5 comments on “Are racing sims treading the right path?

  1. Several interesting points – thanks for this article. Simraceway has passed me by.

    I think the move to self-published games is the reason for the long public development phase. Publishers only pay developers for a finished game, and they set tight deadlines. They are not interested in paying for on-going development after release – it won’t generate significant sales. They want the developer to move onto the next title.

    The simracing community has encouraged the new approach. Psychologically it is nice to get patches/content for a couple of years after release. Take rFactor and GT Legends for example. Released within a few months of each other, GTL was a conventional publisher-financed game while rFactor was self-published. GTL came with far more cars and tracks than rFactor’s original release. ISI added tracks and cars after release and got credit for “support” and “free content”. Simbin should perhaps have released GTL with just the 19 TC65 and GTC65 cars and held back the 8 GTC76 cars and a couple of tracks and released them later.

    You can see the same with GSC2012. Compared to say RACE 07 it has very few cars. But the Mini was released after game launch and look at the positive reception they got. I’m not knocking the GSC2012 Mini – it’s a lot of fun. Just saying that with a Simbin title it would have been included on release, and that the community actually seems to prefer late release. One of the tracks from the 2012 championship is missing. Amazingly this doesn’t seem to have attracted any criticism. Indeed my guess is when it is released it will be received as extra content for free rather than something that should have been in from the start. Maybe Codies should try this. Release F1-2012 with a track missing and then release it months later.

    So the community seems fine with ongoing development and release before everything is finished. What they are perhaps less happy with is the protracted development of the current generation of sims. RF2 seems to be the worst. ISIs last publisher backed game, NASCAR Thunder 2004, came out in 2003. Two years later rF1 came out. Seven years have passed since rF1 we are still waiting for formal rF2 release. But to be fair to ISI, Simbin, SMS and Kunos seem to be in a similar situation.

    I’m a bit surprised that the article seemed to focus on SimRaceway when looking at whether racing sims are treading the right path. Simbin seem to be the only big player who are opting for free to play. And I’d be surprised if the criticism of inconsistent pricing/quality will apply to Simbin’s DLC.

    For me the big issue on whether racing sims are treading the right path is the move from a sim which simulated a real racing series in all its detail to a jack-of-all-trades product which doesn’t simulate any real racing series. Codies were the first to do this with the TOCA series, but LFS, then rFactor pioneered this for hardcore sims. Simbin started hedging their bets with the RACE 07 series – at the heart of the game was the WTCC championship but we got extra cars like the FBMW and Mini. Now everyone seems to have gone down this path – ISI, SMS, Simbin, Kunos and iRacing. A key part of the immersion of racing sims for me is simulating the whole package in depth. I’m really looking forward to driving a Lotus 49 in iRacing, pCARS, and AC and a Brabham BT20 in rF2. But I won’t be able to drive or race against the Lotus’s main competitors nor drive all the 67 season tracks. For me that significantly reduces the depth and immersion of the experience.

    With the exception of Codies F1 series, the only developers who have stuck to the traditional path are the South American developers, Reiza and 2Pez. Sadly for me I found F1 2010 too buggy and I have zero interest in either South American stock car racing series though don’t begrudge South American’s their games. After all, for years sim racing has been dominated by European and US racing series. Its just a shame there isn’t a UK developer who is producing a BTCC sim.

    • Some good insight David, thanks.

      The point wasn’t really focussing on SimRaceWay. The articles points out the comparison in structure in the relationship between MSFS and MS Flight and that with rFactor and SRW. The title “are racing sims treading the right path” was not meant as an overall overview of the whole genre, but merely a case in point that can be a pause for thought for all other developers when considering their business models.

      A draft title, indeed, was “What could we learn from MS Flight” – I just didn’t think any racing sim enthusiasts would bother reading based on that title! 😉

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