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My late 2016 simracing recap

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mmaruda, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. mmaruda

    mmaruda Member Reiza Backer

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    I'm not sure, if anyone will find this a meaningful post and not really sure, if this is the right place to write this, but I sort of need to vent and so far, the community here has shown to be mature and insightful so here goes. If anyone thinks I am out of line here, just ask the moderation to dump this into the can.

    Now, I am what you would probably call a casual simracer, flightsims is where my attentions is mainly at, but I am drawn to all sorts of vehicular simulations, from tanks, to subs and eventually cars as there is just something purely engaging ins turning that wheel and feeling the FFB.

    So I basically bought all them current-gen sims out there and so far none has proven to be the end-all title. My adventure has started with Assetto Corsa, so I will start with that.

    The initial early access impressions were great, the feel of the car, the FFB the graphics everything has shown great promise to become something grand. And here we are 3 years later with the same old hotlap simulator. So far the devs managed to get to tire model 10, released this game on consoles (with horrid results), brought official Porsche license to simracing and... did really nothing to improve on the racing aspect. The AI still uses stability control and is reluctant to pass, there still is not proper career and the online is still a mixed bag of whatever. Performance can be poor on some tracks regardless of the settings. Add to that the FFB is just underdeveloped. There is no soft lock or additional resistance when turning the wheel while stationary and the devs completely neglected this. All they seem to be interested in is adding more DLC packs mostly focused on road cars. And road cars are boring! You either have stuff that is undriveable with the base setup like the Ford GT or more modern cars that simply feel wrong. You watch something like Top Gear or the Grand Tour, see that McLaren P1 and want to drive it, since it's so awesome (I guess that is the focus of AC to a large extent). But at the same time, you see real people on TV saying how that P1 beast is hard to control and wants to kill you, but in the game... Guess how easy it is to make the P1 go sideways? Not easy at all. And if someone claims the game wasn't dumbed down for consoles... Can I ask why console players cannot drive in other track rubber conditions than optimal? So much of AC, it's still fun to drive, but not really "Your racing simulator". At least not mine.

    Next up Project CARS... What a disappointment. Or is it? Out of the whole bunch, it's the most complete package. Good amount of cars, insane amount of tracks, cheap DLC... The physics may not be the best and the AI used to be completely insane until recently (now it's manageable aside from track cutting). What really kills the game for me is the FFB - you either have to tune tons of unintelligible settings yourself that make no sense or use pre-made config files from this one wonderful bloke on the forums. I actually enjoy CARS quite a bit, but it's more a realistic racing game than a proper simulation (no dorifto kingu, no funuru). And it's a shame, since all the pieces of the puzzle are in place, including easy online setup through the Steam interface, so I can have track day with my friends.

    iRacing... I won't really comment on this. Online competitive racing has never been my thing and I should hate iRacing for stealing some of my flightsim buddies away never to be seen again outside of a virtual car. But my major gripe with this title is pricing. I tend to look at this in a simple manner - you either have paid subscription or paid content, not both. And the fact that they keep your credit card info by default and charge you another fee automatically, if you don't change your profile settings after registering (no refunds as well) is IMHO bad customer practice. I won't comment beyond that, since because of the above reason I am not at all interested in the game. If you like, hey, more power to you.

    Next up, Raceroom. This has been a pleasant surprise for me, despite my initial horrible experience after it has been released. Raceroom is the only game out there that does full series, has some great cars and a great selection of tracks. With this year's FFB update, it's become totally awesome to the point that I don't even mind the pricing. It looks great, it runs silky smooth and has some awesome sound. Add to that the Crew Chief app and great AI and I have my go-to sim... No wait, scratch that, because someone over at Sector 3 decided to can the great AI and turn it into bumper cars racing recently. Great. The devs have ruined the SP experience completely. Talk about one step forward and five steps back. I won't be playing much Raceroom in the forseeable future, that is for sure. One stupid update... Ruined! Q_Q

    Which leaves me with only two titles, so lets get the other one out of the way now.
    rFactor 2... I want my money back! Not because I paid the online subscription for a game that has no live online and now the pass is being phased out and not because of the variable quality content, but simply because so much of the promises made when I bought this in beta have not been kept and now ISI shoved it onto another party and moved on. It's going to be at least another year before Studio 397 can do anything good with the game and honestly, I have lost interest and for good. Yeah, people will say that there is the best physics here and whatnot, but the whole package is just such an uneven and incomplete mess that I think it's beyond saving. How dated will the whole thing be, when they manage to deal with problems and add and fix features that were promised before release?

    And here we come to something I had no idea would bring me so much fun and joy. Automobilista. The content is a bit meh for me (except the tracks and formula vintage), the graphics are nothing to write home about, but quite good IMO. The AI is ok I guess. There still is no turbo modelling and the drivers hands animation in replays does not happen (at least give me that 90 degree turn movement). But... I don't much care! The FFB is hands down the bestest best ever I have tried (rFactor 2 fans can talk all they want, they will just be wrong) and I don't need to fiddle with any settings. The tire modelling is great, the sound is great, the tracks are awesome (Imola 72!!!11!@@), but best of all, it has all the realism stuff you can expect from a proper racing sim - maybe not the most modern and recent achievements, but everything is there. It's as if Reiza guys decided that all this new stuff is like an eternal beta, so let's take the old thing that used to be finished and bring all the goodies to a more modern standard. AMS is not a top notch sim. It's hardly anything to catch the eye of the mainstream audience, but it does deliver on the promise and most of all, it's exciting to drive. My only gripe with the game is the performance - FPS tends to tank in some track sections regardless of the amount of AI or graphic settings and this make me sad.

    Nevertheless, my major impression on the whole simracing market is that it's at standstill. Development is slow and hardly shows any potential for a leap that would make one game stand out (no Porsche does not count, what are you? 40 and fat?). So far, I can only see slow, but constant and regular progress on Reiza's part.

    So my hopes for 2017 is that all the sims mentioned above will get their stuff together and start moving forward. And with that I would also like to address Rezia and ask for one little thing - whatever you do with your 2017 project, don't take step back, keep all the stuff you already have and add new stuff, rather than take the 'current gen' approach and have an awesome new engine with half the features that have been there for the past ten years missing. And for God's sake please optimize it. Pretty please...
     
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  2. Rob Nelson

    Rob Nelson Member Reiza Backer

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    I think I completely agree with everything you said.
     
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  3. DaVeX

    DaVeX AMSUnofficial Staff Reiza Backer

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    I agree with you mate!!!
    Nice report of simracing status!

    (except for rF2...if Studio397 learns the basics from Reiza...well,there is still hope!)
     
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  4. pennarguy

    pennarguy Active Member Reiza Backer

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    Got to agree with most of what you say...AMS is the best out there at the moment for track racing.
    My fear is that Reiza will try to join the so called big players and ruin it's format; which is sort of uncomplicated and all about the racing and is a pure PC sim'...forget them little boxes.
    Ideal scenario for me is for Reiza not to be a big player, but to be successful and provide the "niche within a niche", as it does now and has done in the past.
     
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  5. Dean Ogurek

    Dean Ogurek Active Member Reiza Backer

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    I agree with much of what you said although, I do love AC for it's content, graphics, and the sounds have improved nicely. It's not a great "Racing-Sim" but, it has it's own appeal for "Driving" and I get why many like it. I do wish they would focus on more "Racing" aspects and finish the mechanical aspects still missing; the linkage between power & drive-train is quite lacking in proper behavior but, hardly anyone seems to notice.

    I very much agree with the iRacing bit; it just doesn't suit me although, I do like some of the deep Racing-Sim features and advanced hardware support it offers.

    Pcars has some great Racing features but, I just can't get into it's physics and FFB; it just lacks a certain visceral quality for me. Every time I have gone back and tested it, I leave disappointed. It is the most "gamey" title out of the bunch IMO.

    That's where rF2 and AMS exel; both provide that visceral quality, one that immerses in the experience of an intense sense of speed and balancing on the very edge of control in true racing machines. Of course, rF2 really is a mess in it's current state but, I am hopeful that Studio397 will bring some much-needed improvements to the title.

    So that leaves AMS as my best choice for "Racing-Sim"; I always finish my sessions in AMS feeling satisfied and having a figurative smile on my face. It does so many things right that too many other "games" miss completely.:)
     
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  6. MarcG

    MarcG Active Member Reiza Backer

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    "It's going to be at least another year before Studio 397 can do anything good with the game"

    Incorrect, VR & DX11 late Q1 2017, that's a few months away. Not to mention their first Build release today :)
     
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  7. Kevin Peat

    Kevin Peat Active Member Reiza Backer

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    I guess we will see the DX11 version of rF2 in Q1 but it will take a lot longer for all the content to be updated to take advantage of it.

    All the sims that I own have their strong points. AC has a fantastic selection of licensed cars, AMS has racing features and a great variety of high quality race cars and R3E has some great series that the other sims lack. rF2 is still mostly potential as it has been for several years.

    I think Reiza has had the best year delivering a lot of great new content and adding a bunch of much appreciated "sim" features. Kunos have also done well especially getting the Porsche license and improving their physics although there is more work to do there. The best thing ISI did this year was handing rF2 over to Studio397. :)

    Looking forward to what 2017 may bring.
     
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  8. krusti

    krusti RaceSimulatorItaly Founder Reiza Backer

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    I think this as been an amazing year for the simulation lovers! Who love this, who love that, but everybody can be satisfied by looking what this year brought us.

    Personally AMS is in the 1st place with rF2, i just love both sim but AMS was a big surprise for me since the first release: sounds, FFB, physics so natural.. Well done Reiza, keep going!
     
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  9. SaxOhare

    SaxOhare Active Member Reiza Backer

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    Nothing new here, this is the way life is and always will be.
    Nothing is the complete package, everything has its downside.
    And you use a lot of words to say so.
     
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  10. pennarguy

    pennarguy Active Member Reiza Backer

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    Man of few words eh?
     
  11. SaxOhare

    SaxOhare Active Member Reiza Backer

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    Less,
     
  12. tpw

    tpw Active Member Reiza Backer

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    All the sims have their strengths and weaknesses, and all players have their own priorities for what constitutes an enjoyable sim driving experience. Provided people don't confuse their opinions as facts and try to dictate to others what their priorities should be, it's all good. Thankfully this forum is largely free from that kind of thing, which is a breath of fresh air.

    For what it's worth I divide my sim time roughly 50 : 40 : 10 between AMS : rF2 : R3e/DR/AC/pCARS which should give an idea of my priorities :)
     
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  13. Msportdan

    Msportdan Well-Known Member Reiza Backer

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    well here's my addition to the debate and I know people will say "here goes Ol Dan again" but hear me out.

    I think none of the sims are perfect for a start there's always something that let's me down in some part. But it seems for me that obviously there's two options for racing , online and off. One requires iracing like standard or a good league, and heavy commitment with that. The other requires good series tracks and for me (yep here it comes) Ai!....


    I've always been an offline player and Ai is - as you've guessed- a massive chunk of , if your offline experience so going to be worth playing. I would like to see an advancement by any Dev in this area, amd I don't mean small tweaks I mean a re write. I am sort of fed up with all the similar qwerks the g motor Ai has. I don't have to repeat what they are. But I see it across 3 titles I have. Ac Ai is different but has areas where is just poor, mentioned in the op.

    all these titles have good handling, cars and tracks to keep you occupief if only the Ai started to break the mould. Make racing offline fun again with a npredictable ai that attack defend, balanced so on so forth. I know we can't expect human behaviour but let's be fair gp4 ai is still known to be the best - c'mon its 2016.

    racerooms ai has to be the closest to the most challenging and clever, but they have the same gmotor issues but different. Sort of..

    anyway that's my thoughts on sim racing in 2016 for me.

    happy Christmas guys.
     
  14. Professionalsimracing.com

    Professionalsimracing.com Active Member Reiza Backer

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    OP is decent summary. For me personally, it's now down to two as others simply lack visceral experience / immersion for me personally.

    AMS is king and by far and chiefly because the damn thing works.

    rFactor 2 is there...but just. I'm trying to learn to live with it...what works...what doesn't work...what's worth fixing myself...what's worth testing...new ways of testing to rule things out more quickly. We'll see how that goes but AMS will always be there.
     
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  15. pennarguy

    pennarguy Active Member Reiza Backer

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    Hey "Dan" GP4, what a sim'...come back Geoff Crammond.
    A sim' for F1 fanatics only, but great AI.
     
  16. Will Mazeo

    Will Mazeo Active Member Reiza Backer

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    I'm not a man of many sims, I stick to 1 or 2 that usually have what I need, was GTR2 for a long time right now is AMS and rF2, AMS problems in our leagues made me spend more time in rF2 and I could see how great it is so it was a year of finding AMS greatness then finding rF2 greatness.
    I may give RR a try once they add back the stuff they removed from original isimotor code for no reason :D
    Assetto I already gave up long ago after v1.0 release, had huge hopes about this sim in early access and it was disappointing to see how many things were missing, they may be improving but I guess I'll wait for AC 2. But then I'm not a man of many sims, if I'm well satisfied with a sim I don't use another one I guess rF2 will be my "new GTR2" with S397 working on it
     
  17. Msportdan

    Msportdan Well-Known Member Reiza Backer

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  18. Dean Ogurek

    Dean Ogurek Active Member Reiza Backer

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    While I agree that AMS and rF2 are tops in terms of driving dynamics, racing-immersion and overall Sim-racing features, AC still holds a key spot on my playlist. I must admit, the addition of the Porsche packs have demanded a greater percentage of my play-time of late. :eek::)

    Kunos has stated that they are going to address some of the larger issues in regard to AI and other feature requests in 2017 and despite their obvious focus on DLC and the console-version release, they have manged to make some improvements to core features during that time.

    R3E on the other hand, has some issues with the FFB that just don't work with my hardware (OSW) currently so I can't say it's a title that could appeal to me even though, S3 has made some nice progress and additions recently.

    AMS and rF2 seem to have road-maps for really substantial improvements over the next year or so and they are poised to make a lot of gains within the hard-core Sim genre. Improved graphics and audio are some things that should make these titles more attractive for new-comers while they get acquainted with the real value that lies under the hood. :)
     
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  19. pennarguy

    pennarguy Active Member Reiza Backer

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    What is a winner, for me, when it comes to AMS is; the uncomplicated, uncluttered approach they use to make the sim' a pleasure for newbies and hard core players alike.
    Most of the default set ups for the cars, are ok to use straight out of the box, making it easy and enjoyable for a newcomer to track racing sim's and as time goes by, the same newbies start to realize more can be got out of the cars, when they see times set by more experienced players.

    The FFB, physics, tyre model, dynamic road etc make the actual driving the best to be had in any sim' I have ever owned...the graphics now ain't the best, but they are good enough for a track racing sim'; graphics are usually not the top priority for sim' racers.

    AC is a good sim', but try setting up a car and the problems soon come to light for a newbie...there are far too many tweaks, for even seasoned players to bother with...well, for me anyway.
    I played a little over 500 hours on AC and just got fed up with it...I was blown away with the FFB etc at first and I suppose it was that that kept me playing it for as long as I did.
     
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  20. mmaruda

    mmaruda Member Reiza Backer

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    Despite my bias I have been playing a bit of Assetto Corsa lately and... I think despite everything, what is holding this sim back the most is the FFB. With rFactor 2 and AMS (hands down best FFB ever) you really get a good sense of what is going on with the car. In AC, you get a lot of feel most of the time, but sometimes it feels like the FFB is lagging behind the physics. I don't know, the first early access builds felt a lot better to me. Compared to AMS or Raceroom, the lack of properly working soft lock as well as any forces when the cars is stationary or just going slow really kills the immersion for me. You would thing that after so much time since release, Kunos would have it fixed?
     

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