Patience

Another YouTube video analysis to start off the weekend? Sure, why not?

So I took a trip to the Forza Motorsport subreddit last night, and discovered this absolute gem of a video which has been making the rounds across sim racing communities far and wide by the looks of it. Built into the online component of Forza Motorsport 6 by default is a simplified organized online racing option dubbed “Leagues”, and this mode of play is intended to sort-of-but-n0t-really replicate the kind of competitive format seen in iRacing. Someone may have to correct me on this, as I’m not too big into Forza and haven’t properly tested this out for myself at my bro’s place, but the format essentially combines long-ish races with semi-scheduled start times and a strict race format – sometimes it’s old-school Grand Prix cars, other times, as you can see in the video above, it’s the brand new Mazda Miata Playboy Cup entry.

The idea was to give the hardcore Forza players a place to race competitively without dealing with the numerous shit disturbers found in public lobbies, and so far the inclusion of the mode has been fairly well received. There are a lot of guys who love what Forza Motorsport offers on the Xbox One, and being able to treat it like a pseudo-PC sim among like-minded individuals is a welcome change of pace from the three lap affairs and emphasis on car collecting. Say what you’d like about the Forza franchise, but at least Turn 10 is bothering to explore this route at all.

However, the video above, uploaded by a user named Seven Motorsport, indicates that the mode fares much better on paper than it does in execution. Even the Elite Level Drivers – Forza enthusiasts supposedly well-beyond the skill range of casual players, struggle to partake in an online experience that vaguely resembles realistic auto racing. The Mazda Miata is not a difficult car to drive – it’s actually quite slow – and some of the tracks allow for six wide racing, but that doesn’t stop almost the entire field from destroying itself time and time again. Upon analyzing why some of the wrecks occur by watching the video two or even three times to discover why certain crashes develop, none of these are standard racing incidents that are the product of too many cars occupying a confined space. Some of these guys are seriously fucking awful, blowing even the most obvious of braking points or outright ignoring other cars, and none of this can be fixed by just buying a fancy racing wheel. It all has me concerned for the future of sim racing, but you’ll have to hear me out as to why poor drivers could help shape the genre – and not in a good way.

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Gran Turismo will be evolving into a product resembling iRacing, albeit for Sony’s PlayStation 4. The next iteration of Forza Motorsport will most likely have some sort of organized racing element; a step up from the Leagues functionality already built into Forza 6. And regardless of how you feel about their constantly evolving tire model, the commercial success and overall positive rapport of iRacing has made it crystal clear to all other developers that this is the way to go when it comes to building a modern racing simulator. I’d say beginning in 2017, the whole concept of offline racing simulators might be on their way out; games built on isiMotor technology like Automobilista and rFactor 2, who exist solely to provide a smorgasbord of auto racing endeavors to sim racing enthusiasts, are generating abysmal numbers that are quite frankly embarrassing for the teams involved, while iRacing and Gran Turismo Sport continue to reel in new members attracted to just how sketchy a virtual racing session can be when you’re penalized for fucking up. I, for one, welcome this new approach to driving games. Being able to drive at maximum attack in a competitive environment is a lot more exhilarating when you’re rewarded for finishing well, and punished when you fuck up.

But across any piece of software that chooses to progress in this direction of hyper-competitive and meticulously structured environment, the experience is only as good as the drivers you’re banging doors with – or in this case, the drivers who are slamming into your rear bumper at mach three. Gran Turismo Sport might be a lot of fun on paper, but wading through a minefield of damaged race cars from the opening corner explosion is going to get old in a hurry. As you can see from the Forza video linked at the beginning of the article, these races aren’t a lot of fun to participate it. Sure, the field may feature a gaggle of talented drivers who have gotten enough fluke wins to make it into the Elite division, but none of this matters if even the best drivers can’t fucking drive.

So my fear is that these structured mainstream racing simulators are going to become immensely popular for a short period – maybe a year or so – and then the fad will die out. Yes, I’m aware there are quite good drivers on iRacing, and routinely you can participate in races that are every bit as exciting as the real deal you can see at the physical track each weekend. I’m not denying that. However, the people on iRacing are a special bunch. Many of them spent years playing other console games or even rival racing simulators before growing tired of the public lobby environment and converting to iRacing. The crowd you see on iRacing right now, they are the best of the best – save for the groups of people who just aren’t convinced by the physics and continue to stick with ISI stuff.

This means that the people on Forza, Gran Turismo, Assetto Corsa, and even Project CARS… the talent pool isn’t quite there, because the talent part of the talent pool has migrated to iRacing. So we fast forward to 2017 or 2018, when all of these franchises have bought into the organized racing concept – each with their own spin on the classic structure – and the quality of action on the virtual track is absolutely nothing to write home about. In fact, it’s terrible. And this is because of the simple fact that auto racing is actually quite difficult; it’s why we sat down and wrote an entire guide on it. Not everyone possesses the skills to navigate through traffic and survive the full length of a simulated online race.

As a result, the organized racing fad will quickly die out. People will become extremely frustrated, because the game is simply asking too much of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love what Forza is doing with their Leagues stuff, and it would be cool to try this among a more hardcore crowd when Forza Motorsport 7 hits Windows 10 in the future, but it just doesn’t work for the current crop of Forza players on the Xbox One, nor will it work for PS4 owners with Gran Turismo Sport. They aren’t experienced enough to conduct online races that are genuinely enjoyable to be apart of.

And when they realize things aren’t getting better, and they’re still getting wrecked out of each race, or blown out by the lone alien in the field, they’ll put the game down. Forza Motorsport 7 may interest them, but when a copycat leagues system hits Assetto Corsa 2, they’ll think “oh man, not this shit again, Forza leagues were a wreckfest because nobody can drive.” Interest will slowly be lost, and by 2020, nobody will really bother with racing games as a whole – by then, developers will have all bought into the online event fad in one way or another, and all it will do is give customers painful nightmares of track-blocking wrecks.

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The solution to this inevitable demise is actually quite simple. Released in 2006 by The Artist Formerly Known As SimBin, GTR 2 featured an extremely in-depth driving school that served to bring all novice sim racers up to speed on the finer elements of race craft. Unlike the frustrating license tests found in the Gran Turismo franchise, GTR 2’s driving school provided participants with the maximum track time possible while teaching them essential driving skills that they would absolutely need when racing among a pack of over 30 FIA GT entries that could reach 170 mph with ease. Some sim racers still credit this mode for helping them understand the science behind driving a race car, but for some strange reason, no other developer has bothered to include this in a modern title. Forza, Gran Turismo, Project CARS, and Assetto Corsa just sort of throw a whole bunch of driving assists at you, hoping you’ll figure it out on your own, and this results in hundreds of guys barrelling into turn one without a fucking clue as to what they’re doing. This won’t be fun to deal with in Gran Turismo Sport or Forza Motorsport 7, and as you can see in the footage, it still exists in the highest level of competition.

It’s like all of these developers have bought you your first bicycle and told you how to install the fancy training wheels if you fall and skin your knee, but left it completely up to each individual user to become competent on the race track. If auto racing was really that easy, why the fuck do hundreds of dedicated performance driving & racing schools exist across the world? Hell, why does Madden have this mammoth tutorial mode teaching you how to throw patterns and read defenses, but when it comes to ultra-sophisticated racing simulators, you’re just sort of placed on track and told not to hurt yourself?

Developers, I’m all for the new wave of racing simulators, where everything revolves around organized races, stat tracking, safety ratings, and skill level tiers. I think it adds that little bit of extra fear that is otherwise non-existent due to the fact that you’re not sitting in a physical race car with all the potential in the world to send you to the hospital if you fuck things up. However, a whole lot of people absolutely suck at driving virtual race cars, because this shit isn’t exactly easy, and the experience will be completely ruined if 90% of the rooms are populated by guys who would literally be deemed a hazard on a real race track. If you want to start including this organized element in your modern racing simulators en masse, some sort of advanced training mode is a necessity in every game. Failure to do so will lead to a situation where the genre explodes in popularity for a short time, only for the majority of users to leave out of frustration because the experience is equivalent to bumper cars at their local fairgrounds. Take a good hard look at that Miata video, and ask what you can do as a developer to ensure your customers aren’t embarrassing themselves just trying to complete a lap in traffic.

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66 thoughts on “Patience

  1. What’s funny is in assetto corsa sim racing system, I’ve had every race be cleaner than the majority of iracing experiences I’ve had.
    I imagine if SRS became as popular as iracing, however, the overall average skill level won’t be so high.

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    1. Well that’s what I mean. It’s a very small group of sim racers who have adopted SRS. It’s not a default menu option, they have to be active on the forums, competent enough to install the mod, and WILLING to partake in the kind of racing it offers.

      When a company builds this stuff into a game by default, it opens up the organize races to all sorts of shitters who are totally incompetent.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think it’s more about segmentation and dealing with the ‘rookie’ aspect.

        If launched with a robust system in place, skilled drivers should be shuttled into decent races pretty quickly. Starting with a much larger base (even if less skilled on average) can make this work with the right logic behind the scenes.

        I don’t think iRacing has put in enough work to necessarily hold off competitors. When looked at on an individual feature level, there’s a lot that could be done better and iRacing devs aren’t exactly interested in doing anything that doesn’t make them $12 minimum per sale.

        I also don’t see singleplayer dying out entirely. I could see it becoming more akin to training rather than a detailed sp experience. I think putting new drivers out on a track with AI that adapts to their mid-corner pace is going to prepare them more quickly than something like the lfs driving school. I would try to implement some sort of traffic training mode that rubberbands the AI backwards so the student driver is attacking the back of the pack again within a small amount of time. Dependent on relatively competent AI though.

        If people aren’t going to observe how the AI handles the car when learning how to drive, I don’t think they are going to ‘get it’ from a virtual driving school either. Maybe it is best to just let them ‘race’ each other until they decide to get some patience.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Picture the scene. You’re running an online racing service and you want to choose a guy or girl to moderate the forums and make sure everyone’s being fair and behaving themselves. Who do you choose? What characteristics do you look for?

      Any professional organisation would choose someone tolerant and without prejudice. After all we can’t have someone running things who hates muslims, gays and women for instance. We want someone who can be fair, and who has the intellect and communication skill to ensure members know what rules they’ve broken, why, and how they can improve their behaviour. We want someone who will be diligent in their work, who will nurture a community by setting a positive example.

      Just in case he deletes it, here’s a screenshot. He posted this March 8th and 9th 2016. https://s31.postimg.org/90miwhf9n/shannonwhitmore.png

      This is the kind of guy iRacing employs to run things. Let’s break it down for you.

      – “Ooph!, Rubio got slapped around like a Detroit street hooker.”
      – “Yea, in Michigan especially. He and the other liberal need to quit nd hopefully Cruz gets those votes. Rubio is going get slapped around like a Miami street hooker next week in Florida, Hopefully.”
      – “Oh well he got beat so bad in Michigan after all that money he spent and promised his Pimps (gop elites and chamber of commerce) that they slapped him around like a hooker. BATCH WHERE MY MONEY!!”

      First, he hopes Cruz gets the votes. This ted Cruz https://is.gd/4s8J2Y. First, he’s a Tea Party republican. Straight away that tells you he’s nuts. The far right of an already very right-wing party. Even other republicans think he’s too extreme. He wanted to repeal gay marriage, uphold all gun rights, replace income tax with sales tax (let’s redistribute wealth from the poor to the rich), opposes exceptions for incest or rape in abortion laws, yep he’s a treat. That he considers this guy ok and guys like Rubio to be liberal.. just wow. It tells me that his own views likely match those of Cruz, or at least that Cruz is the closest match to his own beliefs. This means that iRacing has someone in charge of forums (and competition in general) who hates women, gays and Muslims, and thinks that more guns is always the solution. Could that be why anyone suggesting after yet another mass shooting that perhaps fewer guns would mean less gun crime gets banned, while threads like http://members.iracing.com/jforum/posts/list/3494381.page where members show off ridiculously large collections of guns which would be sufficient for a terrorist group to commit enormous atrocities go unmolested, indeed Shannon intervenes when people question the ethics of gun ownership to shoo the objectors away.

      Now the second level of all this is that he thinks it’s ok to joke about violence towards women, and even when his female friend called him out on it he carried on, blissfully unaware of his ignorance.

      Yeah I really trust that guy to lead by example, make complex decisions about the rights and wrongs of any competition and make judgements about what is and isn’t ok to say on a forum. Well done iRacing.

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    1. You mean Reddit isn’t the bastion of the absolute best? Come on now don’t be crazy!

      I’ve had better races with random people in the first week after launch. It’s called playing when kids aren’t on.

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  2. On the subject of tutorials, do you have Nascar 2002 Season? 2003 had some nice tutorials, but 2002 went a step further and had DW explaining how to drive each track and then giving tips on etiquette and so forth.

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  3. ASSETTO CORSA IS THE BIBLE FOR ONLINE RACING STANDARDS AND CONTAINS ALL POSSIBLE ONLINE LEAGUE RACING SIMULATION VALUE!

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  4. The trouble is that everyone is used to racing against the AI in “career mode” so they learn to bump and drive very aggressively without any consequence. Since the AI are already slowing down for the first turn, people who dive bomb the first corner (or every corner) have never had to learn to avoid traffic. Also, the strategy component is missing for most people and they don’t realize that tucking in behind during the first corner chaos is the way to survive. Instead, they see it as giving up a position that they’ll never gain back, making them all the more crazy and aggressive for position early on. On top of all of that, in most of these games, when you bump the AI, they either don’t spin or just slow down a lot, so a lot of people learn to use them as a cushion instead of braking appropriately and don’t realize that when you do that in a real race online, you just end up spinning off instead of slowing down. Lastly, people who have only ever raced in “career mode” are usually running in chase cam with the braking line assist turned on (as in the video) and aren’t progressive with the brakes, so as soon as the line turns a darker red, they simply mash on the brakes at full lock. Since they’re following the ideal line and it doesn’t account for traffic, they don’t know that they should brake early or gently since the assist line doesn’t dictate this to them and they’re certainly not looking for landmarks or watching and adjusting to traffic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All good points. Things I think people should be forced to read before racing online, but also I know it wouldn’t be enough by itself.

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  5. “brand new Mazda Miata Playboy Cup entry”

    That’s the old NC… The new one is the Global MX-5 Cup. Which is based on the new ND platform.

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  6. I agree, it’s a problem.

    But the facts are
    The cost of a training system:

    $10.000-$30.000

    The income after creating it
    $0

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  7. It is an undeniable fact that Assetto Corsa is objectively the best racing simulator today, and that its online structure is very good considering that you don’t have to pay $60 dollars a year to use it. Assetto Corsa has the most skilled drivers out of any sim racing game, including iRacing, and this should be everyone’s sim of choice. Sim Racing System is a welcome addition to AC and helps enhance the online racing system, but you can get a good experience without it too.

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    1. The physics of Assetto Corsa are not of simulation value, when you compare it to the way a racing driver and racing team and even vehicle manufacturers can use rFactor and rFactor 2’s physics to develop their cars and their drivers in a way that provides accurate data which they can rely on to use at races.

      To give you an example. All our race team clients and even our series clients, they don’t only use rFactor for track familiarization. They also use it to test setup data before they go to an event, they use it to test potential new part data, by developing new brakes or new engine performances and testing it in the game before they actually commit to building it in real life. rF1 and rF2 provide far higher accuracy for those things than any other simulation on the market. When it comes to Assetto Corsa, their game is marketed for a set audience which covers the Semi-Arcade side. When I drive rF1 or rF2, I’m always in a serious state of mind, I can’t just go out on the track and run a few laps. It is too simulation based and I treat it as such. I work on my setups, I push to find every tenth I can throughout a lap. I analyze too much. When I play Assetto Corsa, I can easily go in, pick a car and track, chill back and drive When using my Xbox360 controller and not give a care. The physics seem very much like Forza Motorsport 5, a console game physics HOWEVER, Kunos has done a great job for the simcade fans, but cut down to the wire, rFactor 2’s physics engine is by far the most simulation based physics engine using real life aero and physical data that no other title has come close to.

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      1. You rF2 trolls make me suck, and you rF2 dicksuckers should completely fuck off. Your racing sim is NOT relevant at all, NOBODY plays your racing sim online, your sim has MINIMAL base content, and your modding platform is HORRIBLE. rF2 trolls have no right to say anything else about another racing sim considering that ISI doesn’t even give a fuck about their sim. Assetto Corsa has been proven to be one of the best racing sims of all time, and it’s amazing DLC content is COMPLETELY UNMATCHED by any other racing sim. We have Porsche, you have bullshit.

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  8. thats just wrong. Look at Rookie races at Iracing- its a wreckfest. And watch video to impove = if u want to get better u learn to avoid wrecks or slowdown. All it says that there wil be less drivers for higher leagues than rookie, so what? With player count of forza there will be actually MORE drivers in higher leagues compared to iracing

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  9. Its quite nice you named GTR2, which is one of the best simulators ever made to date. A Pity they switched to the race room crap instead of developing GTR3, as for skilled drivers being only in iracing i dont really agree. It also crossed my mind searching for a new sim in the past to sign up and try iracing, but the overall cost for playing the game over time is so high and if you consider that at some time you would like to aquire all cars, the total cost is just bananas plus you still need to pay timely fees on a regular basis. This does not sum up well for me so its not even an option to consider, i hope that concept like this do not last and the company should get bankrupt because of all this transaction crap. But there will always be people willing to pay such high prices for an overrated product and a niche racing format

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          1. yes but minority groups have their own ways as always. They race online 😉 …and we must respect their right to do so!

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            1. We race online ‘cos we want to share our passion, you socially incompetent moron. And we’re not minority, lonly wankers with no life like you are minority. have fun with your AI feinds.

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              1. That’s probably what he meant exactly. You, online racers, the minority group, share your passion online, together. He also said the majority must respect your habit, there’s nothing to get mad about.

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  10. TLDR – there’s a game. And you can play it online, Some people are better at it than others, and the people who aren’t as good at it tend to spoil it for the others.

    Did it need any more words than that? Slow news day?

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    1. Very similar to his egocentric retelling of how good he is in a real racecar. Droning on and on and on…he must like talking to himself in a helmet. The obvious answer to dealing with neophytes is to build a wall to keep them out and make them pay for building it.

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  11. agree 100% , 95 of on line racer have no clue. Some on line instruction is needed for each game.
    I was Forza die hard, But MP has gone to chit, Only way to get a good race is sign up for leagues, and no guarantee you wont have to restart 5 times due to turn one.

    iracing, not perfect, is 1000x better that this crap. You can have much better racing with JUST BASE content, so Price not an issue unless you make it an issue.

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    1. Sharing a passion on line and being a bit concerned if the act is not best possible each time is not what you suggest. It’s just fun, if you haven’t been part of it you just don’t know what we’re talking about. It’s real men having competitive fun together. When participating, for a short time you may forget all everyday shit, all mistreat you have to take, you can be yourself in a quite animalistic level when racing on line. There’s quite a strong feeling in the air every time. You’re a young off line racer? I invite you. Join us, be not alone with your fears. Minority, yes, but we like it.

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  12. Pardon me… but is it my impression or the very author of the video is not the sharpest tool in the shed? Just as he says something about not entering smoke clouds at full speed he does exactly the opposite of what he preaches…

    And at different points of the video I’ve found his driving questionable WRT safety… then I’m only a newbie so that could be only my impression, please correct me if I’m wrong.

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  13. The problem with online racing is that many leagues disable the much needed assists that provide optimal keyboard handling

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        1. Then you drive with your feet. There’s one dude (works for a motors sport team on component engineering iirc) with no arms, he rotates a cicular disk with grip tape using his foot to steer.

          He also uses standard engineering 3d visualization software.. with a normal mouse and kb. just using his feet. He’s not slow at it either.

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  14. The driving quality in the later rounds of Forza 2’s tournaments was actually really good, too bad you had about a 75% chance of being eliminated by the split lobby bug by then.

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  15. Seriously, we are mostly online racers here, but does anybody REALLY know the percent of single racers? I mean, devs trying to make AI better and better. It’s a huge work load, continuing year after year. An extremely difficult and sometimes obviously frustrating task. Why do they even bother when iracing is making such a good money without any AI? Is the number of single racers meaningful at all? Maybe devs should think it again.

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    1. im not married but should single racers be discriminated against? What about Homosexual racers? where do they fall in all this?

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    2. Seriously, are you serious? Don’t you really know where the real money comes from if you happen to be a racing game developer? Online racing is just a protuberance in dev’s butt, painful but it has to be there because of his bad karma. Iracing is different, but it’s a poor house.

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    3. AC sold 300,000 copies. pCARS 400,000 copies on PC. iRacing has 60,000 members. The number of AI players is very significant.

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  16. I tried these leagues on Forza in the Cam Am cars.The developers know plenty about cars but have no interest in motorsport and the league setup is designed so badly for good racing.Here is why.

    The career mode racing against AI makes you start 12th in 2-3 lap races so the only way to win is taking risky moves with contact.
    No Qualifying,so faster guys coming through the pack.
    The League races were 3 laps and if you start in 24th place,it is difficult to win.
    Unsuitable cars like Can Am at short narrow tracks like the stupid Barcelona school track.

    I gave up after the races resulted in starting at the front and getting a good finish,start in the middle of the pack and getting taken out or starting at the back and getting involved in someone elses accident.

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    1. This was also one of the hilarious things about Forza 2. Races were gridded based on PP so the ideal car for a given class was one with just the right fractional PP value and AWD so you could lead into the first corner every time then hold everyone off by holding them up at the apex and getting off the corner better. A couple games later they just made all AWD cars fucking terrible understeering shitboxes instead of something useful.

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  17. I don’t understand why this needed such a long article.

    Console plebs can’t drive, it’s a known fact already. It has been since decades. Nothing will change this because their retarded mentality acts like a sort of “imprint”, where it’s ok to crash into other drivers and drive like shit because the game rewards them for doing so.

    In a real simulator such as rF1, they wouldn’t last 1 lap. Heck, they wouldn’t even be able to turn the engine on and leave the pitlane without all the driving assists and auto-clutch set to off.

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  18. F1 2016 is trying to teach better the players on how to take a track, with the entry, apex, and exit points.
    Much better than the dynamic line that changes color depending on speed as you focus too much on the line and not on the track and your technique.
    This is basically like instructors in real life teaching you a track with the cones on each point where you have to turn. Would also be nice if in the game there’s a voice over instructor to guide you through the track like a irl one would do.

    At 8:36

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  19. Cars seem to overreact to crashes with the smallest bumps almost as if they weighted tons and had rubber bands for bumpers. I don’t remember older forzas being like this, back then you could rub some paint with others without worrying of either of you being sent flying in the opposite direction. Considering the audience it’s not surprising at all, this way they have a better chance at winning than by driving properly.

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  20. Strange, my spec MX5 races in the same league were much less chaotic. Anyway, the main problem with Forza leagues is that it’s performance tracking system is in no way sane. You just accumulate points for places through the “season” and then get bumped up at the end if you got enough. Got no skill but tons of free time? Off you go to the Pinnacle league. Every games needs to have a safety rating system along with a proper tutorial that tells you to drive safely first, fast second.

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  21. “Ooph!, Rubio got slapped around like a Detroit street hooker.”

    “Yea, in Michigan especially. He and the other liberal need to quit nd hopefully Cruz gets those votes. Rubio is going get slapped around like a Miami street hooker next week in Florida, Hopefully.”

    “Oh well he got beat so bad in Michigan after all that money he spent and promised his Pimps (gop elites and chamber of commerce) that they slapped him around like a hooker. BATCH WHERE MY MONEY!!”

    This is the guy who oversees Nim at iRacing, looking after forums, protests, etc. He’s a fan of Cruz, who is a nutjob who grills bacon on a machine gun. Does this explain why the thread http://members.iracing.com/jforum/posts/list/3494381.page (thread discussing how wonderful guns are with people showing their frankly scary gun collections – seriously someone in there’s going to go on a rampage) is still going with the 2 people who are suggesting guns might not be ok getting a rebuke, while any thread about people shooting people with guns gets locked.

    Can’t think what the problem might be here.

    Like

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