Can Patrick Giranthon Save Automobilista?

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A revitalized isiMotor physics engine and additional vanilla content have done little to help Brazilian Developer Reiza Studios burst into the sim racing spotlight. What originally began life as a crowdfunded expansion pack for Stock Car Extreme grew into an entirely separate title, and the team from South America believed the best way to continue their increasingly similar line of games was to re-brand their attempt at a modern racing simulator in an effort to attract sim racers to an otherwise niche product. Automobilista was the big push by Reiza Studios to compete with other mainstream titles such as Assetto Corsa, Project CARS, and RaceRoom Racing Experience – focusing on a diverse list of content rather than putting the real world Stock Car Brasil series front and center.

It’s no surprise that the Stock Car series of games failed to catch on with the greater sim racing community. Previously, the sims were little more than a love letter to Brazil in terms of the content offered, and while the cars and tracks available were meticulously detailed and thoroughly enjoyed by those who took the time to learn their nuances, the majority of sim racers were turned off by such an obscure content selection. The reality is that many sim racers are still struggling to learn the basic racing line around Laguna Seca or Hockenheim – the last thing they want to do is shift gears completely and be thrown an entirely different set of foreign tracks with little reference material. It didn’t matter to them how well Reiza had polished the ancient isiMotor engine; the majority didn’t want to be racing around in a flat Brazilian farmer’s field.

Automobilista was essentially Reiza Studios outright acknowledging the main reason many sim racers refused to care about Stock Car Extreme, promising a more enticing list of vanilla content that appealed to sim racers across the globe.

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However, after some time spent with Automobilista, the plan for Reiza Studios to focus on content not based out of South America still seems to have been an afterthought – basically undermining the entire point of Automobilista’s existence. There are V8 Supercars, but no Australian tracks. There are numerous historical and modern Formula One cars, but only a handful of Formula One circuits – with the historic San Marino Grand Prix layout actually removed from Automobilista to be included in a future DLC package. There’s an extremely accurate Rallycross variant of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, but only two Rallycross circuits. And when it comes to the Stadium Trucks, again we’re revisiting the same obscure with anywhere from three to five steel ramps placed randomly on pre-existing layouts. After Reiza Studios pushed Automobilista as this all-encompassing racing simulator with tons of different cars and tracks to drive, it feels like I’m watching an old cartoon episode of Scooby Doo. At the end of each session, it’s as if I’ve pulled Automobilista’s mask off to reveal Stock Car Extreme with two new cars and three new tracks.

And sim racers appear to feel the same way I do. Despite Reiza Studios giving away a fully-featured game to every single person who owned Stock Car Extreme prior to January 5th of this year – which a lot of people did because at some point they bought Stock Car Extreme out of curiositythe game has been dead on arrival.

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Again, it’s probably due to the content. While Automobilista offers many small improvements that greatly increase the fidelity of the isiMotor engine compared to something like rFactor or Reiza’s own Stock Car Extreme, the reality is that we’re still running laps in empty Brazilian fields. Even more shocking, only 38% of those who received Automobilista for free have even bothered to install the game.

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Yet there remains a glimmer of hope. RaceDepartment user Patrick Giranthon has been steadily pumping out a platter of well-known European road courses for Automobilista, add-on tracks which have been polished up to be graphically on-par with the default selection of circuits available within Automobilista. Currently, Patrick and his small group of friends have released three extremely popular circuits: Monza, Spa, and Germany’s Nurburgring Grand Prix circuit, all of which compliment the extensive selection of Formula One entries available that otherwise don’t have very many options to be driven in their natural habitat.

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Given how well these tracks compare alongside the highly detailed list of obscure vanilla content, I would not be surprised if Reiza Studios themselves have been helping Patrick complete these projects in such a timely manner. This approach would allow Reiza to circumvent various licensing loopholes and put many more recognizable tracks into Automobilista, without the hefty fee of an official license. As the numbers for Automobilista are already extremely poor less than a week into the game’s lifespan – Early Access or not – Patrick’s work may be integral to the long-term survival of Reiza’s newest racing sim.

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81 thoughts on “Can Patrick Giranthon Save Automobilista?

  1. Most backers are on the beta branch, which doesn’t contribute to those numbers – seems like a glaring omission when you want to shout doom and gloom over steam numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Say it sucks for you, because you don’t speak for the other thousands of people that play and enjoy either AC or Pcars.

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    2. Can’t agree more. rFactor 2 only needed laser scanned tracks to fully shine. Now it does. Still driving on the Ring and can’t get enough.

      Automobilista actually came with a very decent selection of tracks that do resemble real life tracks, not some cones thrown together over a parking lot. And some of these tracks are really good, with decent height and profile changes. No need to berate them just because they are not Monza or something. To be honest, I’m sick of Monza already. The only problem I have with them is that I still can’t memorize the majority of them by their names. I remember the layouts, but my memory doesn’t cooperate as to which name was associated with which track.

      And of course, Automobilista also needs proper laser scanned tracks as well. Especially Nordschleife. That’s where the laser scanned tracks directory called Assetto Corsa might come in handy. There is not much point having it otherwise. It simply can’t use these tracks properly.

      Speaking of Stadium Trucks, I agree. They desperately need proper circuits. They need a lot of these circuits.

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      1. I have done a few events too. I am really enjoying this game. I think it will totally replace AC for me once I have finished the championship the league I’m currently running in has going.

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  2. Simracers need to stop being children and appreciate some nonstandard tracks for once. If they’re too bad and especially too unwilling to learn new tracks, they have no business with the genre in the first place.

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    1. I appreciate new tracks, but these are crap. They made sense when it was just a weirdly niche BSC sim, but beyond that, they don’t stand on their own. They’re mostly cramped, rough, and bland. I’m under no obligation to enjoy them or tolerate them just to live up to your expectations of manhood.

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  3. I like how much effort they sink into getting the SCB series accurate, including all the tracks and even having custom garage spaces. They just suffer from the “Gran Turismo” disease. One series is represented well while a bunch feel shoehorned in for the sake of variety

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  4. To be fair, Automobilista is in Early Access at the moment, so it’s not highly visible to everyday users on Steam (you have to search in the right Early Access section)

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    1. That didn’t stop Assetto Corsa Or Dirt Rally becoming popular in Early access, not to mention super popular Early Access games like DayZ or ARK Survival.

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      1. This is true. I wonder how much luck they would have had if they’d just made the Ayrton Senna game that they licensed a few years ago. Now that McLaren seen to have escaped the exclusive license with SimRaceWay, maybe that might be something that is part of the 2017 game. Assuming AMS keeps them afloat.

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      2. While this is true I think it’s a bit too early to write some of the lines in this article due to: AMS wouldn’t make a miracle (well I hope it will do tbh) and get 2000+ people online all the time together with that you put the fact that it’s early access, that does not help much.
        I feel tho… if AMS had Unreal 4 engine and shining graphics like AC people would take a look on it.

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    2. It is actually visible to regular users; I had a gamer friend who’s not a sim driver ask me about AMS cause he saw it on Steam (in his words, “that doesn’t look like a new game, why did it just get released”).

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  5. I like some of those BR circuits, nice flow, ect. But to bypass licence issues why didnt they make Euro tracks and rename them, like they did for Suzuka. Yeah modders gonna mod in those tracks, but plebs dont mod shit, unless its spoonfed to them via steam workshop.

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  6. Patrick Giranthon is a fucking godsend to this entire series. The licensing loophole is an interesting comment and makes sense. All I care about is that he keeps pumping out his content. Nothing comes even close to the superb quality standard in his mods.

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    1. He doesn’t scratch build these things – they are conversions. The quality is really down to other modders and in quite a few cases – other developers.

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  7. Automobilista will be commercial failure like I predicted, any guesses when Reiza will launch their next crowdfunding campaign when they run out of money, I’m calling this summer. Surely they will get another $100k from people who doesn’t even bother playing the game in the end.

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  8. Only a few days ago Patrick mentioned on the RaceDepartment forums that he is under NDA with Reiza and couldn’t reveal a particular track-building process. It seems Reiza is supporting Patrick Giranthon along the lines of rFactor 2’s third-party affiliate program, although unofficially in this case

    It’s a wise move.

    This article might be a little sensationalist as always, but the salient point is this: a racing sim is only as good as its content (I’m looking at you rF2). AMS is an excellent simulation, has a great range of vehicles on offer, but the track line-up is largely of niche interest. In this regard, Patrick will be very useful to Reiza.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I may be wrong here, but I think the problem is we need a game like Gran Turismo or Forza. Yes, our current batch of sims are okay at delivering a certain experience, but let’s face it. We want a range of cars to drive and unlock, a better thought out career experience and the option to modify cars.

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    1. Well, we’re getting a free cut-down version of Forza 6 in a couple of months, plus it seems the full version later.

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      1. As long as the final release isn’t gimped and locked to the Windows Store, then it should be a title worthy of every sim racers collection. I will be on it in a heart beat if it was to come to Steam or Good old Games and had good wheel support.

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    2. GT and Forza are absolutely terrible examples, as their careers are stupid collections of mini-games and progression boils down to pokemon-esque completionist bullshit, but yes. Career is the main reason I hate the niche sims like rF and GSC and AMS. They make a lame gesture at slapping some tracks in a row and giving you some points and calling that a career mode, but otherwise pretty much bank on you liking going in circles so much that you won’t care that there’s no progression.

      I had hoped PCars would do it right, but they bombed as well. F1 2016 might actually do a decent job of career, even if if’s not much of a sim.

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  10. I don’t care what country they are from, many of the circuits in Reiza’s games are simply not very interesting. Brazilians should get their shit together and build more interesting circuits.

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  11. It doesn’t matter what Modded content gets added to AM, its not going to help it.
    The Fan boys at RD seem to Rave about it, but in saying that its just a polished rehash of GSCE with some plain tracks and 2 cars.

    I don’t think Patrick can save AM. Regardless of the Stance with it in BETA, Reiza is trying to capitalise on those that don’t have it.

    With the Rumoured DLC coming out soon for a 11yr old Game ??? Why the F*&^ would you bother ? purchasing it.

    ISI have said that Reiza are not getting rF2 so not sure what the New Engine/Platform will be in 2017 ?

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    1. Reiza 2017 will be a fully developed version of the ISIMotor2.0 engine, as rF2 was, so it will resemble closer to rF2 (or RaceRoom) than rF1

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      1. Well, couldn’t look any worse than rFactor 2 does at the best of times. I mean, it drives well and all, but a lot of the content for rF2 looks like it’s a straight up lazy conversion of an rF1 mod that that has had no attempt to even dress it up a little.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Are Reiza fanboys so desperate for mods they will suck the dick of anybody who does half-decent conversions of ridiculously outdated meshes?

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  13. Automobilista is sub par at best. May as well been made 10 years ago. Clearly a blatant clone of rFactor 1 with a bucnh of unlicensed content that interests only few. No wonder PC racing games has become so niche when crap like this passes as a quality racing sim. Waste of money.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nutboy.
      AMS is the best driving simulation ever made imo….so if u value the act of driving something that gets very close to the real thing, this is for you.

      Like

  14. Majority of random Steam players who might be interested of car games, do not even know this is some sort of rFactor mod. They probably don’t even know what is rFactor to begin with.

    So the problem here is not the 10 year old physics engine (which to be honest still surpasses any of its competitors) or dated graphics.

    Problem is that this game is not interesting, it has no playable content. Random cars on random tracks without any coherence. It is like playing a tech demo. No body wants that. Players want that there is some thought implemented on the games.

    But if that is okay for us, then lets not complain about lack of popularity. Lets just circle jerk and cum on to our faces. No change, ever, please.

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    1. good reply, someone with good sense about racing games. Of course good physics and simulation will be attractive to dedicated and simulation lovers, but the game will remain a niche that way. Maybe the devs are happy only with that, at least isi is, since they made the rfactor technologies used in other games and have steady income to keep their dev jobs.

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    2. Absolutely this. I’m sick of sims skating by on physics alone by claiming “it’s not a game, it’s a simulator”. I don’t want to mindlessly do laps, no matter how realistic. As an industry, we need to move beyond products that pick one narrow thing and over-focus on it, but instead build complete experiences.

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    1. I don’t give a shit about shaders. Majority of the players cannot run neither assetto corsa nor project cars with acceptable fps on high presets.

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      1. I can run both and then some, but I don’t care for either AC or Project CARS. They were only good for eating up my disk space, so I uninstalled them. Not going to pay these guys again. Unless they will start offering their tracks for Automobilista. Whoever fails to make physics for theirs, should at least try to provide contents for proper sims.

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  15. At least Automobilista does feature some content. Some authentic content at that. What did rFactor 1 had during its launch? Didn’t exactly look like a commercial failure to me.

    The real problem is that too many kids end up in the wrong part of Steam lately. Though I do know actual kids that learn driving in rF2 and Automobilista and never said anything about the graphics in the first place. Because these sims are really fun to drive. It’s just so happened that it’s either graphics or physics when it comes to driving. Maybe one day it would change, but I could care less.

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    1. They’re a good option for kids who don’t have a modern GPU, race07 will run on a 10 year old GPU because it’s 10 years old.

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  16. The Brazillian tracks are great and refreshing. Not just another late brake at hairpin Tilke rehash. Some nice cambers and variations in turn radius. Take the time to appreciate the nuances with the wide array of car offerings. Reiza packs so much variety into one package. If all you want is eye candy and shit AI, then go back to your AC or pCars. Hell, go throw your money away on iRacing … and simply GTFO.

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  17. Very happy about Patricks contributions, I mean Formula V10s at Spa is wonderful…. If you hot lap. I haven’t played around with AMS enough yet to find a sweet spot but so far my attempts at racing Spa with the AI have been disastrous to the point where Project Cars and AC have more predictable and raceable AI.

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  18. He isn’t the typical rF converter. He will reach out to the people who released the content to obtain permission, and then get assistance with the conversion.

    Unless the source material is taken from another game’s source, although I do not see complaints about ISI’s very inaccurate rF1 offerings.

    Like

  19. Is the joining of MP servers throu steam server browser the only option available? If so… I wonder how it has as many players as it does.

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  20. No matter how much they put lipstick on the pig called automobilista, it WILL fail…why?
    Because it uses that Victorian dated garbage called the ISI Motor Engine, ANY developer that plans on using that engine in future racing titles MOST prepare for a very poor sales record, just like rfactor2 everything in it looks dated, and the only ones that rate ISI are the 0.0.1% of the complete buying public worldwide that was fool enough to buy their shit games, I pray for the day that development team goes out of business, no wonder their leader programmer left that shit developer that seem to cant evolve from their 1999 shit dated crap title, Gjon IS the problem with ISI.

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  21. Many comments here are childish and arrogant. I’m not tribal where sims are concerned. I’ve tried all of them. Once you are driving, and I assume people here do actually LIKE driving, that’s really all that matters once the eye candy wears off.

    I don’t care how old the graphics engine is. I want a controllable car, decent ai and a pleasurable experience. Talking of old graphics, why is GTL still a popular sim, a decade after release? Because it had a personality and the cars have CHARACTER. The most popular releases, mods and DLC are classic cars. They are “old” too but because they have character and aren’t festooned with garish colours and advertising logos they appeal to many. The same can be said of graphic engines. Most long term sim users want driveability over glossy surfaces any day. Ideally it would be great to have both but I see no particular indication of that in AC or PCars. They also want clear menus, good, efficient interfaces, user controllable options (not 100 forcefeedback params which are unexplained but only two audio sliders), and they want a healthy encouragement of mods, not a reluctant half-baked tolerance of them.

    The success of a title is principally lead by customer reviews, not webpages or blogs that gratuitously provoke or confront as an attention seeking exercise. Look at the reviews by Automobilista customers on Steam. They don’t seem to be saying it is a failure. As for “obscure” tracks, I couldn’t care less provided the track is stimulating to drive, and most of them are.

    Like

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