I sincerely apologize in advance for what’s slowly becoming a barrage of Assetto Corsa articles, but a group of sim racers appear to be wound up about recent events within the Kunos Simulazioni message board – and rightfully so. Initially restructuring the vast modding community located inside the official Assetto Corsa forums due to “ego problems” and “members not using the sub-section as intended”, Kunos Simulazioni quickly pointed towards a strict set of Italian laws as the real reason behind the sudden change after the immense backlash became too much to handle. While I’m not all that well-versed in specific Italian laws, certain individuals who read PRC.net on a daily basis are, and we’ve received a Reader Submission today from someone who can clear things up for us.
Or not. They’re just as confused and skeptical as everyone else currently is.
Dear James, as well as the rest of the PRC.net staff:
I’m quite pleased to write to you this morning. My name is [REDACTED], a recent reader of yours that happens to be an Assetto Corsa modder, soon-to-be mechanical & automotive engineer who’s currently studying for a degree at a University in Rome (can’t be more specific than that, stranger danger exists), and I’ve also had a lot of quarrels with both Italian Copyright Laws for my mods, as well as Assetto Corsa shills… Or as the apologists like to say… “Passionate fans.” Please keep me anonymous on this, as Stefano and Luca are still on the prowl against “haters.”
Sorry for the mini-resume, it’s just to establish what I’m about to tell you next.
So, in regards to Kunos Simulazioni and their recent excuses when it comes to Italian laws preventing an in-house modding community… They don’t stand up at all. In Italy, we have a bunch of Laws and Decrees made by the Italian Parliament about the protection of intellectual property online, plus a Presidential Decree (almost like an American President’s Executive Order) that governs what can and cannot be posted on message boards based out of my country.
The 2003 Legislative Decree #70 (D. Lgs. 70/03 for short) distinguishes online message boards into three subsections – and only “Protected” are monitored to any real extent, usually just to prevent defamatory remarks from getting out of hand (accusations of crime and such):
- Public: Absolutely no moderation, and anyone can post without registering. Think of PRC, for example.
- Protected: You can read comments and threads, but you have to register to reply. RaceDepartment, for example.
- Private: You have to register to see anything at all. Prime example of this would be the aforementioned Assetto Corsa forums.
Anyways, the most important thing you need to know about this Decree, and how it relates to sim racing, is that website owners are not responsible for the content that is uploaded or linked to by the users. Not only does F1-Classic operate in this fashion already, this has already been tested as well in the Court of Turin; some guy was uploading old Italian Soap Operas to YouTube, the video sharing service was taken to court, and the court ruled in favor of YouTube – they were not obligated to preventively control the activities of a single person. If an IP holder complained, any kind of legal action should be taken up with the individual responsible for the uploads. The same would apply to the Assetto Corsa forums, and Kunos Simulazioni in the event of pirated material appearing. However, if Kunos receive a request to remove links to certain material, like a Forza rip or something, it’s in everybody’s best interest to adhere to those requests – a task basically any forum moderator can execute in ten seconds with administrative controls.
Under this decree, Kunos isn’t responsible for anything their fans post on the official Assetto Corsa forums. If Turn 10 gets frustrated at discovering a Forza rip or two floating around, they can ask a Kunos moderator to remove it, or pursue the individual who originally uploaded it, but hardly go after Kunos to the extent we’ve been led to believe by their recent announcement. The precedent has already been set – there are no mythical Italian laws that can cause them problems; it’s quite the opposite, the laws actually protect them.
I’m giving you this info because I’m sick of the environment that has developed around Assetto Corsa, as well as Kunos Simulazioni. If you think the international forums are bad? Oh boy, you haven’t seen the Italian forums, I reckon! Over in Italy, Kunos is considered to be some kind of “wonder boy.” Multiplayer.it, the biggest gaming news site in the peninsula, labelled them as Italy’s “National Pride”, since they’re the only one’s openly standing against the rest, calling them “the new standard of corporate competitiveness in gaming.” Yes, I still laugh hard at that joke. The first time I read it, I almost busted a lung. Every Italian gaming company has to operate like Kunos because – in the journalist’s eyes – they are the ones pushing the envelope, making sim racing even better, and are the shining beacon of hardcore sim racers. They’re supposedly the one’s speaking to the big companies, at the grown-ups table, making the Tricolor be seen on an international level.
If you even dare to suggest Assetto Corsa is unfinished at best, you’ll be seen almost as an online terrorist, an anti-Italian moron. Yes, it’s that bad. And when I had a thorough look through Assetto’s physics files, I cringed. Badly:
- Water and Oil Pressures are badly implemented. I know we can’t use the Navier-Stokes equations because they’re too complex for both modding and general PC use – they would suck up all the CPU calculations just to calculate the formula – but an exponential algebraic formula (an “E” to the power of “X” type of formula) is more than enough to compromise. Kunos uses a straight line.
- There’s no heat damage. The Fourier’s Law for heat doesn’t exist in this “simulator.” If you take away the RPM knocking damage, you can basically leave a car in Assetto Corsa perfectly still, at the maximum reves the engine can tolerate, for all of eternity, and it won’t explode. Even without a radiator fan. A simple linear equation, like rFactor features, is perfect for the job, but here? Nothing.
- Aerodynamics are all sorts of fucked up. Usually in engineering, we use the complex fluid dynamics programs, where we 3D scan the object, or model it in Blender, and then run a simulation to see how the airflow moves over the solid object. Most of the time, we use lift, drag, and momentum coefficients, since calculating them directly is prone to errors and is extremely time consuming. Kunos use the coefficients in an astronomically stupid way – those are adimensional, which is okay, but they also use a quadratic formula, which is just plain wrong! The only “squared” item in the formula is air speed, not the whole thing! No wonder why they had to add a big-ass invisible spoiler to the BMW M3!
When I mentioned all of this on the Assetto Corsa forums, I received a ban. Not a surprise, to be honest. I hope some of my writings are of use to you. I’m all for progression and competition in sim racing, but this is just plain ridiculous.
So two major subjects to touch on here, but I’ll try to keep it short as the submission says more than I’m able to enforce with the customary response.
First, in regards to Italian Laws, I knew I had a right to be skeptical when the reason for restructuring the modding community drastically changed based on the community’s response. Again, only after the backlash due to Stefano’s original explanation did the reasons behind the sudden change of heart shift to “wacky Italian laws sim racers couldn’t possibly understand” – so that raised a few red flags. And now that neither reasons given make any sort of sense – one of which can be outright proven wrong – I’m struggling to understand what Kunos were hoping to accomplish here. A wide array of Assetto Corsa players aren’t happy with Kunos, and in turn Kunos gained… a less cluttered forum? What purpose does this serve? I mean, the guys at RaceDepartment are certainly happy with the increase in traffic, but this all just seems to be a pointless attack on a portion of the community that didn’t do a whole lot to deserve it.
Let’s be real here, they’re supposed to be attacking us here at PRC.net, not random modders chilling out on the forums showing off the cool stuff they were building in the hopes that Kunos would present them with contract work.
And second, I’m aware there’s some weird physics stuff going on behind the scenes – from stuff simply not being modeled, to rudimentary functions that can’t match what the isiMotor or Papyrus engines accomplished almost a decade ago. A lot of people will jump on me for being a fanboy of opposing simulators, but you can’t just show up to the sim racing scene with a piece of software that’s a simulator in name only, and expect the hardcore guys like myself to blindly praise it. We appreciate having to obsess over the little stuff like pace lap rituals, engine vitals, brake fade, and proper airflow behavior, because it provides a level of challenge unlike any other. More importantly, we notice if it’s not there, because the precedent has been set. If I’ve been doing my vitals checks during the pace lap for three or four years straight, and I buy the “latest and greatest” game where all of that stuff is absent (and the developer loses his mind at people when they ask where it went), I’m going to start wondering what’s going on.
If you just wanna hotlap a bunch of different Supercars with semi-realistic grip levels, Shift 2 Unleashed came out in 2011 with a much bigger marketing campaign and a more diverse roster of cars – so I’ll end this submission by asking why weren’t the current crop of Assetto Corsa diehards sucked into Shift 2 instead? It’s more or less the same game.