Reader Submission #139 – The Official Mazda 787B

You’ve probably heard much rejoicing as of late from the Assetto Corsa community, as the PC version of the game has recently received a substantial software update that has been long-overdue for what has otherwise been a very incomplete racing simulator. Bringing with it proper pit stop strategy configuration screen as opposed to a Mario Party-like pit stall mini-game, the rudimentary implementation of driver swaps, and even a couple of new free cars from completely opposite ends of the spectrum – Mazda’s Miata and 787B Prototype, it appears the sim racing community have finally won out in the end. After years of staff members from Kunos Simulazioni angrily berating their users for “expecting too much” and “not understanding the purpose of Assetto Corsa” the team from Vallelunga are now slowly beginning to insert specific features and functionality sim racers have been requesting for years on end, indicating individuals the developers at one point labeled incessant whiners may have had actually had legitimate complaints about the direction of the simulator.

Regardless of how we’ve gotten here, I’d like to extend a thank you to all Assetto Corsa owners who risked multiple forum bans and being blacklisted by rabid fanboys for being very vocal about what the simulator lacked; it took a while, but Kunos’ recent additions to the simulator confirmed you guys were much more than just “trolls” and “haters.” Because of your diligence, Kunos are actually getting to work on making Assetto Corsa a much more feature complete piece of software. Good job!

However, with every twist, a turn. We have heard for several years that Kunos Simulazioni build cars within their simulator using an abundance of real data, often times pushing this element of Assetto Corsa to the forefront as a way to compensate for the shortcomings of the simulator – sure, there’s not been a lot to do until recently, but at least the cars are incredibly accurate, right?

Today’s Reader Submission notes that is not the case.

Hey PRC. There have been some posts on various forums about issues with Assetto’s quality of physics, or more specifically, the quality of the work pushed out by Aris under the Kunos banner. The fanboy army led by Stefano and his buttlickers seem to jump and try to dismiss legitimate discussions or questions. We have seen with many people, from banned users to the guy trying to find information for his mod based on his real life car. Having read a few of those hammered posts, I picked up on some aspects of what to look for thanks to the detailed info provided by the gurus and the nagging questioning brought up by certain users, including guys who DO release mods for Assetto. 

The Porsche from DLC pack 3 got postponed due to Kunos needing info, stuff missing, real life correlation, etc. Their words paraphrased. Well, how much of it is actually true? Do they really have the manufacturers go through everything and actually inspect the car? I call bullshit. That’s some yellow propaganda. Then to see them acquire mods and re-release them as holy grail content, as if the original mod wasn’t good or even superior, seems unfair. So with that information, the recent update and the possible flame coming up from the questions on the Porsche and the Mazda, I checked the following on the Mazda since it was freely available before. Note that all measures of CL and Downforce are in KG at 200km/h.

What you see in the picture above is the 787b with highest downforce achievable before the stupid loss that takes place. I’ve no idea how Aristotelis comes up with his stuff.

Next, we have the maximum downforce achievable while maintaining less shitty balance (still rubbish), so theoretically this is roughly the max downforce possible with 35% forward aero balance.

Third, I will compare everything to the other official prototype car, theCc9 they made which is Le Mans-specification. And remember, the 787B is supposed to NOT be Le Mans. Roughly this is the max downforce in a straight line.

Lastly, I will do the same as with the 787b, giving it a more functional 35% balance. The car actually makes a corner like Eau Rouge instead of just understeering off like a wooden box.

The value we have to look at is TOT CL: x.xx in the bottom of the app on the screen (I left the HUDs to be informative). The max for the 787b (1st image) is 2.8, the usable max is just 2.5cl. The C9 is 2.54 and the usable max is 2.39cl, so the range between the two cars (one Le Mans spec and one supposedly not) is 0.4CL at 200kmh, which equates to roughly 154kg of downforce.

Nowhere is an interesting thing that seems to relate to what the people are moaning about. The drag coefficient (CD) is much higher on the 787b than the C9 BUT the difference is the same as the downforce difference at ~0.4 CD (which = the .4cl range of downforce difference). With this drag you can say the car is not the LM-spec but if you go HERE and HERE (one of them was a link posted in the forums, I found the other from there. Great site!), the story looks wrong. There you find the downforce levels of comparable sprint-spec cars of the time. The C9 has cl of 4.47 @ 241km/h in 1989, the C11 has a cl of 5.36 at 241km/h in 1990. So the issue that follows is how the hell is the Kunos 787B, from 1991, performing at less than half of a car from the year before and much less than a car first developed 3 years prior?

So the main problem highlighted here is the downforce. The 787 is within .4cl of the Kunos C9 Le Mans specification but it is listed as a standard, non Le-Mans spec. So it is much closer to the C9 Le Mans spec than it is to the data suggested by the websites linked above showing the C9 Sprint (non-Le Mans) and C11 Sprint. Do they really pursue and get the information for the cars? If they do, why is it off in the game? What the hell are they doing to the cars to recreate them this way? I wrote all this for the Mazda but imagine the can of worms from the 2017 Porsche, being so different to real life according to mclarenf1papa? How can we trust that developer when they are consistently caught out with “alternative facts”?”

Kunos, in my opinion, likes to spin their information around with support from their fanboy army to portray an image that their content is always better, including the free mods they acquired. Their stance on waiting for data and a data sheet appears to be bullshit because you can right away check the downforce levels of the cars and how the diffuser makes no sense. Often the ratio varies wildly with higher ride heights generating over 100% of downforce. So when you feel the car understeer weirdly it’s because it went below the magic ride height number.

I personally doubt they have numbers for the latest Porsche as they made the claim. They probably had the company give the green light on the model and maybe engine, nothing beyond that. Meanwhile, modders get access to team manuals with legitimate air tunnel data and measurements. They are actually able to recreate the aero map very well (credit where it’s due) but Aris has no clue (modders words) about what he is doing. I don’t have time right now but if you extract the ACD from the cars, you’ll see the optimum heights and how it makes no sense how the downforce relates. Aris makes the diffuser have the wrong impact and instead of letting it stall at some point, it makes it not work.

People are circle-jerking over the latest update but I’d not doubt the 787B is much worse now than before IF they actually went over the original numbers made by the best guys. The Le Mans C9 had that issue of going below the magic ride height and losing nearly 100% of downforce. Now, the main thing we all know is you want the car as low to the ground as possible, just before scraping…. Not in Assetto.

Thank you for your very in-depth research, I must admit I’m a bit over my head here, but what you’re saying, as well as the data (and real-world tables) makes sense. I’d like to know as well how Kunos are claiming to have real data for cars, but the sprint variant Mazda 787b inserted into Assetto Corsa with the recent update has roughly the same downforce levels as the Le Mans spec Sauber C9. Obviously, it’s not right, and I hope it gets rectified. It also calls into question what other phantom numbers have been thrown into other cars, but we knew they did that already.


Another Month Without Custom Lobbies for Console Version of Assetto Corsa

The current generation console version of Assetto Corsa needs no introduction at this point. Horribly un-optimized, and lacking in basic features & functionalities seen in games dating back to the PlayStation 2 era, the popular PC simulator’s jump to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 hardware has been anything but a wise decision for Kunos Simulazioni, with the vast majority of customers exposed to the Italian team’s ineptitude and lack of foresight – traits that PC owners were at least able to sweep under the rug, distracted by an abundance of third party mods to extend the lifespan of the game.

Establishing itself as the peak of the metaphorical mountain of problems and omissions plaguing the console renditions of Assetto Corsa would be the game’s complete lack of custom lobbies. Unlike basically every online racing game ever, which would let you open a private or public lobby under your own rules with the specific cars and tracks you’d selected, Assetto Corsa instead takes an approach reminiscent of modern first-person shooters, and forces sim racers to join already established servers with preset combinations. Obviously, this has not sat well with the userbase – on top of being unable to conduct proper league races and dirty/inexperienced drivers commonly creating mass chaos on the grid, many cars available on the vehicle roster, including DLC cars some had paid extra for, are not available to be driven in online sessions. Given that the game’s artificial intelligence is a bit of a mess, and the Career mode offers the depth of an iPad game, people have every right to be choked.

Customers raised hell upon the launch of the game, as many took to Facebook blasting Kunos Simulazioni for leaving out what is objectively a very basic feature that almost every video game with online functionalities comes bundled with by default. To combat the wave of negativity, the community manager for 505 Games released a very generic statement to try and keep the terrible reception from getting out of hand, but it instead read like a whole lot of hot air – as one forum user puts it, “all I get from that is that they’ve heard the complaints, but aren’t going to do anything about it.”

We hear you! Our biggest priority with the console editions of Assetto Corsa was to release a stable game with great driving. Be rest assured, going forward, we are going to do our very best to take community feedback on board and build upon the foundations we’ve laid.

That was in August of 2016. Yet as the weeks clicked off and it became more and more apparent that the console version of Assetto Corsa was a total disaster compared to its already shaky PC counterpart, a core group of Assetto Corsa fans became very vocal about what the game did well, and said they would be willing to stick around for the long run if Kunos Simulazioni were able to implement custom lobbies, as the raw driving experience was enough to make people dismiss other concerns they had about the quality of the game.

Four months went by – September, October, November, and December – before Kunos Simulazioni actually addressed the topic of custom online lobbies directly, only coming after four months spent pushing out wave after wave of downloadable content package, some of which couldn’t even be used online, as the server rotation had not been updated to include DLC cars. According to the Assetto Corsa community blog published on January 27th of 2017, private lobbies would be coming to the console versions of Assetto Corsa, they were currently in quality assurance testing, and “the finish line is in sight!”

Console owners instead received more downloadable content instead, as well as single player events that should have came bundled with previous DLC packages that Kunos accidentally forgot to include in their respective DLC bundles several months earlier. RaceDepartment estimated a mid-to-late February release for custom lobbies, but to the disappointment of sim racers, Valentine’s Day brought with it more ways to spend money on Assetto Corsa, without any of the promised improvements. February came, February ended, and aside from an increase in DLC, no custom lobbies.

We’re halfway through March, It’s now 195 days after the release of Assetto Corsa for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and a feature that almost the entire community unanimously demanded Kunos Simulazioni to implement into the software from day one, a feature so basic it’s been in almost every online racing game dating back to their inception, is still nowhere to be found. Gaming is such a connected experience in 2017 there’s even a goddamn SHARE button on the controller, but yet Kunos Simulazioni won’t even let you race with your friends in the manner which you desire. Threads on the matter clog up the Console Forums, but at this point they’re acting as comic relief more than anything; the Kunos Simulazioni apologists attacking other users for daring to ask how such a preliminary set of options could be left out of a modern auto racing simulator with such vitriolic responses, you start to wonder if its the staff themselves attacking users under alternate accounts – it’s not like they have the greatest reputation to begin with.

Apparently wanting a product with industry-standard features is akin to kicking and screaming like a child for “not having his toy how he wants it, and when he wants it.” Never in my life have I seen such anti-consumer practices eaten up by a woefully delusional audience; modern passenger vehicles would be slaughtered for not including an air conditioning unit to keep passengers cool, or a radio of any sorts for in-car entertainment, but yet here we’ve got a guy basically saying you’re being a spoiled brat for merely pondering why industry standard online options have been left out of the base product and still have yet to materialize. This is insane, and only goes to show that Kunos are more talented at building a rabid fanbase whom defend their every move, no matter how bizarre or nonsensical they may be, than they are at creating competent auto racing simulators.

Will we ever see custom lobbies in the console version of Assetto Corsa? My prediction is yes, but they will be too little, too late, and people certainly won’t forget about this chaos if there’s a second iteration of the software.

Eurogamer’s Assetto Corsa Championship a Dud after Horrendous Opening Round

With lucrative brands such as nVidia, Sparco, and Thrustmaster footing the bill for what was supposed to be Assetto Corsa’s most important and prestigious online championship ever held in Kunos Simulazioni’s little simulator that could, today’s Assetto Corsa Championship race at Imola instead highlighted why the software itself has attained so many critics in the years since its arrival on Steam in the fall of 2013. Though the high-profile broadcast duo of Matteo Lorenzetti and Shaun Cole of The SimPit did their best to provide an entertaining auditory backdrop for the series’ first event on the calendar, exhibiting a very natural chemistry that was the lone highlight of the three hour livestream, we’re at the point where sim racing just isn’t working out as some sort of headline eSports event in the manner a lot of people expected, and on top of the numerous flubs of both technical and on-track varieties, the reasons many avoid using Assetto Corsa as a serious league platform were unfortunately on display this afternoon.

I was privileged enough to view this event in real time, but the Imola round of Eurogamer’s championship isn’t even worth a tape-delayed viewing for shits and giggles; this endeavor wasn’t bad in a comical sense, where a selection of memes will arise from the various oddities that popped up throughout the broadcast – it was instead a kind of XFL bad; nothing about the on-track product itself, nor the presentation, was enticing on any level. If this is the pinnacle of traditional online sim racing championships – none of this one-off Vegas eRacing stuff, but what we can expect to see from major sim competitions in the future not named iRacing – this simply isn’t going to ever catch on.

The driving standards were poor, the presentation was limited by Assetto Corsa’s lack of live/replay/live functionality, numerous delays left viewers waiting around for several minutes at a time, the commercials lasted far longer than what would be considered reasonable for an online stream, and the race itself wasn’t competitive in the slighest – a winner had been determined only a handful of laps into the event.

It just didn’t work. Back to the drawing board.

What you see is the opening shot all five hundred viewers were greeted with at the start of the broadcast. Generic EuroTrash electronic music blared over Matteo Lorenzetti and Shaun Cole’s lengthy introduction for several minutes, with the Twitch chat aggressively demanding the music to be turned off, effectively neutering any sort of proper reveal the broadcast team had carefully planned out. Instead, users were forced to merely take in the static shot of Imola’s main grandstand section, which had been plastered with an obnoxious amount of nVidia ads. Given this was a 1988 version of the San Marino Grand Prix, seeing the entire location re-branded with Sparco, Thrustmaster, and nVidia ads, looked absolutely silly. I understand that there was this weird retro-modern vibe the series was trying to achieve, pairing the Lotus 98T with a collection of historic tracks that had been given a make-over to appease the numerous primary sponsors, but in execution it gave the whole event this really strange atmosphere.

Every team in the field had also been given extremely radical liveries that directly contrasted the simplistic designs seen on the actual 1986 Grand Prix grid, so it was difficult to understand what was supposed to be accomplished here with the Eurogamer championship from an aesthetic standpoint. Here you had historical cars on historical tracks, but re-imagined with modern liveries and intrusive sponsorship branding, which of course was then hastily plastered on the Stream’s overlay – the giant billboards giving out Sparco discount codes obviously weren’t enough.

There was also seemingly a massive push by event organizers to make the trackside landscape appear more populated than their original releases as free add-ons for Assetto Corsa, though upon closer inspection – as you can see in the shot above – this resulted in a ton of identical safety marshals sporting bright orange jumpsuits copied and pasted just a few feet from one another.

After an introduction period that dragged on for far too long, and numerous lengthy advertisement breaks that quite frankly weren’t necessary, Qualifying eventually did get underway well after the advertised start time, prominently displaying a major issue with the broadcast itself. The Eurogamer stream exhibited a single-digit framerate for the duration of Qualifying, which made the action impossible to follow. I’m not trying to embellish or make things out to be worse than they really were for dramatic effect; the stream was comparable to illegal hockey or football streams you can get at FirstRow Sports. Halfway through the session, the chat had turned into a frenzy of people taking shots at the framerate, because the footage was basically unwatchable.

What you could see if you were willing to put up with the poor quality of the stream, simply wasn’t compelling. The overlay was blocky and unorganized, the action on the track showcased Assetto Corsa’s spotty netcode, with cars warping all over the place like hovercrafts and repeatedly glitching into the ground prior to the Variante Alta chicane, and driver images came with poorly photoshopped fake fire suits over each picture. For a major championship, everything about the viewing experience was decidedly amateurish.

Shortly before qualifying ended, the Stream was taken offline, only to resurface with an absurdly long advertisement break featuring repetitive Thrustmaster product demonstrations aimed at the Flight Simulator crowd, as well as a recycle of the series’ long-winded promotional trailer, which at this point had been played four or five times throughout the broadcast as filler material.

Upon finally returning to Imola, the gap between the end of qualifying session and the start of the race itself had stretched to almost thirty minutes of non-stop adverts – as if we’d been sitting through a real-world weather delay. Alas, we were told the wait would be worth it, as these were the top sim racers in Europe hand-picked by series organizers to compete for very expensive prizes, such as a top-of-the-line nVidia graphics card, Thrustmaster racing wheel, and Sparco racing seat, among many other rewards. Despite the technical hiccups and other miscellaneous delays, the on-track product – what everybody was here for – would supposedly speak for itself.

Instead, we had to restart the event three separate times.

The first accident took out the field before a majority of the cars had even crossed the start finish line, warranting a complete restart. It was a virtual re-enactment of the U.S. 500, CART’s disaster at Michican in 1996 during their attempt to create a rival event to the Indy 500, which saw nearly the entire field involved in an incident on the pace lap.

The second restart produced a very similar accident playing out just after the start/finish line, with only five cars making it to the Tamburello curve within striking distance of the leader – the rest once again involved in a growing cluster of wrecked Lotus grand prix entries.

The third and final restart produced similar results, though a decision was made by race control to continue with attempt number three of the event despite a car in the top five completely blowing the Tamburello curve, ping-ponging off the external concrete barrier, and flying back onto the racing surface before taking out a number of cars, which you can see behind the pause menu in the picture below (look just under the word Corsa in Assetto Corsa).

Instead of being granted a slew of hilarious replays depicting the opening lap chaos, the commentary team of Matteo Lorenzetti and Shaun Cole instead had to awkwardly tell viewers that limitations of Assetto Corsa simply did not allow them to show replays to the audience and then snap back to real-time as they would in a simulator like iRacing or rFactor 2, basically admitting that the software they were using for the Championship was inadequate for online broadcasting purposes.

Not only were there no replays to speak of, the pair also had to make quite clear that any on-board footage – where dashboard gauges were clearly visible – were not representative of the actual car’s performance at that very moment; limitations in Assetto Corsa do not accurately transmit rev counter, turbo dial, or speed indicator data when spectating an opponents’ vehicle, so those watching the feed in an effort to learn how to take a certain corner like the best sim racers in Europe, couldn’t actually learn anything.

Two laps in, another wreck takes place, this time among some of the front runners. The best sim racers Europe had to offer – hand-picked to partake in the series – were mostly incapable of driving these cars, instead opting to just monster truck over the massive kerbs and simply hope for the best – which became increasingly apparent as the laps clicked off and more drivers fell victim to their own lack of talent. Many drivers would run wide in certain corners or make what appeared to be very amateurish mistakes, with competitors often embarking on impromptu lawnmower impersonations, which led viewers in the Twitch feed chat began to make comparisons to public lobby racing.

The continuous mess playing out behind him allowed notable Assetto Corsa personality Hany Al-Sabti to literally walk away from the field, building an enormous gap between himself and second place while lapping everyone up to sixth throughout the sixty lap affair. Polesitter Tuomas Tahtela was a non-factor in the event and crashed multiple times, unable to keep the Lotus 98T under him, while Jakub Charkot – who qualified just behind Al-Sabti in third – spent the majority of the Grand Prix trailing Al-Sabti by several seconds, never once coming within striking distance.

With Hany Al-Sabti seemingly the only entry on the grid who could click off multiple competitive laps in a row, the snoozer of a race became even more insufferable when it was revealed that Al-Sabti’s decision to select medium compound tires had allowed him to complete the full race distance without a pit stop, as opposed to the majority of his opponents who were pitting for fresh rubber. I’m not trying to take away from Al-Sabti’s victory here, as he obviously came prepared and absolutely deserved to win the event with his performance and strategy today, but as a viewer, I would have liked to seen a race of some sorts. This was not a race in the slightest; it was a parade of virtual cars that was over well before the contest had reached the half-way mark.

And I can’t say I’m the only one who feels this way, either. When the Eurogamer Twitch feed suddenly cut out at lap 24 of 60 and was offline for about thirty seconds, the live audience dwindled to just 289 viewers once we got going again. nVidia, Thrustmaster, and Sparco have a non-existent return on investment in sponsoring this championship – those are horrible numbers for any sort of online event broadcast.

In the coming days, Eurogamer – which seems to be a major European gaming outlet – will obviously talk up their Assetto Corsa Championship as some resounding success with “a few first-timer issues”, but as you can see from the recap above, the event itself was anything but. There were plans to have weekly round-table discussion shows, massive sponsorship participation from high-profile companies, and an ultra-competitive group of sim racers helping to push the series forward into the realm of eSports, but today’s Grand Prix of San Marino was honestly brutal.

The massive sponsor banners were far too intrusive for what little purpose they served. The race itself needed to be restarted three times because the best sim racers in Europe could not drive straight for more than a hundred feet without wrecking. One guy walked away from the rest of the pack and nearly lapped the whole field. The commentary duo had to explain on several occasions that shortcomings of Assetto Corsa didn’t let them present the race in a manner that would be appealing to viewers, despite the website giving a glowing score of 90 to the PC version of Assetto Corsa. Technical issues created major delays in programming, with the longest reaching an elapsed time of almost thirty minutes, on top of several smaller breaks with excruciatingly long advertisements that simply weren’t justified given the audience of around five hundred at its absolute peak. Does this sound like something a vast array of gamers would willingly watch in their free time? Of course not.

We’re running out of attempts to get these endeavors right, as companies like nVidia, Thrustmaster, Visa, Peak Anti-Freeze, and Sparco aren’t going to stick around for long if they continue to throw a whole bunch of money at people to organize this stuff, only for the result to be so underwhelming and downright boring.

Reader Submission #135 – The Use of Ballpark Figures

28724869973_b6587c4d8b_oOnly a few short weeks ago, the sim racing world was turned upside-down when Norweigan drifting personality and avid sim racer Fredrik Sorlie leaked a conversation between himself and Stefano Casillo of Kunos Simulazioni, in which the sim racer found himself on the receiving end of an aggressive virtual lashing from an otherwise respected developer within the sim racing community. While most of our readers rushed to take sides and either publicly blasted Stefano or accused Sorlie of being in over his head when it came to discussing tire behavior, lost in the community-wide argument was what the actual conversation centered around: tire behavior.

Casillo argued that the data and calculations powering the tire behavior in Assetto Corsa were the most important pieces of getting the virtual Ferrari on the screen to feel like a proper car driven to the edge of the tire, but Fredrik stated that his semi-random numbers inserted into the INI file – primarily the result of several trial and error experiments – produced a much more realistic range of vehicle dynamics on corner entry, which mirrored his own time spent blasting around the Nurburgring Nordschleife with his life on the line. Or, you know, something to that effect.

Today’s second Reader Submission comes from Richard Wilk, the in-house physics guru for rFactor’s Historic Sim Racing Organizationor HSO for short. The HSO website specializes primarily in full-length online races ahd championships held in machinery from an era of motorsports that placed speed over safety, either creating their own mods from the ground up, or re-building popular historic releases from the ground up to iron out their flaws. The website recently completed their highly competitive 1973 USAC championship to close out the 2016 calendar year, and are currently in the process of preparing for a 1980’s World Sports Car Championship event at Monza. Though these guys don’t receive much publicity on mainstream outlets, they’re busy as hell on their own little corner of the internet – consistently managing to acquire full grids for each and every event they hold.

ob_755803_cg1gkhAccording to Richard Wilks of HSO, you need more than just hard numbers – as Kunos Simulazioni have ruthlessly claimed when discussing tire behavior in private with real race car drivers – to create a convincing rendition of a virtual car, and it’s foolish to dismiss feedback from people who have driven the real thing, even if it goes against your own data. You’re building an experience, not a space shuttle.

1dac9a26393743cf75db3c55da1854146a8057d6Hello PRC! I’ve returned with another submission about the process of creating cars for all of your favorite simulators, but this time I’ve been a bit more outgoing than usual, and I’m finally comfortable revealing my name. You can read some of my past submissions HERE and HERE.

There was a lot of talk recently about Stefano Casillo from Kunos Simulazioni refusing to hear and even offending a guy with massive real life experience. To me, this is beyond unbelieveable. No, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to call names or question what Kunos are doing behind the scenes (though it may be a bit justified), but I’d like to explain to readers why this is all so preposterous to someone like me, who willingly spends his free time learning about cars, and creating a convincing set of physics for others to enjoy in a competitive setting.

As a physics modder, I can say that having a guy who not only drove the real thing, but understands how to be successful in a consumer simulator as well, and can flawlessly translate skills from one to the other, that’s pure gold. It’s already hard enough to find interviews or accounts from drivers detailing the real life experience because it’s not something auto racing journalists typically ask – they’re concerned about race strategies and other marketing things – so finding a guy willing to drive in a simulator for an excessive length of time  and even show you the way that the car behaves by modifying the files himself… I have to say I’m a bit jealous of Kunos that they have fans willing to go through that lengths to help the developers.

So for Stefano to shoot these people down… It’s very dumb. Honestly, incredibly dumb. But this gets much worse. You see, even if he believes he has his tire model numbers absolutely correct, he’s putting too much faith into two really dangerous categories:

  • That his physics engine properly translates those numbers into correct forces in all situations.
  • That his tire model is already perfect, or realistic.

Looking at point number one, I guess Stefano’s pride must have been hurt to lash out at Fredrik like that, so it’s no small wonder he doesn’t even question that his physics engine functions perfectly in all situations. But point number two is something he should very well question, because nobody, and I repeat nobody, can claim to have tires nailed in sim racing. And this is where feedback is most important.

When I sit down and work on a car for HSO, and this entails everything from helping with a scratch made mod our guys created down to every last lug nut on the wheel, all the way to tweaking an existing mod that people like but doesn’t drive very well, tires are the absolute last thing I mess with. You can do everything else right or get it somewhere in the correct ballpark, but tires? Its not just the grip. It’s the load sensitivity, the slip angles, or the relationship between front and rear slip angles, and how that all translates through the flawed or incomplete tire models we have, into car movements. This is a massive grey area, and you can’t rely solely on numbers, especially because those numbers powering other parts of the physics engine – or data that has to be extrapolated from other pieces of data – are not 100% reliable in the first place. This is where accurate feedback is crucial. Too many times I see things other modders have gotten wrong, because people just assume things about these cars, and never read or were bothered to ask people with legitimate experience.

I can understand modders getting this wrong, because Porsche or Ferrari haven’t given them free reign of their private garage, nor do they have the budget to acquire sensitive data or take these cars out to a track for firsthand experience, but developers themselves? A team who are supposed to know the inner workings of their software? It’s really inexcusable.

How can quality mod teams for Assetto Corsa exist, if the people creating vanilla content behave like this? They should be setting an example, not being yet another “I never sat in this car in my life, but I know better” autistic manchild.

1acfa9983bd05987f27314b3b2f1d1561e479838Even though we’ve sort of moved on from Stefano’s meltdown over Fredrik’s feedback and what it indicates about how Kunos Simulazioni operate, you raise an interesting concept that I’m sure the readers of PRC will appreciate (compared to a submission we posted earlier today, anyway).

When tires are still a bit of a black art that no single developer team – let alone real world car makers – have been able to master, why are Kunos behaving as if raw data and numbers they’ve set in stone are the answer to producing an authentic virtual recreation of performance driving? Consumer racing simulations – the ones we can buy off store shelves – are an approximation of vehicle dynamics using as much real world data that can be applied within the software, and then filling in the blanks with reasonable guesstimations. But physics engines themselves are an approximation of real life, using numbers to replicate the laws of the universe, so there’s no absolute guarantee the software powering these games is one hundred percent correct before we even place a car on the track.

Therefore, there’s no reason not to be open about feedback from avid sim racers with real world driving experience willingly plucking numbers into the game just to see what happens, because they might actually be onto something. And sure, let’s say after a ton of testing, their feedback results in experiments that are wholeheartedly inconclusive. That’s okay. It’s not a knock on you as a developer or as a person, it’s not them trying to undermine your years of obsessing over vehicle dynamics textbooks, it’s them saying “it doesn’t feel right to me, can we try going back to the drawing board so your software benefits me more on the real track than it already does?”

Unless there is something seriously wrong with your emotional state where even the slightest bit of feedback triggers immense hostility to anyone who crosses your path, this is how you improve the simulation value aspect of your simulator.

Smacking the Console Children

analisis-assetto-corsa_6As the classic saying goes, “no good deed goes unpunished”, and the same appears to ring true on the official forums dedicated to discussing the popular multi-platform racing simulator Assetto Corsa. Ever since it was originally announced that the independent Italian driving game from Kunos Simulazioni would be arriving on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, there’s been a very tangible rift between hardcore PC sim racers which have adopted the title as their simulator of choice, and curious console gamers looking for a much more serious alternative to Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo. It’s a rivalry that doesn’t make much sense on paper, as more individuals abandoning mass-market military shooters in favor of something significantly more complex is one of the easiest ways to help the genre of driving games grow after a noticeable regression over the past five years, but this hasn’t stopped elitist PC sim racers from relentlessly attacking an audience with the potential to be every bit as passionate about these games as they already are.

As we’ve covered countless times before here on, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of Assetto Corsa are vastly different games compared to what you can purchase from Valve’s Steam Marketplace. While the PC version is treated as this divine entity within several sections of the official forums constructed by Kunos Simulazioni to discuss their game, the Console Lounge paints a much different picture of the software – users frequently complain that features found in the PC version are non-existent, and what is present, isn’t always functional. To evoke a bit of colorful language, it feels as if there was an elaborate marketing campaign behind a shovelware title which aimed to sucker in as many customers as possible, and now those customers are sitting around wondering when – if ever – Assetto Corsa for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will ever live up to the buzz surrounding it.

c1ebd777With the Assetto Corsa forums allowing registered Assetto Corsa owners on the PC to freely navigate the entire board and jump into conversations at their own discretion – without restricting individuals based on which version of the game they own – many Assetto Corsa fans playing the game on their elaborate PC setup can be seen openly venturing over to the console side of the board and openly mocking owners of the inferior console version for no justifiable reason. Aside from many little features and functionalities missing from the console renditions of Assetto Corsa, the core driving experience itself is just as serious as the PC offering, meaning those who have signed up for the official forums are just as passionate about the game as hardcore PC sim racers. It’s not like the console game features power-ups stolen from Mario Kart, and the ability to rewind time to correct major driving mistakes – it’s still a racing simulator, just not a very good or technically sound one. As a result, this makes any instance of PC owners attacking console owners for “playing on the wrong platform” quite silly in nature, and basically demonstrates the theory that Assetto Corsa fans feel strangely obligated to act as a rabid cult hell-bent on spreading the gospel of Kunos Simulazioni.

As we’ve discussed yesterday, the current issue plaguing the Xbox One version of Assetto Corsa – sent in by our boy Vernon S. via Reader Submission – is the widespread corruption of save data. Let’s be very clear here, save data corruption isn’t something that can be passed off as an objective complaint of varying importance from user to user – this is a base-level functionality problem with the software itself. In a modern video game centered around the art of driving cars around a track and refining them in the virtual garage area, having your custom setups wiped, your unique player settings corrupted, and your single player event progress undone virtually every time you exit the application, is a pretty big deal. This is the kind of base level functionality flaw that, upon implementing spreadsheet software with a similar issue in their store on a lazy Monday morning, would see CVS Pharmacies drop after roughly an hour’s use. There isn’t really any reason to just bend over and accept the same disruptive gremlins in a piece of entertainment.

Xbox One owners have been reporting this issue on the appropriate section of the forums since Assetto Corsa launched in August of 2016, but it still hasn’t been fixed or even directly addressed by 505 Games customer support reps, and Assetto Corsa enthusiasts on the Xbox One were extremely happy when we covered it here at, because we were literally the only outlet willing to acknowledge that yes, this is a problem. That alone speaks volumes; it’s pretty sad that customers are so frustrated with the quality of a product,  and fed up with silence from the developers, that they’re forced to contact a news blog in the hopes that someone will listen to them and feed them more than a generic “contact customer support” response, the same they’ve been receiving for around five months with no tangible improvement to the product itself.

Upon celebrating our article finally covering the save corruption problem on the Xbox One, like clockwork, PC owners of Assetto Corsa arrived to immediately scold the console gamers for being “entitled crybabies who enjoy hating on things” before stating “sometimes the adults need to get up and come over to the kid’s table to smack some manners” into them.

lol-at-prcThere is a fundamental problem with how Assetto Corsa operates as a piece of software, which currently leads to a situation where the application frequently wipes data off of the Xbox One’s hard drive, and PC owners of the game are basically laughing at the fact that Kunos Simulazioni sold a defective product to a portion of the game’s audience for no justifiable reason other than they’re playing the simulator on a different platform than their own. Rather than ponder what a major technical issue such as save data being obliterated at a moment’s notice could indicate about the work ethic and general competence of their favorite sim racing developers, PC owners are using this opportunity to flex their invisible muscles and bully other sim racers when the situation doesn’t even call for it in the first place.

go-play-forzaThis behavior isn’t just exhibited by one user in particular upset that his favorite driver wrecked out of the 24 Hours of Daytona prematurely and desperately needing to take out his anger on someone innocent, but a collection of individuals genuinely trying to chase out fellow virtual auto racing enthusiasts solely based on their platform of choice. Assetto Corsa forum user P73 can be seen above aggressively telling the original poster to “go play Forza Motorsport” if he feels “a few missing features” are ruining Assetto Corsa before labeling all console players as “spoiled brats” and “crying babies”, totally ignoring the initial complaint actually revolves around save data frequently being corrupted by the application itself.

Save data corruption is not a matter of personal preference; it’s the sign of a faulty product, plain and simple. Yet as you can clearly see above, you have examples of two individuals in one thread alone basically celebrating the fact that Kunos Simulazioni released a defective product for their customers on the Xbox One, and then attacking those who drew attention to the issue in the first place by claiming they’re throwing tantrums like spoiled brats. Yes, it’s unreasonable to ask a team of roughly seventeen people to include a four-digit car roster within their simulator, complimented with a comprehensive career mode that features official licenses from all major racing series around the globe. That’s ridiculous But on the other hand, it’s certainly not unreasonable, or “entitled” as some call it, to demand a product that retains your personal data from one session of gameplay to the next. This is like, basic software functionality.

generic-pc-autistAnd responses like these are why console owners have been openly asking Kunos Simulazioni to restrict who can access what areas of the forums for months on end – effectively preventing PC elitists from aggressively confronting frustrated console owners – but like the aforementioned save data bug, Kunos have not acted on what’s a very legitimate problem. And while owners of the console version are not permitted to enter PC-specific sections, PC owners are allowed to traverse the forum freely, indicating a very clear bias towards PC sim racers over their console brethren, who are every bit as entitled to a functional Assetto Corsa experience as PC owners. Instead, they aren’t even allowed to see what the PC version of the game entails, despite PC owners ruthlessly venturing into console specific threads and dismissing any valid criticism of the game.

please-helpI find this behavior absolutely appalling, and it’s part of the reason why both myself, as well as many outsiders, believe the Assetto Corsa fanbase – on the PC, at least – to operate in a cult-like manner. Here you have an entire group of people viciously going after fellow enthusiasts for merely experiencing a software defect, and basically celebrating the fact that Kunos released a product that destroys your own Xbox One hard drive data after a session of play solely because “lol you bought an Xbox.” Nevermind that these people may soon turn into talented virtual race car drivers themselves, or indulge in the hobby on a level similar to the passion PC sim racers exhibit in this hobby, Assetto Corsa fans don’t even try to hide the fact that they take pleasure in their favorite developer royally botching the release of their favorite game to an entirely new audience.

Not only are they stunting the growth of an otherwise extremely small genre by bullying those with legitimate complaints and chasing away individuals with genuine interest in the genre, they’re basically telling Kunos it’s perfectly fine to release a piece of software with obvious technical defects. I have to ask, what kind of precedent does this set? You’re indicating to a game developer backed by a major investment firm and publishing company that in a category of video games highlighted by precise attention to detail, that it’s totally okay for them to push out a product that damages a user’s files at random.

With this kind of apologetic attitude from their diehard fans even in the face of monumental software gremlins, what incentive would they have in the future to polish their product in the slightest?