A Tale of Two Tire Models

shift2u-2016-09-06-22-53-08-61I understand it’s not a game most readers of PRC.net would like to hear about, but over the past week or so thanks to a crippling intestinal infection, I’ve had enough free time to sit down and figure out how to install Shift 2: Unleashed. There are indeed people who swear off products by Slightly Mad Studios for one reason or another, but nobody can deny the stellar list of content available in this game – it’s really the last modern racing simulator where all major car brands and a few major racing series were willing to play nice with one another, and the track list rivals even the most hardcore of rFactor packages. If you can get past some of the casual elements sim racers tend to scoff at, the title boasts three complete seasons of racing as you progress into the higher tiers of career mode – those being the FIA GT1, FIA GT3, and Historic Touring Car championships. It’s not a stretch to call Shift 2: Unleashed the spiritual successor to GTR 2 and GT Legends, one which Ian Bell desperately tried to shoehorn into the market under the Need for Speed badge.

Is the vanilla game every bit as awful as people make it out to be? Absolutely. As I’ve mentioned, this is a game that takes hours to configure, and I’m not just taking about the time spent yanking a copy of the Limited Edition from one of several Torrent sites. There are numerous community patches and additional bits and pieces to snatch from NoGripRacing.com, most of which simply unpack the game and fix errors made by Slightly Mad Studios during the game’s development – such as the fuel cell being located outside of the car. I will say though, that once you’ve actually sat down for the upwards of two hours it takes to finally get everything into a functional state, Shift 2 is basically the Forza-like experience for the PC you’ve been looking for, and it earns bonus points thanks to how Shift 2 turns into GTR 2/GT Legends later in Career mode.

It’s just a pain in the fucking ass installing these mods. Seriously.

shift2_unleashed_lamborghini_murcielago_r-sv_gt1_day_1So while you’re going through the steps to inject all of these fixes into your root Shift 2 folder, you’re actually faced with a choice when it comes to the game’s tire model, because this is one of the few updates that isn’t mandatory. Look, you can choose to play Shift 2 with the default set of physics, but to get any sort of enjoyable experience out of the executable file, you’re forced to again consult NoGripRacing.com for one of several different tire model modifications. And they basically all advertise the same effects – a much more realistic driving experience than the one Electronic Arts and Slightly Mad Studios originally built.

ptmuThe first, and most popular tire model modification, has been dubbed the Polish Tyre Mod by brrupsz. I’ve been following the community surrounding Shift 2 Unleashed from afar since the game’s release in the spring of 2011, and this is the package that most people flock to by default. Not only does it fundamentally change how Shift 2 drives, there are also little pieces of bonus content that come bundled with the download if you’re looking for just a little bit more of a challenge from Shift 2. Most notably, brrupsz has completely re-worked the artificial intelligence in terms of competence, aggression, and pace, producing an offline racing experience that can be quite enjoyable compared to some of the more traditional racing simulators.

This is the modification I prefer, as it drives very similar to RaceRoom Racing Experience. Even in the high-end GT3 machinery, you really have to concentrate on hitting your marks each corner and choosing when it’s the appropriate time to push, carefully balancing weight transfer with limited tire grip. I think the street cars were exceptionally well-done, as the stock Chevrolet Cobalt handled in a very similar fashion to my own shitbox Cavalier as I was progressing through the early races within Career mode. However, lap times were over six seconds off pace compared to these same cars in other simulators. I took the Audi R8 GT3 to Road America for one of the game’s Endurance events, and was only able to muster a 2:07.250. The same car in Automobilista could sit in the 2:02’s quite easily. I personally enjoyed the driving style and offline racing this mod produced because it really made me pay attention to my pedal inputs in a way that was benefiting me, but we were lapping much slower than what these cars are capable of. It was like how MLB players warm up with a weighted bat – not realistic, but I enjoyed having to concentrate on the fundamentals of race car driving.

gtyresThe other popular mod that’s managed to attract the attention of the Shift 2 community would be the G-Tyres release by B7ake. If you are looking for pure, unadulterated simulation value, this is the exact mod that will satisfy your virtual auto racing needs. I jumped into a Quick Race at Brands Hatch with my newly acquired McLaren MP4-12c GT3, and busted out lap times on-par with these same cars in rFactor 2 – sitting around the 1:22 to 1:23 range. Physically, it felt like I was playing Project CARS, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this guy was contacted in some fashion to help out Slightly Mad Studios with last year’s controversial release. To verify that it wasn’t just a bullshit placebo effect making me jizz myself over this tire model, I went back to Road America, and promptly set lap times in the 2:01 range with the McLaren, just a hair faster than the Audi GT3 in Automobilista – and that minuscule difference is something I’d chalk up to the powerplant difference rather than the physics engine.

But the speed difference is what kills this mod. Shift 2’s AI, as well as the changes made by third party AI mods, are typically built around the slower lap times turned by cars using the original physics engine, or the Polish Tire Mod. While I double and triple-checked to ensure that any remnants of other AI mods had been uninstalled properly, and the readme for the G-Tyres mod claimed to be bundled with it’s own set of AI tweaks by default, what I saw out the front windshield simply did not reflect any of the alleged changes. Sure, the lead pack of four cars tried to put up a fight against me throughout the opening corners, but with this mod, I didn’t just beat the AI; I made them not want to show up to the race track anymore, and I didn’t feel like I was going all that particularly fast. So what the G-Tyres mod appeared to have done, at least from my standpoint, is turn Shift 2 into a very competent and somewhat realistic hotlap simulator.

This is fine for some people, as the both the vehicle and location rosters are beyond excellent – as well as the realistic upgrades system, but Shift 2 ships with a Career mode and progression system that are both fairly satisfying. It was hard to justify leaving out such a major portion of the game in favor of hot lapping, and therefore I went back to the Polish Tire Mod in the end.

What I find interesting, is that if this is the guy they had helping out with Project CARS, or Slightly Mad Studios were using their own tweaks to achieve a similar result, I’m starting to understand some of the AI issues seen in Project CARS. Considering both games are built on the Madness engine, I believe the AI simply weren’t coded to handle their vehicles at a real world pace. Honestly, they’re totally fine to drive against when running six seconds off pace using either the default tire model or Polish Tire Mod, but when you jack up the realism and start laying down real-world times, that’s when the AI begins to struggle and do a bunch of fucked up things. If SMS had to manually code in that extra pace to keep up with the new batch of realistic physics, I’m not surprised the end result was as poor as it was.

maxresdefaultI will hopefully get around to doing a full review of Shift 2 Unleashed in the coming weeks, as it’s a vastly different game with all of the community mods injected into it compared to what you’ll see at your local GameStop for $19.99 used, but this just goes to show the depth of changes people have been making to this game in an effort to turn it into their vision of GTR 3. And I think it’s been enjoyable in a unique way to test out Shift 2 in this third-party state; you really get to see how Slightly Mad Studios handled the transition between Shift 2 and Project CARS. It’s a feeling equivalent to combing through YouTube and stumbling upon the demo tracks of your favorite rock band’s landmark album – you’re given a bit of insight into the internal conversations that helped shape the product.

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64 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Tire Models

  1. Kinda late on this one.. It will lose it’s shine after you’ve spent some more time with it (..as you already know).

    What’s up with the placating tone in this article though…?

    https://pretendracecars.net/2015/07/08/reader-submission-18-turning-shift-2-unleashed-into-gran-turismo-for-the/

    The fuck is this, virtualR?

    “you really get to see how Slightly Mad Studios handled the transition between Shift 2 and Project CARS. It’s a feeling equivalent to combing through YouTube and stumbling upon the demo tracks of your favorite rock band’s landmark album.”

    wtf

    Like

        1. james is in bed with Ian Bell, they are working together, this is nothing but a shill from James and well done to him, solid reverse shilling again.

          Like

    1. nm, I didn’t realize the other article is a reader submission, so actually you just followed up like you said you might back in 2015. So pretty cool actually.

      Still though, I don’t get why you’re playing nice with the guy responsible for kicking off the unpolished ‘simulator’ plague.

      I’ll mark it down to the illness I suppose.

      Rune Morling (ermo) is an SMS employee now I believe. Not too surprising either in retrospect, Bell rolled through certain forums and snatched up talent after the poor PC simulator enthusiast reception of shift 2. The people who actually wanted to fix the damned game probably did make some good employees…

      It is worth installing the mods and checking out, but I also recall lacking geometry detail in the tracks and many other reasons to set it aside, not even getting into the physics oddities.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep, and on that remark, few other guys got employed recently too. Good for them and hope they last long in the gears of the industry.

          Like

      1. Why don’t you just delete vulgar comments? I can understand you want everyone to freely speak their minds in PRC but there should really be a limit to how offensive someone can be. It’s truly sad, because you could have turned PRC into a true sim racers’ paradise but instead it’s another 4chan.. and that’s the future you chose!

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        1. His comments section is like his mind and his twists and spins he does of sim racing games and of the devs. The comments are just a reflection.

          Like

        2. The guys leaving these types of comments literally sit on here all day shitposting to no end. We’re talking guys who are legitimately mentally ill. It’s impossible to keep up with them. I remember I saw Gob & The Offspring earlier this year at the Shaw conference center, and in between sets I’d look down at my phone and these motherfuckers were basically shitposting once every five minutes over the span of like three hours. Just insane.

          Like

        3. ”BWAHAHAHAHAHAGHA A true racing paradise” you are seriously mentally ill, push your prolapsed anal cavity back into your ass you imbecile

          Like

  2. Hey guys if you’re interested in free blowjobs, please come to my place.
    Here’s my address :

    2, Studfield Road
    Sheffield
    Yorkshire
    S6 4SS
    United Kingdom

    Paul Jeffrey, your secret lover :o)

    ps. Don’t bring any condoms!

    Like

    1. Hi Paul Jeffrey,

      I’m still having security problems.

      Come find me at my address:25 83DZthe Hague . That’s where I’m abusing Ian Bell with substitute work arounds in certain cavity physics collapsing under collision.

      Like

      1. “He doesn’t make as many front page articles about rf2 as for Assetto Corsa. So he became a target of weak people.”

        Fuck your a sick cunt, poor bloody Paul Jeffery posted a legit comment on one article, and it had his email and real name in it, so the sick fuck that hangs around here 24 hours a fucking day ran with it, posting his address and all sorts, keep in mind the spammer(s) have proven to be AC fanboys, fuck you are one weird creepy cunt.

        Like

        1. No he’s not, and his Paul Jeffrey posts were different, only later he posted about his supposed address. Most likely is the same guy that posts about that daz Hague address. And that guy definitely is not an AC fanboy.

          Like

        2. I remember when AC,pCars,R3E,Gsce Steam discussions were a peaceful place until rf2 goons and the rf2 piece of shit game came..

          Like

  3. As a piece of curiosity, there was another tire model for S2U called the NTM tire mod, it was made by a guy who worked as a tire engineer IRL. It didn’t work at all with the older cars, but it’s worth a go for comparisons sake with the newer machinery.

    Like

  4. My brother Michael films me regularly, come watch :

    efukt(dot)com/21658_The_Biggest_Cuck_on_This_Shitty_Earth

    He loves filming my cuck fetish and doing my wife in the process

    Like

      1. Look, I wouldn’t be asking the question if I hadn’t experienced the input lag first hand.
        Some time ago someone was swearing S2U is a decent sim when used with appropriate mods. I gave it a try, installed the NTM mod… It was still utter crap compared even to Assetto Corsa and Project CARS. What made it unusable, however, was the horrible input lag. Can’t remember I was getting something like that anywhere else.

        Like

  5. James how about doing a blog on the following topics, serious, heres a few ideas

    The comments section here
    Fanboys
    Mental health of sim racers
    Reverse Shilling
    That accusations you reverse shill and you are working for Ian Bell
    The best budget sim rig
    The Best budget fold up sim right- example GT Art which is fantastic
    The best Budget chair
    Sim accessories good and useless

    cheers

    Like

  6. “The guys leaving these types of comments literally sit on here all day shitposting to no end. We’re talking guys who are legitimately mentally ill.”

    Kinda sad that you accuse your blog commentators as mentally ill, whilst lambasting devs who do the same. Double standards much?

    Like

  7. well gotta say that shit is sometimes entertaining, sometimes really annoying, But now that we are at it, get your anus washed, prepare for the stumper

    Like

  8. I love Shift2 for the very good job they did on the car modification/car roster/track list side of things. It’s just wonderful building up a track car for a small budget to match certain PP requirments and pit it against a buddy with the same PP rating car built by them. I just never felt the physics engine handles 450+ hp cars right and could never end up with a really good wheel setup. For some plain fun thought, Shift2 is still a favorite.

    Like

  9. Hello guys I am B7ake from NGR forum. I have to say no they (SMS) haven’t contacted me about tire physics development but if they did I would’ve accept it considering how big fan of Shift series I am.
    First of all both PTMU and G-tyres TGR mods are just workaround mods to compensate for missing load and reducement of famous ” Instant load transfer bug ” .

    ALL UNTIL NOW..

    Few days ago i fired up again My Shift 2 game and decided to give it another try to figure out whats wrong with this game. And it worked, after testing options by options and number by number i figured out that only logical explanation might be some sort of typos. And main problem with both games Shift 1 and Shift 2 has buried somewhere in physic engine.
    If i had access to .exe file I would probably change code to read and multiply 3th values of LoadSens / LatPeak / LongPeak by factor of 10 and that’s it. both games handles even with keyboard flawlessly by applying this quick fix.Since I don’t have access to .exe only way to fix it was to manually change those figures.

    Just quick example what and how to manualy apply fix:

    LoadSens=(-3.10e-6, 0.40, 15000.0) // Load sensitivity of tire (initial slope, final grip multiplier, final load)
    LatPeak=(0.20, 0.20, 9500.0) // Slip range where lateral peak force occurs depending on load
    LongPeak=(0.20, 0.20, 9500.0) // Slip range where longitudinal peak force occurs depending on load

    these properties of tyre files needs to be changed by simply adding one extra zero 0 to 3th values and It will look like this

    LoadSens=(-3.10e-6, 0.40, 150000.0) // Load sensitivity of tire (initial slope, final grip multiplier, final load)
    LatPeak=(0.20, 0.20, 95000.0) // Slip range where lateral peak force occurs depending on load
    LongPeak=(0.20, 0.20, 95000.0) // Slip range where longitudinal peak force occurs depending on load

    And thats it…

    Further more, note that this is major fix that has to be done before all others calibrations: slip angles or more stiffer tyres.

    I have updated My mod and it contains fix for packed (steam/DVD copies) just one file to drop in installation folder and out of box its game on completely another level, or for those that runs unpacked version there is mod to be installed with JSGMe mod installer. Job done enjoy your game.

    Like

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