The Quest for the Source Code

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Fourteen years after it’s release, NASCAR Racing 2003 Season is still regarded as one of the greatest auto racing simulations ever made. First arriving on store shelves in February of 2003, and easily establishing itself as the magnum opus of Papyrus, the landmark PC racing sim was the culmination of what many regard as a historic period of time for motorsports enthusiasts. Out of the box, not only was a fantastic reproduction of American Stock Car Racing, NASCAR 2003 became a cult hit among many current Sprint Cup drivers, and the enormous modding scene essentially turned the racing simulator into one giant encyclopedia of American motor racing – and then some.

However, the modding community surrounding NASCAR 2003 has traditionally been limited to cosmetic changes. Liveries replicating current and historical oval racing series always been popular downloads, but those looking to get more out of NASCAR 2003 were locked to just four types of vehicle behavior. The team over at Project Wildfire eventually released semi-official Craftsman Truck, Busch Grand National, and Trans-Am physics packages to be used with third party 3D models, but as NASCAR evolved as a sport in the years following the game’s release, NASCAR 2003 began to show its age. The game may include the cars, tracks, and drivers from the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season, but the rules package and vehicle physics have been set firmly in February of 2003. The pack still races back to the start finish line upon the caution flag being displayed, the first car not on the lead lap does not receive a free pass, and race restarts are still single-file affairs. As certain teams like Hendrick Motorspots have able to extract over a thousand horsepower from the mighty V8’s powering their Chevrolet entries, the Winston Cup engines seen in NASCAR 2003 were putting out a substantially smaller number.

In short, the game’s popularity has been slowly dwindling, as each year brings new changes to the sport that NASCAR 2003 simply can’t replicate.

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Avid NASCAR Racing 2003 Season community member Kyle Westwood is hoping to change all of that. Kyle has created an online petition over at change.org asking for iRacing.comthe current owners of the NASCAR 2003 source code – to consider releasing the source code in order to prolong the life of the game. On paper, Kyle’s argument makes sense: Many sim racers still enjoy NASCAR Racing 2003 Season due to the sheer quality of the title, and there is tangible evidence that simply putting NASCAR 2003 into the closet and reluctantly moving to the iRacing.com software is not worth the hefty price of admission. The modding community want a collective shot at updating fundamental areas of the game, such as the tire model, force feedback effects, and officiating rules.

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Unfortunately, Kyle and his crew are in for an uphill battle. iRacing have made it very clear that they’ve felt threatened by NASCAR 2003 modding community, and specifically secured the rights to NASCAR 2003′s source code in order to force people to upgrade to iRacing. Multiple legal battles against several community members have produced comical nuggets of information, indicating iRacing fears their product would lose popularity if their core group of users had not been forced to abandon NASCAR 2003.

While it’s highly unlikely that this campaign will succeed or even register on iRacing’s radar, it’s nice to see that there are a surprisingly large amount of people still actively carrying the NASCAR 2003 flag into 2016.

Just watch out for the old guys.

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21 thoughts on “The Quest for the Source Code

  1. NASCAR Heat could be an alternative to NR2k3 for those looking to avoid the drama. It’s got a small but very active community that is still putting out fantastic mods (with different physics to boot.) And you can run the mods without having the game for free. Unfortunately iRacing will likely not allow anything like this article to happen, so for those who want to mods that actually change physics, they will likely have to look elsewhere.

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  2. There’s as many road race venues as there are ovals for either one. Point being in comparison to nr2003 or even gtr2 which is about as dated, nascar heat is practically arcade.

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  3. There is absolutely no way they will release the source code,just like with iracing,why,because they do not want people to see that iracing is still using n2003 code,albeit updated and tweaked.
    Folks have been complaining that the new Audi feels just like the McLaren gt3 car and the new merc feels just like the bmw.
    It’s clear to see they are not building from the ground up,but just tweaking and slapping new bodies on the cars.
    If any source code was visable,then that would let the cat out of the bag.
    Makes me laugh just how many fanboys wlthere are and they defend anything wkith utter rubbish points.
    Someone started a thread asking for the test feature to be permanent,straight away some moronic wankers start shouting,and basically state they are asking to have cars for free.
    I swear I’d love to meet the 12 fanboys who reply to every post,I’d take my time with them.
    Fucking loosers.
    I just wish someone else would offer an online package,devs are missing a great opportunity,iracing is failing,the time is now.

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  4. Release the source code for free??

    They are fucking crazy… just PAY, put A LOT of money on the table if they want the source code.

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  5. Forget the source code. Revise the poll to encourage a relentless dmca harassment campaign towards SRD so that they can experience what it’s like to be on the receiving end of that bullshit for once. Shutting that place down would actually benefit users more than releasing the source code.

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    1. Ah the same ‘ol story. Why not tell those who do not know Mr. Weaver? Most of all you do is bash many sites and content creators. Why is that? Because you got drunk and ran off at the mouth and got booted out of a mod group. Then you proceeded to for the last few years of the “Pity Party False DMCA Claims” If you would just admit your are/were wrong , but that will never happen would it? How is your friend “Oggy” doing? I see he was banned from Reddit…………

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  6. Earlier, in regards to my Re-Volt reader submission, you said:

    “The biggest problem with a community being awarded the rights to an IP, is who exactly does this ownership go to? What if the guy who signs for it is a giant power-tripping forum autist who fucks everyone else over? At the moment, it’s probably best for them to just keep doing what they’re doing now.”

    This might be relevant in this issue, even though I posted this few months later.

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