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Ac: what it is, what it’s likely to be… (a platform first, game next) - long

Discussion in 'Assetto Corsa' started by Lawndart, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. This thread was started in Kunos's forums. I'm not sure how much cross pollination there is with RD so I thought I would share it here as well.


    I've been following these boards for a few months but post 1.0 there has been a polarizing shift in discussions. Now there seems to be an exorbitant amount of feedback about features. And I’m going to attempt to explain why, what my assumptions Kunos have done, and what they are doing now, and going to be doing in 2015… and it’s going to be an amazing year…

    Kunos embarked on AC with very humble intentions, a few cars, a few tracks, done very well. It wasn't long before they realized they have a brilliant secret sauce. Kunos quickly reevaluated their intentions and set forth defining the minimum viable product (this will make sense later). To more firmly and progressively (leveraging past exp) establish themselves in the current sim gaming market, show those playing RRE, iRacing, PCARS (beta), Forza, GT, etc. that they are attempting to fill suggestive gaps long since left open in the sim gaming space. But this is just the beginning.

    To reach a larger market they knew they needed more content but were practical about what was possible, and also realized they needed to follow the “less is more” and went straight for laser scanning as it’s an inarguable precise way to recreate reality in a virtual space (it’s not actually but as far as the general consumer in conserved… Lasers = precision, pew pew!). Alongside this standard they decided early to be as moddable as possible to help shore up the content gap… Staring down the barrel of PCARS content and feature set was likely quite intimidating… But racers, assuming they have a few at Kunos, are driven by adversity... but I digress.

    Kunos knew that in order to reach a broader market they needed game features, some degree of structure to support the content, but at some point they changed up their strategy, they decided they are in it for the long game so they knew they needed just enough to attract and retain gamers (for a time), and even pushed that a bit. And those features also needed to be modable. Why all the open ended modding? To buy them time as they establish their true intentions… To be the definitive sim racing game… For years, we have all heard GT creator Kazanori brand the GT series “The ultimate driving simulator” And those words are very selective to explain what their focus is and to excuse what it is not… But for years, no one has claimed to be the “Ultimate racing simulator”, a coveted label that would taunt all the sim racers and sim developers… and for good reason no one has gone there… Kunos are going to do just that… They are going to take that tag line and use when the time is right… But how? How can they go from 1.0 to THE definitive racing game with so much is missing…?

    Lead in; Kunos in all its planning realized their secret sauce is the core of what every racing game should be known for. Physics and car handling. They learned/knew how to capture the dynamics of a real car and translate it to a 2D medium so competently, nearly inarguably… But here is the kicker… With sims being such a long established genera, being a “definitive” racer, a developer needs to approach development in a much different way than your traditional 18-24 month game dev cycle. You need to shore up years and years of the best that have come before you, ensure you get the consensus, and then build on that and leverage it for momentum. It’s quite remarkable how risky just the thought of this is, it could be done by a large company, it needs quick agile iteration and lots of trial and error to complement/evolve existing experience.

    Here is how Kunos will “win the long game”; simply put, they aren’t building a game, but they will... They are building a platform. A platform that contains all the core ingredients to make the best sim/game to date (minus weather and night… but those were never significant to determining “best”). Then you can build anything on top of it… Who has done this?! Simbin perhaps, a decade ago. So there is a “playbook” but it’s an expensive balancing act… ACT 1 is Kunos needing JUST enough game features and as open a modding platform (and modular) as possible to keep people interested and buy themselves time while having enough budget being fed to realize a more grandiose goal. One obvious tactic was to spin up a parallel content team for tracks and cars, even grab a few from modders, further driving interest in modding and quality… “are you a mod?” “Maybe you can get your own work officially in a commercial game!” If I’m even partially right, then AC 1.0 really is just a sample of what’s to come. The foundations are arguably more solid, yet open ended, than anything else in too many years.

    But what does this mean to you and me?;Clearly they will be updating AC over time but what will be their new focus? The silly penalty system that could easily just be an option of other better ways like invalidating laps or black flags, just select the option? Why not a flagging system? What about the AI pit stops? Basic mod tools for MP? Seems like reasonably straight forward and obvious items to fix… and to some extent they might do some relatively simple efforts to include some of them but the reality is they likely already have their own ideas and those ideas likely have been more well thought out than our own logic based on other games… And since they are small, they know the danger or reacting too soon to requests and the waist involved if they have larger plans for later. But there is a lot to come to terms with before you make major claims that include “definitive”, even Kunos are still coming to terms with what’s ahead with such a small team, and growing a game dev team is not at all fun… You lose percentages of efficiency and increase costs tremendously the larger you get and it’s hard to hold the vision intact… The GT franchise is a fine example of this and Kaz is just now coming to terms with this, this year (2014).

    My predictions; Kunos will continue to trickle out content, they knew they needed to fix the FFB, FMOD, performance, etc. prior to pushing a bunch of content. This content will continue on a monthly cadence… But 3-6 months from now, Kunos will have a big announcement, one that’s more about “the game” than content, they will leverage all the critical acclaim and reception. It would make sense that it comes shortly before PCARS launch to at least capture the PC gamers but PCARS is not looking like it’s going to be on time even this far out and Kunos won’t rush a build again like RC 1.0 (though I’m glad they did in retrospect, and took their time for a/the more proper 1.0).

    So what is Asseto Corsa really? The platform that will be the definitive PC racing home… Maybe even console versions, but one thing is for sure, despite any inaccuracy to my assumptions above, Asseto Corsa 1.0 is just a beginning, and won’t even be recognizable by the close of 2015… It’s really the only way to do it these days, it’s a longer iterative approach that includes community and very solid dedicated resources that share a core passion. A larger publisher couldn't do what Kunos are doing anymore without diluting the “secret sauce”, if in fact I’m remotely accurate with my assumptions. I know this all too painfully well… I've done it many times… and when it worked? It’s was more luck and tenacity than planning… and not a business model publishers will explore in a console transition (yes, we are talking about PC, but console transitions affect the entire industry)…

    Why write all this stuff? Because I'm damn excited to see where AC goes from here and I believe this to be a very probable theory based on similar experiences from my own profession...
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  2. Leemstradamus

    Mid pack attack!

    Like I said in another thread over at the official forums.

    Looking back at the past year and a month, I have no doubt we won't recognize 1.0 next Christmas season. When we started with the early access we didn't have the f40, la Ferrari, t98, nikki lauda f1 car, 458 gt2, mp4-12c GT3 or road car. Nurburgring gp, Silverstone gp, spa, much oversteer, tire blisters, flat spots, graining, online play, AI, analog hand brake...

    That's just what I came up with sitting here! Can anyone remember the initial early access from last November 2013?

    The future is bright!
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  3. i stopped reading here...useless. :poop:

    when steam pushes an update, you know what's done and what not.
  4. The topic is intended as speculation based on credible experiances. Not so much to generate hype or create false expectations... Keeping your expectations in check is wise, but anticipating the future can be fun, especially if your expectations are managed.
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  5. Nice read @Lawndart :thumbsup: I'm new to PC sims but this sort of thinking about AC has crossed my mind. I couldn't quite figure out what niche these guys were trying to fill and I think you might just be on to something with the idea of building a "platform" as opposed to a well defined "game". I don't know what the sales figures are relative to other sims but just from reading anecdotal forum posts here and there it seems to me that in spite of all it's weaknesses, AC has developed a level of fanatacism in it's fanbase that might just rival that of the GT series in scope if not in scale. It just feels right to drive and it has a less serious focus than most other sims, which I think is more encouraging for the casual sim racer, if there is such a thing.
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  6. Msportdan

    @ Simberia @Simberia

    hhmm imagine AC with full Gt grids and race seasons.... well we can dream.. AS MUCH AS i like AC i can't help but think it goes into a "bit better" forza GT style genre.

    Where it impresses us a bit more than say rf2, rf2 is a lot more focused on the racing with super AI, but not to so super gfx.

    I hope its just the early phase of a great fully featured sim... but im afraid that i think we've seen the sum of AC parts already.
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  7. Boby Kim

    Boby Kim
    There is no spoon...

    Mmm...what does AC offer me atm: cars, tracks, very good car feel and online fun. No need to wish for more:thumbsup:
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  8. I'm glad mankind was not like you, otherwise we'll be fishing and hunting by this time :D
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  9. Boby Kim

    Boby Kim
    There is no spoon...

    Well, im still living under a rock:thumbsup:
    • Haha Haha x 5
  10. Your post is interesting but I think your expectations aren't in line with reality. In 1.0 RC release notes it states: "Assetto Corsa is now feature complete". Surely there will be some new content, DLC and bugfixes, but 1.0 version being out means that certain things are now more or less locked. Also for moddable platform it's impossible to rewrite many new features without breaking support for existing mods, it's something I've noticed with rF2.
  11. I could definitely be taking liberties with what I don't know for sure. But "feature complete" pertains to the 1.0 version also dubbed retail release. That's how we define it in the games space. Kunos have done too many things right to just leave it alone or only refine what they have now... but I'm just assuming... There is no way they accidently created physics that magicly have nearly universal acceptance... And are going to leave it in a shell that is barely passable as a game and isolated to be a sim.
  12. Chris James

    Chris James

    I hope you're right, but there's one point you didn't touch upon; money. If they do intend to continue to work on the core, they'll still need a revenue source to pay the bills. Hopefully they'll continue to create and sell DLC content, otherwise they may bankrupt themselves, as they have already sold many copies of the sim as early access, and that money may already be spent. I could be way off, but it seems to me that this has happened to ISI, as they have not released any substantial content lately, and instead have released very small and obscure tracks, with the exception of Interlagos, which was made by someone else. I suspect that they've run out of money to buy and develop new cars and tracks, and that their "continuing development" strategy has left them broke. I pray this doesn't happen with AC, as it's got so much more potential.
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  13. Frank

    Administrator Staff Premium

    ISI isn't as small as you think :-p. And the tracks they made are pretty good.
  14. Chris James

    Chris James

    I'm going hunting next week, and fishing in March!
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  15. True. We might also still be driving those old 57's Chevys and and listening to Pink Floyd...oh wait..:roflmao:
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  16. I did mention monthly dlc as a small revenue generator but Kunos being so small and self publishing is saving them a lot. The 30% cut for steam and licensing being the only expense outside dev... Maybe a little marketing but not much. If Kunos can double the track and car count and one major new feature like night racing (they did just add dimmed tail lights when headlights are on... That suspicious) they could go full 2.0 and we'll all buy it again...

    Pcars is the only real wildcard in all this. We will all give that game a go, some won't look back, so I expect something substantial and pay dlc. Around that time.

    One thing is for sure though, Kunos couldn't have a lower overhead if they tried right now so as long as they manage it correctly I think they will be around for a long time. This doesn't include all the other means like VC and other investment etc.

    Isi/simbin just got stale, rested on their bums for too long... When was the last simbin game you bought? Race 07 on xbox for me...
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  17. GTR2 from steam holiday auction :)
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