While the overall support for Automobilista may be a topic that needs to be discussed in the near future here at PRC.net, those who have been spending time with the simulator by Reiza Studios have been blessed with quite a nice surprise on RaceDepartment. Third party content wizard Patrick Giranthon has released an utterly mammoth collection of tracks for a game that otherwise ships in a state centered around the continent of South America, injecting some much needed diversity into the patchy list of locations. Despite featuring an abundance of both modern and historic totally not Formula One cars alongside new additions such as totally not Stadium Super Trucks, Automobilista by default relies on the current Stock Car Brasil schedule for a large portion of the track selection, leaving some sim racers left to discover obscure and sometimes unappealing locations in order to enjoy a rather satisfying physics engine. It’s not that the tracks featured in Automobilista are of a substandard quality; most of them are simply odd layouts taking place in the middle of empty fields, and it can be a real challenge for many sim racers to understand the appeal of this title.
Giranthon has both bundled and updated almost twenty add-on tracks for Automobilista together in what’s nearly a three gigabyte download, ensuring sim racers can enjoy the strengths of Reiza’s new title in familiar environments such as Monza, the Nurburgring, Road America, Bathurst, and Laguna Seca. Reiza Studios are also planning to release their own official downloadable content later this year by introducing locations like Brands Hatch and Oulton Park into the simulator, yet Giranthon’s efforts take Automobilista from being another obscure Reiza sim racing product to something quite approachable with one simple RAR file download.
When it comes to downloading third party content for modern racing simulators, it can be a mixed bag in terms of what you’re getting from each project. On some occasions, even a simple art style discrepancy or lack of AI optimization can really make additional content feel out of place within a virtual driver’s sim of choice. Giranthon’s work is special, as he makes a huge effort to remain true to the original color palettes and environmental graphics found in the vanilla game, allegedly working with Reiza to a limited extent behind the scenes as a way to guarantee his content fits naturally within the Automobilista roster. There have been occasional references across multiple sim racing discussion platforms to a situation where Giranthon may be some sort of semi-partner with the Brazilian developer team, but these posts are often difficult to track down.
Regardless of how or why we got to this point where one user pumped out a phenomenal set of tracks for one specific game quite quickly, and omitting the fact that Automobilista’s user activity is fairly pathetic, if you own Automobilista, today is a good day. You’ve got eighteen new reasons to fire up Automobilista, and you didn’t have to pay for any of them.
However, this kind of screws up the entire concept of downloadable content for Automobilista. It is difficult to sit here and understand why someone should pay a whopping $33 CDN for Automobilista’s Season Pass, when a lone user on RaceDepartment is putting out more downloadable content of an equal caliber, most likely with the blessing and help of the game’s developers, for free.