It appears someone at the iRacing headquarters in Bedford, Massachusetts misses pop legend David Bowie just a little too much. A quick scan of recent YouTube search results for the partial phrase “iRacing Physics” warrants a vast array of clips all exhibiting the same problem – vehicle-on-vehicle contact launches at least one user involved to the stratosphere. It’s seriously impressive, for all the wrong reasons.
I’m not particularly fond of hardcore Flight Simulators – they’re a bit too dull for my tastes – but it seems iRacing are getting their feet wet in the genre after dominating the sim racing landscape for a number of years via spontaneous space flights with unwilling participants. It’s definitely an approach that may generate a bit of controversy, given that iRacing is intended to be a hardcore racing simulator first and foremost where this kind of thing shouldn’t happen, but this is the same developer who inserted touch screen driving because Intel asked for it, and sent the IndyCar oval series to Talladega while simultaneously advertising themselves as the most realistic racing game on the market.
On a more serious note, it’s definitely questionable how this stuff rears its ugly head in the first place. Based partially on the source code for Grand Prix Legends and NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, it was extremely rare in those games to see online crashes of such a profound magnitude, with NASCAR Racing 2003 Season actually praised for such realistic crash physics. After years of revisions to the underlying code, and a substantial budget increase thanks to jacking up the subscription and content costs, it has instead regressed to the point of hilarity.
iRacers love to claim that these issues are one-off instances which do not occur during regular gameplay, but given the abundance of videos depicting similar incidents uploaded over the past year, it’s hard to ignore what may actually be a growing problem behind the scenes: if people aren’t being suspended from the service for merely driving on a portion of the road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the underlying simulation engine is literally shitting itself.