Readers of PretendRaceCars.net who gladly call Assetto Corsa their sim of choice were taken aback on Christmas morning, when we published an entry stating a tiny hotfix was the final piece of the puzzle required to push the simulator’s newest rendition into territory that was extremely close to sheer perfection. Drawing upon observations from other talented sim racers within our posse, we had mentioned that the basic 1.11 upgrade of Assetto Corsa deployed earlier in the week brought with it a set of physics that closely resembled those found within iRacing – the GT3 cars skating all over the place in a manner that simply did not resemble how these cars drove out on the real track – but a small patch deployed just in time for the holiday festivities brought balance to the universe. The raw driving experience is really fucking good right now.
Despite the positive overall feedback we gave to the tire model in its current state, the majority of Assetto Corsa fans believed we had completely lost our minds. Though the footage we provided clearly displayed a car not connected to the track as it should be, and a select handful of readers echoing our findings, a whole shitload of Assetto Corsa owners promptly arrived to tell us any major handling discrepancies were merely the placebo effect in action, and the hotfix didn’t even address an aspect of the game that would dictate how planted the GT3 cars would be at speed. It was a very confusing time to be in the PRC teamspeak, as our roster of sim racers swore that the 1.11.3 update changed something drastic, but a solid 90% of our readers told us otherwise.
I’d like to extend a special shout-out to a sim racer by the name of Ville-Samuli Mutanen, who rather than insulting us, took the time out of his day to record a comparison video between the two versions, letting the footage speak for itself. We admittedly got our shit pushed in for the time being – there’s clearly no difference between the two builds.
However, with his video, came an interesting set of observations in the comments section. Ville-Samuli Mutanen, the same guy who had absolutely blown us out of the water thanks to his comparison video, actually came to our defense. He too had experienced builds of Assetto Corsa after the launch of Version 1.11 on December 20th, which produced the same exact ice skating-like vehicle dynamics we had discovered earlier – car behavior which Assetto Corsa fans vehemently stated was the result of our own delusions. Mutanen rectified the problem with a Steam integrity check; both he and another user leaving a comment on his video speculated that Steam, for whatever reason, hadn’t been downloading updates properly, and it was up to the user to manually verify their install with the server.
So what most likely happened to our readers such as Kondor9999 and Ethan was that the integrity of the update they downloaded for Assetto Corsa via Steam was compromised in some fashion. And if you’ve been at your PC for any length of time over the holidays, you probably already know why this is a plausible scenario; Steam was both attacked and taken completely offline by a group of hackers directly during the period Kunos had been rolling out hotfixes for version 1.11. We simply pushed out an article stating Version 1.11.3 was the magic fix that rectified everything, because that was the first update for Assetto Corsa our friends managed to successfully download without the contents of the update being compromised thanks to a DDoS attack, and Valve’s subsequent server maintenance period.
While we were wrong about the 1.11.3 update in particular being this euphoric hotfix of sex, drugs, and Italian sports cars, select individual’s installs were indeed corrupted with borked physics most likely due to a Direct Denial of Service attack interfering with the integrity of the update, and the tire model still is very good. Two out of three ain’t bad.
However, this actually brings up a very valid question: How deep does this rabbit hole go?
Steam is traditionally a very reliable gaming service, more so than Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network; a fairly impressive feat given how many more people use Steam than the two biggest console gaming services on the market. If the potential for the integrity of updates to become compromised for one of several reasons is a very real thing that happens, and bugs can be relegated to the installs of just a handful of specific unlucky users rather than the entire user base, where are software developers even supposed to begin with this scenario?
For example, let’s look at Project CARS. The game objectively shipped with a record-breaking amount of bugs and niggles, many of which were reported on the forum. Though Slightly Mad Studios obviously did their best to support the game after launch and iron out everything with the tools they had available, it’s a reasonable question to ask how many users discovered bugs exclusive to their specific install, and had no fucking idea what to do when the developers couldn’t reproduce the problem themselves, because at the time nobody knew updates were getting partially corrupted during the download process? Is this a possible explanation for why there’s such a discrepancy between Project CARS owners who claim they’ve never run across any bugs, versus others reporting it was the main reason they shelved the game?
It’s a very interesting scenario to contemplate, especially if these compromised updates aren’t just due to extreme DDoS situations which cripple the entire service, but are commonplace with the average lengthy file transfer process.