How to Clean Up Dried Piss (And Other Shit Sim Racers Say)

rfactor-2017-01-21-14-22-01-88With sim racing regressing into a state of general obscurity, and the majority of developers within this hobby churning out half-finished titles primarily intended for hardcore users, which lack any sort of elaborate financial backing to ensure they can bring a feature complete game to the market, one aspect of simulators that we’ve been missing for quite some time would be basic tutorials. Without naming any title in particular – because they’re all equally guilty of this – the process of sitting down for a rainy afternoon with a friend or family member and introducing them to the world of racing simulators is an uphill battle. They hit the track without a clue in the world as to what they’re doing, spin out a bunch of times, and both of you just sort of hope that eventually, they’ll figure it out. It’s not user friendly in the slightest.

Things used to be different, very different. SimBin’s GTR 2, released in 2006, shipped with a comprehensive driving school feature that taught you the basics of driving in a competitive environment with a license test system similar to what you’d find in Gran Turismo, and Papyrus were known for packaging entire novels with their officially licensed NASCAR series – including a 245-page whopper of a guide bundled with NASCAR Racing 3 back in 1999. Both GTR 2’s academy mode, as well as the lengthy bibles sent out by Papyrus, were fantastic ways to accommodate new players and veterans alike. You could take the NASCAR Racing 3 manual to the shitter after a bad order of Chinese food, and come out with a preliminary understanding of how to drive a stock car at each of the game’s thirty plus tracks. GTR 2’s school also demonstrated that driving high performance race cars wasn’t some black magic for a very specific group of people who were graced with the talent to do so at birth, but a skill that could be learned and refined by just about anyone who took the time to learn it and practice, like ice skating or snowboarding.

In short, this stuff made the newbies say “I understand what this is about, and I get it.” And that’s infinitely important in a genre of video games where no attempts are made to hold your hand whatsoever. There is no “Skip Mission” button to bail you out after you’ve hit a concrete wall fifty times in a row. If you don’t improve, you’re going to keep hitting that wall.

These guides gave you the tools necessary to improve, and actually enjoy the otherwise niche pieces of software.

bhktrkcSim racing developers have straight up stopped doing this. The same software creators who sit around for months on end, questioning why sim racing isn’t growing in popularity compared to other eSports, are doing precisely nothing to help new users who have purchased a modern simulator purely out of curiosity. When you boot up Assetto Corsa, Project CARS, RaceRoom Racing Experience, Automobilista, or rFactor 2, there is absolutely nothing to even point you in the right direction. Though they’re advertised in a flashy manner on Steam, with fancy artistic trailers showcasing all of the cars and tracks at your disposal, once you’re physically in the application, you’re expected to know what you’re doing. If you don’t, you’re left to your own devices to figure it out on your own.

In a quest to simply understand more about the games they’re playing, this is the point where most people take to either the game’s official message boards – or Reddit given its overall simplicity.  And this is where the majority of these curious users learn a very harsh reality: the sim racing community by and large is completely retarded, and most people have no fucking idea what they’re talking about to begin with. I don’t want to throw around words like misinformation or disinformation, but often times it feels like you’re in a beer league hockey locker room,  listening to a guy who hasn’t scored a goal in two months blame both his stick and pair of skates for his horrible shot accuracy.

If you’re new to the whole ecocystem, you won’t even know how or when to spot this stuff. And regardless of whether it’s a setup tip, feedback on a game that just came out, or hardware advice, getting shitty advice sucks. It helps to know when to spot it.

15936334_10155649921909951_6569696189209350299_oA lot of people claim you can outright avoid the toxicity and general stupidity of the sim racing community altogether, but as I mentioned above, none of these games feature any sort of tutorial mode or guide on how to be successful within them. At some point, unless you truly don’t give a fuck and are perfectly content with smashing into walls and calling it “racing”, you’re pretty much forced to head to any one of the several major sim racing forums – exposing yourself to some of the dumbest motherfuckers on the internet – just to have your question answered.

Today’s article features a collection of six different comments I’ve clipped from various sim racing forums that showcase how misinformed, contradictory, or downright retarded the general community can be, and why it’s increasingly hard to trust much of anything you read on any major message board. Sim racing veterans obviously know when someone’s being a complete retard and has no idea what they’re talking about, but we here at PRC.net also have a lot of inexperienced readers who genuinely don’t know how to spot someone who’s totally clueless. This one’s for the latter group.

16215892_380735045629219_205047514_nPlease Don’t Piss Yourself During Endurance Races

Thought it wasn’t without a vast array of connection issues that ruined the experience for a whole bunch of people, iRacing wrapped up their 24 Hours of Daytona special event on Saturday evening. I’m sure I don’t have to explain this one in extremely simple terms, but yes, technology has advanced to the point where modern racing simulators can hold full-length endurance races, complete with legitimate driver swaps that see multiple sim racers piloting the same car over the course of 24 hours. It’s a fun diversion from the usual smorgasbord of events featured on iRacing; guys all hop on Teamspeak together, and drive in shifts of anywhere from two to eight hours at a time before pulling it into the pits and giving the keys to a buddy of theirs – just like real endurance racing.

Because endurance racing stints are measured in multiple hour segments, some guys get really creative and/or resourceful when nature calls. Though the jury’s still out on whether the above forum post is either the best satire we’ve ever seen, or one hundred percent truthful, don’t piss yourself for a video game. You’re not a real race car driver risking it all to win, and there’s no six figure payday from a team owner like Roger Penske or Chip Ganassi to cushion the embarrassment of pissing your fucking pants.

00f6ceea43cadf02724108b755d78918Ditto for piss jugs. Be a normal person and run to the washroom the moment you slide into your pit stall for a routine four tire stop. Real endurance drivers don’t even piss themselves , as aside from the obvious hygiene problems that are sure to arise from sitting in your own boiling urine, it’s disrespectful to both the next driver who has to sit in the cockpit, as well as the crew who have to take it back to the shop and rip the car apart.

Goddamn, why did I even have to talk about this in the first place? What grown man needs piss jugs to play iRacing?

screenshot_2017-01-18-06-14-27-1Max Verstappen is a Loser

This one comes from the largest sim racing group on Facebook; an outlet most people on the outset would believe to be a fantastic resource for information on our little hobby – a place to go if they had a question about something they didn’t quite understand. Somebody took a picture of Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen, the youngest Grand Prix winner in Formula One history, playing around with Project CARS on his personal PC setup in his spare time, just to show that “hey, these guys in Formula One, they nerd out just like we do, and that’s pretty cool.” In all fairness, it
is
pretty cool; Formula One drivers are some of the richest professional athletes on the planet, and here they are partaking in our little hobby rather than attending private parties and fucking members of the Pussycat Dolls.

Rather than discuss the fact that a Formula One phenom is a closet computer geek like the lot of us, members of the biggest sim racing community on the world’s largest social media platform instead attacked one of the best professional race car drivers on the planet under the age of twenty five years old, simply for playing a game they didn’t approve of. They then claimed that Formula One teams should be looking at the sim racing community for future F1 drivers, because Verstappen has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to computer games.

If this “warm and welcoming community” will attack professional drivers for merely playing a game they don’t approve of, and then aggressively demand multi-million dollar Formula One teams should offer F1 driving contracts to random computer geeks instead, how do you think they’ll respond to an average Joe asking a question about a computer game the community isn’t fond of?

screenshot_2017-01-17-09-13-00-1Paying Top Dollar for a Sub-Par Simulator

Let’s get the fancy introduction out of the way; iRacing is an online-only racing simulator which charges several times what other modern video games cost, by convincing both current and potential customers no other simulator on the market is more realistic than the experience iRacing offers. You’ll see words like “laser-scanned” thrown around to describe the accuracy of cars and tracks, while terms like “new tire model” and “new surface model” convey the years of research iRacing have put into mere portions of the game’s underlying physics model. Yes, you’re paying $99 per year for a base subscription, as well as $15 for each piece of content – leading to a situation where it’s easy to spend over $750 USD just to test out everything iRacing has to offer – but it’s supposedly going towards an experience that is miles beyond any other simulator you can purchase.

Or so the marketing campaign tells you.

Above, we can see a user stating that iRacing botched an update so badly, drivers were having to use the brakes during a virtual rendition of the Daytona 500. Daytona International Speedway is a NASCAR track where brakes are not required, and all cars are required to install a restrictor plate that’s mandated by NASCAR themselves, which helps to keep top speeds within a safe range. A piece of software hailed as the pinnacle of modern racing simulator development straight up failed at reproducing this on-track experience despite charging a premium, employing a former engineer at Richard Petty Motorsports as their head physics guy, and being on the market since 2009.

A moderator of the iRacing section on Reddit – someone in charge of removing disruptive posts – can be seen stating how much he enjoyed what was in reality a very broken game, and basically playing off an obvious problem with the simulator as no big deal. People spending top dollar on the supposed pinnacle of realistic racing games, don’t even give a shit if the product is as advertised. Do you think these people are going to help you if you run across a genuine problem and point it out in the forums?

Probably not.

screenshot_2017-01-17-10-12-55-1Realism Doesn’t Concern Me

As you can see in the example I gave above with Max Verstappen, the sim racing community will stop at nothing to attack you if you aren’t seen playing a simulator the majority of virtual automotive enthusiasts have deemed “realistic.” Fans of Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport, and Project CARS have all received a public lashing for supporting “arcade games”, as the whole point of the sim racing sub-genre is to accurately produce a driving experience on your computer monitor that’s as close to the real thing as possible. Games such as Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo, who place emphasis on amassing a collection of cars and upgrading them with flashy paint jobs and aftermarket performance parts, supposedly don’t aim to produce an authentic driving experience, though no hard studies have ever been done by members of the community to put this myth to rest.

Yet in a discussion on Reddit centering around a poorly constructed 2004 Williams FW26 Formula One entry for rFactor 2 – which saw the virtual version created by members of the community produce lap times eight seconds faster than the real thing one user can be seen stating he doesn’t actually care if a vehicle in a simulator fails to perform like its real-world counterpart. Several different developers have spent their entire professional lives in the pursuit of creating a piece of software that absolutely nails the behavior of one specific race car down to the exact shift points, tire life, and, subtle suspension nuances of the real thing, and yet the consumers buying said pieces of software are openly stating the accuracy certain developers are striving to achieve with their software doesn’t concern them in the slightest.

All while calling the youngest Formula One winner in history a loser for playing a game they’ve deemed to be unrealistic.

received_10206657853365499You Have No Right to Select Your Car!

A poor business decision in hindsight, Kunos Simulazioni ported over their most recent consumer release, Assetto Corsa, to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in the summer of 2016. The simulator was universally panned by critics and fans alike – save for a suspicious group of Italian gaming journalists that just happened to attend a private launch party  held by the developers – for failing to include basic features seen in other games from fifteen or even twenty years ago. There were no time trial leaderboards in sight, no options to re-map the buttons on your wheel, and no functionality to create online races for just you and your friends. A lot of people were justifiably upset, because most racing games dating back to the days of Windows 98 let you select whatever car you wanted to when racing against your friends.

This meant that whenever they felt like racing online, console owners of Assetto Corsa were forced to select from a preset list of servers created by the developers themselves, and not all cars or tracks available in the game were thrown into the server rotation. Obviously, this caused some problems, as marquee supercars that a whole bunch of people wanted to race against each other and were seen as reasons to purchase Assetto Corsa in the first place – such as the Ferrari F40 – were nowhere to be found within the game’s online mode.

Upon a group of users rightfully complaining, an Assetto Corsa forum member by the name of Gary claimed people who had purchased Assetto Corsa had no right to demand the ability to select the exact car they wanted to race against their friends. Or, to quote him directly, “owning a copy of Assetto Corsa does not give you the right to decide which cars are available online.” In other words, a random consumer is literally bitching at other community members who are making justified complaints, and trying to make the argument that consumers are not allowed to suggest reasonable improvements to a product.

All because people questioned why a video game in 2017 wouldn’t allow them race the Ferrari F40 against their friends, when it was available in other modes, and it was the incompetence of a developer preventing it from being used – not  a complicated licensing agreement restricting it’s activity.

tiresStraight Up Lying About an Incomplete Feature

Released in the spring of 2015 by Slightly Mad Studios, Project CARS was the first racing simulator to be funded primarily through private individuals. You essentially had the option of paying various amounts to become a beta tester of varying importance, and upon the game’s completion, you would be paid out based on how well the game sold – an advanced form of profit sharing. Though some individuals were dedicated to helping shape the game into the exact experience they desired, most ran around to as many sim racing message boards as they could find in an effort to talk up Project CARS, which would generate more sales, and therefore a bigger return on their original investment. In reality, for a period of years while the game was still in development, these people would create fake accounts on various message boards en mass, and attack anyone who didn’t have positive things to say about Project CARS for one reason or another.

I’ve demonstrated a pretty clear example of this above. On Reddit, I mentioned that the game’s tire model was incomplete, and Slightly Mad Studios were forced to reduce the complexity of the driving experience to appeal to a mass-market audience – significantly reducing the game’s overall simulation value and directly contradicting the team’s goal in creating Project CARS, which was to produce a no-nonsense modern racing simulator. Within ten minutes of me submitting my post, a user who by his own admission had financially contributed to the development of Project CARS, appeared to tell me I was wrong, the team was actually satisfied with the tire model, and no effort was made to appeal to a casual audience whatsoever.

The CEO of Slightly Mad Studios, Ian Bell, personally confirmed to us via Facebook that the team were indeed forced to inject blatant understeer issues into the core driving experience for Project CARS, primarily so a casual audience could enjoy playing it with a standard Xbox One or PlayStation 4 controller.

With 35,000 hardcore sim racers contributing to the development of Project CARS, how widespread do you think this problem of financial contributors outright lying about the product is? And if you were new to the sim racing community at the time, would you even know about this bias to begin with?

ams-2016-12-11-15-10-16-05The underlying point I’m trying to make with the six examples seen above, is that there’s a lot of misinformation within the sim racing community, and if you head to any populated message board with a simple question – whether it be about hardware or software – very rarely will you encounter an individual who can genuinely help you.

There are people acting like it’s okay to piss your pants during a race in a video game, financial contributors outright lying about their investment even when the CEO of the company says otherwise, users telling you that you have no right to select the car you want to drive for an online session, community members calling Formula One drivers losers for playing “the wrong game”, and so-called “hardcore simulator enthusiasts” saying they don’t actually care about the whole simulator part.

The best way to protect yourself against misinformation, is to explore the community for a bit, and learn who everyone is before diving head-first into discussion. Rather than take the diplomatic approach and accept advice from everybody, it’s important to swallow a bitter truth and realize not everyone has advice or feedback worth listening to.

Of course, this problem would be solved if our games had tutorials or strategy guides like they did ten years ago, but that’s apparently too much to ask in 2017. Hell, maybe someone will show up in our comments section and tell me I have no right to demand a better product in the first place.

Reader Submission #132 – Vaporware Cars in Asphalt 8

maxresdefaultI don’t think it’s appropriate to sit here and pretend as if we care about mobile phone games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne here at PRC.net, but today’s Reader Submission brings up a fairly interesting topic regarding some of the fastest cars in what’s becoming a very popular franchise among casual gamers. The Asphalt series is more or less a low-quality knock-off version of Criterion’s old Burnout franchise from an entire decade ago, though there’s an increased emphasis on micro-transactions and other modern bullshit designed to reel in a userbase who maybe don’t possess the memories of superior arcade racers on the PlayStation 2 – ones which didn’t intrude your wallet.

FMecha has taken a break from running our unofficial but totally hilarious Twitter page to let us know of an interesting situation regarding Asphalt 8’s extensive car roster. Elaborate licensing deals have seen various vaporware supercars establish themselves as some of the best vehicles available in the game, despite some of these cars being little more than a hyperbolic art project for a ragtag team who couldn’t possibly build a car to the specifications they’ve claimed. And diehard Asphalt players – yes, they exist, and there’s a lot of them – are growing tired of what’s essentially product placement for cars created by middle eastern sheiks. I mean, everyone knows Asphalt 8 is simcade and has no simulation value – that’s the whole point of an arcade racer – but even the most simple-minded gamers can see what’s happening.


screenshot_20160206-153104Hey James, I’m here with a Reader Submission about a game that most of the readers at PRC probably won’t care for, but I think it’s a unique topic. I’m here to talk about Asphalt 8: Airborne.

Seeing it’s a mobile game, I’ll chose not to talk about the pay-to-win shenanigans, since complaining about that is like living in Chicago and complaining about heavy snowfall – it’s just part of the deal. Instead, I want to discuss something plaguing the game’s car lineup: vaporware cars by no-name startup car makers. Some of those car makers brak about being a “boutique” car maker, and may (or may not) produce their car in very limited numbers. They also like to make outlandish claims that may rev up automotive journalists’ bullshit meters, and may also end up only as a render – without any real, functioning car scooting around in real life. Sorry, engine-less shells don’t count.

I’d like to draw attention to an article from CheatSheet that partially inspires what I’ve written today.

csThis article basically highlights those no-name supercar companies going for a horsepower (and technology) arms race with promises of four-digit horsepower numbers (after what Bugatti did with the Veyron), and tells it is foolish for those startups to create over-ambitious cars, warning that they may reek of scams, as well. Out of the cars mentioned as “never going to happen” in the article, the Trion Nemesis (a top-tier car in Asphalt 8), Falcon F7, and Devel Sixteen Prototype (the devilish 5000+ horsepower car that seriously revved up the bullshit meters of automotive journalists, although it’s engine builder did manage to actually build one example of Devel’s engine) are in Asphalt 8. The Lykan Hypersport is also mentioned, as in Asphalt, as well as Project CARS, but I don’t list it here since they apparently have sold three out of the seven they’ve built, including one variant to Abu Dhabi’s police force.

asphalt_8_airborne_25_10_2015_20_21_29Some other suspected vaporware cars in Asphalt 8 include the Kepler Motion (a hybrid supercar limited to 50 models that was supposed to begin delivery in 2014), the Lucra L148 (from the makers of the Lucra L470 kit car that does indeed exist), and the Weber Faster One (widely ridiculed as an ugly car).

maxresdefaultThe nanoFlowcell electric cars in the game – Quantino and Quant FE – the latter widely ridiculed by Asphalt 8 players as “The Boat” due to how bad the car handles in-game, is something so big I have to separate them from the list above. The nanoFlowcell cars rode on the alternative power sources bandwagon by utilizing new technologies; salt water battery and flow cell system that leads to an outlandish claim – not large horsepower, but rather large amounts of efficiency and electrical range. This also leads to inevitable skepticism by not only car journalists, but also scientists. Of note, Nunzio Laveccia, the supposed technology founder, is apparently a musician without any experience in engineering, either.

vector-w12_w8lm-editionIt really bugs me about how and why those questionable cars made it into the game. Looking long-term, those questionable cars can create a legal problem; for instance, the Vector cars, also widely labeled as a vaporware car maker, are the big blockade that prevents any re-release of Gran Turismo 2 (in fact, the description for the Vector M12 in the game says that Vector’s company history would make a good movie plot. Well, at least Gameloft didn’t bother adding the highly questionable Lyons Motor Car LM2 Streamliner.


asphalt8_rev_02I agree that the influx of vaporware cars in modern arcade racers is a bit silly, especially when their appearance in Asphalt 8 establishes them as some sort of marquee vehicle at the top of its class. People are eventually going to find out the real thing is literally just a giant full-scale model that doesn’t exist as a functioning vehicle, thus leading to a situation where both the developer of the game, as well as the car maker, look quite stupid in the end. Now, it’s one thing to have preposterous cars like these as an end-of-game reward – Electronic Arts and Bizarre Creations had these sorts of vehicles locked away in older Need for Speed & Project Gotham Racing titles for the player to earn – but Asphalt 8 are going a step further and not just charging a premium for them; they’re the best cars in the game. That’s shitty.

Let me explain why.

506As you explored Project Gotham Racing 3 and naturally acquired certain Kudos point milestones just by progressing through the game, you were rewarded with a whole bunch of these vaporware concepts – and from what I remember, about half of them were from Ford. What Bizarre Creations did right, unlike GameLoft with Asphalt 8, is that they were not essential pieces of your car collection that you absolutely needed to have. The Ford Indigo and GT90 were awesome looking remnants of the nineties, but when you went online, they weren’t the be-all, end-all leaderboard cars you were required to unlock before you even stood a chance online. And not only that, the overall attributes of cars such as the GT90 weren’t space-age figures that left everything else in the dust; they fit right in with the other twenty or so cars in their respective classes. Rolling up to the grid with a GT90 was more of a way to get everyone reminiscing about the good ol’ days of Windows 95-era Need for Speed rather than an indication you were about to stomp everybody.

That’s good game design.

maxresdefaultElectronic Arts took things a step further with Need for Speed II, but there was a method to the madness. EA openly acknowledged the theme of the vehicle roster was primarily homologation specials mixed with 90’s hypercars and one-off concepts, with entries such as the Indigo and GT90 establishing themselves as natural additions to a list populated by vehicles such as the McLaren F1 and Elise GT1 rather than being absurdly over-powered bullshit cars that guaranteed an easy victory. In fact, part of what makes Need for Speed 2 so special was the atmosphere EA had created – the elaborate art projects from Ford and other design firms were treated as “just another vehicle” with their own sets of strengths and weaknesses, giving a sense of legitimacy to their inclusion. Again, good game design.

At the end of the day, however, we’re discussing Asphalt 8: Airborne, a game primarily built to make money off of idiot kids who have been given unrestricted access to mom’s credit card. Unlike classic Need for Speed titles, or the amazing yet short-lived Project Gotham Racing series, this isn’t a game that has been built with any sort of passion or cohesive direction. What you’re looking at with cars such as the Devel Sixteen appearing in Asphalt 8 is nothing more than product placement that puts some $$$ in GameLoft’s bank account.

 

iRacing Currently Trying to Hide Widespread Server Failures

16196222_949406535190628_1952555298_oIf you happen to be one of our readers who have spent upwards of $500 USD on what iRacing has to offer, in the hopes that some of the cash you threw down would be put towards making genuine improvements to the service, today I’m here to tell you that you’re sorrily mistaken – and you should probably stop buying the bullshit they’ve been feeding their customers about direct denial of service attacks for years on end. This weekend marks iRacing’s 2017 rendition of the 24 Hours of Daytona endurance racing event, though as we predicted a week ago when their servers could not handle a preliminary event with around three hundred participants, the 24 hour marathon has been an absolute mess from the drop of the green flag, thanks to the servers being totally incapable of handling any large influx of sim racers.

You know, a problem iRacing’s World Tour events have faced on a yearly basis dating back to their inception.

I’d love to mock the fact that there’s no proper day/night cycle available in what’s both billed as the ultimate racing simulator and sold at a premium price, meaning the entire goddamn race will be contested under the lights, but there’s a much bigger story to discuss today. As you can see in the screenshot at the top of this entry from the iRacing forums, Global Sim Racing Channel – the team covering the virtual 24 Hours of Daytona – have been specifically instructed by iRacing themselves to kill the broadcast entirely if any of the routine server problems were experienced. Rather than spending the past five years working to improve the service when marquee events generated high levels of traffic, iRacing have opted to simply cover everything up and pretend all is well. There is an actual, official agreement in place to cut the broadcast stream if the race server starts shitting itself, solely so people don’t see it and question what their money is going towards.

And it’s not just for Global Sim Racing, either.

racespotWith the hands of Global Sim Racing Channel and RaceSpot TV tied firmly behind their collective backs to earn a paycheck, we’ll use our platform to show you what iRacing drew up an official agreement to try and hide.

16237799_10208374398663745_1436784818_nThis is what it looks like when every single player in the 24 Hours of Daytona is dropped from the server. And it’s a problem that hasn’t been attended to in five years. iRacing have continuously claimed these situations are the result of DDoS attacks, but after so many similar instances, it’s hard to believe them at this point.

Obviously, the forums are a complete mess, because the 24 Hours of Daytona is seen as a bit of a sim racing party for members of the iRacing service, and they’d prefer for the service to work as it should considering how much they’re spending on it. Guys all jump on Teamspeak together, take turns running stints in their class of choice, and even iRacing video editor Ian Plasch is attempting to complete the entire race by himself as a way to raise money for a popular children’s charity. It’s a virtual auto racing festival of sorts, and merely completing the race is an accomplishment unto itself, but iRacing have neglected to hold up their end of the bargain.

autismAnd not only are iRacing trying to hide what’s going on in the first place, the brainwashed iRacing members who believe they have a genuine obligation to defend a video game they’ve purchased are basically lashing out at people making justified commentary on the situation – with “GO PLAY FORZA” being my favorite highlight of these imbeciles, along with another user claiming he’s enjoying the tantrums people are throwing over a faulty product. The whole thing is this weird mixture of cognitive dissonance and acute stockholm syndrome, and you can’t help but feel the iRacing community is being secretly studied by much larger corporations in an effort to learn how they can convince all of their customers not to criticize their, instead accepting obvious defects with the product and bullying anyone who doesn’t. Hell, if the automotive industry was able to capture this same magic iRacing have been able to tap into, costly recalls would be a thing of the past!

My question to the iRacers who still visit PRC on a daily basis, is at what point do you say “enough is enough?” Or are you just happy to be part of a sim racing country club because you were cut from the football team in middle school and desperately need a sense of belonging?

The Rebirth of #ForzaCorsa: Kunos Simulazioni Has Been Sold!

ac-soldWell, this is a bit awkward.

The 2016 calendar year over here at PretendRaceCars.net was incredibly successful for us both as sim racers and shitty amateur journalists, though it wasn’t without one major blemish to our reputation. Acting solely on the word of a prominent third party modder within the Assetto Corsa community supplying us with what I believed at the time to be genuine top-secret information which wasn’t supposed to see the light of day, I pushed out an article claiming Kunos Simulazioni were in the process of being completely acquired by Turn 10 Studios, potentially as a means to help create a hardcore variant of the Forza Motorsport franchise for dedicated PC sim racing enthusiasts – as Dan Greenawalt did announce during an interview at E3 that they were working on a third Forza experience. We turned into the laughing stock of the community within twenty four hours, as Kunos Simulazioni staff members, and even other sim racing outlets, publicly roasted us and claimed we were mentally ill for even daring to post such a ridiculous story in the first place.

Fast forward nine months into the future, and it turns out the only thing we got wrong was the name of the company. Revealed earlier this afternoon – much to the dismay of dedicated Assetto Corsa fans who hoped Kunos would remain an independent entityReuters is reporting that Kunos Simulazioni have been purchased by an Italian investor group known to the world as Digital Bros, a partner of 505 Games. The group of Kunos Simulazioni staff members are no longer a wild bunch of sim racing rebels doing their best to push the genre forward by any means necessary, but rather puppets tasked with adhering to the strict demands of their overlords at Digital Bros, in exchange for a hefty payday of course.

Stefano Casillo and Marco Massarutto will remain with Kunos Simulazioni in their current positions for the time being, though with the transfer of ownership also comes the transfer of power. Kunos Simulazioni as a company is now owned and controlled by an investor group, and they have the power to remove Casillo and/or Massarutto if they aren’t satisfied with how they’re handling the company on a day-to-day basis. They can even even change the entire direction of the franchise if they see a justifiable reason to do so, or kill it outright, as we’ve seen happen to entities like Criterion Games or Maxis when taken under the wing of Electronic Arts.

It’s undoubtedly a difficult pill for fans of Assetto Corsa to swallow. Kunos Simulazioni have spent several years amassing a following of loyal supporters since Assetto Corsa’s humble beginnings in 2013, and the sale to Digital Bros – which hands control of everything to an investor group playing by cold, hard numbers – does not bode well for a game living in an already niche environment. Let’s be honest with ourselves, developers don’t get into sim racing to make money; they do it for the love of virtual auto racing, and passion isn’t something that can be analyzed in a board room by a group of Italian suits obsessing over pie charts and other metrics. Because of this, it’s certainly hard to imagine a situation where Assetto Corsa 2 continues on the path created by the original. These games don’t make a whole lot of money.

If there’s an Assetto Corsa 2 to begin with, that is…

ac-is-doneWhat you see above is the third time I’ve received this information in the past month, though I originally held off on posting it the first time after consulting Stefano directly, who warned me that Assetto Corsa fans are still trying to fuck with PRC by submitting fake news. This obviously says a lot about Assetto Corsa fans to begin with, as viral marketers and obsessive fanboys are making it their mission to ruin some sim racing blog’s credibility for giving their favorite game a bad review, but given we were nine months early to reporting the sale of Kunos Simulazioni after everyone and their dog called us crazy, I feel it’s the correct time to bring it up, because there’s a chance this is in the ballpark too.

Assetto Corsa 2 might not come at all. According to our source, who again may not be entirely factual, supposedly once every piece of downloadable content planned for release in 2017 is out on the marketplace, support for Assetto Corsa as a franchise is finished, and I was told by another sim racer that “unless someone puts down the capital to make it happen, they’re done, as they mortgaged their homes to make the original Assetto Corsa, and they certainly don’t want to go through that process all over again.” There will allegedly be no new modes or additional features that fans have been requesting for several years – which is sure to sting those patiently waiting for Kunos to polish up Assetto Corsa to the level of other simulators in terms of functionality.

I’m not saying this is accurate, but I’ve heard it about a month ago from somebody I trust, and now I’m hearing it again from an entirely different user who resides in a totally different section of the community. All of the time you’ve spent waiting for Assetto Corsa to become more than an elaborate supercar hotlap simulator – whether you’re playing it on the PC, or current generation consoles – will potentially go to waste.

ac-porscheNow that we’ve got the news portion out of the way, it’s time for me to elaborate on how I feel about this whole announcement.

Though it wasn’t the exact brand we claimed nine months ago, Kunos Simulazioni as a company was indeed just sold off to an investors group. While everybody was calling us crazy last spring for daring to suggest Kunos were even thinking of “selling out” to begin with, we had the balls to say “hey guys, this might be happening.” And it just did. Like, right now.

These kinds of endeavors – with millions of dollars and ownership of an IP on the line – don’t just happen overnight; they take months, maybe even an entire year of careful consideration and meticulous planning, especially given Kunos Simulazioni are a team of professional software developers, as opposed to a single guy making a shitty 2D indie game in his apartment. Suffice to say, they’ve been working on a deal to sell the company for a while.

One theory that has been run by us, is that Turn 10 indeed approached Kunos Simulazioni to acquire the company, but backed out when it suddenly became front page news on several sim racing websites – which would explain Stefano’s immense hatred of us; there’s a possibility we inadvertently screwed them out of a jaw-dropping acquisition. Digital Bros offered ’em four million dollars; I’m sure Microsoft and Turn 10 could easily generate a deal that eclipsed that figure, hence the animosity. It’s public knowledge that Turn 10 shopped around for a developer to create the original Forza Horizon back in 2012 before settling on an all-star lineup of at-the-time jobless racing game developers now known as Playground Games, so this isn’t much of a stretch. I’ll let that ruminate with y’all for a bit.

ac-gt-cupBased on the multiple people who have said Assetto Corsa is finished, I believe we’re not seeing AC2. However, if the franchise does continue on, it’ll certainly be met with a shift in direction. I wouldn’t mind for them to try and recapture what Enthusia Professional Racing did on the PlayStation 2, but any deviation away from what a PC simulator represents will most likely be met with backlash from the community, effectively destroying any fan base this game currently has, therefore making the hypothetical AC2 the last in the series because nobody bought it.

I can see Stefano taking the money and getting out of this altogether; the guy can do the work of ten people when it comes to coding, but he’s demonstrated time and time again that he can’t maintain any sort of positive customer relations, and that’s sort of essential in the current gaming world. People are going to come to your official forums, and some of them aren’t going to treat you like a Rockstar, nor will they find your nickname of Lord Kunos all that funny. You can’t routinely cuss these people out, and given how much of a problem these outbursts have been for him during Assetto Corsa’s lifespan, I can see him throwing in the towel. It’s nothing to be ashamed of in this case; it’s for the best.

15502-1920x1080But in the grande scheme of things, if we distance ourselves from just Assetto Corsa and take a look at Kunos Simulazioni as a whole, I’m beginning to question why this company managed to achieve such a positive reception within the sim racing community in the first place. The acquisition of Kunos Simulazioni by Digital Bros is basically the final nail in the coffin for their credibility, which dates all the way back to 2006.

We start with Stefano’s numerous netKar Pro meltdowns, which eventually resulted in a situation where users were abandoned with a broken game because the team literally weren’t in the mood to work on it. The netBikes experiment which followed failed to gain any sort of traction, all while the netKar Pro community grew frustrated with Kunos over their lack of support, whom eventually did return to fix netKar Pro a year later. Ferrari Virtual Academy, while enjoyable, was a glorified hotlap simulator that didn’t give anybody hope that Kunos could put out a complete racing simulator experience compared to other titles on the market. Kunos had built three games, and hadn’t proven they could finish any of them.

Finally, we reach the whole Assetto Corsa debacle. The game honestly had so much potential, but got lost in development and fell into the lure of big money. During the height of Assetto Corsa’s popularity, Kunos Simulazioni were spearheaded by a good coder couldn’t handle anything but being pampered with the finest grain baby talcum powder and maybe couldn’t further develop the game, a good marketing guy nabbing the licenses, and a physics developer who is poorly perceived by the expert sim racing modders. At what point do we as a community look at this situation unfolding and say “okay, maybe these guys don’t have their shit together in the slightest, and relied on a cult of personality to get them this far?”

Oh, right. It’s the point where they sold off the rights to their operation to some Italian investors group. And that point is today.

Reader Submission #131 – Illumimoblilsta

ams-2017-01-18-19-49-34-30Picking up a product from Reiza Studios is almost seen as a rite of passage within the greater sim racing community. Offering an all-around fantastic driving model that stretches the tried and true isiMotor engine to its absolute limit, both Automobilistaas well as its older brother Stock Car Extreme – provide a rock solid, no-nonsense sim racing experience free from many of the pitfalls currently affecting the genre. There aren’t any power tripping developers attacking their customers, overzealous fanboys defending the product at any cost, or delusional community members passing out fictional hero cards in Reiza’s neck of the woods; Reiza products are typically satisfactory racing simulators whose biggest flaws center around the fact that the technology powering them is tad bit outdated.

However, taking the plunge into what Automobilista has to offer isn’t for every sim racer. Though Reiza have made an admirable effort to flesh out the selection of content within their flagship racing simulator to appeal to international enthusiasts, the team have ensured the core focus of their software is essentially a love letter to the history of auto racing in Brazil. For every unlicensed Formula One machine that just barely skirts around copyright rules, or popular Grand Prix circuit operating under a fictional moniker, there’s an entire Brazilian series full of cars you’ve most likely never heard of, and every single obscure track on the schedule to go along with it. Yes, you can take an off-brand Holden Commodore around well-known locations such as Suzuka or Montreal, but a large portion of Automobilista’s content is intended to satisfy Brazilian motorsports fans first and foremost. Reiza took aim at a very specific niche market within an already niche genre, and merely allowed the game to speak for itself when curious international sim racers caught wind of it. Reiza didn’t necessarily care if people outside of Brazil liked the game, much in the same way EA Sports didn’t care if Europeans were gobbling up copies of the NASCAR Thunder series – it wasn’t built for them, anyway.

But has this approach paid off? Though Reiza have created an impressive racing simulator primarily for South American auto racing geeks – with a bone finally thrown to overseas hobbyists – today’s Reader Submission from Daniel Miquelluti paints a drastically different picture. Though Automobilista was created by a Brazilian developer and loaded with Brazilian content catering specifically to their fellow countrymen, in reality Brazilian sim racers are largely apathetic towards the title. Oops.


ams-2017-01-18-19-48-40-80Hey James (as well of the rest of PRC), greetings from Brazil! I want to talk for a little bit about the sim racing culture down here in South America, as I’ve noticed something that goes against what a lot of people probably assume about us. Here in Brazil, when some local YouTube personalities say they’re making the jump to a more serious simulator from either Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo, many of them go out and choose either Assetto Corsa or Project CARS. Automobilista, the simulator a lot of you probably expect to be popular down here, has almost never seen the light of day in Brazilian YouTube.

In Brazil, a simple wheel like the Logitech G27 costs upwards of $190 USD used, to $313 USD as a brand new package. Minimum wage, again converting to American currency so your readers have a better understanding, is $281 USD per paycheck. That should make things pretty clear as to why sim racing in Brazil isn’t the most popular activity – a steering wheel is not even on the radar for many people. Just to be clear, more than half of our population earns less than minimum wage. So, if you’re lucky enough to have money to buy a PC, Xbox One , or PlayStation 4 ($470) along with a compatible wheel, only then are you entitled to enter the sim racing world.

Now, let’s enter the problem of how much each title costs. A regular AAA game costs between $30 USD and $59 USD on Steam. At the moment, purchasing Automobilista with the complete season pass converts to $43 USD. By comparison, Assetto Corsa and Project CARS routinely go on sale for much less, to the point where I’ve seen Assetto Corsa retail as low as $17 USD – a very good price that obviously attracts a lot of people, because most Brazilians are forced to shop smart when purchasing entertainment. It’s not financially feasible for us to buy a game which supposedly embraces our national pride and appeals to us directly, because Reiza have priced Automobilista out of reach of their own target audience. So aside from the hardcore guys, which every country has their own small group of, Automobilista hasn’t actually caught on with us. We then factor in the stereotypical sub-par Brazilian workmanship we’re known for – don’t worry, we’re not blind to our own shortcomings – so a lot of sim racers here see a Brazilian simulator on the market and immediately ignore it, because the general consensus is that products from North America, Europe, Asia, or Oceania are far more competent, because that’s usually the truth.

This should explain why Automobilista is not the most popular title by any means in its home country. The sim racers who do play the game absolutely love it, which can be seen in Brazilian reviews of the game from the avid fans, but according to Steam, Automobilista has only sold 5,000 copies here. By comparison so we have some proper metrics, Project CARS sold 13,500 on the PC alone – and that’s with a failing economy, where most can barely afford a nice PC or game console. So to summarize, very rarely can Brazilians afford a fancy wheel, Automobilista isn’t all that affordable compared to other racing games, and most of us believe international goods to be of a higher quality than what we ourselves can produce. Yes, I’m aware there are a few good private Brazilian communities. But by and large, Automobilista is nowhere near as popular down here as sim racers think.

czbfzbnuoaeiv8l-jpg-largeI’d also like to address another topic that I’ve seen brought up on PRC – the cultural problem, to be specific. Each new generation has an increasingly bigger problem with manners than the one before it. Some of the “rich kids” who can afford to sim race think they can do whatever they want, and when they go on the internet, it’s nothing more than an elaborate toy for them. It’s the perfect place for them to go wild and laugh at the expense of others. Sadly, a part of our online community is actually proud of the HUEHUEBRBR reputation, and play up on it for comedic effect – which doesn’t work well in sim racing, because most of these games require a base level of sportsmanship that our countrymen don’t always possess. In fact, the impunity culture seems ingrained within the country as a whole; you can rob or kill anyone and leave jail almost instantly in some situations.Yes, there are nice parts of Brazil, but the bad parts are very bad.  It’s why many people understandably protested our Olympic games this past summer.

Though I will say, if you get to know some of the hardcore guys, you’ll find some great people just trying to race clean and respect others drivers.

Thanks for giving me this platform to speak today.


superv8_automobilista_1Thanks for writing to us, Daniel. I’m very intrigued to see you’ve actually confirmed something I’ve written about in the past – the lack of any sort of tangible userbase for Reiza’s products. Automobilista’s Steam numbers are absolutely horrid given how many contributed to the crowdfunding campaign in 2015, and the abundance of people claiming to sink countless hours into the simulator on Reddit’s sim racing section.

amsWhen I’ve pointed this out in previous articles spanning PRC’s two-year history, some of our readers claimed there was this hidden group of Reiza supporters that simply hadn’t redeemed their copy of any Reiza game on Steam, but were rather operating on a traditional DVD they placed inside their disc drive – meaning they weren’t counted in the metrics – to the point where I began joking that sim racers were intentionally disconnecting from the internet and treating their love of Stock Car Extreme as some Illuminati-like club nobody was allowed to know about. It’s fantastic to know, straight from someone that’s involved in the Brazilian sim racing community, that I wasn’t missing out on top secret Illumimoblilsta meetings – even Brazilians by and large don’t care much for a game built specifically for them. Sure, there are private leagues like you said, but a group of fifty guys from one website all traveling from simulator to simulator over the years is just that – fifty guys.

Which is really shitty, because now we’ve had an additional level of confirmation stating a developer invested a solid chunk of their money and time into helping improve the state of sim racing, only for it to basically go to waste. Call me salty all you want, but I will never forget the absolute frenzy sim racers went into after Reiza unveiled the Holden Commodore V8 Supercar for Stock Car Extreme, only for three consecutive online leagues (two on Race2Play, one on RaceDepartment) to fold because nobody actually wanted to play Stock Car Extreme, and those who did could barely keep the vehicle under control. Throwing money at Reiza during their crowdfunding campaign was like this extreme hipster status icon in the sim racing community, because it turns out nobody’s actually playing their game in the end.

grab_158I also appreciate the explanation behind why Brazilian online culture as a whole has become so toxic. If the internet is only a toy for rich kids and wealthy families, I can understand how it’s essentially become a virtual high class suburb instead of a means of communication everybody uses for work and/or play. There simply aren’t enough people “logging on” (to bust out a term from the 90’s) for others to wise up and say “being a jackass is only funny in moderation, stop spamming HUEHUEHUE BRBRBR in the chat you fucktard.”

Though I will say, however, some of you motherfuckers are fast. It’s just shitty that an equal number of you wind up in EmptyBox videos as comedic relief.