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