this down anytime soon… And if they do, they can just move their domain to China where making money off of another major car manufacturers designs is legal according to the Chinese government…

    Very interesting times ahead…

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