¿Viva Gran Turismo?

Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit.jpg

If you haven’t noticed by now, certain driving games are almost taboo to talk about within the sim racing community – regardless of what particular message board you find yourself visiting. Jumping into any kind of discussion and proudly announcing your love for Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport roster of titles, or better yet Polyphony’s Gran Turismo series, and you’ll promptly be met with a plethora of users doing their best to knock you down a few pegs on the local totem pole. “How dare you compare the lowly Gran Turismo 6 to a mighty PC simulator”, one will cry; “Forza is not a sim and has never been a sim – it’s a simcade driving game for little kids who like to collect cars”, says another.

While no true hierarchy has been firmly established within the genre of sim racing, one general consensus has reigned supreme throughout multiple console generations and endless online debates: Gran Turismo and Forza have no place being discussed in the same realm as hardcore PC racing simulators. And no matter how many videos you can find about Forza’s advanced tire model, or the amount of car manufacturers who have spent weeks aiding the development of newer Gran Turismo iterations, sim racers simply don’t want to hear about it. Gran Turismo is simcade. Forza Motorsport? Simcade as well. It’s as if you’ve walked into an online guitar community, and merely mentioning you enjoy the works of Metallica prompts a flurry of obscure YouTube links from veteran members to bands whose names you can’t pronounce, and whose songs you don’t quite understand the appeal of.

They may mean well, and these hardcore sim racers may truly want to help expose you to the world of PC sim racing – encouraging you to get rid of your preferred console and dive head-first into Assetto Corsa or rFactor 2 – but is this hate for mass market auto racing titles justified? Or, like many other aspects of the sim racing community, has the common sim racer been brainwashed into babbling on about something they don’t fully understand?

Spoiler: It’s the latter.

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I own one of those beefy George Foreman grille PS3 models from the first production run back in 2006. Yes, the console is slow as shit, the user interface is poor, and the lineup of PlayStation 3 games is pretty embarrassing compared to what was available for the Xbox 360 – but the console, or at least this particular model, does have it’s perks. It’s compatible with basically every Logitech wheel released in the past decade, meaning I can use what’s almost my exact PC sim racing setup on laid-back products like BAJA: Edge of Control, Motorstorm, and Formula One Championship Edition. Backwards compatibility for original PlayStation, as well as PlayStation 2 titles, allows me to enjoy some of the utterly fantastic racing games we were blessed with in the early 2000’s in high definition, more often than not producing an extremely enjoyable nostalgia trip thanks to today’s half-finished racing sims. And lastly, thanks to the PlayStation 3’s architecture, messing around with the save game data to explore the game’s list of content is as easy as locating a USB stick somewhere around the house, and dragging different folders around. I was a strict Xbox 360 guy back when Call of Duty 4 was new, but now that I’m not obligated to join an Xbox Live party with my high school buddies each and every night for months on end, this was an awesome investment.

Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit_1.jpg

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I picked up a copy of Gran Turismo 6 for $20 at my local Wal-Mart at least two years ago, maybe more. And I’ll be quite honest with you guys, I never really got into it. Because I originally grew up with PC gaming in an era ripe with cheat codes and trainers from GameCopyWorld, the whole Gran Turismo career mode grind didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. After years – no wait – almost a full decade of messing around in isiMotor sims, a developer locking all of the desirable cars away behind ridiculous grind sessions is an easy way for any game I’ve purchased to be delegated to the shelf and left untouched for years. So yes, I’ve put bits and pieces of my time into Gran Turismo 6, maybe run a few online sessions back in the day with guys from 4Chan prior to achieving near-alien status, but that’s where it ends.

And then I just… I don’t know. Something came over me when I was at work, and I was suddenly compelled to look for a save game editor for Gran Turismo 6. I figured if I could simply bypass the ridiculous Career mode bullshit, and approach the game as I would any modern PC racing simulator by having all of the content available at the start, I’d get something more out of the experience. I mean, I’ve got a PS3 compatible wheel, and my skillset has increased dramatically since I tried the game at some point in 2014… Maybe there was something out there, and maybe it was time to give it another go?

Anyways, the hack featured in this YouTube video by RTDRONE still works as of June 2016. For those who may have abandoned Gran Turismo 6 because of the grind, and want to play around with the game as if it’s this huge automotive sandbox, go nuts – this is what you’re looking for. 50,000,000 credits get deposited to your profile, and every single car in the game automatically appears in your garage.

With the absurd – and quite frankly outdated – single player campaign now completely optional, a PS3-compatible steering wheel that I was more than familiar with hooked up to the aging console, and nearly 1,200 cars at my disposal, I finally got to try Gran Turismo 6 in a way that worked for me. So rather than evaluating the game as a full product, weighing the pros and cons of how the game was built versus the on-track experience, I could treat Gran Turismo 6 as if I’d just bought a traditional PC racing sim on Steam. I’m not going to outright review Gran Turismo 6, as pretty much every other publication has already done so when the topic was actually relevant. Instead, I’d like to talk about what I found as a hardcore PC sim racer when I proceeded to jump into the game with a master key. I didn’t go in looking for a compelling campaign mode, riveting customization features, or quirky social media integration to serve as a distraction from the simulations I usually dedicate my time to. Hell no.

Like many of you, I’ve heard from several individuals around the sim racing community that this game was simcade garbage, and anyone serious about pretend race cars should avoid it like the plague.

I simply wanted to know if that was true.

Gran Turismo 6

So, my gear, and the game’s initial setup. That’s important.

On the PC, I use a Logitech Driving Force GT, coupled with Logitech G27 pedals via the Bodnar cable. I obviously can’t do that on the PS3, so I’m forced to use the cheap plastic pieces of shit that come bundled with the Driving Force GT. Provided you can take care of your stuff, these pedals do last, they’re just… well… they’re plastic. As someone who can wheel both a virtual race car, and a real-life shitbox barely passing as a race car, it’s only the quality of the brake pedal you need to worry about when it comes to budget pedal setups. I can deal with a flimsy throttle pedal, as usually I’ll be either at 50% or 100% input – which is easy enough to modulate even on plastic garbage – but yeah, the default brake pedal sucks. To compensate for not having sturdy G27 equipment under my feet, I jacked the anti-lock braking assist up to the maximum value of 10.

Everything else, I made sure to turn off. Skid recovery force? Gone. Traction control? Nope. Stability control? Nah, no thanks. Force Feedback was turned down to the absolute minimum value as well, to prevent the PS3 from killing my steering wheel. You’re really dumb if you set it to a level where the wheel is physically trying to jump out of your hands. Unless you’re literally in the process of crashing while driving a modern IndyCar, your plastic steering wheel shouldn’t be operating in a manner that creates a genuine workplace hazard.

Lastly, there are the tires. While nobody’s really figured out if it’s a cold & calculated design decision, or an error on the part of Polyphony Digital, it’s widely understood that the default set of tires each car in Gran Turismo 6 comes bundled with, provide far too much grip than exists in real world conditions. The story goes that if you select a tire compound one or two clicks lower than what the car is equipped with by default, the car’s behavior will accurately reflect what you’ll experience in a hardcore PC racing simulator.

I’m not going to bombard you with vivid and colorful descriptions of my time spent blasting around in Gran Turismo 6, because y’all will just call me delusional for falling in love with a console game most people have written off long ago. What I will do, is get right to the meat of the article and point out five very specific things I’ve been impressed by during my time with the game.

Gran Turismo 6

#1 – New Tires = Completely New Game

I took Dale Jr’s 2013 Sprint Cup series ride to the East layout of Suzuka, and I wasn’t all that impressed. It was far too stiff, far too grippy, had too much downforce, and drove like a V8 Supercar with four gears. Oh, and the sound was pretty awful, let’s not forget about that. Venturing to the other side of the globe, I took the 1999 Dodge Viper to the fictional London street circuit which first appeared in Gran Turismo 5, for a complete change of pace. I may as well have been playing Project Gotham Racing. It was like, fun, but it wasn’t very good, or very accurate.

But then you throw on some news shoes – four to be precise – and suddenly you don’t feel like you’re playing Gran Turismo 6 anymore. Each of the twelve different tire compounds available for you to purchase in the garage are much more than just a simple grip value receiving a boost or reduction based on the direction you’re moving in. Jump from race tires to sport tires, and the whole behavior of the tire changes – how it bites under acceleration, how it maintains grip under load in the corners, and how much you can lean on the outer edge when powering out of a bend. It’s as if you’re playing iRacing, and a drop-down menu let you select which of the eight previous tire models you’d like to turn laps with during that particular session. There isn’t a magic compound that works across each car, so obviously that’s left to a bit of self-experimentation, but when I found something that felt right, I was more than satisfied.

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#2 – Longitudinal Grip Levels are Excellent

A topic bound to cause some controversy, so let’s get this out of the way first: What both Assetto Corsa and Project CARS do wrong when it comes to how each respective game’s tires behave, is something called longitudinal grip, otherwise known as forward bite. When you floor the throttle in Assetto Corsa off corner exit, the rear tires grab the asphalt at precisely 100% grip – no more, no less. In Project CARS, if you’re right on a dude’s ass and need to apply power just a few milliseconds earlier to generate a run on him out of a corner, again, send the throttle pedal through your desk, and you’re granted with absolutely perfect grip. The concept of rolling onto the throttle in a smooth and controlled fashion doesn’t exist in either game, taking a lot of the skill away from driving notoriously difficult or quick cars.

Gran Turismo 6 re-introduced me to a lack of longitudinal grip. Now, it’s not over-done by any means, and it’s barely noticeable in proper race cars unless you’re really pushing – as it should be – but the fact that Gran Turismo made me manage the throttle on corner exit, and neither Assetto Corsa nor Project CARS cared to even introduce that concept, is both bloody awesome and a cause for concern. It’s awesome that something labelled as simcade by elitists gets something like this right, but a pretty big disappointment that two of the most popular PC sims have outright ignored it.

There’s a particular turn at Silverstone, Luffield (Turn 7), where throttle management is extremely important, and had I not been surrounded by GT6’s trademark HUD, it felt as if I was driving one of the Corvettes in rFactor 2. I tried to document this in the shot of the Viper above. Meanwhile, in Assetto Corsa, you just sort of floor it halfway through and point the steering wheel at the wall when the time comes.

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#3 – Instantaneous Handling Feedback

I didn’t realize how sloppy my set of skills had become until I started running laps at the Nordschleife and other locations with the BMW Z4 GT3, and it wasn’t just the lap times which told the story – a combination of the tire behavior and Force Feedback effects directly notified me when I’d royally fuck up. I’m a huge isiMotor guy and I love RealFeel, but Gran Turismo 6 was on an entirely different planet in terms of understeer nuances, as well as Force Feedback.

When your car exhibits understeer in something like Assetto Corsa or a classic isiMotor sim, the front end of the car just sort of floats vaguely forward until you reduce your speed and decrease your turning radius. Gran Turismo 6 is the only racing sim I’ve played where you can physically feel, hear, and sense that the front tires are literally being pushed forward by the weight & momentum of the car. Reducing understeer – and steering out of it in extreme circumstances – feels natural in Gran Turismo 6. After completion of the corner, you immediately know you really fucked things up, and desperately need to back up your braking points or concentrate on your line.

Continuing on that note, getting the line just right through a corner, the neutral feeling through the wheel’s Force Feedback effects instantly indicates that the car is traveling on the optimal path. If I were to compare GT6’s Force Feedback effects to a modern PC simulator, it’s like they took RaceRoom Racing Experience as a base, and expanded upon what the vehicle chassis had been exhibiting on a turn-by-turn basis. You can feel when the car is under load, when the chassis is tightening up, and when the car is perfectly balanced. I can’t say the same about something like rFactor 2, which feels very canned, even on an elaborate simulator center setup.

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#4 – You Can Drive It Like a PC Simulator

For something that’s been given the title of simcade, all of my shift points and braking points worked at the Nordschleife. And at Silverstone. And at Spa. In a variety of different cars. That’s not supposed to happen in a game where the primary focus is single player progression and car collecting. This kind of accuracy wasn’t supposed to show up in a three year old game for the PlayStation 3, but alas, it sure as hell did.

It’s no secret that I’m a big GT3 guy, and I took the BMW Z4 GT3 to plenty of different tracks to achieve a sense of some familiarity within this new and strange environment. Before long, I was ripping around Brands Hatch and posting times almost identical to the one’s I’d posted earlier in the year during an rFactor 2 race on Race2Play. At the Nordschleife, the line composing the first 45 seconds of the track – violent flicks of the wheel back and forth with a few shifting segments serving as interludes – yeah, it carried over perfectly from RaceRoom Racing Experience and their glorious laser-scanned rendition of the ring.

The more I kept exploring, taking things to Silverstone, then Spa with the Sauber C9, lines I’m familiar with from other simulators… braking points, shift points, even turn-in points… There wasn’t a learning curve, or a “well, this is Gran Turismo, let’s try a gear higher” moment. Had it not been for the awful engine sounds or the poor cockpit view, there wasn’t much simcade about what I was experiencing. There would be a flash of rFactor 2, a pinch of RaceRoom, maybe a brief cameo of Assetto Corsa’s original tire model, but above all else, nothing that warranted the extreme elitism of the PC sim crowd. It was the opposite. This kind of driving model is something they’ve been wanting from a few different simulators, currently stuck in the eternal science project phase of things.

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#5 – The Visual Fidelity is Insane

I’m not a graphics whore, but I certainly noticed the jump. When you put up with visually dated products like Automobilista, rFactor 2, iRacing, and even Assetto Corsa to an extent, nothing really prepares you for how fucking awesome Gran Turismo 6 looks – even at speed. I’m sure attaching photos to this post won’t really convey the immense amount of detail in the environments, but certain things catch your eye in Gran Turismo 6 that just aren’t even there in hardcore PC simulators. I found myself marveling at the scenery in Belgium more than a few times during my test session with the Sauber C9, as everything from the rumble strips to the grass are just that much more visually appealing; a far cry from the cartoon-ish visuals of Stock Car Extreme. The grass looks so fluffy, the rumble strips so slippery, the preferred line on the tarmac so slick…

It’s one of those deals where isiMotor stuff or iRacing stuff is serviceable, but once your eyes are caught by something insignificant on the side of the track in GT6, it’s incredibly hard to look at what’s currently installed on your PC and deem it to be acceptable – even beautiful in the case of third party tracks created by talented modding teams. Gran Turismo 6 obviously gets shit for the pitiful inclusion of standard PS2-era car models, but the environments themselves more than make up for it. Project CARS came close, but was eventually ruined by intrusive lighting and poor reflections. Gran Turismo 6 is aided by a great combination of impressive high resolution textures and a natural lighting pallette, giving the game some truly impressive visuals – though the framerate kind of shits itself once in a while.

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I drove four cars during my time spent fucking around with Gran Turismo 6, and I guess I’ll give a quick rundown of each of them, how I felt about their behavior, and which PC sim car they closely resembled.

  • 1999 Dodge Viper – I bought this one from the dealership, made a tire compound adjustment, and installed a full race suspension to achieve the level of tuning options available in something like Assetto Corsa. Had this car been yanked straight out of Gran Turismo 6, including both the tire compound and underlying physics engine, and released as a free mod for Assetto Corsa, it would be considered the greatest mod car of all time – eventually landing a spot on the roster as official content. You’ll hear guys like me say they wish they could have Assetto Corsa feeling the way it did back in 2014, prior to the next generation console push, and this car came pretty damn close to replicating how that felt. This is a big deal, considering the ’99 Viper is a standard PS2 model neglected by Polyphony Digital, and most likely wouldn’t receive the same level of polish as a premium car.
  • 2011 BMW Z4 GT3 – I threw on a set of sport compound tires instead of the ultra-sticky racing set, and it felt no different than URD’s Z4 for rFactor 2. To demonstrate how closely it aligned, at my local sim center I’ve got the Nordscheife record with the Z4 set at a stout 6:54 – and that’s with a strictly stock setup as per house rules. The same approach in Gran Turismo 6, with the same car in the same conditions, warranted a 6:59. That’s pretty damn close considering I was driving with plastic pedals rather than a triple monitor setup and Fanatec V2’s under my feet. For a better comparison, the car put out high 1:22’s around Brands Hatch in GT6, while I could extract low 1:22’s in rFactor 2. Virtually the same car.
  • 1989 Sauber C9 Prototype – Haha, this thing is fucking insane. Lots of short shifting and throttle management on corner exit. Just a bit too crazy for my tastes, but it was no more or less difficult than the same car in Assetto Corsa. Not a fan of the Group C stuff from a driving standpoint, but if there was any car to make or break my opinion on whether Gran Turismo 6 is simcade or something more, it would be this car. Had this title’s physics been as poor as people have claimed, I wouldn’t have struggled to the extent I did. Not in the mood to try this one again. Does that make me a bitch? Hell yes.
  • 2013 Chevrolet SS Stock Car – I think my only complaint was the fact that it had too much power. Once I installed a realistic set of tires, the car felt like a mix between the Ford Fusion recently released as DLC for Project CARS, and what I vaguely remember from iRacing’s Gen 6 Sprint Cup car, leaning more towards the iRacing side of things thanks to the snap oversteer with too much throttle application. I still don’t think anybody’s really dialed in modern stock car behavior in a commercial racing simulator, but what I felt through the wheel was acceptable for a game featuring 1,199 cars they had to get reasonably right.

Gran Turismo 6

On a personal level, I’m quite satisfied with the way Gran Turismo 6 drives, but the state of the entire PC sim racing scene was promptly drilled home once I backed out of the Garage menu for the night, and got a nice, proper look at the title’s main menu. I’d spent maybe five to six hours hot-lapping four of the twelve hundred vehicles available with the game, and I hadn’t actually done anything of value within the virtual world. No offline championships were completed, no races were held against the AI, no online lobbies were entered, no moon rover expeditions or hill climb events were completed… Not even any attempts were made at the dreaded Gran Turismo license tests! I’d spent so much time treating Gran Turismo 6 like a hardcore PC racing sim – picking a car, a track, and messing with the setup – that I sort of forgot that there’s this whole game to explore built around the application.

By comparison, when you read build notes or message boards for modern PC simulators, there’s people saying stuff like “pit stops planned for next build” or “use the rFactor data spreadsheet to keep track of championship points in single player races.”

And yet, Gran Turismo is the game that gets laughed at.

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Sim racers far and wide have this thing where, like, if you mention that you’re an avid Forza or Gran Turismo fan, you’re instantly labelled as this idiot who promptly needs to sell his console and build a super computer to run eternal science projects at the highest possible settings, because the aforementioned console titles are supposedly for plebeians who can barely keep the car pointed in a straight line. I sat down for a night and played Gran Turismo 6 the way I wanted to – as if I had bought some new racing sim off of Steam – and what I found was quite shocking: This is a game many hardcore PC sim racers would love to get their hands on had it been released for the PC, a game which features a physics engine rectifying many common complaints surrounding what are currently two of the most popular titles.

Instead of getting slightly excited for Gran Turismo Sport for the PS4, a title which will refine this driving model while introducing an iRacing-like online structure to the franchise for the first time, PC sim racers are collectively turning their noses up at Polyphony’s newest project. They scoff at the fact that a completed $60 game featuring competent realistic driving physics exists, retreating to their message boards to praise games where in some cases there isn’t even a single player championship mode.

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95 thoughts on “¿Viva Gran Turismo?

  1. TLDR Version*********************

    iRacing,SMS and Kunos banned me and I cannot everyones favourite sim. I will take to being a hipster and play obscurity to show my righteousness to all the simulation value authorities.

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    1. Yup. I actually agree with him that GT6 is NOT the shitfest of a game that many snobby sim experts claim it to be. However, it’s not truly sim quality either. It’s simcade – no question – but it’s at the high end of simcade.

      What I don’t understand is, it sounds like the author had the best driving experience of his life with GT6. Plus, there are 1200+ cars to choose from and a large selections of tracks to choose from. Why the fuck would he ever go back to playing something else? I don’t play Assetto Corsa because it makes me cool to say I’m into “real sims”. I play it because it has better physics and FFB than GT6. There is no question in my mind.

      GT6 deserves more respect than it typically gets – but based on this article an outsiders would come to the conclusion that it is better than AC, PCars, RF2 and iRacing. Especially since you don’t need a $1500-$2500 computer to play it. That simply isn’t true – even taking into account the things that each PC Sim lacks.

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  2. It always confused me how PC guys run around touting they’re ridiculous PC elitism and better graphics, 980’s and all that crap, and when it comes to sim racing, it looks no better than Forza 1 or GT4. Do you really need a 980 to run any of the poorly optimized garbage looking games available? I find it interesting that maybe aside from PCars, R3E offers the best graphics that are at least competent. I love driving around AC’s newly updated tracks and seeing all the super low res textures, and plants that are mismatched colors. Way to go guys.

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    1. Head over to the iRacing forums and read how some people are suggesting to other that they need a 970/980 with an i7 and 16GB RAM to run a DirectX 9 game like iRacing on triples.

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      1. Now that iRacing’s DX11, to get 120+ fps on triples, you definitely need a stout GPU/CPU combo.

        I’m not sure when they’re going to kill DX9 compatibility, but for the time being, you can certainly run the service on pretty much any potato, as long as you turn off some of the GFX options.

        Of course, you can ridicule the claimed need for high fps just as you might ridicule the claimed need for a DD wheel, but both science and anecdotal evidence suggest that, to a point, the more the better.

        Even at 60 fps, driving feels laggy (and I’m less sensitive to fps than most) and I have trouble clipping some apexes, while at 45 fps, things get ridiculous.

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  3. Good article, makes me want to fire up GT5 or pick up a copy of GT6 for my old PS3 and see what I have been missing out on.

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  4. yeah, ill trust the thousands of competent simracers that have played gt6 & said it’s awful. i also have a feeling youll be done with it in a week.

    oh, and forza’s not a sim (and why should anyone care? just bc its marketed that way?). its free on PC, we all know that now. jesus.

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  5. I dunno, if you have to switch to “sport tires” on a GT3 car to get handling comparable to RF2, that doesn’t exactly sound like it has simulation value. More like they just included enough options that some of them are coincidentally correct.

    Or RF2’s tires are shit and GT6 has more realistic slicks. (but how could that be, rf2 is the god of sims)

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    1. The tyre model has been balanced for controller users, hence why the default tyres of the cars are more grippy than they need to be.

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    2. All that means is that Polyphony screwed up how they rated the tires. I played GT6 for 2 years before moving to Assetto Corsa. The author was correct. You have to downgrade tires on 99% of the cars in game to make it more realistic. It’s not THAT big of a deal. How many cars in Assetto Corsa come with Semi-slicks set as the default tire, but then they offer Street or Street 90’s as options? Just think about it in the same vein.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You may be right, but labels are important… if they stuck GT2 physics in a GT3 car, it might still be realistic simulation but when you tried to race it against actual GT3 cars, or compare real world lap times, it wouldn’t work.

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  6. Forza and especially Gran Turismo lack a lot of realism and accuracy when it comes to physics, that’s for sure.

    The proper way to describe Gran Turismo would be “a racing arcade with slight simulation elements”. pCARS does it a bit better in that its tyre model and aerodynamics are a lot better than Forza’s or Gran Turismo’s thanks to the ISImotor legacy.

    rFactor 2 is obviously the benchmark of realism when it comes to racing sims, tyre model and aero simulation is just objectively so much ahead compared any other game. It’s built on the same technology (made by ISI) that the real life Formula 1 teams use in their simulators. Most big racing teams in other categories also use the ISI technology. Data goes back and forth between ISI and the racing teams and this greatly benefits the simulation value of rFactor 2.

    Have a majorly nice day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. according to the teens at GTPLANET gran turismo is the most realistic sim there ever was, and most likely ever will be.
      RFACTOR are years behind with their physics and tyre behaviour.

      Look at all those GT academy graduates. They got all their skills from playing GT and nothing else.

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          1. It doesn’t really matter what they buy. A person might buy Forza or pCars for it’s graphics or gameplay and not the simulation value. It’s their money and their choice, it doesn’t make them uneducated.
            The point was about kids or uneducated masses screaming “forza/GT has best physics!!!” – this is where skewed worldview comes in.

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            1. No uneducated masses come here and say that. The fact is no game gets the simulation perfect. The problem is people write off games without trying them or playing them with default settings with a controller.

              Forza and GT are mass market titles but the full on simulation is right there if you want it. All they actually need is racing rules and qualifying runs.

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    2. Sorry but the meme of Gran Turismo and Forza being unrealistic simcade titles is really out of date.

      I can’t speak for Forza, but Polyphony partnered with both KW Suspension and Yokohama Tyres to make sure that the game was as realistic as their physics engine allowed, and I think it really shows. GT6 has a much more natural feel compared to GT5, furthermore, GT6 is the first Gran Turismo game where you can input realistic suspension values, and get predictable, realistic results.
      Admittedly the aerodynamic model in GT6 sucks, and it has one of, it not the worse transmission model of and game ever, sim or otherwise. But despite this, modern Gran Turismo is now much more realistic than people give it credit for, and with Forza 6 being as successful as it is, I image that it is just as good, if not better than Polyphony’s current offering.

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    3. “pCARS does it a bit better in that its tyre model and aerodynamics are a lot better than Forza’s or Gran Turismo’s thanks to the ISImotor legacy.”

      That’s a fantastically idiotic conclusion. Your logic implies that I cannot create a bad mod for RF2, simply because isimotor.

      You need to stfu with this majorly nice BS and instead think about what you’re actually saying.

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  7. Nice write up. Can you have a go at Forza 1 on Xbox (backwards compatible on 360) or Forza 4? I’ve only been on a track once (Queensland raceway in an Exige) so I’ve never been able to figure out this ‘realism’ thing objectively. I’m one of those horrible casuals who just wants to race his favourite Japanese sports cars against each other.

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          1. Incorrect, the real comparison comes in motion (or anything but a screenshot). GT6 renders much more smoothly relative to available compute performance and the fidelity is much more consistent.
            PCARS still has a broken or very low sample hdr shader for example. You don’t see it as much in overcast or fog, but it’s very apparent with direct sunlight on distant objects. Also, the shadow LODs are pretty crap. It’s a very inefficient and low precision rendering engine.

            Not much point to PCARS idea of a ‘new’ engine if the final output ends up with noticeable artifacts in anything besides stills.

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  8. “Unless you’re literally in the process of crashing while driving a modern IndyCar, your plastic steering wheel shouldn’t be operating in a manner that creates a genuine workplace hazard.”

    Shucks, dude, you’re no fun.

    That being said I’m used to dealing with low quality graphics because I only very rarely invest in my home PC. What I can say is I really appreciate how good R3E looks even on low settings, there’s something about the lighting that they’ve got really really right.

    As for Gran Turismo, I’ve played a little bit of GT1, GT2 and GT5 and while I absolutely despise the grinding, I like how well the games are put together and how much diversity there is. Sure, they’re not the most realistic and no game is perfect, but they invite you to sink in and enjoy. Probably this is the issue with many modern sims, they are not as inviting. Think of GT Legends and GTR2 for instance. Don’t they just yell “yeah, you motherfucker, you want to go racing? well here’s some racing for you! a LOT of it!”

    Like (I think) a lot of people, I like to start up the game and expect no trouble. The only trouble I should expect is hitting the armco because my driving sucks. Just like when playing Borderlands online with a friend I don’t have to deal with technical issues or connection problems or wacky controls, just a bunch of furious 2m – tall guys trying to kill us.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I wrote this in VirtualR some time ago! I’m glad someone chimed in as well! I’m not a pro driver by any means, but I’ve won the Mx5 Time Attack Champion in Cyprus twice in a row (2014-2015 – this year I’m not competing and I could easily provide proof of that for James) For me road cars are great in Gt6, and the mx5 NA’s feeling is unmatched in any other sim (with proper tyres)

    If you use the proper tyres GT6 is just amazing – pretty addictive too!
By proper tyres I mean:
Comfort Type: All street Legal Tyres


    Comfort Hard – Any Ultra High Performance (All Season) Tyre ~ Toyo T1R for example!
Comfort Medium – Any extreme Performance Summer Tyre ~ Toyo R1R, Neova AD08R Fr example
    
Comfort – Soft – Any Street Legal Semi Slick! For example, Toyo R888, A048 etc 
(Notice some new semi slicks may actually fall into the next category, but this goes with all tyres – GT works with some kind of multiplication of grip so obviously not every tyre falls into the exact group – – use these and you’ll most probably be OK!


    Sports Tyres – All Non Legal Tyres (Semi Slicks or Slicks) for road cars and racing cars but not Open wheelers like Formulas!

    Sports Hard – Sports Semi Slick (Non Legal) like Z214 – could even be Slick Hard Compund)

    Sports Medium – Hard/Medium compound Slick

    Sports Soft – Medium/Soft Compound
    Slick


    Racing Tyres – I never use them – probably only good for formulas! If you even use them for road cars or racing cars like GT3 then you might as well play Mario Kart!

    Now this guide is not 100%, a tyre up or down could be needed depending on the car but use this and most of the time it’ll feel right!

    GT6 is really worth the €, you won’t regret it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trying to like this but it won’t let me… Hope the thought counts for you personally. 🙂 Gonna have to set up my PS3 some time and see for myself.

      Like

    2. Comfort Hard in GT5 and GT6 is literally drifting tires though. (In the GT2/GT3 days, we used Simulation Tires that purports to increase our simulation value)

      Like

      1. Comfort Hard tyres are not drift tyres – they are the tyres most people use to drift! I would rate them the same as Toyos T1R or Yokohama Bluearth or other similar cheap tyres! (The tyres I use when I want to have fun at the track with my mx5 but not going for the ultimate lap! In Achna Speedway in Cyprus they are about 2-2.5secs slower than Toyos old R888 and 2.5-3secs slower than Avon ZZRs! My best lap and Mx5 NA lap record with the ZZRs is 1.16.6 while I can do a low 1.19.* with Yoko bluearths!

        Like

      1. First of all the elitist attitude is over the top between different PC sim racing communities, the hate is strong. e.g. rF2 vs AC vs IR vs RRE vs pCars and etc.
        Why do people expect non-elitist attitude when you add even more simcades into above equation of comparison?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. PRC should ask below question from the article themselves:
    “but is this hate for mass market auto racing titles justified?”
    PRC and picky users are constantly hating various PC sim racing titles because one of another bug or lacking features, yet somehow mainstream console simcades should have a “pass” from the hate? That’s hypocrisy.

    Somewhat believable (initial) driving experience (after choosing randomly named tire compound – already shows simcade level accuracy or a compromise to fit console peasants) doesn’t make these simcades to qualify at a level of a proper simulation, there’s more to proper simulation than that.

    Like

  11. Good post.

    As someone who’s done the opposite of this; going from GT5&6 to PC sims, I’ve found that a lot of the skills learnt in the ‘SImcade’ titles transfer over well to other games.

    Racing online in the PC sims, I’ve felt at home (and been much more competitive) driving the tracks that are shared with GT6, with same or similar lines and braking/shift points as you say helping a lot in this regard.

    I’ve no idea on the current state of the online portion, but back then it was actually pretty good, and a lot better than Assetto Corsa’s offering. You could have proper pitstop races and even choose your car colour!

    I’ve picked up iRacing recently, and the main advantage it has over other sims is the sheer number of people on it, compared to the ghost towns of other sims; from my experience only the GT games have matched this (presumably Forza did as well).

    I’m not enough of an expert to make an in depth judgement on the simulation value of these titles, but I’ve certainly enjoyed my self more in GT6 and iRacing over RF2 and AMS/GSCX.

    It always seems silly to me seeing threads on r/simracing and elsewhere arguing about which sim is the most realistic, when most of the posters have probably never driven a real car in anger before and have no knowledge or experience to back aything they say up with. The PC snobbery is rampant.

    I’d like to think GT sport has potential to be an iRacing killer/competitor, as it’s probably the only thing that can match it in terms of user numbers. It’s just a shame its ps4 only, which I also can’t use my G27 on.

    Not so sure about about GT6’s graphics though, but then I ran it at 720p on my shitty old lcd compared to my 1080p 144hz monitor and ‘leet gaymen rig’ now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I’d like to think GT sport has potential to be an iRacing killer/competitor, as it’s probably the only thing that can match it in terms of user numbers. It’s just a shame its ps4 only, which I also can’t use my G27 on.”

      I don’t think GT Sport is an Iracing killer or competitor. Ir already has its established user base. Ir users won’t find more competitive environment on gt sport. Unless GT Sport explodes into a popular esport and with good monetary rewards, but even then it will be limited to be played PS4, and will attract different kind of racers/gamers. I don’t think iracing users are down for that.

      Like

      1. Realistically you’re right, the fact that it’s a console exclusive severly hampers it.
        My post came across as quite optimistic, it really depends on a lot of factors (FIA involvement/promotion, Kaz actually delivering for once etc.)

        Ultimately, the multiplayer state of RF2 and GSX demonstrates that better physics means nothing in terms of popularity, so my point was that GT sport has a greater chance of beating iRacing (still a slim one I admit) than anything else at the moment.

        If it does grow enough, I could see some migrating over, particularly with improved physics, broad car & track selection, and competitive pricing.

        Like

        1. I can’t imagine dropping iRacing, but I’d love to try GT Sport. Unfortunately, neither Accuforce wheels nor HPP pedals are PS4 compatible.

          That said, if it lives up to the hype, I’ll probably buy a T300 and PS4 and give it a try.

          Like

      2. “Ir users won’t find more competitive environment on gt sport.”

        What you think a game series that sells 10 million won’t have more competition than 5000 autists and kids with mommy’s credit card jerking off in a corner?

        Like

        1. Wow, please close down the pc, lay on your bed, and think about what you just said. Reflect on how you’re labeling people and then reflect on your argument.

          Like

          1. Calling autists and kids with mommy’s credit card autists and kids with mommy’s credit card isn’t labeling.

            I guess some of them have daddy’s credit card though, I apologize to those children with a terrifying fear of vaginas that were triggered by my post.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. So you’re saying iracing has mostly an active user base of kids that use mommy’s credit card? And gran turismo sport is mostly made of employed adults? I think is the other way around brah.

              Like

              1. Most of your “employed adults” barely fucking race while spoiled brats and deadbeats run the NASCAR pro series.

                For most responsible people iRacing is prohibitively expensive. It’s the same thing you’ll find in MMOs and cash shop games.

                I’m not sure what any of the above has to do with whether someone is fast or not. The reality is there millions of racing game players not on iRacing and you can’t begin to claim none of them are fast.

                Like

  12. PC racing sims can learn a few things from GT and Forza. These games have more content and are much more feature complete than the broken and unfinished PC sims.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The PC Sims don’t have the budget GT and FRZ have. Therefore less money to create content, less money to hire programmers/gamer designers.

      I would challenge you to start making a racing sim on your own. Then we will see how far you’ll be behind the current sims and how many years it will take you to release a complete game.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. This isn’t impossible for the PC sims to do as older sims like GTR2 had a good amount of content without any mods. And when SMS was with EA, their Shift games were garbage compared to GT and Forza.

        Like

  13. The only thing where Forza and Gran Turismo rally suck IMO are the collision physics. By no mean they are as good as in iRacing or rFactor. Just bumping into other cars without consequences. A concrete block hitting another concrete block.
    And damage models aren´t that detailed, too.

    Other than that I found Gran Turismo alway had a great driving feeling.

    Like

  14. To be honest, gt4 was the last racing game that got me fully in the zone every time i played it, even just with the old dual shock 2 with pressure sensitive face buttons which made for weirdly decent throttle/brake modulation. Is getting a ps3 for gt5/6 alone worth it?

    I also think the models lifted from gt4 don’t look that bad, and there are many, many worse looking mods even now for AC.

    Like

  15. Like I said before, hardcore sim-racers who cry “simcade” all-day regarding titles they disapprove have shit taste in racing games. (This includes people of GT’s epic whining and crying thread, who have severe exposure already to PC sims). Also, in the earlier days, there was an exploit that allowed you to get the Mercedes Vision GT, uninstall updates, sell it, and profit. It’s now patched though. Seasonal Events, Quick Matches, and Red Bull X Challenges pay a lot anyway.

    Also, if you want to complain about 1999 Viper’s graphics, buy the 2002 model instead. Apparently premium and standard cars have different handling, I’ve heard, though.

    Like

  16. I don’t come here to read articles like this.It is far to measured and even informative.

    I want to read Gran Turismo articles about that Kaz bloke having a meltdown on GT forum after some teenage kid said the cars sound like a Dyson vacuum cleaner or how Polyphony are deliberately trolling all the GT fanboys by including Gran Turismo 2 cars in GT7.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It must be a very shocking experience to someone like me who is used to playing in 7680×1440@120fps triples to try 720p 60fps console games.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s actually 1440×1080 (not native 1920×1080) with shitty post process anti aliasing or 1280×720 with proper anti-aliasing and frame-rate actually never stays at 60fps

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Why you cannot make comparsions if James says that GT6 has “insane” visuals that are better than AC’s and PCARS visuals?

        Like

      2. GT6 was released in December 2013. AC – Early Access was released in November 2013. You can basically play AC on inferior hardware than ps3 or at least equivalent, without forgetting console games are always tailor made for consoles, in this case ps3.
        AC looks better now in 2016 than it did in 2013, due to textures/shaders updates and other added objects on the tracks (and post processing as well, but even with pp off it looks good). But is still the same 2012/13 graphics engine, although directx11 and gt6 opengl 2.4 afaik (maybe on the same level as dx9).

        Like

  18. Well, shit, I never though gt6 can be good, all i see is shit all over gtp when talking about gt 6 and gt sport. reading this, i went to gtp again, i’ve heard someone had famous garage there, and holy jesus on a plane, i found the one and only garage that raises simulation value, ridox replica, goddamn the man is maniac on acid. if you want to taste his own brand of simulation in gt6, read from page 140 to last, what written there are gold. I don’t even have gt6 and now I want to buy it, just for finding out if gt6 is simcade or not.

    James, if you want to really kick gt6 to simulation level, really go there, try dem rides from page 140 – 145 and come back here write what you feel.

    https://www.gtplanet.net/forum/threads/ridox-replica-garage-ctr2-damperp141-hks180sx-ram-458-totw-ruf-rgt-lsd-vettec6zr1-lister-f1gtrlark.294814/page-140

    if you go next page, the auto union is mad, the man drove it on comfort tire and the lap times … I’ve played gt5 before and comfort tire is torture for mortal like me.

    Like

  19. Seriously, F’n bingo.

    I’ve played ISImotor games for a decade, I’ve done the iracing thing for 5+ years, I’ve had PC sims since, well, the mid 90s at least (Earlier)? But seriously, GT5 & 6 on PS3 are just f’n great sims for street cars and street tire handling behavior. People don’t get it. I still play GT6 at least 3-4 times a week.

    Like

  20. Um… so you disabled the career? You can call it grind, as far as I remember form GT2, it was the most fun thing about it – besides setting up cars with various parts so it is still in certain class but wrecks the AI… And then you picked the slowest tire compound? I doubt you will find a server that runs strictly cars with that compound… and you will have to put the AI at lowest difficulty (unless you can make them use your setup – now this is something that would be useful in a sim!) at which point they will drive like idiots…

    So, let me get this straight… you’re using Gran Turismo 6 as a hotlap simulator? And driving with so many handicaps that the hotlap leaderboards are unusable? And you’re having fun with that? I dont think I can believe you…

    Like

    1. There are more than one way to have fun from a game, and GT at least gives you a lot of possibilities and options, unlike some PC sims.

      Like

      1. “unlike some PC sims”

        You mean all pc sims? Because pc sims let you practice alone, race against ai, or against other players. Three game modes shared by all modern pc sims, except iracing which is online service that doesn’t have AI racing, but they don’t really need it. And Raceroom offers single player championship.
        The only difference in terms of play between pc sims and forza/gran turismo, is that they have quite an engaging career mode + car market/tuning. Then they also offer you solo practice, AI racing, Online racing (possibly they also let you play vs other players offline).

        Like

        1. i wouldn’t call gt6s career mode “engaging”. maybe if the AI weren’t total shit I’d call it slightly challenging, but as is it was just a grind.

          gt6s AI was fucking awful.

          Like

  21. Console /pc who really cares what format its on ? As long as it’s a great sim who gives a shit if it’s on a console .

    Currently playing dirt rally on ps4 (t500rs th8 shifter) vision racer cockpit , having one of the best driving expieriences I have had in years ……

    Like

  22. thank you for this honest (i hope) non review. i played GT1 as a kid and got to simracing through the pcars beta after beeing a simcade noob, i played nfs underground, shift1 and dirt1+2 guy…i just belived the overall tone and viewed the popular yt personalitys for recommendations on titles…the reason i preordered pcars was the leaked beta. I don’t own a drivers licence and i have only driven cars on private grounds with at most 30km/h. I did race motobikes in my youth.

    I now own PCars, Assetto Corsa, Automobilista, Dirt Rally, Formula Truck, GTR2 and Stock Car Extreme. The only titles i was recommended that truly resemble something complete are GTR2 and Automobilista.

    Installed are Automobilista, Dirt Rally, GTR2 and Assetto Corsa.
    -I fire up AMS when i want to work on my skills because it feels hardest to me, this is a dumb way to figure out the most realistic game, i know. But many people praise AMS for their FFB and the overall driving aspect.
    -I use GTR2 only for the Driving School, however i also have a Power and Glory Installation.
    -I don’t play Dirt as often as i would like because it requires much more concentration. I am a bitch too 😉
    -I use Assetto Corsa for when i really only want to casually drive along the Nordschleife while listing to Cypress Hill and…youknow….enjoyment,…relaxing. Just kicking a Mclaren MP412C around the Ring.

    I was not aware of the Quality of GT6, having played every GT Title i got a chance to test with friends on gamepads. Thank you again. And maybe update your sim buyers guide with new options?
    I will not buy a PS3 and GT6 because i already have a triple screen setup, i don’t own a real TV because german tv has been crap for decades(sky f1 torrents ftw), no ps3, i don’t have compatible hardware because i mix matched the cheapest/best: dfgt+fanatec csr elite pedals+thrustmaster hpattern shifter.

    Like

  23. my lasting memories of gt6 were broken tuning options, shitty ai and snap oversteer.

    camber was ass backwards if I recall, and any attempt at sliding a car would either be met with a spin, or it violently snapping the other way because the tires immediately regained grip when you released the throttle, as if they had no inertia.

    that said, the Lexus LFA nurbergring edition felt really good, and sounded good too. it was one if the only cars I could get away with a little oversteer in.

    I think with so many cars it’s a bit of a crapshoot. so might be amazingly done, and others not so much.
    oh, and no turbo physics. for some reason turbos aren’t modeled correctly, boost is a function of throttle input, with no lag. very disappointing, especially in stuff like the lotus 79, which shouldn’t have time to make full boost in the first 3 gears.

    Like

    1. and for the record, you were an alien then. I remember you just fucking wrecking me at Bathurst when thought I wasn’t that bad. running something like 2-3 seconds faster than me on race hard, when I was on race soft.

      oh, and I hated the way shifting with a clutch was handled. if the gas wasn’t 100% off, and the clutch 100% down you’d end up in neutral. even worse when you’re trying to heel and toe.

      Like

  24. This article is a fallacy and full of disinformation. rFactor 2 is the most accurate driving simulator commercially available by far and I find it majorly insulting to even compare it with arcade racers like GT6, which has user base mainly of casual gamers who just want drive a few slow laps in their favorite street car once a month.

    Like

    1. Have a majorly evening with a majorly dinner and a majorly wine. And don’t pass on your majorly dessert, have majorly fun, major lilywhite.

      With majorly regards,
      Your majorly.

      Like

      1. He’s replicating that Associat0r moron that trolls every sim racing forum talking about how superior rF2 is. Check out the Steam rFactor 2 Discussion page for a quick insight into his activity.

        Associat0r has become somewhat of a meme and people like to impersonate him for shits and giggles.

        Like

  25. The problem that GT (apparently) runs into when you get to the GT Academy level of aliens doing alien things, is that like people bitched about in PC sims for 6 eons before we got NTM’s super death slide mode you can get away with huge overdriving to set fast lap times.

    Seems to be some evidence of that in the retarded driving style all of the non-Japanese players had in the GT Sport demo event where they tried to drive every single corner sideways. But they also crashed about 10 times a lap on the Nordschleife. I remember running a longer online race in 5 or 6 where guys on the same tires were maybe 1-1.5 seconds a lap faster than me but had to pit something like three times as often (or in other words, hilariously often), I don’t think that scenario would even come into play in GT Academy because even the races they do are single digit lap counts on hard tires.

    Anyways though, even Gran Turismo 4 sure was a far better sim than NTMv4 iRacing was. GT1-4 taught me how to drive in a way that’s directly applicable to rFactor or real life, the latter tried to make me unlearn it.

    Like

  26. “When you floor the throttle in Assetto Corsa off corner exit, the rear tires grab the asphalt at precisely 100% grip – no more, no less.”

    What assists do you have turned on? Do you have a replay or video? In the F40 (and many other cars) I have to act like there’s an egg under the throttle pedal to keep it from getting more than a little sideways on exit.

    Like

  27. Pffff, this is rediculous.
    Saying GT6 has more complete physics then AC … Call me fanboy, whatever you want.
    OK, load ANY car/track combo in AC and load the same setup in GT6. And tell me which you like more.
    PRC is usually quite good.
    But this is nonsense!

    Like

  28. Leaving all the ‘politics’ aside for a moment, I’d just like to say that I’ve enjoyed reading this article as it has explained how to get the best out of GT6.

    Please feel free to do likewise for other titles, James!

    Like

    1. Leaving all the politics aside … usually people would like to have the best possible experience in their spare time.
      GT6 was good for it’s time. And it was fun – I’m crazy enough to have driven a lot every car that I like … which ended up like … 800 cars or so … Jeez.
      Since AC I haven’t touched it.
      Comparing the 2 titles … racing driver or not … I just don’t get it.

      Like

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