Assetto Corsa Fails Tech Inspection with Xbox One Update

Pushing out post-release updates for software on current generation consoles can be a pain in the ass for even the biggest of development teams. With both Sony and Microsoft requiring each new package to go through a rigorous certification process prior to the update going live – as opposed to Steam’s rather relaxed set of rules that allows developers to mash the metaphorical update button – it’s not uncommon for smaller teams to run afoul of the inspection process, and be forced to announce that long-awaited updates to their game might not come on the scheduled launch date, let alone anywhere close to it.

This is the situation Kunos Simulazioni have currently found themselves in with the Xbox One version of Assetto Corsa. It has been revealed that the version 1.14 update for their indie racing simulator did not pass Microsoft’s certification process – a virtual tech inspection, if you will – and Kunos will have to make the required tweaks to the package and then re-submit all over again, beginning the process anew. It’s just one of those things that happens, and something I’m personally familiar with dating back to the days of NASCAR The Game 2011; Xbox 360 users received updates almost two months earlier than PlayStation owners, as Sony’s evaluation process was much more intricate in the previous console generation.

However, it’s certainly not something Xbox One owners of Assetto Corsa wanted to hear. The version 1.14 update promised much more than physics tweaks to the base simulation experience; features promised to significantly extend the lifespan of the game and had been left out by Kunos Simulazioni due to poor foresight and a lack of resources – most notably the ability to host custom sessions with your own personal settings – were set to be implemented with this update. With the version 1.14 update now back at square one, those who purchased Assetto Corsa for Microsoft’s flagship console are left with a game that is drastically inferior to both the PC variant, as well as it’s PlayStation 4 counterpart. Version 1.14 is essentially what Assetto Corsa on consoles should have been at launch, and this unexpected delay looks to be the final nail in the coffin for those who were berated on the official forums for supposedly not being patient enough with the progress of the game. Ten months later, their patience still hasn’t been rewarded with much of anything, and the already small userbase of this game on the Xbox One is certainly bound to drop to dangerously low levels knowing there is no set release date in sight.

Of course, this has not stopped the rabid Assetto Corsa defense force from promptly lashing out at Microsoft, with some RaceDepartment users believing that the electronics giant is intentionally sabotaging Assetto Corsa’s progress on the Xbox One due to a conflict of interests with one of their own intellectual properties.

Of course, this is simply ridiculous, but just goes to show the extent of which Assetto Corsa fanboys have been brainwashed into believing that the entire sim racing community is against them. Both Kunos Simulazioni, as well as their supporters, appear to be living on the borderline between their own fantasy vision of Assetto Corsa as it exists in their imaginations, and what Kunos Simulazioni have actually created. These hyper-fans genuinely believe Assetto Corsa has the footing to take on one of the biggest franchises of the current gaming era and is such a threat to the market share it’s actually forcing Microsoft to sabotage things behind the scenes, when in reality it took Kunos Simulazioni almost nine months just to add private lobbies – a stable of racing games dating back to the late 1990’s – into the PlayStation 4 version; the Xbox One servers boasting a pathetic 50 users per night according to RaceDepartment forum user MarkR while Forza Motorsport 6 boasts something like five million semi-active players.

This mentality appears to further extend into the professional circle, as the team can be seen giving a lecture on how to successfully launch and maintain a product on the Xbox One. We’ve covered this video already here on PRC.net in a previous article, so it’s kind of shitty to re-visit a prior topic, but in hindsight it’s a lecture that’s getting better with age, knowing how the team would eventually fail certification checks and piss off the remaining Xbox One owners who still held onto a copy of Assetto Corsa.

Where does Kunos go from here? That depends how angry the remaining customers are, and whether it’s actually worth continuing to support the game on the Xbox One. Though I don’t possess any hard statistics, I have a very difficult time believing there’s this substantial renegade group of Assetto Corsa owners on Microsoft’s console checking the official forums twice a day for any news on the version 1.14 update; your average gamer, unless they have serious psychological issues and an abundance of time to waste, will simply not be content with buying a game and then sitting around, not playing it for nine months because they’re patiently waiting for an update – that shit gets promptly returned to GameStop or EBGames within less than a month, if not the first week. So if Kunos do by some chance push out the update within the next month or so, I have to ask the obvious question here – who is left to play it?

But they’re also stuck in-between a rock and hard place, because if they cut their losses and don’t release the update, it’ll be a permanent black eye on the company for royally botching the Xbox One release, which will follow them to whatever game they choose to push out next; whether it be Assetto Corsa 2 or an unrelated arcade racer, the Xbox One owners will undoubtedly follow them across social media spouting things like “remember how they handled Assetto Corsa?”

It’s certainly not a situation I’d like to be in, but that’s the risk you take when you inexplicably believe a hardcore PC racing simulator with barely any features to reel in mainstream gamers is somehow worth porting to current generation consoles.

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Thank You For Complaining About Assetto Corsa

No, hell hasn’t frozen over; Kunos Simulazioni have indeed pushed out an objectively fantastic update for their indie PC racing simulator Assetto Corsa, with the recent version 1.14 update bringing along a wonderful set of artificial intelligence upgrades that have turned the offline experience into much more than just a Chris Harris hotlapping simulator as many have previously joked about. I can assure you this is not a belated April Fool’s joke; it appears that overnight, the AI drivers were seemingly given world-class racecraft, and the end result is simply stunning – Assetto Corsa’s single player lifespan has now been exponentially extended, with the AI behavior leap-frogging every other modern racing simulator at the market in a resurgence akin to what we saw with Honda and Brawn GP between the 2008 and 2009 Formula One seasons. If you own Assetto Corsa on the PC, and have either shelved it or completely uninstalled it due to the lackluster AI opponents, I can say with 100% certainty that now is precisely the correct time to give it another whirl.

However, in this article I will take a drastically different approach than what many are expecting from an otherwise positive piece on Assetto Corsa. I will not praise Kunos Simulazioni for the contents of this recent update, because they simply aren’t responsible for what has been implemented. Instead, I will praise the community.

I shouldn’t have to give a lengthy history lesson to readers of PRC, but if you’ve been living under a rock for the past three years, the chain of events are quite simple to comprehend. When Assetto Corsa first shipped and started to reel in a very zealous group of diehard supporters, it did so primarily by offering a very engaging, intuitive driving model that felt leaps and bounds ahead of anything else on the market – an especially profound achievement given iRacing’s dominance over the sim racing genre. However, those not willing to bleed the colors of the Italian flag discovered that beyond the driving model, there wasn’t much else to do in the game. Online multiplayer was about a thousand times more painful to configure than already established offerings, and the game’s artificial intelligence was simply atrocious; absurdly slow on even the highest setting, driving straight into walls if the track grip was anything other than optimal, unable to pass slower cars, and downright embarrassing if you were a cheeky cunt and merely stopped on the track to see what they’d do – which was nothing.

Fanboys kicked and screamed inane phrases such as “you just don’t understand the point of Assetto Corsa; it is a DRIVING SIMULATOR, not a RACING SIMULATOR” upon valid criticisms of the AI cars being discussed in many areas of the sim racing community, while developers themselves on Twitter came out and said that the AI would never be able to pass faster cars and “probably never will”, adding that “people should work with the software, not against it.” The arrogance on the part of fanboys and developers was nothing short of mind-blowing; it’s like these people who loved Assetto Corsa like their first born child, didn’t actually want Assetto Corsa to improve – satisfied with mediocrity and internet “likes” for kissing the asses of developers on the official forums.

Regardless, sim racers unsatisfied by the single player experience in Assetto Corsa kept complaining over a period of years. At some point, these complaints must have been too much for Kunos Simulazioni to tolerate, as they have finally gone out and shut everyone up with an objectively wonderful batch of AI personalities to beat and bang with. Just the footage alone is impressive, which is why I’ve linked a couple videos that show off just how good the new update is.

Again, if you own Assetto Corsa for the PC, this is probably the time to either re-install, or fire up the application and spend a few hours messing around with the new AI code. It’s worth it, I promise.

However, there’s also a dark cloud in the distance that we should probably talk about. The long-awaited inclusion of private lobbies in Assetto Corsa launched only a few short days ago, but it’s been a bit of a mess. There have been a couple of people in our comments’ section ragging on Kunos for a disaster of epic proportions on consoles, and at this point I’m actually inclined to agree with them, again sticking to my belief that launching Assetto Corsa on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 was a huge mistake, as it’s only serving to damage the reputation of the company far worse than what a shitty little WordPress blog could ever do.

So for starters, the Xbox One version of the update didn’t actually launch. Microsoft and Sony have vastly different Quality Assurance testing processes, and the PS4 version was able to pass all of the mandatory checks, while the Xbox One update has been delayed by about three weeks. However, this is the least of the team’s worries. In implementing custom lobby functionality, the PS4 update actually broke online play for the Xbox One version of the game altogether, presumably as both variants were operating under the same basic server farm 505 Games had acquired for the two variants of Assetto Corsa. So while PS4 owners have a rocky yet useful implementation of custom lobbies, Xbox One players are struggling just to enter any sort of online race at all. On the Xbox One side of the Console Lounge forums, it’s basically mass confusion as users are completely unsure as to why online functionality in Assetto Corsa stopped working the moment the PS4 update launched.

I mean, thank God I own a solid PC, but I spent several years primarily using an Xbox 360 as a preferred gaming platform, so I’m aware of what it feels like to be at the mercy of a developer making countless mistakes behind the metaphorical wheel and unable to troubleshoot for workarounds in the meantime.

Regardless, there’s a silver lining to this custom lobby update. Like the AI upgrades, custom lobbies were also demanded by critics of Assetto Corsa for several months after launch – the bizarre dedicated server approach defended by fanboys and staff members who repeated the hilarious line of “our priority was to ship a stable game”  just as the shitty AI of the PC game was a few years ago – only inserted in because the tirade of angry customers upset that a common feature was left out for no justifiable reason wouldn’t stop.

So to those who have been very abrasive in their criticisms of Assetto Corsa, thank you. Kunos Simulazioni are finally listening to you, and it is resulting in a drastically better game than the one we once ripped on in the past. I can’t imagine how horribly unfinished this game would be if you guys kept your mouth shut and let fanboys and staff members bully you into silence.

Genuinely Perplexing, or Setting a Precedent? The Assetto Corsa DRM Mod

It’s a package of virtual race cars that should really need no introduction among most groups of hardcore sim racers, so I’ll cut right to the chase – the DRM Revival mod team are set to bring their legendary rFactor creation into a much newer sim racing sandbox, with a release date for the Assetto Corsa rendition of the Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft series just beyond the horizon. Anticipation for the bundle is at an all time high, as while the authenticity and overall realism of the free rFactor mod from many years ago is still up for debate, nobody can deny the quality of the car models, the beastly engine sounds, and the insane handling characteristics combined to produce an experience that basically everybody who considered themselves a regular rFactor player rushed to download, and subsequently convert to other platforms.

The Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft championship, contested in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, was essentially GT3 cars as if they were first conceived thirty five years ago, boasting primitive turbochargers, wild aesthetics, and a general sense of instability that punished you for even the smallest of mistakes. So naturally, there’s a bit of a hype train rolling, because if there’s anything sim racers love, it’s turning five half-assed laps in a car they struggle to properly control before immediately shooting over to RaceDepartment to boast that they couldn’t complete a clean lap and the drivers back then must have been heroes… Or something…

So as I’ve noted above, the DRM team will be taking these wonderful cars to Assetto Corsa and only Assetto Corsa, which has slowly but surely morphed into a somewhat adequate racing simulator over the past few months thanks to the hard work of Kunos Simulazioni. Now while various previews of the DRM mod have been teased almost dating back to the time Assetto Corsa first launched on the PC, in recent weeks it’s been made very clear that these cars are indeed in the pipeline and set to arrive within a reasonable time frame, so the team have been getting a bit “chatty” with all the major sim racing news outlets as would be expected.

However, in their chattiness, has come one of the most absurd details about their upcoming release for Assetto Corsa – sim racers will have the option of obtaining two different versions of the same mod. One, with simplistic physics, will be free, and the other, you’ll be forced to pay for.

The DRM team have explained there will be a “base” version that everybody will be able to download as a quasi-trial, though it will feature the same exact content as the payware version. However, the “premium” version is said to ship with upgraded physics, sounds, and support – whatever that means. It’s a genuine pain in the ass for sim racers, as there will be two semi-identical versions of the mod floating around on the internet that will be sure to cause an enormous amount of mismatches, as free users attempt to join servers running premium content, and premium owners try to jump into an online DRM sessions, only to discover the server is using the free base version in an effort to reel in more players. Assetto Corsa is already ripped on by loyal supporters for fragmenting the userbase with a heavy dose of downloadable content that strategically places desirable and/or updated cars behind paywalls, so it’s frustrating to see that community members who have undoubtedly been upset by the fragmented userbase will be going out and doing the exact same thing.

It’s also annoying to see a team that already built these cars to completion for another simulation platform and gave them away for free, will be charging for what’s essentially the same product. Had Assetto Corsa blown rFactor out of the water and established itself as the king of PC racing sims immediately upon release in 2014, I could sort of understand trying to monetize a re-release of the same cars, but both simulators are sort of equal with one another in terms of game engine fidelity. So it’s pretty lame that while the DRM cars for rFactor are free, you’ll have to pay for the Assetto Corsa variant, even though the same team made both mods, and it’s not like these cars have changed since 1979 – it’s still the same data that was researched and gathered in 2008 being placed into Assetto Corsa as it was placed into rFactor a decade ago.

Not to mention, there’s still some debate over how accurate the rFactor mod was to begin with. Sure it looked and sounded nice, but there were rumors of the virtual cars created by the DRM revival team turning laps ten or twelve seconds quicker than their real world counterparts. So it’s pretty ballsy to charge for “upgraded physics” when there’s no guarantee that the allegedly improved physics will be worth the money.

But, to play devil’s advocate here, I’m under the impression that maybe there’s a different side to the whole free/premium version thing we’re not really thinking of. Obviously, you can’t sell payware mods featuring real world brands without a commercial license, which is why United Racing Design sell Bayro’s and Darche’s instead of BMW’s and Porsche’s, but maybe the DRM team have discovered a loop-hole where if you can still obtain their creation for free and merely sell physics INI files as an upgrade, that’s how payware teams can get around pesky licensing restrictions. And that’s sort of brilliant, and could set a very real precedent for payware mods in the future where, as an example, teams could put up complete Formula One grids for free, but when you download them they hit 400 mph like that Red Bull monstrosity from Gran Turismo, and the financial transaction is merely to obtain text documents to copy and paste over the “default” physics. Everyone knows what’s happening, but in a legal sense it doesn’t get the payware teams in any hot water. I’m not a fan of payware mods because they traditionally don’t work in a sim racing environment for whatever reason, but I give the DRM team credit for trying to blaze a new trail here, if that were their intentions.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, as the precedent that could be set for other payware teams to follow may be the silver lining amidst a potential cloud of mismatch errors that infuriate the Assetto Corsa community. Whatever happens, you’ll be able to obtain these vehicles fairly soon, and hopefully there will be an equally diverse number of quality historic circuits to race them on, as I can’t imagine the appropriate rFactor tracks will look all that great after being quickly converted in Assetto Corsa for use with the DRM cars.

Assetto Corsa Private Lobbies Have Been Delayed

Those who purchased the console version of Assetto Corsa for either the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One knew this was coming at some point, but finally seeing it manifest itself in a Facebook status update is surely the aspect of it all that’ll sting the most. Kunos Simulazioni spent several weeks, maybe even months, implying the long-awaited implementation of private lobbies would be arriving in the forthcoming update for Assetto Corsa, but as you can probably infer from the screenshot above, the release of that update has now been pushed back an undisclosed amount of time.

Shipping with a comparatively minimal amount of features and functionality when pitted against other current generation racers, Assetto Corsa was deemed to be an extreme disappointment by the majority of those who purchased it, yet the hardcore sim enthusiasts pledged their allegiance to Kunos Simulazioni in the hopes that one day, the console iteration of the popular racing simulator would offer the same type of overall experience found in the original PC counterpart. Though consoles typically aren’t the ideal platform for serious organized multiplayer league races, games like the Codemasters’ F1 series, Gran Turismo, and Forza Motorsport have proved that an equally dedicated group of sim racers call these platforms home, and were hoping to use the figurative playing fields of Assetto Corsa for future online racing seasons

Unfortunately, their patience and good-will continues to be put to the test, with no clear reward in sight – only to be hounded by fellow forum for not exercising even more patience. As a sim racing developer who rose to prominence through the 2014 calendar year by building an indie racing sim that skyrocketed in popularity thanks to a wave of over-zealous fanboys helping to perpetuate their eternal science project, Kunos were warned quite aggressively by third parties who could see the game for what it is that the console crowd would simply not stand for some of their more questionable development choices; ones that prioritized a steady stream of downloadable content over implementing functionality seen in games from previous console generations. This talk was at one point deemed libelous, and the individuals responsible for the controversial postings as “notorious trolls” who “irrationally hated” Kunos, but at this point it’s pretty hard not to call these predictions anything but brutally accurate; with Kunos continuing to fumble console updates and provide no tangible timeline as to when console owners can expect to have a game that resembles the vastly superior PC version, the company’s reputation has taken a pretty severe beating.

All kinds of colorful rumors have tried to explain the botched console release and subsequent shoddiness, from Kunos staff members not being entirely on-board with the console release from the get-go, or a rival coder supposedly hired to produce the work output from Stefano Casillo (and reduce the message board hostility), but unfortunately we’ve never gotten a clear explanation that accurately conveys why the same company held in such high regard by a number of sim racers could put out a woefully inadequate counterpart on another platform.

These delusions of grandeur also appear to stretch to the development team themselves, as Kunos staff members can be seen appearing at Codemotion Rome 2017 to discuss the process of preparing Assetto Corsa for current generation consoles as if the game was an excellent example of how to successfully accomplish this task, when in reality the team are consistently botching or outright delaying essential updates the community have patiently waited months for – not to mention the horrendous launch which saw both consoles unable to run the game smoothly for several weeks. It’s hard not to label what’s going on in Italy as a virtual cult of personality, as it seems there’s a pretty big detachment from how Assetto Corsa community members feel about the title and key developers, versus what’s actually happening from a basic consumer standpoint. Facebook “fans” have loaded the offical Assetto Corsa page with praise, thanking Kunos for the vague news on what in layman’s terms is an extremely shitty delay, but those who don’t need internet brownie points from fellow sim racers know you certainly can’t keep sitting around waiting for a product you bought eight months ago to add rudimentary features it should have had at launch.

It’s really just a bit old fashioned mess at this point, and in hindsight I’ve often wondered why Kunos even bothered to conceive a console variant of their simulator in the first place. The team weren’t exactly known for their strict development schedule even in the PC version’s Early Access phase, and before the game achieved 1.0 status was already being blasted by mainstream sim outlets for a lack of functionality. I have no idea why a company would intentionally and knowingly bite off far more than they could chew, especially with such a large chance that it would backfire and expose their incompetent traits on a significantly larger platform. Yes, we all know the answer to the question is “money” – plain and simple – but in the long run, is it really worth shitting a severely hampered version of your PC sim out into the wild for a few million?

The answer, quite simply, is no. Even if Assetto Corsa 2 is on the cards, every single potential customer is going to remember how it took eight months and counting just to add private lobbies to the game, and instead of purchasing the game out of curiosity like they did for the first title, they’re going to outright avoid it – especially with stuff like Gran Turismo Sport, Forza Motorsport 7, and DiRT 4 on the market offering a significantly more comprehensive overall package.

I’m under the impression that this delayed update is part of larger problem; the ship is sinking, and we’re merely starting to see the first cracks – though the losers who support Assetto Corsa like a rogue religion will only continue to demand more patience, and like Scientology, encourage you to contribute… er… support Kunos by buying both present & future DLC packs. My question is, when do these blind apologists also give up hope? Kunos sold an abhorrent game on consoles, and eight months later, it’s really not that much better aside from minor FPS improvements. When is reality going to set in that it’s just not working out, and they’re kind of a shitty company for putting out such a half-baked game when compared to the other products on the market?

 

A Lecture on Mediocrity

Though the speech is in Italian and you’ll need to head to the official Assetto Corsa forums for any kind of English summary, Alessandro Piva and Fabrizio Brugnaro recently made a fourty-six minute speech at Codemotion Rome 2017, in which they discuss in pretty great detail the process of taking Assetto Corsa – a racing simulator which had been built primary for the PC platform – and porting it to both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. We don’t have many native Italian speakers here, so the footage is admittedly of little use, but ZX636 has taken the time to translate summaries of each segment for those who still lurk the Assetto Corsa message board. It’s a long read and highly informative if you’re into the technical process of re-building a video game to be compatible with other types of hardware, but there’s one underlying theme about the whole thing that in my opinion makes this lecture a bit silly:

The console versions of Assetto Corsa were terrible, both from a technical standpoint, as well as a gameplay standpoint. Seven months after release, owners are still not satisfied with the product.

Maybe I’m being far too hyper-cynical for Good Friday, but it takes an awfully large set of testicles to give an entire speech on the process of successfully porting a PC racing simulator to current generation consoles, going into great detail about optimizing the application for use on inferior hardware, knowing full well the game suffered from substantial performance issues at launch, was universally panned by customers, and is now considered to be a sort of bastard child that should very well have been aborted thanks to the team’s inability to bring the console rendition of the game in-line with what’s available in the original PC variant.

Piva initially discusses how Assetto Corsa struggled to retain 20FPS in the early days of development for each console, but goes on to explain how they were able to use the architecture of the two primary consoles to achieve their goals. It’s funny how they conveniently didn’t address the game’s launch, which saw several console owners taking to YouTube and other social media outlets in frustration at the game struggling to maintain a stable framerate, not to mention the intrusive screen tearing which spearheaded an influx of returns and refunds. Arriving on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in August of 2016, by October of the same year, sim racers were still complaining of basic software issues that prevented smooth gameplay after several patches.

To me, it’s just flat-out goofy to read these guys talk about the steps in porting a game to consoles, knowing at the end of the day, their efforts were not successful in the slightest, and they bit off much more than they could chew judging by the quality of the final product. No, it’s not a crime by any means to give a lecture on an intricate process such as porting a video game from one platform to another, but typically you’d want to hear from someone who did it well rather than did it poorly, and whose game isn’t being blasted across all review sites not based out of the same country as the publisher. I mean, the transcript is still an informative read so I urge you guys to go through the full thing, but knowing how the end product turned out makes it all a bit moot.

Fabrizio Brugnaro then steps in and admits that the process of Quality Assurance – you know, testing a video game to ensure it’s not bugged to hell and works as it should – was new to the team. Brugnaro explains that the PC version of Assetto Corsa does not have any sort of dedicated Quality Assurance team, but rather relies on a “small group of sim racing enthusiasts” to hunt for bugs and other issues.

Dear God this is asinine. Though there are some knowledgeable folk that can be found within the sim racing community, letting a group consisting of random modders (who in some cases might not even have a driver’s license), fanboys who will kiss your ass religiously no matter how badly you botch an update, and shitposters with 10,000 forum posts give your $60 product a shakedown before being sold on a worldwide platform is just asking for trouble. I really shouldn’t have to engage in a full-on sperg-out to convey just how absurd this is, so instead I’ll say that this should give some valuable insight on the existence of longstanding AI troubles, poor user interface, and hilarious stuff like cars falling through the ground at Spa in a certain build of the game.

When it’s been publicly revealed that one of the main coders cannot take any hint of criticism without lashing out at the guy, do you really think the “sim racing enthusiasts” serving as the renegade QA team are little more than blatant ass-kissers? Nope, and the product suffers as a result. There’s your proof that Assetto Corsa on the PC doesn’t have any kind of formal quality assurance system behind it, but are instead just sort of hoping random people in the community with no Q/A experience whatsoever give it the thumbs up. This is fine for, like, a private rFactor mod, but certainly you’d think things would be treated with a significantly higher amount of professionalism when shipping a $60 video game on Steam, plus an array of downloadable content alongside it.

Now in regards to the console version, Brugnaro states it was the first time Kunos had ever assembled some kind of proper quality assurance team, and for a period of time didn’t have “methods” or “tools” for the developers to collaborate with the bug hunters – though this was eventually rectified and the process exponentially sped up. So while it can be forgiven that the “pro” quality assurance team missed some things due to inexperience, like a notification box in the setup screen that says your setup doesn’t meet the minimum ride-height requirements, I’d like to know how Q/A testers missed pretty blatant framerate and screen tearing problems, because these are elements you don’t need to be a professional race car driver or “sim racing enthusiast” to notice as he alludes to later – it’s like, basic “how a piece of computer software should work in 2017.”

I’m not happy with how the Q/A team is blamed by a member of Kunos for basically not being able to drive the car a few hundred feet forward and see that the game chugged significantly, or there’s a spot on the road in one track that basically fucks the car for no reason, or that the AI is supremely fucked beyond belief. These are all really simple things you don’t need to be a “sim racing enthusiast to spot”, and yet that’s the excuse we’ve been given – the Q/A team were so bewildered by a hardcore racing simulator, they could not find the “drive” button and actually play the game.

In conclusion, what we can say about the Codemotion Rome 2017 lecture, is that Assetto Corsa was simply not a game that should have been released on consoles. The team faced a Mount Everest-like climb to prepare the software to work on inferior hardware, using trick after trick just to achieve a semi-playable framerate that took many months of patches after release to satisfy the customers whom had purchased it. And even when the game did get whipped into a playable state, the quality assurance team were simply incapable of shaking down the game properly, to the point where some of what they missed is so stupefying, many will undoubtedly be under the impression they simply checked to see if all of the menus worked as they should, not once hitting the track to examine basic gameplay and performance elements. As an added bonus, we also have confirmation that the PC version of the game outsources Q/A testing to random people who lurk the forums, the credentials of which are questionable at best.

While the original variant of Assetto Corsa is slowly being turned into a somewhat okay racing simulation after years of Kunos being pushed by the community to flesh out the game with additional features and functionality, I am left bewildered by the console counterpart, which was obviously created as a quick cash grab. The man hours dedicated to learning all of these tricks and shortcuts just to get Assetto Corsa to achieve more than 20 FPS on the PlayStation 4 could have easily went to fleshing out the PC version people already had fallen in love with, rather than building a product for another platform that most people would return in the first week thanks to glaring technical problems. The quality assurance team could have then been tasked with refining the PC version, allocating an appropriate level of bug-hunting tasks exclusive group of fanboys… er… beta testers rather than placing the whole game on their shoulders.

Yet because of the above decisions, Assetto Corsa is merely okay on the PC when it could have been great, and Kunos now have to explain why there’s this awkward console version a portion of their fanbase are clearly upset over, instead of establishing themselves as one of the leaders in PC simulations.