Reader Submission #125 – The Difficulty in Becoming a Sim Racer

2864417-launch_18Is sim racing a difficult, frustrating, and unwelcoming hobby to get into? That’s the question of today’s Reader Submission from Drako I., who outlines some of the challenges outsiders may face when deciding to dive head-first into a genre that can be as ruthless and frightening as it is enjoyable. While there are many elements he brings up that I don’t personally agree with, it’s an interesting discussion to hold here on PRC.net – a place where internet points and strict moderators do not dictate who’s opinion is deemed to be correct. Partially related to our last article, while still branching off into its own subject, Drako has fed us a question that I encourage all of you to chime in on.


project-cars-03Why is sim racing so hard to get into? That’s a question that’s been bugging me ever since the release of… well, I’ll say this much. It’s not a racing sim that spurred my question, but rather reading about the man who decided for some reason to construct an entire chassis, and then throw an Oculus Rift in there, to experience his simulator of choice. That got me going off on a tangent and pondering why our beloved hobby is so difficult to enter in the first place.

Actually, let’s take a step back. We’ve all been there at some point in time, advising new players to rush out and purchase an expensive toy steering wheel – but has anyone ever really stopped to consider a tough question; am I scaring off a potential opponent or friend?

Nobody seems to stop and think about that. Instead, they recommend expensive wheels and pedal sets, caught up in a mindset that you must have a particular brand of wheel to get your feet wet in the hobby. Why? What’s the point at the end of the day? Not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a steering wheel, and if they do, they may not have the time to get good at it for whatever reason. Work, school, and relationships can get in the way.

Yet sim racers don’t care. There’s a stereotype of a gamer as somebody who never leaves the basement, and has no tangible social life. This also applies to sim racers to a point, and like all stereotypes it’s based loosely on truths that are difficult to swallow. There are indeed those in our community who never get out, but recent studies have shown more and more people are playing games as a whole, and of that statistical analysis, many are found be be fully grown adults.

Adults who have steady employment records and don’t have countless hours to sink into a simulator, night after night, and may not have the disposable income necessary to rush out and buy expensive plastic toys for their desks.

Yet again, the sim racers sneer at anyone using a keyboard, gamepad, or a lesser brand of wheel. Get a Logitech G27, they say, ignoring the fact that it costs a lot of money, and not everyone has space for a comprehensive wheel setup, let alone the time to get good with one. Get the fuck off this sim if you’re using a pad, they scream in message boards, ignoring the fact that a pad is just as valid of an input method as any other.

And that scares away people from sim racing. It’s a shame, because sim racing is a tiny, tiny niche genre in a genre that’s already suffering a bit on the popularity side. Compare the amount of players across the four biggest racing sims, and then look at the numbers games like FIFA or Counter Strike pull in. If that’s too much of a stretch for you, look at Euro Truck Simulator 2, which has a phenomenal userbase – and I know for a fact there are people out there rocking joysticks, mice, even keyboards, and they’re all having the same amount of fun. And nobody bitches about an input method on the forums or demands somebody to get a refund or stop playing the game because they don’t use a top of the line wheel and pedal setup.

So why is sim racing so hostile to new players?

I believe it to be fear.

Fear of new people coming in and showing up the old-timers. Fear of being shown up in front of their online friends by somebody with a cheap wheel; fear of finding out their precious $700 metal/plastic fusion isn’t as good as a $20 eBay impulse purchase. So they lash out and scream at people, basically because of what’s called tribalism.

Do you remember the bitching when iRacing allowed non-traditional controller options besides steering wheels? People were losing their shit; claiming iRacing had gone casual. It hadn’t, in fact. What it had done was smart. It allowed more players, and more potential revenue. From a business standpoint, it was a phenomenal call. Yet the hardcore sim racers continue to scream that you need an expensive wheel like the Logitech G27 or G29.

Lastly, it’s also fueled by anger. The anger of knowing that not everybody gets to be an astronaut in the end, or in this case, a race car driver. Anger at a chosen sim for being a stand-in replacement for a real racing career, anger at the new people for wanting to take their shiny toy away. It’s the same basic principle. Sim racers that are firmly entrenched in a community for a sim, do not want other people to show up and steal their thunder, so they lash out and demand others to play the exact same way as them, and throw a hissy fit when they see people playing it differently.

So what can be done? Can sim racing ever become mainstream?

No, or at least not yet. It will take a massive change in the culture for it to crack into the mainstream audience in the way Euro Truck Simulator 2 has, or even Flight Simulators.

As for the vocal hardcore people in their sandboxes hurling sand at everyone who stops to look at them playing and throwing a hissy fit about what controller somebody uses, it’s quite frankly, ridiculous. They can spout the complaint of “but you drive a REAL car with a steering wheel and pedals” argument all they like, but I for one have a counter argument for that. Alex Zanardi, one of the greatest drivers in the history of auto racing, has driven with hand controls since 2001 – and he wins races. Yet, the sim racing community as a whole plug their ears and carry on insisting people using alternative control inputs like Zanardi don’t race.

Until that changes, until sim racing becomes more tolerant of other input methods, of different people in their sandbox, sim racing will always be a tough sell to people who aren’t massively into cars.


2743_project_carsThere’s a lot you’re wrong about. Sorry fam, but I’ll try and deconstruct everything you’ve mentioned as best as I can. I caution you that others won’t be so kind, effectively proving your point about how hostile this community can be at times, so I’ll do my best to explain where this hostility is rooted in.

You’re right in the fact that you don’t need a wheel to play a racing simulator; there are guys who rock the Xbox 360 controller with mild success; others have dialed in keyboard settings almost perfectly, and I know a dude from 4Chan who’d bust out this obscure Namco neGcon – as the twisting portion in the center made for what he felt to be a perfect miniature analog steering wheel. I’ve kicked peoples asses in DiRT 2 with an Xbox controller, won online races in Monster Truck Madness 2 with the basic arrow key layout, and even ran in a NASCAR Racing 2003 Season league back in the day using an Interact Hammerhead. So I know that it’s doable.

But as an accomplished sim racer who’s won in basically every of class of car to win in – including a Baja 500 victory earlier today – here is the honest to God truth: you’re much faster and infinitely more consistent with a wheel. This does not mean you’re not allowed play simulators with an Xbox 360 pad; in fact, some guys willingly give away their controller settings in various forums to make this a feasible option if a wheel just isn’t in the budget. Go dig into Project CARS and run laps to your hearts’ content – nobody is stopping you.

However, when you jump online into something like iRacing, or any kind of organized league racing in a rival simulator, there’s a base level of respect your competitors expect from you. You’re expected to pilot your car in a manner that isn’t detrimental to the experience of other drivers. If you’re showing up with an Xbox 360 pad, mouse steering, or some kind of alternative input device, there is a large chance you will be all over the goddamn race track and a rolling hazard for everybody else. That’s not to say there aren’t people out there who haul ass with a keyboard or an Xbox controller, but they are so few and far between they become statistical anomalies. Your average online race in something like iRacing outside of rookie classes, most people are putting up a genuinely competitive pace, and a gap of even a few tenths of a second between you in an Xbox controller, versus your opponents with a standard Logitech G27, is going to cause serious problems in traffic. They will run you over, because a wheel provides that much more precision, and therefore more speed. You know how driver training teaches you that someone driving under the speed limit is just as dangerous as someone driving over the speed limit? This is what they’re talking about. With a controller, you are effectively becoming the grandma doing 45 in a 60 zone, occasionally crossing over into the other lane and giving your comrades miniature heart attacks. It’s not fair to subject others to this, and then turn around and question why sim racers get so angry when they find out you’re not using a wheel.

Now as to why sim racers “angrily scream” to go purchase expensive steering wheels, that’s because these games are actually built primarily for those who do own steering wheels. You have to understand, developers like Sector 3, Studio 397, and iRacing (to an extent), have essentially taken aim at a fraction of a fraction of a very broad genre and said “we’re making a game just for you guys.” These games are built to be race car simulators for race car nerds, and most race car nerds own toy steering wheels because that’s how cars are driven. This isn’t Euro Truck Sim 2, where you’re idling on an expressway behind some minivan; you’re dancing on the edge of a racing slick for an extra tenth of a second. Keyboard buttons and Xbox 360 pads don’t allow you to execute the advanced car control maneuvers required in this environment with routine precision.

Think of it like the Guitar Hero series. Yes, you can technically play those games with a standard Dualshock controller; I think it maps the green note to A or X (depending on the console), and the rest of the notes to the shoulder buttons. And yeah, you can plug through the campaign mode with a Dualshock just fine. But to actually play the game where it’s enjoyable and you’re getting something out of it, it’s built for the plastic miniature Gibson Xplorer. And it’s the same with sim racing. Yes, you can go out and run ten seconds off pace in an Xbox controller, maybe getting to the point where you can post a time that’s two seconds behind the leader on a simple track. But when you’re physically in an iRacing server and the green flag drops or the lights go out, more likely than not you’ll be a legitimate hazard because a controller or keyboard doesn’t grant the kind of consistency required to not be a nuisance. Again, you’re not cruising like in Euro Truck Simulator 2, you’re racing. And people don’t want to spend their free time dodging someone who’s not adequately prepared to race. You’re right that most people just sort of get angry and can’t articulate it like this, but that’s why they’re getting upset.

Willingly becoming the aforementioned Grandma doing 45 in a 60 zone because “buying a wheel is too expensive” is disrespectful to your competitors who have joined an event alongside you and were hoping to pull off a clean race. It’s not very fun for the others if there is always that one car who’s getting in the way and becoming a nuisance by his own choice.

Now you bring up Alex Zanardi’s hand controls as proof that you can be successful with something other than a Logitech G27, right? I hope you’re aware of what these hand controls actually look like. It’s still a steering wheel; essentially the same setup as the Thrustmaster T2 from the 1990’s, where the throttle was on the wheel itself, in place of the shifter paddles.

And there’s actually a drift car out in my neck of the woods that rocks the more traditional set of hand controls seen in passenger cars.

I’m really hoping I’m missing something, because your point about disabled drivers using hand controls is essentially moot – they’re also using steering wheels, just the way they apply pedal inputs is modified. At work we have a few units like these, and they’re quite enjoyable to wheel around – really easy to pick up, logical to drive, and you can see how it’s not much of a change to adapt to.

Back to the original point, as I’ve said before, what you may possibly be failing to realize is that racing simulators don’t fall under the same umbrella as Euro Truck Simulator 2. Trucking games are more or less leisure applications that combine traditional motorway driving with light role-playing elements, bundled in an admittedly well-rounded package. Throughout most of the game, you are idling in a straight line at a set speed limit, where the truck simply can’t get away from you, and only minor corrections to the steering, throttle, and brakes are needed. Purpose built race cars, on the other hand, can sometimes be one degree of steering input away from sending you into the wall at 230 km/h. I don’t know why you would willingly want to pilot a machine like that with an arrow key on the keyboard, or your thumb on a gamepad, because it’s objectively not precise enough. And unless you’re an absolute wizard on the Keyboard or Xbox 360 controller, it’s going to be a mess if you enter any sort of organized race.

So on the control input front, it has nothing to do with elitism. People use steering wheels, and advise others to buy steering wheels, because it’s the right tool for the job. Nothing to do with fear of being shown up by new kids on the block; it’s simply not practical to try and race with anything other than a steering wheel. Unless you’re a freak of nature who’s busting out incredible times right off the bat, what ends up happening 99% of the time is that you’ll get run over, cause a bunch of accidents because you can’t keep the car under you, and people will get mad because you’re wrecking more than everyone else – the kid at the go-kart track who just can’t figure out what it takes to go fast.

maxresdefaultYou do have a point in that sim racers don’t need to push high end wheels on the average community member. Look, most of the people that buy these wheels are what some call “sim dads” – older gentlemen who throw copious amounts of money at their hobby because that’s what they feel like doing. Most of these guys aren’t very fast drivers to begin with, and so the misconception of a wheel improving their driving ability spawns from their online discussions, leading to an abundance of misinformation floating around. You can’t always tell how fast people are from message board posts, so what happens is that many of the discussions from people claiming to have gotten faster after buying a Direct Drive wheel are actually guys who sucked to begin with. That’s just something you learn from experience, however.

13886924_950612808380884_804333304988597299_nWe’re getting to the controversial part of the article now, and that is the sim rig which inspired you to send in this submission. Look, it’s very important to make this clear – this project came about largely in part due to the overall intelligence level of iRacing’s community. With how much iRacing’s marketing team like to talk about real drivers using their software, a lot of individuals have wrongly interpreted this as believing some sort of NASCAR driver will “discover them” on iRacing and put them in a real car sight unseen – as if iRacing is a legitimate substitute for having some kind of amateur auto racing career.

I wish I was kidding about that, but because no professional driver has actually taken the time to outright dispel this myth, you have quarter-truths floating around as fact, perpetuated by entire groups of people who either aren’t old enough to understand that this isn’t how things work in the world of auto racing, or haven’t been exposed to people who can snap them back to reality with the other three quarters of the story.

This sim rig isn’t proof that the sim community aggressively pushed him into building something so preposterous with money he didn’t have just to play iRacing, but rather displays an online environment where so much misinformation had been floating around, several people who could have told him he was being ridiculous, didn’t, because they also believed in those quarter-truths.

ams-2016-11-08-16-43-52-76Will sim racing ever be mainstream?

No, absolutely not.

With games like Euro Truck Simulator 2, at their core they are very simple experiences that don’t require much knowledge of absolutely anything related to the trucking industry to get a fair bit of enjoyment out of it. When it comes to traditional racing simulators, however, the basic act depicted in the software is not idling in traffic, but rather driving a high performance race car – a skill that you don’t just pick up overnight. I’m not sure why you’d ever believe people would just suddenly figure out the art of performance driving as easily as they’d pick up Guitar Hero or Halo. Up here, people can’t even drive the speed limit when it snows without a spontaneous date with the nearest ditch; what makes you think the average Joe will flock to this when forced to approach the same situation at three times the speed?

League of Legends is popular because everyone and their computer illiterate friend can pick it up for free, click around, and possibly win a few matches once they understand the core concept of the game. But in race car simulators, unless you go into it knowing full well what’s expected of you when behind the wheel of a purpose built race car on a closed circuit, you’re going to crash, and the game really doesn’t give a shit. There aren’t ways to make this easier for outsider users curious about the subject matter, because physics engines quite frankly don’t give a fuck if you aren’t using a wheel or are unsure of what the proper braking technique is. And they shouldn’t have to – sim developers know what their target audience is, and that’s who they build their games for.

Can the community be less retarded? Absolutely, though the examples and reasoning you’ve provided have been admittedly quite poor, though I’ll let our readers chime in on this one.

 

83 thoughts on “Reader Submission #125 – The Difficulty in Becoming a Sim Racer

  1. I really like the job PRC’s does for the community, really positive and supporting stuff.

    PRCs is the anal cav1ty of sim racing, look no further than this site if you want to see destructive and nasty behaviour towards the community from its owner.

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  2. The problem with sim racing is the racing part. Put sim part aside for a moment. Just getting the race line right is something that takes lots of practice, regardless of the vehicule. After you’re done practicing by yourself, translating all that into a race is something else. Waving around that line in a race context can go wrong in a snap. And when you can handle all that, long fights, against a racer that is the same caliber as you doesn’t happend as often as i would like to. It’s even worst if you don’t drive popular combos…

    As for high end gear, it’s not about being faster, it’s about the driving enjoyment. I don’t even have anything fancy, but still i could saw a difference when i upgraded my setup. My momo was perfectly working, but a 900° G27 felt more natural. I could do nice time and race when everything was cliped with screws on the floor, weights on a stool, but it felt more natural and enjoyable when i build my PVC seat(SIMUL8R PVC plans + 30$ seat from the local scrap yard).

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    1. This. I alter between a Logitech Driving Force Pro that I picked up for 35 Euros on a desk and a Thrustmaster T500 on a simple wheelstand and the latter is more enjoyable to use.

      I would still recommend option number one for someone looking to get into simracing. When new to a genre of games, you naturally don’t want to spend a few hundred Euros just to see whether you like it.

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  3. The G27’s a popular recommendation because it offers “1 of everything” – you buy it and you have a steering wheel, 3 pedals, and a little stick shifter. This will give you the appropriate controls for probably 99% of racing sims, meaning you can use them the way you’d use a real car.

    The minimum I’d recommend for PC is a Driving Force GT. You really do want 900 degrees to be able to place the car accurately – like James says, a single degree makes a difference, and on a controller where the stick moves 1cm total, vs. a wheel where you move it about 1cm to change that single degree (assuming 11″ 900 degree wheel) you’re literally talking *450* times as much input precision.

    If the low end 200-270 degree wheels had better quality encoders I could safely recommend them but they simply don’t. I’ve tried them, you’ll barely be able to drive in a straight line with some of them.

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  4. At least your not picking on a disabled kid in this article James.

    But i’ll remind you that you do sensor a hell of a lot of posts here so its fairly hypocritical for you to be talking about over zealous forums.

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    1. James doesn’t sensor anything. Except maybe himself. I see the article about the kid/rig has been removed from what I can see. Good choice.
      The comment section was full of people dropping bombs on him. Including me coming at him the hardest. He didn’t remove any of it. Just the whole event after the fact. Which was good. Was seriously considering whether I wanted to be around this place anymore.

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        1. Yeah. It’s still there.
          I do see some quirky things now and then. Comments not showing with out a page refresh.
          Things missing.
          Sometimes posts don’t appear to show up right away. was able to post a link earlier. That may or may not be there still.
          I just always assumed you clean up things here or there. And perhaps as your editing things. Weird things happen as they are being added to or edited.
          The first time I tried to post a link. The whole comment didn’t appear. Was my first link here and only noticed you don’t allow them after reading it the most recent comment section.

          The question is do I want to visit this website and support what is becoming clearer all the time.

          This is mostly just trolling and shit stirring.
          There’s really not much of value here.
          Other than the open format.

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  5. Sim racers have the same mindset that cyclists do.Some buy second hand or budget kit,others like all the expensive gear because they have money and like shiny stuff.
    Sim racing is niche just like F1,Nascar or WEC.Any attempts to make it mainstream fail because it looses its very essence by appealing to the mainstream.
    Forza has a massive following but it is not the best sim racer.If the developer decided to make it the most accurate simulator it would not be as popular.

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  6. With a proper steering assist, that more hardcore sims like rFactor 2 have, you should be able to race every car convienently and consistently with a gamepad or even just a keboard.

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    1. We all know your keyboard has thermo mechnical nuclear keys made of carbon plastic with analog sensitive nanometre precision. And anything opposing that is a major disinformation worth of national security.

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            1. Try hauling cargoes on the sling and you’ll love it even more. Sliding around is not the hard part. It’s standing still in the air precisely over the point on the ground you chose that is.

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  7. Another James’ opinion I can pretty much agree with. Sure, he couldn’t leave it free of a jab at direct drive wheels owners.

    Look, if you don’t need DD wheels, just mind your own business, will ya? It’s not about “making yourself faster”, it’s about enhancing your driving experience. You seem to be ok with the rig from the previous article itself (at least if the guy would buy everything with his own money), yet you have an attitude like this towards DD wheels owners? Aren’t you quite a hypocrite, Ogonoski?

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    1. Except for the fact that part of the issue with DD wheels now is that iRacing is doing a great deal of signaling to their fanboys on the official forums that the reason you cant drive or feel iRacing like they claim you should is becuase you arent using a direct drive wheel.

      The past year has been filled with fanboys echoing that and David Tucker has been subtly hinting at this.

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      1. What does Alfalfa use? Guerentee it’s not direct drive. Or if it is. It’s some shady stuff happening at Iracing. The more I hear about this Alfalfs dude and the way he’s untouchable makes me think something weird has to be happening on that service.
        Doesn’t seem like one dude should always win like some kind of Alien compared to rest of the pack.

        Why don’t you talk about this guy James and how he’s dominating the Iracing landscape. Doesn’t seem
        Legit. What setup does he run, or is it a secret? Etc

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      2. I wouldn’t take seriously what people renting virtual cars are saying. What if they switch to keyboards? Will Ogonoski start bashing keyboards?

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  8. I think you are really wasting your time trying to power up a G27 etc. The FFB strength is measured in MNM which is Milli newton metres. The motor in the Thrustmaster T500 for example is rated at 150mNm of torque, 100mNm continuous and 640mNm startup In other words not even a tenth of a newton metre up to maybe just over half! Thats only half a newton metre. Direct drive are putting out up to 20+ NM or over 100 times the strength of the poor old T500. Best you save your money ( thousands) if you really want real strong realistic FFB, cheap Logitech and Thrustmaster wheels are simply simcade and have no simulation value.

    Check out Leo Bodnars new wheel just out now called Simsteering. That baby puts out 24NM and goes up to a massive 48NM. Now this a wheel that will actually allow you to simulate old racing cars without power steering in a realistic manner.

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    1. You do know why they’re called direct drive right? The cheaper wheels use mechanical advantage to turn a low torque motor into acceptable torque at the steering wheel. Eg. a G27 uses ~15:1 gear ratio so your 50mNm motors are worth 750Nm at the wheel.

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      1. Except that a DD doesn’t use belts or gears, as it doesn’t need the mechanical advantage.

        The ratio is 1:1 (at whatever torque value you run), so you’re not feeling 750 Nm at the wheel.

        Also, the G27 and T500 aren’t measured mNm, but regular Nm (2.5 and 7 Nm, I think?)

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  9. James, if you want to be useful instead of quickly dismissing high end wheels or at least the direct drive ones, get yourself some of those wheels and pedals to review compared to an entry wheel like g27/29.
    What I want to see, in the hands and feet of an alien, what the difference in lap times, car handling, enjoyment, between high end/professional equipment and the common ffb wheels.

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    1. Exactly. Instead of bashing DD wheels, he should have tried to actually race using some first.
      And whatever somebody wants to spend on their hobbies is for their own self to decide.

      People make something like 1/10 RC jets or buy golden Swiss watches. It’s their own fucking business to do that or to simply spend all that amount of money on food, booze or any other more “conventional” way of spending money. James, stop being an asshole and mind your own business.

      If there actually is a DD wheels industry, that means there’s enough people interested in buying them. Deal with it. Yes, they are overpriced now. The more customers there are, the less costly they will become. And if thanks to the early adopters they will ever slide into the “acceptable” price range, you, James, should feel like a complete jerk about your attitude towards these guys.

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    2. Yup ^^^^^^^°^^
      I’ve been asking for same. Get the real world info out there.
      But I believe all you will get with DD or more torque is more work and immersion. Not better lap times.
      Wheels creating faster laps is about the range of input. Not the FFB. Plenty of people disable the FFB to go faster and avoid working to hard.

      I also don’t believe theres a prevailing attitude about input type, other than it should be a wheel of some kind, but a cheap one is just as good as an exspensive one for precision inputs.
      Funny there aren’t any screen shots of forum posts establishing an elite push for high end wheels. I don’t buy that’s that’s happening. Prevailing attitude I always see is just get a wheel you can afford, bit more expense equals more realism/immersion

      The only thing that makes you faster than just a wheel is better pedals with a load sensor for brakes. All gas pedals work the same.

      I just don’t buy that there’s a large contingent of people saying you need an expensive setup. Because it’s just not true.
      Are there elitists who know they are playing a more authentic and realistic experience than you. Of course.
      Doesn’t make them faster. If anything, that authenticity is slowing them down and making them work harder.

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      1. Very few people are faster when running DD wheels at high torque (I only know of one), and some oval drivers prefer no FFB.

        That said, the increased dynamic range, especially at lower torque values, low latency, and fidelity that DD technology offers is much more significant than max torque values.

        I don’t know if I’m any faster, or more consistent with my AF than I would be running my old TX or CSW, but I feel like I’m actually driving a car, which is pretty amazing.

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      2. Faster, not faster. Is that all you care about? DD wheels are not about being faster. Just like a set of premium acoustics will hardly make you any faster, does that mean it’s not worth having one? Better wheel, better displays, better acoustics — these things are needed to make you enjoy a sim more. If you simply race to be faster, you are doing something wrong. I personally enjoy driving a car on the limit. I like cars. Screw lap times. It’s the driving experience that matters.

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  10. Yeah there’s no doubt that range of input (usually equates with precision) is quite important. With something like a keyboard, counter-steering becomes in exercise in very precise timing of buttton press and release. Without very intrusive assists, it’s vastly more difficult than it is with a plastic toy wheel.

    You don’t need to spend much money to get 99.99% of what counts. I busted out my old momo racing and kicked ass not too long ago, meaning slightly more than 180 degree and terrible plastic pedals will get the job done. The pedals are still absolutely the weakest link, as usual.

    The real problem is how the owners of some of this hardware behave. They rarely speak truthfully and say ‘yeah a good wheel can make the experience more enjoyable but there’s a threshold of quickly diminishing returns’.

    Instead, the new play asking for advice is met by fanboys attempting to justify their purchases with outright fabrications, outnumbering the voices of reason.

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    1. As a fairly active iRacing Hardware forum regular, I rarely see DD wheels (or other high end gear) pushed on others in the manner described, and if it’s not happening there, it’s probably not happening anywhere.

      Yeah, guys like Anindobaj (sp?) claim you can’t drive certain cars without them, but those actually who know what they’re talking about offer pretty reasonable upgrade advice.

      That said, the jump from a good belt/gear driven wheel (e.g. Fanatec CSW2, TM TX etc.) to the least expensive DD wheels (AF, small Mige OSW) is pretty large, perhaps even commensurate with the price increase (in the case of a CSW V2 at least).

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  11. Back in the year 1996, used to be that one could recommend an inexpensive $30-50 wheel… then Microsoft created standards for forcefeedback wheels and introduced the Sidewinder wheel (at a ridiculous $160). However, FFB was still an unrealistic novelty, with lots of distracting canned effects.

    It was still like that when rFactor arrived in 2005, but that opened the doorway to mainstream FFB when the RealFeel plugin was created by TechAde. Nearly simultaneously, one could buy a Logitech G25 for about $250 (2007). An all-in-one solution that provided a stickshift, paddle shifters, best FFB, & the most buttons (though not on the wheel).

    And then… the FFB explosion when FREX introduced their direct drive wheel in 2008. Everyone suddenly became aware of the possibility of what real-level FFB would be like if only they had a spare $2500 or more. The Great Recession meant few were sold and we limped along with G25/G27 or maybe a Fanatec because that was the affordable top-end.

    In the past two years, the wheel market has exploded. Multiple direct drive wheels are available, but a decent FFB wheel with pedals will cost $300. That is really the price of entry now as no one offers non-FFB entry-level wheels… they died out in the retail market before 2005.

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    1. Nice overview, but there is still the T80 for cheap wheels, and I think I’ve seen other models in stores, but for the most part, that segment of cheap crap like Madcatz has disappeared.

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    2. The original FREX wheel wasn’t DD at all.

      IIRC, it had a hugely problematic screwdrive motor paired with G25 electronics.

      Their first DD wheel only launched a few months ago, and from what I’ve heard, is basically a small Mige OSW with proprietary firmware.

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  12. Want to get into simracing? Buy a 2nd hand G27 or G25. It won’t break the bank and they are very durable. you also won’t have to upgrade soon and if you don’t like it you can sell it to someone else easily.

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    1. Dude. You live an alternate reality james.
      No one seems to be triggered and the over whelming sentiment here seems to be that what your talking about isn’t even happening.
      It’s pretty noticeable that you have not screen captured a single forum comment.
      You are a serious shit stirrer man.

      Like

  13. It appears the shilling is real. Updating the article with project cars photos. They weren’t there this morning. Did Ian Bell put you in the pcars2 insiders at no cost? I mean, it costs something, promoting for them here. race2play, ebooks, websites, raceroom, project cars, racecraft, my summer car. So what if they send you money or game keys, do you have to accept them and in return make some shilling? A review is simply someone buying their own stuff, trying it, and talking about how it is. Shilling is receiving something and then talking about it, no matter if good or bad, you’re talking about it cause they paid you to do it.

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  14. Dude! Saying “base level of respect” about iRacing is so far off the mark these days it isn’t funny. Especially in fixed setup series where there is no respect at all. Biggest complaint I hear of at iRacing is the total lack of respect and dismal level of driving skill that seems to be pervasive now. And my first hand experience totally verifies that view. iRacing makes a big deal about its “pro” series, but overall, the quality of racing there is in the shitter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I blame the Console crowd for this. none of these existed till a few years back when all these GT and Forza fanboy clowns thought it was now time to make the move to something more serious than creating anime livery, ramming each other, random drifting and general shit driving

      and now we see the result of this.it’s not only in iRacing though, this mindset is slowly moving to pretty much all the sim titles.

      Like

  15. The DD shills are out in full force again. You can be just as competitive with a G25/G27 wheel, instead of using an insanely overpriced DD wheel.

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      1. Because that money can be used for something more useful, like a good set of pedals, instead of blowing thousands of dollars overpriced DD wheels.

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        1. But I never said to only get a good wheel and crappy pedals. When I talk about high end equipment I always mean wheel, pedals, and optionally a shifter if you’re into manual cars.

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      2. Unless you have literally more money than you know how to spend you are not going to get more out of a DD wheel than any comparable real world motor vehicle expenditure. Wheel force is not the primary or defining difference between simulation and the real thing.

        Even living in a winter shit hole I could never justify spending all that money before an ice racing shitbox.

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  16. The real reason why simracing is hard to get started with is:

    You’re expected to pilot your car in a manner that isn’t detrimental to the experience of other drivers

    I’ve driven offline with AIs and solo for years but a race without spin is already a win for me, i.e. I’m not that good actually.

    How can I go online if everyone wants to kill me if I brake a bit too early or miss the racing line?

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    1. If you’re not sure about your line or braking point and you think the guy behind you is faster, give up the position. Then drive behind him and observe his lines and braking points. It’s quite simple, actually.

      Like

  17. Well, I started racing with keyboard in Grand Prix Legends… then mouse with virtual joystick. For 3 seasons I was in a league, where there were aliens and guys 10 to 20 seconds slower per lap. I was not some kind of a jerk, driving etiquette was easy to learn, so I had no problems whatsoever. Eventually I got pretty fast with mouse and got to about 2 seconds per lap behind the aliens.

    Now I got DFGT with homemade pedals and h-shifter. Making them was pretty fun, and probably took me about an year. Im again decently fast, 1 to half second per lap behind the aliens if I practice enough. Not much of an improvement in terms of speed. Still, driving consistently and whitout crashing takes much less concentration. FFB is nice, but still not something I rely on, visual and sound cues are more reliable it seems.

    If we talk about racing – from my first league race to the last, no matter if I’m last, third or first, (Including some Race2Play races with Austin) I generally drive on my own. Some close racing for 2 to 5 laps, then one of the participiants makes a mistake, and I’m back on my own. And I dont mind it whatsoever. I enjoy finding the rythm, thinking on the strategy, perserving the tyres and the fuel, enduring to the finish.

    And also, I have never set foot behind the wheel of a real car. I dont have a driver’s license. And I wont get one. I move aroud the city on bycicle. Also I dont have the illusion that I will ever drive a race car on a track.

    So, to sum it up – I dont think you need to know how to drive to enjoy simracing. You just need to be a normal human being with basic understanding of decency. Which, I guess, is a rare species aroud the net – but that’s a completely different problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. It´s sick to complain about the costs of basic hardware and being involved in iRacing where you need to spend like 300 bucks to drive a full seasons. Spending the money for a basic sim rig instead and looking for some leagues in other much more affordable sims seems more reasonable for me. Even racing against AI and on public servers should be sufficient for building up skills.

    And people who likes cycling, often spend more for their hobby and only get a few kilos less weight over 1500 $. Certainly you can have fun with a 300 $ bicycle, but this bicycles are shit even when trained people are faster with the cheap one than untrained with the 6 kg full carbon.

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  19. First black president in US was an epic fail. Hahaha can’t wait to see a history book 50 years from now talk about the “Negro Years”

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  20. I race with pad ATM, because g25 finally let the magic smoke out and am saving up to small mige osw, and I’m scared all the time. Even with extender there just is not enough accuracy to make any kind of close racing enjoyable. My single lap pace can be close to the wheel time with pad when I nail it, but can’t get nowhere near my real race pace in any game. One of these days I’ll pull the trigger and eat potahtoes and don’t go out for a month. Small price to pay for a source of “joy” that will most likely last a lifetime.

    Like

    1. I actually really want to try combat flight sims, and if I do, ironically enough, it will be with a joypad, or at best, a cheap joystick.

      Like

    2. And then there are helicopter flight simulators. Or rather separate modules within more general flight simulators. Now that’s a niche inside a niche inside a niche. And you can’t get away with just a joypad or a simple joystick there.

      Like

  21. I know exactly what you mean.. Those racist anti-auto clutch server really upset me. Those kids are still in baby diapers when i learned to do perfect heel and toe rev matching in real car.

    Like

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