Reader Submission #141 – Looking for Simulation in the Wrong Places

In pursuing the sole goal of perfecting race car dynamics in a semi-static environment, modern simulation developers often lose sight of the immersive sim elements that serve to complete the experience. While teams like Reiza Studios or iRacing will spend months behind the scenes refining and polishing a brand new car to be released into their respective piece of software with an upcoming patch or DLC launch, we very rarely talk about the various race weekend elements that these companies traditionally overlook.

Restricted sets of tires over the course of an entire event, limited backup cars and repair times that carry over from open practice to the race itself, as well as intricate cockpit systems & ignition sequences, are all questionably absent from our simulator experiences despite fans and developers alike lobbying for near 100% accuracy. It’s certainly a bit hypocritical that all major and minor race sim teams boast a hardcore experience, but unlike Flight Simulators, an asterisk is hidden in the fine print; this level of authenticity is confined solely to race car physics, which is only part of the complete package. There’s no debris on the track after an accident that safety trucks can be seen cleaning up, no push starts in iRacing’s World of Outlaws content, furthermore, when these elements are introduced, sim snobs turn their noses up at the title, calling it “simcade” and down-voting you into oblivion on Reddit for suggesting you’re enjoying your time with it.

Today’s Reader Submission from Leo G. believes we’re looking for simulation value in the wrong places, and that the sim community as a whole is a bit hypocritical. They want a hardcore experience, but only when it’s convenient for them, leading to developers awkwardly building pseudo-hardcore titles that technically could all classify as simcade.

Hey PRC team, your recent pre-season testing post has driven me to put into words something I’ve been thinking for a few years now – the sim racing community is full of hypocrites.

Sim racers (and the developers as well) are extremely dedicated to “realism”. We want our sims to be the most realistic experience possible, and creating that should be priority #1 at all times. The problem is that all of the details that can be measured, gathered, and recreated – simulated – don’t mean a thing if the feedback isn’t right. And playing games on the computer is very different to driving the real thing. That doesn’t mean harder or easier, but different. I’ve been sim racing for over twenty years and have been participating in club level motorsport for about the last five. Whilst my sim racing experience definitely helped prepare me for the track, I noticed an interesting development. The more time I spent behind the real in real life, the worse my sim racing became. I believe this is because the feedback that I’m most heavily relying on while in my actual car just doesn’t exist at my computer desk.

But we still chase the perfect sim, absolute realism, as if this is something that can objectively be achieved. As if we’ll reach a point one day where we actually will have a simulation that is 100% accurate and realistic… but what does it matter if the experience itself can’t be recreated?

This brings me back to your pre-season testing post. Your first drive in a new race car and… what was that? Old tires? And the track was covered in debris, dirt, and… glass? I think you’re spinning tales, because I’ve been playing the most realistic sims available for years and I’ve never had to drive on old tires on a filthy track… oh wait, that’s because our “realistic sims” are only telling half the story, and pretending like the other half doesn’t exist.

Have you heard the story of (pretty sure it was) Graham Hill driving four consecutive Grand Prix on the same set of tires? The rubber back then was so hard, the tires got faster as they wore out. Funnily enough, I did a USAC style league race at Michigan on iRacing many years ago in the Lotus 49 – a complete 250 mile event. In testing for this race, I found out that the tires got faster as the race wore on. As in, three seconds a lap faster. On a two mile oval. That’s insane.

It would have been great to be able to run the tires in practice and qualifying to wear them in for the race, just like what would have happened in real life… but that’s not what our sims are about. I found the whole situation to be slightly amusing as it turns out there were many others in the field who hadn’t done their research and kept pitting for new tires during cautions, not realizing that they were only making things worse. This sort of thing would never have happened in the real world.

Another similar story comes from the Blancpain Endurance Series, when Shane Van Gisbergen made his debut at Monza. Van Gisbergen is a multiple time race winner in V8 Supercars, winning the overall championship in 2016. He’s a bit of a gun and is fast in anything he drives. So what does a driver of his caliber get for his first Monza GT3 experience? Old tires. Shane did not get a fresh set of boots at any point throughout the weekend. Teams get five sets of tires for three drivers to share across all of practice, qualifying, and the three hour race. Yeah. If you get invited to race as a co-driver – you don’t just waltz in and own the place. You might not even be allowed to make any setup changes.

And of course, there is so much more that real racing drivers have to contend with. In the sim, we can blow an engine with two minutes left in qualifying, hit the reset button, and still take pole. We can change every single adjustable component of the car just by loading a different setup. We can destroy our cars with reckless abandon and have a sparkling shiny new one in the blink of an eye. That’s not realistic. That’s not sim. Not even close. In the real world, if you put a car into the fence during your first lap of Friday practice, there’s a real chance you could be done for the weekend. I’m not talking about going all the way to add driver fatalities because that’s absurd, I’m saying it’s insane how we have 99 backup cars and you can hit the track with a new one in five seconds when depending on the damage, resources of the team, and the series schedule, a real team might be out of action for a few weeks.

Another example, the fanfare and attention that Fernando Alonso received for passing up the Monaco Grand Prix in favor of the Indianapolis 500. In a simulator? No big deal, you can run Monaco, Indianapolis, and the Coke 600 in a span of a few hours. And let’s not forget the Nurburgring 24 – they might all be on the same weekend in real life, but this is sim racing – we don’t care for such trivial details here!

So why is no one talking about this sort of thing? If we’re a mob that pride ourselves on our commitment to pure simulation, why are we blatantly ignoring the details that we actually can pursue, features that most certainly could be implemented into our sims that would go a long way to improve their depth, immersion, and experience – things that absolutely would make them more of a true simulation than what we have now.

But no one seems to care. We claim to want the “most realistic simulation possible”, but guarantee if we went down that road, the forums would be filled with cries of “it’s too hard / I don’t like it / why should I have to do it this way”. Come on people – go to the track one day and compare what you see with what we have and ask yourself – is it really good enough? Can we do better? Even watching a race on TV, you pick up on so many details that sim racing conveniently ignores. 

I really wish we could turn the enthusiasm we have for things like “accurate recreation of the effect of different air density on the engine and aerodynamics” into this completely untapped side of racing. There is so much sitting there, waiting to be taken advantage of. Why are we ignoring it?

Hey Leo. Personally I don’t think your specific examples mentioned above are all that compelling, but the overall theme and argument of your submission, however, is.

Developers spend all this time perfecting things such as engine and aero efficiency as it relates to air density, but then the core experience of the physical race weekend itself is still very simplistic and largely unchanged from IndyCar Racing II back in 1996. You have four sessions; three provide infinite vehicle resets with 100% fresh equipment (though iRacing has an option to override this), two of them you can turn laps at your leisure, a third scores qualifying times, and in the race you have one shot at the thing unless you’re offline and presented with a restart button. Vehicle status resets at the beginning of each session, you’re given unlimited backup cars, unlimited spare parts, unlimited sets of tires, and the ability to make radical adjustments you’d never have the time to complete at the track with the click of a mouse button. It’s very… simplistic, and doesn’t really reflect the challenges real drivers are presented with.

So let’s go over what sims could reasonably implement without much trouble.

Modern simulators give you an entire Summit Racing catalog of setup adjustments at your finger tips in the garage area, some of which would be nearly impossible to perform while physically at the race track and the clock ticking. Changing tire pressures is as simple as running an air compressor, but spring and sway bar swaps physically require you to remove and then re-install the parts by hand, cutting into precious practice time – not to mention the complete implausibility of a minor league team coming to the track with an entire collection of gears, or even springs sorted neatly by 25lb increments. My change would be to implement a load-out screen prior to clicking Go or Join Session on the race configuration menu, where you’d have to pre-select the handful of adjustments you wanted to bring to the track, and part of the skill as a sim racer – like a real team – would be knowing ahead of time what parts you needed.

Limited sets of tires have been implemented in Codemasters’ F1 2016 of all games, though this game was obviously deemed simcade by the sim racing community because it’s not a no-nonsense simulator based on the ISI motor engine sporting graphics from ten years ago. I would like to see this implemented across other games, however, as it would encourage sim racers to treat practice sessions in a bit more of a professional manner, turning conservative, safe laps to break in the tires rather than balls out mock qualifying runs that routinely end in destruction for themselves and the cars around them. I’d also like to see general car degradation be cumulative across the entire race weekend, and users be given just one spare backup car – in the long run it’s much simpler than coding in an entire safety system like iRacing have done because it accomplishes the same goal of making sim racers treat each other with a bit more respect, so the developers win on that front.

At the same time, I’d like random mechanical failures to be eradicated – which although it sounds very un-sim-like and against the theme of this post, mechanical failures are down to shitty parts, and sim racing titles don’t have a meta-game inside them where you’re tasked with finding the best parts or engine supplier for your team, so it would be wrong to fuck someone out of participating in a race on what’s essentially a random number generator. But if someone blows a motor naturally by shooting the revs into oblivion, or cuts a tire down by running over debris, that’s on them.

This would also remove bullshit setups out of the equation, as people would be more inclined to create stable setups in an effort to click off controlled laps rather than struggle with hyper-loose cars on the edge of control. If you go into an online league race knowing one wreck over the next two hours across four different sessions could have drastic consequences, you’re not going to even bother testing out a forum setup with 0 wing and crazy stiff sway bars.

These are all features that are pretty easy to implement. But what happens if you go further?

I’ve found it pretty ironic how to this day, iRacing still hasn’t enabled car collisions on pit road. It’s very strange how this is a game that prides itself on simulation value and producing a highly authentic experience that can supposedly be a substitute for a real world motorsports career, but then you can go and warp through cars on pit lane. I’m not sitting here demanding motion captured high definition pit crews that you can send flying for a laugh, I’m talking about basic “let me hit other cars so I learn to respect their physical space on pit road.” Considering this existed in NASCAR Racing 2003 Season over fourteen years ago, there’s no excuse for iRacing not having this in 2017. It should really have been implemented by now.

Yet unfortunately a lot of times I hear things such as “it might be too hard for a significant portion of the userbase to grasp” – which is what also happened Kunos Simulazioni let you flick all the switches in the cockpit back when netKar Pro was their flagship simulator. Sim racers, who jerked themselves off over taking part in a “hardcore” hobby and being somehow better than “Need for Speed and Forza kiddies”, suddenly were like a fish out of water. now that they had to complete an ignition sequence to start their cars.

And this, sadly, is why Leo’s alternative simulation value elements he’s brought up today aren’t implemented, and why developers get a severe case of tunnel vision and only focus on vehicle physics first and foremost. The average sim racer simply isn’t skilled enough to be anything other than frustrated if new simulation value elements are introduced. Sim racing is a genre where users spend an hour downloading rFactor mods, turn five woefully off-pace laps in private testing, and then race to the forums to inexplicably brag how they were unable to control the car and that historic drivers must have been more skilled than modern fighter pilots, despite all historic racing footage clearly indicating a large portion of the field was a combination of drunk/stoned/horny.

The moment you crank up the difficulty level any more than it already is, participation levels are going to fall off a cliff. This obviously results in less people playing the game, and in the sim racing landscape this creates a very dire predicament, as most developers aren’t swimming in basements full of gold coins, but rather struggling to break even and forced to make careful decisions when it comes to licensing and pay models. So a lot of the immersion elements on the drawing board simply aren’t put in at the end of the day because there’s such an intricate line between breaking even and financial peril for these teams.

There’s also the insane levels of cult-like behavior in our community that can fuck over games before they’ve even got a chance to shine. DiRT Rally and Formula One 2016 were both spectacular games, but each of them were almost immediately written off by a community who largely scoffed at additional immersive elements, like having to refine your driving line throughout practice for car upgrade points or hire crew members – which was so incredibly basic I’m almost confused as to how grown men threw hissy fits at what’s basically one menu option you touch every six races. So developers with genuinely good ideas behind closed doors are almost afraid to introduce these elements, as there seems to be a whole bunch of people in our community who aggressively lash out against anything that isn’t a strictly car on track with opponents simulator, and then convince their friends to do the same.

For example, I’ve heard people from the Assetto Corsa kingdom knock iRacing for being a giant ePeen dickwaving contest due to iRacing’s ELO rankying system, when in reality the concept of both safety rating and iRacing is objectively one of the service’s best features and it’s why the game has been so successful. These old men who seemingly hate progression, fun, and anything that isn’t strictly car on track are partially what’s holding sim racing back, as developers will then fear adding new elements in fear of backlash from the vocal minority, because sim racing in itself is just a bigger collection of vocal minorities spread over five or six main message boards. Unlike Call of Duty, where one angry YouTube video is countered by 15,000 sales, sim racing devs don’t have that luxury. The vocal minorities on the forums are your customers.

Would I like sim racing developers to move past splitting hairs over car physics, and into other realms of realism? Sure. Safety trucks on the track after accidents would be cool, limited repair times and a finite box of spare parts or backup cars I think have the potential to be welcome additions, but unfortunately developers have basically been backed into a corner by the community. The average sim racer isn’t talented enough to cope with anything more hardcore than what we already have, and any genuinely creative elements are met with immense hostility from grown men for being too entertaining. So this has created a landscape like what we have now, where developers obsess over transmission behavior and doppler effect refinements rather than fleshing out the metaphorical world around these cars.


36 thoughts on “Reader Submission #141 – Looking for Simulation in the Wrong Places

  1. Someone talked about the lack of real life experience in sims in RaceDepartment a few weeks ago, the answer from Kunos guys was “LOL” and something in Italian. And the rest of the community threw fire on the messager 😀
    Definitely simracing community is not ready for… simracing. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


    1. Racedepartment is not the place to go for criticism, sadly.
      Just look at their mod download sections. You can have a track someone has put up that is missing basic features like a progressive racing line, missing scenery etc and it will still get 5 stars across the board.
      Pointing out some basic failings of a product, even if it’s free is not the saying as calling the creator a useless cunt or whatever, but a lot of the people there think so. I don’t know why all this stuff gets treated with kid gloves all the time, it’s frustrating.

      Liked by 1 person

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    This is Act.IL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. All active WMD members and SMS studios are using every channel to spread the word and all of our efforts are being used to combat the “Jewish Scourge”. With Ian Bells fearless leadership, we shall defeat the New World Order. “Sieg Bell, Sieg Bell, Sieg Bell”.


  3. Limited / realistic setup options would also be easier for those of us less blessed with talent. Drivers and devs alike…

    Let’s not forget that many games miss important driving aspects – such as grass that is slower than tarmac or proper bottoming out physics – whilst perfecting those gearbox physics.

    Tldr: devs are random incompetents etc..


  4. I myself long for a sim / racing game that takes measures to up the realism a step further , we are at the point of everything being a little stale as most developers are following the same physics path.

    I think damage needs to implemented in a much better way , no one is really pushing this at all , we get the same old excuses that the car manufacturer wont let this happen but yet we see it in dirt rally and dirt 4 all be it a little baked .

    The answer is the engines are not designed for it so we get some mocked up crap !

    I haven’t seen a car role over in a sim for what seems to be years ( oh I have but it usually a pretty bad glitch) . How can this be good physics ?

    Real tyre rules wouldn’t be hard to inforce and as for damaging a car taking you out of a weekend would be a great implementation for realism and as you have said would change the way you treat a car in practice and qualifying sessions ( I think its a great Idea ).

    The hole sim racing genre needs to take a look at itself as it is heading the same way as first person shooters with the same old shit in a different skin .

    We need things that make a physical impact on the track environment and the race all be bad luck for a driver at times which happens on a daily basis in real races ….. e.g damaged parts on track as you have stated once again .

    Fires why cant we have a fire in the car when we really fuck it up or over rev the thing until it obliterates itself , let the driver get out so you don’t have to rate it higher for children .

    The umpteen hot lap simulators we have now it getting old and as far as car DLC is going its becoming a joke ……….I’m looking at you AC .

    I’m just plane sick and tired of the same old boring lifeless shit!

    Nice article James it is what I myself have wanted for 20 years but may have to wait another 20 for 😦


  5. People say they want realistic sims. But they don’t really mean that. They don’t want a realistic racing experience at all. Rather, when people say “realistic,” usually what they’re really saying is they just want the driving to be extremely difficult because then they can feel superior to people playing Forza, because they’re under the sad delusion that a consumer entertainment product is comparable to simulation equipment used by professional race teams. The truth is most of us don’t even know what “real” feels like and never will.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think actually even forza would benefit from more realism and I’m not talking about the physics or simcade part of the game .

      Environmental realism , damage physics , race day rules and so on .

      I like forza I think those guys have built a outstanding game in its own right and shows in sales and popularity .

      The customization is well above everything on the market.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Simcade is generally aimed at handling behaviour. I don’t think it’s ever implied that people into sims think it mirrors real life or ever suggested thats what they want. If they do they are odd. You have to draw the line at some point. Flight sims are always a poor comparison imo to racing cars and people skip the boring stuff in flight sims as well despite simulating more controls.


  7. > These old men who seemingly hate progression, fun, and anything that isn’t strictly car on track are partially what’s holding sim racing back.

    As an “old man” (age 50), I wholeheartedly agree with this statement.

    I am really tired of isolated fantasy fake races and hotlaps. I don’t want online versions of these either. What I want is a complete *experience*. I don’t even care what is. WTCC, DTM, GP2, DRM, BTCC, whatever. That’s not important. What’s important is that they include all the small details and limitations that make it feel real.

    And I repeat, *none* of these sims is going to teach you car control. Not saying it’s useless, but car control in particular is not a skill you can acquire via just steering feedback.

    That being the case, why do people obsess over this shit and meanwhile their sim-of-choice doesn’t impose meaningful real-world limitations on areas *other* than car physics?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m with you Kondor , I do believe that is the only way we will ever get something like this is to have one class racing , so the dev’s can concentrate on other aspects apart from 700 cars with different physical attributes .


  9. I don’t see the problem with adding in all the things mentioned in the article if it’s optional. If all those things are optional, how can even the most raging of the contentious have any issue with it?


  10. I’m convinced the problem lies with the excessive use of the word “simulation”….

    Peeps buy into that word way too much & forget this is all for entertainment, nothing more.


    1. Yeah, after too many hours unironically thinking you’re a simracer you forget you’re only playing a computer game with an expensive controller.


  11. That’s why I always really liked the Codemasters F1 games, sure the handling ranges from good (2012, 2016) to downright ridiculous (2011) but the games really focus on trying to picture all the other little bits around the driving experience and IMO this balances out the physics inaccuracies.


  12. Why would we want to simulate some of the negatives of racing. Should we mount a gun on the wheel that goes off with a crash. Should we increase load times to three hours to simultate the drive to the track of should we pay 300k for a virtual gt3 car because it is more real? Simracing is for manchildren with a bit to much cash and with a small portion of free time who just want to escape daily life, a boring job and screaming children that roam across the house. As long as the in car on track portion is nicely simulated im happy.
    The young kids should just buy a kart if they want more realism, don’t have time for that one, but I do have monies to throw around for a bodnar and dlc.


  13. I’m not writing this for James, as I’m pretty sure he’s aware of most of the things I’ll mention. There were some sims that tried a few interesting things. Grand Prix 2 (yes, back in 1994 or 1995) had a limited number of tyre sets. I think this was carried into GP3 and GP4 but I’m not sure. I can check it out in GP 4 later this week. It also had random part failures, like loose wheels, gearboxes that failed and whatnot.

    netKar Pro had an option that I think you had to activate from a config file that made both repairs and setup take time, like in real life.

    I also really liked the qualifying in DTM Experience 2013 (R3E). Sure, for most quick races you just do a few qualifying laps and then the care, but it’s nice to have that option.

    Also repair time is present in the Colin McRae Rally and Richard Burns Rally games, but nowhere (at least to my knowledge) does it make a difference as much as it did in Magnetic Fields’ Network Q RAC Rally. I know what you guys are going to say. Yeah, it’s old and the driving physics are not too realistic, are they? The car hits invisible walls when going off-course and does not show any visual damage, although it does get covered in mud 😀 . But this is a VERY long rally (there’s even a stage that takes half an hour to complete), there are multiple car classes and at the service areas later in the rally you have to decide wether you want new suspension or working headlights. The time is very short, the car gets damaged and wears a lot and you can end up in night stages with no headlights if you are not careful. If a part wears too much you don’t pass inspection and the rally ends. If you decide to repair something but this takes more than the time you’re allowed to use, you get a severe penalty. After going through what is basically Hell and back and finishing the rally, the game greeted me with a screen saying I was 26th (I think) and wishing me better luck next time. 10/10 would go through Hell again.

    @James: It would be interesting if you could tell us a bit more about how you guys setup the cars and what options you have, both in the FWD one and the late model.


    1. For the Hornet the FWD shitbox, You are very limited its an entry level class for people on a budget and therefore almost everything is restricted to stock, they allow a bit of camber adjustment at EIR (James local track) but other then that you can’t do much other then remove the sway bar and some funky tire pressure stuff, they have a few tricks such as “accidently” damaging some suspension parts to tweak the geometry and alignment or finding some convincing “stock” springs or just jamming rubbers in but very limited.

      As for the Latemodel, we have a rule set we must follow for wheelbase track width etc, the engines don’t leave much room for finding power other then $$$$ and with the tire we use in WESCAR you can’t get power down anyway so most speed is found in setup, now other then WESCAR requiring stock mounting points for “camaro” clips you can change basically everything to get the geometry you want, and springs, bar, shocks all have limitations as to what you use price wise but not to the rates themselves, there is some golden rules to thing on alignment and stuff that anyone with knowledge tries to follow and then you see alot of experimenting with springs, bars (mostly from people who misunderstand what a spring actually does or how it reacts to force. The biggest tool for us setup wise is weight distribution after that and a couple tricks with rear bars on the 3 link system


      1. Thanks! I really appreciate this kind of info because it’s usually not that easy to obtain. If you can share more (even spring rates to understand how they work in the real car) I’m sure to read the shit out of them. 😀


    2. Network Q didn’t have penalties for exceeding service time – you could not exceed service time at all. That was in Mobil 1 Rally Championship.

      One thing that it did have, though most people probably haven’t even noticed, is that the Group N car (the Proton Wira) actually had Group N-like setup restrictions – you could not brake balance or gearing.

      Magnetic Fields’ rally games also did a whole other bunch of stuff that has either not been done ever since, or been re”introduced” with recent DiRT games, about which you could write not even a separate article but a whole book.


      1. Thanks I must have mixed them up because I’ve played a great deal of Mobil 1 Rally Championship too. Thanks for pointing that out!


    1. thanks but no thanks, 11min of talking, 5 seconds of gameplay spread around the entire video.

      I would be better reading some articles for info of the game from codemasters.


  14. Look at the negativity DiRT 4 has been getting from the sim players and you see the issue in this article. DiRT 4 simulates many aspects of rallying perfectly, The part wear and tear and managing repair time / balanced with team skill and expense is the best I’ve seen in what is mostly a driving game, not a race management game. All the nonsense like restart options etc can be turned off too and the game rewards this through increased payouts.

    Yet all the ‘sim’ players seem to care about us that it doesn’t handle exactly the same as DiRT Rally. A good article over on Rock Paper Shotgun challenges that notion directly too, DiRT 4 could well be closer to the handling truth but sim players liked the excess oversteer of Rally? Maybe it could be so.

    Then you get all the nonsense about the AI being too easy to beat from people who played less than 2 hours of the game. The fact Fearless AI difficulty with no restarts, locked cockpit view etc is only unlocked after several hours of the game was something they overlooked. Nevermind the sim players have already decided it’s no good.

    Sim players only seem to want realism when it suits and matches their perception. If a game doesn’t to that it must of course be wrong.


    1. Yeah, James, try enabling Fearless mode from the difficulty settings, you should have it unlocked by now. It makes the game signficantly more difficult.

      Fearless mode should be there from the start though! It makes no sense that it unlocks after you first completed one of the career tiers.


  15. Unrelated to this but I didn’t have another venue to ask:

    Richard Wilks, will CART 1988 see public release and be ported to Automobilista? (Thanks)


  16. Nice article. I would add another aspect. Some developpers spend (or they pretend they do) resources to build the most perfect tire, while other related models are not implemented (ie flexi joints, flexi body etc). The result is expectable but not clear to everyone: unrealistic physics and in turn unrealistic car behaviour. What they are trying to do then, to compensate the difference? They modify simulated model parameters beyond real values. Now try to convince hardcore, obdurate simracers, that those holly simulations are cheated at base.

    Now consider that even the most complex tire model found in ours sims is not 100% perfect. It imply, that some not simulated tire behaviours have to be compensated by other physics part. Do you know that in all sims which doesn’t simulate tire flex (old isi based sims), this effect was simulated by cheated suspension?
    Isn’t it beatiful? We driving hardcore simulation for years believing that real life values has been used to power physical model up, while the simulation is in fact mocked up (to some extent of course).

    What is the difference then, between those sims and simcades? In both, parameters entered into physics engine don’t match reality. What is worse, hardcore sims, while sticking at ‘raw numbers’ no matter what, make driving even harder because of lack of compensation for missing inputs for driver (like feeling forces). Simcades are trying to simulate driving experience rather than physics, but still using physics equations under the hood.

    Now we are getting closer to final question: what is better or – if you wish – more realistic:
    – simcade, with driving experience close to real one and mocke-up physics, or
    – harcore simulation, still using unrealistic values in physics and moreover providing unrealistic driving experience (ice racing 😉 )

    I belive you might consider me to be a kid who tries to convince others that simcade is better. No I’m not. I’m almost 20-years-experienced hardcore simracer… in retirement. Durring this time, I collected experience and knowledge by being part of several simracing projects. IRL I’m a software developer what in fact helped me a lot understanding things spinning under the hood.

    Those were my thoughs. Use them on your own risk 😉
    with regards


    1. There is no question that the simulated versions of cars I’ve actually driven are significantly harder to drive than the real deal. I think I’ve also read other drivers say the same thing.

      The biggest problems are these:

      1) Lack of any vestibular input. You have no way of “feeling” what the car is about to do. Most sims seem to amp up certain aspects of the FFB to compensate, and I’m basically OK with that (but see below).

      2) Bizarre tire modeling. This varies tremendously from game to game, and from one vehicle to another within a game, and occasionally even from one tire type to another on the same car. In particular, high perf street tires (what I’m most familiar with these days) are ridiculously wobbly in most cases, to the point where they remind me of old high-aspect-ratio tires from 70’s luxo-barges. And they have these tires on a McLaren P1. I’ve driven IRL an MP4-12C (owned by an interventional cardiologist – lucky bastard lol), and I can assure you that it didn’t feel *anything* like the tires on the P1 in AC or PC1, for instance. I think the reason (in AC’s case) lies in #3 below.

      3) Over-use of FFB to communicate car dynamics. This ties in to #1 above. AC in particular, IMHO, is sending way too much info through the wheel. You can’t feel weight transfer like that IRL via wheel feedback, but you sure can in AC. Early versions of AC had “numb” steering that was heavily criticized by people who have likely never sat in a high performance vehicle, never mind an actual race car. I hate to tell people, but many race cars actually have very little steering “feel”. Same goes for quite a few supercars. It’s not a big priority for engineers, because real drivers don’t rely (entirely) on wheel feedback like we do in sims. In the case of AC, I think this is why the street tires feel so wobbly: Because they’re mixing in weight transfer info from the relatively soft suspension found in a street car. Just my guess.


  17. Reminds me of the bullshit you see on the forums.

    While not exactly a racing sim it does have a realistic physics model in the sense that things act like they would in life, or atleast as close as we can simulate (imo).
    If you put a car into a wall it definitely doesn’t bounce off and you continue down track as if nothing happened.

    It even drives pretty convincingly once you figure out the wonky ffb settings.

    But the forums are filled with children, men, and man-children that bitch about it being too hard.

    AC used to be great, now you can tell the cars are being dumbed down, I feel bad for wasting my money on the most recent dlc, again the cars feel like they were designed for Xbox controllers.

    I’ve driven the Edmonton road course in my own lightly modified Genesis Coupe and there’s still no sim on the market that can even come close to how that feels in any facet of how it feels in real life, and I don’t think we’ll ever get there.

    Just my 2¢


  18. Yeah, simracers are ruining sim racing, just like Jews caused the defeat of Germany in WWI. Doesn’t make much sense, but that’s how it must be.


  19. Older games/sims paid much more attention to racing realism, and not only car physics realism.

    Old Ubisoft game F1 Racing Championship was great for that. You had limited number of tyre sets for weekend and can use worn and sticker tyres. You had several wing options available ( not wing angle sets, but wing design). Formula 1 rules were represented pretty well. Sad AI was not perfect.

    Indycar Series 2003 from Codemasters (Brain in a Jar) had emergency vehicles: tow truck, ambulance and cleaner – on track during cautions when autodrive under yellow is turned on in game options.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. “It would have been great to be able to run the tires in practice and qualifying to wear them in for the race, just like what would have happened in real life… but that’s not what our sims are about. I found the whole situation to be slightly amusing as it turns out there were many others in the field who hadn’t done their research and kept pitting for new tires during cautions, not realizing that they were only making things worse. This sort of thing would never have happened in the real world.

    And of course, there is so much more that real racing drivers have to contend with. In the sim, we can blow an engine with two minutes left in qualifying, hit the reset button, and still take pole. We can change every single adjustable component of the car just by loading a different setup. We can destroy our cars with reckless abandon and have a sparkling shiny new one in the blink of an eye. That’s not realistic. That’s not sim. Not even close. “


    I started simracing 4 years ago, not much ago, not hardcore as many “dads” over here.
    And as an old simulators fan, i entered simracing as racing fan, who didn’t want to push reset button faster then take a breath between laps.
    Any time i crash my car i exit race. And watch replay trying to revert what it was and make lesson from it. Because if not, what is simracing when you can crash 400$k car at ease?
    Any time i want to change setup, i change how i perform, to gain maxiumum from same setup and only then change fundamental dynamics things.
    Any time i battle with someone i think about his fun and enjoyment, it is one of the subconsciousness triggers, which i take in my mind while i enter virtual track.
    Any time i plan to do risk strategy i think about incident points and my rating and money i put into this crap iRacing platform to compete with real people.
    So anytime i want to do something unrealistic i escape this. That is what simracing fun for me – to upgrade experience with realistic approach and stop to chase highest split racing “just because of status”. People are mostly the same from mid splits, just skill is different, not people. I have amazing time in the middle of nowhere with people who are not YouTubers like Matt Orr. And they still can battle fair and fun in true way of racing, catching every 0.01 of sec.

    So anytime i see this guys, who exit pits and “test” their setup via crashing into last corner because they don’t actually feel their slip angle i just ignore them. Yes i’m not as fast as that risky guys who can crash virtual 400$k car 5 times a day but what fun they have? Sad for them.

    I want to be able to make track walk in simracing, to choose tires, etc.
    I think it is real realism.


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