I took a simple day off to celebrate my birthday with some close friends – yes, those actually exist, shocking I know – and returned only to discover all hell had broken loose within the span of about twenty four hours. All three of these stories truly deserve separate articles because of just how wild the individual stories are, but there is no use in falling behind schedule when it’s possible to cover everything in one swift click of the “Publish” button. The world of sim racing continues to be a complete clusterfuck of drama and miscellaneous bullshit that would put off any casual gamer from partaking in the shenanigans alongside us; with October 26th, 2017 establishing itself as a day in which a major developer, iRacing Twitch personality, and former YouTube show host all made themselves out to be examples of why this genre simply doesn’t grow at the rate of others.
This will be a magical journey.
We start with a post over at RaceDepartment, entitled “How did a mod from Assetto Corsa wind up in Formula One 2017?” For those who call Assetto Corsa their simulator of choice, most of the demographic are probably well-aware that the Ferrari F2002 mod created by seven very talented individuals is objectively one of the best third party mods you can obtain for the popular PC racing sim, one which is absolutely free of charge. The mod sees Ferrari’s 2002 world championship entry faithfully recreated while also exhibiting the same level of quality seen in the officially licensed content released as downloadable content by Kunos Simulazioni themselves. Regardless of how you feel about Assetto Corsa as a racing simulator, this modding project is one of the true masterpieces churned out by the sim racing community in recent memory, and something that deserves to be in the collection of every Assetto Corsa player. In much the same manner as we talk about the CTDP 2005 season package for the original rFactor, the F2002 will easily go down as one of the definitive third party mods ever made for Assetto Corsa.
The first iteration of the mod was released in January of 2016, according to RaceDepartment’s upload statistics.
In May of 2017, Codemasters revealed the Ferrari F2002 would be included among a list of Classic Formula One entries for their upcoming title – now out on store shelves – Formula One 2017. The Assetto Corsa mod’s 3D artist, SalamanderSoldier, was extremely excited to see how his rendition of the F2002 would stack up to the same vehicle as modeled by a professional team. Of course, when you compare the two side-by-side, it turns out the Assetto Corsa third party mod is almost indistinguishable from the Codemasters variant, indicating Salamander did a fantastic job working out of pure passion for sim racing.
Apparently, Codemasters thought so as well.
As we’ve covered before on PRC, there are indeed websites – both legal and illegal – that allow you to obtain or simply view assets from various driving games. Salamander had gone on to one of these websites and noticed that a user had posted the Ferrari F2002 as seen the Codemasters release, Formula One 2017. Upon examining the Codemasters rendition, he discovered that it was actually his own model of the F2002.
Fast forward to the F2002 Assetto Corsa mod where I wanted to update but strangely I come across an Artstation page containing some assets for the F1 2017 game. One of those assets was you guessed it the F2002. Now looking at the wireframe was a dead giveaway that it was indeed my model F2002 that I worked on for months. I could see all the choices this artist made that nearly matched all the same choices I made. My heart sunk and I felt disgusted. So the only thing left to do is contact the artist that and await a response. Days go by with no response except that the Artstation page is now taken down. I’ve received no response by either the artist or Codemasters as of this time.
Codemasters will have a lot of explaining to do in the coming days, as it appears the Ferrari F2002 as seen in Formula One 2017 is actually a model taken from a prolific Assetto Corsa mod team without their explicit knowledge. As much as myself and others have enjoyed Formula One 2017, there is probably a lawsuit on the horizon. Codemasters have yet to respond to the allegations, so I encourage you to follow the RaceDepartment thread for further developments. This one is going to get messy in a hurry, especially considering wire frames alone can prove Salamander’s case beyond a reasonable doubt, and mainstream sim racing websites will be sure to cover this story once it gains traction.
We now shift gears to the world of sim racing multimedia personalities, an ecosystem which has taken off in recent years thanks to the popularity of streaming on platforms such as Twitch, and the influx of YouTube commentators dubbing over their driving footage with lengthy voice-overs. One personality who managed to attract a small following from his online notoriety and lengthy Twitch streams would be Jason Jacoby of Athens, Georgia.
The Domino’s Pizza delivery driver in his late twenties burst onto the scene late last year with his elaborate sim rig constructed in a proper Super Late Model chassis, promoting himself in a way that implied his sim racing prowess would help him to obtain a shot in a real car – complete with custom fire suits and mock interviews on his YouTube channel to demonstrate his “media-friendly persona.” Though iRacing themselves did their part to help Jason’s cause by giving him the appropriate positive social media attention, it later came out that the cost of the simulator put him into pretty extensive financial peril. Response to the highly-publicized “Room Tour” video was mixed; deluded iRacers supported Jason’s willingness to “live the dream” and indulge in his fantasy, while more grounded sim racers and amateur drivers opted to mock his questionable life choices. A few gave genuine advice as to how he could step into a real car without blowing money on video games; this went largely ignored.
Jacoby then turned the intensity up another notch and created a GoFundMe campaign; the goal to convince fellow sim racers to pay for his shot in a real car. The campaign asked for $13,000 USD – of which $310 has been raised – in order to purchase a Legends Roadster, a popular amateur car based on a 1930’s Ford coupe. Keen observers watching the madness unfold did their own research and discovered Jacoby had recently obtained an ARCA Menards Series show car, promptly slaughtering him for requesting donations while simultaneously blowing thousands upon thousands of dollars on useless impulse items. The absurdity of the story surrounding the iRacing Twitch persona drew devious outsiders into the fray, who were eager to prank call his workplace, and in the process discovered his girlfriend acting as a moderator for his iRacing streams was still in high school. The unwanted attention from his sim racing exploits nearly got Jason fired from his beloved gig at Domino’s, after customers complained the pair were live streaming for his iRacing followers during work hours.
Today, Jason issued a short apology for the GoFundMe campaign on Facebook. Response to the Facebook post demonstrates precisely why things were allowed to escalate this far in the first place; Bible-thumping southerners – whom I’m going to guess are relatives – act completely oblivious to why such a negative reaction occurred in the first place and are quick to dismiss critical comments as “bullies” and “haters,” even as the guy responsible for all of this is admitting he did something profoundly retarded. As I hypothesized back when all of this began, I believed it was a lack of proper guidance from the people around him that allowed Jason to indulge in his delusions. I seem to be correct on that front.
There’s a Romanian saying that goes “if one person at the bar says you’re drunk, you’re probably not drunk, but if twenty people are saying it, maybe it’s time for you to head home.” This is a pretty fitting way to describe at least one person within the sim racing community who has outstayed their welcome, despite all of their contributions to the hobby over the previous decade. Another year has passed in which somebody has made a lengthy video detailing their experiences with InsideSimRacing’s Darin Gangi, this time coming from SimRacingPaddock’s Will Marsh.
InsideSimRacing was a YouTube show created by sim racers Shaun Cole and Darin Gangi in the mid 2000’s, at a time when YouTube itself was in its’ infancy, and the concept of proper YouTube “shows” were still a few years away from becoming a mainstream thing; the duo could be considered almost pioneers in this regard. However, signs of a strained relationship off-camera began making their way into full-length episodes as YouTube’s worldwide popularity exploded – despite the increase in view count, the pair seemed less charismatic than in years past, and the contrast of hosting a hobbyist show with a busty Instagram model had a lot of people pondering the circmstances behind the scenes. By 2013, Gangi had began using ISR videos as his own personal soapbox to lash out against seemingly random people in the sim community he didn’t approve of – conflicting with the show’s otherwise professional approach to sim racing news topics.
Cole departed soon thereafter, with Lopez following. A string of replacements were brought in, none of which lasted very long. OG sim racing personality Matt Orr, better known by his call-sign “EmptyBox”, uploaded a video telling a story in which Gangi attempted to recruit him for ISR, only to become enraged when Matt declined the offer. It was hard to deny the story that was playing out behind the scenes.
Caught in the crossfire happened to be Will Marsh, who was one of the replacements brought in to help continue ISR as a news outlet. Now running his own operation in SimRacingPaddock, Marsh’s twenty-seven minute video reveals much of what occurred behind the scenes during his time affiliated with InsideSimRacing. This is a long video that’s best enjoyed with a cup of coffee or some snacks from your local 7-Eleven, though to summarize, Darin exhibits traits commonly associated with an individual suffering from some kind of debilitating personality disorder. Will was essentially led to believe he would be the next “main guy” behind InsideSimRacing and persuaded to move out to Spokane to help with the show, only to be told he has autism and be subjected to some pretty hectic verbal abuse.
It’s very difficult to come out in public and say a notable member of the sim racing community was especially cruel to you, considering their face is practically everywhere and marketed as some highly knowledgeable bastion of the hobby. Massive props to Will for following through on this.
Unfortunately, Will most likely won’t receive any sort of apology from Darren for his past behavior, because that’s how these people tend to operate; instead, we as a community will all have to interpret the revitalized InsideSimRacing – hosted by John Sabol and Billy Strange – as an admission of guilt. Gangi recently washed his hands of InsideSimRacing as a brand and handed the keys to a private owner, essentially acknowledging that he himself was too toxic to continue his involvement with the outlet. From what I recall, Gangi is now the customer service guy for a simulation hardware company, though I don’t remember off the top of my head which one.
Anyways, that’s the complete summary of October 26th, 2017 in the world of sim racing. Be careful on the internet.